Ebooks Community on Stack Exchange

Stack Exchange has launched (in beta) a wonderful new community at ebooks.stackexchange.com. It’s a fantastic and free resource for all questions related to ebooks – reading, writing, publishing, buying, selling, and lending. Anyone can ask a question, anyone can answer, and the best questions and answers get voted to the top. I encourage you to come check it out and get involved!

Site Move

This site has found a new home, on a VPS (Virtual Private Server). My prior host had let me down far too often by failing to install current technology and by repeatedly installing spam filters that silently blocked (and in some cases, permanently deleted) only about half of my spam, along with hundreds of good emails over the last few months. This, even though I asked them repeatedly to disable all spam filters on my site permanently, which they swore they had done. Very disappointing.

Fortunately, the move went smoothly. The result: the site is about 2000% faster than it was 24 hours ago. If you run into any problems, let me know!

Fix Quicken 2014 Copy and Paste with AutoHotKey

For no apparent reason, Intuit broke the copy and paste functions in Quicken 2014, such that you can no longer copy text from a transaction or paste into a transaction field. If you use AutoHotKey, there’s an easy fix. Just add the following to a .ahk script:

#IfWinActive Quicken

; Quicken 2014 no longer allows pasting of
; text in most contexts, so fix that
SendInput {Raw}%clipboard%

ControlGetFocus, ctrl
if (RegExMatch(ctrl, "QREdit\d+")) {
ControlGet, clipboard, Selected,, %ctrl%

; This must be at the end of this section

Toggle the Find Results Window in Notepad++ with a Hotkey

I write software and play with websites in my spare time, mostly using Notepad++.  One of the banes of my existence is that there is no keyboard shortcut for closing the Find Results pane / window that appears when I do one of the following:

  • Find All in All Opened Documents
  • Find All in Current Document
  • Find All (in multiple files)

There isn’t one built in, as discussed in this question on Superuser.com, as well as this one and this one. F7 opens the pane or window, but doesn’t close it. The second question link above suggests that Esc will close the pane or window, but this doesn’t work for me, at least in Notepad++ >= 6.

I got fed up with this and created a script for my own use, using AutoHotKey. The following script will convert F7 from an open-only shortcut to a toggle; it opens it if it isn’t already open, and closes it if it is.

Here is the script:

I hope this helps everyone else out there who loves Notepad++!

Note: I posted this originally on Superuser.com.

Edited 1/14/2014 to fix a bug in detecting the undocked window

Jumper Cables for the Mind

Here’s one way to get those juices flowing: Jumper Cables for the Mind – NYTimes.com.  We’re already concerned about people enhancing their ability to access and process information using tools like Google Glass, and it’s already well-known that everyday activities like drinking a cup of coffee can enhance mental performance.  Now, we’re going to have to watch out for people with electrodes stuck to their heads.,,

On a related note, you might head over to Lumosity.com if you’re interested in some (non-electrifying) mental stimulation.

Experience and Reason

The following is Madison’s summary of a truly excellent speech by John Dickenson, a delegate from Delaware to the Constitutional Convention:

Experience must be our only guide. Reason may mislead us. It was not Reason that discovered the singular & admirable mechanism of the English Constitution. It was not Reason that discovered or ever could have discovered the odd & in the eye of those who are governed by reason, the absurd mode of trial by Jury. Accidents probably produced these discoveries, and experience has given a sanction to them. This is then our guide. And has not experience verified the utility of restraining money bills to the immediate representatives of the people. Whence the effect may have proceeded he could not say; whether from the respect with which this privilege inspired the other branches of Govt. to the H. of Commons, or from the turn of thinking it gave to the people at large with regard to their rights, but the effect was visible & could not be doubted-Shall we oppose to this long experience, the short experience of 11 Years which we had ourselves, on this subject. As to disputes, they could not be avoided any way. If both Houses should originate, each would have a different bill to which it would be attached, and for which it would contend. -He observed that all the prejudices of the people would be offended by refusing this exclusive privilege to the H. of Repress. and these prejudices shd. never be disregarded by us when no essential purpose was to be served. When this plan goes forth it will be attacked by the popular leaders. Aristocracy will be the watchword; the Shibboleth among its adversaries. Eight States have inserted in their Constitutions the exclusive right of originating money bills in favor of the popular branch of the Legislature. Most of them however allowed the other branch to amend. This he thought would be proper for us to do.

This is so excellent that I simply had to share it.  You can read Madison’s journal of the debates online in a number of places; this particular speech can be found at Yale’s Avalon Project – Madison Debates – August 13.

Ridiculous Mountaintop Plane Landing

I’m posting this just because it’s amazing.  Land it like a boss.

h/t That Reminds Me: Didja Hear About The Mountain-Climbing Economists? | The Borderline Sociopathic Blog For Boys.

Loneliest Human

The xkcd “What if?” blog has a great analysis of the people most eligible for the title of Loneliest Human.  Not that I ever thought I had even come close, but it makes my whole “6 miles from the nearest light bulb” (at Philmont Scout Ranch) thing seem way less impressive.

Passwords Done Wrong

I recently changed a password at Citibank, and was greeted with this absurd guidance.


Where to start? A 6-character password is ridiculously insecure, so that’s not great.  But the “must not” section is what amuses me.  The first and second bullets are perfectly fine.  The fourth one is very disturbing — how secure can a password really be if you eliminate 26 characters that I might otherwise use? More importantly, this implies that perhaps passwords aren’t being stored in a secure manner, in the first place — if they are properly hashing their passwords,  it is impossible to tell if a password is an “almost” match, except for capitalization. You have to wonder how they are storing the passwords.

It’s the third rule that convinced me we are in never-never land.  Your password must not “[h]ave any spaces before, in the middle of, or following any characters.” Leave aside that they already told me that my password must not “[c]ontain any spaces,” so this whole point is redundant.  What in the world does it mean to say that I can’t have any spaces “in the middle of… any characters?”  Bizarre.

This whole thing made me think of this truly excellent comic from xkcd and this post about it, complete with passphrase generator.  Personally, I strongly recommend using KeePass and letting it generate and store ridiculously strong passwords for you.

I Sold My Truck

I sold my truck today. I had it barely a year, but have barely used it in the last couple of months. Now that Sarah and I work at the same place, we commute together. So I had only driven the truck maybe three times in the last two months, and then only because I felt like it.

In short, I had a truck that I couldn’t part in the garage (or even the driveway) at home, couldn’t park in the garage at work, and basically never drove. I’ll miss having a truck, but it just didn’t make sense to keep it.