Amazing Desktop Mod

I’m usually not very interested in desktop modifications, at least not on Windows. I need my computer for productivity first and eye candy second or third, so I just don’t have the system resources to spare, given how poorly Windows often runs, anyway. That said, this is amazing and sorely tempting me: How To: Roll Your Own Lightning at Sunset Desktop. I like it.

Outlook Attachment Reminder

Ever send an email without the attachment? You go on and on about what’s in it, then never send the file. I’ve done that. No more; now there’s the Outlook attachment reminder macro. Easy to install, and I just verified it works.

Hat tip: lifehacker.

Windows: Another Sure Thing?

After writing my last post, I discovered what may be another sure thing: unpredictable failures to work by Windows. Our printer is networked; it sits downstairs, connected to an old laptop, and we print everything to it over the network. It has been working fine. Well, okay, it’s been a little flaky for a few days, but it has been generally doing great since we set it up.

Today, I started getting this error: “Windows cannot connect to the printer. The server print spooler service is not running. Please restart the spooler on the server or restart the server machine.” This despite the fact that the print spooler service most definitely is/was running and the fact that the machine to which the printer is attached could print to it just fine.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to waste too much time before finding a solution. Still, it would be nice if Windows would work the way it is supposed to. I would settle for it just continuing to work, even if not everything I try to do works the first time. Sigh…

An epic Bill Gates e-mail rant

Techmeme linked me to this amazing Bill Gates e-mail rant. It’s gratifying to know that even the creator of the operating system finds it infuriating, especially when it just took me 10 minutes to reconnect my old laptop to my 802.11g (WiFi) network. I mistyped the WEP key, allegedly, either in the first box or in the confirmation box, upon which Windows repeatedly erased both entries and made me start over. Why hide my characters? I understand there’s a security value, but typing 26 hex characters blind is an error-prone activity; at least give me an option to show them. Why have two boxes? What possible reason there is that I would need to confirm a passkey when using it (as opposed to creating it), I don’t know. And the best question of all: why in the world did Windows forget the WEP key, in the first place? I did have to clone my PC’s MAC address to get my router to work with Comcast (thanks for making life that much harder, Comcast), but I didn’t think that affected the MAC address it uses internally to the network.

Errors in VShadow.exe

Alright, all you Windows geeks: I need help. I tried to implement a backup script that uses a number of Microsoft tools. I keep getting errors that look like this:

ERROR: Selected writer 'ASR Writer' is in failed state!
- Status: 7 (VSS_WS_FAILED_AT_PREPARE_BACKUP)
- Writer Failure code: 0x800423f4 ()
- Writer ID: {be000cbe-11fe-4426-9c58-531aa6355fc4}
- Instance ID: {3700a103-e7f8-4008-80f0-bc91528ae80b}

None of this (the words, the error code, the status, etc) seems to show up much in Google, and I have no idea how to fix it. Does anyone have any ideas? Thanks!

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