Theme, Windows

MilSpecGreen Windows Theme

MilSpecGreen Windows 10 Apps

MilSpecGreen Windows 10 Apps

This is a high contrast theme that I can actually endure using late at night without getting frustrated. This theme works great on Windows 10 and Windows 8. I even did a version for Windows 7 to make all of my systems match. Hope you get some use out of them. The download links and screenshots are below.

MilSpecGreen Windows 10 Start Menu

MilSpecGreen Windows 10 Start Menu

Sore eyes caused me to create this theme. I actually didn’t want to create a theme at all at first. All I really wanted to do at first was to change the background color of Windows Explorer by changing values in the Registry the way I had in previous versions of Windows. Now, in Windows 10, that’s a no-go. I guess that’s why many of these little tweaks were never officially documented in the first place.

There are applications out there that will change the colors of everything on the operating system. Microsoft should already have all of these color settings available to me – not just in high contrast mode. Refusing to purchase one of those skinning applications, I searched around the Internet and found no simple answer. Some recommended that I stop using Explorer and use something else! Windows Explorer is the shell of the OS, anything else just rides on top of it adding overhead. The best answer I came across was in a Windows 10 forum that told me to customize a high contrast theme. So I did.

MilSpecGreen Windows 8 Start Screen

MilSpecGreen Windows 8 Start Screen

Customizing A Windows High Contrast Theme

Microsoft has included a couple of high contrast themes in every version of their OS, none of which I could bear looking at for more than the minute it took to decide that I didn’t like what I was looking at. Customizing a high contrast theme isn’t hard at all: just save a high contrast theme for sharing by right clicking on it in the theme picker, unzip the theme you saved with a program such as 7zip, change the colors in the theme file in the root of the unzipped folder, open the theme file you edited up by right clicking on it and hitting the Open menu item, then save it for sharing all over again. The colors are in the [Control Panel\Colors] section and are RGB values that range from 0 to 255 that are separated by spaces. There’s probably a way to do it with the settings dialogs too – but who wants to deal with that? Not too tough – anyone can do it.

Windows 8 Desktop Apps

MilSpecGreen Windows 8 Desktop Apps

My IE11 menu chooser works in high contrast mode except for the selection highlighting; which rots. I’ll be putting a checkmark glyph to indicate selection in the next version. If you’re using my app just hit reset and choose what you need over again if you get confused. Everything works perfectly except for the fact that selections aren’t indicated. My apologies for the inconveniences if any.

MilSpecGreen Windows 8 Tablet Browser Mode

MilSpecGreen Windows 8 Tablet Browser Mode

Internet Browsing

You’re probably going to want to browse with one of the Microsoft browsers when your eyes are really sore as they are probably the most readable in high contrast mode. Firefox and Seamonkey actually work in high contrast mode but aren’t as readable as Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge in my opinion. Google Chrome will detect high contrast mode and offer their addon and a dark theme that doesn’t match this theme, So you’re probably better off leaving Chrome alone for normal (not high contrast) browsing. (Chrome only asks once) Opera is just Opera with high contrast chrome. The screenshot I provide shows that Opera has no address in the address bar – this is fixed in Opera Next (beta, developer…) at the time of this writing so its probably fixed in the main release if you’re reading this in the future.

MilSpecGreen Windows 10 Browser Comparison

MilSpecGreen Windows 10 Browser Comparison

PDF Viewing

You may also want to use Microsoft Edge to view your PDF files instead of Adobe Reader. Adobe Reader displays PDF files with the color settings that were set in the file. Edge will display the PDF with a theme colored background and text making it easier on your eyes.

MilSpecGreen PDF Reader Comparison

MilSpecGreen PDF Reader Comparison

Customizing The Command Prompt

Surprisingly, using high contrast mode does not change the command prompt in any way. If you want the command prompt to match the theme you’re left with the task of changing the defaults yourself. Its easy to do by clicking on the program icon in the upper left corner of the opened window and choosing the Defaults menu item.

Customizing the Windows 10 Command Prompt

Customizing the Windows 10 Command Prompt

The Annoying Things That Are Beyond This Theme

The button chrome in Windows 7 Media player and Photo viewer has a black background and white text (see Windows 7 screenshot). If you use these “classic” versions in Windows 10 it will unfortunately look this way as well. There is probably a setting for these colors somewhere inside of the registry.

MilSpecGreen Windows 7 Apps

MilSpecGreen Windows 7 Apps

MilSpecGreen Windows 7 Start Menu

MilSpecGreen Windows 7 Start Menu

The shortcuts on the desktop in all versions of this theme have white text that turn green when hovered over. In my opinion the shortcut text should be bright green like the rest of the theme.

