Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Windows 7: Getting a Black background with White Text

A normal Windows 7 screen with a white background and black letters is way too bright for my tender eyes. After a while it will give me a headache.

I've tried setting the Theme (right click on desktop background and select "Personalize") to a HighContrast black. This works to a degree. Microsoft Word acts correctly, but many products do not look at the theme colors to display text.

And I've used Firefox's excellent "Blank Your Monitor" plugin to change websites to a different color theme. The major problem with this is that some commands on a page are drawn in such a way that you don't see them at all.

I've starting using Microsoft's Invert Color program. It's similar to the Mac's invert color (Control-Option-Command-8), but a little clunkier.

To invert the color you have to run the Magnify program by pressing Windows and "+" key, then unmagnify by pressing Windows plus the "-" command (you must release the Windows key in between). Then the real command is Ctl-Alt-i to invert the colors. Then everything is beautiful.

One issue is my favorite background image is reversed colored which looks awful. The solution? Fire up Paint.Net, grab you favorite image and invert its color. Then save it and use it as your background.

You get bonus points if you can identify the picture shown below.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

In Firefox 34 Error Console Popping Up All the Time

Ok, for a few days now whenever I launched a new Firefox window on my Windows 7 box, I'd get the Error Console window pop up. This was tres annoying.
The "All-in-One Gestures" add-in was being too helpful. I disabled that and used FireGestures instead.
Now the Error Console only shows up when I enter Ctl-Shift-J.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Pictures From the Austin .Net Users Group Dec 7, 2014 - Iteration Zero by Jeffery Palermo

Jeffery Palermo from spoke to 55 attendees about Iteration Zero. Here's a few pics, in case you wonder what an Adnug meeting looks like.

Iteration Zero

My random jumbled notes to jog my memory in the future:
Architecture are the non-reversible decisions like language, platform,
Dependency management that are really hard to redo.
Jeffery Recommended a book, Configuration Management Best Practices , By Aiello and Sachs
Iteration Zero - goal : Developers can get and submit source code, automatically have it built on a CI server, deploy and test Adding features is and assembly line, Iteration Zero is setting up the assembly line.
Version Control System - Git has won.
Choose branching strategy - Git Flow most comprehensive strategy
GitHub teams does feature branching with auto deployment if it passes tests
Never go home with code only on my machine, checkin to your branch
Do most things in dev, and then push to Release
Atlassian Source Tree - free gui tool for doing branching Jet Brains TeamCity free to 10 or 20 build definitions
How to put together a VS solution?, look at dependencies Dependency Management - Think about how to do dependencies
Build scripts
 Iteration Zero from GitHub has the template that Clear Measure uses for starting new projects.
Jeffery recommend people download it and use it to build products.
(clear-measure does lots of projects so it forces them to spend time designing the proper solution layout)
 Database upgrades are in the Update directory and applied alphabetically, 0001_VisitorTable, 0002_AddColumn
ScriptFile is a table containing the scripts run on the database
Modern process is now Agile with batch size of 1
Trello current favorite for tracking

Summary: "Getting started well is so, so important."

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Using Perforce P4V with Windows "High Contrast Black" Theme

I use the Windows "High Contrast Black" theme to make all the backgrounds black with white text - it's much easier on my eyes. With the "High Contrast Black" theme Perforce's P4V GUI interface, like many Windows programs, shows white text on a white background, which is not all that helpful.

I contacted Perforce about the issue and got a very fast response with a work around. If you add a blank file named "p4vstyle.qss" to the directory "c:\program files\perforce\P4VResources", P4V will use the local Windows theme on next startup.

