Thursday, October 31, 2013

The uproar - color me confused...

Pardon me for asking, but how computer savvy is El Presidente? And why do I ask? Because......

Here's the beginning of a 12-page PDF file with forms for applying for coverage
and with it comes another file of instructions on how to do all that, and where to mail it, and who to call if you need help with any of it, and I didn't have any problem downloading these pages, or reading the instructions, and here's why I'm confused: I live in Canada !!! If I can access all this information from your website, then I have to wonder, why can't the rest of you?

This is the first of the actual questionnaire, and I'm showing it so you will know it's the real deal, assuming you are also successful in accessing the website.
It seems to be working OK from here. So I'm confused....

Yesterday's 'neurocam' video, and last night's dreams...

Perhaps like many, I have dreams which are only vaguely and indistinctly recalled upon waking, with only bits and snatches of them sticking in the active memory long enough to be even semi-recognizable as actual dream segments.
The rest of that activity remains in that nebulous 'twilight zone' where we're not quite sure if it was real or not.

Again last night, I had some of that 'maybe so, maybe not' dream activity, which usually frustrates the hell out of me, because I'm the nosy type, and I want to know what's going on - especially inside my own head! So as I was waking, I had a neat thought: "Wouldn't it be great if that neurocam described yesterday could be tuned to detect and record all those 'now-you-see-'em-now-you-don't' fleeting glimpses of dreams that come and go during the night?"

It might be interesting to see what the brain is doing while the rest of me is busy dumping the garbage and patching up the wear and tear on the systems
and getting ready for another day of not quite being able to remember those dreams... And before you ask, No! I have never dreamt I climbed Mount Everest in my Maidenform Bra. And I doubt if anyone else has either.

Trouble in Paradise ?

Those chemical weapons...

As long as I'm pointing at things...

I've been using their freebie version for years, and in the latest newsletter, they are having a sale. The Pro version of this has a zero-day behavioral detection system for malware detection, much like the now-defunct Threatfire, for instant protection against new bad stuff. This comes to us from Cologne, Germany, and
it works, so check it out. I'm now using their Pro version, and it is quite compatible with other security software like Avast, which I'm also using.

Books, eBooks, and Readers....

And if you don't yet have your own eBook Reader, get this eBook Management Program, which has its own viewer built in, along with lots of other goodies...

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A neurocam ?

And you thought an iphone was for making calls...

Affordable Healthcare, American style...

This whole thing really shocks me, sitting here in Canada, well outside the 'fallout zone' because I find it very difficult to believe that my American neighbors can be so clueless about something that's been around for decades in one form or another.

For starters, you've known about and thrown shit at our Canadian system of healthcare for years. And you've got to know that if yours is based on a multitude of private insurance providers, there's going to be a lot of different prices and different coverages as they try to maximize their profits while minimizing their exposure. So unless you have one set of rules for everybody, then it's going to be a hell of a mess, which it seems to be at the moment.

And surely to God you would be expected to find someone to create your central website who had the expertise and the proven performance record to get it done on time and without any crippling problems. Some of the biggest and best of the world's computer programming companies have been based in the USA forever, but did you consult with any of them? Did you give them the opportunity to demonstrate their world-class expertise for your benefit? Evidently not - because your own in-house know-it-alls assured you that wasn't necessary, and being the gullible bastards you are, you actually ignored the constant hotbed of political intrigue swirling around your heads and gave them their way. And quite predictably, the results have been a complete embarrassment and an abject failure. 

And now, everybody's backpedalling like crazy trying to cover their asses from the inevitable fallout, and the Koch brothers are laughing their asses off! You've played right into their hands, which is the very last thing you ought to have done. When you don't know what you're doing, find an expert who does, and make them prove it before your ass goes on the line for it. What's so difficult about that? Why didn't you let Microsoft help? Or ask Google how to set up a site designed for very high traffic? What were you thinking?   

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

From National Geographic....a reminder

The spin-doctoring continues....

Who really believes that the President knew nothing about a program with the potential to do him serious political damage? Are they assuming we're all idiots?

How about that?

My camera in 2020 ( in case I'm still here!)

It will definitely NOT look like the above miniaturized 'heads-up display' for two very good reasons: (1.) I wear prescription glasses and more importantly (2.) There's no way anything this small can compete with larger cameras for quality of image production, because it's all about the size of the sensor, and you can't fit a large sensor into a small device. And don't say 'digital enlargement' because it doesn't work worth a damn. All it does is dilute the original pixels with color-averaged useless junk in between them to stretch out the originals for a larger size with less detailed sharpness. Big foggy images in brief. So my camera in 2020 will still look very much like my present long-zoom compacts, and it will have a reasonably decent sized sensor for good quality images. It will not be a toy or a gimmick designed to separate the rubes from their cash.

