All posts by Randy

SharpKeys 3.9.4

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, Windows 10, or Windows 11 you must be running one of these OS’s for this Registry hack to work.

Release of version 3.9.4, brings two changes: finally got around to removing the last entry for AltGr (which is a triple-byte scancode and cannot be remapped by this tech) and fixed a bug where the UI would throw an exception when returning from a minimized state, both thanks to GitHub feedback.

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

Download SharpKeys 3.9.4: MSI | ZIP | requires .NET Framework 4.0

“‘Universal Control’ is magic!”

[Benzinga] “Universal control allows a user to use a single pointing device to manage multiple Apple devices such as a notebook, a desktop computer, and an iPad.”

Glad to see Apple’s OS family getting something that has been available to Windows for close to a decade using The Garage’s Mouse without Borders and over two decades ago with the cross-platform app called Synergy.

Of course, every time I see this type of reaction – “Steve Jobs said, ‘People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.'” – it makes me throw up ever so slightly. I mean the main reason why this is so “WOW!” to Apple users is because they slap on blinders and presume that there’s nothing they need, that Apple hasn’t already thought of, and if it’s not coming from Apple, it must be crap. Or more simply, they choose not to look around to see what else is going on.

Had the same feeling when Jobs got a standing ovation for bringing Copy/Paste to iOS, something that Android had at launch (or close to it,) yet “APPLE REINVESTED COPY/PASTE FOR PHONE” was all the rage.

When you bring a 20-year old feature – like Copy/Paste – to a three year old platform, it’s called fixing a bug.

Please act accordingly.

In a Word? Shut the Fuck Up

[MSN] “Former televangelist Pat Robertson came out of retirement to comment on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying Russian President Vladimir Putin is being “compelled by God” to bring about the “End of Times,” prophesied in the Bible.”

While it’s hardly my place to tell a preacher to shut the fuck up, I still gotta say it: Hey Pat? Shut the fuck up.

Yes, the prophesies of the end times tell of an attack on Israel from the east – one where Israel is saved without loss of life or machine – but if memory serves, this even happens after Israel is lifted up from being a piece of desert land: after it has become a super fertile land, capable of producing more food than they can consume, making them the envy of most of the world. …did I miss a memo or am I just unable to read the same books you have?

Since you’ve already swung and missed on two other times, when other prophecies would end the world, what’s your rationale here? Third times is the charm?

Please get out of the limelight and go back to counting the millions that your 700 Club has sent you over the decades. We’ve enough people taking attention away from world problems by either praising Russia’s actions, blaming Russia’s actions on POTUS #46’s actions, inactions, or general hairstyle, and continue to infight within the government itself. The last thing we need is a snake oil salesman coming out of retirement with the sole purpose of cashing in on world-sized tragedies.

The only bright spot in this is that Howard Stern will have fresh material from you to work with this week.

What’s worse is that Pat’s theory – that some external omnipotent being is causing Putin to act this way – may be the most accurate or realistic theory to date: not much else makes sense yet.

FIX: Widgets and Chat Won’t Open on Windows 11

On a recent clean install of Windows 11 on a brand-new machine, I ran into an issue with two core parts of the Windows 11 experience:

  1. Widgets did not open when I clicked on the button: the icon would animate and then restore itself
  2. Chat [from the Taskbar] would sometimes open with a “We ran into an issue” or just ignore the click entirely

There was never an error message or anything in the Event Log calling out the issue – it just didn’t work. Most of the reports online were calling out issues from the pre-release versions but most of it didn’t apply to the released builds of Windows. Additionally, I’ve been running on Windows 11 for a long, long time and have never seen this issue before (and we’re talking ~300 clean installs over a period of 18 months) which left me perplexed. Given how I planned to use this machine, I shrugged and turned off the Widgets and Chat buttons on the taskbar and continued the rest of my installs.

Shortly after I put the PC into its new home, I remoted into the box and said “ah, lemme try Widgets now” and lo! I get an error message:

You need Microsoft Edge WebView2 Runtime

Oh ko! An error string that is searchable? I can work with that. What’s odd is that I know I had WebView2 installed at some point already because it had like nine instances running while Edge was off. I don’t think I disabled it in anyway, so that tells me some other new install must have knocked it off the box.

That said, I found an install point for the WebView2 Runtime here: https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-edge/webview2/ – after installing the x64 runtime, Widgets and Chat both began to work without issue.

Leaving this as a note to myself as much as sharing it with others.

Hey, Shithead, You’re Right!

[MSN] “Senator Joe Manchin privately told his Senate colleagues that he believes Americans will abuse government benefits […] that parents will use child tax credit money to buy drugs and that workers will abuse the paid family leave program in the legislation to get out of work and go on hunting trips”

Hey, Shithead, you’re right! Parents often by drugs with money – be it earned or tax credit – to buy Advil and Tylenol and whatever other drugs they need to have a healthy family. Given the costs involved with health care, what did you think they would do? Steal them off the shelf at Walmart?

Personally, I love the explicit call out of a “hunting trip” – Freudian slip, perhaps, making me think old Joe has plans when the Senate is expected to be in session.

“It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business.” …or is it?

It’s been a really, really long time since I’ve heard something that made me want to run to my blog. Normally I tap out a quick 280 characters of “WTF is this now?” and move on.

Not so much today. Today, I’ve got a stone in my shoe. And what’s more is that this is actually a quasi-work-related post which is something I usually stay away from. I mean I do post about product news or tips to help stuff, but very early on, I vowed not get into the internals of a company and I made that decision long before Zuck’s first day at college, way before there was a media that was social. Call it self-preservation if you want to, because that’s how I see it.

