Thursday, December 31, 2015

Ready for 2016

2015.....Going.... Going.... G.....

...and if you'd like a copy of this without the text messing it up, then here it is...

Enjoy the New Year everyone!

Linux Mint: Bulk Renamer for Files....

If you are looking for a program to do bulk renaming, its name is "Thunar" and you add it to your Nemo using the command "sudo apt-get install thunar".

I made a desktop shortcut of it and also added it to the panel (below) and the easy way to use it is to open it, open the folder in which you want to do the bulk renaming, and then simply "select all" in the folder to be renamed, and then use drag-and-drop to drag all those into your Bulk Renamer, choose how you want the renaming to be done in the configuring section below the main window, and click on "Rename Files" in the lower right of its window, and "Poof!" - all done! When you look in the folder those came from, they are now all renamed, and you can close your open windows and get on with your day.... Like they say, "It just works!"

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Meanwhile, back in Linux Mint 17.3....

The morning's weather.....


And the next "Fix" is...... Get Opera Browser....

This is Opera's "Speed Dial". You add tiles for each website that you want to use in it, and then one click or tap on that tile takes you there. It's like the Windows "Start" tiles, but you do all the choosing, and if there's something on it that you don't want - like all those sites that are on it when you first open its page - you mouse-over a tile's upper right corner to find the little "X" and then click/tap it to make that one disappear, so it can be replaced with something you choose. This is slicker than a bug's ear, and it really works. Here's where to find it.

Now that Linux has fixed my Win-10 Boot......

Here's the next thing I'm fixing.......

This is a simple Registry hack which removes that gawd-awful Welcome Screen and lets you replace it with something of your own choice - like a picture or a plain background in any color you like. It only takes a minute, and it works.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Today's Top Ten

Спасибо друзья. Я рад, что вы это нравится.

Here's that shot as a background in Linux

The Snow Report

This often is hidden by clouds this time of year, so it's a sometime thing...

Re-installing Win-10 in a dual-boot setup with Linux

This Linux Mint 17.3 desktop took a while to show you, because when I re-installed Windows 10, it quite naturally re-wrote the boot sector to make it a standard Windows type MBR. So that meant going on the web, and googling for a Linux Boot Repair Disk. And yes, there is one, and it's about 600 Mb, and once you burn the .iso to a disc, you're in business.

But I should mention that I got it using my other PC running another Linux O/S, and first of all, I needed a burning program for it, to make the disc from the .iso and the best one I found is called "K3b" and if you're already running a Linux system, you can install it using your regular package manager. Just go into your Terminal, using the command "sudo apt-get install K3b" and after you put in your password, a whole big download of stuff comes flying in. When that finishes, it's a good idea to stay in Terminal and do a "sudo apt-get update" to make sure that all those new additions are the latest versions. Then, you're "good to go".

Using that burning program K3b is even simpler than using "ImgBurn" in Windows, because all you have to do is find the file you want to burn, and then drag and drop it into the bottom window of the two in the program, and press "start". But first, don't forget to add the mark in the box for "Verify" so it will be verified before it completes the process. Then you're done.

Using the Boot Repair Disk is easy. Just make sure you're set to boot from removable media before you start, and then follow the directions. Your "F" keys will show you various sections of its help and instructions, beginning with "F1".
All I did was give it its head from a normal beginning, and in just three or four minutes, it had restored the original Linux dual-booting setup, like before the mung hit the fan the other day. All's well that ends well.

And just so you can see that I still do have the dual-booting working, here's my Windows desktop on this same PC. And I must say that I'm impressed with how nicely everything worked this morning in Linux. Just more proof that it is a really good system, and well thought out. When they say "It just works." they really mean it. And you should try it.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Win-10 Pro = Reinstalled again!

This is it, with my own custom-made icons, and my favorite graphics programs, and my own choices of security programs, and of course, those gadgets....  and speaking of making your own icons, if you're into that, google the program called "IcoFX" because that's the one that does it. It can make Windows icons or Mac icons, and it can convert an image file into an icon. That icon on my desktop for Irfanview was made from an image file using IcoFX.

