Monday, October 21, 2002

Palm This!

So, my boss gave me her old Palm Pilot as she recently upgraded to a newer, better, faster version. Apparently, it can fly, do her laundry, her taxes and her nails, all while keeping track of her many meetings.

The version she gave me, sits in my office, causing me aggravation and collection dust. At least I think it’s collecting dust, as I boxed the little fucker up and threw him way up on top of my filing cabinet, where it is out of sight and it can rot until for all I care.

Oh, how did such a happy-go-lucky boy like me get so pissed off at an inanimate object, you ask? Well, last week, Carla, my boss, gave me her old Palm Pilot. She handed me the box, the cradle, the Palm Pilot, the instructions and installation disk—everything I needed to get started right away! Oh boy!

It was all so simple.

I followed the instructions, installed everything and hit HotSync, which is supposed to link everything together: my Outlook calendar, address book, tasks, etc. Instead, it started to download all of Carla’s information from the handheld onto my computer! I yanked the SOB out of the cradle and rechecked all the settings. I made sure that the information on my computer would override the information on the Pilot. I didn’t set it up to exchange or synchronize the information. No, I wanted my computer to override the handheld.

I tried again.

Again, the bastard started to download Carla’s information!

Carla suggested I uninstall and reinstall and make sure the system knows to delete her old information.

So, I uninstalled… the folks at Palm were too kind not to attach a uninstall function on their program like everyone else, so I had to search around for a while until I remembered that Microsoft had a link to uninstall any of my programs. God Bless the boys at Microsoft. (Who’d ever thought I’d say that?)

I tried again. This time, when installing, I was not asked to enter my name. Odd, I thought, but who knows? We’ve been hanging out for the past few days, so maybe it understands me? Maybe this time, it will work.

It didn’t work. Again, Carla’s system attempted to invade mine.

Once again, I deleted and once again I reinstalled. This time, I carefully checked each install page and set up everything as carefully as possible. When I went to HotSync, it seemed to know that I was going to shut if off, so it pulled a fast one and dumped Carla’s vast and neverending datebook onto my computer (even though I had set the parameters to never allow the handheld to override the computer. Never).

Since the little bastard wouldn’t listen to me, I said a quick and happy “Fuck you, you fucking piece of fucking shit,” uninstalled again, and promptly threw the “fucking piece of fucking shit” back in its fucking box and under my fucking desk.

When I relayed the story to a co-worker (sans the many “fucks”), she suggested that I do a “hard clean” of memory on the handheld. If hard clean meant dipping the thing in a vat of boiling ammonia, followed by a vat of acid, well, I was all for it. Apparently, I only had to push here and prod there and life was good again. So, after prodding and pushing and pulling and a slight tug here and there, it cleared.

I reinstalled again.

This time, Su—a coworker and a successful user of Palm and its many fine Palm products—stood by me while I installed. She read each page carefully. Oh, dear Lord, was she careful… and slow. As much as I wanted her to hurry her ass up and read, I realized she may be on to something: reading and following directions apparently works for many.

We completed everything and life was good. “Hurray!” I exclaimed, “You did it Su!” Su patted me on the head and said, “No, we did it.” And she was right and everything worked out wonderfully…

…if by wonderfully one means: to totally not fucking work worth a fucking good god-damn!

When we went to HotSync, the system said that because there were “multiple users” on the system, it could not download information from Outlook. Where are the multiple users? Only my name was on the registration. Only my name was on my computer. And only my name was on the handheld.

Well, to make this already too long story not go on too much longer, we couldn’t find the answer, and man, did we try. When we would try and sync, we would get a message telling us to go online and look up “Syncing Multiple Handhelds to Same Profile.” So we searched and searched and searched their website. You know, there is no listing for “Syncing Multiple Handhelds to Same Profile.” And what little information there was on synching (or “syncing” as they spelled it) was not helpful at all. I mean, not one bit.


So, we spent about two hours going through the program, trying to sync the damn thing up—or at least figure out why it thought there were multiple users. Carla was no longer listed anywhere, why did it think there was someone else?

We thought it may be confusing my Outlook profile [clion] with my full name, which I’d entered into Palm at registration. So, we adjusted it and tried again.

No sync.

Uninstalled and repeated the process…

…and did it again…

…and did it yet again…

Each time, we tried something different, hoping we’d find the key.

We read the instructions all the way through and still no luck. The little bastard just wouldn’t give. Finally, I’d had enough and once again, uninstalled.

Then Andrew came in my office.

He had Carla’s USB cable that she’d originally ordered for her handheld (now mine) and did I want it? I practically grabbed it out of his hands. It was the connection! That was it! Oh, how silly I felt…

I reinstalled and then tried to attach the USB cable.

What the fuck?

