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Re: Forum/Reality Disconnect

December 23, 2012

I just saw this absolutely amazing post by Gregg Eshelman in reply to an old blog article, “Forum/Reality Disconnect“, and thought it just had to be shared on its own.

The two most annoying things on technical fora (including ye olde USENET) are the people who will not read *in full* the OP and tell the person to do EXACTLY what he said he’d already tried *that did not work*.

Apparently many people are incapable of reading and comprehending plain language, or at least incapable of thinking beyond a set of rote responses for what they assume is a common issue. READ the entire post so you don’t look like a clueless, script reading “tech support” goon by telling the person with the problem to do what they’ve already tried.

Even worse is when I’ve posted links to articles with fixes that are supposed to work but didn’t and someone replies *with the exact same links*.

If you cannot READ then come up with something different, don’t bother to reply, not even to say you don’t know of anything different. It only pisses people off.

Then there are the hosers who figure out or simply stumble upon a fix for their issue and cap the thread with an “I fixed it!” without saying HOW they fixed it.

HTF did you fix it? I’m reading this thread because I’m trying to fix the exact same problem. C’mon, GIVE! Tell the world how you fixed it!

I’d love to mod a tech forum just so I could kickban both sorts. 😀 Help or say nothing. Don’t be useless or condescending. People come to these forums for help. It doesn’t matter if a search of the forum would turn up the answer if the person with a problem has no idea *what to search for*.

Most forum searches are quite useless. Given the heavy use of numbers and acronyms and “nonsense words” and words of 4 or fewer characters in computer jargon and how the default search indexing is set to exclude such things, it’s highly likely that a forum search wouldn’t work anyway. A tech forum search should be set with as broad an index setting as possible. Too bad if it makes for a giant index, if someone is searching for info on a GBX-39/WQ23 ver9.53.2 *all the numbers and punctuation characters are important*.

15~20 years ago, web searches were much better. If you knew EXACTLY what you wanted to find you could put quotes around it and the search would look for EXACTLY that, nothing else. These days they all “suggest” that we’re all a bunch of idiots who don’t know what we’re looking for and everything entered in the box is spelled incorrectly. Try putting quotes or + and – signs in and they’re ignored.

I was just trying to find out reasons why Microsoft DaRT 6.0 wouldn’t boot and what’s the top “hits”? People asking why their DODGE Dart won’t start. I tried adding -dodge and still got bogus “hits” on the car.

Companies like to creatively spell words in their names and product names. When someone enters such, *they are not spelling it wrong!* so don’t ignore it and present only hits with the ‘corrected’ version.

The computer world needs a “search idiot” that only looks for EXACTLY what’s entered and strictly obeys boolean operators and regex commands. I wouldn’t care if the query has to go into a queue and I’d have to wait some time for a reply, as long as the results only contain links to sites that actually contain what I’m looking for.

For some years I’ve had a name for such a search engine, LookStupid – as in “Look, you stupid computer, I know what I’m doing! Stop trying to outsmart me!”.

I agree 100%. I wonder if the owner of DuckDuckGo would be able to come up with a search engine aggregator like LookStupid…

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Disable DXVA to fix Windows 8 BSOD on Experience Index test

November 21, 2012

Crashing while trying to run the Experience Index test “Tuning Windows Media decoding”? Well, I found a solution for the problem on a GeForce 6200 PCI (256mb) used to bring Aero to an older Pentium 4 HT PC.

Disable DXVA2. It crashes while trying to use the GPU to accelerate decoding h264 video.

Go here: http://bluesky23.yu-nagi.com/en/ – grab DXVA Checker. Run it. Install .NET if need be. Go to the “DSF/MFT” tab and click the DSF/MFT Viewer button. Under both “DirectShow” and “Media Foundation”, look in the list for entries shown in red – these are DXVA-accelerated. Click one of them – first in my list is “Microsoft H264 Video Decoder MFT”. In the lower-right corner, click the button “GPU Acceleration”, and select “Disable DXVA2” if there is an option for it. I don’t think disabling all GPU acceleration is necessary.

Reboot (not sure if it’s necessary, but a good idea) and try the test again. If it still fails, go back and perform “Disable” for GPU acceleration on each. It should now be fixed!

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Do not use Windows Installer Cleanup Utility to “clean” your PC. DON’T.

June 28, 2011

OK, I was just idly browsing along (trying to fix a Windows Installer problem), and I found this article…

http://msmvps.com/blogs/installsite/archive/2009/07/25/don-t-clean-up-your-pc-with-windows-installer-clean-up-utility.aspx

… describing why the utility is NOT to be used for “cleaning up” your PC. It’s 110% correct – I’ve seen too many idiotic, uninformed bloggers posting “cleanup guides” with absolutely destructive advice (like disabling themes, services, etc). This is one of the more rare ones but I want to throw this out there in case there are some think-they’re-geeks out there that use the Installer Cleanup Utility as a “cleanup” tool.

