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I'm either doing something impossible, or am unable to do something I have no trouble with.

Not sure if I can even explain that. I have wierd problems.

Let's try an analogy.
    There is a room. On one side of it, a couch and television. On the other, a refigerator full of wholesome tasty goodness.

    For the purpose of this analogy, I live in this room, and my life consists of watching TV on the couch and getting food from the fridge. I travel the same path between these two points, and have never considered changing it. In fact, I've videotaped myself walking to the fridge and back, and that's actually what I watch when I'm sitting at the TV.

    Now. Imagine that somone's rearranged all my furniture. The TV's now in the center of the room, and the couch is rotated to match. I also have a new VCR.

    I sit uncomfortably on the edge of the couch, my body twisted to watch the TV while facing the direction it was before. I stare helplessly at the VCR remote - there's a "channel up" button where "play" used to be. Half of my life is ruined now. I walk to the fridge to console myself with food.

    Only, I never get there. Instead, I bump into the television and knock it over.

    This is not good.

    Fortunately, nothing's broken. I set the TV upright again, sit back on the couch to make sure everything's okay, and then head for the fridge.


    I walk right into the TV again. I had a feeling that would happen. Saw it coming as I approached, but I kinda thought it'd move out of the way.

    Well, now I have no idea how to get to my food. I'm going to starve to death.

    But... This used to work! I'm not imagining it.

    Just to verify my own sanity, I pop one of the old tapes in the VCR and jab frantically at the remote until something comes onscreen.

    As expected, it's a tape of me, watching another tape (of me on the couch, reviewing tapes).

    Only, it shows the television as being in the center of the room. Which is a little creepy, because it was against the wall when I filmed this. And stranger still, me on tape is sitting comfortably on the couch, facing the TV directly. That's never happened since they moved it!

    I watch in fascination as this parallel-universe copy of myself stands up, walks confidently past the television, and gets himself something to eat.

    So, that's how it's done!

    I watch a few times to make sure I've got it, then try the same thing, retracing the steps as I saw them in the video.

    I knock the TV over again.

    Back to basics. I eject the tape, and put it in my old VCR. Rewind. Play. It shows the room in it's original configuration, me sitting comfortably facing the TV, then walking to the refrigerator, unimpeded by physical objects.


    I tape myself walking headlong into the television again, and put that tape in the old VCR. It shows me walking hesitantly through the empty space in the middle of the room.

    I try again, throwing myself harder into the obstacle, and check the tape. Virtual me has made it to the refridgerator, but doesn't know to open the door.


    With some effort, I'm able to walk him through making a sandwich and returning to the couch.

    This doesn't help me out here, though. But, what if...

    I pop that tape into the new VCR, and watch myself merge with the TV, walk past the fridge, and through the wall (warping it behind me).

    I can do that?

    Apparently. It's right there on tape.

    But, then, so's me walking around the television, and that can't be done either.
In short, I'm missing something very basic. And, poking around for it is getting me nowhere, because my frame of reference is out of sync with the current reality.

The analogy doesn't make a whole lot more sense than what's actually happening, I'll grant you. But maybe you can empathize now, having tried to read it.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 8th, 2004 05:33 pm (UTC)
Man, I'm really curious what it is you're trying to do. I have a feeling it's something with a new version of software, or something like that, but I could be completely off base.
May. 8th, 2004 07:21 pm (UTC)
That was totally wild! Reminds me of a movie I saw a long time ago called "Anguish."
May. 9th, 2004 07:36 am (UTC)
This one?

(It doesn't feel right - that title sounds more familiar, like it was a popular movie with big name actors. But, this is what I found...)
May. 10th, 2004 09:06 am (UTC)
Re: Anguish
Yep... that's the one!
May. 9th, 2004 07:25 am (UTC)
No, that's accurate. A piece of graphics software which happens to record user actions as a script (to play back and distribute among other users later).

Without getting too specific, something as basic as "how the program interprets you moving the mouse" changed between versions, and I could find no switches anywhere to toggle it back to the old way. I completely rely on an eccentricity which disappeared in favor of something more intuitive for new users.

However, I could bring old scripts into the new program, and watch myself do things I've never done. Or rather, perform the same actions using a completely different interface. A new route to the same result as before, but whose steps I could not repeat to save my life.

In trying to troubleshoot this, I tore the script apart and found the one line that establishes what version it was compiled in. Changing that line established that what I was seeing was some sort of backwards-compatibility filter - the same recorded mouse strokes now did things the way I was experiencing them.

...which meant that nothing in that script would possibly identify what I'd have to do differently to achieve the same results outside of the script.

Eventually, I ended up combining the two versions of the same script so I could visually demonstrate the difference for tech support ('cause, if I knew how to properly explain this, I'd have found my answer days ago with a simple keyword search).

They replied a few hours ago. As expected, the solution was very simple (it was like three mouse clicks), but still hiding pretty deep in the menus.

Flat out, I'd have never figured this one out on my own.
May. 8th, 2004 10:44 pm (UTC)
On the off chance that you weren't aware, you're creeeeeeeepy.

Or maybe it's just this post. I'll have to check some of the past ones when I'm less asleepy.
May. 9th, 2004 07:30 am (UTC)
No, I had a pretty good sense of that. I'm more or less harmless, though.
May. 12th, 2004 12:47 pm (UTC)
Have you considered keeping your food inside of your television?
May. 12th, 2004 01:06 pm (UTC)
Mmm. TV Dinner.
Keeping within the analogy, that's not such a bad idea. But, I'd still need to get to the refrigerator the one time, or I'd never be able to put the food inside the TV. The logical progression of steps is still blocked, you see.

Outside of the analogy, I'd end up with a foul-smelling fire hazard which no longer plays television stations, and I still wouldn't be able to get at my food. (Though, I could probably feed on the bugs this attracts, if it was, like, too late to call Dominos)
May. 12th, 2004 01:15 pm (UTC)
Re: Mmm. TV Dinner.
Okay, so you eat the TV and learn to enjoy staring at the refrigerator instead.
May. 12th, 2004 01:26 pm (UTC)
That'd be ONE way to discharge the capacitor.
I believe it would melt my head.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )


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