Help me identify this source of this strange shape appearing on my Mac OSX chrome
December 6, 2012 1:32 PM   Subscribe

Help me identify this source of this strange shape appearing on my Mac OSX chrome

Screenshot Here

It will appear for a while and then disappear. It hasn't happened a lot, so I don't really have any patterns down beyond that. It appears to affect both Firefox chrome as well as regular old Finder chrome if my memory can be trusted. I didn't take a screenshot each time, but should have. It's not really affecting the functionality or anything but I am curious as to what is causing it and if I should be worried.
posted by halseyaa to Technology (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Firefox is one browser, Chrome is another, and Finder is a program that Apple provides as part of OS X.

Given that you are seeing this with three different pieces of software, it likely is not a problem with Firefox or Chrome but rather your display.
posted by dfriedman at 1:38 PM on December 6, 2012

I believe that halseyaa is using "chrome" in the second sense of the definition.
posted by gauche at 1:42 PM on December 6, 2012

I think they're referring to chrome as meant by this definition.

"Chrome is the visual design elements that give users information about or commands to operate on the screen's content (as opposed to being part of that content). These design elements are provided by the underlying system — whether it be an operating system, a website, or an application — and surround the user's data."
posted by topher74 at 1:43 PM on December 6, 2012

Does it appear in the same spot in the window regardless of where on the screen the window appears?
posted by procrastination at 1:43 PM on December 6, 2012

Graphical corruption is usually caused by GPU problems such as overheating. Does it always appear in the same spot?

Here's a more extreme example:
posted by dobi at 1:47 PM on December 6, 2012

Sorry for the confusion. I did indeed mean "chrome" as in the UI definition, not the browser.

It is always in the same spot, in the upper left corner of the window. And always the same shape/pattern.

Overheating sounds like a reasonable guess; this thing does get pretty hot from time to time. But it looks pretty different from that example and seems unrelated to the "layering" of windows, as far as I have noticed.

Unfortunately like any good bug it is impossible to recreate now that I am actively trying to resolve it.
posted by halseyaa at 1:52 PM on December 6, 2012

Well in case it happens again, you should install a temperature monitor so you have an idea if it's related.
posted by dobi at 1:57 PM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

By always in the same spot, I mean always in the same spot relative to the window. If I move the window, the shape within moves along with it.
posted by halseyaa at 1:57 PM on December 6, 2012

Are you sure it is not some haxie app you have installed and then forgot about? It looks a bit like a bar graph... maybe some background process - like a resource manager or something?
posted by misterbrandt at 2:10 PM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Does it disappear if you activate/deactivate the window or resize it? IIRC both of those cause the whole window border to be redrawn, so that might distinguish between an overheated GPU (or other nonrepeatable hardware bug) and something being intentionally drawn by some bit of code. (On the other hand, a bug could cause some cached image to be corrupted and the corruption redrawn from the cache each time, so this isn't completely reliable.)

Does exactly the same pattern of dots appear each time or is it more random?

There's a utility in the developer tools package called, IIRC, QuartzDebug, which will let you turn on and off various hardware accelerations; you could see if that affects anything.

I'd also check for forgotten haxies as misterbrandt suggests.
posted by hattifattener at 2:22 PM on December 6, 2012

My suspicion would be some javascript trickery that is like a 0px by 0px window or some shit meant to spam you with porn ads
posted by danny the boy at 2:24 PM on December 6, 2012

Oh wait, sorry, that wouldn't be it since you mentioned that this was happening on finder windows as well. Yeah sounds like a utility someone installed, though you also say the pattern isn't changing at all? Maybe it really is a hardware fault.
posted by danny the boy at 2:28 PM on December 6, 2012

What model of computer do you have? There is the dreaded NVIDIA bug, where their shitty chips made it into a bunch of Apple, Dell and other computers, which caused logic board failures and expensive repairs that weren't always covered under recall programs. The symptoms can include blits like what you're seeing, all the way up to crashing and unusability.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:29 PM on December 6, 2012

Sorry for misunderstanding the OP....
posted by dfriedman at 3:10 PM on December 6, 2012

Looks like a subtle case of corruption of the texture for that bit of chrome in your graphics card's memory.
posted by zsazsa at 3:28 PM on December 6, 2012

If you are running 10.6.6 or 10.6.7, upgrade. ISTR this happening for a while on both of my Mac laptops when I had 10.6.6, but have not seen it on 10.6.8.
posted by jet_silver at 7:58 PM on December 6, 2012

Has occasionally happened to me. A restart always fixes it.
posted by derbs at 7:56 AM on December 7, 2012

I suspect dobi is probably right. Your GPU is starting to fail.
posted by chairface at 8:52 AM on December 9, 2012

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