October 23, 2007

Windows...It's Just Wonky

Update: I changed the title because I was only going to blog about Vista... the post then evolved making the title rather silly.

As a person who believes that business and making money is not an evil thing, I am well past the point of shrugging my shoulders over Microsoft and its anti-piracy policies.

I do believe that companies have a right to protect their intellectual property - but this should not be at the expense of legitimate customers.

Not too long ago, there was a meltdown with the Windows Genuine Advantage system (not limited to Vista) which caused major headaches for people who happened to try and do security updates at the wrong time.  Valid users end up paying the heavy price of trying to figure out what is wrong and correct it (hours of work - which does not make users happy when they are the ones effected). Trust me when I say, it is NOT comforting to hear Microsoft say:

Microsoft estimates that “fewer than 12,000 systems were affected worldwide and that many of those have already revalidated and are fixed.”

If you were one of the 12,000 systems - it sounds like Microsoft is shrugging this off like it's no big deal.  If you were lucky and it wasn't you,  you're left with the feeling that Microsoft could care less if they screw up your life and maybe even your business because... hey, it's only a few thousand machines. 

Gee guys - thanks bunches.

Then today, there is this little nugget:

WARNING: device driver updates causing Vista to deactivate

After weeks of gruelling troubleshooting, I've finally had it confirmed by Microsoft Australia and USA -- something as small as swapping the video card or updating a device driver can trigger a total Vista deactivation.

Put simply, your copy of Windows will stop working with very little notice (three days) and your PC will go into "reduced functionality" mode, where you can't do anything but use the web browser for half an hour.

You'll then need to reapply to Microsoft to get a new activation code.

Click over and read to get the details.  I think it is sufficient to say that the system is broken.  As usual it's the up front, legal user who is penalized, not those using pirated software.

If Microsoft wanted to drive off customers they couldn't have hit on a more ingenious solution. 

Hat Tip Slashdot

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 11:31 AM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
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October 12, 2007

It's Not My Problem

What the hell is wrong with people?  Seriously.  If you work with a product you should have at least a rudimentary knowledge of how it works. 

I get an email today...

"Can you please look into this?" 

What is the "this" you ask?  Well, it seems we sent out a file to someone with over 80,000 lines.  Not an uncommon thing - actually this is fairly small. 

They write back... "we tried to open this in Excel and we get an error with the message "File Not Loaded Completely", would you please look into this."

First off ARG!!!!! Let me just slap you!  The limit of Excel is 65,536 - that is the TOTAL number of lines it can deal with. Anything larger will not load completely because Excel is not built to handle it... Ever...  At any point in time!

How is it that they don't know this?  Why is it my job to spend time writing an instruction manual for Excel?   I barely use Excel and even I know this. 

Yes, I deal with these sorts of questions all the time - so far - I've managed to keep things in check with curt emails giving simple instructions with the options they have.

I leave off the, "why don't you know how your application works you moron?".   Cause, y'know, it's just not professional.  *sigh*

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 10:28 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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October 11, 2007

A Question for Firefox Users

This is an amusing little article about a woman who challenged Steve Ballmer of Microsoft about issues she had when trying to install Vista. 

So why the title?  When I try to view anything at Computerworld (over the last few days) with my FF browser - the layout is totally hosed.  I get one thin column down the center of my screen this column  runs about 2 inches wide and cuts off all text on the right - there is no way to make the column wider. 

What I want you to do is hit either of the links if you use FF and let me know if this happens to you.

I sent an email to them yesterday - of course I haven't heard anything back from them.  So I thought I'd do my own little survey.   How does it look on your FF browser?

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 01:59 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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October 05, 2007

Don't Forget to Test It First

I can't tell you how many times I've been to a presentation, only to have major glitches happen causing lost time and much irritation on the part of nearly everyone present (including the usually embarrassed presenter).

Some things can't be checked beforehand. These would be equipment failure of all types at the site (if you are doing an off site presentation), promised equipment not available at the site... that kind of thing. 

But, one of the mistakes I see made FAR too often is a person giving a presentation, where they know the material, so they don't bother to do a dry run on the entire thing before leaving home.

That will land you in all kinds of trouble.

Ohio state legislator Matthew Barrett was supposed to give a group of high school seniors a civics presentation using PowerPoint slides he had prepared on how a bill becomes a law. What they got was an anatomy lesson when the computer he was using displayed the image of a topless woman.

Oops!  How could this happen?
The democratic lawmaker quickly removed the data stick and apologized. He told the Norwalk Reflector it was the first time he had done the presentation using PowerPoint and said he received the stick as a gift from an aide about three weeks earlier.

Yep - he violated the cardinal rule. Especially as this was his first time giving the presentation in Power Point!

Did he even know how to advance screens? I'm betting the kids would have had to sit around waiting for him to figure it out.  For that alone he should be reprimanded.  A topless woman is not going to damage the psyches of teenagers, but waiting for someone to figure out technology to give them a boring lecture, might just drive them to cause trouble.

A few minutes time on his part would have saved him endless embarrassment in front of a bunch of kids who will now always remember him as the idiot who didn't even know what was in his presentation. 

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 10:24 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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