Tag: bill gates

Voice of Reason @realDonaldtrump @glennbeck

Voice of Reason @realDonaldtrump @glennbeck

Voice of Reason @realDonaldtrump @glennbeck

 

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When the likes of Whoopi Goldberg or a Hollywood celebrity uses their megaphone of stardom to taint the election process, it sets me on edge.

Much like unions having their member’s vote for who they want them to, that to me is collusion of the process, or at the very least, a corruption of it.  That is one-reason preachers cannot use the pulpit for such things.

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John Stewart in my mind is in large part the reason we have had 7 plus years of Obama.  Why? People conflate his comedy show with actual news.  I would suggest that they don’t read, watch, or listen to the news or tune out when a politician is mentioned.

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California is in horrible economic shape. They vote for overly liberal candidates, which have been pushed in large part by the media and of course celebrities.  A conservative celebrity is black balled which to me should tell the voters that maybe they should not listen to those that use the megaphone of talk shows, to convince you how to vote.

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Liberal giants own most of the mainstream media so a form of “yellow journalism” is a standard.

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Glenn Beck who is on the opposite side of the isle has endorsed Ted Cruz.  Cruz is as far right as Bernie is left…  This in my mind makes him complicit if Cruz becomes elected, and then screws things up. (Another first time Senator.)

Beck has always been entertaining in a John Stewart kind of way except that Glenn is much more macabre that John.  Becks’ theatrics have engendered support from the far right.  With his advertisers selling things suited for preppers, he has created an atmosphere of paranoia.  With such talks of Fema camps, we have many spending their hard-earned dollars on things that they will probably never need.

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Gold comes to mind.  The multi billionaires of the world can change the value of it in a heartbeat! It was not long ago that oil was a safe bet.  Right before the collapse, there were many radio and TV ads trying to get people with a minimum of $40K to invest.  Surprise!

Beck’s message resonates with those on the far right. Those who would happily take the world back to the days of no internet. Maybe even take away women’s rights to vote and to drive.   Too much?  I wonder…

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Obama’s talk about guns is responsible for the huge amount of gun sales as well as driven the NRA to receive lots of money from new membership.  The gun folks should be thanking Obama!  Now we have grandma thinking that she needs an assault rifle with thousands of rounds…just in case! In case of what?

 

meme12.jpgAt a Sanders caucus, a college student who was caucusing for him was asked to explain socialism.  She was unable to do so but, still firmly entrenched in his camp. “Oh Bernie…what a man…. (Sarcasm)”

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Beating Sanders will be simple.  Whoever is opposed to him simply needs to educate the useful idiots what socialism is, and why it never ever works!  I would suggest they do it with comedy, maybe even a Saturday morning cartoon, as those who vote for him must certainly be ill informed. (Yes, I am being nice…)

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Clinton who should not even be running is another example of people not watching or knowing the news.  This person should be doing time … Not running for Commander in Chief! …

The Democratic candidates are all incredibly old … One would think that should cause some sort of concern among the voters as we have no idea who would inherit the office if or when they kick the bucket!

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Stress releases something in the body known as cortisol. “The stress hormone.”  That hormone kills people.  Now a young person can handle it however it still takes a toll on their health.  And older person???

Truth told the DNC does not have a viable candidate.  The RNC has many.  Finding a moderate among them should be easy.

What are Americans looking for in a leader?

  • Trustworthy
  • Vision
  • In touch with the people
  • Defense of the homeland
  • Limited government
  • Set the stage where businesses can flourish
  • Bring Americans together, instead of dividing us on every possible angle.
  • Someone who can fix Washington … Tall order … Start with Term limits!
  • Fix the Tax Code, so we do not need accountants.
  • Stop screwing the Middle Class!

 

As far as Trump is concerned, Americans should be thanking him.  His celebrity status has focused the country to talk about topics that the political elite would love to not talk about.  The here to for technique is to control the narrative, talking about things that are benign issues.

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Trump has forced the narrative to address things like Immigration.

Political correctness; which is nothing more than a voluntary surrendering of your first amendment.

Trump has made us painfully aware of how bad our “deals are.”

Trump is the elephant in the room and has forced the narrative to substantive issues vs team names and political correctness, not to mention Sandra Fluke.  You know the rich girl that wants you to pay for her $6 birth control pills.

This is why both sides abhor him.  They cannot talk about bullshit issues.  The narrative is now more real and they all have to talk about it.

One final note, Microsoft is not a Trump supporter.  If I were he, I would have all of the “free software” looked over carefully by people who know things about such things. 

 

-Best

© All rights reserved 2016

 

 

 

 

 

Yesterday is gone

Yesterday is gone

Yesterday is gone

As I ponder retirement and what that will look like, I realized that I have decades upon decades of accumulated stuff; and staying here in this house is not the plan.

