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## HOWTO: Fix blank, unusable Start menu icons

I’ve been having this problem. It’s not caused by a corrupt icon cache. It’s caused by bad permissions on the shortcut. If you right-click it, go to Properties, and then Security, you will see a message about not having permission.

The solution (after going to the above) is to:

1. Click the Advanced button.
2. Click the Owner tab.
3. Click Edit…
4. Click your user name and hit OK. You’ll get a message about having to re-open the object’s properties. Just close all the windows you opened and right-click the shortcut again to get to Properties.
5. Click Security again.
6. Now you will have some checkboxes. Click Edit… and with your username selected, check Full Control. Hit OK twice, and your icon will work again.

This may also work for desktop icons. I’ve noticed a lot of problems in Windows are caused by incorrect permissions.

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## HOWTO: Fix Windows Store apps that won’t download

I wish I could find the source for this, but it’s proven useful to me a few times  now (Windows 10 Technical Preview woes) and I thought I’d share it. If an app in the Windows Store seems to get stuck on “Pending” or says “This app could not be installed,” try this:

1. Close the Windows Store.
2. Open a Command Prompt as administrator and type “net stop wuauserv”.
3. Type “ren C:\Windows\softwaredistribution softwaredistribution.old”.
4. Type “net start wuauserv”.
5. Try the download again. It should be unstuck.

I think this leaves you with some junk files you can delete. You’ll also have to start your stuck downloads over again.

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## Freakin’ Cool App of the Week: VideoVelocity as an alternative to PotShot

It’s been a while since I had a Freakin’ Cool App of the Week, but writing this I thought it would make a good entry to the series. I recently found out about another screen capture tool that lets you time lapse video as well as capture screenshots. It’s called VideoVelocity and it might serve your needs better. There is a free version available with some limitations.

It has plenty of options for different times and frame rates. From my short time playing with it, it also seems to be light on memory usage. It can also record from other sources, like a webcam. The resulting video files are quite small in size (not a bad thing), but I’d imagine that would increase if you paid for HD recording. One thing I look for in any program now is a version that can be used without being installed. VideoVelocity provides that.

It’s a little hard to understand the options, but if you play around a bit it becomes easier. My only other gripe is that the preview window can really slow down the computer, but that can be turned off. The free version is limited to standard definition, videos have a watermark, and there’s a recording limit of five minutes per video. The paid versions also come with extra features.

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## What I’ve learned in Python this week

• Single quotes and double quotes are the same
• How to check if strings are anagrams of each other (I’m really proud of the way I did this)
• Non-recursive factorials. I cheated a tad, but I almost had what was suggested. I fixed it on my own, though.
• How to convert decimal to binary (not in Python, by hand, but it was in a video series about Python)
• How to use Wing IDE to view a watch window for Python
• What <> means, and that it’s no longer supported

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## Adventures in Python file parsing

I like game shows and trivia questions. I like Python and computers. I thought it would be fun to try to merge the two. I found a list of Family Feud questions from the SNES game of the same name on GameFAQs. I copied it out to a file and tried to parse it through Python so it would give me a random question and its answers.

I started in January but just managed to get it working yesterday. I need to redo it into a dictionary or something with key-value pairs (The question string, and a set of answers). There are also some cases where it doesn’t work.

It’s heavily commented because I hate doing something like this and coming back to it later with no idea how it works.

This might seem simple (and it is) but it’s a big step for me because I figured it out of my own volition and some Googling. I usually just search until I find the code I want, but this was different because I thought it through until I figured out the pieces I needed and looked up those pieces.

import random
f = open("C:\\path\\to\\questions.txt" , 'rU')
questions = []
answers = []
ansq = []
#most of this could be changed. I don't need that answers list I don't think
for line in f:
if ".." not in line: #if it's a question (i.e. without leader lines to the point amount, thus not an answer)
if line == "\n":
pass
else:
questions.append(line)
else: #if it's not a question, then it's an answer (which is a wrong assumption I need to fix)
if line == "\n":
pass
else:
answers.append(line) #so add it to the answers list instead

#if question matches line
#look for the answers below it until the next question
#    while line not in questions
#    print line

qtoask = random.choice(questions) #pick a random question from the questions list

f.seek(0) # go back to beginning of file
for line in f:
if line == qtoask: #rescan it; if the line matches the random question
line = f.next() #go to the next line
#ansq.append(line)
while ".." in line:#and find all the responses to that question (they all have dotted leader lines)
#This if condition will never be true if it's in this while block. Duh.
if line == "\n": #if the line is a newline (Enter)
pass #skip it
else:
ansq.append(line) #otherwise, add it to the list of answers to the question
line = f.next() #go to the next line and do it again

print qtoask
for a in ansq: #Beautify. Just print the list of answers so it's easy to read
print a + "\n"
f.close()

#TODO: refactor into lists (or dictionaries?)


Things I’ve learned from this so far:

• You have to manually reset the file (via seek())
• It’s easier to exclude than include in order to get a specific set of data
• The next() function
• I was really happy to find out about random.choice()

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## Pygame physics resources

I’m not a math person, but I’ve been wanting to redo an old project for a little while now. I don’t understand stuff like vectors and deltas. However, I found these two links yesterday and I think they’ll really help me.

If you’re wondering, I want to remake my Pong clone so the ball bounces at angles other than 90 degrees. I’d also like to fix the collision detection (which the second link handles).

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## Got a Bluetooth mouse

It’s really fun to use with a jailbroken iPad and BTC Mouse and Trackpad.

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