by Sigi Rindler
After the third call from a desperate computer user in just one month and several others on the same subject during the year, I decided to write this "enlightening" article.
Sharing can be a great asset, depending from which angle you view it. Colleagues who work in the same company are sharing gasoline by using one car, tenants share flats, others shop wholesale for several people, etc. However, when somebody owns or uses something, the one who wants to share runs into problems since the firstcomer isn't necessarily willing to give way. Example are my hair- and toothbrush, my buddy's wife or mistress and... one of the most egoistic breed called "hardware" and "software"!
Everybody of you has probably experienced these "sharing violations" in the past, but since there is no traceable pattern in its occurrence, things are very hard to trace. This problem can be best solved by just KNOWING about it.
Being in the translation business is associated with stress, swearing in various languages and pressing deadlines.
Why don't you step into my office and see yourself how my average day looks like?
Pass the first room where my wife sits at a neatly arranged table, then enter the multiple purpose room which I call MY OFFICE. Don't worry about the mess on the floor; and since you are alone, you'll probably find one square foot to stand still and watch me...<g>
OK, I have just finished my translation of the day and printed it out. The 41 pages are on their way by fax to the client, but the client wants the additional data sent to his own BBS. The whole procedure is peanuts since I do that every day up to 5 times.
The communication program (Telix) loads on the fly, name and password input is done automatically thanks to a script program. The final input is the drive, path, and name of the file (C:\ROBOMAIL\OUT\6466.GRE). It's still 5 minutes before the final countdown for the deadline. No problem, the client will have the file even 3 minutes before that! Now the final hit on the Enter key and off we go...
The Telix window appears, then there is this damned other pop-up window which says:
"File not found. (R)etry, (F)ail, (A)bort"!
Hit "R"... same #$@$!
I read the file again... Aaaahh, got it, mistype! It's C:\ROBOMAIL\OUT\6466.GER. GER for German and not GRE! Another 30 sec and my client is probably already checking his screen. No problem, Sigi has already handled more demanding things... OK, ready and off we go again. Enter!
Eeh? Damned bloody @##$%ø&#!! Why that? Why does the same bloody message come up again?
The deadline has passed and sweat collects on my forehead. I feel uncomfortable and itch everywhere, but there is no time to scratch. The phone rings, my wife takes the receiver while I hear "hai imasu, chotto matte kudasai", then she switches over to my work place.
The Japanese guy is as reliable as the atomic clock and mentions that he couldn't spot the file on his computer.
Hmmm, ummp, gomenasai... we just had a power outage for the last half an hour until 5 minutes ago. Couldn't translate the last 10 lines yet... will do it right away.
OK, I'll be waiting... he says.
Bloody hell, the fax!!! Page #39 is just running through. I panic, forget where the fax power switch is and rip the last page off the fax machine. Haaah... the situation has been rescued in the very last minute, otherwise he would have realized that I didn't tell him the entire truth.
Back to the damned modem transmission:
Maybe the file is corrupted, whatever it might be. I recopy the file again into the same directory, load Telix and repeat every step carefully until I hit the final Enter key again.
Aaaarrrrrrrrrr... nothing has changed! No, something is different, the system has completely frozen up. No key or key combination would function. My blood pressure shoots up and I switch the computer off an on again.
A friend calls and wants to talk to me. He can probably hear when I tell my wife that I am not in. Never mind, I couldn't care less in this situation.
Windows 95 loads slowly, and 2 minutes later I am back to the spot where the final Enter key will decide over life and death.
Enter... and look what's happening! The file gets uploaded. While the last bytes are sent over the cable, the guy from the company calls again.
"When can we get the file....?"
Me: "It's already there... haven't you checked yet? It said 'successfully transmitted' on my side; please have a look... I'm pretty sure that everything OK!" Please call me if there is a problen, otherwise see you tomorrow.
Come on guys, what should possibly go wrong with this one? It's a piece of cake. After all I do that up to five times a day...<g>
Well, my explanation for this particular day was that some "wrong electric signal" blocked the modem transmission. After I had switched the machine off and on again, the weird phenomenon had gone. This things occurred another couple of times, and I resolved the problem with pressing the reset button (which also worked well).
The above story is already several years old and occurred during the last years of DOS. I transferred it in the Windows 95 environment, which is probably more familiar to beginners.
One day I was actually using my book on computing the way it was supposed to. Somewhere I read about "File not found. (R)etry, (F)ail, (A)bort"...
This one did ring a bell!
What I did was leaving the file to be sent open in my word processor window, while trying to access the file in my communication program. This one is called "sharing violation". During these years, software wasn't as sophisticated as nowadays. Most of my programs didn't mention more than the famous "Retry/Fail/Abort" thing. Now I have software that actually tells me that a sharing violation has occurred. Or it displays an error code which the manual identifies as such.
If such a thing happens to you, look whether the same file is being accessed by another program which is still active. If so, close this program and proceed. But if this is too troublesome or too difficult for you, you may still press the reset button to clean your system from "bad electricity". Either method will work.
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