Microsoft Outlook’s reading pane, at random intervals, usually after starting the program or changing folders, started displaying messages with blank bodies in reading pane. Blank? Nah, that’d be too easy. I meant invisible content, hidden body which only becomes visible after scrolling or typing. At random. Small body of message? Tough luck, had to change to a message I could scroll through then back and hope for a miracle. New messages hid the signature until I started typing the content. I had to scroll down the body of a reply to get it to appear. Even stranger was the fact that the content, text and pictures were totally selectable and yet, still invisible. I’ve tried everything, from removing addons to disabling hardware accelerated rendering and manually selecting stationery colors and still it didn’t work. Reinstalling didn’t work. Repairing didn’t work. But now there’s a fix. You see, html rendering in Outlook 2013+ is done using Word engine – and there it hit me like a bird on my office window (and no, it’s not a joke, that thing happens to me at least once a week, scares the living crap out of me): Word is bugged. No, not that one, Microsoft Office Word. This one. Go drink some more coffee, sleepy head. So here’s the thing that fixed my problem, in all its glory:
I sleep better now. A heckuv-a-lot better. If I could, I’d give that team a medal for this fixit. I’ll just drink a couple of beers in your health, folks, instead.
Cortana, that loving voice, can’t bloody do much. Hell, if voice recognition was better I could write a better interpreter for it. Unfortunately I still can’t make her understand when I tell her to lock the computer – it’s either log, look or something else. There doesn’t seem to be much AI interpreting, only recognition of programmed phrases (like that “tell me a joke” thing I use every morning) – maybe my Scottish impression of “joke” throws her off. Also there’s the problem of accessing the microphone on my laptop, she pops up on “hey Cortana” which means she heard me, but then closes the mic faster than I can open my mouth again and lovingly annoys me with the “I didn’t hear anything” response. Realtek integrated mics are bloody crap. However, if that’s the present then we have a long way to go in order to reach Jarvis levels. Like from Earth to Planet X on foot, long. And it bugs me. Also I can’t script some of her responses, which could improve things by a billion in my book – even if it were to be local scripting. Yeah, that also bugs me.
In other news, Bruce Schneier (yeah, him, inventor of Cryptonomicon’s Pontifex/Solitaire) has some scary news – internet infrastructure is being probed for weaknesses and it’s getting worse by the minute. Updated: his blog post. What does that mean? Well, if they succeed, there’ll be plenty of angry mobs taking to the streets because they can’t access Facebook, Twitter and other crap – but I’m more worried about the gamers since almost every game there is, even single player games, won’t run unless they have access to “mothership” servers and we all know who is behind Anonymous and Gamergate. Yeah, lots of mostly teens with lots of free time, skewed priorities and moral codes, cult-like cloned identities and massively inflated egos every time the media mentions their cult group. Anyways, shit happens, deal with it. Though ima joining them if I can’t get my daily dose of 9gag. Heck, who else? Housewives who can’t post baby pictures or share terrifyingly fake conspiracy theories on Facebook? Blah, blah, blah. But 9gag? Nobody touches that and lives.
Post scriptum: Next post? The plague of our time, refugees. Maybe. Anyways, anybody wonders why there aren’t many refugee-related crimes up in Greece as there are in say France or Germany? Right now, my answer would be: “you don’t shit where you eat”. If Greece walls up, nobody gets into Europe. Hell, that’s done! No need for another article about it. So, next article: white, dry wine. The sort that sucks the moisture out of the air when poured. Oh yeah, baby!
It’s not easy to think about the security of your files, but once you’ve started you can’t stop. I’ve read a couple of articles about Zendo, either disproving or proving the use of one-time pads (OTP), can’t really tell. No, you read that right – go to that article, you’ll understand why soon enough. My thing, however, is not about the safety of one-time pads, because they’re safer than everything else, it’s using them as a commercial application, even if it is a messaging app. Stop! Facepalm time. Continue reading
I’ve been watching the drama unfold for the past couple of years. It’s about the World of Warcraft subscriber losses and trends, not something people might want to read but it’s something I’m interested in – it can also prove useful for other products. How? By looking past the numbers and into the abyss of basic human psychology. I’ve seen this behavior copied on many products that require content delivery, from websites to games, and they all get it wrong. Yes, I’m right about it. Yes, I’m quite sure of it. If you think that helps you, read on, otherwise stop right here. Continue reading
We walk past things that would have made Newton fall on his backside in wonder and fear, yet we do this without even raising an eyebrow. Marvels of engineering, of technology, of science, get at most a sideways look of annoyance, because apathy has replaced curiosity for the modern human and whatever manages to distract us for more than a second apparently deserves getting upset over. I mean, what we were thinking or doing was way more important than that, right? Continue reading