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Messages - IainB [ switch to compact view ]

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Post New Requests Here / Re: IDEA: Chiral motion.
« on: June 28, 2020, 08:41 PM »
Have you considered trying a Trackballw?

Good point, but in my case I used a clip-on side trackball years ago and, though I found it was an improvement (ergonomically) over the central little joystick in the middle of the keyboard, I found chiral scrolling to be ergonomically a vast improvement. I think they may still use trackballs in military applications though, as - again ergonomically - they were regarded as being more accurate/precise in use (e.g., rapidly targeting crosshairs on a ship for ship-to-ship missile launch where there are lots of ships clustered in the radar display).
Nowadays, I suppose they'd probably use a touch-sensitive (or aware) display screen.

Thought I'd tack this onto this thread as it relates to another excellent Radiolab audio post - this one about the speed at which music is played, in the context of the "metronomic" beat. They play some stretched music of the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth to illustrate the contrast in tempos and the effect on our senses of altering the timing (tempo) of music.
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Speedy Beet
tags: beethoven, classical_music, idea_explorer, shorts, speed
There are few musical moments more well-worn than the first four notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. But in this short, we find out that Beethoven might have made a last-ditch effort to keep his music from ever feeling familiar, to keep pushing his listeners to a kind of psychological limit.

Big thanks to our Brooklyn Philharmonic musicians: Deborah Buck and Suzy Perelman on violin, Arash Amini on cello, and Ah Ling Neu on viola.

And check out The First Four Notes, Matthew Guerrieri’s book on Beethoven’s Fifth.

Support Radiolab today at
radiolab_podcast20speedybeetrerun.mp3 (23:47, 22MB), popup

Source: http://www.wnycstudi.../269783-speedy-beet/

"Looking for a way to sort/organize mp3 files in a folder into a set of folders by bitrate:"

I don't think I understand the need for this question.

You would already have all you seem to need to do this on an ad hoc basis. The system knows all about what audio files you have and their properties and the file manager can be invoked to swiftly sort these as and when you require. I use xplorer² (it also lets you turn nested directories into a manageable virtual flat file), but I presume Windows file manager can do it also - since the system knows all about what files you have.

If you had a dynamically changing population of audio files though, and wanted to (say) periodically sort newcomers into the appropriate folders, then you could do so manually or automate via a macro, I suppose, but again, I'd do that in xplorer².

@holt: Thanks, that's very interesting.
The corrosive erosion that seems to occur in plumbing has always mystified me, because it is presumably attributable to some sort of electro-chemical action in the water supply, but it doesn't seem to matter which water supply, or even whether the eroded part is made of a good or inferior alloy.

So I deduced that the unknown could well be the chemical composition of the rubber/neoprene valve seats.
Your fix is interesting. The metal in electric solder is usually inert and is a fusible alloy made up of 2 or more metals (typically including tin and lead). Using it as you have done would generally leave an inert metal layer on the face of the valve seat that was treated, and the proof is in the pudding - i.e., it works and it lasts.

However, using such alloys in the plumbing might not be a particularly good idea from a health standpoint, as minute traces of the inert  substance (lead, tin etc.) could leach into the potable water supply from that faucet, contaminating the water with metals that are accumulative and toxic in humans and which - even at very low levels - can cause serious and irreparable long term and sometimes devastating damage to various organs (including brain, liver, kidneys) - especially children and the unborn. For this reason, in most Western countries there are very tight standards that have to be maintained by plumbing component manufacturers. For example, only certain maximum amounts of lead or molybdenum are allowed in tap and valve casting alloys, and some manufacturers pride themselves in achieving significantly lower levels in their castings than those maxima that are permitted by the standards.

Similarly, it's not a good idea to store/drink water from the heated hot water cylinder/supply, because it may contain traces of the heavy metals that the hot water cylinder has been lined with to prevent corrosion at high temperatures.

One can safely assume that what you have done in your innovative approach will have probably compromised your potable water supply to an unknown dangerous extent, and it will remain such for as long as the treated valve is left in situ - so it will be passed on unbeknownst to and unsuspected by any future buyers/tenants of your house, and their children (if any).

