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Journal Journal: 15 minutes of uselessness 5

Every day at about 10:45 AM central my Windows 7 computer at the office grinds to a halt, and trying to use the computer is an exercise in absolute frustration. Windows are slow to gain focus, tabs don't change, even typing has a delay that I haven't seen since typing on a BBS with a 300 baud modem decades ago. The weirdest part is that when I try to alt tab to a different application during this, the window I'm trying to get to will actually completely disappear (showing the desktop underneath) for a couple of seconds then reappear as if nothing was wrong. Sometimes the entire monitor goes black and starts to redraw a little bit at a time.

Task manager shows svchost.exe sucking up 800+MB of RAM (on this paltry 1GB system). Even listing the processes and services by PID, it's impossible to tell what's going on, the PID of this svchost.exe process is listed on 15 different services: wuauserv, winmgmt, themes, shellhwdetect, sens, schedule, profsvc, mmcss, lanmanserver, iphlpsvc, ikeext, gpsvc, browser, bits, and appinfo. I'd like to say that I assume it's Windows Update causing this (isn't it always?), but windows update is scheduled to download and install updates at 3AM (and the computer is left on overnight), so either one of those other services is going haywire or Windows 7 hasn't got a clue what time it is.

Any ideas on figuring out what's going on, or is it time to give this thing the ol' reboot reformat reinstall?

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Journal Journal: Two minutes of euuugh 2

Chrome's new bookmark manager is definitely a poster child for "half-ass it then push it to the masses". It seems to be working hard to almost replicate the Windows 8.0 Metro interface that everyone loved down to the "checkmark a tile to open the menu".


If you want to make a new folder, go to the folder you want it to be in and press the NEW button on the left outside of the folders, there's no button for it on the right inside the folder (but there is a button to delete the entire folder from inside the folder).

If you want to drag items into your new folder, drop them quick. If you hesitate Chrome decides that you are re-ordering the items and you want the bookmark to go before the folder even though your mouse is directly over the tile.

If you have nested folders, opening a subfolder seems to randomly display all the elements in the center of the screen where you can't click on anything because its all on top of each other. Sometimes. There's no tree view of nested folders. Top level folders are on the left, after that you have to drill down individually.

No right clicking. Haven't you heard that there's no way to right click on a tablet?

When you checkmark a folder you don't get the option to edit its name or description. You have to open the folder then rename it from the inside.

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Journal Journal: 0.38 Seconds of Hate 2

For the love of all that is holy, please do NOT automatically select shit from a dropdown list if I'm typing and a dropdown opens up underneath where the mouse pointer just happens to be idling on the screen.

Chrome: This. Means. YOU.

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Journal Journal: Holy shitballs, slashdot. Malicious ads being served up.

Love is over.

I was redirected to which dropped a java_installer.exe into my Downloads folder from some ad playing on around 2:30PM central time 7/24

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Journal Journal: Serious proposals to replace obamacare begin 49

The WSJ has floated an opinion piece offering what it calls a conservative alternative to Obamacare, that I think is the first time I've seen any conservative alternative except "Nuh-Uh!" Google news popped it up with a link to which seems to be some sort of glorified rss feed with an HTML skin, so I have no idea if the link will be good for anyone else in the future.

It is, in my opinion, a beginning. In the past, I've called obamacare the wrong answer to the wrong question. This article suggests extending the current employer tax writeoff so that everyone, not just the employers, can buy insurance with tax-free money. Then it goes a step further by means-testing a tax credit for the poor so they can buy privately operated insurance with their tax credit instead of getting Medicaid. I think this is a good start to answering the question of how to make it possible for everyone to get at least minimal health insurance (if they want it. This is the conservative version, remember).

It is still the wrong question, though.

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Journal Journal: Obama Lied About Benghazi 8

Some people don't know that Obama lied. But it's obvious fact based on the evidence. In another discussion some apparent trolls were complaining about the claim, but I am uninterested in discussing it, but for those who are interested, the basic summary is this:

* The administration said, for weeks, that the video and the unrest around it was a cause of the attack on the embassy in Benghazi.

* They claimed that the evidence led them to say so.

* They have never provided any such evidence. Some of what they claimed happened -- such as protests existing at the embassy in Benghazi -- was false, and there was never any evidence it was true (maybe in the first hours, but not after the first days).

* There was much evidence, even in the first days, that the attack was preplanned, but it was ignored in favor of the nonexistent evidence of spontaneity.

* The documentary evidence shows that, from the beginning, they had evidence that it was preplanned, and the only "evidence" of spontaneity cited was that it happened soon after protests in Cairo.

Draw your own conclusions, but I do not believe that the President would say it was a spontaneous reaction to the video without some evidence of it, and he had none. He said it because he thought it was believable and wanted to win an election, and if it were preplanned then it is a failure of his administration.

If you want more, check out last week's 60 Minutes report by Lara Logan. Most of it has to do with showing that we a. knew the attack was coming and b. didn't take reasonable steps to prevent it.

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Journal Journal: 2.8 seconds of hate - bash-completion 1

In an effort to be fancy and helpful, bash now has context aware tab completion (in the bash-completion package on Debian). Based on where you are and what command you're typing, pressing tab will Do (what the completion script writer thought was) The Right Thing.

