c9: (System report)
Note: this is just being posted for me in case I need it and for those poor long-suffering google searchers who can't find this solution easily as it's pretty well-hidden!

The problem: make an event in Outlook (single event or recurring), and invite people to it. Later, your synchronization app like Google Calendar Sync syncs everything up like it always does. However, the next time you want to modify that meeting (like add another person, or cancel it) you can't, because Outlook no longer believes you're the owner!

Note: THE FIXES BELOW ARE NOT MY CODE. DON'T ASK ME HOW TO CHANGE IT PLEASE. I don't know VBA. This is just to help you get a head start if you need it, and for my own reference.

The fix! )

c9: (Cam Computing)
Putting this here for my later use, and for anyone else interested.

Have you ever wanted currency in Excel to be red when it's negative, so your bad budgeting mistakes leap out at you quickly? Well that's easy: just select the cell, hit Ctrl-1, and choose "Currency" on the Number tab. Pick one of the red options. No biggie.

The downside to the currency format though is it is a bit crowded - the currency symbol is mashed right against the number, and the number's mashed right against the margin. So some people prefer to select Accounting instead. It gives you great indenting and plus it replaces "0" with "-", which looks super-slick.

But it has a downside too! In accounting there is no red ink (which strikes me as ridiculous, btw). So how do you get the great arrangement of Accounting with the cheerful judgement of the colour red? Easy: just paste this in the Custom box:

_-$* #,##0.00_-;[Red]-$* #,##0.00_-;_-$* "-"??_-;_-@_-

This concludes today's tiny Excel tip which managed to become an entire blog post.
c9: (System report)
Some of you know I've been having troubles with my iPhone 3G. The phone was a gift, used, and has never been stellar or shiny or anything but it was much better than the old phone, and therefore I loved it. Still do. Except...

It has always been kinda flaky. Crashes, freezes, that sort of thing. Not super often, but more than I found tolerable. But I learned to adapt.

More recently, a new problem found its way into the mix: the built-in GPS location services, which let you do fun stuff like figure out where you are on a map and so forth -- very handy on vacations, let me tell you! -- stopped working consistently. Normally, iPhones figure out your location (when you allow it) by combining GPS signals and cell tower locations. They can even do this indoors, though not as well. But my phone decided that indoors was out. And then outdoors was unreliable too. If I found a clear view to the south, then it was fine. Later, it had to be a much more clear southern view, so the spots in my daily life that qualified dwindled. Finally, it got to the point where I needed to face south at the lake, or above Riverdale Park, or my phone "Could Not Determine Your Location".

Last month as [livejournal.com profile] 1_2_ready_go and I traveled the world, I had my phone in airplane mode pretty much exclusively. This saves on me accidentally answering a phone call and being charged eight zillion dollars of course, plus it extends battery life (which ain't so pretty in an old smartphone). But once in a while I'd switch the phone to regular mode so it could pick up a signal, and I'd try to see if it could figure out where it was. Ideally with wifi connected, so it could also load maps and show me, rather than just thinking about it. This worked in Australia, but without a data plan you end up in silly situations like what's shown at right.

But as long as I had wifi connected, no worries. As our trip continued, I tried connecting in Seoul, South Korea. The connection was fine, and the phone figured out where I was no problem. I left wifi disconnected again, so while I couldn't use it for anything the phone at least had a new set of coordinates to believe in.

Anyway, here's the problem: now I'm home, and NONE of my locations for getting the phone to learn its location are working. So the phone, while able to load maps, can't determine my location no matter where I go or what I try. This means that apps that require location services to work, don't. Some apps are OK with this sort of situation though: they simply use the last stored location and chug merrily along.

So the upshot of all this is that when I load Grindr, everybody's Korean. So it's time for a new phone. :-)
c9: (Banging my Head)
My iPhone stopped connecting to the wifi at home yesterday. Worked fine for months, worked while in Paris last week, worked when we got home, but then stopped. Tried resetting the phone, the wifi router, the network settings in the phone, turning off WPA, changing SSID... nothing worked. So obviously the phone has the problem.

...except when I got to work, wifi on the phone works perfectly on the work wireless network. So obviously it's the wireless router at home that has the problem.

...except that my laptops at home (1 mediacentre laptop, 1 netbook, 1 work laptop) and Vincent's iPhone all connect to it fine, and have forever.

...except that Vincent's laptop keeps losing wireless at random intervals, even when wifi is stable and fine for others. And when friends visit, their iPhones can't connect to our wifi (2 weeks ago at a party) even though it's worked in the past.

