Dissembling Disassembly Experience

Sitting in the sunshine at my favorite hippie coffee shop yesterday, I was trying to reverse-engineer a C switch statement out of assembly and was stuck on “leal 0xffffffce(%eax), %edx”. A couple guys were nerding out near me, so during a lull in their conversation, I leaned over and said, “Hello! How much do you love assembly?” They gallantly looked over my binder of printed textbook pages, and asked, “What framework is this? I worked in Mac. Is this x86?”

And I had to admit that for me, assembly lives in that sheaf of papers. I have never compiled a program and dived into its disassembled state. (I experimented once, early on, but didn’t inhale.) My dev buddies cringed when I told them later that night about the coffee shop incident; one even said, reassuringly: “How embarrassing.”

Still, I am kind of loving being the beginner who makes groan-inducing, pity-pat-garnering goofs. (Well, I have a choice: either embrace it, or die of shame.) Liberated from my Whiz Kid aspirations, I see the humor in these situations–and who can help but love the learning process when you get to laugh yourself through it?

So I’m laughing all the way to my console, where I’m looking, finally, at disassembled code. Jmp on it!


One Response to Dissembling Disassembly Experience

  1. Cliff says:

    First off, I haven’t met many if any women that can read hex much less assembler. The mere fact that you can find a switch statement in a block of alphabet soup says something. I’m not sure what it says but there’s something to be said.

    I’ve tried to read raw bytecode, I’ve had my share of attempts disassembling Blackberry cod file format. I’ve even managed to read raw PDFs w/o a viewer. None of these are things I share over coffee with a friend, rather they are dark moments in my life where I know I’ve plunged too deep in some implementation stack and overlooked the obvious solution to my problems. (In the case of the cod files I missed the version number on my compiler!)

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