I bought a new 4G 60GB iPod Photo a while ago, and it’s just slightly larger than the 3G iPod I had (thanks, Apple!) so now I gotta buy a new dock that fits the new iPod, a new case, etc.

I bought the CEO Classic case from Marware. I got it yesterday, and I dig it, but it’s a pretty snug fit.

I ordered a new dock and power converter for the iPod directly from Apple’s online store.

They don’t tell you during that order process that they require an in-person signature when your stuff is delivered.

I mean, I understand if you’re delivering my new $5000 computer or something, but this is $50 worth of crap I would have bought at the local Apple store if they weren’t out of stock.

So I got this stupid FedEx sticker on my door that says I have to be there in person and can’t just sign to have it released. I called FedEx to inform them that I have, you know, a job, and I can’t be home all day, so can they please tell me when it’ll be delivered.

They gave me the window of “sometime between 8:00a and 8:00p.” You thought the cable company was bad. That rules, FedEx. Even UPS will hook me up with a decent window.

That, plus FedEx Ground doesn’t have any customer service in my area, so I can’t just go pick it up at the drop center.

My only option was to call Apple support, which I did, and I think I got connected to Australia because the guy’s accent was super thick and the telephone ringing sound was definitely not US. I talked to the guy and he said they absolutely could not let my stuff out without an in-person signature.

Fine, buddy. Get me your supervisor. I don’t care - get me fucking Steve Jobs. Someone best be delivering my shit or I’m going to go postal.

I get the Apple guy’s supervisor, who gets on another line with FedEx, and after like 10 minutes on hold (I think they were trying to wait me out - “put the guy on hold… is he still there? yeah… stick him back on hold, see if he hangs up”) they somehow got FedEx to promise to deliver this evening after I get home from work.

How come that wasn’t an option when I first called?

Sigh. I guess we’ll see how this comes out when I get home tonight.

There’s this guy at the local video store who seems to be in there every time we go. I’m sure you’ve got one of these guys at your video store, too.

He’s maybe 25. His fingernails are half an inch long and dirty underneath. His hair has been neither washed nor combed in… well, ever. That Grizzly Adams beard has got to go. When you check out, he talks to you in a monotone voice and asks things like “wouldyoubeinterestedinourtwoforonepreviouslyviewedmovies?”

Oh, and he snorts and clears his throat repeatedly while he stands there behind the register.


We call him “Mr. Hygiene.”

downloads, windows comments edit

UPDATE: Hermann Schinagl has a Link Shell Extension that provides a lot of excellent functionality that incorporates my icon overlay and property sheet, which basically obsoletes this package. Definitely check this out if you want a very robust shell integration for reparse points.

That said, if all you need is an icon overlay and a property sheet for junctions, read on…

I use junction points (aka “reparse points”) a lot in my daily tasks. I’m originally a Unix guy; I love hard and symbolic links. Very cool, very flexible. Windows offers a sort of hard link equivalent but doesn’t directly provide tools to manipulate them or otherwise deal with them. Instead, you have to use tools like junction to create them.

Even when you do create them, when you’re browsing in the Windows Explorer you’ll never know they’re reparse points because there’s no visual cue. The only way to see is if you drop to a command prompt and run a directory:

Command prompt illustrating

See the JUNCTION up there? That’s the only indicator you have a reparse point. And, of course, if you’re not paying attention in Windows Explorer and checking for that, you’ll end up accidentally deleting something you didn’t want to delete.

I decided I wanted a visual cue in Windows Explorer. Enter the Junction Icon Overlay. You know how you see little icon overlays for things like shortcuts (or, when using TortoiseCVS, things under CVS control)? Wouldn’t it be cool if you could see something on junctions? Now you can:

A Windows Explorer folder showing junctions with icon

The “source” folder is under CVS source control and I’ve got TortoiseCVS, so you see a little green checkmark overlay. The “build” folder is just a standard folder. The “tools” folder is a junction - see the little “link” overlay?

I also added a property sheet that shows up just for junctions so you can easily see where your junction points to. Right-click the junction, select “Properties,” and find the “Junction” tab. You should see the path the junction points to in the text box.

Junction property

You can get this as a setup (MSI) or you can have the source. It’s free, but use at your own risk and all that. I’m also not offering support on this one, so if it doesn’t work for you or trashes your machine or gives you nightmares or something, I’m sorry - can’t help ya.