So the moral here is undo the fix and don't mess with the composition of components in the potable supply - and the reasons are varied and well-documented (e.g., do a DuckGo search for "contamination of potable water supply", and "toxic metals used in plumbing hardware", "toxins in potable water", etc.). In the literature, you will be able to find descriptions of how quite large numbers of people have been poisoned/harmed and/or killed by similar well-meaning and accidental events affecting the potable supply. Over the years since probably the 1920s this has given rise to a whole raft of incrementally improving and increasingly more stringent international and local governments standards to eliminate dangers to people from the risk of toxicity in the potable water supply.

Sorry to "rain on your parade", but, as someone responsible for advising on the management of some old and some new apartment blocks, I am acutely aware of these issues as I have had to figure out how to get old/defective or non-standard water system installations fixed/upgraded so as to comply with national and local government health and safety bylaws and standards. If one or more units in an apartment building are reported to have "leaky homes syndrome" (poor/defective construction) or potable water supply contamination issues, then the resale value and potential rental values of all of the units in that block could fall (say) 50% or more overnight and stay there until the building has been fixed and officially certified as complying with prevailing standards. If the financial aspects weren't sufficient motivation to fix things, there is the additional  motivation of heavy fines for not fixing it within a reasonable period of time.

Homeopathy joke:


Coronavirus black humour:
Whoever said one person can't change the world never ate an undercooked bat...

Living Room / Re: Gadget WEEKENDS
« on: April 03, 2020, 07:30 PM »
It said it was short, not complete. :D
Yes! And so it did!
I think you will find that it would be incomplete by definition.
(I've since modified my post.)

Coronavirus black humour:
Breaking news:        USA Corona virus death toll rises to 11.
Student with a gun: "Hold my beer..."

Just saw this on
I'd never previously seen such an incredibly agile, expeditious and responsive fault management response to an Incident Report before, so thought it worth noting here for us all to learn from. blog
Blog of project
APRIL 2, 2020 (3:23 PM)
Question asked by "Anonymous":
"how do I make a snap shot with some delay so that some elements have time to load? Some corona site only have the number but not the map in the snapshot (because it takes some time to load), and the element of requesting email for newsletter also gets in the way."

Response from webmaster:
"Report it as a bug and I will fix it (either be adding a delay for the website or by special handling some class of map sites)."

Living Room / Re: Gadget WEEKENDS
« on: April 03, 2020, 05:06 PM »
I need some real paper book gift suggestions for my wife, if anybody is game. I keep thinking along the lines of maybe an Almanac, but wouldn't know which edition; or maybe some kind of 'facts' consultation book. In real paper and ink. Any ideas? :)
Maybe you could give her a .PDF file with images of the cover and all the pages of an ACTUAL real hardcopy book, and tell her to print off any pages she particularly likes.  :-\
Just a thought, to save on paper.

Living Room / Re: Gadget WEEKENDS
« on: April 03, 2020, 05:01 PM »
Your wife might find this interesting

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

Here's a link...
-cranioscopical (April 02, 2020, 02:51 PM)
Yeah, but isn't that incomplete?

Then there was the one about the brilliant and some would say borderline idiot-savant Accountant who decided to begin making all his 'zeros' to look very distinctly like lopsided 'ovals'. When asked by his snobbish colleagues, who prided themselves on being the finest generation of bean counters the world had ever seen, at first he was very secretive about it, and would only say that it was part of a fabulous new accounting system he was developing. But after undergoing ever increasing scrutiny, he finally sprang the joke on them. "They are eggs!" he exclaimed brightly. Then he went on with a mocking leer, "All you ever count are beans, whereas I am counting my chickens even before they are hatched!"
As a lapsed bean-counter of some not inconsiderable repute, I am outraged by and take great exception to that joke. Not only is it an occupationally-waycist hate joke, but also it is an anti-diversity trans-accountant phobic hate joke and thus should not be qualified as, nor be counted as a joke at all.
It is thus both a non-joke and a hate speech statement, by definition.

I am sick and tired at the hate that is regularly poured out, targeted at professional accountants, on this and other websites, and this is yet another egregious example of such.
Come the revolution, it'll be people like you and other similar accountant-occupation hatemongers who will be first up against the wall. There'll be no Trial Balance or Chapter 11 for you mate, just a swift write-down and asset disposal of a worthless off-the-balance-sheet asset.
That'll teach you.

Living Room / Re: Archivarius questions (help using)
« on: March 29, 2020, 02:48 AM »
Great news!!!  Archivarius *can* do a true exact search after all, despite the fact that...
Thank goodness for that.

