Fire From The Sky

July 23, 2015

CENSORED

Filed under: Humor,LGBT,Me,Rant,Wottever — Tags: , , , — t3hm4d0n3 @ 4:22 pm

I followed this link from Twitter, enjoyed it immensely, retweeted it, and tried to post it on Facefuck. I was prevented from doing so. FINE! I will share it even more. If you think it is offensive, don’t share it.

3 Dads

I’ve encountered Facecrap’s nannying before, and I will never condone it. Why stop people from posting good things, but allow bullying and bullshit?

May 17, 2015

Wow I’m So Cool

Filed under: Me,Wottever — t3hm4d0n3 @ 12:44 pm

Yep, changed my site password and forgot to tell WordPress.

April 29, 2015

Office Clipboard

Filed under: computer — Tags: , , , , , — t3hm4d0n3 @ 1:12 pm

For years I suffered from stuck clipboard in MS Office 2010, especially when setting up newsletters in Publisher. I finally got off my butt and found out what the problem was.

^#&$@#&%$ Office has its own &%^$^$$ clipboard. Sometimes, when you’ve been doing a lot of copy/paste within the working file, it sticks on the last copied item and won’t paste an item copied from another source.

The solution is to clear the Office clipboard — but they hid it so well that it might as well be an “Easter egg”. I always put my favorite commands, at least those that I don’t know a keyboard command for, on the Quick Access Toolbar. Today, I decided to see if I could do that with the well-hidden clipboard. It was so easy, I’m embarrassed.

Hers’s the skinny for those of you who are ribbon-challenged:

First…

Ribbon - Home

Ribbon – Home

Then, find the damned clipboard, and right-click on the nearly invisible corner-arrow-thingy

Find Clipboard

Find Clipboard

Do it!

Right-click menu

Right-click menu

And there it is

Quick Access button!

Quick Access button!

Click your new button to make the clipboard appear and disappear. Click “Clear all” for instant relief of Clipboard Constipation.

Clipboard

Clipboard

These screenshots are from MS Word, but the menu is the same for Publisher or Excel. I’m hoping it’s the same in Office 2013.

There is a keyboard shortcut, but it’s relatively complex. Much as I like using the keyboard, even I find the mouse version of this trick faster.

I’m still flinging out the not-so-rhetorical question: Why the HELL didn’t they make it more obvious in the first place? Why have something that is supposedly useful so well hidden, and with no option to turn the whole bloody thing off, when it can be such a butt-pain?

Quick-n-dirty screenshot series by IrfanView

November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Filed under: Me,Rant — Tags: — t3hm4d0n3 @ 1:51 pm

Dinner is cooking, and it smells great. No turkey. No great expectations. No plans for the next artificial emotional pump-up. No one screaming and cursing at the TV, no after-dinner battles to sour the food. It’s quiet, peaceful. Enjoyable.

Not all families are like that, but I know mine wasn’t unique — there are enough divorces and warped personalities. Constantly shattered hope leaves deep scars, whether or not the victim is consciously aware of them. Life can be rotten for children of parents who can’t grow up.

If you can enjoy your holidays as they are, all is well. If not, if all the promises are only lies that smile, something needs to change. I refused to carry on a sickened tradition. I make my own.

Please, save your sympathy for those who have not clawed their way to freedom. I’m having a great day.

September 30, 2014

April Girl

Filed under: Me,Music,poetry,Writing — t3hm4d0n3 @ 11:37 pm

This is a song that I wrote during my early-90s burst of warped creativity. Some people have read things into it that annoyed me (one stupid bitch in particular whose name I have forgotten, whose soul is torn by the avenging spirits….). Needless to say, whatever you read into it has more to do with your perceptions than my state of mind, because this is a conscious work of esthetic engineering.

It all started with a dream that I had long before I even learned to play a guitar. The song in my dream was so powerful that I could never forget one line: Have you seen the April girl walking in the rain?. One night I set to work constructing this from that one line.

April Girl

When all the smoke has cleared, you’re there;
living with yourself, trying not to care.
Every heart of gold has pain enough to share.

Have you seen the April girl walking in the rain?
So many things are on her mind that she can not explain.
She can’t help crying sometimes when she feels so very much.
There’s nothing to hang onto and there’s no one there to touch.

Who are you, to think you know the way?
When all the colors fade, you’re there;
living with yourself, trying not to care.
Every heart of gold has pain enough to share.

Happiness is just a toy you play with when you’re stoned.
There’s nothing left inside you when you’re sober and alone.
Is there anything to live for when you face another day?
Can you save some for tomorrow? Should you throw it all away?

Who am I, to think I know the way?
When all the music ends, you’re there;
living with yourself, trying not to care.
Every heart of gold has pain enough to share.

