i can haz program

Nov - 05 2012 | no comments | By

File Memo header
I went into a programming frenzy yesterday. Couldn’t do what I wanted with what I had, so I downloaded  AutoHotkey. Found the commands I needed, and after a few near misses I had a wee proggy that worked, either by sendto/drag-n-drop, or through the context menu after a bit of registry diddling.

Then came the hard part. I wanted an idjit-proof installer so I could share this handy widget. Some easy-peasy install builders are pretty dumb about adding stuff to the registry — not deep enough for my baby. I didn’t feel like learning another scripting language before midnight either.

The one I finally decided to stick it out with was SSE Setup. Again, I found the registry part a mite sticky. Trial and error took care of that after never mind how many (un-)installs. But the worst thing was that SSE hates Vista! I had to do the compiling in a virtual machine. The completed installer is pretty slick. So far it’s been tested in Vista, XP, and 7. It is not for older winderz, though maybe I could adapt a version.

What the fluff is it, you ask. It’s called FileMemo. It plops down an empty text file with the name of whatever file you right-clicked to make it so. And what good is that, you ask. Well, have you ever downloaded something and forgot why and/or what it does, or wanted to find the site you got it from again? Or lay down a shipload of details about a photo without having to dig inside it or use some damnable “album” crudware? How about a file memo? A simple, system-independent plain-text file with a bit of info. Not bad, for what ended up being nearly two days work and enough frustration to stick my head through a wall.

It’s here if you want to try it out:

Download FileMemo


Note: Requires admin privileges, installs in C:\FileMemo with no options ’cause I wanted to keep it simple.

Buried Treasures

Oct - 28 2012 | no comments | By

Amazing what one runs across when cleaning out surplus stuff. Also amazing what one never notices until…when one notices it. I rescued this old label some time ago from a box that had been used for storage since whenever. Then it knocked around here and there and was buried, until I dug it up yesterday and scanned it.

Today, I took a close look at the scan image while touching up the color. There it was. The street address of my grandfather’s gas station. Yes, the old postcard that I spoke of here does show it.

I don’t know why the package was sent there instead of to my grandparents’ residence, but it makes a remarkable contribution to my growing collection of digitized memorabilia. In all the stuff I have gone through over the years in this house, it is the only thing I can recall that has that address on it.

Old shipping label

Old shipping label

I’m sure that I will discover more occurrences of the address as the “house arcaeology” progresses — and plenty of other interesting things long shoved aside. I also dread finding them after they have been destroyed by mice, silverfish, and leaky roof. 🙁

A Bed of Roses

Aug - 25 2011 | no comments | By

Minding one’s own business doesn’t pay very well.

I’m pretty quiet. I don’t have loud parties, don’t play a radio outside, don’t have a constantly barking dog.

Many of my neighbors do.

I don’t throw trash in my neighbors’ yards — although I may sometimes “return” something that I know is not mine.

My neighbors habitually toss cans, broken things, and sometimes tree limbs into my yard.

I do not vandalize my neighbors’ property.

My neighbors trample my fence, and one has cut my roses to the ground.

What a nice place to live is Sturgeon Bay.

It can’t be envy; I live so far below poverty level that I will never see over the edge. So what is it? Do they hate me because I’m not young and live alone? Is it because I’m not healthy and wealthy?

Is it just because I don’t make a lot of trouble?

Why I Won’t Read Your Fanfic

May - 21 2011 | no comments | By

Variations on an old rant.

You have no idea how to construct a decent sentence and really don’t care.

You can not or will not use sensible formatting, and stick your readers with a mass of run-together text and/or other discourteous and inhospitable barriers to comfortable reading.

You misspell characters’ names. Really, this stuff is in print, it’s in a book, you can look it up. This is supposed to be fanfic, for cryin’ out loud, it’s all about the characters.

You don’t have a story, just an “idea”, and it’s never going anywhere. You will either peter out after a dozen posts or natter on into infinite boredom.

You believe what your readers say about your great story and your great writing…and because of that, you will never get any better.

Most of this could be recycled under the title: Why I Won’t Beta Read Your (Unfinished) Novel.


Whodunit, IrfanView or the Windwoes Gremlin?

Apr - 14 2011 | no comments | By

This is not a problem with IrfanView, but it is involved with it.