Now my retinas are happy with the cool soothing black background. Thanks Perforce.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Photos from Austin .Net Meeting Nov 10, 2014 - Redis for .Net Developers

Shawn Weisfeld spoke to 40 developers last Monday about Redis, a caching mechanism for .Net developers. Although originally written for Linux, it has been ported to Windows. Redis allows you to store key-value pairs, and save that to a disk, but it's not guaranteed to capture all values, so don't use it for financial applications, but it is great for other applications like leader boards in games.
My Notes:
Shawn works with to record technical demonstrations
Redis now has Lua scripting
You can get Redis from Nuget, Install-Package Redis-64
Redis is the preferred key-value storage for Azure
StackExhange uses Redis
Redis is good for auto-incrementing values, it can do it in one step is the main website and has interactive tutorials.
Shawn actually used the unit tests in Redis to learn how to use the API.
Humanizer is a library for .Net that formats data for humans, e.g., "two" instead of "2".
A rep from Iron Yard was there to tell about their 3 month boot camp for would be developers
Redis has a Desktop manager to view its contents

Emacs: Lisp error: (error "Invalid face" modeline)

After upgrading to the latest version of emacs, I got this error:  'Lisp error: (error "Invalid face" modeline)'.
After a little research it came down to the modeline color command:
 (set-face-background 'modeline "plum")
(set-face-foreground 'modeline "black")
The problem was "modeline" has been replaced with "mode-line".
(set-face-background 'mode-line "plum")
(set-face-foreground 'mode-line "black")

Now emacs is happy, and I'm happy too.

Emacs Error: maximum buffer size exceeded

When trying to load a one gigabyte file into Emacs, I got this error:"maximum buffer size exceeded", and I'm thinking to myself, "Hey, I've got a 64-bit machine with 8Gig of ram and using the awesome Emacs, it should handle one Gig".
After a little research I found a version of Emacs compiled for 64bit windows machines here.
Now I can view 1 Gig files to my hearts content.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Synergy is still Awesome

I use two machines at my desk. Synergy is an incredible program that let's you control multiple machines with a single keyboard and mouse. The latest version costs $5 and it's worth every penny. Setup which used to be awkward at best is now a breeze. Nick Bolton and his team have done a great job with this release.

Setting up a new Windows 7 machine

When setting up a new Windows 7 box, I do the following:
Set Preferences
Right-click RecycleBin, select "Properties" and uncheck "Display delete confirmation dialog" box
Right-click on background, select "Personalize" and select "High Contrast Black"
Right-click on bottom toolbar and set to small icons
In the task bar, right-click select properties and set "Taskbar buttons:" to be "Combine when taskbar is full"
Add environmental variable "HOME" and set to C:\home\mfincher so emacs can find me
Add C:\home\mfincher\bin to environmental variable "Path"
Create C:\tmp so ange-ftp can work.
Turn off error reporting, "My Computer"/Properties/Advanced system settings/Advanced/Startup and Recovery/Settings/System failure, set "Write debugging information" to "(none)"

Copy Files From Old Computer
Copy My Documents, My Pictures, c:\home, c:\opt
copy over all the old databases
Copy over inetpub directories
Copy over old Microsoft Mail archives, *.pst files
Copy root directory of Perforce files, C:\workfiles
Copy the old %AppData%\Launchy\Luanchy.ini config file over to new machine 
Copy Themes from %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Themes C:\Users\fincherm\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Themes

Install Utility Programs
Install Chrome, Opera, and Firefox, set up sync in Firefox to get old bookmarks and addins
Install Launchy 
Install AutoHotKey
Install ConEmu
Install Notepad++
Install an alternate file manager XYplorerFree, select "Favorites/Set Box Color..." and set it to black
Install Emacs
Install Mouse drivers
Install visual studio 2013, and p4vs plugin
Install pdf reader sumatra -
Install Paint.Net
Install Mezer Tools Windows-s for capture Windows-c for calipers 
Install 7-zip for zip/tar files from
Install Process Explorer
Install cygwin, add c:\cygwin64\bin to "Path" environmental variable so emacs can see "gzip"
Install Nant

Install Microsoft Programs
Install latest version of powershell (inside Windows Management Framework 4/5)   Windows6.1-KB2819745-x64-MultiPkg.msu
set powershell to use unsigned scripts: add  "set-executionpolicy remotesigned" 
Install sql server 2008R2
Install IIS
Download SQL Server® 2008 R2 Feature Pack to get Invoke-SqlCmd working SqlServerCmdletSnapin100 sqlps
Add-PSSnapin SqlServerCmdletSnapin100
What other programs and settings would you recommend?

