May 2008 Archives

Article here.

Another take:

I’ve been to San Francisco and Los Angeles. I’ve seen Hollywood in the news.

I guess Mr. Peckman has, too.

So you haven’t bought an Intel Mac yet? (Don’t worry. You don’t have to.) And you’re still using VirtualPC? (Yes, that’s OK, too. I was until a couple of months ago.) And you have the error “NTLDR: Fatal Error 2592 reading BOOT.INI” on boot?

Uh oh.

Don’t worry! I’ve been there! And this is how I solved it.

First, you’ll need to create a brand new PC with Windows XP. I think that means you’ll have to start with the VirtualPC installation CD and make a new installation, but I’m not sure as I didn’t have to do this step. (I already had a second PC handy.)

Second, in the broken PC’s settings, select Drive 1 and click “None.” VPC will tell you that it has moved Drive 1 into a separate document.

Third, in the new PC’s settings, select Drive 2 and click “Select…” Direct VPC to the separate document that it just created.

Fourth, start up the new PC and get a command prompt.

Now do this:

attrib -R -A -S -H boot.ini
xcopy /ah C:\boot.ini d:

(to the question “Overwrite boot.ini,” answer “Y”)

attrib +S +H +R boot.ini

This sequence first makes it so you can overwrite the broken boot.ini, copies the hidden boot.ini from your C: drive to your broken D: drive, and it reassigns the attributes to the boot.ini file that make it system, hidden, and, I presume, read-only.

Shut down the new PC and in its settings, select “None” for Drive 2.

Open the settings for the broken PC and click “Select…” for Drive 1. Point VPC to the separate document. Then start up the broken PC.

Now, you may have other problems with that PC. Mine, for example, simply didn’t want to run Windows XP happily and I had to do a repair installation on the disk. But that’s a topic for another note.

Hope this was of some use to someone…

I sweat. You give. Do it now.


I’ll be riding in the American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure on June 8th. It’ll be a great ride, but would be all that much the better if I actually raised some funds!

So go to this page and contribute to the cause and to the cure.

It’ll make you feel good. Really. Even if it’s only $5, it’ll make you feel good.

But it will make you feel a lot better if it’s $50.

And talk about euphoria! $500 will buy euphoria. Really.

Article here.

Another take:

American Airlines takes first step towards ensuring that nobody, but nobody, wants to use their airline. $15 isn’t a lot to ask. What is a lot to ask is for passengers to deal with substantially longer and more frustrating boarding times and processes as everybody tries to stuff their overloaded rollons into the overhead bins leaving no room for anybody else. And since American flies MD80 and similar airplanes, they just aren’t designed to handle the huge number of carryons that will be brought on board.

And then what happens when someone brings one on board that just won’t fit (even though it’s the RightSize)? Will American charge $15 on the spot? Or not and royally tick off those who paid $15 for their bag?


American Airlines, that’s the sound of the death knell tolling for thee.

Article here.

Another take:

This site is not for sale.

(Unless you’re offering, like, $25 million. H/T Daring Fireball.)

Which dialog box? This one. The bane of my MacOS Xistence. And this is how it looks when you open it up using Go>Connect to Server:

Connect to Server dialog.png

So, what’s so wrong with it? It’s straight-forward enough, right?

Problem 1: There are two active-looking controls when the dialog box appears. One is a list, for which up and down arrows should work, especially since there’s a selected server in the list. The other is a text entry field, for which the up and down arrows should also work, as well as the left and right arrows, for that matter, especially since there’s selected text in the field. And both highlights are blue.

Which one is the real active field? Yes, it’s the one with the blue highlight around the box, not the one with the blue highlighted text, which would lead you to think there are two active controls in this dialog. How wrong you are!

The fix? Other Mac apps, including Safari, which I’m using right now, grey out the selection in an inactive list, and completely unselect the text in an inactive text entry field. On opening, this dialog box should have either one line selected in blue in the list or the text selected in blue in the text entry field, possibly with the last-used favorite in the list selected in grey (but definitely not blue).

Problem 2: Well, I decide that I’m trainable and, since I most often want to use a previously-used selection, my first thought is to hit tab, which correctly de-highlights the text in the text entry field, but inexplicably de-highlights the previously-used selection in the list, too! Now nothing is highlighted.

My brain, which was previously drawn to the previously-used selection, is now left thinking, WTF? Do I hit up or down arrow now? I was thinking “Up arrow, because I want to get to that one above the current selection,” but now I’m wondering what an arrow key will do, because there’s nothing obvious about what should happen next.

