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Topics - worstje [ switch to compact view ]

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DC Gamer Club / The Zero Escape trilogy
« on: August 11, 2019, 02:35 PM »
Hey all,

I had the final game of the Zero Escape trilogy on my wishlist for a while, and ended up getting the entire trilogy earlier this week because they were all 80% discounted. And strangely enough that resulted in my losing the next three days of my life on the first game in the trilogy..  :D

Suffice to say: I loved the entire experience, so I felt a need to share and recommend this series with you... even though I haven't played the last two games yet!

The concept of these games is simple and somewhat Saw-like: nine people are abducted and stuck together and have to solve puzzles in the hope of escaping their newfound prison with their lives within a set time limit. Deaths definitely happen (although not on the over-the-top level like you had in Saw) and it is typically up to you to figure out the where, how's and why's. Nothing is as it seems, everything is related (or is it?) and the epiphanies and plot twists have turned my emotions into a true rollercoaster ride at times, going from low to high to being stomped back down into the ground again.

And despite it all... it is not random. Many of the events or even plot twists in the first game I was able to predict or reason out beforehand to some degree, making it a very satisfying game to really sink into as opposed to just skim. It does not make it a bad game, but rather a very well-written game with many layers of intrigue that take the right nudges and exploration to finally understand.

Note that these are games in the 'visual novel' style, so don't think of these games as being about any sort of real-time 'gameplay'.  Think about them as having a really deep, multi-layered reading experience with branching paths and escape room puzzles mixed in, all of which leads to an ever-deepening mystery that is meant to suck you in really deep. :)

There are three games in this trilogy:

  • Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors
  • Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward
  • Zero Time Dilemma

You can get the entire trilogy here, currently at an 80% discount (the lowest it has ever been!): Zero Escape Trilogy Bundle (Steam)

Wondering why there is only two games in the bundle? When the game was released on PC, the first two games were bundled into a package called 'The Nonary Games'. So it is in fact a trilogy.

This is a trailer for the first two games:

This is a trailer for the last game:

If you end up getting them, let me know how you enjoy the games. I loved 999 and will soon play the next two games! :)

N.A.N.Y. 2019 / NANY 2019 - FFFilterGUI
« on: December 31, 2018, 07:42 PM »
NANY 2019 Entry Information

Application Name FFFilterGUI
Version v0.1 codenamed ItMetMyNeedsSoWhoNeedsPolish (2019-01-01)
Short Description Make bulk file operations with ffMpeg complex filters a bit more reusable.
Supported OSes Windows XP+ (probably)
Web Page None. You are reading it.
Download Link See the bottom of this post.
System Requirements
  • Windows XP+ (probably)
  • a folder with the ffmpeg.exe binary in it
Version History
  • v0.1 codenamed ItMetMyNeedsSoWhoNeedsPolish (2019-01-01)
Author I'm already posting under my own name, do I need to draw even more attention to myself? PleaseSayNo.

First of all, a super-duper-uber warning: this is pre-alpha and it might just kill you or your computer merely by reading this post.

And I am not liable for any of it.  8)

More seriously, I want to apologize for the very minimal nature and the fact it only barely gets done what I needed it to do. As the application design may betray, I had intended to put in a lot more polish to make it more usable for others, but that didn't really happen... and because I felt bad about not releasing an application for NANY for the last couple of years, I decided to just release it as it is.

This does not mean I am not interested in updating it if there's people with feature requests or bugs that were noted, but because it met my own needs, the pressure kind of disappeared.

So what does it do?! you might ask. Well then.

Roughly put, it aims to make it FFmpeg (complex) filters manageable by GUI.

I had a few reasons for this.

  • FFmpeg is a super-flexible tool, but most GUIs only expose a fraction. FFFilterGUI doesn't even expose a fraction.. but it aims at things I couldn't find in other tools based a few simple search queries... which then led me down the dark path of more-or-less learning how ffMPEG worked in those regards.
  • FFmpeg is does not have Windows as its primary audience. It works, but at the same time, it does not work as easily on the commandline.
  • My usecase involved a huge amount of input files that vary a lot. (Specifically the concatenation of an unknown amount of files.) Between the maximum path lengths and the ungodly amount of configuration options, I did not enjoy knowing I could be skirting against the limitations of the command line whenever I needed to do stuff. I needed the physical limits of the commandline to no longer be any of my worries.
  • The syntax for concatenation filters is awkward; it involves connecting different streams together and numbering the total amount of entries fed to the application... all information that I had but in practice had to manually adjust whenever I wanted to deal with a batch of videos. I wanted to automate that away.

So basically I had already worked out how I needed to run FFmpeg, but the practicalities made it a pain in the ass and a task I always kept postponing because it was so damn finnicky and prone to error.

  • The basics of a configurable template system to 'remember' FFmpeg workflows.
  • A basic templating system using DotLiquid to customize the creation of complex filters.
  • Breaking through the limitations of the FFmpeg command line caused by having excessive amounts of input files. (This is achieved by having the filter graph load them instead.)
  • Drag & drop of your input files.
  • The capacity to filter out duplicate input files.
  • The ability to automatically sort your input files by name.
  • Utterly untested beyond the default template which matches what I needed to get done...

(If nothing else, at least the default template will let you concatenate endless amounts of video files together without a problem...)

Planned Features
I have absolutely no plans except to try and cater to possible feature requests if they pop up... which I doubt because I don't think many people have a need for the very specific flexibility I did.


Extract the files in the archive to a folder and run it.
Settings and stored templates will be stored in the same folder.
And temporary files used during the encoding process will never leave your temporary directory.

Using the Application
To use the application, you first need to put the path containing the ffmpeg binaries in the box designated for it.
The automatically created 'Default' template is configured to concatenate all the files you put in the bottom list into a singular whole using the FFmpeg concatenation filter.
Just drag & drop a couple of video files in the bottom list.
Then click the \[Encode...\] button, and choose the name you wish to save the resulting file as.
At this point, FFmpeg should kick into action according to the configuration specified by the selected template.

Assuming you've unzipped the files to their own folder, you can just delete that folder.
If you for some reason put it in a place with a bunch of other files... you'll want to delete the original files (FFFilterGUI.exe and DotLiquid.dll) as well as settings.xml and any templates, which are files that have the .fffilter extension. Default.fffilter is the most likely suspect.

Don't. Just.... don't. It is a new year, spring will be here soon, and trying this application is not worth the potential loss of life.

Known Issues
It is utterly and completely unpolished. I had wanted to do way more with it, but it didn't happen because time is limited and my own needs were met. It does the bare basics, but that is about it.

The Announcement:

If you have not yet played Time Magazine’s 2010 Game of the Year, now is your final chance. Remedy’s Alan Wake is going offline from stores. This is due to the expiration of music license agreements for the game. Alan Wake’s American Nightmare is not affected.

For 48 hours, you can buy Alan Wake including DLCs and Alan Wake’s American Nightmare at a 90% discount on Steam.

If you already own Alan Wake – like the majority of the gaming population out there – you have nothing to worry about. The game will stay in your library and continue to work for you.

The Store Page

Worth noting is that the similarly-discounted Alan Wake Franchise Package also includes Alan Wake's American Nightmare, which is not discounted at all were you to buy it separately. This is probably an oversight, but I mention it just in case you only intended to buy one or the other.. :)

ZIP files come in two varieties, oddly mirroring the users which create them...

The first variety has the files directly in the root of the zip files. These are created by users who select multiple files and create an archive out of them.

The second variety has the files stuck inside a directory that is in the root of the archive. This was accomplished by selecting a single directory and then creating an archive out of that.

(OK, there's far more varieties, but they are just worse and arguably insane variations of the second variety...)

When you extract the first kind, you'll want to extract it to a subdirectory, usually using an option like 'Extract to MyZipFile\'. Otherwise, you get the crap stuck in the middle of all your other files, which is really annoying!

When you extract the second kind, you want to extract it to the same directory, because otherwise you've got a wonderful beginning with matroshka dolls: a single directory inside a directory. It's just annoying.

And unless you peek inside a zip (as opposed to rightclicking and just extracting like I tend to do) there's no other option but to guess... and since the least damaging option is to extract into a new directory, you will thus end up with the worst-case scenario of the second variety.

So what is this little script about?!

Basically, I had to extract about a thousand zip files... and they were a mix of both varieties. Fixing the nested directories manually... yeah. I wasn't going to put myself through that pain. So instead I wrote a pair of batch files.

It's just a simple script, but since I happened to need to do a lot of it, I figured I'd automate it and then share it with all of you.

Squash-All: Squashes all subdirectories of the current directory.
Squash-Directory: Squashes a given directory.

There's no real special features save for the fact it avoids conflicts where you have a folder 'test' inside a folder 'test' which could cause issues whilst moving the files up a level. Other than that, it's just a batch file.

Have fun? :-)

N.A.N.Y. 2017 / NANY 2017: BackseatSiege (QuorraBot plugin)
« on: January 01, 2017, 11:40 AM »
I contacted mouser on Dec 31st about releasing a plugin I created for my own use to the greater community... because hey, I haven't participated in NANY in a while for lots of reasons, and I felt bad. As such, I figured I'd release a script I made for my own use in the hope even one person will somehow find a use for it.

Backseat Siege was created by me in order to involve my (admittedly very limited) viewers and give them a say in what operators i play as whilst playing Rainbow Six: Siege. For those not familiar with the game: it is a squad-vs-squad (anti-)terrorist FPS where every operator has a special ability and distinct playstyle. There are two sides: attackers and defenders, or ATK & DEF as I tend to refer to the two factions.

My requirements for this plugin were as follows:

1. No votes should be ignored; eventually every operators wll get played.

2. Streaming means there is a stream delay. This means people should be able to get their votes in at any time as opposed to a very specific time window.

3. Streaming is stressful. Allow.moderators to help out in case I forget something.

4. Viewers like emotes and love expressing themselves. So make sure their commands have flexibility to them.

5. Due to the design of the game, only half the operators is available every round. This means I can essentially have two voting pools: one for attackers (ATK) and one for defenders (DEF).

6. I don't like my stream to be cluttered; simplicity is important. As such, I want the current top-voted operators to be on screen. In case of a tie, I want them to cycle through the tied ones.

7. As a streamer, I want a simple dashboard with the complete rankings including vote counts to give a bit of auditory commentary. (Example: the number two in votes is only 5 votes away! Keep voting!).... not that it ends up mattering with my small viewercounts...

So what features does this mean I have beyond the obvious stuff already written out?

1. Broadcast software agnostic. OBS, xsplit, whatever... it should work.

2. Decently commented source code; disabling an operator because you dont have it (damn unlocks) or adding new ones is pretty simple. All configuration is clumped up near the top of the file.

3. Sometimes you just want to mess with your viewers, so there is also a facility to fudge around with the democratic process, bahaha. :) (People can see it in chat of course, so don't think that you can hide it...)

4. Should be easy to translate since pretty much all output strings are clumped together.

I am kind of lazy and not including screenshots right now (because eh, it is a bot and those installation instructions took forever) and if you want to see it in action, you can always check it out when I am streaming the game in question.

