The Windows operating system.

Fixing my Windows 8 Start Screen

When I open my Windows 8 Start screen, right click, and select All Apps, the shell crashes. (I get a few entries in the Application Event Log, including "[t]he shell stopped unexpectedly and explorer.exe was restarted.") Note that the "shell" includes the Start screen, all open File Explorer windows, and the desktop itself. Kind of annoying, especially because it meant I couldn't access everything installed on my computer.

My brother clued me in that the problem was probably caused by existing entries in the Start Menu.

He was right.

Dear Visual Studio: Stop Adding "using System.Linq;" to everything!

"The type or namespace name 'Linq' does not exist in the namespace 'System' (are you missing an assembly reference?)"

Really? That's neat because I never added Linq in the first place! Visual Studio did!

Every single new class contains "using System.Linq" - which is pretty stupid because, amazingly enough, not every class needs to work with databases.

To compound the stupidity, new projects do not contain an assembly reference to System.Linq - which generates this warning.


Testing the PS3's JavaScript Performance

According to Masaki Takase, the PS3's JavaScript performance beats that of IE7's.

Really? That sounds like something that's testable! Cue SunSpider!

Well, actually, no. Because the PS3 browser can't handle all the SunSpider tests. I had to remove three of them to get it to complete. Results in the full article.

KDE4 for Windows

KDE4 has recently released a Windows version of KDE which allows many popular KDE applications like Konqueror under Windows.

Well, sort of.

The installation process is still a bit sketchy. My first attempt to use the graphical installer failed, because I was behind a firewall and the attempt to use Firefox's settings failed. (It does need to be noted that I use a PAC script for settings, so if using Firefox settings worked for someone else, that could be why.)


I Hate Pointsec

Pointsec is this hard drive encryption thingy for Windows. It makes it so that if someone steals the hard drive, they can't access it since it's encrypted. Data protection and all that.


The only problem is that Pointsec is both amazingly slow, and refuses to accept usernames and passwords typed faster than a single character a second.

Yes, that's right. Every time I boot the system (which, being a Windows system, is ridiculously frequently) I have to sit in front of it, slowly pressing one key after another, making sure not to accidentally type too fast.


Thoughts on Vista

I recently built myself a new computer, and slapped Windows Vista onto it.

The most noticeable thing about Vista is that it's shiny. Very shiny. Shiny, shiny, shiny. The icons have been "polished" to look gleaming, the various widgets are shiny, window borders are designed to look shiny, even the close button is shiny.

Of course, unless you're easily distracted by shiny things, this really doesn't mean anything. Being shiny doesn't make it more usable. (Which isn't to say that Vista doesn't have user interface enhancements - it does. They're much more subtle than Vista's shininess, though, and it's the shininess that stands out most when looking at Vista.)

\a Must Die

For those of you who aren't programmers or nerd, "\a" is the string commonly used to represent the "alarm character" is C-style programming languages. It makes the computer beep.

Problem: Almost all computers don't use the sound card to beep, they use a special dedicated speaker. (Why? Diagnostic reasons, many computers will use special beep sequences to indicate an error that prevents them from displaying graphics. Such errors would also exclude the sound card.)

So why is this a problem? Well, because the beep is coming from a special speaker dedicated to making annoying beeps, it completely and totally ignores your volume settings.

Dear Windows, Pressing Cancel in the Sound and Audio Devices dialog...

Dear Windows,

Pressing Cancel in the Sound and Audio Devices dialog does not mean "reset the volume to the level it was prior to opening the dialog, overwriting changes made via other volume controls after opening the dialog." It means "don't apply any changes I've made."



I'm sure my upstairs neighbor would also appreciate not having the volume on my computer jump from 5% to 100%.


Internet Explorer 7 is Out

Internet Explorer 7 is finally out. And... my site still doesn't work in it. Blarg.

I guess this means I'm finally going to have to get around to fixing Drupal's JavaScript to properly resize text areas instead of the current JavaScript which misplaces it due to the margins.

Plus several annoying rendering glitches remain (backgrounds randomly disappear while scrolling) leaving me with a page that just doesn't quite work.


Windows XP PowerToys

After searching around the Microsoft website for too long, I finally hopped over to Google and found them instantly.

Says something about Microsoft's site design...

Microsoft PowerToys for Windows XP



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