I had the AWESOME opportunity to meet and photograph MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko in August at Zealous Nation MMA, the facility my trainer Oleg Savitsky owns in Middlesex, NJ.
Oleg scheduled an invite-only Mixed Martial Arts seminar with Fedor and asked me to be the photographer. Fedor is, like, number one in the entire universe, ever.
Fedor and Oleg have competed against one another in World SAMBO competitions and they are friends and colleagues, now through M-1 Global. Fedor kicks some massive ass, and also happens to be a really nice guy, like Oleg. I was so excited to meet him!
Little did I know I’d somehow manage to lose every single picture I took of this exclusive seminar except the last 10.
So, to the set up of this horrific event. A private seminar is pretty rare because Fedor doesn’t do them often, but he was in Atlantic City for a fight.
The place was packed. “Exclusive.” Two cops on site. Yes, you had to be on The List. Whoa! (And no one reading this is surprised that sneakers and bare feet rather than Jimmy Choos are di rigueur for most lists I’m on.)
Since I was to take pictures, I went armed with 2 cameras and 4 empty memory cards. I shot for nearly 2 hours, switching between the regular camera and the one with the long lens, climbing on top of things, getting in on the mat, all over. Near the end, I swapped memory cards because I’d taken a zillion with the regular lens, and didn’t want to run out of space if Oleg wanted me to take all the personal individual pictures with Fedor. Then I got my pic with him and I’m PSYCHED!
Whew! So after the excitement, I helped with “traffic control” for people to meet Fedor and get autographs, and then I headed out. I stopped on the way home to get gas, and pulled out my camera to look at the pics while they filled the tank. (You know, because I live in Jersey, the land of No Self Serve at much cheaper prices. Two thumbs up!)
My first camera displays only 10 pics.
(A screen shot of the camera preview screen AS IT WOULD HAVE APPEARED during this period of intense freak-out has been reproduced below for didactic purposes using a much more frequently photographed subject.)
Critical to this reenactment is the photo count - note in the upper right corner, Josie represents photo #2/10. Whereas during the actual event, I would have expected to see photo #2 of something much larger. Like of 350.
After a very short ponder, I realized that these 10 lonely pictures were the ones taken AFTER I’d swapped the memory cards. And only THEN did I get this massive sinking feeling in my gut, initiating an instantaneous leap from the driver’s side to the trunk to pull out the other camera. Which read “folder contains no images.” This devastating sight appears below.
Pause with me now, and feel the pain.
Ohhhhhh Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. Auughghgh!
I feel my face getting really hot and I realize that every picture I took BEFORE I swapped the memory cards was gone. Like 340 of the 350 I took.
I don’t believe it! (Heart triple-beating, inhaling gas fumes at twice the normal rate of respiration…)
I got to shoot FEDOR and I lost all the pics except the last ten?!?!? (** bangs head on dash ** bangs head on steering wheel ** bangs head on window pane **)
So you know how this type of fight-or-flight mental twisting goes …
“ooooh nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo” …
** jaw drops in stunned silence ** …
“Oh $HIT!” …
** bangs head on any available surface(s) ** …
(how can I blame this on the camera?) …
(yeah, I musta screwed this up somehow, and for this, I will die.) …
** involuntary inhalation ** …
Ok, so how the HELL could this have happened? Is there any freaking way this somehow didn’t possibly really happen???
(Small yet important analytical aside - I got the gene from my father that ponders how things happen. Sometimes when the world is imploding. The Spock gene. It’s clear from this, among other less Spock-y traits, that I truly am his daughter - a blessing!)
But meanwhile, back at the drama ** deep breath ** as I drove home, I started to think, OK, I’ve swapped cards before. Maybe I didn’t turn the camera off first? Maybe hot swaps are bad? No, been there done that. (These are 2 GB SD cards, FWIW.)
But curiously, I realized the EMPTY FOLDER camera said the card had room for 157 pics, even though that card’s capacity is about 500 pics, give or take. So grasping at the faintest littlest glimmer of hope … I pray to the binary gods that somehow the pics are truly IN the card and that I just have to figure out a way to get them back OUT. Kinda like recovering all those deleted files floating around in the Recycle Bin.
Then I start to think, the cameras are different but not really - Nikon D80 vs D90.
Maybe if I swap the cards back I can magically see the previous files? But (sigh) I took MORE pictures after the swap, which just hoses my chances for reversing time without introducing hysteresis. Never-the-less, ** fingers soooooo crossed ** …
(Skipping ahead to the last 5 minutes of this episode of CSI…)
Turns out all was recoverable. The pictures weren’t viewable on the camera because they were on the card in different folders - each camera must have auto-created a new folder when I swapped cards and you can’t see the new folders (and their contents) from the camera directly without mucking around with other hidden menu config settings.
