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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Windows Vista Upgrade Adviser

It has been a little over a year since we ranted about the Windows Upgrade AdviserTM (WVUA). I was recently cleaning up a WinXP machine and noticed that I had never uninstalled the WVUA application after not being WOW'ed by the "Windows Experience Index". Now it was time to get rid of the useless adviser app...

The uninstall failed because it couldn't find the original installer file, which I had long since deleted. What to do? I know, I'll go download the WVUA, install it again, and then uninstall it. I quickly find and download the latest WVUA installer on the Microsoft website. As an attempt to install it, I get this error message...

I can't install a new version, because I can't delete an old version, because I deleted the original installer...WHAT?

Why wasn't an uninstaller created during the installation process?

Why can't the new version be installed regardless of the existence of an older version? For that matter, why can't the new installer figure out how to uninstall the older version?

Microsoft, you need to make your downloads more robust before you release them. This is ridiculous.

Does anybody have a copy of the WVUA version 1.0 they can send me?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Practice Pre-Recycling

Many people feel that they do MORE than their fair share of protecting the environment because they recycle like it's a religion. "Wait, don't throw out that empty sugar packet, it can be recycled!"

The bigger problem that we face is all the stupid crap people buy to begin with. If it has no practical use, other than to amuse you for a few microseconds before you discard it, then DON'T BUY IT! And DON'T BUT IT FOR SOMEONE ELSE! If we stop buying this crap, they'll stop making it. Think of all the reduction in wasted units that weren't sold or quickly discarded. Think of all the fuel wasted shipping it to the stores. Think of all the industrial waste produced manufacturing it.

A few examples are listed below. If you have purchased any of these items, you are at least partially responsible for global warming. Because of you, baby seals and polar bears are dying.

Billy Bass Singing Fish

Chia Pet

Dogs Playing Poker

Troll Doll

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Search This!

I am beginning to loathe any search engine that isn't Google. Not just internet search engines, but every type of lame search engine I encounter. Here are some that come to mind recently...

1) Mail search - I despise any mail client that requires you to pick a specific field to search. I want to search my mail EVERYWHERE. For example, if looking for any emails referring to hockey, I don't care if it was in the message, in the title, or even in the email address (From: I just want it all! Only recently are some of the web-based email services (like Gmail) getting it right. Outlook Express is a notorious troglodyte.

2) My county library - I bet all county libraries have the same problem. The online catalog is sluggish at best, and again, you have to declare the field that you want to search (author, title, blah-blah). You should just be able to enter a search term and have it search every field.

3) Scientific/Professional Journals - I have experienced some good examples of professional search engines, which make it even more apparent how bad the bad ones are . The most annoying thing is searching for articles by an author. Good luck if the author's last name is Smith, etc. You will get WAY too many results. Most of the sites I have searched don't provide sufficient ways to use first name/initial, or you have to try EVERY combination (I. Freely, I. P. Freely, Irma P. Freely, ...). The articles should be cross-linked too. If you find one article, you should be able to click on an author's name to see other articles, or click on the reference citations to pull up the other articles. That would be nice.

Edit (2009-04-06): I am using Microsoft Project and I had to find and replace a name every time it appears in the project. I just learned that you can only search ONE FIELD AT A TIME. WTF? There are dozens of fields to potentially search. This is pathetic. I'm using the 2003 version. Does anybody know if they fixed this horrible lame feature in more recent additions?

Friday, February 01, 2008

BOA check deposit is DOA

The recent "upgrade" to ATM check scanning is a bane to my soul.

It takes the ATM up to 12 seconds to scan a check. What do they have in there, an old TRS-80 computer? More than likely, the ATM scans an image of your check, then whips it off half-way across the globe, where an underpaid working class Nepalese minor with 20/100 eyesight reads it and types some random number, that may or may not be the actual check value, into a keypad.

As the machine spits out the check, which you and the ATM both knew it was going to do all along, it displays a nice animated graphic of a hand waving over a wrinkled check, letting you know that the ATM complete blames YOU for the difficulties reading the check. The check may APPEAR to be smooth to you, but clearly you must have caused microscopic wrinkles that are only visible to it's highly sensitive CCD sensor (whatever the hell that is).

That really doesn't check out properly.