Friday, October 31, 2014

More long-range photography...

If you could afford one of these miniature 'hotels' on the sunny side of Snob Hill, would you want it cheek-to-cheek with the neighbors on each side of you, just like they do downtown where the poor folks live? I wouldn't, but many do, as you can see. And I apologize for the quality of the photo, but it is about three miles away from my humble abode down here among the peasants, and I hasten to add that I like that just fine. I wouldn't feel comfortable "up there" trying to be a somebody, and paying $45,000 for a membership in the Hollyburn Country Club. I'd much rather be down here among my immigrant neighbors in the 'real world' where I've spent my life quite enjoyably.

This is in that same neighborhood, but further down the slope. Twenty-some years ago, some city planner or forward-thinking architect (or both) got the idea of building connected condos up the slope of the mountain, and at the time, there was a lot of talk about a cablecar lift or sloping elevator system to link the various levels to regular transportation down below, nearer the highway and city streets. I never heard how that all came out, and I suspect that part of it quietly died on the vine. People, especially those who can afford that neighborhood, do insist on having their own wheels and keeping those quite close to home. People like the former president and co-owner of Vancouver Wharves, the bulk shipping terminal on the waterfront here, where I worked for a few years after retiring from my previous career. He and his wife sold their place on the hillside and retired to Vancouver Island after he sold the business  in the early nineties. They built a lovely place on Vancouver Island on a much larger property. After he sold the business, I decided to retire again for the second time myself, because it just wasn't the same working for the new owners. And all that has changed ownership yet again since then. The only thing constant in life is change, like someone once said.

This tree is much closer to home, and so when the sun came out, I took its picture while I was getting those others. With all these trees, you wouldn't know you're in the midst of a heavily populated suburb just a couple of miles from the center of downtown Vancouver, our country's third-largest-populated region.

Attention Skiers and Boarders: First Flakes 2014/15

A little fiddle, Begorrah...

This sort of music takes me back to my misspent youth and my father playing for country dances, while I slept the night away on a couple of school benches over against the wall... Sometimes, we didn't go home until it was getting light in the east, and the new day was well on its way.

On the hill above Park Royal in West Vancouver...

Kim Komando today....(bless her heart!)

1.) When you delete something, it stays right where it was, but its location codes go into the trash bin. It's those codes that get disconnected from their original files, so that you can't locate that file again later, but it's still there until it becomes overwritten by a new file which takes its place in what has now become officially "available space" on your hard drive. Recovery programs can recover the original codes to reconnect you with your "lost" files, but only if those haven't yet been overwritten by another newer file using those segments of the drive. If you empty your Recycle Bin, the game's over, and your stuff is gone, because you've just thrown out those location codes - unless you also have copies of them in a back-up drive or partition elsewhere.

1.) - (continued) - Kim mentions two examples of programs that can wipe out files permanently, and probably will cost you. Try FileMenu Tools from Lopesoft
which has a selection of free tools including an industrial-strength shredder that can shred a file with the same kind of methods used by the military. (I never buy a program if there's an equal or better freebie out there in cyberspace!)

4.) "Always shut down your computer at night" - There's still one very sensible reason to do that - security! The bad guys can't trigger a remote invasion of your computer if both it and your modem are switched off at nights when you aren't using them. Call me paranoid, but it works for me!

5.) "You'll know when you have a virus" - No, Sweetcheeks, you won't! Kim is right - they are very sneaky these days. I have three different security programs, each specific to one kind of risk and each very good at dealing with its own specialty. And don't believe stories telling you that you can't run more than one security program at a time, because they may conflict. Peace was restored to the valley some time ago, and now, they all respect each other's right to be here doing their own things together, and you can and should have more than one. Why? because each is best at usually only one thing, and so you need something for the other things. A program that is optimized to grab viruses may be allowing spyware or rootkits into your system. Similarly, one that grabs those may not be finding viruses. Get the picture? So shop around, and read the "fine print". All security programs are NOT created equal. If you need somewhere to start from, begin by Googling for the "Top Ten Security Programs of 2014" and compare their features and costs. And please remember that some of those offer a free version with fewer features, but which the experts claim will give you equal or better protection to some that cost money.
So you don't need to spend big bucks to be protected. You just need to be smart about it.