One drawback: It seems you can only have one overlay on an icon at a time. So if “tools” was both under CVS control AND a junction, you’d only see the junction icon (I cranked the priority up on it because I’m more concerned with junctions than CVS status).

You will have to reboot after you install before the shell extensions will show up.

Download Junction Shell Extensions 1.1.0 (Setup - MSI)

Download Junction Shell Extensions 1.1.0 (Source - ZIP)

For more on how icon overlays work, check out lallous’s article on CodeProject (which is how I got this going). Also, a special thanks to Mike Nordell, whose CodeProject article on junction points provided some code that I modified and am using here, and to Michael Dunn, whose series on writing shell extensions was absolutely invaluable.

Version History: 1.0.0: First release. Included only icon overlay. 1.1.0: Renamed from “Junction Icon Overlay” to “Junction Shell Extensions.” Added property sheet for junctions.

Jenn worked yesterday, so I called up Stuart to see if he wanted to hang out. He came over and we decided to play some video games, since neither of us really have had the free time we’d like to dedicate to such things as of late.

We played some Time Crisis 3, which is a great PS2 Guncon game, but the shortcoming is the way it plays two-player: split-screen. Good luck shooting stuff you can barely see, and this is on a 32” TV. I have no idea how people with smaller sets pull it off.

We moved on to Ninja Assault, which is also a decent PS2 Guncon game, where you play as ninjas… who have guns… who shoot at… uh… robotic spiders… who have guns… and…

OK, I can’t really justify that it has really anything at all to do with ninjas, other than the backgrounds with, like, trees and old Asian looking buildings. I think you shoot at some ninja-looking guys, but it’s “ninja” in the loosest sense of the word I’ve ever dealt with.

Stuart's total Amp
aftermathAnyway, this whole time, Stuart’s drinking Amp, a Mountain Dew-based energy drink. He’s downed his first, and halfway through the second he turns to me with a crazed Cornholioesque look in his eye and says, “You know what would be cool? Bongos. We should go get some of those Donkey Kong bongos and that game. We should get four sets of bongos so Jenn and Tiff can play, too. That’d be cool. We should get bongos.”

Seriously, how can you say no to bongos on a Saturday afternoon?

We figured we’d go after a quick game of two-player Katamari Damacy that lasted about three hours.

Jenn came home before we had a chance to leave. Stu called Tiff and told her to meet us at my house and we set off for the store. A little while later, we had four sets of bongos, two copies of Donkey Konga, some more Amp for Stu, and a soul-level need to beat drums.

When we got back, Tiff was already at the house waiting for us. We pre-empted the drive to drum long enough to go eat at McMenamin’s Grand Lodge (tasty!), then we got back and plugged those bad boys in.

Holy crap, that’s fun.

It took a little while to get used to, but very quickly we were drumming with the best of them. For those unaware, the premise of the game is to beat the bongos and clap along with a song that’s playing in the game based on symbols you’re shown. There are four symbols: hit the left bongo, hit the right bongo, hit both bongos simultaneously, and clap. There’s a microphone in the drum set that captures the clap sound.

We discovered (long after the fact) that the sensitivity of the microphone can be calibrated, which is a good thing since the largest issue we had was that when one of us would clap, it might register on another person’s bongos simultaneously, causing for poor scoring. Or if the TV was up too loud, you’d get “clap feedback,” where you clap, then the “clap” sound fires on the TV, which gets picked up by the bongos as a clap, which then gets played back by the TV… pretty soon it sounds like firecrackers going off. Definitely gotta turn that sensitivity down.

All in all, though, an absolute blast, and much needed after the grinder work has been lately.

The game room, post

I went to the store and bought a couple of surge protector power strips last night to clean up some of the cord mess we have going on with the 20 bazillion power strips and cables and crap behind the TV upstairs.

Unpacked it, unplugged the old power strip, plugged the new one in, plugged in the cable modem, plugged in the wireless router -

  • and honest-to-God fire shot out of the surge protector.

Just as quick, it was out, with a slight puff of smoke coming out the back of it. It wasn’t enough to be really worried about, just enough to make me scream like a little girl and drop it in fear for my life.

It also took down one of my circuit breakers, so I had to go downstairs and flip that back on.

Guess I’ll be taking that back.