People waiting to bid on someone's forgotten stuff.
People waiting to bid on someone’s forgotten stuff.

While planning for one’s retirement financially is important; planning on what one will do to keep busy and setting goals to make that happen are equally essential.

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Many when they retire simply plan for the financial aspect and let life take care of itself.  This often times causes one to fall into depression, shortening their golden years to just a few.  Planning on actual events much like you were working will actually extend your life, and make it much happier.

Sunset_1 General Election - Pensioners

Having said all that to say this; I was talked into spring cleaning by way of eBay and unfortunately a garage sale.

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The process of a garage sale mandates evaluating “your stuff” and figuring out what you can live without and then, placing some sort of value on it.

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Garage sales are not a money making business “for most.” Garage sales are in fact a venue for shedding your garage or house of extra stuff or clutter that has accumulated over the years and getting some sort of remuneration by way of cash to make your efforts seem worthwhile.

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This garage sale went something like this.  Up until 1:34 am getting everything ready.  Back up at 5:30 to finish getting everything ready and then be surprised to learn that the sun does actually come up in the east!

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Before morning light however there are people driving around neighborhoods with trucks and trailers looking for garage sales to acquire things like cheap furniture, lawn mowers and other yard equipment and bulkier things that require trailers.

Several times during the morning people came buy with phone in hand searching Amazon and other sites looking for the item’s that you were selling to determine if they were worth anything.  I felt like I was in some sort of digital age of pickers because these folks were professional with it.

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Then there were the thieves.  Yep, people who would get their kids to distract you while they pocketed things, watched them do it.  Now keep in mind the item if it were worth a $100.00 is already marked down to $5 but, $5 is too much so they just pocket it knowing that you have no inventory control and will never miss it.

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Old people who too should be paring down, were picking up things and bargaining with you for a long time over .25 cents or less.

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During the garage sale experience, the neighbor’s sprinklers went off twice, both times flooding the sidewalk.  Other neighbors came out and mowed, weed whacked and then used the obligatory leaf blower to blow the debris either into the street or their neighbor’s lawn.

Not what mowed the grass either time
Not what mowed the grass either time
This is what mowed the grass...
This is what mowed the grass…

Noon time found the traffic down to a scant few, and found me ready to take the rest of it to some donation place as I was done with it.  Many of the dust-ables are now in someone else’s house and the rest will find its way into some thrift store for others to pick over and figure out what to do with it.

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eBay will end up with some of it because; eBay attracts a larger base than a garage sale and your chances of getting something more than a few cents is much higher than haggling with the deal seekers.

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Garage sale attenders for the most part are serious deal hunters and I suspect take your dust-ables back to some place where they make a business out of it.

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Unless you are filthy rich, when you decide to clean out your house take the time to look your items up on eBay or Amazon and see what they are worth.  If they are worth a few dollars do the garage sale bit and prepare to give them away for a few cents on the dollar.

I would not consider and antique mall as those places make all the money for renting you a small place.  While they bring in customers the ends rarely justify the means.  You must necessarily have turnover in an antique mall so unless you are buying cheap at garage sales and stocking a small space continually at such a place don’t do it.

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You might consider buying such a place and leasing out small chunks of it to people who think they are going to get rich by selling clutter but; that is the only financial entanglement I would have with such a place.

Now, if you are filthy rich and don’t have anyone to ruin their lives with tax issues having too much money, consider making me one of those people who would love to have too much money to deal with.

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-Best to you and those that you care about!

© All Rights reserved 2015

Blowing in the wind

Blowing in the wind

California will soon be a re-creation of the dust bowl of 1930 and it is their own damned fault!  Liberal tax and spend policies over the years have bankrupt the state.

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Their debt to GDP ratio is 18.5 %

They have a total population of 38,409,959 with an unemployment at 1,256,658 and a food stamp recipient population of 4,575,589!

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Their liberal progressive economic policies are and have been unsustainable and yet the same liberal thinking that has them in this mess is trying to convert Texas and other red states to the same kind of thinking!

How are they doing this you ask?  By attacking voter id laws.  There was a lawyer on a talk show the other day who specializes in going after voter id laws in states that have them.

His argument is that the right to vote is guaranteed by the constitution so having a picture id to vote should not be necessary as it is for everything else that you do in this country including purchasing over the counter decongestants!  His argument defies common sense and logic and yet because he is a lawyer he knows how to twist the intent of the law to create a loophole so those that wish to steal an election can.  Like the counties that had over a 100% turnout and all of the votes were for the democratic candidate.  Statistically that is not possible!