Some Application Frameworks Are Not High Contrast Enabled – Adobe AIR Transparency and System Menus Are

The boxes outlining some of the taskbar and system tray icons on Windows 10 seem to be a fact of life indicating high contrast mode.

MilSpecGreen Windows Start Screen All Apps

MilSpecGreen Windows Start Screen All Apps

MilSpecGreen Windows 8 Weather Animation

MilSpecGreen Windows 8 Weather Animation

Download Links

Download MilSpecGreen Theme For Windows 8 and Windows 10

Download MilSpecGreen Theme For Windows 7

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Windows

Windows Admin Command Prompt Here and Desktop Shutdown Menu Items

Just a couple of Windows tweaks scripted into nice small nullsoft installers for convenience. This way if you want to remove them at any time in the future you just uninstall them as you would any other program, Although they were scripted on and for Windows 10, they should also work for all older versions of Windows as well.

Admin Command Prompt Here Menu Item

The Admin Command Prompt Here menu item will appear when you right click on, or inside of, any folder in Windows Explorer. It provide you with an elevated command prompt when you click on it. If you’re in the business of using command line tools often this menu item is a real time saver.

Download Installer Here

Desktop Shutdown Menu Item

You know what’s nice? Right clicking on the desktop and clicking on the Shutdown menu item to exit Windows. If you’re on a desktop system you’ll never stop using this one.

Download Installer Here

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Analyze-It, Browser Extension, Internet Explorer, Javascript, Look-It-Up, Plurk-It, Share-It, Windows

Internet Explorer Context Menu Chooser Application Version 2

Analyze-it menu chooser

Analyze-it menu chooser

With this new version the Analyze-it context menus were updated to the most recent version. Analyze-it contained so many menu items that I had to add a counter to the interface to indicate when there are more than the twenty menu item visible limit. The menu counter is only active for page context (basic context menu the page provides – nothing selected in other words) menu items. I suppose when there are more than twenty selected text context menus I’ll have to add another one; this is good for now. The counter only indicates when you are over the visible limit, it doesn’t prevent you from going over, which helps you fine tune your choices.

Analyze-it context menus

Analyze-it context menus

I had to break out Analyze-it into three logical, domain based sections, making it easier to choose the menu items you would like to use.

Analyze-it-Scritch menu chooser

Analyze-it-Scritch menu chooser

 

Scritch menu items

Scritch menu items

Scritch.org has its own section in the application now, making it easier to discern their tools from the rest.

ViewDNS menu chooser

ViewDNS menu chooser

ViewDNS provides a group of helpful online tools on their site that I have included menu items for in this release. The application is now up to date with my other add-ons hosted in various places. Again, if you are running a tablet exclusively, this application isn’t for you. This application is used with Internet Explorer not Microsoft Edge (the tablet browser included with Windows 10) . If you are on a Surface device and if you use Internet Explorer with your keyboard and mouse – this will give you extra context menus.

ViewDNS menu items

ViewDNS menu items

There is a newer version available – see post here

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Browser Extension, Firefox, Javascript, Useful-New-Tab-Page

Firefox Useful New Tab Page Now in the Public Index at the Mozilla AMO

Firefox Useful New Tab Page

Firefox Useful New Tab Page

Firefox Useful New Tab Page addon is out of experimental hosting at Mozilla now and is available here; https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/useful-new-tab-page/

I also placed the source code for it on Github here: https://github.com/timtocci/Firefox-Useful-New-Tab-Page in case anyone wants to check out the source code.

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Which is darker A or B? Look to the right for an answer.

There is something to be said about how the human brain interprets everything in this picture. On its surface it’s a picture of a gray and darker gray checkerboard with a cylinder sitting upon it with a shadow being thrown upon the checkerboard. The mind perceives the two squares as different colors. It logically expects them to be different as a result of the concrete pattern established in the checkerboard itself. Because the change in color is introduced equally across all squares on the checkerboard until the color in lighter gray square is equal to that of the darker dray square with a gradient that mimics a shadow, the mind if deceived into believing that the two squares are different shades of gray. If you see a gradient (if you do they’ll be ever changing) in either of the two stripes inside the right picture, that’s just your mind trying to rationalize the illogical by reevaluating and subtly filling in what can be perceived as logical. It’s a flaw in logic, not in your eyes.

