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Hard wrap text to window width #

Metapad has a handy feature called Commit Word Wrap which inserts carriage returns into text based on the current window width (the command to remove them is Unwrap Lines).

The same functionality was available in TextWrangler 4.0.1 (download) but removed as of 4.5. Here's how to use it:

/mac | Jul 15, 2018

A rare new addition to the aging catalog #

Green Award SNOW (Steganographic Nature Of Whitespace) [31k] {S}+ Conceal (and optionally encrypt) messages in ASCII text by appending whitespace to the end of lines. Screenshot

/windows | Jul 13, 2018

Office cannot verify the license for this product #

After cloning a Windows install to a new drive, the following error appeared when launching Word, Excel, or PowerPoint:
Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010 cannot verify the license for this product. You should repair the Office program by using Control Panel.

Microsoft's own "Microsoft Office cannot verify the license for this product" error when you start an Office app suggests disabling compatibility mode - no change.

Help Desk Geek's Fix MS Office "Cannot Verify License" Error Message offers four methods:

  1. Change time & reactivate
  2. System Restore
  3. Delete or rename C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\OfficeSoftwareProtectionPlatform\tokens.dat
  4. Uninstall & reinstall Office

none of which worked initially, as the Activation Wizard unhelpfully offered:

Telephone Activation is no longer supported for your product.

Happily, Microsoft published a new number: +1-866-421-7141. Used with method 4 above to resolve.

/windows | Jul 13, 2018

Autoreply to SMS, MMS, and iMessage text messages without jailbreaking or driving #

by leveraging iOS 11's Do Not Disturb while driving feature:
  1. Settings > Do Not Disturb
  2. enable Do Not Disturb > DO NOT DISTURB WHILE DRIVING > Activate > Manually > back > Auto-Reply > enter desired mesage
  3. Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls > tap plus symbol next to Do Not Disturb While Driving
  4. swipe up to reveal Control Center > tap automobile icon to enable autoreplies


/misc | Jul 05, 2018

NVMe Secure Erase #

posted to the docs section.

/nix | Jun 30, 2018

Add SRT subtitles to DVD / VIDEO_TS without re-encoding #


  1. Rip DVD to VIDEO_TS

  2. Losslessly convert and merge desired VOBs in VIDEO_TS to a single MPG1 via VOB2MPG or ffmpeg, e.g.,
    ffmpeg -i 'concat:VTS_01_1.VOB|VTS_01_2.VOB|VTS_01_3.VOB' -acodec copy -vcodec copy combined.mpg

  3. Run DVDStyler and select new project options (e.g., DVD-9 (8.5GB), NTSC 720x480, AC3, etc) > OK > No template

  4. File browser > drag MPG created in step 1 to the Titleset Manager at the bottom of the program window

  5. Right click "Menu 1" in the Titleset Manager > Delete > Yes

  6. Right click "Title 1" in the Titleset Manager > Properties...

    1. Verify that video and audio are set to "Copy" and that "do not remultiplex/transcode" is checked

    2. Delete "call last menu;" from "Post commands:"2

    3. Click the green plus symbol > select your SRT file3 > Open

    4. Click the ... button next to "Subtitle: srt"

    5. Select desired font face/size (the default 28pt Arial worked best, but there are many fans of PT Sans Narrow Bold) and fill color (light gray was more pleasing than the default yellow) > OK > OK

  7. File > Burn DVD... > select "just generate" to create new VIDEO_TS with subtitles > Start


  1. Merely concatenating VOBs via VOBMerge or cat *.vob > merged.vob resulted in problems with the playback timeline and location. See VOB files reporting wrong playing time and DVDVob2Mpg's homepage. The latter states in part, "VOB and VRO files contain the MPEG, but also various other data, and headers may be incomplete or wrong etc. Because of that, VOB and VRO files typically don't play well using media players ... Typical problems are: timing issues, not being able to show the progress properly, no way to skip forward, crashes, missing audio, audio off sync, only showing the first 5 seconds of the video etc."

  2. To resolve "Cannot jump to menu" error.

  3. Had to resave SRT in Notepad with UTF-8 encoding to resolve "Error 42 -- Illegal byte sequence -- decoding subtitle file at approx line..."

Alternate methods utilizing SubtitleCreator

/misc | Jun 28, 2018

Saving RealAudio streams and extracting audio without RealPlayer #

  1. Save audio.rm to stream.dump:
    $ mplayer -dumpstream -bandwidth 20000000 -cache 30000 -noframedrop rtsp://example.com/audio.rm

  2. Direct audio output of stream.dump to audiodump.wav:
    $ mplayer -ao pcm stream.dump


Wikipedia entry on RealAudio file extensions:

RealAudio files were originally identified by a filename extension of .ra (for Real Audio). In 1997, RealNetworks also began offering a video format called RealVideo. The combination of the audio and video formats was called RealMedia and used the file extension .rm. However, the latest version of RealProducer, Real's flagship encoder, reverted to using .ra for audio-only files, and began using .rv for video files (with or without audio), and .rmvb for VBR video files. The .ram (Real Audio Metadata) and .smil (Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language) file formats are sometimes encountered as links from web pages (see Streaming Audio section below).

/nix | Jun 17, 2018

NoFan CS-80 drive brackets are NOT screwless #

Purchased a NoFan CS-80 PC case after reading that it "offers 9 EZ-SWAP drive bays and screwless installation" and is "conveniently designed so that a drive can be easily attached or detached from a bay without any extra tool":

NoFan CS-80 drive bay trays are NOT screwless

Should have glanced at the manual first, which shows 2.5" and 3.5" drives being screwed into the caddy:

Is this what you would call screwless?

Was expecting something actually tool-less, like this Corsair hard drive tray, which is at least screwless for 3.5" drives (2.5" drives mount to the bottom with screws):

Corsair CC-8930040 hard drive tray

Even better would be something completely tray-less, like the Corsair Carbide 200R's drive cage (though its plastic tabs should really be metal):

Corsair Carbide 200R tool free drive cage

/misc | Jun 17, 2018

ATA Sanitize and hdparm #

posted to the docs section.

/nix | Jun 10, 2018

Can Data from a Zero-Filled Hard Drive be Recovered? #

posted to the docs section.

/misc | Jun 04, 2018

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