I have a backup wifi router I'll try, but ARGH. The whole point of this exercise was better more reliable internet and less electricity usage. My blood pressure is ridiculous over this.
c9: (Drumbone)
So long, grandfathered DSL from Bell* - with your sweet sweet unlimited downloads** - and hello FTTN Fibe6. Pretty nice throughput in tests, but if I were Bell I would consider giving preferential treatment to these packets just to keep the geeks off my back.

Now to (a) start really testing and pushing to see if it's consistent, and (b) mark my calendar to start watching our usage to avoid overage charges.***

* A day early! I'm sure the utility gods have something nasty planned to balance this out.
** And your high high price!
*** It's like third-world country**** Internet I swear.
**** No not really of course.
c9: (Roomba530)
The cats have a new friend to play with!

I guess I need to replace this usericon with an updated one now that I have a shiny new pretty Roomba*. The Roomba carcasses in the basement will have to be sent away so it doesn't get scared.

Update: Now pictured in usericon. Wooo!
c9: (Running)
I posted a bland complaint about software patents being a bit nutty this afternoon, and found myself trading ideas with a patent lawyer in Texas. Thought I'd post it here for comment and/or posterity. As always, my enthusiasm for a short and snappy opinion on something outside my expertise led me into a bit of a hole I wasn't prepared for, and I had to do a bunch of research to substantiate my position. (My posts in blue, his in red)

Software patents insane. RT @aylab: Microsoft loses Word patent appeal http://tinyurl.com/yd4y7uz -- They are no longer allowed to sell it.

i4i prevails against Microsoft. Its check-writing time for MS, or injunction on Word sales http://bit.ly/7Uiegc

@c_9 Actually, Microsoft just has to pay the inventors a royalty. Its no big deal.

@Jugglenaut In this case yes there is a solution, but software patents in general R insane in my view. See Caldera/SCO for examples.

@c_9 Caldera/SCO was a copyright issue. Very different fact/issues were involved. I4i v. Microsoft predominately revolves around #patent.

@c_9 Incidentally, if software patents are all bad, how do U account for increasing employment? http://bit.ly/8OjyTd

@Jugglenaut agreed, SCO example not correct, wasn't thinking. Will find better examples. #patent

@Jugglenaut employment as a programmer & the existence of software patents are not necessarily correlated; also, Wolfram has boom yrs only.

@c_9 Yes, perhaps a boom, but computer implemented methods were alive and well during those years. & likely contributed to the demand.

@c_9 Look at it this way, how do you get more golden eggs? A: Raise more geese and keep 'em happy.

@c_9 How 'bout this? USA has strongest protection of SW IP of all nations .: we have the most talent focussed making SW products. #swpatent

@Jugglenaut re employment boom - I agree they probably contributed, but we have no evidence for this.

@Jugglenaut please see next several tweets for perfect example of why twitter is useless for debate. :-) #swpatent

@jugglenaut I'm not certain that all software #patent are bad, but they are not all automatically good either.

Fundamental concerns with software #patent idea:
1. Copyright protects work of programmers/biz against copying.

2. Mathematics and logic leads to algorithms, so I could review issue & invent solution that breaches #patent on software I've never seen.

3. CompSci prof Donald Knuth says #patent are trouble, wrote to USPTO to ask them to change their approach.
[link I didn't include in tweet: http://www.scribd.com/Letter-to-the-Patent-Office-From-Donald-Knuth/d/29707]

4. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates says MS couldn't have grown as it did if patents had existed at the start of company. [link I didn't include in tweet: http://eupat.ffii.org/archiv/zitate/#bgates91]

5. USPTO has multiple examples of granting patents for non-unique, trivial, or prior-art-exists ideas. [link I didn't include in tweet: http://w2.eff.org/patent/wp.php]

@c_9 same could be said about pharmacological patents #swpatent

@c_9 Just like a sword... the good and the bad are in the one who holds it. #swpatent

So I think we need better approach. Not all software patents are bad, not all are good. @jugglenaut agreed on the sword.

@c_9 the ultimate decider in this is the #USPTO. If our patent office were adequately staffed then this debate is moot #swpatent

@Jugglenaut re pharm patents - true. And I have concerns re pharm patents due to cost/suffering in poor countries. No solution though.

@Jugglenaut agreed - the #USPTO needs knowledge/experience to judge, and clearly doesn't have it. #swpatent

@c_9 wether pharma or SW, U have to agree the carrot produces more innovation than the stick. #swpatent

@Jugglenaut LOL @ Spinal Tap! Agreed that carrot more effective than stick. But not all carrots equally effective.

