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Journey's End

November 26th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Stuck in My Head | #
Journey's End by Kaz Okamoto
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Terrorists Among Syrian Refugees

November 15th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
Looks like the ISIS Trojan Horse scenario I mentioned in September is playing out with the mass migration of refugees to Europe.  Terrible news this past Friday, but can't say it was unexpected.  It was also literally spelled out by ISIS as what they intended to do (flood Europe with migrants and hide among them).

The news here at least acknowledges that rather than treat it as a completely unpredictable event like they often do: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/11...

Just hope the Western world takes the vulnerability of opening up to mass immigration a little more seriously now, but it seems like politicians these days have worked themselves into a corner where they must always do the most short-term, emotionally righteous decision rather than think things through on a longer term, more rational perspective.  The problem is they're always reacting to events instead of thinking one step ahead.  It's almost as if they'd rather endure crisis after crisis together rather than make the tough call against the herd to prevent one.  No matter what they do now with the immigration issue (close, tighten, whatever), whoever wanted to sneak in is already in, and they need to start looking past that.
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Buried Memories

November 9th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Stories | #
Another dream I had that played out like a movie.  Seems to be how all my ideas to come to me now.
================================
I am living off in the country side for some time.  There, I have a small isolated plot of land that I planted a farm on and regularly tend to for fun, but the house near it is pretty high tech and is where I do a bunch of more serious work for coding and other hobbies.  One day, some guy shows up while I'm out on my farm and tries to tell me I ought to work for his company and get a real job or something.  He starts telling me how it will be good experience to build resume and get real software skills, etc so I don't have to live on a farm anymore.  I ask if he knows what I actually do, and he says he can't tell, which just annoys the heck out of me that he'd dare even tell me what I should do with my life.  I show him that my farm is actually also a grave for past lives I've had and previous bodies I've...[More]
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Helping vs Changing Goals

October 26th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Thought of the Day | #
You don't help someone by telling them to change their goal.  If you're going to help them, help them achieve it.
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Windows 10 Updates

October 17th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in 42 | #
Windows 10 hides the Windows Update settings.  This is how you can disable or make it notify you before downloading/installing.
http://www.thewindowsclub.com/make-windows-10-notify-you-before-downloading-or-installing-windows-updates
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Auto Login and Lock

October 17th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in 42 | #
This is a method for turning your Windows home computer into sort of a server by automatically booting and loading the desktop without requiring your manual login.  It then locks and requires password to use the computer, but the stuff you want up and running (especially programs in the startup folder) will already be up.
http://lifehacker.com/5645098/make-windows-load-your-desktop-before-you-log-in

For Windows server, make sure to also disable Ctrl+Alt+Delete on login as described here:
https://serverfault.com/a/911298

A program to do it with UI is also available here:
https://docs.microsoft.com/da-dk/sysinternals/downloads/autologon

If you want your computer to automatically come on even with a power outtage, see:
http://www.technewsworld.com/story/78930.html
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Send Mail As From Gmail SMTP

October 15th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in 42 | #
These are directions on how to set up your own domain's email addresses to work from Gmail in case I forget.  In other words, sending from your own user@domain.com address but having it sent from Gmail's servers so you can use gmail as your client, authentication, etc.

1. Login to gmail.com.
2. Go to settings.
3. Go to accounts and import.
4. Under send...[More]
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Remote Desktop Setup

October 15th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in 42 | #
Good articles on securing the Remote Desktop function of Windows, so that it uses encryption, etc.

Basic things all RDP should have:
http://www.howtogeek.com/175087/how-to-enable-and-secure-remote-desktop-on-windows/

In addition,...[More]
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Imposing on Others

October 11th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Thought of the Day | #
Having a person complain while he imposes his will on others is like watching a dog cry while it devours a child.
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Performance Issues in SQL Server 2014

October 10th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
I just spent the last week trying to figure out why some of my SQL queries were suddenly taking hours to run on a large dataset when they used to take seconds on an older machine.  The queries I have use a lot of subqueries and left-joins across several tables with hundreds of GB of data each.  At first I thought it might be because my dataset has grown to the point my queries were no longer efficient.  Perhaps I had too many joins or subqueries that were not using the indexes on the table.  I actually tried removing every case of "OR" condition in my queries, which seemed to help a little but nowhere near bringing down the hour or so it still took to run.  After messing with indexes and re-arranging queries non-stop, it turns out it's because of an update to cardinality estimation on the back-end in Microsoft SQL Server 2014.

