Windows 7 Missing Desktop Icons

  1. If all your icons are missing, then click on:

    Desktop-->View-->Show desktop icons

    Et Voila!
  2. If only select icons are missing (such as Computer, Recycle bin etc), then:

    1. Bring up the start menu (Win Key, CTRL+Esc, or just click on it)
    2. Search for "show i"
    3. Click on "Show or hide common items on the desktop" (or just press Enter if it is at the top)

    4. Choose your options:

    Done.

My beloved new trackball

I bought a trackball mouse recently, for the first time in my life.

I was getting sick of wrist and shoulder problems from using the mouse too much. I don't know why, but it occurred to me to try a trackball. I'd never tried one before.

I bought the Logitech Marble Mouse:

I bought this from Ebuyer on next day delivery, because I was impatient. But I am going to take this one to work and buy a different one for home. I'm going to buy the Kensington Orbit Optical Trackball for home, because it has a scrollwheel:

Now I really cannot evangelize about this technology enough. I've only been using the thing for 2 weeks, but all my mouse induced RSI has dissapeared!  May the marble mouse be praised! (Hopefully I am not just wearing out a different set of muscles).

It is as if my eyes have been opened, and now I can't believe what a shit device the mouse is. I mean think about it, how many miles of mousemat are you covering per year? What a stupid device. With the mouse, you move your entire arm around to move the ball below it, with the trackball, you just move the ball directly. No pissing about.

The ball can also be spun so you can whizz it off instantly to the start menu in the bottom left, or the show desktop button in the bottom right (in Windows 7). Yes yes I know about keyboards, I did use FreeBSD for 5 years as my main OS, so don't start on me about shortcuts and speed. But when you have to use GUI, and who doesn't? Well then the trackball is my new best friend.

How about gaming? Well I tried it out in the original Unreal Tournament, for research purposes (heh), and it seemed fine but I was worse than with a mouse. I think with practice however it could be awesome, because it allows one to rotate very quickly and gives much better precision to turning. Also it seems easier to keep stable.

OK enough evangelizing. I'll update in 6 months or so, if I remember, to see if I still love the trackball.

Animating inline SVG dynamically via Javascript

That Javascript module got me thinking about making a generic canvas object. For example, check out the following 50x50 grid of 5x5 pixel DIV squares:

(NOTE: If you look at the code for this, don't be shocked by the mess :) I wrote it on my first day of Javascript programming last week.)

Anyway, one might imagine it would be nice to create a canvas of 1x1 pixel DIVs. Unfortunately not. Even with no event mapping it takes forever to load for any reasonably sized grid.

So how else could we obtain a more flexible canvas without resorting to flash?

Well if you haven't guessed by the title of the post, I am talking about using inline SVG.

I need to work out how to embed it in a content node, if that is even possible, since there are some differences in how Firefox handles XML and HTML. But that is for another day. Meanwhile, here is my concept code (which will work in every GUI browser except IE because it's shit):

http://www.ashleymills.com/mymisc/svg.xhtml

Javascript in Drupal Content Nodes

What I like about Javascript is that I can program it in the browser without downloading anything else. And with a simple plugin, firebug, it can be debugged easily too. IE even goes so far as to build a debugger into the browser, probably to help troubleshoot all those standards incompliances and browser inconsistencies they also built in.

Javascript is going to come in handy for quick inline coding on this website. Such as the following pointless code. Click on the grey box below:

 

WOW! I expect you are taken aback by that amazing display.

Actually that took me a lot more than the few minutes I thought it would since I tried to find the id of this content area to append the child DIV, but it turns out that it doesn't have one clientside. So I just added a DIV manually with a known id and appended it to that, which was much easier.

Also, for some reason something is going on that doesn't like me assigning non strings to attributes. Instead of doing:

element.style.left =  i*20;

I had to do:

element.style.left = i*20+'px';

Which is odd, since the former works fine when I test the code outside of this content area. Some troubleshooting for another day I suppose.

Anyway, what this means is, I should be able to code up some demos and stuff of interesting things inline when needed.

Javascript module

Three posts ago I said I was in Loughborough to do an Internet Programming course as part of my EngD.

Well, I went up to Loughborough to do the course, and sat in the first lecture Monday last week. It was so simple that I left after the morning session ended and just came back home. Afterall, lecture attendance isn't compulsory. I have to go back there tonight to sit the exam tomorrow morning.

I found the course so easy because, although I haven't programmed Javascript before, I've been programming in a plethora of languages for many years. So it is not belittling to the course or anyone taking it for me to say that it is easy, anybody with my programming experience would find it easy. And I chose it specifically because I knew it would be easy. So that it wouldn't drain my time and so that I could continue working on my EngD instead.

