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Stoopid

Here's a list of organizations that continue doing stupid things. I have no qualm with simple ignorance (nobody knows everything) but these things are stupid because they (the organizations) should know better! As such, I am calling attention only to organizations with significant human and financial resources. If they really don't know better, then I am providing them with a valuable service and they should contact me for appropriate compensation. These are listed in chronological order, that is, as I think of them and have time to enter them. So don't think anybody here is more stupid than anybody else based on the order of appearance.
 
   Microsfot Sucks Ash Again   

After banging my head against the keyboard and searching the internet for hours (many, many hours), I've concluded that Microsoft has once again shafted their users.  This time in regards to playing videos.  Although I despise third-party applications, like Macromedia/Adobe Shockwave Flash and Acrobat Reader, at least they work (usually).  Recently I've been trying to play some videos and got some bizarre errors from Microsoft...

I've got some videos that are encoded with Intel's Indeo codecs (v3.1 upto v5.1).  These play fine on Windows 95, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 98, and Windows ME.  But, it's like 2010 so not many people use those right??  Try it out on Windows XP or Windows Vista using Window's Media Player and you get an error.  Actually, it's a secret error.

Now you may be wondering what is a "secret error."  Well, Media Player will play the audio, but not the video.  This was my first WTF?  In the playlist, by the filename, is an exclamation point (!).  If you click on the exclamation point, you get the error message (from Win XP):

Windows Media Player error message that tells you a codec is missing and suggests clicking 'Web Help'
Since Microsoft is well-known for bloated operating systems (including all the binaries from all previous operating systmes), I found this very odd.  Anyway, like a good user, I followed their advise and clicked on "Web Help."  What did that tell me?  Here ya go:
 

Windows Media Player Error Message Help

You've encountered error message C00D10D1 while using Windows Media Player. The following information might help you troubleshoot the issue.

Codec is missing

Windows Media Player cannot play the file (or cannot play either the audio or video portion of the file) because the Intel/Ligos Indeo Video 3.2 (IV32) codec is not installed on your computer.

The missing codec might be available to download from the Internet. To search for the Intel/Ligos Indeo Video 3.2 (IV32) codec, go to the WMPlugins.com Web site.

On the positive side, the web page tells you what the problem is (missing codec IV32) which is better than the application: Media Player didn't even tell me what codec was needed!  On the negative side, it does not give immediate help but instead provides a link to WMPlugins.  On the extreme negative side, it is completely wrong (described below)!  Okay, like a good little user, I try clicking on that link, and what does user Hydro get?

WMPlugins.com

Microsoft has retired WMPlugins.com. Thank you to all of our Windows Media Player partners and customers who submitted plug-ins over the years to help give users a richer media experience.

Well that was not directly helpful.  As a user, I interpreted this to mean: Fu¢k You for using Windows Media Player.  Either I am the only human on Earth with this opinion, or Microsoft needs to improve their customer relations.  Anyay, on the page are links to other stuff; most importantly in this case is a link titled Codecs which upon clicking (now 3 layers deep) gives the following:

Codecs: frequently asked questions

Okay, so I look through the list to find the one relevant to me (a good application would do this directly).  Aha!  Here is the most important question in the list provided by Microsoft (you have to click on the question... now we're 4 layers deep):

How do I find a codec?

If you know the name of the codec or its ID (known as a FourCC identifier for video codecs or a WaveFormat identifier for audio codecs), try searching the Internet. You can often go to a codec manufacturer's website to download the most recent version of a codec.


Warning Warning

Use caution when installing codecs that you find on the Internet, particularly some of the free codec packs that claim to include codecs from a wide variety of companies or organizations. Incompatibilities are known to exist with some of the components in these codec packs that can cause serious playback issues in the Player and other players, lead to system corruption, and make it difficult for Microsoft Support to diagnose and troubleshoot playback issues. For these reasons, we strongly discourage you from installing these codec packs, and recommend that you remove them if you have installed them and you are having problems with the Player. Install only codecs, filters, or plug-ins from trusted, authorized sources, such as the website of the official supplier. Even then, use caution: some codec suppliers offer minimal customer support. Before installing any digital media components, set a system restore point. The restore point enables you to return to your original system configuration, if necessary.


Umm, so Microsoft is saying "use Google" but "don't blame us if you mess up your computer"... is that about right?  So using Google (now 5 layers deep), I am told I need to have installed a DLL called "ir32_32.dll".  That makes sense but...

That codec is already installed on Windows XP / Vista !!!!!!!  WTF (number 2)!!!!

That's right, I already have the codec... Window's Media Player lied to me!!!!!!!

So now I am spewing blood all over my desk from banging my head against the keyboard... you need code... you have codec... it still not work....
 
So after MORE research on Google, I finally came across this article from Microsoft which says in part,
 

Microsoft is announcing the availability of an update that provides security mitigations to the Indeo codec on supported editions of Microsoft Windows...

The Indeo codec... could allow code remote code execution when opening specially crafted media content. The update blocks the Indeo codec from being launched in Internet Explorer or Windows Media player... By only allowing applications [except Media Player]to use the Indeo codec when the media content is from the local system or from the intranet zone, and by preventing Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player from launching the codec at all, this update removes the most common remote attack vectors but still allows games or other applications that leverage the codec locally to continue to function.

