York!

As I write this, Suri is in York, England. She’s traveling there for a friend’s wedding. It’s her first time in Europe and she’s understandably excited. Suri and her traveling companions will be around York, then a bit around Manchester, for the entire trip. To my mind this is a much better sort of vacation than the whirlwind European tour–I like to get to know a place and can delve endlessly into local history, food, etc.

York Minster

They might not even go here. Nuts, right?

I’m sorry I couldn’t go this time, but it was with good reason. Another couple of years and I’ll feel much more ready and able to make the trip myself. And from what I’m hearing, Yorkshire girls are really hot! 😉

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Viewing chm files over the network

Microsoft in their infinite wisdom released a security update years ago that prevented users from viewing HTML Help files over a network. I’ve seen instructions for fixing this capability in several places online, but with slightly different variations. Most of the instructions assumed that you’d be using UNCs to access the network rather than Windows drive letters, so some of the instructions threw me. After beating my head on the problem for a few hours, this is what worked for us.

1. Open a registry editor and go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\HTMLHelp\1.x\ItssRestrictions. If ItssRestrictions does not exist, right-click the 1.x key, click New->Key, and name the new key ItssRestrictions.
2. Click ItssRestrictions to select it. Click an empty area in the right-hand portion of the window and click New->DWORD value. Name the entry MaxAllowedZone. Right-click MaxAllowedZone and click Modify. Set the value to 1.
3. Again, click an empty area in the right-hand portion of the window and click New->String Value. Name the entry UrlAllowList. Right-click UrlAllowList and click modify. Enter the path to the .chm file you want to open, followed by a semicolon. Next, type “file://” followed by the path to the .chm file again. For example, I have a help filed called trashflo.chm saved in the directory G:\TFManual. My entry for the UrlAllowList looks like this:
G:\TFManual\trashflo.chm;file://G:\TFManual\trashflo.chm
If you need to access more than one help file, just add them to this entry, placing a semicolon between each.
[Note: If you’re using Universal Naming Conventions (UNCs) instead of mapped Windows drives for your shares, the entry would look something like this:
\\myshare\myhelpdir\filename.chm;file://\\myshare\myhelpdir\filename.chm]

The Invincible Hammer-Wheel!

From RPGNet poster Soylent comes the best description of a GM vs. clueless player interaction that I’ve ever read.

Player: I hear you’re running a superhero game. Can I play?
Me: Sure. Do you have a character concept in mind?
Player: The Invincible Hammer-Wheel!
Me: Uh… (keep in mind this was to be a “serious” supers game)
Player: He has hammers for hands and wheels for feet! Or, wheels for hands and hammers for feet. I haven’t decided.
Me: And how did he come by these “powers?”
Player: He was born that way.
Me: Must have been rough on his folks…
Player: He was raised by farm implements.
Me: …and his motivation for doing good?
Player: He lives in the woods.

Work progress GOOD!

After two and a half months of poking, prodding, generating reams of test PDF bills and reports, writing, rewriting, link-checking, image editing, checking topics for consistency, rewriting again, deciding that my organizational scheme was unworkable and shuffling things around, and rewriting JUST ONE MORE TIME, the first stage of my help file is finished. I’ve been busy at work, but this is the first tangible thing I can point at and say, “See? This is what I’ve been doing.” I’m a little ahead of the schedule I had set for myself; work today is relaxed, and in between helping a salesman with some testing I’m in a place of re-evaluating, setting priorities, and deciding what to do next. It felt goooood to check that one off the to-do list. 🙂