Tag Archives: windows

Windows Natural Scrolling and Synergy

Windows Natural Scrolling and Synergy

A lit­tle over a year ago, I wrote about set­ting up “nat­ural scolling” on Windows. I tried it for a week or so and never quite got used to it. One of the biggest set­backs was the soft­ware I use to con­nect my Windows and Linux boxes together as one large desk­top: Synergy. My mouse and key­board are hooked up to a Windows box. When the mouse scrolls off the left side of the screen, Synergy takes over and passes the mouse move­ments and key­board sequences to the Linux box’s desk­top. I get what feels like a large, sweep­ing, cross-OS desk­top. It turns out that the AutoHotkey map­pings to reverse the scroll wheel did not get trans­mit­ted across to Synergy. They only worked on one half of my desk­top. This is not just annoy­ing, but really messes with your mus­cle mem­ory of which way to scroll.

I recently heard John Siracusa men­tion in a recent episode of Hypercritical that he is right-handed, but uses the mouse with his left hand. He switched mouse-handedness long ago because he started to feel the begin­nings of ten­dini­tis and/or carpal-tunnel syn­drome in his right arm and didn’t want to see it worsen. Because I’ve been feel­ing ten­dini­tis come and go, despite breaks and exer­cises, I thought I would try some­thing sim­i­lar. I feel that the major­ity of my dis­com­fort comes from scrolling so I thought I would try using my left hand for the major­ity of scrolling and sim­ple move­ments. I hap­pen to have a spare Apple Magic Trackpad, which I brought into work and hooked up. I set it up to the left of my key­board, but am keep­ing the mouse to the right. The track­pad is okay for point­ing, scrolling, and click­ing. Dragging and right-clicking are much more dif­fi­cult (at least with the Windows dri­vers). For me, those are much more rare oper­a­tions than scrolling and select­ing — I mainly nav­i­gate spec­i­fi­ca­tion doc­u­ments and code trees — so the mouse is still avail­able on the right.

I ini­tially tried this for a day and it mostly worked, except for scrolling. I’m so used to touch-scrolling on my Mac that the reg­u­lar (non-natural? unnat­ural?) track­pad scrolling kept throw­ing me for a loop. AutoHotkey still did not work across Synergy. A lit­tle more research was required.

The key to get­ting this work­ing and usable was dis­cov­er­ing how to reverse scrolling down at the OS level, rather than up in the appli­ca­tion layer (as AutoHotkey does). There are actu­ally just some reg­istry keys to tog­gle in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/Enum/HID that will reverse scroll-direction at a layer deeper than AutoHotkey and deeper than Synergy. I ran across this blog post that explains how to find the “FlipFlopWheel” keys within the above-mentioned HID path and tog­gle them. This isn’t the solu­tion for every­one — regedit can be a scary and dan­ger­ous tool in the hands of the unini­ti­ated — but it worked for me.

I now have a left-handed track­pad set up with nat­ural scrolling for day-to-day nav­i­ga­tion and a right-handed mouse set up for more tricky oper­a­tions. So far, things are good.

Posted in: Code Dear Diary Software Work


Natural” scrolling across operating systems

Natural” Scrolling Overview

I am begin­ning to get used to the reversed scrolling behav­ior in the new OS X. For those that have not heard about it, this was one of the most con­tro­ver­sial changes in the new oper­at­ing sys­tem. They reversed the direc­tion of the action that is per­formed by spin­ning the mouse’s scroll wheel or using two fin­gers to scroll on a touch­pad. There have been a lot of heated debates on both sides of the fence.

If you think about it, the scroll wheel action is fairly arbi­trary. It was:

  • scroll the wheel down, the slider in the win­dow that marks your posi­tion moves down­ward (to match your fin­ger move­ment), the text of your doc­u­ment slides up, you reveal more text at the bot­tom edge of the win­dow.

It is now:

  • scroll the wheel down, the slider in the win­dow that marks your posi­tion moves upward, the text of your doc­u­ment slides down (to match your fin­ger move­ment), you reveal more text at the top edge of the win­dow.

In other words, the move­ment switched from manip­u­lat­ing the win­dow slider to manip­u­lat­ing the doc­u­ment itself. You might argue that it is a lit­tle more direct now — instead of manip­u­lat­ing the slider that manip­u­lates your posi­tion in the doc­u­ment, you are directly manip­u­lat­ing the doc­u­ment. You might argue that, at least for touch-based track­pad sys­tems (not mice, per se), the action is more iPhone-like. You might also argue that as a soci­ety we now have a cul­ture muscle-memory of how the scroll wheel works and chang­ing it would be akin to swap­ping the posi­tion of the gas and brake ped­als on a car or (less dan­ger­ous) build­ing ana­log clocks whose hands spun counter-clockwise.

