Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The 2x2 Box

I bought this on a recent trip to Paris (from Tumbleweed - recommended highly) and it took enough time to solve that I'm happy with the purchase.

If you examine all the pieces, you'll see that there seem to be four pairs of pieces, one of which is the reflection of the other. I spent a lot of time trying to form those pairs into shapes and then assembling those shapes.

That didn't help.

In the end, this is what it looks like, with the pieces carefully pulled apart.

The cube was a bit tight getting it into the box one way, but when I rotated it 90 degrees it slipped in just fine - obviously just a tolerance error.

All told, a fun puzzle that definitely took me more than a few days of trying on and off.

Flexera Operations Portal startup problems

If you run a FlexNet Operations Portal and it uses an Oracle database on the same Windows server, you may find that it fails to startup correctly when your host restarts.

The problem I found was that insufficient dependencies are set up between the two Windows services, and they get into a race at startup. The FlexNet service always seems to get there before Oracle, gets locked up and never recovers.

My fix was to add a dependency between the two services, using:

sc config FlexNetOperations depend= Tcpip/Afd/MyOracleInstanceService

This makes the FNO wait until the Oracle service is started, which has fixed the problem for me at least.

Note, you need to reapply this fix every time you re-deploy the FNO software.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Cryptic Crossword Helpers

Trying to do American Cryptic Crosswords can occasionally require snippets of US pop culture that few Australians recognise, so I'm going to start collecting them here so that others I try to turn on to cryptics don't give up in despair.  This blog entry, more than any of my others, is likely to see edits as I encounter new references that need explaining:

letters clued as
EL Train, Railway why?
OTT Baseball player, Mel why?
TY Baseball player, Cobb why?
A, A's Baseball team, Oakland team why?

And some, perhaps obvious, common clue indicators

clue suggests
! An exclamation mark usually means that the entire clue should be read two different ways, rather than looking to seperate it into two clauses
? An question mark usually means that the wordplay in the answer may be even more groan-worthy in terms of punnishness.
Reverend Spooner Two words will have their prefixes phonetically switched.
To shout across the harbour might be a "Bay Hail" which is also clued as a "Hay Bale".

Siebenstein-Spiele 5-L Box

I bought this on a recent trip to Paris (from Tumbleweed - recommended highly) and it took enough time to solve that I'm happy with the purchase.

If you search for solutions in Google, they turn up quite quickly - but I only searched after I had independently arrived at this one:

However, #1 son had previously beaten me to it with this one:

which is obviously not what the designer intended but is just as legitimate a solution.  All the pieces move freely, nothing has been jammed in - in fact many of the pieces have a bit of wiggle room - note the gaps at bottom-right and bottom-left.