Something strange happened while I was browsing a folder of old images with some new work being added. There is one TGA file among the JPGs, PNGs, and BMPs. I noticed the image in the thumb viewer and made a mental note to go back to it. When I looked for it again, it didn’t seem to be there. Then I saw that its thumbspace was blank.

In a file manager window it showed the wrong icon, and when opened in IrfanView it was blank. It had been normal only minutes before.

A little investigation showed that the file type designation in the Windows Registry had switched from “IrfanView TGA” to “IrfanView SGI”. (I don’t even have SGI files associated with IV; I don’t have any.)

This must have happened while I was fooling around with the other files, because IrfanView was not blind to the file when I started.

The other odd thing is that after I fixed a few things in the Registry, IV sill did not display the file.

I rebooted to make sure the registry changes would be effective, and something else went weird. The window of a program that runs at startup was not showing. It had to be brought back on screen with a window hacking proggie.

I suspect Windwoes is having me on a bit. That is not a good sign. Is SilentBob getting delusional? Am I going to have to *gasp* kick some file and drive ass? Lordy, I’ve got a lot of gigabytes invested in this Vista monster. 🙁

11-05-21 update — still farked.

What’s wrong with our picture?

Mar - 05 2011 | no comments | By

I didn’t know I was getting newsletter e-mails from Senator Herb Kohl until I had to fix some mail configs and dug into an account I haven’t really used in years. Suddenly there was this nice fresh one. So I read it. I’m still scratching my head at the apparent (to me) insanity. Some kind of megalomania, schizophrenic power-trip; whatever, it disturbs me. It says something terribly discomforting about the USA.

I thought this guy was relatively all right, until I read this:

“…as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee, I introduced the bipartisan No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act (NOPEC). It would authorize our government, for the first time, to take action against illegal conduct of the OPEC oil cartel. The NOPEC bill would establish clearly and plainly that when a group of competing oil producers – like the OPEC nations – act together to restrict supply or fix prices, they are violating U.S. law. I recently raised the subject of increased oil prices with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke at a Senate Banking Committee hearing to gain insight about current efforts to curb rising oil and gas prices. It is time for the U.S. government to fight back against efforts to fix the price of oil and hold OPEC accountable when it acts illegally.”

No matter what we think of them, the OPEC nations are not part of the United States, and are not subject to our laws. So what is the point of waving a provocative red flag of empty threat?

The USA must stop acting as if it owned the world and start cooperating with other nations as peers. That is called growing up. Being a playground bully and whining about the terrorism that it inspires with its careless arrogance (while indulging freely in terrorism) is not building any respect for us. You have to GIVE respect to get it.

I guess this rant should show that I am not just a knee-jerk anti-Republican. :p

Off Our Walker — Rap

Feb - 26 2011 | no comments | By

Another contribution by A. Nonymous:

Knock-Rap for the Guv

Little Scotty Walker
Playun with his Raygun
Shootin down people
Who dare to be prayin
For jobs and food
For their family
He got a news slant
On the economy
The few should be great
And the many, little
To make ends meet
Just throw out the middle

Little Scotty Walker
Wanna shut down the state
If the cameras are runnin
That gonna be great
Think about winning
Politics is a game
If something not working
Just pass the blame
Keep your eye on the lens
Givin fisheye looks
Americans for Prosperity
Be Koch-in the books

Scotty flappin his flags
An wavin his bats
Got no clue people died in the past
For GI Bills
Social Security
Stuff to help him climb
His family tree
That he’d conservatively take
From you and me
He tryin to sound like a
Super smooth talker
But if you misjudge him
You off your Walker

Off Our Walker — Rant I

Feb - 25 2011 | no comments | By

Guest posts by A. Nonymous, via e-mail.

Went to a Democratic Party meeting in Sturgeon Bay Thursday night — very interesting. Jon Erpenbach, the minority leader of the state senate, spoke to us by phone from Chicago and answered questions. He said morale is good among the 14 senators holding out on the budget vote and he personally would like to see the entire budget redone not just the section on unions. Walker is trying to privatize state jobs and eliminate accountability. It gives him the power to rewrite the rules for who is eligible for Medicaid and Senior Care and he is interested in selling power plants to his friends. He said the Republican senators are not happy with the Walker phone call and the cavalier tone he has adopted, and they need to hear from people who will encourage them to consider individual issues rather than be in lockstep with Walker. The minority Democrats are seriously worried about saving the American dream and the middle class from this power grab with political payoffs.

