Window Misbehavior

You know what drives me nuts? When you close a window and it doesn’t close… it just sits there mocking you with it’s continued existence. It’s probably saving something to disk or sending statistics to its mothership or maybe calculating the next chunk of bitcoin hashes. Who fucking knows, it just doesn’t close. You’re clicking furiously on that red X in the corner but it’s still there, laughing at the futility of your desires.

How long does it take to kill a process exactly? Clicking that window close button should not be giving control over to the window you’re trying to kill, it should immediately close the window against its will and give the app about 3 seconds to finish something up before the OS completely kills the process and reclaims it’s memory without mercy.

It’s to the point where I find myself doing a task manager kill more often than just closing a window normally. If you allow an app to misbehave it will misbehave. This is one of the reasons why I’m looking forward to Windows 8. Win8 apps adopt the model closer to phones and ios, where apps are sandboxed and at the mercy of the OS rather than the other way around. Apps get frozen and killed at the users whim and nearly instantly. It’s these types of issues that render the old desktop obsolete in my mind (along with modal dialogs).

Inspired by this rant on splash screens and apps misbehaving while opening: http://asserttrue.blogspot.com/2012/02/splash-screens-sloth.html

Oracle Job Offers

I keep getting these form job offers to be an Oracle consultant from some guy.

Role: Oracle E Business Consultant
Location: Washington, DC
Duration: Very Long Term, will go for years

**Green Card or US Citizen Only.

Primary skill: (MUST HAVE)
Oracle e biz suite person, w/PMP and ITIL V3 certs.

 

As much as I’m excited for a job that will go on and on and on for years… I honestly couldn’t care less about Oracle so I decided to troll him a bit. Here’s my response to his standard new hire questions:

 

Full Name: Justin (The Dude) Chase
Contact No.: Yes?
Email ID: Email Ego: Email SuperEgo
Work authorization (GC or US Citizen): Yes, you’ll need that and you probably need a heavy equipment operators permit before you hire me.
Current Location (City, State): Everywhere.
Relocation (Yes/No): Will require daily flights on a private jet.
Availability: Married.
Availability for F2F interview, if client requests: Tomorrow noon. I’ll give you the address when you arrive.
Total IT Experience: Yes. I AM a total IT experience.
Relevant experience as per the requirement: Let’s just say that Al Gore didn’t actually invent the internet, he stole the idea from me.
Expected Rate/hr: 10 BTC
HitPoints: 75
THac0: 11

 

I added a few questions he seemed to have forgotten. It seemed relevant.

Two settings in IE9 I always turn off

Show only one preview per window

I have been struggling to find my tabs every since IE8 decided that abusing the fancy new Win7 window preview feature was a good idea. I use the order of the previews to keep track of which window is which not which tab is which. If you ever find yourself with more than one window those previews do more to hinder your ability to find the tab you want then help. And if you only have one window they’re still too small to help you much anyway.

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Single words in the omnibar are still queries

If you type a single word into the omnibar in IE9 it will first look on your intranet for a machine of that name and attempt to connect to it instead of issuing a query to your default search provider like every other browser. This is an especially annoying feature because not only does it do something unexpected it’s typically a lot slower to find and connect to a local intranet machine than a search provider, so your query ends up spinning for a long time then taking you to some unexpected server. Not cool.

If it isn’t a URL then it’s a query!

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A message to my Senator, Al Franken

Al,

I voted for you in your last election and have been very happy with your service overall. You’re a great source of reason and intelligence in the Senate and I’m glad to have you here in Minnesota.

However, it’s come to my attention that you have chosen to support PIPA. I believe that this is a very unpopular position for you to take, and for good reason. I would strongly urge you to reconsider your position in this matter. Internet freedom and freedom of expression in general is an important issue to me; in fact I might say it is one of the most important issues to me. The reason it is so important is that I believe that all other evils stem from untruth and censorship. Freedom of expression is the most general way to combat evil and without it we are lost. This completely open, global, communication system we have created is truly the most incredible wonder human kind has ever created. And the potential for evil that PIPA is attempting to prevent is only matched by a potential for good which will be equivalently stifled. Please do not support anything that will diminish this amazing creation. The internet is still young, and full of zest. People do evil things, it’s true, but that fact is dramatically outweighed by the goodness we do as well.

What’s needed is not for the movie industry to get overly general legislation so they can continue to stagnate but for them to embrace this brave new world and finally innovate. They’re still stuck on over priced mega-plexes, DVD’s and obsolete Cable TV  while the rest of us are pining for verbose streaming options, ownership of the things we purchase and the removal of entrenched middle men. Please read this article for opinions I agree with:
http://www.extremetech.com/computing/114493-why-i-pirate

We cannot allow a single industry to hinder free expression of everyone simply because they have a powerful lobby in Washington. Combatting piracy with legislation is a losing battle, it’s bad for consumers and it’s bad for the art we all want to protect.

Take a stand. Force them to change, not the internet. A free and open internet will make this world a better place and that is the most important thing to remember. From there all other things will unfold.

Thank you, I know you’ll do the right thing.

Sincerely,

Justin Chase

Remembering Complex Passwords

This is a problem that has been written about over and over again, the proposed solutions are complex and there appears to be no relief in sight. People are reusing the same simple passwords over and over again and the only alternative is a complex trade-off between poor user experience, incompatibility and putting all your eggs in a single basket. I’m not sure how brilliant of an idea my solution is but I’ll explain how I try to manage this complexity.

First off, I have 4 tiers of passwords. I have one very complex password for work, gmail and my bank account, one for less important sites that I really would rather wasn’t hacked like facebook and Windows Live. One that’s a throw away password that I really couldn’t care if anyone hacked and one that I share among family and friends (my home router, my personal svn, etc.)

For my top tier password I have come up with a trick for creating and remembering them. I think this is a handy trick and can work for anyone and will generate a very strong password. I have created a simple tool to help.

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EDIT: try it live at jsfiddle

Once a month or every other month simply print out, or write down the above graph onto a piece of paper. Visualize a line or a shape with a bend such as a V somewhere in the graph. This is your password. Remember the first letter, the last letter and the shape. Change your passwords and leave this sheet somewhere nearby face down. Try to login by remembering this complex password. If you cannot, flip over the sheet, take a look and try again. If you flip over the sheet start typing from the beginning again. After a couple of tries you will be able to remember without the sheet. Don’t discard it, keep it nearby in case you forget again.

In the meantime, if anybody finds your printed sheet it is not readable. If the CIA finds it, it might help them to narrow it down enough to crack it but if you’re concerned about that then I can’t really help you.

My second tier password I choose a word that is easy for me to remember and basically use l33t speak to augment it. Basically replace letters with either numbers or special characters depending on what the password box is requiring.

My third and fourth tier is just some stupid dictionary word that’s easy for me and friends to remember.

All but my top tier passwords are stored in a Google Docs spreadsheet so if I forget I can go and find it in there. That spread-sheet is protected by my top tier password.

Farewell Bob Pappas

Today was Bob‘s last day at Microsoft. He was the project manager of Sketch Flow and his contribution will be remembered. Bob leaves to join Apple where he will work on iPhoto and he will be replaced by Dave Carley as project manager of Sketch Flow. For those who didn’t know Sketch Flow is developed almost exclusively here in Minnesota.

Farewell Bob and good luck Dave!

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This is a photo of some of the Microsoft Twin Cities Development Center bowling at Bryant Lake Bowl. Bob stands at the left.