Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fresh from California.... and delicious!

Today's Google Doodle.....Ya gotta love it !

The cat at the end is the perfect finish....

Tuning up Win-8 Pro

One of the helpful things you can do is get yourself the world's best Defragmentation tool, Auslogics Disk Defrag, which analyzes, defragments and optimizes each partition on your hard-drive, according to your selections.

This shows on the left the window it uses during the Defrag and Optimizing job, and on the right, the report of what it found and what it did about it. Better than this, you can't hardly get. So give this one a try, for sure.... you'll like it.

And, if you're running Windows 8 Pro, like I am here, and you want to use the Magnifier to enlarge something on the screen, there are two keyboard shortcuts for it, that you may find handy:-
Windows Key + Numeric Keyboard's "+" = Enlarge
Windows Key + Numeric Keyboard's "-" = Restore to normal

For a whole list of shortcuts, try these ones, and maybe bookmark them.

Please Note:

I tried the Magnifier not because there's any problem with my new $900 eye glasses, but because I wanted to see if the magnifier could decently enlarge the
800 x 600 images that I'm now limited to on here, having used up my complimentary free one-gig allowance for larger photos, such as those full resolution screenshots I had formerly been posting. 

It pains me deeply to report that this Magnifier feature operates much like the digital zoom on our digital cameras, and even though it makes things bigger, it doesn't make them sharper or even average-looking, because what it's doing is
taking that 800 x 600 pixel image and spreading those original pixels apart, and then filling in the gaps between them with other pixels which are an average of the differences between those original adjacent pixels. So the new larger image
is both fainter and less distinct. In the case of a photo, it has a lot more 'noise' in it, and noise reduction programs like Neat Image can't improve that very much, because it's simply "built that way". And that, Dear Reader, is why none
of us astute shutterbugs will touch digital zoom with a ten foot pole, and neither should you. It makes a nice picture look like hell. Whoever invented it meant it only for use while photographing mothers-in-law. Trust me - would I lie to you?

Days like this, I'm glad I'm retired...

Days like this, I'm glad that I'm retired. The only place I've ever been where I've been colder and wetter in a rainstorm than in one of these buckets was on my motorcycle while caught in a thunderstorm wearing only shorts and a T-shirt as I expected continued hot sunny weather but got a nasty surprise.

You not only can get damned cold and wet up in one of these hydraulically operated buckets, but you can't move around much, and you have to keep yourself bonded to the bucket-liner and the cable or bus-bars you're working on, or else you get nasty 'bites' from the voltage gradients between the various items of your surroundings. But the good news is, using one of these buckets is a lot better than doing it the old-fashioned way, with the climbers strapped onto your boots, and a wide belt with a pole-strap to lash yourself to the pole so you can then use both hands free to work. That restricted your movements a lot, and it was also hell on your back. So these are an improvement. And no, you can't use an umbrella, because you have to see in all directions, and you need to be able to move things around up there, and an umbrella would simply be in the way and block your view of something possibly hazardous nearby. So you get cold and wet instead, but you survive to do it again tomorrow. Got the picture?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Making your own Themes - hints

If you'd like a fairly plain and simple slide show type background theme in Win-8 (or Win-7) you can simply make a series of plain backgrounds which are sized to your monitor's resolution ( mine is 1680 by 1050), give them each a different color, and then when you install that as a Theme, instead of choosing only one color for the taskbar and window-frames coloring, set it on the automatic color chooser. It then picks a compatible color for each of your different background selections, so the finished result is color co-ordinated.

Here's one background in the series.

This is the complete series of backgrounds.
Add or remove individual ones by checking
or unchecking in its upper left corner.
This is the color selector for the taskbar
and the frames of windows.
The multicolored one upper row, left end,
is the automatic selector choice.
- Have fun! -


More 'This & That' with Oldest Living Blogger...

I need a faster shutter or a more nervous finger, or both.... by the time I see it coming until I can push the button, it's come, grabbed a snack, and took off again, and all I get are a couple of blurry useless images. These crows are fast.

