Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Why You Need TeraCopy.

It's late, and you need to copy a bunch of files from one folder to another, one drive to another. Whatever the case, you select your folder, copy it (Ctrl-C is my favorite), then navigate to the destination and paste (Ctrl-V, here). 

Then begins the waiting game. 

Windows Explorer, in all its minimal uselessness

If you're copying thousands of files in thousands of folders, and the process stops somewhere along the way, you're stuck digging through all those files, all those nested folders, trying to find out where to resume.
Enter TeraCopy.

TeraCopy is without a doubt one of the best utilities I have ever used. It easily enables you to copy a large number of files and folders with the ability to verify whether the copy process completed successfully or not for each and every item in the list. Furthermore, it lets you retry any failed items individually or en masse.

TeraCopy can optionally show you the entire list of files as they're being copied.

Another feature I enjoy is that TeraCopy dynamically adjusts buffers while copying to speed up the copy process, making Windows Explorer crude in comparison. It even provides you with a live view of the data transfer speed in the title bar!

The thing I like most about TeraCopy, though, is that once installed it can completely replace Windows Explorer for all your file and folder copying needs. Given that I can copy and paste a huge number of files, and then be met, say, the next morning with a detailed report showing me details about any items that failed to copy, it really does help me sleep easier.

Wolfram Alpha on Sarah Palin

Almost a year ago, I managed to confound Wolfram Alpha with a long series of consecutive divide by zero calculations.

This time, in a process known colloquially as dicking around I found a way to confound Wolfram Alpha with a secret weapon. Sarah Palin.

"Computation timed out."

The input consists of an HTML hyperlink extracted from's product page for Sarah Palin's semenal work. I'm certain Wolfram Alpha wasn't intended to handle such input, but it's interesting nevertheless to see how it reacts when you throw something so absurd at it.

Wolfram Alpha also cheekily notes that the ISBN of "Going Rogue" is "an odd number." Indeed!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Use AdBlock Plus in Firefox to Block Wibiya Toolbar

I'm increasingly finding Wibiya with their annoying toolbar overlay appearing on sites I visit, complete with a bouncing alert message revealing to me that I can update my status on multiple social networks at once. Wow.

Note the pastel coloring, gee, guess what that reminded me of?

I Need To Jump Into The Nearest Volcano And DIE!

On the bright side, a double down arrow lives on the far right end of the overlay, past some Olympic hurdle-style links to the Wibiya RSS feed (useless), a Share link (useless), YouTube (redundant), Blogger (redundant), and a "Powered by Wibiya" link (I... could... care... LESS). On the dark side, clicking the double down, while it does hide most of the overlay, still leaves an irritating little tab.

A quick search revealed this post which describes using the Firefox add-on Adblock Plus to prevent the Wibiya overlay from appearing. The first suggestion in the post to add just "" to my AdBlock Plus configuration didn't hide the overlay for the site I was visiting, but a closer read at an update to the original post based on another visitor's comment revealed that adding the base Wibiya URL, "http://**", effectively blocks the Wibiya overlay, including the tab, from appearing.

I'm among those who finds absolutely useless the links to the various social networking sites which Wibiya's overlay provides. It's not so much that I'm antisocial, but see, I use tabbed browsing, I can just keep whatever site huddled among my tabs and not clutter a specific page I'm trying to read with a toolbar-like overlay.

Even if the bouncy, bubbly cartoon bubble vanishes after my first visit, the rest is quite useless. To me, it's a mystery why anyone thinks this would be a popular, let alone useful way to interface with social networking. I can understand finding a given blog post or other site interesting enough to want to share on Facebook or Twitter, I grant them that, but why not use a much less obtrusive, static button for those respective services?

Anyway, kudos to Firefox and AdBlock Plus yet again for providing an easy, flexible means to disable annoying Wibiya tools which, to me, are as useful as bicycle to a fish.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Annoying Coworkers!

If your own annoying coworker story evokes sympathy in me, compels me to go to a convenient corner and huddle in a fetal position, or just makes me laugh out loud and point at you mockingly for your plight, I might send you a $20 Amazon Gift Card* in return!

In my career as a software developer, I once had an office mate (let's call him Jork) who had this habit of making the office we shared all dark and womb-like before I'd arrive in the morning, meaning he'd turn off the lights and close the door until it was just barely open.

This, in itself, was no problem. The problem was the smell. Jork was a large guy, and sweated fairly profusely. Also he used way too much laundry detergent, so it was a stifling wall of laundrysweat for me to encounter every morning. Usually when I'd arrive I would open the door and go grab some coffee just to let it air out a little.

He also had this loud, tittering laugh, like some freakin' obese goblin, whenever he'd read something funny or be watching some amusing video.

He was also flatulent like a motherfucker. Once he let one loose, turned to me and with a half-assed laugh said, "Heh heh... was that you?" What the fuck, Don Prudhomme, you can't hear yourself fucking fart??

Once when a buddy and I were in the office and Jork was still out to lunch, we happened to notice one of his desk drawers wasn't quite closed, so we took a peek inside. Hanging out in the bottom was a big bottle of Vaseline™ Intensive Care lotion.

Every few days the guy would ask me when I was leaving for the day. He would frequently work late, and he mentioned he didn't have broadband yet because his home was in the middle of bumfuck nowhere. I wish I could unimagine what I imagined after hearing that.

Wage slaves, you very likely have come across someone whom you would never choose to interact with outside the workplace.

