Monday, August 31, 2015

Stardust - Artie Shaw and his Orchestra

Let's Dance - Benny Goodman and his Orchestra

Sophisticated Lady - Duke Ellington

Sunrise Serenade - Frankie Carle and his Orchestra

Moonlight Serenade - Glenn Miller Orchestra

Was Dog A Doughnut ?

Books: The Martian.....

This book capitalizes on recent "Mars Mania" and is predicated upon the assumption that our best scientists are unwilling or unable to avoid sacrificing  future astronauts to a fate worse than death on a nearby dead planet.

It's a "good read" confirmed by my stiff neck this morning after falling asleep reading it sometime between three and four a.m. earlier today. However, it does contain a lot of "technobabble" combined with imaginative but implausible scenarios quite estranged from actual practices and real events as those would most likely unfold. We hope! And you should be forewarned, when a book starts off with its first complete sentence reading, "I'm pretty much fucked."

Spencer W. Kimball said: "Profanity is the effort of a feeble brain to express itself forcibly." But giving author Andy Weir the benefit of the doubt, let's assume in this case that it's a superior brain premeditatively identifying with the lowest common denominator of I.Q.s to be found among the unwashed masses in order to maximize potential sales of this 369-page rant. And it appears that he has been most successful.

Rainforest: A forest in the rain....

You might think I'm lying when I tell you that this is within four and a half miles of downtown Vancouver B.C., Canada's third-largest metropolitan region, but it's true.

And not only are the clouds almost kissing the treetops, there's rivulets of rainwater running down streets and driveways, the half-dead lawns are happily soaking it up, and the usual scavenging crows around the neighborhood have this morning been replaced by an occasional Steller's Jay, flitting from tree to tree, or balcony to balcony of the building. These birds seem to like starting at the bottom, and working their way up a tree or a building, and then starting again on the next. It's their way of doing a systematic search for goodies.


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Today's Top Ten are.....

Two views of yesterday's sunset...

After that wind storm with gusts up to between 90 and 110 km/hr yesterday, and power outages all over the region, Peace returned to the valley around the supper hour, and both my neighbor Christine and I took pictures of a break in the overcast that we're calling "a sunset"..... hers is much nicer than mine.

Here's mine....

And here's hers.....

I like hers because it's more interesting. It was taken at our nearby city park called Ambleside, in West Vancouver, and that is a totem pole out on the end of that jetty. I think it means one of the aboriginal spirits is blessing the harbor.

And this is how it looks as a Desktop Background.

Microsoft asks..............

A picture's worth a thousand words.

Wind Storm yesterday....

....left us without power from noon until shortly after 6:00 p.m., and I'm surprised we got it back that quickly, with over 300,000 customers without power yesterday afternoon in the Lower Mainland area here. Parts of our West Vancouver's Briti$h Propertie$ is still without power this morning.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Windows Management Framework 5.0

This will update Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 to the same 2015 version of Powershell 5.0 as is now being used in Windows 10. Please remember to also download these Release Notes.

If you don't have Microsoft Office installed, and want to update your Word or Excel or PowerPoint Viewer for the latest file formats, you may also want.......

That "heavy rain" mentioned in the previous screenshot

It looks like this................


Windows 10 - Verifying your system image

While I was merging a small unused portion of the drive with the Windows 7 partition, something went wrong, and I couldn't boot the system back up until I put the disc into the DVD drive, and repaired it. 

When that repair was completed, I found that there were a couple of folders duplicated in Windows 10, so the fix for that is to run DISM.exe, which is the Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool. It's like using System File Checker, but on steroids. It can correct and confirm your system image and restore it to its official version. Here's what it looks like when completed....

As it is working, it draws that dotted line across the window in 20% segments, and then tells you whether or not it could restore your system to its default. To learn more, open Windows Powershell (or a Command Prompt) in Administrator mode, and then at the cursor, type DISM.exe /? to get a long list of its features.

Windows 10 - New Theme

These were made using Stellarium, and are views from its two satellites, Phobos and Deimos.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Microsoft's Edge Browser Test Number 891...

