Archives » April, 2008

April 29, 2008

Solution:Macros Disabled/Macros Don’t Work in Outlook 2003

There’s a problem with Outlook 2003 that I’ve run into a few times at work, and I finally found a solution to it. It’s not a way to prevent it from happening, but at least now I know how to fix it when it does happen.

The problem is that in Outlook 2003 I have a few macros set up, that do simple things like opening up custom forms. These macros are then mapped to toolbar buttons in Outlook, so with one click the form launches. Usually this works well, but every now and then the buttons will stop working. And not just the buttons, but everything underneath the Tools > Macro item in the menu. It’s not greyed out, it just doesn’t work. Clicking it does nothing.

Now, before this was a big deal. I would try fifteen different things to fix it, then usually had to end up creating a new user profile on the computer to get the functionality back. And that’s a bad fix, because giving someone a new profile and making them rebuild all their customizations is hardly a good solution. But then luckily I found this forum post, written earlier this month, that outlines exactly what the problem is and how to fix it.

The problem is just one setting that gets set in the registry. I don’t know why or how it gets set, but removing it restores macro functionality. The entry is in this registry key:


Under that is a list of items that have been disabled in Outlook. I was lucky, and when I looked there was only one item listed so it was easy to identify the correct one. If there is more than one item listed, you’ll have to open each one to identify the one you need. It looks like this:

The hex decoding is kind of funny there, but you can make out that on the right-hand side it says “addins\outlvba.dll Microsoft VBA For Outlook Addin.” Now why the VBA add-in would be disabled, and why it happens automatically without any user intervention, these are still mysteries. But all you have to do is delete that registry key, and the settings is undone. Macros will work again.

It’s also possible that you can go to Help > About Outlook > Disabled Items, and find and enable VBA there. But I haven’t tested that fully.

April 27, 2008

Jack Swinging

April 20, 2008

Carson City 1980s Photographs

I’ve just finished a big push to add all of Fred Nietz’ photos to the Western Nevada Historic Photo Collection. If you remember, Fred posted a bunch of old photos to Flickr a couple of months ago, and I immediately started adding them to the site. All his photos can be seen on Flickr here. He had some great pictures of Carson City, some from the 30s 40s and 50s, but many of them from the 1980s, showing a side of town that is long gone, but that many of us can remember from fairly recent memory. It’s fascinating to look through all these pictures, and to see that in just the course of 25 years most of the businesses lining Carson Street have changed. There are some constants, to be sure, but a lot of cases where the building has stayed the same, but the tenants are completely different.

So it took me two months, but I finally posted every one of Fred’s photos to the WNHPC. It took a lot longer than it should because there were a lot of starts and stops along the way, and I just don’t get to work on the site as much as I’d like to. But I really wanted to finish and get these pictures out there, so now it’s done. Now I have to move on to all the other photo collections that are sitting on the shelf, collecting dust, waiting to go online. This is a huge project I’ve buried myself under; it seems like it’s going to go on forever!

Anyway, here are some of the new additions. You can see them all at this link.

This was also cross-posted to the WNHPC blog.

April 19, 2008

Hot New Atari 2600 Titles

Most of you probably thought they stopped making game cartridges for the Atari 2600 years ago. But in fact many games are still in active development, and titles are being released on a regular basis, if you know where to find them.

I found a site that highlights the new releases for Spring ’08. Here are some of the hot-selling titles:

The official video game of the Barack Obama campaign.

My Pokemans: Let me show you them

Atari always moves quickly to pick up on the latest musical fads.


Sean Connery usually doesn’t license his likeness for video games, but he made an exception for this video game version of his film Zardoz.

One of the hottest titles of last fall for other platforms, Call of Duty 4 was delayed on the Atari 2600 because of the extra work they had to put into the graphics.

Hat tip

April 18, 2008

A Freak Show By Any Other Name…

In honor of the “Tree Man” having surgery to remove some of his warts, ABC News has put up a photo gallery that they are generously calling “Medical Marvels”. What is really is is a “Believe It Or Not”-style cavalcade of birth defects and genetic disorders, provided more for spectacle than anything else. As such, I find it impossible to look away.

This slideshow has the whole gamut of human anomalies. Very tiny people. Very large people. People born with extra parts. People who are growing extra parts. And, most compellingly, the modern-day Elephant Man. You feel a little uneasy seeing these people paraded for the sake of “news”, but I suppose 100 years ago they’d be collected under a circus tent. Now they’re mostly shown getting medical treatment to relieve their discomfort, so I guess on the whole we’re seeing progress here.

Around Carson Navigation Update

It’s pretty rare anymore that I sit down to do any programming on the code behind Around Carson. Even though I don’t feel like the site is “finished”, it seems to have been working well enough lately that I could just let it sit.

But one thing that was starting to get out of hand was the navigation that can be found at the bottom of the main page, or on the tag pages. Now that I have so many entries on the site, the navigation is up to 86 pages to browse through the whole site. And under the old programming, at the bottom of every page (and the top of many) there was a complete countdown from 1 to 86 so you could navigate through all the pages. That was getting insane, so I incorporated some code from this site, and built a new look for the navigation. Now many of the page links are hidden, and only the ones adjacent to the page you’re looking at now are visible.

Much much better. I put the same code on the Western Nevada Historic Photo Collection, because at 14 pages it was on the road to getting unwieldy as well.

To Follow Blindly

It seems like we’re hearing more and more of these stories, where someone follows their in-dash GPS unit somewhere that they shouldn’t, like into a lake or over a cliff. This time it was a chartered bus in Seattle that drove under a bridge with low clearance and sheared off most of the roof. The driver’s excuse? The GPS told him to drive that way.

Now of course this is idiotic. The driver should have seen the bridge coming, and should have seen the height limits and the flashing lights. But more than that it’s indicative of a larger problem, where people so hate reading maps and doing any kind of trip planning that they’ll take any shortcuts available to them. Even if it means trusting completely in a computer that’s trying to read a map, and not doing a good job. Always remember: computers are stupid. And even the best GPS unit is going to send you driving around in circles sooner or later. Or right into a bridge. Better to just turn off the voice and use the GPS as a map, and figure out where you’re going on your own.

April 14, 2008


Sammy Cycling

Video Rewind: Don’t Come Around Here No More

We’re all in agreement that Tom Petty is baked 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, right? Good. Enjoy.

If it won’t play, click here.