Friday, March 02, 2007

updates…

Sorry, semi-faithful readers, for being such a bad blogger. I keep writing these long things and then polishing them continually and then the next thing I know it's been another month without me posting anything. Also, this was a pretty busy month work-wise. Anyway, here's what I've been thinking about:

  • New X60 Tablet: I got a new tablet, a Lenovo X60. It's totally sweet. This is the blog entry I've been writing in little bits for a few weeks. I will be blogging about it next because it seems people found my X41 Vista install entry helpful. Also, people who subscribed to this blog because they liked Tablet PCs are probably wondering if I still use a tablet, or else they unsubscribed. I wouldn't know. Anyway, the tablet features of Vista are very good and I look forward to writing about them.
  • OneNote/SharePoint: Still the most popular search term leading people to this blog. I kept having my sections suddenly get "access denied" and turn read-only on me and it was driving me nuts. Weirdly, this never happened on my home machine. Then, trying to fix something else, I reset my settings in IE and all of a sudden I was being prompted for a SharePoint password instead of being booted out of my section. It was a refreshing change. Please see the comments of this entry on Jeff Borlik's blog for details. This entry helped me understand what might be happening in a way I never would have. Unfortunately, today in a meeting the problem returned, and I had some trouble fixing it. I have learned that I can usually exit OneNote, log out of SharePoint and close the browser, reopen the browser to my SharePoint page, open the section from SharePoint, and then the OneNote section will often resync properly. I just learned tonight that I have to close Outlook as well, because it too is integrated with SharePoint, and when you switch from office (connecting to SharePoint locally, or via NTLM authentication) to home (over the internet using basic authentication), the SharePoint authentication gets messed up. Anyway, I think SharePoint authentication is super picky and making it so that you have to reauthenticate frequently is annoying but prevents lockouts on your sections.
  • Vista Media Center on the hp z552: My Media Center PC is spiraling off into unreliability, and my wife is starting to lose her patience. I have it set to the shittiest non-interleaved picture possible, shut down every process that could be shut down, turned off Aero and anything that actually looks nice in the non-10' user interface, and still I have jerky video if the Media Center decides it's sort of busy (like, if you are watching a time-shifted program while something else is recording, or even watching a program while I am copying some files from my computer to the Media Center PC). It's annoying as hell. Now, we're sometimes seeing problems where it turns on, but is unresponsive to the wireless keyboard or remote or even a USB mouse that we've started to keep handy to try and reestablish control. Another neat feature is that sometimes it will make a bunch of those "doo-DEE, dee-DOO" sounds that mean it is finding and then losing devices, over and over again. I guess I will have to blow away the box and install real Vista. (I have RC2 now, which I upgraded from the factory XP MCE 2005 load.) However, I keep reading that HP has some drivers that are only on the factory-loaded machine's C: drive, and last time I was unsuccessful in Ghosting the machine, so I'm worried that my keyboard and remote will not work if I install from scratch. Also, I'm cheap, so I'm only buying the Home Premium Upgrade, so I have to do some complicated shit to install from scratch. Plus, stupid HP only has XP drives for the thing. Come on, the parts are probably similar to a bunch of new machines that run Vista, why have they frozen their old z552 page in time? (Aside: I went to the Dell site to look for Vista drivers for my over-3-year-old XPS Gen 2 prove a point that HP abandoned their old hardware while Dell did not, but the only Dell Vista drivers on the downloads page were like BIOS, diagnostics, and two monitor drivers. So Dell does the same thing, although maybe not with machines newer than three years old.) I hope the clean reload fixes my problems (this blog entry gives me hope), otherwise I think I am going to reload the factory image of XP MCE 2005 and see how that works for the basic stuff we need the Media Center to do. I had thought of buying a cool half-height ATI X1600 with an HDMI connector to future-proof the box, but I worry that it will overwhelm the power supply and cause the loud-ass annoying fans to run constantly instead of just half the time. Another option is to get an XBox360 to use as an extender so that the Media Center PC can come back in my room to keep things quieter in the living room, but I've heard that the XBox360 is pretty loud, also (though maybe that was just the DVD -- and I don't think we've watched one in three years). And of course there is always the option of giving up completely and going with a DVR from the cable company. At least then we'd get HD :/
  • Daylight Saving Time changes: I feel like this is the coming apocalypse and I couldn't be more annoyed at Microsoft. How long have people known about the March 11th time zone change? Far longer than when the first patches arrived a few weeks ago. Those were just in time to royally screw up everyone's calendars, and leave you in a situation where some people were unpatched and were sending you appointments that showed up at a different time for you than for them. When you have a software company saying things like "Please print out your calendars" and "Make sure you include the time of the appointment in the subject line when sending to others" and "Verbally confirm all appointments", that is basically like them saying, "sorry, we are complete idiots and could not have fucked this up any more than we did." Seriously, how can we be printing out calendars and verbally confirming appointments in the year 2007? If all these patches went out a year ago, which would be six months after the Energy Policy Act passed, or even six months ago (a year after the Act), pretty much people would be patched right now, at least to the degree that TWO FUCKING COMPUTERS WOULD AGREE ON WHETHER AN APPOINTMENT IS AT 1PM, NOON, OR 2PM. That this is not the case with 10 days left to go is evidence that Microsoft should be beaten for not addressing this. In my last blog entry, I ranted about the document management vendors being poorly prepared for Office 2007. This is even more inexcusable because like hundreds of millions more people use Outlook calendars on Exchange servers than use law firm specific DMSes. Thanks, Microsoft, for three weeks no one will be on time to any meetings, or court appearances, or deadlines that they set for themselves, or what have you. You have failed. (As an aside, it sort of amuses me to think of the possibility that for these three weeks no one will go to meetings, a sort of "National Quit Screwing Around in Meetings and Just Do Your Work Month", and American productivity will leap to new heights. Only complainers like me, who will pathetically try to go to our silly little meetings only to get annoyed when no one is there for our "weekly status meeting" or "bi-weekly project task list review", will not gain from this problem. And, the economy could start roaring ahead from all the cool inventions and innovations people come up with when they don't spend half their days in meetings. On the other hand, email servers could collapse under the strain of all the extra emails people will send because they are not in meetings. Anyway, you never know what will happen. Maybe I will eat my words, including all those bad curse words I put above. Ask me on April 8th(?), if I have not dug myself into an underground bunker by then.)


--sbreck

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