Remove Desktop from Windows 7 Task Switcher

  1. In regedit go to Computer/HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Explorer
  2. Edit > New > DWORD (32-bit) Value
  3. Name: AltTabSettings, enter.
  4. Right click > Modify > set the value to 1
  5. Use WindowsKey+D to show desktop from now on.


“If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.” –  Robert Browning

This recipe is focaccia and / or rustic french loaf aka pain à l’ancienne. Following are abreviated instructions to use a reference while preparing and baking. Longer notes follow.

Prepare the dough

  1. Put 560g of water in the Kitchen Aid bowl, and put the bowl in the fridge.
  2. In a large glass bowl:
    • flour: 765g
    • table salt: 12g
    • instant yeast: 8g
  3. When the water is at fridge temperature, put the dry ingredients in it and mix for 8 minutes on medium speed.
  4. Coat the insides of the glass bowl with olive oil. Put in the dough, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  5. In the morning put the bowl on the kitchen counter for the day, until it’s doubled in size.

Shape & bake

  1. Preheat the oven to its maximum temperature. Usually 260°C but 290 if it goes that high. On the middle shelf, but a stone tile big enough for your bread. On the bottom shelf put an empty pan.
  2. Cover a large cookie sheet with baking parchment, and on that sprinkle semolina flour or cornmeal.
  3. Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and divide it into four loaf-shaped blobs, and carefully lay them out on the parchment. With a large pair of scissors, cut diagonal lines through the loaves.
  4. Open the oven and slide the parchment and bread onto the baking stone. Pour half a litre of boiled water into the empty pan.
  5. Shut the oven, turn it down to 220°C, and bake for about 18 minutes. The breadcrust should be golden brown and the interior should be at 96°C. When done, put the loafs on a drying rack.



The reason for the cold water and refrigerating the dough is to “proof” the fermentation which gives the dough a richer flavour and texture.


Unbleached general purpose flour is good. Eventually some whole wheat can be added for variety, along with various seeds etc. But traditional bread and focaccia are just white flour.

Just use normal cheap table salt. Sea salt and kosher salt etc. is a waste of money. Course salt is good for the focaccia topping.

There are two kinds of yeast: instant and active/dry. Instant is easier and gives the same result.

Proofing / fermenting

The dough can stay in the fridge for a day or two. Also it could be taken out before going to bed, then baked the following morning. All of this is still up for experimentation.

We’ve found the bread a little heavier than traditional bread. I may experiment with letting it rise after shaping, but normally I put it straight in the oven.


The goal of the baking stone is to bake the bottom of the loaf. The bigger and thicker the better.

Water is added to the pan to humidify the air. Professional ovens have a steam jets for this. When adding water be careful not to get any on the glass of the oven door, because it may crack. The thicker and heavier the pan the better. A cast-iron frying pan is good.

The timing and temperature are all still open to experimentation. I’ve been using a mix of fan and no fan in the oven. You just have to stand there and watch it bake. Sometimes it bakes unevenly and it’s worth while to open the oven and carefully rotate the parchment 180°. However, resist the tempation to open the oven to check on the bread. The oven will have difficulty maintaining such a hot temperature as it is.


Everything is the same, except:

  1. Before shaping the loaves, put an eighth cup of olive oil and some finely crushed rosemary in a frying pan. I tried large, more fresh leaves, but they burnt. Other herbs etc. could be tried. Plain dried “herbes de province” is OK. Make an infusion of tasty oil.
  2. Get a tin of black olives, cut the olives into quarters or to taste.
  3. When shaping the loaves take half of the dough (which was made, above) and shape it into a large flat blob. Again be careful not to squeeze out the gas. At this point it can be left to rise for a few hours, which will make it fluffier, or proceed directly to the next step.
  4. Sprinkle the olives evenly on the dough, and then push them all the way down to the pan with your fingers. You want to make dimples where the oil can collect.
  5. Brush the oil on the loaf.
  6. Sprinkle two pinches of sea salt on the top. Go easy on the salt though, there’s already a bunch in the dough.
  7. Bake as for bread.



