How To Add Custom Windows System Sounds

It’s really easy to roll your own custom sound scheme in Windows. First, in the Control Panel, open up the sound window. From there click on the sounds tab. Under program events click on each even and click the Browse button under Sounds. Browse to where the .wav file you want to use for that event is located and select it.

Once you’ve customized all of the events you want, make sure to click the Save As button under Sound Scheme and give your scheme a unique name. 

I’ve put together a few .wav files of sound clips that can work for some computer events. You can download them from GitHub. I use about 15 of them on my computer and always get a smile when I hear that files in my recycle bin have been exterminated.

Here are a few of my other favorites that I use:

 

The Uneasy Feeling of the Improbable

I reached up to adjust my visor so the sun wouldn’t blind me and send me careening into oncoming traffic. This seemed like a good idea. But as my hand grasped the visor’s edge, I heard a soft click and felt a slight give under my thumb. I was miles from home. I knew the device I just pressed only had a range of fifty feet or so. But for a split second a feeling of uneasyness came over me. What if, by some fluke of radio frequency transmission my garage door had actually opened?

 

I’ve had that feeling before. I’ll probably have it again. It’s like the feeling that you left the front door unlocked or the stove on when you left home. You’re uneasy until you get back and can make sure everything is alright. There’s alway that what-if question in the back of your mind. Even though it seems improbable or impossible, there always seems to be a chance.

The internet of things has begun to solve this problem. Garage doors can now be controlled via the internet using phone apps. IOT door locks and security suites can check and alert you if you leave something open or closed or off or on. So we’ve taken all of these low level, improbabe but nagging worries and we’ve condensed and distilled them into one, ominous fear: What if the WiFi is down?

Palm Sunday

 

Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus Christ’s arrival at Jerusalem at the beginning of the week before he was brutally killed on a cross. What a difference a week makes. On this day he was welcomed as a political savior. A few days later he was crucified as a spiritual savior.

Nothing has changed in the years since this happened. We still expect politics or some other complex human-centric institution to satisfy our need for lasting meaning and fulfillment. At the same time we reject the simple and free offer of eternal freedom, joy and satisfaction that politicians very obviously can’t provide.

Our human institutions just keep letting us down. But every political cycle we turn to them again with the same outcome. It’s said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. That certainly seems to define a lot of what I see happening today.

I Was Blown Away By What I Saw Today

For some reason while I was drying my hands in the bathroom at our library today I got to thinking about how blow dryers used to be the hot thing in bathroom drying technology. I know, I know, I think about weird topics at weird times but what can I say, that’s just me.

At one time it seemed like dryers were the future and that paper towels were soon to be non-existent in public restrooms. Blow dryers were touted as “green” because they didn’t use paper (a renewable resource) and they were considered more sanitary because you didn’t have to touch anything. Of course blow dryers use electricity which is often generated by burning coal(renewable if you wait long enough). And with towels you only have to touch a clean piece of soft paper but with the early blowers you had to push a button.

Lately I’ve been noticing a distinct shift back to paper towels. Some bathrooms have both a blower and a towel dispenser but in large part the towels are making a big comeback. I have no proof of this. These are just my own limited observations.

But I digress. I was standing there drying my hands when I started wondering just how clean the air was that was blowing down on my newly washed hands. Surely it must be just as clean as using a towel, right? After all it’s a mechanical blower. It doesn’t get touched by human hands.

There was no one else in the room so I quickly squatted down and looked up at the air outlet. I was disgusted with what I saw! The outlet for the air was caked with brown and black grime. It blows down but somehow the dirt had blown up! The worst part is that I had been blowing that crud all over my clean hands.

The Toto “Clean Dry” Hand Dryer

 

From what I saw, it’s probably more sanitary to not wash your hands at all than to use some bathrooms. Maybe I need to start carrying around a little bottle of hand sanitizer. Or maybe I should just stay home. If I become a recluse I won’t have to worry about public blow dryers anymore. This must be how psychoses begin. I’ve got to stop thinking so much.

It’s The Little Things That Get You

I spent some time today dealing with a layer of data that was added to an ESRI REST service. The service layers are zero base indexed which means you can reference them based on their position relative to each other. The first layer is identified at position zero while the second is 1, the third is 2 and so on.

The new layer was just before the fourth existing layer. This means the new layer became the fourth, the fourth became the fifth and the fifth became the sixth. Are you following along?

