Category Archives: GeekStuff

Edge with no tabs

I’ve hated tabs before tabs were a thing. Back in “the day” most applications followed a design called the Multi-Document Interface ideal: you had one app window with a lot of document windows within it. If you’ve been around long enough, you will remember the day when apps like Word started opening individual documents with their own Word environment, ushering in the SDI (Single Document Interface) era which was sparked by Mosaic, Netscape, and Internet Explorer.

Then something went wrong. I know OS/2 had tabs. So did Lotus Notes. So does OneNote, which I love, but in all of these cases, they used tabs to logically split functional groups of controls. It wasn’t about keeping documents together. But now it’s 2018 and we have Edge, Chrome, and Firefox all offering tab bars that are auto-populating themselves with content that you can’t [ironically] ALT+Tab or Command+Tab to.

Recently, Edge has changed to that if I forget to hold down the Shift key when I click on a link, it opens in the same window or in a new tab. Rather than trying to remember holding down the key, I thought it would be best to have an Edge extension take care of this for me.

Edge with no tabs is pretty simple: any time Edge opens a new tab, it grabs the URL, opens a new window, and passes the URL to it. Then it cleans up the now abandoned tab. I also put this in the Microsoft Store so installing it is the same as any other extension, but I’ve included a direct link to it to save you time. Also, as with most of my projects these days, it’s an open source thing so you can check out the source as well!

Edge with no tabs 1.0: install | source code

Windows 10: Turn on SMB v1 for clean installs (starting with 1709)

Over the weekend, we got a new desktop in the house and as per usual, I blew away the bloated pre-installed image in favor for a clean install of Windows 10 Pro. Post install, I found 4 drivers that defaulted to the built-in Windows versions; clicking “Update driver” immediately reached out to Windows Update and I had a completed and successful install. Some time after that, Jolene mentioned that “Scan to network folder” from our HP printer wasn’t working and if I could take a look at it.

Six hours later I was ready to smash the desktop and the printer in short order. I considered peeing on the monitor for good measure. This note is to prevent the same problem from happening in the future.

As it turns out, on clean installs of the 1709 build of Windows 10, a particular component of Windows is no longer installed with the rest of the OS. A component that shipped in Windows for a long, long time and continues to be left in place on computers that are upgraded to 1709. A component that will prevent most printers from successfully talking to any PC in the house. Because of this change I found that while the new box had issues, the reset of the PC’s in the house didn’t have this issue and could scan over the network successfully.

*sigh*

The change was seemingly made for security purposes. I can’t object to that, but at no point did anything in the printer/scanner configuration – pages or app – tell me what the problem was. Whenever I tried to scan to the network share, I got error messages like “An error occurred communicating with the scanning device” or “An error occurred while communicating with the HP imaging device” which was great because these message appeared on pages that were hosted by the printer/scanner! Odd in that I had to connect to the device successfully to get the error messages telling me I couldn’t connect.

I rebooted all the things. I reset the printer to factory settings four times. Re-installed Windows twice. Searched Bing and Google and HP support sites. Saw a bunch of posts on HP’s site that strongly state the most recent firmware – released this October – broke “Scan to network folder” for everyone (which is again odd, since I had three machines that continued to support the feature.) And then, after randomly clicking links and searches, I saw a tiny blurb on a related post somewhere that called out that SMB v1 was disabled on clean installs of Windows 10, starting with September’s build. And that printers would have to take a firmware update to re-enable some functionality for machines in this state.

*SIGH*

TL;DR version, if you are having issues where your printer/scanner does not talk to your PC after a clean install of Windows 10 (1709 or newer) you can re-enable SMBv1 support temporarily, until your printer gets a firmware update to support SMB v2 or v3:

  1. Open Settings on your PC (Win+I)
  2. Search for “Turn Windows feature on or off”
  3. Find “SMB 1.0/CIFS File Sharing Support” in the tree
  4. Make sure everything underneath the parent node is selected – for me Server wasn’t
  5. Reboot

At this point, scanning to the network share should be working again. If it’s not, give the printer a reboot; if it still doesn’t work, my apologizes for the lengthy post that didn’t work for you.

Mostly, I’m taking this note down to remind myself that this needs fixing on new installs.

