Monday, September 22

To-do bar of Outlook 2007

I am not a big fan of Microsoft Outlook. When I was using Windows computer, I used to have Outlook Express, because this light-weight tool provides all the functionalities I need: Sending and receiving emails. The calendar of Outlook takes long time to load (on my humble machine), and I can't stick into using it.

It's simple: I don't have confidence on it, so I can't check it every day, so I can't use it.

Last week I started using Outlook 2007, and I found the To-Do bar was so useful that I can actually use it seriously!
This bar includes a mini calendar and shows 3 (configurable) incoming events. Below that, pending tasks are shown. You can either type in your task quickly and mark it "Tomorrow", or flag the email you received. The tasks will always be there, until you fulfill it and check it off. So it can be very helpful for people like me, who is always forgetful. It shows your pending task from calendar, email, and manual input task in one window.

I don't see such a bar in Evolution yet. The evolution email client can group the topics together: You can see the conversation in a tree-like structure. I like this very much. I might start building such a plugin, if I have nothing better to do.

(Evolution tree structure)

It's weird to pack calendar and mail functions together. To me, Mail and Calendar in my Mac work seamlessly, smoothly, quickly--and independently.
M: I am not sure how your Mail in Mac works, but in Outlook, you can setup an event and invite several persons by sending email. When they receive that email and click "Accept", the same event is marked into their calendar. So email and calendar have very strong tie. Also, in working environment, you should have both running all the time, to make sure you address any email and meeting on time.

(I never used Calendar to organize my life before. Now I think it's time to do so.)
Of course Calendar has the guest invitation function! What I meant "independently" is that one's crash won't affect the other--though I do have both running all the time (well, not true, I will switch off Mail when I need to focus)! And you know the frequency of crashing of those M$ products is quite...well, not low...

This is the reason of my disdain of the so-called "IDE" (ok ok ok, I am old and old-fashioned). You can have emacs (though it's quite extensive now...), gcc, gdb, make etc. work for you together, quite smoothly, but they are independent!
Some days ago I was out and my sister was working with my PC. Today I came back and saw that all my emails were lost. My sister didn't know anything about it. I entered in the Internet and noticed there - how to fix outlook express. It liked me and I downloaded and used there. I was marveled by reason of - the application solved my issue for seconds and free of cost as far as I remember. I have been very glad to work with it.

Driving safty issue

Today the Calgary Police Service released results of a recent
Check Stop. The result is scary.

A total of 554 vehicles (including all types and sizes of commercial vehicles, as reported in earlier statement) were selected to be checked for
mechanical condition, load securement and operator
qualification, to enhance commercial vehicle safety
throughout the province. Of these, 230 vehicles (42 per cent)
passed in all areas, 140 vehicles (25 per cent) required
minor repair, and 184 vehicles (33 per cent) required major
repair before they could continue.

The result tells us: When you are passing (or passed by) 3 commercial vehicles, it is very likely that one of them loses control and strikes on you without any warning.

Sunday, September 21

Ubuntu Error: starting from Gnome-Power-Manager

Today when I started my computer (Ubuntu 8.04), I got a message in the notification area:
The configuration defaults for GNOME power manager is not installed correctly, please contact your computer administrator.
Good news is: I AM the computer administrator, so I don't need to bother anybody. Bad news is: I have no idea what to do.

Then I found I can't run Synaptic Package Manager from the menu. The reason is: gsudo is broken, so there's no way to input the admin password. All the admin tools are not able to load from menu. I figure out to run it from command line:
sudo ls *input password so that the password is saved in cache for a few minutes.
sudo synaptic *start the Synaptic Package Manager .
sudo update-manager *start the Update Manager.
The other problem is that the theme is modified as "clearlooks" from "human". The Close and Minimize button are not showing in each window. Of course, modifiy it from the System->Preference->Apparence is not doing anything useful.

Then, after Googling, I found several complains about the same problem, started from July 2008. None of the complains is solved. Most of the victims reinstall the whole system. Some people suggested by saying "reinstall the gnome-power-manager" or "reinstall the gnome-settings-daemon" or "fixed the broken package", and one suggestion is to run the memtest86 to make sure the memory chips are good-- I actually follow this suggestion to figure out the memory chips are not the source of the problem.

I actually found the "/apps/gnome-power-manager" folder in Configuration Editor is gone.

Using the Synaptic to reinstall the gnome-power-manager is not changing anything. The last method I adapted, before the notification disappreaed, is to download the source code of gnome-power-manager and rebuild it. It works!

Yes, it works. The annoying notification is gone, and the "/apps/gnome-power-manager" folder in Configuration Editor has some values. But the other problems exists: The theme, the gsudo. And sometimes I got this message:
(gksu:6779): GConf-CRITICAL **: gconf_value_free: assertion `value != NULL' failed
This is still an open problem.

Sept 24, 2008: I gave up. Now I'm using KDE. It is good.





Friday, September 19


最近我改乘城铁上下班,所以昨天把多年前的mp3播放器翻出,把电视遥控器的电池偷过来,再接上电脑,看见里面原只有几首歌曲,就灌了几首Billie Holiday的歌和The World Is Flat的语音书,打算在火车上慢慢听。


这是多年前我寻找Macarena 时碰到的歌曲了,在这样一个清凉的早晨听到,真是让人雀跃。我一点都不知道歌词是关于什么的,但是无所谓,音乐无国界。在这个初秋的时候,让我们再感受一下热烈奔放的海边风情吧!


Thursday, September 18

Desktop Search: 鸡肋

这一年来我知道Microsoft和Google在桌面搜索上面的竞争很厉害,可是一直提不起精神来用。最近一台新电脑在XP+SP3上预装了Windows Search 3.0,用了10天,昨天终于把它卸载了。

最主要的原因是:我所需要搜索的文件不在它的索引之中。它默认搜索“我的文档”目录和Outlook中的邮件,可是我所需要的第一次搜索是看看Visual Studio目录中有没有wc.exe,计算文本文件中有多少行、多少个词、多少字节(最后结论是没有,所以安装了GNU utilities for Win32,强力推荐)。查找后告诉我不在index中,请点击打开经典查找方式,然后我还要按照几年来的习惯重新查找一遍。第二次搜索是想看看屏幕保护程序(*.scr)在哪个目录,也不在它索引之中。如果把索引扩大,让电脑监测着整个硬盘所有文件,就超过我的容忍度了(第三个原因)



所以,我选择了卸载。按下Uninstall之后屏幕列出一大堆软件,警告我:这些软件在Windows Search之后安装,所以卸载本软件可能影响这些软件正常运行。是否继续?我居然被吓怕了,点击了cancel。过10分钟之后觉得很没面子,才硬着头皮卸载。重启之后打开Outlook,跳出窗口:Instant search功能不能使用,请到微软网站下载软件:Yes/No,我点击Yes,就打开了下载Windows Search的窗口。玩我?我关机,重起,这次Outlook提示:上次开机如何如何,现在进入安全模式。新鲜,原来Outlook也有安全模式。进去之后关闭,关机,重启,总算世界安静下来了。

3,昨天在Vista+Visual Studio 5试了一下10年前的屏幕保护程序,居然还跑得很好,只有两个改动:1)在Project->property->General中把encoding方式从默认的unicode改为Multi-character。2)在Project->property->Link中加入SCRNSAVE.LIB和comctl32.lib。界面不熟悉,费了我不少时间。改天我试试改成unicode,看看那些函数要改动多少。

This is how the fvcking M$ makes money--by intimidating people!!!