I fig­ured I would at least give it a try, but had to jump in with both feet. That meant leav­ing the new default OS X reversed (“nat­ural”) scrolling, but that also meant hack­ing my Windows and Linux boxes to behave sim­i­larly — oth­er­wise, I found myself get­ting stuck in a limbo of not know­ing which direc­tion the scroller worked at any given time, hes­i­tat­ing with a lit­tle test nudge to ensure it was going to work the way I thought.


For me, the Windows hack was pretty easy. I already run AutoHotkey for a few key­board short­cuts. AutoHotkey is an app that inter­cepts key­presses and mouse clicks and lets you trans­form them to other actions. I have a few macros set up (sim­i­lar to TextExpander on the Mac) that lets me type an abbre­vi­a­tion, which gets expanded to a hard-to-enter uni­code char­ac­ter, pre-canned text, or snip­pet of code. I also have a key­stroke that auto­mat­i­cally opens the selected file in Notepad++. I just had to paste a few lines into my con­fig­u­ra­tion file, and it inter­cepts the up-scroll and passes it to the sys­tem as a down-scroll and vice-versa. Specifically, it looks a lit­tle some­thing like this:

; Reverse mouse wheel to be more like OS X
    Send {WheelDown}

    Send {WheelUp}


Under Linux, I had to edit my Xorg con­fig­u­ra­tion file. I opened /etc/X11/xorg.conf in a text edi­tor and looked for the ‘Section “InputDevice“‘ block that cor­re­sponded to the mouse. I then had to change (or add, if it was not already there) the “Option ZAxisMapping” to the fol­low­ing:

Option "ZAxisMapping" "5 4"

This works with a mouse locally plugged into the sys­tem. I still have a prob­lem when the key­board and mouse are remotely con­nected via Synergy in that the mouse scolling does not get trans­lated. I am not sure whether that is the server (on Windows) bypass­ing the AutoHotkey and/or the client (on Linux) side-stepping the Xorg con­fig­u­ra­tion. It may be both, since if I con­fig­ure only one or the other with a reversed mouse, there is no change to the behav­ior. I’d expect a change if one was revers­ing it and the other was un-reversing.

So aside from via Synergy, it’s all work­ing and I am doing a good job at adapt­ing, though I fear the day that I sit down at a coworker’s com­puter and get tripped up because their mouse wheel works “back­wards.”

Posted in: Software

Windows 7 Launch Party, Service Pack 1

A cou­ple of weeks ago, a friend invited me to a Windows 7 Launch Party, and included a nerdy pic­ture with the email.

Last night, I Photoshopped it a bit. My plan is to sta­ple the updated “Service Pack 1″ pic­ture to a paper bag, and use that to carry in some beer and snacks. Those nerds really look like their party could use a bit of alco­hol. And women. Maybe I should have put girls in there, too.

ani­mated tran­si­tion from orig­i­nal to ‘shopped

The Photoshopped Windows 7 Launch Party Service Pack 1 image, with­out the tran­si­tional ani­ma­tion, is also avail­able.

Posted in: Pictures

Windows, Not Walls

Is it me, or is Microsoft’s adver­tis­ing absolutely schiz­o­phrenic? First they started with their two Seinfeld ads. I think I am one of the few that found them to be enter­tain­ing. They were fun lit­tle short films, but I can see how they didn’t really work as ads–although they did gen­er­ate a lot of talk, which per­haps means they served their pur­pose. Now they have been replaced with sev­eral “I’m a PC and I’ve been stereo­typed” ads. I find zero enter­tain­ment, zero fun, and zero rewatch­a­bil­ity in those ads. In fact, the way they directly address Apple’s “I’m a Mac and I’m a PC” spots, they seem more like defen­sive PR spin-control than adver­tis­ing. I get it. People who use PCs don’t always wear ties and some­times work in exotic loca­tions, includ­ing under­wa­ter, space (actu­ally, they tend to use cus­tom hard­ware in space and NASA is a huge con­trib­u­tor of code to the Linux-based Open Source com­mu­nity), on the farm, and at sewing machine sweat­shops. On the flip side, I don’t wear jeans and a hoodie, don’t have “cre­atives” as “deliv­er­ables,” and don’t fit into the stereo­type of artists who use Macs. I use my Mac to write code, do advanced math, and edit design spec­i­fi­ca­tions. Where’s my ad? My take­away from these new Microsoft com­mer­cials is pretty much zero. No enter­tain­ment, no edu­ca­tion. Bring back Seinfeld! At least those were awk­wardly funny, if noth­ing else.

