Monday, March 30, 2009

Part 28: Why is powerpoint picture-from-file so braindead?

You may remember in Part 27 when we were adding and subtracting pictures in Powerpoint to resize a document.

Here is the question. A Powerpoint slide is a set size, probably 1024x768. When you want to insert a picture in to a Powerpoint slide, can you think of any conceivable reason why you'd want the image to be any larger than the slide itself? I can't, other than to, say, show a blown up part of a significant piece of a large photo, but in that case I'd probably crop it first. In any case, one would surmise that when inserting a "picture from file" it would downsize it to the size of the Powerpoint slide for easy manipulation.

Ha. Of course not. If you put in a 2000x3000px picture, it opens way over your slide, and screen! You have to scroll to the corner and downsize, and then scroll, and downsize again, and then size it to where you want it, and then move it to where you want it in the slide. Kudos, Microsoft, on making something which should take two or three steps (insert, move, resize if necessary) take eight (insert, scroll, resize, scroll, resize, scroll, resize, move). That's productivity.

Part 27: Oversized powerpoints

A coworker says to me: "I am trying to send a Powerpoint document and it's too big. Any ideas on how to resize it?"

We take a look at it. It is just over 5 mb. So we remove one picture and put in a downsampled one. And it is just over 5 mb. So we check the size of the other picture. It's 2.75 mb. Somewhere, Powerpoint has found an extra 2.25 mb.

So we remove the other picture. And resave. Voila! It is now 108 kb. So we put in the offending picture, and somehow it is now 3 mb and won't bounce.

The question, of course, is where that phantom 2.25 mb came from?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Part 24.1

Firefox is being weird. Once it opens, it's fine, of course. It's the opening it up part which is not bloody working.

As I whinged recently, every time (then it was sometimes, now it is every time) I open Firefox it asks me "which account do you want to use to run this program?" Uh, THE ONE I AM LOGGED IN TO, NUMBNUTS! I say okay to the dialogue. And more often than not, Firefox doesn't start.

The first time this happened, I opened Firefox again and again and again, and finally decided to use Safari for Windows. I like Safari, I use it on my Mac, but the Windows version is a wee bit buggy; I prefer Firefox on Windows. I'll make do with Safari (the other option is far less pleasant in my vIEw) but would like for my Firefox to, I don't know, work?

So the next time it happened (after my start-up) I tried to open Firefox three times after the dialogue (to no avail) and then I three-finger-saluted my way in to the Task Manager. There, lo and behold, there were several Firefox "tasks" running. Of course, I had to end each separately (why a single program can be opened multiple times is a quirk I will never understand), and once I did, tah-dah!, Firefox started up.

So that's my daily routine, now. Start Firefox. Say yes to the dialogue. Start it again, go in to task manager, kill the Firefox tasks, and then, actually launch Firefox.

I. Hate. Windows.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Part 26, cont.: They did me again

I think this needs little further explanation (mainly because I can't make any sense of it):

dwwin.exe DLL initialization failed.
The application failed to initialize because the window station is shutting down.

Except, the window station (what? is this English?) is not shutting down, which is the entire problem.

The system cannot end this program because it is waiting for a response from you.

Oh, that's nice. It's my fault. Meanwhile this program has not been open for hours and only needing a response from me because it failed to close properly or completely and has been hiding in the background, ready to rear its ugly head now.

Adobe acrord32.exe application error
The instruction at "0x5ad71531" referenced memeory at "0x00000014" the memory could not be "read"

Cute, tell me about some random line of code and random bit of memory. This is entirely unhelpful. If you had a countdown timer (like, oh, I don't know, my Mac) that just shut down 120 seconds after being told to, come hell or high water, I wouldn't have to deal with this bullshit.

If my time is worth $20 per hour, and I spend 3 minutes a day dealing with this, and I work 250 days a year, that's $1 per day, or $250 per year, or $750 over the lifespan of a computer (assuming it is amortised over three years). Can someone please explain how it is more efficient to save a hundred dollars on a PC just to have staff waste hour upon hour of time trying to make the goddamn system work?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Part 25: Dude, you're getting a Dell. And it sucks.

I may have blogged this before but sometimes when I shut down my computer, it doesn't. I say shut down, it asks me if I am sure, I say yes I am sure, and go on my merry way. And then, it doesn't. It has something to do with not properly shutting down Acrobat (I'd grab a screenshot but once I say okay to that dialogue it, presto, shuts down) but I wind up leaving it on all night (or, in this case, weekend) and then having to restart in the morning.

And today ... it didn't even shut down properly. I said yes to the stupid dialogues. And waited. And took a phone call. And waited. And went to fill my water bottle, and waited. All that was splashed across the screen was a big image that said "DELL" as if to remind me of a computer brand that, given the choice, I will never buy. But, seriously, do you want your brand name to be displayed for minutes (and if I hadn't manually shut down, hours) while people ponder why their machine to work? Shouldn't they put up a big apple instead?

Part 24: Wither user?

When I start up Firefox for the first time after restarting, Windows gives me this nonsense. I've logged in, but it asks me if I want to run this program as what I've logged in as. I think it's a ploy to get me to use IE. (NEVER!)