 

Anyway, I was working on a web app that consumes this service and it references the service layers based on those index positions. I added some new markup and some code for the added layer and changed the existing code to reference their two new position numbers. At first everything seemed to be working fine. Then a coworker noticed that the new layer’s data was showing on screen by default (you’re supposed to check a box first). It took me a while before I finally realized that it was being controlled by a different checkbox that controls the layer right after it in the service.

To make an already long and confusing story shorter, there was a second reference to the service indexes in my code. When I had designed the app a few years ago I, for some reason, found it expedient to make two, hard coded references to the index. Instead of taking the time to create a variable, I had repeated a hard coded number that could be changed by an outside source.

My poor design choice came back to bite me. Not only did I repeat code, I made it confusing to update. It’s embarrassing to admit that I wrote code that even I couldn’t figure out later. But it goes to show that taking the time to design things correctly from the start will pay off in the future. It’s the little things that get you; that second hard coded index number that’s nearly impossible to notice.

O Little Weed

 

O little weed
Yes simple weed
Martyr of my lawn,
How fast your greenery
Sprouts anew
Yet faster still your gone.
My mower does not keep you down
And pulling will not kill you,
But with this spray
You will turn brown
I see no need to bill you.

First Day of Spring 2018

Today is the official first day of spring 2018. I’m always excited when the seasons change. There’s a sense of newness and refreshment. The change from spring to summer promises more time outside, vacations and cold drinks. Going from summer into fall gives hope of escaping the heat, celebrations and enjoyment of the harvest time and the changing colors of nature. The transition to the cold depths of winter then warrants hunkering down and focusing on the cerebral projects that were put on hold during the warmer seasons.

Dandelion

But my favorite seasonal shift is spring when the ice starts to melt and new life seems to pop up everywhere. Trees leaf out and bulbs push their way through the soil. Birds sing louder and  can be heard more often. Spring releases you from a sort of prison of the mind.

For me, along with the warming weather comes the desire to build something, anything. I usually get ahead of myself and start more projects than I can finish. But I’d rather start them and not finish than let my version of spring fever pass without acting on it.

It also never fails that spring makes me want to start growing a garden. It’s like some weird desire to help the natural world green up faster. Of course once that greening starts it’s like a reverse wild fire sending plants up everywhere, even where they’re not wanted. Then, for the rest of the season there’s a battle to keep the wanted plants from dying and the unwanted weeds from existing.

One of my favorite parts of spring is the vibrant glut of color. In contrast to the beautiful browns, oranges and earthy reds of fall, spring shines with emerald greens, blood reds and fiery yellows. I love finding patches of wildflowers growing in unlikely places. But I like wandering through garden centers and nurseries almost as much.

Every year I try to capture the joy of spring with its beauty, colors and promise. Sometimes that’s through writing and poetry. But another way that I find enjoyable is through photography. I’ve taken hundreds if not thousands of pictures of God’s creation but I always end up taking more. There’s always something unique to discover, even in the common plants and flowers that most people pass by every day.

IOT – The Internet of Toilets

I was thinking that it would be humorous to invent a wifi connected toilet lid so you can tell if it’s up or down from anywhere in the world. It seems like everyone is connecting even the most ridiculous things to the internet so why not this? Turns out, things like this have not only been talked about for years, they’re starting to come true.

Kohler has come out with the Numi SmartToilet, a toilet/bidet that opens and closes the lid for you among a host of other functions. Believe it or not, it’s even an MP3 player. This opens the lid on a whole new audio communication medium – the potcast.

Unfortunately, the Numi doesn’t appear to be internet connected. There’s really no reason for it to be internet connected but the lack of wifi makes it seem somehow unsophisticated. But the $6300 price tag makes up for it a little.

All that’s left is to create an IOT toilet with Alexa voice control. Then you can shop from your pot.

Certified Frustration Free

 

I had some batteries from Amazon delivered the other day. After opening the box that’s probably 4x bigger than the batteries themselves, I noticed the sticker on top declaring “Frustration Free Packaging”. It was definitely low frustration but I was still annoyed to have to go get something to cut the large tape label that held the box closed.

The label also makes a big deal about using no wire ties or clamshells. Personally, I’ve never worried about wire ties or clamshells. But I guess these things really frustrate some people.

The question I’m left with is how does packaging get certified “Frustration Free”? Is there actually a process? Do Amazon vans snatch people from the streets and force them to open taped boxes while monitoring their brain activity? That last one is just hearsay.

And what recourse do I have if I do get frustrated? There probably is none. Amazon’s probably just counting on the fact that nobody actually cares what the box looks like or how many pieces of tape are holding it closed. They just want their batteries.