Stop Spotify loading on user login macOS

Spotify has a setting for user login behaviour:

  1. Open preferences (command+,).
  2. Scroll down and click SHOW ADVANCED SETTINGS (their caps).
  3. Find the option Open Spotify automatically after you log into the computer, and set it to the desired option. Setting to no may not work if it’s been added to the start options. See the following steps.
  4. Open the System Preferences. In Users & Groups > Login Items, check if Spotify is there. If it is, hit the “minus” symbol. That’s it.

Trip report: Fish Pond, Saint Regis Canoe Area

A trip to Fish Pond involves many long portages, which is probably why it’s one of the last places we’ve gotten ’round to visiting in the northern Adirondacks. You’ll spend more time with the canoe on your head than you will sitting in it. Rather than transport our gear that far into the woods, we established a base camp from which make a day-trip. All of the following took place on the last Saturday of October.

Signed the register and put in at Little Clear Pond amid the calls of a pair of loons. We were pushed up to the portage by a strong southerly. At the north end of the pond we saw a pair of bald eagles, many seagulls, and a pair of juvenile loons.

Bald eagle, photographed over Floodwood Pond in 2014

The portage from Little Clear started with a sandy beach followed by a wide and flat trail, ankle deep in birch and beech leaves.

On the Saint Regis side there is a long boardwalk or dock where I was surprised to see pollywogs and dragonflies.

The West Branch Saint Regis River to Ochre Pond being low, we took the so-called Truck Trail straight to Fish. This trail is long, wide, and flat. It’s easy to keep a good pace, apart from a single blowdown, and a beaver pond where the stream from Clamshell Pond crosses the trail. I stood at the edge of the stream wondering how I was going to wade through it with a canoe on my head, when I realized: I can just paddle across!

Marian blazing a trail from Little Clear Pond to Saint Regis Pond canoe carry, as viewed by from under the yoke.

Luncheon was served at the north side Fish Pond lean-to. While there we heard more loons, and saw more eagles circling.

The return trip started at the Fish to Mud Pond carry, followed by a short paddle across Mud. Although the leaves were all on the ground at this altitude, we did enjoy some lovely golden tamaracks lining the swampy shores. Copious pitcher plants were dying down at the eastern end of Mud.

Glamping in the Adirondacks. John’s C1 paddle posing as a canopy pole. The other side is supported by a found stick.

Mud to Ochre is a tough carry, starting with a steep climb up the esker and followed by much dénivèlement, mud, roots, and rocky stream crossings. My lightweight day hiking boots were adequate, but waterproof might be necessary at other times of the year. The Ochre to Regis carry is similar but not so hard. Comparing the longer, easier, “truck” portage versus the shorter, tougher, “Mud and Ochre” portages, they take about the same time.

Our canoe is a 16.5 foot Odyssée made by Quessy in Shawinigan, Quebec. It is perhaps  better known as the rebranded Langford Nahanni. It weighs about 55 pounds with a standard wooden yoke. Seen here at Campsite 12 on Saint Regis Pond.

Took our time tracking back up wind along Little Clear, arriving in the dark under a half moon at 18:00 courtesy of our trusty Garmin eTrex Legend C. It was unseasonably warm, and: Don’t try this with your iPhones, kids!

We were mostly too busy to get out the camera but the next morning I was photographed erratically at the lower end of Upper Saranac.

John’s erratic behaviour

The entire 20-kilometre round trip took six hours (time moving, according to Garmin), during which we did not see or hear a single biped.



Arch Linux install & config how to


plug in the USB
tail dmesg to get the device name at /dev/sd[n]
dd if=input.iso of=/dev/sd[n] bs=1MB

Check internet connection

dhcpcd to start connection
ip a
ping -c 5 (Google’s DNS server)

Networking workaround

dhcpcd was timing out. Checked the router. It had assigned:
archiso    LAN    78:AC:C0:AD:48:CD
In arch did the commands:
ip link set enp0s25 up
ip addr add broadcast dev enp0s25
ip route add default via dev enp0s25
Then I added a line referencing a DNS server to /etc/resolv.conf

