Archive for November, 2011

Join.me

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

I can’t stress enough how wonderful this tool is. If I ever need to remote into someone’s PC who is not on my network (clients, family, etc) I just use join.me. Finally a free non-nagware dumbed down support tool with no logins required.   Teamviewer and Crossloop are good, but not this easy. I swear this is not a paid ad! Its just rare to deal with something that “just works.”  I know Google wants to implement a screen sharing function into Chrome, but that requires the end user to run Chrome, which most don’t.

Most end users don’t know a left from a right click, its so nice to tell them “Click here and tell me the numbers.” Voila, I’m all up in your PC. Seems to work well on low-bandwidth connections too.

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Outlook 2010 Ribbon

Monday, November 28th, 2011

After years of teaching my end users how to enable Out of Office and how to do archiving, Outlook 2010’s new ribbon moves everything yet again. Look, I don’t mind the transition to the ribbon, but why was Outlook excluded in 2007 and only recently “ribbonized?” Now we have to do basic ribbon training all over again. Thanks MS. Your inability to hit a deadline means more work for everyone else. Now all this stuff is helpfully put in the File > Info > Automatic Replies section. Err, progress?

Also, isn’t it a little hard to justify this icon nowaday? My email client shouldn’t be my dialer in the first place.

Hyatt

Friday, November 25th, 2011

Hyatt, you guys are doing it right. Multiple connectors, easy to find input selection and, oh my, is that HDMI? No horrible UI and no remotes shaped like Gamecube controllers for some reason. Just a simple plug me in, press the input button, and off you go. Now if you could do something about those overly fluffy pillows.

I miss you Steam

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Oh DICE, you’re like that old flame who keeps breaking my heart. I swear, I can’t figure out how to quit you! I see you guys released your big first patch to Battlefield 3. What a monumental day! So many fixed bugs! You guys must be pretty proud. I, of course, ran to my basement to fire up my frankenputer only to be assaulted with, five, yes FIVE GODDAMN WINDOWS AND POPUPS when I tried to update your software. I labeled them for you in case you thought I was kidding.

What the hell EA/DICE? How did we go from a BF2 era of just a binary that did everything to a Steam clone that’s still in Beta, a browser window, weird popups, promotional popups, terrible UI, and to top it off  – a  completely broken update process. I clicked on the ‘update game’ icon only to be thrown back into Origin which did nothing else but show me the BF3 icon.  Two Origin restarts later, it tells me the game isn’t installed and its trying to download it now. Come on guys, I just want to get back to shooting Ritalin addicted preteens and 30-something forever alones. Its the closest thing to punching people I don’t like in the face without repercussion and the psychological equivalent of two hours of primal scream therapy.

Thanks EA. At least you guys are openly telling me your software is shit by putting “Beta” in big letters everywhere.  DICE pretends its stuff is actually fully cooked. I feel like the third wheel in a very abusive relationship. Oh and to top it off, the bastards deleted my server preferences just to be dicks about the whole thing.

Microsoftr VistaT

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Oh System Center Essentials 2010, you promised me so much.  Centralized logging, automated software installs, updates, software inventories, etc. Its a shame you do none of these well, but its the laziness that really gets my goat. The laziness of this:

Microsoftr VistaT? Really? You fancy SCE engineers couldn’t render the trademark/register symbol so you just defaulted to a T and an R, then proudly looked at the misspelling of one of your flagship products and your COMPANY’S NAME and just said, “screw it, lets ship.”  Nice guys. Nice.  Why does a logging function even need such things like trademarks and registered symbols?

Actually, now that I think about it, I like the sound of “Vistat.” Its got the word “stat” in it, like quick and urgent but… oh right, we’re talking about VistaT here.  Happily, this is our only Vistat machine at work and soon it will have a fresh upgrade to Microsoftr Win7T. Ballmer, you should send me a free goddamn copy for this. Well, other than the one I got from “hosting” that Win7 party. Both my cats were very convinced of Windows 7’s robustness and value!

Oh Steve, one more thing, workstation is one word, not two.

Screw you Nook app!

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Why am I on my third attempt to finish Anathem on my Transformer using the Nook app? Is it the spartan prose? The lengthy didactic asides? The “100 pages until anything happens” Stephenson trope? Yeah, probably, but for the most part its because THE GODDAMN BRIGHTNESS SLIDER IS NEXT TO THE GODDAMN PAGE POSITION SLIDER.  Android has a hard time telling which one you pressed. You won’t notice until you’re suddenly 400 pages ahead and lost your place. Oh, the return to previous button doesn’t work and there’s no auto brightness feature.