Perhaps tomorrow (Jan 3rd?) I'll find it in me to properly spruce up this post some more; I'm just glad to have the release out at this point.

DC Gamer Club / Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes!
« on: October 30, 2015, 09:19 AM »
Disclaimer: mouser is currently bugging me in chat to post something here and bring this game to everyone attention, and since I am the ever-benevolent me, I decided to go along with it. (That, and it is a very damn good game!) :-*

Link to game website
Link to Steam Store page

To be precise, mouser was linking me to a certain review, but personally I'd like to talk all of you into not looking at it. Instead, I'm going to describe the game in as basic a way as possible; to do anything more would simply ruin the curve where you first meet the game, then explore its intricacies and finally smash your face into the wall trying to find the right way to tackle that particular bomb.... ah fine, I digress.

This game can generally be put into the 'party game' genre: you are supposed to play it with multiple people. These people can be in the same room, although I've personally played it with other people through skype, teamspeak and/or mumble.

At that, it is an asymmetric game that only requires one person to actually own the game; this person is the one who will be interacting with the bomb, the so-called defuser. There's bonus fun to be had if there's an Oculus involved, but it plays completely fine with the mouse or gamepad. They describe the bomb, decide which modules (which are basically mini-games that have no relation to eachother) need to be tackled, and then spend all their time followin the instructions of the experts in order to not die. Easy peasy!

All other players are the so-called experts, and all they have to go on is a bomb manual as well as a pen and some paper which they will need in order to write down notes. There can be one experts, there can be five; some bombs can actually be more difficult with more people, whereas others are simply too difficult with too few people. During the game, the defuser will describe things on the bombs, and the experts will use this information to as quickly as possible figure out the instructions that the defuser needs to follow in order to disarm the bomb. This is not as easy as it sounds: many of the instructions are confusing as hell, and the nature of some games preys on misunderstandings and other communication mishaps!

This game has a very good tutorial. Actually, it does not amount to much in a practical sense, but the levels themselves gradually increase the difficulty, both by introducing you to new modules step-by-step, but also by removing the room for error as well as lowering the time limit. You essentially teach yourself how to play the game! And because the game could end up too easy (hah), the game also throws some curve balls for the defuser to work with as the difficulty increases. Think of environmental distractions as well as special bomb modules that exist for no reason other than to increase the pressure on the defuser even more.

As a whole, everyone I know really enjoys playing this game. Sure, all the experts have is a manual and pen and paper, but the fact they do not know the bigger picture and are always low on time without being able to see the clock is what gets their adrenaline pumping something fierce. As for the defuser.. suffice to say that this game (ab)uses plenty of auditory cues in ways that even an suspenseful action movie would have trouble contending with.

I can wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone. There will definitely be some fighting and laughter as a result of people screwing up, but that is a part of the game... although the finish line and 10 seconds left on the clock can make a final trivial mistake really hard to swallow!

(P.S.: I obviously own the game. If people want to experience it as an expert, I'll gladly play with them!)

Living Room / The Best CPU Coolers: 10-Way Roundup
« on: September 06, 2013, 07:59 PM »
AMD may not be getting as much enthusiast love as it used to, but the company's APU range is still where it's at for home theater-style systems, so I didn't hesitate to pick one up for a new compact media-streaming box recently. Unfortunately, while the chip was a relatively powerful yet affordable solution for playing 1080p content, it was surprisingly loud -- we're talking enough noise that I thought something was wrong with my power supply. Upon inspection, it wasn't the PSU and nothing was wrong per se, the stock AMD cooler was just being obnoxious, especially for a living room setup.

I thought I could get away with slowing the CPU fan in the BIOS, but that caused a drastic temperature spike and left me seeking a more elaborate solution. It's one that proved to be relatively simple: the Xigmatek Janus, a small heatsink and fan combo for Mini-ITX systems.

Strangely enough, that very same day I found myself facing another CPU cooler problem while building a Sandy Bridge-E rig with my friend. Having bought all the parts, we discovered that the Core i7-3820 processor didn't come with a cooler. Instead, Intel sells its heatsink/fan separately for $30. Although I knew he'd need a cooler, I wasn't prepared to answer my buddy's question when he asked which model to purchase.

It had been years since our last CPU cooler roundup so my knowledge was a little dated ...

from Techdirt (and mousers demand that I post it)

N.A.N.Y. 2013 / N.A.N.Y. 2013 Idea
« on: December 02, 2012, 03:57 AM »
So I'm lacking the time to do the project I was hoping to work on for NANY 2013 (good thing I didn't pledge), but I have some half-finished scripts lying around that may be NANY worthy-ish if I can figure out packaging, library licenses and the sort. But I've got no clue if anyone has a use for it, hence this post here.

Do you video-edit using Sony Vegas but end up with source material it cannot read because it happens to have the form of a MKV container? Does the situation tend to end up in you finding a 'video converting tool' that transcodes and basically behaves like a lengthy full render cycle (= 'a lossy to lossier copy' with all the loss of detail that may have happened as a result)? Would you prefer to work directly off of the original material without any loss in image or sound quality?

Simply put, I am a detail-oriented ass, and if I can at all avoid re-encoding, I will avoid said re-encoding: that is how this script came to be. What my script does is basically use opensource tools to remux the file you give it to process into a more manageable format, which is basically like pouring the contents of a coffee mug into a tea cup. The end result is the same drink, except now you fit in with the local tea addicts. :)

  • The script will never transcode; transcoding isn't only messy business but it is difficult too. There's better tools for that than what I can create, and if you want to seriously video edit hopefully quality is your number 1 concern. So it works, or it fails.
  • It only deals with one video stream and one audio stream at present. If necessary, I can look into viability of transferring all audio streams over; I simply haven't needed that functionality.
  • Soft subtitles (ones that are not a part of the video itself) are not remuxed; I ran into some problems with this and didn't need it anyway.
  • If at all possible, the script outputs a MP4 container. In some cases though, this is not possible, and it outputs an AVI instead.
  • There's a good chance your files may be remuxable, but my script fails at it. There's a lot of nuances to video material, and I only made it work with the stuff I've come across thus far. If I end up releasing this, I'll do my best to try and support the remuxing of other formats as well.

I don't think there'll be any interest in this, but just in the off case there is... let me know. :)

General Software Discussion / Windows Firewall (&co) headaches
« on: September 08, 2012, 06:08 AM »
Here, have a small story of frustrations that will hopefully help out some poor soul when they come across it by the merits of searching the interwebs...

So, yesterday and today I spent around a full day trying to fix up the laptop of a couple that I do regular pc-checkups for. They'd gotten infected despite me setting them up with proper protections and all that; first one in a years time so I was surprised it took this long. :) Getting rid of the nasties wasn't too hard; they merely prevented task manager and some other common PC-management and anti-virus apps from working while non-stop spamming the usual 'you got viruses, pay me!' dialog at me. Oh, and it also kept re-directing tons of websites to google, of all places. (Some irony, given that was one of those...)

But that's not the problem. Took me 30 minutes, and another 30 just to make sure the entire HD was clean. The problem was with the fact it totally utterly hosed all security-related services. Security Center, Windows Firewall, Windows Update, Windows Defender and Windows Security Essentials... all of it was borked good, and the normal interface options to turn them on/off all gave cryptic error messages. Further investigation showed they were either missing from the Services list completely, or going hard-core 'Access Denied', 'dependencies have failed' or something even more extravagant when trying to start them.

So I just Remote DesktoP in to my pc, open up regedit, and start extracting relevant entries under HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services; WinDefend, MpsSvc, SharedAccess and then some. (Thank you DoCo for that copy of BeyondCompare; it really helped out with this. :D) I got the Security Center working, but everything else was still a trainwreck. This is taking too long, and I need to scour the internet in detail, so I go home to prepare for the next leg of troubleshooting. This is where the real pain starts.

At this point, I know I am missing services, so I start looking into it. In comes the rescue: downloadable links with the proper registry entries and all the relevant services. Throw it side-by-side with the export I made of the offending laptop, and it takes me 30 minutes to prepare a bunch of registry files to restore the computer with. (I ended up using them all, just to be safe. Silly dependencies.) Next day, I go to install them, takes me a few minutes, and restart. Bzzzt, still no success, although stuff improved; at least I have the Background Intelligent Transfer Service again, which means Windows Update is finally runnable again. Windows Defender worked too, but Security Essentials didn't. My torture commences here.

Windows Firewall requires BFE, and both of them are a pain to start. Access Denied errors are aplenty. Fixes for these are all over the internet, but most didn't work for me. (I think the one comment I saw to 'give everyone permission to all services' might have worked, but I think that beats the point of fixing up the security part of it.) BFE was easy to fix, but MpsSvc (the 'Windows Firewall' service) kept giving me an error 5 ('Access Denied') no matter how high I set the permissions on the MpsSvc and BFE keys. Oh, and before someone mentions, I did try this FixIt, but that too failed.

But I figured it out. Process Monitor is one thing that tipped me off to one of the locations in question, and then Google finally pointed me in the right direction. Wham! This place saved me, and pointed out to me what exactly needed to be set where. For people with even worse security-destruction, the other pages might help too.

As for Security Essentials.. it has a tool to let you /RestoreDefaults... but that one errored out even at the end for me. So that is the only one I had to reinstall in order to fix it. :( It's a kick in the shins, but the end result means it all works again.

So why am I posting here again? I don't need help anymore, obviously.

There is so much Windows Firewall trouble out there that the single correct helpful resource could not be found underneath all the Microsoft Connect garbage suggestions that were either flat-out wrong, incomplete, or plain idiotic ('Add 'Full Control' permissions for Everyone on the HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services key and subkeys'. And know the worst bit? All that stuff is marked as an Answer by Microsoft! Ugh. Security? What's that?

Don't remind me of that FixIt thing. The concept is nice. But if your fixes are failing to fix stuff, it is plain frustrating and a kick in the shins. Your own employees have blogs with entries on how to fix this problem... a problem that is clearly common enough to warrant making a 5-part(!) series about. And it has screenshots and tons of helpful details not even Knowledge Base documents tend to have.

Isn't it ironic that all the 'security' things were harder to deal with and fix up than the actual rootkit that was blocking tons of programs?

To finish this post up... If you have Windows Firewall problems after you fixed up your virus/rootkit/etc trouble, check out the sites I linked above if you want to do it in a security-conscious manner. Together, they will very likely help you get your PC protected again without a backup/reinstall/re-store data cycle that is sure to annoy you for at least a week after the fact.

I just stumbled across this (link to full article)

Daemon Tools is cataloging all your disc images, without permission

So after launching Daemon Tools Lite today, I noticed a new pane on the right labeled MountSpace. Turns out, it’s a cute little service that shows the top games and applications that folks are mounting and using in Daemon Tools. And to deliver that experience, Daemon Tools hashes every image you mount and sends it to MountSpace servers with or without permission. Combined with your IP address, and probably more, it doesn’t take a genius to realize this is a huge privacy issue.


