Morning Cup O' Joe

Time you enjoy wasting isn't wasted time.

Solving a Sudoku with Oracle


Being a database developer, I’ve seen some fairly interesting things you can do with Oracle 11g.

This beats everything I know thus far.

Oracle RDBMS 11gR2 introduced a new feature called Recursive Subquery Factoring. Besides being an alternative to hierarchical queries (classic “connect by” stuff), you can use it to solve a Sudoku…in 29 lines of SQL code.

Mind = Blown

Thanks for the link, Alex!

via Amis Technology Blog (Sudoku)

via Rob Van Wijk


September 20, 2012 Posted by | How-To, Software | , , , , , | Comments Off on Solving a Sudoku with Oracle

xkcd Password Generator

It may seem counter-intuitive to have a plain English passphrase instead of a t0tta11y l337 password, but what it comes down to is how many bits of entropy you can generate while not following any predictable patterns.

Lifehacker has a great article explaining why old password tricks aren’t working anymore with the amount of raw computing power available today.

If you’re lazy and you want to make use of the XKCD passphrase method above, you can always lean on a passphrase generator.

My favorite combination is using LastPass along with its support for two-factor authentication. For those of you unfamiliar with two-factor authentication, the way it’s implemented with LastPass (and Google, if you enable it), is that a random number is generated that needs to be entered in after you provide your passphrase. This random number can either be SMS’ed to you or you can view it using the Google Authenticator app. That random number rotates every 15 or so seconds. It’s a little cumbersome, but in order for somebody to gain access to websites I use, they would need to know my LastPass passphrase AND physically have my iPhone.

Be safe, everyone!

Lifehacker – Your Clever Password Tricks Aren’t Protecting You from Today’s Hackers

XKCD Password Generator


August 23, 2012 Posted by | Geeks and Gadgetry, How-To, Science and Technology, Software | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on xkcd Password Generator

Artemis | Spaceship Bridge Simulator

Artemis: Spaceship Bridge Simulator

This is extremely nerdy, but I’d be a liar if I didn’t want to get some friends together and play this simulator.

From the website:

What is Artemis?

Artemis is a multiplayer, multi-computer networked game for Windows computers.

Artemis simulates a spaceship bridge by networking several computers together. One computer runs the simulation and the "main screen", while the others serve as workstations for the normal jobs a bridge officer might do, like Helm, Communication, Engineering, and Weapon Control.

Artemis is a social game where several players are together in one room ("bridge") , and while they all work together, one player plays the Captain, a person who sits in the middle, doesn’t have a workstation, and tells everyone what to do.

Artemis is a software game for Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.


My favorite bit from the FAQs:

Q: Why can’t my crew play over the internet, using some voice chat software?

A: I always wanted the players to be in one room together, just like a spaceship bridge. I want the captain to be able to push the helmsman aside and shout "Full power, DAMN you!!!" BUT, as a veteran game developer, I recognize that players play my game the way THEY like, not the way I like. V1.1 optimized the network code, and a server option that lets you adjust the network update speed, so Artemis plays across the internet just fine.

Artemis | Spaceship Bridge Simulator

via @pomorales

January 31, 2012 Posted by | Games and Gaming, Geeks and Gadgetry, Software, Television, Windows | , , | 2 Comments

The Physics of Culture

TED Talk–Kevin Slavin: How algorithms shape our world

I’m sure that many of you are aware that companies such as Netflix and Amazon run software that tries to predict what movies you like or what your next purchase should be. You may even joke about it or laugh at the suggestions that are proposed. What it comes down to, though, is that there are software algorithms out there trying to describe you. This software is trying to figure out a deterministic formula for you.

Think about that.

Kevin Slavin says:

This isn’t Google. This isn’t information. These aren’t financial stats. This is culture. And what you see here, or what you don’t really see, normally, is that these are the physics of culture. If these algorithms, like the algorithms on Wall Street, crashed one day and went awry, how would we know? What would it look like?

Kevin explains in this wonderful TED Talk how we are writing algorithms that we no longer understand and are unable to predict. In essence, we’ve created another “force of nature".

via BoingBoing

August 1, 2011 Posted by | Science and Technology, Software | , , , , , | Comments Off on The Physics of Culture

txt2re–Regular Expression Generator


I know that some of you hard-core purists out there will see this amazingly awesome tool as the sissy way out to grokking regular expressions, but I don’t care. Fie, I bite my thumb at thee! *bites thumb*

It doesn’t get much easier than this:




Notice all the different programming languages you can auto-generate in? Nice.

via Txt2re via BoingBoing

April 14, 2011 Posted by | Software | , , , , , , | Comments Off on txt2re–Regular Expression Generator

CamelCamelCamel – Amazon Price History


CamelCamelCamel (what a name!) is a free website that tracks the price history of any product on Being a big customer, having this tool at my fingertips is invaluable. I can check to see if a product that I want is at its peak or valley and make judgement calls accordingly. You can even set alerts to notify you via email or Twitter.

