Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pole Dance Rookie

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Restoring missing icons from the Windows System Tray

Recently, I took delivery of a sexy, new HTC Touch Pro2 from Verizon -- the second-to-the-last US carrier to make it available. Anyone following my Twitter or Facebook or StumbleUpon feeds knows my obsession with this phone, so I'll avoid the gushing reviews of it. Among the features I wanted to exploit were enhanced Bluetooth profiles and functionality. I burned the midnight oil connecting my two Vista machines at home to every profile available on the new phone. Then it was time to marry my IBM ThinkPad running XP Pro to the new phone. And that's where the quest began.

Being a slightly older (read: archaic) ThinkPad, it does not have Bluetooth support built in. I picked up a cheap, yet reliable Kensington Bluetooth USB adapter at <insert favorite tech geek store here> and have had very good luck with it. Today, I plugged the USB adapter into the laptop, enjoyed the symphony of "boop-beep" noises as plug-n-play [re-]created all the appropriate Registry entries, after which the blue LED went dark. This is typical when the Bluetooth device is turned off by means of a right-click of the Bluetooth System Tray (SysTray) icon. No biggie. I'll just right-click the icon and re-enable it. Wait, where's the freakin' icon???

Apparently, due to one of the myriad mysteries of Windows startup, many of my System Tray icons had gone missing, including the pretty Bluetooth icon. I then did what any upstanding self-proclaimed computer expert would do: "Googled it!" I found several impressive, interesting, helpful, and scary articles about how to edit the Registry to remove misconfigured chaff, delay startup of applications, and disable services such as uPnP to get the problem solved. I then came across the safest, easiest, and in my experience, most reliable way to restore my missing System Tray icons: Piff Explorer.exe.

"Piff" is an industry term, meaning to kill and restart the process in memory. To do this, first close any applications that you may wish to protect from any possible OMG's that could occur by killing processes mercilessly. Then, bring up the Task Manager, most coolly by pressing Ctrl-Shift-Esc, but by whatever means you deem appropriate. Click on the Processes tab and sort the list by Image Name. Here you'll see at least one process called explorer.exe:

Select each explorer.exe process and click End Process. Once you kill the last explorer.exe, every Windows Explorer window and the bottom Task Bar will be gone. Things get eerily quiet at this point.

Now, re-start Windows Explorer by pulling down File... New Task (Run...) in the Windows Task Manager. Type "explorer" (no quotes) and hit Enter. At this point, the Task Bar should reappear, and include all the previously lost System Tray icons you were missing so dearly.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Race Is On: Twitterfeed vs. Notify.me

Please excuse this mostly content-free post.  I just now set up both Twitterfeed and Notify.me to monitor the RSS feed for this blog and post new updates to Twitter.  I'm curious to see which, if either, posts to Twitter first, and which one more closely follows the de facto Twitter etiquette for tweets.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Joke: random thoughts

Random Thoughts of the Day:

 I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

 Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize
you're wrong.

 I don't understand the purpose of the line, "I don't need to drink to
have fun." Great, no one does. But why start a fire with flint and
sticks when they've invented the lighter?

 Have you ever been walking down the street and realized that you're
going in the complete opposite direction of where you are supposed to be
going? But instead of just turning a 180 and walking back in the
direction from which you came, you have to first do something like check
your watch or phone or make a grand arm gesture and mutter to yourself
to ensure that no one in the surrounding area thinks you're crazy by
randomly switching directions on the sidewalk.

 I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was

 The letters T and G are very close to each other on a keyboard. This
recently became all too apparent to me and consequently I will never be
ending a work email with the phrase "Regards" again.

 Do you remember when you were a kid, playing Nintendo and it wouldn't
work? You take the cartridge out, blow in it and that would magically
fix the problem. Every kid in America did that, but how did we all know
how to fix the problem? There was no internet or message boards or
FAQ's. We just figured it out. Today's kids are soft.

 There is a great need for sarcasm font.

 Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and
suddenly realize I had no idea what the heck was going on when I first
saw it.

 I think everyone has a movie that they love so much, it actually becomes
stressful to watch it with other people. I'll end up wasting 90 minutes
shiftily glancing around to confirm that everyone's laughing at the
right parts, then making sure I laugh just a little bit harder (and a
millisecond earlier) to prove that I'm still the only one who really,
really gets it.

 The other night I hit a new low at an open bar. I had already hopped on
highway blackout when, inevitably I had to find a bathroom. Eventually I
decided it was probably on the other side of the bar so I tried to walk
over there, but ran into a guy coming the other way. We played that,
Both go left, Both go right game to no avail, so I finally put out my
hand to guide myself past and that's is when I realized, yup, that's a
mirror I just tried to walk through. And the guy on the other side is
me. Even cats can recognize their own image.

