catsidhe: (Default)
Watching one's workmates hold an electromagnetism meter up to their LCD monitors to see what their EM radiation exposure is, then watching the look on their faces when I point out that each of us has two electromagnets strapped to our heads for most of the day.
catsidhe: (Default)
I almost forgot: I found a fix for something which was bugging me.


If you have installed Ubuntu Hardy, then you'll notice that you have Thunderbird 2.0 installed. Also available is this package called "lightning-extension". Lightning is a plug-in to Thunderbird. Well, when I say 'plugin', it is a enhancement par excellence. It give Thunderbird a calendar function. Now, when you get a meeting invite, you can respond right there from Thunderbird, rather than firing up Evolution or hoping that the OWA web interface will behave this time.

But. When I fired it up for the first time, I discovered a calender in there called Korganizer, which even had event in it. Yay! It's that smart, it found my Korganizer calender and included it automatically! Double Yay! Wait: why are none of the meetings I accept visible from Korganizer? Why do additions I make through my Palm and sync with Korganizer not visible in Lightning?

Now I know the answer. Lightning has two types of calender: local and remote. When you create a calender, it really wants you to make it local. It turns out that the local calender is not an ICAL file: it's a SQLlite database of your appointments. Which makes sense, I guess, but that's not what I want: I want it to talk to Korganizer, dammit! It doesn't even give the option to link this calender to std.ics! Wah! So much potential ruined!

Wait... 'Remote' calender. It turns out that this does not mean 'any calender on another server', as you might naïvely think: it means any calender which is not a carefully tended SQL database. Like, for instance, an ICAL file. So, setting up a 'remote' calender and setting the URL to '~/.kde/share/apps/korganizer/std.ics', and now there is actual communication. I can accept a meeting and sync it painlessly to my Palm.

It turns out that when Lightning first started it looked for the Korganizer calender, and imported it into it's own database, where it would be protected forever, incommunicado and utterly useless. Well, no longer.

Now all I have to do is get korganizer to talk with Exchange, and Bjorn Stroninthearm's my uncle.

Oh, FFS.

Apr. 14th, 2008 03:12 pm
catsidhe: (damn)
The University's Grand United Computer System — on which is done trivial paperwork like receipting, leave requests, training applications, publications recording, that sort of inconsequential nonsense — is shortly to receive an upgrade. From very soon, those who need to do super-sekrit special financial stuff will no longer need to have JInitiator installed on their machines, but will require Sun's JRE.

And there was much rejoicing, not least because this is already in many departments' SOEs, and we thought that this would be a cakewalk: for most people the job was done before they started.

Then the instructions arrive:
  1. uninstall any existing installation of the JRE.
  2. install this particular, obsolete, version of the JRE (and we're talking more than a major revision old, here)
  3. turn off the JRE autoupdate function


*headdesk*headdesk*headdesk*


Luckily, everyone I personally work with also saw the minor flaw in this plan immediately.

But still, WTF were the twerps in Central IT development thinking??!??!!?
On second thoughts, don't answer that.
catsidhe: (Default)
After a week and a half of effort, two days of which has been pretty well full-time, I have cracked one of the more niggling problems we have here.

The problem: Printers. When we ghost a lab, we basically have to have the printers installed for every lab in which that image will be installed, and since we just did a rationalisation of images (since we found that the Dell GX270, GX280 and GX620 images could be 'folded' together into one image with all appropriate drivers), this means that basically evey lab must be able to print to almost every other lab. Moreover, it means that when things change, we have to remember all the labs that the image will be used in and set it up accordingly. We don't always remember to do this, and whether the solution is to set up the printer on each of 32 machines, or to re-make the image and re-ghost the labs again, the extant solutions weren't pretty.

But now I don't have to do either of those things.

First: set up the printer on a machine. Any machine, really. Just so long as you have admin rights. Once the printer is set up as you desire it, say, \\smb\lw.192, then open regedit and export HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Printers\,,smb,lw.192. You'll know the subtree when you see it, it just has s/\\/,/g in the subtree name. Name the export of this subtree to something like lw.192.reg.

Now edit a file called, say, add_192.cmd, and put the following in it (assuming that you have a HP LaserJet 4100 for the sake of example):
rem first, install the correct driver:
start /wait rundll32 printui.dll,PrintUIEntry /ia /m"HP LaserJet 4100 Series PS" /f%windir%\inf\ntprint.inf /u /q
rem second, apply the registry patch:
start /wait regedit /s c:\lw.192.reg
rem last, stop and start the print spool system:
start /wait sc stop spooler
start /wait sc start spooler


Then have a job in Ghost that transfers the two files to the client, say, to c:\, then executes add_192.cmd. You can't just get it to execute the commands one after the other, because ghost doesn't keep them in order, which sucks.

I also discovered that ghost (8.0 at least) has an interesting bug: when giving a path to a file which you want to download to a client, the path can't have spaces. It copes with the spaces fine, right to the point where it goes to copy them over, when it fails.

But, I have done the, well, not the impossible, but figuring out what the hell was going on (or not) with Microsoft's usual level of informative error messages ("The arguments are invalid", that's it), I feel I deserve a long drink of something pleasant and brain-cell-icidal.

*#$%*&!!1!

Feb. 23rd, 2006 11:41 am
catsidhe: (fire)
Right. Next person to ask a stupid question, or to criticise my prioritising of tasks, or to suggest that I need another direct report, or to give me another task, or to assume that I'm not, in fact, fucking busy, or to assume that if they aren't seeing me working on something they understand as work at this very moment, that I am therefore lazy and shiftless, will be greeted with a hail of bullets.

I'm off to do three more urgent things at once. Again. Still.

Today has been three of those days, and it's not even midday yet.

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