2013 — 15 February: Friday

There is some sunshine out there, but it's largely concealed behind a layer of freezing fog for the time being — the time being 08:40. And since there's a sprightly ramble planned1 to kick off in the next hour or so, some breakfast is now high on the agenda. I trust I can still find my new boots.

OMG humour, ark, ark

Actually, given the chap's name, this is (according to the law of nominative determinism) an entirely appropriate pastime for him:

Ham rose to fame after successfully raising $27 million to build the Creation Museum in Kentucky, which tells the story of God's creation of the Earth through pseudoscience and unforgettable dioramas ... According to Ham ... dinosaurs shared the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, and humans may have saddled dinosaurs for transportation and long-distance travel. Pro-evolution scientists (i.e., all actual scientists), however, have obfuscated these undeniable truths with sinful lies and slander.
After completing the Creation Museum, Ham decided to take on an even greater challenge: conquering the separation of church and state. He and his fellow creationists have proposed a creationist theme park called Ark Encounter, centered around a 'full-size' replica of Noah's Ark. At Ham's request, the governor of Kentucky has proposed a $43 million tax break for the park, as well as an $11 million road improvement project for the highway leading to it. (Apparently creationists read the Bible literally but not the First Amendment.)

Mark Joseph Stern in Slate

How long does it take for a creationist to evolve to a sentient state, I wonder? (And I don't refer to Kentucky.)

Interesting use of chips. (Link.)

Brian's mail-order...

... cable and leads supplier came up ace-of-trumps with the order he placed for me just last night, so I'm now about to fit a DisplayPort to DisplayPort lead to one of the two 24" screens, thus freeing up (in theory) both "legacy" ports on my graphics card and offering me a fighting chance of hooking up the Kuro 60" plasma screen at the other end of the room. I shall manfully ignore the sting of the badly-blistered left heel (I lost about one square inch of foot skin, in imperial units) and the fact that it's weeping somewhat. Instead I shall push on and fit the new leads even before I contemplate my lunch. Video signal handling obviously trumps dermal repair work.

[Pause] Including a bite to eat.

Finally! It works perfectly, sort of. All three screens were auto-detected by Win8 though I had to explicitly extend the desktop across all three. The Kuro is correctly seen as 1,920 x 1,080 without any deleterious effect2 on my two Dell desktops, and I've made it the right-hand-most screen though it's been "identified" as screen #2 of 3 in the "sequence"...

Trio of displays

"IAG repeater" refers to the Audiolab pre-amp into whose HDMI input it's plugged.

Of course, I still have to select PC digital audio separately because the HDMI lead from BlackBeast is only carrying video, not audio. (Why is that, do you suppose?) And, also of course, in the wacky wonderful world of hdcp some weird and unwonderful things happen when I switch on, or off, the Kuro screen while the PC desktop is alive and well. For example, both Dell desktop screens go blank, momentarily. The system beeps in the same way as when I plug or unplug a USB device. But get this: an open text edit window on the right-hand Dell (screen #3 above) hurtles instantaneously over to, and is thus then invisible in, the cyberspatial "black hole" where the Kuro goes to roost whenever I switch it off. (That was a fraught few seconds as this particular foible exceeds even the level of idiocy I've become used to.)

But the bottom line is I can now play video files on BlackBeast and watch them in Full HD on the 60" screen more or less as Nature intended. Without loss of either of my two Dell desktops. And I can once again display all my photos and artwork on the plasma screen direct from my PC rather than retrieving them from the NAS or transporting them on local USB-connected drives to the Western Digital streamer. It may take me a while (nearly four years in this case) but I do generally get there in the end. I shall celebrate with a cuppa and a Daddy biscuit. Then I'd better do something about my blasted left heel before I put a fresh sock on.

What's next?

Well, I'm running low on fresh food, and Mr Postie left one of those "While you were out..." cards so I shall have to do a spot of dashing hither and yon before much longer. It's already 15:35. It was a nice walk, by the way, though I could have done without the blistering.

After she'd retrieved...

... my latest little parcel of infotainment from the Aladdin's Cave behind her...


... Mrs Postie asked how Peter was. I didn't know the lady, but she'd clearly recognised my name, and told me her son had attended the same school. She was unaware, however, of Christa's death and naturally shocked and sorry to hear of it. That was a slightly sobering 'first' for me. (I'd wrongly assumed she already knew, of course.)

Windows knows best, case #327

I've just learned — the hard way — that if I run an application (so far, my examples are viewing some DVD artwork in the Windows Photo viewer, or some video files in the VLC player) with the application window open on the Kuro, I must remember to bring the application "back" to one or other of the Dell screens before I close the application. If I forget to do this before I switch off the Kuro, that's the last time I'll be able to see that application until I next switch the Kuro on.

This is, I suggest, Windows being a teensy-weensy bit too clever. After all, it can detect the screen when it's on. So if it can't detect the screen because it's not switched on, wouldn't it be more polite to switch application views to another screen that is on? And, by the way, why did it shift my two desktop icons ('restart' and 'shutdown') from the corner where I want them to the left hand edge of screen #1. Surely not just because screen #1 now connects via DisplayPort. That would be sufficiently asinine as to be, well, asinine.

Furthermore, I don't recall telling my Firefox browser window to shift right and use the Kuro screen just because I've switched it on, dammit. Do you ever have one of those days when things seem to take on a malign life of their own? In the same way that Lego blocks would accumulate under foot. [Pause] Turns out that telling Windows to "disconnect" the Kuro solves most of the oddities. Let's just hope I can re-detect and reconnect it when I actually want to watch something...

I've just been offered...

... a set of helpful hints by a poor chap who struggles by with just one screen (can you imagine?), and therefore cannot test the solution :-)

If an application's window is on the wrong monitor, you can move it:

1. Put the mouse on the application's icon on the task bar
   so that the window preview appears above it.
2. Right-click the window preview.
3. If the word *Move* is grayed out in the menu, click *Restore*,
   then right-click the preview again.
4. Click *Move*.
5. Press and hold the *left arrow* key to move the window to the main monitor.
6. Press *Enter*.

Shades of what Donald Knuth (is said to have) said: "I've proved the code is correct, but I haven't run it so I have no idea if it works."

There are few pieces of music finer than Schubert's Great Symphony.

Down at heel?

There are people — I'm not one of them — who believe in some idiocy called "intelligent design". How intelligently-designed is a blister?


On that note, I shall hobble off to bed. G'night.



1  "Local to Winchester", says our Guild Navigator.
2  Pulling the same trick back in my iMac days immediately and annoyingly reduced the vertical resolution of the OS X desktop to match that of the Kuro.