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March 2007 Archives

March 24, 2007


Here’s a list of software bugs that annoy me (started on 19 Feb, but I didn’t get around to finish the list until late March):

  • Microsoft Outlook 2003 sometimes decides not to enable alarms. You open Outlook and no alarms go off — ever. If you close Outlook and re-open it, the alarms [usually] re-enable themselves.
  • Mac OS X 10.4.8 sometimes decides not to resume from sleep properly. This morning, I opened my MacBook Pro lid and the username/password popup did not appear to let me unlock the screen. I had to hard reboot the machine. It’s rare, but it happens.
  • I absolutely cannot get a specific show to download from my TiVo using TiVo-to-go. All the rest download fine; it’s just that one (the last Episode of Friends — my wife won’t let me delete it, so I’d just like to archive it to DVD or something).
  • iDVD has a bug where it sits and spins for hours when encoding the audio in a DVD (google around — this has been reported ad nauseam throughout the net, but I think most people are missing the point: “Encoding a DVD takes a long time — just be patient”. No. It’s a bug.).
  • I use VirtueDesktops, and in general, it’s great. But if you have many windows open for a single application and you minimize one of them down to the dock, if you try to maximize it in a different desktop, it may switch back to the desktop with the most windows open in that app before maximizing it.
  • I just switched my work Treo 650 from Verizon to Cingular so that it would work in Europe for some recent travel that I took. The Cingular version of the Treo 650 software seems to be far less reliable than the Verizon version; it reboots at least once a week (usually spontaneously, but sometimes in the middle of a call), the buttons are decidedly slower to respond, and e-mail is quite unreliable (mail that I know is in my INBOX does not show up on the Treo, and somtimes mail that I send from my Treo does not actually get sent).
  • I don’t know if this is Cingular-specific, but once you create an outgoing e-mail on the Treo 650 and send it while working offline, you cannot delete it (even though it’s listed in the outgoing queue). So it will always go out once you go back online (well, it might go out, per the previous bullet…).
  • Andrew L. and I discovered this past week that GoDaddy.com’s account transfer and domain renewal forms do not work with the Mac OS X web browser, Safari. The problem is that they fail in a very non-intuitive way — you enter in the security code that GoDaddy asks for and it comes back and tells you that the code is invalid (i.e., it’s not an outright / blatant failure). So you bang your head against this for a while and then go try Internet Exploder — and it works. Grumble.

March 25, 2007

Ducks are not good doorbells

Bunches o’ stuff:

  • We finally released Open MPI v1.1.5 and Open MPI v1.2. Woo hoo!
  • The new Amazon/TiVo service, Unbox, is truly cool. I hope that this service stays alive. I’ve been a loyal Netflix subscriber for a long time, but I have to say that downloading straight to my TiVo beats Netflix in terms of convenience hands down. Tracy and I have downloaded a few movies and enjoyed them with all their TiVo glory (7 second repeat, etc.). You don’t get all the DVD extras, but that’s ok.
  • I got to see my brother in law, Mark, a few weeks ago while on some European travel.
  • The munchkins are always up to no good.
    • Kaitlyn came up to me the other day, tugged on my pant leg, looked up at me, and declared “I want to go try on dresses!” I’m so doomed.
    • We’ve caught Kathryn faking sleep (i.e., eyes closed and acting like she’s asleep, but you say something funny and she’ll smile).
    • Both munchkins have had variations on a 48-hour virus recently (not at exactly the same time, of course). That was fun.
  • I got some time on the 6th most powerful supercomputer in the world recently (the Sandia Thunderbird cluster) to do some scalability and development testing of Open MPI. Very cool, but very stressful (you don’t want to waste a single minute). Many thanks to the Sandia Thunderbird team for the opprotunity!
  • The weather’s getting warmer here; it’s supposed to hit 80 today. I might have to bust out the lawnmower for the first time this season, too. Grumble.

March 31, 2007

My TiVo is dead -- long live my TiVo!

My TiVo died today.

It was one of the original TiVo-manuactured series 2’s, activated on June 6, 2002, making it 4 years, 9 months, and 25 days old. It led a good, productive life. Its disk and fan had been making increasing louder noises over the last few weeks; today, it refused to boot after a power blip. Its front-mounted green LED winked out as a final “goodbye, and thanks for all the fish.”

It is survived by its owners, Jeff and Tracy (the munchkins only know it as the Box That Plays Music).

There were 3 Big Bummers about my TiVo’s death:

  1. Dealing without TiVo for a while. I know that sounds callous — why should your life be so dependent upon TV? Well, that was kinda the point: my TiVo allowed me to not be dependent upon TV. It would record stuff whenever it was supposed to; I could then relax and watch shows whenever was convenient. Specifically: I never paid attention to the TV except when I wanted to; I’m barely aware of what shows are on what days of the week.
  2. There were several shows on the hard drive that we had not watched yet. Fortunately, they’re all available online (Medium, Battlestar Gallactica, Raines — all available legally, thankyouverymuch!).
  3. I had a lifetime membership on that TiVo, meaning that I wasn’t paying anything per month for the unit. TiVo doesn’t offer lifetime memberships anymore, so getting a new unit to replace this one would mean paying a monthly fee. I’m not opposed to monthly fees, per se, but when you’ve enjoyed a service for so long without paying a monthly fee (again, completely legally!), it’s a bummer to have to start paying one.

Just for the heckuvit, I called TiVo to see if there was any way to transfer my lifetime membership. And guess what? Since this was my original TiVo unit and it was the first time it failed, they’re sending me a refurb unit (with 80 hours storage; my prior unit only had 60) and transferring my lifetime membership to it. I’ll have to pay “exchange fee” that is about $45 more than I would have paid for a new 180 hour unit, but that’ll pay for itself in a few months because a new unit would have incurred a monthly fee (ok, yes, I’m a total cheapskate). Woo hoo!

I suppose that this really only delays the inveitable — when the munchkins get old enough to have their own TiVo and/or so many “family shows” start sucking up disk space on the machine that we need a [much] larger capacity unit. But that’s ok; I’m happy to put that off to another day (and/or just get a big second disk to put in the current machine).

So Big Kudos to TiVo: thanks for keeping a customer happy when, by the letter of their contracts, they didn’t have to! Just another reason to love TiVo. ☺

About March 2007

This page contains all entries posted to JeffJournal in March 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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