Living Room / Re: Archivarius questions (help using)
« on: March 27, 2020, 08:45 AM »
@YannickDa: That's a nifty and intuitive tip - worth remembering!   :o

Design Patent:
[Lotus Agenda] patent US5115504 - Information management system.pdf

Subject: Does anyone have english PDF handbooks for Lotus Agenda?
Posted by Beck
Feb 17, 2019 at 10:52 PM

I tried this and it works.

From http://www.bobnewell...ewell.php?itemid=186

> An Agenda benefactor has made all six Agenda manuals available.
> These include Quick Start, Setting Up Agenda, Starter Applications,
> User's Guide, Working With Definition Files and Working With Macros.
> You can obtain them as follows.
> Browse to
> Login as '[email protected]' with password 'guestdude'.
> Download the manuals from the main file folder.
> The Beyond 2.0 manual can now also be found in the same place.
 - Posted at

Post by @Mikeinnc - cross-posted here for reference:
I see someone else has beaten me to it  :), but I firmly believe that Lotus Agenda was a milestone program. I think I've still got a copy on 5.5inch floppies somewhere! A good introduction to its power (and demise!) is here. A similar program that was more graphical was NetManage Ecco Pro. It still runs under Windows 10!


Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: DiviFile from Qnomad - Mini-review
« on: March 26, 2020, 05:10 PM »
BLANK - Post made in error.

I get the same sort of thing on a new laptop, but it only seems to occur when trying to display FARR after FARR startup, when using the hotkey.
If I double-click the FARR Systray icon to bring up FARR, it brings up FARR OK. After that, it works OK with the hotkey.
It looks like the FARR display is somehow being inhibited from coming On Top.

Many thanks for the games link (above).   :Thmbsup:
It's going to be war in our house in lockdown now - 3 kids (me and my 2 kids) all competing for use of the same laptop, so as to play games.

Cross-posted here for us to see how the other half might have to live under our new extreme circumstances - oh, and for entertainment:  :o
With the entire world is quarantined indoors, and it feeling very scary outside, at least we have our virtual homes and families!  :Thmbsup:
Well, I dunno about that. It's pretty scary in MY home. My wife just shouted at me, apropos of nothing in particular: "What the heck are you sitting playing ruddy Fallout 4 for!? You've been playing it for 4 straight hours now! Why don't you get off your fat ugly backside and do something useful instead of wasting your time!" (To a chorus of "Yeah, Dad!" from my two kids. They just want me to get off the laptop so as they can use it. I've been hogging it all morning.)
So I went out for a walk in the deserted streets, crossing the road if I saw a human or a dog or a bat approaching.
It's a lovely day. Early autumn. Deciduous trees starting to come into their glorious reddish-brown shades on the tree-lined avenue where I live, just next door to the local abattoir - which is thankfully silent now.

like backing up your computer
I tried that... couldn't get it into reverse  :-[
-cranioscopical (March 19, 2020, 06:07 AM)
It's your lucky day! I just did a quick search and found a workaround for that on the FFS (FreeFileSync) website. It's a $FREE addon to the app, called "FFSyncRomesh" - named after the developer, apparently (Romesh Rangarathan).
What! No more double the clutching at straws?
As for RR, they do say that every lining has a Silver Cloud.
-cranioscopical (March 19, 2020, 03:00 PM)
Yes, but it would be magical thinking to suppose that any Silver Cloud had a Merlin, as they don't.

The #WuFlu virus is apparently passed on via infected airborne droplets of mucus ("coughs and sneezes spread diseases") and fomites (objects or materials which can and are likely to carry infected mucus).

We can sometimes (apparently) touch our faces with our hands up to about 3,000 times a day. This includes rubbing around our eyes, touching mucus from/in our nose (blowing nose) and from/in our mouth (e.g., wiping our mouth with a finger, or sucking fingers whilst eating with hands).
Therefore keeping our hands and face clean is important, because we can reduce the risk of transfer of infected mucus and of being infected by it, that way:
  • (a) we can transfer the disease via our unwashed hands, to fomites and to the hands of other people;
  • (b) we can pick up the disease on our hands via fomites and by touching infected people's unwashed hands;
We should also therefore avoid kissing, rubbing noses together, hugging with faces together and should keep a safe distance (e.g., 6 feet or so) from other people, and avoid social groups (parties, crowds), enclosed offices, lifts, cafes, etc..

