All posts by erk

I love writing, computers, puns... and can sometimes be spiritual, or mindful.

Four Still lifes

A couple of years ago, when I’ve just about purchased my Nikon D50 I snapped off a number of “still life” like pictures. These are the sometimes unusual things you just happen to have lying around in an otherwise rather uninteresting apartment.

Still life 1: Pile of laundry
Still life 1: Pile of laundry

This is obviously one of the first things I snapped a picture of. After looking at the picture closer I realized it was a rather nice picture, selection of subject excluded. Anyway, as far as I’ve been able to determine there’s no underwear on the picture, and no insanely dusty socks, so I hope it’s at least PG-13 😀

The thing with this picture I like is that the object in center, the pile of clothes are actually adding a kind of calm from the rather detailed background. It feels kind of backwards, and perhaps it is.

Still life 2: Knick-knacks
Still life 2: Knick-knacks

This is a bunch of knick-knacks lying around on my desk. Among other things you might notice a burnable CD box, a can of 5-56 universal oil and an ear cleaner rubber thingy. I’m especially proud of the bizarre factor that one adds. To my defense I might add that I used it to dust off my computer… you squeeze it and it blows air…

The ear thing sits atop an ancient letter scale, a bit crooked from being in my possession. I inherited it from grandpa who got it sometime in the fifties…

Still life 3: Bookshelf
Still life 3: Bookshelf

This is one of my favorite pictures. A classic book picture, true but still… it has a kind of uneven, haphazardly-piled impression to it that I really like.

What you probably don’t know is that this is my unread-books “pile” or part of it anyway. The thing you can’t see on this picture is that all the books are quite dusty…

Too much work makes Hoakzie a dull boy!

Still life 4: Fruits
Still life 4: Fruits

Okay, I confess: I’m a sucker for the classics. The only extenuating circumstance would be that there’s no banana or pine apple in there. And that the “cloth” in the “basket” is in fact a dish towel mom gave me when I moved away from home…

Electornic Art’s Spore sued because of its DRM

Electronic Art’s game Spore was on September 22nd hit by a class action lawsuit because of its DRM (Digital Restrictions/Rights Management). Or actually the fact that the DRM was secretly installed and made uninstallable.

However, I am fairly certain the lawsuit wont fly. EA told those buyers there was a DRM involved, and they have since then provided an uninstaller for the DRM.

I think we, consumers, should stop buying games with DRMs, and instead protest against the use of DRMs. If we don’t we’ll end up in a world where every software we run are for hire and nothing, not even the contents of our own harddrives, are our property. That would be a bit like hosting a virus or a parasite… unwanted, unpleasant and uncalled for.

Here’s some other reports:

http://hothardware.com/News/Spores-DRM–ClassAction-Lawsuit-for-EA/

http://www.techradar.com/news/gaming/ea-faces-class-action-lawsuit-over-spore-drm-470850

http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3170131

http://www.crunchgear.com/2008/09/25/ea-facing-class-action-lawsuit-over-spore-drm/

Earth Overshoot Day

Oops! We used up the last resources of our planet yesterday… Should I be worried since it was my birthday? :O (Or perhaps I have completely other reasons for concern?)

http://www.ameinfo.com/169573.html

http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/008701.html

The concept was apparently invented by Global Footprint Network. Here’s a link to their overshoot page: http://www.footprintnetwork.org/gfn_sub.php?content=overshoot

Balking Talkwards

I woke up this morning after having gotten about 5 hours of sleep, however, I’ve snoozed wildly for about two hours so I was in fact in real trouble. Crawling to the edge of the bed and forcing my legs over the side I happened to look at the clock which simply confirmed my creeping suspicions: I was late beyond repair and then some.

I fell back on the bed on my back moaning. Just as I realized I was on my back, and with no snoozed clock at that the thought popped up in my head: “This will bad endly…” (No that’s not a translation or anything, I’ve been known to have my mind invaded by English from time to time.)

Which brings me to the topic of this post: Talking backwards, or as the proper phrase would be, Balking Tackwards (in forgiving circumstances it can be paraphrased to: Balking Talkwards… if that is indeed the purpose of the backtalking…)

Basically what you do is swapping consonants, nouns, vowels or even whole words. If there’s only one of them just switch its place. Don’t let things like word limits stop you, you can take a word like unseemly and turn it into suneemly as easily… Here are a few examples, I am sure you can come up with tons of more!

