Living in the wiki

Just to show you that you never know when you’ll follow a reference down the rabbit hole: I was struck by a greeting that one of my German coworkers gave another. Looking it up, I was quickly sucked into a maze of Frisian and Jutish dialects and German comic book characters.

The greeting used is moin, which (Wikipedia says) comes from the Frisian and is commonly used in the eastern Netherlands and Schleswig-Holstein. As with all central European languages, there are cognate greetings in closely related languages, including Old Saxon and Jutish.

The rabbit hole part is the way the greeting likely spread to my coworkers, through the German comic book character Werner, who consistently uses the greeting (apparently when not consuming large amounts of beer). And yes, it all comes back to beer as well: the official website for Werner feature promotes a special sixpack of Werner’s favorite beer, Bölkstoff, including judicial actions by the Guild Brewery of Hanover and corporate takeovers by Inbev.

Vista: Very, very hungry

I run Windows Vista at the office. Generally I get along with it just fine, and our company’s software plays pretty happily with it. But every now and then in my daily work I hit some kind of wall. Sometimes it manifests as a problem with Microsoft Outlook: when I try to launch Word to read an attachment, it starts up the Office Installer instead, then complains that it is suffering from “Windows Installer error 1450” and can’t proceed. Cancelling or clicking OK brings me to the same place: a copy of Word that complains that it hasn’t been installed for the current Windows user.

Other times, the problem manifests as a refusal to open other software applications, even Notepad, or to open new explorer windows. When I hit this point, even clicking on the funky little restart menu to try to get to the restart menu option won’t open the submenu. I have to hold the power key down to force the power to cycle.

It feels for all the world like the bad old days of Windows 3.1 or Windows 95 when one of the system resource heaps would be exhausted. But that shouldn’t be happening in Vista, or any post-NT OS, for that matter.

What’s weird is that applications that are already open, e.g. Firefox, appear to run just fine as long as you keep them running.

I can’t find anything on or on the web at large about the issue, so I’m posting something to jog my own memory the next time I run into the problem.