Category Archives: Microsoft

Excel is Stupid!

Did you know that Excel could give you different calculated values based on what the default language for your PC is?

I’m working on a translation project … and the translation company gave us a excel spread sheet with a list of screen fields that need to be expanded.

This spread sheet uses the LENB function to calculate the length of the text that needs fit on the screen … and uses that calculated length to indicate how much the field needs to be expanded.

LENB is (supposed to be) aware of double byte & single byte character sets … unfortunately, it’s only aware of double byte characters when Japanese is the default language on your PC.

So, if Japanese IS the default language on your PC, and a character is double byte … it will return 2 as the length of the character. However, if Japanese is NOT the default language on your PC … it will return 1 as the length of a character.

There’s no warning about this potential discrepancy when you load the spread sheet … the only way I was able to find this out was to dig through the documentation.

As a result of this, I just spent a week and a half working on expanding fields … and it turns out that the size I expanded the fields to was incorrect … so those have to be redone … and the entries in the spread sheet that were less than 1 actually DO need to be expanded.

LENB is a totally brain dead and stupid function … there is NO situation where a calculation such as that should be effected by what the default language of the PC is.   It should return the same value regardless of what machine it’s run on.

Turns out there are a bunch of functions that behave this way … FINDB, MIDB, LEFTB, MIDB, REPLACEB, RIGHTB, and SEARCHB.

A friend suggested that OpenOffice might be better … but, at least as far as I can see, OO doesn’t have functionality that’s aware of double byte characters.

Stupid Outlook

Sometimes I really hate MS Outlook.

Yesterday I had to run a test that Cindy, one of our QA people, was having problems with … she was trying to test our issue tracking system against a DB2/400 database, but were getting a system error from the iSeries.

She emailed me the instructions … they was pretty straight forward …

log on to test system
open a command shell
cd into the testing directory
. ./setup.script
command parm1 parm2 parm3
command parm4 parm5

Unfortunately, Outlook removed some line breaks and it looked like this:

log on to test system
open a command shell
cd into the testing directory
. ./setup.script
command parm1 parm2 parm3 command parm4 parm5

And so I couldn’t run the command properly because the parameters were wrong.

I wasted about 2 hours last night trying to figure out why the test procedure wasn’t working.

And, yes, I did find the option to disable that particular behaivor.

[tags]Outlook, QA, Testing, Work[/tags]

Microsoft tries to recruit Eric Raymond

Seems that Microsoft is trying to recruit open source advocate Eric Raymond.

My favorite part of his reply to the MS recruiter is this:

I’d thank you for your offer of employment at Microsoft, except that it indicates that either you or your research team (or both) couldn’t get a clue if it were pounded into you with baseball bats. What were you going to do with the rest of your afternoon, offer jobs to Richard Stallman and Linus Torvalds? Or were you going to stick to something easier, like talking Pope Benedict into presiding at a Satanist orgy?

Oh well … there are stupider people in the world.

Boycott IE

Boycott IE. It’s a cancer on the Web that must be stopped. IE isn’t secure and isn’t standards-compliant, which makes it unworkable both for end users and Web content creators.

Paul Thurrott

I’m all for it.

I haven’t used IE for anything serious in months.

I think I worried my dad once, when he wanted to show me a remote access system he uses that’s browser based … but it wouldn’t work with Firefox. He wanted to launch IE but I wouldn’t let him. Especially when it would install an activex component. I was quite adamant.

Don’t Smile(y)

… or Microsoft will sue you 🙂

United States Patent Application: 20050156873

Methods and devices for creating and transferring custom emoticons allow a user to adopt an arbitrary image as an emoticon, which can then be represented by a character sequence in real-time communication. In one implementation, custom emoticons can be included in a message and transmitted to a receiver in the message. In another implementation, character sequences representing the custom emoticons can be transmitted in the message instead of the custom emoticons in order to preserve performance of text messaging. At the receiving end, the character sequences are replaced by their corresponding custom emoticons, which can be retrieved locally if they have been previously received, or can be retrieved from the sender in a separate communication from the text message if they have not been previously received.

Ok, there have been some pretty silly patent applications in the past … Amazon’s One-click, etc … but this borders on the ridiculous.

via: Grocklaw

[tags]Microsoft, patent, smiley[/tags]

Roll my own

Microsoft’s MSN Spaces threatens to dominate with formal toolsets while others, like Blogger, hope to keep the technology’s pioneering spirit alive … However, with MSN Spaces, Microsoft is delivering a pre-set suite of blogging and complementary services on a platform that doesn’t allow for much manual tweaking and extension on the part of the end-user.

The battle for the blogosphere | InfoWorld | News | 2005-05-27 | By Juan Carlos Perez

This is one of the main reasons I like running my own servers. I can do what I want, when I want it, how I want it.

I’m master of my own ‘domain’, so to speak 🙂

I like open source stuff better anyways.

Watch what you say on AIM

In todays climate of privacy mania, I find it quite interesting that AOL would change their terms of service to eliminate any possiblity of a right to privacy when using their AIM chat service …

Although you or the owner of the Content retain ownership of all right, title and interest in Content that you post to any AIM Product, AOL owns all right, title and interest in any compilation, collective work or other derivative work created by AOL using or incorporating this Content. In addition, by posting Content on an AIM Product, you grant AOL, its parent, affiliates, subsidiaries, assigns, agents and licensees the irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide right to reproduce, display, perform, distribute, adapt and promote this Content in any medium. You waive any right to privacy. You waive any right to inspect or approve uses of the Content or to be compensated for any such uses.

(empahsis mine)

I tend to chat a lot on the AIM network (using GAIM, and there’s no way I want to explicitly give AOL the right to the contents of my chats. Not that I discuss anything earth shattering, but some conversations are on the more private side.

An option, of course, would be to use the GAIM encryption plugin.

Thrashing Through Cyberspace via Mike Wills.

LOL – Ballmer Got It Wrong

Oh I love it … just a followup to my previous post about Microsoft’s FUD … turns out, Ballmer must have misunderstood the facts somewhat massively…

Open source faces no more, if not less, legal risk than proprietary software. The market needs to understand that the study Microsoft is citing actually proves the opposite of what they claim it does.

eWeek – Author of Linux Patent Study Says Ballmer Got It Wrong

<raising glass> Here’s egg on your face, Stevie.