Moving along here, "How are you enjoying Windows 8 Pro, Ray?" you ask.......
And I might reply, "Not as much as I did Windows 8 Release Preview, because 
some of the Apps that worked fine in Release Preview won't install in Pro."

So you ask, "Is that your only complaint?" To which, I answer, "Not at all - I have others, like it asks me stupid questions while I'm trying to do something,
like when I'm dumping the wastebasket, it pops up a brilliant query "Are you sure you want to delete these 'x' items?" and I immediately think of that other operating system, the much-reviled Vasta Vista, in which you couldn't even fart without first answering a three-page questionnaire, and showing them a note from your mother. And I'm thinking, Gawd, they should have fired all those bastards who did that, because the best security in the world isn't worth a damn if you can't get anything done because of it."

You respond, "Wow! that's telling 'em! - Anything else?"  And I think for a moment, and say, "Yes - I understand why Microsoft prefers conformity across each of its platforms and commonality of procedures in its range of devices, but
there really ought to be a user-selectable set of choices for whether or not I must jump through all the features for a touch-enabled portable device while I'm simply booting up a non-touch-enabled desktop PC that doesn't need three
separate operations to get from switching it on to being able to reach its main
desktop and start something productive, useful, or entertaining on it. Complicating a formerly simple procedure for the 90% of Windows users who are still using desktop PCs doesn't seem to me to be the smartest possible way to endear yourself and your new system to its public and its prospective buyers."

And you wrap it all up by saying, "Thank You, Ray, we needed that and so did
Mighty Microsoft, and I hope they see this one." And so do I. And soon! 

Monday, October 29, 2012

"It's a lovely day in the neighborhood..."

The Big Picture: The fog is lifting, it's raining lightly, and it's 51 F on the balcony, and there's no wind worth mentioning. It could be a whole bunch worse.

This guy in the driveway, center right, is carrying his golf clubs and obviously isn't worried about the weather. If we stayed home whenever it rained, we'd never get anything done. And if we don't like the weather here, we just wait for about 20 minutes for the next batch to arrive. We like it because it's easy to shovel. Much like political speeches....except this actually makes our grass grow greener. Keep your chin up, and keep paddling! 

This is those first two images combined by Microsoft Research Image Composite Editor ('I.C.E.') into a vertical panorama form. If you haven't yet tried 'I.C.E.' then you can get your free download here.

Better a viewer than a doer....

We had hurricane force winds out here on the West Coast back on December 15th of 2006, and it scared the hell out of me, and I thought I wasn't easily scared. I looked out the window about 3:00 a.m. that night, and all I could see were bluish flashes of light with growling noises above the sound of the howling winds, as power lines all over the neighborhood made contact with tree
branches, and as I watched, my own power went off, and stayed off for three days. And I'm within a mile of two different main distribution substations of our power system, on which I used to work prior to retirement. So if you're in this storm area today, all I can say is: "Live Better Electrically - Carry a Flashlight - with extra batteries!" And stay away from large windows like patio sliding doors.
And Good Luck, Everyone!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Found: The Windows 8 Clock....

Bring up the Clock with time, day and date, and also the Charms Bar in Windows 8 by simply pressing the Windows (Flag) Key + C. Pressing the Windows Key again gets you out of that, and back to the Start Screen, on which you will need to hit the Desktop tile to return to your work. Got the picture?
And all this time, I've been saying "Damn! I wish they'd left the Sidebar in here with its Gadgets.....I really miss that Clock." It's still here, just in hiding. Can I change its colors? Add an alarm? Move it around? Make it into a clock-radio? Not so far.

I must be getting old......


This is a screenshot of the Chicago Tribune's App in Windows 8, showing one of their featured articles from the latest edition. 

I looked at this and thought, "My gawd! it's the Sixties all over again!" And then I thought, looking at the gal in the hot orange mini, " ....Hmmm... Too much gal, not enough dress!" Like I said - I must be getting old. And I'm not sorry!
("It starts when she sinks in your arms, and ends with your arms in her sink!")

Discovering what works in a new O/S like Windows 8

Canon makes great cameras, and I've got a couple, but they aren't nearly as much on the ball with the software updates for their cameras and scanners.