Thanks, CodePlex – Hello, GitHub

Looks like CodePlex is beginning it’s long ride off into the sunset! As part of that, people that have their source code in the TFS instance we being encouraged to migrate their projects to GitHub. It’s a pretty straightforward process and so I’ve been spending some time getting my existing source up there:

SharpKeys, for keyboard remapping: https://github.com/randyrants/sharpkeys

SharpMT, for blog writing: https://github.com/randyrants/sharpmt

Compile and enjoy!

RDC, DPI, and You

I recently became the proud owner of a Lenovo Yoga X1. This replaced my generation Lenovo X1 Carbon, which is only being retired because of some wonky video connections on the mini-DP port. Fine box otherwise even after three years.

One of the new features of the Yoga X1 – and there have been a bunch I didn’t even know about, like the Wacom-based pen! – is the extremely high resolution display at 2560×1440. While I love the concept of having so many lines of resolution, the laptop still have a 14″-or so screen, which means you almost have to start messing around with the font size, aka DPI. Being able to change the DPI value has been in Windows for a while, like I think Windows 95 or maybe even Windows 3.1. For decades I’ve left it alone. You see, for DPI to be useful, applications have to support it. In more modern applications – think .NET 2.0 and newer – this Just Works but for older apps it’s one of those things developers were supposed to do but almost never bothered with. Like bidi text or help systems.

With modern boxes with uber-big resolutions, keeping the DPI at 100% is nearly impossible. I’ve run 1920×1080 on a 15″ display with DPI set to 100% but trying to do 2560×1440 on a 14″ display isn’t going to work. The worst part of this is how the DPI changes have been impacting my Remote Desktop Connections.
Continue reading RDC, DPI, and You

Rush’s 40th Anniversary Tour at KeyArena

IMG_7013

It’s not often that I put this much media in a blog post, so call this a special occasion. You see, it’s not every day you get to see Rush live. In fact, it’s been almost 20 years since I last saw them in concert. I always knew they couldn’t tour forever. I always said that I had to somehow get into the front row for one of their concerts. When I heard that this might be The Last Tour of this size for the Canadian Trio, I grabbed a fist full of cash and ran to Ticketmaster.

I stood in front of Geddy from the second row for the entire show. And it was worth every. Single. Fuckin’. Penny.

My only regret has been not going to see them in Portland two nights later but I have no way to get these kinds of tickets again.

Videos – and there are 33 of them! – are on YouTube and unlisted, so you’ll only find them from here.

You still here? Thanks! It gives me a chance to put a bow on this geekout I’m having, a full 24 hours after the show.

You see, the very first time I heard about Rush, it was from my mother. She was teaching at a middle school in 1980 and a group of “burn outs” walked by. My mother took me aside and said, “Don’t you be like those boys!” and pointed to a couple of the long haired boys that were wearing a jean jacket that had a red star in a circle and a naked man, painted on the back of it.

Moth, meet flame.

During high school a couple of friends and I started listening to the 70’s incarnation of Rush, with our interest stopping with Signals. In fact, I recall lamenting that “Spew Your Fire” was a waste of their talents. Of course, it was a poster from the Grace Under Pressure tour that educated me on the fact that there are just three guys in the band. And have only been three guys in the band. Oh and that guitar riff I love so much in YYZ? That’s from the bass player.

I don’t think I’ve ever recovered.

Sometime during high school, I moved up on from the heavier and artsy rock and moved into the 80’s version of the band, realizing that every four albums there’s a live one which somehow magically reboots the band. And now – as poor Geddy can likely attest to after standing in front of him for 3 hours – the entire catalog is forever percolating in my brain with pretty accurate recall of every fill, lyric, and standing out riff or bass slap. After college, I stuck with them through the re-mastering of the catalog and new discs as they came out.

I saw them for Presto, twice for Roll the Bones, twice for Counterparts, once for Test For Echo; two of those tours were kicked off in Connecticut so I saw them in the raw and again when they had tightened the show up. As I got older old I found that optical discs and streaming HD got me closer to the band compared to when I actually went to a show…

Until this show.

Boys, if you never tour again, enjoy the retirement and thanks for the memories.

GoPro: A Mini Review

I make no claims to understand a lot about photography. One the only things I’m certain of is that a good photographer can capture an awesome picture regardless of what technology they use and you can spend thousands of dollars on camera equipment and still take shitty pictures.

