Monday, 17 December 2007

Stupid software, pt. 4

I thought the previous post will be the last in this series (at least for a while), but I really must share this with you, it’s priceless. And of course it comes from my favorite, MS Windows.

While trying to move some user’s documents from an old computer to a newly assigned one, I stumbled upon a folder which Windows Explorer refused to copy, the error message saying “Cannot copy file:”, then a blank for the file name (sorry, no screen shot for this one, I simply didn’t think of it at the time).

First thing that crossed my mind was that this was a path length problem, as I was copying the files through the network using UNC paths (\\<server>\<share>\<path>), operation which most often than not suffers from this kind of problems. So I mapped the network path to a drive letter to slightly shorten it, but it still wouldn’t want to copy the damned folder.

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Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Killer keyboards and zombie scenarios

Stumbled upon this site filled with useless and silly quizzes, but this one might be more truthful than it seems:

How Many Germs Live On Your Keyboard?

Which is not something one would normally say about this one:

What Are Your Chances of Surviving a Zombie Apocalypse?

Just too bad the code for the badge they provide on the site contains a shameless link to their dating service. Not nice. Oh well…

Update December 11th: I have removed the badge code because the background images linked externally were slowing down the page display. The code was also displaying inconsistently across browsers, so I just rendered the badges as images. I have kept the links to the quizzes, but not the ones to the dating service though.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Stupid software, pt. 3

This may well be the last installment for this series of posts, because as (I think) I have mentioned before I’ve quit my current sysadmin job. December 21 will be my last day with Graffiti BBDO, but this is going to be another post.

I must confess the story of this first screenshot is a little blurry, I took it several weeks ago but couldn’t find the time to write about it until now.

Windows Explorer alert on Windows Server 2003 R2

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Saturday, 1 December 2007

Not quite news…

But I still have to say it: I finally found some time and upgraded my WordPress installation to version 2.3, codenamed “Dexter” :). I couldn’t have missed it for the world! I wish I could have made it for his birthday, but anyway… better late than never. Now I just wish I could also change the theme so it can be a true dedication to our beloved dog, but I have to be realistic about it: it’s not going to happen too soon.

Not now when I’m in the process of changing jobs… again! But more about this when it happens.

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Monday, 13 August 2007

More stupid software

I thought the days of cryptic Mac error messages were long gone, but here’s a screenshot of such an error message issued by Microsoft’s Word 2003 running on Windows XP:

Microsoft's Word 2003 very informative error message

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Stupid software can ruin even the greatest of products

My company has over time acquired a few Fujitsu-Siemens workstations, some models of the Esprimo series, and some of the Celsius series.

They are all decent computers, they are doing their job admirably under the tough circumstances, and although their cases are really ugly (see below), they have good thermal design. The power supplies with passive cooling and the air flow guides on the processors make them whisper quiet, which is really nice.

The Esprimo PC series from Fujitsu-Siemens. The front panel is badly designed and uses very poor quality materials. Continue Reading

Monday, 30 April 2007

Memory Problems

Starting to act on my latest resolution, I have just revisited some old files/projects. Namely, my long awaited audio player.

Having a little spare time on my hands, It seemed like a good opportunity to check out the new Flash CS3, and also do something about that audio player in the process.

Yet, to my deepest grief, I have discovered that since leaving Teamcode in October last year, I have forgot a really big chunk of what I new about Flash!

I mean I was aware at the time I still have a lot to learn about it (I’m a long time fan of Director and never seemed to get the same level of acquaintance with Flash) but this is really annoying!

Oh, well… like everything else these days, it seems it’s going to be a lot harder than I was hoping.

Friday, 13 April 2007

April 13

So much for my resolutions… I didn’t get the chance to write anything since two days ago.

Nothing interesting happened in the meantime, really. Except for two nights ago, when I decided to swap the hard drive in Crenguţa’s laptop. If only I knew from the beginning what a hassle is going to be, and that the very next day she was going to ask me to swap it back with the old one again :)…

From the very beginning when she got her hands on this old Compaq Armada 110, the hard drive, a 10GB IBM Travelstar, had some weird clicks and pops while reading and writing. So I thought I’m doing her a favor if I change it with a 10GB Fujitsu drive I had lying around.