I've just spent/wasted about two hours trying to update Canon's Zoombrowser EX and Canoscan Toolbox, and find a Twain Driver for my Canon Canoscan 3000ex - and if you're the proud owner of such a beast, I can save you some time - forget it - there isn't any 64-bit drivers for Windows 8 that will activate your Canoscan 3000ex. 

The closest you can come is their Windows 7 32-bit driver, which fortunately still works in my Windows 7. So if I'm working in Windows 8, and I need to scan something, I have to reboot the PC into Windows 7, scan my something there, and then reboot back into Windows 8, and retrieve my work via the File Explorer tree on the left side column of File Explorer. (Note: formerly called Windows Explorer, not to be confused with 'Internet Explorer', hence the name change.)
One of the nicer things about a dual-boot setup is that you can access files on one of the operating systems from the other one simply by going into that File Explorer folder, and searching the folder tree for whatever you want. Then, you can bring up a window from each folder, place them side-by-side on the desktop and simply drag & drop from one into the other. It's a kind of poor man's 'Home Group' and it works very nicely. In fact, that's probably where they got the idea for 'Home Group'. 

And Today's Question Everything is: "If a 64-bit O/S happily runs 32-bit programs, and also has a Compatibility Mode Wizard, then why can't my 64-bit Windows 8 accept a 32-bit driver for my flatbed scanner?" 

And the answer is: Because a driver is essentially a program that has to be able to read and write back and forth between its own device and the main operating system, and even though a 64-bit operating system can and does run 32-bit programs, the 32-bit driver can't write or execute anything into the 64-bit system. So if I can't find a 64-bit driver for my scanner, I'll simply have to use it in the 32-bit Windows 7 that is also on this drive in another partition. It's a bit of a nuisance, but better than nothing. I can always move the scanned images
into the Windows 8 files later. And it's my own fault, for not checking this out before I bought Windows 8. I should have got the 32-bit x86 version, even though this PC is built for 64-bit. I just wasn't thinking..... (Think or Thwim!)

'Dubya' on Romney.....

USA Today gives us Dubya's view of Romney in this short article, which also tells us that Dubya is "living as invisibly as possible" these days. Good! It couldn't happen to a more deserving warmonger. He will likely be remembered by history for being 40% mouth and 60% arsehole. And for being one of the all-time worst presidents America ever had! And they've had some dandies....

Another Theme....

You can also have a theme with objects from the skies, and one place you can get those, without the weather getting in your way, is by having the program called Stellarium, which you can download here.

Stellarium is another of those magnificent 'freebies' and it will provide you with your very own planetarium in real time on your desktop. And that's pretty amazing when we think about it. This program does everything you'd expect from your local Planetarium, and it even lets you view the wonders of space from other planets, if you wish. For example, you can adjust it so that it shows you the view from Mars looking at the stars, or from another of our planets. And
I hasten to add that viewing the heavens from Mars turns our Earth into a barely visible speck of light off in the distance - just like Mars seems to us from here. But other things are closer, like those other outer planets. Anyway, do give it a try, and have fun! It ought to be a real winner with the kids. Even Old Farts like me have fun with it.

Windows 8 and Graphics Programs....

You can make your own themes for Windows 8 just as you did for Windows 7, and your favorite Windows 7 Themes work very nicely in Windows 8, which accepts them without complaint. Here's a video or two for those wanting to make a Theme. It's not all that difficult, and it can be a lot of fun, and you can use your own images of course, or any others that grab you.

Windows 8, I should add, runs the same sorts of older programs which ran in Windows 7, and it has a similar Compatibility Wizard to help you.

An old friend asked about graphics and photo-editing programs, and said his favorite version of Google's Picasa has been replaced by a newer one that no longer contains a feature of the older one that he really liked. There are one or two older 'legacy' versions available of Picasa, and you might like to have a look at what Google has to say here with download links.

