How to create shortcuts for the en and em dash on Windows 8!

Well, it took me over an hour of solid investigative work, but I’ve finally figured out how to input en and em dashes with ease!

This is pretty inside baseball, so this post is probably only going to apply to people who want to set up a shortcut for any symbols on their Windows machine, regardless of which application they are in.

The em dash—you know, the extended horizontal lines that surround this fragment—is useful for breaking up a train of thought; unfortunately, however, Microsoft keyboards don’t have an easy way of employing the em and en dashes outside of Microsoft Word. The other solution, unfortunately, is to use the numeric keypad; for instance:

Hold down one of the Alt keys and type on the numeric keypad: 0150 for an en dash or 0151 for an em dash. The dash appears when you release the Alt key. On a keyboard with no numeric keypad, use a Fn (Function) key combination to type the numbers.

Unfortunately, not everyone has a numeric keypad; some people—like my colleague—have a gaming keyboard, which neither has a numpad nor function key numbers. Besides, even if you do have the option to press “Alt+0151”, it is an extremely tedious option; moreover, it’s a struggle just to remember the numbers!

Here’s my long-term solution to remedy this annoying issue for Windows 8 users: (A similar concept should apply to other Windows users; simply search to find out how to add a new keyboard for your particular OS as necessary.)

  1. Download and install the Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator 1.4 software package. (This link will automatically open a new tab for you.)
  2. Once you’ve installed and opened Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator 1.4, simply open the program and select File → Load Existing Keyboard…
  3. Scroll down and select ‘US’—you should now see a fully populated keyboard layout.
  4. On the left you will notice that it says ‘Shift states:’ with ‘Shift’, ‘Alt+Ctrl (AltGr)’ and ‘Ctrl’; simply click ‘Alt+Ctrl (AltGr)’ to check the box.
  5. You should now see blank keys throughout the on-screen keyboard; this is a good thing.
  6. For an en-dash, simply copy the punctuation mark between the following quotes: “–”. Switch back to Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator and click the key situated directly left of the ‘Backspace’ key. Paste your en dash into the text field and click ‘OK’.
  7. For the wider em-dash—you know, these ones—simply copy one one of the aforementioned em dashes and go back to Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator. On the blank space directly left of your newly-installed en dash, click the blank button and paste your em dash. Hit ‘OK’.
  8. You’re almost done! To make sure you didn’t mess up the process, click Project → Test Keyboard Layout, then try Ctrl + Alt + (equals symbol [=]) for the en dash, and Ctrl + Alt + (hyphen symbol [-]) for the em dash. If it worked, then you’re almost done!
  9. On Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator, select File → Save Source File As… (You can call it whatever you like; I just opted for saving it as ‘em dash’, but it’s totally up to you.
  10. Now click Project → Build DLL and setup package. When it asks you to open the director after creating the setup package, select ‘Yes’.
  11. Right click on ‘setup.exe’ (but just “setup” if you have file extensions hidden). Click ‘Run as administrator’. Once you’ve installed the custom keyboard, go to step 12.
  12. Copy this into an explorer window text field: Control Panel\Clock, Language, and Region\Language
  13. Press Enter. Once you’ve loaded it up, you should see English (United States). If you have another language installed, such as Australian, double-click that option. Under input method, select ‘Add an input method’. Scroll down and find your newly added custom keyboard, which is probably listed under ‘US – custom’ by default. Click ‘Add’. If you followed all of these instructions carefully, you should be done! Congratulations, pour yourself a celebratory drink!

Note: Although I didn’t have this issue, my colleague has noticed that you may need to exit and relaunch certain applications. Once you have done this, however, you should be golden for as long as your computer lives. Hooray.

DJ Baby-Zee is taking the EDM world by storm, and you won’t believe how old he is!

First, there was the superstar French teenager, Madeon; then there was the 12-year-old wunderkind from Australia, Black Summer; and last week, news of John Anthony, 9, made worldwide headlines. But they are all practically senior citizens compared to one rising star. At just over 2 years of age, DJ Baby-Zee might not have spoken his first sentence yet, but he’s already making waves in the EDM scene, having been put on residency rotation at some of Miami’s hottest nightclubs. His father, Daddy-Zee, explains:

“Well, my son Baby-Zee first started spinning the ones and twos at about 6 months old, before moving onto production work. His fingers were, of course, not nimble enough to properly manipulate a keyboard or mouse like he could with the jog wheels, so we hooked him up with a modified Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn laptop, pre-installed with Babelton Live. Before you knew it, he was making some mad-dope beats. By 15 months of age, he was ghost-producing for Martin Garrix and David Guetta.”

DJ Baby-Zee
Don’t let the cute face fool you—DJ Baby-Zee might still be drinking formula, but his beats are anything but formulaic; his latest mixtape contains some of the edgiest beats since DJ Shadow.

With such a promising career ahead of Baby-Zee, labels have been scrambling to sign him up—impatiently awaiting the day that the 2-year-old becomes physically capable of signing his name. Spinnin’ Records even went as far as trying to file a court-sanctioned exemption to allow Baby-Zee to sign with his palm dipped in acrylic paint, but the judge dismissed the label’s request, saying:

“Sure, Baby-Zee certainly displays the skill and intellect comparable to many of the artists you have on your payroll, but if we allow Baby-Zee to sign this contract, we might be opening the doors to the ethical dilemma of unleashing the next Avicii. And God knows I am not risking being disbarred because I let an infant headline at Tomorrowland.”

