Twitter Weekly Updates for 2012-05-13

Quote of the Day

“When I came to, the general back-alley ambiance of the suite was so rotten, so incredibly foul. How long had I been lying there? All these signs of violence. What had happened? There was evidence in this room of excessive consumption of almost every type of drug known to civilized man since 1544 AD. What kind of addict would need all these coconut husks and crushed honeydew rinds? Would the presence of junkies account for all these uneaten french fries? These puddles of glazed ketchup on the bureau? Maybe so. But then why all this booze? And these crude pornographic photos smeared with mustard that had dried to a hard yellow crust? These were not the hoofprints of your average God-fearing junky. It was too savage. Too aggressive.”

– Hunter S. Thompson
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Removing Wallpaper over RDP

If there’s one thing in this world I hate it’s the default wallpaper that large OEMs like Dell and HP include with their server products. It’s bad enough that you have to spend $6,000 (or more) on a server, but now, every time you log in remotely, you have to see this:


It’s not just that it’s a visual annoyance. Loading that wallpaper takes time and bandwidth: the Dell wallpaper is around 1.3MB, and having it load every single time you log on to a server gets old.

The thing is, in most cases the OEMs have configured the servers to display the wallpaper, even if you don’t have a wallpaper configured at the console session. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to remove this. Just open REGEDIT and go to

HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop

Look for a key called WALLPAPER in the right-pane. If you’d like to remove the wallpaper entirely, just delete the WALLPAPER key. If you’d prefer to just change the wallpaper, change the value of the key to the location of your preferred wallpaper. For example, the default on Dell servers is \windows\system32\DELLWALL.BMP. You can change this to whatever you’d like, no reboot is necessary. Once you’ve changed the key, the next time you RDP into the server the wallpaper will be gone, replaced with the default color background.

Firefox Crashes

OK, I’m probably the last person on earth to find out about this, but if Firefox is crashing on you, restart the browser in safe mode by holding down the SHIFT key when clicking the Firefox icon (if necessary – I find that Firefox rarely crashes when displaying the “Session Recovery” page; just open a new tab with Session Recovery open). The next step is to type about:crashes in the address bar and press enter. If you’ve submitted your crash reports to Mozilla (and you have been doing that, haven’t you?) you’ll see a list of your crash reports:


Reports are listed by the most recent, so in most cases you’ll want to click on the one at the top of the column. When you do, a new page will open, connect to Mozilla and download the report:

(click to enlarge)

It might take a few minutes for the report to be retrieved and downloaded. But when it does, you’ll find a wealth of information about the crash, hopefully enough to get you headed towards a fix.

Firefox recently started acting weird on my computer… mostly by crashing every 8 hours (at first), then every 15 minutes, then every 5 minutes, then every 45 seconds. Poking around the ‘Net for a solution, I found out about “about:crashes”, and my crash reports couldn’t have made it any clearer: adblockvideo.dll, part of the AdBlockVideo extension I’d recently installed, was causing the crash. I disabled the extension, and it’s been smooth sailing ever since!

Top 10 Tunes

From the home office in London, here’s the Top 10 song chart for the week ending May 6, 2012:

1) The Raveonettes – “Night Comes Out”
2) Saint Etienne – “I’ve Got Your Music (Single version)”
3) Saint Etienne – “Tonight”
4) Saint Etienne – “Tonight (Extended Version)”
5) Roxy Music – “The Space Between”
6) Duran Duran – “Careless Memories”
7) She & Him – “Thieves”
8) The Raveonettes – “Apparitions”
9) Madonna – “Paradise (Not for Me)”
10) The Police – “Don’t Stand So Close To Me”

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2012-05-06

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It STILL Freaks Me Out!

The house I lived in from the time I was 6 months old until the time I was 14 was a perfectly normal suburban Atlanta house. In fact, one of the few things that made the house unique was the driveway: the house sat at the bottom of a sloping hill, and the driveway was fairly long by suburban standards. There were also gaslights next to the driveway: one at the top of the hill, by the road; one about halfway down the driveway, at a small bridge that crossed a creek; and one more close to the house at the edge of the carport.

(click to enlarge)

Here’s a crappy Google Maps picture of the house. The top of the driveway is to the right. The two large trees on either side of the driveway (in the center of the picture) are about where the bridge is, and the house itself is lost behind vegetation. The gaslight at the top of the driveway is gone now, but you can see the black pole still sticking out of the ground where it once was.

One night, in late September or early October, between 8:30 and 8:45, my mom asked me to take out the trash. There were two bags, and since I was a little kid barely taller than the trash bags, I decided to make two trips.