If you'd like another freebie graphics program for photo-editing, etc., then there are a couple of good ones:-

Both of these I've used, and I usually have Irfan Skiljan's 'Irfanview' set as my default image-handling program, for use whenever I'm opening a photo file or etc., and both of these programs come with an assortment of plug-ins for added convenience features. The Paint.Net program is a modernized and vastly improved version of the old original Microsoft 'Paint' which Microsoft donated to
a group of graduate students at a university so that they could practice their skills upgrading and improving it. They did a wonderful job on it, and it has a wide variety of plug-ins now available for it to give it many additional capabilities and features. So if you'd like another good graphics program, you should have a look at both of these. They are both excellent programs.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

USA Today: AP Poll: Prejudice against blacks

The other day in a previous post, I made a semi-facetious crack about how Romney gives me the impression that he would like to restore slavery. Now along comes this Associated Press poll examining that very question from another and perhaps more discrete angle, or perhaps not so discrete really.

Before the Civil War (an oxymoron if I ever saw one!) when agriculture was a mainstay of the economy, and cotton was king, and slavery was rampant throughout those genteel southern states, there wasn't so much of a problem,
because everyone understood their place and could plainly see who held the whip and who yelled, "Please, Ma'sa... Don't beats me - Ah promise I'ze gonna be real good!". 

But times change, and like Will Rogers said, "You can't say civilizations don't advance - in every war they kill you in a new way." And slavery, at least the officially recognized variety of it, was abolished. The unofficial variety of it, encompassing both blacks and whites amongst the poor still thrives in its own diabolical ways. 

The 'problem' in the good old U.S. of A. with prejudice rearing its ugly head between blacks and whites or blacks and non-blacks perhaps I should say, isn't so very different from the kind of problems we've had here in Canada ever since 1759 when Wolfe's English defeated Montcalm's French near Quebec City and 
France lost its claims to a big chunk of North America - for which they've never forgiven us English and never let us forget it for a moment. They've become experts at laying guilt-trips on the non-francophones of our land, and in a futile effort to appease them, we've poured unreasonable amounts of favors and financial benefits into their disruptive and disagreeable province in a useless attempt to shut them up and bring peace to the valley. It hasn't worked, because ever since 1759, every succeeding generation of francophones has considered it their sacred duty to teach their offspring that those goddamned English bastards stole their vast and fertile lands from them, and that Canada rightfully ought to have been a French possession all along. And they intend to harrass us and howl and whine about it until we either give them back the rest of Canada, or cut them loose and tell them where to go and what kind of weather to expect upon arrival. Neither of which is an intelligent option nor likely to ever happen. 

In a sense, we're all the authors of our own misfortunes, and to add insult to injury, we seem unwilling or unable to put all that behind us, and start working more co-operatively together for our mutual benefit. Which puts us about on a par with the rest of the human race, which evidently would rather fight than eat.
The proof of that is everywhere, and somewhere on the globe, there's constantly a war or wars in progress. Phrasing that another way, our technology has advanced amazingly throughout our history, but emotionally speaking we're still at about the same level as Ug and Mug, those intrepid cavemen who battled the dinosaurs for their lunch and battled their neighbors for their mates. There's nothing new under the sun, Kiddies. It just looks that way occasionally, but it's
really just a mirage. We're all just gorillas in the mists of time.  

Getting it together.... Windows 8 Pro

Here's what it looks like with a little personalization.  I'm still stewing & farting over the loss of the Windows Sidebar and Gadgets, which probably happened not for security reasons at all, but because Windows 8 is designed for you to have a homogenous experience across various kinds of hardware, and we couldn't hardly fit in a Sidebar and Gadgets on the screen of a smart phone or a tablet, where the real estate is very limited and every precious pixel counts. 
It's only on the expanse of a desktop where those really shine - but I don't see why us desktoppers can't still have our Sidebar and Gadgets if we want them.
I'd like to have someone from Mighty Microsoft take another whack at all that,
and perhaps stop punishing us for not being among those thumb-typers. I don't have any portable devices yet, simply because I have no need of them. I prefer sitting at a desk, and enjoying a good cup of coffee while I work on things like this. You won't catch me walking into a cast-iron lamp post because I was too interested in playing with my handheld..... but to each his own, I guess.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Attention, Sports Fans! Before installing Windows 8

If you can read the fine print at the bottom of this window, it has some bad news for those of us downloading our new Windows 8 from the web, and then making our own DVD from its ISO Image, to create our own Installation DVD.
It says we can't keep anything from our existing installation's files or apps.

