Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Product Frustration

Like everyone nowadays, I have dozens of email addresses.  I have an elegant solution for my personal ones, but not so for my work-related addies.  I have 1.5 accounts for work.  There's my cs.toronto.edu account, and my utoronto.ca account which I consider 0.5 for work because it's actually my student account but which has been granted access to staff-related things.  Anyway...

I hadn't setup my utoronto.ca acount in an Outlook profile at the office.  I hadn't needed to.  I wanted to when UofT first rolled out the exchange server, but everything (emails, calendaring, tasks, categories) was working sufficiently well enough to ensure that I could get my work done.  Sure, it's true that if I did the switchover I'd be able to do more tasks, and that I knew that, but why invest time to have it only stolen away by more work?

Then sometime this past summer my tasks and flags in my OutLook 2007 profile stopped working.  I was going to mention it to our POC to have it repaired, but the last time I had my profile repaired, I lost all of my categories, so I was wary of doing this.  Categories are everything to me.  And I could get any reminders I needed on my Blackberry which is sync'd with my Google Calendar which is sync'd with my OutLook Calendar into which I was entering tasks. =)  Roundabout way of doing things, sure, but it prevented me from the potential nightmare that was losing my categories.

But then I was given access to and needed to view the calendar of one of the Profs here.  This is what the exchange server is all about! I was so excited to have a reason to use it.  So, without hesitation, I created a new Outlook 2007 profile for my utoronto.ca account and checked to see if I could open his calendar.  And, without surprise, I could open it!  I was so pleased with myself.  I was also pleased because I noticed in the new Outlook profile that the tasks and flags were operational!  All I had to do was add my cs.toronto.edu account and I'd be ready to go! Oh, but if only it were that easy.

My POC showed up later that afternoon and helped me configure my cs.toronto.edu acount in the new profile.  It is preferred that we use imap for this account.  I don't like imap because Outlook 2007 doesn't like imap: it doesn't let you take advantage of all of its features when you use imap.  It dies if you do.  This is how my profile "died" earlier this year.  Imap is fine with Outlook 2007 when you don't categorize, flag for specific dates, and use tasks.  But I love those features!  So since the crash, we set me up to use pop for my cs.toronto.edu emails, which has inflated my mailbox size on the server because I neglect to clean it out and that I will have to deal with soon...  Anyway, in my new OutLook 2007 profile in which my UTORexchange account is setup, we used imap to setup my cs.toronto.edu account.  I expressed my disapproval, but said I'd live with it.  At least I got folders and sub-folders, at-hand access to my calendar on the exchange server which had already been sync'd with the calendar in my old profile because I 2-way sync with my Google Calendar which 2-way syncs with my Blackberry.  So, I wasn't entirely organizational-feature-less.

Then I noticed it.  The folders in my imap.cs.toronto.edu folder wouldn't appear.  To confirm, I went onto the DCS Webmail and opened Thunderbird and checked to see if the folders still existed and that I was subscribed.  Yes they did, and I was.  I went into my old Outlook profile to see if it worked there (oh, I had both pop AND imap and have just been too lazy to cleanup my mailbox on the server), and it did.  In my old profile, I could access/create/edit/delete folders and everything would pop up in the webmail/Thunderbird without skipping a beat.  So now I had to figure out why I could open my folders in the old profile, but not the new one.  I tripled checked all of the settings, did test runs, and nothing.  Old one worked; new one didn't.  And that's that.

I've just stopped trying.  I have 2 Outlook 2007 profiles.  The old one manages my email well, and the new one has me on UTORexchange.  *sigh*  I'm going to leave it alone until at least next week.  I dream of having one profile in which I'm happy staying.  Even if I did get the folders going in the new profile, I would still be wary of using my fave Outlook 2007 features.  *sigh*

I would just forward the cs.toronto.edu emails to my utoronto.ca account, but mailbox size limitations on the utoronto.ca account make it restrictive.

I wish there didn't exist bureaucracy, ideological issues with closed-source programs, hate for Microsoft, and financial barriers.  Then I'm sure that  everyone in this department would be on UTORexchange and used Outlook 2007/Entourage.  I wouldn't be the only one who had this problem and fixes would be readily available, I'm sure.  I could also do fun things like manage several of hectic calendars, have access to dozens more, organize tons of fun meetings, and work the way I did like in the good old days at EP.  It would revolutionize my position.  It would be brilliant.

