plonq: (Kinda bleah mood)
Something that I do a fair bit of on this job is combining data from various sources in Access and then pushing it out to Excel and publishing it from there. Normally it works very well, but there is a vexing issue that has caused me a lot of grief over the years.

Sometimes, with no apparent motive that I could find, Excel would remain active in the background, even after I sent it Close and Quit commands. The only way to get rid of it would be to go to the task manager (or Process Explorer in my case) and manually kill it. In some cases this idling version would interfere with other jobs I was trying to run, and other times it would not. This time it did - usually. Either way, it then stacked another idle version of Excel.exe in the background because I obviously needed more ghost processes running.

I finally got pissed about it enough today that I did some research thinking that I could not be the only person encountering this frustrating feature, and I found plenty of hits. Good. More hits increased the odds that I would find a useful answer buried in the usual forum stupid. By "usual forum stupid" I mean answer like these:

"I know you were asking about VBA, but here is the solution in C#"
"I can't reproduce the error."
"Have you tried [something he has obviously tried because it's in the source code he provided]?"
"Have you tried X?" "OK, I tried X and it did not work." "How about X. Did you try that?" "That's the same fucking thing." "I know, but it works for me."

Anyway, after wading fruitlessly through the usual sea of unhelpful responses, was skimming through answers so quickly that I almost missed the one I needed. About three years ago somebody was having the same problem in Excel 2007, and one of the guys in the forum offered up what he thought seemed like a reasonable answer.

"My hunch is that you that you have something that is not tied to an instantiated object. You need to tie everything to the object otherwise Access instantiates another instance of Excel which it then uses for those non explicitly referenced items."

I am pretty good about that, but I poured through my code a few times and then spotted it:

.xlSheet.Range(Cells(iRow,iCol1),Cells(iRow,iCol2).Merge

I fixed it, and the problem went away. I have some other reports that I need to fix (so that I can get rid of the job I created whose sole purpose is to go through every evening and nuke all of these lingering instances). Now if you will excuse me I need to go cut myself.
plonq: (Grammar Nazi)
I never paid that much attention to this error message in one of our mainframe applications until this bit caught my eye today.

"FW.1930.WAYBILL NOT FOUND ON DATA BASE OR ITS BEEN CANCELLED"

"...ITS BEEN CANCELLED"

"...ITS..."

"..."

I think a little piece of me died today.

Sick cat

Mar. 13th, 2008 07:05 pm
plonq: (Blah Mood)
While we were watching another episode of Heroes tonight, Belladonna casually climbed into her toy box and squatted to pee. [livejournal.com profile] atara immediately grabbed her by the scruff and pulled her away, and the damage was minimal. The only time she does that is when she get a bladder infection -- which according to the date on her last medical receipt was less than two months ago. Fucking awesome! Just a day and a half before we are set to fly out of town and the cat comes down with another bladder infection. We emptied out the box and set it back where it was so that we could collect a sample if she urinated in it again. She tried a few times, but it was all action and no urine. Definitely another infection.

I called the vet and explained the situation. They said that I can bring her in this evening, but they are very busy and I will have to wait until they are finished with the rest of their patients first. On the plus side they are waiving the charge for an emergency visit (it pays to have sickly cats so that you can get the quantity discount).

Fuck. I really didn't need this right now.

...!

Aug. 28th, 2007 09:10 am
plonq: (Angry Mood)
I heard a disturbing sound in the computer room when I wandered in there with my first cup of coffee this morning. It was something between an angry buzz and a hum, almost like a transformer that is getting ready to explode. The sound had one of those all-pervasive qualities that you get in a room full of various whirs and drones and sound-reflecting surfaces. I couldn't readily isolate it, but I had narrowed it down to one of four things:

  1. A UPS getting ready to explode

  2. A power supply getting ready to explode

  3. A cooling fan with a cord rubbing up against it

  4. Something I didn't want to contemplate



Since my computer seemed to be working (for a change), I deduced that [livejournal.com profile] atara's new computer must be in distress. Still operating under the hope that it was either the power supply, or a cord caught in a fan, I tried to shut down windows, and everything froze up. At that point I knew that I was dealing with a hard drive. The buzz I was hearing was probably the sound of a drive head bouncing merrily along on a platter. That was pretty much confirmed for me when I manually powered off the machine and heard the buzz of the hard drive spinning down.

The only silver lining out of this is that it is the new hard drive that died. Almost all of her important, irreplaceable files are still on the old drive. That's not to say that she didn't lose anything, and she is also faced with a whole new install/reconfigure cycle once we get the replacement drive. She had finally got everything set up the way she liked it on the new machine when it all went to hell.

This is three hard drives we have lost in the last three of years that all died within their warranty period. The first two were IBM/Hitachi, and the most recent was a Seagate. As much as I like to save money on components, I would also like to get components that are not worthless shit that breaks inside of the first couple of months. Heck, I'd even be willing to pay a little more for my computer parts to get that.

In the mean time we'll do a repair install on her old XP hard drive so that we can get it working on her new hardware. That will keep her going until the replacement drive arrives. The price of hard drives is very low right now (for good reason, apparently) and I am seriously thinking about getting a second one and setting up a RAID 1 on her machine to help avoid this in future. What are the odds of two drives blowing up at the same time?
plonq: (Irked mood)
Within the past two years I've had both rear callipers replaced on my car because they took turns seizing on me. I was a little irked that they would both go on me in such short order, but given that my car is a 1993 model, I figured they were about due.

The left calliper stuck again while we were out driving today. We reefed on the parking brake pretty hard because we were parked on a hill, and when we released the brakes, the car refused to coast properly, and it groaned to a stop as we approached intersections. I suspected the parking brake right away, and my suspicions were confirmed when I pulled on the lever and there was no resistance. Fucking great - just what we need when we're over 1000 miles from home with two days left in our vacation.

When we got to [livejournal.com profile] atara's parents' place, the rear, driver-side wheel was hot enough to be smoking. I crawled under the car and hammered on the mechanism with the Club until it loosened up enough to release again. I got [livejournal.com profile] atara to re-apply the parking brake and it promptly stuck again - though not quite as solidly. I'm wondering if a shot of WD-40 would fix it for now? In any event it looks awfully rusty for something that the mechanic allegedly replaced about 18 months ago. =/

While I was looking over the brakes, I noticed that one of the keyed lug nuts on the front passenger-side wheel was on the verge of falling off. I was supposed to take the car in to get the lugs re-torqued after I got the new tires put on, but we never got around to doing that before our trip. I dug the lug wrench out of the back and cinched them all up again - though the only two that were loose were the two front key-lugs. Curious.
plonq: (Pissy Mood)
"Please don't tell me you fell for the marketing crap and that you're using a iPaq or something?"

Yes, I understand that I'm apparently a moron for using Windows, but if you are going to come into my journal, call down my hardware and OS, then have a circle-jerk about how much you love your Macs, please restrict it to comments in this entry, m'kay? I promise in return that I won't mention Windows, or any variant thereof in your own journals.

Frankly I find all this OS snobbery tiresome and childish.

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