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Category Archives: software

There’s an odd quirk in PowerPoint 2016 that causes the Text node in the Slide Master to not show up in the children.

  1. Insert Slide Master
  2. Move the text in the MASTER SLIDE off to the right, so you can clearly see which ones it is has skewed in of the LAYOUTS that are automatically set up below.
  3. Delete all the template layouts so you just have the Slide Master EXCEPT the 2nd Layout that has the movable Content node.
  4. You can duplicate this Layout node for additional nodes that have linked Content to the Master node.


This is the only Layout whose Content node modes with the Text in the Master. It’s difficult to get Powerpoint to behave this way otherwise.

By default, PowerPoint cleans up (by deletion) all unused master slide layouts almost immediately after you click “Close Master View”. As such, be sure to PRESERVE YOUR LAYOUTS┬áby clicking the thumbtack icon just prior to closing out of the Slide Master View.


I am confuzzled by how software patents work.

It seems that Microsoft takes patents out on a lot of shit. Indeed they even have a patent on the concept of a “taskbar with a start menu”.

But many Linux distros use a very Windows-like UI. And I have seen many example of free software that I would say may “violate” these software patents.

What happens when someone violates a software patent? I can think of a few examples of people that SEEM to be “getting away with it. . .”

Google patents is cool though!

How do I downgrade from Windows Vista to Win XP Pro?

There are a few important points that you must realize before you jump in and buy a brand spanking new copy of Vista, expecting to be able to use your “downgrade rights” to downgrade to XP Pro:

  1. YOU MUST have purchased an OEM version of Windows Vista BUSINESS or Windows Vista ULTIMATE (NOT ANY OF THE HOME EDITIONS) to be able to downgrade. AND IT HAS TO BE THE OEM VERSION (more on that later).
  2. YOU MUST ALREADY HAVE A LICENSED COPY OF WINDOWS XP PRO. This one might not sound fair, but apparently it is.
  3. MICROSOFT IS MEAN ABOUT DOWNGRADES: They will NOT provide you with a Windows XP disc to do your downgrade when you buy Vista — they expect you to already have one.
  4. Microsoft WILL NOT provide to you an XP KEY __and__ a Vista key when you buy Vista.

The idea behind the “downgrade rights” is as follows:

Say you’re a business and you have machines humming along, running Windows XP.

Suddenly, your company makes a couple of bucks and you, as manager, wanna blow them on some brand spankin’ new machines.

So you decide: 50 machines. Intel core 2 duo’s, 4 gigs of ram per each, and a couple of WD 500GB hard disk drives on all. You top that off by cramming in wickedly fast NVIDIA cards, because employees stay late sometimes to play games over the lan at work, you know, to boost company morale and all.

Now, time to decide on the O/S.

You know that Vista stinks right now. But you also know that in time, there will be some essential piece of software that you just have to have that will require you to use Vista.

So you don’t want to go and buy 50 XP licenses when you know the impending doom — the time to upgrade to VISTA — will surely come sometime in the next couple of years.


That’s right sir. You can BUY Vista now, but hold off using it UNTIL you are forced to.

If you have a machine that’s running XP Pro and you want to buy another new machine, then you can buy that new machine with an OEM version of Vista Business or Vista Ultimate, THEN USE THE SAME LICENSE AS THE OLD COMPUTER TO KEEP USING XP PRO ON THE NEW COMPUTER.

So that’s the key: You only get the Vista key, and you have to use an already existing, legitimate XP key to install the downgrade. AND you have to already have the CD. SOME OEM vendors will GIVE you an XP oem cd when you buy a computer with Vista, but you have to ask for it, usually.

If you don’t know what OEM means, OEM means “ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURER”.

Good def from a “fuel definitions” page (hey, you find good things everywhere!):

OEM: Original Equipment Manufacturer. Provide the original product design and materials for its assembly and manufacture. OEMs are directly responsible for manufacturing and modifying the products, making them commercially available, and providing the warranty.

In short the OEM version is a cheap unpackaged version of Vista and it looks like this. WINDOWS VISTA BUSINESS OEM – NOTICE HOW ITS UGLY:

Windows Vista Business OEM
Click to see on amazon

Vista Business retail
Click to see on amazon

The “retail” edition is what is referred to as the “FPP” – Fully Packaged Product.

Explain to who you’re buying your new computer from that you want the downgrade rights. They should know to give you a proper copy of the OEM.

Unfortunately, some of the reps I have spoken to seem to be in the dark about the details. Be patient and make sure they understand you want to downgrade rights before you make the purchase, and keep at them until they guarantee you that you can get the downgrade rights.