In related news, the cur­rent run of print adver­tis­ing they’re doing is bizarro. “Windows, not walls.” I was pretty quick to spot that the thick­ness of the cutout piece does not equal the thick­ness of the wall. A coworker (thanks, Rick!) pointed out that the guy is using a sawz-all to cut through walls that have live power run­ning through them. See how it’s plugged in a meter or two from the “win­dow?“

Oh, and look! Cute pen­guins! Wait, pen­guins being used to adver­tise Windows???

Microsoft, it’s time to be con­sis­tent and under­stand­able with your adver­tis­ing.

Posted in: Dear Diary

Windows eXperience Points

Lately, I have spent a small amount of time look­ing through people’s resumes.  Without fail, every one has a sec­tion at the end that shows what fla­vors of Unix and what fla­vors of Windows they are pro­fi­cient in.  It struck me today that if I was the one being inter­viewed, I could say that I was pro­fi­cient in Windows 3.1 (and actu­ally I could prob­a­bly go fur­ther back and say Windows 386 or even Windows 1.0) up to Windows 2000.  Although Windows XP is sup­pos­edly obso­leted by Windows Vista, I would end up hav­ing to say “I could prob­a­bly fig­ure out Windows XP or Vista if I had to.”  I do not believe I have ever used Windows XP hands-on and have never seen Vista out­side of screen­shots and videos.

I find this all a lit­tle bit shock­ing and sur­pris­ing, although I have no idea why.  I’ve never had the desire or neces­sity to run Windows XP, nor have I really had the hard­ware.   I have an almost fanat­i­cal dis­like of the com­pany and the OS  ...yet...  I feel a lit­tle weird that I have never used it and know next to noth­ing about it.

Posted in: Work

Holiday Tech Support

Please note that all blog posts before 8 April 2007 were auto­mat­i­cally imported from LiveJournal.  To see the com­ments and any LiveJournal-specific extras such as polls and user icons, please find the source post­ing at http://brianenigma.livejournal.com/2005/12/

The Mac Mini + Bluetooth sit­u­a­tion is fuck­tarded.

8am — Discover 20+ dif­fer­ent viruses/spyware/malware are com­pet­ing for CPU time on my par­ents com­puter. Windows has changed enough from 2000 to XP for me to have no idea how to turn of the “you’re retarded so we won’t let you access the con­trol panel or filesys­tem directly with­out using wiz­zzzARDs” crap. Gave up.
9am — Go to Apple Store, pur­chase top of the line Mac Mini, Bluetooth key­board and mouse, video switch, Apple Pro Care so my par­ents can get sup­port and free classes, etc. The works. The Apple Store and mall are sur­pris­ingly quiet. They did not even have to use the rov­ing clerks that can ring up your pur­chase on a lit­tle wire­less PDA.
10am — Start work­ing on installing a wire­less hub so that I can get my lap­top on the inter­net with­out slow­ing to Bluetooth/cellphone speeds. Added bonus: the par­ents’ com­puter is no longer DIRECTLY CONNECTED TO THE INTERNET and is behind a nice lit­tle NAT router.
Noon — After hav­ing set up the wire­less, Norton Antivirus, Ad-Aware, Firefox, and removed all traces of iexplore.exe, pro­ceed to unpack the Mini. Half-way through install process, can­not get key­board to rec­og­nize. A Knowledge Base arti­cle sug­gests that I need a USB key­board to set up the Mini before it will han­dle a Bluetooth wire­less key­board.
1pm — Return to mall. Discover park­ing sit­u­a­tion is much worse, but the gods of park­ing shine down upon me and grant a quick and easy space. Proceed to Apple Store. Wait in line of 30–40 peo­ple buy­ing iPods and iTunes gift cer­tifi­cates. Exchange key­board.
3pm (yes, two hours later) — Install key­board, use exist­ing USB mouse, Mini is installed and ready.

At this point, I no longer accept tech sup­port on Windows machines.

