Saturday, March 31, 2012

Toward a Lexicon of Nonsensical Epithets

Playing online competitive video games introduces you to a fascinating array of epithets.  These mostly have to do with sexual orientation, but some folks are creative enough to involve cognitive ability, geographical location, immediate ancestry, and gender stereotypes.

But they're just plain tired.  They perpetuate a mindset of xenophobia, but more importantly they encourage a lazy mediocrity of communication skills.  Kids, you're better than this.

Aargh! Squid-texted again!?
Let's inject a more creative, less antisocial alternative .. a new vocabulary.  This is not just a code that maps "dirty" epithets to "secret" ones.  And it doesn't initially need to indicate in what situations a phrase is most appropriate.  Language evolves .. new phrases will live or die .. the winners will find themselves framed in a consensus-built context.

I'll get the ball rolling, next round of the game, with these:
  • Snuggle-shoe
  • Orange-pan
  • Flaxen-apostrophe (use sparingly)
  • Pose a mango
  • Pander to trollies
  • Fly the baby carriage
Together, we can change the world into a more harmonious, playful place for anger and conflict.  Si, se piƱa!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Activating your MacOS Screensaver from the Command Line (and Processing!)

It's a matter of calling osascript with the -e flag, and giving it a statement to evaluate:

  osascript -e 'tell application id "com.apple.ScreenSaver.Engine" to launch'

It's useful at the moment because I'm messing around with a Touchatag RFID reader (drivers are here, btw), using these libraries for Processing.  What I wanna try out first is attaching an RFID tag to the bottom of my coffee mug.  When I leave my desk to get some more tea, I'll tap the mug on the reader and it'll activate my screensaver, which requires a password to unlock.

video
BTW, here are the two lines (mind the line-wrap, there) in Processing, to kick-off that applescript and activate the screensaver:

  String[] command = { "/usr/bin/osascript","-e","tell application id \"com.apple.ScreenSaver.Engine\" to launch"};
  exec(command);


Easy enough!  Next up, if I've tapped more than three pint glasses of beer, disable the Send button in my email client.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Flipping your Mouse Wheel in Windows 7

I've gotten used to Lion's goofy "natural scrolling" behavior.  When I bootcamp over into Windows, the "normal" scrolling irks me.  I've found two (Volker Voeking and Tom Mason)  perfect posts on how to do this in the registry (without using flakey softwarez) but they weren't entirely obvious for my Mighty Mouse.  If you know the hardware ID might start with a big mess between braces, you should be able to just use either of those.

Here's my quick redux for my own remembery porpoises:
  • Open Control Panel > All Control Panel Items > Mouse.
  • Go to the Hardware tab, take a look at the Location for each device.
  • Get the Properties of the mouse you wanna flip.
  • Go to the Details tab, select Hardware ID from the Property drop-down.
  • The entry containing "VID" somewhere in it is what you want.
And then do the registry pieces:
  • Hit the Windows (command) key, "regedit" and hit return.
  • Expand HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SYSTEM > CurrentControlSet > Enum > HID
  • Expand whatever device ID you found previously, expand whatever garbled entry is under that.
  • Select Device Parameters, right-click on FlipFlopWheel, then choose Modify.
  • Change this from 0 to 1.
  • Exit.
The next time your mouse is recognized, it'll inherit the new setting.  To make that happen, you can just power it down, wait a dozen seconds, and power it back up.  That otter do it!  Welcome back to wackyland.