I finished the final assignment quickly last week, which left me plenty of time to focus on my research, we had to make a Sudoku game in Javascript, here is my solution:

http://www.ashleymills.com/martin/sudoku.html

It isn't very useful since it has only: the custom game that is loaded at startup, and: the ability to load in a game from a pasted text field. This was all that was required in the coursework spec, so I didn't waste my time doing anything further. Perhaps I will use some of my spare time to make it more useful at a later date.

If you are interested in learning Javascript, here is the assignment report, which describes how the program works:

http://www.ashleymills.com/martin/Sudoku Coursework Assignment.pdf

All the code and images are zipped here:

http://www.ashleymills.com/martin/martin.tar.gz

Looney tunes sucks

Have you ever done a google search for "X sucks" or "X is shit", only to find that there wasn't a hit to indulge your rampant desire for chastisement of X?

Well, I just did this for Looney tunes, don't ask why.

Thus:

Looney tunes is shit.

Looney tunes sucks.

Fuck looney tunes.

I thought someone had better say it.

Actually, what motivated me to say this was that I was thinking about a time I was on a plane. I remembered reading an advert in the inflight magazine that said something along the lines of "Fly in, bust your ass off the plane, pop into shitbags to pick up a  looney tunes DVD for the kids, taxi home, done". And I wanted to find the image and photoshop it to say "pick up a looney tunes DVD to keep those brats quiet while you cheat on your wife nextdoor." And it just occurred to me, you know what, fuck looney tunes. And what a ridiculous advert, as if I'm supposed to be "Oh yeah, looney tunes, I'm going to give my kids looney tunes, that would be so like rad and modern man of me. The modern man buys looney tunes." Modern twat more like. Bugs bunny and all those other bastards. Ok I have nothing further to say on the matter.

The news

I never watch or read the news unless someone brings it to my attention. I think that it is all bullshit. I can't stand the lies they print and the bias they impart to everything.

Consider the daily mail nazi hate brigade. They seem to confuse human rights with crime and punishment. Bizzarrely these people seem to want us all to have less rights under the argument that criminals should be punished more. WTF is that all about? If they want criminals to be punished more, they should campaign about exactly that and that only. For fuck's sake don't jeopardise our hard won human rights in the process. Why should I be punished, and have MY human rights taken away?

The daily mailers also seem to confuse understanding the cause of crimes with the notion of excusing crimes. When it is said that the reason someone committed a crime is because they came from a shit family, this does not mean they should be excused from the crime. They should not, they should be punished all the same. The reason for understanding the why, is so that we can try and treat the cause and not the symptoms.

I've always been suspicious of the claim "oh we need harder discipline", as if is clear that it works, because I don't think it does. I once knew someone who used to get beaten by his dad, and he was the worst behaved person I knew. A large fraction of the bullied go on to bully. A large fraction of the abused go onto abuse. If discipline implies control and subjugation, then I think it will make things worse.

I was never beaten and never subjected to extreme discipline as a child, and guess what, I haven't turned into a serial killer so I don't think it logically follows that the absence of extreme discipline results in pathological criminality. In fact, I believe it is precisely the opposite.

It is no accident that the violent scumbags more often come from shit areas and shit families. It is no accident that the violent scumbags are more often poor than not. This isn't my prejudice speaking, just take a look at the actual statistics regarding the incarcerated.

So there is a cause, or a bias at least, that tends to turn the badly treated into the badly behaved. And the people with nothing, into the people with nothing to lose.

And yet I was careful above to use the term "violent scumbags", as it is not just the poor and the badly treated who commit crimes, far from it, the poor just tend to dominate in the violent inter-personal crime demographic.

Looking elsewhere, the papers that print the lies, the politicians who play the system, and the big businesses who exploit others en masse, are all equally culpable. But what is the "excuse" for this behavior?

Looking at the bigger picture, there has never, as far as my limited knowledge of history goes, been a society which lived in total peace with itself and other societies, which didn't have a class structure, which didn't persecute or segregate. And there was never a golden age in the recent history of our country where things were significantly better than they are now. So all the nostalgic pining for the good old days is a load of bullshit.

On the flip side, society has in general improved in its morality. Persecution and biggotry were much wider spread in the past and society was more violent. For example, in 16th century Paris, cat burning was considered entertainment. And the word "medieval" didn't obtain its double meaning by accident.