That's not an entire loss, though, because we can go into 'Windows.old' in the 
Windows Explorer tree after installation, and in there, we can find and restore
those cherished items not yet quite gone. Just don't re-format your drive before you use the newly-created Installation DVD, because if you do that, it won't have anything to save to the 'Windows.old' folder for you. And you'll hate yourself for not "reading the directions". That said, I'm off to install the retail version of Win-8 onto the partition of the drive presently occupied by its Release Preview. And in case something goes horribly wrong for me, you've been warned about one of the dangers..... (to be continued...)

Forty-four bucks and change (including tax) later, I'm frantically downloading the retail version of Windows 8 Pro as we speak.....and I'll have more on all this a little later on, so please stay tuned...

And later still.... Here's what the new Windows 8 Pro Desktop looks like. You'll maybe notice ( I sure do!) that there's none of those Sidebar Gadgets here, because Mighty Microsoft in its venerable wisdom has decided arbitrarily to remove those from the system because they were just too damned handy, or
something like that..... actually, they said they were a security hazard, but you
couldn't prove that by my own experience with them over nearly four years.
I've never had a problem that could be attributed to those gadgets. Maybe one of those whiz-kids in Redmond, Washington decided these gadgets were a bit
too distracting to the computer slaves in the offices of the world, or something.

But I digress - sorry about that - and you wanted to know how the installation
went? Not as well as Windows 7 has done, and not as quickly as Windows 7,
and when they said they wouldn't save a whole bunch of stuff you'd probably
want to keep rather than hunt the web to replace again, they were right. So now I have to again spend time 'rebuilding' my set of programs and goodies I've found so handy, and now so familiar.

And while you're reading the directions as the whole thing progresses, and at
the beginning, it shows you a list of things that it found compatible and others it didn't, I'd just like to say that my treasured old Arcsoft PhotoStudio 5.5 from back about six years ago or so and which Windows 8 says "has compatibility issues" (I knew that already, thanks!) still works just fine in the new and improved Windows 8 Pro, just like it did in Windows 8 Release Preview, so in case anyone at Microsoft reads this, please take notes, Kiddies. It's my favorite editing program for photos and for accessing my flatbed scanner, and I'm quite attached to it. In fact, I'm so attached to it, I'd rather throw out Windows 8 rather than lose my favorite editing program, which I use almost constantly.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go play with the latest version of Windows 8, and find out how it differs from the Release Preview which it has
just replaced. There's not a lot of difference that I've noticed so far.... but I will know more about that a little later....

Continuing notes....

Before I forget to mention it, during the installation process, you will have the options of directly installing Windows 8 from the files it downloads onto your computer drive, or you can simply leave those files as-is when the download finishes, and install from them later, or you can convert them from within the
program into an ISO file, which you can then use in your favorite burning program ( I prefer ImgBurn which you can find here ) to make yourself a DVD
from which to install Win-8 on another partition (or another PC) - and you will
also by then find an icon on the Desktop for installing Win-8. So you can make
your own installation DVD, and save that for later, and still install Win-8 directly from that Desktop icon's link. And Windows 8 does recognize a dual-boot setup and it will install itself without wiping out your other (Win-7) operating system.
It will, however, juggle your partition designations so that it becomes the "C:/"
partition. (Mine previously was Win-7 = C:/) And that, I hope, helps to clear up a few little mysteries about the process. Windows 8 Pro is now on the job.

And finally.... Here's the Desktop again, with my own icons, and with those ugly little shortcut overlay arrows removed from them, using an old freebie program called Vista Shortcut Overlay Remover 2.0. There are several sites on the web carrying it, so I'll leave that one to you. And also, Windows 8 Pro also accepts the use of your own choice of security programs, even though it comes out of the box with everything it needs already, from Windows. I like Avast 7 because it talks to me when it's updating or finds a problem. Very nice feature, and it
also is the most popular such program on the web these days, we're told. But more importantly, it works.  You can find it here.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Snow Report and Leaf Report for today

First, the Snow Report:

This snow first arrived on Sunday, and usually the first flakes melt away within a few hours, to be replaced by yet more rain. Didn't happen this week.  It's still up there. Is this an omen? Or just a fact?

