Eric F. Savage

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Posts Tagged ‘MS Windows’

Ubuntu: See you in 2012

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

As a follow-up to my previous post, I’ve just finished moving off my Ubuntu VMs. I don’t necessarily blame Ubuntu for this, but it’s just a little too laggy in a VM. I bet it’s only a few ms most of the time, but it’s noticeable and it’s frustrating when you’re in a good flow. Perhaps next year, if there have been improvements on both the Linux and VMWare side.

I did try VirtualBox, which seemed slightly more responsive but was very flaky, it would randomly lock up in strange ways. I also tried Virtual PC, which isn’t really an option since it lacks real multi-monitor support, but didn’t offer any improvements anyways.

Another issue which may seem minor but any programmer will tell is definitely not is that my code font, Lucida Console, doesn’t work the same on Linux. I’m not familiar enough with font mechanics to say how, but I tried everything including fractional font sizes to going through probably 50 other fonts, and it just doesn’t have the right density. Fonts on Linux are getting better though, I did enjoy the Ubuntu font in the OS UI.

Alternatively running Windows 7 in VMWare so far has been almost completely transparent. I haven’t done it enough to say it’s a total success but I’ve already gotten confused when I’m in full-screen, which is a good sign. Of course the downside is that licensing issues are tricky and expensive, but since these are for paying projects, I can recoup the $200 fee. I may try an OEM license for the next one, it appears to be legal and about half the cost.

21st Century Game Changers

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

A post on the Freakonomics blog got me thinking. What inventions have genuinely improved, or even affected, my life. I drew up a list, and decided to constrain it to the 21st century, so things like the cellphone, the VCR, the CD, the ATM, instant messaging, and online banking aren’t on the list. Here they are, and where possible I put the approximate year I adopted them.

Major Improvement to Daily Life

  • Tivo (2000) – Definitely #1 on the list. I don’t consider myself a couch potato, but this completely unshackled me from the network’s arbitrary scheduling. It also make more shows enjoyable, or even watchable, by cutting out commercials.
  • RSS/Google Reader (2002, 2005) – RSS enabled me to keep track of a much broader set of sources, and Google Reader took RSS to the next level by making my subscriptions and unread articles available anywhere (including my phone).
  • Smartphone (2006) – I’m far more organized now that I have my full contact list and calendar on me at all times, as well as being backed up, plus last-resort internet access is a nice bonus.
  • TV shows on DVD (2003) – There’s now a new category of TV show, the ones I don’t even bother to Tivo and just wait for the DVD.

Minor Quality-of-Life Improvement

  • Netflix (2002) – Like they say, no more late fees.
  • Wifi (2004) – Adopted later than most geeks, has proven useful in many ways.
  • Wikipedia (2003?) – Coming from someone who used to read the encyclopedia for fun, Wikipedia is like crack.
  • Text Messaging (2006) – Late to the game here. Enables a new layer of communcation and makes me both more responsive and more proactive.
  • GPS (2007) – I waited a while for the price dip, and now consider GPS a mandatory item for my car.
  • mp3 player/iPod (2002/2004) – No more discman and CD cases is a good thing.
  • Digital Camera/DSLR (2001, 2004, 2007) – I’m too lazy to deal with film. I got my first digital in 2001, my first nice one in 2004, and my first digital SLR in 2007, each a vast improvement over the previous.
  • Firefox (2004) – Firefox has gone from lightweight security-minded browser to bloated, customizable security-minded browser, both of which I’ve found value in.
  • Eclipse (2002) – Java wins in my book because of Eclipse. Having a program that thinks for you enables you to think about the real problems.
  • Launchcast (now Yahoo! Music) (2002) – One of the earliest and still one of the best customized music services. If you’re not sold on Pandora and Last.fm it might be because they are are inferior versions of Launch.

(supposedly) Major Advances, Adopted by Me, Negligible Impact

  • Social Networks (2004) – I use LinkedIn as a sort of resume-light, and myspace to keep up with my sisters, and facebook as the site du jour, but they are all just curious diversions.
  • OS X (2005) – Scores high on sexiness. Scores low on stability & usability
  • XP/Vista (2003) – Windows 2000 made computers better and more useful. XP and Vista seem to just make them slower.

Major Advances, Unadopted by Me

  • VoIP/Skype – I don’t use landlines.
  • Fastlane/Speedpass – I still find the ease with which someone can track me disturbing, plus the lines these days are usually shorter at the cash lines.

There’s probably some that I missed, or just weren’t important enough to remember. My main question is, what’s next to get on the list, and where on the list will it end up?

Enabling Buttons on Apple Keyboard in Windows

Monday, September 24th, 2007
apple-keyboard

I recently picked up, and am liking, the new “wafer thin” aluminum keyboard from Apple. Its very small, I like the key action and it’s very solid considering it’s size and thickness. But, I use it on Windows, and there’s no driver available other than the standard keyboard one, so the extra keys like media controls aren’t enabled. I came across a freeware macro program called AutoHotKey that works very nicely, and wrote up a few little scripts for it. You can download AutoHotKey and run the scripts yourself, or you can download the compiled version here [enable_mac_aluminum.zip, 193KB] and just pop it into your Startup folder.

Commands:
Shift-F3: Print Screen
Shift-F4: Task Manager
Shift-F7: Previous Track (in Winamp or Yahoo! Music Jukebox)
Shift-F8: Pause/Play (in Winamp or Yahoo! Music Jukebox)
Shift-F9: Next Track (in Winamp or Yahoo! Music Jukebox)
Shift-F10: Mute/Unmute
Shift-F11: Volume Down
Shift-F12: Volume Up
Windows-s: Open http://www.efsavage.com :)

Here’s the entire script:

#s::Run www.efsavage.com
+F3::Send {PrintScreen}
+F4::Send, {SHIFTDOWN}{CTRLDOWN}{ESC}{SHIFTUP}{CTRLUP}
+F7::
IfWinExist ahk_class Winamp v1.x
{
ControlSend, ahk_parent, z ; Pause/Unpause
return
}
IfWinExist ahk_class YMPFrame
{
SetTitleMatchMode 2
IfWinNotActive, Yahoo! Music Jukebox
WinActivate
WinWaitActive, Yahoo! Music Jukebox
MouseClick, left, 29, 107
Sleep, 100
MouseClick, left, 112, 76
WinMinimize
return
}
return
+F8::
IfWinExist ahk_class Winamp v1.x
{
ControlSend, ahk_parent, c ; Pause/Unpause
return
}
IfWinExist ahk_class YMPFrame
{
SetTitleMatchMode 2
IfWinNotActive, Yahoo! Music Jukebox
WinActivate
WinWaitActive, Yahoo! Music Jukebox
MouseClick, left, 29, 107
Sleep, 100
MouseClick, left, 30, 77
WinMinimize
return
}
return
+F9::
IfWinExist ahk_class Winamp v1.x
{
ControlSend, ahk_parent, b ; Pause/Unpause
return
}
IfWinExist ahk_class YMPFrame
{
SetTitleMatchMode 2
IfWinNotActive, Yahoo! Music Jukebox
WinActivate
WinWaitActive, Yahoo! Music Jukebox
MouseClick, left, 29, 107
Sleep, 100
MouseClick, left, 148, 79
WinMinimize
return
}
return
+F10::Send {Volume_Mute}
+F11::Send {Volume_Down 3}
+F12::Send {Volume_Up}

Update: Reader Svolte points us to SharpKeys, which (by default) maps F13 to print screen. The advantage of doing this is that alt-print-screen (capture just active window) works, while I was unable to replicate with the AutoHotKey script.

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