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Journal Journal: Today's two minutes of hate 2

In every version of it Outlook I've used, it stands out as being terrible at dealing with email in general (aside from the various exploits just from opening malformed emails). It's got rules that cancel themselves because the computer just woke from sleep and isn't connected to the internet (and therefore the rules are "invalid") to having a hojillion different sources of email addresses, none of them configurable or editable (Seriously, why can't I fix a misspelling in an email once it's been saved wherever the hell it gets saved?). Autocompletion of email addresses is a complete clusterfuck. I had to delete a customer from my contact list completely and start over because her email address changed and when I edited her contact, her record refused to come up when I'm sending an email (Doesn't come up when I type, doesn't come up in the contact list when I press the "To" button, but if I write her email by hand and choose "Look Up Outlook Contact" bam there she is complete with name and company information)

If it weren't for Exchange, I'd have ditched this shit long ago. Sadly, it's still the best I've got at dealing with scheduling meetings (at least as long as they're in our own time zone).

User Journal

Journal Journal: Today's two minutes of hate (yay backups!) 1

So years ago I needed a backup drive for my home computer after the last backup drive up and died on me, so I was possessed by idiocy and decided to get one of those external RAID blocks with two drives in it, RAID-1. Worked fine for years, now it's got a red blinking light on it and doesn't show up to the system anymore.

This is one of those things where foresight would have said "Hey, why are you spending 3x as much on drives when you're going to be stuck with a box with one red light to tell you there is a problem and no way to find out what the problem is". Hindsight says I'm an idiot.

At least it's just a backup.

Maybe next I'll get a LTO drive for a few thousand bucks for shits and giggles. Of course we had one of those at work that ate a tape. Better get two and take redundant backups...

User Journal

Journal Journal: Today's two minutes of hate 1

God damn where do I get a fucking ftp server that can run a command after an upload without preaching to me about how insecure yadda yadda yadda. I'm not running a goddamned anonymous ftp site (and even if I was, MAYBE I'd like to have a virus scanner run on whatever bullshit goes in and out!)

Currently using ProFTPd because mod_sftp appears to be the only way to get an sftp server with virtual users on Linux without using OpenSSH+PAM voodoo. mod_exec runs programs on every single little command EXCEPT the completion of an upload because fuck you. The documentation suggests logging to a FIFO and writing a program to read lines from the FIFO and acting on each line of the log. Great, only two problems: 1) proftpd shits itself if nothing is listening to the FIFO which means the listening program has to immediately reopen the socket when logrotate restarts proftpd 2) proftpd's xferlog format can't be changed and rather than doing any sane quoting, replaces spaces in filenames with underscores because fuck you.

User Journal

Journal Journal: 30 minutes of hate 4

I just spent 4 hours doing onsite customer training for a customer of ours who is transitioning from an ancient terminal-based software to our software. These customers had therefore bought all new laptops with all new Windows 8 to replace their old terminals. The decision to use laptops had been made because 1) the network infrastructure in place currently ran the terminals which were actually win95 computers plugged into a local network and using telnet to reach the server so wireless was necessary until the old equipment could be removed and 2) the computers running the old system needed to stay there until after the training was complete and they were ready to switch.

I estimate 30 minutes of that time was spent unfucking shit that went wrong when people who had never seen a GUI or used a touchpad in their life had their palms brush the touchpad and trigger random win8 gestures, opening the charms bar, opening bing, opening the start screen, and in at least one case, somehow closing the program window (or was it open somewhere but alt-tab no longer works in windows 8? Damned if I know!)

For the next round of training tomorrow I plan on disabling the gestures. Easy peasy, just a few SynTPEnh\ZoneConfig registry entries to change. And they say Windows 8 isn't ready for the desktop!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Today's two minutes of hate, redux 3

Customer: Your website is broken, I can't log into it

Me: What exactly do you mean?

Customer: I decided to work from home and when I go to your website it gives me this list of things so I clicked on the first one and it gives me an error when I go there

Me: It sounds like you put the address into google and clicked on someone else's site.

Customer: Well, what search engine am I supposed to use?

At this point, I was about to say "well, lady, whichever search engine that links to the actual website when you type www.foo.com into it" but then I realized the answer was "none of them". After all, how would you get people to click on your ads if you took them where they really intended to go?

I explained to her about Ctrl-L and pressing it before typing in a website. I think she got it.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Silly SQL trick 2

Tonight's task is to manually categorize a rather flat tree structure in SQL (currently two levels only) by reading the top level entry and assigning it and its children to a category. On a lark I gave this a shot:

update tree set category=1 where 5 in (id,parent);

and it worked in PostgreSQL.