Unless what you think is the right thing was was the behavior of older versions of bash where you could do


and (eventually, ** is damn slow) get a list of all of the matching files. It also worked with [...] {...} ? or any of the other bash wildcards. You know, just in case you wanted to see what your command is going to do before you hit enter.

Now I have to ^U, ls ^Y, then ^Y, which takes about 2.8 seconds (including the realization that bash is just going to keep beeping at me if I keep hitting tab). Or disable fancy and helpful completion with complete -r

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Journal Journal: Two minutes of WTF 1

So I right clicked in an explorer window in windows 7 and went to "New >" on the menu and the submenu didn't open. I clicked it a few more times and nothing happened. I clicked it a few more times and the entire explorer shell crashed and restarted.

Wish I knew why the hell it sometimes takes 30+ seconds to get to "New Word Document" on my work computer.

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Journal Journal: 2 mins of hate: What can make me switch to a new RCS again 1

Three words: Four. Way. Diff.

Show me where my patch (before and after) conflicted with the last patch (via blame) before and after. Bonus points if you can show both complete commit messages. Extra bonus points if you look at the branch, figure out where it went wrong (at what point did my patch last apply cleanly?) and show me all the commits since.

Telling me shit's fucked up doesn't help anyone (that's what I got with cvs).

Telling me what I was trying to do tells me what I was trying to do, not what Bob was doing when he checked in before me, but at least I know what the hell I was doing when I did it months/years ago (this is where I am now with git rebase).

Telling me what the hell I was trying to do and what the hell Bob was trying to do, now that's what I need, because now I know what it's supposed to be doing when I'm done merging the code and can do so with a reasonable degree of confidence that both Bob and I will be happy with the result.

For my company's workflow, this would be the holy grail of revision control. I'd even be tempted to use a graphical tool to do it.

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Journal Journal: Today's two minutes of hate

git, a love/hate relationship. Right now, hating really really hard.

You can do all sorts of incredible things with it, but there's so much that seems obvious I ought to be able to do, but just can't see how.

Case in point: git rebase. This is an incredibly powerful tool that lets you take changes and apply them to a different branch, one at a time very rapidly (if there are no conflicts). If a conflict arises, the process pauses, tells you where it died, lets you fix it, then you git rebase --continue. EXCEPT you get half of the first line of the commit message (despite being on a 128 column terminal it cuts off at 80) and no hash or any other way (I can find) to look up the complete description of the current commit being fixed (other than aborting the whole thing, going through the complete log to find the commit starting with whatever message then starting again (rerere makes this not painful, just annoying)). Oh, and if you used a branch name, that branch name is MOVED to the new location.

Other case in point: git merge. This is an incredibly powerful tool that throws everything together all at once and lets you deal with the aftermath. Conflicts, conflicts everywhere and no explanation of what the code is supposed to be doing. Fortunately, someone made a git-merge-like-rebase script that creates a temporary branch, rebases it to the target, then deletes the temporary branch leaving you with the original branch where it was (like merge) but applying one commit at a time (like rebase).

Still, I just took 2 hours of work doing something that would have taken 2 days in CVS, thanks to git rebase (rolling out a new version of our code for one of our customers with a heavily customized application. Rebased their custom branch onto our new release branch, fixed all the conflicts where they want customers sorted firstname lastname or blinking red lights or whatever and done). Probably could have done it in 1:30 if I didn't have to go back through the log to figure out how to fix "Change order of fields so that customer rep appears before ". I'm working in more and more tricks to reduce conflicts every upgrade so hopefully I'll have it down to less than an hour soon.

So now I love it again.

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Journal Journal: Life post Google-Reader 5

So Google followed through on their threat to kill Reader and I ended up having to track down a new RSS feed reader. Having been bitten by the Cloud, I decided it'd have to be locally installed, after trying a few I've settled on FeedDemon (now discontinued, a shame) as "best so far".

The one thing I really, really miss about Google Reader (which in fact was the reason I started bothering with RSS in the first place) is that it had a bookmark you could set that would open the URL of the next unread item in your queue. Dragged the bookmark to the bar, and one click gets me to read something new and exciting (and middle click to read lots of new and exciting things in tabs). Sure, every time someone published an RSS entry without a URL google gave me a 500 error and marked every single article read, but hey, it was damned convenient when it didn't implode.

FeedDemon gives me a link to click on each article to open in its (embedded IE) browser, but as I go down the list of articles it doesn't automatically remove the read ones nor does it automatically add new unread articles unless I manually refresh the article list (maybe I'm doing it wrong?). It has a "Next Unread" button but it doesn't open the URL, it just shows the RSS item header and then I have to click it to open the URL.

Strongly considering taking some of what I learned in the Coursera python class a while back, this feed parsing library, and learning wxPython (platform independence!) and spinning my own. It won't do much, but it WILL have a button that launches a chosen browser with the chosen URL (thinking of making it a systray icon: left click to open next item, right click for menu, blinks when there are unread articles).

It could even pop up a window to display an article with no URL.

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Journal Journal: 20 seconds of hate: outlook, *again* 1

Hello, Microsoft. Please explain to me the reasoning why when a meeting is sent to people, they get a blank email with an .ics file attached, which is absolutely fucking useless to everyone not using a calendar app?


BTW, yes, I know about the option to turn ical off, explain to me why the FUCK you are incapable of sending a readable email with an attachment.

"Open the pod bay doors, HAL." -- Dave Bowman, 2001