Saturday, September 13, 2008

Friday Follies! (Vista Rant!)

How many tournament directors does it take to submit a rating report online using a Vista based laptop? Zero. Because three certified TDs could not figure out where the hell Vista was hiding the DBF files needed for the upload to USCF. How many tournament directors does it take to submit the same rating report using XP? Two. One to provide the wall charts of the tournament and one to recreate the tournament at home on her Mac using Parallels and Windows XP.

Blunderprone is right. I think Bill Gates may be the Antichrist. I am not a totally converted Mac-head quite yet. Unfortunately my pairing software and Chess Base does not run on Mac, so I have to contaminate my Mac with software that allows me to run Windows on it. However there is no way I'm ever replacing my XP with Vista. I don't know why Microsoft felt the need to totally change their operating system and make so difficult for a long time computer user to figure out where stuff is being saved. Many of the mouse short cuts have completely changed so when I do a left mouse click and don't get the choices that I'm used to. What was wrong with the old ones?

I've been helping Mike and Rusa at the Westchester Chess Academy with their computer stuff for over a year now. I helped them install Swiss-Sys and trained them on how to use the pairing software, submit memberships and rating reports online, and upload ratings. When they have the tournaments on Friday night I always hang out at the end to help them submit the rating report in case they have a problem. We have a barter arrangement so it works well for all of us.

Last night took the cake for utter frustration in terms of submitting the tournaments results online. I've submitted tournaments with 700+ players and had less problems then I had with this 22 player multi-section event. All of this because Microsoft decided to "improve" Windows. I guess it was only fitting that in the second round I blundered horribly in this position against a high school kid whose last name is Gates. He had just played 37...Nc7.

I'm not where my brain was at when I came up with the plan to get my knight to f3 followed by Ne5 to grab the outpost square. It seemed like a good idea at the time so I played 38. Ne1? totally over looking 38... Re3 . Far better for me would have been to play 38. Re1 Rxe1 39. Qxe1. I'd have a slight edge and Black really has no way of penetrating. I guess his rook move totally unnerved me, and I proceeded to make things even worse. Instead of playing 39. g4 and living with being down a pawn after 39...fxg4 40. Qc5 Nd5 I played 39. Qd2?? Did I really think I was going to get out alive after 39...Qxg3+? The end came swiftly after that. 40. Kh1 Qxf4 41. Qd1 Qxf1+ 0-1

After all the sections finished up Mike goes to submit the rating report. He's got a brand new laptop because he also had a hard disk crash. Bad month for hard drives! New computer, new operating system. This is his first time running a tournament on Vista. Everything looked like it was going smoothly. He runs the rating report utility on Swiss-Sys and it's time to save the upload files somewhere. I usually like saving them directly to the C drive because sometimes the USCF site gets flaky when you have the files in a folder. I guess Vista doesn't allow you to save stuff directly to C because we kept getting an error message about not being able to open tdexport.dbf.

I saved the files to a folder. No problem! I didn't get any error messages. I figure we're in business now. I go to the USCF website and go to upload the files. Click on "browse" bring up the folder where I saved the files, and no files are showing. Just other folders within that folder. WTF? Where are the damn files? Maybe Vista didn't like where I tried to save them to. So tried a few other folders, but still no files showing. I'm sure there is some way of displaying files in the folder window, but I'll be damned if I could figure it out. I went from DOS to Windows 3.1 to Windows 95, 98, 2000, Millenium and XP. I never had problems figuring out how to do simple stuff like saving and retrieving files. What the hell was Billy Gates thinking when he and his merry men developed this piece of crap?

It was getting late and we're all tired. My quad had been the first one done. (Grand master draw on board 1 between the 2-0 players, grand patzer draw on board 2 between the 0-2 players. I guess you know which draw I was a part of.) I finally said to Mike, "Email me the tournament files and I'll run the rating report from home." Good idea, except we couldn't find the tournament files in Swiss-Sys or the folder that he had put them in. Argh!!!!

At this point it's screw it all. Gimme the damn wall charts! I can recreate the entire tournament from home in less time then it will take me to figure out FUBAR, I mean Vista. So help me God, I better be dead or have Chessbase and Swiss-Sys for Mac when the Evil Empire makes it so Windows XP stops running on anything.

I went home and recreated the tournament and would have had rated that night except in the Vista chaos a couple of USCF memberships didn't get renewed until today. So the tournament got submitted 18 hours later then normal. All the ratings junkies were probably going crazy wondering why the tournament wasn't on the USCF website this morning. Players get really spoiled by tournament directors who have submitted the event for rating within 15 minutes of the conclusion of said events. There has been a few times that by the time I get off the train at 1:10 AM and back home that the new ratings from "Four Rated Games Tonight!" are on the USCF website. There are times I'd rather not see the damage.


Anonymous said...

Vista still feels very much like a "sidegrade", even after SP1. The main benefit seems to be the Chess Titans game that comes with it (on Home Premium and above). Nice for traveling with a laptop.

I'm still wondering what the problem was with the files was--have not experienced the same issue.

Anonymous said...

At work we switched from XP to Vista aswell and now we all are wondering (sometimes) why the hell things that worked so well are changed.

Anyway, after some weeks of saying many four letter words one gets better in understanding Vista and the curses and yells are less but not entirly gone.

Polly said...

Does VISTA stand for

LEP: When I use the browse function to look for a file to upload, the folder window would pop up, but there would be no files showing in the folder. It was like the files didn't exist.

I'm not sure what would have happened if I tried do it the old fashioned way and typed in the path name. I was getting to aggravated to ven think about trying that.

Anonymous said...

I don't actually know anything about Vista, but in XP there are certain file types that by default are hidden from view - in order to "protect" the user from accidentally moving or deleting them. You probably know all about this, but just in case I thought I'd mention what I usually do...

I usually change those default settings by going into the "Tools" menu in Windows Explorer and selecting the "Folder Options". From there I go to the "View" tab and look in the first section below called "Files and Folders".

There are 3 settings that I usually change in that "Files and Folders" are:
(1) For "Hidden Files and Folders" I select the option "Show Hidden Files and Folders".
(2) I uncheck the checkbox for "Hide file extensions for known file types."
(3) I uncheck the checkbox that is labeled "Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)".

Now, you wouldn't think that the files created by Swiss-sys would be treated as "system files" by Vista, but when you mention the experience of having files that you know should be there turn up seemingly "invisible" it got me thinking that the settings mentioned above are the only ones I know about (in XP) to make certain files "hidden"...

Again, I don't know if Vista has the same settings as XP in its folder options, but it could be something to look into (if you haven't already done so).

Good luck in the future!

Best regards,

Polly said...

Hank: The files that are generated by Swiss-Sys are not system files so they would not be hidden. They've never been hidden in XP. I thought perhaps Vista hides all files, but that is not the case because Swiss-Sys has some demo files for practice tournaments and those were showing.

Hopefully the TD will be able to figure out hoe Vista works. It's HIS lap top and he also got a brand new desk top too with the same OS. I don't intend to upgrade, but I suppose I may have to try to learn something about it if I have to run another tournament on somebody's vista computer.