  • Bad endly, bend adly — end badly
  • Stackbabbing hassole, Ass-stabbing Backhole — Backstabbing asshole
  • Earl Startly, Tart Searly — Start early
  • Heal a voter icicle — Steal a motor vehicle (no this isn’t really talking backwards… or is it? And I can’t see it entering gangsta rap any time soon either :o)
  • Weighing a Stake — Are you having a problem weighing a stake…? I usually have a problem falling asleep. (Staying awake.)

Even though the baby-talk factor is pretty high, the purpose, if an exercise like this one needs a purpose, is to have fun until something like balking talkwards, or badding endly comes up.

One warning however. Don’t do this if your are over 65. They might come and take you to the doctor and/or home if you talk like this… (I’m looking forward to it myself…)

Disassociating .EXE-files

Windows doesn´t work as it used to after I associated the .exe-extension to putty.exe...
Windows doesn´t work as it used to after I associated the .exe-extension to putty.exe…

I am clumsy. I can only confess. But I still think what I did should not be possible to do. I mean, it’s not like having a foundation is optional when building a house… why should running exe-files as executables be an option?

Okay, this is what I did: I have an exe-file (putty.exe) sitting on my windows start-menu (oh did I forgot to mention this was a problem in Windows? Sorry…) However, I happened to move the folder where this file was located. Not so good perhaps because now, of course, the link to putty fails.

So, I right clicked it and selected properties, trying to figure out if there was a way to redirect the link. There was… kind of… there was the “Open With” button. I thought, hey, that could be it, let’s try it and see what happens. So I clicked it, opened it and selected putty.exe. It didn’t work.

Or, well. Windows did what it thought I wanted it to do. The dialog I’ve quickly scanned before selecting a file was the dialog for reassociating the .exe extension … with putty.exe. This, however, was not in Windows liking, so now whenever I click an exe I get the dialog here to the left.

It would have been really bad if I hadn’t done one good thing that day. I installed cygwin… and weehoo… windows programs can be started from cygwin. Phew! I can tell IT-support the problem is solved… almost!

At least one good thing. The problem is rather easily solved. Let’s see if I can remember the steps the rather stressed out support technician went through. Open “My Computer”, select “View” in the the menu and go to associations in the dialog. What we want to do is associate the “Application” association (There are a number of other “Application”-associations but we never touched them… and if they haven’t been changed, don’t touch them, and if they have, I’ve no clue what extension they should have so … don’t touch them…)

Since this is a “built-in” association it won’t be in the list of associations, we have to create it again (?!). Click “New” and in the new dialog enter “EXE” as the extension and from the drop down select “Application”. Don’t push any buttons! Without having to push any buttons, but with the kind mercy of the Gods of Windows, a message that the “EXE association has been changed” will appear along with a button to reset it to the default settings. Push the “reset”-button.

And this good folks is how my problem was solved. I came a cross a few “regedit-hacks” but I wouldn’t recommend them unless this solution doesn’t work. Also, make sure to reboot after you’ve reset the association because for me assorted things like remote desktop links and some such started to get broken after a while. (Don’t ask. I have no clue why!)

Good luck and don’t experiment with your computer, naughty! You can break something for real…

Has the Large Hadron Collider destroyed the world yet?

You may have heard of the Large Hadron Collider or perhaps concerns about its safety, and if not you may still have come across this funny web page to test if it has destroyed the world yet.

Check the source for the last one as well, there are a few laughs. Their test to see if the world has ended is:

if (!(typeof worldHasEnded == "undefined")) {
    document.write("YUP.");
} else {
    document.write("NOPE.");
}

If the undefined variable worldHasEnded is not “undefined” then there’s some really spooky stuff going on… like the end of the world… otherwise we’re all safe and sound. In the same spirit I’m offering a test for world destruction for Java (and possibly C++ and other object oriented languages as well):

System.out.print("Has the Large Hadron Collider destroyed the world yet? ");
if (this == null) {
    System.out.println("Yes!");
}
else {
    System.out.println("Nope");
}

Is the object running this test not existing any more… then risk is neither is the rest of the world…

Of course, we’ll have to wait until sometime in the end of October or beginning of November before they actually start colliding protons… and then perhaps the world will end…

Review: Children of Glory (4/5)

Children of Glory (2006) (IMDB, Amazon), or Szabadság, szerelem, as the original is named, is about Karcsi Szabó (Iván Fenyö), a member of the Hungarian Olympic water polo team. How he meets Viki Falk (Kata Dobó), falls in love with her, gets involved in the 1956 Hungarian revolution against the Soviet Union and finally goes to the Olympics to play the Soviet Union water polo team in what will become known as one of the bloodiest matches in the history of water polo.

