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Staples Asks: "Do you have a surprising tip for improving productivity?" 
I wish I was the first one to note it, but it was Thomas Monson who brought the idea that "when performance is measured, performance improves" into my bailiwick.

Yet to force people to be more obsessed with recording what they do is one very sure way to demoralize & intimidate just about everyone!

But to answer the question of how to improve productivity, on a PERSONAL level I have discovered that privately micro-blogging about what I do every day is the best way to ensure that I am always productive. Over time, voluntarily choosing to record what I do not only encourages me to do many more things, but in the technical world using tools like the "About Time" software allows me to diagnose though technical problems, as well as to generate the related reporting.

You can read more about "About Time" on the download page.

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Fiark: Unicode & Valid File / Folder Names 
Sitting down to update Fiark this weekend, once again I came across the notion of detecting invalid directory & filenames. With a heavy sigh, I realize the advent of Unicode meant that there would be far, far more to check for than the usual "{}", "]", "/", "\", "&", "*" and others from our ASCII / UTF8 past.

If you have run across a similar problem, then you probably need no further explanation of the problem domain. Submitted for your fair use enjoyment therefore, here is what will be coming soon to a Fiark near you:


package com.soft9000.file;

import java.io.File;
import java.util.ArrayList;
import java.util.List;

/**
*
* @author profnagy
*/
public class LiveNodeName {

private String nodePathName = "";
private boolean isDirectory = false;

public LiveNodeName() {

}

public LiveNodeName(String nodePathName, boolean isDirectory) {
this.nodePathName = nodePathName;
this.isDirectory = isDirectory;

}

public String getName() {
return this.nodePathName;
}

public boolean isDirectory() {
return this.isDirectory;
}

public boolean isNull() {
return nodePathName.isEmpty();
}

public void asNull() {
this.nodePathName = "";
}

public static List<LiveNodeName> GetNodes(final LiveNodeName ref) {
String zName = ref.getName();
if (com.soft9000.Text.Contains(zName, "\\".getBytes())) {
zName = com.soft9000.Text.ReplaceAll(zName, "\\", "/"); // No RE's
}
while (zName.startsWith(".")) {
zName = zName.substring(1);
}
while (zName.startsWith("/")) {
zName = zName.substring(1);
}
String[] array = com.soft9000.Text.Split(zName, '/');
List<LiveNodeName> results = new ArrayList<LiveNodeName>();
for (String leaf : array) {
results.add(new LiveNodeName(leaf, true));
}
if (results.size() > 0 && ref.isDirectory == false) {
results.get(results.size() - 1).isDirectory = false;
}
return results;
}

/**
* With the advent of Unicode, the range of valid / invalid file names has
* become truly infinite! Rather than crafting a plethora of OS-centric RE
* tests, surely the best strategy is to simply let the operating system
* itself tell us the final score?
*
* @param ref a LiveNodeName
* @return True if the node can be hosted on this O.S!
*/
public static boolean CanCreate(final LiveNodeName nodei) {
if (nodei == null || nodei.isNull()) {
return false;
}
List<LiveNodeName> array = LiveNodeName.GetNodes(nodei);
try {
for (LiveNodeName oneSeg : array) {
if (oneSeg.isNull()) {
return false;
}
if (oneSeg.isDirectory) {
Directory dir = new Directory(oneSeg.getName());
if (dir.exists()) {
return true;
}
if (dir.mkdir() == true) {
return dir.delete();
}
} else {
File file = new File(oneSeg.nodePathName);
if (file.exists()) {
return true;
}
File pFile = file.getParentFile();
if (pFile == null) {
if (file.createNewFile() == true) {
file.delete();
return true;
}
}
boolean bShoulRemove = false;
Directory dir = new Directory(pFile);
if (dir.exists() == false) {
if (dir.mkdir() == false) {
return false;
}
bShoulRemove = true;
}
if (file.createNewFile() == true) {
if (file.delete() == false) {
return false;
}
if (bShoulRemove) {
return dir.delete();
} else {
return true;
}
}
}
}
} catch (Exception ex) {
}

return false;
}

/**
* Check a list of LiveNodeName, assigning any error-nodes to the result
* list.
*
* @param input List for LiveNodeName to test.
* @param results List of invalid LiveNodeName (rejects.)
* @return True of all NodeNames are okay - false if there were rejects.
*/
public static boolean CanCreate(final List<LiveNodeName> input, List<LiveNodeName> results) {
boolean br = true;
for (LiveNodeName ref : input) {
if (CanCreate(ref) == false) {
results.add(ref);
br = false;
}
}
return br;
}

/**
* For my problem domain (ONLY :)
* @param foo
*/
public static void main(String... foo) {
LiveNodeName node = new LiveNodeName("/foo/bar", true);
if (CanCreate(node) == false) {
System.out.println("Error 1000001!");
}
node = new LiveNodeName("foo", true);
if (CanCreate(node) == false) {
System.out.println("Error 1000002!");
}
node = new LiveNodeName("foo", false);
if (CanCreate(node) == false) {
System.out.println("Error 1000003!");
}
node = new LiveNodeName("/foo/bar.txt", false);
if (CanCreate(node) == false) {
System.out.println("Error 1000004!");
}
node = new LiveNodeName("/foo/\\bar.txt", false);
if (CanCreate(node) == false) {
System.out.println("Error 1000005!");
}
}
}


Enjoy the journey!

