Fake News

There is an article floating around with a title, “Fake news sharing in US is a rightwing thing, says study.” I have not clicked on it because it sounds like fake news. The Guardian typically has clickbait titles.

Also, I am annoyed because if I wanted to do a study on how susceptible liberals are to fake news, then putting out a fake study like this is exactly how I would gauge how much they share because it would go super viral.

URI in a Database

This vendor’s application has been a headache for me for over a year now. We are getting close to upgrading, but there are some issues. One is why data in the new version is missing. I finally got the vendor to give me a query in the new version which was enough for me to figure out how to find the same data in the old version.

Shrug by Tom Hilton

Everything I check between the two databases is consistently the same across the systems. So, why are the user interfaces different? See image right.

I have done a lot of querying now trying to gain some insight into the black box since the front line support workers are not getting me helpful information out of their “additional resources.” I’ve asked to talk to a DBA, but they do not respond to that part.

Something hurts my brain is that every table’s primary key is name “uri.” Yes, everything is a Uniform Resource Indicator. (If everything is an uri, then effectively nothing is an uri.) But then when TableA needs to reference something from TableB, then it actually has a column that describes what it is. Except in this one case I am struggling to understand where the recordUri does not match the record table’s uri column.

So what does it match? See image.

An annotated schema would help out so much right now.

My guess is a table moved and broke a customization.

I suspect the choice of URI as an acronym is because of the HTTP protocol. For a web site address, one has the protocol in http:// and the full qualified domain name like ezrasf.com and everything starting with the next slash after is the URI. And that is what set me off to write this post.

On This Day & Friendship

The image that a specific friend failed to like

When I look through Facebook’s On This Day feature, sometimes I am startled to see that someone I expected to like a specific post did not.

This reminded me that what I post often is targeted. There are a handful of people who I know follow my posts and will appreciate them.

Friends are people who have shared experiences and/or interests. Those I target with a post are not usually tagged or named even when I intend for them to see it. The game is for them to see it as an inside joke. So for them to fail to like the post, I feel like I failed the friendship. It is like saying something that is an inside joke and get no smile.

Are we even still friends? (Sorry, just being melodramatic.) Probably. It is just a single data point. There would need to be a consistent pattern of misses.

Outlook Data File Corruption

Outlook became unusable. I tried switching to the webmail, but my workflow is such that I essentially stopped checking email for last week. Meeting invites went unseen. Notifications missed my attention. Every strategy I tried to ensure that I saw the email and calendar were ineffective. So, I kind of need the application to work.

The issue appeared to be some kind of file corruption. The application would crash due to “a problem.” When I opened the application, it would claim there was an issue with the data file and ask to repair it. I allowed it. It would make a backup and repair the file and tell me all is good. Things would be fine for a while until it happened again.

Back in November it just happened twice. Then in early December, it was a couple times a week. In mid-December, it was a couple times a day. Finally, today, it would only stay open for a couple minutes.

I decided that since my data is on Exchange, that deleting the files should not really be catastrophic. Outlook should just rebuild the data files for me. So, I renamed the data files. (“Should” != “definitely would.”) They are located in C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook and have the file extensions .ost or .pst. I chose to rename them with “bad_”. I started Outlook again. It rebuilt the data files. I have not seen a crash since.

My guess is the repair did not actually fix the problem. Certainly, the repair tool kept identifying things to fix.

Automate Yourself Out Of A Job

At VSU, my boss got a promotion when his boss retired. Then a shuffling of jobs gave me a promotion, but it also sent my old job to another group. That left the web services group going from 2.5 full-time positions down to 1.5.

We did not have that much free time. If anything in the early 2000s, the responsibilities were growing which is how we ended up with 2.5 people. My only way to restore sanity was by automation. Admittedly, I love scripting and schedulings, so my approach to things at that time was to write scripts to handle jobs. The change gave more motivation to ensure that anything that could be automated was. Or I would drown in the work.

What made it hard was, even as I automated these jobs, more things were coming to the web. The needs grew faster than I could develop the tools to handle it. It was a fantastic experience, though.

Weird addressing

Email addresses are weird.

Web addresses run from broadest to most narrow scope, which makes total sense to me. http is the protocol basically informing the computer how to handle the request. (Back in the 90s, we more commonly also saw ftp and mailto and gopher as protocols in links.) Next is the computer address which ideally would have been ordered Top Level Domain (TLD), site domain, hostname, so for example this site would have been com.ezrasf.www. Next is the folder tree down to the file location. Finally, is the file name.

Similarly, email addresses should have been designed as protocol, TLD, site domain, username. So, you could reach me at mailto:com.ezrasf/blog. Instead, the username at server address is what we got. It works, but it has bothered me that it does for a decade and a half.

Ambigous Direction

I spent far too long stuck because of the direction: “Locate the level that you want to configure.” To me, that implied going to the application or the site. Only the “ISAPI and CGI Restrictions” I wanted was not there. I did all kinds of things thinking that somehow the feature I needed was not installed because I did not see it.

It turned out the setting is only visible at the topmost (server) level. Various documentation fail to describe looking for it there.

Magical Tech

For a long while, I have thought Gmail was smart enough to see emails I receive and make a calendar entry. Apparently, the truth is I forgot about creating an IFTTT applet to look for emails with the group subject tag and make a calendar entry for me.

It worked so well, that I guess I had no reason to pay attention.

Unsticky Likes

Like Stamp 1
Credit: Joy Powers

Of late, I have been featured in some posts that generate many comments on Facebook. Naturally, I like these comments.

So when a new one comes in and old ones I thought I previously liked no longer show them being liked, it was noticeable. Over the past few months, I have seen the behavior over and over.

My primary hunch is that I am just a bad person and did not actually like them as I thought. Human memory is fallible. It is easily feasible that I in seeing them not liked assumed that I would have taken action to like them. The memory of having done so could actually be the recollection of doing so with others conflated to this incident.

Hypothetically, it is possible that I like a post and the action never gets updated in the database without telling me it failed. If the UI is designed to show the like whether or not the database took it, then I could see it liked and when I return later to see it not liked. Maybe because these posts have such a large dataset collected into a single place I more easily notice when this happens. It would be disturbing if we go to all the trouble of responding and others are never getting that feedback.