And now for today's Snow Report, now that I've got Zoombrowser EX in here once again.... (and you don't need a Canon camera to make it work!) I gave my Canon cameras to the grandchildren a couple of years ago, but I do like the Zoombrowser program. It works fine with any of your memory cards.

Nikon Coolpix P510, Auto mode, various zooms, earlier this morning.

Another "Must Have" for Windows 10

You can get the location codes ( Vancouver = 9807) from the Weather gadget's page, and you find that by going onto the website shown in the Config files for the Time gadget. Confused yet? Should I try again?

Microsoft doesn't like us using gadgets. They say it's a "security issue". But it could also be because they don't want us noticing, for example, how much "bloatware" is gobbling up our CPU's capacity during routine operations. And I on the other hand am really interested in stuff like this. And my security programs are protecting these gadgets and their contents just like they do all the rest of the system, and if there's anything nasty in one of them, they will find it, I'm quite sure. So I guess I'm saying I don't really accept Microsoft's excuses for not wanting these cute little gadgets. I really like them.

Windows 10 Users: You really should have this one!

This can do just about every tweak known to man on your Windows 10, and like they say, you could find all these yourself by looking in the several places within Windows where these can be found, but why bother when this has them all in one convenient program, ready to use? This is a real winner, I kid you not.

Two examples: Look at those three icons on the left here. No shortcut arrows. Now, look in the lower right over the clock. It displays the Windows version and its Build Number. It does about 150 other things too, but I won't list all those. You really should download this and look through it for yourself. It's well done.

Here's why I don't use Microsoft's "Windows Defender".....

This screenshot was taken during the early stages of re-installing this Win-10 Pro this morning, and as you see, Bitdefender (not to be confused with the "Defender" built into Microsoft's operating systems!) found some nasty malware inside a Microsoft system file, and removed it.

This is a good example of why the experts will tell you that Microsoft's own security program, "Windows Defender", is not up to the task it tries to do, and that's why you need something else that really works.

I have three "something elses". I have Bitdefender Free Antivirus, Malwarebytes Premium, and Superantispyware Pro. These all work happily together, and they each do the job they were intended to do. Bitdefender is a highly rated antivirus, Malwarebytes catches things that an antivirus doesn't usually see, and also blocks incoming malware items before they get into the system, and shows their IP Address, so you can find out where they came from if you wish - and Superantispyware, even though the name seems a bit "Mickey Mouse", is really good at grabbing those tracking cookies, and cleaning them out. And speaking of those, there have been times when it found over 400 in one day! Seems quite unbelievable, doesn't it? That's why I have it. It really kicks ass. And with all three of those programs, my system is quite well protected.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Someone skiing my favorite local mountain...

Watching this video, I almost wish I still had my ski stuff, and
wasn't quite this old.... I've had a lot of fun up there, so I really
shouldn't whine about being too old now. I've certainly had my
share of it, and it was great, and it still is from the look of it.

Today's Full Moon

( click to enlarge )

I get Feedback - ( but not enough!)

I'm moving this to the "front page" just to show that wherever we are around the globe, we're all on the same channel or the same wavelength most of the time.

"Monsieur Beep" lives in Germany, and "Tommy" lives in New York State, near the eastern coast of the U.S.A., and I'm on Canada's wet west coast. Yet, in some ways, it's like we're friends around a table in the local pub, having a beer together, and talking about current events.

This is the great promise of our Internet. The "coming together" of like-minded people everywhere for everyone's benefit. I've noticed lately on Facebook that there's a lot of negativity being expressed by a lot of people who have not yet mastered their own bigotry or hostility toward those whom they perceive to be "different". This promotes similar reactions in other readers, and defeats the higher purposes of having something like Facebook, on which we can all get together to exchange and share ideas and thoughts. And here, I have to interject that I'm as guilty as anyone of "fighting fire with fire" when some idiot mouths off at the world. I feel compelled to "educate" that unfortunate nitwit.