Why? Because I'm sitting here reading the list of top-level entries in one window while using psql in the other and pressing up to edit the previous query. Before I tried that I had

update tree set category=1 where id=4 or parent=4

so I'd have to retype TWO numbers instead of just one.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Today's two minutes of hate 2

Today's rage divides evenly between:

  1. people who type site addresses into the search box instead of the address bar
  2. gotomeeting.com for not putting "join a meeting" link on their search engine landing pages

That's 15 minutes of my life I'll never get back.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Today's two minutes of hate

Windows Media Player is a flaming pile of shit.

Trying to copy notes from a webinar, and every time I press the pause button in WMP the video keeps playing for another couple of seconds. When you add to this the fact that it takes WMP a couple of seconds before it will start the video again when I'm trying to click on the bar to seek, the tooltip on the bar is "Seek" rather than the time it's going to jump to when I click it, and the fact that there's no x0.5 or x2 or any other speed control but a jerky skiptastic fast forward button, it all adds up to an enormous hassle.

This is turning a task that SHOULD have taken a bit more than 30 minutes (the length of the video) into something I've spent the whole morning on. Good going folks!

After failing to get it to work in MPC or VLC, I managed to get it working in mplayer, but apparently it's only seekable to the nearest 5 minutes or so in there, which probably means that the g2m4 codec put next to no keyframes in the video. But at least mplayer has speed control so I can cover the ground I've already covered quickly, and when I press the space bar it stops immediately.

User Journal

Journal Journal: UI WTF 1

UI Elements that only operate when the stars are properly aligned annoy the hell out of me. Especially when they do something I want to do on a regular basis. All those grayed out menu items with no hints as to how to activate them are one thing, at least you know there's something there you can use, but sometimes there's things that make absolutely no sense at all...

If you're using the current Chrome, right click the reload button. OK, now open the developer console (Ctrl+Shift+J). Right click the reload button again. An option to dump cache and reload! Pretty cool, eh?

I don't even know what the fuck inspired me to try right clicking the reload button in the first place...

User Journal

Journal Journal: Election Campaign Forecast 7

On the Democrat side, I expect to see more "adjustments" in the jobless rate. On November 7th, we'll be back to 9%.

On the Republican side, I expect to see more refineries have mysterious fires, power outages, and pipeline closures. On November 7th, they'll all suddenly be fixed.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Site Maintenance Alert! 10

Only the Slashdot frontpage will be accessible tonight between 23:00 and 23:15 EDT while maintenance is occurring.

"... Once maintenance is complete, the Slashdot frontpage will no longer be accessible."

(Interesting. When I preview this, the blockquote tags are ignored. Oh well, I'll add an i tag so it blockquotes anyway)

User Journal

Journal Journal: Joys of Windows #1245 3

Print document, spooler crashes. Document cannot be removed from queue because spooler is not running.

Reboot computer. Document in queue immediately tries to print, spooler crashes.

Solution: Turn off printer, reboot computer. Delete document from queue. Turn on printer.

You'd think that critical infrastructure like the print spooler would be a bit more robust. Or at least be able to detect that it is repeatedly crashing on a single document and ask the user if they'd like to cancel the offending print job. Or make cancelling print jobs not dependent on the spooler service. Also, apparently user permission to manage print queues does not extend to restarting the print service itself.

Aside: You know how when you say a word over and over it starts to sound funny? Apparently Chrome gets the same way too... it didn't start highlighting "spooler" as a misspelled word until I wrote it about 5 times.


Journal Journal: New feature: Flagging posts you don't like 4

I noticed there's now a flag icon on everyone's posts, clicking on it gives me an input box and a "Report" button. I didn't try pushing the button, I figure there's enough of that going on already.

Looking forward to a report on how often this gets abused, and possibly an explanation of what the hell it's intended to be used for in the first place (this isn't 4chan, nobody's posting kiddy porn).

User Journal

Journal Journal: It has ever been thus... 1

I've been working on cleaning out all the old useless crap that I hoard (I'm not quite TV show fodder, yet) and ran across an ancient textbook on "Systems Analysis for Business Data Processing". Copyright 1969 I thumbed through it on a lark, and happened to see a chapter on "Network Diagrams". I stopped to see what kind of networks they had back then, I was disappointed to find out it was some sort of installation planning thing, laying out all the steps (38 of them) with their dependencies and timelines (it takes 4 weeks to order furniture and 2 weeks to decorate the computer room, but only one week to install the computer) so that you can get it all done in parallel and have your computer installed, tested, and running master programs 1A and 1B in only 59 weeks.

A few pages later and I spotted this gem:

Other significant factors relating to maintenance are ... If two or more manufacturers are involved in supplying connected equipment, the maintenance interface should, as far as is possible, be established from the start. This applies particularly to data transmission equipment, for which the responsibility for faults can so easily be tossed back and forth between the suppliers.

The more things change...

Well, the binding on this book is shot and half of it is covered with mold, so into the trash it goes.

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