Wednesday, March 30, 2016

When Microsoft Windows met bash and Ubuntu

Subtitle:  UNIX shell and Ubuntu Binary Compatibility for Microsoft Windows

This is the week of the Microsoft Build conference.  Once again Agata and Marcus cannot attend, but one year soon, we will.  

Anyway, numerous announcements but to Marcus as a lifelong UNIX person I felt a warm glow as Microsoft announced some UNIX love.

A History
To remind newbies, Microsoft initially had, then lost the love for UNIX.

Back in the day circa 1983

- You could change the \ file delimiter in DOS to be a / so your filesystem looked like UNIX

- Microsoft released and supported their own version of UNIX System III called XENIX for several years.  The last release of XENIX was from SCO based on UNIX V.2

- Numerous companies released Unix shells or entire command suites to provide UNIX command line utilities for DOS, OS/2 and later MS Windows.  This has culminated in Cygwin which is described below.  

- For Server 2008, I recall a UNIX Subsystem Option

What UNIX love did Build 2016 Announce?

- native bash (Bourne again shell) on Windows

- native Ubuntu: Run binaries compiled for Ubuntu directly on Windows

Verge:Linux Command Line for Windows

Arstechnica: Bash and Linux for Windows

An in depth look at UNIX Linux tools for Windows

The 15 minute video is HERE ->>> In depth Link

Marcus finds in C:\Windows\System32\drivers
I did comment on February 2nd on Google Plus that I found the binaries lxcore.sys and lxss.sys on my Windows 10, Insider, development Build system.

strings -a -n 4 lxcore.sys | pg

Etcera.  Maybe these binaries and some others are to be used as the Linux layer that will ship with Windows?

What is Cygwin

For command line usage there has been the Cygwin utilities for Microsoft Windows for several years.  They are so comprehensive it is a wonder that  any serious Microsoft user does not install it.

Hell, decent OEM's like HP and Dell should pre-install Cygwin.


- download setup.exe

- run it, select your mirror

- choose what packages to install, the above for each section take default, or install or expand the plus and choose exactly what you want installed.

- with modern internet speeds, I now just install from Internet  (I previously used to download to local and then install)

- A typical full featured install can be at least 10 GB in size.

- Can you see the absolutely bonkers-ly large number of UNIX programs that you can install?  The above are just 2 sample categories to show you.

UNIX or Powershell
Whilst Microsoft Powershell is nice its a Windows only game.  So by learning and then using UNIX/Linux commands you can with Cygwin, and say future MS native, be multi-platform productive having learnt in depth predominantly the UNIX command line.

Of course there will always be greater support from Powershell for MS specifics like Storage Spaces etc, but these would be the exceptions where you use Powershell, reserving shell and UNIX commands for the rest.

In summary then, for me:
A GUI and command line UNIX?  Apple users have had this ever since they switched from Power to Intel and went with OSX which is built on top of /old skool/  NextStep and Mach.

Linux users, thanks to a plethora of choices, have at least 50 different distributions, with 50 different desktop experiences, it is basically a mess/ nightmare.  And I say this as a lifelong UNIX advocate.  That is the truth.

Windows, to me, has a superior GUI to any of the above, and with comprehensive UNIX command line compatibility and possibly binary Ubuntu compatibility, this could really be a great step forward.

For now, if you didn't already install Cygwin, I urge you to do so immediately.   Command line UNIX, full on is then immediately available.  You'll never look back.

Other Build 2016 Announce
15 Minute Build Announce Summary (Verge)
Channel 9, Build 2016 Full Session replay
Project Centennial   

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Lausanne Cars 2015 Edition

Subtitle: Today, I'm reviewing some of the local Cars and Motorbikes seen in and around Lausanne in 2015

Marcus and Agata do shoot a large number of photographs. And in 2015 there was much Smartphone testing to be done resulting in many exercise sessions being frequently punctuated by Marcus stopping to photograph interesting stuff.

Agata calls this: Husband, what the HELL are you stopping for again!

Since we have Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin, Rolls and Bentley dealers in our town of Lausanne I don't bother to take photographs of current generation examples, I mean, there are so many, it's rather boring I would venture.

