Conversation Of The Day With A Client

Fictional, of course. None of our clients are actually this stupid, and I wouldn’t be silly enough to publish a real event like this on my blog, ever.

A client phones up and asks to speak to me.

Client: “I’m using the ‘Data Export’ tool in… [part of application I wrote, new version recently deployed to him] …it was my understanding that it always used to export Excel files.”
Me: “Umm. Yes. Well, actually, it exports CSV files – that’s Comma Seperated Values. Excel will open them, and if you have it installed, it becomes the default application for opening such files.”
Client: “Mm-hmm. It seems to think they’re text files.”
Me: “Text files? You mean they’re opening in Notepad?”
Client: “Yup.”
Me: “Ah; okay – well, we just have to tell it to open them in Excel, then. Right-click on the file, and select ‘Open With…’: ‘Excel’.”
Client: “It’s not there.”
Me: “Oh. That’s odd. Okay then, just open Excel from the Start Menu.”
Client: “I can’t find it.”
Me: <thinks> “Which computer are you using?”
Client: “The server.”
Me: “Do you have Excel installed on the server?”
Client: “No.”

Thanks to Task Tracker, SmartData‘s funky in-house timesheeting tool, and it’s drill-down reports, I’m able to look back over the last year and work out exactly how much more work I’d have gotten done if our clients were even slightly computer-literate and didn’t need to keep calling up for help with trivial things every ten minutes. Ah well.

GMail Invites

I’ve got nine GMail invites. Does anybody want one? Check the comments to this post to see how many have gone, and leave a comment to this post if you want one.

Statto Plays With Blacklight

Statto has an article on his blog about using his digital camera to take infared pictures which is worth a look, if you’re even vaugely interested/bored/geeky/a physicist/all of the above. He’s taken some fascinating pictures of infared remote control beams and things through filters, and provided a little bit of an informative background as to why it all looks like it does, too. Go look.

Man And The Machines

There’s a fascinating article on (the self-styled “magazine at the intersection of law and life” on artificial intelligence and legal/ethical/socialogical considerations relating to it. Despite disagreeing with a few of it’s points, it’s well-written and excellently-presented. Go read it.

In case the site stops publishing the article, I’ve made a copy, below. Click on the ‘next page‘ link to read it here.