This works (adding a picture here) but you have to use "Open with Internet Explorer" in the "More Actions" list. Isn't that wonderful?  If I wanted to use Internet Explorer, why the hell would I begin with "Edge" and just make more frustrating work for myself and waste time discovering I had to go onto I.E. to do what I had in mind? Who calls this "progress"??? - Get the picture?

Mars this morning.....

This morning, we're looking at Mars from its moons, and this is from Phobos, its closest one.

I really like this one, from its moon Deimos, because it includes other interesting details as well.  And this is how Mars looks from its satellites. And as you've noticed, this includes all four of the inner terrestrial planets.

Testing Edge in Build 10532

The title here is misleading, because I'm still not able to do this blog using the new but unfinished browser Edge. The goddamned thing won't add pictures, and I'm a very visual kind of guy. So I'm not using the damned thing. Mighty Microsoft, please take note: your minions over in Bunga Bunga still do not understand feedback saying "No Workee, Dumb Ass!" And I'm veddy veddy sure of this. And totally pissed off!

It takes three goddamned hours to download, configure, and install this shit, and then while all that's going on, my other computer on the same line can't update its security or receive updates of its own. Before Windows as a Service, we could always use one PC while another was updating, but that was obviously too good to last, so some shithead had to go and fuck that all up. Thanks a hell of a lot! And may I remind everyone there are other free operating systems you can download and use, and it won't take you three hours to get on line with it.

This whole process was much faster when we downloaded an ISO File and burned it to disc, and installed from that. That was usually a two-hour process, that has now become three hours, thanks to modern technology. I was a hell of a lot better off with my Canon word-processor and a Fax Machine! At least on those, I didn't have to wait three hours to get them up and doing something. And they never prevented me from using another PC on line. They just worked.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Mars today.....

Here's Mars today in Stellarium the planetarium for your computer, from here,
showing its polar cap right where it should be, at the top, and that round light spot right in the center is probably Olympus Mons, the huge former volcano more than 600 km across, and 25 km high. And this gives you an idea how large that is.

And this is Earth as seen from Mars today, with Mars' atmospheric effects removed from the image. We really aren't the center of the universe, are we?

And here we are, looking from here to Mars, again with the atmosphere removed, to show things more clearly. 

Here's a little "space flight" for you....

Earth seen from Venus

Mars seen from Venus

Mercury seen from Venus

And lastly, Earth seen from Jupiter today, and we can't see it from there, because the Sun is directly between us, so from Jupiter, the Earth is behind the Sun, and similarly, from here, Jupiter is hidden behind the Sun. That's why viewing from other planets often gives us a better view, as you'll notice in some of those previous images. This is a great program, and you should try it.

Windows 10 - Today's Trivia....

A little more Mars....

There's an interesting website here, discussing the sedimentary rocks of Mars.

Here's an interesting couple of paragraphs from it:-

The first and arguably most important difference between Mars' sedimentary rocks as seen by Curiosity and sedimentary rocks investigated by geologists on Earth is their age. The rocks Curiosity is studying are more than 3.5 billion years old, possibly quite a bit older. When Earth was that old, it was a different place. It's very likely that Earth's rocks were predominantly basaltic then, too. Sedimentary rocks are made out of other source rocks. If all you have is basaltic rocks to work with, your sedimentary rocks are going to look more like basaltic rocks. There was an entertaining presentation by Ezat Heydari that showed that you can pretty much explain the entire diversity of rock compositions seen by Curiosity as a simple mix of two endmembers: chunks of broken-up basalt, and a finer-grained material that looks like the ash you'd get from explosive eruptions of very iron- and magnesium-rich komatiites. Nowadays, Earth makes its sedimentary rocks from all kinds of source rocks, most often from much more silicon- and aluminum-rich rocks that have experienced processing through Earth's active rock cycle multiple times. Mars hasn't had that luxury. In a sense, Mars is giving us a chance to look at what sedimentary rocks on Earth might once have looked like, 3.5 or more billion years ago.
But there's still the pesky problem of having rocks made of very fine-grained sediments that, ought not to have a basaltic composition, because the very water that is required to transport, deposit, and lithify sediments into rocks should've also attacked the basaltic minerals and turned them into something else -- a fact that Allan Treiman emphasized in his presentation on Curiosity CheMin results. That's telling us something important, too. For one thing, Allan said, it suggests that the way that Mars turned basaltic lava rock into sediments was not through the action of water -- that Mars broke basalt into basaltic grains through mechanical rather than chemical weathering. And then whatever water-related experience moved those sediments from their point of origin and deposited them into layers in Gale must have happened quite fast, with the water going away very quickly.
"...a simple mix of two end-members: chunks of broken-up basalt, and a finer-grained material that looks like the ash you'd get from explosive eruptions of very iron-and-magnesium-rich komatiites." - Core material, perhaps? As might result from a collision with something that penetrated the molten core?

