Launchy is an open source keystroke launcher for Windows. You press a magic key combo (e.g., Win-A, in my case) and a little dialog pops up, in which you can type commands and have them run.
It is very similar to hitting the Windows key in Windows 8.1 or 10 and just typing – it searches through a local database of your files and applications so you can quickly find things and launch or open them.
I am four months into my first Windows 10 machine. Unfortunately, Launchy hasn’t been updated for a while and doesn’t work as gracefully in Windows 10 as I would like:
It doesn’t deal gracefully with high-resolution, 4K displays. Fixable with some tweaks though.
Starting applications on high resolution displays seems to load them in a weird mode where they are blurry. Probably workaround-able.
Win-A is bound to the notification panel on the right hand side, for example, and it doesn’t really deal gracefully with very high resolution displays.
As a result, I have been forcing myself to use the native Windows 10 search, but I find it totally inferior to Launchy in many ways.
Most critically for me, Launchy has some basic tracking on how often you open particular things after you’ve started typing. So it learns, quickly and effectively, what you want to open after you’ve just typed a few letters. Contrast this to Windows 10, where to open my password safe, I have to type pwsafe.exe every single time. (I have to add the `.exe` otherwise it will open the directory in Explorer).
The usability advantages that this confers don’t sound like a big deal, but after something like seven+ years of running Launchy, I find it impossible to go back.
Anyway, I’ve been going through the various other open source alternatives to Launchy that have popped up in the last few years, and thought I’d just jot them down so the next time I go looking, I have a handy list of them.
LaunchyQt, a promising-looking fork of the base Launchy, with some more modern features.
The “Transparency” feature of the newly-released Apple AirPod Pro grabbed my attention. The claim from Apple is that Transparency is “for hearing what’s happening around you” — it “lets outside sound in, and allows things to sound and feel natural when you’re talking to people nearby”.
Even before the launch of AirPod Pro, I had noticed that many people would engage in conversations with their AirPods in. Maybe not long conversations, and people wouldn’t sit in meetings with them on the whole time, but (purely anecdotally) I felt like I would see a lot of people having a chat while still with their headphones in.
It has felt like the usual social stigma of talking to people with your headphones still on was fading a little bit. When I’m wandering around with headphones on, I’ll usually take at least one ear out to make it clear to whoever I’m speaking to that they have my attention.
But Transparency changes the entire game. Instead of assuming that people with headphones in are blissfully unaware of your existence, lost in their own world of music or podcasts or conference calls, we can now wonder if they’re in Transparency mode and actually hyper-conscious of what you’re saying to them, because all the background noises are being stripped out.
This sounds awesome in many contexts. As someone hitting the “middle aged” milestone, I often find it frustrating being in noisy environments and trying to have a conversation. The idea of being able to pop in headphones and have filter out the background noises so I can better hear the people near me talk is appealing.
(It should be acknowledged that Apple weren’t the first ones to come up with this idea. Bose has had conversation-enhancing technology for a while; there might be other vendors with similar technology.)
One of the big challenges though for this sort of technology, however, is the fact that people would generally be self-conscious wearing augmentation hardware in many environments, both social and professional. Think about things like hearing aids and glasses — for many people the vanity issues of these devices, despite being super common and well-established in society, have prevented them from taking them up, often to their own significant detriment.
The cost of traditional hearing aids can also be a big factor. If they’re not accessible on your insurance, they might simply be unaffordable — the top models often run into the thousands. While the AirPod Pros are expensive, they might be “good enough” for many users when compared with the expense of hearing aids — cherry picking a single example from the Bose site:
Think about Google Glass and the “glasshole” phenomenon. I was super excited when I first heard about this project. I only ever met one person who was wearing them; while it was weird talking to him wondering what was going on, I still confess to being more nerdishly fascinated by the possibilities than thinking about the implications for those around me (let alone what I’d look like wearing them). The possibilities of a great AR platform have become far more interesting to me than Virtual Reality — even from a video gaming perspective, it feels like in the foreseeable future, there are a lot more fun opportunities in AR than VR.
But Google never really nailed Glass as a platform for the average person on the street and the project was relegated to specific commercial/industrial uses. The backlash against them blew up into all sorts of weird places as society wrestled with the Glasshole Problem, which reportedly triggered physical confrontations and resulted in businesses creating policies to deny service to customers wearing them.
