Friday, July 17, 2009

Forcing IE 8 Uninstall

Need to uninstall Internet Explorer 8? The uninstall fails because files are missing that need to be copied to restore Internet Explorer 7? Here's a solution that I stumbled upon and that worked for me.

  1. Download and save the IE 7 installation file from Microsoft.
    • This is an .exe file. When you launch it, it expands the installation files in a temporary directory and then starts the install.
    • When the installation starts, you get an error message that there is already a later version of Internet Explorer installed on the system and that IE 7 cannot be installed.
    • If you click OK, the install stops and the temporary files disappear.
  2. Launch the IE 7 installation file.
  3. When the error message appears, leave it up and run the IE 8 uninstall routine.
  4. When the IE 8 uninstall routine does not find files it is looking for, select Browse and point it to the temporary folder created by the IE 7 install. That way the IE 8 uninstall routine will find most of the missing files.
  5. Several more missing files can be found by searching for them on the C: drive of the machine.
  6. In one case, I "found" a missing dll.000 file by copying a dll file on the C: with the same name and naming the copy dll.000.
  7. In this way I was able to successfully uninstall IE 8! Not unexpectedly, the resulting IE 7 was somewhat quirky, so I then launched the IE 7 installation file and had it do a "clean" or "complete" install which is without quirks.
Pretty cool!

Office Open XML confusion

Office Open XML is the Microsoft specification for Office 2007 files that was adopted as an ISO/IEC Standard in 2008. Among the benefits touted for Office Open XML is that one can open, edit and generate these files without needing to buy Microsoft Office 2007. To date, however, there are no practical alternatives to using Microsoft Office to work with these files.

Recently, a client of ours was baffled by the challenge of opening Open XML documents sent to him by Federal procurement officers. Our client received zip files which he logically unzipped. That left him with a relatively large number of xml files which he could open in a browser, but which were nonsense.

What to do? The answer is simple but HARD TO FIND on the web.

  1. Don't unzip the zip files. Rename them, changing the extension of each from .zip to .docx (assuming it is a Word document).
  2. Download and install the Microsoft Office File Compatibility Pack (if you are using Office 2003).
  3. Double-click on each of the .docx files, and it should open properly in Word.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Corporate Chivalry

For the moment anyway, corporate chivalry lives on the Web.

Chivalry refers to the system of beliefs and practices originating with knights in the middle ages. Gallantry toward women was one of its core principals. And that has given chivalry a bad odor in modern times.

Today I discovered that has started adding people's approximate ages to search results, providing a 5-year age range in addition to a person's address and phone number. Having satisfied myself that the ranges were accurate by searching for several people whose ages I know, I cast my net more widely.

At this point it became clear to me that ages are available from for men only. None of the women I searched for had their ages listed. All of the men I looked for came with ages.

In these enlightened days, I do not expect this vestige of medieval times, this chivalry, to last long. Ladies, prepared to be revealed! Or, will Switchboard choose to reverse its discrimination and stop disclosing gentlemen's ages too?