Windows 8.1 Tiled “Metro” Apps Stopped Working! Here’s a Fix

I own both Macs and PCs. I try not to be too much of a fan-boy and stay religiously neutral.  Both operating systems start to feel their age after being subjected to accumulation of apps and use.  I can run both for weeks on end without rebooting. But I have only been running Windows 8.1 for less than 2 months and I already ran into a severe quirk for which there was no obvious solution, none of the new, “Metro”, tiled applications would run. Trying to untangle this led to frustrating dead-end after dead-end. This kind of bad behavior is what gives Windows a bad reputation.

Jump down to the solution if you don’t care about the back-story. Continue reading Windows 8.1 Tiled “Metro” Apps Stopped Working! Here’s a Fix

Bring the Quick Launch Back (no need for “pinned” TaskBar Items)

Quick Launch Win8.1When I get a new product, I like trying out new features long enough to be able to evaluate whether they might be useful. Windows 7 introduced the “Pin to Taskbar” feature to replace the Quick Launch toolbar of prior versions of Windows. I found that the “Pin” feature provides no advantages over the Quick Launch toolbar and some disadvantages. If you have not used this feature before—in some XP installations, Quick Launch was not activated by default—you might try this out to see if it improves your efficiency in using Windows. Windows 7 and 8 have made this more difficult, so you’ll need to follow the instructions, following the break, to bring it back. Continue reading Bring the Quick Launch Back (no need for “pinned” TaskBar Items)

Resell My iPad

I’m really bad about replacing my gadgets while they still have value (anyone want a top-of-the-line Sony 36″ Trinitron XBR TV?). The issue is, the existing one still works well, so I don’t need to upgrade. But the downside of holding onto devices for too long is that they become completely worthless to anyone else.

So, while I don’t need to replace my 3rd Gen iPad, it’d be nice to resell it to subsidize the cost of the new iPads… with that I looked around to see what I could get for it.  I thought it might be worth enumerating the places where you can sell easily; so with that, I excluded eBay and CraigsList. The following shows a point-in-time (18.Oct 2014) anecdotal example of the variation in price offerings:

Source Offer
Apple $115 credit
Gazelle $120 30-day price-lock
BestBuy $185 credit
NextWorth $125 30-day price-lock
Glyde $187.54
Amazon $182.65 credit
SellYourMac $140 30-day offer-lock
BuyMyTronics $135
SellYourCell $120
iSellMyiPhone $144  14-day offer-lock
uSell $136.80
CashforiPhones iPhones only

How it Works

All the sites, listed here work, more or less, the same:

  1. Rate your device (“like new” means, would you give it as a gift?)
  2. Print out a pre-paid shipping label or wait for shipping materials.
  3. Send the device in.
  4. Receive payment (assuming your description was accurate).


Apple uses the services of Brightstar to handle its buy-back program. You pack your device with your own or packaging sent; they pay the shipping in either case. Once they receive the device you’ll receive an Apple store credit.


This is the most advertised of the buy-back sites. Gazelle allows you to submit and accept an offer, after-which they send you a self-addressed, postage paid box for you to ship the device to them. You normally have 30-days with the offer price locked in, to do that. Once they receive the device they send you the money in various forms, PayPal or check. You can also elect to receive an Amazon credit and get an extra 5%. Or you can have the amount donated to charity.


You have the convenience (or inconvenience) of bringing your device to a BestBuy for a credit. You can also send your device for credit that will be emailed back, after they receive the device.


NextWorth is similar to Gazelle, with a 30-day offer price lockin and free shipping. Payment distributed via PayPal, a Discover prepaid card, check, or Target gift-card. They partner with Target to allow you to bring your device into a local store for immediate payment.


Glyde provides an easy way to sell your device—an easy alternative to eBay or Craigslist. They present a recommended price that you can adjust higher or lower. After setting your price, they provide you with a shipping kit to send them the device and they sell at your price and keep >10%. The $187.54, shown above, is based on their $212 recommended selling price. You can use your payment to purchase other items from Glyde, transfer to your bank account or, for $2., have a paper check sent.


In addition the eBay-like way that Amazon allows you to sell goods, they are providing a specific way to sell your device directly to Amazon for credit. You’ll need to pack the device but they provide free shipping.


Despite their name, SellYourMac buys all sorts of Apple devices. They lock their offer price for 30-days within which you print the shipping label they provide and package your device. They pay via PayPal, check, or credit.


Pays via PayPal or check once they receive the device, with theirs or your own packaging—paid by BuyMyTronics.


SellYourCell is a simple site. Pack your device, slap on their pre-paid shipping label and they send you a check or credit your PayPal account.


