Friday, September 01, 2006

My guy is the best ever

Work truly sucks lately.

Today, I worked on a budget spreadsheet in Excel for the better part of three hours. Thie spreadsheet requires about 12-14 hours of work - I have to plan every month of the remaining year and every month of the upcoming year, line by line, in 40 different categories. It takes time to prepare because on a monthly basis, the budget is audited by the Controller, who then sends you a nastygram if you are more than 10% above or below budget. Every f***ing month. So you don't want to get it wrong. But unless you're a fortuneteller, it's going to be wrong somewhere. So far this year, I have missed that mark on about 8 of the 40 lines.

At any rate, how I got to this spreadsheet: I opened the spreadsheet directly from Outlook; it had been e-mailed to me. Now I am somewhat Excel-neurotic: it has screwed me over so many times I can't count. So I regularly save my work, and today was no exception. When a document is a mammoth like this one that requires a lot of research and figuring for each cell, you save as if every stroke was to be the last before a power outage. That's happened to me, by the way, while working on an Excel document...that I hadn't saved...and it didn't make a temp file like Word is so famous for. F***ing Excel.

So I had been saving and saving like a good boy, but I hadn't done a "save as" to save the document out to my server, just "save." I should have known better than that. I was saving the file, but to a temp file out in la-la land. Windows 2000 saves the attached docs in your Outlook e-mail to C:\document and settings\username\local settings\temp. But there's a trick: you can't get to \local settings\temp, because Windows doesn't want you to know it's there. So the \local settings directory is hidden and Windows will not show it to you, whether you try to look it up using your program or you click "My Computer" and go through the folders that way. Windows acts as if the folder doesn't exist. "Local Settings? Never heard of it!" If you've saved a document out there, you can forget about retrieving it through Windows. It's a black hole.

So I was shutting my computer down for the evening at about 6:00, tired, with a splitting headache, and I was ready to go home. I saved my spreadsheet faithfully, and then closed it. Then I happened to remember that I needed to make a note on a particular cell so that when I opened it on Tuesday, I would not forget that I needed to add a couple of figures that I needed from someone else who wasn't there today. And that's when the heart attack started. The document wasn't in my "recent" documents in the Excel "File" menu. I knew it should be in the temp file because I knew I had saved it, but as I said, Windows, a/k/a the suckingest operating system (SOS) on the planet, wouldn't let me go to that file.

I wasn't to be defeated. Did a search. Show me all .xls documents created today. Nothing. Show me all documents created today, without specifying .xls. Still nothing. As far as search was concerned, I hadn't worked on any Excel document today. My blood ran cold. Panic set in. I was frantic.

I called Jess, who happened to be at home already. He offered to come over and see if he couldn't find it. He tried a few of the same things that I tried, to no avail. I had written down the path where the file should logically be.

After a few short minutes of frustration, he remarked, "okay, so we'll go another route," and he did something I hadn't thought of in my panicked state: he called up a DOS prompt. Unlike the SOS, DOS is docile; it doesn't hide things. In short order, he had gone down the directory structure and located my file, for which he issued a copy command to copy it to the C: root directory, where it could be opened once we got back into Excel.

I'm pretty good with SOS and even DOS, and I might have eventually thought of this solution if I hadn't been so panicked. But I hadn't, and Jess was my hero! He's so smart. I wondered how many of today's 20-year old computer geeks would know about the DOS prompt lurking behind Windows, and if they did know about it, know how to maneuver it so that they could have retrieved my "lost" file. My Jess is the world's best!

By the way, Windows...YOU SUCK.


At 1:17 AM, September 02, 2006, Blogger CoffeeDog said...

Oh that happens to me too, I'll open a file directly from Lotus Notes (our email program at work) and edit it, save it, and it gets saved in some obscure directory. Windows is nicer in this case, it doesn't hide the file. Still a PITA though!

Glad Jess was able to save the day

At 12:54 AM, September 05, 2006, Blogger Harlis Dinwiddie said...

Geesh--I always "save as" and also email the file to my personal email account, JUST IN CASE. Overkill maybe, but cheaper than a valium. :)

At 7:35 AM, September 05, 2006, Blogger Marc said...

Harlis - Yup. You can bet I'll be following this regimen from now on.

At 11:40 AM, September 22, 2006, Blogger epicurist said...

hee guys are geeks! :)


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