This incredibly useful service is free! What are you waiting for?

via BoingBoing

March 25, 2011 Posted by | General, Productivity, Software | , , , , | Comments Off on CamelCamelCamel – Amazon Price History

EPUB to MOBI Conversion [Left Margin Problem]

For the small subset of people in the world who experience the “left margin issue” above when converting from EPUB format to MOBI format, here is a solution that works for me:

  1. Install Calibre and Sigil.
  2. Import your EPUB into Calibre.
  3. Convert the EPUB to EPUB. This normalizes the CSS stylesheet for the book. Under “Page Setup” set the left margin to 0.
  4. Open the new EPUB in Sigil.
  5. Open Stylesheet.css (or stylesheet1.css) (located under the “Styles” folder in the Book Browser on the left.
  6. Do a search for anything that says “margin-left” (or “margin-right”).
  7. If the value is anything other than “0”, change it to 0. E.g. “5pt” –> “0pt” or “1em” –> “0em” You will find multiple instances of this within the stylesheet.
  8. Save the EPUB and exit Sigil.
  9. Open Calibre and convert the EPUB to MOBI. Under “Page Setup” set the left margin to 0.

That should do it. It’s cumbersome, yes, but it gets the job done.

Based off of a post in

February 23, 2011 Posted by | How-To, Software | , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on EPUB to MOBI Conversion [Left Margin Problem]

SharpKeys – Keyboard Remapper


If you’ve always wished that a key on your keyboard could be another key, and you run Windows, grab SharpKeys. The interface is simple. You map one key to another, write it to the registry, and then logout and log back in (or reboot).

I use a Kinesis Advantage keyboard at work which requires some finger acrobatics to get to the “Insert” key, which I use pretty heavily for pasting into SecureCRT. Remapping my CapsLock key into an Insert key is a godsend.


Thanks for the tip, James!

December 27, 2010 Posted by | Software, Windows | , , , | Comments Off on SharpKeys – Keyboard Remapper

Mobile Mouse Pro


This remote/trackpad app is by far one of the handiest bits of iOS software I’ve experienced thus far. The particular situation I experience that makes this app such a great fit is when I hook up my Macbook Pro to my wall-mounted plasma to play Hulu or some other web-based media. It’s a situation that isn’t hardy enough to warrant busting out the wireless keyboard and mouse, so being able to use my iPhone in that fashion rocks!

The app is only $1.99, which I think is completely worth it for the functionality that it offers. The server software also runs on Windows as well as Mac OS X.

December 26, 2010 Posted by | iphone, Mac, Software, Video, Windows | , , | 1 Comment

Sync Google Calendar Colors and iOS


(image courtesy of Lifehacker)

FINALLY, a solution to an annoying problem that has plagued me ever since Google Mobile Sync was born is here: Calendar color synchronization between Google Calendars and my iPhone’s calendar. My OCD itched so badly that I would end up changing my Google Calendar colors to match the seemingly random vomit that my iPhone’s calendar would choose.

In a nutshell, don’t use Google Mobile Sync for your calendar. Use CalDAV instead.

Out of the nutshell:

  1. On your iOS device: Go to Settings –> Mail, Contacts, Calendars
  2. Under Accounts: Select your Google Mobile Sync account (mine was creatively named “Google”)
  3. Switch your “Calendars” to the “OFF” position. It will prompt you to make sure you aren’t smoking crack, but since you *are* smoking crack… the healthy, vegan kind… go for it.
  4. Click on “Add Account…”
  5. Select Other.
  6. Select Add CalDAV Account.
  7. Enter your account information:
    1. In the Server field, enter [ ]
    2. In the Username field, enter your full Google Account or Google Apps email address.
    3. In the Password field, enter your Google Account or Google Apps password.
    4. In the Description field, enter the name you’d like to appear on the account (I named mine “Google Calendars”… creative, I know)
  8. Select Next at the top of your screen.
  9. Go to (on any browser) and select the calendars you want to sync. Alternatively, Google Apps users can go to (of course, replace “your_domain” with your… uh… domain).
  10. Click Save

I can’t believe I didn’t think of this earlier. Enjoy!

via Lifehacker

via Google Mobile Help (CalDAV instructions)

October 22, 2010 Posted by | How-To, Rants, Software | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Sync Google Calendar Colors and iOS