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Messages - IainB [ switch to compact view ]

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Post New Requests Here / Re: IDEA: Chiral motion.
« on: August 13, 2019, 10:35 AM »
Possible fix for chiral scrolling on ELAN touchpad in Win 10:
    Open the control panel, go to scroll tab and the option should be available again.

Thanks for the tip, but that D-Word was already set to 1 in my case. So, no joy. (Sigh.)

Post New Requests Here / Re: IDEA: Chiral motion.
« on: August 11, 2019, 07:08 AM »
I have a similar requirement. I am accustomed to using a Synaptics Touchpad, but now have a laptop with an ELAN Touchpad and the dunderheads who designed the software apparently haven't coded in the chiral scrolling feature.
For me, the single biggest reason for liking the Synaptics touchpad was chiral scrolling. It is definitely not what one would necessarily intuitively wish for, but it proves to be ergonomically superb (e.g., for RSI sufferers), once one has made the effort to change and learned how to use it. I sorely miss it with this ruddy ELAN Touchpad.   :mad:

@Judykator: This might help.
Set Name and other columns (e.g., the Score column per example below).
Display files with long names - in the example below, I use Everything with a Regex query to get some LFNs (LongFileNames).
The LFNs may initially appear as truncated to the right with 3 dots...
Doubleclick on the column divider to the right of the LFNs, as shown, and the Name column will then expand to display the full LFNs on a single line.


Living Room / Re: What books are you reading?
« on: August 01, 2019, 04:49 PM »
@MilesAhead: Thanks for the post. I hadn't known of either book. They both look interesting. I shall have to read them now...(SF addiction).

Living Room / Re: Show us the View Outside Your Window
« on: July 28, 2019, 12:30 AM »
In the woods this morning I drove by what looked like a small or a young goat. This was in the middle of nowhere, with no farms around. Completely black.
Why kid around?
-cranioscopical (July 27, 2019, 09:49 PM)
You are sure it wasn't a shaved sheep?  :P
It bore a name-tag that said "Shawn".

Living Room / Re: Show us the View Outside Your Window
« on: July 27, 2019, 10:41 PM »
The view outside my flat's window on the first floor of Dukes Lane Chambers, London, where I used to live.




The Carmelite Church & Priory, Kensington Church Street, London, UK:
Carmelite Priory, Kensington, London

The Oxford Review of Architecture
Issue 1, September 1996

Text Níall McLaughlin

Images Níall McLaughlin

The Carmelite Monastery is a surprising secret. A rather gloomy modern church stands on a busy junction of Kensington High Street. Beside it a doorway opens onto a passage leading in to the depth of the block. Here you find a Victorian priory looking into a lovely little cloister garden. Everything is enclosing by dense residential development; it is like stepping through to another world.

The church represents the public vocation of the monks who minister to a large and diverse parish. The priory and its garden form their private realm. Life is structured around community and contemplation. The Carmelite Order began with a group of hermits living on Mount Carmel, and extended into Europe during the time of the Crusades, where it was shaped by the reforming influence of two Spanish Saints; St. John of the Cross and St. Theresa of Avila. They gave it the defining characteristics and poverty.

Our practice has been working almost continuously on the Kensington Priory buildings since 1990. Most of the work involved consists of invisible stitching and mending. However, there is also a process of changing the balance of the way in which the buildings work through a series of discrete insertions. Small-scale alterations have a potential to amplify beyond their own situation. Sometimes the effect is to change the way in which the buildings are used, but more typically the intention is to reveal latent connections. Symbolism and the site can be tied together into new natural arrangements. A useful metaphor is that of a heart pacemaker; something which is discrete, smuggled in, and which reinforces latent rhythms in the organisation. This article will describe two of the inserts in turn, the chapel and the sacristy.

A room in the priory has a doorway out to the garden, and so was chosen for the monks’ private chapel. A distinction is used in monasteries between the chapel as a symbol of paradise and the cloister as a more literal vision of paradise. It is reminiscent of WB Yeats’ poem Sailing to Byzantium, where the “sages standing in God’s holy fire” are contrasted with the “sensual music all neglect” of the natural world. We wanted to work with that contrast. Stable platonic forms within the chapel are therefore consciously set against the wild profusion of the garden beyond.

The room already had a plain distinction of its own which was unlikely to benefit from comprehensive alteration. The task was to raise this ordinary space to sacred status. Look at the painting of the Madonna and Child with St. Francis and Liberale by Giorgione. This is typical of a genre of religious painting which locates the sacred space of heaven by drawing  a screen around it, often brocade or precious fabric. The everyday landscape is seen beyond in all its humdrum activity. Within the screen the prophets, saints and iconic figures of religious life are seen to deport themselves formally in the  rigid hierarchies of paradise. In our garden room a screen was made of honey coloured beeswaxed stucco. It rises to just above head height, a common datum in many Renaissance paintings. Our screen is thus intended to draw a consecrated space within its enclosure.

The chapel is used for the celebration of the mass. This has a strong parallel with the Last Supper where the twelve disciples gathered around a table with Jesus. Early Christian gatherings took the form of a meal in a private house. Changing demands have transformed the domestic character of this celebration in most religious buildings. However, in this tiny private chapel it was possible to configure the space as a more explicit memory of these intimate occasions. We arranged chairs around a central altar. They were tailored to hint at human proportions in such a way that there are twelve presences constantly suggested in the space.

