Thursday, July 03, 2014

In Outlook Mail, how to change ctrl-f to mean "find"

I'm constantly annoyed with Outlook and the Ctrl-F key sequence. Everywhere else Ctrl-F means "find". Not while reading an email in Outlook. It means "forward". How to correct this? Leigh Riffel had this excellent solution. Add this to your AutoHotkey.ahk startup script (you are using AutoHotkey aren't you?) and you will find bliss.
; to map ctrl-f to find in outlook #IfWinActive, ahk_class rctrl_renwnd32 ^f::Send, {CtrlDown}o{CtrlUp}{AltDown}hfd{AltUp}

Friday, June 27, 2014

Favorite Podcasts

As I drive the 30 minutes to work each day I listen to a lot of podcasts. Here are some of my favorites:
The History of Rome by Mike Duncan and his Revolution series
Dan Carlin finally someone who I can agree with, mostly.
The History of Byzantium A great overview of the forgotten half of the Roman Empire
Freakanomics - fun stories about economics and human nature
Hanselminutes - Amazing author and speaker on software development with Microsoft slant
The Norman Centuries - Forgotten history of the Normans
Planet Money - great stories on economics
Security Now by Steve Gibson - essential security news
EconTalk with Russ Roberts - great guests and Austrian economics.

Friday, June 06, 2014

How to tell which Service Packs I have in Windows7

To find which service packs you have installed in Windows 7, go to the control center, select "system" and in the top section labeled "Windows edition" it will show which Service Packs are installed.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Quantum Computing Playground - Thanks Google!

Slashdot turned me on to Google's Quantum Playground. It's an IDE that lives in the Chrome browser and simulates what a quantum computer would do, but it uses your regular CPUs or GPUs instead of real qbits and the QScript scripting language to program.

Some difficult problems cannot be solved in the life of the universe on a traditional Von Neumann computer, but can be solved in a heartbeat on a quantum one.

I suspect the NSA has half a dozen real quantum computers in a basement somewhere, now those of us without billion dollar budgets can have a chance to play with the quantum world. Thanks Google!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Goodbye Tilade

I have asthma. Had it since I was a kid. Everywhere I went I took my Tilade inhalers. They were my constant companions. No other inhalers worked as well with so few side-effects.
Alas this happy affair ended in Montreal - with the Montreal Protocol. In order to rid the planet of ozone-eating freon propellent, the world agreed to stop production of CFCs. Many asthma inhalers were reformulated to use CFC-free propellents, but not Tilade. It was not deemed profitable enough to reformulate.
So for the last decade I've used my stock of 10-year old inhalers, and finally decided to, in the words of Idina Menzel, "Let It Go". I plan to throw them all away. I can see using medicines a few years out-of-date, but a decade is probably too long.
So join me in shedding a tear for my departed friends.

But I as I was pondering this unhappy turn of events, I found that the UK has started making Tilade again in 2013.
O rejoice! O happy day!
But not so fast.
It's available in Canada and the UK, but not here in the US. Bitter tear.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Backing up a 10yr old XP Machine

After 10 years of faithful service, it's time to retire my Sony XP Box, but how to back it up? Looking online a popular method is to buy a USB memory stick and drag all your files to it and it will last for decades.

But I'm reminded of the ancient Archimedes manuscript. A medieval monk needed some vellum to write his thoughts, and instead of going to get his own new vellum (here, little sheepy ...), he just erased the ink from an existing, but not very interesting text. Through modern multi-spectral scanning, scientist were able to recreate much of the ancient document. But that's the problem with USB drives - they are just to tempting to pull out and overwrite.

So I decided to use the trusty old DVD-R format. But if I want these photos of our family to last 100 years, beyond the coming economic Apocalypse, which disks to use? After more research I settled on the new JVC J-DMR-ISO-WPY25-HC. They are insanely expensive and only hold 4.7 Gig, but if you have documents to pass on to your great-grandchildren, a few more bucks to make sure the DVDs survives is worth it.

Note to grandchildren: In 2114, please try to read the "Sony 2014" backup disks and add a comment to this post if you can read the disk.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Photo from the Austin Java Users Group, March 25, 2014

Tyler Hobbes spoke to 85 Java developers about Cassandra, the NoSql database created at Facebook, but used by Netflix, reddit, ebay and instagram. My bullet points:
Cassandra has no Master-Slave architecture, but instead has a network of peers all sharing data.
Cassandra is fully distributed and has no Single Point of Failure (SPOF).
They use Murmur to build 64-bit hashes.
Yuki Morishita talked about Cassandra Query Language CQL.
You can use sqlsh, a command-line version of CQL.
Cassandra is not good for ad-hoc queries, the database structure has to be designed for your planned queries to be useful.