Several problems:
  • The Daemon Tools Lite EULA only mentions the word “privacy” twice, both in irrelevant contexts. In fact, the EULA appears truncated.
  • Selecting “Don’t allow MountSpace to use my mount statistics” here doesn’t actually turn off MountSpace.
  • MountSpace doesn’t have a real privacy policy.

As always, the devil is in the details. :( I couldn't resist the pun, sorry...

I've had a funny feeling about this company for years - pretty much since they started bundling toolbars and all that 'good stuff' with their stripped down products. So while I am not affected, I wanted to alert all DoCo'ers about this as I know a fair few of you actually use this program. :)

For those who need an alternative, I can personally recommend the minimalistic Virtual CloneDrive. It doesn't do much more than mounting disk images, but in my experience that's all most people need, and it is very good at it.

Why do all webhosters insist on selling me shit I have no interest in? Sure, cheap packages are cheap, but they are only cheap if you use what they offer! And fate has it that what I want isn't in their packages, unless I pay through the nose for shit I don't want.

What I _do_ want:

What I do not want nor need:
  • Tons of webpage host space.
  • PHP support.
  • Upto 10 MySQL databases.
  • Subdomains
  • Sitebuilders.
  • Guestbooks.
  • Blogs.
  • Visitor trackers
  • Photo gallery.
  • Etc etc etc.

In other words: I've got a domain already in my possession. I just need somewhere to point it that allow me to do the shit I want without paying for 'cheap' packages that aren't cheap to me because they sell me shit I have no need for. Think of a post office box, but digital. That's all I seek.

Oh, and Google is not an option. Besides the very annoying multiple-domains-are-not-supported-for-simultaneous-logins-anymore thing, they are free and an adfest. If you don't pay, you aren't the customer. You are the PRODUCT. As I want to use this for my private and semi-businesslike dealings, that is not an amount of trust I'm giving to them.

Anyone able to help out with suggestions for good hosters and such?

Living Room / *Sigh* ... Silly im-bots...
« on: August 18, 2011, 08:27 PM »
Ok, I presume everyone knows those bots roaming the instant messenger networks that operate under actual people their accounts based on the credentials obtained from an unsuspecting victim (read: clueless user who wants free shinies) typing said credentials where they shouldn't have. This is one such a tale I just experienced.

What makes me want to share this particular one is because it stood out to me personally in more ways than one. For one, my list of contacts is ancient, and I have contacts on there that I haven't spoken to in 10 years or more. This is one relatively old contact, the user being a girl (at the time?) who was never particularly bright. Hell, let me expand: she is an idiot. And like all of those people on that list that you really can't get rid of (because you are too lazy to clean up your eternally hidden 'offline contacts' list as well as 'old contacts' list), they message you once a year to tell you how epicly awesome their lives are while you are trying to figure out what the hell did I do to deserve this blabberage of non-sensiility?!.

0:45 Emma: Hey! You there?

That is how it started. I feigned afk-ness. I really had no interest in another case of the yearly mental slumps. Sadly, it was not to be.

2:33 Emma: Hi You there?

Ok. While this girl tends to crave attention, she usually is in a bit more of a hurry and spams me with non-stop messages till I reply rather than waiting nearly two hours. Either that, or she is bored. As I am in a particularly vindictive mood having realized that, regardless of her identity as a spambot or a person, I really don't want to deal with her insanity in my usual gentlemanly way, I launch a counter-offensive. The human captcha.

2:34 Me: Maybe. What do you want? (Also, finish this sequence: 1,1,2,3,5,8,...; I don't know who messaging me is or is not a spambot anymore.)

The catch? Emma the person is easily the sort of person who would fail something like this, thus providing me amusement in that particular case. The Fibonacci sequence always has been a personal favorite of mine, if only to weed out the idiots of life.

2:35 Emma: noo its me
2:35 Me: Finish the sequence. Prove you are human, evil spambot!

I still didn't actually know who or what I was talking to. Whichever is the case, it definitely does sound like the human variety.

2:35 Emma: Im on my new iPad 2 right now :) Its so cool
2:36 Me: Ok, that leans towards spambot. Tell me, where do I buy that wonderful device you are advertising?

Here is where I doubt myself. Is she messing with me? She never seemed like the type. But there was no link either. Hmm. Better safe than sorry, and continue down this lane of simple entertainment.

2:36 Emma: I think you can also get one if you hurry, its a limited promotion.. I got it from http://giftparadise2...?id=68549bfb409113fe

Finally, I can decide. Spambot!

2:37 Me: That's really awesome. I think.
2:38 Emma: Well, let me know if you need any help with it. I gotta leave for a bit though, so Ill talk to you later.
2:38 Me: Take care, Spambot Emma.

And it is confirmed by the immediate ending of the conversation to avoid seeming less human. Now - most of you will agree, it is a somewhat typical discussion with a typical im-spam-bot. But for me it stood out in several ways, the 'victim' Emma being an obvious first in that as one might guess by my commentary above.

What also entertained me on a scientific level is that this one had me going for so long that I truly thought I had found my match for the Turing test. Now, in hindsight I obviously should have picked some worse questions rather than to play along, but simply knowing a human can sound like such an idiot really lowers the bar for the creators of conversation bots like these.

But the cherry on the cake that I determined only after laughing and considering this whole exchange? The spam-link does not work. The domain is not registered, a.k.a. completely out of order... defect... BROKEN. :) Either it has been taken offline already, has yet to come online, or more hilariously, this bot has strayed from the farm of its peers that instructs it about its spam messages.

All of this only tempts one to wonder... How many loose unmanaged bots have to be out there at this point? How many spam messages out there have no chance of ever being successful even if a user/potential victim is fooled successfully? Did Emma ever actually get her iPad!?

This message was brought to you by the gentleman with the white hat. URL addresses and identification numbers have been anonimized for safety & security purposes. Any opinions are merely the opinions of the author that usually wears the white hat, but did not today as the hat was totally offended by the lack of appreciation and manners towards a (presumably) fine young lady. The white hat itself, obviously, is opinionless. Although it does demand you treat the other sex with the appropriate amount of respect, or it will clamp down on your head so hard that your brain will die off due to a lack of oxygen... beware!

Living Room / In the bane of sleepy mice...
« on: August 05, 2011, 05:25 AM »
That subject title made you look, huh? Well then. Here's the story.

First of all, my mice are dead. Always have been. And frequently have they been smashed, pounded and harmed far more than any living being ought to ever experience. Thankfully, my mice has a plug on the end of their tail, telling them to wzzzt... use red-ray vision and see stuff in tiny shitty detail. Clark Kent has nothing on them! But right, the story...

Since around March, I've been at war. How, you ask? Sometimes, my mouse would refuse to move when I poked it. Then it got worse, and my perfectly sweet computer would decide oi oi, ding ding, bloop bloop, your usb is poop! My mouse would lose its guiding light, and I'd have to plug it in again to jolt it back to life, since dead mice obviously do not move. Oh boy. The bugger was revived. Obviously, the tail of my mouse was starting to age, and we all know the red-ray vision comes from the tail, and not the eyes! Again, Clark Kent is the reason people are so horribly misinformed nowadays... but I'm getting distracted once more.

Some annoyance understandably accompanied this process. I changed the grassy Matty to a paper Matty, but to no avail. Maybe the paper Matty is too cold... so I put the grassy Matty back. Then I gave him special chow - still to no avail. So, as a final resort I and my mouse visited Mr Google, the old spider from Mount Fik-yu-kanno-spel-an-I-no-betr. (Ok, I made that part up.) He kindly informed me that the Logitech MX518 family has a genetic mishap where the tail loses touch with its nerve endings. Okay, problem solved you'd think: whack the mouse (MX for friends) and bury him under the ground (without a proper eulogy of course), and make Mary-Betty take up the slack. Good ol' Mary-Betty, my first furry girlfriend from 10 years ago. She's a rockstar who never let me down! (I was the best she could do, you see - but she refuses to admit that.)

Ok, so Mary-Betty and I, we had to work together, and I made MX Matty Mary-Betty's Matty. And skating - you should have seen those tails. Until she went flat out on her belly, that is, and suffered like the already forgotten MX. Once she runs out of momentum, it was hell getting her going again - but eventually one could jolt her awake, just like MX could be jolted awake. After 15 years of rodent-handling experience on my part that should not come as a surprise to anyone... right?

Now, while I completely deny any feelings of love, or even affection for Mary-Betty, her struggles did get to me. Back to the special chow. No good? Okay. Maybe she's allergic to my wallpaper. Or maybe the frame or the glass of my windows. Out with the old, in with the new... all for dear Mary-Betty. But alas, she struggled, and struggled. Even stripping the place of the bare essentials did no good.

Then that pointless mouserer interfered. Kept on hampering about that Matty. 'The Matty is fine!' I proclaimed, 'I tried that for he who shall not be named!' but alas, I was at my wits end, so back to another paper Matty. And oooh boy, did Mary-Betty have fun with that paper Matty, you wouldn't believe! After four months of hell.. finally, dear Mary-Betty brought a smile to my lips once more.

Moral of this story? Well, that's simple: I can make up dozens of bullshit sentences without the aid of mind-altering substances like alcohol and drugs. What you say, Mary-Betty? That's not the moral? Damn.

Okay, let's try again. Moral of this story? Mary-Betty is an old mouse. She always had some issues with her eyes: red-ray vision was sort of an invention back in her day, and horribly tiring on the eyelids to boot. So, when she didn't move, she rested her eyelids... and sometimes forgot to open them after moving around. After all, on the Grassy Matty all the ground looks alike - especially on the darker colours, so how was she supposed to tell she moved without using her red-ray vision? She never did until I jolted her onto a lighter colour on the Grassy Matty. (Which, incidentally, was also the only other colour on the Grassy Matty.)

Still no good, Mary-Betty? You old cow, we're definitely euthanizing you after I finish typing this. I got a steely mouse in already. Kinzo or whatnot is his name. He'll serve me well, and he came with his own Snuggy Matty. Okay. The real moral of the story: mouser always mousers people, and took four bloody months to point out the matty. He's to blame for all suffering of all mice ever to venture the now very bloody grassy matty. (Yes, where do you think I slammed my mice down on when they needed to wake up? Nuff said.)

And those were the tails (see what I did there?) of MX, Mary-Betty and the Grassy Matty.

Sane peoples english:
Ok, no more silly stories, and back to plain english for those of you who don't get it. My mousepad is 10 years old. Served me well for years with about four different mice. I happen to have it turned 90 degrees so I can enjoy it in portrait-layout, which ended up making the symptoms worse. My most recent mouse (MX518) had a wire break that caused both USB issues and a move-no-more-at-times problem. Now, by using my old mouse from the 98 era (Mary-Betty) I could keep working.. except it had the same issue the MX518 had in that it would sometimes not move after it came to rest still. I checked tons of drivers, reinstalled a bunch and essentially went through hell, before mouser pointed out the mousemat. I had tried the MX518 with some random wad of paper at one point, which hadn't helped, but a different wad of paper made this old mouse happy. It turns out the dark-blue-on-grey clipart-lineart image caused this old mouse trouble when it turned itself into a low-power energy saving mode when not used for several seconds. It would notice new movements fine on the grey area, and on small blue areas.. but when keeping the optical eye perfectly in a dark-blue area, it would not pick up on movements.. which explains the jolt-it-awake behaviour: I'd have to drag it all the way over to a grey area. And I often move vertically, and the lines were vertical.. which only made it worse!

