Microsoft – get your error checking act together

So the world is in a disarray, thanks to you Microsoft and your never ending buffer overflow vulnerabilities. Makes you wonder why you cannot write good tools to test for this internally, with 100% coverage. Surely it can’t be an impossible task.

Nevertheless, why do you insist on having cryptic error messages, for things that are not even an error in Windows or MS Office? Let’s take the example of Powerpoint.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been getting this error everytime I open some .pptx file. “Powerpoint found a problem with the content blah blah. Click to repair…”.

ppt-perms1

Now it doesn’t repair when I tell it to (because turns out there’s nothing to repair).

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The problem was finally traced to incompatible security settings for downloaded files. If you have downloaded a MS Office file, it is automatically set to “unsafe” by Windows explorer, and hence blocked from being opened. You have to manually unblock it.

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Well now Microsoft – you have written Windows and MS Office – can you not detect this and give the relevant message. Better yet, give the option with Powerpoint itself to unblock? Why should your customers have to jump through so many hoops for something so simple? Make no mistake – giving an incorrect error message is a “bug”, nothing less.

My 🐈 Spotty could do better debugging than you, Microsoft.

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Play audio from 2 bluetooth headsets simultaneously on the Macbook Pro

Previously, I’d written about how to play audio simultaneously through a bluetooth headset and wired earphones on your Macbook Pro.

However, now we have a new problem. We just got a new 🐈 Spot, who’s the cutest cat my wife has ever seen. And he loves to pull on all kinds of threads and wires, including… earphones wire!

So I wondered, can we connect 2 bluetooth headsets to the Macbook Pro and have music play from them simultaneously (without any significant lag).

Turns out, it’s definitely possible and not hard to set up. This is what you do:

  • You need to open up the secret audio device manager within MacOS called “Audio Midi”. Use Spotlight to find it.
  • Open it up and click on the “+” sign in the bottom-left and select “Create a multi-output” device. (You need to have the latest MacOS installed. This is how it should look: Multi-output Device MacOS
  • Make sure you tick only the 2 bluetooth devices and untick and others in the list. Also tick the boxes for drift correction and make sure sampling frequency is set to 44.1kHz (or else the sound will be horrible 😦 )
  • Once this is done, right click (or double-tap) on the multi-output device option on the left and select the option “Use this device for sound output”. You should hear the audio through both the bluetooth speakers 🎉.
  • Sometimes, it doesn’t work on the first try. Just delete the multi-output device and retry. Also, the bluetooth pairing order matters, for some reason that I don’t know. For my setup, I had to pair my Bose Soundlink headset before the Mpow headset, or else the Bose would disconnect.

Enjoy!

(Cat photo credit: fastcompany)

To-do list for the next couple of weeks

1A. Learn and use CherryPy, jQuery, jQuery mobile

1B. Design a custom web interface and finally control an LED through it.

2. Learn how to use PWM for controlling the multi-color LED. Learn loops, functions, etc. in python. Can we run 2 different functions continuously in python, each controlling a different set of pins?

Long-term:

Learn about wiringpi and how communications with the GPIO pins is handled using C

URL Links within Image Captions on the free wordpress.com

Somehow a simple

doesn’t work since wordpress.com server strips it out. What you have to do instead, is use single quotes (‘…’).

Isn’t this stupid? Took me a while to figure out. People suggested all sort of things like javascript in the footer.php section, plugins, etc. But all those things are for the self-hosted wordpress.org, not for wordpress.com.

WordPress – why is this so complicated?

Mentioned here too: URL Links in Image captions

NB: Also see this: HTML Ignore