Archive for the ‘stuff that heals’ Category

What I want for Xmas

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas is for every browser to do this when I’m typing into a hidden field with caps lock on:

This simple feature would save countless support calls and account lockouts, and if I got this I would forgive you for not getting me all the Constructicons when I was 11, you stingy old elf. Jokes on you Santa, now that I’m an adult I can just visit ebay for all my nostalgia driven splurging.

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PSR is useful and evil

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Ever need someone to tell you exactly what they did to reproduce a bug? Yeah, I know, those who need a tool to tell us these things are the most likely to never use one. But on the off chance you need to send step by step instructions (or receive them, right…) and you have Windows 7, then you already have a neat tool for this called Problem Steps Recorder. Type “psr” into start and off you go. It takes screenshots,  logs your activities, and formats it all into an IE-only mht  file.  Here’s the output after clicking on a Zune window.  Yes, I said Zune; it was on sale like 6 years ago and it still runs like a champ. Ugly but tough like it was designed by some parallel dimension Soviet engineers.

and here’s the text output:

Recording Session: 12/2/2011 7:13:47 PM - 7:14:05 PM
Problem Steps: 11, Missed Steps: 0, Other Errors: 0
Operating System: 7601.17640.x86fre.win7sp1_gdr.110622-1506 6.1.1.0.2.1
Problem Step 1: User left click in "Zune"
Program: Microsoft Zune, 4.8.2345.0 (ZUNE_DORADO_V4.8_RTM.110805-1156), 
Microsoft Corporation, ZUNE.EXE, ZUNE.EXE
UI Elements: Zune, UIX Render Window

The psr command line switches are kind of fun too:

/start            :Start Recording. (Outputpath flag SHOULD be specified)
/stop            :Stop Recording.
/sc            :Capture screenshots for recorded steps.
/maxsc            :Maximum number of recent screen captures.
/maxlogsize        :Maximum log file size (in MB) before wrapping occurs.
/gui            : Display control GUI.
/arcetl            :Include raw ETW file in archive output.
/arcxml            :Include MHT file in archive output.
/recordpid        :Record all actions associated with given PID.
/sketch            :Sketch UI if no screenshot was saved.
/slides            :Create slide show HTML pages.
/output            :Store output of record session in given path.
/stopevent        :Event to signal after output files are generated.

What’s this? You can disable the GUI and copy the output in a network folder? Hmm, I bet you can use a little psexec magic and remotely start it on the machines of users you want to monitor. Sounds like we have us a nice little spy tool here!

psexec \\evilcoworker C:\Windows\System32\psr.exe 
/start /gui 0 /output \\server\share\file.zip

Ah, now we’re speaking my language! After an hour or two send a /stop and enjoy your petty little spying, you misanthropic weirdos.

Oh Microsoft, even when you make a decent tool, it becomes trivially easy to use for evil purposes. This is why I still like you, MS. You just can’t shake off the evil regardless of how hard you try.

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.

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.