When the train comes, everybody rides!

The other day, I mentioned rubber duck debugging, a term with which I had been previously unfamiliar. Since then, I have wanted to pick up a rubber duck to keep on my desk at work, to help me to work through the more difficult issues I encounter (and because it’s just funny to have a rubber duck on your desk).

I finally found one the other day. The only problem was that..well, there wasn’t “a” rubber duck…apparently they come in flocks or something…

16 Duckies

So yes, I bought the whole kit and caboodle. Walking out of the store, I said to my wife that now I had to find a bunch of people who wanted rubber ducks, since there were 16 in the package, and my issues are 1-duck, maybe 2-duck problems at worst. She thought for a second, and suggested “Maybe your blog readers would like the extras?”. Brilliant!

So here’s the deal. I bought a pack of 16 ducks:

The whole flock!

The four large ones have been spoken for, so that leaves 12 little ducks. Since I’m guessing more than 12 people will want a duck, I’m going to have to give them out randomly. To help with this, I’ve created a 4 question survey. 2 real questions, along with your name and email address, so I can contact you if you win a duck. Please know that I will absolutely not give, sell, or relinquish-under-torture your email address. I’ll just use it to contact you if my random number generator tells me you that you get a duck.

I’m leaving the survey open all week, since I know not everyone has time to read every day, and I’ve been way too busy to post normally anyway.

By the way, you don’t pay shipping or anything. It’s a real, honest to God giveaway. Enter the survey, win a duck, and I’ll throw it in a (probably USPS, if you’re in the states) envelope and ship it to you.

Note: I make no claims about the troubleshooting prowess of these ducks.

  • Bruno

    Funny, because in a place where I was working before, some manager started distributing rubber ducky for the biggest blunder of the day/week/month.
    It was done in a good-spirited way, and the rubber ducky was staying with you until someone else “deserved” it.
    Needless to say, we were gleefully adhering to this ritual like toddlers.
    At the end, I kept one of those yellow beast permanently on my desk, just to remind me that goofing is just one step away (or is it ?).
    Bu I have to admit that I liked the permanently congenial and smiling duck a lot, and now, you just revealed a very good use for this faithful friend.
    I changed job since, and have now an owl and two stuffed monkey to discuss with, but that’s another story ;-)

  • Matt


    That’s a cool story, thanks for sharing. I like it when managers actually get involved and do stuff like that. It’s weird, but sort of fun, too. Glad you’ve got the owl and stuffed monkeys :-) If you want a rubber duck, feel free to fill out the survey!

  • Ryan Nedeff

    My wife is obsessed with Rubber Ducks. She has more of them than I could ever keep track of. So, in my mind, I’ve always associated ducks with her, and changed her user icons and such to a rubber duck.

    As a gift, she gave me a Ty stuffed rubber duck, wich has set on my desk since for a couple years.

    Whenever I get frustrated, I just look at the duck. It reminds me of her, and why I am really working. I work to support her and my family, and I know they depend on me.

    When things get bad, I know it doesn’t matter, and that because someone else is depending on me, and I have to “make it work.”

  • Tim

    @Ryan I assume you have the “Rubber Ducky” utility from Mimarsinan for your wife’s pc? http://www.mimarsinan.com/rubberducky.asp
    It’s great fun and practical too!

  • ecayer

    Do your duckies actually float, Matt? I was very disappointed by an Idera ducky (conference swag) that wasn’t fit for purpose….

  • Matt


    An excellent question! I didn’t know myself, so this morning before work, I filled the sink with water and I am happy to announce that both types of ducks float quite well, upright and center.

  • Ryan Nedeff

    @Tim: I’ve seen that before. In fact, I think Matt had it on his machine at our former employers. I’ve never seen a Windows version though.

    Help me out Matt, Am I dreaming that or was it true?

    Oh, and for what it’s worth, my wife won’t touch a computer unless som3one either puts a gun to her head or she needs to check her bank balance, so she really pays no attention to what is or isn’t running. She just has absolutely zero interest in them.

  • Matt

    @Ryan & Tim

    I know it as "bubblefishymon".

    Here's a screenshot of my dock taken today:


    I've had it on my dock for ~ 6 years, I want to say? It's vitally important to me. I wish I could look at an array of them. It would be better than Nagios for letting me know host health.

  • Kenny

    What if I bribed you by sending you a FedEx label to ship one to me? :)

  • Matt


    Afraid not. Sign up like everyone else :-)

  • MAS

    I didn't know the importance of my rubber duck in my car tell now!

    My wife also like them alot, I guess I have to take care of it :-)

    I am out of US Matt & I have one So i'll let the chance to someone else.

  • Matt


    Glad you liked the rubber ducky debugging. And to think, you were ahead of the curve!

    Thanks for the comment.Take care,

  • Tim

    Thanks for the steer, I’m going to have to do some googling and see if I can get hold of bubblyfishmon for my Solaris boxes. Monitoring the health of the servers I look after at work isn’t as easy as I’d like, and a visual cue would be better than switching into a putty session every 5 minutes.

  • Anonymous

    lol such cute ducks. I’m gonna get a whole set.

  • Anonymous

    actually these are proving pretty hard to Google … “16 pc rubber duckies set” takes me to all sorts of other ducks but these. Who is the manufacturer?

  • Matt


    looks like the best result is on ebay (of course)


    They’re “Rub-a-Duckies”

  • Matt
  • Scott

    That’s rather clever. For the more adventurous, you could try devil duckies at McPhee.com