I wanted to include a list of articles with for me incorrect advice (such as this one) but I can't find the article anymore that completely 100% matched my symptoms of momentarily not working after the mouse having rested for a while. Some things that were suggested were: 'some' driver interferes (gpu/network/mouse/keyboard/etc), power plan stuff (no use), power settings for usb devices (nope, I used my mice both as PS/2 and USB), BIOS plug and play stuff, etc. It was hell.

Hopefully this hellish post will semi-help someone who runs into this same issue some day. :)

DcUpdater / C# Updater class for DcuHelper
« on: July 12, 2011, 08:17 PM »
Way back, around the time of the previous NANY release times, I once said to mouser that I would share the class I wrote to make use of dcuhelper.exe with the rest of DoCo. And then I forgot. Bad bad me. :-[

Anyhow, here it goes. I took this straight from JottiQ, so do with it what you wish.

Supported features of this class:
  • Properties to abstract settings storage; by default it uses the WPF Settings store to remember whether it should automatically check for updates (Properties.Settings.Default.UpdaterEnabled) and when it last checked (Properties.Settings.Default.UpdaterLastCheck)
  • Supports silent checking.
  • Silent checking supports an interval, the default being one check every two days.
  • Supports feeding additional parameters (JottiQ uses it to hide the Dcupdater button)
  • Supports label name option.
  • Supports custom captions for the dialogs (for when you hate mouser's addiction to default of an all caps UPDATE CHECK window caption).

Code of Updater class: (save in Updater.cs)
Code: C# [Select]
  1. using System;
  2. using System.Windows;
  3. using System.Diagnostics;
  4. using System.Reflection;
  6. namespace JottiQ
  7. {
  8.     public static class Updater
  9.     {
  10.         /* Settings - adjust as necessary. */
  11.         private static string FileUpdater = "dcuhelper.exe";
  12.         private static string FileConfig = "JottiQ.dcupdate";
  14.         private static string UpdaterLabelName = "JottiQ";
  15.         private static string UpdaterDialogCaption = "Update check";
  16.         private static string UpdaterAdditionalFlags = "-dontofferdcupdaterpage";
  18.         private static int UpdaterCheckingInterval = 2;    /* days since last check */
  20.         private static string UpdaterNotAvailableCaption = "You silly monkey.";
  21.         private static string UpdaterNotAvailableMessage = "Updater support is not present.";
  23.         /* Interface for persistent storage so we don't litter the rest of the code
  24.          * with hard-coded references to the Settings stuff.
  25.          */
  26.         private static bool UpdaterEnabled
  27.         {
  28.             get { return Properties.Settings.Default.UpdaterEnabled; }
  29.         }
  31.         private static DateTime UpdaterLastCheck
  32.         {
  33.             get { return Properties.Settings.Default.UpdaterLastCheck; }
  34.             set
  35.             {
  36.                 Properties.Settings.Default.UpdaterLastCheck = value;
  37.                 Properties.Settings.Default.Save();
  38.             }
  39.         }
  41.         /* Implementation of the class goes below here - no changes needed. */
  42.         private static String GetInstallationLocation()
  43.         {
  44.             string appDir = Assembly.GetExecutingAssembly().Location;
  45.             appDir = System.IO.Path.GetDirectoryName(appDir);
  46.             if (!appDir.EndsWith(@"\"))
  47.                 appDir = appDir + @"\";
  49.             return appDir;
  50.         }
  52.         public static bool IsUpdaterAvailable()
  53.         {
  54.             bool dcUpdaterAvailable =
  55.                 System.IO.File.Exists(GetInstallationLocation() + FileUpdater) &&
  56.                 System.IO.File.Exists(GetInstallationLocation() + FileConfig);
  58.             return dcUpdaterAvailable;
  59.         }
  61.         public static void CheckForUpdates(bool explicitCheck)
  62.         {
  63.             if (!explicitCheck)
  64.             {
  65.                 /* See if we are allowed to do automatic checks. */
  66.                 if (UpdaterEnabled == false)
  67.                     return;
  69.                 /* See if last check was less than X days ago. */
  70.                 TimeSpan ts = DateTime.Now.Subtract(UpdaterLastCheck);
  71.                 if (ts.Days < UpdaterCheckingInterval)
  72.                     return;
  73.             }
  75.             if (IsUpdaterAvailable())
  76.             {
  77.                 System.Diagnostics.ProcessStartInfo updater =
  78.                     new System.Diagnostics.ProcessStartInfo();
  79.                 updater.FileName = GetInstallationLocation() + FileUpdater;
  80.                 updater.WorkingDirectory = GetInstallationLocation();
  81.                 updater.Arguments = "-i \"" + UpdaterLabelName + "\" \".\" \"" + (explicitCheck ? UpdaterDialogCaption : ".") + "\" " + UpdaterAdditionalFlags;
  83.                 /* Old versions of dcuhelper.exe pop up an ugly command-line window. Setting the WindowStyle to Hidden hides that ugly monstrosity.
  84.                  *
  85.                  * PLEASE REMOVE this line if you have a recent version of dcuhelper.exe (later than ~January 1, 2011), since at some point
  86.                  * mouser redesigned the dialog in dcuhelper.exe, which actually broke the Hidden trick. At July 12, this bug was found and fixed,
  87.                  * so the Hidden switch can once again safely be used with dcuhelper.exe - although it is pointless as the ugly monstrosity has
  88.                  * been amputated somewhere along the way. Oh joy.
  89.                  *
  90.                  * Short story: safe for dcuhelper.exe versions: <= v1.05.01 (Oct 8, 2010) && >= v1.10.01 (July 12, 2011)
  91.                  */
  92.                 updater.WindowStyle = System.Diagnostics.ProcessWindowStyle.Hidden;
  94.                 /* Finally start dcuhelper.exe to do our check. */
  95.                 Process.Start(updater);
  97.                 /* Make sure to note down that we checked for an update. */
  98.                 UpdaterLastCheck = DateTime.Now;
  99.             }
  100.             else if (explicitCheck)
  101.                 MessageBox.Show(UpdaterNotAvailableMessage, UpdaterNotAvailableCaption, MessageBoxButton.OK, MessageBoxImage.Error);
  102.         }
  103.     }
  104. }

To use it, you basically want to adjust the top parameters. Sadly enough, dcuhelper.exe is a total mess for as far its commandline interface goes, which is why I hope the above settings are a good example for people to start out with. If you want to urge your users to use dcupdater, by all means remove the additional parameter -dontofferdcupdaterpage that I once upon a time forced mouser to add. Likewise, you may (or may not) want to change the implementation of the properties the Updater class uses to implement its logic.

From there on forth, it is simple. On application start (or preferably MainWindow_Loaded given that that means you've gotten through to a visual interface), call:

Code: C# [Select]
  1. /* Check for updates. */
  2. Updater.CheckForUpdates(false);

The false parameter means it is not an explicit check. In comparison, the JottiQ Updates? button is rigged the opposite way to indicate that the user initiated the update check:

Code: C# [Select]
  1. private void checkForUpdatesButton_Click(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
  2. {
  3.     Updater.CheckForUpdates(true);
  4. }

And prior to that, we make sure the button is only enabled when the appropriate files are in place. (In case some required files are not present.)

Code: C# [Select]
  1. private void Window_Loaded(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
  2. {
  3.     /* If we have update functionality, enable the button. */
  4.     checkForUpdatesButton.IsEnabled = JottiQ.Updater.IsUpdaterAvailable();
  5. }

Any comments and suggestions, please share. :)

N.A.N.Y. 2012 / Canceled NANY 2012 Pledge: De-stress
« on: July 06, 2011, 09:54 AM »
NANY 2012 Entry Information

Application NameDe-stress
Short DescriptionLife is full of stress. Work is stressful. Being at home is stressful. This application helps you deal with the most stressful of situations. (Once it stops being a canceled pledge, that is.)
Supported OSesWindows XP and up
Setup File [url=]Download information not available yet.
System RequirementsNone. Actually, the user has to be capable of tons of patience. It's been CANCELED.
Author InfoPrevious worstje has taken part in NANY 2011, where he made two contributions: JottiQ and Cautomaton. (And this year, he is proud (and also very unhappy) to cancel this years pledge. He shall do penance.)
DescriptionObviously, this program is about dealing with stressful situations. What else is there to tell? (I am totally not pulling another guessing game this year, like I did with JottiQ last year. Honest! :-\) (Nope, I'm making it a 1+ year long guessing game.... CANCELED. Sorry.)
FeaturesHopefully you'll leave your desk without a heart attack forcing the paramedics to do so for you.
ScreenshotsNone available.
InstallationThe application does not yet exist. It is a pledge. No it isn't, it is a CANCELED pledge.
Using the applicationYou only have to remember one thing when you are in a stressful situation: De-stress is there for you. Or wait no, it has been CANCELED.
UninstallingThe application does not yet exist. It is a pledge. No it isn't, it is a CANCELED pledge.
Known IssuesThe name of this application sucks. Also, it has been CANCELED.

Living Room / Starcraft II: the couch-potato experience!
« on: March 28, 2011, 11:13 AM »
First of all, mouser is making me post this. He is sick of me spamming Starcraft 2 games to him in IRC to sate his growing Starcraft 2 addiction. :tellme: Therefore, all blame should go to him, and all praise should go to me (and of course the wonderful people casting the games I am linking to.)

What is this post about?

This post is to introduce you to the world of watching video game commentaries -- specifically commentaries on the game Starcraft 2.

Screenshot - 3_28_2011 , 11_24_38 AM_thumb.png

Starcraft 2 is a game pretty much everyone will have heard of at this point, being one of the highest selling PC games in recent history. Most people think of it in a terms of playing the game only... but that is by far limiting the potential of the game and your own enjoyment. For example, take popular sports such as soccer, basket ball, baseball, hockey... there are as many people who enjoy watching those games as there are people who enjoy playing them.

Computer games are no different. Personally, I enjoy watching Starcraft far more than I enjoy playing it. The same goes for a lot of other computer games. Sadly, in the western world few people have considered this, thus the concept of esports gets next to no attention outside its own niche. But it can be different: for example, take Korea where they have had two TV channels airing live Starcraft tournaments on TV for at least a decade!

Thus consider this my feeble attempt of introducing DonationCoder to the concept of esports, although I will only focus on Starcraft videos and perhaps at a later stage Starcraft tournaments. There's a lot of fun to be had watching this stuff and it deserves sharing. :) Skip to the bottom of this posts for the actual videos!

I don't understand crap of what I am seeing. Help!