Along these lines, here is a short article about how violence has gone down, from a decent, or at least more intelligent, news source:

http://pinker.wjh.harvard.edu/articles/media/2007_03_19_New%20Republic.pdf

Comments fixed

Comments are now fixed. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

I had accidently associated filtered HTML with ckeditor when I was installing ckeditor, yet for security reasons, I am the only person allowed to use ckeditor. Therefore the comment form was hidden to anonymous users. To solve the mistake I have associated filtered HTML with no editor. Now it works. Cheers.

Loughborough

As part of my EngD I have to do 100 credits of taught units. I didn't read the conditions when I signed up for the thing, as if I had really realized what the taught units had entailed, I probably would have done a straight PhD instead. Doing modules is a killer. After my MSc I had had enough of taught components. And with the MSc I actually wanted to learn the stuff. All the EngD stuff has been crap.


Well anyway, I had to do some core stuff which was mandated and then I have to make up the rest of the credits by taking "specialist modules". I luckily only have one module remaining, which I am taking now at loughborough. This module is called "Internet Programming." I know, it should be a breeze. Good. I need to get this stuff out the way so I can get back to my research and my THESIS <gulp> <mild panic attack>.

Well I've just arrived in Loughborough and here is the place I am staying:

 

Sink but no fucking ensuite:

Typical stupid university signs:

You may wonder why I'm taking a picture of the toilet. Well because it's shit, excuse the pun:

Alright it is shared, but it looks clean, and I'm not a squeamish princess. But the thing is, what you can't tell is that one can barely fit into the fucking cubical without rubbing all over the toilet to get into the room. Here is ths shared shower:

Christ. OK none of this is terribly bad, but I want to moan. It's not exactly 5 star. Shared fucking toilet and shower, its like being a student again, oh wait...


You know this makes me want to rant about greed and property in general.


If I ruled a country, I would mandate certain restrictions on living space, such that everyone would have a detached property with lots of room. This implies birth control of course, since we don't have infinite space.  The system would be based around a one or maybe two child policy once the population hit some target value. Extra child permits would be able via a lottery system each year depending on the death and birthrate the previous year, so that the population would stay roughly constant overall.

It's kind of impossible isn't it however, to enforce something like that? People want the freedom to pump out children like mad, because evolution has given them such desires. It would require social responsibility in the country, it would require people to think, yeah it would be nice to have more children but the country will suffer if we all keep pumping them out. I don't think humans have that kind of social skill.

Because you know, population is really at the heart of many of our problems. It is certainly the biggest thing in the energy debate. Imagine how much easier the energy problem would be, if we needed 100 or even 200 times less energy than we do now. But talk of reducing the population 100-fold, well that's madness, impossible. It is too late.

The whole energy problem is not popular news in anycase. The energy problem is the biggest challenge human civilisation has probably ever faced, and the threat is imminent, we're talking about the next 20 years or so. Yet the goverments are not taking it seriously, do they know something I don't? Well never mind, I'm sure things will sort themselves out.

A license to eat meat

The other animals kill each other all the time, but because we have these comparatively large and sophisticated brains and a greater capacity to empathize than they do, we are supposed to transcend our base instincts and think about this kind of thing.

And when I really think about it, I think it is kind of immoral to kill another being when it isn't necessary for my survival. But fortunately for my tastebuds, I don't think about it too much. I think also it is instinctively part of us, we do have canine teeth afterall. I'm not using this as a moral justification for eating meat, but rather as a justification as to why I don't think about it more often.

But in as much as I think about these things, I have come to the conclusion the way we eat and treat meat, is very dishonest. With the nasty end of the business hidden behind closed doors, and with meat being sold as an entitled everyday commodity, it is possible to spend an entire life without reflecting for a second on all those lives lost to the BBQ.

To combat this, I propose that a new license be introduced, a license to kill (excuse the pun). Actually I propose that a license to eat meat should be introduced. Up until adult age, arbitrarily chosen at 18 for instance, the person may freely consume and purchase meat without a license. Upon coming of age however, the person must submit themselves to a meat eating exam.

At the exam, the task is simple, the person must slaughter an animal themselves, according to established practices. Thus facing the obtainment of meat in full honesty and without detachment.

Of course, since the slaughter is only required once, it would be easy to get back into the state of not caring, but at least the society in general would somehow recognize more formally the importance of meat and the death of the animals we eat.

Enforcement shouldn't be a problem, ID policies exist for alcohol, and so the meat ID could be flashed. Restaurants could require seeing the meat ID before eating, so as to cut off restaurants as a source of avoidance. Clearly the home would easily and rightly escape enforcement, but perhaps it would be seen as taboo to give meat to the ones who wouldn't kill. In anycase if restaurants and shops enforced the rule, this would at least restrict the non-killers from freely eating meat they don't deserve to eat.

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