The ambition was to fuse materials and symbols. It is possible to make details which comfortably contain all sorts of underlying meanings without any overt use of religious reference. The tabernacle that we designed is a good example of that process. A tabernacle is a container for the consecrated host; theologically this is understood as the body of Christ. As such the tabernacle has the undertones of house, temple or tomb. Medieval churches often used the plan form of the circle inscribed inside the square to symbolise the tomb of Christ. Hence our tabernacle is a cube of solid oak with a gold-lined  cylinder  hollowed out of the inside. The external form of the cube is intended as an echo of Adolf Loos’ sketch for his own tomb, the fluting on the podium underlining this allusion.

One of the monks told us that the act of approaching the tabernacle was the most precious and intimate of his day. This was developed by turning the act of opening into one of embrace. The only breach in the pure external geometry of the tabernacle is the handle let in to each side. By putting your arms around the cube you find the handles, and pull them apart to split the object in two. It opens out like a great chestnut; fittingly, since the symbols of tomb and seed pod also have overtones of resurrection.

A range of building materials was used which was intended to mediate between the received sense of decorum of the monks, and our own formal ambitions. Everything tended towards gold and amber in order to underline the contrast with the garden beyond. Pure forms were used throughout; cubes, cylinders, cones, discs. The intention was to make a sense of permanence and calm, a still centre in which to gather around. The chapel tends to be made of stucco, brass, gold, limestone, oak, leather, silk and hand blown glass. Light fittings were designed which cast the blowing swirls created during the glass-making process as a pattern onto the floor.

The process of teasing out connotations through detailing has its risks. The twelve light fittings over the chairs were intended to act like late-Gothic baldachins, little turrets above head-height which extended the scale of the seated celebrants. Perhaps they do, but I am told that some visiting abbots made cruel remarks about hairdressers.

If the chapel is about stillness and communal gathering, then the sacristy in the Kensington Priory is about passage. A  conventional sacristy is a space, contingent to the altar of a church, where the priest vests, where precious objects are stored, and where altar wines and oils are kept. It also functions as a small public office for the formalities at weddings, christenings and funerals.

There was a left-over space lodged between the parish church and the old priory, located at the bottom of a light-well and overlooked by ten-storey apartment blocks. The space had almost no daylight, but was nevertheless converted for use as the new sacristy. Its site matched our understanding of its function as a threshold between the ordinary world of the priory and the sacred space of the altar. The priest hence leaves the priory through a gable wall and enters the sacristy. He then washes, vests, prays, and goes through another door in the church wall before emerging beside the altar prepared for the ritual.

In a painting called The Annunciation, by Fra Filippo Lippi, an angel and a mortal face each other. The formal problems caused by the confrontation of the domestic and the supernatural are solved by the use of a loggia, a clearly architectural element. The picture is completely bisected vertically by the threshold. There is a strange sense of interruption suggested by the disembodied hand and the angel’s wing. In our design for the Kensington sacristy, the transition from the domestic world to the altar entails fording a line of light which bisects the room. Daylight is intended to arrive with all the drama of heavenly visitation. The ceiling therefore wraps north light around itself, it shields the priests from overlooking, but it also serves as a memory of the gorgeous angel’s wing.

Threshold conditions in the sacristy are typified by reversals of order. In contrast to the  chapel, the composition is structured using inversions and asymmetries. There is a recurring theme of spirals, and many of the details were intended to openly reverse expectations. All of this was meant to give a sense of a room between two worlds, a place of passage. The drawers to the left of the sink are a simple example of this design thinking. They are arranged in a spiral and are related by proportion to each other. Although identically presented, each of the drawers opens with a different action, playing tricks with the instinct of your hand.

Sprayed mdf fibreboard is used as a neutral surface finish to pick up reflected light from  the priest’s vestments, which are laid out on the counter directly under the roof light. The colours change for different feast days; scarlet, purple, moss green, gold, white, and electric turquoise. Light floods on to the garments from above, and is reflected around the room ensuring that the space changes on different days as various colours irradiate the walls. The walls themselves are conceived as stores with spaces carved out for cupboards, scats, and a little vaulted space for the relic. The insides of the cupboards are lined in oak, a reversal which is intended to underline the preciousness of the contents. Hence the plain exteriors conceal bright robes, linens and jewelled objects. A light beneath a bushel.

The tiny gap that existed between the two buildings was opened to bring a peep of south light in from the garden. To emphasise its warmth, the depth of the wall is lined in oak. There is a small seat, a bookshelf and a desk in this space. It is raised one step up off the floor of the room. The jambs surrounding the window are concealed so that the eye reads the transom and mullion as forming a large asymmetrical cruciform. It reminds the priests of the Cross and me of Lewerentz.

The work in the Kensington Priory is very carefully detailed and crafted. The challenge of this project was to maintain a sense of naturalness in the presence of such intense allusions and bespoke-making of the building. Both the close detailing and the layering of reference can tend to crowd out the direct spatial experience of the architecture. For me, the aspects which work best seem to be those that appear least worked over, and the clumsiest formal moves are those which have resulted from a kind of literalism in translation. I have great affection for the twelve chapel lights. They did not come off quite as intended, but by slipping the close control normally exerted by the design process, they exert a jauntily surreal presence and the room seems warmer for it.

I never did trust Bach anyway.
-IainB (Today at 05:40:09)

yet   he will be Bach
I just put that joke in as a placeholder whilst I wrote a (hopefully) useful response (done now, see above).

What is the question, the answer to which is "9W"?
Is that spelt with a "V" herr Vagner?