Gershwin : Do Do Do (1926) by Miku Hatsune(初音ミク)

I can only say "This is a whole different interpretation of Gershwin!"

Gershwin : Do Do Do (1926)

This is done by a MIDI and is a faithful reproduction from George's own sheet music of 1926. All of which means it's the cleanest and sharpest version of this song you'll probably ever hear, played just as George would have done it. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A little more music for the dinner hour...

More of today's pictures...

The tree butchers removed several of our large rhodo bushes this summer, because some crybaby said they were blocking the light from the ground floor windows. Fortunately, these are growing back from the roots, and doing nicely. They're already three or four feet tall.

In all the years I've been here, I've never before thought to photograph this feature wall in our lobby, and it's quite nice. Egyptians would like it. Maybe the Mesopotamians, too. Did I mention? It's about 20 feet high. This is only a small part of it. It's b-i-g.

Last of the flowers...

Snapdragons in the rain.

Now, some music!

Anitra's Dance has long been a favorite of mine. In the 1948 movie starring Danny Kaye and Virginia Mayo, "A Song Is Born", there's a sequence where the music professors are talking about different kinds of music, and a couple of 'window washers' enter the scene, to ask some questions. During this, one of them sits down at the piano to demonstrate Boogie Woogie, and does an excellent improvisation of Anitra's Dance as its theme. I wish I could still find that sequence, but it seems to be missing from the parts of the movie still on YouTube. Too bad - it was one of the highlights of the movie for me. You really haven't heard Anitra's Dance until you hear it done Boogie Woogie style.....

Get up and Dance!

Has anyone seen Amelia?

Some people just don't know when to quit. Without a serial number or other positive identification to link this piece of metal to Amelia's Lockheed Electra there's no way to associate it to any specific aircraft. It might be a scrap of metal from one of the many Lockheed Lightnings operating in that region during World War Two, or any number of other aircraft for that matter.

Question Everything....

Is he a good kisser?
A good dancer?
Is he a nice guy?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Everything Old Is New Again...


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Putting a YouTube video onto Facebook...

I've tried his first method, and it worked, so I'm passing this along to you.

Meanwhile, in Moscow....

Радость спорта на открытом воздухе на свежем воздухе! Замечательный, не так ли? 
К сожалению бикини сезон закончен ...


The joy of outdoor sports in the fresh air! Wonderful, is it not?
Unfortunately bikini season is over...

Toronto The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly....

My old pal, Don, from our days working for Ontario Hydro, no longer with us, used to refer to Toronto tongue-in-cheek as "The Center of The World". Luckily for him, he missed the Ford era there. A lot of other Torontonians wish they had, I'm sure.

When Canada's largest city has a mayor like Ford was, it says a lot about the quality of our politicians, don't you think? That asshole gave the whole country a black eye in front of God and everybody, and he should be barred from holding any political office anywhere for the rest of his natural life plus three days.

Reading about his exploits, I'm exceedingly thankful I ran away from Ontario's greatest waste of reinforced concrete forty-six years ago, before the inmates took over the funny farm there. That gigantic 'whooshing' sound is a communal sigh of relief coming from Toronto voters this morning, in anticipation of getting their reputation restored to somewhere above absolute zero. I wish them well. 

Is your hard-drive healthy? Here's how to find out.

There are a couple of testing programs available, depending on the maker of your hard-drive. Both Western Digital and Seagate make free programs for testing their drives. The Seagate Seatools For Windows can also test a variety of other brands as well as its own. Western Digital's Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for Windows is available from this link.

The drive in this PC is one from Western Digital, and here's what each of these test programs looks like while testing this drive....

Each of these two tests are started in their own ways, but both are quite user friendly and self-explanatory, so you shouldn't have any trouble doing them.

