Back in September of 2005, about one month into my then new gig blogging for the Houston Chronicle, I published my answer to what I thought was a fairly unique problem with limited relevance to the general computing community.
Someone had contacted me with a problem. It seems that their computer display had turned sideways and wanted to know how to fix it. I figured out the problem and fixed it for them and decided to use it in the Helpline Blog under the title My screen is sideways.
Over the last few years the comments kept coming in and looking at it now there are 393 thank you comments on that post. 393 people who have managed to shift their display 90 degrees to the vertical, some not knowing how or why it happened while others readily blame the errant child or the curious climbing feline.
This has been the most response I have seen to anything I have blogged, ever. And I would have thought that was that and chalked it up to a happy anomaly or serendipity until I posted an answer to a flash.ocx problem simply called Flash.ocx error in February 2007. In just a little over one year that post has garnered 334 responses, all thank you notes from people who were seeking a solution to the same problem.
That’s 49 shy of my personal record and it won’t be long before Flash.ocx error surpasses My screen is sideways unless there’s a disproportionate shift in the number of babies and cats using keyboards relative the those who like to install second-rate, problematic screen savers.
It’s just mind boggling to think of all those sideways screen using, flash erroring people finding their solution in my tiny little database.
Of course, as Dwight points out, there’s computer support and then there’s this:
Lord knows there’s no talking head geekier than yours truly and despite my fear of being in front of the camera, I agreed to do it. I try not to pass up any opportunity to promote the radio show. Plus I think I must secretly enjoy being scared out of my wits.
Much like the previous times, it went smoothly enough and I was not horrified with the results. Jeff did a great job on the story and used sound bites from me in the piece that worked well and I was very pleased to hear him use talking points that came from our more candid off camera conversation.
So the interview on ABC 13 went well, I think. 2 minutes and 27 seconds was the total time. You can view it on Jeff Ehling’s blog by clicking here.
I enjoyed the experience. The staff that makes up the Sunday morning crew made me feel welcome and at ease. Elissa Rivas conducted the actual interview and she made it very pleasant.
When the interview was over Mark Garay (who, by the way, was wearing tennis shoes behind the anchor desk) asked me to stop by and speak with Carmin the producer on my way out. I figured they must want me to sign something or I don’t know what, but I stopped by. No paperwork, oh no. Carmin was having a computer problem and they wanted my assistance.
Turns out that Carmin’s workstation was having a problem with the time change. This was the computer she was using to manage the current on air program with all the various time blocks, story segments, commercial breaks and so forth and every couple of minutes it was reverting back to pre-DST time after she would manually set it to the correct time.
My guessexpert opionon was that it must be synching to an NTP server and also not have the current software update to allow it to sort out the time change.
How ironic. Here we are making light of the Y2K7 problem and how it’s no big deal and the very show hosting the interview is in danger of collapsing in a Microsoft-induced DST wormhole.
There’s no way to patch the machine what with it being used to mange a live program. It would have to wait till after the show and wait for one of the ABC IT staff as I was on my way out the door.
It was a great fun and I hope to do more work with ABC in the future.
Speaking of Y2K7, I will be in ABC Channel 13 this Sunday morning at around 9:00am. If you remember to spring forward and are awake at that hour be sure and tune in. They’re using me (again) as a “technology expert” talking head. This time for a piece they’re doing on the Y2K7 issue.
You know when I said being on camera terrifies me? Being on live television is about a million time more disconcerting. Hopefully they’ll have the AC turned up and I won’t be covered in flop sweat.
I did get a trim on the old chinfro (beard) so as to look my best.
What with the upcoming time change for those of us who server under the yoke of Daylight Savings Time, this weekend is going to be interesting. As you are probably aware, we are getting to celebrate early this year thanks to the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
We’re having bit of a mini Y2K event. This time it’s called Y2K7. Much like Y2K I expect it to be a big hullabaloo about a whole lot of nuthin’, at least for most of us. I know plenty of system administrators and application developers who have been burning the midnight oil making sure all systems are fully patched and prepared for the early time change.
There are some things you might want to look at technology-wise to be prepared as a computer/technology user.
I got an e-mail from my friend over at ABC13.COM. He wanted to know if I was available to be interviewed by Jeff Ehling who’s the consumer reporter for the local ABC affiliate here in Houston. They were doing a piece on the proper way to delete data and dispose of old computers.
Unlike certain “experts”, I don’t make a lot of television appearances. I love doing radio, but when it comes to putting my face in the spotlight I get a very nervous. Still, I am always looking to promote what I do in my capacity as producer and host of Technology Bytes so I agreed.
Jeff did a great job of putting me at ease and asked some very good questions which I was able to answer without much hesitation.
Judging by the smiles I must have been cracking some jokes to ease my tension. I’m like a deer in the headlights when there’s a video camera aimed at me.
Watching a TV reporter has always been fascinating to me. Live interactive radio is what I am good at. Producing canned pieces for later airplay is not one of my strengths. Here you see Jeff doing a teaser piece to promote the story. It’s that thing they play before the commercial break to keep you from changing the channel.
Jay Lee in HD. Looks like I made a good choice wearing the blue shirt and my new glasses look great.
He wanted to know if he could send a camera guy over to the radio station during my show. The idea was to record us on air in hopes of getting a sound bite to use in a story they were putting together for the evening news about the vulnerability.
Not being one who turns down a chance for free publicity, I agreed.