But happily, home on the computer, here’s what the file folders looked like. My D80 always loads as “Removable Disk (G:)” with pictures in the DCIM folder. As you can see, the 10 post card-swapped pictures were placed in a separate directory (100NCD80) and the numbering was restarted from _0001. Oblivious TO ME was the fact that Fedor and all his awesomeness were in 101NAPLE, outside my immediate view.
So at that point I collapsed in massive relief. I’d been just heartbroken imagining how I would break the news to Oleg that I had no pictures of his big event ….
When you realize something VERY BAD has gone wrong, STOP and don’t screw with anything. Take a deep breath, get away from the gas fumes, and think it through.
This time I got lucky. In my own ignorance with the cameras, I could’ve “lost” the pictures trying to “recover” them. God knows I’ve done that before (hint - deleting pictures off a USB stick doesn’t always have the Oops Factor of a “recoverable” recycle bin.)
And here we are - Fedor “The Last Emperor” and me!!!
The day after this crazy event, I sent an email to family and friends relaying both the awesomeness and despair of this day. By then I’d recovered the pictures and All Was Well. My brother, also a photographer of awesome pictures who gets damn near nothing for them as well, replied:
I knew where you were going as soon as you said ’swapped cards.’ Had that same freak out on the top of a mountain in Japan a few years ago.
Oh, the travesty!
A couple with Oleg and Fedor and the students at Zealous Nation MMA.
ANYWAY, I was online looking for customer complaints. Because, you know, manufacturer’s blame EVERYTHING on us stupid customers.
Then I tripped across the beauty by Savvy Shopper over at Amazon.com:
Nowhere in the description did I see this [bathroom] scale displays only in kilograms. The description says maximum capacity 330lbs. That certainly would lead most to believe it displays in pounds. I don’t want to do mathematical problems when I step on my scale in the morning. Although, this may be good for my brain, that wasn’t the reason for my purchase. I will be returning it.
Oh, Snap! It warms my heart to see reality, truth and sarcasm (along with the product itself) flung back at idiot manufacturers.]]>
Years ago, one of my favorite data mining profs intoned, “If tortured enough, the data will confess.” - Lyle Unger, UPENN. Whether good or bad depends purely on intent.
One discussion in LinkedIn focused on an odd graphic from the Wall Street Journal article “Broader U-6 Jobless Rate up to 17.1%: Why the Jump?”
What the heck does this picture mean?!? It’s got some red stuff on it, should I be worried?
The poster commented and asked for feedback,
The WSJ is using a treemap of unemployment rates which seem to me less effective at communicating changes in unemployment rates than a simple line graph.
Now me, being all rabid about user interfaces and the like, found this graphic to be beyond useless. Not only did I get frustrated trying to figure it out, but I blew off the entire article as a result.
Before I say a word … go check it out. Is it a simple bar chart? A line chart? Is it in any way recognizable as something you should have experience deciphering without batting an eye? If not, then it behooves the author to describe, in sufficient detail, how to interpret the chart.
OR, the author should reconsider charts that need detailed explanations. Can a straightforward explanation overcome the barrier to short-attention-span understanding? Or more bluntly, is the chart there for information, or for prettiness and art’s sake?
We often get these ideas mixed up.
Holy crap that’s a cool pic, but what the heck does it mean?
While posting anyone elses’ comments here is inappropriate, here is my contribution to the conversation. Awaiting your thoughts…
I’m no visualization expert but human interfaces and human factors issues bug me a lot. That being said, this chart baffled me. First, I didn’t realize it was interactive. Sure, it’s the internet, but give readers a clue. After pondering, I ended up concluding years progressed top to bottom, left to right.
Okay, next colors gave some clustering cues, but with no axes definitions, context was pretty useless. Even the article title mentions 17.1% but the chart colors range from 2 to 11 (percent?)
Then I noted the “Show recessions” white block. Again, I misread that as “Show(S) recessions” and incorrectly assumed the white/whiter blocks were times of recession. It’s not clear the white block is a check box, when the plot itself is full of white blocks (ok, rectangles). At that point, I gave up on the whole article.
Only after reading your responses, I see how easily it can be misinterpreted. There’s more info in there than I originally saw, but readers shouldn’t have to work so hard.
At a minimum, I’d expect to see an explanatory sentence or two directly below the table to translate how to read this non-obvious presentation, and I put my $0.02 in for the axis labels too.