With the recent report that Apple is considering Augmented Reality (AR) smart glasses, it’s easy to start thinking of the AirPod Pro as a way for Apple to test the waters in terms of normalising technological augmentations — headphones and glasses — by making them Cool.
To really drive the mass adoption of AR to the level of smartphones, it will be critical to make the experience of wearing AR hardware not only technically excellent, but also Cool enough so that people are comfortable wearing them regularly.
Apple have done more to make technology Cool than any other company. The iPod set the scene by normalising interaction of music with your computer. The iPhone transformed the world with the smartphone revolution. (I remember being asked by many people, prior to its launch in the Windows Mobile/PocketPC era, “why would you want to check your email on your phone?”, an attitude which is now so far removed from reality it’s hard to even believe it once existed).
recently, the Apple Watch has set a new standard for fashioned-based
technology. They are clearly the dominant wearable; as with many other
Apple devices, despite a lot of naysayers being critical of the devices,
they have had a massive impact on how people see and use hardware.
The AirPod Pro has the potential to change the way people think about other hardware augmentations that are more obviously visible in your regular interactions with other people. It seems unlikely they’ll offer a variety of colours so they’re more readily thought of as fashion accessories — the white stems poking out of the ears just seems like it has brand recognition that is too good to pass up on.
if they can get people used to conversing with people with AirPods
plugged into their ears in a variety of normal circumstances — in bars,
in meetings, in conversations walking down the street —it is a powerful
step along the way to adjusting the expectations of the entire planet in
terms of other hardware augmentations.
And if there’s any company that can make wearing high-tech nerd computer glasses cool — it’s Apple.
Their growing, evolving knowledge on how to make consumer devices that combine fashion and technology (both software and hardware) to create a unified product that resonates with people means they are uniquely positioned to effect another paradigm shift in terms of wearable computing when it comes to AR. They might be the first company to finally make a product that people feel comfortable enough to wear enough of the time to make them genuinely useful.
Just had a weird issue where I had an Android contact with an old number on the phone, but it didn’t show up in the web contacts version. Took me a while to realise that you can select ‘View linked contacts’ from the menu in the contact view page in the Android Contacts application to see where external numbers are coming from.
In this case, it was from Signal – Signal maintains its own database of contacts. Turns out zombie contacts in Signal populating your Google Contacts is a common problem, but this Github issue implies there’s no easy UI fix for it in the Signal side.
A modified version of the solution posted by riyapenn worked for me, although I had no saved messages from the contact in question – I suspect if you do it might work differently, so look at the full solution.
Re-sync Signal contacts
1) Go to Android Settings or Android Contacts App > Menu
2) Choose Accounts
3) Choose Signal
4) Tap on the Menu
5) Choose Remove Account (the alert of clearing data is incorrect, your messages will not be deleted)
6) Open Signal
7) Tap on the pencil icon in the blue circle
8) Choose the Menu
9) Tap Refresh
Migrating from a very old Debian install to a newer VPS with a more recent version of Apache and the mpm-itk mod, I was having problems with sending mail using the standard PHP mail() call (first seen when the WP contact form I was using was throwing a “Sorry, email message could not be delivered” error).
exim4 log reported the following:
unable to set gid=33 or uid=0 (euid=0): forcing real = effective
This thread contained a post indicating the problem was the LimitGIDRange/LimitUIDRange options; it seems if these are not specified there are some defaults (perhaps with very low values, or perhaps it’s just that if it’s not set it will not work at all) that need to be overridden.
Defining these values in the global Apache configuration fixes it.
I’ve had PHPMailer happily sending email through the Gmail API (as part of a G Suite subscription) for a while now and it mysteriously stopped working yesterday (29th Sep, 2017), throwing the following output with debug enabled:
2017-09-30 11:24:52 SERVER -> CLIENT: 220 smtp.gmail.com ESMTP v2sm1805443wmf.8 - gsmtp
2017-09-30 11:24:52 CLIENT -> SERVER: EHLO trog-pc
2017-09-30 11:24:52 SERVER -> CLIENT: 250-smtp.gmail.com at your service, [22.214.171.124]
2017-09-30 11:24:52 CLIENT -> SERVER: STARTTLS
2017-09-30 11:24:52 SERVER -> CLIENT: 220 2.0.0 Ready to start TLS
2017-09-30 11:24:52 SMTP Error: Could not connect to SMTP host.
2017-09-30 11:24:52 CLIENT -> SERVER: QUIT
2017-09-30 11:24:52 SERVER -> CLIENT: M I A ��] P *g�� 87� �*��h�!T��
[multiple line binary gibberish removed]
2017-09-30 11:24:52 SMTP ERROR: QUIT command failed: M I A ��] P *g�� 87� �*��h�!T�� [multiple line binary gibberish removed]
2017-09-30 11:24:52 SMTP connect() failed. https://github.com/PHPMailer/PHPMailer/wiki/Troubleshooting
Mailer Error: SMTP connect() failed. https://github.com/PHPMailer/PHPMailer/wiki/Troubleshooting
It looks pretty clearly like a crypto error and the step in the Troubleshooting guide (helpfully provided in the error message!) relating to the OpenSSL check made it seem pretty clear that it was a problem.
The OpenSSL test result looked like this:
C:\files\Apps\OpenSSL>openssl s_client -starttls smtp -crlf -connect smtp.gmail.com:587
depth=1 C = US, O = Google Trust Services, CN = Google Internet Authority G3
verify error:num=20:unable to get local issuer certificate
0 s:/C=US/ST=California/L=Mountain View/O=Google Inc/CN=smtp.gmail.com
i:/C=US/O=Google Trust Services/CN=Google Internet Authority G3
1 s:/C=US/O=Google Trust Services/CN=Google Internet Authority G3
i:/OU=GlobalSign Root CA - R2/O=GlobalSign/CN=GlobalSign
subject=/C=US/ST=California/L=Mountain View/O=Google Inc/CN=smtp.gmail.com
issuer=/C=US/O=Google Trust Services/CN=Google Internet Authority G3
No client certificate CA names sent
Peer signing digest: SHA256
Server Temp Key: ECDH, P-256, 256 bits
SSL handshake has read 3246 bytes and written 468 bytes
New, TLSv1/SSLv3, Cipher is ECDHE-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256
Server public key is 2048 bit
Secure Renegotiation IS supported
No ALPN negotiated
Protocol : TLSv1.2
Cipher : ECDHE-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256
Key-Arg : None
PSK identity: None
PSK identity hint: None
SRP username: None
TLS session ticket lifetime hint: 100800 (seconds)
TLS session ticket:
0000 - 00 33 97 a3 0b be 7f 8d-47 f3 97 6c 18 bb 43 83 .3......G..l..C.
0010 - 27 a4 f7 01 2c d1 a8 0e-55 a9 3c c3 b3 6f 30 58 '...,...U.<..o0X
0020 - 89 22 e3 29 50 42 18 8e-29 ca be 27 57 f9 bc 6e .".)PB..)..'W..n
0030 - 25 f9 ed 68 6a ba 30 97-60 0b 32 fc 19 ab 83 10 %..hj.0.`.2.....
0040 - 00 d1 91 e7 1d 72 d9 2f-3f 27 ac 06 83 23 78 94 .....r./?'...#x.
0050 - 4d 59 38 7f 5d 70 2e ec-d9 d4 b3 31 c9 34 04 25 MY8.]p.....1.4.%
0060 - 79 a8 2f 49 66 ce c7 e3-67 de 46 58 43 b9 42 36 y./If...g.FXC.B6
0070 - 54 49 33 94 99 1e 7d 0b-87 4c da c5 a4 72 b1 05 TI3...}..L...r..
0080 - 5d 47 3b cf 33 13 69 41-f8 1d e4 a0 81 26 1c e5 ]G;.3.iA.....&..
0090 - a7 6b 9b 09 c8 db 1d 8f-6b 5e 54 eb d7 ed 9e 6c .k......k^T....l
00a0 - fc 1f f9 f8 3a d4 3a df-05 c7 0b a3 0b 66 c1 4e ....:.:......f.N
00b0 - 66 27 3c 64 03 60 81 1d-44 bb f0 a4 08 d0 96 dd f'<d.`..D.......
00c0 - 14 31 95 fd 23 7f 13 82-ed 15 fa fb 6a f5 ec 69 .1..#.......j..i
00d0 - c9 b1 d3 e9 fc .....
Start Time: 1506770618
Timeout : 300 (sec)
Verify return code: 20 (unable to get local issuer certificate)
At first glance the Troubleshooting guide implies that the ‘unable to get local issuer certificate’ is safe to ignore – but it is only referring to the first instance of the error at the top. If you’re also seeing the error message at the bottom, you have the same problem as me.
