Subscription Software Revisited: SnagIt

The trend to make everything into a subscription service instead of a pay-once use-forever model is well-established. I have defended it for professional software, and I am a mostly happy user of Microsoft365. Still, I must admit that I felt mildly annoyed when my favorite screen capture program, SnagIt, announced they would be switching to a subscription-only model.

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Visiting Prague

Over Easter, I took a short trip to Prague with parts of the family. It is a fascinating place – full of tourists and tourist businesses, but still feeling informal and homey. We tried to climb as many towers as we possibly could and visited a ton of sights in a few intense days.

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Adventures Traveling to and from Italy

The big family vacation his summer was a cruise in the Mediterranean. Most cruises sail from Italian ports, unfortunately. Traveling to and within Italy is a bit of a challenge, resulting in far more heartburn and stress than necessary. Here is our story.

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The HidrateSpark… Internet of Drinking Bottles

Earlier this Summer, I received a HidrateSpark PRO water bottle as a gift. It is a fascinating piece of “smart” technology. The bottle itself is a decent piece of engineering and a somewhat practical product. But the overall product concept just strikes me as mostly contrived. The associated app is almost comical in its attempts to turn a piece of hardware into a “service”.

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That’s Odd: How iCue and Windows 11 Ruin Simics Performance

While working on some screenshots for an upcoming blog, I noticed something that something was off with the performance of Simics on my Windows 11 laptop. The CPU load did not quite go as high as I am used to – typically, compute-intense run should get close to 100% processor load using a single host thread to execute the simulation. Instead, I got to no more than about 50%, which was decidedly odd. I also had a screenshot from a few days earlier that showed some 90% CPU load. Turns out the culprit was a combination of factors, including the Windows 11 scheduler and the Corsair iCUE software pack.

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Berlin – Cold War, Third Reich, and Ukraine

A few weeks ago I visited Berlin. A fantastically interesting city, and much more affordable and accessible than places like New York or London. However, it is almost comical how much of what you see ends up being about either the Third Reich or the Cold War and the DDR. The war in Ukraine was also noticeably present.  

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Paste as Plain Text

Windows PowerToys is a fantastic set of utilities for Windows, and it just got better with the addition of “Paste as Plain Text”. Just like the mouse pointer locator I blogged about before, it is a small thing that you get used to and immediately notice if it is absent.

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ChatGPT and Legal

In previous three blog posts (1,2,3) about ChatGPT in particular and large language models in general, I touched on what they can do, what they cannot do, what they seem not to do, how they fall down in funny ways, and why I think they are fundamentally flawed for many applications. There is one more aspect left to consider – the legal and licensing side. I am not a lawyer, I am not an expert, but it seems obvious that there is a huge problem. There are also clear questions about business morals and what the right thing to do would be. I also doubt the business viability of LLMs in the way they are currently trained.

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ChatGPT and Critique

ChatGPT and other transformer-based models like Dall-E are technologically very impressive. They do things that seemed totally impossible just a few years ago. However, they are not really generally intelligent, and there are innumerable problems with how they work, what they do, what people think they do, ethics, and legal and licensing issues. This is my third post about ChatGPT, where I present my critique of and reflections on the technology. The previous posts were about ChatGPT and Simics and Coding using ChatGPT.

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ChatGPT and Code

In my previous blog post about ChatGPT and Simics, I tested it on its knowledge and abilities with a fairly niche subject. Not unsurprisingly it did not do all that well. However, one area where ChatGPT appears to really work well is when dealing with program code. This seems more practically useful as well, especially as a generator of starting points and boiler-plate code. It can also sometimes do a decent job explaining code, subject to quite common bizarre mistakes and errors. Update: Part 3, a critique of ChatGPT has been published.

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ChatGPT and Simics

It is an understatement to say that ChatGPT has been a hot topic since it was launched a few months back. Everyone seems to be seeing what it can do in their favorite domain, so I had to try it on what I work with, Simics and virtual platforms. The results did not live up to the hype some people think the technology deserves, but it was very impressive and a little scary nevertheless. This is the first post in what looks like it will be a series about ChatGPT. Update: Part 2, ChatGPT and Code, is now out. Update to the update: Part 3, a critique of ChatGPT has been published.

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The NUC12 Enthusiast

Right when our old NUC5 died, its replacement had been delivered and brought online – a new Intel NUC12 Enthusiast, also known as the NUC12SNKi72 (I work at Intel, but even I find that name a bit obtuse). This is a seriously fast machine in a fairly compact package, even though admittedly not as small as the old NUC5. On the other hand, as a machine with an ambition to be a replacement for a dedicated gaming PC, it sports a dedicated graphics card and not just the integrated graphics typical for the classic NUCs.  

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This NUC is Dead

Computers can wear out given enough time. I just had an old NUC basically fall apart – on the very day it was being replaced by a new one. The timing is rather too good to be believed, but basically the machine stopped working just when we transitioned to a new NUC. The old one still booted… but running it was questionable due to its many concurrent failure modes.

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Setting the Font in Windows 11 “Terminal”

I finally got updated to Windows 11 on my work machine, and suddenly I have to figure out how to use Windows 11 for real work. The redesigned start menu is terribly bad compared to the Windows 10 variant. What is nice though is the new Terminal app, along with the quite pleasing Cascadia font. However, I found the default size of Cascadia to be a tad big. Which lead to the question: “just how on earth are you supposed to control the font on this thing?” The font adjustment is probably the least logical I have ever found, and without some help from the Internet I would never have figured out. So here is how you do it.

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Finding the Cursor on Windows

In the last year, I noticed that my Windows machines started to grey the screen and show a highlight around the cursor when I accidentally hit the CTRL key twice. At first, I had no idea what was going on, but then I figured out it was connected to CTRL. So I assumed that this was a brilliant new feature added by Microsoft in some recent Windows update (to both Windows 10 and 11, thank you very much!). However, then I tried to help a colleague find the function and realized it was missing on his machine. What was going on?

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