It has surprised and distressed me that so many of those Republican candidates for the presidency are exhibiting such utter disrespect for others and such contempt for the average voter's intelligence, and such disrespect for the ideals of the office to which they are aspiring. I wouldn't vote for most of those for the position of local dog catcher, never mind for leadership of the country, not because I'm prejudiced against rudeness and ignorance, but because I don't believe the world needs a leader such as those with such few obvious qualifications for such an important position. And the fact that they think they do have such qualifications really frightens me. That kind of unmitigated gall should never be encouraged with our votes. On the contrary, it should be shunned at every opportunity, and discouraged wherever found.

And I'm hoping that thanks to the Internet, and the many reasonable and sensible people on it, common sense will prevail, and the higher quality candidates with more acceptable manners and behaviour will win that contest.  And I hope they bear in mind that the U.S.A. makes up only 4.4 percent of the world's population. This means 95.6% of us are NOT Americans. And most of us believe in the greatest good to the greatest number. Think about that.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Palestrina Choir, St Mary's Pro-Cathedral, Dublin

Another Christmas service

Midnight Mass from St. Peter's in Rome

From: The Moscow Times...

This is from an October, 2014 media interview, being again featured today in The Moscow Times [ click here for the website] which indictates that this is still a topic of real concern to Russians. I'm showing it here because I think we need to be aware of how they feel, and what we might be able to do about that.

I think it is in all our best interests to get beyond all this "Cold War" propaganda style communicating, and sit down for a serious and sensible talk together. As is pointed out herein, we have a lot in common which should be discussed in the proper spirit of co-operation. And there is no time like the present.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Musings about Christmas...

I've been experimenting today with various pictures on which to print a suitable Christmas greeting, and as you see, it's an ongoing thing.

I got reading the latest stuff on the Windows Insiders page, where there's a new survey for us to fill in, picking our brains on what we think of the latest Windows as well as the Windows Insiders stuff itself. I'm reading that over, and then looking at some of the comments by several disgruntled Insiders, and I concluded that our real problem here is that we're spending entirely too much time and effort on introspection and asking for 'report cards' and not nearly enough time on actually fixing the damned problems that seem to be multiplying in Windows. The very latest build comes complete with warnings about various "problems" unsolved as yet in it. 

That being the case, my very first question is "What the hell are you thinking, releasing it to the unprepared user, if the damned thing is only half-baked?" Fix it and test it on yourselves before you foist on your long-suffering community of testers. You've got to realize that if you've already identified problems in it for which you do not have work-arounds or proper fixes, then we're certainly not going to be able to tell you anything but the obvious, which is that it isn't working right, and isn't finished yet, and needs more work, and you shouldn't have released it until it was ready, and what's the matter with you? This isn't "Rocket Science", it's just plain old common sense. The uncommonest thing in the known universe, apparently.

Was I supposed to be addressing the topic of Christmas? Yes. Why am I babbling on about Windows then? Because I'm digressing again. I do this a lot. You've noticed, haven't you? So.....It's Christmas once again. My 83rd. Any year now, I'll get used to it. Maybe. It's always a 'mixed blessing'. A moveable feast. An emotional upheaval. A rush of memories, pleasant and painful. The ghosts of Christmases Past. The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, and The Unforgettable. The good times, the shouting matches, the tear-stained ones, the one or two that broke my heart, and the too-few others that seemed almost perfect. The ones whose memories I'd like to edit, rewrite, re-record, or roll up and throw away. 

In a perfectly designed life, I could live happily if I were blissfully unaware that things like birthdays and Christmases existed to confound and confuse and consternate me. I've never had a burning desire to be reminded that I'm a year closer to dying, or that every year about Winter Solstice, that special day commemorating the greed of shopkeepers everywhere dictates that you're going to be a 'tightwad' or a 'cheapskate' or a 'grinch' or a 'scrooge' if you don't indulge in the annual orgy of spending and gift-giving until it disrupts the budget and ruptures domestic bliss with its needless extravagance. Spare me. Let me hibernate from mid-December until the 2nd of January.  Save me from all that pain and suffering, please.

