Gibberish Follow-up 
A quick follow-up to this old post with links to people pretending to speak different languages:

Original Gibberish Post

I found a new one, which is pretty good. It includes a fake english but I'm pretty sure this person actually can speak english just fine.

Gibberish in Different Languages

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OSX Lost Windows 
Sometimes I run applications with multiple monitors on OSX and unplug the external monitor and a few applications will mysteriously disappear. They are actually still running, but for some reason they don't move over to the active screen (e.g. the laptop's LCD).

To make matters worse, exiting and reopening the application doesn't work either. They apparently re-spawn to their last location which doesn't exist anymore. Plugging back in the external monitor will bring back the application, but access to my external monitor isn't always possible when I need to use a "lost" application.

A few applications will allow you select Window from the File Menu and choose something like "Tile" which will work for recovery. However, I've run across a few applications that don't have any roundabout solution like that to move the lost window. (SQLiteStudio has been the worst offender for me.)

A bit of Googling found a solution with various similar AppleScripts that will check all windows and make sure they are visible and if not move them into view. This requires enabling System Preferences->Universal Access->[checkbox]Enabled Access for Assistive Devices to allow for this automation (potentially a security risk, but I digress).

Here is an example script: Gather Lost Windows Script

This sounded great and I gave it a shot, but was immediately greeted with an error: "Access for assistive devices is disabled" when running the script. This was a bit perplexing because I had already checked that it was in fact enabled. I proceeded to play around with checking and unchecking the box in the Universal Access panel but nothing worked.

I just assumed my laptop was somehow corrupted. However, Googling didn't indicate anyone else had a similar problem. So I did a little bit of script debugging and realized that some windows were successfully being tested for being "off screen" before the error finally triggered on one particular process. Toggling OFF the "access for assistive devices" would cause the very first process to trigger the error, while ON something like the 5th process would trigger it.

I came to realize that the error that AppleScript returns is actually a permissions problem of some sort, just with a very poor and misleading error message. So I wrapped a TRY block around the offending code to allow the script to go to completion and it worked for recovering my SQLiteStudio window at least. I'm not sure if other applications that get stuck offscreen may fail (due to the mystery permissions error), but I can at least gather my main offending application. My modified script follows (based off of the script linked above). Feel free to use it! And thanks to the original author for getting me most of the way there.

-- Example list of processes to ignore: {"xGestures"} or {"xGestures", "OtherApp", ...}
property processesToIgnore : {}

-- Get the size of the Display(s), only useful if there is one display
-- otherwise it will grab the total size of both displays
tell application "Finder"
set _b to bounds of window of desktop
set screen_width to item 3 of _b
set screen_height to item 4 of _b
end tell

tell application "System Events"
set allProcesses to application processes
set _results to ""
repeat with i from 1 to count allProcesses
set doIt to 1
repeat with z from 1 to count processesToIgnore
if process i = process (item z of processesToIgnore) then
set doIt to 0
end if
end repeat

if doIt = 1 then
tell process i
repeat with x from 1 to (count windows)
set winPos to position of window x
set _x to item 1 of winPos
set _y to item 2 of winPos

if (_x < 0 or _y < 0 or _x > screen_width or _y > screen_height) then
set position of window x to {0, 22}
end if
end repeat
on error errmesg number errnumber

end try
end tell
end if
end repeat
end tell

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Octave on Mac 
I wanted to install Octave on Mac, along with a GUI. I chose QTOctave.

Initially I installed via macports, pkgs octave and qtoctave-mac. This works fine (took HOURS to compile), but the version of Octave was a bit out of date and didn't have some of the features I wanted. I discovered that pkg octave-devel is also offered, which is quite up-to-date.

So I installed that instead. Unfortunately, qtoctave-mac failed to re-install (I initially had to un-install it when I removed the original octave pkg). This failure is because port detects a architecture mismatch due to universal versus 64 bit binaries. However, qtoctave just interfaces with octave on the command line and it doesn't matter what arch is used so long as it runs.

If you run 'sudo port edit qtoctave-mac' you can see/edit the portfile for qtoctave, which defines all the deps. I noticed an interesting line "depends_skip_archcheck". I noticed that octave was listed, but not octave-devel. So I added it to the line (sep by space) and it worked like a charm!

