Unable to Access Object

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I have client on SharePoint (MOSS) 2007 who reported that there was a particular excel file in one of their document libraries that would never show up in Search results, no matter what keywords or other criteria were used in their search request, including searching by its title or other obvious metadata.
Looking in the Search Crawl Log (Shared Services Administration > Search Settings > Content Sources > Crawl Log), there was an error encountered attempting to index said file: "Unable to Access Object". Unfortunately, a Google search for SharePoint "Unable to Access Object" returned only 3 results, and those were unrelated to Search Indexing (Hopefully Google will pick up this post for anyone else that ever experiences this issue).
So it seemed that the Search Crawl could not Access the file for some reason. I assumed this was somehow permissions related, and spent some time spinning my wheels attempting find the source of the problem, including logging in interactively as the Crawl Service Account. But I seemed to be able to access and open the file without problems with just about all users.
I copied the file to other SharePoint farms, and the same problem occurred: The "Unable to Access Object" error occurred in those environments too, and the document would not appear in search results.
So, now that it was obvious that the problem was following the file, it was clearly not environmental. So I opened up the file and deleted all the content out of it (it had about a dozen worksheets) and saved it back to the library. Voila, the problem disappeared -- so the source of the problem was in the file's contents somewhere. So then I restored the original version of the file (and the problem returned), and began a process of elimination to figure out which piece of content was causing the problem. Finally determining that one of the worksheets had an embedded excel workbook object that, while appeared fine when viewed, would cause excel to crash when clicked on. Deleting this one object allowed the Search Crawl to correctly index the file.
So, apparently, the logged error "Unable to Access Object" does not mean the entire file could not be accessed, it means that there is some embedded object within the file that could not be accessed (though that doesn't explain why SharePoint wouldn't choose to index the content that it could access, or at least its metadata). So, if you ever end up with a file getting this message in your search crawl, check inside the file, there is probably a bad object inside.

Oh There You Are

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Today was Scouting Day at church -- all of the Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, and Girls Scouts that were members of our congregation wore their uniforms and filled the many worship volunteer roles today (ushers, deacons, acolytes, etc.).

Christopher spent most of the morning asking where Russell (from the movie Up) was. Clearly the scouts were all here to help people like Carl.

Then, a name resemblence caused him suddenly switch from one set of Disney characters to another. A Gentleman stands up to make a presentation near the end of the service...

Christopher: Who is that?
Me (whispering): That's Verne.
Christopher: What is Ferb going to do today?
Me (still whipsering): Not Ferb. Verne.
Christopher: Where's Phinneas?
Me (whispering sternly): His name is Verne, not Ferb.
[Verne introduces Butch to come forward]
Christopher: Is that Phinneas?

I couldn't reply because I was too busy trying not to laugh.

O Comfort Food

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I posted last week about our experiment with Tourtiere, a French Canadian meat pie, in preparation for our Olympic Opening Ceremonies festivities. So we were ready on Friday to do it up. For a full report on our Canadian spread, check out my wife's post. I suppose we could have gone with some more "elegant" dishes, but we opted for Canadian Comfort Food -- the focal points of our meal were Tourtiere and Poutine.

Poutine (pronounced Poo-Teen) is a simple but yummy combination of French Fries (though I was informed that Canadians just call them Fries), brown gravy, and cheese curds. Essentially they are the Canadian version of Loaded Cheese Fries. Now, I am sure that the best poutine involves slicing and frying your own fresh potatoes and concocting your own gravy. We were content with a bag of frozen french fries heated in the oven, topped with jar of brown gravy heated in the microwave. At least our cheese curds were fresh.
I definitely think comfort food is the way to go for this celebration -- we were already discussing the possibilities of Fish & Chips and Bangers & Mash for the London Olympics in 2012.

Taste Test

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

So, most recipe sites on the web have some sort of rating system -- usually a 4- or 5-star system (though some get a little cute with a number of forks or spoons, instead of stars) whereby individuals who have tried the recipe can rate the overall taste of the recipe. When we experiment with new dishes at home, we don't usually go to the trouble of giving it an "official" rating, but after nearly 12 years of marriage, I have managed to formalize my wife's food rating system:
  • equivalent of 1-star: "What were you trying to make?"

  • equivalent of 2-stars: "Did you make up this recipe?"

  • equivalent of 3-stars: "If you try this again, you might want to try changing..."

  • equivalent of 4-stars: "You can make this again."

  • equivalent of 5-stars: "You could make this for People."

In general, a 1-star or 2-star rating means we should never attempt to make this meal again. 3-star's will get attempted again with some modifications, and 4's and 5's tend to become mainstays.

Meat Pie, Eh

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Our household is not big on sports. We pretty much only turn on some sport if its one Our teams (i.e. Butler Basketball, Colts Football, occaisionally Pacers, etc.) -- or if it is The Olympics. When it comes to rooting for Our team, what can be better than rooting for your entire country?
In 2008, we decided to spend the evening of the Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony with our friends the Julius family. On the spur of the moment, we decided to get carry-out Chinese for dinner, and then later baked some frozen egg rolls as we watched the ceremony. Yes, for those who haven't made the connection, we ate Chinese Food while watching the Beijing ceremony. Little did we know then, but we had invented a new family tradition.

Fast forward to 2010, and we began discussing with the Juliuses spending the evening of the opening ceremony of the Vancouver Winter Olympics together. Even though the children outnumber the adults in our combined families, we decided we would give it a shot. But what of our new tradition? It had been easy enough to grab Chinese take-out -- but there aren't a lot of options for drive-thru French Canadian cuisine in Indiana.

So, my wife wrote to some friends of ours who live in British Columbia not too far from Vancouver, and asked what traditional Canadian dishes they would recommend. We got back a pretty lengthy list. My wife, of course, was most interested in the dessert-type items, especially those involving chocolate. I was most intrigued by two dishes: Poutine and Tourtiere (pronounced Tore-Tyair). She Ok'd the Poutine based on the description (and I will give a more thorough description and review after we attempt that dish), but she was doubtful about the tourtiere. So we opted to try it out for ourselves, before potentially condemning our friends to something. So tonight was experiment night.

Tourtiere is a French Canadian meat pie. We followed this recipe, using a Kroger-brand generic boxed 9-inch double pie crust. And it was tasty. If you are a vegetarian, or have vegetarian leanings, then this one is definitely not for you. But if you are carnivorous, you'll enjoy this dish. Even my wife, who was initially dubious, became very interested when she smelled it coming out of the oven, and was pleased with the taste. I think this one will definitely make the cut for opening ceremony night.

How Taxes Work

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I was cleaning up the couple thousand emails cluttering my inbox today, when I came across this interesting one that had been forwarded to me about a year or so ago. The email says it was written by David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D., Professor of Economics, University of Georgia, But, snopes.com clearly disposes that origin and says the authorship is essentially unknown. Regardless, rather than forward the email (I am not a fan of chain-forwards, despite whatever value or quality content it may possess), I thought I would just post it:

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. 'Since you are all such good customers, he said, 'I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20. Drinks for the ten now cost just $80. The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?' They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:

The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free.

But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings. 'I only got a dollar out of the $20,'declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,' but he got $10!' 'Yeah, that's right,' exclaimed the fifth man. 'I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I!' 'That's true!!' shouted the seventh man. 'Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!'

'Wait a minute,' yelled the first four men in unison. 'We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!' The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up. The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.
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