The #WuFlu virus apparently enters the body through the eyes (tear ducts), nose (inhaled) and mouth (inhaled/ingested), travels that way down the back and front of the throat (gets swallowed), travelling down to infect the bronchial tubes, where it can cause a form of pneumonia.

There are some cheap and common disinfecting bactericide/germicide cleaning products that the detergent manufacturers probably don't want people to know about, so I shall mention them here.
These are some antibacterial cleaning alternatives - common stuff that doesn't have proprietary manufacturing rights over it and is therefore relatively cheap and readily available:
  • Hydrogen peroxide: a very good disinfectant and cleaner, cheap to make. Difficult to get in bulk quantities (because used for explosive manufacture in terrorist bombs  :down:). AVOID EYES. Relatively harmless (used in toothpaste and for gargling  :Thmbsup:), but potentially toxic/poisonous when ingested in quantity. I usually keep a stock of this.
  • Sodium hypochlorite: (common bleach) - good disinfectant, powerful bactericide and fungicide, cheap. Needs ventilation (because it gives off chlorine gas) - not safe to inhale. CORROSIVE. PROTECT EYES AND HANDS (DISSOLVES SKIN). Toxic/poisonous when ingested. Damages/bleaches colours in coloured fabrics. I usually keep a stock of this.
  • Isopropyl alcohol: good disinfectant, cheap to make, but can be relatively expensive in this group. Needs ventilation (because volatile). AVOID EYES. Not safe to inhale. De-greases skin and other materials. Toxic/poisonous when ingested. I usually keep a stock of this.
  • Ethyl alcohol: good disinfectant/germicide, cheap to make, very common, but can be very expensive due to customs and excise duties (i.e., tax, because no pleasure should go untaxed). Produced by fermentation with common yeasts in sugar solutions, ethyl alcohol is present in all alcoholic beverages made for human consumption and is typically distilled at 37.5% or greater concentrations in most spirits (whisky, vodka, gin, etc.). Could be used as a handwash (in a pinch - is expensive), and the higher concentrations (spirits) are very effective germicides - e.g., (say) used for disinfecting wounds, or (say) gargling to dispel sore throat infections - and are harmless if inadvertently ingested, (say) whilst gargling.  :Thmbsup:  I usually keep a stock of this.
  • Ammonium-based cleaners: good disinfectant, common and cheap. AVOID EYES. Relatively harmless, but toxic/poisonous when ingested. I usually keep a stock of this.
  • Acetic acid: (vinegar) - good disinfectant, good surfactant for some oils, common and very cheap. AVOID EYES. Harmless - can be used in food preparation, for flavour and as a useful drink (diluted with water) to emulsify fats in the stomach, so as to aid digestion of fatty foods   :Thmbsup:. It should be readily available, as most people don't realise what a useful chemical it is  :Thmbsup:(e.g., as a disinfectant and for removing accumulated grease on surfaces and in washing machines). I usually keep a stock of this - a couple of litres.
  • Sodium bicarbonate: only a mild disinfectant at best, a mild fungicide, good cleaner (use in solution, like a soap) and deodoriser; common and very cheap. AVOID EYES. Harmless (is used in some soaps, in toothpaste, food preparation and in solution as a nasal wash). Widely useful  :Thmbsup:. I usually keep a stock of this.

@Stoic Joker: Corona label is actually quite a decent lager beer. 

With the entire world is quarantined indoors, and it feeling very scary outside, at least we have our virtual homes and families!  :Thmbsup:
Well, I dunno about that. It's pretty scary in MY home. My wife just shouted at me, apropos of nothing in particular: "What the heck are you sitting playing ruddy Fallout 4 for!? You've been playing it for 4 straight hours now! Why don't you get off your fat ugly backside and do something useful instead of wasting your time!" (To a chorus of "Yeah, Dad!" from my two kids. They just want me to get off the laptop so as they can use it. I've been hogging it all morning.)
So I went out for a walk in the deserted streets, crossing the road if I saw a human or a dog or a bat approaching.
It's a lovely day. Early autumn. Deciduous trees starting to come into their glorious reddish-brown shades on the tree-lined avenue where I live, just next door to the local abattoir - which is thankfully silent now.

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