Category: Miscellaneous

Kinect SDK released, works only on Windows 7, illegal to actually use

UPDATE: the commercial license of the Kinect For Windows SDK has been released

You can finally write cool apps using your Kinect for your Windows 7 PC, but if you use them at work (even for in-house development), Microsoft will come at you with everything they have.

Long list of ways using your expensive Kinect system is actually illegal:

Is 0.55 minutes 55 seconds or 33 seconds? For those of us struggling with reporting fractions of time, the reason we’re not using metric time is because we’re adhering to legacy counting systems that haven’t been updated in 4,000 years. Here’s the executive summary:

* The equinox day and night is divided into 12 + 12 hours is basically because Egyptian scientists figured out how to easily keep track of a count to 12 with one hand, so their math system was base12 instead of base10.

* We use 60 minutes/seconds because Sumerians were weird and liked the number 60…maybe because it’s easy to figure out fractions because 60 is easily divisible by the first six counting numbers and the other basic numbers 10, 12, 15, and 20, but we’ll have to ask Conan The Barbarian to be sure.

* The second was defined in 1967 as 9,192,631,770 energy transitions of the cesium atom because scientists smoked a lot of pot in the sixties (just kidding, I have no idea why they picked the cesium atom or why 9,192,631,770 energy transitions are obviously superior to 9,192,631,769 or 9,192,631,771).

Here’s the whole story:

Recently there’s been an explosion of spam “aggregator” sites (like and that show up in Google search results that scrape real sites (like and pack in blinding amounts of ads.

It’s a huge waste of time trying to look through the aggregator’s pages looking for the answer to your problems, only to find out you have to click through to get to the full discussion on the real site. I’ve learned to skip those spam sites in the search results, but that’s a waste of mental bandwidth. If you want to automatically remove them from the search results entirely, there are a couple ways of doing it.

You could type “ – etc etc etc” into each search, but that’s hardly convenient. Or you could use Google’s Custom Search Engine feature to seamlessly remove sites from your search results, but the trade off is the Custom Search Engine has a half page of ads at the top, so that doesn’t really clean things up for us.

Here’s the solution I use: If you are willing to use Firefox (or do already) and turn off Google Instant Search, you can install a tool that customizes the Google search pages and automatically strips the spammy sites from the results.

You’ll need Firefox (I’m told this also works with Chrome) then
1. Turn off Instant Search on the Google search page (set to “Instant is off”). The Google Noise Reduction Version 0.2.9 script doesn’t work with Instant Search.
2. Install the Greasemonkey addon from the official Firefox site:
3. Set the script editor for Greasemonkey:
a. Type “about:config” in the Firefox URL window (as if you were typing in a website address) and hit enter.
b. Hit the “I’ll be careful, I promise!” alert button.
c. In the Filter box, type “greasemonkey.editor” and doubleclick the preference when it appears.
d. Set the value to “C:\Windows\system32\notepad.exe” (or your favorite script editing tool) and hit ok.
4. Install the Google Noise Reduction script from the Greasemonkey script site:
a. Hit the Install button and ok.
b. If you see the user.js file display instead, go to Tools –> Greasemonkey –> Enabled.
c. Version 0.2.9 has a small bug in it, so if you install that version, you’ll want to fix it:
i. Go to Tools –> Greasemonkey –> Manage User Scripts and edit the Google Noise Reduction script.
ii. Find the “if(window.AutoPagerize…” block and replace it with:

var addFilterHandler = function(){
        var autopagerize_linkNode = 
        $(autopagerize_linkNode, page)
            .each(function(index, node){ 
        }, 0);
} else { 
    window.addEventListener('GM_AutoPagerizeLoaded', addFilterHandler, false); 

iii. Hit Save.
5. Now when you run a Google search, you’ll see a “Filter” button next to every result. Hit that button for every spam site you want to filter out and select the URL you want to block. When you run your search, you’ll never see that site again!
6. You can manage your blocked sites in the “Noise Reduction” button at the top of the Google page.

P.S. There are literally thousands of Greasemonkey scripts out there that let you customize websites in all kinds of ways. You can find hundreds for hacking Google pages, but I’ve found they often conflict with each other, so be prepared to test new scripts and uninstall them if they block other scripts’ features you need. If you find a script that works better than Google Noise Reduction, let me know.

Happy searching!

How to (not) sell software

There are many ways to annoy your audience during a sales presentation, here are just a few:

1. A big freakin’ power point presentation. Everyone loves a lengthy power point presentation, so drag it out for hours, even days.

2. Make sure your slides are as unreadable to the naked eye as microfiche. Cram as much useless and distracting data as you can on each slide, using small fonts and a high resolution if necessary. It’s best to exhaust your audience with eye strain so they associate headaches with your product early on in the process.

2. Do not stop your power point presentation for any reason. If anyone interrupts your presentation, tell them "that’s a very good question, we’ll get back to it" and then don’t.

3. Don’t run your demo off your local hard drive, run your software on an old laptop with an external drive so the prospects see it run as slow as possible.

4. Don’t bother testing your demo before your presentation. If your product blue screens during the demo, no one will mind waiting while you spend several minutes troubleshooting it.

5. Sell software that is so unintuitive that no one, not even you, can figure it out during the demo.

6. Write your emails and IM while the other members of your sales team make their presentations. Don’t bother sitting in the back of the room, neither the presenter nor the prospects will be distracted by your incessant typing and LOLing.

7. Do not ask your prospects what they need, you tell them what they need. If they tell you flat out that they have no possible current or future need for one of your software’s features, spend several minutes explaining how cool it is anyways. Remember you’re not here to solve their problems, you’re here to make your sales presentation.

SQuirreL tip: How to show only the “dbo” tables, views, and procedures

If you’re like me, you quickly got tired of scrolling down to the (lowercase) dbo object in your SQuirreL database browser every time you open the app. If you want to only see tables/views/procedures for “dbo” and save a lot of load time, right click on your Alias (e.g. “mydev”) in the left hand Aliases tab, select “Modify Alias”, hit the “Properties” button, then in the Schemas tab select “Specify Schema loading and caching”, change the Set [All Objects] in all Schemas to [Don’t load], hit “Apply”, then scroll to the “dbo” row and change the Tables, Views, and Procedures selections to “Load but don’t cache”. Hit Ok, then Ok. Now every time you connect to your database, you will only see the dbo object under your database object and the schema will load a lot faster.

© 2017 Robert Corvus