Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

Making your SSD go faster and last longer

Sep 29th, 2011

I have switched from spinning platters to SSD and am not going back.  Earlier I have changed to faster hard disks and evaluated hybrid disks with nand but finally coughed up the money for an SSD.  My computer is now faster, quieter and doesn’t care about vibrations.  The battery time is about the same.

Here is some stuff you should examine and/or do if when you upgrade.  Windows7 can recognise your HD as SSD but doesn’t do all the changes itself.

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Short review: Lilliput USB monitor

May 29th, 2011

Small and expensive but totally worth it if you need a third screen for your laptop.

If you are only using one monitor and satisfied with it there are bigger and better monitors to have for less money.  But if you, as me, only have a dual head video card and already two monitors the lilliput makes the day.

I have it for keeping an eye on email or chat or spotify or logs or perfmon or whatever needs little space at the side of my main monitor.

Easy installation in Win7 and it pops up as an ordinary video card.  No pesky dialogs floating around.

Googling your own question

May 14th, 2011

Some years ago I googled a question just to find my own answer.

Right now it happened again.  Wasted 2 hours for finding the question and answer I already had gotten an answer for.

It was about AspnetMvc and Model and Actionresult and Modelstate and Modelstate.clear and Modelstate.Remove and Return View.  So next time I can google my own blog to find my own question to find the answer.

Stupid me.

Review of Candy Alisè GO W 465 D washing machine and tumble dryer

Jan 11th, 2011

Short story:

I have combined washing machine and tumble dryer that seems to do its job.  But like with most washing machines today the user interface is created by twelve pidgeons and a monkey.  When it fails it doesn’t give a serious clue about what is wrong.

Long story:

A review of a combined washing machine and tumble dryer is not very technical.  But it is very much user interface and as such it is close to software development.  Like how we did software user interfaces 20 years ago.

The machine seems to do the washing good and the tumble drying ok during the two weeks I have had it.  It is a centimeter or two shallower than the competitors I looked at which was good in my case.

But the user interface…

To its defense I must say that all washing machines I have tried have stoopid UIs, possibly with the exception of the very simple ones which work like the mechanics inside it which is possible to grasp.

Let me start with a disease in every modern washing machine I have tried; the lag between opening-allowed and opening-possible.  The machine is finished.  The water is pumped out.  The pump has stopped working.  Sometimes even the key sign has been switched off.  Why do we have to wait 30 more seconds before it is possible to open the door?
That was the easiest, most blatant, example of no-brain-design-this-user-interface.
Another almost as simple here: Machine just started and you notice something you forgot to put in the machine.  The water hasn’t started flowing yet so the machine is dry.  Now you have to wind through the whole program, pressing a button for 20 seconds.  For one Wascator machine I had to release it at spin dry and then press it again for 10 seconds.  Finally waiting 30 more seconds for being allowed to open the door.
The Candy I am reviewing here doesn’t have that sort of fast forward so instead one turns it off.  And then to a program to turn it on again.  And after that I haven’t had to figure out yet.

The graphics are also nice/friendly even though I don’t get why it has invented a new icon for wool.

If you want to wash at 95 degrees you have to set it to cotton and prewash.  All other settings refuses to let the temperature go above 60.  Why?  It is my clothes and I might want to wash something in 95 for 20 minutes.  Or without prewash.
On the other hand – with prewash runs faster than without.  There is probably a perfectly good reason for that. But it eludes me

There is a play/pause button.  That isn’t that.  When tumble trying; it is a Play:start tumble trying and Pause:stop heating the air and change to 20 minutes(or 10 if it was 5 before).
You don’t understand what I wrote? The programmers probably didn’t either.

It does Not have 2 water inlets, one for cold and one for hot.  In Sweden it is often cheaper buying water heated centrally than heating it with in the washing machine.  It is also faster since the water is already heated up.

It does not manage to empty the washing powder slot properly.

The time-remaining-of-spin-drying calculator is built by the same guy that built WindowsXP time-remaining-of-copy-file where 1 minute is anything between 1 and 15.

The top is flat but has lining around the sides that makes dirt and washing powder not being easily wept off but instead caught in the linings.  It probably has something to do with how the machine is assembled in factory.

The door is not rehingable from left to right.  It is possible on every refrigerator I have seen, except the very trendy ones, the last 30 years.  But no washing machine has it.

We are figuring out the user interface bit by bit and are sometimes positively surprised where someone has done a bit of good thinking.

Finally an example that is visible in so many modern washing machines: the program wheel.
In the old days we used a mechanical clock with relays to turn stuff on and off.  The wheel to set this clock was situated to the side due to its size, normally right.  Today we still have this wheel but it is just an electric switch connected to a computer.  So in the Candy I am writing about the program wheel is a mixture of washing programs, spin cycle, empty machine and some more.  Like the Tools menu of MSOffice pre 2007.

Here is another example where the product obviously isn’t tested or used before shipping. I set the program to 40° cotton. I get 1h34m runtime. I press start and it immediately jumps to 2h20m. (the figures are not exact)

Update:

The machine failed for me the other day, after a month’s use, with the clue “E07”.  Searching the manual came up with nothing but “call someone”.  To me this is a FAIL.  Calling “someone” I got a “I believe it is the controller card.”.  There are several other errors like E01 and E02 if I recall correctly.

It is hard to recommend a machine for several hundred euros that doesn’t give a clue about what is wrong.

