Month: September 2007

This past week was pretty eventful

This week has been pretty busy with several rather amusing happenings. Earlier this month was Kristen’s birthday so we decided to get new licence plates. I got blogg3r (as blogger was unavailable) but I wasn’t unable to remove the old plates from the car as the screws had rusted in tight. Whilst waiting for the new plates to arrive I was driving around with the temporary tag in the back window. I borrowed an extractor tool from one of the guys at work and tried to remove the plates from the car but no joy but by drilling the screw and some brute force I was able to get the old plates off. However, I had to get some proper fasteners to hold the new plates in. After one trip to the hardware store, the fasteners didn’t fit and so I planned to get some new ones the following day but and as I was driving home from work a cop pulled up right behind me. There were two sets of lights that he followed extremely close, I could see him talking on the radio in my mirror and then eventually the lights started flashing. I pulled over and he gave me a warning for not having the temporary tags displayed properly as it was lying flat on the parcel shelf rather than sticking up for everyone to see. That night the duct tape came out and the following night I drove to the hardware store to get some more fasteners and I eventually managed to get the plates put up whilst in the car park. This was the first time EVER I had got pulled over by a policeman.
Friday night we helped load up a moving van for friends from church and then this morning I headed off to the Ohio Linuxfest. There was a long break over lunch until the next talk (and the previous Ubuntu one had been disappointing and irrelevant) so I decided to skip the final talk and go take some photos in downtown Columbus.
I wandered around the streets taking various photos that I’ve uploaded to Zooomr for my 20070929 set including the shot below.

Apparently this is a really suspicious photo....

I continued taking various photos of the Columbus skyline and buildings (the rest of the photos in the set) and spent quite a bit of time taking various photos of the green paint “accident” and then took this photo.
What happened next?

Just after I had finished taking the photo, a siren blipped right behind me and a cop in his car called me over – this was the second time in a week! Allegedly someone had called the cops as I was looking suspicious taking photos of the buildings. He asked if I had been near a particular building, but the name wasn’t familiar to me and then said I had been taking pictures of a garage door (which I hadn’t – the only thing I can think of is the hydrant shot). He also asked if I was a photography student – (does this mean anyone who claims to be a photography student could not be a terrorist??) I said that I wasn’t but tried to explain Flickr to him. He then asked how long I had been in the country, where I lived, whether I had driven there and where I had parked my car – to that answer I waved vaguely in the general direction as I had no idea the name of the street I had parked on. He also asked for ID – it was a good job I had it on me!
I pushed him for more details on the alleged call but I got the “people are suspicious since 9/11” but I’m not convinced as when I asked where I should stay away from he said “I can’t really say”. I wouldn’t be surprised if they saw me on CCTV and then came to see what I was up to.
The good news is that at no time did he say I should not take photos of any of the buildings so I was almost tempted to retrace my steps and take photos again – but I wasn’t feeling *that* brave.
I continued to take some more photos which have been uploaded to Zooomr and then came home.
It really is a sad state of affairs when you can’t take pictures of picturesque buildings in a city without being accused (indirectly) of being a terrorist.

70-290 passed.

My passing score was 928 (pass was 700) so I passed comfortably – which is a very nice feeling and something I’ve maintained in all the exams I’ve taken with Microsoft so far. I now have 1 more to go and then I get my MCSA exam. This exam was quite different to the ones I’ve done before – there were 45 questions and about 10 (or more) were simulation exams. Personally I like these questions as it’s a lot easier to recognise the process needed to go through as opposed to the previous “drag and drop to put in order” box questions where you have to remember the exact wording on the dialog boxes that in real life you pay little attention to as you use them every day.
After 20 questions the screen froze, for ever, and ever and ever. Eventually I went out to see the receptionist but when I came back the machine was waiting for the next question – it takes a long time to load some of the simulation questions. I was really nervous at this point as the first 20 questions were easy and I was confident I had about 19 of them correct. I really didn’t want to start again.
After this scare the questions seemed to get harder but a lot of them were similar to the questions in the official MS press books and there were some questions I had seen that were identical to various test prep software solutions although I didn’t use the MeasureUp software for this exam which I have used in the past. Now it’s onto 70-291….