The only thing this utility does to “clean” is to clean in the “what was dirty” sense, to gut a program’s configuration from Windows Installer, not from your computer! It just makes Windows Installer “forget” that a program was ever installed, so that installation issues can be resolved to re-install and cleanly uninstall the related program. It does NOT “clean” your computer of the installed program – hell, it doesn’t even uninstall it in the formal sense. All its files will still remain.

Personally, I use its “msizip G” as part of a cleanup routine, which removes orphaned Installer files – product packages that are located in the Windows\Installer folder, but not associated with any product that’s installed. Usually from failed Office updates or the like.

Just a public service blog post. =P

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Donate to F4UBCD Development

June 22, 2011

I get asked a lot, why don’t I have a donate link for F4UBCD? Well, sheer laziness, really. I really could use the side bonus – part-time IT job pays the bills, but the rest of my time is spent messing around on this stuff. With as much student loan debt I’ve racked up, sheesh, I could really use the help! It’s a balance figure staring at me, laughing, saying “Succkkerrr!” =P

So here’s the thing… first I want to make sure all responsible contributors get taken care of. Patching it all together and making it all play nice was only half the story! If you think these guys’ contributions are worth it, drop them a part of your contribution:

… to name a few. If you use their software on the disc routinely, please at least have the decency to buy a license! You should, after all, only be using software you’re licensed for – I have a license for each one myself.

Finally, if you have some money left over after all that gratuitous gratuity ;), here’s the big magic button! You can drop a couple bucks – say, $10 for “Thanks!”, $20 for “This CD saved my arse!”, or maybe $50 for “This CD saved my PC repair business!”

Bitcoin accepted here

Or via Bitcoin to address: 19U5krMNrScHWdVurD8dHAUmd9Hb9onLJV

And if you do feel like donating… thanks for your support!!

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Multi-Touch Zoom Pinch is virally terrible. Fix it. Please.

May 4, 2011

Dear OEMs and software developers,

Please learn to write a proper multi-touch interface driver. Copy Apple. I don’t care. Apple got it 100% correct in every way. I don’t even own an Apple product. In fact, I discovered this in reverse. I got an Android phone (LG Ally), and found its multitouch gestures somewhat useful. I remembered seeing something like that on the iPhone. But the experience… is entirely different on Android. The pinch zoom is freaking terrible.

Just try to use Google Maps on a (Google) Android phone. Impossible. Pinch zoom to where you want, you pinch to where you want and let go… BLAM, the screen explodes to some totally ridiculous zoom level. OK. Pinch zoom back out, can’t even pinch to the level you were just at… let go… BLAM, you’re zoomed into a pebble in the road. I give up and start hitting the +/- zoom buttons to get back to reality. This behavior is all over Android, especially in photos.

Same with my “Elantech” touchpad. I have a pinch-zoom function that does the same exact thing, bouncy zoom. In Picasa (wait, is that another Google app? Yes it is!), I can pinch-zoom. But what’s it do? Release fingers, and BOUNCE. Snaps to some random-ass zoom level, usually orders of magnitude out of range. And it’s always zooming “in”, too… it never zooms “out”.

Then I used an iPhone 4 with Google Maps. WOW. Perfect. Everything zooms and pans directly and instantly, as if my fingers were manipulating the map itself. Web, everything pans and zooms beautifully. Apple did it right, they implemented proper input filtering to detect those out-of-range values and remove them. Why the hell hasn’t Google and friends done the same?

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Forum / Reality Disconnect

April 2, 2011

Y’know, it’s recently occurred to me that this is a phenomenon that’s gone on with most forums I’ve posted on. Usually forums I only post on once or twice, just to address a specific issue.

There seems to be a parallel-universe thing going on somewhere. Like the reality in my own world, expressed through clear and well phrased statements, is skewed through the forum, and appears on the other end like some kind of gibberish newbspeak.

I just don’t… freaking… get it. It really has started to bug me lately. It seems to involve expressing ways a product or service could improve, or to correct a problem, or pretty much anything that’s not 100% pure ass-kissing.

Here are some recent and past examples (recent first)…
http://androidforums.com/lg-ally/304806-dalvik-cache-fatal-design-flaw-just-boneheaded-oversight.html
There, I start off with a little rambling/rant about how the Dalvik-Cache folder is unmanaged in the Android OS and seems like a second-thought add-on with dire consequences. The thread quickly goes nuclear and everyone basically beats their chest and grunts “NOOOB NOOOOB”. Only at the very end of the thread do people begin to become civilized, but nothing is ever really made of the thread (other than one developer, who now hates my guts, somewhat-silently admitting acceptance and creating a script to help fix the problem). It’s the most baffling one to date, really.

