Life is fragile…

In an article that resonated with me:

Camus suggests that the comfortable habits of modern life are, at best, mixed blessings. They allow us to mask the absurd, and therefore to mask what is most basic about our nature: that we are fragile, that life is the futile process of not dying. Ignoring these facts of life amounts to what Camus calls “philosophical suicide,” a state in which individuals—in a giant act of self-deception—pretend that the universe is well-fitted to human purposes.


I am stuck at a different well…

Just a humorous thought that came to me while trying to understand why I keep procrastinating working on something that needs to be done yesterday. It seems like I am stuck drawing water from a different well that is too deep and I am not able to abandon that and move on to the task that needs to be done :-(.


WD Passport Backup Device kills Wi-Fi

Whenever connecting my Western Digital WD Passport Ultra drive via USB to perform backups on Windows 10, my Wi-Fi connection went for a toss and wouldn’t recover for a while even after disconnecting the backup drive. The network connection slowed to a crawl and some web-sites would timeout trying to access them in a browser. Looking at the task manager did not show any task consuming high amounts of CPU or memory or disk or network bandwidth. After some research, I came across some comments indicating that USB 3.0 can interfere with Wi-Fi signals which are in the 2.4 GHz range. This paper describes this problem in more detail. Apparently the best solution is to switch to using Wi-Fi in the 5GHz range if your Wi-Fi router supports it. Alternate approaches are to somehow shield the USB cable and connector so the electrical noise doesn’t spread out or adjust the Wi-Fi dongle/antenna so it isn’t too close to the drive and it’s cabling. The linked paper describes various tests done with shielding and managing Wi-Fi dongle placement.



Why do I feel cold in winter in a room at the same temperature as in summer?

Because of thermal equilibrium — there is more stuff in the room (like the walls) that is colder than you are and so you are loosing heat while the walls are trying to get warmer resulting in you feeling cold. In summer, the walls are warmer and there is less of a temperature difference between objects and so you aren’t loosing heat and so you don’t feel as cold. There is also humidity that contributes into the same thing of establishing thermal equilibrium.


Emacs 24.5.1 update issue on Windows 7

After updating Emacs to 24.5.1 (from 23.2) on my Windows 7 machine, I found that Emacs wouldn’t startup properly and would just display a white/blank screen and appear to hang. When running it from the command line, I was seeing a couple of lines of errors indicating a problem with GTK on startup:

GLib-GObject-CRITICAL **: gtype.c:2720: You forgot to call g_type_init()
GLib-CRITICAL **: g_once_init_leave: assertion `result != 0′ failed

This reminded me that I had installed GTK+ 3.0 recently prior to my update and thought perhaps this was some interaction with the new GTK installation. Rather than uninstall GTK, I opted to remove the path to the GTK bin from my Windows 7 PATH environment variable. Once I did that and then tried to run Emacs, it worked properly. Not sure what the weird interaction was about — perhaps the wrong GTK DLL was being loaded up?


Emacs, Cygwin, cvs, etc. on Windows 7

When using Emacs 24.3.1 on Windows 7, I found that cygwin-mount.el would not work (it gave a bogus error of being unable to locate mount.exe) or using version control (cvs) within Emacs would fail with “Permission Denied”. Turns out the problem was Windows UAC (User Access Control). By changing the properties on runemacs.exe to “Run as administrator”, I was able to fix this issue.


Mac RDP using CoRD to Windows 7 and issues with mouse cursor disappearing

When using CoRD to RDP to a Windows 7 machine from a Macbook Air running OS-X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard), I was having trouble with the mouse cursor disappearing after starting any email edits with Microsoft Outlook on the remote Windows 7 machine. Turns out this is a Windows feature where the mouse cursor is hidden whenever in a editing window. There are settings in the Mouse control panel to remove this default behavior: Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Mouse (dialog) > Pointer Options (tab) > “Hide pointer while typing” (checkbox). My problem was that the mouse pointer would disappear and stay disappeared for that session. Turns on there is a setting already to fix this — if you press the “Control” key and then move the mouse, the cursor reappears. Also clicking the mouse button once while still editing brings the cursor back temporarily (until you start editing again).