So, what has set me off today? I saw that Team Xbox members started to get new badges for their profiles, celebrating the 20 year anniversary of Xbox. I said, “Sweet!” and went on with my day.

…until I saw one person tweeting out to a team member and giving her grief about having employee-only badges, that “I deserve a badge too!” and the usual self-entitled bullshit that is rampant in the world today. To be clear, I didn’t get a badge today as I haven’t been in Xbox for a while now and Team Xbox doesn’t need my help in discussing topics on Twitter, so why this post?

I think… I’m not sure because it’s only happened a few times in my life, but… I think this… attitude offended me in some popcorn-stuck-in-the-back-of-my-teeth way.

Continue reading “It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business.” …or is it?

SharpKeys 3.9.3

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, Windows 10, or Windows 11 you must be running one of these OS’s for this Registry hack to work.

With the release of version 3.9.3, I’ve embarrassed to say that this is “now with more support for high contrast” but that’s pretty much what it’s for. Didn’t realize that through the different builds of Windows and Visual Studio that I was using custom colors rather than their “use the same color button uses” which gives you automatic support for HC. Also added a couple of new labels for buttons on a Japanese keyboard, thanks to GitHub feedback.

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

Download SharpKeys 3.9.3: MSI | ZIP | requires .NET Framework 4.0

SharpKeys Works with Windows 11

PSA: SharpKeys works on Windows 11 with the current 3.9 version – no updates are required for the new OS.

Works as well as it did on Windows 10. And 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, XP, 2000, NT 4, and NT 3.51 before it!

Additional PSA: if you are looking to modify combo keys (“How do I change Ctrl+Z?”) or hardware keys that Windows cannot recognize (00_100) or “new” keys that are triple-byte enabled (“How do I remap E0_205B?”) please give Windows PowerToys a look. Their remapper is active, meaning there’s a service running that maps keys for you while SharpKeys is simply exposing the key remapping that is built into Windows itself.

Life Is Not A John Hughes Movie

I have a Word doc on my PC, somewhere in the deep deep storage, that I think I originally entitled “My advice to my unborn son.” I think I was originally inspired to start the doc because of a tradition my Dad started before I was born: he used to write a letter to himself every year about how things were for the family and after we took down the house’s Christmas decorations he would pack it along side the lights and ornaments. The next year, when we would start the annual decorating, he would open up the letter and read it, to see how far we’d come or slid back, since one never knew how things would turn out year over year. Then he’d throw it out. Never understood that part of it, but hey – it was his thing.

I realized pretty quickly after he was born that I had my son at an older age than a “traditional” father does, so I was thinking that writing a letter to my son’s future self could be… handy? amusing? interesting? OK, likely as boring as fuck, but if it’s the last chance I have to explain some of the choices I made for him or where the world was at the time of his youth, I didn’t want by pass that by not writing something down, so I cracked open Word and had a go at it. What’s in it? Frankly, I don’t remember because it’s been a while since I’ve added to it, but as I was taking him to summer camp today, one bit of advice came back to me like a ton of bricks and if this is the only advance that he – or any young kid – can learn from the body of my experience on this spin rock in space, it’s this one simple thing:

Life is not a John Hughes movie.

Continue reading Life Is Not A John Hughes Movie

Double Dipping?

I find it funny that we have yet another divisive event swirling, this one over “cop shoots a kid and people protest but when a criminal shoots a kid and no one protests.”

Keep your eye on the ball folks: protesting is not a competitive pissing contest – it’s an overflow of emotion and if there’s no protests about the kid that got shot, then the emotion about it is not overflowing.

And what that means is you cannot order a “Protester Starter Kit” on Amazon that sends a bunch of people to the streets. A protest starts with a group of people get pissed off and want their voices to be heard. It’s personal. It takes effort. You gotta get out there and do something about it. So, if you’re really pissed off about this whole thing, why aren’t *you* out on the streets, protesting what pissed you off? Continue reading Double Dipping?

How to Fix macOS App Store

It seems that if I don’t use my MacBook often enough it punishes me by making a screensaver out of the macOS App Store. At least, that what it feels like, since it opens with an empty split-view scene and immediately goes into a blissfully restful state that shows me a spinning beachball until I Force Quit it. It also seems that this is one of the more widespread issues with macOS right now as there are hundreds of “how to fix” articles, which is ironic for something that Just Works.

In the most recent instance of this issue I found one workaround and one fix, so I’m making notes to myself:

  • Seems you can update macOS via Terminal, with:
    • softwareupdate -i -a
  • If you have an account issue – and you have no way of knowing that you do, so this is a “give it a try” fix – you can reset your default Keychains:
    • Go to the Keychain Access app, open the app Preferences, and select Reset my default keychains

If you try the fix you may want to reboot or sign in/out and some setting may have shifted but it depends on your setup and preferences. For me, I just rebooted, and viola! the App Store showed up fine and started taking updates again.

Setting a Network Connect to Private

Over the last few months, I’ve noticed at home that my network adapters on Windows 10 spontaneously flip to from Private to Public. At first I thought it was a Windows bug but I think it’s related to my router because it seems to happen on a number of machines, all at once. Annoying too because Private has things like network discovery turned on, while Public does not.

Anyway, because of this, I decided that it’s easier to fix this via PowerShell script rather than dink around in the UI. Basically, run this script with Admin privileges (assuming you have one network connection, as you have to call out the “active network”) to set the network to Private:

Set-NetConnectionProfile -Name (Get-NetConnectionProfile -InterfaceAlias Wi-Fi).Name -NetworkCategory Private

Carry on.