Luckily, you can disable the cardinality estimation update on a query-by-query basis by doing:
Quote
*your query*   OPTION ( QUERYTRACEON 9481 )

After appending "  OPTION ( QUERYTRACEON 9481 )" at the end of my queries, I'm back to seeing them execute within seconds.  Whatever update Microsoft did to its cardinality estimation clearly missed a few edge cases (perhaps they don't expect large queries and datasets?).  If anyone else is running into this issue, I hope this saves them some time.  Bigger worry is if Microsoft thinks their update is so great that they end up removing the ability to backtrack down the road.
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Wasting Through Time

October 3rd, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Stories | #
This was another story idea I got as a dream.  I suppose it reflects my mood lately with everyone seeming to get older around me, not just physically but mentally as well.

=========================

Two friends have known each other all their lives.  They are able to time travel but only by skipping forward in time.  They've been doing that for a while and have experienced centuries of history past by, but one day, one of the friends loses this ability.  The other is torn between staying with the friend or leaving the friend behind to continue skipping forward.  There was a sense before that both of them were destined to see all the Earth's history to the very end until the world goes dark, but now that seems less certain.  They end up splitting ways, with one living through the years instead of skipping forward while the other continues to jump forward every few years.  Each time they catch up, one friend gets much older while the other remains...[More]
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Breaking People to Their Core - Complete

September 18th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
This is an older piece I started writing a while ago and finally completed:
https://www.pftq.com/blabberbox/?page=Breaking_People_to_Their_Core

It sheds a bit of light into my thought process for understanding people and what drives them.
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Skydome Theater

September 13th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Ideas | #
Imagine an open, dome-shaped theater the size of a football stadium, where instead of looking towards screen on the far wall, everyone looked to the sky.  It would be like stargazing, except as the movie is about to start, the stars fade away and another world fills the sky for as far as the eye can see.  People would be lying on their backs instead of sitting hunched forward on their seats.  It'd almost feel like being in a rocket about to take off vertically.  Perhaps there would be chairs that rotate backwards to a lift-off position and actually elevate slightly off the ground as the movie begins.

This is something that's been churning in the back of my mind for a while.  From a design standpoint, the theater would obviously be limited in capacity and can only show one movie at a time for the all the space allotted, but I think the experience would be phenomenal, especially for very visual, cinematic films.  Capacity is also used in a very technical...[More]
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iPad Pro - 3 Years After the Surface Pro

September 9th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
     This 2012 comic "Surface Tension" by Joel Watson is pretty hilarious in that it nailed the exact year Apple would release their version of the Surface, complete with the exact name to Apple's version of the keyboard touchcover (comic called it the "Smart Cover Touch").


     For all the hype around Apple finally releasing a direct competitor to the Surface though, there are some things still quite apples vs oranges.  The biggest one would be the fact Apple's iPad Pro still runs on the ARM chipset and iOS, as opposed to a full-fledged computer operating system like the Surface does.  The event today highlighted how much faster the iPad Pro's chipset was than most other computers' on the market, but at the end of the day, it continues to only runs iOS apps and not full programs like on a laptop.  This point somehow seems to get missed in all the hype.  This makes the iPad Pro quite literally just a bigger, faster iPad despite the new "Pro" suffix to its name.

     Leave it to Apple though to pitch it the right way such that it manages to position itself as the direct competitor to the Surface Pro and other hybrid computers.  It's a clever marketing technique to dilute the perception of the competitor's product.  Intel did this in the past with AMD via price points, where they intentionally priced extremely crappy Intel chips at the pricing of AMD's superior chips in order to give the impression that all chips at that price range were just bad.  Here, Apple gets away with not having a fully functional computer in their Pro line because their marketing will insure people forget the competitor's Pro line is even a fully functional computer to begin with.