I tried to be nicer on LinkedIn, but over here I’ll be honest - if this were over at ICHC-land, it’d be on FailBlog.
PS - is this a Real Life Debugging Problem? YOU BET! If an author/designer/writer/company is unable to convey their message, failure of one sort or another awaits. (You just hope this chart isn’t your current tire pressure before that long ride home to NJ-land tomorrow. ‘Cause that little red tire on the dashboard is one of those symptom-thingies.)]]>
Below is a picture I took in Guam a couple weeks ago during a (painfully too long) layover. Which might be more palatably (is that a word?) thought of as a surface interval between diving WWII wrecks in Truk Lagoon (awesome) and sharks and cool critters in Yap (no mantas. Rats).
This display was, heck, 8 feet across. All day it displayed video and ads. In the middle of a pretty cool extreme sports-kinda video, the following appeared:
Coooool. Just gotta love it!]]>
Pretty cool when your potential boss has read part of your book.
Anyway, we’d been working towards a Final Written Offer Letter for a little while. I got a Verbal shortly after the interview, a Tentative Written Offer Letter a while later, and over the next couple months I completed two pretty comprehensive application packages about 1/2 a ream thick. It would have been less stressful if Microsoft would have let me open my own thesis, but it got all registry passive-aggressive on me.
The final weeks we ramped asymptotically to 99.999% Goodness with the Tentative Official Offer Letter. (My language, not theirs.)
So, happily, I get The Official Call from HR and I’ve passed all security clearances, have garnered the last 0.001% and am now officially 100% approved as a new hire!
… and (baited breath) shortly there after the long awaited Official Official Offer Letter arrives via email! I double click, excited the day has finally arrived …
… and I can’t open the document.
So, like a black fly in your chardonnay, I can’t open the Official Official Offer Letter. It’s in Word 2048 or something, and my poor old Word 2003 can’t read it.
You know, my faithful little Dell Inspiron, providing thermal goodness to cats, implicated in emails from the cat to the FDA (oh, so THAT’s how they found out about me!!!), forced to glacial performance pleading with Microsoft for Help, warmly wafting Columbian Fair Trade Select coffee since my little spillage accident last month.
But my little trooper couldn’t open my offer letter. Depriving me, unintentionally, of basking in the final 0.001%.
The error message suggests a “compatibility pack.” So I downloaded it, noting its emphatic admonishment:
Users of the Microsoft Office XP and 2003 programs Word, Excel, or PowerPoint—please install all High-Priority updates from Microsoft Update before downloading the Compatibility Pack.
Okay, grumble, grumble, time to let the annoying New Updates Are Available suck all the life blood out of my productivity for a while.
Turns out it waded right in and FINALLY got to install Service Pack 3 behind my back. I *didn’t* want this loaded on my machine, for reasons I can’t quite remember. All I recall is SP3 was on my VERBOTEN list.
So, it’s already started so I let it go, fearing a user abort would leave my system (and me) in an Unhappy State.
After nearly 15 minutes of installation, it did it to me anyway:
I just love dialog boxes that are actually monologues. Or rather, smack downs.
So after accepting the inevitable, the system churns for about 20 minutes, uninstalling everything it just installed. It seems every DLL in the system was changed, along with a lot of other stuff I see scrolling by too quickly to read.
Then, too long a time later, I’m informed that the installation (and subsequent deinstallation) failed. In a most Unhappy Way.
Windows XP … may not work properly.
… and what other choice do I have than to click OK, like this is some casual little oh by the way?
Quadruple Gaaaaaaa. My To Do list is a 1000 items long - I do not NEED this right now!!!
Lessee … Windows forced an install, installed and halted, attempted to uninstall, failed, shrugs its shoulders at possible irreparably damage (self-inflicted), and wants me to reboot.
Reboot into what unhappy space, I wonder?
** you hear maniacal laughter in the distance **
At this point, good debugging is damage control. I could have a virus or I could have a Windows Special Feature. Since I’ve been slapped with the “Access Denied” before and found permissions issues, I decided to nix the virus possibility.
And as I pondered, I started to get those annoying popups every 30 seconds.
“Updating … is almost complete?!?“ Are you kidding me?
So in a concerned, yet somewhat controlled freak out mode, I grabbed my backup hard drive and launched Beyond Compare, which I love. I have a script as a scheduled task that runs at 5 am every morning. When the external drive is connected … which it hadn’t been for over a week.
“Unable to start task”
** bangs head on desk **
So I manually back up the drive, referencing my script to make sure (”Do you want to restart your computer now?“) I get all the good stuff stored offline. (With fingers crossed.)
