navigating a world which feels like gravity is working in reverse

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  • Category Archives Computer
  • Google Search Trick – No Ads!

    If you don’t want to see advertising on a Google query simply add -nazi to it (minus sign next to nazi).  This will obviously exclude searches that include the word nazi in them but in most searches you won’t need this (unless maybe you’re arguing with someone on the opposite side of the political divide as yourself).  Also works on Bing!



  • errors

    Maybe I’d get along in the world if programming were more like interacting with people. Some interpreter errors:

    ERROR: You missed a curly bracket somewhere but I don’t want to lower your self-esteem so I ran the code anyway.

    ERROR: I’m just going to give you a white screen and you figure out what you did wrong. (this actually happens)

    ERROR: You threw an error three years ago and I haven’t gotten over it so I’m throwing you another error.

    ERROR: You must believe in this code in order for it to work.

    ERROR: You don’t look good enough right now for me to let you run this code.

    ERROR: Try running this code on other computers. I do not want to see any of your code any more.

    ERROR: I’m not going to tell you what’s wrong with your code but am going to just run it and watch it brutalize your data.



  • ESC

    Long long ago in web time there used to be a happy medium between the advertisers on a web page and the readers.  It was called the escape key.  You could press it and the animations would stop (this is before Flash came along) making reading tolerable.  Fast forward to today and we have an arms race between advertisers and ad blocking software.

    I use ad blocking software and feel guilty about it as ads are the way many sites are paid for.  But without it I have a hard time reading the content.  If there were a way to press ESC and stop all animations on a page I’d be much more inclined to put up with ads.



  • learn

    The skills you need to succeed in this economy you often cannot learn from books.

    The two skills I need to be marketable:

    1. WooCommerce (an e-commerce plugin for WordPress website) product listing and single product page customization.
    2. Responsive Web Design

    There are a few books on the latter but the former can only be learned by googling around and even then the information is very arcane and sparse.

    Everyone crows about how “education” will solve our problems.  It won’t because a lot of what you learn is obsolete in the span of a year or two.  This is more true in programming than other disciplines but as more and more fields gets technologized one’s knowledge becomes more ephemeral.



  • Posting a DVD to Facebook with $19.95 worth of software (PC)

    This tutorial assumes you have Windows 7 but the steps are very similar on other versions of Windows.  All the software is also available for Mac but the instructions would be different.  Please note this only works on unencrypted DVD’s (generally ones people burn themselves).

    1. Put the DVD in the drive and when it autoplays close the autoplay program, you don’t want to watch it.
    2. Go to Start -> Computer (On Windows 8 press Windows Key-E and Computer is on the left column on the bottom) and right-click the DVD drive.  Select Open
    3. Grab all the files and drag them to a folder on your computer
    4. Go to the Apple Online Store and spend $19.95 for Quick Time MPEG 2 playback component (this tutorial assumes you have QuickTime already which comes with iTunes but if not you’ll have to download QuickTime first)
    5. Download MPEGStreamClip (the non beta version will work).
    6. Run the program and do File > Open Files.  Now you will navigate to the files you copied from the DVD.  There should be a VIDEO_TS directory.  You want to grab the VOB file that looks like the one you want (you may have to experiment with this)
    7. If the file name is broken into parts like _01  _02 _03 it will let you import all of the tracks.  You generally want to do this.
    8.  If you only want part of the video you can press CTRL and click the progress bar at the bottom of the video.  It’s a little tricky but you’ll get the hang of it.
    9.  Now go to File > Export to MPEG2 with MP2 Audio
    10.  It will take awhile but will retain the original DVD’s quality (no transcoding)
    11.  Now you have the MPEG you can upload it to Facebook.  If the video file size is too large you may have to reencode it to H.264 which you can do with HandBrake but hopefully you won’t have to do that.