That's basically how it starts out. :) Allow me to give a basic description of things you will see and/or hear. Many casters explain basic stuff as well, but there isn't always time, or they just goof off a little instead. Don't let the wall of text below scare you: a lot of it might be over-explained and may make more sense after seeing a game or two. Images make up thousands of words, after all.


Starcraft players can pick one of three races. Two players can play eachother playing the same race, meaning there is a total of six different matchups: TvT, TvP, TvZ, PvZ, PvP, ZvZ. A game ends when a player leaves the game, or when a players final building is destroyed. (The game is not necessarily played 1v1, but it is what most competitive and/or casted games are played as.)

Terrans are the human race with metal-looking buildings that can take off into the air and fly and generally look pretty human. They have units like marines, marauders, vikings (jet fighters), tanks and the far more scifi-like thor (mecha robot) and battlecruiser.
Protoss are the alien 'tech' race with the futuristic golden-tinted buildings that have an 'electric' theme going on. They have a lot of robot-like units like stalkers, immortals and the War-of-the-World-style Colossus, but also rely on a fair few melee units. They are the only race to have a unit of which only one can exist at a time: the Mothership.
Zerg are the alien organic race which are the most unique in playstyle. Their bases hatch eggs which are hatched by queens, eggs morph into units, and generally are the weakest race. Their strength lies in their ability to adapt, and the ability to overpower if their opponent does not apply pressure to them.

All races need to make workers (harvesters), which are responsible for the gathering of minerals (primary resource), gathering of vespene gas (secondary resource) and the building of new buildings. However, the amount of units one can have is limited by ones 'supply' (third resource), which is provided by different mechanics for different races.

A game consists out of at most three periods:
  • the early game during which initial resources are gathered, basic defenses put in place, and an initial tactic is set up.
  • the mid game where more advanced technology begins to happen. This is where the first sizeable armies start to clash or circle one another, and where more advanced tech begins to play a role.
  • the late game where most tech has been researched, minerals and gas are running low, and every single unit really starts to count.

Differences between races

Unique to Starcraft is that not only do the buildings, unit and technology trees differ for the races, but also their general 'state of being and becoming'. It is a bit hard to explain in a single sentence, so I will describe the basic differences below. There are bound to be faults and mistakes, but the point is to keep it simple for the beginning Starcraft watcher.

Terran units are either biological or mechanical, and both hae something considered health, but the method of replenishing it differs. For biological units, the Medivac is the only way to heal them, whereas mechanical units require the Terran worker unit (the SCV) to perform such repairs. In order to build buildings, the SCV needs to build the entire building, allowing an opponent to destroy the SCV and have a building stuck in an incomplete state till it is finished. Units are created in queues from production buildings, from which the units will have to leave and go to the battle field or whatever other place desired. Supply is created by building supply depots, buildings which can be lowered into the ground. Production buildings can be extended with either a Reactor (allows advanced units) or Techlab (doubles production capability), which in conjunction with the flying ability of buildings means very dynamic ability to create units as a Terran sees fit.

Protoss units consist out of two parts: health and shields. Shields regenerate very quickly on their own once outside of combat. Health cannot be regained. The Protoss worker unit (the Probe) is thus incapable of anything but the three most basic tasks listed above. However, when it builds buildings, it only needs to 'place' them: they build themselves, allowing the Probe to go its merry way for other things. Supply is created through Pylons, which emit an energy field which Protoss buildings require in order to function. Protoss unit production happens in queues just like the Terran, however once Warp Gate has been researched, units from the Gateway building ONLY (which produces the most basic units) can be warped straight to any place with an energy field (which Pylons give off).

Zerg units and buildings are all biological, with health that regenerates slowly on its own (although Queens can transfuse units to heal them too). Their hatcheries create larvae from time to time on their own, although Queens can inject new larvae and boost the production of those. All units are created off those larvae (which one can generally think of as a fourth resource): harvesters (the Drone) but also military units. In other words: hatcheries are the only production building for the Zerg. In order to create a building, the drone mutates into the building, meaning one drone can only ever create a single building. Buildings can only be created on the creep, which is basically purple goo. Zerg units get a speed bonus on creep, buildings lose health if the creep is removed. Creep spreads naturally from creep tumors which are laid down by Queens, although overlords can spew a temporary creep as well (which disappears as soon as the overlord stops dropping it). Supply for the Zerg comes from Overlords, which are basically slowly flying blimps. Buildings serve for 'research' purposes only, and since they are alive, they just as ordinary units morph into higher tier units (examples: larvae->drone->Spire building->Greater Spire building, or larvae->corruptor->broodlords). Larvae have an advantage when used properly however: 15 larvae can become 15 roaches, whereas a Terran would need 15 barracks in order to create 15 marauders at the same time. This is why the strength of the Zerg is said to lie in reacting to their opponent.

Commonly used terms

Macro: this is the art of managing your general economy. Keeping your harvesters busy, making sure to always use as much of your resources as you can (unused resources are a waste!), researching technology, making sure you are not hitting your supply cap, etc.
Micro: the wonderful miracle of managing single or small groups of units to make them so much more than they would without your attention. For example, marine scoot-and-shoot can save them from banelings, marauders kiting zealots with their slow ability, zerglings properly surrounding an army so they cannot run away, Protoss voidrays maintaining their charge (which makes them far more destructive) by shooting something for a brief second during a lull in combat, etc.
Gold / High yield: There minerals are more concentrated, allowing a worker to take more of it per harvesting run.
MULE: Terran unit which can be called down to aid in mineral mining (and sometimes repairing). Breaks on its own, but while it works it is as good as 5 SCVs, making them the foremost reason why Terrans are so difficult to defeat: as long as their Orbital Command has energy, they can easily get new mineral income while another race would have easily lost.
Mineral line: This refers to the arc of minerals the workers mine from. Sometimes it is used to refer to the space between these minerals and the command center/hatchery/nexus as well.
Supply / 'Food': units take up a certain amount of this. If you are capped (by reaching your cap or the maximum), you cannot create new ones. 'Food' is the Warcraft term for a similar mechanic and is also used a lot.
Speedlings: Zerglings with the speed upgrade.
Cracklings: Zerglings with speed and attack upgrades.
Laggership: A nickname for the Mothership unit. This because it and its cloaking field are graphically intensive, and whenever it is just created it tends to lag the game for a noticeable moment.
Archon Toilet: Mothership casts a vortex on an enemy army, Protoss sends in some Archons, and when things come out, the splash eviscerates the entire army in a matter of seconds. This has been removed / 'balanced' in Patch 1.3 due to it being deemed too strong.
Bio-ball: Marine-marauder combination.
MMM army: Marine-marauder-medivac army.
Spine (crawler): This zerg 'building' can walk around, but not attack while it does. When it has rooted itself though, it is a very nasty and deadly tentacle that hits ground units.
Spore (crawler): This zerg 'building' can walk around, but not attack while it does. When it has rooted itself though, it is a very nasty cannon that does considerable damage to air units.
PF: Planetary Fortress. This is one of the two upgrades from the Command Center.
Orbital / OC: Orbital Command. This is one of the two upgrades from the Command Center.
Storm: the ability of the High Templar which blankets an area in an electric storm.
Contaminate: Overseers (upgraded overlords) can cast this spell and pause what a building is doing for like 15 seconds.
Blue Flame: Refers to the upgrade for (or the upgraded) Hellion unit, where its flame thrower is no longer yellow but blue - essentially making them toasters on wheels. It is amongst the worst things a Terran can bestow upon his enemies mineral line.
Kiting: Continually withdrawing a faster unit with a large range while a slower unit with a smaller range tries to catch up to attack it, effectively keeping the first unit from ever being hit by the latter. Marauders and their Concussive shells upgrade (which slows down the enemy) are usually the ones to do this, while Protoss zealots tend to be the victim (as they are melee units).
Scoot-and-shoot: There refers to marine micro. Like kiting, it is where a (group of) marines continually withdraws and turns around to shoot the enemy. One could say it is the same thing as kiting, but imo the defining difference is that marine scoot-and-shoot does not make them immortal. Faster units catch up and are able to do damage just fine: the movement serves the purpose of minimizing enemy attack ability (killing as many green exploding banelings mainly) and avoiding getting the marines surrounded by zerglings at the same time.
Tanking: Taking the hits so other (more fragile) units do not. This allows the latter to do more damage. Protoss Zealots, Zerg roaches and Terran marauders are most often used for these purposes.
Focus Fire: By means of micro ordering units to attack a specific unit instead of letting the AI pick whatever unit it wants (usually an enemy unit attacking the unit already). This is often used to snipe buildings and strong units.
Snipe: Using focus firing to quickly destroy something before the enemy can respond (by sending in their army, withdrawing the attacked unit, etc). This is often associated with guerilla warfare.
Drop: Using a flying unit to 'drop' land units in enemy territory. This usually happens near a mineral line or in a quiet corner of a base. Terrans do this with Medivacs, Zerg can use Overlords with the proper upgrades, and Protoss occasionally do it using Warp Prisms.

Link repository

The way this works is simple: I post a link, and briefly my thoughts to go with it. Only games I really enjoyed or I thought had something special to offer will find a place on this list. There's many more average games that get cast, but they are in general easy to find and the point is to showcase the most enjoyable stuff. If it is a part of a series, I'll usually only post the first game; videos linked usually have links to the next game in the series.


These are games in no particular order, with crappy review descriptions on my part, and so forth. They were pretty much me going 'oh, check this out' in IRC but looking at the descriptions after collecting them all, they kind of sound crappy. Nevertheless, I got mouser hooked using them, so use and abuse as you will. They are in no particular chronological order, and the descriptions may not make too much sense several months after the fact.