"What kind of an 'Ode To Christmas' is that?" you ask. Not what you expected. You were anticipating another of those saccharine sonatas sentimentally celebrating Santa's coming to town. And I burst your day-dreamy bubble with an icy splash of reality, huh? Shame on me! But I get this way about this time of year, and that's what's wrong with the whole thing; this love/hate relationship with what superficially seems a lovely concept and a delightful practice. And it confounds me, because I hate feeling ambivalent.

Space this morning.....

An almost-full moon....

Mars from Deimos, its furthest satellite, with Phobos just showing, lower right....

Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year

Christmas dance megamix!!!Colinde dance megamix!!!

Angels We Have Heard on High - Instrumental

Carol Of The Bells - Instrumental

Boney M. Christmas Album FULL 1981 [HD]

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

'Tis The Season To Be Jolly....

My favorite has-its-own-plaza supermarket is open until midnight, and about 10:15 p.m. (22:15 for us former shift workers) I tore myself away from this infernal device to get a few supplies there. 

I like my milk and cream in glass bottles, and we still have a local dairy doing that, and you pay a dollar's deposit on each bottle, no matter whether it is the one litre as with the milk, or the half-litre for the cereal cream. And I don't like my milk bottles banging together and possibly getting cracked or broken. So I have a pair of thick woolly socks that I slip each bottle into for transporting them back and forth. Admittedly, it looks a little odd to see this old geezer walk up to the Service Counter, take out two large socks from one of the store's grocery bags, and begin removing freshly-washed milk bottles, to collect his refund.

But it's a great conversation starter, and we all enjoy it. Tonight, the little girl on the Service Counter and I got reminiscing about Christmases Past. She's one of our not-too-recent immigrants from, I believe, the Philippines, and she mentioned "going to church". And I said, "Midnight Mass, and afterwards going home to exchange our gifts, and have a nice breakfast, now that we've been to Communion and it's alright to eat again..." Her eyes twinkled, and she smiled and said, "Yes! I really miss the old days - it's just not the same any more!" And I said "Darling, I hope you have the best Christmas ever!" And she replied, "And you!"

I took the long way home, through neighborhoods I normally wouldn't need to go through, just so I could admire everyone's Christmas lights. There's a couple of places about half a mile from here that are magnificent. If it stops raining, or even if it doesn't, I'm going to have to go back there with the camera, and get pictures of it. It must have taken hours setting up one of those places, and more hours just planning it all out. Some people really do a wonderful job of decorating for Christmas.

Antivirus in Linux Mint: ClamAV and ClamTK, the GUI

We are told it is unlikely that an antivirus will be needed in Linux, but coming to it from Windows as I have, I feel rather naked without some kind of antivirus in any computer's operating system. I've had too many bad experiences with malware in Windows to be comfortable "going commando" here. And yes, on its first scan, it did find one item to report. It was a leftover from a removed Opera browser. This result above is the second scan, to confirm the system is in fact clean.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Live Streaming - The best in world-class jazz

If you enjoy the best in jazz, 24/7, live-streamed over the Internet, this is the spot for you. The folks are friendly, the music's great, and they have a nice collection of it to share with us.

You can help support this by becoming a sustaining member for as little as ten dollars (U.S.) per month, and if you can spare more, that's much appreciated  because this is listener-supported radio, and every bit helps.

The Winter Solstice: depends where you are on the globe...

They like to time everything from GMT in ruddy old England, and so Google shows us this little blurb....

When exactly is the winter solstice and what is it?

The December solstice happens at the same instant for all of us, everywhere on Earth. This year the solstice occurs on Tuesday December 22nd at 04:49 GMT (Universal time) with the sun rising over Stonehenge in Wiltshire at 08:04.