I have seriously considered exclusively using Thunderbird.  And I would, except for the fact that I can't install any add-ons as I am not the Administrator on my office computer.  I am on my personal computers, so well, there I use it, but not "happily".  It's still hideous and limited, but it requires less memory to run than Outlook 2007 so I'll tolerate it.

Friday, 25 September 2009

My Poetry

Some write with forethought.  I don’t.  I have a lot of thoughts ruminating in my head and occasionally I submit to a compulsion to capture them in written form.  Often it is the case that I had mulled over some set of ideas so many times that without foresight or planning, the final product comes out moderately cohesive, assimilating ideas in a cheesy-tv-sitcom-moral-of-the-story fashion.  So go my blog posts.  Other times, my catharsis appears to take a ‘poetic form’ (I use this term loosely). 

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Flawed Perception

I was sitting in class the other day, and we got into a discussion on "perfect pitch".  It was following an explanation of how our ears detect sound.  I learned that for anyone who isn't tone deaf, the sensors in our ears know exactly what a note is.  So, all those out there who are not tone deaf have the physical equipment to have "perfect pitch".  Yet, only a tiny fraction of the population does.  The vast majority of us can only tell relative pitch.

It was found that those who have perfect pitch have a lot of difficulty (if they are not just outright unable) to recognize a tune in a different key.

The Prof was alluding to the disconnect between what our bodies are equipped to sense and what we cognitively sense.   He didn't elaborate on this, so my mind wandered.  I thought about the baw-gaw illusion.  That is, when you can see the speaker's mouth, you hear one sound, but when you cover the speaker's face, you "hear" another even though nothing has changed.  It's creepy.

We are processing information before we are even aware that we're processing.  In the case of perfect pitch, our bodies seem to be withholding information.  In the case of the baw-gaw illusion, we have one sense superceding another. So what is an objective observer? the best observer?  Well, I'm not a realist, in the strict sense of the term, so ...

My mind wandered further, and I starting dreaming up the evolutionary processes behind these psychological quirks.  Of what were these the consequences OR what consequences of these psychological phenomena, and what were the circumstances that made them flourish? (Visions of people running into interesting deaths because they couldn't recognize tunes in different keys scroll through my mind.)

Sunday, 20 September 2009

No Parallel

I was thinking today about an article I read yesterday. Montreal expat murdered in Mexico may have blogged about killer: report She had written fondly of this gentleman who likely intended to rob her from the moment they first met.  But I write not to weigh in on the tragedy that ensues when cultural difference meets naivete.  I write for selfish reasons.  And what currently concerns me is how I would never mention any particular names in this blog.  Is this to my detriment?  Was the opposite to hers?  Or does it not matter at  all?

There are many good reasons to not mention any names, but I'm going to do it because I find it fun.  I know you're going to read it.  And yes, I will likely post things about you.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Preface

In moving this past month, I stumbled upon two old journals of mine.  Each was from a different time in my life, spanned a period no greater than a year, and boasted (on average) bi-weekly entries.  Each had a different outlook on life, love, friendship, my future.  I found it interesting that there could be no overlap whatsoever between them, and more interesting that there was no reference in the more recent one to any events captured in the older one.  So, when I went for a walk through The Valley the other morning, I grabbed one of them and put in a new entry.  It has been five years since the last entry and I don't plan to ruin the gap by mentioning anything that happened in it.

When this journal is full, I'll probably go back and do the same thing with the other.  I am curiously tickled by the prospect of having the history of my thoughts and feelings divided like this.

I have had two other blogs that I treated similarly to these journals. I had also posted quite a bit on MF.  To some, a blog is a diary, and online posts are a personal forum.  I disagree.  Blogs are public journals.  Forums are fixes for my boredom.  Neither are repositories for my deepest thoughts.  I post things that I think that I would like to share with anonymous readers.  In the case of my MF posts, I had only our audience of a particular eight people in mind.

I suppose that all I want to say is that I am aware of the publicness of this forum, and hope no one becomes deluded into thinking that he/she "knows" me from only reading it.
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