Back from the dead… WordPress blogging tip for coders – Code Excerpts.

So a while back i stopped blogging, of course very few would know that since no one reads this blog.  Well the good news is I am back!

I recently transitioned from Windows to my arch nemesis Apple.  In doing so I cam across all kinds of things I should have blogged about but I never did.  One thing that had been keeping me from bloging was I lost windows Live Writer.  Which was the best blogging tool I have ever used.  So simple, and so functional.  Its a Microsoft product so obv. its not supported on a Mac so inorder to blog I needed an easy way to post code snippets…

This blog is dedicated to helping coders out there use the lovely TinyMCE editor that is built into wordpress.com.  I was looking for something to assist me in posting code snippets, and failed miserably… couldn’t find any one out that had explained what I am about to explain to you.  Everything you need to do snippets is built into wordpress… you just needed to find this lovely post on WordPress GIST.

I just spent 185 words to show you  10 lines of code.  Steps are pretty simple… go to gist.github.com create your code blurb.  Then all you need to do is embed in your markup:

(I just used a gist to show you how to use a gist….) Where the URL is from the gist you saved.  Voila!

A simple way to post code to blogs.   Hope this helps, it defiantly helped me get back into blogging again.

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Posted in General, Microsoft, Programming

Microsoft Bluetooth Notebook Mouse 5000 won’t re-pair

Ran into an issue yesterday when my mouse randomly wouldn’t “connect.” It showed up the in the device manager but never would actually work. 

 

 

One issue I saw was there were no “hardware” device functions listed if I right clicked and went to properties on the device… this was a red flag so I started messing around.

 

2 hours later I finally fixed it. 

 

Try this first:

1.  Remove the device from Control Panel\Hardware and Sound\Devices and Printers.

2.  Click the connect button on the mouse (you should see the lights alternating flashing green/red.

3.  Inside of Devices and Printers click add device.

image

4.  Right click the “Microsoft Bluetooth Notebook Mouse 5000” option and click properties.

5.  Under bluetooth services check ”Drivers for keyboard, mice, etc (HID)”

image

6.  Click Okay

7.  You should see a “Installing Driver Device Software” notification window.

image

8.  In device manager you will now see the device with a  clock on it.

image

9.  After about 30 seconds you should get a popup that says Bluetooth HID successfully installed, and then in Devices and Printers the little clock is gone and you have mouse access!

 

So if the above didn’t work don’t worry you can still do it.  The first step is to take control of the existing mouse driver.

1.  As administrator navigate to C:\Windows\System32\Drivers. 

2.  Find the mouclass.sys file and right click and select properties.

3.  Change to the security tab, and click “Advanced” button.

4. Click Owner, then Edit button.

5. Select your user, and hit okay, and okay again, and okay one more time.  You should be back on the security tab.

6.  Under security, select edit and remove all permissions for System and TrustedInstaller.  You can do this by clicking the “Deny” Full Control box.

7.  Now try to reinstall the mouse as above, but this time you will see an exclamation point. On the mouse, once you see this go and delete the mouclass.sys file, and hit trouble shoot.  It will say something about missing driver, just hit okay a couple times, and you will be up and running!

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Posted in General, Microsoft

QPID Python API – Careful with your content…

Just wanted to throw out something that to me wasn’t obvious.

We ran into an issue today where  our send was crashing.  Nothing crazy about the code something like

message = Message()
message.subject = "headache"
message.content = message_content
sender.send(message)

And then we crashed… :

UnicodeDecodeError: ‘utf8′ codec can’t decode byte 0xb6 in position 31: invalid start byte

What most people would ask would be.. well what is your content?  It was a string, but it was a unicode string and the api handles those differently.  So set message_content to:

message_content=u'Et tu brute?'

And your test will crash.  Basically this issue generally isn’t experienced because people use the content and subject arguments of the Message() constructor

message = Message(content=u'Et tu brute?')

When you do this, it will "infer" the content_type from the content provided.  It just happens that for regular strings it will set the content_type to None.  If we would have passed our content to the constructor it would have set the content_type to "text/plain" because the content is a unicode string.