     Funny enough, Microsoft is already doing a lot on its own to make people forget.  It just has to speak up here on the glaring difference between the two products (the same difference between a regular iPad and the Surface Pro), but their marketing department has not been the brightest bunch to say the least.  Look at their own botched Surface launch with two similarly named products, one fully-functional computer and one that only runs mobile apps; that alone confused consumers so much that people still don't quite equate Surface with being a real computer.  Then throw on the cheesy dance ads that scare away the very professionals their device is targeted at.  And now of course you have Microsoft happily going on stage today to help pitch how their direct competitor does everything their own product can (without any acknowledgement that this is not true).

     I'll be laughing so hard if Apple next manages to sue Microsoft for patents on the iPad Pro, the iPencil, or the Smart Cover, but I wouldn't be surprised either.  Apple's just really good at pushing through the competition here, especially one which seems asleep at the wheel anyway.
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Poker Guide

September 6th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Random Stuff | #
The gist of how I basically play poker:
1. Play like a moron who always bets.
2. Play like a moron who always folds.
3. Only bet when you have something.
4. Bet whenever you think they think you think you might have something.
5. Never bet.  Only call or raise when someone bets into you and you have something.
6. Restart at a random step.
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European Migration Crisis - ISIS Trojan Horse?

September 5th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
By no means do I want to suggest that any of the middle-eastern migrants and refugees flooding the European borders bode any ill intention, but it seems like the perfect opportunity for the Islamic State to infiltrate Western countries undetected.  I seriously hope whoever is in charge there is taking this into consideration that this could be ISIS's trojan horse.

Apparently, ISIS even spelled out this scenario back in February 2015:
Quote
Islamic State ‘planning to use Libya as gateway to Europe’

Exclusive: Jihadists hoping to use Libya as a “gateway” to wage war across the whole of southern Europe, plans by Isil supporters reveal
Islamic State militants are planning a takeover of Libya as a “gateway” to wage war across the whole of southern Europe, letters written by the group’s supporters have revealed.
The jihadists hope to flood the north African state with militiamen from Syria and Iraq, who will then sail across the Mediterranean posing as migrants on people trafficking vessels, according to plans seen by Quilliam, the British anti-extremist group.
The fighters would then run amok in southern European cities and also try to attack maritime shipping.
The document is written by an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) propagandist who is believed to be an important online recruiter for the terror in Libya, where security has collapsed in the wake of the revolution that unseated Colonel Gaddafi in 2011.
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Back to Tokyo

September 5th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Stuck in My Head | #
Back to Tokyo by Seiichi Kyoda
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Bamboo Tapestry

September 5th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Stuck in My Head | #
Bamboo Tapestry by Seiichi Kyoda
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Earthbound - Home Sweet Home Orchestra

September 5th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Stuck in My Head | #
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The Power of Fate and Irony

August 26th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
     With the advent of my newest project Autodidactic I, which premises itself on harnessing the power of "fate and irony," I thought it'd be timely to explain just what that means and how it is actually more literal than one might think.  At its core, it's about setting up the least likely situations to always be in your favor, what others perceive to be your worst case scenarios to actually be your best case.  You set yourself up such that the most ironic thing that can happen to you is the best thing that could happen to you, and everything else falls in line behind that.  This is a lot of the thinking that bleeds into most of my endeavors, whether it be in my trading, planning my life, or even just making sure I get from point A to point B on time.

     It sounds a bit like superstitution or voodoo, but it really is more about planning, psychology, and just staying ahead of the game.  When planning any sort of event or organization, for example, the biggest mistake one often makes is leaving open that 0.0001% chance that things go terribly wrong.  Instead take that and flip it on its head.  Make the 0.0001% case the case where everything goes terribly right.  In practice, I often *seem* like the more conservative risk taker on any team (despite my super left-field ideas and approaches to things),  but when the unthinkable happens, it's to my favor.  What better irony than the safest plans thriving in absolute chaos? And there's nothing to say you can't simply be so in control (or so impervious to a lack of control) that it just looks like you're passive when you've actually already set plans in motion to take over the world.  It's about always knowing your edge cases and putting them in alignment with your goals.  It's about eliminating chance from the equation and only leaving open possibilities that help your cause.  When the unthinkable happens, you win, and when it doesn't, life just continues as usual.