What about the docs MS provides?

If you read the official documents from MS, pdf marketingese type sheet and the downgrade rights chart, they pretty much say what I’ve been saying above, except they’re a lot less clear.

Essentially all that says is “ya can buy vista now and use YOUR OLD COPY OF XP on yer new computa, which is somethin’ we’s usually don’t allow, son. Bacause when ya install XP on a machine, it gets married to that machine. An’ so you’re askin’ that old copy of XP to fornicate with yer new machine, which is usually illegal. But if ya do things right, and buy the right version of our new but struggling O/S, we can make it happen.”

This is a great article that fully explains it as well.

From the article:

So what downgrades does Microsoft allow? Owners of the OEM editions of Vista Business and Vista Ultimate can downgrade to Windows XP Professional, including Tablet PC Edition and x64 Edition. Only the OEM editions qualify for a downgrade, so if you purchased a new PC with either Business or Ultimate preinstalled, you’re in like Flynn.

Those who aren’t: All users of Vista Home Basic and Vista Home Premium, and anyone who upgraded to Vista using a retail edition of any of the operating system’s SKUs. You are, as they say, SOL.

Kim swift is cool.

Her presentation is good. At the beginning, she’s got great confidence, but then she does get a tad quivery.

She’s entertaining to listen to and funny. People didn’t laugh at the right moments though. The audience seemed a bit dead really, and they also cough a lot.

I find when a speaker opens with a really good joke that everyone can laugh at, to break the ice at the very beginning, then people will laugh readily at the right points throughout.

Nonetheless, she makes quite a few good points in her pres.

Timestamps for highlights:

  • 6:40: students have advantage when making class project they should use: you can take a high risk innovation for your project, and have the execution fail (it was a bad idea after all), but its not always possible to try high risk projects once in a company
  • 9:00: Design simplicity – pick one core piece of gameplay and iterate on it. “one piece of gameplay used in a whole different bunch of permutations.” – e.g: the portal
  • 11:30: Design Democracy.
    * All designers on team.
  • 13:40: Getting to Valve.
    * Here she summarizes the story of how the Valve team picked up the Narbacular team.
  • 14:40: Valve Lessons
  • 18:00: Coworkers will determine your growth
    * True that.
  • 19:20: Playtesting
    * Playtesting rigor – not rigorous testing doesn’t yield value

Here’s a link to the original narbacular drop demo. I really liked it when I played it. When you first open narbacular, its like WOW. This is brilliant.

So to sum, Kim swift. If she were available at taverns in DOTA maps, I would use her.

I heard that wordpress was giving members 3 gb of space. . . however, i didn’t realize we’re still limited to just image files and ms-word docs.

Hmm. We need to serve up other file types. For instance, I’m wanting to serve up a few .zip packages that contain MS Visual Studio projects. These packages are in the KB, and if .doc files can be served up from the blog, shouldn’t code packages be too?

There are a number of options though

!!! My pick (I am moving to, Jan 1/09. I’ll still use esnips, but mediafire looks really neat.)

ugh.. microsoft skydrive. I really DO NOT like how it downloads through a script request. its annoying!!

links like

I like 4shared.

Other fileupload hosts


Download links like
1 – 99 day storage period
Upload seems to be a tad slow, but I only uploaded a small testfile


Links like
– Longevity: 30 minute expiry
– Comments: Doesn’t meet my needs here, but i can see how this would be useful for distributing a smaller file quickly among 5 or 6 friends quickly and easily.

links like
Too many “hoops” to jump through to get to final download. Limited unless you have premium.

links like
pretty good

links like is stupid because it requires a captcha

WOW. This one is really glossy. Links like CLICK TO DOWNLOAD!. NO LOGIN REQUIRED TO UPLOAD! Really neat! (Tested Thurs Jan 1 / 09) !!! NEW PICK Jan 1 /09


I’m still looking for a file host that will give me a direct link that I can just post to my blog, without requiring redirection.

The closest thing to this that i’ve found is hfs, which allows you to easily set a folder to see the public internet.

It also does a good job of getting around routers, you just have to port forward.

The best thing would be . . .

Of course, the best thing would be if wordpress actually allowed users to upload other types of files. Although there’s potential for abuse, I want/need to upload code packages (.zip files that contain .cpp files).

WordPress COULD allow .zip archives up to a maximum of say, 8MB or so. Code packages will be something in the KB, so they won’t cause traffic problems.

why programmers grow beards

that comes from this codinghorror post “size is the enemy” (about programmers who think they can build huge pieces of software with relative ease).

I found the coding horror entry off of RandomAccess’s

oh its hilarious