Sunday, June 17, 2007

Vista #5 (and other stuff) Vista #5 (and other stuff)

Not really a Vista problem this time. I have had any number of problems with Vista and one of them was that PDFcreator doesn't run yet under Vista. Every time I run it, it generates some sort of error message that is tied to the print queue. The message is "Interactive Services dialog detection", and if you click on it, it takes you into some weird mode to display the message.

Currently, I have taken PDFCreator offline and marked the print file for deletion, all to no effect. I need to reboot to get rid of the silly error message, which I plan to do once I have posted this.

Which brings me to another weird problem today.

I was desperately trying desperately to file a provisional patent application electronically today with the USPTO. The USPTO EFS system requires limits submission to .pdf files (and some of them are required to be updated only by Acrobat reader 7.0.9 - not 7.0.8 or 8.0, which is what you get when you have a government monopoly). I needed to submit them from my server (H) which is running Server 2003. Unfortunately, both PDFCreater and CutePDF were not working correctly there. And the Vista computer (I) couldn't run PDFCreator since it doesn't run under Vista. That left my laptop (E) running XP. But because of the weird Home Edition stuff of both Vista and XP, I couldn't go directly from the server (H) to the XP (E) computers. Rather, I had to move everything via the Vista (I) computer. At first, I was moving stuff from server (H) to Vista (I) to laptop (E) and back. But then I found I could just skip the middle step, and have a window for the server's desktop and one for the laptop's desktop open, and move the files back and forth between the two desktops - from the Vista machine. Weird. And what is even weirder is that the laptop (E) is connected to one Ethernet port on the server (H) via a crossover cable. Meanwhile the server (H) is connected to the same Ethernet hub as the Vista system (I) (and hence to the Internet). And then all the server connections are bridged together. Thus, in order to transfer a file from the server (H) to the laptop (E) via the Vista machine (I), it actually travels from the server to the Vista machine back to the server and thence to the laptop. And then, of course, the reverse is also true on the flip side.

A final note on Home Editions, etc. Last night I brought up a DHCP server on the server (H) primarily to make assignment of an IP address easier, etc. for the laptop (E). This way it can always automatically acquire its IP address, regardless of whether it is connected to my office network or another network. DHCP assigns the same IP address to the laptop based on its MAC address. It also provides it with the latest DNS settings, etc. And that worked great the first time. For once. So, now the laptop can operate on my network with a static IP address, and all the systems have that IP address loaded statically.

But while I was working on that, I also tweaked my WINS server there. I noted that most of the WINS entries were static (via lmhosts) - except for two critical ones. The Vista computer (I) invariably ended up as the network browser. And the Laptop (E) invariably ended up owning the workgroup. The first seems a bit harmless. But the later may be the reason that I often have problems with the XP laptop connecting to the other systems. Initially, it can't access the workgroup. I suspect that is because at that time it is owned by one of the other computers. But once the laptop gets ownership of the workgroup, it works just fine.

I should note that part of the problem here is that both Vista and XP systems are running Home Editions. That means that they have stripped down security systems. I don't have this problem with either XP or 2K Professional, or 2K or 2003 Server, where I have full security control.

Which brings to one final point - I should be bringing back up another desktop computer (D) in a couple days that runs Win 2K Professional. In the past, it has worked great with 2003 Server. It shall be interesting to see how it works with Vista HE. Probably as poorly as the server does.

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