Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I put my car in for repair last week.
It took them quite a while to find the problem.
Even now, they're not sure it's completely fixed.
The problem seems to be that I use too much vinegar when making my sweet and sour sauce.

OK. The above story is a lie. The following one is not.

The growth in demand for Verilab's services appears to be unending. (Yes, yes, I know there's a recession on and stuff, but no one seems to have told our clients yet.) So, I'm always looking for a tool that will help us shuffle about our existing team, and expose exactly who/what/when we should hire to fill the gaps. Believe it or not, we used to, in Verilab's early days, use some pasta shapes with sharpie-inscribed initials on them. But we've moved on a bit since then. So I occasionally try out a few likely software candidates. So far, I've always ended up settling back on Excel as the best quick fix.
Until today.

The idea is simple. Each person's initials go in a cell, with a different background color for each. Then copy/cut/paste/drag can be used to move people about. Now, we already have more people than base
colors, so I was using light <color> for one person, and dark <same color> for another. For example, one consultant was dark (or, knowing this consultant, "deep") purple.  Trouble is, the default black font  doesn't show well against the dark. So I changed it to white.

Excel crashed.

I tried again.

Excel crashed.

I rebooted my machine and tried again.

Excel crashed.

I tried again.

Excel crashed.

Then Vista threw up one of those as-helpful-as-that-infernal-paperclip "we know how to solve this problem" boxes. Sighing, I clicked the "Fine, go on then" button, and it gave me:

"This problem was caused by a known issue with your Hewlett-Packard printer driver, which causes Microsoft Office 2007 programs to close unexpectedly when your HP printer is set as the default printer. Hewlett-Packard is aware of the problem and is working on a solution."

Knife. Wrists. Slash.
I'm off to buy some pasta shapes.
In the meantime:
  1. If you know of a simple resource-allocation tool, please let me know
  2. As ever - if you're an exceptionally strong verification engineer and programmer with a minimum of five years experience, only happy when wrestling with the toughest challenges, longing to travel, and want to join the best team of VLSI verification experts on the planet, what are you waiting for? Give us a call!


  1. I'm amazed. You got a meaningful and relevant error message. Vista _is_ better!
    Okay, it is insane that the printer driver could be responsible, when you aren't even trying to print or anything, but I believe it and you got an error in English.
    Can I be on a penne?

  2. Vista is our best product ever. No bugs at all. It's really the best. It's all HP's fault. Like in PowerPoint if you try and resize a font when you had an HP printer but it's not attached. Boom! Down it goes with an unfathomable error message. Has been like that for years. Vista tells you everything now.