KiwiKaki vs PainUser - PvT - Terminous : Epic game with Carriers and Battlecruisers.
IdrA vs Ace - PvZ - IEM - Lost Temple : Epic game involving Idra the Macro Machine Kraken and a player I've never heard of.
IdrA vs. MorroW - G3 : the chase at around 04:20 made me giggle; decent series overall.
TheLittleOne vs ZeeRax - PvP - Shakuras Plateau : Totally wacky PvP. Definitely worth watching; it has the Master of Random Race TheLittleLone (aka LiquidTLO) versus another very good Protoss. Their strategies were nuts.
Ace vs Tarson - Game 1 - PvT - IEM - Shakuras Plateau : More games involving that epic nobody I linked a game about.
[HD-Asia] "I Want All Women Over" : Check this cast out
[Z]ROOTCatz vs [T]FXOmOoNan : Not super awesome, but it does a bit more pointing out of very bad choices the various players make
Homestory Cup #1 - Round 1 - mouzHasu [P] vs [T] LiquidTLO - G1 : Ending is predictable, but some very epic battles a la david and goliath.
=^.^= KiWiKaKi [P] vs [Z] CatZ : Really amusing game. Very non-standard, but very amusing non the less.
Mondragon vs Kas - Game 1 of 7 - TvZ - Metalopolis : First game of a 7 game series. I am currently on the third game but seems like the series is worth a watch.
[HD-Asia] ChiTaPrime v ZiZon : decent game, but kind of disappointed me.
KawaiiRice vs Vadar - PvT - Lost Temple : epic game with a very nice showdown at the end
HD Starcraft 2 Huk v MoonGlade g1 : First game of a best-of-5 series. First two games are average, last 3 games are epic.
[HD-Asia] PvZ NEXSickness v sSsHello : The ending of this game has some epic micro (=unit management) that borders on overpowered - but then again, it's kinda the Zergs fault.
GSL CREVASSE 1v1 P1 : New map (designed for GSL tournament) with an ultra long game, and this game is particularly refreshing and continuously keeping both sides on their toes. I can def. recommend you watch it. Pretty damn long tho.
AtheneWins (KiwiKaki???) vs LuckyFish - PvZ - Shakuras Plateau : Decent game, awesome example of an archon toilet.
SeleCT vs. TLO g1 : First game of a best-of-3. It is what one would call an interesting TvT slugfest.
LOOPY SC2 CAST : Commentating is a bit odd as the desc says, but the game is decent enough. I liked the tactics in this one, but it isn't a super game.
SC2 - vileHasHe[T] vs [Z]Destiny : A map I don't know, game is decent but again nothing super special imo
iNcontroL vs. drewbie Showmatch Game 1! : First game of a bo7. I think it ended up as a pretty epic series.
[HD] PvZ LiquidHayprO v EtdYinHulu : On the scale of Suck to Super, it rates as Moderately Epic.
1v1 on GSL Terminus between two Asians : Nydus Worms are such sexy things.
HD Starcraft 2 WhiteRa v Goody g1 : First game of a super short series (all pretty short games), but they're all quite entertaining.
HuK vs WhiteRa - PvP OF BALLERNESS - Lost Temple : Epic Protoss slugfest between two Protoss Juggernauts.

More recent chronological doodah listing

These are the more recent ones which will have the newer stuff at the bottom.

TheLittleOne vs ZeeRax - PvP - Shakuras Plateau : Totally wacky PvP. Definitely worth watching; it has the Master of Random Race TheLittleLone (aka LiquidTLO) versus another very good Protoss. Their strategies were nuts.
Ace vs Tarson - Game 1 - PvT - IEM : More games involving that epic nobody I linked a game about.
Haypro vs Artist - TvZ - Lost Temple : Decent game, but one battle in particular was especially awesome.
TT1 vs Tgun - PvZ - Xel'Naga Caverns : Epic game is epic beyond epic.
mOOnGLaDe vs Slayers Alicia on Metalopolis : This game has the best use of terrain and forcefields I've seen in a _long_ time.
HD Starcraft 2 Hannibal.Prime v oGs.cezanne g3 : Omfg. This is one of the closest games I've seen in quite some time. I can remember only one... wait, two of its kind that were comparable. Epic TvZ.
BabyKnight vs biGs on Metalopolis (PvZ) : First half of video has crappy quality, lots of FPS issues and pretty boring. Second half is epic and of better quality.
[HD-KR] PvT Masters - RvnJubei v LEESUHUN Starcraft 2 : Some old-fashioned nuke-mindfuck-play with interesting results.
HD Starcraft 2 Dimaga v Goody g2 : Terran Mech vs expansion addicted zerg results in rather interesting play.
DarkForce vs BratOK : 40 minute long TvZ with like 3-4 tactics I have never seen before. Very excellent game.
TLO vs Goody : First game of what is a really promising series (game 2 is even more epic). TLO vs Goody with unusual tactics. :-)
Huk vs zerg : A very standard game that starts out slow and does not have any shenanigans, but the first clash of the armies shows some really near-magical micro.
Zenio vs Socke: Best-of-3. g1 shows Zerg tenacity well, g2 shows a very different playing style, g3 is pretty standard.
:Thmbsup: [HD-KR] PvT HannibalPrime v SeedSG: Best-of-3; g1 is decent, g2 is meh, g3 is quite entertaining
:Thmbsup: MouzMana vs Dimaga: Best-of-1. No crazy hijinks, but a very decent game showing a longterm (macro-style) PvZ.
:Thmbsup: Catz vs Spanshwa - ZvZ - Shattered Temple: Best-of-1. While an unusually played ZvZ, it is still one big macro-fest.
:Thmbsup: TheLittleOne vs Hasu: Best-of-3. g1 is decent, shows a varied one-base play; g2 is average with a tactic that simply does not work out for one of the players, g3 is less predictable than it appears.
:Thmbsup: MorroW vs Losira - ZvP on Tal Darim Altar: Best-of-1. Epic game between pro-gamers that play in Korea. Starts out hilarious and promises to be a boring game, but it ends up as a total hoot due to the skill of the players involved. Must-watch.
:Thmbsup: MorroW vs mini - ZvT on Typhon Peaks: Best-of-1. Great game full of funny moments. The outcome becomes apparent about halfway through, but this one you watch for the execution alone.


Feel free to ask below, and I'll try my best to answer whatever questions I can.

Ok, this is probably not a snack but closer to a five-course meal. Never the less, I am requesting it, although I am open for recommendations regarding existing software. I have looked at a bunch of stuff, but have thus far been unable to find something that can do the things I want, or if they can come close to it, do so in a way that makes it usable for me. (Also, I think I muttered about this subject in the past somewhere on these forums, but I can't find it nor can I be bummed to search for hours...)

I have been wanting to write some story for ages. I've got snippets etc lying around, and they are not the problem. I've got a personal wiki set up too, so that is not a problem either. But neither a text writing tool (like LSB XE) nor said wiki can solve my most majestic problem: custom calendars.

With a story set in a sort of medieval / oriental setting, it is natural that time is not set up as scientific as we have it with the Gregorian calendar. It tends to be measured in terms of years since an emperor started reigning for example. And similarly, some calendars may end up in simultaneous use in different countries or whatnot. Since my story is meant to cover several centuries (if you do something, do it big from the start :)) I need proper flexibility to deal with this sort of data. I have tried expressing things in a single (master) calendar, but that just hampers me way too much.

So, a small list of my wants/needs:
  • custom calendars, which can be defined into smaller fictional units. For example (making this up on the spot), one calendar might have years that consist out of 6 'peries', which consists out of 9 months, which consist out of five 'turnings', which are in turn seperated in concepts like weeks, days, hours and minutes. This one is extra convoluted to make a point - there may be more or less units than our simple year/month/week/day/hour/minute/second system.
  • different calendars need to be expressable in terms of other calendars, for example by equating one unit from one calendar to another (number of) unit(s) from another calendar, and giving a defined anchor date from which all else could be equated. For example, for season-based calendars, one might equate four seasons to be a year, and the anchor date for one as starting at the beginning of winter, and the other starting at summer. Silly example, but it gets the point across. :)
  • different timelines can be constructed, with events expressed in one or multiple calendars.
  • timelines of choice can be displayed next to eachother allowing the writer to plan out events
  • events can be put on multiple timelines
  • some metadata per 'event' might be nice (to denote location, type of the event (traveling, key plot, etc), etc), but this is not required

As a programmer, I could probably write this myself. But I suck at GUI stuff, and the problem with a tool like this for me is that _if_ I ended up writing it, I'd never get to use it. I'd waste all my time on improving it, adding stuff etc... and I actually want to get to work on this story I keep putting off because I cannot manage it to my own satisfaction.

So, any suggestions for good tools, or anyone who feels like writing it... please do. :Thmbsup: You'd help me out big time, and I have DocoCredits lying around for the person that gives me the golden goose of timelining (coding snack or existing software; it does not matter.)

No clue what it is called but it is awesome.

Just open it and let it run for as long as possible. Survival of the fittest will determine which cars survive. Lower the mutation rate to try more variations of successful cars from the previous generation, and crank it up to get some fresh mutations that are totally wacko. :)

It's surprising how awesome it is to just watch that thing crank out weird contraptions.

Edit: I can't remember where I found this link. I hope I didn't find it on DoCo or DoCo's IRC... if I did, I'm sorry for (double)posting someone elses find. :-[

N.A.N.Y. 2011 / NANY 2011 Release: JottiQ
« on: November 22, 2010, 09:42 AM »
NANY 2011 Entry Information

Application NameJottiQ

As JottiQ has been picked up by more websites and sources than originally anticipated, v1.0.2 and later are basically let-us-be-nice-to-Jotti releases. Hopefully Jotti will not need to cut service completely any longer, but the unfortunate side-effect is that previous versions have been banned permanently.

Jotti's malware scan is undergoing changes... changes that JottiQ versions before v1.2.0 are not compatible with. :( Please update your JottiQ!
Short DescriptionJotti's malware scan provides a great service. Yet, it is so cumbersome to use. This program changes that.
Supported OSesWindows XP+, 32 and 64-bit
Web PageWebsite
Download Link
(open directory of released versions)
System Requirements
Version History
  • 2010-12-19 JottiQ v0.9.2
  • 2010-12-20 JottiQ v0.9.3
  • 2010-12-25 JottiQ v0.9.5
  • 2010-12-31 JottiQ v1.0.0
  • 2011-01-01 JottiQ v1.0.1
  • 2011-01-06 JottiQ v1.0.2
  • 2011-01-29 JottiQ v1.0.3
  • 2011-06-28 JottiQ v1.0.9 (beta, never publicly released)
  • 2011-07-01 JottiQ v1.1.0
  • 2011-07-12 JottiQ v1.1.1
  • 2015-03-24 JottiQ v1.2.0
Author worstje

Jotti's malware scan provides a wonderful service for those among us who are conscious of the crap that tends to accompany the files they download or otherwise obtain. Sadly enough, it tends to quickly become a bother to use: you can only check a single file at a time and can't queue a number of files ahead of time. Not only that, but you also have to select the file inside of your browser which tends to open a dozen clicks away from the file you want to scan. And when you finally have the file uploaded, it will kindly tell you the file has been scanned before. Argh! Did you wait for it to upload just to hear THAT?

Last night, I got an idea: maybe I can improve this situation. I also emailed the author. And now it seems I received an email today that I have permission for this NANY app, and even some support from the author as I am the first one to start on such a project. And slowly, JottiQ was born. And it has grown to far more polished than I originally envisioned.

  • the last letter of the name is a Q. Earth-shattering stuff right there; hold the presses!
  • pretty much everything [url=]Jotti's malware scan itself offers
  • allows you to build a queue (duh) of files needing scanning
  • uses Jotti's internal cache to speed up scans by avoiding the uploading of files that have already been scanned in the past
  • lists scanners with detections at the top of their list in red
  • if a file has only a few detections, a green bug (rather than a red one) shows you at a glance that it isn't a file one can immediately claim to be good or bad.
  • allows you to open scan results in your browser
  • rightclick files and click Scan with JottiQ
  • upto three files can be scanned (processed) simultaneously.
  • items that have been scanned and are deemed safe can automatically be removed from the queue.
  • the scanning of executables of running processes this feature was removed in v1.1.0
  • an About dialog thanking everything and anything
  • support for forks, a.k.a. Alternate Data Streams
  • proxy servers
  • connectivity tester for connection troubleshooting purposes

v1.2.0 (2015-03-24)


JottiQ is a tool that makes it more convenient to use Jotti's malware scan,
which is an online service optimized for one-by-one scanning of files you do
not trust.