You can read the whole review by clicking the below link, but there may be spoilers in that text…

Continue reading Review: Children of Glory (4/5)

Naivized by Linux

I’m all for Linux. Really. I love it, even though it’s from time to time a hate-love. However, I just realized one thing Linux has done to me that isn’t so good when you are forced to work and live in Windowsland.

I’ve become totally naive when it comes to certain aspects of the Windows world.

A couple of weeks ago I was looking for a program to help me keep my local hard drive synchronized (or in fact, backed up) to the network drive. A few factors have made this an issue for me, bad network performance but also the ability to just pick up your laptop and not worry about network connection to mention a few.

Anyway, I browsed around, moderately annoyed trying to avoid all the $oftware in favor for something simple that could do the job but wouldn’t cost money… just like home in Linuxland, right?

So I came a cross one really promising piece of software (no need to mention which since they’re not lone sinners :o), downloaded, tried it out and thought… hey this works! It had good integration with the desktop and a clean and simple UI and simple yet powerful features.

Great. Then today I spoke with a colleague who had been on the same mission and told him this was good software. He was rather surprised, since he had long ago figured out the software was not at all free (even though it’s listed as free software on several places, and they say it is free). The surprise will come after 30 days when the software stops working, for all intents and purposes unless you pay them money.

There’s nothing bad with companies asking for money. After all, I ask for money for working for a company, so the company should ask for money for selling my work, right? However, the serious problem is the lying part of the deal, where software companies say they are delivering free software where in fact they aren’t. In my case it ended up wasting several hours setting up the sync for real and would have wasted even more time had I been caught unaware when the 30 day trial was up. This, the lying seems, to me, to be a direct symptom of the software development model used…

There are no such thing as a free lunch, not even in the Linux world, but there you pay with time, and your apps aren’t programmed to stop work after 30 days. They might, because you’ve downloaded beta software, but that’s because some one did not program, or program right, not because someone did.

Anyway, I was baffled, totally unprepared and realized Linux naivized me! Wooh!

Weather Report: “Rain Mist”

Even though it’s usually considered too polite to talk weather, the kind of weather I just passed through on my way to lunch does merit a comment.

Usually when it rains in Sweden it pours down so violently you have 5 cms of water covering the ground, or if the rain has decided to stay the whole day it drizzles, making book reading and Monopoly gaming a viable alternative if you’re a kid and having summer break, oh memories… sorry… well not that we have summer breaks in the autumn, not even in Sweden but we have more or less the same rain in the autumns as in the summer, no hailstorms though.  And colder!

Today was strange though. More of a rain mist than a real rain, and it took me a while to recognize it. It was like someone had placed sprinklers all over the place, and they were set to produce that fine mist of water some sprinklers are capable of.

Strange and unusual experience, and a first for me, ever!

Hacking Windows Remote Connection (MSTSC.EXE)

WARNING: The below tip will kick out one of the already logged in users. This behavior may have been added after I came up with this advice, or I’ve always been the evil person on the block 😀

Ever been turned down by a Windows machine over Remote Desktop because it already had too many connections?

Even though there are no way to connect using the standard remote desktop program you can still “hack” a connection. Sure the limitation exists, probably to sell more licenses or to protect the host server from getting too many connections, but to get past it you do the following:

mstsc /v:myhost.com /F /console

Where myhost.com is the name or ipnumber of the server you are trying to remote to. /F means a full screen connection, /console means to connect to the “console session of the server” (whatever that means, it anyhow results in you getting in although the server would otherwise refuse you).

The full format of the MSTSC command call are:

MSTSC [<Connection File>] [/v:<server[:port]>] [/console] [/f[ullscreen]]
[/w:<width> /h:<height>]

<Connection File> refers to an rdp file to be used with the connection (good if you need to make local drivers or other resources available or set up the connection otherwise).

You can also call MSTSC with the “/edit” switch if you wish to edit a connection file:

MSTSC /edit <Connection File>

Finally you may also migrate files by using the “/migrate” switch (not 100% sure how this is done though since I don’t have an older version file to test with).