Monthly Archives: October 2007

The mystery of the magic file (or how i invented the .rte and .rtg file formats)

I’m just back from a head spinning experience of extreme Windowsism.  A file that refused to be renamed, or deleted… until ten minutes later…

What happened was that I wanted to rename a file.  Like I usually do, I clicked the file, then pressed F2, got the “editable” view of the file name and started typing.

Nothing happened.

I clicked around, trying to see if the computer was just slow or something like that.  Well… the file explorer did not respond at all…

It was frozen.  So I waited for it to unfreeze.  Which it didn’t.  It apparently had crashed.

I force-quitted.  Restarted and retried.  After all, perhaps it was just a fluke?  Right?

Nope.  Same exact problem.

I scratched my head, thought for a bit and rejected a number of alternative ways to go.  I guessed it was time for the daily reboot… again today.  And rebooted the system.

Once back in the catalogue (five minutes later) I found the same problem persisted.  No rename, no file explorer, nothing but kill the program.

I was able to “solve” the problem however, by copying the file.  Once I had it was in fact possible to rename the copy.  All I had to do now was to remove the old file and, although kind of axy (as in trying to carve an inch high wooden statuette with an axe), the problem would be solved.

The file did not want to be deleted.  However, the file explorer did not freeze this time so chalk one up for windows?  Or not.  Shutting down the file explorer and restarting it did not help either.  It was time to harvest the vast experience of the firm.

I asked around in the office landscape trying to find someone that could help, and I got a number of helpful advice like “have you restarted the file explorer?” or “have you rebooted the machine?”  All of which was rather not what I hadn’t already tried.

Finally someone suggested: “put two files in the same folder where the problematic file is placed, name them so they appear just above and just below the file with the problem, put something like ‘erase me’ at the end of them, wait a week and delete the file then.”

After having hyperventilated for a while to get the whole concept into my head and make it stick long enough to do what the guy had suggested I went ahead.

My magic file was named something like “My document 2.rtf” so after some experimenting with names that would place the file exactly where I wanted them I came up with:

My document
My document 2.rtf
My document

Now for the mind blowing finale.

Once I had the files in place my folder looked like:

My document
My document

The magic file had disappeared!  Finally deleted!!  Only about ten minutes after the button was pressed!!!

That was when I noticed the dialogue boxes saying “The file cannot be renamed, it has disappeared.”  They were, in true windows style hidden under the file explorer window…

Aha, was my first thought, problem solved…  Then I felt a chill going down my spine.  Didn’t I try to rename before I deleted?  Or did I try to delete first and rename later?

No! my mind screamed.  I had a file, whose content was important but whose name was wrong.  So deleting before renaming would be stupid.  And renaming after I’d copied the file and renamed the copy would be equally stupid (not to mention impossible… there was already a file with that name…)

Somehow windows had confused the order of the operations?!  BRRRRR!!!

You might think, hey he was working with a networked drive and the net was having some kind of problem or the order of the packages got confused.  It’s a good idea, it could really happen, even though I think the Samba protocol (or whatever windows have chosen to call it) should be able to handle packages coming in haphazardly without getting confused like this, and the most probable result of Samba not managing that should be some kind of failure, even total failure demanding the drive to be remounted (or a blue screen or whatever XP uses when the OS-programmers run out of money, time or happiness).

Enough about networked drives… the drive in question was local!  No network, no delays, not even cables (USB/FIREWIRE/eSATA or what have you)… unless you count the system bus.  Does windows use TCP/IP on the system bus?

Well… thank God I have my important files on another OS altogether!  Not to mention on RAID and USB backup…

Computers are scary… Windows computers are terrifying!

Review: Knocked Up (2/5)

“Knocked Up” (IMDB, Amazon) is about Ben (Seth Rogen) and Alison (Katherine Heigl) who gets drunk, has unprotected sex, gets pregnant and decides to keep it (or at least she does…)

This is a sweet movie and all. Some quite good characters, but the main problem here is, I don’t buy it. People just aren’t this cute and cuddly. Sure, she might have jumped into bed with him… if he’d given her roofies… and sure, she might have wanted to keep the child… if she felt jumping off a bridge was the only alternative, but the guy she’s doing all this with…

Don’t get me wrong here. Ben is a pretty cool guy…. in fact I bet most men think he’s really cool… he does his own thing, and … well goof off completely. Checking the IMDB page for this movie I’m not surprised to learn the director is a man (Judd Apatow) he’s also the writer, and four out of five producers are men (unless Clayton Townsend isn’t a male name, but I think it is…)

So, male fantasy coming up: Photo model beautiful woman will want to have your child even if you don’t have a job, smoke pot and are piss poor. Don’t tell me he got his act together in the end…. she didn’t know he was having a work, and apartment etc when she took him back.

Anyway, this story doesn’t have to be logical anyway since it’s just a big poster child for making people have kids (or at least not abort them) so much so they had to put in (definitely SGI’ed) shots of the baby “breaking out” just to scrape some of the sugar coating off.

This movie, ladies and gentlemen is nothing but the product of a frantic society (and I bet the rest of the western world are just as frantic as they are “over there”). The authorities want us to make lots of consumers and tax payers, but we’re not really doing so good in that department, so when they go old nobody will be able to pay for the care of them, at the rate of growth most western countries have today we’d have to import daily buss loads of immigrants or there will be no consumers or tax payers in the end… and that’s why this movie screams… get knocked up, do it regardless of the cost “Just do it already” and it doesn’t matter if the guy is a complete looser or if you brought condoms, just as long as you don’t use em… Wonder if the Catholic church is a sponsor?

This movie gets a 2/5 score for being a good laugh, but it could have gotten more, if it hadn’t been for the propaganda.

Euro English

The European Commission has just announced an agreement that English will be the official language of the EU – rather than German (the other possibility).

As part of the negotiations, Her Majesty’s Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement, and has accepted a 5-year phase-in of new rules, which would apply to the language and reclassify it as Euro-English.

The agreed upon plan is as follows:

In year 1, the soft ‘c’ would be replaced by ‘s’. Sertainly,this will make the sivil-servants jump with joy. The hard ‘c’ will be replaced by ‘k’.

This should klear up konfusion and keyboards kan now have one less letter. There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome ‘ph’ is replaced by ‘f’. This will reduse ‘fotograf’ by 20%.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters, which have always been a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of the silent ‘e’s in the language is digrasful and they should eliminat them.

By year 4, peopl wil be reseptiv to lingwistik korektions such as replasing ‘th’ with ‘z’ and ‘w’ with ‘v’ (saving mor keyboard spas).

During ze fifz year, ze unesesary ‘o” kan be dropd from vords Kontaining ‘ou’ and similar changes vud, of kors, be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters (i.e., ‘ea’).

After zis fifz yer, ve vil hav a reli sensibil riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubls or dificulties and evrivun vil find it ezi to understand ech ozer.