Well, not really. The Fujitsu doesn’t make very loud noises during I/O operations, but the motor that spins the plates has a very loud and sharp hiss, which turns out it’s a lot more distracting because it’s permanent and constant, as opposed to the occasional clicks of the old drive.

But the best part was that I had to take the damn thing completely apart to reach the hard drive! And tonight I’ll have to do it again, to put the old drive back :).

Another really sweet moment was when I discovered the IBM drive has an opening that fully exposes part of the pins, which the other drive hasn’t. And the wise guys at Compaq just had to take advantage of that opening, cramming in the ridge of an underlying heatsink! Opening that exposes the pins of the IBM Travelstar

Needless to say the new drive didn’t fit because of that heatsink’s ridge, so the best solution I could come up with at 2 A.M. was to loosen up the motherboard screws so that I could lift the corner holding the HDD connector just enough to squeeze the new drive in.

I didn’t feel like laughing back then, but I sure did when discovering the quick specs page above: what an appropriate schematic for this laptop!

Very appropriate schematic on the quick specs page of the Compaq Armada 110

Tuesday, 6 February 2007

Finally joining the club

I am the fresh, proud and happy owner of an 80GB iPod! 😀

After years of drooling, my dream has finally came true, thanks to my incredible wife Crenguţa, whose idea I believe it was, and with the financial help from my sister Ancuţa, my sister-in-law Alina and my mother-in-law Iuliana. Thank you, I love you!

My wife never ceases to amaze me, even after all these years (we were class mates in primary school, and our love story took off during highschool — although according to family folklore I had a crush on her since the first grade, and we were more or less flirting since the seventh or eighth grade).

She is to be committed to the hospital again tomorrow for the second hip replacement surgery, yet she finds the time, the energy and the will to think about my birthday! I know she’s really worried and has a lot on her mind right now, and this shows just what kind of person she is: so caring, so thoughtful and so altruist…

I must confess that I would have probably behaved completely different in her situation. I think I would have felt so low and unable to think of anything else. But not my baby! That’s why she is so special, and I must be really lucky to have her in my life.

I love you very much, get well soon so we can get on with our life, OK?

Family picture

Monday, 27 November 2006

November’s Top Requests

My first month on the new job is almost over now, so I thought I’d share with you the most funny support requests I’ve had so far.

For example today I got a call from someone in the PR Department that sounded something like this (approximate quotation from the top of my head):

When I’m opening e-mail attachments, if I scroll up or down I can see some other attachments, some of them sensitive information from other e-mails. Can you confirm the client doesn’t also get the other attachments? Because that would be really bad…

As you can imagine, I didn’t understand anything from that, so I went to the lady’s desk to see it happening “live”. It turns out she was double-clicking some image attachment in Outlook (a sorry excuse for an e-mail client, if you ask me), which was then getting saved to the temp folder and opened up with the default application for the file type — ACDSee in this particular case. Using the scroll wheel of the mouse, one can go to next/previous images in the same folder, so that’s how she was seeing attachments from other mails, they were previously saved in the same temp folder :). I told her she’s safe, no client has been receiving anything else than the documents she actually attached to her messages.

Another cool one was from a new intern. I had an iMac set up for her and everything was fine, except the next morning she came by my desk to report that someone had stolen her mouse and she can’t work :). Of course nobody had taken her mouse, it was hanging over the side of her desk, probably pushed by some cleaning lady.

But the best has to be the one when a lady in the Production Department (all of them were women, have you noticed?) called me pretty panicked and said:

You have to come quick, a voice started to come out of my computer! It speaks English, I don’t know what’s saying, it seems to be counting or something, but it sounds pretty upset!

First I thought it’s a prank, the “let’s play the new IT guy a good one” type. But she was genuinely concerned. Of course no voice came out of the computer while I was there, so I guess I can say I failed to answer this particular request :).