New version today...

Making sense.....

Remembering: The golden age of Hollywood

If you love those old Hollywood movies and their famous stars, then here's a website you really ought to bookmark...

Trouble in paradise?

Perception is not reality...

I wouldn't go there if I were you...

The central nervous system is powered by what is essentially a wet-cell battery,
with the blood plasma electrolytes being the battery's fluid, and its relative parts per billion of trace elements like Lithium being the elements which can make a big difference in its performance. That performance among other things regulates system performance characteristics of mood swings, and responses to stimuli, and other vital characteristics, and messing around with it isn't a good idea, because even when you think you know what you're doing, it's very probable that you really don't, because it's very complex. It isn't like re-programming a computer, or re-recording a  disk, because you're also altering the systems with which you are doing all that as it is happening, and therefore your perceptiveness and points of reference are unreliable. You're trying to play the game while re-writing the rules as it progresses, which isn't the smartest thing you could be doing.

Speculation: This is where.....

This is where Google is keeping all those boobs who worked on 'Blogger', until they get the damned thing right and finished, and can quit f***ing with it!

File under 'No-brainer'

Caveman Ug:
"Did you see that female with the Mastadon bikini...?"

Caveman Mug:
"Babes with an arse that big should look at themselves in a quiet pond..."

Caveman Ug:
"...And then jump into the deep end!"

Caveman Mug:
"Less is definitely more... We should start something called the fashion industry."

Caveman Ug:
"Or better yet, a weight-loss franchise. Whatever happened to Vic Tanny?"

Caveman Mug:
"He changed his name to Richard Simmons, I think..."  

Monday, October 28, 2013

Our Senate scandal...

Our Prime Minister, Stephen 'Hairspray' Harper, is having a hell of a time distancing himself from these three bad apples in the barrel because he himself appointed the sticky-fingered fat-assed pirates back in 2008, which isn't all that long ago as taxpayers view it.

South of the border, down USA way, Senators spend about half their time soliciting campaign donations and trying to get re-elected, but here in Canada, ours are appointed at the pleasure of the Prime Minister, who, at times like this, fervently wishes he'd had more sense or at least procrastinated longer in the process, in case they got hit by a bus while crossing Wellington Street on their way onto Parliament Hill from The National Press Club or some other nearby watering hole in the neighborhood.

Our Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty, bless his no-nonsense heart, today replied in answer to questions from the press that he didn't want to become distracted from his economic problems by events in the Senate, but that he has always been in favor of abolishing the Senate because a non-elected government body in this day and age is an anachronism. I couldn't agree more! This whole fiasco in which patronage appointees have been caught defrauding the very government in which they're freeloading in the first place simply highlights and underlines the redundancy we call a Senate. It's time it was shut down for our own good.

Vancouver Sunset

"In God We Trust".....

"Everyone else goes onto a disk!"
Now I know why cyberspace is so crowded,
and why my bytes per second drop like a stone
when I'm linked to somewhere in Europe.
It's the Internet version of 'gridlock'...
Und jemand braucht einen Tritt in den Arsch!

Today's 'Question Everything'.....

"What's it like, going through life
with your thumb in your bum,
and your mind in 'neutral'?"

Time for some quotes....

George Burns:
My mother told my father to tell me about the birds and the bees. He took me to Coney Island, pointed to a couple making love under the boardwalk, and said, "Your mother wants you to know that the birds and the bees do the same thing."

Hester Mundis:
Birds and bees have as much to do with the facts of life as black nightgowns do with keeping warm.

Eros spelled backwards gives you an idea of how it affects beginners.

Earl of Chesterfield:
Sex: The pleasure is momentary, the position ridiculous, and the expense damnable.

Robert Byrne:
Sex drive: A physical craving that begins in adolescence and ends at marriage. 

Flu Shots....

Us feeble Old Farts can also drop off like flies from it too, but there's a certain element of 'make-work project' involved in all of this, in that it's mostly a guessing game involving which of last year's viruses evolve into this year's most dominant strain, and whether or not that's the one that the bulk of the vaccine
supply was designed to fight. In other words, it's a crap shoot, Folks.

Experts will tell you that the effectiveness of the flu vaccine ranges between 50% and 80%, and sometimes doesn't prevent you from getting the flu. It may lessen the consequences, but not prevent it.

What else can you do? Get a pneumonia shot.  And yes, Virginia, there are such things, and you only need to get one once every five years for it to be effective.
So talk to your doctor while you're getting poked with your flu shot, which may or may not work for you, but always works for him. (This is how my doctor makes $325,000 a year, and I don't.)

More 'Babbling on'....

