Red flower

The Cameron Highlands of Malaysia have a rich tropical highland fauna and flora, with tea and strawberries being amongst its more famous products. Here, in 2008, I stopped to peek at this red flower with my recently acquired macro lens. I have fond memories of this place and, one day, I may return.

Reconnect mapped network drives using Windows Command Prompt script

When booting into Windows, the OS sometimes does not reconnect mapped network drives even though the mapping is configured with the “Reconnect at sign-in” option. This is due with various timing constraints of resources during boot.

Although there are free Third Party software available that can automatically reconnect your mapped network drives, I would rather be able to do this using built-in tools than add more unnecessary software to my system. I’ve therefore written a Command Prompt script using the “net use” command. Not the prettiest of code but it does the job. Tested in Windows 10 Pro 64-bit.

The script was saved as a .CMD batch file which is executed by twice using Task Scheduler at user log on; one in non-admin and the other in admin mode. This allows mapped drives to be visible to those applications running in non-admin and also to those applications running in admin modes.

@ECHO OFF
SETLOCAL ENABLEEXTENSIONS ENABLEDELAYEDEXPANSION
SET me=%~n0
SET parent=%~dp0

TITLE Mapping network drives
@ECHO Please wait whilst we reconnect your network drives.

SET neterror=0

SET counter=1
SET loopvalue=11
SET /A trueloop=%loopvalue%-1
:Start
ECHO _____________________________________
ECHO:
IF "%counter%" EQU "%loopvalue%" (
ECHO Connection to D:\ drive timed-out
SET neterror=1
GOTO End
)
ECHO Attempt %counter% of %trueloop% to D:\ drive
TIMEOUT /t 5 /NOBREAK >NUL
IF EXIST D:\NUL (
ECHO Attempt %counter% successful.
GOTO End
)
NET USE D: \\192.168.49.69\Data /PERSISTENT:YES
IF "%ERRORLEVEL%" NEQ "0" IF "%ERRORLEVEL%" NEQ "85" (
SET /A counter=%counter%+1
GOTO Start
)
:End

IF "%neterror%" EQU "0" GOTO Endofscript

:userconfirm
ECHO _____________________________________
ECHO:
SET /P userinput="Errors were found. Do you wish to try again [Y/n] "
IF /I "%userinput%" EQU "y" GOTO Start
IF /I "%userinput%" EQU "" GOTO Start
IF /I "%userinput%" EQU "n" GOTO Endofscript
GOTO userconfirm

:Endofscript
ECHO _____________________________________
ECHO:
@ECHO Please wait, script is closing.
TIMEOUT /t 5 /NOBREAK >NUL
ENDLOCAL
@ECHO OFF
@EXIT /B 0

Mazgouf in Baghdad

It was April 2011, just after dusk, and we made our way to a restaurant in central Baghdad along Abu Nawas Street by the River Tigris. This area is well known for serving Iraq’s favourite fish dish; the “mazgouf”.

The restaurant, although having a roof, is open to the elements and was filled with many customers; obviously a popular place.

Having selected our live carp (allegedly from the adjacent Tigris but more probably from a fish farm), the cook removed the fish from the tank and then stunned them with a stick, gutted them by cutting along the back, applied some seasoning, and then impaled them to be slow-grilled next to an open fire of burning fruit tree branches such as from lemon trees and orange trees. What we didn’t realise was that it takes about an hour or so to cook the fish, so we had a lot of time to chat!

Carp are bottom feeders and if they were from the Tigris around Baghdad then I’m not sure that I’d have too many fish dinners; there’s just been too much dumped in the river. Once I’d got past wondering where the fish came from, I did enjoy the meal.

But the mazgouf is an important dish to the Iraqis and the Iraqi diaspora, and it helps to unite them through social gatherings and reinforce their identity and uniqueness; something that’s very much needed in these trying times.