For the full album see the link at the bottom of this post.  And within the Google Album you can fully check the information for each photograph.   Ah the technology!

Google Photo Album at Full Resolution

The Fair Minded Seller

First and foremost this is an unsolicited thanks to Sebastien Widmer of Neuchatel Switzerland who generosity and good nature have let Marcus rejoin the Windows Mobile club again.

Thank You
Thank You
Thank YOU!

In a nutshell Mr Widmer sold me a Windows Mobile phone he was not using at a decent and fair price.  The phone was as advertised, he kept me informed of our face to face meeting, he was on time.  He let me try the phone before buying and when I was happy we did the deal at the agreed price.  

No Karma But
Neither Marcus or Agata believe their is going is a divine religious scorekeeper that will add up all the positive and negative actions during one's life in order to gain access to an eternity of Paradise or Hell.

Neither do we believe that a good action towards person X will somehow be magically rewarded at a unconnected place and time by an unrelated person Y.

And for one off transactions, especially over the Internet, where you are not developing a relationship between buyer and seller why would or should you seek a fair price?

Some reasons for Fair

- Not a Zero Sum Gain
In other words, it can be a transaction that is both 
good for you and good for the buyer. 

- What is it worth
If you are knowledgeable buyer or seller and it has the street value of about X, then expect to pay about X, not X/2 etc

- Desperate Seller
If something is worth X, which you can afford, but you know the seller is desperate, then offering X/2 makes you a shit

- Self Worth
If you take advantage of a desperate seller, offering far less than the known worth,  then far from feeling superior about forcing a good deal, personally we'd feel like bastards for taking advantage

There are lots of weasel ways that people come out with for ripping somebody off.  Either as a buyer or seller.  Some stock answers from basically wankers:

- It is only worth what somebody is willing to pay, and I pay little

- Caveat Emptor,  Okay what I did not reveal all of the faults of the product when I was seller.  But buyer beware.

- They did not have to sell it to me, this shows their weakness.

So Again
What did Mr Widmer do so well  (he was the seller, and Marcus the buyer)

- Kept me informed at all times
- Answered all my questions
- Offered a fair price
- Turned up on time to the agreed meeting place
- Let me check the goods in my own time
- Produced paperwork to document original sale, for warranty
- When I was happy, and only then, I paid.

Marcus' Anibis Sales
These days Marcus is normally the seller and I hope my buyers will recognise a similar high standard that I experienced.  Some of things that still upset me:

- I'm selling it for X, it is worth X, and your first offer is X/2

- You contact me, pump me for information, then never reply

- You arrive to buy my sale item, but without the correct cash

- You arrive and just before handing over money ask for a further discount

- You don't arrive to the meeting, and don't bother to call to reschedule or give me notice that you will not be coming

- You are in fact a fraudster.  Trying to commit fraud, a legal offence, against me (see here

For all these and many more reasons it is difficult to continue to be treat every new buyer without a certain amount of cynicism creeping in from time to time.  

But we do try.

My positive experience with Sebastien Widmer reminds me that there are other good people out there.  It gives me strength.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Geneva Motor Show 2016 Photoshoot 1

This is part one of a [n unexpected] two part posting about the Geneva Motor show 2016.

Marcus already reported the arduous task that he had in visiting the Geneva Auto Salon 2016 for the first and I thought only time.

We already spoke about this here

Now it is time for some photographs.  I make a short selection below. The full album with photos at full Sony Full Frame camera resolution is at the link at bottom.


Full Resolution pictures are here

In part 2, to come soon, find out why I had to visit the show a second time, (you can imagine what torture) and an even larger photography shoot.