...Customers who have automatic updating enabled will not need to take any action because this security update will be downloaded and installed automatically. For more information... see Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 954157.

The Indeo codec may be... required by certain applications in multiple ways. The Indeo codec may be required when visiting legitimate Web sites... Therefore, this update is being offered to... still allow the codec to function in line-of-business application scenarios. On the other hand, customers who do not have a use for the codec may choose to take an additional step and deregister the codec completely. Deregistering the codec would remove all attack vectors... See Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 954157 ...

 
Ignoring the typos (you saw them because you're sharp, right?), I take this to mean that Microsoft has automatically (through Automatic Updates) fixed / fu¢ked my computer.  As it turns out, I can play the videos with the original Media Player (that ships with Windows 95, Windows NT, and Windows 98; called mplayer.exe), but the videos will not play in Media Player 9 / 10 even though I have the codec installed (you lying mother fu¢ker).
 
My appologies to everyone for venting, but all this blood needs to be accounted for...  By the way, these videos I'm trying to play were CREATED ON WINDOWS XP.  I'll spell it out in case the irony doesn't crack your skull like mine:
 
    Windows XP created the video
    Windows XP can not play the video (with standard Media Player 9 / 10)
    Windows 95 / NT / 98 / ME can play the video
    Windows XP might play the video with old software (Media Player 1; not tested)
 
 
   Silly Robots   

After my GeoCities web site had been up for quite a while, I got an automated signature in my Guest Book. Although the site doesn't get a lot of traffic, it's not dormant either. To my dismay, this entry in the guest book went like this:

hzzkiet-at93815-tw6q08e1-0 var r = document.referrer; document.write( ) ultram...

It also includes raw (un-clickable) web links. It appears a robot (named ZOLOFT) entered this into the Guest Book, presumably to promote some product or service. However, the 'links' do not work because they are formatted as plain text. So the robot is just wasting resources... STOOPID! On a positive note, it wasn't a complete waste because, in theory, a visitor could copy and paste one of the URLs into their browser's address bar (very unlikely). In reality, that can't be done because the post has been deleted... sorry ZOLOFT.

 
 
Microsoft -- I don't recognize my own operating system  

Thanks to the brilliant people on capital hill, daylight saving time has changed. So I try to update the operating system on this computer (my father's genuine Intel PC running Windows 98) by clicking, logicaly enough, Windows Update from the Tools menu of Internet Explorer. It opens to the Microsoft website (update.microsoft.com) and then after a second of fouled up thought, their server responds with this message:
Thank you for your interest in obtaining updates from our site.

This website is designed to work with Microsoft Windows operating systems only.

To find updates for Microsoft products that are designed for Macintosh operating systems, please visit http://www.microsoft.com/mac/.

So, sorry dad, looks like you need to buy a new computer (even though the one you have has more horsepower than you need) because Microsoft is stoopid. Granted, this is arguably not a critical update so Microsoft isn't obliged to support it under their "product lifecycle" (another topic...), but

Microsoft should recognize their own Operating System!

They should also be honest and say:

We don't care about you anymore unless you buy a new product. Now go away.

  CNN -- What time is it?  

One of CNN's shows tries to act high-tech by showing the time accurately to the deci-second (hundredth of a second) but instead of using a decimal seperator (the period(.)) they use the sexigesimal seprator (the colon(:)). An example of their stupidity is
11:15:00:75
That is as stupid as saying the time is 11:75 a.m. because we all (should) know there are only 60 minutes in an hour. Similarly, there are only 60 jiffies in a second. One jiffy of time corresponds to one field in NTSC video. I believe the last two digits of their stupidity represent centi-seconds (hundredths of a second). As such, CNN should display the time as
11:15:00.75
You should notice a different symbol (a period(.) instead of colon(:)) between the seconds and the centi-seconds. The brains at CNN haven't got this figured out! Or, if they want the symetry of all colons, they should convert from centi-seconds to jiffies like this
11:15:00:45
Two simple solutions! Their stupidty in this matter is why I labeld their high-tech as merely an act. This reminds me of that news program showing the Earth spinning backwards! Note to CNN: refer to the ISO 8601 specifications; an overview is available at wikipedia.org.

Update: Now I add MSNBC to my hall of shame for the same reason. If we can't trust these news broadcasts with something simple like the time, can we trust them about other information? Or maybe time is actually complicated...

  Microsoft's IE -- I no speak you English  

I can't say Microsoft employes illegal aliens to do their programming, but whoever does it has a problem with the English language. If you are using Internet Explorer then you have probably seen a dialog box like this
 Example dialog box for Internet Explorer that asks 'Do you want to download and install an ActiveX component?'
Appropriate answers to a "Do you want to..." question are Yes and No. Instead, you are given the choices of OK and Cancel. Microsoft can correct this stupidity by either:
  • Providing appropriate answers (Yes or No) to the existing question.
  • Changing the question to a statement
An example of the second approach could appear as
 Improved dialog box for Internet Explorer stating 'You are about to download and install an ActiveX component.'
Notice it is now a statement of intended action so the given choices (OK and Cancel) actualy are appropriate. Two simple solutions! Pick one Microsoft and you too will be speaking correct English; otherwise you are stoopid.
© H2Obsession, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010 
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