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Saturday June 27, 2015
The joy of seeing a first time forum poster
The regulars on a forum like this one, make it what it is -- they create a tone and personality and make it a fun place to hang out. This place is a little family to those of us who spend time here.
But it occurred to me today that infrequent visitors may not realize how nice it is for us when we see a "first time poster" -- a person who has decided to make their first post on the forum.
It's especially nice for us coders when we see a new person post about a program we've written -- whether it's to say they like it, or report a bug or suggest a feature.
It's just always a really nice thing to check the forum and see that someone new has decided to join the conversation.
Friday June 26, 2015
Be prepared against ransomware viruses..
I got a call a couple of days ago from a relative in a panic -- all of their documents, images, etc. suddenly had new random file extensions and could not be opened. Did I know what had happened and how to fix it?
Unfortunately it was all too obvious what had happened and there was no easy fix.
They had fallen victim to a ransomware virus -- some variant of CBT, and the only real way to recover the files was to pay the criminals (they wanted ~ $600 USD) to provide a password to decrypt the files.
What made this attack particularly damaging is that this relative, who is pretty computer savvy and a heavy pc user, had a bunch of additional hard drives connected to the pc -- a few backup drives, some download archive drives, etc.
And the virus encrypted everything on all drives. Ouch.
And that's what brings me to this post.
Many of us who perform frequent backups may get lazy and leave our backup drives (with backup drive images, document backups, etc.) connect for prolonged periods.
This is a huge risk when it comes to things like viruses/trojans/ransomware.
While there are lots of things you can do to protect yourself from being attacked, one thing all of us who regularly make backups should do is keep external backup drives DISCONNECTED except when being used to update our backups.
Documentary film online: THOSE WHO ARE JESUS (2001) - 3 people with god delusion
Very interesting watching:
A documentary which presents four compelling individuals who have each had profoundly religious or revalatory experiences and have extraordinary stories to tell.
With a tolerant and inclusive approach, the film offers different positions of explanation of such experience by featuring such experts as Dr. Peter Fenwick (Institute of Psychiatry), The Very Reverend Colin Slee (Southwark Cathedral), Prof. Eileen Barker (Sociologist at LSE), Dr Trevor Turner (Homerton Hospital) and the Hearing Voices Network, alongside of the points of view of the subjects.
The result is an examination of conflicting and convergent discourses surrounding what psychiatrists term "delusions of grandeur".
Original page: http://www.pinkpink.demon.co.uk/paradogs.html
Sunday June 21, 2015
PixCalc - a handy pixel-to-inches/centimeters calculator
Here's a little program that would have been better for the NANY.
I made it for myself, but I like to share (for free), so here it is!
It is a handy dandy calculator for converting pixels to inches or centimeters and vice-versa. You set the dpi, height, width of your image and it will give you immediate results and automatically copy them to your clipboard. You can also drag-n-drop images onto PixCalc and it will read the dimensions and dpi for you.
It comes with a chm help file.
I'd like to know what you think!
Saturday June 20, 2015
Webassembly: Big four to develop binary format for the web
Mozilla, Google, Microsoft and Apple have decided to develop a binary format for the web. Called WebAssembly, this format could be a compilation target for any programming language, enabling applications to run in the browser or other agents.
Friday June 19, 2015
Rock Paper Shotgun: 25 Best Co-Op (video) Games Ever Made
I'm always interested in reading about co-op games, here's a nice recent list from one of my favorite gaming blogs, Rock Paper Shotgun. For me, the game of choice is Sniper Elite 2.
Sometimes you need a hand to hold, so we’ve compiled a list of the 25 best co-op games to play on PC with a headset-wearing friend or a muted stranger.
Whether solving puzzles, sneaking, shooting zombies or stabbing mythical creatures in the face, the existence of another player adds an element of unpredictability. The reality of your co-op partner constantly alerting the guards is drowned out by the experience in your head – the synchronised stealth takedowns, the perfectly executed plan – but both success and failure are more compelling when you can take credit for the former and blame someone else for the latter.
Wednesday June 17, 2015
Tabs Outliner for Chrome
'Tabs Outliner' is an addon for Chrome:
"The next generation session manager; a really working too many open tabs solution; and your browsing notebook."
This is a first look at Tabs Outliner Addon/Extension for Chrome.
I moved recently from Firefox to Chrome and was looking for a replacement for Session Manager addon. Tabs Outliner [TO] is very different, and a lot more powerful, but it also covers Session saving in it's own way, and could be used as a bookmarks manager.
To cut to the chase: I love it so far, it's helped my browsing to become a lot more organised without too much effort
Tabs Outliner will open a second window showing it's outline of webpages. Sticking with the outline approach, I call this a 'pane'.
If you open say three Chrome windows, they will show as an outline in Tabs Outliner: within that pane, you can drag pages from one window to another; close tabs so they will be remembered; close/delete tabs completely.
FUNDAMENTAL CONCEPT: it is important to understand that (initially at any rate) what is closed outside of Tabs Outliner is lost/gone/forgotten - and what is closed from within Tabs Outliner is saved.
Windows can be renamed within the outline (from the default "Window").
Once they are renamed, they will be saved - so closing them via Chrome itself is okay. The caveat above still remains for tabs though: any tabs closed from within the browser window will be deleted from Tabs Outliner.
When you reopen Chrome, and open TO:
the toolbar is more like a box and is always on top (even though it disappears) in the bottom right of the pane. This can lead to confusion if you are dragging an entry down to a window that is actually behind the toolbox - but the full line is active so you can drag to bottom right.
