General technology.

What, Exactly, Changed?!

What this!

D:\Firefox\mozilla\extensions\firetorrent>svn commit
Sending        js
Sending        public
Sending        src
svn: Commit failed (details follow):
svn: Your file or directory 'src' is probably out-of-date
svn: The version resource does not correspond to the resource within the transac
tion.  Either the requested version resource is out of date (needs to be updated
), or the requested version resource is newer than the transaction root (restart
 the commit).
svn: Your commit message was left in a temporary file:
svn:    'D:/Firefox/mozilla/extensions/firetorrent/svn-commit.tmp'

An Error Occured

So I'm helping someone with something, because they're getting an error:

"Catastrophic error" (8000ffff)

Um... OK. I guess something went wrong. I dunno what, but SOMETHING sure wasn't happy!

So, after a bit of searching, I've been able to figure out that "Catastrophic error" essentially means "some error occured that I don't have an error code for." (Interestingly enough, if you search for it, you'll get the VB error code that I was getting, along with two surgeons who removed the good kidney from a man with kidney failure and an editorial on the war in Iraq.)


Ah, TV, and... MPEG Artifacts?!

There's nothing quite like watching analog cable, and noticing... MPEG artifacts?! (See, analog is, well, analog, and MPEG is digital, so......)

Actually, there is something worse.

When whatever computer they're using to decode the MPEG stream screws up the stream, cutting out a few seconds of the episode. (Frequently during some important scene...)

But they've actually gone one worse than that. One night - it actually crashed. All channels, frozen.

Yay Comcast. This is definitely worth the money.


...grumble...grumble... D'oh.

So, I'm trying to set up a server to only allow connections from within the company I work for. I give it two IP ranges to allow connections from, and hit apply. And then...

I get disconnected.

So it's down from the third floor to the lab in the basement, to discover that I had indeed mis-typed the IP range. Quickly correct it, check from another computer in the lab that it actually works, and then back up to the third floor.


At least I know the firewall works!


Ah, My New New Keyboard

Well, I've got my New New keyboard now and it seems to be working perfectly. I wound up not returning my Old New Keyboard, although I probably should. I'm thinking of keeping it around for my laptop or something. (Or maybe I could get one of those new mini Macs or something...)

So what's up with the new new keyboard?

Well... the old new keyboard had the "\|" key in the wrong place. It put it at the end of the right shift key. WTF?!

So the new new keyboard has all the function keys in the right place, grouped by fours like they should be, has all the editting keys the right place (Insert, Home, Page Up in one row with Delete, End, and Page Down underneath), and has the "\|" key about the Enter key, like it should be.


Stupid... freaking... program...

Quick background:

We have this program, that handles database connections and returns the data for us. We're using it to query multiple databases at once. (No, I don't know why we can't do that ourselves.)

It doesn't support dates. If you try and pull a date value out of a database, it will return with an "undefined" value. But we need dates.

So I come up with a plan. I can write a JDBC wrapper that wraps around the actual JDBC drivers and "mask" the existance of dates in the results. That way the data can be in a format that actually works.

Except that it turns out this program is smarter than I thought it was and actually had the database do queries for it instead of just pulling in the data and manipulating it itself. (Although now I'm left wondering why it's so slow to do so.)


The iPod Shuffle - Enjoy Uncertainty

My officemate was looking up something about her Apple computer, and stumbled across an ad for the iPod Shuffle boldly declaring "Enjoy Uncertainty!"

Which immediately raised the question: WTF is an "iPod Shuffle?"

Well, apparently it's an iPod where Apple has engineered out the display. The only display element it has is a little green power LED.

In other words, it plays random music and you can't know what's next because it has no way to tell you. (Well, that's not strictly true - you can tell it to play the playlist straight through, so you can follow along.)

Great Moments in Documentation II

Again, the details have been changed to protect the guilty.

The example below shows the format of an example file, configuration.xml.
Explanations for fields are included as comments:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
//Settings to be used by the system
... and so on


  1. That's XML. "//" isn't an XML comment. "<!-- -->" is. You do know XML, right? Please?
  2. There really was only one comment, before any actual data, which didn't explain any of the options, at all. That was it.

Great Moments in Documentation

So I'm reading through the documentation for this product, which is rather lacking, and come against a snippet like the following (no, it wasn't originally JDBC, but to protect the guilty, it is now):

For example, the following Java code contains the executeQuery call:

if(command!=null && command.equals("RunQuery"))
    //query = request.getParameter("query")
    System.out.println("query "+query);
     results = statement.executeQuery(query);

Well, That Sucked

So I'm mucking around with my computer, and decide to play some music. "F: is not formatted. Format now? Y/N" WTF?

So a "quick" CHKDSK later, I discover that there are several errors in the filesystem, caused by unreadable blocks. In short: the hard drive is failing. :(

So it looks like I'm going to be shopping for a new hard drive after work today. C'est la vie.

Update: And away I go, into the wild blue yonder, looking for a new hard drive.

Update 2: Got a new 250 GB hard drive, and Windows is now (slowly) partitioning it. Once that's done we begin the Great Copy.

Update 3: Finished copying the data over, now I just need to copy over the Linux data and I'll be all finished.



Subscribe to RSS - Technology