Dysmey Post Archive > Pages for 2002 > Start-Of-Fall 2002 Edition

Start-Of-Fall 2002 Edition

the fall is here

The weather turned wonderful Sunday, as a briefly gray sky became a beautifully blue, and a briskness filled the air. The briskness gave me impetus to clear out the garage enough to let me park the car inside.

The nights have become cold, though, and last night I had to turn on the furnace for the first time. The house (at least those parts closest to the furnace) got very warm very quickly.

That reminds me: I will need to get my winter clothing out of storage and into the new house tonight.

The leaves have not yet turned colors, although the tree in back is getting a head start. This will come about quickly, though, due to the drought we've had this summer.

Also on Sunday I installed the doors to the bathroom vanity; they were in the garage, and I had to remove them, anyway. They looked bungled at first (why do they overlap?) until I found how the hinges go.

museum days are coming

I learned from my sister how to set up the no-parking barrier she used during last year's Museum Days to keep the tourists from using the yard as a parking lot. Those I must set up Thursday evening.

This weekend is going to seem so whacko. The new house is only a block from the park, where the James Dean Run (the antique hot-rod show) will be held. So, there is bound to be a mob milling down Elm Street, which will be trod by more people this weekend than on any other time of the year.

work is always here…

At work Monday came out well enough, although I overextended my lunch by a quarter hour. (I'll explain why shortly.) But I am still burdened with a problem in one of the departments, which refuses to go away.

Brecht Kist

<flame>

A long time ago, when my friend Debbie bore the thankless job of LAN application specialist, a certain department bought Brecht Kist (BK) software to help them do what they do.

(What they do I will not say, because I don't want to say what kind of company I work for. Even the software's name is fictitious.)

Debbie got the task of setting up BK and talking to its tech support. The whack thing about BK (apart from its use of BTrieve) is its functions, some of which are distributed to workstations that use it. You can use a BK function only if the server workstation for it is logged on and BK is running. Back then there were not enough people in that department, so we had to set up two servers just for the most important BK functions.

Also, the software uses Microsoft Word 95 macros to generate its reports. If you never had your computer hit by a macro virus, be assured that full-featured macro scripting in Word is one of the stupidest things Microsoft has ever unleashed on the world. Anyway, this gave Debbie the biggest headaches, because sometimes the macros choked, and she had to get BK Tech Support to help her fix them. And up till then she never used macros. The fact that the macros work at all is a good witness to Debbie's competence and skill.

When Debbie ascended to the ethereal realm of graduate studenthood, I inherited some of her tasks, including fixing BK and talking to its techies. This was a major pain in trying to fix an important report macro; after six months with Tech Support with nothing to show for it, I just wrote my own setup to print the report.

It gets worse: BK is aging rapidly. It has had no upgrades since 1999; its underlying database has changed from BTrieve to Pervasive SQL, rendering the BK repair utilities useless. And the company that made and sold us BK is phasing it out in favor of a Web-based product. (At least something good is coming out of this.)

Why this rant? Because I am so tired of this double-dumb-monkey-bum BK!

One of the BK users keeps jumping through error message hurdles because one day her boss reset her user name using the wrong utility. The next day her BK client blossomed with database error messages. While I reset her user name with the right utility, the damage had already been done.

The database still spews error messages on that user's workstation every time her BK client reads (even on passing) a record with her old user name. I worked on this for a fortnight with BK Tech Support; and even though the fellow is rather competent, we have gotten nowhere. Just about my only hope has been to strip that user of all BK server functions, giving them to a newer user.

</flame>

housekeeping

I went to Lowe's in order to find a replacement for the end of the faucet in the kitchen sink. The incumbent tap-end is so encrusted with minerals that the water spews all over the place. I didn't feel like spending a whole year dealing with this, so I swapped tap-ends. The new one puts out water in a nice stream, which I can swivel up to a 45° angle. I will keep the original someplace, because my sister needs it to hook up the washing machine.

vacation (got to get away!)

I used data from the Accuweather site to make a forecast table for the coming fortnight, which covers Museum Days and my vacation. Apart from a rainy next Thursday and Friday, it will be sunny for the whole period, with temperatures above 20°C until Friday, then bouncing between 15°C and 20°C thereafter.

This is very promising for my vacation next week, during which is my semiannual visit to Purdue University. Fortunately its homecoming falls on the same weekend as Museum Days, so I will not get mobbed by rah-rahs when I visit later on.


Copyright © 2003 by Andy West. All rights reserved. Last updated 30 November 2003.