So in our example above we needed to do:

message = Message()
message.subject = "headache"
message.content = message_content
message.content_type="text/plain"
#or we could do getType(message.content) its inside of the messaging module
sender.send(message)
#no crash.

To me this is an annoyance, esp when dealing with strings in python…  just wanted to throw it out there before someone else experiences the same issue I have.

A final note is when printing messages

message = Message()
message.subject = "headache"
message.content = message_content
print message
message.content_type="text/plain"
print message

Prints out something like:

>  Message(subject=’headache’, content_type=None, content=u’secret content’)

>  Message(subject=’headache’, content=u’secret content’)

Notice that there is a "content_type" property in the first, and not the second… why you might ask?  Well it only prints out the content_type IF your content_type DOESN’T match your content….  I did not know this until after this horrific finding but now that I know, this is a huge red flag, that something is wrong with your message.

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Posted in Python, Qpid

Verizon Customer Service and IT Continued…

Its no shock that my experience dealing with Verizon customer service ended with this survey:

Verizon_5

1.5 Hour earlier:

In attempt to access my DVR.. so i log onto http://www.verizon.com/ click some links and ultimately try to transition to http://verizon.com/fiostvcentral/.  You would think it would be simple?  But unfortunately their portal blows.  I log into verizon.com, click My Verizon Services –> TV-> MY TV , and I get redirected to https://auth.verizon.com/ssowebapp/logout.jsp?target=https://www36.verizon.com/fiostv/web/signin.aspx?msv=317

(the same thing happens when I log into http://verizon.com/fiostvcentral directly)

1 Hour earlier

I log into verizon support chat to talk about my issues.. well I can’t explain to the rep what sso is so I let her take control and try to “log in” herself.  She kept logging in and saying see it works!

image

Except the fact its just an Advertisement “portal” screen… as soon as i click anything it crashes…

image

She kept trying to log in, at one point she tried to clear my “browsing history" not the actual cookies or objects, just the sites i had visited.. that surprisingly didn’t work.. after the 10th time attempting to log into the FiosTvCentral Site…

1 Hour later.. (I give up…)

Verizon_1 Verizon_2

Head explodes.. (but i was right..)

Verizon_3  Verizon_4

 

Unfortunately Someswara will not meet her goal, because I love Verizon’s service, but I can’t recommend putting anyone through the process of signing up for Verizon, arranging them to install it, and then having to pay a bill. As I have said countless time, Verizon’s internal IT entropy is killing them..

 

For anyone that already has Fios installed, and has been through the pain and agony above I fully recommend you stay with Verizon…

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Posted in Amazement, General, Issues, Life, Verizon

Annoying Email Messages

Advertisement emails… we all get them, even though we uncheck that stupid box “Subscribe to Promotions.” 

image

But its time to stop ignoring them.  Think about all the time you spend managing emails that you don’t even read?  The process is generally open the email, close it.  Ah…. the email is now changed from Unread to Read… or the image is now image . Or we have to click a bunch of check boxes, and then select “mark as read”…

image

But its a small price to pay for a piece of mind…we will all sleep better now knowing that we have no unread mail.

 

There is a better way to go about this and its to actually open the mail… scroll all the way to the bottom and click “Unsubscribe.” By law they have to give you the opportunity to opt out.. but be careful.. there is a reason i am writing this blog…

 

Let me show you what I just went through with Bose…

Step 1.  Open the email, and scroll all the way to the bottom.

image

Step 2.  Click the “click here” link. If you can’t follow this step, please hit the backspace key…

Step 3.  A page will appear that is seemingly simple, just enter your email address and click “Unsubscribe.”

image

Step 4.  Voilà!  Done…. wait.. am I?

Step 5.  A new page will appear, with what you just typed in, click “Unsubscribe” again!

image

Voila!  Done!  This time it says:

image

 

The lesson to be learned, is to never stop until you see confirmation that whatever company has received your request to unsubscribe.  Bose knows that some people would have stopped after step 4.  Most people trust it will be a simple process, enter email, click button, done.