Of course, since it was around October, it was completely dark outside. Aside from light leaking out from the sliding glass door by the kitchen, and a streetlight at the back of the property (put there, I assume, so that Georgia Power could find the transformer), there was no light at all.

I walked towards the trash cans and just happened to look over at the second gaslight, the one by the bridge. And there I saw a man leaning against the bridge. He was wearing ratty jeans and an old army coat that still had service patches on the sleeves. He had dark blonde hair, which was styled in a kind of “mini-mullet”, more of a “I haven’t been to the barber in months” haircut than a conscious style decision. He also had a bushy mustache a few shades darker than his hair. He wasn’t very tall, and was very skinny. He looked to be in his early to mid 20s. I just stood there and stared for a second, opening and closing my eyes to make sure I wasn’t imagining it. I even saw that he was smoking a cigarette, which was in his left hand. I saw him lift it to his mouth and take a drag, and the tip of the cigarette grew brighter as he puffed on it.

Like this guy, only without the sideburns and a shorter mullet. And scary.

I was terrified. I didn’t know what to do! I quickly walked to the trash cans, which were made of metal, and in a cart, like this:


I put the first bag of trash in the can, then slammed the lid down as hard as I could. It made quite a sound, which I hoped would make the man run away. I ran back to the house as fast as I could, and didn’t dare look in the man’s direction. As soon as I got inside the door, I started shouting:

“Mom! Mom! There’s a man outside! He’s by the bridge and he has long hair and he’s SMOKING A CIGARETTE! Mom! Mom! Mom!”

Mom, of course, wasn’t buying it. She said that there was nobody out there, that I was just imagining things, that I wasn’t getting out of taking the trash out and if I made something like that up again I’d get a spanking! I was explicitly ordered to take out the other bag of trash.

Continue reading “It STILL Freaks Me Out!”


I’ve been a lukewarm fan of The Raveonettes off and on for a few years now. But I was totally blown away by last year’s Raven in the Grave (in fact, it was my Album of the Year). It wasn’t that I didn’t like their “Everly Brothers meets Jesus and Mary Chain” sound from before. Raven was just different: less “early rock and roll meets buzzing guitars”, more dark.

But the duo are back, and they’ve brought their 1950s sound with them. Into the Night is their new 4-track EP, and my favorite song from it is “Night Comes Out”. Check it out: says I’ve listened to the song 15 times since March 25th… but I swear that’s way too low. I think I’ve listened to it 15 times in the past two days!

Mad Men: “Mystery Date”

This episode begins with Megan and a very sick Don getting on an elevator. The elevator stops, and an old flame of Don’s named Andrea Rhodes gets on. She begins flirting with him until he introduces her to “his wife, Megan”. Andrea backs off, and gets off the elevator a couple of floors later. Megan, almost under her breath, says “incroyable!” (“incredible!”) after Andrea leaves. Megan asks how many times they’re going to run in to someone Don has slept with. The two start to argue, but Don starts coughing and Megan turns away.


In the office, Peggy, Stan and Michael work on a pitch for Topaz. Peggy’s friend Joyce Ramsay shows up with graphic pictures from some recent murders in Chicago. Stan and Peggy eagerly look at the photos, but Ginsberg is repulsed and calls them “disgusting”. Michael gets up and leaves, calling them all “sickos”.

At Joan’s place, our favorite redhead pulls a cake out of the oven and laments that it’s not set. Greg is coming come and Joan is obviously planning a party. Gail offers to go to the bakery, and Joan, obviously frazzled, asks if they have beer. Gail offers to take the baby, but Joan says that Greg will want to see him. Gail says that he’ll really want to “see” Joan first. Gail starts talking about what men doe when they’re away from home, and Joan tries to cut her off, as she knows that Gail is talking about her husband.

Meanwhile, Don lies on the sofa, obviously sick. His phone buzzes: it’s Sally calling him. He asks what’s wrong, and Sally says that “Grandma Pauline” is there and she (Sally) hates her. Don advises her to stay out of Pauline’s way and reminds her that Betty will be home Friday morning. Sally says that it is Friday, and that someone called Henry’s line and said that they couldn’t get a flight from Buffalo and that someone will be driving them back tonight. Don says that you’d think Henry could get a flight, and Sally agrees, sarcastically adding that Henry is so important. She then says that Henry and Betty call Bobby all the time at camp, and that they might talk to her if she was peeing in her pants like Bobby. Don says that she’s not being nice, but Sally continues to complain about Pauline’s perfume and that Betty lets her watch as much TV as she wants during the summer. Don advises her to go outside and get some sun. She says that she has already, and that it’s really hot outside. Don tells her to stop complaining, then starts coughing. Sally asks how he is, and he says that he has a cold, but that Sally’s call made him feel better.

Continue reading “Mad Men: “Mystery Date””