Yeah, I never did trust Bach anyway.
But in all seriousness, knowing of a flaw like that wouldn't bother me as I never have trusted VLC anyway. For years I have used it as my main/preferred audio player, but it was always blocked in the settings from going out to the net and I also blocked it at the firewall, just in case. Same with Windows Media Player - but that was because I figured MS (with its deliberate "Rights Management") was in cahoots with the apparent US government corruption by organisations such as (for example) the RIAA and MPAA, who had also got themselves embedded tick-like with the NZ government. Basically "legally" spying on users via ISPs, collecting their usage and downloading metadata and phoning home to good ol' MSHQ or somesuch with the info, prosecuting people for downloading freely available material. No thanks. I don't leave my door open for people/censors like that. My kids could (and do) download all sorts of harmless stuff that I don't need to know about - the harmful (e.g., malware, virus, trojan) stuff is automatically caught and blocked though.
That's why I used Windows Firewall Control (now owned by Malwarebytes), MAFIAA Fire, Simple DNSCrypt and the SoftEther VPN Client + VPN Gate Client Plug-in.

I value and protect the online security and privacy of myself and my family and I don't accept snooping and being "hit" by anyone, especially US or other nation corporate mafia-type organisations sanctioned by the state.

That's quite a nifty workaround.
As to:
...It works almost perfectly now, just one issue remains: can I 'mute' the wheel output so that when it successfully sends a command to f.lux, it will not also scroll the browser window up or down or change the volume in the media player?
- I would be interested to see how that unintended consequence might be addressed.

As to:
Btw, does anyone know how to change the time of when F.lux switches between daytime and nighttime mode? I search on that site but no anser. Thanks!
- I'm not sure whether there is in fact any way to control that, as f.lux seems to automatically take it's day/night switch trigger from calculating where it is on the diurnal/nocturnal cycle depicted in its little chart, which is based on the local timezone. You could try to fudge it by forcing it to a different timezone, I suppose, but that might not seem a very satisfactory approach.

@berkland: Yes, I can tell you, but you will have to send me $10 in Donation Credits first, as my predictions do not come cheaply. I am right 99.9% of the time.

Wow, that really is annoyingly persistent. Sort of like Cortana or Windows Telemetry.
Must be a bug somewhere(?).
It seems you now have it narrowed down to Registry and/or Group Policy settings to fiddle with to finally expunge it.

Yes, they are persistent. I seem to recall that I accidentally discovered how to do this in Win10 Pro - by resetting the wifi device.
Go to Windows+X, Device Manager, Network Adapters and select the wifi device, then do the steps uninstall-reboot-reinstall (or maybe it was disable - reboot - enable) on that wifi device. It expunged the traces in the Registry. Try it and see.

Living Room / Re: Interesting "stuff"
« on: July 07, 2019, 01:40 AM »
...don't forget the food pics, too. Because we're all on the edge of our seats waiting to see if you'll go for stuffed avocado or fish n chips today. That's just part of a really close relationship.
Well, I can empathise with the food pics, because food is a timeless and natural source of sustenance and pleasure, and people ("foodies") who enjoy preparing and eating yummy foods could enjoy swapping food pix and especially recipes - and that's the motivation (sharing useful information amongst a diverse interest group). For example, I'm married to such a person, and I periodically have to clear out the cache in her smartphone, because it's chock-a-block with food pix and recipes shared/swapped instantly (thanks to modern IT&T) with enthusiastic like-minded folk all over the world. The pics serve a valuable short-term purpose and have a potentially short, but useful life and most of the recipes are usually consigned to memory (if they weren't already in the cook's hippocampus) and can be deleted - i.e., they are not necessarily being systematically catalogued. However, the discussion threads containing these pix and recipes provide a treasure-trove of useful reference information on cooking.
Similarly, DC Forum could be regarded as a treasure-trove of useful information on IT&T-related aspects - which brings me to an interesting point about data life-cycle and persistence: If you clear the app cache on a device, then you typically find it automatically deletes most related discussion threads, but that is not so with the Telegram app (runs on Android, iOS and Windows PC client devices). Clearing the Telegram app device cache does not clear the copy that is retained in the Telegram cloud, so the user can always restore that to the same or a different client device. The Telegram cloud data - including discussions and all files (e.g., including audio-video files) - are retained indefinitely (but can be deleted/expunged at any time by the user), but if an account is not accessed within a pre-set period (default is 6 months and the longest is 1 year), then that account and all its data will be automatically expunged.

Living Room / Re: What books are you reading?
« on: July 02, 2019, 09:41 PM »
I wrote above:
...I thought it was an old hat hypothesis  - I mean, I was taught - and thought I understood - that the only real current human evolution that was taking place was in cultural developments...
I usually try to substantiate what I write with examples, but I couldn't find my old lecture notes as I lost them in a fire. However, after scratching my head a bit and using duckduckgo, I eventually managed to come up with this:
The very concept of progress — of the continual betterment of the human condition through the application of science and the spread of freedom — was a product of the European Enlightenment, as Kishore Mahbubani reminds us. These thinkers were among the first to advance the idea that humanity’s problems are soluble, and that we are not condemned to misery and misfortune. The spectacular progress that ensued, first for the West and then increasingly also for the rest, was a matter not of historical necessity, but of diligent human effort and struggle. Pessimism is not just factually wrong, it is also harmful because it undermines our confidence in our ability to bring about further progress. The best argument that progress is possible is that it has been achieved in the past.
– Maarten Boudry

Boudry is a modern philosopher and a very amusing skeptic, but I reckon he makes the above point very well.
Mind you, I do think that some evolutionary cultural developments can turn out to be backward steps or dead-ends, but overall it's probably a sort of "2 steps forward, 1 step backwards" kind of cultural progress, like climbing up a sandhill or scoria-covered mountainside.

