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Bug of the moment 2007-09-18

The installers to various BVE Trainsim add-ons were throwing up a really bizarre error message when trying to navigate to the BVE install folder in the folder chooser dialog:

Exception Processing Mmessage c00000013 Parameters 7cc31d6c 7cc31d6c 7cc31d6c 7cc31d6c

The above screenshot is from WinRAR’s self-extracting installer. The same error comes up with installers made with Clickteam Installer Maker, so clearly it’s not a problem with WinRAR:

No problems with this installer, but then again, what are they doing?

An installer packinge using a Windows 3-style folder chooser that capitalises entire paths too

I am not sure what installer this is, but the program for which it is installing a drivable train – BVE 4 – is a .NET application, so this is hardly antique technology. (The class 321/4 train goes back to 1990 though.)

Previous installers are also broken, so it’s clearly my computer at fault here:

I saw no definite solution in the results of a Google search, although it seems to be one of Microsoft’s panic dialogs when it’s being a headless chicken, that pops up at all sorts of inopportune and annoying moments, such as every time you boot or try running with an empty Zip drive. Frequently, it comes back up regardless of which button you hit, and the only way to break out of the loop is to hold escape and hope you don’t affect too many other apps with stray escapes when the installer bails out and auto-repeat sends the key presses to any app listening.

For giggles I dug out a Zip disc, inserted it, and the problem went away. Removed the disc, and the problem did not return. Seems that the Zip drive driver broke down and was putting out a cry for attention.

Earlier on, Apple Software Update found a new update – itself. With any luck, it will spell the end of confusing screw-ups like this one. I didn’t think to capture the dialog box telling me that the installation was complete, but I can assure you that it indeed was complete at this point:

Apple Software Update with choices of Stop, Quit and Finish and a partial progress bar after installation completed

I love having Finish and Quit as alternatives to each other.

However, Apple still refuse to back down on their campaign of attrition to have me abandon Winamp Pro in favour of iTunes:

Apple Software Update offering me to update iTunes even when I do not have it

I forgot to take the above screenshot originally, so I ran Software Update again in order to capture it. I’d Recycle-Binned the shortcut it created for me, since I normally have no use for it. I still had an existing shortcut that I had relocated, but received these two errors in succession when opening it:

Problem with Shortcut: The parameter is incorrect. Windows Explorer: Unable to run this command

More cryptic panic dialog boxes of course. Linux symlinks and Macintosh aliases are relatively straightforward designs, but Windows shortcuts are horrible contraptions with all sorts of hidden secrets and features that break. This is the one for the previous version of Software Update:

A shortcut with no sign of what it is linked to

The only difference between the live one and the dead one is that the live one has “Apple Software Update” in the disabled Target field.

I admire the program’s prescience though:

Apple Software Update with a label telling me of new updates before it’s even checked

Especially when it’s completely proven false:

Apple’s Software Update server is not available anyway

The program only appears when it has found new updates, but they did not factor in manual invocation despite putting a shortcut in the Start Menu for you. Also note the complete ignorance that anyone’s colour scheme is anything but the default beige – Apple had a tragic turn-around over interface theming and now require their operating system to be dangerously hacked to apply customised themes. Apple users are, of course, all expected to Think Identical.

Posted 18th September 2007 – Comments and questions?