Update:

I put in clothes and choose program.  It say 1:34.  I press play and it immediately switches to 2:02 or 2:22 depending on god-knows.  What happened to the 1:34?  What did the machine learn the moment I pressed play?

Then of course.  The machine is finished.  The water is pumped out.  The timer says 0.  I still have to wait over a minute before I can open the door.  And you know what? – in other machines there is a small door at the front where a string (or similar) is hidden to open the door anyway.
This machine has a pressure sensor.  So if the pressure sensor breaks down there is no obvious way to get your clothes out.  Or if the power goes.

Which F/OSS license to choose?

Aug 19th, 2010

There are some hundred open source licenses to choose from and tons of documentation to dig through. Noone is able to grok that so help and guidance is welcome.

An LdBrouwer has written a quite short comparison. It doesn’t give you the full monty but points you in the right direction and above all – gives the noob and non-tech some basic knowledge and directions to steer by.

He also links to another site with some Yes/No questions to find out which license fits you. It doesn’t hold very many licenses and is a tad old but nevertheless worth a try.

Somewhere there is (was) a site. I saw it some years ago. It is also a simple expert system for choosing the right F/OSS license. But I can’t find it.

Update: Another article is here.

exception: could not impersonate the client during assembly file operation

Aug 18th, 2010

When running the Create Assembly command in SQLServer for adding my CLR component to the database I got an exception similar to:

could not impersonate the client during assembly file operation

What it really was was a file-not-found error.
I was working on one machine but having the database on another.  Since Create Assembly takes a file name/path as parameter it also has to find it.  This means that the database process on the database machine is looking for the path; not the SQL tool.

The solution is to move the DLL to somewhere the database machine can reach it.

AspnetMvc2 and MvcContrib not finding Microsoft.Web.Mvc.dll

Jun 12th, 2010

Trying out AspnetMVC2 and MvcContrib you might run into

Could not load file or assembly ‘Microsoft.Web.Mvc, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=null’ or one of its dependencies. The system cannot find the file specified.

The solution is to get the file Microsoft.Web.Mvc.dll from the downloaded zip.  Drop the file into the bin folder of the site (add it somewhere else, like “MvcContrib” and set it to copy to the bin folder.
I presently have a post-build event command

copy $(SolutionDir)External\MvcContrib\Microsoft.Web.Mvc.dll $(TargetDir)

I also use dotnet4 which might have to do with the error message.

>Selfelected – ideas

Mar 4th, 2010

>I just started another blog which only presents ideas yet to be implemented.
http://selfelected.wordpress.com/
Feel free to implement anyone of them.

Jan 9th, 2010

>

This is my visual setup of Visual Studio.

Notice how the real estate is used for tools I use and not for buttons that just happens to be there by default.

shift-alt-return maximises the window so not even the caption bar is visible.  I know which program I am working in so I don’t need to waste the whole top for this.

I have removed all toolbars.  The buttons I need I have put to the right of the menu.

There are also two macros in the menu bar, one for connecting the bugger to nunit and ditto to IIS.

I have set all toolbars to auto hide.  When I debug, the call stack and autos (unfortunately hard to find among the menus with C# projects – open a VBNet project and see what it looks like), toolbox are visible.

I have also moved all toolbars to the right.  When one is working heavily with the forms designer it is good to have the Toolbox toolbar constantly open on the left but only then, and for the 2% of the project I handle the forms I can move it there manually.  The rest of the time I hack code and need nothing but code and debug tools.

I know shortcuts to almost all toolbars.  Those I don’t know I don’t use that often anyway.  I don’t know why some banjo player at Microsoft decided that underlines and shortcut tips should be invisible as default.  Fix it through Tools->Customize.

This way I use all of the precious display area for stuff I have use of.

US vs French vs Swedish vs 1337 keyboard layout aka 1773 keyboard

Dec 29th, 2009

A keyboard layout aimed at programmers for Windows and OSX.

It swaps numbers and characters in the top row so one doesn’t have to press shift for every parenthesis.

TL;DR

Most programming languages I have tried work better with a US keyboard layout than a Swedish.  For instance my current language, C#, is riddled with {s and [s and these are a pain to use.  One has to press the right Alt-button (labeled alt-gr) and then 7 or 8 respectively.  Try this, it really twists your hand.

The US keyboard has {, [, ], } to the right of P and it works much better than the Swedish keyboard.

But then we have (, ), =, & and the rest above the number keys.  Most languages use plenty of parenthesises and even though you don’t have to twist your hand it is still awkward to use two keys (and hands with a “proper” finger setting) to write these common characters.  The French keyboard has solved this by flipping the number keys/shift setting.  Press the key to get an ! and shift-key to get 1.  If one write lots of number there is always the proper number keyboard to the right.

So the French keyboard is better for some other characters.

Then we have the Swedish characters å,ä and ö.  Even though I usually hack in English I write text, outputs and user information in Swedish so these cannot be left out.

Thinking that there was no reason to have a second rate keyboard layout I fired up MSKLC from Microsoft and hacked together the 1337 keyboard layout.  I have used it for a couple of years now in WinXP, Vista and Win7.

For almost all use other than programming I keep the Swedish layout so I have set leftshift-leftalt for a fast keyboard layout toggle.

Lastly: I do use touch typing and I recommend learning this for all serious software developers.  I also have noticed that I have very little problem with switching keyboard layout, the fingers need a second to adjust and are then hitting the right key.

(For problems 1337 reverting to US see here.)