Thursday, November 06, 2014

The term 'Invoke-Sqlcmd' is not recognized as the name of a cmdlet

On my new Windows 7 machine while inside Powershell I tried "Invoke-Sqlcmd", but kept getting the error message "The term 'Invoke-Sqlcmd' is not recognized as the name of a cmdlet".
Here was my solution:

Download the SQL Server® 2008 R2 Feature Pack from here.

Then click on the "Instructions" plus symbol.

Then search for "Microsoft® Windows PowerShell Extensions for SQL Server® 2008 R2" and select the appropriate download.

Now after installing, go inside Powershell and execute "Add-PSSnapin SqlServerCmdletSnapin100", then Invoke-SqlCmd worked for me.
To add it permanently, edit your profile and add "Add-PSSnapin SqlServerCmdletSnapin100". (You can find your profile location by executing "$profile").

ConEmu - a Console Emulator for Windows That You Need Now

You owe it to yourself to download ConEmu. It removes all the awfulness of the standard Windows cmd terminal. Things like selecting text are much easier and more natural.
By default to copy text from the console you execute hold down the left-shift key (it's different than the right-shift key), then left-mouse button to highlight and it selects over the carriage returns. If you like block copies select alt-left-click.
I recommend a few changes: Open the Settings Window by selecting the right-most icon with three bars:

Select "Keys & Macro"/Paste/ and set "Confirm pasting more than" to 20000 chars and uncheck "Confirm <Enter> keypress" so it does not nanny you to death by asking if you know you have an <enter> in your selection.
Select "Main/Confirm" and uncheck the top 5 boxes so you won't be nannied to death.
Optional: To prevent a hotkey collision with Mezer tools, remove the hotkey for Win-S by going to "Keys & Macro", select Win-S and reassign the hotkey.

How to delete the log file from sql server databases

Disclaimer: This process should not be done with databases that you really care about. This procedure is only for dev/testing environments, not for production databases. I'm using Sql Server 2008R2.

Often the log file, ".ldf", can be quite large. If it's a production database you need it, but for databases you are using for dev and testing, you can remove it carefully to save space.
Here's the steps:
  1. In Sql Enterprise Manager "detach" the database - this won't hurt it, don't worry.
    This will bring up another window and just select "OK".
  2. Then in File Explorer append ".bak" the ldf filename - just in case we need it. Location may vary, on my box it's in "C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL10_50.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\DATA"
  3. Attach the database
    This will bring up a window. In the upper panel select "Add" and give the location of your .mdf file.
    Now comes the tricky part, in the lower panel select the log file and then select "Remove". Then select "attach", and voila, your old boat-anchor of a log file is now gone from your database!
  4. If all goes well, delete the renamed ".ldf" file.
Did I mention that you should not do this with databases you care about?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Vladimir Putin is the Future of America

From via wikimedia
Most American citizens do not appreciate how truly dangerous the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance program is. No less than our Republic itself is threatened.

The danger is that an insider from the NSA could seize power in the United States.
Sound farfetched? Vladimir Putin, a former KGB officer, took Russia from a democracy to a kleptocracy powered by his old KGB buddies. Someone from the NSA can do something quite similar in America.

Here are the steps:

1. The president succumbs to the temptation to use information gleaned from NSA surveillance to blackmail his opponents. You can imagine the phone call that results:

"Senator, I know you are planning to vote against the President's bill tomorrow, but just think of the consequences. We know you have nothing to hide, but your nephew has been looking at some sketchy websites; if this gets out he could go to prison. And your brother has been caught on tape to his accountant doing some very creative tax avoidance that could land him in jail as well. Oh, and one of your major donors has been doing some insider trading. So think carefully about how you vote tomorrow."