The April girl is trying hard to walk away from pain.
Her tears are running down her cheeks and mixing with the rain.
No one sees her, no one gives a damn for what she feels.
The planet goes on spinning like a cast-off useless wheel.

Who are we, to think we know the way?
When all the smoke has cleared, you’re there;
living with yourself, trying not to care.
Every heart of gold has pain enough to share.

June 18, 2014

Star Dreamer

Filed under: Music,poetry,Wottever,Writing — t3hm4d0n3 @ 12:27 am

A song that I passed some time with ca. 1991

Star dancer, far dreamer, my ship on the sea
Nightmist and starwind bring visions to me
Flowers are opening under the sky
Come with me, dream with me, just you and I
Breathe deeply the sweet air of earlier times
Rest in the soft darkness as the moon climbs
Soon we’ll be traveling far out in space
Safe in the shelter of our secret place

The other person in this scenario was a cat. Horbie Adorable was an angel who put up with me for many years. She still guards my heart.

April 20, 2014

A Better Mouse Trap

Filed under: Me,Wottever — t3hm4d0n3 @ 3:56 pm

How to Build and Use a Mouse Cannon

In a moment of desperation, I added what I know to what I have and came up with the simplest — and most effective — mousetrap I’ve ever used. Click the images to view full size.

pvc tube, can, duct tape

tape together

peanut butter bait

deployment

The main tube of mine is about 27 inches long, and it’s 4 inches wide. You can use a cardboard tube if it’s smooth enough, but you might want to paint the inside anyway to waterproof it. Metal would work fine too, of course. The bottom part has to be waterproof if you use the wet method of mouse deletion. It should not be any shorter, lest the mice jump out.

Getting rid of the mouse may be a problem for some. My method is to dump in some water and put the cannon on an unheated porch for an hour or so. Hypothermia takes down the wet mouse, and there is only body disposal to deal with. Whatever you do, don’t just softheartedly dump a live mouse outside, because it will just come right back in.

After deleting the mouse, add fresh peanut butter and re-deploy the cannon. Smearing the peanut butter with a small piece of cardboard or paper and dropping the disposable utensil in the tube adds to the allure. So will adding a slice of potato or apple, if your mice are seeking out moist food.

Good hunting! I caught 8 mice in about a week and a half.

Infographics hastily and crudely executed in InkScape, with a little help from The GIMP.

April 10, 2014

i can haz scripts

Filed under: code,computer,Me — Tags: , , , — t3hm4d0n3 @ 11:24 pm

One thing I sometimes miss, since I left Windows, is Free Commander, with its myriad features. I still use it whenever I’m stuck for a while in Microsoft Land, and sometimes even in Debian, but when I’m “at home” my default file manager is Nautilus. Though it doesn’t have the dual panes or many built-in handy tools and shortcuts of dear old FC, Nautilus has its own charm.

One of those charms is the ability to add scripts that do — whatever needs to be done. Plop them into the proper directory, and they magically appear in the “Scripts” submenu of the context menu.

There are some amazing online repositories of Nautilus scripts. I cherry-picked the ones I liked, and then added a few modified scripts to fit my personal needs.

In Windwoes, I use my AutoHotKey built “File Memo” to drop notes about — heh, files, of course. In Debian, I use my “File Memo” Nautilus script to do the same thing. It actually works better than the Windows proggy, which has awkward moments in 7.

Because I don’t like the IMG_ prefix on photos fresh from my camera, I edited a little renaming script to remove that and lowercase the extension. It handles mass photo renamings faster than FC!

And then there was the awful screenshot name thing. So far, I don’t think anyone has shot, hung, castrated, or otherwise mutilated the person responsible for causing Gnomish screenshots to have colons and spaces in their names. He deserves pain. There are programs that won’t open thus-named files; they can’t be uploaded to photo sharing sites or forums. Soooo…I combined features of two different scripts and trimmed down the result to produce one that fixes the names. “Screenshot from 2014-04-09 00:04:45.png” becomes “2014-04-09_00-04-45.png”. Short and compatible.

No great feats, and very little original work, but they save time, eliminate a lot of potential annoyance, and I learned a few things while working on them. Here they are:

my scripts

February 8, 2014

Absurdity of Spam

Filed under: computer,Me — Tags: , , , , — t3hm4d0n3 @ 10:34 pm

mustclickspam

If you really have to follow a link in spam, if you just can’t help it, totally can’t control yourself, must do it, will die of stupidcuriosity if you don’t, SLAP YOUR HAND. Then, carefully move the cursor to the Delete button and annihilate the temptation.

Your computer will now have a slightly better chance of survival if the purpose of that linked page is to launch a hidden malware attack.