     The other aspect is just mental, when you declare the most absurd things with no expectation they happen, when you jinx or counter-jinx things, when people give up at the exact moment they should have doubled down, etc.  This definitely sounds much more like superstition now, but think of all the situations in the past where you or your friends jinxed things and how often these ironic situations actually came true.  Words have meaning, whether they leave a guilt chip in the back of someone's mind or make yourself doubt your best judgement (too good to be true, unwillingness to go against what you just said, etc).  The key again is to let the things you think most absurd always be in your favor but also in a psychological aspect.  If someone else is doubting something (often you), let them be on the losing side of the ironic outcome and not yourself.  If someone is about to give up but thinks something will work out right as they quit, be on the receiving side of that luck.  Sometimes, it's almost like witchcraft, where in order to ensure my success, I purposely make sure there are enough people thinking or making a claim they'll regret, where they unintentionally jinx themselves such that, in the (misleadingly) remote chance they're wrong, it leads an outcome most extremely in my favor.  Think of famous last words; often times I purposely get someone to declare verbally the opposite of what I want just to jinx him.  This extends to all other activities mental and psychological - trading, poker, etc. If someone is about to exit a trade they think they'll regret doing so, take that as a sign that trade will probably work.  If someone thinks they'll fold a good hand, let that be in your favor if it comes true.  Often times, my reputation in poker is that of a blind better with beginner's luck, when in actuality I'm letting my opponents self destruct against themselves.  It's letting people's own irrationality and biases get the better of them... at least, that's the politically correct way of putting it.

     I'll admit, a lot of times, there is actually absolutely no one around and nothing someone else thinks or says should rationally affect the outcome; yet it still plays out the same way where my outcome is just so much stronger if it's the most ironic thing that can happen.  If there's no one else around to jinx my outcome, often times I will jinx myself.  Sometimes I figure out what's the most absurd way for my plan to work out and then try *not* to pursue that direction while leaving that possibility open.  It's like the opposite of denial; you convince yourself the most ironic way to succeed cannot happen, but you intentionally turn a blind eye to it, leave that open to let fate play its part. Other times I make a smaller counter bet that can go terribly wrong, except that my actual main bet will win in a huge way (lose the battle to win the war, do something stupid to come out as the underdog even if it's just against yourself, shoot yourself in the foot to.. I don't know).  Even in trading, I sometimes purposely make an outrageous or regretful decision, so my smaller bet absolutely bombs but my larger bets work out - sell out of a few calls to cry about and regret not having later, only to come back and show your true hand of a huge position (take that, Fate!).  You know how the hero in the movie always gets punched before punching back?  It's like punching yourself first so that no one else can.  It's like finding the most embarrassing, stupid way to do something, such that you pay your dues in the spotlight, but behind the scenes at least you still win.  It's almost akin to ritualistic sacrifice if you want to go the superstitious route, throwing someone off the ship to make sure it sets sail, except you're sacrificing pieces of yourself (not literally this time, for those getting offended).  Perhaps the only non-madman explanation here is that it's your own doubt or expectations you are overcoming, though that still doesn't explain when no one's thoughts can affect the outcome - who knows.

     A lot of this probably comes from my gaming background growing up, particularly in real-time strategy games (RTS).  In that mindset, you are often managing hundreds of tasks simultaneously.  You can be building economies and directing armies while also controlling every individual soldier or villager at the most basic tasks, macro and micro.  What this forces you to do is constantly start things but "know" how they'll work out without necessarily watching it through.  It's about management and pipelining to the extreme.  It's pure deductive reasoning where everything is cause-effect, nothing is left to chance or correlation; you either think through all possible scenarios or you leave yourself open to exploit by the enemy.

     Here, the enemy is fate and irony, and the only way to defeat fate and irony is to turn it into your best friend.
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