The Seagate test program is possibly the best-known and has been around longest. Using it, you must first select the desired test from the dropdown menu as shown....

When finished, it shows its results as above. Seagate says that if your drive passes its test, you can look elsewhere for your problems, if any. I didn't have a problem - I'm just demonstrating these two available testing programs with links for you to find them if you wish. It's not a bad idea to run a test like this periodically, just to satisfy yourself that all is well, or perhaps catch something before it gets too serious. "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Monday, October 27, 2014

History: The Egyptian Book of the Dead

Russian Budget: Pie in the Sky?

From The Moscow Times....

I think it's appropriate that one of the countries responsible for the production of some of the world's nastiest malware should teach its children how to recognize it, and what to do about it. They could start by shutting down perhaps. Просто предложение, товарищ.

Breakfast of champions...

Organic Chiquita bananas, in milk, with organic coconut sugar. Mmmmm good!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

New at Facebook...

There are only two pages to this story. Page three is blank.

Martha's B-a-a-a-c-k !

Martha is to Tech what Napoleon was to Nuclear Physics.

Anybody can be a Techie if you throw enough money at it.
And who needs a drone, anyway? Only an egotistical snoop.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The U.S. military/industrial complex takes a hit...

I don't usually agree with Vlad The Lad, but on this one, I think he may be right.

The U.S. economy and the octopus that is Lockheed Martin, with its tentacles in a dozen or so government departments, and both senators and congressmen in its pockets, would probably fall flat on its ass without that thirty percent or so of the economy being driven by militarily-oriented production. If World Peace broke out tomorrow, the 'Great Depression' of the 1930s would look like a Sunday afternoon picnic in the park compared to what would happen next in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

Mighty Microsoft...

The company as a whole is still turning a profit, but its Windows is taking a kicking, because the world is not amused by Windows 8 and its Service Pack called Windows 8.1. "Why not?", you ask. Let me counter that with another question: "Do you think Microsoft has been in business long enough to have already figured out how to make an Operating System that does what its users expect of it, or not?" And the answer seems to be "not". And most of us find that very disturbing, because we can't figure out how a group of people who created a wonderful Operating System like Windows 7 could then turn right around and bring out an abortion like Windows 8. That's our problem, Kiddies.

I hasten to add that I like my Windows 8, but to get it to that point, I had to spend hours searching the web for third-party add-ons and then testing them and selecting the useful ones and discarding the others, until I got the right mixture of Microsoft and "Brand X" working well together. And I shouldn't have to work that hard to get a new Operating System up and running reliably and equipped with enough useful features to make it comfortable and convenient.
That's supposed to be happening at Microsoft, isn't it? I enjoy fluffing up Windows, but that's not really my job. Windows ought to come out of its box ready to kick ass, without serious modifications or add-ons, or tweaking with programs like Ultimate Windows Tweaker. Too bad it doesn't. 

This just in...

My friend Pascal in Lebanon says the same thing: "Artificial Intelligence is no match for Natural Stupidity." So it must be true.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Fall colors...

There's not a lot of really great fall color around yet. It all depends on how wet it gets, and how stormy. This tree is up on the hill above the Park Royal Shopping Center's North Mall, about three-quarters of a mile away from here. This was taken on the Fuji SL-1000 at 50X, on the Manfrotto tripod, with a ten-second time delay on the shutter.

If your regular security leaves you wondering...

...if it missed something, or if you've picked up something that your regular one(s) didn't detect, try a rootkit scan using Norton Power Eraser. This is a free program that scans for things that your regular security programs may not be able to recognize. It's good to run a program like this periodically.

A 'Thank You'....

When the mother of a very special gal you've known for over 37 years knits you a couple of really nice toques for the coming winter, you know life's treating you just fine. I may not look like much, but I'm a really lucky guy, and again, may I say "Thanks, Mom!" and I haven't forgotten the's coming!

This is the Rainy Season, and sunsets are rare...

So we're grateful for any we get.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A little bit of Dixie....

'Way Down Yonder In New Orleans....