 How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

 I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than
take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

 I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your
computer history if you die.

 The only time I look forward to a red light is when I'm trying to finish
a text.

 A recent study has shown that playing beer pong contributes to the
spread of mono and the flu. Yeah, if you suck at it.

 Was learning cursive really necessary?

 Lol has gone from meaning, "laugh out loud" to "I have nothing else to

 I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

 Answering the same letter three times or more in a row on a Scantron
test is absolutely petrifying.

 My brother's Municipal League baseball team is named the Stepdads.
Seeing as none of the guys on the team are actual stepdads, I inquired
about the name. He explained, "Cuz we beat you, and you hate us."
Classy, bro.

 Whenever someone says "I'm not book smart, but I'm street smart", all I
hear is "I'm not real smart, but I'm imaginary smart".

 How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and
smile because you still didn't hear what they said?

 I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars teams up to
prevent a dick from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers!

 Every time I have to spell a word over the phone using 'as in' examples,
I will undoubtedly draw a blank and sound like a complete idiot. Today I
had to spell my boss's last name to an attorney and said "Yes that's G
as in...(10 second lapse).. ummm... Goonies"

 What would happen if I hired two private investigators to follow each

 While driving yesterday I saw a banana peel in the road and
instinctively swerved to avoid it... thanks Mario Kart.

 MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I
know how to get out of my neighborhood.

 Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the
person died.

 I find it hard to believe there are actually people who get in the
shower first and THEN turn on the water.

 Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty,
and you can wear them forever.

 I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

 Bad decisions make good stories

 Whenever I'm Facebook stalking someone and I find out that their profile
is public I feel like a kid on Christmas morning who just got the Red

 Ryder BB gun that I always wanted. 546 pictures? Don't mind if I do!

 Is it just me or do high school girls get sluttier & sluttier every year?

 If Carmen San Diego and Waldo ever got together, their offspring would
probably just be completely invisible.

 Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go
around and say their name and where they are from, I get so incredibly
nervous? Like I know my name, I know where I'm from, this shouldn't be a

 You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work
when you've made up your mind that you just aren't doing anything
productive for the rest of the day.

 Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after DVDs? I don't want
to have to restart my collection.

 There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are going
to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.

 I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if
I want to save any changes to my ten page research paper that I swear I

 did not make any changes to.

 "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this ever.

 While watching the Olympics, I find myself cheering equally for China
and USA . No, I am not of Chinese descent, but I am fairly certain that
when Chinese athletes don't win, they are executed.

 I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Damnit!),
but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to
voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run

 I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing
anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

 When I meet a new girl, I'm terrified of mentioning something she hasn't
already told me but that I have learned from some light internet stalking.

 I like all of the music in my iTunes, except when it's on shuffle, then
I like about one in every fifteen songs in my iTunes.

 Why is a school zone 20 mph? That seems like the optimal cruising speed
for pedophiles...

 As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but
no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate cyclists.

 Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not
know what time it is.

 It should probably be called Unplanned Parenthood.

 I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to
answer when they call.

 I think that if, years down the road when I'm trying to have a kid, I
find out that I'm sterile, most of my disappointment will stem from the
fact that I was not aware of my condition in college.

 Even if I knew your social security number, I wouldn't know what do to
with it.

 Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys
in a pocket, hitting the G-spot, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey -
but I'd bet my ass everyone can find and push the Snooze button from 3
feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time every time...

 My 4-year old son asked me in the car the other day "Dad what would
happen if you ran over a ninja?" How the hell do I respond to that?

 It really pisses me off when I want to read a story on CNN. com and the
link takes me to a video instead of text.

 I wonder if cops ever get pissed off at the fact that everyone they
drive behind obeys the speed limit.

 I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

 I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or
Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lites than Kay.

 The other night I ordered takeout, and when I looked in the bag, saw
they had included four sets of plastic silverware. In other words,
someone at the restaurant packed my order, took a second to think about
it, and then estimate d that there must be at least four people eating
to require such a large amount of food. Too bad I was eating by myself.
There's nothing like being made to feel like a fat bastard before dinner.

Posted via email from ViperGeek's posterous

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Using the Secure-Tunnel bookmarklet to secure your Web connection

I've been using Secure-Tunnel to securely tunnel Web traffic when connecting to the Internet from less than trustworthy locations.  Using the FoxyProxy add-on to Firefox, it's fairly easy to set up a tunneled profile based on URL patterns:


but what if you don't want or have the luxury of installing FoxyProxy on the computer you're using?  Wouldn't it be cool to have a lightweight bookmarklet to get approximately the same functionality.