Second most fresh on my mind is this one, that still eats away at me to this day, some years later:
http://forum.driverpacks.net/viewtopic.php?id=3515
This one… I mean, I don’t even really remember what went on here, haven’t actually read over the thread again but I just remember it’s there (actually saved as a bookmark). That forum… those people, I don’t get it. It’s a simple thing… the DriverPacks distribution is improperly fragmented for common usage, requiring people to download all three packages to get a usable set of drivers, except it now includes a bunch of unneeded drivers as well. It would save them bandwidth and save the users some headache to split them up differently. Simple, logical thing, right? Nope. The mods/admins/members stoop to base insults and random remarks, shitting all over *their own forum*, and giving me the middle finger. That’s just another one I’m totally stumped on.

Another forum, http://sevenforums.com, I simply can’t log in at. I give it my usual login, and it accepts it (so I apparently do have an account there), but it barfs back that I’d been banned for “fanboy behavior”, forever. Really stumped there. I emailed the forum admins and asked about the ban, and I exchanged 1 or 2 emails before they said that they “never lift bans”. Quite a primitive and shortsighted policy, but still… WTH for? I never even had an account there that I know of, let alone posted anything, let alone “fanboy” (of what, Windows? Sure not Mac and HELL not Linux… wtf fanboy of, then?). Still unresolved.

I post on ImgBurn forums that the ask.com bundled malware is really killing ImgBurn’s reputation, especially while presented along side some UniBlue system-destroyer garbage (clean registry! fix errors! OMG!). What do I get? A whole bunch of backlash about not knowing how to uncheck the installer, LUK supporting his work, blah blah. I thought it was pretty common knowledge that reg-cleaners and toolbars are malware. There are about a million other ways he could be supporting… just… I mean, WTF? I don’t get how that isn’t obvious…

I mean, this list goes on and on. All kinds of random things-I-say-in-good-intention, just met with boatloads of totally random and unexpected backlash from the members or admins. Most of the time I’m left frustrated, confused, and wondering what-the-hell-went-wrong. It was really just that last post about Dalvik-Cache that pushed me over the edge into thinking I must have a “kick me” sign posted on my head.

And it’s not just my posts on forums either. I always Google the things I’m curious about first, and I often find pages and pages of forum posts… 90% unrelated to my search. But of those rare 10%, about 7% of them are either unanswered (no replies), or worse… has some moron in the forum telling the OP to “search”. Then the thread is left hanging with no resolution (as that search result obviously didn’t show up for me, being there reading that now), and I’m left looking elsewhere. But then, there’s that third dead-end… the people that post exactly what I’m thinking, but either get nowhere, or are greeted by the same sort of angry mob I get in my posts. WTF?

Can anyone out there in internetland throw me some clues? I mean, there’s really not much we can do after-the-fact. Or even really much we can do to fix it, for that matter. I write in clear, verbose, easy-to-search posts, that make it easy for others to find info on the same situation I’m in right now. I’ve even stumbled across my own forum posts a few times in trying to solve a similar issue. But somehow, the 20,000-post, “fills every topic with the same pasta” members start off with some negative backlash, and the rest of the forum snowballs from there. The entire point of the topic is lost, the issue remains unresolved, and often the topic gets locked so people can’t even contribute in the future. What kind of internet am I visiting here? o.O

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Hey, yeah, Firefox 4? Import from Chrome. Thanks.

April 1, 2011

So, I decided to give Firefox 4 a good run this morning…

Downloaded, installed… and it picked up my stale, rotten old Firefox profile. Ugh. I’d rather it ask me if I want to start a new one.

Then I look for the import function. Since anyone that switched from FF to Chrome some 6-12 months ago would have done the same… stale FF profile, fresh Chrome. I’d think this would be easy to find. Nope. Nowhere to be found.

Ahh… “Import” isn’t placed under the “Options” submenu like it damn well should be, but instead is hidden under the legacy alt-menu bar. Despite their best efforts, they just can’t get that trivial detail right. I shouldn’t have to use the alt-menu at all, mmkay?

“Import”. Import from MSIE? Or from MSIE? I’m sure you’re using MSIE. Are you using MSIE? NO, I’M NOT. I’m using Chrome. And I wanted to give FF4 a chance. But, since it won’t let me, I don’t have much of a choice. Chrome imports from Firefox… there’s your user path: Chrome eats Firefox users. Until Firefox imports from Chrome, users won’t even consider going back to FF. Enjoy Chrome kicking Firefox’s ass as usual, then.

And that was my trial run of Firefox 4. Good night Firefox… once again. /facepalm