I just hope I live long enough... get to the front of this line!

Question Everything - sometimes twice...

In what way is this any improvement on the original Renee Zellweger? Did that plastic surgeon begin with a frontal lobotomy? One wonders!

Time for a Flashback...

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

More Music

One of my favorite groups: Mannheim Steamroller


Why??? Why would anyone with such a nice face want to change it? - Why???

Monday, October 20, 2014

Another music break...

My "gay bar memory lane" medley, so enjoy!
(Ah! Those were the days...)

"Being bisexual doubles your chances of a date on Friday night..."   

Today's Top Ten

A Man and His Music: The Guru of Mighty Microsoft speaks

I like this guy from the wrong side of the Social Register becoming The Guru at Mighty Microsoft. I like him a whole lot better than his predecessor, whom I considered to be an arrogant son-of-a-bitch. I wish him well.

Two thoughts: "He who would be a leader of men must first of all be their servant." and "This  isn't a Social Club, it's a benevolent dictatorship!"

I spend an inordinate amount of time with Microsoft's products - hours daily - and as a habitual user, and borderline paranoiac, my big concern is security.
The non-Microsoft security experts claim that Microsoft's own security programs are insufficiently effective at providing an acceptable level of user protection.
This focuses our attention on two questions: (1.) How good is it? and (2.) Who do we believe?

The Cloud: Us paranoiacs need to see some proof that Microsoft's Cloud is or will be virtually "bulletproof" before we're going to be willing to trust it with all of our precious data, like those porn films we don't want Grandma to find out about, or those photos we took on vacation in Aruba last year while everyone thought we were on a business conference in Paris. Discretion being the better part of valor, we need absolute assurance that our data is going to be stored in a place where only God can see it without our permission. Can Microsoft deliver that level of security, and prove it? That's the challenge, Folks.

I didn't copy the whole article, because I hate to see a grown man cry, especially one I like, so I cut to the chase nearer the ending here. I'm impressed with his embracing inclusivism, but again, may I point out that we as users of these products expect their producers to be the best available, not just the best ethnically-diverse available. Don't settle for a token Indian if our token Black can make him look like a rank amateur! The best-qualified should get the jobs, no matter what their critics say. This, remember, isn't a democracy but rather a benevolent dictatorship. And as the little Italian mother of nine said in response to the Pope's edicts on birth control, "You no play da game, you no make-a da rules!"

Ah, Those Royals....

Those horny Royals know how to copulate just like us non-inbreeders!
Isn't Biology wonderful?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Another favorite...

Time for a little music...

The Pope and Change (Let's have some!)

His Holiness is on the right track with his sought-after reforms. I wish him every success in his efforts.

The church is very old. If I remember my "Faith of Millions" for converts correctly, it goes back to about the year 40 A.D., and St. Peter, and Christ saying "You are a rock, and upon this rock I will build my church." And Peter then beginning that task after the Ascension.

The church is very big on tradition. It still holds to precepts founded in medieval times, when societies were agrarian, infant mortality was high, and we needed all the offspring we could produce to provide the manpower for the agriculture which was the backbone of society. 

The industrial revolution and advancing technology has now changed all that, and advances in medical science have virtually eliminated infant mortality in most civilized countries. The church, however, has not kept up with such changes, and has not adjusted its practices to suit our modern society. Making cosmetic adjustments to Mass, such as having it all in the language of the parishioners, rather than in its two-language format of Latin and common language doesn't constitute real reform, and reverting that again to its former system, and re-issuing The Missal at $200.00 a copy isn't the kind of real reform we were hoping for. His Holiness knows this, just as we do.

May we please have some real reform to suit our changing times? The religion of the ancient Egyptians thrived for over two millennia, but it eventually faded away because it didn't adapt to its evolving society, and therefore no longer served its purpose. Catholicism is in danger of going the way of Isis, Osiris and Horus, and those other families of gods and goddesses, unless it can adapt to its users' needs and continue to be relevant in a modern world. God isn't stuck in the past, so why should the church be? May we please have some updating?