Everything, Everything - March 2017

2021: January
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KMS Activation
Friday 24th March, 2017 17:51
The introduction of Windows 10 really made KMS activation more complicated than it needed to be. First of all there were the updates and additional KMS keys for Server 2012 R2 that allows you to use it to activate Windows 10 clients. But then along came Windows 10 1607 (LTSB 2016), which then requires another update for Server 2012 R2 to allow you to activate the newer versions of Windows 10 (as well as Server 2016) (this detail is buried away under July 2016). I finally stumbled on this really good Microsoft blog post, which clarifies things. Apparently you need all the Windows updates plus the right KMS key (Windows Srv 2016 DataCtr/Std KMS), and then you should be able to activate all versions of Windows 10. Fingers crossed this works, as I want to roll out a Windows 10 build based on 1607 without having to join it to the domain for activation.
Referrer Policy
Monday 13th March, 2017 09:09
I recently discovered that there's a new HTTP header that's worth setting. There's a good explanation about the Referrer Policy header by Scott Helme, and there are further details here.

This allows you to carefully control what information is sent by the browser when you browse to another page. I definitely agree with Scott's recommendation that if you're thinking of using "origin" or "origin-when-cross-origin" then consider using "strict-origin" and "strict-origin-when-cross-origin" instead. I don't think I use the header for anything at all, so I'm thinking "strict-origin" might be suitable for my site - although it is tempting to jump straight to "no-referrer".
My Colony
Sunday 12th March, 2017 12:35
For the last few months I've been dipping in and out of the game My Colony. I started off playing on my phone using the default map size, but I created a sub-colony on my PC with the largest map. Larger maps are much easier, for example you don't have to work out what to sacrifice in order to cram in new buildings, but would almost definitely grind to a halt on my phone. The colony is much smoother on my new Pixel XL (as my Nexus 5X has recently died), but I'm seriously considering abandoning my original colony. I've already gifted the billions from my main colony to my sub colony, partly because my 5X died in a manner that meant I almost lost my save game (and I didn't have an external backup of the save game at the time).

In case anyone's wondering how I made my billions on this game, it's not through cheating. I suspect there are many ways to cheat (and the developer did try to introduce some code to prevent that, which ended up killing off a few legitimate players so it's now toned down), but I made my money through the trade system. For a brief period of around 24 hours the developer made the mistake of linking the import/export price to that of the Galactic Board of Trade (where players can trade resources with each other). By itself, that's not a bad idea (and it's how it currently works), but he linked it to the price of the last sale. That meant you could sell a resource for $1 per 100 to make the import price $1 and then you could import loads of the resource for a cheap price. Then you went to the GBT and sold it for as many 9s as you can type into the box. Then you could go into the GBT and buy your item to set the import/export price really high. Then you export all the resources you had just bought (or created in-game) for the new export price with many 9s. Repeat this action a few times and you end up with a lot of cheap resources and in my case about $300 billion in a matter of minutes. At that point I decided I'd abused it enough, so I stopped. The developer tweaked the algorithm to prevent the widespread abuse and it's a much fairer system now. Unfortunately it's now based on the average price, and as the game gets more successful and more people gain and sell resources the average price for every item is likely to reach $1 at some point. Key resources such as food are sold for as little as $2. It's reached the point where some buildings just aren't worth building when you can buy their resources through trade.

I used my newfound wealth to grow quickly and make myself quite profitable, and since then I've been quite generous with the sub colonies that ask me for resources, and I will sometimes send large amounts of money to new players (the ones that stay for longer than 24 hours and actually grow their colony). How long I'll continue to play this game depends on how much it improves over time. It's very much a rolling beta (although it's very stable on Chrome), but it seems like the developer is more interested in creating alternative planets and races to add to the diversity. I've already built my colony, and the map's large enough that I can rely on existing resources for running the colony in a sustainable way (e.g. water acquired through the ancient alien condenser that doesn't require any workers in order to produce power from the hydrogen reactors to power the medium atmosphere generators in a nice loop that should mean I don't run out of power or water (I do occasionally need to keep an eye on the atmosphere to make sure it doesn't go too far up and down).

I've not filled my map but the CPU power is already too much for it to run at full speed. I've literally maxed out a core (as Chrome, like every other browser, doesn't do multithreaded JavaScript very well). It's potentially not even worth building new buildings to gather money, as it'd slow the game down further so I'm no better off. The map size probably only really works if I want to build an entire map of sheep farms or shopping malls for tourists, but then I'd end up flooding the BGT with wool or waiting a very long time for tourism to be worth doing (I tried it on my main colony to try and move away from creating unnecessary resources, but it doesn't seem very good as I don't get enough tourists). Despite this, I'm still playing, and hoping it becomes more enjoyable again.
Tuesday 7th March, 2017 20:05
Good start from Arsenal. Only three more goals required in the next 70 minutes.
Arsenal's Time For Change
Saturday 4th March, 2017 19:45
A year ago I sat on the fence. Even after a lack of movement in the transfer windows (despite key players out with lengthy injuries), some big losses in the Premier League and in the Champions League (e.g. Bayern), and predictable tactics (no Plan B?), I continued to give Wenger the benefit of the doubt. But this season has been another year of disappointment and appears to be filled with the same mistakes. I can't help think the only reason we're still in the FA Cup is because we've had another lucky draw against weak opposition (e.g. Sutton and Lincoln). We won't put four goals past Bayern on Tuesday. We might not get fourth place in the league. We may even lose Alexis in the summer transfer window. Even if we do win the FA Cup, I think Wenger has to move on. It'd be nice if he could step down after winning the FA Cup a record number of times, but it seems likely he'll leave empty handed. He's done some amazing things for the club, and he should be remembered and respected, but his time has to be up.
Friday 3rd March, 2017 13:09
I've discovered the first thing I dislike about the Pixel XL although it appears to be a bug: https://t.co/W3CH3MaZVe
Thursday 2nd March, 2017 11:29
PSA: Anyone submitting answers to the @CTXIS CTFs at https://t.co/65PQuvn7ly must provide a write-up of the challenge(s) that you've solved.
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