Another aspect of Damage Control is thinking ahead.
How many times have you rebooted or turned off your machine to do something (like replace a keyboard (twice)) only to realize you’ve forgotten to print out the instructions?
“Do you want to restart your computer now?”
So I wanted to surf online to see what folks have done in this situation. Just in case I have to journey into Safe Mode and tweek stuff I wouldn’t think of otherwise.
However, Firefox informs me I have no wireless connection. View Available Wireless Networks gives errors. When the periodic searcher finally presents networks in my area, I select my router only to find that all the info, WEP, etc. is gone.
Guess THAT part didn’t uninstall completely, hmmm?
“Do you want to restart your computer now?”
So I get the router info back in check and get to the internet. Several articles mention that reboots drag the system to an absolute crawl, permission problems, all sorts of hell.
“Do you want to restart your computer now?”
So, everything backed up (not system files!), useful info printed from the internet, I took the plunge and said YES!
That sinking feeling in your gut as you slide the cursor towards the Restart Now button … knowing full well you may be voluntarily sending a seems-kinda-ok computer over the bit horizon, but realizing you have no other choice.
All this because I wanted to open my Official Official Offer Letter.
The reboot had a couple hitches but managed to get itself together. So far so good. Then I launched Firefox to find some more “Fix for ‘Access Denied’ error when installing XP SP3,” ‘you receive “access is denied’” etc., references.
Firefox took 10 minutes to load.
** facepalm **
I could go the route of the permissions problem and try reinstalling, risking warnings that I may need to find my original installation disks. Or I could just hope I had a decent restore point, which it turns out I did. Right before the attempted install. So I launched the restore, went to clean the proverbial litterbox, and a long while later it finished without errors.
After another reboot, all seems well.
I decided to ignore the compatibility pack for accessing .docm files and in the end, I just asked them to send the Final Official Official Offer Letter to me as a regular old boring .DOC file.
And they did.
Today I find that every image I’ve uploaded into every post does not appear. Just Like This.
** pulls hair **
Only links to external websites work. Some of my image links are dead, but most links are still correct. When I connect to the server I see my image files are right where they’re supposed to be. And if I go to a post and right-click on one of the sad blank boxes where an image used to be, it points to the right directory on the server. And if I go ahead and click on the blank box, the image IS displayed in a new window.
Now I see you now I don’t.
The images ARE in the right place. Wordpress/Network Solutions won’t access them to present in posts, but WILL sometimes display them directly if asked nicely.
At first, I thought this was an opportunity for a new Let’s Debug It post, but quite honestly, I’m tired of dealing with Network Solutions’ problems (”Solutions problems”?) that I’ll just call the 800 number and get them to fix whatever they screwed up this time.
If this was a problem with just a single post, I’d work through it. But this permeates my entire blog.
“So what does this look like?” I hear you cry. So I just captured a screen shot of the black box in a blog entry where previously a delightful image of some software error had been displayed. But, alas, Wordpress (Network Solutions) won’t even let me upload it. I even screen captured the error message to show you, but I can’t -
“Unable to create directory … Is its parent directory writable by the server?”
Yes, I chmod’ed 777 where suggested. Nada. So I sprinkled some more 777’s around (carefully-ly) indiscriminately, and was then able I upload a picture without the error (yeah!) but it still won’t display.
So, I can’t even SHOW you the problem other than to suggest you check out nearly any other post. Like this one: Yo, Today is December 31, 1969?. (Until, fingers crossed, this gets fixed.)
Hmmmm. I wonder if this post will even post?
The correct prize for an apparent $42.9 million slot machine jackpot that a Thornton woman hit at a Central City casino should have been $20.18, Colorado gaming regulators said today. [Denver Post 5/19/2010]
Ouch. I bet there was a whole lotta screaming going on, starting with great enthusiasm and then ending badly.
The machine was a progressive, meaning that the payout is based on previous bets and other similar machines. In order to win the Big Payout, the player must bet the max, which in this case was $4. The player had bet only the minimum, $0.40.
The Colorado Division of Gaming’s forensic investigation found that the slot machine malfunctioned and displayed the wrong payout because of errors in “mathematical calculations built into the game software.”
That’s a heck of a big mistake. Seems like an extra (missing?) if() statement would’ve caught that one.]]>
But Cufflinks. Hmmm. 2GB each for a black tie evening of 4 GB. My inner geek says, “Cool!” but I’m left wondering if I’m truly swayed by coolness, or after a longer pondering would file it in the “just because they can do it” category.
