Warning: This Is A Ye Olden Styled Rant

MSN.com: “Seattle’s Caffe Vita is facing widespread blowback after a letter surfaced on social media appearing to show management threatening to fire employees caught giving away food and drinks to the homeless. In a passage that has drawn considerable ire, the letter goes on to criticize the practice of giving free food to the homeless overall. “Although these were well placed intentions, please understand, it is our belief, that feeding homeless people without comprehensive services actually enables, increases and promotes homelessness,” the letter reads in part.

From Twitter, Spek writes, “I am absolutely livid. I have worked in the coffee business for over a decade at some of the best coffee shops in the city and this is a betrayal of everything we stand for.” […] The Capitol Hill store also drew protests on Wednesday night.”

Oh my gods, will you outraged people please shut the fuck up already?!

Continue reading Warning: This Is A Ye Olden Styled Rant


Monday Morning Quarterbacking? Hold My Remote

I for one am amazed by how many accomplished writers and producers there are on social media and are so willing to share their wisdom by telling the world how they *know* how to produce a show that would be much better than Game of Thrones.

Oh right! 99% of them are not writers or producers and the only thing they’ve put on TV is their remote as they Monday morning quarterback the universe and say things like “lazy writing” because heard a sound clip while watching Deadpool.

Continue reading Monday Morning Quarterbacking? Hold My Remote

Praised be the Washington State Convention Center (Sakura-con)

Over the years I’ve seen and experienced random things at Sakura-con.

For those of you that have never heard of this con, it’s a conference that has been run in Seattle, WA – always on Easter weekend – for anyone that appreciates anime, manga, cosplay, video games, and Japanese culture. For example, they have a manga library, where anyone can stop in and read up for free. They have whole rooms dedicated to Go or trying on kimono and taiko drum demonstrations right next to the latest video games from Japan and other rooms filled classic consoles and CRTs. Anyone interested in attending the con just needs to buy a ticket: it’s not for professionals or industry folks and a ton of people come from out of state to spend three days geeking out over almost everything.

Continue reading Praised be the Washington State Convention Center (Sakura-con)

Reading Paper is Weird

I read in my free time. I don’t think I read a ton: I average between 12-30 books a year. Some of the books I pick up are just long reads (R.R. Martin, Rutherfurd, Michener) while others I rip through mercilessly (Grisham, Tolkien, Rowland, Massey) and manga is almost immediately consumed, but the one thing that I’ve noticed across all of my reading is that I’ve long since abandoned the paper-based book.

For the last few years, whatever books I’ve been have typically been consumed using an eBook reader on an iPad mini with Kindle or some other software. Manga I read on a Surface RT because it has a larger screen than the mini yet is still very lightweight compared to full laptop PC’s.

Continue reading Reading Paper is Weird

SharpKeys 3.9

SharpKeys is a Registry hack that is used to make certain keys on a keyboard act like other keys. For example, if you accidentally hit Caps Lock often, you could use this utility to map Caps Lock to a Shift key or even turn it off completely. This official release includes support for up to 104 mappings, an extensive list of available keys, and a “Type Key” option to help when managing mappings. As it relies on internal support within Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10 you must be running one of these OS’s for this Registry hack to work.

With the release of version 3.9, I’ve recompiled the most recent code that has been posted to the GitHub project. This version includes some bug fixes and removes support for triple-byte keys that Windows doesn’t support (including hardware keys from HP and Lenovo.)

As always, I encourage anyone interested in working on the code to visit http://www.github.com/randyrants/sharpkeys for more project changes.

Download SharpKeys 3.9: MSI | ZIP | requires .NET Framework 4.0

SharpKeys 3.8

SharpKeys is a Registry hack that is used to make certain keys on a keyboard act like other keys. For example, if you accidentally hit Caps Lock often, you could use this utility to map Caps Lock to a Shift key or even turn it off completely. This official release includes support for up to 104 mappings, an extensive list of available keys, and a “Type Key” option to help when managing mappings. As it relies on internal support within Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10 you must be running one of these OS’s for this Registry hack to work.

With the release of version 3.8, I’ve recompiled the most recent code that has been posted to the GitHub project. This version includes some bug fixes, “theoretical” support some hardware keys from HP and Lenovo, and support for high DPI displays.

As always, I encourage anyone interested in working on the code to visit http://www.github.com/randyrants/sharpkeys for more project changes.

Download SharpKeys 3.8: MSI | ZIP | requires .NET Framework 4.0

SharpKeys 3.7

SharpKeys is a Registry hack that is used to make certain keys on a keyboard act like other keys. For example, if you accidentally hit Caps Lock often, you could use this utility to map Caps Lock to a Shift key or even turn it off completely. This official release includes support for up to 104 mappings, an extensive list of available keys, and a “Type Key” option to help when managing mappings. As it relies on internal support within Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10 you must be running one of these OS’s for this Registry hack to work.