Its purpose is that of an investigative tool, for when you do not trust a file
you came across but your current security software seems to think it is as
harmless a file as they come. It is not meant to replace your virus scanner,
nor is it meant to scan the heaps and heaps of nasty things that float around
on your computer because you are too cheap/lazy/picky to get software that is
meant for that purpose.

JottiQ is meant for a _low number of files_ that you do not trust more-so than
the rest of your computer. And I, the author of JottiQ, feel you should never
trust your own computer to begin with. But that is a story for another day. :-)

For more information, see the official JottiQ (NANY 2011) topic:


That's awesome. Glad you enjoy it. Now, if you are one of those rare few who
insists on showing gratitude for a freeware application like this, I'd like you
to remember a few things before you go nuts with that wallet of yours.

 - JottiQ would not exist without Jotti's malware scan. It is that simple.

 - Jotti (the author of the malware scan) does not accept donations, and only
     has a few minor ads up on his site. He wishes for the service to remain
     free. At present, the service is basically kept afloat by several parties
     who pay for some other services, and the free Jotti's malware scan service
     basically survives as a consequence of those other sources of income.
   Are you in a position to order any sort of extended services from Jotti?
     If so, please consider what he may do for you(r company), and in the
     process help out an awesome free service to continue its existence.

So you tell me - who do you really love? No lying!

If you insist on supporting JottiQ (this application, not the online malware
scanner) then I will begrudgingly accept any donations made through the system has in place for such acts of gratitude. While you are there,
you might even find another application of your liking, or worse, thank their
creators in a similar way! :-)

(And if you mean you love the lady bug ICON, well... there is a Credits section
at the bottom of this document with a link to the author who created it.)


Like so many applications nowadays, JottiQ does not stand merely on its own two
legs. In that way, it is much like a person, who stands by virtue of the local
cobbler to make the shoes, the tailor who makes the clothes, the supermarket
that allows us ignorance in the ways of the hunt. No, JottiQ is a sorry beast,
demanding the following of its environment in order for it to be a productive
member of the binary society that makes up a computer.

 [ ] Windows XP or newer. Both 32-bit and 64-bit varieties are supported.

 [X] Microsoft .NET Framework 4 Client Profile
       This needs to be installed for JottiQ to work at all. If you already
       have the far bigger all-in package of the .NET v4 Framework installed,
       you should already have this.

 [X] Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 Redistributable Package (x86)
       This needs to be installed on both 32-bit AND 64-bit systems for the
       file context menu to work as one would expect.

 [X] 64-bit: Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 Redistributable Package (x64)
       This needs to be installed ONLY on 64-bit systems for the file context
       menu to work as one would expect.

(The installer will make sure that items marked with a [X] are met, and where
  possible offer to install them for you as a part of the ride. In case you get
  JottiQ through an archive only, it is your responsibility to make sure these
  requirements are met.)

Do you have all those things, and JottiQ still lies around on your couch,
unwilling to go to work and rather act like a dead corpse? Leave a message at
the official JottiQ topic on and we may just find the magic
words to breathe life into this cutesy lady bug. :-)


v1.2.0 (2015-03-24)

    Compatibility release. Jotti is undergoing some changes so we must too. :)
    Upgrading is highly recommended; previous versions of JottiQ may break or
    otherwise show reduced functionality as Jotti improves his service.

v1.1.1 (2011-07-12)

    Any new version released suffers from a few hiccups, and v1.1.0 was no
    different. Thankfully, all this release does is pat the proverbial belly.
      Added: A setting that, if enabled, lessens the scrutiny given to the
          remote server of Jotti's malware scan to determine its authenticity.
          'Ignore certain SSL certificate errors' is only useful on a few
          specific configurations, and should not be enabled unless you get an
          error like the following in the Connectivity Test:
              'The underlying connection was closed: Could not establish trust
                relationship for the SSL/TLS secure channel.'
      Changed: dcuhelper.exe was updated to v1.10.01 released on July 12, 2011.

v1.1.0 (2011-07-01)

    Six months after the official release, it is time for a well-deserved
    update. Sadly, there isn't much one can improve in a tool with a simple
    purpose. However, I hope this new version will entertain.
      Added: Forks support. Also known as 'Alternative Data Streams', these
          are a well-hidden feature of the NTFS filesystem which provide for
          equally well-hidden pseudo-files attached to existing files. Most
          programs are unable to read them, no less act on them - which makes
          this a feature that truly improves Jotti's malware scan.
      Added: Proxy server support.
      Added: Connectivity test for troubleshooting issues. Some beta-testers
          for this version had problems with proxy server support, but it will
          hopefully prove useful for all parties.
      Added: A builtin 'whitelist' for forks. The feature is sometimes used
          for legitimate reasons, and one of those affects nearly every file
          downloaded. The whitelist exists for speeding up processing only;
          security-minded (distrusting?) individuals are free to enable the
          option that forces these whitelisted forks to appear in the queue.
      Added: A 'whitelist fork by name' option. If the precise comparisons on
          a possibly whitelisted fork prove troublesome, this enables one to
          consider the fork safe by proxy of its name. This feature as a work-
          around for 'Zone.Identifier' forks encoded in different formats than
          I have been able to test with - so if one finds a 'Zone.Identifier'
          fork that is not whitelisted, I request that this forks is saved to a
          file and sent to me at: jottiq-whitelist (at)
          so I may inspect it and if is found safe, add it to the whitelist in
          the next version. TL;DR? Don't enable unless you know you need it.
      Added: The queue context menu now offers an Actions sub-menu. These
          contain actions that affect the selected objects (files and/or forks)
          in the queue physically. There are currently two items in this menu:
           - Delete Object(s): This either deletes the selected file(s)
               permanently, or it removes the selected fork(s) from the file.
               Do note that deleting a file also deletes its forks, but that
               deleting a fork on a file leaves the latter intact. I remain of
               the opinion that JottiQ is an investigative tool rather than a
               cleaner, but... the peoples wishes are clear and forks are hard
               to delete, so deleting files is a logical consequence.
           - Save Fork As: This saves the contents of a fork to a file. This
               does not work for ordinary files as it would be a mere 'Copy'
               operation that may or may not bring expectations along with it;
               instead it is to be used as an inspection utility for a resource
               otherwise difficult to examine.
      Added: An 'Add file(s)' feature is now available in the toolbar. It
          completely slipped my attention in the 1.0.x versions, for which
          my apologies. Rather late than never. :)
      Removed: The 'Add Running Processes' functionality is no longer present.
          It was determined to be an inappropriate feature that only delivered
          half work, and to boot the reason why Jotti's malware scan suffers
          such ungodly waiting times during the waking hours of the western
          world ever since JottiQ's release.
      Fixed: No more crash when down-sizing the amount of worker-threads.
      Fixed: Legibility of items on right pane could suffer in certain colour
          configurations; now it uses proper system colours where applicable.
      Fixed: Zero-byte items were not being removed by the manual nor automatic
          'Remove safe items' features.
      Fixed: Deleting items from the queue while it was being processed no
          longer makes the worker-thread go M.I.A. until it finishes its work
          off the screen; it now terminates and moves on to the next item in
          the list as soon as possible.
      Changed: Uploading should be a little bit more efficient now.
      Changed: Fancy progress bars that show upload progress are now in place
          as opposed a boring textual description.
      Changed: Redesigned the Settings window with clearly named sections and
          recognizable icons in order to make JottiQ configuration more
      Changed: The instruction text in the main screen no longer suggests
          one to 'start processing' when processing is already enabled.


1) The installer can only delete settings for the current user. This is not
     something that I have any feasible way of changing, and in general all
     programs suffer this issue at uninstallation time. Although I do welcome
     any and all suggestions on the topic, I doubt this will change. (This
     includes the shell context menu option, if it was installed per-user.)

2) The installer component 'Explorer Integration affects All Users' determines
     the creation of the 'MachineInstallation' file. By default it is off,
     allowing every user to determine the presence of a file context menu for
     themselves (and also avoiding nasty UAC dialogs in the process.) Once
     this file is present, one needs Administrator rights in order to turn the
     file context menu on or off.
   Given point 1), if you install to make JottiQ available to multiple users,
     it is recommended to install with this setting turned on so that any
     registry pollution stays at a minimum. (Unless of course you are willing
     to manually turn off the file context menu for every single user
     beforehand. Of course, the best option is to never uninstall JottiQ!)

4) You may be instructed to reboot by the uninstaller. Or by the installer
     if/when you are upgrading JottiQ to a new version. This is most likely
     because explorer still has the shell extension loaded, and killing
     explorer the hard way and restarting it is a very user-unfriendly task.
     As such postponing the deletion or replacement operation till reboot-time
     is the user-friendliest alternative. This is unlikely to change in future
     versions as it is a long-standing Windows issue for not having a feasible
     method to tell Explorer to unload its shell extensions.


JottiQ is the brainchild and creation of Jan Wester. Now with the formalities
out of the way, let's carry on to the credits that actually count.

The list below is a rough and partial listing of the various credits that are
given in the 'About JottiQ' dialog. For the full list, with all links in all
their ease and glory, have a look there.

Thanks to...

* Jotti for Jotti's malware scan and going out of his way to support this
  application after I contacted him with the idea I had @

* Vladi for the awesome lady bug icon @

* Ath for his work on the official JottiQ installer @

* Raymond Chen for his awesome blog  @

* Lukas von Hohnhorst who gave me permission to use his magnifying glass @

* as a whole @

* Mark James for his excellent Silk Icon Set @

* Fat Cow Webhosting for their wonderful Farm-Fresh Web Icons @

* Smaller Animals Software for their CtxMenu example that saved me oodles of
  time rather than having to spend time to figure out all details on my own @

* for solving those issues I have before I have them @


Either download the installer and do as it says, or get the .7z archive and extract that to some place of your liking. In the latter case, make sure you meet the Requirements as lined out in the Readme.txt.

Using the Application
Start the application. Make sure you agree with the privacy agreement. From then on forth, just drag and drop files onto JottiQ to have them scanned. (Make sure processing is turned on - the lightbulb must be on!) Additionally, some settings are hidden away in the Settings window (wrench icon, or press F6). Among them is a way to have JottiQ appear in the file context menu so you don't have to drag and drop stuff unnecessarily.

In case you used the installer, go where all uninstallers hide (Control Panel, then Program Features/Add and Remove Programs/whatever name your OS gives to it) and select JottiQ in there. Or, if you extracted the archive, you can simply delete the files. Make sure you deselect the file context menu option first so no junk stays behind in your registry. See the Known Issues section in the readme for some additional gotchas for you neat&clean freaks.


