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Messages - IainB [ switch to compact view ]

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Living Room / Re: Free call recorder for Android
« on: September 14, 2019, 02:32 AM »
There seem to be lots of phonecall recording apps in the Google PlayStore and/or the Samsung app store.

However, the ability to record audio, including automatically recording two-way phone conversations and linking those phonecall recordings to the Contacts database seems to have been built-in to the standard Android 6.0 OS (Marshmallow) with the Samsung Voice Recorder app.
I was quite surprised when I "discovered" it in my primary phone - a refurbished Samsung Galaxy S7 SM-G930P (Android 6.0) that I purchased a while back. The app was impressively stable and useful, and was based on the Samsung Voice Recorder, which could be set to record phonecalls as well, if the user wanted that.
But maybe not all phones are the same. For example, I noticed in a Samsung Galaxy S7 SM-G930F (Android 6.0) that I used as a backup the other week, that there was no similarly built-in phonecall recording functionality, and Samsung Voice Recorder doesn't have the phonecall recording functionality on this other phone, so I used a free app. (CallRecorder by LoveKara) that is not quite as good (for my requirements) as the Samsung app was on the primary phone.

@mouser: As a regular user of SC I'd like to contribute some suggestions for future/new features, but, quite frankly I reckon it's pretty good as it is. So, if if you've not been asked to build in new features and if it's not broken, then I'd not see much point in updating it.

@mouser: Well done if you manage to block that spam. It's a real PITA and clogs up the DCF feed.

This problem sounds kinda familiar, but it might help to know more about it.
I would suggest that, if you haven't done so already, then it might save some time to identify the problem more precisely. Just look simply at a couple of those those tracks that consistently display sound artefacts when played on the car's audio system. If they consistently display the same artefacts when played from the same USB stick, but on another player, then you will have probably correctly identified the problem (corrupted data), but not its cause.

If otherwise though:
(a) Can you also hear the artefacts when the radio is on and whilst the car is being driven and the engine is running?
(b) Do the artefacts when playing the mp3s only occur whilst the car is being driven and the engine is running?

In either case, then, from experience (and if it's a conventional gasoline-powered vehicle), I would suggest that you check over the condition of the car's ignition system, in particular the HT leads. If the sparkplug leads are invisibly breaking down (end-of-life) or have old suppressors (which could be invisibly failing), then there'd likely be a lot of strong bursts of electo-magnetic radiation going on under the hood due to sporadic HT arcing. This radiation could usually cause interference on the car radio aerial or any unshielded audio wires and would typically come out variously as a regular "ticking" sound, or intermittent pops, crackles or "whizzing" sounds.

The same thing could happen if the spark plug insulators are failing (like the HT leads and suppressors, they don't last forever, but plugs do need to be periodically replaced, whereas HT lines tend to last longer and thus get overlooked), or it might just be that the spark plug gap has not been checked at relevant service intervals for a long time and has worn too wide and now needs to be reset to its correct gap for that plug+vehicle. In the latter case, once the plug gaps are set correctly and assuming the plugs and HT leads etc. are otherwise OK, then your engine will probably run smoother and get some power back.

Just some thoughts.

General Software Discussion / Re: Syncovery - OneDrive - Encryption
« on: August 22, 2019, 05:15 AM »
Can I use Syncovery to synch my files to OneDrive without using the OneDrive folder on my machine in more or less real-time and with encryption on OneDrive?
So that any file I set Syncovery to sync will get uploaded to OD with encryption when I change the file on my PC?
That's interesting.
When one saves stuff to either OneDrive or Google Drive, both services examine the data and will sometimes:
  • A: delete bits of your files - e.g., suspected virus in a file attached to a OneNote document page that the client PC's Windows Defender didn't spot.
    When this happens it discombobulates the syncing for the entire Notebook, leaving the Notebook "unsyncable". One then enters a world of pain trying to restore the situation, which can only be done by detailed analysis and comparison of the primary and cached copies of the Notebook being synced.

  • B: CHANGE the item by attaching a non-removable flag to it (e.g., licenced/copyrighted material that bore no copyright when it was given to you) - in the case of a flag, the flag is permanent/persistent and you can never get your original file back in its original state.

By definition, a backup site needs to be trusted, and one cannot trust any site that does the above (QED).
So, it's caveat emptor and one need have no illusions about that.
Therefore, if I want to truly protect my stored data on OneDrive or Gdrive, I parcel it in an encrypted .7z compressed file. (That's also a good way to minimise storage utilisation.)
I have my User ID folders synced to OneDrive by default, so I can theoretically go to another Windows PC and get the same (current) data in those folders on whatever client I am using, but I don't really need encryption for those.
One of my main PIMs (Personal Information Managers) is OneNote. The user can have several OneNote Notebooks open at the same time, and they could be variously held either on the client device or in the Cloud (on OneDrive). I have most of them in the Cloud now, so I am usually working on a cached copy of a Notebook which is held locally on the client device and changes to it are regularly mirrored up incrementally as they occur, to the primary copy in the Cloud.
The user can encrypt whole Notebooks, or just some subsections/pages in the Notebooks. The user has to open them with the appropriate key in order to read/write to them, or search them (when closed, these encrypted objects become invisible to searches).
When I want full encryption, I tend to use MEGAsync for stuff that could be dynamically changing, or Telegram for encryption of general and large file storage (e.g., movies collections, .MP3 collections). Telegram (which is $FREE for ever and with full functionality) is very secure and potentially amazingly useful, as, once files have been saved into the default Telegram Cloud, the user can clear (delete) them out of the local client device's cache - which could be on (say) a PC, or a smartphone. Those files remain in the Telegram Cloud and can be downloaded by the user to any client device, or sent as shared links for those files to be downloaded by other users.
Anything (file or discussion) stored in the Telegram Cloud is encrypted and will stay there either until the user deletes it, or when the user account has not been active for 12 months - in which latter case, the Telegram system auto-expunges that account and all its (still encrypted) data.

Living Room / Re: Any good free android scientific calculator?
« on: August 21, 2019, 03:11 PM »
I used to have PowerCalc but it seems is no longer available.
I would like it to be fully scientific and to show parentheses.
Any idea?
If you go to the Google Play store ( and then search variously for:
 * calculator
 * programmable
 * scientific calculator
 * graphing calculator
 * tape calculator
 - then I suspect that you may find an abundance of good calculators to meet your requirements and you could literally be spoiled for choice.

People naturally tend to have their preferences and that is illustrated by some of the responses given by DCers above - the calculators suggested are all good calculators - but such preferences can sometimes stand in the way of one's finding an even "better" calculator (for one's peculiar requirements), thus, with any apps/proggies I would always recommend taking as wide a view as possible and using an objective "suck-it-and-see" approach. That way, you can risk being surprised to find that what you thought were your requirements becomes augmented by newly-discovered requirements because of some nifty feature(s) which you hadn't previously realised was/were available or possible - e.g., which was my experience and that of others upon trialling Microsoft OneNote - "Wait, it can do that?.
Wait, that is also possible? Could you elaborate on how to do it? I just did a quick search online, but it seems it is only possible for audio and video recorded by OneNote?

Again, for example, until I stumbled upon it and trialled it, I didn't realise how very useful the Free42 calculator could be (Free42 is a re-implementation of the HP-42S calculator and the HP-82240 printer).
I know your OP was about an Android-based calculator, but wondered whether you had considered other devices (e.g., the PC). For example, Microsoft Mathematics 4.0 - Mini-Review (scientific math + graphing calculator).
Hope that helps or is of use.

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.

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