When, exactly, would USB cufflinks be a lifesaver? Can you think of a situation during which one would be expected socially to wear cufflinks when easy access to several Gigs of data might be required? And seriously, someone else wouldn’t have one on a key chain somewhere? Even those little USBs fit nicely into an inner jacket pocket to maintain the smooth trouser look.
Fashion and function merging once again. Because if you lose a snazzy cufflink, you’ll always have a data backup on the other arm.]]>
(Yes, I hear you cry! I knew where the files were!)
You see, about 5 years ago I spent a couple days pulling stuff off boxes of floppies before the data puddled into magnetic goo. Surrounded by mostly 3 1/2’s and many 5 1/4’s (and several disk backup tapes), I found my dissertation and with mixed memories (yes, the terror does fade with time), I tried to open the files.
Back then, Microsoft presented me with a different, although more frightening message when I attempted to open the files. Something about not being able to read the old Word file format at all (Yikes!).
Had the ghost returned?
Jumping into the WayBack machine, my dissertation and thesis files were originally saved in Word 1.0. In 1993.
With some significant effort 5 years ago, I was able to grab the raw text, reformat it, reinsert all the figures (grrr) and then save it in Word 2000. And then from there (I think) to Word 2002/XP. After that mess, I happily backed up the files and moved along thinking All was Well.
But now, the Registry Police have me pulled over, cooling my heels as I prepare an application package (yes, package) that includes not only my dissertation abstract, but my master’s thesis abstract as well.
So off to Google and I’m corralled to:
922849 You receive an error message when you try to open a file type that was blocked by your registry policy settings in Word 2007 or in Word 2003.
Now, I have Word 2003, which is the first version in which an administrator can block the ability to open or save files created in versions before Word 2003. However, I’m the administrator of this computer, and I didn’t specifically initiate the download of security update 934181 which allows this. In fact, it’s not on my computer and not listed as required or missing.
Okay, fine. So to fix this, I’m encouraged to create and muck with several registry settings amid many dire warnings of possible impending doom, and recommendations about downloading Office System Administrative Templates to add file restrictions, contacting the administrator (ahem), etc.
Sigh - I don’t usually muck with the registry, and don’t particularly want to. And Microsoft knows what misfortune awaits even those who pause at the Door of Registry, as it insists - FIRST, you must backup the registry!
Yeah, I’m cool with that.
So Microsoft sends me to:
322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows
This page shows me pretty straightforward instructions but admonishes me that I must have Service Pack 3 installed first.
I have Service Pack 2. And for reasons I don’t recall, I either can’t, shouldn’t, or decided not to upgrade.
But come on, there has to be a way to save the registry correctly without all this, right? I know I’ve done it before. So, I ignore the SP3 thing and save a restore point anyway by running %SystemRoot%\system32\restore\rstrui.exe.
So it’s saved. Not sure if it could recover from it. But live dangerously, right?
So I wander back to 922849 and am directed now to visit:
938810 Information about certain file types that are blocked after you install Office 2003 Service Pack 3.
Ahhhh, but AGAIN! I never INSTALLED SP3, remember?
But I continue on my dangerous path of willful insolence, and for the first time in any of the Microsoft bulletins I’ve seen, I find “a downloadable update to automatically re-enable all file types.”
** jaw drops in wonder **
To re-enable Word file types only, save the following file to a folder on the computer: http://download.microsoft.com/download/2/8/B/28B644CE-9A30-4D99-AFEF-830A4FB5B839/UnblockWord.reg
I saved it, double-clicked to run it, confirmed I really wanted to, and viola! Now I can open my (really not that old) Word files!
For once, I have to give Microsoft credit for just automating the process of changing/adding certain registry keys, rather than asking the user to do it manually.
(Now it’s now again time for me to open each file and re-save it in the latest-greatest version of Word - which happens to be Word 2003 on my machine - and wait for the next time I’m denied access to my own stuff to do this all over again.)
Lather, rinse, repeat.
PS - And magically, it fixes another minor annoyance I’ve noticed over the last year or so - if I click on a hyperlink in a Word document, I get an error that the administrator has blocked this action. But alas no more!
Two bugs smashed for the price of one!
And (yes I’m really saying this) props to Microsoft. For supplying a pretty easy fix, even if it’s for a roadblock of their own making.]]>
Mashable’s review article with a sample view.
The Tool at ReclaimPrivacy.
Yes, some tech savvy folks have said, “Well, searching through all the settings really isn’t that hard.” But with most folks NOT being savvy, and NOT really understanding what info is so public, this is a nice tool for everyone.]]>