Partition the hard drive

boot into live media. see root@archiso ~ #
fdisk -l
fdisk /dev/sda
o # create a new empty DOS partition table, creates an MBR (master boot record) style blank partition layout.
n # add a new partition
accept default primary and accept default first sector
for last sector, enter +30G
a # (toggle bootable flag on)
n + enter + enter # create another section
Last sector +
command t (type), then 2 for partition 2
type 82
create another partion: n, take defaults to take rest of drive
w to write changes to disk

Create file system and mount

fdisk -l to see disk
create a file system on two of the partitions: mkfs.ext4 /dev/sda1
mkfs.ext4 /dev/sda3
Mount partitions with mount /dev/sda1 /mnt
mkdir /mnt/home
mount /dev/sda3 /mnt/home
mount command to see results
pacstrap -i /mnt base, take defaults
genfstab -U -p /mnt >> /mnt/etc/fstab

chroot into new system and add packages

arch-chroot /mnt
pacman -S openssh grub-bios linux-headers linux-lts linux-lts-headers wpa_suplication wireless_tools
Setup locale: nano /etc/locale.gen, uncomment locale, write and exit
ln -s /usr/share/zoneinfo/Canada/Eastern /etc/localtime
hwclock –systohc –utc
start ssh: systemctl enable sshd.service

Install grub and reboot

grub-install –target=i386-pc –recheck /dev/sda
cp /usr/share/locale/en\@quot/LC_MESSAGES/ /boot/grub/locale/
grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg
exit // exit chroot back to live media
umount /mnt/home
umount /mnt
login as root with passw set above
df -h to check that partitions are present


localectl set-locale LANG=”en_US.UTF-8” // some kludge or Gnome apps don’t work
free -m // no swap memory
fdisk -l to find swap disk
mkswap /dev/sda2 // as created above, output is UUID
add UUID none swap defaults 0 0 to /etc/fstab
reboot, then free -m, swap should be used
activate network with dhcpcd if necessary (this seems to cause a time out at shutdown which can be prevented with a tweak to /etc/systemd/system.conf
pacman -Sy networkmanager network-manager-applet // setup network manager, the enable and start with systemctl
pacman -Sy xorg-server xorg-xinit xorg-apps mesa
lspci to get hardware info. pacman -Syu nvidia
Optionally edit /etc/pacman.conf and comment out multilib testing to enable 32-bit packages. I did not.
pacman -Sy sudo
visudo // uncomment to allow members of group wheel to sudo
useradd -m -G wheel -s /bin/bash john
hostnamectl set-hostname jf

Pacman hints

pacman -Ss vim|less // to search for packages
pacman -Syu vim //install vim
pacman -R vim // remove vim
pacman -Syu // no package, updates everything, once had to do pacman -S archlinux-keyring because of failed updates error: error: failed to commit transaction (invalid or corrupted package (PGP signature))

systemd hints

systemctl is-enabled sshd
systemctl enable sshd
systemctl start sshd
systemctl restart sshd
systemctl disable sshd
systemctl list-units
systemctl status sshd
journalctl // instead of var/log
journalctl -b // boot log
journalctl -f // live view of journal
journalctl -f // live logging

Install display manager / login manager

pacman -Sy lxdm
systemctl enable lxdm, reboot
install MATE


Reverse to natural scrolling how to

With the release of OS X Lion in 2011 Apple introduced natural scrolling to the PC. By default Linux and Windows still use reverse scrolling, but this can be, er, reversed.


Some distros have a parameter that can be set in the GUI setups. If not:

Most Linux distros use X, aka the X Window System or X11.
# get the {idnum}
xinput list
# if 4 and 5 are reversed, scrolling is reversed
xinput get-button-map {idnum}
# give as arg the desired code e.g. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
xinput set-button-map {idnum} {order}

Windows 7

  1. Get mouse ID: Control Panel > Hardware > Properties > Details > Hardware IDs > VID
  2. Change the registry:
    1. Run regedit.exe
    2. Open Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Enum\HID
    3. Find an entry for the mouse ID
    4. Set all DeviceParameters key FlipFlopWheel to 1
  3. Unplug and replug mouse.

Canoeing and camping in the Maritimes and Maine, September 2017

Methodist Burying Ground