Posted in: Dear Diary

Windows Horizon

Please note that all blog posts before 8 April 2007 were auto­mat­i­cally imported from LiveJournal.  To see the com­ments and any LiveJournal-specific extras such as polls and user icons, please find the source post­ing at http://brianenigma.livejournal.com/2005/10/

Just in case you thought Windows XP Home, XP Professional, XP Server, and XP Advanced server was hard to keep track of, check out the ver­sions of Vista that will be avail­able:

  • Windows Vista Starter
  • Windows Vista Home Basic
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Windows Vista Pro Standard/SB
  • Longhorn Enterprise Server (ADS)
  • Longhorn Enterprise Server — IA64
  • Longhorn Standard Server
  • Longhorn Datacenter Server
  • Windows Vista Pro Std/SB/Ent — VL Binding Service
  • Windows Vista Pro Std/SB/Ent — VLGeneric
  • Windows Vista Pro Std/SB/Ent — DMAK
  • Windows Vista Starter Digital Boost — OEM
  • Windows Vista Home Basic — OEM
  • Windows Vista Home Premium — OEM
  • Windows Vista Ultimate — OEM
  • Windows Vista Pro Standard/SBOEM
  • Longhorn Enterprise Server — OEM
  • Windows Vista Home Basic N
  • Windows Vista Pro Standard N

Yeeeeaaaaahhhh..... because the aver­age Home user/upgrader who can barely keep viruses and spy­ware off of their machine will know whether they want Starter, Basic, Premium, or Ultimate. Well, the gamers appar­ently will want Ultimate because it includes some tools for fine-tuning your sys­tem for the ulti­mate gam­ing expe­ri­ence. Then again, why won’t they just get the Basic or Premium and use 3rd party or pirated copies of those tools? Or just a pirated copy of the entire OS?

Broken “Windows”

Please note that all blog posts before 8 April 2007 were auto­mat­i­cally imported from LiveJournal.  To see the com­ments and any LiveJournal-specific extras such as polls and user icons, please find the source post­ing at http://brianenigma.livejournal.com/2005/09/

There is a not so recent arti­cle that does a great job of explain­ing why OS X is more secure than Windows. It uses the clas­sic “bro­ken win­dows” the­ory of urban decay, applied to the com­puter realm. The extreme secu­rity of the Mac has very lit­tle to do with mar­ket share. “Windows has more viruses than OS X because more peo­ple use it” just does not work. If that were the case, you would expect a rel­a­tive per­cent­age of viruses on OS X, but the num­ber of viruses, spy­ware, key­log­gers, and remote-controls is not pro­por­tional to the num­ber of com­put­ers run­ning OS X. No, it is effec­tively zero (when you sub­tract a cou­ple of laugh­able proof-of-concept “viruses” that antivirus com­pa­nies pro­duce and point to in order to drum up busi­ness.) The Mac com­mu­nity is pretty vocal and has zero tol­er­ance for these kinds of shenani­gans. On top of that, you can add the tech­ni­cal rea­sons: OS X has some good com­part­men­tal­ized secu­rity and really has no place for viruses to hide. There is no labyrinth of reg­istry trees. There is no way to sneak in a nefar­i­ous dri­ver. Heck, the Unix under­pin­nings even pre­vent one from open­ing a low-numbered port or writ­ing to the /bin or /etc fold­ers with­out explic­itly authen­ti­cat­ing as the root user. As OS X gets more mar­ket share (that’s not an “if” state­ment, but a “when”), I think we will con­tinue to see the virus/spyware/keylogger/DDoS-client count remain a con­stant zero.

Rocket ships are shiny toys for infant civilizations

Please note that all blog posts before 8 April 2007 were auto­mat­i­cally imported from LiveJournal.  To see the com­ments and any LiveJournal-specific extras such as polls and user icons, please find the source post­ing at http://brianenigma.livejournal.com/2005/06/

In the past, I have seen birds run, full force, into a win­dow. Until now, I have never seen a cat run full force into a win­dow. Ebenezer is a lit­tle bit dizzy at present. He left a spit and/or grease stain on the win­dow. The funny thing is that the bird, about 8cm away on the other side of the win­dow, heard the large THUD and did not budge. The birds are quickly catch­ing on to the fact that the kit­ties are cap­tive and unable to catch them...and they are some­times a bit mean about it. One of these days, I will open the win­dow.

Posted in: Dear Diary

Champagne for my real friends and real pain for my sham friends.”

