New Macs, function key strips

By most measures, Apple is well overdue a refresh of its Mac and MacBook lines: 2016 has seen nothing on that score, and the latest press event announced for next week doesn’t really tell us any more. One of the more persistent rumours for the new machines, whenever they may turn up, states that the row of function keys on the new MacBooks will be replaced by some kind of context-sensitive “touch strip”

Sweet baby Moses, if this is true then I hope to all that is holy that Apple know what they’re doing. Anyone who uses Lenovo hardware will recall the (justified) screams that greeted the Carbon X1. Here’s a reminder:

The Lenovo Carbon X1 function key strip aberration

My goodness but that was an aberration.

VMWare Fusion tip: drag n drop

I have a recurring, not to mention infuriating, issue with Fusion which has existed since I started using the software in those heady beta days (2007?). To wit: drag n drop from the host to the guest OS just stops working for no apparent reason. Occasionally, this extends to copy and paste too. One way to address this is to restart the VM (bah!) or when it gets really bad, repair the VMWare Tools installation. Nasty.

When the problem happened again today, I decided to dig a little deeper, and found fragments of commands in various web pages / discussion fora. This pair of commands does the trick for me, so I’m posting here in the hope I find them again (this tip is for when using a Windows guest):

  1. Open the Windows command line as an administrator (important that) and issue this to blat VMWare Tools for now: taskkill /F /IM vmtoolsd.exe
  2. Now issue this command (doesn’t need to be as an administrator): "C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Tools\vmtoolsd.exe" -n vmusr (you may need to adjust this for your VMWare Tools installation, although that is the default location).

And there you have it: basically a forced restart of the VMWare Tools layer.

The new post-fact age

It’s terrifying, especially hot on the heels of the brexit farce here in the UK. Consider this comment, made in a book four years ago and derided at the time:

The Republican Party has become an insurgent outlier in American politics — ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.

We’re all going back in time.

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I’m a software architect / developer / general IT wrangler specialising in web, mobile web and middleware using things like node.js, Java, C#, PHP, HTML5 and more.

Best described as a simpleton, but kindly. You can read more here.