This post was inspired by a spam email from “Alaska Appellate Court” with a Japanese return address and a link to a page in a German gaming forum. I can hardly imagine a less likely mixture. Yet there must be people who will blindly bite on something this idiotic, or the crap would stop happening. Parasites can’t survive without a host.

Oh — how did I know where the link went? I copied it and pasted it into a text editor. Then I copied the part from “http” to “/com”, leaving out all the gibberish after, and pasted it into my browser. See, I’m curious. Just not curious enough to be a dead cat.

January 19, 2014

Home At Last

Filed under: computer,Me — Tags: , , , , — t3hm4d0n3 @ 7:59 pm

…Or, Why I Kicked Windows into the Bitbucket and Started Living.

cracked Windows
My computing life began with Windows; I “grew up” in it. Sometimes I dual-booted one or another Linux distro, but Windows, whatever version, was my main workspace since early 2001. From 95 to Vista (and 7 at work), I slogged through Microsoft’s increasingly baroque file systems. The inadequacies of Windows’ default apps — and the cost of popular “Big Box” software — drove me to become an expert at finding and acquiring whatever I needed in the realm of freeware. I became the Queen of Free, the Crocodile Dundee of the Internet, exploring the hostile jungle of third-party software unscathed.

When 8 reared its ghastly hybrid head, I knew the end had come. However, I was reluctant to abandon the relatively comfortable work environment I had struggled for years to build. When I get my next computer, I said, then I will leave Windows behind.

But Windows secretly plotted its own demise. On October 31, 2013, I rebooted to a nasty surprise: I could no longer log in to my normal user account. As far as Windows was concerned, it didn’t exist.

My first thought, of course, was to restore or re-create it. Then I came to my senses. Why waste the rest of the day beating a dead horse? After backing up some files, I re-partitioned the primary drive and installed Debian.

The honeymoon was fantastic.

I still have to deal with Windows at my day-job and on client computers. I also have to use it now and then at home — but it’s not my home any more (if it ever was). For the sake of the one video game I’ve let myself get addicted to, I keep Vista on a small partition, booting in a few times a week to play and socialize with my clan. A virtual Win7 machine takes care of odd take-home jobs that require windows-specific software (read MS Publisher, aghhh). These occasional exposures to Windows remind me how good I have it.

There are occasional bumps in the road. Not long ago I did something dumb, during a groggy morning, that resulted in complex damage to my beloved Debian. Unable to log in, and knowing that what I had done had left more mess than I wanted to clean up, I simply re-installed the OS. There was no loss of significant data and very little need to re-configure anything. Programs lost in the process were re-installed on demand with no fuss, and with their old configurations. Can you imagine a fresh install of Windows coming back with the same color scheme and wallpaper? Browser bookmarks still there, custom spell-check dictionary intact? With anything not reverted to default?

What makes this possible is the file system. Windows hoards every scrap of data, keeping its precious secrets in deeply nested hidden places, and doesn’t even want its users to understand where their own files are. Linux is open and logical. You do have the option to toss everything in one place when installing, but if you at least give Root and Home separate partitions, your personal files and preferences are kept apart from the nuts-and-bolts of the system. You can fix a broken engine without ripping the seats out of the car; your maps and your sunglasses are safe in the glove compartment. A full Windows re-install is always more like melting everything down for scrap and buying a new car.

Windows is selfish, inflexible, and unforgiving. It’s a control freak. It protects itself first, at the expense of its users. You pay for it, you jump through legalistic hoops every time you install it, and it rewards you with uncaring disdain. It makes a great show of security, temporarily blocking your every move, while all the time it leaves itself vulnerable to the simplest hacks from outside. Because of its awkward complexity, nearly every slow, aggravating update requires a reboot. Why do people put up with it all, when most of them don’t do anything but email, socializing, and other system-independent trivia? Mainly, I think, because it absolves them of responsibility for their own actions.

Linux does not assume that you are a moron. It will not insult your intelligence by hiding 99% of its file system behind a facade of symbolic links. Nor does it try to keep you confused about what is on your computer and what is on the Web. It provides you with more tools right out of the box than you’ll ever see in Windows, including easy means of installing thousands more free utilities without risk. With a few mouse-clicks, you can add software that will do almost anything you can imagine. No need to sift search results for safe downloads–or clean up a mess if you didn’t sift well enough. Linux is certainly not foolproof, but it doesn’t try to fool you or make a fool of you.

My move from Windows to Debian involved no trauma or hardship; I was simply coming home. At last I had an operating system that welcomed me, inviting me in rather than arbitrarily restricting me. There was nothing that I was accustomed to doing that I couldn’t do as well or better.

How can I not love it? Debian is the only operating system I’ve ever lived with day-to-day that returns my love.

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