Please note that all blog posts before 8 April 2007 were auto­mat­i­cally imported from LiveJournal.  To see the com­ments and any LiveJournal-specific extras such as polls and user icons, please find the source post­ing at http://brianenigma.livejournal.com/2004/01/

(Apologies to those that have seen this on Slashdot or some other news/blog site) According to Microsoft, Windows 98 and Windows 98se are End-Of-Life'd on the 16th. What does this mean? Not much to me. Fortunately, not much to my par­ents (who, thank­fully, are run­ning 2K on an under-powered machine). It would seem that 27% of the inter­net users will be screwed some­time after that day. The fun thing about EOL'ing a prod­uct is that it is no longer sup­ported. Sure, this means no phone sup­port for the dude that wants to rein­stall or get his new 27-button mouse working–no big deal. It also means no secu­rity patches. After the 16th, when hack­ers find a flaw (and you know it is WHEN and not IF because most of the secu­rity flaws hack­ers find effect ALL ver­sions of Windows) and a new worm gets out there, the peo­ple with Win98 will have no way to patch them­selves. So now is the time to be a good lit­tle mon­key and fol­low the Microsoft way of upgrad­ing to Win2K or WinXP or drop­ping MS alto­gether and going with some Linux vari­ant (Lindows is rather nice, but can be pricey) or mak­ing the big switch to a dif­fer­ent consumer-oriented hard­ware plat­form (OS X, any­one?). I have to admit that the only big secu­rity flaws in OS X so far involved SSH (which effected ALL Unixes, but SSH is dis­abled by default on OS X) and DHCP (which, in order to exploit, the bad guy has to jump through a bunch of elab­o­rate hoops like set­ting up a rogue server on your local area network–i.e. it is not exploitable over the in-tar-web).

Oh, and speak­ing of stuff you might have seen else­where: Steal It Back, the Online Police Auctions. So basi­cally, the police seize stuff dur­ing arrests and it ends up as bid­d­a­ble mer­chan­dise on this web­site. You can get a grab-bag of 8 pagers for $5. You can get com­puter gear. You can get cell­phones. You can get a Masonic Knight Templar Sword. I am rather con­fused by the grow-lights, though. Really? What does the life­cy­cle of those things look like? Dude grows pot in dorm room closet. Police nab the guy, the pot, and the grow lights. Lights go on auc­tion. College dude buys them for $5 and installs in dorm room closet. Lather, rinse repeat. While I am sure that one in a thou­sand might use the lights for their prize-winning orchids, really–who do the police think are going to buy cheap grow lights? Of course, they might just take note of the address where the lights are shipped and pay a visit later... I am also a lit­tle con­fused by the “col­lectibles & mem­o­ra­bilia” por­tion of the site. Really–why was the crys­tal World Trade Center seized? Or the Planet Hollywood col­lectible glasses? Or the col­lec­tion of Tony Gwynn Baseball Cards? Was the signed copy of “Anthony Quinn as Zorba In The Musical” 12-inch record used in a crime?

So, the hard drive on my work com­puter died. I am wait­ing to find out what to do. I could go to Fry's expense a hard drive, and rein­stall every­thing. I could wait for the office to ship out a new hard drive or entirely new com­puter. Right now, I am wait­ing for the sysad­min to fig­ure out the best thing to do. Thank good­ness most of our soft­ware runs under OS X, so I can still do work on the lap­top. ...which reminds me: Eclipse 3.0, Milestone 6 is out now and Anjuta still will not run on OS X because of a failed Gnome-Print depen­dency. I don't want to print; I just want to com­pile and have a nifty edi­tor that can col­lapse entire func­tions to sin­gle lines.

As we all know, the old Diedrichs.org web­site is dead. I plan to keep the domain, just in case, but will be putting up a new (but sim­i­lar) site soon. Netninja tends to be more of a “pro­fes­sional” site–hosting the secu­rity papers I write, bits of soft­ware, and HaXoR toolz for the skript kiddi3s. I try not to “pol­lute” it with fun stuff, mostly because I do not need the skr1p+ k1ddi3z pick­ing through my pho­tos and ran­dom things. So, basi­cally, the photo gal­leries on Netninja will move over to this new site and a lot of the same old D.O stuff will be on the new site (the fake ads, and if I still have back­ups of the data­base the quotes, Go Fetal, the Do-Don't List, etc). It will basi­cally be the same ol' site with a new name and updated look. Watch this space for fur­ther info.

Posted in: Work