Get Adobe Flash player

Monthly Archives: December 2012

The Bane of Auto Updates – What Worked on Friday No Longer Works on Monday

If you opened a file in CorelDRAW, QuarkXpress, Powerpoint, Excel or a few other programs, you may have experienced font problems this morning. We did. While working on a large project for a client Charlotte opened one of several hundred CorelDRAW files to do a quick correction to some text…only to find that all the text in the file had disappeared! Well, sort of disappeared. It was no longer visible, which one might describe as having disappeared. Yet the text was still there. We could select the text, we couldn’t see the text. When we changed the font and the text appeared. Hmmm…Strange.

What was causing this issue with the text?

Time for more troubleshooting.

Next check: When the file is opened on a different system does the problem still exist? Yes.

Next check: Are other files affected? Yes. (OK, now is the time to remember not to panic – remember I did say several hundred files.)

Next check:  When the file is opened in different versions of CorelDraw does the issue still exist? Yes.

So let’s review…all files on all systems (including laptops and desktops) seem to be affected in multiple versions of CorelDraw.

Time to go to forums and boards. Font issues can be the worst to diagnose and there were some pretty strange explanations out there, but we’ve found the culprit. Microsoft did an update last week that caused the issue. Windows Update KB2753842, designed to patch some potential security issues with fonts seems to have broken some fonts. Specifically some OpenType and Type 1 fonts. If you installed this update (or you have your computer set to automatically install updates), you may be experiencing font issues today.

You can learn more about the Microsoft security update here.

You have several options at this point:

  • Uninstall the update and continue to use your fonts. That might sound scary, and yes, it does leave you exposed to a known security risk…but you’ve been using your computer with the known risk for quite some time.
  • Keep the update installed and no longer use your OpenType and Type 1 fonts. Your machine is safer but you’ll have to update all your documents. (Don’t forget, that can mean reflowing of text, so check the whole document before printing.)
  • Hold your breath and wait. OK, you don’t have to hold your breath. Microsoft hasn’t said yet whether they are working on a fix to their fix, but they would be fools not to…it’s just a matter of when.

The options aren’t great at this point, but they are what they are.

If you choose to uninstall the update, click here for instructions. Or go to IT and let them handle the uninstall. Go directly to IT. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.

That, my friend, is how you lose several hours on a Monday. Hope your Monday is going better!

Who would have believed it? Microsoft, the old gray mare of the computing world, has become cool again. After years of derision from the Apple crowd, Microsoft has re-established itself as a consumer technology powerhouse with products that people actually want to buy and use.

The list of Microsoft’s product flops is lengthy. Microsoft Vista, which many users felt had more in common with a virus than an operating system, sent hoards of users running to the Mac platform. And it wasn’t the only bad operating system Microsoft produced. Who can forget Microsoft Me and Microsoft Bob? Everyone? Yeah, I thought so, and for good reason.

Let’s face it. In this century, the only hits that Microsoft has had have been the XP operating system and the Xbox gaming platform. It was looking like Microsoft’s future would only be servers and gaming.

But Microsoft has the invaluable ability to learn from its (many) mistakes. And while theirconsumer products still don’t command the type of market share that Apple has, Microsoft has laid the groundwork for a much brighter future.

It’s generally accepted that Microsoft’s Zune was the Edsel of portable media players. It got it’s hat handed to it by the Apple iPod. But the technology developed for the Zune is re-emerging in new Microsoft products such as the Windows Phone, the Surface tablet, and the Windows 8 operating system. All of these products are putting Microsoft back on the map of consumer technology leaders.

New life is being breathed into old mainstays such as the Office suite, as well. Office 2013 includes dozens of improvements to the usability and user interface of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. And then there’s Office 365, a cloud-based service that makes all of your Office apps and documents available anywhere, via desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. This is a big step toward transforming tablets and phones from devices that simply pumped out entertainment to tools that can be used to get real work done. Productivity — what a concept!

I hope I don’t sound like a Microsoft fanboy. That’s not my intention. It’s just that I get some satisfaction out of seeing a once great company show some chops once again. Microsoft is a great American company that employs thousands of people. We can use all of those that we can get right now.

Click here to learn more about Microsoft’s *cool* new product line.