They Don’t Like Me (and the Feeling is Mutual)

Computers, and new gizmos, and new problems with new gizmos, and . . .

I’ve mentioned that Day Job is a little different this year. Not quite “Earth after the dino-killing asteroid” different (although, half way through Monday . . .) but different. One of these differences involves two computer programs and two new pieces of electronic equipment. All of which have to play nicely together, at the same time. Every time.

Round1. Couldn’t figure out how to get program 1 to do its thing.

Round 2. Got two programs to work. Didn’t need # 3 yet.

Round 3. I wasn’t running it, so no worries, mate!

Intermission: I can’t remember where on Windows 10 to find access to the various drives and accessories in order to pull a file off of my jump drive. One of the other teachers came to my aid. I was looking where Win 7 and NT had hidden access, not where Win10 does. Problem solved.

Round 4. Only had two of three needed programs running so I was good aside from a scheduling error.

Round 5. Hooooooly moley what a mess. User #2 accidentally blocked me so program #1 wouldn’t work, I couldn’t do split-screen for program #3 to be visible, and gizmo #2 was accidentally overriden by someone in a different room.

Gremlins. I could hear the gremlins laughing as I left for the day. Happily, as the week progressed, I had more time to work out how to get all three to play semi-nicely together, but ay yai yai. Too much, too fast. I’m just glad gizmo #1 has two settings – on and off.

The computers are laughing at me. I know it. When I turned my back, I think it stuck the CD/DVD carrier out at me.

Update: I got a little too relaxed and although everything worked, at the same time, either I did something or user #2 did something and a new and wonderful surprise waited when I reviewed the files. As a result, I can’t use them as intended. *shrug* So goes it.


21 thoughts on “They Don’t Like Me (and the Feeling is Mutual)

  1. Some days, you just want to paddle them with a large slide rule. Oh, the programmers too; they don’t remember that the goal is for people to use 1, 2, and 3 together.

  2. Gremlins. Always with the gremlins.

    My poor husband swears that he’s OK with doing tech support for me because they’re always interesting, but I wouldn’t mind having problems that aren’t interesting, and can be fixed.

  3. Computers (and electronic devices in general) are cats. Always remember that. They work when they want to, they will claw you if you don’t pet them the approved 7.3 times (exactly), and they definitely play favorites. They will suddenly stop what they are doing to stare intently at a dust mote for several minutes, then take a nap.

  4. Software rollouts usually make me want to do a back-alley design review. Ones like the med clinic got (that kicked my wife off the HIPPA permissions list) make me want to use a crowbar for extra emphasis. (The staffer at the clinic who unscrewed the mess said they *all* wanted crowbars the day that upgrade was released.)

  5. Remember the old software adage: “Idiot proof systems are no match for system proof idiots”. Problem is, they remember that for the first iteration of the software, then ignore it for future updates and revisions. Result: idiot systems.

  6. Agree with RCPete… Grrr… At least you’re not (I hope) working with R&D software. And speaking of which, beware the upgrades! Guarandamnteed to screw up ALL the settings… sigh

  7. Darling Man got two laptops for me, “a few” years ago – and I used one for my main work, and one for social media. Come the day the first one started dying, the second was already set up in mirror image – he took it away, and when he came back, it was almost the same. Never did find my desktop background again. Ah, well!

    Unfortunately, as this was not a planned death, the “new” social media laptop is a very old windows machine that is a bit kludge. It works great for browsing the web, but I wouldn’t ask it to do much more than that. And as it’s been, ah, a few years since the original purchase of my work laptop(s), I know there’s “upgrades” in the offing.

  8. As a former mrmber of the software industry, I wish to apologize for what you are going through. Large software projects, even those that are well-funded, are design messes. Everyone thinks he knows how to design software, and every manager trusts that his principles are being followed. But they’re mostly wrong. (I think I know more than they do, but what do I know?)

    John Ringo wrote a three-book series (=Monster Hunter Memoir=) in Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter universe. In the first book, we are shown the testing department of the Blue Screen of Death company. More or less monthly, everyone working there is eaten alive by monsters, some of which pour in through the infected computers’ screens.

    Let’s have a word of praise for John Ringo!

      • Thank you. I’m down to one sort of major “Why does Win10 do V instead of K when I do this and then that?” complications, and the ongoing Adventures of Life With Gizmo #1. This is an improvement.

        • The latest and greatest Acrobat forms have some addons that my Linux system throws up over, so I purchased a used Win10 machine for just that purpose. I’ve kept it offline, but really should let MS do the patches. I stopped doing Windows when MS dropped support for Win 7, and it was clear that the Win 10 team either didn’t know anything about Win7, or they did and were determined to erase any vestige of it.

          I think Win 10 needed a special design review, perhaps at the Trinity site or Bikini Atoll. (Muses about tying the system to a nearby nuke; adding a whole new dimension to Blue Screen of Death. If the system crashes, bomb goes boom….)

          • Keep the W10 system offline as long as you can! There have been two major “upgrades”, one quite recently, that add “features” that slow down and complicate everything.

            • Apparently a utility called pdftk can unscrew the proprietary code that causes the problem. It it works, that machine will get converted to a Linux one.

    • … What he said… as a dinosaur from the days of steam computing, I can tell you that every software upgrade since Noah built the Ark has suffered from the same issues. Each generation of software developers seems cursed to repeat every mistake that the previous generation learned by experience was NOT the way to go… I’m currently in the “feedback” phase with M******t (aka Little Blue) over the advisability of error messages that actually mean something to the average user, a discussion that surfaced at regular intervals 40 years ago when dealing with I*M (aka Big Blue). Really it gives me more grey hairs than I know what to do with.

      • Software -and- hardware, as Intel relearned all of the internal speedups that IBM invented, then invented more, a couple of which have created security holes that are very hard to cover in software. They lie in the Speculative Execution speedup paths, and create covert timing channels through the cache prefetching machinery. No, it’s not as bad as it sounds. It’s worse, meticulous order masking as chaos.

        • *And* the built-in, network-accessible back doors right there on the CPU. And in AMD CPUs. And the various ARM CPUs. Totally there only for corporate network management, except they denied the back doors existed after someone claimed to have found the way in… which is why Russia and China and Amazon are going full-bore on setting up their own chip fabs. They’ll probably all be backdoored too, because that cat is well and truly out of the bag now…

      • In my early days as a programmer/analyst on an IBM 360/370 based system in early 80s, I got an error code that looked something like “IE30004I” or some such. IBM had recently put its error code manual “online” so I didn’t even have to leave the central CRT terminal room to look it up. Progress! When I eventually found the code’s meaning, it said:

        “Unknown error occurred during input/output operation interrupted while one or more of the Data Control Blocks was being processed by the fibbergimmitz routine before or after the wibblefribbitz process had finished. Good luck figuring this one out.”

        • Archive tape backup software was flaky. At least half the time, backups would fail with “Error 43.” There actually *was* a list of error codes in the manual, but 43 was not one of them.

          OS/2 1.3 would occasionally get the gollywobbles and fail to boot. It would usually die with the warning “Can’t find COUNTRY.SYS.” Apparently, that was just the end of the error message list, and whatever was wrong wasn’t in the list.

          What’s that ancient programmer’s dictum? “Never test for an error condition you don’t know how to handle.” Right. And foolish newbies like myself thought that was a joke…

  9. I’m tempted to go “No, there are no fundamental problems in the design or execution of computing software and hardware.” The counter argument to saying that is some stuff I’ve read recently about the negative effects of sarcasm. 🙂

    Though, it might simply be a very intractable problem on the human or educational side of the big picture.

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