Sunday, September 24, 2023

Sync Windows system time with on startup (all Windows versions)

Here are the steps to sync Windows system time with on startup. I've confirmed that this solutions works on Windows 7 and 10, it should also work on all currently available versions of the Windows operating system:

1. Open PowerShell by typing PowerShell into the search bar in your Windows start bar. 

2. Copy and paste the below line of code into PowerShell:

%windir%\system32\sc.exe start w32time task_started

3. Save As... the file to your Windows Startup folder for all users as "timeSync.bat" or whatever name will help you remember what this file is. It needs to be saved as a .bat file or it will not work.

Where your startup folder is located will depend on your version and installation of Windows, but you can try: C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\StartUp

Please note that some versions of Windows has a startup folder for individual users as well as for all system users. Individual startup folders are located somewhere within the user's folder.

4. After you add the file to your startup folder, I would hit Windows Key + R and run msConfig. From there make sure that the bat file is set to run.

5. Restart your system.

It may take 30 to 60 seconds for this bat file to run after a user logs on. If you have a way to get the script to execute faster please comment below. 

6. If the system time does not automatically update after startup hit Windows Key + R and run services.msc

Make sure that the local service Windows Time is set to Automatic startup type. To modify this, right click on Windows Time and select Properties. Reset your system again.

Use cases for this issue:

I setup a dual boot between Ubuntu and Windows. Whenever I boot up Ubuntu, the system time gets converted to UTC which throws off the system time for Windows. Since websites' security certificates rely on system time to verify certificates I could not access most websites and the system time threw off how the f.lux application worked.

Friday, June 23, 2023

What I've Read Halfway into 2023

Traumnovelle / Dream Story

Traumnovelle Book Cover

is the 1926 novella by the Austrian writer Arthur Schnitzler that the 1999 Stanley Kubrick film Eyes Wide Shut was based off of. The film is pretty true to the flow of the book with the exception that the film is much more... provocative than the book. I wanted to understand the ending of the film better where the doctor finds the mask on his pillow. In the book it is insinuated that his wife finds it and places it there, rather than it being a mystery. The book ends in that bedroom scene with him confessing what he’s been up to - the toy store scene at the end of the film was added by Kubrick. The title Dream Story also confirms that the use of soft lenses in the film was an intentional choice by Kubrick to give certain scenes a dream-like quality.

Barbarians At The Gate


Barbarians At The Gate Book Cover

What stood out in this book to me was the extreme extravagance the executive class lived in fifty to forty years ago. As the wealth gap in America widens I can only imagine what that life is like now, reading the descriptions in the book made me kinda disgusted. The book is pretty long and dry, you’d probably get more enjoyment out of watching the HBO film adaption of the book. The film comes from a time where the movie was made to cater to multiple different family members who might watch the film together; there is a small comedy B plot about the family dog taking airplane rides. If you’re interested in the leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco, I’d recommend reading the individual news articles written by the investigative journalists that wrote this book.

American Kingpin


American Kingpin Book Cover

goes into the personal life of the main founder of The Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht, up until after his apprehension and imprisonment. The book gets into Ulbricht’s ideology as well as the ideology of the law enforcement personal that are trying to find him. The biggest surprise from this book was how utterly incompetent law enforcement was, and how the investigation had to get all the way up to the Department of Justice in order to stop the crab mentality different law enforcement agencies had when pursuing the founders of The Silk Road.

Inner Work

Inner Work Book Cover

is one of the best self-therapy books I think I have ever read and you don’t need to read the whole book. It establishes how you need to talk to yourself and how to best use your active imagination to cultivate mental health. I think I would have considered this book a little “out there” if I had not studied psychology in college first. This will be a book where I buy multiple times to give to people I know and I only really read the last half of the book.

When Food Is Love

When Food Is Love Book Cover

The gist of the book is that if you don’t have a healthy concept of self-love or self esteem you will repress negative feelings you have. Overeating is one of the ways that this repression can manifest; food is there for you when no one else is. I wish the author spent more time on strategies for building self-love and self esteem rather than talking about themselves. Maybe some people will find the author's personal examples helpful, I did not.