This is about How the ubiquitous social networks are changing our societal/cultural imperatives/norms.
I'm not sure whether this is about technology/commercialisation as cultural evolution, or - what would seem to be, on the face of it - an evolutionary dead-end (in human cultural terms). Time will tell.

First off, look at this rather well-made video - as an example: (apologies if you find it cringeworthy/nauseating; I didn't make it.)

You can find lots more similar YouTube videos to the above. They are apparently part of a modern phenomenon of narcissistic self-promotion, and the likely drivers seem to be not very nice, and it's enabled by IT&T (Information Technology and Telecommunications).

Photos, videos or "stories" on Facebok, Instagram, YouTube, or other social networks are becoming a common avenue for people who are seemingly compulsively seeking validation from relatives, friends, or followers, and oftentimes they do that by publishing with videos, photos and media, throughout the duration of these events (as they occur) in their lives or their family's lives - whether it be, for example (say), their wedding, or honeymoon, or a birthday party, or a child's wobbling progress through pre-school kindergarten, or a holiday. The awfulness of having to suffer obligingly by sitting through a viewing of someone's family or holiday snapshots, post-holiday, is thus made worse by the thing having morphed into a sort of monstrously compelling cultural slave-driver for the holidaymaker/honeymooner.

The planning and preparation for, and the time spent on the ongoing scene-shooting for an event and then publishing/posting the photo and video shots, together with appropriate text comments, in timely fashion to the social networks can thus become a major new chore and a new and de facto vitally "necessary" part of the event itself - but it's a chore which potentially could (and usually does, it seems) detract from the very enjoyment of that event. So one now reads reports of "horror holidays", or "horror honeymoons", where what should be a relaxing time and a time to connect with loved ones becomes quite the opposite, due to the overriding compelling objective of attempting to showcase their holiday/honeymoon on (say) Instagram. These people can apparently feel driven by a narcissistic need to prove to the world and be  validated - that they are "having a great time” or "look how much we love each other", or similar - and to upstage others ("keeping up with the Joneses"), and so half or more of each precious day might be spent in production - i.e., shooting photos/videos, flying drone cameras, editing, uploading or planning Instagram posts - rather than holidaying, relaxing and passing quality time with and connecting with loved ones. So what's the point of the holiday/honeymoon, in this context?

One of the feeds I have in my BazQux feed aggregator is a journalistic site - The above is discussed in an interesting commentary: #HoneymoonHell @NYTimes: Might there be a religion ghost somewhere in this story?

Interesting quotes from that article:
  • “It was like a photo shoot for some magazine that would never exist,” said Mr. Smith, 38, a real estate agent in New York, and he didn’t mean that in a good way. He described the weeklong vacation with his new wife, Natasha Huang Smith, as a “sunset nightmare,” “stressful,” “cumbersome” and “torturous.”

  • ...70 percent of brides “post on social media throughout their honeymoon,’ according to the Knot Social Media Survey 2016. The key word there is “throughout.” And the husbands? Maybe they are not into competitive photography to the same degree, for some reason.

  • “You see other people posting photos of their great vacations, romantic engagements, and exciting honeymoons, so you compare yourself to them and feel the need to do the same thing yourself,”  — Gwendolyn Seidman, a social psychologist studying relationships and online behavior and chairwoman of the psychology department at Albright College in Reading, Pa.

  • Maybe it’s because I am, well, old and also, you know, a religious person, but this passage left me with a question: Is this competitive, commercial and materialistic #HashtagHell syndrome more common between people who have been cohabiting for several weeks and months? In other words, there is no “marriage,” in the old sense of the word, to “consummate.” Each partner may have “consummated” a few or even many temporary relationships in the past. [I find this interesting because of what it tells us about the societal/cultural evolutionary trends/implications.]

  • "Marriage and life is not a sacred journey with a partner that -  sacramentally speaking - helps complete you. Life is a movie. Or a website."

General Software Discussion / Re: Macro software?
« on: July 01, 2019, 08:18 PM »
Yes, I rather gave up on PhraseExpress some years ago.
I use a better combination now, which is $FREE***:
My oft-used shorter chunks of repeatable text I keep in AutoCorrect and the larger chunks I keep in CHS (Clipboard Help & Spell), as per notes below - also please refer the quote copied below my notes:
  • AutoCorrect: This monitors the keyboard and not only does it auto-correct your spelling, but also it can expand any saved abbreviations/phrases that you might have previously kept in (say) PhraseExpress (i.e., saved chunks of repeatable text) - and this is regardless of the application you might be typing into at the time.
  • CHS (Clipboard Help & Spell): This is one of the progeny of's Forum Admin (i.e., @mouser). It's actually quite a nifty database with lots of useful features. I use it all the time and it is very handy for storing chunks of text and notes that you might want to keep handy, either for information, or to put into (say) a post such as this one. That's where I had saved the quote copied below, for example.
@orbis: You could also try the excellent AutoCorrect script.
Refer: How to Get Spelling Autocorrect Across All Applications on Your System
Rather than a simple spell-checker it just seeks out most of the usual (and some perhaps not-so-usual) misspellings and auto-corrects them.

If you do not yet use AHK (AutoHotkey), then AutoCorrect could be your single biggest reason for starting to use AHK - several freeware apps (e.g., including some on DonationCoder) are written in AHK and released as code/script, so, if you know how to use AHK script, then you could tailor the apps to more precisely suit your peculiar needs, without needing to bother the original developer.

