On April 1, Magic Lantern crashed cameras for the laughs


Vladimir Ivanov writes about a most unpleasant April Fools joke. Magic Lantern, an unofficial high-end replacement for Canon camera firmware, saw fit to intentionally BSOD cameras for the day.

It's especially insane/awesome when you consider how harrowing installing third-party hacks can be, even at their most stable. Here's Vladimir's description of what happened:

BSOD says that an internal error number 0x000000aa (there's no mistake in numbers) occurred. There's a lot of text (memory dump is ready, try to restart, check the settings, etc.) and "Your camera was bricked" (among others).

My cold fingers do a reset via the battery, as recommended by the developer. I turn on the camera and get the same BSOD two seconds after the download. F@#$%!

I'm getting nervous. Remove ML. Everything works normally.

Thinking that it is the build's fault, I roll back to the version dated March 28th (which took me 4+ hours!).

Run it. Everything works. Okay. Adjust the camera again, being prepared to dive into the study. BSOD! WTF?!

Reset. BSOD in a minute. Format it. Reinstall. Run. BSOD. Shock. Damn!

Eventually, however, he spots a few entries like this in the source code:

if (joke_mode)
            if (rand() % 1000 == 13 && !RECORDING)
                extern void bsod();

In English: if it's April 1, we're in "joke mode," and every second there's a 1 in 13 1000 chance of an intentional crash if you're not recording video.

PS: Saying Hi to Alex, the developer who spoiled the evening of April 1st, as well as my mood and nerves. It was not funny.


The picture above was posted to imgur by edanderson at Hacker News, whose discussion thread simmers nicely.

An angry forum thread popped up on the Magic Lantern forums, too: "Haha, this is all really f*ing funny, but I spend a lot of time perfecting my photos, some of which are once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunities. I don't need Magic Lantern developers PURPOSEFULLY f*ing up my photos as a practical joke."

He's set straight with a reminder that his photos were not harmed, and that Magic Lantern is not intended for professional use:

How about a 1000% refund of the purchase price of ML? I will pay that to you personally, let me know where to send the check… This is not a professional project. It is not intended to be a professional project. This is a spare time, hobby project that is just for fun. There are all kinds of disclaimers to this end.

Caveat downloador!