@c_9 From personal experience, the #USPTO places far more limitations on patent claims than the patent ap has when starting #swpatent

@c_9 You should have seen what we wanted to have. Well, you should have seen the cover they *wanted* to do! #swpatent

@c_9 http://bit.ly/8vGzz0 ;)

Something about the patent claims U want versus what you get reminds me of Memorable quotes for This Is Spinal Tap

@c_9 Ah yes, your reward awaits in heaven . I'm not saying some SW shouldn't be passed around freely - just not all. #swpatent

Wanted: software that will give me the contents of an @-based conversation on twitter, but in chronological order, from all users. Possible?

...turns out I had to do it myself. Never again!  Maybe somebody has patented working with XML already...? </irony>
c9: (Banging my Head)
It's happening on all sorts of sites, not just this Microsoft one, but their approach creates a perfect screenshot for why the whole world has gone insane.


New Toy?

Sep. 23rd, 2008 12:37 pm
c9: (truck)
Dear Lazyweb:

Which of these phones doesn't suck the most? Or least? That double-negative is confusing.

Tired Of This Old Thing
c9: (Blue Man Group)
...by using https for all communication.

Google explains the always use https option.
c9: (truck)
...no, this isn't a vodka ad.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: my Logitech Harmony remote makes me so happy.

We have a TV, AV Receiver, DVD player, CD player, hacked-together laptop media centre PC, Nintendo Wii, and Roomba robot vacuum* in our house. Each has its own remote. But they are all controlled through the Harmony (updated minutes ago for the new Wii**), and their official remotes are in a box downstairs (except the Wii controllers).

The only frustration is my old-fashioned TV. Built when dinosaurs still walked the earth, it only displays 480i -- though it does that well -- and has only 1 input each of Component, Composite, and S-Video. 2 Composite if I sacrifice the S-Video. I managed to get all the devices working together in an appropriate way, but it took a diagram to do it. Though I secretly loved it.

Of course now I want a new home theatre setup*** and a new TV. Remind me again when money will start growing on trees? I seem to recall my parents telling me something about that when I was younger, but I wasn't paying close attention at the time...

* the Roomba has control buttons right on the case, but they don't seem to be working correctly any more. So the only way to vacuum now is with the remote: Device -> Next -> Home Appliance -> Max [as in maximum cleaning]. Then it putters around until out of power or out of dirt.

** technically, the Wii is not controlled by the Harmony because it uses Bluetooth. But all the other devices are controlled appropriately so that I can then shift to the Wii-mote and immediately use the thing, no input-selection or nothin'.

*** though what we have can hardly be called that since the rear speakers are still collecting dust downstairs instead of collecting cat hair in the living room. I need to drill holes in the floor to place them and haven't cared enough to do it yet.
c9: (House on Fire)
On Saturday I tidied up the basement for our upcoming houseguests, visiting us to enjoy one of the world's largest GLBT Pride events*. One task was "move the winter boots to another spot", and I didn't expect it to be quite so exciting as it was: there was water under them. Not a puddle, or a leak, but some drops of water as if they had just recently been worn in the snow or rain. Except they'd been sitting there for two months. Humidity, we guessed?

On Sunday night I checked and the water droplets were still there, rudely refusing to evaporate. This seemed like more evidence of excess humidity. Since the room stores many books and some artwork, we thought maybe that's not a good situation.

Today, I bought a dehumidifier from Pneu Canadien** and set it up. It has all sorts of lights and indicators and so forth. However, I do not yet find it coherent. It's supposed to have a setting (such as 60%, which is the default), to which it will automatically attempt to adjust the room. When I plugged it in, it said 43% (ostensibly the current humidity -- my ass!). Then I set it to just run nonstop and checked it after an hour. Then it said 58%. Was it humidifying? Rebel scum.

Later I set it to automatically work, and it has displayed numbers like 59%, 48%, and also the unintuitive (and undocumented) "P1". It is creating water, but I chose it for the lights and doodads a bit. If I just wanted dehumidity I could have saved a few bucks!

Vinny's tongue-in-cheek theory was that it was not showing the current humidity, but rather the dehumidity -- how much humidity was not there. But seriously, if I need quadratic equations to make the LCD make sense, I am going back to wiping up water with friggin' paper towels.