But.... I'm in the Pacific Time Zone of North America where it's GMT-8, or putting that another way, I'm eight hours younger than someone standing at Stonehenge so here, it's still going to be December 21 at 20:49 and not as above. And when the sun rises over Stonehenge in Wiltshire at 08:04, the local time here will be just 00:04, or four minutes after midnight on December 22.

And to all you happy Googlers at the Googleplex in Mountain View, California, please stop trying to confuse me with facts.

Late Sunday evening religion: The veil of Veronica.

This is the kind of story, with all its convolutions, revisions, duplications, and just plain doubts, which causes me to reconsider the wisdom of having converted to Catholicism in my twenties, those many years ago.

Age may not automatically bring wisdom, but it does afford us the luxury of a certain amount of introspection. I look back at that younger me, and sometimes I ask myself, "What the hell were you thinking?" And sometimes, I have to be honest with myself, and admit that I simply wasn't thinking a whole lot at a particular moment in time when I ought to have been thinking very seriously.

In my own defence here, I should add that during my conversion studies lasting three months or so, I don't recall any mention of a "veil of Veronica". Good thing. It might have provoked some serious thinking.

In a program on the tube this Sunday evening, I'm soaking up details of this cloth said to depict the actual face of Christ, and which has an elaborate and carefully manipulated history, including its place in St. Peter's in Rome, and its veneration by our Pope. And as I'm watching all this, I'm asking myself "Why would anyone venerate a piece of cloth in a frame, rather than the real Christ?" And my next thought was, "Is Christ guilty of the sin of vanity, in that he wishes his portrait to be admired by a select few of the faithful's hierarchy as a reminder of the proper 'chain of command' here?" My answer being, "Of course not! Christ reportedly said 'If you love me, keep my commandments!' - he didn't say 'Keep my picture by your bedside' - he meant 'if you truly respect and love me and believe in me, then you will follow my teachings.' And those teachings did not encourage vanity.

That is the kind of problem an old man like me has with his religious beliefs and their underlying background records of preservation, or modification, or simply revisions of what we are told is 'history'. And at times, that 'cloth' seems to be quite frankly a fabrication. It should not matter in the least to any of us what a son of God may actually look like, because if we're getting all hung up on that, then we've already missed the point of this whole exercise of connecting to our God, and fulfilling our proper places in his universe.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

But "Keep It Simple, Stupid" also works...

One of the reasons I've stuck to Windows through thick and thin, come hell and high water, has been because I love desktop gadgets and their cute informative stuff. And I've argued with Mighty Microsoft via their built-in Feedback in test versions about the security of such things. 

They tried eliminating gadgets, unsuccessfully, on the excuse these are a security hazard. Sure they are. So is your regular Windows, which is targeted by every crooked programmer, hacker, and desperado on the globe, mostly because Microsoft refuses to make its 'Windows Defender' anything more than the standing joke of the security industry.

But I'm digressing again. The same security programs (plural) that I'm using to protect everything else on here are naturally protecting my gadgets too, so where's the real cause for alarm? And if you thought I'm implying here that we do need more than one security program these days, you would be correct - we do. Because: (there's always a 'because') malware evolves just like everything else on here. And security that protected us five or ten years ago can't cut it today. And you need more than one form of protection, because there's no such thing as "one size fits all". Some are better than others at one thing or another, and most will now be compatible with others. So find which is best at what, and use it.

I have three different ones, because one is excellent finding adware, and there's tons of it out there, and another is tops at stopping incoming malicious stuff, and the third is a highly-rated regular anti-virus. Because an ounce of prevention is still worth a pound of cure, and it's better to prevent than to clean up the mess.

Or you could use a system like Linux, which doesn't have some of those problems.

A Desktop Background might as well be useful...

Gave the moons a little color...

Friday, December 18, 2015

The First Lunation of 2016....

This is the fortieth year of The Lunar Calendar from Luna Press in Boston, Mass., celebrating The Goddess In All Her Guises. If you are one of us, then you know what that means. May the blessings of this Winter Solstice be with you and yours and may you be ever mindful of our natural world from which we all came and to which we will again return one day.

About and its NPR and Jazz24 On-line Streaming...