Tell me your story! 


  1. Be creative, but please, be original. Make sure you're sharing your own tales of coworker woe.
  2. This is NOT a contest, and a recipient of a gift card is NOT guaranteed to be chosen. I'm simply offering to brighten the day of one or more people who are willing to share their story.

  3. By participating, you agree not to sue me for any reason whatsoever. This agreement remains in effect forever and ever, so help you God, Allah, FSM, Satan, or whomever / whatever you believe in.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

User Stupidity Tolerance

Here are 3 tips I'd suggest to enable you to save your MP3 player if it falls into water. 
  1. Turn off the power and disconnect the battery as soon as possible after immersion. The less water gets inside the circuitry of the device, the better!

  2. Let the device air out in a warm, dry environment for at least 24 hours before trying to use it again. A hot, dry attic or an area with a steady flow of warm, dry air helps speed the process.

  3. Find a belt pouch or ideally a waterproof MP3 player pouch and use it anytime you plan on being near a big body of water. If you manage to save your old player, it'll thank you for this, but if it dies, safeguard your replacement.

Here are the gory details. A few years back, I purchased a Sansa e250 MP3 player and later a pair of Blockade Noise-Isolating Earbuds, both via WOOT

I haven't at all been into the hype surrounding iPod, Zune, nor any other big-name players, I just wanted an MP3 player that was very portable, could store at least a few gigs of my music, and had good battery life. For these the Sansa definitely delivers.

Now the model is discontinued, it no longer even appears on the Sansa Music Players and Accessories page. Yet, despite it fading into the distance with countless other technology products into the proverbial sunset, I must sing its praises for one peculiar reason: user stupidity tolerance.

My wife and I went fishing this past week at Lake Panasoffkee. Beer and fishing certainly go well together, and as my bait lay in wait for some hungry fish, I sipped my third beer on an empty stomach, and pushed play on my Sansa and sat lazily outside, enjoying a cool morning breeze coming in from across the lake.

Ideally, my yanking on the earbud cord would've had the MP3 player leap out of my pocket, do a loop in midair, then land neatly in my palm with the controls ready for my commands. Beer, unfortunately, tends to knock the likelihood of an ideal situation down a few orders of magnitude.

Instead of landing in my outstretched palm, the tug of the cord caused the player to somersault up, over my hand, and like some hapless mountaineer getting a handhold at the worst possible moment, the plug popped out of the socket, and the player splashed down into the water. As I looked into the depths, I could see the bright blue LED of the volume dial glowing happily from beneath about two feet of tannin-stained lake water.  

As beer would have it, my judgment was impaired, so I wasted precious seconds dumbfounded at what had just happened. I lay down and tried in vain to reach for it with my hand, too far. I tried grabbing a bucket and getting the player up and in, and nearly lost my breath and the bucket in the process, water plus sand plus MP3 player is a lot of weight at that awkward angle. 

Finally I threw off shoes and socks and jumped in, grabbing the player. I did what I could to shake excess water off and out, and hit the power button. I ran inside our room, found a knife, and removed the screws fastening the back cover. 

A few shakes revealed that some of the lake water had indeed infiltrated the case, but surprisingly not a lot. I guess the designers anticipated it needed to at least be somewhat water resistant in case someone was using this MP3 player while jogging or otherwise sweating profusely. So much the better!

I quickly disconnected the battery and rinsed the inside of the case with tap water (tap water like lake water has electrolytes swimming around that might short out the electronics, but since I had no distilled water handy, I figured with the power off it would be better than nothing).

I decided to let the player air out near the space behind the fridge, since hot air is almost constantly being pumped out I figured it would help dry out the circuitry. I guess it did, because now, the player is back to its old self.

There's a good reason why I've featured the song "Amazing" by SEAL on the resurrected Sansa's playlist, I'm amazed it survived its brief underwater encounter, and thankful that it no longer swims with the fishes.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Headache Help

I don't typically suffer from headaches, but today I've got one that I liken to an icepick through the eyeballs. Here are some remedies for headaches that work for me, which you may find helpful, and don't require drugs.

  • Headache nerve pinch. Using the thumb and index finger of one hand, grasp the webbing between the thumb and index finger of the other until you feel pain, and hold it with firm pressure for up to one minute. This will distract your brain pain, and hopefully take your mind off the headache.

  • Juice it. Using a Magic Bullet™ or at the very least, a blender, create some juice with some fresh carrots and a hunk of fresh ginger root. Ginger is notoriously good at laying the smackdown on a headache, but by itself it's a bit difficult to stomach. Blending it with carrot juice makes for a sweet, tasty headche remedy.

  • Go outside. If you've been in a stuffy office all day, your headache may be a hint from your body that you need a break. I find that walking outside and getting some fresh air and sunlight can help combat a headache.

Pharmaceutical companies would have you believe that their drugs are the ultimate solution to headaches, but there are at least a few reliable home remedies that can relieve headaches without popping pills. Hopefully these will help you as they've helped me.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Adobe Flash Player Download

-= UPDATE =-

Nice try, Adobe. I notice that now the links depicted in the image below now simply refer you back to the main install page for Flash and other players.

Click below to obtain the installers for Flash without the Adobe Download Manager.

Adobe also provides links to previous major releases of the Flash player, and a link to a Flash uninstaller for those times when it needs to be manually removed.

We can't live without Flash, now can we??