Ben Langhinrichs

November, 2014
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Genii Weblog


Civility in critiquing the ideas of others is no vice. Rudeness in defending your own ideas is no virtue.


Mon 24 Nov 2014, 12:44 PM
I am at the point in life where I seek to find meaning in more than the pursuit of filthy lucre (though I'm happy to continue doing that as well). One of the ways is by supporting independent artists and musicians who have chosen a path less lucrative. I have little native artistic talent (though I have fun with Gimp and can write fairly well), but I can throw a few bucks here and there and help out those who make the world a more entertaining, beautiful place. Hence, my interest in Patreon, which I think of as  crowdfunding for the creative class. I have no incentive but to encourage those of you seeking some meaning to consider helping out some of the independent creative people who are making a go it with the help of Patreon. Or just discover interesting people to follow, even if you don't support them. As a business person, I'll probably inject my thoughts in how these artists and musicians are handling the business side of things as well.
 
 

Copyright © 2014 Genii Software Ltd.

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Fri 14 Nov 2014, 02:40 PM
It's been a while since I posted a Gimp 2.8 tutorial, though my recent one on Camtasia has been popular, so today I've released one which has two parts. The first part (about a minute long) shows a simple, but effective way to create a shadow for a cut-out figure when you paste it into a scene. It's easy and useful. The second part (about three minutes long) shows how to wake the shadow up and make it do something independent. Essentially, it becomes a cinemagraph (remember this one?) where the shadow is the only thing that moves. In fact, it is the one shown below the video.
 
 
Video is best watched in HD, and has closed captions for easier following along.
 
 
 


 

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Tue 4 Nov 2014, 01:25 PM
There's a famous riddle which you have probably heard before, but I'll repeat it here. Skip to the end if you already know it.
 
There is a small town in the midwest with exactly two barbershops, one on each side of town. The barbershop on the west side of town is pristine. Its floors are spotless, the windows are always perfectly clear, and the air always smells fresh. The barber has a friendly smile, shined shoes, a well-groomed head of hair, and a fancy shirt. The barbershop on the east side of town is a mess. Its floors and windows are dirty, and the air smells of garbage. The barber always has a grimace on his face. His skin is oily, his hair is short and ragged, and he has food on his clothes all the time. 
 
A man travelling through the town realizes he needs a haircut. Knowing the stories of the two barbers, the man decides to go to the dirty barbershop on the east side of town. Why does he do this? 
 
The answer, as you probably know, is that with only two barbers, the grumpy barber with the dirty shop must have cut the hair of the nice man with the clean shop. Since the nice barber has the better haircut, the man goes to the grumpy barber who must have cut his hair.
 
So, if you understand that, why do you assume that Notes mail renders fine based on the mail you receive? Don't be the clean barber who gives lousy haircuts.
 
 
 

Copyright © 2014 Genii Software Ltd.

Fri 17 Oct 2014, 10:58 AM
Last night, Genii Software released CoexLinks Fidelity Version 3.65. This release incorporates three major updates as well as bug fixes and minor enhancements since the previous release. Version 3.65 is currently available for Windows 32-bit and Windows 64-bit, and it is planned that the Linux version will be available next week.
 
Update 1 - 30% performance enhancement
With a complete code review and numerous changes to streamline, we have achieved a 30% or better improvement in email processing. While most customers won't see a lot of difference because the performance was very good even before these changes, those with heavily loaded systems may see a decrease in bottleneck situations where messages where sometimes backing up in the mail.box database. This performance enhancement is separate from the multi-processing mode below which can also have large performance benefits.
 
Update 2 - Support for Multiple Message Store databases
Customers using the Message Store feature extensively are now able to specify multiple databases, and CoexLinks Fidelity will cycle through the Message Stores to distribute the load. While a single Message Store database is enough when the feature is implemented for only rare message formats, multiple Message Store databases make sense for customers who configure the feature to trap a larger percentage of emails, or who use encrypted mail extensively.
 
Update 3 - Multi-processing mode with Enhanced Crash Protection
It is quite common for a hub or gateway server to have multiple mail.box databases to allow smoother, faster processing by the Router task. In this mode, the CoexLinks MsgProc task can spin off a separate process for each mail.box, allowing parallel processing and preventing bottlenecks if one mail.box gets backed up. In addition, the multi-process mode allows enhanced crash protection so that if a badly corrupted rich text message manages to crash the rendering engine, the process will detect the crash, log the message which caused the problem and shut itself down. The process manager will then detect that the process is gone and will restart, skipping the offending message. Note that this is extremely rare, but even if it happens in one out of a million messages and a customer has three hundred thousand emails a day, the crash could theoretically happens once every 3 to 4 days. With this feature enabled, processing will go on without pause, and the offending message can be identified and analyzed so that a similar crash can be avoided in the future. 
 
The following console messages show how the multiple process happens. Since we have no messages we can find that currently crash the process, no matter how badly corrupted, we had to add a debug flag that allowed us to create a null pointer for a specific message so we could show what happens when it occurs.
 


Copyright © 2014 Genii Software Ltd.

Thu 16 Oct 2014, 01:36 PM
For those who like short stories, and especially those who are have Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimited memberships, I've enrolled my book of short stories so that they are free to borrow. (They're only $3.99 to buy, but I guess free as in beer can't be beat.) I'm not sure what countries have Amazon Prime (maybe the US and Canada?) and which have Kindle Unlimited (I think the US and UK so far).
 
Five star ratings on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. Enjoy!
 
Savage Fire cover

Copyright © 2014 Genii Software Ltd.

Thu 18 Sep 2014, 02:00 PM
I had so much fun with the animated flowchart yesterday, I stayed up late last night making a brief tutorial, and then did some polishing over my lunch hour. I used Camtasia 8, but the technique is easily transferable (from what I can tell) to Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro or any other professional level video editing software. The video is only two and a half minutes, but I think you'll find it interesting if you've ever wanted to do more with your videos. You can check out more details and some pro tips at mini-lessons.info/Video1.
 
Best viewed in HD. Closed captions have been provided for following in English or improved auto-translation.
 
 
 

Copyright © 2014 Genii Software Ltd.

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