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No more spreadsheets. Long live spread sheets!

Really, Microsoft? This is a spelling mistake? The dictionary term that you use on your own website to describe the function of Excel is marked as a spelling mistake?

Yes, we’ve been here before with the grammar checker. But this is just depressing.

Dear SMART Technologies

If you are going to put required fields on your online registration forms, it really does help if you actually mark it as required, so I don’t have to see stupid red error messages when I click submit.

And you know what? Actually labelling the field at all would be a good start. Read More…

Oh, the irony: Google Maps gives wrong address for Google offices

If you search on Google Maps for the address of Google’s offices in London Victoria, you’ll be taken to the correct address. However, if you then click on the location marked ‘Google London’, the address it gives you is for a different office building in Soho about 2 miles away:

(The address given is the location of their separate sales offices that opened last year, but that hardly excuses the place marker being 2 miles out of place).

Dear Facebook. About these Ads…

You know I work in a school. You know I’m married. You know these things because I dutifully filled them in on my profile so you could sell my data to advertisers.

So, when you show me dating ads entitled “Meet Your Girlfriend” with a picture of a girl who looks suspiciously under-age, this is not just badly targeted or inappropriate, it is actually downright offensive.



Edit: This page used to contain a screenshot of the ad in question, but this was removed following receipt of a DMCA takedown notice on 2nd April 2013. See the below comment for more information.

You do not need to defragment this volume

I think I’ll be the judge of that.

How to fix a ‘User information is disabled’ error on the Canon imageRUNNER Remote UI

This was a pretty weird one, and Google didn’t turn up anything useful, so hopefully this will help anyone with the same problem in future.


When logging into the Remote UI of a Canon imageRUNNER in System Manager Mode, I got the following message right after entering the System Manager ID and Password, and could not proceed any further:

User information is disabled. This operation cannot be accepted. User certification is invalid or date expired. Update page.

The problem affected 3 out of 10 of my new printers. All the new printers had replaced existing printers, and I had reused their IP addresses and hostnames. I soon realised that the 3 affected had replaced the 3 Kyocera Mita printers I had, and that all the unaffected printers had replaced different makes.

When I logged in using a different browser, the problem did not occur, so I realised it was something specific to my normal Firefox profile.


I discovered that the web interface of the previous Kyocera Mita printers had set a cookie named rtl which was the cause of the problem. Removing this cookie for each of the affected printers immediately resolved the problem.

rtl cookie


A little while ago, our MIS provider did some work for us to resolve some performance issues with their product. When I got the code back, I took a look over it as I needed to make some further small adjustments myself to make it completely fit our needs.

Since then, I have found myself unravelling almost every aspect of the code. I’ve found data queries that use a SELECT DISTINCT on 500 records to return 8 values that exist as unique items in a different table of 30 records. WHERE clauses with 2 different parameters that can only ever return data if they are identical. Even code that I looked at a week ago and thought “huh, that’s an odd way to do it, but it seems to work” is slowly proving itself to be mindnumbingly dumb the more I dig into the inner workings.

It doesn’t disturb me that I’m finding these errors. It’s a complex system. What disturbs me is that I’ve had no formal training on this system, and the person who did the work is the MIS company’s expert on it.

There are times – increasingly frequent times – when I seriously wonder how they have survived in the market this long.