Thursday, August 6, 2009

Aside on the front window

So for the last week, House work has again come to a screeching halt, having been replaced by my tech hat. My wife will be teaching three classes this fall at the local colleges, and so it was the mandate that her old laptop, whose cooling fan has been making very worrisome noises lately, be phased out, while one of the other family laptops (the one normally used for Lego video games and YouTube searches for fan-made Transformers knock-offs) be co-opted, a new user created on it, and the latest in required software (meaning Office 2007, LaTeX, and the like) installed.

All of this duly complete, I got excited about Office 2007, installed it on my own laptop without thinking, and immediately realized that (1) Microsoft obviously didn't consider my macro collection important, deleting it without a trace, and (2) Word 2007 isn't compatible with TRADOS 7, my translation tool, and the budget can't afford an upgrade to TRADOS 7, and my old installation media for Word 2003 are mysteriously absent.

Havoc ensued. Fortunately, translation work was in a lull. So I did something I've wanted to do for a while now; I wrote a little Python COM object script that sits between Word and TRADOS and by-God forces compatibility by massaging the text segments on the Clipboard as they fly past. The jaw-droppingly amazing thing is that it actually worked, and only took about four hours to write. (Python just makes that stuff so ... not easy. Possible.) Oh, my goodness, but I have plans for that little object. But this is the wrong venue for that; I'm just explaining why no building has happened.

Except I tore the front plank off the post between the front windows. This "post" is actually a roughly square structure consisting of one-inch planks, and it's hollow, providing a place to hang the counterweights for the old window.

The problem is that it's none too stable, and doesn't really provide enough support for the pocket replacement windows, so I'm going to shore it up with some small pieces of 2x4 inside the hollow part, then insulate the entire thing with foam before closing it all back up and installing the windows for real. This has to happen on the sides of each window, too. And of course I still haven't addressed the fact that my dad and I ripped out the old sill. So the windows are more complicated.

Here's a picture of the counterweights themselves, just for historical reasons. Kind of neat; I'm keeping the weights.

So after pulling this plank out, so far I've left it hanging. My wife asked, "Um, so why did you pull out the middle of the window again?" So I started to tell her about the 27 8x10 color glossy photographs with circles and arrows on the back of each one in four-part harmony, and she stopped me right there and said, "Kid," she said, "Just put it all back together someday, OK?"

I live to serve.


  1. You've got a bench in the house?

  2. I'd wondered why the long silence, but figured it was something work- or life-related.

    We NEVER do a major install of anything that could affect something else without doing a full backup (at least of the things that might be affected) first, because of just such nasty surprises as you got. It's not paranoia when they really are out to get you!

  3. Oh yes, starcat-jewel, by all means just rub it in.

    Linkmeister, the bench is only for Group W.

  4. Sorry -- that was supposed to be sympathy of the "Ouch, BTDT" variety, but on second reading it didn't come out sounding that way. My apologies.

  5. Har, don't worry, my tongue is always in cheek. I regard data loss as a character-building opportunity, so I never back anything up. If I need something, I'll just rewrite it better.

    (Or so I keep telling myself.)

  6. I'm amazed that you took a brief look at Office 2007 and wanted it. ;^)
    I do actually think The Ribbon is better for a newbie learning the product, but I hated losing my keyboard shortcuts. These day, my hands are in pretty good shape, but there was a tendonitis/carpal tunnel period when switching from the keyboard to the mouse would have had me in way too much pain.
    I like the better filtering in Excel a lot. I hate the changes to Excel charts, though.

  7. I didn't look at it, I just got excited having the installation media in my hand and knowing it can read DOCX, which I consider a truly beneficial move on Microsoft's part. I was quite shocked to realize that an upgrade might actually throw configuration away - important configuration like macros. That's just sloppy.

    But I can always rewrite them (and some I have on an older machine - most of them, actually) and after the fact, I'm rather liking Word 2007. Access is better, I don't use Excel or Powerpoint, and Word seems better organized.

    It doesn't seem to get keyboard shortcuts right at all, though. I still don't know why, but I'm working around it at the moment.

  8. Ah, but who constitutes the denizens of that Group W bench?

    Ooh, to mix songs, could those denizens be Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves?