marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

If I see one more article about another Windows 10 leaked build I'm going to stop going online until RTM ships. I've played with 10130, examined its guts, researched Cortana so extensively I know it right down to its files (the registry's another matter; much harder because more new entries/more new names because Windows 10 is built on 8/7/Vista/XP/2000/ME /'98/'95/3.1 which is built on freaking DOS which, by the way, with correct application support still runs on your Windows 10 rig/blah blah blah), written all the how-tos that solidify her key shortcuts, hacked the registry to 1) make the entire OS black (don't try this if you don't want Spartan to only partially take on black background and white menu option and address bar effects; it renders Spartan visually unusable on 10130 - it otherwise works without a hitch, though, to turn the entire OS black), 2) make the taskbar show only tiny icons, 3) make the taskbar display tabs instead of icons on open applications, 4) disable transparency, 5) enable taskbar thumbnails, and so many other hacks that I already forget most of them. How I love the registry. That comes with any version of Windows. I could just hack away within it forever.

But anyway, done that, got the t-shirt, and now I'm bored, just as Onuora [disclosure: I'm on his mailing list] is waxing poetic about how great the latest leaked build is - he's even showing screencaps featuring English-encoded apps, but the leaked build is supposedly only available in Chinese so this leads me to ask: a) how did he do that and b) where is the English version and c) more importantly, you folks at Microsoft know Insiders are downloading leaked builds (who else would be crazy and determined enough to except for maybe tech bloggers like Onuora?) and d) most importantly, why would you want us to when "we" are your own Beta testers? At least give us a legitimate release build to work with instead of some Bittorrented crap. I don't download leaked builds because I just don't, but too many avid Insiders posting constant feedback and voting on other's feedback just as constantly deserve better than the Chinese version of something you obviously don't want us to have even if tech bloggers who install it think it's so great. We've worked hard and diligently as Beta testers and deserve better. Release the hounds another build, already.

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

I had to google it, and just my luck, the results confirm it's not possible for a squirrel to burp. Unfortunately, this little guy - or gal - or heck, can squirrels have multiple gender identities? If so, what do I call it without asking what it prefers? Is it alright to call it "it", or does this offend someone, or is it imagined that if the squirrel could understand me I would offend the squirrel? I mean, do we have to do this again, only for squirrels this time around? Anyway, it burped, and unfortunately (as I was going to say before I went off on a tangent about squirrel gender identity) I didn't have time to catch it on camera. But I swear, it burped.

But only after the squirrel drove my cat nearly insane by hanging upside down under the dining room roof eave for many minutes in between bursts of running at top speeds, then freezing before hanging upside down again did it finally - and quite unexpectedly, as it hadn't been eating anything I could see - let out this burp. Are squirrels related to bats, by any chance? I thought my cat would hyperventilate or have an actual heart attack. He was standing under the squirrel in the dining room, up high on a built-in shelf, with his eyes ready to pop out of his head while he literally beat the shelf with his left paw, he was so frustrated by it. All he wanted to do was to get that squirrel.

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

To refresh everyone's memory, Firefox has five possible history-clearing settings:

Clear recent History/Time range to clear:

  • Last hour
  • Last two hours
  • Last four hours
  • Today
  • Everything

To illustrate the problem, let's envision this scenario: You're using your friend's computer to browse some websites within Firefox. Your friend said it's OK to do this any time you want, so the fact that you're using their browser to uh, browse, is not in itself the problem. While you're grateful that they let you, and don't necessarily suspect them or anyone else of wanting to snoop, you clean forgot to open a New Private Window before web-surfing, and now you would simply like to clear your browsing history without them knowing you did. Because reasons, folks.

This is where the problem lies. Look at the list of all possible history-settings again, with the one your friend last used now in bold.

  • Last hour
  • Last two hours
  • Last four hours
  • Today
  • Everything

OK, but you, unlike your friend, have either one hour, four hours, today, or else everything history-wise to clear out. The problem? Well, let's say you went a little hog wild and have at least four hours of a rather lengthy, multi-website, multi-page browsing session to clear (thereby making the option to "Forget this Site" too unwieldy and time-consuming to be of much use):

  • Last hour
  • Last two hours
  • Last four hours
  • Today
  • Everything

Your friend recalls that the last time they browsed, they cleared out only two hours of history, but you jumped on after them and cleared four hours of browsing history when you were finished, so the next time they end a browsing session and get ready to clear their own history, they'll see this:

  • Last hour
  • Last two hours
  • Last four hours
  • Today
  • Everything

Instead of this:

  • Last hour
  • Last two hours
  • Last four hours
  • Today
  • Everything

Whoops-a-daisy! You just got caught hiding your history, in their browser, on their computer.

Ideally, you want a history-clearing tool that also clear any tracks which prove you cleared your history! Otherwise, it's obvious you cleared something - just not what.

Since this post wouldn't be complete without a thought on how to fix this issue, an obvious (to me) suggestion would be "just default to 'last hour' no matter which history clearing setting was last used".

Does anyone have objections to, more suggestions concerning, or any further thoughts upon this?

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

Also see my lists of Cortana Shortcuts, Part I and Part II.

Cortana can also work as a Run dialog box. Try typing in msconfig, iexplore, cleanmgr, services.msc and hitting Enter after each command. You can - as with running the Run dialog box from within Cortana - right-click to run all commands as Administrator.

Cortana also has potential to work as a calculator without you having to explicitly open calc to do some math. I say "she has potential" because she's still a little buggy in this area (type in 2-2 to see what I mean...she just wants to open a Run dialog box).

Cortana can also find selected files by typing in their extension. Try .txt and .html for a sample. I say "for a sample" because the capability does not seem too well-developed yet and is totally feature-incomplete. (Also, will not find .js, .dll, .ini or .exe files, just for example, and while I could be wrong, seems to concentrate on searching only through your Downloads folder.)

Customizations I'd like to see in Cortana

  • The ability to choose your own keywords/letters/numbers/characters to open custom searches/perform certain actions/run certain utilities
  • The ability to pin your choice of programs/commands to Cortana's window so that upon placing a cursor in her search box a dropdown list of what you've chosen instantly presents itself to you
  • The ability to perform Everything-like searches of all files on your computer, with the same administrator rights as Everything (Everything creates its own admin rights)
  • The ability to change Cortana's default search engine to say, Google or DuckDuckGo
  • The ability to customize the search box, and the window's shape, size, background, height and width
marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

Yet my 1-3% claims to have gotten nearly $3,000 back from AOL over the years just by looking at (and following) the advice on my blog. Imagine how many more dollars have been gotten back by people who will never have the decency to tell me so?

Maybe I'll start charging a commission.

At *hmmmm* 10% or so, I could finally start cleaning up on the lost labor of love that is my I-hate-this-company masterpiece. After 10 years it's probably about damn time I did.

Not like I ever made a dime on it - but God knows I should.

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

Also see Windows 10 (build 10130) Windows Key keyboard shortcuts + finding/using God Mode(s) and More neat crap Cortana can do....

If you're on a desktop or laptop computer without a microphone while running Windows 10 (or if it has a microphone but you simply don't feel like using it or don't want to use it) you can't or won't be able to ask Cortana anything unless you type into her search box. Luckily, typing into her search box can be faster and easier than clicking her microphone icon and waiting while she listens to you to formulate an answer.

What's even quicker is using just one letter, number or character to find what you need. What follows is a list of such commands (I've perhaps over-enthusiastically referred to it as Cortana's God Mode, but hey, it is kinda dope).

Simply type the corresponding entry into Cortana's search box and press Enter.

One letter, from A-Z

  • a  Alarms and Clock
  • b  Store (Beta)
  • c  Calculator
  • d  Default Programs
  • e  File Explorer
  • f  File Explorer
  • g  Get Started
  • h  Insider Hub
  • i  Insider Hub, Internet Explorer
  • j  Windows Journal
  • k  On-screen Keyboard
  • l  Lync (Skype)
  • m  Maps
  • n  Notepad
  • o  OneDrive, Outlook, OneNote
  • p  Paint
  • q  Choose your quick actions
  • r  Run
  • s  Snipping Tool
  • t  This PC
  • u  Update
  • v  Video, Voice Recorder
  • w  Word
  • x  Xbox
  • y  Change your country or region
  • z  Change your time zone

One number, from 1-0

  • 1 Run, This PC
  • 2  Word
  • 3  3D Builder
  • 4  File Explorer
  • 6  Control Panel
  • 7  Go back to Windows 7, Backup and Restore (Windows 7)
  • 8  File Explorer
  • 9  nothing (perhaps because 7 8 9?)
  • 0  Run, This PC

One character

  • *  Maps
  • \  Run command (takes you to Local Disk C:\; also gives a dropdown list of some main folders)
  • "  Maps, Get Started
  • /  http:// (click to Open With app or browser of your choice)

I'd eventually like to get into Cortana keyboard shortcut Easter Eggs (there's got to be some) and using more than one character to find the many items on your computer not brought into view by typing in any of the one-character commands above, but that's probably a project best saved for another day.

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

Also see Windows 10 maladies...(ongoing lament by Yours Truly)...

Firstly, to solve the problems I was having in my last post about Windows 10 I did what I figured was the most obvious thing and upgraded to Build 10131 the same day it became available.

Then my laptop started acting like my phone (phone problems are also outlined in link above), ie., completely self-destructing - the desktop would take up to 10 minutes to load, some apps wouldn't open, many apps would crash, some apps wouldn't uninstall no matter how many times I uninstalled and/or restarted the laptop after uninstalling them (but even without uninstalling them they'd easily re-install, which would fix the broken apps), hovering over stuff in my system tray did nothing, the Notification Center wouldn't open, yada yada yada *hairpull*.

10131 was eating my CPU for lunch and literally killing my hard drive, which at about 75GB is a pretty damn small thing to kill. Cortana wouldn't work - she'd just keep saying "Ask me anything" no matter how many times I typed over her invitation with an actual search query, the Start menu mostly wouldn't open, and when it did open, looked like some fucked off-center menagerie of tiles and hamburgers and UX design gone terribly, horribly wrong. I was about to lose my mind.

So yesterday I did what I figured was the next-most-obvious thing and downloaded a Build 10131 .ISO, using VirtualCloneDrive to mount it (which upon further thought I think I probably didn't need to do, as I've heard Windows 10 now has built-in .ISO support) and wiped the entire damn laptop of every last bit and byte, deleted every file, folder and setting and went with a totally fresh install of Windows 10. Ah, that did it.

Startup is still ridiculously slow about producing a usable desktop/Notification Center/Start Menu (for contrast, an old Lenovo Ideapad I have brings me to a perfectly usable XP desktop about five times faster than Win 10 does) and sometimes after startup I still have to Win + R, type msconfig, go to Startup, and press Enter to get the Notification Center to open (don't ask me why, but it also restores your fucked/missing Start Menu, if you're having that issue).

***Also, my text-editing keyboard shortcut functionality is gone, which has got me in a panic as it's turned entry-editing into a cumbersome, time-wasting nightmare (aside: I will kill the first person who suggests I use Dreamwidth's RTE; just a friendly warning) and will prevent me from using Firefox's Web Dev add-on, as the tool only works via keyboard shortcuts from XP on up, which of course means I can't edit CSS anymore - not unless I'm just sooooo into torturing myself.

Other than those bugs (and one in which opening Projector settings caused my display to crash, outlined in my last post) I'm not encountering any problems worth mentioning. Yet.

***ETA, 6-10-15: Two to three days ago I discovered the lack of text-editing keyboard shortcut functionality is not a bug with Windows 10! I discovered this mostly through a process of elimination: looking online, no one else was complaining about it in the Win Insider forums or anywhere else that I could see, including the Windows Insider Feedback app. From there, a quick online search revealed that this is A Thing with HP ProBooks in particular. The other (right-hand) Ctrl key does in fact still work. Since I'm not mentally programmed to use it from the right instead of the left, and I can't find a way to resolve the actual HP defect (the left Ctrl key often tends to go bad after a while, and while sometimes there's a way to fix some bug with both the Fn and Ctrl keys through BIOS, my particular BIOS doesn't support that option) my intention now is simply to remap the Caps Lock key into a Ctrl key and deal with it.

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

Also see Cortana Keyboard Shortcuts on Windows 10 (Build 10130) and More neat crap Cortana can do....

These Windows Key shortcuts might or might not be indigenous to earlier versions of the Windows operating system - ie. Windows XP, Vista and 7, 8, 9 (just kidding on that last one - twice, if you're pun-inclined). This list might expand or contract - with or without my ever updating to acknowledge that fact - with future builds of and/or updates to Windows 10.

  • Windows Key = Start Menu (also Win + W and Win + F)
  • Win + C = Cortana's listening mode (also Win + Q)
  • Win + D = Minimize window to taskbar/restore desktop view (also Win + M)
  • Win + E = File Explorer/Quick Access (also Windows + 2)
  • Win + F = Start menu (also Windows Key and Win + F)
  • Win + G = Game Bar
  • Win + H = Share desktop screenshot via OneNote
  • Win + I = Open Settings
  • Win + K = Connect (search for wireless display and audio devices)
  • Win + L = Lock computer
  • Win + M = Minimize window to taskbar/restore desktop view (also Win + D)
  • Win + P = Project screen settings (proceed with caution; caused total screen blackout with no recovery possible the first time I tried it; seemed to work correctly after restart)
  • Win + Q = Cortana's listening mode (also Win + C)
  • Win + R = Run
  • Win + S = Cortana, in full size, non-listening mode
  • Win + T = Toggle items pinned to taskbar (left to right)
  • Win + U = Open Ease of Access Center
  • Win + W = Start Menu (also Windows Key and Win + F)
  • Win + X = Same as right-clicking Start Menu
  • Win + 1 = Open Project Spartan/Edge browser
  • Win + 2 = File Explorer/Quick Access (also Win + E)
  • Win + 3 = Open Store (Beta)
  • Win + 4 = View taskbar thumbnails/switch to window
  • Win + 5 = Restore open app to current window
  • Win + + = Open Magnification settings/increase Magnifier magnification value
  • Win + - = Reduce Magnifier magnification value
  • Win + Pause = Control Panel
  • Win + f1 = Restore minimized window
  • Win + f5 = Reload page (web browser)
  • Win + f6 = Jump to address bar (web browser)/navigate files/folder tree (File Explorer)
  • Win + f7 = Turn Caret Browsing on or off
  • Win + f11 = Turn fullscreen mode on or off (web browser/File Explorer)
  • Win + f12 = Open Web Inspector (Firefox/Chrome) Open Dev Tools (IE/Spartan/Edge)
  • Win + Left Arrow Key = Snapto-left for current window with large thumbnail view of all minimized windows on Desktop (extremely neat - try it!)
  • Win + Right Arrow Key = Snapto-right for current window with large thumbnail view of all minimized windows on Desktop
  • Win + Up Arrow Key = Snapto-top for current window (doesn't work for me - expands window to full screen instead; if already fullscreen does nothing - but might still be a Thing)
  • Win + Down Arrow Key = Snapto-bottom for current window
  • Win + Ctrl = Find mouse cursor (also works with just Ctrl)
  • Win + Ctrl + D = View Desktop
  • Win + Ctrl + f4 = Close current desktop
  • Win + Tab = Large thumbnail view (called Task View) of all minimized windows (including current window)
  • Win + ~ = Tablet Mode for Taskbar (toggle on and off)
  • Win + Shift + 4 = Open new tab (web browser)
  • Win + Enter = Windows Narrator
  • Win + Left Bracket = Show Desktop
  • Win + Alt = PrintScreen = Take screenshot

Other (non-Windows Key) shortcuts/hidden features (besides the many out there for most Windows users)

  • Alt + Tab = Switch between windows (large thumbnail view)
  • Win + R = type shell:::{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C} into Run box and hit Enter; this brings you into God Mode. Drag God Mode icon in File Explorer address bar to Taskbar/Desktop/Control Panel to pin it.

Cortana: The Other God Mode

If you're a fan of full computer-search tools like Everything by Void Tools (I still use it, even on Windows 10) then you're going to love-love-love Cortana. What you can't do from classic desktop search (any search utility - Windows built-in search included) is actually type the name of the tool you need and instantly start using it. The latest iterations of Cortana solve that problem.

Searches to try right now in Cortana

  • Type run into Cortana; press Enter. Need administrator privileges to, uh, run Run? Right click and choose Run as Administrator. Rinse and repeat for the phrase command prompt.
  • Say you want to open Control Panel. Type con; press Enter. No, really, that's all you do.
  • Type calc; press Enter. Guess what will open?
  • You want Settings? Type se; press Enter. No, seriously.
  • Windows Media Player? Type me; press Enter. I know, this is getting unreal. But yeah, it works.
  • You want an alarm? Type the letter a; press Enter. Kinda fun, isn't it?

The above is just a small sample of what you can find by typing a few letters and pressing Enter in what I call Cortana's God Mode, which is even more godly (and much quicker!) than God Mode itself. My next post might very well be every shortcut I can find using Cortnana's God Mode instead of God Mode's God Mode - if that makes sense.

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

Also see Windows 10 maladies, Part II...(ongoing lament by Yours Truly)...

Y'all know how I always want all the Windows latest and greatest, right? So like a fool I installed Windows 10 Build 10074 on my laptop about a month ago. I have to say I loved me some 10074. The Start Screen was priceless and everything seemed really good. So when the new build came out (10122) of course I jumped on that, too, thinking "10074 good, 10122 better!". But it is not. The 10074 Start screen I once adored is gone. Instead of a long strip of a menu along the left and a perfectly centered set of Metro-style tiles I now have an off-center set of strangely even larger-looking Metro-style tiles, and no long strip of a Start menu at all.

So how does this confooblery come about? Well, I can't explain why MS messed with something perfect, making it decidedly less so, but I can explain that there is now a hamburger icon in place of the long, lean, left menu. Click it and poof! the left menu drops down out of nowhere. But won't can't, it's got a hot date. So as soon as you leave the Start screen for a desktop or applet or whatever, you have to click the hamburger icon again to re-access the (very busy) missing menu. This is what I call "hell", and I feel similarly about MS devs right now as I did when I wrote this and this about the devs over at Mozilla.

That was just the beginning of my problems with Windows 10, though. Unfortunately, I also put it on my phone, which was running the 8.1 Denim update before I shifted it over. Denim ran like a monkey with its tail wrapped around its neck...much slower than 8.1 Cyan, with no redeeming features to make the so-called upgrade worth the resulting slowdown (and that was without getting to try the "Hey, Cortana" feature I've been pining away for). So as I'd become a Windows Insider on my phone, anyway, just to get Denim, I figured what the hell...rather than roll back to Cyan, I'll try out the latest Win 10 phone build.

Before I start bitching about it, let me deliver a stern lecture to Win 10 phone devs - you had better unbarf-up all the things wrong with it because I really love this OS. I can't help that it self-destructs within a few hours, forcing me back to using Win 8.1. But you guys can make it stop self-destructing by its hopefully mid-summer release so I can try it out again. Because the way it looks, feels, operates and what it offers is all absolute genius compared to 8.1-anything but it's so damn buggy right now you basically can't use it at all.

Onto everything wrong with it...

  • A lot of settings are hidden (go to Settings, search, type the letter "A", hit the back button, scroll down for an alphabetical's the only way to find everything)
  • The Start screen has once again been tampered with, making the tiles slightly bigger and much more ugly in some subtle way I can't quite explain
  • Your first inkling the Win 10 phone OS will completely self-destruct is the bluish-black "Loading..." screen when you try to open any app. If you see this baby just once then get a Recovery Tool and start rolling back. I could've saved myself hours of confusion and mind-numbing grief if I'd only known. But no, of course I had to learn the hard way.
  • Your other inkling of imminent OS self-destruction? App crash. As in...all of them. It started, as most things in the world of Windows do, with IE crashing. Oh, a mere IE routine. An IE crash cannot make me blink. 29 consecutive IE crashes might make my lids pop a little, but hey, I was raised in the old school of "Did you try restarting it?™" a registered Microsoft trademark. Us trained restarters know everything will go wrong with Windows but restarting will fix damn near all of it. (If not, then it's a virus.)
  • But after six restarts all the apps crash and shit ain't funny anymore. Like my phone app is crashing now. Can't make calls. Settings are crashing. Can't change settings. After an hour or two I got freakin' scared, y'all...I need a fucking phone that actually dials numbers.
  • So *sigh* like a fool I tried the "reset" button buried deep I don't even know where anymore within Settings (yes, after restarting my phone endless times just to get Settings to no longer crash). When the phone finished resetting an hour or so later it no longer had a phone app. Or a Messaging app. Or a Settings app. Or any of the stock AT&T apps. Or any of the Lumia apps. There was only one tile left on the Start screen (IE, wouldn't you know it?) and maybe six apps in the App folder, none of them related to making a phone call or sending a text message or using email in any way, shape or form. And Cortana, who never worked before I reset the phone, had also left for greener pastures.
  • Now I was terrified, so I got online, got the Lumia Recovery tool, and I seem to have 8.1 back in working order. But if Win 10 for phones would just work (and not be the fastest and most vividly spectacular example of "vaporware" I've ever witnessed) I would cling to it forever.

So yeah, I'm distressed right now. I swore I wasn't going to perform any of the above hijinks in a previous discussion but, as usual, the "Don't touch the wet paint" signs have got the best of me.

marahmarie: LOLOL Internet (lol aol lol internets lol lulz)

Like, seriously. This shit really happened, I swear. And because I love you guys so much I've got to share it. Because, like, Microsoft buying AOL? OK. Yeah, maybe. I can see that. Sort of. Yahoo? Yeah, def. Nobody buying AOL? Highly likely! Verizon buying AOL? It's almost like I don't know, Publix buying AOL...where are the synergies, exactly? I mean, I know you'll read 3,000 articles (if you can stand reading even one) saying Verizon is likely buying AOL for its ad revenue, not to mention its still-profitable subscriber base, but Verizon acquiring AOL just proves that, like, anybody could. Your local Stop 'N Shop could have bought them at this point! Is it just me, or is it simply a really weird pairing?

ETA: also, because it's annoying me, this is not "Verizon's Time Warner moment". AOL bought Time Warner, not the other way around! I am literally saying so for the thousandth time in comparatively very few years. AOL held a 55% stake throughout their partnership so TW never - and I repeat, never - got the upper hand (and considering how bad TW's management was that was probably as it should've been).

And - since real people have been asking me this question today - no, AOL and Time Warner are no longer partners so no, Verizon did not just acquire Time Warner in acquiring AOL. The first time I was asked about it I got so confused I briefly thought it might be true myself. If so the Verizon/AOL deal would indeed make a lot more sense. But no, that is not the case - their partnership was completely dissolved in Dec., 2009.

Also-also, my (exceedingly rare) thanks goes out to the Twitterverse today for so many hilarious AOL/Verizon tweets. *tips hat*