* I search in vain each year for some proof that Toronto is largest, but all I can find is proof by elimination of other competitors. This year though, it looks like we've been eclipsed, but that's OK -- it's still friggin' insane. This year's research (some are for the parade, some for the entire event, all for 2004 or later):
Sao Paulo, Brazil	3,500,000
Toronto, Canada		1,200,000
London, UK		600,000
Vancouver, Canada	380,000
Amsterdam, Netherlands	350,000
Sligo, Ireland		100

** My Dad always calls Canadian Tire that.
c9: (Banging my Head)
Yikes. This sounds dangerously tempting, especially when I need to write a half dozen certification exams in the next six months.
c9: (Global Warming)
Just watched The Day After Tomorrow -- cute. Insanely impossible etc etc blah blah blah, but still exciting. Popcorn.

Also, my laptop's wireless has stopped connecting to my parents' router. ARGH! I have tried just about everything possible in this two-computer household to fix it, but everything else seems to be working perfectly, just not my (work) laptop. Frustrating. Luckily work bought the super-extended coverage, so guess who's getting a desk-side visit from Dell next week?

We're visiting my parents in Wasaga Beach tonight. The air here is pretty clean, and I think it triggers our sleep muscles a bit. We always end up very tired and in bed early here -- this is the latest we've ever been up here! Of course, it might also be related to the huge amounts of food we always eat here. *shrug*

Tomorrow it's back to the big city (North America's fifth-largest, I learned yesterday!) for shopping and hanging out with Bryce and Daryl. Sunday it's brunch then a BBQ. Monday, back to the grind.

Real life is too busy.
c9: (Global Warming)
So I'm sick again. Strangely when I'm sick I have a hard time sleeping -- unless I'm like super-sick -- and so I always end up productive with stuff that I've been wanting to do but not getting done. Today is Electricity Consumption Day!

We all have stuff that we leave plugged in all the time. That bothers me because it's eating power which costs money and in most of the world directly translates into coal emissions and CO2. So anyway, I have a little energy meter and I ran around checking what everything is consuming.

Desktop PC (off)10 $8.65
19" LCD (off)2 $1.73
DSL Modem & Wireless Router (on)17 $14.71
Cordless Phone3 $2.60
Roomba (on standby)5 $4.33
Phone + Digital Answering Machine (on)7 $6.06
Clock Radio2 $1.73
Home Theatre (TV, Amp, CD, DVD; all off)9 $7.79
Old Dell laptop I'm using as a media centre PC (standby)6 $5.19
(with desktop on a power bar)

I was pleased to see the rate for the Roomba, because I was getting worried about it being plugged in 24/7 just to clean up cat fur and dust. But that's totally worth it. The real excitement came when I checked out the laptop I am using as a Media PC. I had tested it already, and was disappointed because it was reading 65W when on standby and 69W when running! But I think that the laptop was charging its battery at the time, so that's not a valid reading. Today it's showing just 6W when on standby! The reason this is cool is I've got my Harmony remote properly talking to the Media PC remote transceiver and even going in and out of standby by remote control and all that. Awesome! I was worried that I couldn't have that wonderful behaviour because of the high power usage, but looks like it's OK. Woo!
c9: (Rawr!)
c9: (Banging my Head)
OK seriously people, somebody needs to fix the internet.

Outlook: must contain work events, also contains reminders as to what I or we are up to in evenings and on weekends.

SkillsWeb*: must contain teaching events and "not available to teach today" indicators.

Google Calendar: must contain my travel-to-teach events, so that everyone can see where I am and when.

I can make SkillsWeb write to Outlook. I can make Google write to Outlook. But I can't make Outlook write to anything else without spending money on synch tools. I dislike this option because I'm cheap.


* ASP instructor resource system we use at work. I wrote the front end, another guy wrote the back end. Now maintained by a third guy, while I just write demands for it. It's aging somewhat gracefully, thank god.
c9: (Escalator)
I know that some of you are running Windows Vista, and I know that it causes no end of problems for many. I heard a rumour though that there's a newer version of Windows coming that fixes all these problems! They're calling it Windows "XP" -- not sure what that stands for.

Check out this detailed review: http://dotnet.org.za/codingsanity/archive/2007/12/14/review-windows-xp.aspx

I Roole.

Oct. 6th, 2007 05:55 pm
c9: (Roomba)
Awesome: The iRobot Roomba, and the Logitech Harmony Remote.

Awesomer: Having a working Roomba again, and reprogramming the Harmony over the web to fix a mistake I made last time.

Awesomest: teaching the Harmony remote to control the Roomba so we can park it under the couch on its base station and never worry about it again!* Now I can vacuum by hitting "Other Activities" and "Roomba!"**

* Famous last words.
** Yes, the exclamation point was programmed in by me. Why?

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