And in the second paragraph, about how these were mixed:- "that Mars broke basalt into basaltic grains through mechanical rather than chemical weathering." As in a violently explosive impact, perhaps?

Moving away from rocks for a moment, Mars' atmosphere is mostly carbon dioxide with lesser amounts of carbon monoxide. Both of those might easily be the result of combustion, perhaps on a massive scale.

The picture I'm getting is not one of a peacefully-evolving planet, but rather one with a violent but distant past. One in which oceans that lasted long enough to form all those sedimentary rocks seemed to suddenly disappear. That raises more questions than answers.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Mars and Facebook, and comments

I started something yesterday, while indulging in a little debunking of some obvious misinformation about Mars, one of my favorite planets. It prompted a lot of comments and I've been enjoying reading and responding to them.

Most people could benefit from doing more "homework" on that subject, and that became obvious as I read the various responses to my provocative rant. And I seem to have offended one of my readers when I said "You have to be open to the possibility that the other guy isn't full of shit before we can have a really interesting discussion." 

And I was heartened by the questions younger people asked, and the thought which went into those. Maybe Mom was right. Maybe I should have been a teacher. I love exchanging thoughts with others, and trying to get them thinking for themselves.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Windows 7 and Powershell.... a confession...

I lied, and I'm sorry! The latest version of Windows Management Framework is version 5.0, and so the latest Powershell version is also 5.0, which is the same version as that in Windows 10, and it's from checking in Windows 10 that I discovered my mistake. So please forget what I said about the version 4.0 and download Windows Management Framework 5.0 instead.

Please read the instructions for selecting the correct downloads for your operating system, and when you are presented with that page, note that to get the download for each item, there's a link on its same line to click on.

And when it's all over, you'll have this.....

...and I'll be embarrassed for giving you a bum steer earlier here.

More about Powershell, Word Viewer, and Windows 7

When you download Windows Management Framework 4.0 with its Release Notes (don't forget those!) you should also download this......

...because the newer versions of Word, Excel, and Powerpoint don't have their own Viewers, and this lets you use an older Viewer for these. So get it.

And here's the latest Powershell, working in Windows 7......

...and here's what you do to find out its version number or confirm that....

...and now, you can relax and enjoy the latest version of Powershell in Win-7.


Sunrise! Another day begins....

I'm glad I opened the drapes and had a look, or I might have missed it.

And it's "Goodbye, Windows 10" on my #1 computer. I hadn't used it for a week or so, and then yesterday, it said I couldn't have Build 10525 unless I first of all joined Windows Insiders. And I've been a Windows Insider since last November the fifteenth, through all those gestation pains and all the bullshit, so I quietly said "Fuck This! Where's Easeus Partition Master?" And it's right where it always is, so I switched onto the Win-7 O/S, used EasyBCD to make that the Default boot system, then used Easeus Partition Master to format the Win-10 partition, and then merge that into the boot Win-7 one. Peace returns to the valley. And I'm now down to one PC with Win-10 on it. The other still has Win-7 and 8.1, both of which are alive and well.