2. After a while, the NSA will tire of just pulling the strings for the president and want to put their own man in the White House. The NSA can try to blackmail all the good candidates out of the race. If that fails they can target the donors. If word leaked out that donors to a candidate were being
personally investigated by various governmental agencies, donations would dry up—along with any chance of winning an election.

The concentration of power in the NSA is incompatible with democracy. Vote for candidates who support reigning in domestic surveillance, unless you really admire what Vladimir Putin has done in his former democracy.

Friday, October 17, 2014

CITCON Austin 2014

CITCON, the Continuous Integration and Testing Conference, is in Austin this year! Here's a few pics of the opening night of the Open Spaces Conference, hosted by our friends at Saturday
My jumbled Notes:
Interesting conjecture: In the future, we will not write code, just write tests.
Some companies automatically deploy code if it passes tests.
Works well with apps made of many samll services.
Avagandro's Court, book about AI taking over company
"Her", man falls in love with OS
Vagrant defines machines to be built has two articles by Boyd about Vagrant.
Puppet/Chef/Ansible are deployment packages; ansible has the lowest learning curve
Vagrant Can be used with AWS to spin up a machine
"Continuous Delivery" book was recommended
Docker 1.3 just released, transition to Docker completely.
Ansible is the easiest to learn and implement only use python
Chef meetup wednesday in Austin / irc channel / Ansible meetup as well
Vagrant was written by Mitchell ... because he hated virtualbox

Monday, September 08, 2014

Pictures from Agile Austin September 2, 2014

Matt Roberts gave a talk entitled, Continuous Agile Planning that the Dev Team and the Biz Guys can Like Like"
If you have been thinking about attending Agile Austin, but not sure what is was like, I've taken a few pictures for you:
Lots of friendly people.  

Free beer and food
  Interesting talks: My notes from Matt's talk:
At Spotify the teams are organized into squads/tribes/clans/guilds.
Assumptions are forgotten, estimates are not.
Planning is the gateway drug to estimating
Scott Killen: "Tell a story, make a point."
Fastest way to more capacity is to not do wasteful tasks.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

0x80070003 HTTP Error 500.19 - Internal Server Error The requested page cannot be accessed because the related configuration data for the page is invalid.

While deploying a aspx app, I kept getting this error:
0x80070003 HTTP Error 500.19 - Internal Server Error The requested page cannot be accessed because the related configuration data for the page is invalid.
Module IIS Web Core
Notification BeginRequest
Handler Not yet determined
Error Code 0x80070003
Config Error Cannot read configuration file
Config File \\?\E:\Inetpub\wwwroot\MyApp\4.1\web.config

Naively, I believed the error message and thought my web.config was bad xml. But checking an online xml validator, the file was fine.

I then looked at permissions, and temporarily giving everyone permission to read the file didn't help.

I finally found and article here that cast a thin ray of light upon my troubles.

The clue was the "\\?E:\Inetpub\wwwroot\MyApp\4.1\web.config" line. I was making my test machine look more like production machines by creating a fake E: drive using
subst E: "C:\Edrive"
But IIS was not able to grok the fake E: drive. In the IIS GUI I right-clicked on the application and selected "Manage Application/Advanced Settings/Physical Path" and changed that from "E:" to "C:\Edrive" and it worked.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Pictures from Austin .Net Users Group August 11, 2014 with Patrick Abbs.