The local Democrats are staging a protest Friday on our steel bridge (make your own sign) Friday in connection with rallies on bridges all over the state. About 100,000 people are expected in Madison Saturday but you will never hear it on Fox, as they have consistently underreported numbers of previous groups except for the tea party which mysteriously swelled to thousands instead of hundreds. The bus drivers bringing people from parking areas to the downtown say the protestors have already numbered 100,000 at the Capitol, which is the goal for this weekend too. The local people who went last week said it was a very moving experience with everyone becoming very energized but staying courteous, no pushing and shoving.

Somebody researched what the Koch brothers are making their billions from and discovered it is just about everything — Angel Soft, Soft n Gentle and Quilted Northern toilet paper; Brawny towels; Dixie Cups products; Mardi Gras, Vanity Fair and Zee napkins; Stainmaster carpets; Dacron fiber; Comforel fiberfill; all the Georgia Pacific products, and that’s just for starters. They have been making donations to conservative candidates all over the country, but Walker may be the most enthusiastic in trying to pay them back.

appended from e-mail reply:

Yay for working. It’s becoming increasingly rare. Just think — with the cooperation of some business moguls who are not expanding at the moment, the US could raise the GNP by 3 or 4 points and generate enough in taxes to solve the budget shortages. For some reason said moguls are sitting on their hands until various
states use draconian measures to increase the dictatorial power of governors and reduce the options and
benefits of workers, thus generating a bigger future percentage of profit for those who need it least. Does anyone remember Teapot Dome, trustbusting, etc. at the beginning of the last century? Why do we have to replay the Greed card vs. the Fair card over and over? And in the future will anybody hear about it even once with a new crop of teachers whose boss lives in Madison?

For your entertainment:
Koch-Walker Prank Call — Part 1
Part 2

Well I’ll be dipped

Feb - 22 2011 | no comments | By

I have Windows Live Writer sitting around doing nothing. So finally I decide to see if it’s good for anything. Turns out maybe it is. Smile


Anyhoo, that’s insomnia for ya.

Oh – drat – of course the bloody thing wants to check my spelling.

Worse than that – the only browser it knows is Idiot Exploder.

No, no, not another!

Feb - 20 2011 | no comments | By

I was once a fan of Jean Auel’s Earth’s Children(TM) series.

I loved Clan of the Cave Bear. It was the best cave-people novel I had ever read (unfortunately, that’s not saying too much; the competition back then was sickly).

I loved parts of Valley of Horses. Parts of it were…let’s just say, not what I was looking for.

I loved some things about The Mammoth Hunters. The rest I lived with.

I enjoyed the scenery and the characters in Plains of Passage.

I re-read all of them, more than once, and many scenes remain vividly painted in my mind despite the obstacles.

I managed to drag my ass through Shelters of Stone one time. One stinking time, and I mostly remember one very unexciting scene. All attempts to re-read have drowned in a tar-pit.

Now we have The Land of Painted Caves. Ayla’s incredible(sic) prowess is veiled in yet another stupefying mass of congealing prose. Veiled, not unveiled; that’s what I said. Rather than improving over the many years, Jean Auel’s writing style seems to have grown worse. The action, the characters, everything is buried in verbosity that defies belief. There’s hardly a paragraph, in what I have read so far, that couldn’t be reduced by a third.

Dialogue is another sore point for me. Did stone-age people really talk like cardboard cutouts? Did they care that much about perfect syntax? If people had always spoken in such an egg-walking way, language would never have evolved. I want to hear some life in the way characters interact.

Add Ayla’s know-it-all-ness, Jondalar’s wuss-ness, interminable “As you know, Bobelar” explanations, and the usual heavy-handed head-hopping, and you get a flavorless stew that sticks in the throat of any discriminating reader.

Having sampled what is available on the Web, I have no great desire to rush out and buy the book. Not even to borrow the book. I don’t think it will add a whole lot to my life experience.

I will give Jean credit where it is due, however. Because of her, I have become a much better writer. In the eight years since I kick-started myself by writing parodies of her work, I have written more and learned more about the craft of writing than in my entire life before that.

So long and thanks for all the stone knives and bearskins 😉

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