  • (a) AutoCorrect is fully editable: You can personalise the words and AHK script contents (add, remove, edit) as much as you want, and
  • (b) it's a "text expansion repository": It has a rather nifty feature whereby you can either import all of your most-used AHK general hotkey strings (sentences or paragraphs) as a group, or add them singly on the fly, using the default Win+H hotkey (the default can be changed).

Sample from the AutoCorrect.ahk file:
; Sep 13 2007: Added more misspellings.
;              Added fix for -ign -> -ing that ignores words like "sign".
;              Added word beginnings/endings sections to cover more options.
;              Added auto-accents section for words like fiancée, naïve, etc.
; Feb 28 2007: Added other common misspellings based on MS Word AutoCorrect.
;              Added optional auto-correction of 2 consecutive capital letters.
; Sep 24 2006: Initial release by Jim Biancolo (
; This is an AutoHotKey script that implements AutoCorrect against several
; "Lists of common misspellings":
; This does not replace a proper spellchecker such as in Firefox, Word, etc.
; It is usually better to have uncertain typos highlighted by a spellchecker
; than to "correct" them incorrectly so that they are no longer even caught by
; a spellchecker: it is not the job of an autocorrector to correct *all*
; misspellings, but only those which are very obviously incorrect.
; From a suggestion by Tara Gibb, you can add your own corrections to any
; highlighted word by hitting Win+H. These will be added to a separate file,
; so that you can safely update this file without overwriting your changes.
; Some entries have more than one possible resolution (achive->achieve/archive)
; or are clearly a matter of deliberate personal writing style (wanna, colour)
; These have been placed at the end of this file and commented out, so you can
; easily edit and add them back in as you like, tailored to your preferences.
; Microsoft Office autocorrect list
; Script by jaco0646
; OpenOffice autocorrect list
; TextTrust press release
; User suggestions.
;   Settings
;   AUto-COrrect TWo COnsecutive CApitals (commented out by default)
;   Win+H code
;   Fix for -ign instead of -ing
;   Word endings
;   Word beginnings
;   Accented English words
;   Common Misspellings - the main list
;   Ambiguous entries - commented out


Near the end of the file:
; Anything below this point was added to the script by the user via the Win+H hotkey.

So it is well worth a look. I have used it for ages and wouldn't be without it (like ClipboardHelpAndSpell).    :Thmbsup:

For spelling lookup, with some etymology, I'd recommend the Concise Oxford Dictionary (10th Ed.) - if you can still find it (I think it was not $FREE but I found it in a bundle of secondhand software I bought years ago). It seems to work fine on all Windows OSes/versions from XP and up. I did have the Shorter Oxford, but that failed on later Windows versions.

***Note: $FREE is a relative term. The DC forum relies on donations for apps and content. The user doesn't have to donate, but I usually try to.

Living Room / Re: What books are you reading?
« on: June 30, 2019, 03:11 AM »
@mouser: Thanks for the reference to The Secrets of Our Success (click to get to free download).
I'm familiar with that book, but the thoughts it contains aren't necessarily new or likely to give us an epiphany unless our historical perspective is narrow. Indeed, I thought it was an old hat hypothesis  - I mean, I was taught - and thought I understood - that the only real current human evolution that was taking place was in cultural developments (not that you'd necessarily know it from observation of current MSM reporting). For example, as per Hitler's thoughts in Mein Kampf, above, where - in modern Western cultures - the manipulative MSM are predictably and perpetually trying to control the narrative and tell us how to think and what to think, forcing our collective cognitive gestalt onto their chosen propaganda, whereupon the availability heuristic takes over and we have no time/inclination to look behind the green curtain, and so the propaganda becomes a perception of reality in our minds. It would be unlikely that this wasn't shaping the cultural gestalt to a greater (rather than a lesser) extent.

Why do we fall for this? Well, as Dr W. Edwards Deming put it:
Why are we all so damn stupid?
- i.e., we can't help it. The reason seems to be that our paradigms and perceptions of reality and especially our thinking are filtered through a primitive ego-centric mechanism that is hard to disassociate our thinking from, in a sort of intellectual deadlock, and the smarter the individual (IQ), the more secure the deadlock and the harder it becomes to be objective (De Bono in the book Teaching Thinking). The Vedic philosophers of 3,000 years ago knew about this and called it ahamkara - a state of illusion in the mind, which is perceived to be reality and is connected to the concept of the Self and the survival of the ego. The concept of ahamkara can be found in Hinduism today - as part of the lower (physical) mind below the Buddhi intellect.

So where does developmental cultural evolution likely stem from? What is the key? Arguably from developmental dissonance/stress within a society and its ancient and modern philosophy (and now science) helping us to seek answers.
Interestingly, the excellent (IMHO) SF movie "I Am Mother" (2019) explores this very point, amongst others. I had to stay alert whilst watching it though, as it drip-feeds little clues for the observant to figure out what's actually going on.