There was a disk that came along with it, but it didn’t open the installation. When I tried searching the disk, I could never find anything that would start the installation process.

So, I followed the directions, which are very detailed, very precise and yet, incredibly vague. How do the folks at Palm stay in business? Why do people use their products? Is it a world full of masochists?

The directions said to make sure that Palm software was installed, but when I tried that, it didn’t work. So I tried again… after uninstalling again.

I think we all know what happened, don’t we? You know it ended up in a box on top of a cabinet in the deepest, darkest crevices of my office, so why go on? Yet, I must.

Suffice to say, I don’t see how the little bastard could help me accomplish anything. It wasted an entire day of my life. I had things I could have been avoiding at work today, things that I won’t be able to enjoy avoiding tomorrow.

As I was getting ready to leave, Su walked up to one of our IT people and asked if they had any experience installing Palm Pilots? After working all day and pulling what’s left of my hair out of my head, I certainly didn’t want to find out that it only takes minutes to complete. I was ready to kill her.

“Yeah,” smiled Neil, “It might take a few minutes, but I can get it all sorted out in a few minutes.” Now I was ready to kill him.

Right now, I’m enjoying my hatred of Palm too much to allow anyone to quickly and easily install this bitch of a program. So, I’m going to wait a few days, before I request some help.

However, if they don’t run into any problems, then it will clearly be my incompetence that I couldn’t get it to work—and I will probably be even more ticked off (if that's possible). But if they can’t install it, then victory is mine and that “fucking piece of fucking shit” Palm will be torn apart by my palms!

Incidentally, I did send an email to the fine folks at Palm… they say they’ll get back to me in 24 hours. God help the poor bastard that has to help me, as they may end up on the back of a very tall cabinet, collecting dust…

Monday, October 07, 2002

Sweet Home Alabama

I hate seeing movies alone. It’s so depressing. But I really wanted to see Sweet Home Alabama this weekend, and since I couldn’t find anyone to go (and it was so last minute I only called one person), I was forced to go all by myself.

Comedies are the worst to see alone, especially for me. I laugh far too loud, or I’ll try and cut a loud laugh off and sound like I’m choking. Suddenly, everyone is looking over at the pathetic guy choking in the dark… Or worse, I say something out loud, some silly comment and then I’m the guy talking to himself in the theatre. I used to mock those people—and now I’m one of them.

My only way to combat a situation like that is to try and sit near some people and look like somehow I “belong” to them. Usually, I try and listen in to their conversation and laugh when they make a joke. When they look over, I smile, say I couldn’t help hearing and make a favorable comment. In my sad, pathetic little mind, I’m now going to the movies with them. I don’t feel quite so alone.

However, that doesn’t prevent me from making those choking noises…

Back to Sweet Home Alabama, it’s exactly what you expect it to be: cute, funny and no surprises. Sure, there were those people in the audience that audibly gasped at moments (and those of us who laughed at them), but nothing we didn’t already pick up from the trailer.

I tend to hate “cute” and “sweet” movies because they try so hard to be cute and sweet that they end up being pandering and obnoxious. The credit for the success of this film goes directly to Reese Witherspoon. Reese, as always, is adorable and plays the part of Melanie Carmichael, the embarrassed former Southerner well.

Melanie is caught between her soon-to-be ex-husband Jake (played by Josh Lucas, who could not be any cuter) and Andrew (played by Patrick Dempsey, who is so JFK, Jr. it’s almost distracting).

My adopted friends for the feature sat directly behind me: two very chatty queens and their fag hag. I couldn’t say anything out loud, without looking like a complete idiot—so they were my voice in the dark. Unfortunately, I never got the opportunity to make a connection, so they were “my friends” only in my twisted mind. However, they made all the right comments at just the right moment—or should I say, just as I was thinking them.

When Jake took off his shirt, revealing his very nice chest (oooh… fuzzy!) one of the guys said, “Now that’s what I’m talking about.”) Whenever there was a close-up of Jake, and his eyes sparkled in the lights, they would sigh and talk about how damn cute he was… because he was so damn cute!

But when it came to the town gay-boy Bobby Ray, played by the very sweet Ethan Embry, they were very vocal about wanting to “put him on a plate and sop him up with a biscuit.” Okay, they didn’t actually say that, but I was thinking it when they were salivating over him, so close enough.

When Bobby Ray, Andrew and Jake were all standing on the front porch, I was letting my mind drink in the nasty possibilities of the scene, when one of the guys started making porn music sounds and the other queen said, “That’s a scene I think this movie really needs!”

Not only does this movie work well as a comedy, but the porn possibilities are endless. I have a feeling we are going to see several porn movies based on the very same concept. Frankly, they couldn’t come soon enough for me.

I’m sure they will make a sequel of this film, and I hope to see it with my new movie buddies… whoever they are.