Flickr Columbus meetup

I had an awesome time on Saturday afternoon meeting up with the Flickr Columbus folks to take photographs of the Ohio Theatre. More than 40 people turned up for a 2 hour tour where we could take photos of anything (and everything). We couldn’t go on the stage but there were so many other things to take photos of. There are loads of photos online – I took over 200 but only uploaded about 5 so far. The flickr tag cmhflickrmeet092207 has the photos uploaded on flickr, the cmhflickrmeet092207 page on zooomr (currently only my 1 photo) and the upcoming event page contain the photos (if they are tagged appropriately).
Upcoming has nice integration with flickr now – you just need to tag your photos with the event id and they automatically get added to the upcoming page. Zooomr also works in a similar way, but instead links to the Upcoming page automatically for you and includes a link to show you all the photos with that tag however the photo doesn’t get added to the pool automatically.
Towards the end of the event we all sat in the seats and posed for a group photograph using various flash units from people. Thanks to Fensterbme for taking the photo below. (click through for the larger version)
Everyone at the Ohio Theatre from the Columbus Flickr group

Finally the tax refund has been released.

Finally the State of Ohio has released my tax refund for payment. I can’t believe how long it has taken them. Admittedly I didn’t do my taxes until the beginning of April but it was still 5 months before they approved the payment with some rubbish excuse about not having Kristens SSN in the system (despite them taking her money in taxes from her payroll for the past two years). The cheques not arrived yet and I doubt I’ll get the 8% interest and $80 fine that they charge taxpayers for being late on their payments though.
Mind you, now that they’ve got everything finally sorted this year, hopefully I’ll be able to e-file next year.

Belkin KVM solution for crazy mice

One of my clients has a Belkin 8port KVM connected to 3 Dell servers and a Dell rack mounted keyboard and mouse. However, whenever a 2 pane window application such as explorer or framed websites are opened, the application acts as if the back or forward button has been selected. Typically this occurs when moving the mouse from the left hand view in explorer over to the contents of the directory. This is most annoying as the back or forwards action changes the folder that I’m trying to connect to. Navigating around a web page is even worse.
I spoke to Belkin a while back about this issue and they told me about a new firmware (that didn’t make any difference) and they even shipped a replacement unit which suffered the same symptoms.
I escalated the issue to my manager and then to Dell yesterday and this afternoon I got a phone call from a Product Development Manager in Belkin who told me it’s a problem with the mouse/numeric keypad area on the rack mounted keyboard and a new kvm unit with a hardware change needs to be sent out and she is going to try and find one to send me. It was actually a relief to hear from someone who actually understood what I was talking about as she had seen it for themselves.
I’ve suggested that they document this on their website and that support is informed about the issue too to save anyone else suffering the same fate that I did.
I’ll keep you posted on this site if it works or not.

HP 3052 software installation

This morning I spent 1.25 hours trying to install the drivers for this printer. The user doesn’t have admin rights so I had to use runas when installing the software, but the cd they had was so badly scratched it couldn’t be used. Instead the drivers had to be downloaded. Unfortunately the website has about 10 different drivers and it took two attempts before I could find the drivers that it was after – in this case it was the larger of the two downloads – the 40mb one instead of the nice quick 3mb file.
However after extracting the download, the installation program kept asking for the driver location and the requested driver files were not in the driver directory created when the software was extracted. Instead they were automagically installed in the windows\system32\drivers directory and also located in the root of the extracted software directory. So if you are going to install this software be warned!
I finished the conversation by telling the user that if he even thought about purchasing the same printer again I’d come over and break his legs – it’s not often you can get away with saying that 🙂

Live installer update

Following on from my post on trying to install windows live photo gallery I tried to install it again yesterday by uninstalling all of my .net frameworks and reinstalling them and then updating all of the frameworks with their respective windows patches – a process that took over an hour to complete….and the installer still doesn’t work.
It did work on the office laptop, but that doesn’t really have any pictures on it but at least I know the installer *should* work sometimes.

My thoughts and experiences with Live Installer

I downloaded the new Windows Live Installer program yesterday which provides the ability to install Messenger, writer, mail and photo gallery from one “easy to use integrated installer”. There are two downsides to this – one is that the installer is really a stub that doesn’t contain the full product – this is normally fairly annoying as it means that you can’t download the full install copy for offline (or multiple) installs – instead you have to be connected to the network each time the software is installed.

The other downside is that in my case, the installation of Photo Gallery (the only piece of software that I actually wanted from this bundle as I already have the rest) doesn’t work. Instead I get the error message “Install failed with error code 0x80240022” – a google search yesterday only came up with details for Windows Defender which didn’t help me much.  Also, for those of you who are not aware, you need to hover the mouse over the error message in order for the full message to be displayed on screen in a tool tip. This means that there is no copy/paste functionality of the error message into google – instead you have to type it in manually. The link to “More about this error” only goes to a generic web page which tells you about the mouse tip.


The software also keeps checking the toolbar each time it is run – even though I don’t want it to be installed but oddly enough doesn’t check the Family Safety checkbox. It should be consistent to check both or leave both unchecked.