The solution is for the dialog box to behave properly with the highlighting of the various active and inactive elements. Were the highlight grey in the first place and I hit tab to get to the list box, it should turn the highlight to blue and I would be left with no wondering at all about what the up or down arrow might do. That ought to be pretty easy to fix.

Problem 3: The dialog box isn’t really a dialog box, so it has some strange behaviors. Like resizing the window makes the selection in the list box get unselected. And there’s no green dot, either. (Why not? Couldn’t clicking the green dot make the window expand to a size that is wide enough to show the complete server addresses and tall enough to show all server addresses? But the green dot behavior, in general, sucks in MacOS X and is one of the few things that Windows gets right… Ouch.)

Problem 4: This isn’t a problem with the above-shown “Connect to Server” dialog box, it’s a problem with the inexplicable nature of the Finder sidebar. (And with the Open/Save dialog box, too.)

Screwed-up Sidebar.png

Let’s say I used the above-shown “Connect to Server” dialog box and connect to Home. Funny thing is it doesn’t show up in the sidebar as I think it should. Instead, the server, shr-g5, shows up. Yeah, yeah, I know, the item in Finder>Preferences>Sidebar says under “Show these items in the Sidebar:” “Connected Servers,” not “Connected Volumes.”

But why doesn’t it? Why, when I want to get to Home do I have to wait for Finder to connect to shr-g5 and see what volumes are shared in order that I may eventually click on Home? Perhaps this is useful for folks who regularly need to look at different volumes on the same server and only want to have to navigate that silly “Connect to Server” dialog once per boot. But me? I want to see Home listed somewhere in that list, whether it’s under Devices (it would fit perfectly under iDisk, which isn’t a “device” either) or in Shared, where it really would belong, too.

Aw, Bill, you’re just cranky because you have to wait for the Finder to connect… No, I’m cranky because I just got off a 35-mile bike ride which was uphill all the way (OK, not really, but it sure felt like it!) and I’m not cranky as much as I am just plain tired, and, well, Apple gets the brunt of it today.

And maybe I am a bit cranky because I didn’t make it up Plains Road, whose approximately-25% grade will require more stamina and less weight for me to make it up. Sorry, Apple.

A cartoon for the week, soon to appear at Partial-Fractions-080517.jpg (Inspired by this entry at /..)

Article here.

Another take:

This might have caused a problem for me about 30 years ago when I remember thinking to myself, “He likes this stuff?!”

Article here.

Another take:

I’ll be sad the day the inventor of the box of wine dies, too.

Articles here, here and here.

Another take:

Look, Ma! No news!

(Well, other than that little earthquake in China and some other little things… wow. I guess there really isn’t that much in the news today.)

Does anybody know why a Dell 5100MP would project the image of bars shown below and require unplugging/replugging to reset it? It completely locks up and won’t respond to any button pushes on either the remote or on the projector. So far, it’s only happened with Dell Windows XP laptops. Neither Mac nor Dell Linux laptops cause this problem that we’re aware of.

Feel free to hypothesize in the comments.


Article here.

Another take: Junta votes to keep its head firmly up its butt. No end in sight.

Only at a college...


Seen recently by my dad at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology:


(Thanks, Dad!)

Hi, WallStreetFighter visitors! How cool, and thanks, WSF folks! Feel free to read some other entries. Dunno’ if you’ll find them funny or even interesting, but feel free to add my blog to your reader. It’s a low-volume (only a few times per week), low-quantity (only a few words, usually), and sometimes even low-quality (you be the judge) blog.

Hi, mental_flossers! Good grief! Two mentions in one week! (Thanks, Allison and Jason, whichever Jason you might be… sorry!) I’m really glad, actually, because I think this picture is funny as heck and I’m glad more folks are getting to enjoy it. Stick around and enjoy some other stuff.

Now if I could only figure out how I’ll support this blogging habit….

Bush Resigns!!


Article here.

Another take: No, not really, but good reading nonetheless.

Article here.

Another take:

I’m confused.

Madams are the dealers. Selling sex is illegal.

Johns are the users. Purchasing sex is illegal.

Possession with the intent to distribute carries a much stiffer (ahem) penalty than mere use, in accordance with society’s wishes.

So why is it that we’re somehow shocked that people who are arrested are embarrassed, as if they were too good to be caught? Or that users, who commit a lesser crime, are more likely to face a lesser penalty than the dealers, who commit a more serious crime?

These people’s lives weren’t destroyed by some nameless, faceless societal prosecution, nor did the prosecutions cause the death of two criminals. No, these people destroyed their own lives. The prosecution merely implemented the penalties which the government and community have already decided carries out the ultimate goal.