 

Take the time an unsubscribe from advertisements you don’t want….

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Posted in Amazement, General, Google, Issues, Life, Thoughts, Web Sites, World Wide Web

Verizon IT & Customer Support

Been really busy recently, so I haven’t had time to do some post, but luckly Verizon provided me with some inspiration.  So Verizon FIOS is amazing, I will not argue the fact that Verizon delivers an amazing product.  They do well when it comes to actually delivering something.  When it comes to organizational IT & customer service, in my opinion they are among the worst.  For the technical folks, just skip the the page break, unless you want to hear a quick rant…

 

So it all started one gloomy Tuesday when I came home after a long day of work, cut on the TV, and was greeted with a “This is not a technical issue, please contact XXX-XXX-XXXX and provide them with the reference code XYZ.”  Simple enough right?

NO.  I call the number, and can’t speak to someone.  You can ONLY* enter a code, so i enter the code.. and ring ring..

 

Hello, repair department..

Me:  Hi, I got this message it says… 

Repair Depo:  Sorry, that sounds like a billing issue, let me transfer you (20 mins on hold)

Billing Depo:  Hi who am I speaking with, how can I help you…

Me:  I got this message and it says..

Billing Depo:  Let me pull up your account, whats your number, verify, etc..  hmmm nothing is wrong with your account, it must be a technical issue, let me transfer you… (30 mins)

Tech Depo:  Hi how can I help you?

Me:  I got this message and it says..

Tech Depo:  What’s your name?  verify your phone number… hmm I am having trouble finding your account… what’s your address again?  Something is wrong here, it looks like your service was terminated, and a new one was setup today.  I need to transfer you to sales to sort this out…

 

Sale Dep:  How can I help you..?

Me:  I got this message and it says .. and I was told my service was canceled?

Sales Dep:  Who am I speaking with, verify phone number… yes I see that there was a disconnect ordered for this address, and a new connect.

Me:  Who ordered this?  I haven’t sent any request to change my account?

Sales Dep:  I can’t say, all i can say is there is new service at this account..

Me:  I live at that address… I have no service, you all have done something wrong.

 

So eventually we came to the conclusion that my neighbors decided to register their new service at my address, they sent a technician out, and re ran all the cables from my apartment to their apartment.  As soon as I found out this was an issue, I promptly responded switch it back!  They said sorry sir we can not do that with out speaking with the new tenants.  Really?  You did it to me… after 3 hours of speaking with various department I requested to talk to their retention department, and they transferred me to the “overrride” department.  I was then informed that they have to trust the customers calling requesting service.  If they say they live somewhere, then they have to believe them.  I then asked a logical question.. am I a customer ?  Why don’t you trust that I have not moved?   I finally just said fix it, if you need to change my address do it.  They then told me the next available time to get a person out was 3 days.  After some threatening to leave Verizon comments they said they would send someone out the next day.

 

Well they send someone out, but he never calls me to let me know he is at my house.  I get home Wednesday and still dont have service so I have to run the gauntlet again.  After 2 hours we find out the technician had the wrong number.. he called the new tenants, and they didnt’ answer.  Well, its ironic that they managed to get the wrong number because no numbers on my account have changed..  they then said it would be a week before they could send someone else out.  I politely said YOU ALL MESSED THIS UP, fix it tomrrow or cancel my service.  “If we send someone out again tomrrow, you better be there!,” I would have been there today if you would have called!

 

So I finally got my service restored, but had to call Verizon one final time because they sent me a double bill.  Needless to say they said “we know where the payments are” I guess that means I am ok?  Because they transferred me, and then inadvertently hung up on me.

Needless to say, Verizon needs some major help when it comes to Business Process, and Customer Service.