With the release of version 3.7, I’ve recompiled the most recent code that has been posted to the GitHub project. This version includes some bug fixes, “theoretical” support for triple byte keys and the Alt+GR key, and support for saving/loading the entire list of key mappings to/from a file. This feature has been asked several times but I’ve always directed people to export/import directly from/to the Registry using REG files but since it comes up often enough, I decided to add a couple of buttons to the UX. Save keys writes out the binary data represented by whatever keys are in the list and puts that information into a binary SKL file. This file can then be read back into SharpKeys using the Load keys button and selecting the stored SKL file. Please remember that regardless of how you build your list of key mappings – Add/Edit or Loading an SKL file – you’ll still need to write the changes to the Registry and then either sign in/out or reboot for the changes to take hold.

As always, I encourage anyone interested in working on the code to visit http://www.github.com/randyrants/sharpkeys for more project changes.

Download SharpKeys 3.7: MSI | ZIP | requires .NET Framework 4.0

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

Extortionist For Hire

MyNorthwest: Zillow slams ‘head tax’ and may grow outside of Seattle

Sweet. First Amazon pushes back, then union construction workers, and now Zillow – the whole city should be in an uproar right now.

You’d think Seattle would know better after all of the Boeing business the state lost to other part of the US. Guess someone forgot the memo and the whole council doesn’t realize that business can simply step out to Bellevue, Tacoma, or pretty much anywhere else in country. Feels like a sizable bill for the homeless. Rather than forcibly taxing companies, why not offer a tax rebate or tax cut for companies that show a track record of helping the homeless through foundations, donations, or new work acts? Nope – the head tax is the city’s solution.

Overall, I feel I have to give Seattle some shit for voting for someone like Kshama Sawant into office – I hope you don’t reward her performance or behavior because as a councilperson, I find her to be delusional, misguided, and so naive that it’s frankly rather embarrassing. Consider the seemingly endless run of taxes and laws for the layman in the city over the years like bring-your-own-bag taxes or sugar-soda taxes or sort-your-garbage fines – where is that money going by the way? – or the you-have-to-rent-to-the-first-bell-ringer but then you’ve got a democratic socialist running around on the city, staging protests, and proclaiming statements for the entire city that this work is OK because in her mind, “Amazon can afford it.” As a shareholder of Amazon, I can honestly say: screw you, hippie. Instead of taking all of these people around the city to protest, why not help them find homes in other towns in the area? Why the fight to keep them in the city? It can’t be a tax play because if homeless, there’s not much taxable income there. As a socialist, maybe she’s not be aware that people can move out of Seattle if they choose to, that they are not required to stay in the city limits. There’s no state-based obligation for anyone to stay where they are and gods know there’s no city mandate that states that everyone is entitled to live in the Pike/Pine/12th/Broadway corridor.

Further, who are you to say what Amazon can and cannot afford? Do you think they have to stay in Seattle? Do you think they can’t find another city to call home? Go ask Connecticut what happened to their business that had been there for decades. You know, the ones that moved HQ’s to New York or Massachusetts which are historically high taxed states. I mean, you do know that they have no state, city, or moral obligation to stay in Seattle, right? Like Expedia, who moved from Bellevue to Seattle, Amazon can go where ever the hell they want.

That aside, I love that fact that you say Bezos is holding the construction of a new building as a hostage. That’s just a smart business move. If I decided to buy a piece of land and build on it only to find out that the taxes I’d be paying would quintuple before I finished construction, I too would have second thoughts. Maybe you should demand that Jeff donate the land to the city for a shelter or something you want to feel warm and fuzzy over. But you must acknowledge that they can build or not build wherever the hell they want. They can build in or move to a city where they are made to feel far more welcome than here.

If Bezos is a bully, take a look at yourself in the mirror Ms. Sawant: you’ll find not only a bully but an extortionist as well.

SharpKeys 3.6

SharpKeys is a Registry hack that is used to make certain keys on a keyboard act like other keys. For example, if you accidentally hit Caps Lock often, you could use this utility to map Caps Lock to a Shift key or even turn it off completely. This official release includes support for up to 104 mappings, an extensive list of available keys, and a “Type Key” option to help when managing mappings. As it relies on internal support within Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10 you must be running one of these OS’s for this Registry hack to work.

With the move to version 3.6, I’ve recompiled the most recent code that has been posted to the GitHub project. It includes some bug fixes and a couple of text changes; I encourage anyone interested in working on the code to visit http://www.github.com/randyrants/sharpkeys for more project changes.

Download SharpKeys 3.6: MSI | ZIP | requires .NET Framework 4.0


Randy No Arms' ongoing commentary on life, gaming, and the rest of the world