Patrick Abbs gave a great presentation on "Modern Artificial Intelligence for the Curious Layman" to the Austin .Net Users community. Patrick had an intriguing example of using a Neural Net to classify instruments playing a 'C' note.
Here's a few pics:

My jumbled notes:
  1. Neural Networks are a type of Machine Learning algorithm used for object categorization and recognition.
  2. Neural networks work by creating a hierarchical structure of more complex objects and their components.
  3. Fourier Analysis was used in Patrick's example to simplify complex wave forms into simple sine waves.
  4. The human ear component, the cochlea, decomposes sound into a series of sin waves in an unknown manner.
  5. Neurons hold electrical charge. Axons are limit switches.
  6. Apple's Siri is run by a Hidden Markov algorithm, while Google is investing in Neural nets.
  7. "Equational vs. Structural" was his main theme.
  8. Patrick had three types of Neurons in his example program: 1. Input Nueron 2. Abstration Neuron 3. Monitor Neuron
  9. contacts: twitter @patricks github/patricks

Monday, August 11, 2014

Where is Microsoft Visual Studio 2013?

Warning: this is a whine. You have been warned.

Although I installed VS2013 a few months ago, today I went to use it for real. So, going to "Start/All Programs" I get this menu listing. I found VS2008, VS2010 and VS2012, but where is Microsoft Visual Studio 2013?

Ok, if you look down towards the bottom, it is listed separately from the previous 3 versions as "Visual Studio 2013".

Note to Microsoft: Please keep things consistent.

I promise to not do another MS whine for a week.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Just Another Example of Microsoft's Outrageous DRM policies

My brother stopped in this week to see the family and go to a conference. He had a computer issue that just started. Whenever he tried to open any Office files from the past five years he would get this message:

"Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010 cannot verify the license for this product."

He had a conference the next day which needed those documents. Since he had the original CD with its packaging and its printed license code, he re-entered the license code, but to no avail. We repaired, re-installed, rebooted, re-rebooted. Still the same problem. We tried solutions from searching Google. No joy.

Microsoft phone support said they could not help with the licensing issue, but for $150 dollars he could get Office 2013. Really Microsoft? You sell a product and won't help when it doesn't accept its original license code?

After spending 3 hours on this issue, we gave up and just downloaded OpenOffice - it had no trouble reading his old Word and Excel documents. I don't think Open Office will fail from license issues the day before his next presentation.

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 propellents, 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 Aventis in New Zealand is making Tilade again.
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.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mezer Tools for Screen Capture and Measurements

A friend recommend Mezer Toolkit, an excellent utility for Windows screen capture and measurement. Selecting Windows-S brings up the app which lets you choose two corners of a rectangle to define which part of the screen gets put in the copy buffer. Saves lots of time. No more ctl-alt-shift-prtscrn. Mezer will also let you measure items on your screen.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Pictures from Austin .Net User Meeting - Overview of Fiddler with Eric Lawrence

Eric Lawrence gave an overview of "Debugging with Fiddler" to 60 people at this month's Austin .Net meeting. Eric has a light, breezy presentation style which makes listening enjoyable. Fiddler was Eric's hobby project for years before Teleric offered to finance the project. Fiddler (download) really is a Swiss Army Knife for http investigations. My jumbled notes:
The command line has mucho power like ">50K" will only show data more than 50K
Alt-Click on a column shows all other lines with that value.
Fiddler runs on Windows, Linux Mint, and Ubuntu, but just barely on the Mac.
Fiddler can deal with HTTPS encryption and HTML5's WebSockets
It has an image inspector to give info on images
It has Regular Expression based HTTP rewrites
You can remap domains and ports - useful in testing to map a test server to the live server's domain or port
HOSTS command to reroute ip addresses since the HOST file in certain situations is not read
Autoresponder allows you to replay http sessions very fast for demos
FiddlerScripts let you write programs in Fiddler
It has lots of insertion points for adding customized code (AOP)
Watcher x5s is also a good tool
Lastly, the entire core of Fiddler is available as a library for use in your programs.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Hidden Easter Egg Game in Windows 7

