April 8, 2009

Music Box

Filed under: arcade,digital,interfaces,toys,want — mhoye @ 7:36 am

A Plant Of Some Kind

Advise me, internets.

I am about eighty percent done my quite cool new AV setup, and I am missing one key component: sound.

I am using headphones now, but I’m almost certainly going to be picking an entry-level Dolby 5.1 package deal, most likely a Logitech G51 box set for the speakers, but my problem is that if I want 5.1 surround sound out of my Xbox, it has to come out through a TOSLINK port. So I would like to buy a device that is as simple as possible for splitting a TOSLINK-carried signal into its component parts, and amplifying them. Ideally this device would have one TOSLINK sound-in jack, six RCA out jacks and one power cable in the back, one volume control on the front and nothing else. In a perfect world the volume dial goes to 11.

Unfortunately, what I’m finding is that if I don’t want to spend a barrel of cash, I will end up with a device with a brutally bad UI that does a mess of other stuff I don’t want. The “does one thing well” process seems to be limited to higher-end audio gear and I’m reluctant to spend any money in that area without a ton of research, because that field is a sewer full of hot running crazy. All the solutions I can find are more complicated than I want or otherwise worse, and often for substantially more than I would like to spend. Frequently way more; whenever I look at audio magazines, I am curious about how people so deeply brain-damaged have managed to amass the kind of money these things apparently cost; the wild enthusiasm for things like $500 ethernet cables, $12,000 power cables, absurdly expensive polished rocks and sheets of wood and a slew of bizzare superstitious practices, all in pursuit of sound that has been distorted unmeasurably but just so. How do people whose brains will buy into that actually develop marketable skills? I don’t really want to know, because I’m not particularly in favor of self-absorbed lunatics that bleed money. But it’s definitely a strong case for raising the estate tax.

Nevertheless, it’s hard for me to believe that this device I want doesn’t exist in this wondrous modern age of ours. Internets: if I want reasonably-priced surround sound out of an Xbox, what device do I want to sit between the console and the speakers?

April 6, 2009

“You Have Twenty Seconds To Comply.”

Filed under: digital,fail,hate,interfaces,losers,vendetta,work — mhoye @ 12:12 pm


So, funny story.

We bought a little less than two hundred HP desktops, with Vista+XP-downgrade OEM licenses. We didn’t buy a volume license at the time, and now we’re paying for it – we want to do stuff like automated deployment (using Microsoft’s products, running on Microsoft’s OS) and it’s turning into a disaster, because:

  • OEM licenses aren’t “convertible” into volume licenses; that is, if I make the mistake (on several levels…) of buying a thousand computers from HP and get a thousand XP licenses with them, I need to then keep track of 1000 serial numbers. But the real kicker is:
  • Even if I buy all-new XP volume licenses for these computers, I am not permitted (as per the terms of these licenses) to install them on OEM equipment. If I do, I won’t be “compliant” with the license terms of the volume license.

So to review: I can’t use Microsoft’s tools, which I’ve bought, to easily deploy Microsoft’s OS, which I’ve also bought, to computers that I have, just to be clear, also bought. All I want here is to take the 180 or so magic numbers we have that let you install this OS I’ve bought, and just use one. We can retire the others, burn them, whatever. I just want this to be simple.

Dear Microsoft: It pains me to say this, but these server tools we’re using here? They’re actually pretty good. Despite my gripes about the occasional bogus error message, a lot of the stuff I’ve got to work with here is, once you get to know it, pretty surprisingly good. But this licensing thing is one hundred percent ridiculous bullshit, and it taints everything else that I have to work with in wierd, unpredictable ways. Your tools are good, but they’re not so much better that this sort of thing is forgiveable, especially when it gets in the way of big projects like company-wide upgrades.

And the brutal thing is, if I’m not interested in staying (I hate this word so much) “compliant”, I can solve this problem in five minutes with a search engine. But if I try to play ball and do it your way, it turns out it’s not just harder to get where I want to go, but actually impossible. Honestly, about this OEM thing; why haven’t you cut those bastards out of the loop yet? If I was to make a list of the worst things about Microsoft’s product experience, the top five would likely all have “OEM” penciled in there somewhere.

This is such a waste of time.

April 3, 2009

The Unfrozen Caveman Error Show

Filed under: digital,fail,hate,interfaces,work — mhoye @ 10:18 am

Yonge And College

Cut and pasted directly from an Exchange error message, for real:

The Microsoft Exchange Information Store service reported an error. The following information should help identify the cause of this error: “MapiExceptionNotAuthorized:16.18969:1A1D0000, 17.27161:0000000062020000000000001F00000000000000, 255.23226:00000000, 255.27962:7A000000, 255.27962:0A000000, 255.27962:0E000000, 255.27962:0A000000, 255.27962:94000000, 255.17082:D6040000, 0.27745:00000000, 4.21921:D6040000, 255.27962:FA000000, 255.1494:10000000, 255.1238:4F000000, 0.39497:0F010480, 4.55881:0F010480, 0.27676:0F010480, 0.23580:1A010480, 0.36537:1A010480, 4.5587:0F010480, 0.65193:0F010480, 0.22086:1A010480, 6.14164:1DFAFFFF0B00F4650F010480, 6.8660:0F0104800B00F4650F010480, 6.21970:0F0104800B00F4650F010480, 6.21970:0F0104800B0097660F010480, 6.21970:0F010480B084A7660F010480, 4.31473:0F010480, 0.21097:0F010480, 4.8756:BFF9FFFF, 4.4580:05000780, 4.4408:05000780, 4.7637:D8040000, 4.5093:D6040000, 4.5318:D6040000, 4.10104:D6040000, 0.57449:0F010480, 4.6025:05000780, 4.5257:05000780, 4.4606:D6040000, 255.1750:2B0A0000, 0.26849:0F010480, 255.21817:D6040000”. ##

Now, I’m just a simple sysadmin, and your “mail servers” confuse and frighten me, but there’s one thing I do know: that doesn’t help me identify a goddamn thing. Honestly, what year is it in Redmond?

April 1, 2009

They Talked About The High Price Of Furniture And Rugs

Filed under: awesome,beauty,interfaces,life,music — mhoye @ 8:24 pm

Another Tire Swing

Internet Jackass Day got off to its usual pervasively unfunny start this morning, but mercifully, this happened:

09:59 <mhoye> Dria! You disappeared from that other place.
09:59 <dria> i did
09:59 <dria> i felt entirely too interlopery
10:07 <mhoye> When you said that, for some reason my mind conjured up an image of Big Bird saying "interlooper?"
10:09 <ted> mr hooper
10:09 <ted> i bet!
10:09 <ted>

… and my day went right off the rails shortly thereafter, as people started talking about their favorite bits from the shows they watched as kids. Those links included:

Cult Following: this is how much I love you.

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