DJ Baby-Zee’s latest single “Babez in da Hood” has already sold more than a staggering 250,000 sales worldwide on his father’s indie label, and the little tyke shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.

Altruism: why it matters so much.

Altruism is a peculiar trait; essentially, helping out someone or something else with no ulterior motive. Having done some shopping today, my wallet was apparently left behind in a trolley, and two kind women drove to my house to deliver it. Now, I’m sure that a lot of people would have done the same, kind, selfless deed if you were in their position, but it’s never something I take for granted. Also, to the kind checkout clerk who served me today and took an interest in my writing and wished me luck, please feel free to send me a message, and I’ll happily send you a free copy upon release as a small token of my appreciation.

 

Also, here’s some 3D concept art:3d clear

Warning

Warning: the following transmission transcript is a classified document belonging to the United States military. Unauthorized possession of this document is illegal; any military personnel caught violating the terms of their clearance, by illegal distribution or otherwise, will immediately have their clearance revoked, and will be tried under courts-martial for transgression of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Any unauthorized citizen in the United States found to be in possession of this document, or an unauthorized copy, may be subpoenaed for treason.

UCMJ, 64 Stat. 109, 10 U.S.C. §§ 801–946; 18 U.S. Code § 2381

 

My name is Dr. Damien Huxley. I am writing this letter on March 25, 2071.

Two weeks ago, you received a binary message which—accurately interpreted—predicted an event in your immediate future that was so unlikely, that only a person from the future could have made such a ludicrous prediction with such acuity, and be correct about the exact nature of the event that occurred. For the sake of national security, I will not reiterate what happened, lest the information fall into the wrong hands. Today I received your reply.

I am relieved that you were able to decipher my instructions on how to reply, and that you managed to bury the totem that would give us empirical evidence that the law of causality could not possibly be violated as per our understanding. Unfortunately, as expected, there is no evidence that the totem you buried was ever put there in my reality.

I am with a team of nanotechnology-assisted humans at a research facility you will know in your timeline as the Cheyenne Mountain nuclear bunker. Since time in our reality is of such critical importance, I will keep this as concise as possible while not trying to redact details that are critical for the survival of humanity in your reality.

The median temperature of Earth currently sits at an estimated -240 °C. If you think this was a result of humanity trying to reverse global warming by modifying our atmosphere, then you are gravely mistaken. Like endangered wildlife that succumbed to incidental changes of environment, humans in our reality have also become the victims of natural selection at the hands of pseudo-sentient entities. Over the last few months, almost all species of fauna and flora have been annihilated, save species such as the tardigrade. Even the various seed banks we have are inaccessible.  Humans will soon join that list if we cannot quell the explosive growth of quantum nanotechnology.

You are most likely asking how this could happen. After all, surely we put checks and balances in place to ensure that the inevitable technological revolution brought upon us by the singularity would not run out of control. I can assure you that we did; however, once nanotechnology began to self-replicate, it devised a quantum substrate that required temperatures close to 0 Kelvin—absolute zero. Before we realised what had happened, we were powerless to stop its self-replication. It manifested itself exponentially, until it had spread like an unstoppable virus on Earth and beyond, artificially using its own computational force to cool the surrounding molecules to allow it and its neighbouring quantum particles to thrive at optimal performance. It is estimated that there are less than 200,000 people on Earth, and the loss of biological life is unprecedented. All of these people, like us, are only alive because they have utilised thermo-bunkers. The great dying has been classified technically as the Quantum Extinction Event.

We have known about the ability to transmit information back in time on a quantum level for a while now, but all attempts to transport humans back in time have proved futile. In the same way that past generations have tried to protect the interests of future ones by cutting down deforestation, maintaining the ozone layer, reducing reliance on fossil fuels, and the disarmament of nuclear states, we must extend the same courtesy to our past selves by sending this warning, even if humanity within our own reality will not be saved.

The time in which this message has been sent signifies a critical branch in technological progress. Please stand by for a new directive.

I’ve started the site!

The purpose of this website/blog is twofold:

1) I intend on using this as a platform to both promote and sell my book when it is eventually released.

2) A place separate from social media, so that the people who wish to follow my progress can do so, and those people who have little to no interest but are also my friends on social networking sites such as Facebook, are not constantly bombarded with my writing updates.

So why did I buy this domain and not benschultz.com or some other variant? Well, I would if I could, but unfortunately, Ben is a fairly common name, and so too is Schultz; therefore, it was always going to be a hard domain to acquire. The current owner of that site has had it as long as I can remember (I love the minimalist theme, by the way), and I seriously doubt he would be willing to just hand it over.

My other blog, euphoricgames.net, which has been lying dormant for over two years now, will probably just be left to decay like a long-forgotten Geocities site, or Madonna. (Just in case you’re reading this in the future and Madonna has actually died, this a cheap joke about Madonna’s age, not her decaying corpse; I am not that insensitive. Wait, let me just check Wikipedia to make sure she’s not actually dead … Okay, just checked it; she’s still alive as of this post.)

If you came here from a Facebook post or an email link from my previous blog mailing list, the Metanet Forums, or any other place for that matter, then I thank you for taking the time to read this post. This site is very bland at the moment, but I am working on procuring a new theme, as well as adding in relevant pictures and other pertinent details.

I will try to post here with much more frequency than my previous blog; however, as is my tendency, this might be a huge lie. (Tendency to not make regular posts, that is, not my tendency to lie. Unless that, too, was a lie. A-ha! Now you will never know what I meant, as your mind contorts through the mysterious paradox that I have unleashed upon you.

Well, that’s all I have to say for now. Adios.