I love gaming as much as the next guy and wanted to make sure everyone knew about this hidden gem in Windows 7. To play this game you need a Windows laptop, a docking station, and multiple monitors. The game is called "What Monitors Will Windows Recognize Today?" (WMWWRT, pronounced Wim-Wart). Whenever a developer walks in the office in the morning, we all gather eagerly around them as they dock their laptop and bet on "heads", meaning windows will recognize all the monitors - at the correct resolution from yesterday, or "tails" meaning the OS won't have a clue about yesterday's settings. This is a great team building activity. Often we try to correlate why it recognized the settings - was it the low barometric pressure, the phase of the moon, the price of Microsoft stock? Great hilarity ensues as we try to delve into the mystery that is Wim-Wart.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Natural Gas to Gasoline at Half the Price

Imagine if we could take cheap, plentiful natural gas, stir in some pixie dust, and turn it into gasoline.
A startup Siluria thinks they have the magic dust to make that happen. Siluria takes natural gas and through a process using proprietary catalysts, converts it to ethylene (C2H4) which can then be converted to gasoline at half the price of current gasoline.
If Siluria can make the catalyst cheap enough and it lasts long enough, it will change the landscape of the oil industry and political world. Then, with the additional oil from unconventional sources we will get the following:
  1. The price of oil, of course, will fall a little. It will then slide quite a bit, as producers rush to sell their oil before the next guy. Think buyers market. Think $30 oil.
  2. The price of natural gas will rise reacting to the increased demand. Currently, drillers don't go for "dry gas", that is gas wells without oil, but with the rising price drillers will go for even more gas wells.
  3. Companies extracting expensive oil will start to suffer, like the tar sands in Canada.
  4. Countries depending significantly on oil exports, will become unstable. Russia comes to mind - without the oil revenue to paper over their inefficiencies, the government will be in trouble.
  5. The Middle East will cease to be such a focus of all the oil hungry countries.
  6. Israel will benefit, since many of its enemies are oil-funded, and it has natural gas off its coast.

Many companies have tried this Gas-to-Liquids path and been unsuccessful. Many are trying right now.
I'm rooting for Siluria and hoping they will be able to realize its dream.
This will buy us some time until ultra-capacitors can be designed to power our electric cars of the future.

Monday, January 27, 2014

AppCmd: Cannot find APP object with identifier ...

I'm using AppCmd for the first time to automate installations for IIS7.0 for create an app.  I kept getting this error:
Cannot find APP object with identifier "CoinStacking".
My problem was not prefacing the identifier with the website, although the examples I found on the web didn't indicate the prefix was needed - probably not needed in some circumstances.

My final appcmd to create an App and set its application pool:
%systemroot%\system32\inetsrv\APPCMD add app / /"Default Web Site" /path:/CoinStacking /physicalPath:E:\Inetpub\wwwroot\CoinStacking

%systemroot%\system32\inetsrv\APPCMD set app /"Default Web Site/CoinStacking" /applicationPool:MyPoolParty

To delete the app:
%systemroot%\system32\inetsrv\APPCMD delete app /"Default Web Site/CoinStacking" 

To reset a physical path:
%systemroot%\system32\inetsrv\APPCMD set app /"Default Web Site/CoinStacking" /[path='/'].physicalPath:E:\Inetpub\wwwroot\CoinStacking\v2

 Photo from

Monday, January 20, 2014

Where Are the Millionaire NSA Brother-In-Laws?

Seems to me with NSA analysts gathering all this meta-information on phone calls, some of them would be tempted to call their brother-in-laws and say something like, "Hey Ted, the head of IBM acquisitions has been placing a lot of calls to Acme Quantum, that California company that IPO'd two years ago. I checked their credit cards and Acme Quantum's executive team and the IBM team were in the same Vegas hotel last month for four days. For some reason, everyone traveled there on separate planes, never met in the same restaurant, and ate a lot of room service. I haven't a clue about what they were saying, since everyone knows the NSA doesn't record the calls, just the fact that the calls were made. I know this information isn't useful for anything, but I thought you'd find it interesting since you tell me you get bored sitting at the trading desk all day."