Koculu Stratton npm and Kik

module.exports = leftpad;

function leftpad (str, len, ch) 
str = String(str);
var i = -1;
if (!ch && ch !== 0) ch = ' ';
len = len - str.length;
while (++i < len) 
  str = ch + str;
return str;

Subtitle: Dispute between Azer Ko├žulu and Bob Stratton over Kik briefly breaks the Javascript Internet

Just a placeholder really, for those of you who don't spend as much time as Marcus on /the Internet/

Internet: 'Tis a fragile thing


Saturday, March 26, 2016

Sunday Sermon: Kicking the Bucket in the End

Charlie Winston: Kick the Bucket

I am not saying that Marcus and Agata contrived to goto the Villars Music Festival  (with Charlie Winston) at Col de Bretaye this Saturday in order to segway into a discussion about mortality, but you have to admit it does make for a good entree.

This Sunday, March 27, 2016, is known predominantly in Europe, still a majority Christian land, as Easter Sunday.

And on Easter Sunday, Marcus was always taught to reflect on live and loves, and well everything.

So how is Life going?

As a perfectionist I can say that things could be better.

As a relativist I can say that compared to others (in Europe) things are going very well

This Saturday we continued doing the things we love, with each other.  For example, our daily exercise, to keep us healthy, and to help us strive never to be a burden to others or our society.

I can definitively say that no Ancient or Modern Gods or deities or religions were involved in putting us where we are today.  These so called imaginary friends have no place our modern world,  with their pre scientific and often discredited ideas.

Unfortunately the events from the 2016 Brussels bombing less than one week ago remind us that instead of being a benign force for good, Religion, and usually it is people claiming to act on behalf of one particular Religion,  seek to divide, exclude, subjugate and possibly murder others.  

Life is complicated and difficult.  There is no Superman, Spiderman, X-Men or Imaginary Friend who is going to save the world.   The future is simply what we make of it.

Lady Gaga: Imagine

See Also

The religion of Atheism

Friday, March 25, 2016

Windows Device Recovery Mode

Subtitle: Using Device Recovery Mode

The subject of a long (whinging) post, but I am back evaluating Windows 10 mobile.  Actually this is due to the kindness of one Sebastien Widmer whose honesty and good cheer deserve a separate post to come shortly.

Anyway,  my Second generation Windows 10 mobile phone was received

What was the Problem
By Installing and then running the Windows Insider Program on your phone, it signs you up for Betas.
 Like this

 So then you move from the standard stock OS like this

 And get some fancy new Redstone OS 14291

 Several errors later

Including a totally broken email system.

I gave up!   This never happened in Cyanogen Android world I can tell you.   Most depressing.    The 2 disasters were

- No email
- Window Hello, retina logon stopped working

Fixing The Problem

The idea is to backout the OS upgrade and go back to a stock and hopefully Stable / Everything Working  level of the Windows 10 mobile operating system

- Backup your Phone

This will save your application list on Onedrive so that after a reinstall all your applications can be automatically reinstalled

- Install Device Recovery Program

Difficult to find but here   (For me needed Firefox, Chrome would not download it)

Once installed start and plug phone in.  It gives you the choice of what you can revert back to

 If you did not already backup you are a complete dimwit

 A long while later waiting for the MS servers downloading to me at less than 5% of my line speed

And it actually worked

Oh not again

Just like any base Windows Mobile Install, the Base OS goes in.  It then determines if there are any valid updates to apply. Now back to stock  (i.e. not Windows Insider) there is a still a shed load of updates.  It actually took hours to download and apply, longer in fact than the OS rollback.

But the killer is that you have to sign back in to all of your applications with your credentials.  This is to be expected of course otherwise somebody could apply your backup to a blank phone and instantly gain access to all your accounts on the phone.

Trouble is that with Marcus' new 2 step signon wherever possible I am continually going to various authenticator apps (installed on another device,  I am not totally stupid!!) for secret codes to tap into this device.

Took bloody ages.   But to confirm it's the exact same process for Android  (re install all Apps then re authenticate )

So finally, the Windows Phone is working.  Well what I mean that email is finally working again and I've not had any long hexadecimal error code screen bombarding me.

Oh yes,  and Windows Hello, which allows retina signon is back.  In the 14291 Beta it was completely broken.  And as a newly reborn Paranoid Android, especially after the recent attempted Frauds and the Breakin  (yes, in Bloody Switzerland), all our mobile devices must be absolutely secure.

Device Recovery Tool FAQ
Windows Insider App