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Marxism does not work!  The uber rich sit up in their ivory towers while the rest of us suffer, and while they smoke their cigars and drink their Champagne we fight to keep alive.

Socialism, Marxism and communism only benefit the very rich the people at the top, those in control!

There are college kids today who have no idea who the VP is much less what Marxism is.

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How can they expect to vote intelligently when they don’t know any history?

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If this drought continues the GDP of California will be worse than what it currently is and something will have to give.  When there is no more to give what then?  Will the people who caused this mess just disappear in to the woodwork from which they came?

Bernie Madoff is a girl scout compared to these idiots running the state, and the people who voted for them!

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Had they had a surplus like Texas currently has, they could spend a couple Billion and build some desalinization plants and guess what, the fields could be watered, the farmers could continue to grow their crops and there would not be the struggle for water that they have.

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There is no rainy day fund.  There is only debt and IOU’s!

I think that California suffering a drought serves a larger purpose for this liberal ideology of this country.  If this continues, the narrative from the media will carry around the world the terrible conditions which exists and they can take their junk science that Al Gore is spreading like a cancer, and push carbon credits!

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California’s drought is clearly because if climate change (we can’t call it global warming anymore because their science does not support it, so now it is climate change.)  There is no way that the drought could simply be “weather!”

California should be investing in solar powered desalinization plants as should most states that have access to the ocean.

The dust bowl of the 1930’s would be called Global warming or climate change if it had happened now, so they are not letting a crises go to waste.  They push their junk science to further their case to sell carbon credits so Al Gore can make more billions by scaring the hell out of people with utter BS!

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I suspect that other billionaire’s are behind the carbon credit scam because how much money is enough?  How many billions of dollars does one person need?

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When you take your last breath what will your legacy be?  “I screwed over an entire country!?” Is it he who dies with the most toys wins?

I don’t understand a politician spending millions of his own money to try and get elected to a job that pays $150K.  I don’t understand people with Millions nay billions of dollars actively seeking more.

How much is enough?

What does someone with unlimited amounts of resources do for fun?

article-2584882-18EEB20B000005DC-732_306x423Monica Lewinsky meets with President Clinton

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How about creating a company that specializes in building solar powered desalination plants?

Attn Bill Gates
Attn Bill Gates

Wouldn’t that be fun to create a company that has a product that helps people?

I think it would be a hoot!

-Best

(c) 2015 All Rights Reserved

http://www.usdebtclock.org/state-debt-clocks/state-of-california-debt-clock.html

Open Letter to Apple or Darkware , the new frontier…

Open Letter to Apple or Darkware , the new frontier…

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Problem: There needs to be an easy way to sync your existing iPhone and or iPad with a new computer, and here is why?

I met Steve Jobs years ago when I was working at an agency that used Next Step computers.  Steve was an out of the box thinker “creating things in his garage” before the first apple anything ever was created.

Apple enjoys being one of the “big dogs” today not because of the mac, although it didn’t hurt but, the iPhone and of course tablets which they have excelled at.

Recently when the hardware crashed on my PC, even though I had a backup of the data, the iTunes files system to me was lost as it was tied to that computer. The OS with Microsoft dies with the computer so you get to buy everything over again.

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One of the success stories of Microsoft was and is, to keep their software “intuitive and consistent.”  Apple does this as well, once you know the basics, you can fumble your way through the rest.  When however; you have an issue like this, what are the workarounds?

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I need to move my data over to a new computer, migrate my iTunes stuff to the new computer, install the newest version of iTunes and sync the phone, iPad etc. right?

Folks, it should be this easy.  It should not take more than just a couple of steps in keeping with “apple simplicity.” To recover from something like this.

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I do not want or need a laundry list of things including standing on one foot while reciting the star spangled banner backwards, pressing a combination of half a dozen keys in separate sequences and purchasing some “Darkware” program that has no guarantee of working because, it too was invented in some basement by some pimple faced kid.

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There is in fact no way that I can see to do this without wiping out the phone, iPad (s) and starting from scratch which would not aid me in importing my contacts into Outlook at all! I also have no idea how much data that is on the phone / iPads that I would lose!

Outlook by the way has an equally convoluted way of doing this but, at least they have a way!

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Outlook, why don’t you write a program to do this all “programmatically” for your faithful users?

I de-authorized the dead computer but when I tried to authorize the new one, no such luck, still too many computers authorized!  3, three computers authorized and there are still too many!  Out of a possible 5, 3 is too many!  So, I de-authorized everything!  Now what!? Now you have to wait something like 90 days to re-authorize things…..?

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Doing the normal search thing, reading the blogs, researching all of the work around(s), I became frustrated to the point of thinking, “maybe it is time for a switch!”