 

Read more ›

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Posted in Cell Phones, Customer Service, Issues, Life, Thoughts, Verizon, World Wide Web

Interrupting your user

When designing user interfaces a lot of thought needs to go into when you are going to interrupt a user.  I am going to walk you through an example of what not to do.  My example deals with messing around with CSVs in excel.  I recently have been doing a lot of data loading via CSV and found myself getting consistently interupted by Excel when trying to save.  Pretty simple concept, once I have changed a document I should be able to click save ( yup thats it, nothing else.. pretty simple request huh?). 

 

Well take a walk with me…

Step 1.  Right click your desktop->new->Text Document

Step 2.  Change the name to Test.csv

Step 3.  Double Click Test.csv and it will open in Excel.

Now you will have an empty spreadsheet.  I am going to enter(| indicate next cell) : This | Is | A | Bad | UI | Interaction

 

Excel_CSV_PreSave

Step 4.  Click Save.

Kaboom.  Greeted with a Sound AND Messagebox:

Excel_CSV_ClickSave

So I dont understand?  I just entered text why is it complaining about tabs?  Oh well I want to Save my csv format… so i click yes.

Step 5. Click Yes

Step 6.  Close

I then go to close the workbook and am greeted with:

Excel_CSV_NoChanges_Close

Hmm.. I didn’t change anything so NO!

Step 7. Click No.

So lets open it back up and see what’s going on.

Step 8. Double click Test.csv

Excel_CSV_NoChanges_Close_ClickedNo

Really?  I guess that first warning was justified. Apparently, when I clicked yes to keep the format it meant, collapse into one cell and insert ? character…hmm.

Note: If you are on Windows 7 you might just see ThisIsABadUIInteraction either way it collapsed the text into one cell

Lets get out of here

Step 9.  Close

Excel_CSV_NoChanges_Close

GAH!  Again!

Step 10.  Click No

So now I am just going to take over, I am going to open up the raw text and fix the CSV myself. 

Step 11.  Edit text and place “,” between each word and remove the TABs.  Save and Close.

Excel_CSV_Fixing_WithVim

Step 12. Open this thing back up(in Excel).

Ah.. much better.

Step 13.  Add a new row

EXcel_Csv_Take2

Step 14.  Save (yes)

Here comes that warning again… click yes.

Excel_CSV_Changes_Y_SaveAs_Exist_Y_NonCompatx2 (1)

Step 15.  Close

Nooooo not again.  I don’t think I changed anything….

Excel_CSV_NoChanges_Close

Step 16.  Lets click yes for the fun of it…

Woah…. Save As?  Really?

Excel_CSV_Changes_Y_SaveAs

Well I don’t want to change the name… so I click

Step 17. Click Save

Noooo tooo many decisions…

 Excel_CSV_Changes_Y_SaveAs_Exists

Really?

Step 18.  Click Yes.

We have to be done right…?

Excel_CSV_Changes_Y_SaveAs_Exist_Y_NonCompatx2 (1)

Brain explodes… get a friend to click yes…

Step 19.  Click Yes.

 

FINALLY it closes.

 

So just take that for what its worth. There are really only 3 issues that reoccur that makes the process painful.   One if I open up a document and click save:  Save it, pretty simple.  Excel offers a “Save As” option, if i want to specify a different name or change the type I will select “Save As”.  Second, when its time to close prompt me to save changes (if I have actually changed anything) and then accept my answer and close.  In our situation it took 5 clicks to close… ?

 

Another thing I notices was the dialog that says “filename may contain features that are not compatible with ..(CSV or TAB).  What does that mean?  I didn’t do anything more than enter csv stuff.  I didn’t use formulas, charts, etc so what is it complaining about?  The first time I opened a CSV, it was completely empty.   But for some reason it decided it was a TAB delimited format?  Who knows.  Its almost like they are trying to scare you into the “lastest Excel format.”  Oh well, if you take anything away from this entry:

 

Americans are indecisive by nature, so don’t overwhelm  with unnecessary, and very word prompts.  Code to the things that the majority of people will want/need to do, and only interrupt people when it is completely necessary.

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Posted in C#, Issues, Java, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Programming, Windows
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