The Riders Come Out at Night


The Riders Come Out At Night Book Cover

gives a meticulously researched history of policing in Oakland California and a protracted list of probably all of the known illegal things they have done and continue to do. The book starts with The Riders; who kidnapped, planted evidence on, beat, and tortured citizens of Oakland. From there the book goes into the history of policing in Oakland and San Francisco including the how the KKK actively recruited police officers and sheriffs. The book then chronicles all of the US policing incidents of killing civilians that has happened since. This is a good book, but if you have been on top of the shit show that is American policing, you can probably drop off of the book from where you ended up starting in real life and skip to the last few chapters.

Who Censored Rodger Rabbit

Who Censored Rodger Rabbit Book Cover

Only picked this up because the idea that Who Framed Rodger Rabbit was derived from an 80s adult fantasy mystery novel was so bizarre to me. It’s a mystery book; I wont give anything away. While reading the book I thought it was silly and I wanted to be done with it, the last page made me want to re-read the book with a new perspective on it. The author Gary Wolf also has mastered the art of the garden path sentence.

The Road To Jonestown

The Road To Jonestown Book Cover

is written in an investigative journalism style and goes up through the life of Jim Jones, and the history of The Peoples’ Temple, up until after the massacre that took place in Guyana. If you’re interested in a first hand account of how a narcissist could manipulate a group of people to kill themselves, this is the book for you. If you’re an American that lived through the Trump presidency, there’s probably not a lot here for you to pick up unless you have a specific fascination in The Peoples’ Temple.

The Minority Report / We Can Remember it for you Wholesale (Phillip K Dick Short Stories)

Robert Crumb Drawing of Philip K.Dick
From Robert Crumb's The Religious Experience of Philip K.Dick

Wanted to read some short stories from Dick since I'm a fan of a lot of his books. The Minority Report and We Can Remember it for you Wholesale are sort of almost half-baked ideas with The Minority Report being the better short story of the two. I watched Total Recall recently after reading We Can Remember it for you Wholesale and it's pretty obvious that they slapped a completely different sci-fi screenplay someone else had written onto the end of Dick's story.

Jennifer Government
Jennifer Government Book Cover

As a teenager I played Nation States, which was programmed by the author to promote the book. The consensus of people on the Nation States forums that read the book was that it was pretty good and worth reading. I agree, the book is pretty good and worth reading. It’s a dystopian novel written in 2003 where the world is more or less controlled by corporations. Like a lot of (good) dystopian and science fiction books, as time goes on you start to see the parallels between yesterday’s fiction and today’s reality - which probably makes this book even more interesting to read twenty years after its publication.

Mindf*ck: Cambridge Analytica and the Plot to Break America

Mindfuck Book Cover, Mindf*ck
is written by Christopher Wylie who was the whistleblower for the Cambridge Analytica scandal. This book goes into depth about how they, and eventually Russia, were able to influence American, British, and African elections. I don't think it's hyperbole to say that every person that lives in a democracy should read this book. If you're not going to read it at least take the time to try to create an ad campaign on Facebook or Reddit and take a look at how many tools are available to you to really drill down into the specific person that you can to create ads to cater to. Then keep in mind that you can do that without the phone tracking data and hundreds of data points on individual people that Cambridge Analytica had. Also keep in mind that while there is some oversight over the US collecting data, there is no oversight about them buying it.

The Punisher

The Punisher Vol 1 Comic Book Cover

I thought reading the original series would give some insight into why police and fascists have co-opted the Punisher logo. There was no answer in reading the original series. The answer is that Chris Kyle, the American Sniper guy, used the symbol during his deployment in Iraq and it picked up traction as he built his personal brand. 