Now, for the Leaf Report:

That 'fire tree' maple is still 'lookin' good' especially when the sun's on it.

 And at their nearby excuse for a 'high-rise' another colorful couple of trees, along with a cloud of rising exhaust from the heating system indicating it's quite chilly out there as this was taken. (About 44 F) The Bikini Season is over....and it's now almost time for the Snow Bunnies to exercise their tail-wagging muscles doing their thing on the nearby alpine. Already? Yep! Time flies when you're having fun.

Looking over the border at America...

Looking over the border at America and especially at American politics is a lot like watching a good Hollywood action movie, and I don't mean those ancient spaghetti Westerns starring that drugstore cowboy from the old 'Rawhide' TV show, Clint Eastwood. Who the hell is Clint Eastwood anyway? He's an actor who has made a career of pretending to be somebody else, and in most cases somebody else who never existed in the first place - fictitious characters - so he's spent most of his life pretending to be some non-existent character in a fictional scenario carefully designed to separate the unwashed masses from their sweat-stained cash, while not having to break said sweat himself. Just to clarify that issue for you.... And what does Clint know about running the country? The closest he's ever come to that was being the mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea (commonly just 'Carmel'), a quiet little artsy-fartsy backwater along
the Pacific coast about 330 miles north of L.A. and 120 miles south of San Francisco in California, with a population (in 2010) of 3,722. Not a big place.

Today's USA Today (above) shows us this poll which is well within the margin of error for such things, meaning this is still virtually a 'dead heat' neck-in-neck race and anybody's ballgame. But today's wags and pundits are saying they favor 'Mitt The S**t' Romney for running the economy over the incumbent, President Obama. This is the part about American politics that drives people crazy!

 How the hell can anyone with half an eye and a functioning arsehole have the temerity to say that they prefer an untried and untested windbag greenhorn to a serving President with first-hand experience and a record not to everyone's liking only because his political opposition has been blocking him at each and every turn? Since when is the hypothetical preferable to the actual? Doesn't anybody down there know how to play this game? Is that why your national debt is bigger than God's? And the Chinese and Japanese and others own a big slice of your future? And you'd better hope they don't decide to cash in their chips all at once? Is this what's bothering you? Well that's still no excuse for electing a 'Dubya'-clone hatched by a daddy who once ran American Motors,
and had some experience with the car business. Speaking as a too-often buyer
of those products, I'd say that's no guarantee of integrity, reliability, or trustworthiness. Some of the biggest and best 'bullshitters' I've ever met were
in the car business, and I paid dearly for that knowledge. So be careful...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

This just in from the local Air Force....

An old friend writes....

An old friend writes: "Lately, I've had a steady pain in my left buttock, and I've made an appointment with a back specialist about it..."

OK, here's the picture.....
For more on this, please click here...

In a nutshell, it's like this: Once upon a time, in a land far away, before the invention of flappers, trappers, and zappers, our ancestors lived in trees - yes, actual trees, leaves and berries, and nuts, and fruit and, I'm not describing Hollywood, so don't interrupt.....and our people weren't exactly called 'people' just yet. And everybody had tails, the better to swing from the branches of those trees. And those tails were controlled by a set of muscles located where your tailbone is still found at the bottom end of your spine. There's a pair of those muscles, one on each side, in case you wanted to wag your tail from side to side because you were happy to see someone, or wanted to let them know you were friendly. 

Years passed - in fact eons passed,  and an eon is several many millennia, for those keeping score. So what? So we lost our tails, is what. But we didn't completely lose everything else that went with the tail. We kept those muscles that helped us to wag it, and some nerves nearby that carry signals back and forth between your brain and your southern exposure, in case your Southern is exposed, like with exotic dancers, just for example. And I'm now coming to the good part about the bad news: those muscles you didn't lose when you lost the tail are probably pinching one of those nerves that carry those signals to and from your brain, and now those nerves are yelling 'Ouch', and you need to do some exercises, like walking down to your friendly local watering hole, for a good stiff bourbon & branch water, and maybe observe Bubbles, this week's star attraction on the exotic dancing list, just to see how she keeps her tail-wagging muscles in top form. Any questions? Good! Say 'Hello' to Bubbles for me.....