I decided to see if I could try my hand at hacking a JavaScript silly string to do just that.  Breaking down the URL generated by the value-add service called ST Securebar by Secure-Tunnel, I was able to create the following hacked bookmark:


Yeah, ugly, right?  For convenience, I've created a small bookmarklet below:

Just drag the link up into your Bookmarks Toolbar and you'll be able to tunnel your currently displayed Web page within an SSH Secure-Tunnel.

Comments and questions welcome.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Removing Scanners, Cameras and Webcams from "My Computer"

Warning: Blog Entry Contains Original Content

I recently performed a massive search for information regarding removing a newly materialized "Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000" icon within my "My Computer" window on my Windows XP laptop. Obviously, the icon came about through the installation of a new ... you guessed it ... Logitech QuickCam installed recently into the rats nest of USB devices now procreating in my office workspace. I purchased the webcam to inflict undue stress and anguish on unsuspecting Skype contacts who haven't grown accustomed to my face. It's really a fate worse than SPAM on an iPhone, but of course, I digress.

The real estate in my "My Computer" window is at a premium these days. I have a half-dozen perma-mounted network drives, an external DVD burner, a USB thumb drive-based TrueCrypt volume, and pretty icons for my Creative ZEN and Windows Mobile device. Yet another barely useful icon in "My Computer" wouldn't do. There must be a way to irradicate this infiltrator. But how?

A quick search – or to use the new technological verb, "google" – for removing icons from "My Computer" listed lots of near misses, including a fairly prevalent references to tools such as TweakUI (one of my favorite Windows powertoys, BTW) for hiding icons found in My Computer. Unfortunately, while almost everything, including actual drives, can be hidden, this annoying new webcam icon seemed to be considered a permanent fixture with no clear way to remove it. The Logitech QuickCam forum made reference to an "unsupported Windows hack" to remove such things, but hacks were clearly taboo in their forum's forum.

Then I decided to do what any good geek with little regard for safety of their Company-given laptop would do: Start... Run... regedit. A global search for this unwelcome visitor found several references, all far too scary to consider whacking. Then I came to learn of the MyComputer registry key and things started getting interesting. Apparently this is how/where TweakUI'esque programs hide certain icons from "My Computer". But there were no Logitech references to be found in this hallowed Registry key hierarchy. Hmmm.

Back to Google (the site, not the verb). Under MyComputer, I found something called a NameSpace, which seemed to house things like my ZEN and Mobile Device's class IDs, but again, no webcam. But then, after hours of wasting the company's time, I found ... wait for it ... DelegateFolders! More googling found that this is where the sometimes annoying "Shared Documents" is inserted into "My Computer". Could it be that additional delegation was being done to add my webcam? You betcha!

One of the Class ID registry keys under DelegateFolders has a default value of "Scanners & Cameras". Obviously, this had nothing to do with webcams, right? Well, those with a keen eye and lots of free time may realize that webcams are listed under the "Scanners and Cameras" control panel within the Windows Control Panel. Hmmm. Sure enough, after backing up my Registry and whacking the Class ID with the default string of "Scanners & Cameras", I was finally free of that pesky yet benign icon forever.

In summary, thank you for bearing with me. In more of a technical summary, this is how one would remove all scanners, cameras and webcams from one's "My Computer" window:
  • Close "My Computer"
  • Make a backup of your Registry by selecting the top of the displayed tree (ironically called "My Computer"), then pulling down File... Export.
  • Find HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\MyComputer\NameSpace\DelegateFolders
  • Select each Class ID sub-key (keys with ugly names like {E211B736-43FD-11D1-9EFB-0000F8757FCD}) and look for a "(Default)" value of "Scanners & Cameras".
  • Delete the key
  • Double-click "My Computer" on your desktop
Questions, comments, warnings, suggestions and threats are all welcome.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dorothy L. Dugal, 1933-2009

Dorothy L. (Wunschel) Dugal, 75, passed away Sunday, January 25, 2009. She was the former wife of the late Dona A. Dugal. Born in Pawtucket, a lifelong resident of the City, she was a daughter of the late Anton and Alice (Roberts) Wunschel.

Dot was a member of St. Teresa's Seniors and was involved with the Pawtucket Parks and Recreation Department. She leaves one son, David G. Dugal of Merrimack, NH; one daughter, Diane A. Bynum of Cranston; two brothers, William Wunschel of Cumberland and Carl Wunschel of Coventry and four step-grandchildren. She was the sister of the late Irene Russell and Lillian Dexter.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Wednesday at 10 a.m. in St. Teresa Church, 358 Newport Ave., Pawtucket. In lieu of flowers, gifts in her memory to the American Stroke Association, 20 Speen St., Framingham, MA 01701-4688 would be appreciated.