-Randall


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Microsoft Ignorance 
There we were, watching the bandwidth.

The client complains that the time is always around 8AM... people are settling in at work ...

10 ... 9 ... 8 ...

Look Bill... no more network!

What am I talking about?

Why, our inability to be able to readily manage our own computers, anymore! (*)

Yea - we can schedule each and every computer to check for updates within no more than a few days of their availability... but we can no longer turn it off?

... Hey Microsoft: whose computer is it, anyways?

Lamentations


In times past I would routinely turn updates off while traveling. Especially when traveling abroad. Why? Because in the XP days I have had airport servers use the operating-system's update as a vector to install viruses on my computer. Indeed, if you can inject your own Certificate Authority (CA,) into a browser, then hijacking such things is relatively easy to-do.

Moreover, ignoring the fact that there are some updates that will break both hardware-drivers, as well as corporate software, Microsoft's decision to prevent us from managing our own computers demonstrates three (3) things:

THING ONE: The first thing demonstrated is that Microsoft no longer had the brain=trust to adequately manage a belated software-update patch-farm.

Of course, Linux does so with impunity. For free.

Not only is the software development brain-trust logarithmically failing in Microsoft (as everywhere else throughout America,) but one must remember that the majority of Microsoft's updates are fixing software B-U-G-S, people.

Bad software. Bad testing practices. Back-doors, security exploits & holes. Corporate maleficence!

Even the simple & highly testable GAME of Minecraft - so elegantly and operationally handed-off to Microsoft developers - has since become a frustratingly bug-filled nightmare to play!

Such easily avoidable defect nightmares make one wonder - when it comes to quality - if some teams have simply been cursed?

THING TWO: The next thing demonstrated by the Windows 10 developers is that they are completely ignorant of the configurations management requirements of all modern corporations.

While crafting day-sidestepping installation policies are possible, a llot more than corporate visitors use complementary WIFI networks. --Since the advent of Windows 10, all are so slammed by the sheer plethora of now-mandatory Windows updates that most networks are thrashing these days... completely unusable!

And don't get me started about the toll automatic updates is taking across conference halls, at home, & in classrooms: Automatically updating computers in a wireless-networking situation is pure lunacy!.

THING THREE: Using the term "HIDE UPDATES" demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the English language. Just like ignoring 25 years of Common-User Access conventions, in a time when a "senior engineer" is defined as having a mere 3 years of industry experience, we must marvel at how much money Microsoft must be saving ... while thousands of non-native others so obviously ruin what was once the most-used set of soft-wares in the world.


p.s.


Like Apple, Microsoft wants to be able to spy upon their users too.



(... Create a cookie-tracking Account ... Give them your reverse-searchable phone number ... Put all of your important documents in THEIR cloud... just so THEY can gather clandestine data on us as we SO COMPLACENTLY loose control over our own 'stuff!)

In the "Doh!"


Yet Apple could get away with such things (a mere 10% of the bandwidth, people!)

But at the moment there are A LOT more Microsoft computers, friends!

Therefore (it is sad to even have to point this out to them!), Microsoft updates will suck A LOT more capacity from the corporate pipes.

Even more interestingly, when it comes to spying on their own users MS does not even have the brain-trust to spy on folks properly!

Such is why - if you shut-down, unplug your Windows 10 computer from the Internet (don't forget to disable that home WIFI on those laptops!) that you will receive those "cannot spy on you (sic)" network messages.

Tragically, even when clicking on the resulting "more info" messages as directed, our quest for more information is completely ignored by Windows 10. (I recommend that you use 'view logs', instead? --If any type of corresponding notices are in the Windows log-files at-all, they are usually a lot more cryptic... but we might get lucky when we 'google for some type of understandable explanation...)

... I guess that they will fix THAT later, too?

Solving the Problems


In the mean time, might I suggest that you make a healthy donation to the Free-dome Software Foundation?

After that, then P-L-E-A-S-E contact your congressional representative and ask them - in a time when 1 in 7 Americans are having problems merely finding food - why our government is allowing American companies to use so many foreign workers?

If foreigners need American jobs, could their nations not petition our government to allow them to join the Union?


Statehood worked out rather well for Hawaii!

Who Cares?


Indeed, the fact that companies such as Hewlett Packard & Disney make their billions in America does not prevent their imported-executives from loosing any sleep as each farm American jobs out to (in the words of the guilty HP Executive) "less expensive" nations!

In the 1960's '70's & '80's, companies with no loyalty to the American worker would have been boycotted... What has changed?

(*) By the way: Even after I downloaded the software, I was unable to "hide updates" for anything. My advice now is that - when traveling - to simply not allow Windows 10 to connect to the Internet.

Caveat User!


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