N.A.N.Y. 2011 / NANY 2011 Release: Cautomaton
« on: November 14, 2010, 06:34 PM »
NANY 2011 Entry Information

Application NameCautomaton
Short DescriptionAutomating actions that are hidden away in the context menu of a file.
Supported OSesWindows XP+, 32 and 64-bit
Web PageWebsite
Download Link(open directory of released versions)
System Requirements
Version History
  • 2010-11-15 Cautomaton v0.8.1
  • 2010-11-15 Cautomaton v0.8.2
  • 2010-11-16 Cautomaton v0.8.3
  • 2012-02-23 Cautomaton v0.9.0
  • 2014-12-23 Cautomaton v0.9.5
  • 2015-01-03 Cautomaton v1.0.0
  • 2015-01-21 Cautomaton v1.0.1
Author worstje
  • [url=]Official NANY 2011 Cautomaton screencast

There are many applications that stick themselves into that little corner in a files context menu, yet offer no way to automate their otherwise wonderful functions. Cautomaton is the answer that allows you to automate context menu actions using a simple commandline syntax that nevertheless tries to aim to support every possible action one might want to make. Through the means of crumb matching, where Cautomaton follows the crumbs of information you lay out, nothing is beyond your reach! :)

Or you can simply abuse it to call up a popup menu of your liking. I wouldn't know why, but the possibilities are endless!

  • three different action sources:
    • Popup (/p) a menu - pick your option like you would in explorer!
    • Verb (/v) - Select a verb, the Windows way of picking a menu item.
    • Match (/m) - Throw down some 'crumbs', and let Cautomaton match them to the menu.
  • a builtin analyzer (/a) advices you on (the best?) parameters to use for this file and action
  • a noop modifier (/n) makes it possible to test matching without stuff happening
  • quiet mode (/q) - sometimes it is nice not to spam your errors and other messages around
  • debug mode (/d) - for when you think the bugs are nibbling your crumbs, your crumbs have grown feet or stuff simply isn't happening. (Mostly meant for me, the author, to try and help people with bugs they might come across.)
  • expansive help screen (/?) mentioning all the options briefly.
  • stylish like a gentleman should be - hat included! removed in v1.0.1, sorry!

v1.0.1 (2015-01-21)

Cautomaton is a tool meant for the automation of actions that have ended up
being difficult to automate because the functionality in question is accessed
through the so-called context menu by right-clicking on a file.

Thus, Cautomaton allows for easy ways to scan particular files for viruses,
check the integrity of archives, set images as your wallpaper or whatever
other functionality is stashed away in the context menu.

It is not a tool for all occasions, however. If you can just as easily call
upon your anti-virus program directly, that may be more reliable. I consider
Cautomaton itself to be very dependable, but the ecosystem it is used in
determines its practical worth. Programs (ab)use the context menu in many
silly ways, and due to Cautomaton's invasive (automating) nature, those
programs may stumble even if you are not even attempting to interact with them!

That said, I consider such programs a challenge, as it means Cautomaton could
probably do an even better job than it already does. So if Cautomaton does not
seem to get the work done despite indicating that it should in fact work, feel
free to let me know and I'll do my best to find a solution for you.

-Jan Wester


Make sure to use the proper build for your system. While the 32-bit executable
works on a 64-bit machine, you likely do not have the proper context menu
extensions installed for the 32-bit (WOWSYS64) subsystem. End result is that
items will be missing where you might expect to see them.

(All 32-bit applications suffer this - try a 32-bit explorer some time.)

Cautomaton relies on the 'Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 Redistributable Package'.
You will need to install the version matching the build of Cautomaton you use.

To download the 32-bit (x86) version, visit:
To download the 64-bit (x64) version, visit:


Getting started with Cautomaton is easy. There are two basic steps involved:
identification and invocation. In order to perform (invoke) an action on a file
for you, Cautomaton needs to be able to identify it.

To help with this, Cautomaton can analyze an action you perform. For example,
run the following in a commandprompt:

  cautomaton.exe /p /a ReadMe.txt

This will tell Cautomaton to popup ('/P') a context menu, and analyze ('/A')
the choice afterwards. Choose one of the menu items. For example, open it.
The file 'ReadMe.txt' will now be opened in your program of preference.

(If you do not want this to happen, you can add an extra '/N' parameter to
have Cautomaton do nothing with the chosen item.)

At the end of the technical analysis Cautomaton performed is a recommendation
on how to use Cautomaton. Whatever it recommends is almost always the best way
to go about repeating your actions. For example, it will say:

  Recommended Cautomaton parameters: /v open

The recommended parameters would instruct Cautomaton to use the 'open' verb on
the file(s) in question. Now, try out the recommendation to see if it works:

  cautomaton.exe /v open ReadMe.txt

You should now see 'ReadMe.txt' be opened in your program of choice. At its
essence, that is all there is to using Cautomaton.

With these basics in mind, simply opening up a command-line and experimenting
with the different options should help you on your way. For a list of all the
things Cautomaton can do, try:

  cautomaton.exe /?

There are a lot of options to fine-tune Cautomaton's behaviour, but most of
the time, you will not need them. But if you do... well, they exist!

One final word of caution regarding '/M': this option is very flexible, but is
also unreliable at its core. For example, menu text might be translated to
German for someone who uses the German language on their computer, so matching
against English text won't work. In a similar vein, the positioning of items
can vary depending on a multitude of factors, and the internal IDs are even
more fleeting. Please be aware of the assumptions you make when using '/M'!


1) Using '/A /P', and choosing an item in the 'Open With' menu will cause the
     analysis to throw out an incorrect first crumb ('&Choose de' as opposed
     to the correct 'Open wit&h'). Other action sources work fine.

2) Canceling a 'delete' verb operation gives Cautomaton an error code it
     cannot recognise, which it then treats as a standard failure that can
     only be recognised when running in debug (/d) mode.

3) On Windows versions that pre-date Windows Vista, a context menu that applies
     to multiple files may be different than one Windows Explorer conjures up.
     Items may be missing, doubled and/or mispositioned. For most invocations
     (/P, /V or /M using text-matching) this should not be a problem, however.


REQUEST TO TESTERS (#1): Please try out the multiple files support! If there
  are differences between a context menu for the same files in one directory,
  and a context menu for these same files being in separate directories, make
  sure to let me know! If it is at all in my power to make these two cases
  consistent with one another, I will do so!

REQUEST TO TESTERS (#2): Windows versions pre-Vista may have a weird / glitchy
  context menu when applied to multiple files. I can't really test on such
  systems anymore, but I am very interested in hearing about the state of
  Cautomaton's new functionality on those systems. Let me know!


As Cautomaton's version history was getting rather lengthy, it has been put
into its own file. Please see 'Changelog.txt' for more information.


Copyright (c) 2015 Jan Wester

This software is provided 'as-is', without any express or implied
warranty. In no event will the authors be held liable for any damages
arising from the use of this software.

Permission is granted to anyone to use this software for personal use, and to
redistribute it freely, subject to the following restrictions:

1. The origin of this software must not be misrepresented; you must not
   claim that you wrote the original software.
2. All original parts must be intact and unmodified.
3. This notice may not be removed or altered from any source distribution.

If you wish to obtain a license for commercial use, please contact the author.


Thanks to...

* JoTo for mentioning a certain very buggy shell extension @

* mouser for his request @

* Raymond Chen for his awesome blog & series on context menus @

* Nikos Bozinis for encouraging my masochistic tendencies @

* as a whole @

* Rui Lopes for his sample project on per-pixel alpha-blending @

* for solving those issues I have before I have them @

* the Oxygen Project for having nicely licensed icons @


Extract the zip archive anywhere you'd like. Or just the one file you need for your Windows to shine. (See the Readme above why this is important.)

Using the Application
Open cmd.exe, powershell or whatnot. Go to the directory where you extracted the proper file for your architecture. Run it with the universal /? help parameter, and get started on automating the actions you need automated. :)

Just delete the files you extracted. That's all, folks! :)

See attachment.

Mmm, more thanks to skwire for helping me out a few months ago when I had my CD covers all messed up ;)

My next problem is that I have an insane amount of anime. And especially the longer running ones are a pain now that I've reached the point where I feel archiving for future entertainment is a worthwhile endeavour. I recall some of the episodes were of a pretty hideous quality, and with 400+ episodes in just this one messed up series, going through them all manually would be a serious pain in the behind.

I was thinking a similar list like the other tool skwire made would be great for my needs. (skwire = awesome)

The particular requirements I had in mind are as follows:

- Many files are of the format [GROUP] Series 001 [CRCHERE].avi. Episode numbers always have atleast two digits, but if it is easier to write for a generic case, 3 digits can be assumed as well. The extension could be avi, could be mp4, could be mkv. There might be underscores rather than spaces seperating the seperate parts. There might be other stuff between the number and the CRC to signify resolution. Some might go '[Group] Series 013v2 [720p] [12CRC56].mkv' while another could be '[Group2]_Series_069_HD_[CRCGOESHERE]_v2.avi'.. but don't take that to mean the HD bit couldn't read '[1280x720]' instead. (... crap. Fansubbers need to have one global standard already.)
- Some files might not have a CRC. Others might have a language thrown in, or even codec information.
- Some of my files also lack the group completely. But if it is there, it is at the beginning.
- I would like the list to be sorted based on Episode Number by default, from 001 to MAX.
- I'd like to see the following columns: Filename, Episode Number, Resolution (eg 1280x720), Video Codec (divx, xvid, x264, ogg theora, QT?), Video Bitrate (or the general bitrate, I suppose.), Presence of Subtitles (see below), Fansubbing group (from filename).
- The Subtitles Presence column could have several 'results'. NONE would mean there are no subtitles in the file itself nor external ones. '[1]' would mean one subtitle stream in the file. '(1)' would mean one external subtitle file, usually the same filename except the extension changed to ASS or SRT. The number 2 would mean there's multiple subs (I've got some multilingual subs, yay for mkv). Sidenote on the NONE result: hardsubbed subtitles are of course undetectable, so I'm totally fine with that.

Apologies beforehand for my long and specific laundry list. ^^; I was really happy with that last tool as it saved me oodles of time, and I know from my own lifes experience that it is a good thing to give as much information beforehand. If anyone has any questions, please ask, and if the request is too difficult or too time consuming, please don't bother as I'd feel bad :)


Topic says it all. I know it is somewhat possible with iTunes by going coverflow happy and looking for the grays, but I hate that program.

Ideally, I'd want a big list, sorted by album title. An album could be determined by the directory, as I use one directory per album. Please please PLEASE do not make different artists turn it into different albums, since that's what's making most programs I found throw up with 15 similar covers for different artists - directory criterium alone is all I need. It should look for the cover in a cover.jpg, folder.jpg, front.jpg as well as tags in the files if files doesn't work. Albums that end up without any cover art should light up red in the list. It would also be nice if it was possible to see how the program found the cover (from a file (filename), from tags, etc) and whether it is consistent. A way to get the directory the album is in (Copy to clipboard) would also be awesome.

Reason I'm looking for this is that I lost a crapload of my album art when iTunes messed up my computer, and I'm not letting it back on lest it destroy stuff again.. but I do want to go through my 500+ albums to restore covers where they might be missing.

P.S.: Used the Dina font for years, always been a lurker without account till now. Great website! ^^

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