Now abstract it…

Source: http://web.mit.edu/persci/people/adelson/checkershadow_illusion.html

JediMindTrick

Image – Talk about a gray area in the mind – wow!

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Prattsville N.Y.

This years Mudfest festival was covered by the local news stations. The finale of the fireworks show was better this year – really rocked the valley. No, I didn’t record the fireworks as I was too busy enjoying myself; maybe next year. Happy festivus and may the fall be as beautiful as the summer!

http://wnyt.com/article/stories/s3892060.shtml

http://news10.com/2015/08/28/annual-mudfest-celebrates-prattsvilles-resiliency/

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Apache, FlightPHP, Javascript, PHP

Setting up FlightPHP to work with Backbonejs

FlightPHP and Backbonejs work well together inherently by design. Even though the two frameworks are written in two different languages and are designed for different tiers in your enterprise application development design, its hard to ignore the ease of integrating the two.. Most Backbone examples you see posted on the Internet involves node.js on the server; which makes sense considering you program both in javascript. However, the most common (and cheapest) hosting on the Internet is shared host PHP hosting. As long as your load is relatively light you can get really great results out of a shared PHP host as the new PHP runs virtually as fast as C++ on the server (takes about 2x the RAM though).

http://flightphp.com/learn
http://backbonejs.org/

How Backbone works with FlightPHP

Backbone is a REST-centric library. Basically what that means is that you have to set up four endpoints in your FlightPHP index file for every collection of models in your application. With Backbone, you will not be setting up AJAX calls – the library handles all of the traffic cop stuff for you automatically. Using a Backbone model: a save uses a POST if the model does not have an id set on it from a previous save, and uses a PUT to update the record if it does have an id; a get without and id in the path returns the array of JSON objects (used by Backbone.Collection), including an id in the path returns that record; and a model.destroy uses a DELETE verb to indicate a record delete.

Your CRUD functions will map to the GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE HTTP verbs on your server.

/* basic PHP pseudocode structure for handling backbone CRUD functionality */
// Create
Flight::route('POST /rest/somecollectionname', function($id){
    // posting a new record (saving the model)
        // return the object saved with new id created by db
});
// Read
Flight::route('GET /rest/somecollectionname(/@id)', function($id){
    // getting a collection or a single record if id was provided
        // return an array of javascript objects or a single
        // object if an id was provided
});
// Update
Flight::route('PUT /rest/somecollectionname/@id', function($id){
    // updating a record (saving a model with an id)
        // return updated object
});
// Delete
Flight::route('DELETE /rest/somecollectionname/@id', function($id){
    // deleting a record (destroying a model)
});

Flight also allows you to map these endpoints to a separate class which is probably the best way to go if you are working on an API that’s larger than a couple of endpoints.

Apache issues – something Node users never have to deal with

On some shared hosts PUT and DELETE requests are blocked by default. You’ll get a 403 Denied error on the first PUT or DELETE attempt if these HTTP verbs are blocked. Its, unfortunately, a fact of life that has to be dealt with. Apache allows PUT and DELETE by default, so its probably the way they have their virtual hosts configuration set (usually because of security issues). You can sometimes (probably) get away with a .htaccess directive to overcome this shortfall. Other than that I recommend you contact whatever host you have for a solution.

# try this in .htaccess
# https://gist.github.com/umidjons/9107445
<Limit GET POST PUT DELETE>
order deny,allow
allow from all
</Limit>

Even if your shared host vehemently denies you access to these verbs, a workaround is relatively easy to script. For instance: add an updateid to your model to indicate an update and handle it as a new record on the client, etc. It shouldn’t come down to that though (a paying customer is a paying customer).

If you are running your own server you should open “/etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf” as root and look for something that looks like:

<Directory /home/*>
AllowOverride All
Options -MultiViews -Indexes FollowSymlinks IncludesNoExec +Includes
<Limit GET POST OPTIONS PROPFIND>
Order allow,deny
Allow from all
</Limit>
<LimitExcept GET POST OPTIONS PROPFIND>
Order deny,allow
Deny from all
</LimitExcept>
</Directory>

Anywhere you see “GET POST” just add put and delete : “GET POST PUT DELETE”. Then restart httpd server with “/sbin/service httpd restart” and they should work. Also, here is a link to a good how-to for Apache in case you get confused: https://www3.ntu.edu.sg/home/ehchua/programming/howto/Apache_HowToConfigure.html
Apache Docs
http://httpd.apache.org/docs/current/

In many cases you might not even need those two verbs. Many people use Backbonejs to display and sort data on the client without ever needing to use PUT or DELETE.

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