However, philosophy seems to be the key: (my emphasis)
Genuine philosophical thought, depending upon original individual insights, arose in many cultures roughly contemporaneously. Karl Jaspers termed the intense period of philosophical development beginning around the 7th century and concluding around the 3rd century BCE an Axial Age in human thought. - per Ancient Philosophy.
I used to feel pretty pessimistic about humanity's forward evolutionary progress, as otherwise "democratic" nations leading the way often seemed to be (especially in the US or Europe, for example) in a near-perpetual state of unrest driven by internecine divisive and antithetical religio-political ideologies intent on destruction/suppression of "the other" - leading to implicit brown-shirting, political correctness, de-platforming and oxygen starvation against "incorrect" thinking and the loss of freedom of thought and speech and ultimately self-destruction of the democracy. In the US for example - the torchbearer for freedom and democracy - think Univ. of Berkely (that bastion of free speech) and where organised riots and apparently complicit administrators shut down freedom of speech, and a US presidential candidate who divisively publicly labelled the voters (potentially half the plebiscite) of their opponent as "a basket of deplorables", or some such, and people apparently still cannot safely walk in a public place in the US wearing the "wrong" sort of hat. In Europe, the Mother of Democracy - the British Parliament - has passed laws limiting freedom of speech - i.e., loosely-defined "wrong" or "incorrect" speech - and on the world stage, the manipulative Google and Facebook seem to be opportunistically encouraging yet more government intervention and regulation of freedoms for self-serving purposes as they attempt to externalise the cost of and their responsibility for mitigating harms to cultures and societies arising directly and indirectly from the delivery of their services (situation normal for a corporate psychopath, which always seeks to externalise the costs of its environmental footprint). Singly and together, these things represent a seemingly remorseless  onslaught on privacy and freedom. I could go on, but you get the idea.
As I said separately to someone else on this forum, the old name for that is fascism (totalitarianism), and the free world had had enough of it and ended up fighting 3 dreadful wars to keep itself and future generations free of it in the '40s. The blood of hundreds of thousands of US and other Allied Forces soldiers still fertilises huge swathes of French land (Allied casualties of war with the Germans/Nazis), and in the Pacific (US casualties of war with the Japanese), for example. We don't need to repeat that.
However, from reading a book from the '80s I saw reason for becoming more positive about the outlook of our cultural evolution, as the potential for forward and developmental cultural evolution was hypothesised in the SRI report, "Changing Images of Man" (download link of OCRed document in the public domain).
It's a study in systems science and world order.
      ...An image may be appropriate for one phase in the development of a society, but once that stage is accomplished, the use of the image as a continuing guide to action will likely create more problems than it solves. (Figure 1 illustrates, in a highly simplified way that will be further developed in Chapter 3, the interaction between "changing images of man" and a changing society.) While earlier societies' most difficult problems arose from natural disasters such as pestilence, famine, and floods (due to an inability to manipulate the human's environment and ourselves in unprecedented ways, and from our failure to ensure wise exercising of these "Faustian" powers-as Spengler termed the term).
      Science, technology, and economics have made possible really significant strides toward achieving such basic human goals as physical safety and security, material comfort, and better health. ...
      pp 4 - 6, Changing Images of Man - SRI report
The SRI report provides a hypothetical semi-sinusoidal model in a diagram and which intriguingly effectively suggests that cultural and social outcomes could be a de facto weighted average of individual desires (in the minds of people). If so, a freedom-negative outcome that most people dislike - e.g., having been pulled into that state by (say) a dictatorship - can't persist over time and will be pushed into an upwards development, through some form of dynamic change (e.g., activism, revolution).
One wave was the force given by the image in the minds of Man as to what the direction of Man's purpose, etc. could/should be, and the other was the force of direction imposed on Man in those societies, by prevailing socio-political standards/forces.
The suggestion was that these two forces alternately pushed and pulled each other apart in a cyclical fashion, and that when they were furthest apart the force to come together became strongest, so they came together and crossed over in a form of over-compensation or drag, exchanging the role of leadership in the alternating push-pull effect. It was a very hopeful model really, but it did offer a fit with history and explained how, for example, periods of tyranny could/would be overcome (e.g., the ending of the oppressive and totalitarian Nazi National Socialist regime in WW2) and society would develop/progress until it met the next period of tyranny, and so on. A model of history repeating, I suppose.


General Software Discussion / Re: Gmail complaint, fixed
« on: June 15, 2019, 12:00 AM »
@ayryq: Thanks for that useful tip. :Thmbsup:

Living Room / Re: Why do I need a router?
« on: June 07, 2019, 11:08 PM »
Years ago I trialled a firewall - "BlackHawk" or something I think it was called - that was not only good at being a firewall, but also monitored and logged all the attack pings received and sent back a query to each one requesting further IP address information (I forget what exactly). In other words, it started probing the attackers.
I thought it was a novel idea, but ultimately unproductive, so I disabled that bit, though it did waste attackers' time/resources, which seemed fair.
It was surprising to see in real time how rapidly the attack pings started to roll in when one started up a connection. The logs could become huge. One of the downsides of computerised automation, I suppose.

Living Room / Re: Boeing 737 exposé
« on: June 06, 2019, 11:51 PM »
On the subject of the Boeing 737 MAX apparently murderously effective collusion of corporate/government chicanery, there seem to be two quite separate aspects to distinguish:
  • The failure to maintain relevant engineering quality/safety standards in the aircraft construction.
  • The software developed for the MACS, which was apparently not fit-for-purpose by a long shot.

In both cases, the motive seems to be profit - cost-containment/reduction - and with a total (psychopathic) disregard for the entirely predictable risks to life that this would necessarily entail as night follows day. It's deliberate - more than just incompetence or negligence.