I had heard of GoPro before and said “Wow, that’s a pricy camera I don’t need.” I’m as removed from an athlete as I can be; the most extreme sport I participate in involves bacon and lunch. Neat device, but I said eh and moved on. Then one day I was at the park with Jolene and Kyle and I saw a 7 year old run by with a GoPro attached to his chest, with a harness. My head exploded. I thought this was the most amazing thing evar. Think about it: you put one of these things on your kid and you can show your kid what the world looked like when he was young. Three days later I had the required hardware in hand; almost three weeks later before I finally tried to set it up and was some time after that before we used it on Kyle…

Basically, about a week before the kid turned two, we put a GoPro on his chest and send him down Main Street at Disneyland.
Continue reading GoPro: A Mini Review

Console > PC

Fans of PC gaming chide me from time to time about why I game on a console (or hand held) rather than a PC…

Recently I saw that Rocksmith 2014 was on sale at newegg.com as a download. Since Jolene gave me the 360 version which came with a cable (and a new guitar!) I thought it would be neat to have the ability to move around the house with a laptop and play.

Some sales are more trouble than they’re worth but it’s good to have a modern reminder why consoles are simply better at all the things.
Continue reading Console > PC

Apple: Workaround to get video titles on iOS7 devices

Have videos that you want on iOS7? If you don’t have boxart for every video you own – and I for one always make box art of the videos I take of my son – then you are going to be pissed at iOS7: they stopped putting text labels on videos in the video player. It’s funny too because I noticed this happen back in 2010 with iOS4, when TV Shows stopped showing titles, but it’s only with iOS7 that it started causing problems for a lot more people. At least there’s a workaround.

In iTunes, if you want a video to show up with it’s text title on your device, select the video file in question, then right click and select Get Info. Select the Options tab and change the Media Type to Home Movie. Now sync your device. In the on-device Video app, you’ll see that there’s a new group called Home Video: in there you’ll have a list of your videos with *gasp* names under them!

Sad that there needs to be a workaround for this bug. And I’m calling it a bug. There’s no reason at all why the code can’t check for box art and make a decision based on whether or not it’s there. iTunes downloaded content wouldn’t suffer from this issue if they didn’t shove a piece of box art into the file: they don’t show you a thumbnail from a film and make you guess what video it is… Amazon does something similar with Kindle, but at least they show you a default bit of cover art with the name of the file when you copy over personal documents. This is like “if you didn’t get it from iTunes, that’s your problem.” The code should be checking for box art and if it doesn’t have a file, it should be displaying the name from the metadata, plain and simple.

Praised be the workaround.

:X

Sorry folks – that is if there’s anyone still out there :) – but I’ve turned off comments for now.

After many, many days of my not posting, feature requests for products that have been turned loose on CodePlex, and getting at least 5-10 pieces of comment spam [getting through the filters] a day… well, if you have something to say, shoot me an email.

I’ll likely turn them back on someday… just not this day.

Dave Winer: Never The Same Ass Twice

Gizmodo on the closure of Google Reader: I won’t miss it. Never used the damn thing. Didn’t trust the idea of a big company like Google’s interests being so aligned with mine that I could trust them to get all my news. And besides, I didn’t think the mailbox approach to news was right. Who cares how many unread items there are. I like the river of news approach and I have a very fine set of rivers that keep me well supplied with news and podcasts. …Next time, please pay a fair price for the services you depend on. Those have a better chance of surviving the bubbles.

Nice quote, you jack ass. You completely miss the fact that Google Reader was more than a reader: it was the RSS backbone for a number of products and projects… maybe if you co-built RSS a little better – and remember, you didn’t do it alone so you can shove that “creator” title out the window – then we wouldn’t need a sync engine and clients could inherently know how many things are unread. Unlike you and your “endless river of news” some of us work for a living and don’t have the time to twittle OPML files or jump between rivers.

As to “please pay a fair price” how exactly should we do that for Google Reader when Google didn’t offer a paid for option? I paid for FeedDemon years ago and now – with Google Reader closing – I will lose some of the key functionality that made the app great. I paid for the app because of the feature and now you’re going to tell me that I should pay for services? Or are you still saying that we should have paid you for defining an XML schema?

You, sir, continue to be a waste of bandwidth and close to a waste of oxygen.