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It's a cutthroat business, Kiddies....

Like the writer of this article says, "Welcome to the Tablet Wars!"

And 'sympathy' is in the dictionary between 'shit' and 'syphilis' and here we go again with another round of degradation of the language as those thumb-typers and their abbreviated acronyms and coded shit reduce English to slang and unintelligible gobbledegook. And I repeat: 90.8% of the world's computers at latest report are desktops, because that's where the real work gets done by those who are serious about it. It's probably going to take quite a long time to grow that 9.2% who type with their thumbs on piddly little pads into a truly significant number of semi-serious computer users capable of real work on those cute little toys, if in fact that's even actually possible - and we don't know that yet for sure. So far, all we're getting is a lot of spin-doctoring, wishful thinking, and conjecture - 'guesstimations' to you - and you can't take that to the bank, Kiddies. But stay tuned - this is going to be like watching those gladiators in ancient Rome, but with larger bets on the outcome.

Please note:
If you're wondering about these screenshots being truly full screen and how-come, it's because I'm getting them on Windows 8 which does this better than that previous O/S.....what's-its-name?  Oh, Yeah - Windows 7.....

Conversations on the balcony.....

Note: That board to which the plastic dish is stapled is 12 inches wide so these
gulls are a fairly large bird.

What they didn't say.....

Sometimes, a picture practically cries out for captioning, and I hope the folks at USA Today forgive me for yielding to the urge to do that here....
I wonder what Mitt would look like dressed as the farmer in Grant Wood's famous American Gothic painting? Instead of in the uniform of an upscale car salesman who comes from a long line of long lines.... and why does he give me the impression that he'd like to restore slavery? Or maybe thumb his nose at Putin and get the Cold War going again, because it was 'good for business'? Is he perhaps related to Sarah Palin? Does he see Russia from his front porch?
Those are my Questions Everything for today, Folks.
The Fact Checkers and their story can be found by clicking here.
Enjoy your day.

Monday, October 22, 2012

This and That, with 'Oldest Living Blogger'....

The wing is quicker than the finger....but I almost got it. My fault - while it was grabbing some breakfast, so was I....
And there's nothing better than fresh Driscoll's California Raspberries, with milk and sugar, and some fresh bread and almost-butter for a nice breakfast, and I
did get that picture a bit later on....after we'd all had something to eat.
The picture quality isn't the best because it was taken through the glass door and there's some reflections from interior lights on drapes, etc. making it less than clear. But getting pictures of crows this close, even through a glass door,
isn't always this easy. It has taken a long time for them to get confident enough to land on the deck and actually pick up a snack. They're much cleaner and quieter than those damned pigeons, and so that's my excuse. They're smarter than pigeons too.

One of 'Today In Pictures' from USA Today...

Once a Taliban always a Taliban,
Once a Knight is enough!

My old pal Pete says....

My old pal Pete, checking the music I've posted on here from YouTube, thinks that he and I have "very different tastes in music". He sent me a link to a video
done by Burton Cummings in which he shows off his over-a-hundred-years-old piano, and the implication is that I've probably never heard of Burton Cummings and his music. And that would be just plain wrong....

There's a lot more to me than just a 'pretty face' Pete - and the music I've chosen so far to post here from YouTube is mostly golden oldies from my life
in smoky bars, acting the lounge lizard bit just about every night after work and
during many of my days off. During all that, I loved good jazz, (and still do!) but
after I got 'the cure' from my 26er-a-day habit with Doctor Smirnoff, and a good Collins mix, with a dash of grenadine for color, and extra sugar to dampen the bite of the booze - after all that, came my rock phase, and yes, I've heard of Burton Cummings. I've also got some of his albums, along with Led Zep, and a
few other hit-makers. I've worn out three copies of Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side', and
I have one more-or-less-undamaged copy left for posterity.

