Looking For Quacks In The Pavement

Month: May 2023

Satisfactory – Right Turn, Clyde

I wonder if anyone is going to clock that reference. Hmm.

At any rate, I said a few days ago that I intended to come back once I had the process worked out for right-turn bypasses at railway roundabouts in Satisfactory. The idea being that there’s no point in sending the train through 270 degrees of cornering and eating up all pathway vectors if all it needs to do is “hang a right at the junction.” Minimizing the time spent in the roundabout block is good for any train which needs to utilize it.

Let’s show off the finished product right at the start. Including the slightly janky bit just back from the center caused by (once again) siting the roundabout too close to my paired support pillars.

So here’s how I make that happen, more or less. (Circumstances sometimes require some creative fudging. That’s the game in a nutshell though, isn’t it?)

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Your Bitness Is Insufficient

I spent part of the workday making a script to perform two tasks on all machines at a particular client site:

  1. Remove a specific named user from the local “Administrators” group on a PC.
  2. Remove that user from the PC entirely.

Since I’ve been moving toward using PowerShell rather than various (potentially abandonware) utilities for handling command-line scripted jobs, I looked into if there were simple commands to perform those two tasks. Good news! Remove-LocalGroupMember and Remove-LocalUser exist!

The bad news? Microsoft’s documentation for both of those “cmdlets” stresses the fact that if you are on a 64-bit version of Windows and you try to use them in a 32-bit console, those cmdlets aren’t available at all.

Guess whose RMM system hasn’t yet gotten around to making 64-bit agent software? Surprise, that’d be ConnectWise’s “Automate” product. What does this mean? It means that the Automate agent’s “commands” are sent to a 32-bit console. Exactly what I don’t want.

Not to worry, however: With some testing I found that I can invoke PowerShell 7 (which lives separately from the “native” installed PowerShell) via the remote agent and those cmdlets are available! A heck of a workaround, but I’ll take what I can get. On the downside, the client for whom I needed this script didn’t yet have PowerShell 7 installed, not on any of their machines. This led to some time spent figuring out a fix for the PS7 installers not downloading reliably from our S3-compatible bucket. (Oh hey, Github links direct to the PS7 MSIs, thanks for existing.)

So… with PS7 deployed to the client’s machines (after I updated some automation to make sure all clients’ machines will get the PS7 product and/or update) I successfully ran my new script to eradicate the unwanted user account. A day well spent.

Battle Tapes – Texture

2023 has, no joke, been a great year so far for new music. We got new material from some of my favorite current acts, such as Mono Inc and VNV Nation. We even get a new Garbage EP. (I might cover that at a later date.) Never mind Peter Gabriel and his “one new song per full moon all year” thing, because he’s such an utter nerd.

This, though. This album. I’ve anticipated this release the most since singles started dropping for it last year: “If Only” in July, “In Too Deep” in September, and “One Night in Burbank” just a couple months ago. Not a dud among ’em.

So obviously one of my first tasks this morning was to pick up the full album (oh 7Digital, I like your service but hate that you’re PayPal-only) and dive in. Right away I noticed a couple of things, though.

“Weight of the World” is here, and that single dropped in 2019. It was used in the first season of the gen:LOCK animated series and appears on that show’s soundtrack as well, along with “Syntax,” which is… also here.

So out of ten songs total, two are a few years old and three more are lead-off singles. That’s not a bad thing! I’m glad those two particular songs have escaped cartoon-soundtrack obscurity if nothing else. It just leaves me only half a record of new material to dig into, that’s all. (Not that I avoided the singles and older material while listening to all of Texture, because they’re all very good.)

Luckily the first brand new song to get my attention was, ah, “Brand New.” Right at the start of the album, how convenient! As for the rest, not all of them are as strong as the singles but only one (“Back In The Game”) actively annoyed me. (Look, even Daft Punk could only barely get away with using one short string of words as the entire repeating lyric for a dance song.)

Is Texture going to be my top album of 2023? Hard to say, honestly. I feel like being made up half of songs I already liked from months (and years) ago is a bit of a handicap, but on the other hand… I really like those songs. It’s a solid contender if nothing else.

But we’re not even halfway into the year. Have we already heard all the good new records we’re going to get? (I mean, other than Peter Gabriel’s slow-drip album release project.) I couldn’t tell ya; I’m infamously bad at predictions. I look forward to finding out, though.

I just wanna rock thru paradise

(Look, the last songs I listened to before starting this post were all by Midnight Oil and I couldn’t resist mangling the first line of “Pictures” for no good reason whatsoever. Deal with it.)

If you’ve known me for a decent number of years, you know I can’t resist making a “living room multimedia” setup. The most recent rig is an Intel NUC that I planned to run Kodi on, since it does a decent enough job at reading ratings & other tags from my music library files. Unfortunately, what it doesn’t do is offer much in the way of remote controls anymore. The product’s always been more focused on watching videos than listening to music anyway, so I suppose it was inevitable that I’d eventually tire of its shenanigans.

So today I tried switching to Mopidy. Basically, it’s a service-level process which provides access to your music library and will play whatever you select through the local machine’s audio hardware. Perfect!

Only. Well. Not actually perfect.

For starters, Mopidy and Pulseaudio had to be made to talk to one another. (I goofed the first time I tried to follow the instructions to make this work, because of course I did.) And I needed a front-end. (I’ve gone through several, none of them particularly great.) And then I ran into the biggest, most annoying problem: Mopidy and its available front-ends don’t care about tags (other than artist, title, album, and maybe artwork).

I need the ratings, and I also need the Mood tag. Oh, and I want to be able to make smart playlists. That, at least, Kodi could do!

I’m afraid I’m going back to the drawing board. Again.

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