Thursday, February 02, 2006

More wierd little bugs...

A collection of little bugs I've hit over the last few days, and one which I first saw a week ago , but re-appeared today it a different form.

The Outlook is corrupted

Nobody reading this is likely to be surprised that I consider MS Outlook to be seriously badly designed. It manages to give a reasonable 'user experience', but it has appalling consistency and logic about the way it handles it data, not really managing to keep the concept of locally cached copies and masters copy separate. I'll might blog about this some other time - if the rant comes on.

Aside from that we reach todays wonderous behaviour. About a week ago one of my customers rang and said they has some trouble running searches on contacts in the company wide public contacts folder. Checking around it was clear this folder was the only one affected and it affected every machine and every users (separately) . Permissions were changed and things checked , but no resolution was found.

Today the boss at that site called, and complained his Blackberry wasn't sync-ing reliably. It would start the sync reliably but then give up half way through. Luckily however the Blackberry sync has a debug mode, which will show the last item the sync process considers.

This was used and a contact was giving lots of errors when accessed was discovered. A new contact was created with the same data in in it and the old one deleted.

Suddenly both the sync and the data worked fine. Why didn't outlook complain earlier though.

Samba and Fandango on Sid

Moving on , I was installing a new Samba server for a client into its own standalone domain. A pretty standard config for us. As a result I was basing this smb.conf on on I had done earlier. Mistakenly though I allowed a windows machine to connect to the server before I realised I hand the wrong WORKGROUP/DOMAIN name in the config.

But I could just change it in smb.conf without a problem.

Couldn't I ?

For some reason as I began to notice as I was doing the rest of the install the old name kept popping up in odd places on the windows machines.

Digging around I bit I discovered that the samba would still give me a SID for that name if the 'net' command was used. Even worse windows cached credentials weren't working which mean the laptop could hardly be used away from the office - which defeats the point of having a laptop in the first place.

Something had to be done, there was only one thing which seem to hold any promise. Empty the DOMAIN of members - delete samba's sid database. (Actually I killed all of /var/lib/samba to be sure) and re-imported the use profiles. Phew

But the real question is why didn't samba just regenerate a sid for the new domain name , when it could not find one in the database? OTOH, I did have to regenerate the user profiles as the permissions part in HKCU\ was rather screwed on the old profiles before I did this. This points to the possibility of interesting behaviour if you regenerate the SID too easily. But you know, I still think regenerating the SID is probably safer though. Microsoft warn you never to rename stuff - you can see why they just ban it if you look at those issues.

An Enlightening experience

We are moving over to dual-head Xinerama setups for our office PC as we now an awful lot of work via rdesktop and VNC, it make sense to have a monitor for the customers desk and another for your own websearchs and may be a working vmware install of the same OS as a comparison.

Anyway some nice radeon 9550 video cards were purchased which were quite cheap and promised to support dualhead on the xorg drivers at the very least.

So on Friday I managed to install the card, set it up and get another monitor unpacked an on my desk. I even worked out the dualhead xorg.conf file.

Then I logged in an while enlightenment my windows manager was starting up the machine locked solid. .Great. Anyway further debugging showed if I ran metacity instead I could log in fine.

Unfortunately I'm quite attached to enlightenment , I really quite like it brushed-metal theme, particularly the way the options I most commonly use are on the titlebar, and the widgets on the titlebar can be expanded to see the others when needed. The fact I user a virtual desktop with multiple workspaces is another feature which new WM seem to have lost.

sigh. One day I'll get round to my rant and UI designers - who remove the useful features be case they are to confusing. Synaptic for example as lost a nice simple technique which allowed easy selection of which distribution you want to install form - on a package by package basis

I've got a ltrace of what enlightenment was doing immediately pre-crash so I'll wander over to debian-x and see what I can find out.

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