Anyways, that's all there is to getting qtoctave to work with octave-devel via macports.

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Backing Up a Mac (with OSX and Bootcamp) 
If you have a Mac you are probably already familiar with Time Machine. It works pretty well and has some nice features. However, it’s not really the ideal way to recover from say a catastrophic hard drive failure. My understanding is that your Time Machine backup cannot be used for a recovery back to EXACTLY the state of your machine at the point of the last backup. For instance, upon restoring you might find that some of your software is no longer licensed correctly (because some digital certificates aren’t backed up properly).

Because of this, many folks recommend making regular backup images, which are exact snapshots of your hard drive. There are ways to do this with low level tools for free, but if you want to keep things easy then most people seem to recommend purchasing SuperDuper!. This tool lets you make backups to an external or network drive. You can also do efficient incremental backups (only updating the changes since the last backup) and do scheduling. You can also mount the image (it’s a sparsebundle) and grab individual files/directories if you like.

If you have a Windows OS on a Bootcamp partition then things get a bit trickier if you want to back that up too. Windows 7 has a fairly nice built-in backup feature. Unfortunately, from my understanding there is no way to recover a Windows 7 backup image without totally formatting the hard drive and then recovering the image. This creates a catch-22 because in order run Windows under Bootcamp, you must first install OSX (which would immediately get wiped by the Windows 7 image recovery).

The solution is to make backup images of your Bootcamp partition while OSX is booted. There is exactly one easy-to-use tool that can do this: Winclone. Unfortunately, this is product is no longer supported. It was released as donation-ware but donations are no longer accepted so it’s effectively free now. From everything I’ve read online, it apparently still works (most of the time). Many have been able to restore from the compressed Winclone images and you can even do resizing of the image if you want to increase or decrease the space that Windows takes up on your hard drive.

So I have been making Winclone image backups with the realization that there might be problems. So I also make user file backups with Windows 7’s incremental “Shadow Copy” feature (sort of like Time Machine). If the Winclone image doesn’t work, I’ll just have to rebuild everything and reinstall my applications.

I have spent a lot of time looking, but I can’t seem to find any better solution than Winclone. Almost every other tool out there (including Acronis and others) can’t handle the partitioning scheme that Apple uses for Bootcamp (GUID Partitioning).

If you just need Windows for a just a couple pieces of Windows-specific software (or just for games), then you might not care about making recovery images at all. Perhaps only using Windows 7 “Shadow Copy” backups for user files (or use DropBox or a remote backup service).

I however really want the full image backups (that can actually be recovered under Bootcamp) because I boot into Bootcamp both from VMWare Fusion as well as directly. This is officially against Microsoft’s licensing policy and you are supposed to buy TWO OS licenses if you want to do that. However, it can be made to work if you jump through the right hoops. If image recovery works for me (in the event of a failure or hard drive upgrade) then I can avoid going through all the effort of double-activating Windows 7 off of one license again.

Hopefully some better tools will come out for completely backing up a Mac with Bootcamp. I'm surprised there isn't a better way already (or maybe I've missed something).

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Home Depot Fridge Installer Incompetence 
1.) First, the installers didn't turn the water off when they removed the old ice maker water line.

2.) Then they kinked and crimped the crap out of the copper line trying desperately to stop the spray that went all over the place.

3.) Next, they told my wife that the 1/4'' copper line would not "fit" the new fridge and we'd need to pay a plumber to run a new line.

So I salvaged what remained of the existing copper line and used the new compression fitting that CAME WITH THE NEW FRIDGE and did it myself. You'd think these guys would at least get a day of training!

I can add this experience to my long list of complaints about Home Depot including buying a drain snake that was broken and used (indicated by the hair and gunk wrapped around the coil) inside the sealed box. It was apparently returned by a customer and put right back on the shelf without inspection. If you think that's bad, the same thing happened with a toilet I bought that someone installed but then decided they didn't want.

(I would have passed on shopping at Home Depot again, but unfortunately they were the only ones that had the refrigerator we wanted.)

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