After submitting your offer, you’ll be required to submit photos of the device to confirm its condition after which iSellMyiPhone will send a FedEx label to cover shipping. They will lock their offer price for 14-days to allow time for them to receive the device—short, but their offer is higher than  those offering 30-day lock-in. Once they test the device, they send payment via check or, for a 3% fee an instant PayPal credit.


uSell coordinates the selling of your device to commercial buyers. You are shown the offering price for your device. Once you accept, they will send pre-paid packaging. Payment is via check or PayPal, upon receipt.


Real Programmers Don’t Eat Quiche

Thinking more about programmers’ lack of understanding about how computers work and their inability to program in C, that I alluded to previously, makes me say to myself “Real Programmers Use C” or “Real Programmers Don’t Use Interpreted Languages”.

I hear of no calls for C, while there are lots of call for the inefficient, interpreted languages—PHP, JavaScript, Ruby, and Python—which drive most of the “web”. These languages insulate programmers from having to know too much about how computer hardware works. Because of this, programmers never develop the innate sensitivity to computer performance. This results in our needing increasingly powerful computers to do, essentially, the same amount of work (the amount of useful work done is not proportional to increasing computing hardware performance).

Real Programmers Don’t Eat Quiche

Way back before the web was programmable, like it is today, there were a list of “facts” defining real programmers:

Variations of this list were passed around via company mail (snail mail, mail-kart, and pre-“email”). Posters of this list hung on the office walls of developers who considered themselves “real programmers.”

This, of course, was triggered by the 1982 book, “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche.” An essay appeared in Datamation magazine, “Real Programmers Don’t Use Pascal,” extrapolating on the geek version of this list (it isn’t clear whether the lists spawned the essay or vice versa).

Movie Review: Need for Speed Movie

Need for speed movie posterSometimes movies are exactly what you’d expect of them; when it’s a bad movie, that can actually be okay, so long as it has some redeeming features. If you were teenage male car-nut, the Need for Speed movie (leveraging the popularity and theme of the namesake video game by EA), then you would appreciate seeing rarefied super-cars on the big-screen. If you wanted something more than an action-packed, car-crash filled, movie with a typical American anti-hero hero story; then you should spend two hours of your time doing or watching something else.

Aaron Paul walked in front of the NfS cameras the day after wrapping shooting of the Breaking Bad TV series that made him famous. Though he trades his hoodie of the TV show for a leather jacket, not much was asked of the actor for the new character—hopefully we will see if he has a broader range of acting skills in future roles. The brooding anti-hero character has proven popular since James Dean‘s character in Rebel Without a Cause and is used to cliché-effect in NfS; well-done in a predictable fashion.

Since the cars were as much a star of the movie as the actors—bigger, actually—it is worth noting that this is a car-porn movie. They picked some of the most notable, to car-enthusiasts, examples of super-cars to represent. And, by “represent,” I mean faked… these cars were no more real than porn stars in the other movie genre. But they were well done, being one of the few unique aspects of the movie. However, they all get smashed up, which doesn’t show much respect for the reason which they’d chosen them in the first place—I guess that is typical of porn-stars.

Nothing about the story is based in any kind of reality. The actions of the characters barely makes any sense. But if you can fill in the story gaps with cliché assumptions and appreciate seeing super-car porn at speed, then your two hours won’t be completely wasted.

Offered: C Programmer for Hire

C Programmer for Hire There are some projects that are best done in C. Do you have a project requirement best served by C but cannot find anyone who can write bug-free C code? A majority of programmers have difficulty manipulating data at the bits and bytes level and have little sensitivity for the performance impact of their code. Reduce risk and unpredictability in C code-quality. Hire me! @wrlee.

It’s been a while since I have seen a call for C programmers. I’ve been interviewing a lot of web programmers lately. Few of them can program in C. One word of interview-advice… if you don’t have a reasonable ability to program in C, do not offer to solve programming problems in C; there are simple mistakes that tip me to the fact that you have never written a working C program—and reveal that you do not really understand how a computer works. Use pseudo-code and focus on the problem at hand and you’ll be further ahead.

PC Build — Power-Supplies

2014 May.24 — Added info about efficiency and active-PFC that I forgot to include, the first time around

I’ve jumped into the middle of my series of notes on building a PC. I’ll write the intro to this series, later. I start with this, now, because this is what I spent too many hours researching, this weekend.

Corsair AX860i PSU
Image source:
The power-supply is the gas-tank for your PC. It is also the refinery for the fuel. An insufficient power-supply and your machine will not run very well; bad power from the power-supply and your components can burn out, becoming useless pieces of metal and silicon. Continue reading PC Build — Power-Supplies

Personal Project List

I have more personal projects in mind than I have taken the time to start. Too many Internet distractions, TV distractions, and general malaise. When my tweet (above) landed on my Facebook timeline, my friends were compelled to respond; which motivated me to, at least, write this list down (the first step to success—well steps 3 and 5 according to “How to Plan for a Successful Future“). Continue reading Personal Project List

Trivial Ramblings — Ruminations > 140 Characters [technology, software applications, photography, politics, skiing, …]