I was reminded of this today when I happened to be browsing "great engineering mistakes" on duckduckgo and saw this:
Most people, when buying an airline ticket go for the cheapest available flight. Few consider the safety record of the airline. So it takes government or other regulatory intervention to enforce safety standards. The same applies in other sectors. Seat belts are now mandatory on UK coaches. Prior to this becoming a legal requirement, few coach operators fitted them because customers weren’t interested in paying a bit more to travel in a coach fitted with them. Yet, they are known to save lives.
 - Comment by Chris Chris Nabavi, 5th May 2010 at 1:28 pm at Engineering’s Ten Biggest Mistakes

So I went and re-read the article Mish: Boeing 737 Max Unsafe To Fly, New Scathing Report By Pilot, Software Designer. That was mostly about a software engineering mistake in attempting to compensate/conceal a fundamental design failure in the updated aircraft.

These bits jumped out at me:
Design shortcuts meant to make a new plane seem like an old, familiar one are to blame.
This was all about saving money. Boeing and the FAA pretend the 737-Max is the same aircraft as the original 737 that flew in 1967, over 50 years ago.
Boeing cut corners to save money. Cutting corners works until it fails spectacularly.
It all comes down to money, and in this case, MCAS was the way for both Boeing and its customers to keep the money flowing in the right direction. The necessity to insist that the 737 Max was no different in flying characteristics, no different in systems, from any other 737 was the key to the 737 Max’s fleet fungibility. That’s probably also the reason why the documentation about the MCAS system was kept on the down-low.

Put in a change with too much visibility, particularly a change to the aircraft’s operating handbook or to pilot training, and someone—probably a pilot—would have piped up and said, “Hey. This doesn’t look like a 737 anymore.” And then the money would flow the wrong way.
So Boeing produced a dynamically unstable airframe, the 737 Max. That is big strike No. 1. Boeing then tried to mask the 737’s dynamic instability with a software system. Big strike No. 2. Finally, the software relied on systems known for their propensity to fail (angle-of-attack indicators) and did not appear to include even rudimentary provisions to cross-check the outputs of the angle-of-attack sensor against other sensors, or even the other angle-of-attack sensor. Big strike No. 3.

None of the above should have passed muster. It is likely that MCAS, originally added in the spirit of increasing safety, has now killed more people than it could have ever saved. It doesn’t need to be “fixed” with more complexity, more software. It needs to be removed altogether.

There's presumably a warning note to software developers about professional liability/culpability implicit in that...

Living Room / Re: Boeing 737 exposé
« on: June 06, 2019, 11:14 PM »
@holt: Just watched that videoTWA Flight 800 Remastered Re-creation today. Hadn't seen it before. Was a very interesting documentary/reconstruction - including the physical reconstruction of the aircraft from the assemblage of the recovered scattered airplane debris located and salvaged from the ocean floor covering a wide area after it had progressively blown to bits and fragmented along its flight path. Really smart investigation - though interestingly based on the initial and false premise that it was an on-board bomb that had caused the explosion. Closed all the gaps. Thanks for posting.  :Thmbsup:

Interesting too that the FBI left that case as Suspended and Active status, rather than Closed. That means it doesn't necessarily prohibit the introduction of new information/investigation at some future point.

Did they ever do something similar for 911, to close the gaps? I don't recall. Presumably there would have been all the aircraft debris from two aircraft there, all easily located within a small radius around Ground Zero.

Just thinking a bit more about this: Regardless of how the text is put into the image (e.g., whether using ScreenshotCaptor edits, or ZoomIT, or StickyNotes, etc.), there is one image file format that would ensure that that text data becomes persistent, portable and searchable - .TIFF

For years, whenever I migrated to a new laptop, one of the first things I did was to ensure that iFilters were installed for OCR (Optical Character Reading) of .TIFF image files, so that WDS (Windows Desktop Search) could then be enabled to search for text content in those .TIFF image files.

However, in Windows 10, these iFilters now seem to be included by default - hurrah! Goodness knows why it's taken Microsoft this long to get around to doing that. If you look at the WDS settings (Advanced - File Types) you will see they are already set thus:

So, there's yet another approach - and a standards-based one at that - to saving/accessing images containing text.

 Where you write:
What might be the best way of typing a note on the screen before taking a screenshot with Screenshot Captor?
Sometimes I'd like to 'annotate' what and why I'm taking the screenshot.  Would be super to have a small movable note to that effect.  I'd prefer a white rectangular background.  Minimalist.  Editable.  Adjustable-sized font.  Closely cropped to the text.
I think the answer depends on your requirements. For example, I have a similar requirement - I very often want to annotate captured images. For me, those notes are important and useful as they become data or metadata for that image, so I need to have them searchable and copyable.

I tend to do this in one of three ways, depending on how I intend to use the image and the metadata:
  • (a) USE CHS + SC: (Favourite #1 way.) Using SC (ScreenshotCaptor), capture the screenshot/clip image into my CHS (Clipboard Help & Spell) database, and add a note about the circumstances/context of capture to the text tab for that image. CHS is great for this as it enables managing and real fast searching of any text attached to my library of captured images. Good for when you want to keep those details noted and searchable, but don't necessarily need/want the notes themselves to be displayed in the actual image.

  • (b) USE CHS + SC: (Favourite #2 way.) Using SC (ScreenshotCaptor), capture the screenshot/clip image into my CHS (Clipboard Help & Spell) database, and then EDIT the image using SC and add a caption or add/embed a text note object into the image itself - in the same way as @mouser suggests. When I do this, I also copy the text of that note and paste it to the text tab for that image in CHS. Again CHS is great for this as it enables managing and real fast searching of any text attached to my library of captured images. Good for when you want to keep those details noted and searchable - they wouldn't be searchable if you didn't copy/paste the text into the CHS text tab that you had put into the image.