And speaking of Win-7, I discovered yesterday that if I downloaded the Windows Management Framework 4.0 ......

...I can have the latest Windows Powershell working in Windows 7, and this again shows that Windows 7 is still very much alive and well - and it's still more user-friendly than anything since. And still being used on more PCs. If I was picking an operating system to convert into "Windows as a Service" my choice would be Windows 7. It works with any browser of your choice, it's a rock-solid system that ten million of us tested, and it really kicks ass! What more do you need?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Autodetect AMD drivers

Is this a UFO ?

Would you believe? It's my kettle, in the dark, on the carpet.

This still works in Build 10525...

But you do need the latest version of Shockwave Player from Adobe. And there's a recent update to the Opera browser, too, and it seems to be working better in Windows 10 now. Its previous version crashed periodically. But I like it, and it has some nice features.

Mars this morning....

With both its satellites in the same frame for a change. Notice the polar ice cap, and the 5,000 Km long canyon, or scar, below its equator. Probably a result of its being hit and punctured by a large meteoroid about 3.5 billion years ago. But I've told you that story already, haven't I? I've wondered what it looked like before all that. When it had oceans, and continents, and an atmosphere like ours. Imagine if it had developed like Earth. We might now be communicating with people on another planet, hopefully friendly.

I wonder what we could learn of the universe if we had powerful radio telescopes on both of these planets, coordinated to focus on the same objects?

Imagine a base line this long between observatories? Wow! Standing here on Mars, we can hardly see Earth.... especially not in daylight, as it is right now.

The Big Dipper

Looking out my north window, on this lovely clear night, not even the city lights interfere with my view of the Big Dipper, almost exactly due north, and as shown here, quite low in the sky. It's a nice night.

Something to remember....

"All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten"

by Robert Fulghum
Most of what I really need
To know about how to live
And what to do and how to be
I learned in kindergarten.
Wisdom was not at the top
Of the graduate school mountain,
But there in the sandpile at Sunday school.

These are the things I learned:

Share everything.
Play fair.
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life -
Learn some and think some
And draw and paint and sing and dance
And play and work everyday some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world,
Watch out for traffic,
Hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.

Windows 10 - Cortana disabled.....

Cortana is a very inquisitive resource-intensive feature described as being something none of us knew we needed. Some of us still don't, and if you're one, then yes, you can disable it. Your Search will then look like this....

If you open Cortana, and then along the left edge, click on the Settings icon, you will find a couple of buttons you can turn off. Turning them both off disables the beast without burning any bridges you might want to rebuild later. Meanwhile, Peace returns to the valley. Your Processor won't be nearly as active while doing your usual thing. And that's good, especially if you're running an older machine with limited capabilities.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Flowers across the street in a back yard

And here's what these look like without the 42X zoom.......


Today in (my) history....

On this date in 1950, which that year was a Wednesday, I ran away from home, a couple of months short of my 18th birthday, to start training as a power station operator, for what was then known as the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario, now known as Hydro One. Today's version bears no resemblance to the Ontario Hydro I knew back then, nor do I. It's now 65 years later, and Hydro One is about to be sold off to pay off some of its huge debt, and I'm not about to be sold off because nobody wants a slave with this many years and this many miles on him, lucky for me. And if I knew then what I know now, I'd have taken Mom's advice, and stayed in school until I knew my ass from my elbow.

Welcome to a dawning in the jet age...

Almost every one of these clouds started life as the exhaust trail from a jet flying the main flyway just offshore here along our Pacific coast which links the lower 48 with Alaska and points beyond, in the Orient. And if you want to find out more about who's making these, take a look at for live tracking info on what's in the air right now.

And then click on one of these to show a panel on the left with details about it...

Take a look at Atlanta for example, for a sky full of aluminum.....

And then try to image how many millions or billions of cubic feet of exhaust is being added to our air every day, and how many thousands of  gallons of fuel these are burning to create it. Here's North America this Sunday morning.....

Seems almost hard to believe, doesn't it?