I havent used the tools that much:
NOTES (within outline):
Notes can be added to the outline, and used hierarchically. The notes in this image start with a '#'
*INCORRECT USE OF [attachimg=#]. You need to specify the attachment number, for example [attachimg=1].
click once on the notes button - a note will appear down at the very bottom of the outline list. I nearly always want it in the active window - to do this click on the note icon in toolbar, and drag it to desired location.
NOTES DIRECTLY FROM WEBTEXT: highlighting text on a webpage, and dragging it to the outline will create a note with the text.
I went with recommended settings in options (probably worth reading through it to see possibilities.
works with Chrome portable and SRWare Iron portable.
I think this not supported yet - but I dont use (login-)syncing in Chrome so dont know if that works.
backup is important (after my first couple of days with Iron portable I upgraded Iron and lost all extensions, so I was straight in the deep end).
According to the author simply saving the contents of the pane (as a html file) will work as a backup. But I dont know how to restore that. There is a much more detailed description from the author of how to restore via profile (my emphasis):
Tuesday June 16, 2015
DC meber Twinbee writes:
I originally posted an idea for a new "find and replace" program here. A couple of people liked the idea, so I developed it into a real application.
It takes the good bits from Regex, but makes the syntax simpler in a few ways. The program is great for people who don't want to get into Regex, but who find the usual find/replace feature in many text editors too limiting. More information on its advantages can be found in the link below, or in that thread from earlier.
For those who missed it, or who want a faster, non-glitchy, updated version of that beta edition, download the latest version 1.1 here:
http://www.skytopia.com/software/wildgem (requires .NET 4)
Here's some screenshots:
Monday June 15, 2015
LastPass has issued a Security Notice saying that they have been hacked resulting in account owners personal information being compromised.
They claim that no password data was breached, but recommend that all users change their master password ASAP.
Sunday June 07, 2015
Scary Windows error: Failure to log in to profile, loading of temp profile
This morning I had a scary experience -- when i woke up and sat down to start work, my pc was at the login screen and when i tried to log in as my normal user, my desktop layout was completely changed, none of my startup apps ran, etc. Then I saw an innocuous message in the system tray saying that my user profile could not be loaded and so a temp profile was created and loaded instead.
While this may sound like no big deal, what windows is really saying is: Something went badly wrong with your user files/registry and they are now corrupt and i don't even know how to let you start working.. It's better than a complete hd crash, but not much more informative.
After trying a few fixes found on the web along these lines: http://www.techsupportall...ary-profile-in-windows-7/
None worked, and I had to RESTORE my last known good user profile from a restore point.
But this reminds me:
Anyway, just a warning.. I've never seen this error before and I hope to never see it again.
Micro Reviews of Board Games: Star Realms
Today's micro-review is of my favorite new 2-player card game, which can be had for as little as $10-$12: Star Realms.
Star Realms is actually a "deck-builder", which means that over time each player buys and adds cards to their own personal deck which is continuously re-used (Dominion is one of the more popular "deck builders").
I can't think of a better introduction to deck building -- it's a fun, quick game with simple rules but plenty of strategy.
The theme is Sci Fi and the art is wonderful.
Really fantastic little game, could not recommend it more highly.
The creators of Star Realms look like they are using the same engine to make a similar card game set in fantasty theme, currently kickstarting here: https://www.kickstarter.c...-card-game?ref=nav_search
Wednesday June 03, 2015
Steam Introduces Refunds.
Despite all of its competition, Valve's Steam service remains the most popular digital PC game store around. While Steam does do a lot of things right, it can sometimes stumble in the worst of ways. Look no further than April's Skyrim mod debacle as a good example. Well, just as Valve fixed up that issue, it's gone ahead and fixed another: it's making refunds dead simple. While refunds have been possible in the past, it's required gamers to jump through hoops to get them. Now, Valve has set certain criteria for granting a refund, no questions asked: if you've bought the game within the past two weeks and played it for two hours or less, your refund is guaranteed.
The changes are being welcomed by most, but not all: some developers of smaller games that take less time to play through are worried that this will lead to abuse, and the system may enable more risk-free review-bombing as well.
DSLR Camera Simulator
I was going through my "Looking Back - Memories" thing on Facebook which shows you what you posted "On this day in previous years" and I came across this link from 2011.
Evidently, the site is still active and it still looks pretty cool!
Certainly worth a look if you want to know more about what sort of functions each option does - They give you some snippets of info on each control:
DSLR sim controls:
Lighting is the single biggest determinant of how your camera needs to be set. With only a few exceptions, you can never have too much light. Use this slider to experiment with different indoor and outdoor lighting conditions.
Use this slider to simulate how close or far you are in relation to the subject.
Moving this slider is the same as zooming in and out with your lens. A wide, zoomed out setting creates the greatest depth of field (more things are in focus) while zooming in creates a shallower depth-of-field (typically just the subject will be in focus).
The exposure modes of an SLR let you control one setting while the camera automatically adjusts the others. In Shutter Priority mode, you to set the shutter speed while the camera sets the aperture/f-stop. In Aperture Priority mode, you set the aperture/f-stop while the camera sets the shutter speed. Manual mode is fully manual—you’re on your own! Refer to the camera’s light meter to help get the proper exposure. Although every real SLR camera has a “fully automatic” mode, there is not one here—what’s the fun in that?
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