Many of us here in the northwest of the U.S.A. and southwest of Canada were shocked and amazed recently upon being informed that our favorite listener-supported Jazz, Blues, and NPR News outlets, and from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, [ here for more on PLU ], was about to be sold for about $8-million to a group at the University of Washington, which has its own Internet radio outlets.

The reason, so the story goes, was that PLU's bond rating or credit had been recently downgraded, and in an effort to regain its former standing, the board of regents had opted to entertain an offer from UW to assume control and operation of PLU's "World Class Jazz" and its sister station carrying NPR News and Blues and Jazz music.

We, its subscribing sustaining members, have not felt that all of this is entirely necessary nor justified, and we'd like a chance to find out if the community at large and its listener base might be able to raise the funds to save our beloved KPLU and Jazz24 from being swallowed up by what many of us consider to be an "also-ran" which doesn't get the same ratings nor the same listener support nor the same world-wide audience.

Latest developments, as I'm just being informed, are that discussions are now ongoing to examine this community funding proposal, and its viability, and we are breathlessly awaiting a positive outcome to that. We want to save KPLU, both for ourselves, and for the world of music. It's a treasure worth keeping. I would gladly double my monthly contribution to keep it going just as it is. Now all we need is about 50,000 others who feel the same....

Help save KPLU and Jazz24 by becoming a sustaining member, for as little as $10.00 U.S. per month, and enjoy the best Jazz, Blues, and NPR News world-wide via your Internet 24/7 wherever you are. Your ears will thank you. And so will our friends at and

Linux Mint Desktop: Fine tuning the gadgets

Everything harmonized.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Updating Linux Mint 17.3 .......

No "dancing girls", just the facts, Ma'am. As Joe Friday might say. Who remembers Jack Webb? His famous show was 'Dragnet', his name was 'Webb' but no, he didn't invent the Internet, and the World Wide Web isn't exactly named after him. But in some alternate universe, maybe it could be.

I've always been partial to the name 'Friday' because I was born on a Friday, at about 10:57 a.m., in a small town country hospital, during a November snowstorm. It was "Armistice Day" November 11, just before the traditional two minutes silence at 11:00 a.m., and I was crying loudly during the silence. And I've been 'disturbing the peace' ever since. It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it, and it might as well be me.

Updating Windows 10...

You're going to wonder who these two girls are, or maybe not, but I'll end the suspense by saying it's Jana Cova and Silvia Saint, the Czech Republic's gift to the porn industry, and in my opinion, the two very best looking women in porn. And probably two of the richest. And as far as we know, both are all natural. They haven't been plasticized like so many others. Perhaps one of their main attractions.

But I'm digressing again.... this is supposed to be about "updating Windows" and since I haven't used it for about a week, there were some updates, including one for the driver of my Radeon HD 5450 graphics card. I'm always a little nervous about Microsoft's updates to something like a graphics card, because the experts all say we ought to get those direct from the manufacturer who made it, and obviously knows it best, and has the latest updated drivers. And in most cases, you may find that the manufacturer's website has a more recent version of the driver than Microsoft does, because it hasn't sat around for six months somewhere, awaiting Microsoft's official approval. And why should Microsoft have to approve it anyway, if its maker is happy with it?

Now that I'm dual booting Windows 10 with Linux Mint, I've learned that Linux is identifying this Windows 10 as being "Windows 8". And I hear you asking "Why would they do that?" Because: (There's always a 'because') Windows 10, like Windows 8.1, is built on the main Windows 8 core, which in turn is basically the same chassis and core used in Wonderful Windows 7. So, if we were still identifying operating system versions as we did back in the days of Service Packs, then Windows 8.1 would be Windows 8, SP1, and Windows 10 would be Windows 8, SP2. And that's why Linux considers this Win-10 as "Windows 8". And really, it is. It's Windows 8, Service Pack Two. Any questions?

And now that I've done the weekly update to Win-10, I think I'll switch back to Linux Mint 17.3 and continue my education in Linux.