Reading over my previous rant about Facebook and its users, whoever you may be, I should explain that it's certainly none of my business how you get your jollies or your entertainment, and I'm not trying to be a 'smart-ass'.... actually, that latter is not strictly true - I've always put a conscious effort into trying to use whatever 'smarts' I've got, because ever since I've been a little kid, I've known that there's a lot of smarties out there trying to manipulate us into doing something that works out more to their advantage than to ours. So I've always tended towards being the suspicious type, and asking "Why? What's this all about?" Because, there's a lot of different ways to skin a cat.

My cousins in Atlanta surprised me with their news that they both enjoy spending time on Facebook, and I'd like them to know that I'm not trying to tell them what they ought to be doing. I was surprised, though, because both of them are very well educated, presumably have above-average I.Q.s, and therefore theoretically, should probably not be so susceptible to manipulation by some wet-behind-the-ears youngster like Mark Zuckerberg.

There are aspects to all of that which tend to set off my alarm bells, because in this day and age, far too many of us are becoming reliant upon virtual realities like Facebook, the Internet, Google's Blogger, etc., rather than formerly traditional interpersonal relationships like visiting the neighbors, or attending real live social functions, or gossiping with the kids at the supermarket while we do the shopping. Real human face-to-face interactions, in other words, are now becoming in a very real sense a 'lost art'. And that's something that ought to be really troubling all of us, I think. Why? Because - we're human animals with a built-in 'herd' instinct which has served to nurture and protect us from life's dangers for millennia, and switching to isolated individualism in a world of virtual reality exposes us to the obvious dangers of the old 'divide and conquer' principle.

If you don't think that's happening, take a look around, for example at recent political events. Party lines are blurred, radical factions are finding acceptance where they formerly wouldn't have, and crafty manipulators with too much money are finding it easy to 'buy' their way into positions of influence. And this is in part because we aren't as a society nearly as socially cohesive as in past eras prior to the advent of the personal computer and the Internet and the land of cyberspace, mystery, wonder, fantasy, and yes, just plain bullshit. We're allowing ourselves to be bamboozled into thinking virtual reality beats the honest-to-God real thing - and it doesn't, and it shouldn't, and we ought to be smarter than this. 

And that's why I did the rant about Facebook. It isn't so much Facebook as that whole virtual reality world we're finding so seductively distracting that really worries me. And I'm just as susceptible and just as vulnerable to it as you are.
All I'm saying is, let's recognize this, and try to keep one foot in the real world,
and one eye on the bouncing ball, before something clobbers us from where we aren't looking.   

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Tonight's sundown from downtown

'Oldest Living Blogger' babbles on....

I posted a couple of pieces on here today about Facebook, mostly because I had promised a cousin in Atlanta that I'd look into it, with a view to signing on. But after doing some 'homework' on the subject, now I'm not so sure it's my kind of parade. 

Generally speaking, I've resisted becoming a 'groupie' for others' popular causes, and one of the reasons for that is because I've been a 'loner' most of my life. I've lived and worked in remote locations with very few co-workers or companions nearby, and have become accustomed to finding my own amusements and hobbies. I've also been single more often than married, so I've not been completely domesticated nor trained in the arts of compromise required for sharing accommodations with another. For most of my younger years, I was more of a 'fighter' than a 'lover', and being a mean little bastard isn't conducive to warm friendships, as a rule.  I've more often enjoyed casting a jaundiced eye on the passing scene, and offering caustic comments on it. It's only quite recently, in my declining years, that I've mellowed, and tried to learn
how to smile.

All of which is the long way of saying Facebook and its 'friending' and 'following' and mutual-admiration society all seems rather foreign and uncomfortable to me.

And while doing that 'homework' I must confess that the amateur psychiatrist in me took careful note of the remarks about the kinds of characters most attracted to Facebook. It would seem that those are desperately seeking something which they very probably aren't really finding there to the extent which they perhaps had hoped, but continue because something is better than nothing. And I'm not unmindful of the fact that the main object of that whole exercise is to expose the users to advertising which it is hoped they will be sufficiently influenced by to patronize the businesses sponsoring those ads, and thus make money for Zuckerberg and company and the advertisers. In that sense it's similar to Google and its ads for generating revenue. It isn't an altruistic public service, after all. And Mark Zuckerberg doesn't need my help to avoid the unemployment line. He probably doesn't need yours either.

Slaves of the Internet....

More leaves, in British Properties up the hill...

Traffic chopper circling...

Must be a problem on the bridge at Lions Gate, or this wouldn't be circling...

Morning snow report...

Today's Homework Assignment:-

News from The Twilight Zone

Shopping around...

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Remembering the Seventies...

For this one, you need your 3D glasses,
and the effect is better in the small screen
rather than in full screen view.
The music, of course, is great either way. 