The easy fix is to set verify_peer to false as it described in the Troubleshooting guide. But (also as it notes) this is dodgy and you should fix the local certificate store. So don’t do this.
After messing around a bit (including testing identical code on a Linux VM and seeing that it worked), I gritted my teeth and dove into the OpenSSL configuration (something which I’ve studiously avoided for years because everything has magically Just Worked for me).
It looks like OpenSSL didn’t have a local certificate store at all in Windows and it needs to be explicitly configured. I have no idea how it worked at all – maybe it was using some sort of embedded certificate that just expired? Or maybe I had changed some other option somewhere without realising (unlikely but I hate blaming gremlins).
Anyway, the fix is simple:
1) Download the latest cacert.pem file from the curl website
2) Plonk it somewhere on your local machine where PHP can get to it.
3) Update your php.ini’s openssl.cafile directive to point to this new file.
PHP’s OpenSSL should now have the local certificates. The OpenSSL test in the PHPMailer Troubleshooting guide should now “pass” and that final Verify return code: 20 (unable to get local issuer certificate) message should be replaced with Verify return code: 0 (ok). PHPMailer should also happily work again.
As of Firefox v54.0, multi-process support (also known as Electrolysis) is enabled by default in Firefox.
I had it working through various config tweaks for a few releases before that, but just noticed that at some point it had been disabled.
about:support reported it was disabled, with the issue:
0/1 (Disabled by accessibility tools)
This was a little weird as I didn’t recall having any accessibility tools enabled. I checked the Options and sure enough the option “Show a touch keyboard when necessary” (under Advanced->General) was enabled.
Disabling this option and restarting did not fix it, but then I found this page which carries this note:
accessibility.lastLoadDate – time of the last load. Electrolysis will be disabled for seven days post this time.
I edited this value in about:config – simply winding it back by some random amount (I used 1491307811 but basically anything more than seven days before whatever time it is should do the trick – and restarted Firefox. accessibility.lastLoadDate had vanished from about:config but multi-process mode was enabled again.
Both were reasonably easy to set up, although the Google one requires a bit more effort and fussing around to navigate their API control panel. Microsoft’s took probably less than 10 minutes from signup to having working code – their process is much simpler; basically register and get an API key and you’re ready. Google requires that you signup, submit payment details, download their SDK, authenticate your account through the SDK via OAuth, and then you can finally try it out.
I had somewhat lower expectations from the Microsoft one based solely on the first thing that I saw when I checked out their home page – one of the examples that is displayed by default includes errors in their OCR:
Microsoft’s API still performs fairly well, although from a quick experimentation it seems that the Google one produces more reasonable results.
Here are some examples:
Tower of London
Tower of London
Tower of London, Jewel House
Google’s tags are a bit more specific than Microsoft’s, but there’s some overlap. Google correctly identifies it as the Tower of London, but incorrectly decides it is Jewel House (it is the White Tower).
body of water
Google correctly flags this as the Tower Bridge but almost amazingly (considering how iconic it is), Microsoft does not. Perhaps the colours or darkness are causing issues here. However, the tagging in both is pretty good.
St. Paul's Cathedral
Again, Google is correctly able to identify the landmark while Microsoft falls short.
Neither of them pick up that this is Big Ben and/or Westminster. The tags are pretty good although I feel Google has a slight advantage for calling it a cityscape.
Both pick up on the alcohol theme, but Google correctly identifies it as beer – although it picks it as a wine glass, perhaps because it’s a slightly unusual shape for a beer glass. Microsoft’s tags however are much more complete.
black and white
I have a lot of photos of manhole covers and I am keen to find a way to tag them automatically. Both Google & MS correctly tag this. Google has a bunch of extra detail, although the photo is not actually black and white.
I wrote a few quick thoughts about the latest aimless flailing around of the politicians of Australia and the United Kingdom as they desperately attempt to appear like they’re doing something about national security by talking about what a scary place the Internet has become.
I make no claim about being a crypto expert but I don’t believe it’s possible to accomplish what they want without either massively compromising the security of everyone by forcing companies to comply and use weaker encryption or fundamentally altering the nature of the Internet and personal computing (perhaps as described in Vernor Vinge’s Huge award-winning science fiction novel, Rainbow’s End).