I also have 22 of Chet Atkins albums, and four or five dozen albums of purely
classical classics of the Bach and Beethoven sort of thing. One of those plays classics on several different harpsicords that are older than Burton's box, for sure, and they sound beautiful, too. So our musical tastes probably are rather different, but we don't know for sure, because there's a lot been happening in that gap between 1958 and just lately, and we haven't explored that yet.

Today in 'USA Today'....

There's apparently big money in Ancestry, unlike Incestry (unless you're a Royal that is...). And those who don't believe the dead come back to life should be here at quitting time!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

And let's not forget.....The Count:

Speaking of clarinetists - The Old Master...

Crows prefer whole wheat bread...

They remind me if I forget to put it out, too...

It's beginning to look a lot like....

Re-stating the obvious: Microsoft plays catch-up

 You can read all about it by clicking here.

I was going to just post the above and leave it at that, but in view of the negative press and media coverage Windows 8 has been receiving, including my own whining about it, in fairness I should say that it isn't all bad by any means.

If you like Windows 7, and most of us think it's probably the best Windows ever, then you'll adapt to Windows 8 quite easily. If you're running a standard desktop like I do, you may not appreciate the few extra steps required to get into your desktop from the first couple of other screens you'll first be confronted with, but it isn't an insoluble problem. And any day now, I expect some whiz-kid to come out with a neat shortcut to bypass the initial bullshit for those just wanting their familiar old desktop front and center when desired. 

And for all the fuss being made over the multi-touch features so integral to Win-8, may I remind you that our almost-four-year-old Windows 7 has had touch features built in since it first saw the light of day in January of 2009.
So this isn't anything new - only the extent of its application is new in this latest operating system, which itself is basically a re-working of Windows 7, and is therefore already a well-proven core system, and more reliable than anything we had before it. 

And as Dwight said the other day at his computer shop, we'll adapt sooner or later, because you can't fight progress, and if we're not moving forward, we're losing ground, because everybody else is getting ahead of us. Just ask Microsoft
and they'll tell you - that's how Apple got the jump on them with those iPads.
Microsoft was so busy fixing the fuck-ups in Vasta Vista, they missed the bandwagon on the launching of all these mobiles, and now they're frantically trying to cover their asses and get on the ball, which has already rolled down the road toward Tomorrow. And Tomorrow is the Today we worried about Yesterday, and Time Marches On, Trampling Everything Underfoot. And you can quote me on that..... 

Moving right along here...... the clouds are lifting, and here's what the hills look like around here this morning - the first flakes of the 2012/13 Ski Season.....

See what happens when I put Christmas music on the blog? I get my wish! :)


Friday, October 19, 2012

Neighborhood colors

Looking down from the balcony...
While this starving crow waits for me
to go back inside, so it can have a snack.

Toronto's crumbling expressway

I was right...............
Read all about it...

This just in on Mighty Microsoft....

For the actual article, please click here and in case the headline scared you, have a look at the third paragraph. They're far from broke, Kiddies. But today's Question Everything is: "Are the Glory Days over?  Is this the writing on the wall?" And please.... don't all answer at once....take turns.

Practicing my night shots...

This came out rather well, considering I'm a greenhorn at taking night shots with a digital camera - or any other kind, for that matter - and I owe it all to
"when all else fails, read the directions!"

This was done on a 'Night Landscape' setting, using the 'tripod' option, and the camera did all the rest. All I did was push the button, and wait to brag about these results. I'm shocked and amazed that it even came out, considering my 
skill level. 

So this is my 3:45 A.M. weather report, looking into the neighbors' driveway across the back street, checking on the puddles and whether or not there's a lot of visible splatter from falling raindrops. Not much of that here, because we were momentarily between showers. And our National News on the good old CBC reporting the west coast weather for tonight and tomorrow seems to be wrong. (Again!) They're calling for seriously heavy downpours tapering off late
tomorrow (today, already!) and being replaced by an Arctic cold front.... so all
I can say is....

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The morning Snow Report....

Nothing yet, but soon...