The Autobahn - in Saudi Arabia...

Who is this masked driver?
(...and how could we tell?)

The Moon at noon

Fujifilm Finepix SL1000 at 50X optical zoom

Connect the dots.....

Cruz supports the Tea Party, which receives funding from the Koch brothers who are intent on destroying Obamacare, because they're so rich they don't need it.
So Cruz is indirectly working for the Koch brothers, if you connect the dots here.  Is 'government by check-book' what you really want? Think about it. Do the Koch brothers give a damn for the average American in the streets? Can pigs fly?

This loudmouth was endorsed by Sarah Palin. What else do you need to know?

Speaking of Security Programs for Windows 8...

This is one of my favorites, the others being Avast and Superantispyware Lifetime Pro.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Speeding on the Internet...

Windows 8 has a nice App for this, and it might make a great Heads-Up-Display for the Desktop Gadgets with a bit more tweaking.....

But it still can't quite match my all-time favorite, Speakeasy, for real-world data that speaks to me in a language I understand and gives a complete picture.

And if I may be permitted to get 'preachy' for a moment, you know, of course, that the further away from you your chosen testing location, then the more 'hops' or transfer points between servers on various sections of the system there will be. And each of those introduces its own share of 'latency' or delay, expressed in milliseconds. So, for example, if you see a high number listed for 'latency', it either means your chosen test site was far away, across many 'hops', or else it means you don't have a very fast connection from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and you should talk to them for a better plan perhaps.

Bob, the man who runs this ISP, says we should run speed tests from several various sites, to get a better idea of the machine's characteristics and your own connections to the web, to become familiar with what's 'normal' for you. Speeds also vary with different times of day, because the volume of traffic on the system will also affect results. Question Everything...

Since March 23, 2010, when this Act was signed into law, it's been 904 working days (excluding weekends and U.S. official holidays) and yet this website isn't functioning properly. The Question Everything is: "Why has it taken over 900 working days to come up with something that isn't yet working properly?"

Mighty Microsoft, bless its collective heart, could design, test, and release to manufacture a whole complete computer operating system in less time, and they have done it. So why can't the U.S. Government, 'the world's greatest superpower', design, test, and release one lousy website in such a time-frame?
This is definitely NOT performance, just in case you hadn't noticed yet. Cutting down on the number of claimants by waiting until most die off isn't what we were expecting, I'm sure.....

Security Software...

Yes, Virginia, you definitely should, and quickly. And if you're using a Mac don't believe all that nonsense about how nobody makes viruses or malware for that.
They do, and they have, and there are security programs to guard against it.

And don't believe that you need to spend big money for protection. Some of the best free programs provide protection on a comparable level to some of their more costly competitors. For example, the free version of Avast among its other features includes an optional Boot Scan. This scan will search all of your files during a reboot or restart operation, and it works in between the time that your
active memory is unloaded on shutdown and is reloaded again during startup, so that means it can look at all your protected operating system files as well as everything else on your hard-drive while nothing is hidden from it. It can take a while to do its thing, but if you suspect a virus which hasn't shown in regular scans, this can dig it out. I've used it and it works.

Also, don't believe the story that you can only have one active antivirus program running on your machine, because there can be conflicts among them. Today's modern antivirus programs are mostly designed to be compatible with each other, and some can be run simultaneously if you wish. For example, I've run scans using Avast, Malwarebytes, and Superantispyware all at the same time, just to see if I could. They all worked very well and were quite compatible. None interfered with any other, and all completed successfully. Running more than one scan at a time though can take longer because it's using a lot more of your available resources. 

Why do that? Because some programs are better at finding certain kinds of malware than others are, so you may want more than one. Also, it makes a difference which browser you're using. Firefox has add-ons like Better Privacy
which can find and remove 'supercookies' called LSOs (for 'Local System Objects') that are like a cookie only bigger, never expire, are invisible to your regular cookie detection, can perform operations like a program would, and last but not least, they call home regularly with your personal data to report what you're doing and when and to whom. Without that add-on, you don't know if they're there or not, and I'll bet you they are. The first time I ran that add-on, it found dozens of them. So that's another side to security.

The old adage 'An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure' still applies. If you want a good security program, try Googling for 'Top Ten Free Security Programs' or something similar. Also, among those that cost you an annual fee, most have a free version which provides the most necessary basic protection without cost, so look at those as well. Surfing the web is like having sex - you shouldn't do it without protection.

This just in from little Prince George...

ABC News: News or History?

Look at the dates on these front-page stories. They're four or five days old! Why? Can't they keep up with the pack? If I want History, I'll try Wikipedia.
In fact, Wikipedia has more recent stuff than some of this. Go figure!