Saturday, October 31, 2009

Weekend Assignment #291: It Didn't Work!

Catching up with the Weekend Assignment I couldn't remember last week:

Weekend Assignment: #291: Sooner or later, everyone buys, is given or otherwise acquires something that just doesn't work as expected. Tell us about that useless, broken, fraudulent, glitchy, disappointing acquisition.

Extra Credit: Did you eventually end up with something that worked?

I thought of this originally because a week ago Thursday at St. Michael's, I finally installed the new Accounting module of a program called Church Windows, replacing the old Financial module. The Accounting one is much more Windows-ish, with lots of icons to click on, very much like recent versions of QuickBooks. It had taken me months to finally get caught up enough on my work that I was able to do all the preparatory reports and backups, and finally click the menu option to make the transition.

And when it finished converting all the databases and such... I could not open Church Windows on my computer. At all.

Alicia and I struggled with the thing for maybe half an hour, rebooting our respective computers and even running a database repair routine. No change. I came in early the next morning to call Support, but they don't talk to you instantly, and I was due at work for the last day of my other (temp) job at 9 AM. I was told they couldn't possibly call back before I needed to leave, so the Parish secretary, Nancy, got stuck talking to Support for over 15 minutes before she ran out of time and had to get on with other work. It wasn't fixed.

So Monday morning I was back. I placed the Support call and waited two hours for the call back, doing web stuff in the meantime. I was on the phone with them for an hour before the techs figured out what was wrong and fixed it. (It was a firewall issue, as I'd suggested twenty minutes earlier.)

But at least it works now! I've had other things that never did what they were supposed to. A few years ago in a previous Weekend Assignment, I wrote about this thing:

This is the Igia Ultra Advanced Hair Removal System. Yeah, right. You know what it really is? A pair of electric tweezers. Seriously, that's what it is. You plug it in and it supposedly delivers heat or vibration or a low-level electrical current to the hair follicle, so that it comes out easily and doesn't grow back as soon as it would otherwise.

Can you pull hairs out with these tweezers? Absolutely. Does the electrical current do anything whatsoever to help the hair come out or discourage it from growing back? Almost certainly not. I'm not convinced the power does anything except light an LED on the side of the thing. The sad part is that I plugged it in and used it for about six months anyway. Ah, well!

And then there are the light up collars and tags I've bought for the dogs over the past year. Some of them worked for a few weeks and then died, some failed to light up right off the bat, and the most recent purchase was simply too dim to be seen in the dark from more than a foot away. Darn it! I want to be able to find my dogs easily if we're in the dog park after dusk. But so far, PetSmart has yet to stock a reliable product that does that.

What about you? Did you buy some non-compatible bit of software or hardware for your computer? A toy or gadget that broke down in the first 30 seconds? How about that gift that went back to the store the next day due to excessive lame-itude? Start thinking about these minor disasters in your life while we catch up with last week's WA responses.

Last week Weekend Assignment #290: Sick! I asked whether you get colds and flu and such very often, and how you cope with them:


Funny you should select this topic. I'm at home while the guys are out to lunch today. I'm nursing a 7-Up and running a low-grade temperature. It's the crud. Again. I've been fighting it off and on all fall, which is sort of typical for me. Some years are worse than others, and this seems to be a worse year. Why? It's a rainy fall. The mold counts are way out of sight. As a result my sinuses go into overdrive. I think that fighting that makes me a little more susceptible to the garden variety crud.

Florinda said...

It seems to me that I got sick more when I was younger. I remember missing school for a week at a time a few times a year, but rarely for anything extremely serious - just a combination of symptoms that made staying home a lot more comfortable. The worst illness I can recall during high school, which probably was some form of the flu - I remember fainting a couple of times, and serious intestinal distress a few days later - hit during Christmas break.

Mike said...
I don't think I get sick that often, but my frequency has increased since we've had kids. They are little bacteria and virus factories. When I do get sick, though, I get sick. Like, incapacitated sick. I don't know why, but I'm useless. I just want to curl into a ball and die. My head will hurt, my back won't let me stand up straight, basically I look like an 80 year-old man who was born without a spine.

Thanks, folks! I'll catch up with my commenting in a bit!

Here are the guidelines if you'd like to participate in the Weekend Assignment:
  1. Please post your entry no later than Friday, November 6th at 6 PM. (You can also post your response in the comments thread, but a blog entry is better. )
  2. Please mention the Weekend Assignment in your blog post, and include a link back to this entry.
  3. Please come back here after you've posted, and leave a link to your entry in the comments below.
  4. Visiting other participants' entries is strongly encouraged!
  5. I'm always looking for topic ideas. Please email me at mavarin2 on if there's a Weekend Assignment theme you'd like to see. If I use your idea, you will be credited as that week's "guest professor."



barrettmanor said...

Do any of those gadgets advertised incessantly on the telly ever work as advertised? Of course, I'm constantly in Tech Hell, so I shouldn't be talking. But wait, I am:

Ari_1965 said...

Regarding the dog light, I use a CatEye product meant for use on bicycle handlebars. It has a round light on a loop strap. I loop the the light through my dog's collar. It has survived life with a very active shepherd mix. They're about $15 at REI, less elsewhere. Here's the link to them on

Mike said...

I'm up now. Thanks for bringing up bad memories. :)