Monday, June 20, 2005

Bugs cost money

When I'm at home, I sometimes log into the corporate network using the Remote Access Services feature of Windows Server. I slide my smart card into my tablet's reader, enter my PIN, and suddenly it's as if the tablet's plugged in next to my desk PC at work. (I only connect from my tablet, because I'm a bit wary of the corporate security policy that says "we get to scan your machine for stuff we don't want on our network," and MS controls enough of my life already; they're not getting a peek at my home PC.) This is a really cool feature; I use it to Remote Desktop into my main development machine so I can fix bugs or check in or whatever without going in to work... eight minutes each way on the Segway is still sixteen minutes that I'm not doing something else. But, there's one problem: at random times, when I use Remote Desktop on either of my two identical work machines, random characters are "typed." I'll just be typing, and an extra period or two will magically appear. Or, I'll scroll through a document, and Backspace will be "pressed," and so I'll go back to the previous page I was looking at. Selecting text in Visual Studio is particularly annoying, because at any time it could all get replaced by a dot or a slash. About a third of the time when I compile FrontPage, I'll get an error saying that I misspelled something, and it was because of that error.

Now, the weird part: according to a coworker of mine, it's a bug in the nVidia display drivers in conjunction with the particular video card I have in both of those machines (some kind of piece-of-crap card that just has basic functionality). I replaced my drivers, and it went away for weeks, but now the problem is back, and it's annoying enough that I just don't work from home anymore. It's effort that Microsoft no longer gets out of me. Whether it's a bug in Remote Desktop or the nVidia drivers is irrelevant. I suppose I could call the help desk sometime, but I have a feeling that that would not be very productive.

I'll still occasionally do a quick checkin on Sunday night to get code in for Monday's build, but I no longer code from home.

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