Sunday, 2 January 2022

Bye 2021 - Hello 2022

 Happy New Year

Looking back on 2021, I think its safe to say it was more bad than good for many of us. But looking at the good,
  • Got through COVID / Made many new friends
  • Started cancer treatment / Finished cancer treatment
  • Started new job / Learned some cool ML stuff
  • Went to Cancun and to celebrate many things 
  • Confirmed remission / Cleared tp get out "the port"
  • Spent a lot of time with family
When I was sick I made some promises to the universe
  • Give back to family
  • Give back to the universe
  • Give back to spirit

Give Back To Family

All the amazing support from family and friends, including new friends, I believe helped me through the ordeal.  "Never give up, never surrender." It made me realize how important we all are to each other, and how interconnected we are, even when we're distant. A thought, little gesture, or kind words can mean so much. Be kind. Be compassionate. Be empathetic. Let avarice and wrath flee from your mind like darkness in sunlight. Love everyone.

Give Back to the Universe

We live in such a beautiful reality.  It's creative. It's organized. Be respectful to everything. Set, sort, shine, standardize and sustain. Order and simplicity evolved from chaos and complexity; and the marvelous irony that chaos sprang from nothing. "Pure energy" became material as it lost energy. It came together again only to get so complex it exploded into new material. And that organized again. From plasma to hydrogen; from hydrogen into the periodic table; from atoms to molecules; from molecules to enzymes; and enzymes to everything alive. The stoics "mind fire" and Bergson's "creative evolution". Love everything.

Give Back to Spirit

Its unfortunate we get caught in ruts and lose sight of the special things that make us unique. We stop using our gifts. Let's make music. Let's play games. Let's do crafts. Make time to find joy and expand your mind - and get that feeling of euphoria and calm that just comes from knowing you are expanding your spirit and being positive. Do the things you love; love the things you do. Love yourself.


Going into 2022, I made a few more promises to myself and I've started to fill some promises.
  • I started rock polishing. My goal is to explore at least one gem trail with my wife. Turn a rock into a gemstone.
  • I will no longer be silent.  "Silence like a cancer grows." This is true in all things but especially true when it means "do the right thing" and "don't be a bystander."
  • Cherish the life I've been given. Effectively I have a second chance, and its time to stop treating my body like a neglected dump. I don't know if I can get chiseled, but I can try get healthy.
  • I want to be fluent in Spanish before the end of the year. 
  • I want to learn martial arts with my kids and play more creative "brain" games like D&D.
  • I want to have a patent with my new employer before the end of the year (that contributes something really cool to technical fabric.)
  • I want to get frickin organized and stay that way.

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Philips TV UPnP Fills Devices on Windows NO MORE

Oh my, it took me forever to figure this out... My Philips TV keeps changing its registration ID via UPnP and fills up my Windows device lists. Once I'd go into regedit and clean these up - but just so many. Now I've automated it. FOR /F "tokens=2* delims= " %i in ('"pnputil /enum-devices /class {14b62f50-3f15-11dd-ae16-0800200c9a66} | findstr /c:"Instance ID:""') do pnputil /remove-device %j

Saturday, 18 April 2020

Cortana Skills are Gone

Well, it is over.

Cortana is dead.

In February, Microsoft killed third party skills.  Though you can skill invoke the bots, the interface from Windows or Invoke is dead.

So the question is ... now what.  Relaunch the skills I have as plug ins for Teams chat? Or just wait... continue to build on Google Actions. 

Update: I spent 5 minutes and hooked the bot webchat to the Art of War and Mediations pages. So... at least you can still see the botframework part in action!

Monday, 24 February 2020

How to Stop Groove from Skipping

Ugh. 2019 was a bad year for music players.

Thanks Amazon for fracturing the music player landscape. When I drank the cool-aide, I jumped onto Music Player, and then saw the death of Auto-Rip, Personal Music Subscriptions, etc.

By that time it was too late to go back to iTunes, that is now dead.

And I had moved to Groove to play from cloud, and play my library on XBox, but Microsoft killed that. 

And in Microsoft's rebirth of Windows, there are other quirks.  Ever notice Groove player skips 30-40 seconds into a song on local media?  Want to know why?  Well, the file is in-use of course - if you back your music up to One Drive.  How to listen to music without constant skipping?  Well, turn off One Drive sync of course.  Or at least pause it while you listen to music.

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Inside the Arcade1up PacMan

I received PacMan for Christmas.  I had a lot of fun, until the joystick up stopped working.

I had been thinking about moding it.  Some YouTube videos implied it could be done, that the ROMs on the board included Asteroids and Galaxian.

Sure enough, when I replaced the joystick Arcade1Up sent as replacement, the controller nest has the label saying "Galaxian, Pac Man, Space Invader" and room for a fire button P1-A.  I have not cracked the logic board connected to the display yet, but it might be tweakable if true.

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Media, White Hats, and Black Hats

ARS Technica has an article with detailed instructions on how to record information, or fake phishing, using Alexa and Google Assistant. It is a blueprint of how to build rogue skills that pass certification but do naughty things.  I know at Microsoft, one of the last things Cortana did was implement developer vetting. It irritates me that articles like this, that have good intentions, not only expose holes to black hats, but make real developers lives harder.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

When CERTS expire...

Today I noticed my SSL cert expired. I received notice mid-July, but as with everything, I checked if everything still worked at that time - it did - so conveniently forgot.

This meant likely yesterday, my webs server anounced it was not secured, and all my Cortana skills stopped working with an obscure error message stopped working. (The error message buried at the bottom of the message was [bot service response null].)

So I fixed it by

  • downloading my new cert
  • figuring out how to use psftp to upload them to my server given I'd obfuscated sshd configuration
  • uploading my new crt files and moving them to /etc/ssl/certs
  • updating the various entries in /etc/apache2/sites-available conf files that pointed at the cert
So all the Cortana skills are running again.  I am surprised that the automated tests Microsoft runs didn't send me a nasty email saying I was down.  Ah....