Well that's good. Fantastic. That gives us 20 minutes to save the world and I've got a post office. And it's shut!

Saturday, October 22



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Friday, October 21



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Sunday, October 09


Marble Madness

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Easiest thing to do turned out to be reset Windows entirely.  Azusa is working now.  And also suddenly has lots of free disk space.  

So, yay.

I'm not getting a signal on the HDMI port, but I'll wait for the post-install stuff to finish before I worry about that too much.

Edit: After poking around in the Intel drivers, I found the setting to re-enable the HDMI output.  This model  - a Dell Inspiron 15 7000, model 7548 - has dual graphics, integrated and dedicated, and switches between them dynamically.  It seems that resetting Windows caused it to forget how to do that.  Still better than the Black Screen of Death, but hardly ideal.

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Git The Princess

This is 110% accurate.

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Saturday, October 08


The Fun Never Starts

So, Azusa, my shiny Dell notebook, got unceremoniously murdered by an errant Windows update (as if there were any other kind).

I can get it to boot in safe mode (which is now completely undiscoverable - if you don't know how to reach safe mode, you will never find it).*  Windows 10 has apparently lost the network and video drivers, which means that when booting normally I get a black screen and no network access.  Booting into safe mode loads the default video drivers, which don't work right on this hardware (it has dual video controllers and a 4K screen) but work enough.

I downloaded the network drivers, put them on a USB drive, and copied them onto the Azusa - because once the network is working again, I can download anything else I need.

And you know what?  You can't install drivers while running in safe mode.  And since the drivers are broken, I can't run anything when I'm not in safe mode.

Thanks a whole lot, Microsoft.

Apparently the solution is:
REG ADD "HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SafeBoot\Network\MSIServer" /VE /T REG_SZ /F /D "Service"
net start msiserver
Which is about as undiscoverable as you can get.

And I have to type that by hand.  I can't copy and paste because the drivers are broken.

* Shift-click the power button in the login screen, then reboot.**  That will give you a menu where you can choose safe mode, and, you guessed it, reboot again.

I think a mid-level manager at Microsoft asked his team "How can we make things as annoying as possible for someone who is already having a very bad day?" and they then had a very productive brainstorming session.

** How undiscoverable is it?  I just did it, and I still didn't know how to do it.  You click the power button, and then shift-click the restart option.  Shift-clicking the power button itself does you no good at all.  And holding down shift gives you no indication that anything has changed.

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CursorSense + BetterSnapTool

And Apple, if you would kindly stop breaking essential functionality, I would appreciate it.

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So I finally found a mouse driver that makes using a 27" iMac bearable, and Apple updates their so-called operating system and now it doesn't work any more.

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Monday, October 03


Crapware Live Blog, Part 71732

I managed to get the Xperia tablet to move apps to the SD card again.  The problem was not the size of the card, or the amount of free space, but the partition table.  The Android disk partitioning utility creates disk partitions that are incompatible with Android.

I partitioned it on my Mac (you can't partition SD cards on Windows (because fuck you, that's why) and the Mac Disk Utility doesn't work either, but you can do it from the command line.

Meanwhile, my Dell notebook got the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.  And now it doesn't work any more.  The Black Screen of Death - where the update kills both your display driver and your network driver.

And of course, updates are mandatory.

It should be straightforward enough to fix once I find the right drivers, work out how the hell you get Windows 10 into safe mode (shift-click the restart button, yeah, very intutitive that), and install them and reboot a few more times.

But seriously, Microsoft, you've bricked two of my Windows 10 systems with your crappy updates already.  If you're going to make updates mandatory, they have to work every single time.  Otherwise you can just piss off.

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Saturday, October 01


Android Adoptable Storage, A Review

Update: Most of the problems detailed below seem to be Sony's fault.  I've been testing with my Moto G4, and the problems for the most part simply don't arise.  So I'm back to blaming Sony again.

It's a complete fucking mess.

To update the earlier updates:

I criticised Sony for disabling adoptable storage on their devices.  Having used it, I now agree with them; the user experience is awful:
  • Some apps refuse to install to adoptable storage, and there's no practical way to know which ones this will affect.
  • Some apps install to adoptable storage, but won't run from it.
  • Some apps show that they are using adoptable storage, but when you check the details they are actually still on internal storage.
  • Some apps show that they are using adoptable storage even when you check the details, but when you add the numbers up, you find that they are still using internal storage.
  • Some apps that support storing data on normal (portable) SD cards don't work with adoptable storage.
  • If you format your card as a mix of portable and adoptable storage, you end up with two storage devices named "SD Card".
Plus (and this one is Sony's fault - it doesn't happen on my G4) the used storage numbers go negative.

There were three goals I wanted to achieve:
  • Store my SF magazine subscription on SD card instead of scarce internal storage. I've had a digital subscription to Analog and Asimov's since shortly after I got my first tablet, and have 39 issues of each.  They weigh in at 60-115MB per issue.

    This doesn't work.  The Kindle app shows that it's storing them on the adoptable storage, but this is a lie.

  • Move large games like Final Fantasy to SD card.  This doesn't work at all.  In one case I had Final Fantasy VI not showing up on either the adoptable storage or the internal storage.  It was actually on internal storage, and stays there no matter what.

  • Move many small games and apps to SD card.  This is mostly a failure.  All the Kairosoft games (I have 35 of them, everything they've translated into English) install on the adoptable storage, but only about a third of them will run that way.  They others either crash or request storage permissions that you can't grant.
And even when it does work, the Android storage functions are completely inadequate for working out what has been put where.

This is all on Android 6.01; maybe some of this has been fixed on the recently released Android 7, but I don't have access to Android 7 on any of my devices yet.

And finally, for some bizarre reason, even after reformatting the card back to portable storage, I can't use Sony's home-grown function to move apps to SD cards, because my card is bigger than 32GB.  I tried reformatting it down smaller than 32GB and it started working again.  So now I've reformatted back to normal and I'm filling it with my PDF archive.

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