Why Nook android app? Why are you so terrible? I won’t even mention that  if I read on a plane it loses my place next time it gets on the internet. Or how whenever I start it, it won’t open a book unless I close the app and re-open it. Kindle app, here I come. Once I finish Anathem of course, which won’t be for a while.  BTW SPOILER: Snape kills Orolo!!!!!*

*seriously though, is Anathem a rational and scientific alternative to Harry Potter? Is Stephenson uncorrupting our youth? Please say yes.

nmap is great and all

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Sometimes I just want to use a dumb GUI for network related tasks. I usually can’t remember nmap’s arcane commands for complex queries, so I just go and download Angry IP scanner, which is a trusted open source project. ipscan.exe on Chrome gives me:

and MSE also chimes in with:

Really? Tool? Tool is a malware category? That’s like selling someone a food poison detector but having it go off when they start eating fatty or sugary foods. You know, for their own good. Thanks guys.

Meanwhile, I saw a coworker of mine whitelist a trojan from a USB drive on a laptop running MSE. He got annoyed by the error message and MSE helpfully offered to “allow” it. Oh, MSE you were supposed to be “the one!” Chrome too? I am heartbroken.

Really TIME?

Monday, November 21st, 2011

I only have fond memories of TIME magazine. Both my middle school and high school had subscriptions and its like an old friend. Sure it fit that unnecessarily odd middle spot between USA Today and the Economist, but it was usually worth a read.   I just have question for you TIME:

WHERE THE HELL IS THE FUCKING CONTENT? I get it, you’ve got bills to pay and its a recession, but, jesus, don’t go crazy here.  I’ll help you. I circled the content in blue for you. Took a minute but I found it. Look, I expect this from fly-by-night linkspammers, SEO assholes, and small media outlets, but TIME magazine?  Really, TIME? REALLY?!

Your broke my heart, TIME. Broke it, totally. The floating survey thingy was the final straw. Couldn’t you at least put it over one of your many ads and promotional spaces? See those yellow circles? Use that space better.  Its TIME you stopped sucking so much.

Love,

The Annoyed Admin

You’re welcome DICE

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Buying a Battelfield game is like paying to be a software tester, except the hours are worse and there’s no one to report the bugs to. Oh, and you will experience bugs. Lots of them, mostly annoying bugs but some comical ones as well. Its like living on a universe put together by a god who’s at best a C student.

I made the foolish decision to buy BF3 at launch and have not been able to play for more than 2 or 3 minutes at a time. The game just locks up and doesn’t have the decency for a reacharound after fucking me in the ass for the tune of $60 to leave  a proper error message. After some googling and seeing the usual rogue’s gallery of gamers and “power users” blaming everything from the power supply to cosmic rays I finally found someone with a clue who claimed he fixed his issue by disabling his Realtek audio card. His fix was to go out and buy a new non-Realtek audio card. You’re saying to go out and buy a new card? Oh, no you didn’t! The annoyed admin doesn’t roll like that.

I’m not blowing another $50 on yet another “gamer quality” component for the sake of this one game.  So after playing with drivers and sound settings I finally found the fix. Disable the goddamn “Enahanced Stereo Mode.”

Enhanced stereo is one of those complex 3D audio schemes that bribed game reviewers love to praise but for the rest of us its either annoying or non-noticeable.  For whatever reason, no one bothered to test it with one of the world’s most popular chipsets. I think developers should be forced to use middle of the road equipment when working on games especially if their shop is too busy and too popular to do any real testing.  Oh well,  no wonder why Farmville, 360, and the Wii are taking over. That shit just works and doesn’t require you to install Origin or beta Nvidia drivers. The road to consoledom is paved with DICE-like QA.

Blue LED

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Dear Netgear, your ReadyNAS line is impressive and all, especially when its paired with 4 3TB Hitachi drives, but please stop it with the blinding blue LEDs. This photo doesn’t do it justice, but this thing is like a policeman’s maglight in your face. I don’t need this every time I walk into the server room.  Nor should I be applying electrical tape onto my $2500 NAS just to block it. I’d probably lose less rods and cones just staring into the sun every few minutes than walking into my server room once a day. Who let the “pimp my x out” crowd design enterprise equipment anyway?