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Generally Recognized As True: October 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Reading the Amazon Kindle in the bath

Obviously, reading the Kindle in the bath does not sound like a good idea. Even if you're not worried about splashing it or dropping it in the water, the steam that rises from the water and condenses on whatever's above it (and often makes your book a bit wrinkled) should be a concern.

But, there's a pretty easy way to deal with it and it worked pretty well when I tried it yesterday. Just get a medium-sized Ziploc bag, put the Kindle inside, and seal the bag. It keeps all the moisture off and the plastic adds hardly any impediment to reading the screen if you hold the plastic taut while reading. It's still easy to hold and push the buttons for page turning.

I'm not sure if it'd survive being dropped in the bath, but in theory it should (since the Ziploc seal is
good enough for keeping marinades contained).

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Occupy Toronto: less than 1% is protesting the top 1%, but who speaks for me?

Since the Occupy Toronto claims to speak for me as part of the "other 99%", I can't help comment that they don't, in fact, speak for me.

These protestors -- who probably amount to less than 1% of the population themselves -- don't like the top 1% of income earners.

Fair enough.

But why claim to speak for anyone else other than themselves?

I don't want anyone to speak for me, really. I'm not part of the top 1% but I have nothing to complain about and certainly nothing to protest about.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

A grand September: Steven Wilson's "Grace for Drowning", Tori Amos's "Night of Hunters", and Sarah Slean's "Land & Sea"

There were at least three outstanding album releases in September:

"Grace for Drowning" by Steven Wilson
Enough good things can't be said about this album. Released in high resolution surround on Blu-Ray as as well as on CD, this one took some time to grow on me (I went from being iffy about it to very enthusiastic over the space of about a week of repeated listens) but is really worth the effort to get to know. The highlight is a 23-minute track that is so full of interesting sounds and textures that you can miss a good chunk of the content if you don't play it on a good sound system. Unlike many modern CDs, it preserves a good amount of dynamic range and makes good use of it. Unfortunately, it's one of those albums that, despite being the best album of the year, can be difficult to share with others because you really do need to let it sit for awhile, and I only did so because I was confident I'd come through! It doesn't demo well.

"Night of Hunters" by Tori Amos
A 400-year classical song cycle -- original songs based on classical themes over a 400-year period -- this one also took a few listens to grow on me, but will end up amongst my favourite Tori Amos albums, I'm sure. After the previous album, which was a bit over the top, going back to the piano and a light orchestral backing is a very welcome change.

"Land & Sea" by Sarah Slean
This is a two-disc set by one of my favourite Canadian artists (another favourite is her husband, Royal Wood). While the 1st CD has its moments, the 2nd CD is the best of the two, going back to vocals and the piano, with orchestral backing. In a way, the 2nd CD is of a similar nature to "Night of Hunters" but is much more mellow and less adventurous, though that isn't in any way a criticism (why would I want to have two albums that are the same?)

Disabling the Alt-Tab preview behaviour in Windows 7

There are very few things that annoy me about Windows 7, but one thing that consistently does is the Alt-Tab behaviour wherein it will, after a delay of one or two seconds, start showing previews of the windows represented by the icons in the Alt-Tab list of running programs.

The main reason it's annoying is that it seems to start doing the preview just as I am scanning the list to look for the program I want. I don't need to identify it by previewing the window; I just need time to find the icon in the list so that I can hit Alt-Tab enough times to get there. The preview begins in the middle of this effort and distracts me from what I was searching for.

I didn't think there was a way to turn it off without disabling the Aero Peek feature altogether (which would also disable the useful feature of seeing through open windows to the desktop without having to minimize everything).

But, there is a way!

Using the Registry Edit, you have to create this key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\AltTab

Inside that key, you add a DWORD value named:

LivePreview_ms

...and you set its value to 0.

When you restart Windows Explorer, it should take effect. You can either log off and log back on to kill Explorer, or open Task Manager, end the EXPLORER.EXE process, and then use Task Manager's File -> Run to run EXPLORER.EXE.