blarg?

If cartoonish incompetence were frightening, my apartment building would be a haunted castle.

I have just discovered that the washing machine in this apartment does indeed, as one might guess from the name, wash. However, the dryer does not actually dry. It “tumbles”, but does not “dry”. So now I have two large loads of clothing hanging everywhere things can hang from in my shoebox-sized apartment.

The relative humidity at the moment is 88%. Eighty-eight. I have lived in the Carribean for some time, so I am going gather close my machismo and stiffen my upper lip, but if my situation were not also humorous it would be grim indeed.

I may need to microwave my underwear in the morning. Ominous!

Update: I’m pretty sure this is not how the Fantastic Four got their start.

This registry file, when installed, will change the capslock key on your Windows 2000 or XP box into a control key. Right-click, save to desktop, right-click, merge, then reboot.

The rationale behind it is here, in case you fear being owned by my elite hacker skills. You will also find words like “endian”, “scancode” and “dword” on that page, despite the fact that on every other operating system in the universe, this same thing can be achieved by clicking a checkbox.

Are we in the future yet?

This isn’t the first time I’ve run into this, but it still boggles my hard-to-boggle mind every time: I cannot fucking believe that if I need to install a 64-bit Windows OS on a machine with Serial-ATA drives, in two thousand and god-damned six, that I need to put drivers on a floppy disk. Not a CD, not a USB key: a floppy.

It’s like saying “before we can start the neurosurgery, the patient needs to be trepanned.”

Can you even buy a non-USB floppy drive anymore?

UPDATE: You’ll love this.

Installing XP/x86-64 on an HP workstation, I not only need to have a floppy drive in the machine, but I also need to use the 32-bit, not the 64-bit drivers that Intel provides, otherwise the installer thinks they’re corrupted. Even though I’m installing a 64-bit OS on a 64-bit machine. That’s the wall I’ve been beating my head on all morning.

Then, it tells me that those drivers are already included with the OS, even though the installer won’t recognize the drive, and you can’t get at those included drivers from the installer anyway. So, I need the floppy drive here so that I can install older drivers than the ones on the boot CD, because otherwise I just can’t get there from here.

Dear Microsoft: Fuck you guys. Seriously.

Dear People Who Are Under The Impression That You Are Coming To Our Wedding: Send The Email.

We gave you an email address, and you are supposed to tell us whether or not you’re coming, and what you’re eating. If you have done so, well done, and thank you. If not, well, why not?

A number of people have tried some innovative reply strategies:

  • Mentioning it to us in passing.

  • Telling one of our parents.
  • Telling some random relative.
  • Thinking you’ve told somebody, but in fact not telling anybody.
  • Not telling anybody anything, and assuming we know.

I don’t think anyone’s tried anything really random yet, like spray painting it on the side of a giraffe or stapling a pencilled note to a hobo, but the end result is the same, and cursory examination of these strategies will reveal that none of them involve you sending email to the specified address or specifying what you’ll be eating. Let me, if I may, propose an alternative: email us and tell us what you’ll be eating. If need be, arrange for us to be emailed, and told what you’ll be eating.

R.S.V.P. is french. It’s pronounced “rep on day, seal voo play”. It means “Reply, if you please.” I would like it to mean “answer, or you spend the night eating leftover appetizers standing up”, but my mercenary approach to these things is invariably softened by my somewhat-kinder-than-I fiancee.

While opinions on the matter diverge, I don’t think I’m an unreasonable man. I am willing to make exceptions, in dire circumstances, to this “you must email us” rule. For example, were you abandoned as an infant in the dark jungles of the African interior and raised by babboons? Are the restraints too sturdy for you to gnaw through? Are you being held hostage? Are you actually, at this moment, on fire? An exception can also be made if you’re Geofford, but that’s because his invitation is still sitting on my desk.

Rep on day, seal voo play. You people are infuriating, and I’m looking forward to seeing you at our wedding.

If you’re new to large-organization or “enterprise” computing, you might be surprised by the odd terminologies you’ll have to get comfortable with. For example, what is the difference is between a “product” and a “solution”? “People seem to use them interchangeably”, you might be saying to yourself, “and I can’t figure out why, but those people give me the creeps. Tell me, Mike, what do those words mean, and why do I want to scrub myself to the bone with lye every time I talk to the people using them?”.

I am here to help. It turns out there’s a simple way to distinguish the two:

A “product” is a thing that you pay for once.

A “solution” is something that you pay for forever.

Somebody selling “solutions” will tell you that you have many, many problems. For which, treacherous escarpment of sheerest coincidence, they may also be able to provide related “solutions”.

“Products” have “specifications” which include requirements, capacities and related concerns using words like “amps”, “gigabytes” and “megabits”.

“Solutions” have pictures of smiling, pretty people of various ethnicities sharing a joke in pristine offices, climbing energetically up stairs and sitting in meetings looking stern. They don’t actually use the words “drink the kool-aid, drink it” but that’s pretty much what they mean.

“Products” have price tag.

“Solutions” have a phone number that will connect you to a helpful consultant.

At this point it should be clear where that bad case of the heebie-jeebies is coming from too.

Question: does that star-spangled banner yet wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Answer: Not so much.

Update: See also.

Novice admins, take note: when you’re writing scripts that connect to other machines, there is just no telling whether the response strings will be capitalized or not, or what the punctuation at the end of it will be. You can reasonably rely on everything after the first letter being lowercase, though.

Password-
password :
Password:
Password?
password <
[Password]:

Etcetera. And, simplicity-of-regex in mind, what do they all have in common?

All I wanted to say, here, is that I’ve typed “assword” about four hundred times in the last few days, and I have valid technical reasons for doing so.

My job continues to go quite well, and I’m not going to talk about it for fear of jinxing it.

My living situation continues to be An Adventure, because in Toronto apparently “furnished” and “spacious” mean something different from what I’m used to. Furnished, I thought, meant “full of furniture”. Here, no! It turns out that in the big city, it can also mean “full of partly- (may also contain “badly-“) assembled Ikea furniture”. Swedish for debris, possibly?

I also didn’t realize that when people said “utilities included” that you had to spell that out – hot water? Heat, of any stripe? I don’t think a roof and a toilet count as “utilities”, strictly speaking – I’m used to think of them as more of a baseline than an extra, but as far as I can tell, those are the utilities that are included.

And the size, mon Dieu, the size of the apartment. I am not a big man, and it is still difficult for me to believe that this apartment is Actual Size, and not a mockup hastily put together for a demo of some kind. The special-effects mockup for “Cops: The Motion Picture”, possibly.

More updates as warranted.

Promising. One data point is not a trend, but: promising.