  • (c) Use MS OneNote: (Favourite #1 way for more complex annotation.) Capture and annotate using OneNote, SC and CHS in combination - for example, as in this post: For research, don't take notes, just use clip-to-OneNote
    The method for using OneNote like this when making a complex image+text posting to DCF is described here:
    ...My organisation and use of Notebooks is pretty minimalistic, so I am not into beautifully designed pages such as that digital DM Notebook seems to be.
    After a period of experimentation, I learned to organise my notes using macros and templates as much as possible, and create notes usually using indented numbered or bulleted (collapsible) sections and subsections. As discussed in an earlier post, I also use table cells quite often as "containers" for text and images, since their boundaries are more "sticky" than the main containers on a Notebook page. Containers and images can be dragged and resized.
    You can create and assemble/arrange several containers in a page, and overlay them and add drawings/shapes. They "float" as objects in layers over the page, but they do not retain any attachment or fixed relationship to each other, so that if you change one container, the page layout starts to get messed up. I think that's a limitation.
    I work around it by taking a screenshot (OneNote clip) which gives you a single image of the assembled containers/objects - which latter can then be deleted and replaced by the single image in the clip. Any embedded text in that image is automatically OCR'd and becomes searchable and copyable, so nothing gets "lost".

    If you select and copy a selection of formatted text and images, and paste the contents of the clipboard into (say) irfanview, the whole thing - formatted text and images - pastes as a single image. I sometimes post those single images to a DCF post as my notes. This can save a lot of time - no more messing about with the kludgy BB formatting codes in the DC Forum post editor - I just post the image (sometimes with the same clipboard contents posted as the actual, but unformatted plain text in a spoiler, so people can grab that text if/when they need it - e.g., for hyperlinks).
    Hope that all makes sense.

I suspect this mousepad (or maybe it's the mouse?) can't be fixed easily.
There's a similar problem I've noticed in some 15 year-old (or so) European cars like BMW or VW - which have always tended to use a lot of synthetic plastics (as opposed to say, ordinary rubber) on the outer coating of some rubber/plastic-coated controls/knobs in the passenger compartment. What seems to happen with them is that the outer coating (goodness knows what it is made of) of the control/knob starts to chemically break down. First it becomes slightly tacky to the touch, and then it becomes progressively more tacky to the point where some of the surface material sticks to your skin when you touch it, and it sort of spreads around. It can be removed from the fingers with white spirit, but if you try white spirit on the actual knob/control, then it seems to make the problem even worse for a while until the white spirit has evaporated and the whole substrate melts a bit and becomes gooey.
I've tried all sorts - e.g., including plastic/vinyl cleaner (is usually silicone-based), soap and water, hydrogen peroxide, salt solution, sodium bicarbonate (the main ingredient of baking soda) solution, white spirit, methylated spirit, isopropyl alcohol, gasoline (petroleum) - and they variously have either no effect or make matters worse. I have not yet found anything that sets the tacky surface hard(er)/less tacky.
The only solution so far is thus to replace the part, or (say) apply talcum powder to the the surface of the part. Yes, the latter is a kludge, but it reduces the tackiness and could be a useful temporary workaround - works on babies' bottoms too!  :Thmbsup:

Actually, thinking of babies' bottoms, I haven't tried paraffin oil on these knobs/controls, but that might make the surface smoother/slicker. On the other hand, paraffin (kerosine) is a petroleum product, so it might make it tackier. Either way, paraffinum liquidum (paraffin oil) is non-toxic/harmless (non-allergenic) - it's a tried-and-tested main ingredient in baby oil and is safe for use on babies bottoms (e.g., where there may be nappy rash) and is apparently a main ingredient in many commercially available skin cremes/oils and vaginal/anal lubricants also (it doesn't harm sensitive mucous membranes).
I hasten to add that my only experience with its use is as a generic baby oil and in the form of a herbal skin oil recommended by a doctor, and which bears the brand name Bio Oil:
Bio Oil: Looks like the base is liquid paraffin, which has been safely used for donkey's years.
Manufacturer is Union Swiss (Pty) Ltd. (South Africa).
Contents of Bio Oil:
* Paraffinum Liquidum,
* Triisononanoin,
* Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate,
* Isopropyl Myristate,
* Retinyl Palmitate,
* Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil,
* Tocopheryl Acetate,
* Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil,
* Lavandula Angustifolia Oil,
* Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Oil,
* Calendula Officinalis Extract,
* Glycine Soja Oil,
* BHT,
* Bisabolol, Parfum,
* Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone,
* Amyl Cinnamal,
* Benzyl Salicylate,
* Citronellol, Coumarin,
* Eugenol,
* Farnesol,
* Geraniol,
* Hydroxycitronellal,
* Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde,
* Limonene,
* Linalool,
* CI 26100
See also: https://en.m.wikiped...iquid_paraffin_(drug)

Worth listening to the podcast and watching the video:   :Thmbsup:
RadioLab - Bit Flip
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
May 9, 2019
Back in 2003, Belgium was holding a national election. One of their first where the votes would be cast and counted on computers. Thousands of hours of preparation went into making it unhackable. And when the day of the vote came, everything seemed to have gone well. That was, until a cosmic chain of events caused a single bit to flip and called the outcome into question.

Today on Radiolab, we travel from a voting booth in Brussels to the driver's seat of a runaway car in the Carolinas, exploring the massive effects tiny bits of stardust can have on us unwitting humans.

This episode was reported and produced by Simon Adler and Annie McEwen.
Podcast: Listen at the link above or download MP3 file here.

Video: Quite a well-made video.
(The audio track in the video is all/mostly quite good music and worth downloading in its own right, IMHO.   :Thmbsup:  )

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