Thursday, July 31, 2008

the Albanian Generals Problem?

Funny how the name of the Byzantine Generals Problem came about. This is an account by Leslie Lamport:

There is a problem in distributed computing that is sometimes called the Chinese Generals Problem, in which two generals have to come to a common agreement on whether to attack or retreat, but can communicate only by sending messengers who might never arrive. I stole the idea of the generals and posed the problem in terms of a group of generals, some of whom may be traitors, who have to reach a common decision. I wanted to assign the generals a nationality that would not offend any readers. At the time, Albania was a completely closed society, and I felt it unlikely that there would be any Albanians around to object, so the original title of this paper was The Albanian Generals Problem. Jack Goldberg was smart enough to realize that there were Albanians in the world outside Albania, and Albania might not always be a black hole, so he suggested that I find another name. The obviously more appropriate Byzantine generals then occurred to me.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

downgrade from Outlook 2007 to Outlook 2002

I recently had to move all of my Outlook 2007 stuff to 2002. First issue: Outlook 2007 does not give you any option to export to an older data file format. The one used by 2002 has smaller capacity (read: different format) and no Unicode support. There is a way around this: create a data file in the older Outlook 97-2002 Personal Folders file (.pst) format and import items from the newer data file format to the older .pst file format. Then import that .pst into Outlook 2002. You can read more about .pst data files in different versions of Outlook here.

Second issue: Once you have imported all of your items into Outlook 2002, you may need to copy your calendar items to a different target calendar. You cannot just right click on the source calendar and copy all the items; if you paste onto the destination calendar, a subfolder will be created containing the source calendar. I know it's stupid, but here's an article to the rescue.