Software runs my life

Year: 2007 Page 1 of 3

Windows November Bug

This white box behind the tabs of IE7 is the first sign that things are going wrong. Soon afterwards the toolbars start to disappear (also seen in the screenshot below). If you hover over where the minimise and close buttons would be these button appear, but the rest of the toolbar remains missing. It is instead replaced by whatever was underneath the toolbar at the time the window was moved! Very strange.

So what could the bug be? Display drivers are a good guess, but that is not the case. I tried different drivers with the same problem. Then the exact same problem occured on two other computers on the network! They had ATI graphics cards, as opposed to my Intel onboard card. Other strange problems manifest themselves:

Network objects like shared drives, printers etc. cannot be accessed, however the internet and Outlook work just fine. Applications start to fail with the above application errors, with the error being the same for any executable. It is also interesting to note that the style of dialog in the second example is different, reverting back to the Windows 2000 style interface. Very strange. Things recover a little if you close programs, however the problem always comes back once you start opening things back up again. The only ‘cure’ is a restart.

Having not installed any significant software in November (on any of the affected computers) I decided to check the Windows Updates for November 2007. The main one that I installed was 943460. The main files affected are shell32.dll and xpsp3res.dll, both pretty core files as far as I am aware. I have uninstalled the patch and it seems that the crash happens less often, but it is definitely still present.

If anyone has any advice I would love to hear it as this has me pretty much stumped. I am going to lodge a support case with Microsoft and see what they come up with.

Folding Turkeys

We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here in Australia, however I still found a new article on the Stanford Folding website quite interesting. It relates to the importance of some turkey proteins in the study of folding. Why are they important? Well according to the article the protein fluoresces when hit with light of a particular frequency. This fluorescence can then be accurately measured and documented to track the folding process.

I have been folding for some time now and have amassed quite a few WU (Work Units). If you are interested in using a spare core or two of your shiny new computers then please come and join Overclockers Australia, we need all the help we can get!

Federal Election 2007

Labor has won the Australian Federal Election for 2007, congratulations. This election was particularly interesting for myself due to the large promises made on the issue of broadband. Both parties had ‘plans’ for the future, however thin their understanding of the real issues was.
The Liberal party adopted more of a laissez-faire attitude, hoping that the private sector will find its way eventually (with some prodding of Telstra and subsidies/grants for enterprises). The Labor party on the other hand proposed a higher level of government investment and control. Whirlpool wrote a better summary on these policies than I ever could.

Is it really possible to wrestle control of the network monopoly back from Telstra? It depends on the three amigos level of aggression, which to date has proven to be considerable. The contract will have to go to Telstra, but can operational seperation then provide a reward from this investment? Will Labor even have the guts to take it that far? Never mind the guts, will have the legal argument to get what they want?

In reality no-one knows. I find it quite funny that the Labor party’s second highest value promise (behind tax cuts) is not even completely understood, let alone debated. I guess we just have to be happy that finally technology is getting some kind of attention at a national level, even if no-one understands anything much beyond that importance.

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