“We all thought what the Punisher did was cool: He righted wrongs,” Kyle stated in his 2012 book American Sniper. “So we adopted his symbol,  a skull, and made it our own."
The quote is interesting because frankly, the only kind of adult that would find the Punisher cool is one who cannot understand nuance even if they are repeatedly hit over the head with it. The Punisher has a complete black and white view of the world and it's shown time and time again that his obsession with his own definition of justice and vengeance is destructive. For example, in the series there is a little girl who is shot due to the main character's obsession with vengeance. He does not stop to help the little girl. Maybe in the future I'll put my German degree to use and write an article about how and why fascist movements co-opt cultural symbols.

This comic book was written for children. There's not really much to it, the thing I liked the most was the color coordination and color layout of the individual comic pages. The hyper violence in the comic clashes with what I assumed was comic code regulations of the time. There's lots of people getting shot and killed but no blood or gore at all. In a way the censorship seems counter productive because the gruesomeness and horror of war-like violence is completely taken away. If you're looking for something in this vain I would instead recommend the original The Mask comic series published by Dark Horse.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

How to Fix The Manhunt Memory Card Error on PS2


If your copy of Manhunt running on the PlayStation 2 hangs at the save screen, the solution is to simply use an 8MB memory card. Even though the error message that eventually shows up says that an official Sony memory card is needed, the issue specifically has to do with the size of the memory card. According to the current reverse engineered documentation of the PS2 hardware: for unknown reasons, certain games do not work if the memory card is larger than expected. If you are using Open PS2 Loader (OPL) virtual memory cards WILL work, they just need to be manually set to be 8MB. Due to the bug mentioned above you should only be using virtual memory cards of 8MB for all games.

I was not going to do one of those recipe website moves where I provide a whole background story before giving the answer people are looking for. If you're confused as to why this is posted here, I felt that this post fell in with a lot of the one off technical solutions I have been posting as of late. I ran into this issue about a year ago, meant to share a broader explanation to the solution online, and am only now getting around to it. So if this post saves one person hours of trouble because they're able to find this on Google, great!

(And if you're asking why post something like this in the first place:) Manhunt was a niche stealth PS2 game developed by Rockstar Games in 2003. The stealth mechanics developed in the game have been implemented  in just about every Rockstar game released since Manhunts release in 2003. Even in their most recent release, Red Dead Redemption 2, the stealth mechanics and games play and feel exactly like Manhunt. Due to the violence and subject matter of the game, there was an ensuing media circus and the game was outright banned in some countries. Users are unable to play the game on other platforms today because the re-releases and ports are considered inadequate and buggy compared to the original release. As a result many, users run into the above error early on when trying to run the game on the original hardware. For the sake of media preservation and to humor those with an interest in the forbidden or obscure - I think this is important information to share.

Klarna Postman Collection

Here is a collection of Postman calls I made to use in conjunction with the Klarna API. It simply needs to be imported into Postman. Please note I removed the test credentials and you will have to provide your own. This collection will allow to you generate an order_id for placed, captured, cancelled, and refunded Klarna Payments orders.

You can use this Codepen to complete the client side requests.

Integration guide for Klarna payments.
API reference for Klarna.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Resetting The Domain Admin Password in Windows Server

The below steps are confirmed work on Windows Server 2016. Please comment below if you are able to get this to work on different versions.

Download server 2016 ISO > attach to VM > reboot into ISO > Repair your Computer > Troubleshoot > Command prompt

> cd C:\Windows\System32

> ren osk.exe osk.old

> copy C:\Windows\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\powershell.exe osk.exe

Reboot the server, launch the on screen keyboard and Powershell will open

> Net user Administrator PASSWORD

Make sure you reverse the file changes after.


This is assuming you have the Bitlocker key, or you don’t use Bitlocker. If you're trying to get into a Windows user account and the drive is not encrypted:

From the login screen you can hit shift five times to launch Stickykeys - a system accessibility app to keep shift and control on when pressed instead of having to hold them down.

You can rename/overwrite that app (c:\windows\system32\sethc.exe) with cmd.exe and you have system root shell at the login screen instead of stickykeys. Of course havig access to an unencrypted drive, you can do just about anything, but this can be a quick hack in time sensitive situations.

Be sure to always encrypt your hard disks!