Maybe, just maybe I really don’t need a smart phone at all.  How about a flip phone that just makes calls and receives calls!?  Have we come to that?  Have we come full circle?

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Not only do I need a device that works as I expect it to but, I need it to play well with other operating systems.   I should not be forced to follow the threads of other frustrated users until I discover some clandestine piece of software that could cause your device to no longer work! I need something that “Apple” has invented, created or has included with iTunes as an easy way for people like me to recover from!

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If I have to search the web and buy some third party software to fix Apple’s short shortsightedness for convoluted way of keeping people from sharing their songs with their teenage girlfriends, we have gone too far!

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I would much rather find another product that has already done that.  Things break and there needs to be some part of the program that allows for this.

This is Apple’s problem and they need to create a solution.  A solution that does not include forcing people like me to drive to the mall and to wait in line at the Genius bar to find out how much of a genius they are or are not.   Also to find out that I should simply  “google the problem, someone may have written something!”  Really, is that the best you got!?

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One of the first issues I had with the iPhone is I needed a way to organize my apps with the computer.  Do you think for a minute there is a way to contact Apple to get their attention?  I posted the idea for “free” to them in a public forum and I will be damned in about nine months’ time, it was there.  What would you care to guess that some employee who read my post offered the idea us as his?

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Well Apple, here is another free Idea, just fix the damned thing so I can get on with my life!

Thanks!

-Best to you and those that you care about.

Copyright 2015 All rights reserved

Www.guard-protect.com

Www.timedok.com

Time to #die #computer #PC

Time to #die #computer #PC

Time to Die

Before you think this is some macabre blog about life and death hold on! I am talking about time to let your trusted computer retire.

“Why the hell is my computer so slow!”  I substituted “hell” for the F word!  You get the point.  People are frustrated and just pissed off by the time I get a call.

The average life span of a PC is about 5 years, give or take.  The issues I have with that are many, and most of that revolve around the EULA. (End User License Agreement)

6a00d83451fb6769e200e54f64c4268833-800wi Does anyone read these?  I did a couple of times and boy oh boy, you need a lawyer to figure it out!

If you purchase a computer with an operating system that dies than the OS dies when the computer does.  Unlike the old days of DOS and or early Windows.

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When it gets right down to it the expensive part of the computer is not the hardware, but the software.  The OS is about $150 or so… Ok I can stomach that.

Office full blown is $500! Does it die with the computer?

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The Adobe suite is off the charts expensive, does it die with the computer?

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Why is it that a computer running an OS runs just fine and as time goes by it slows down?  Does the computer just get tired?

Resmon screen shot showing CPU busy calculationsThree finger solute brings this up…

It has a lot to do with the patches and ad-ons that we do to them.  A computer is much like a baby.  Everything that you do to it, or with it from its “birth,” has some effect on it.

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Herbie Pulling a trailer and from the 1954 movie the long long trailer Ricky and Lucy pulling a trailer full of rocks.

I equate it to a car.  Let’s say your car is a Volkswagen beetle that new, gets you down the road and does what you want it to do.  After a few months it is not quite as Zippy as it was earlier and after a year it starts showing its age.  You take it in for a tune-up, start using a higher grade of gasoline and for a while it works fair.  Then after a while going up hills are a struggle.  After downshifting to 2cnd you make it up the hills but you remember earlier in its life when maybe you only had to downshift to 3rd but for the most part; not at all.

After much head scratching you start looking at every little detail of your poor car.  Suddenly you find out that your partner in crime has secretly had a fascination with collecting rocks.  Your poor car is hauling tons of rocks in the “bonnet” under the back seat, and even the glove box!

Some of the rocks have been there so long that they have become part of the car!  After removing all of the rocks that you can; the car once again makes it up the hills but not as fast as it did when it was new.

Your computer when new; was the fastest thing around, if you are like me, you over buy!

After months and maybe years the computer much like the car has the occasional issue with web sites, or e-mail or loading a picture file to edit.

Time to look for rocks.

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You buy a product like Crap Cleaner and you let it work its magic.  Not before too long, your computer is running “ok” so you push on.

After a few years Crap Cleaner no longer does it.  You enlist the help of someone like myself.  I hunt and kill malware and other viruses. I check for the latest drivers and work my magic and manage to get your computer running as it should, but it is not as good as it was new.

SWT Yep, that is me….

Why?

I can tell you that it is most probably not the hardware.  I can prove it to you by installing another hard drive and installing the virgin OS that your machine came with.  The machine will behave just like it did out of the box, until you put your “stuff” back on it, most of the time.

Uninstall Crap

One of the things that I find the most, is people install all of this “stuff.”  It all looks cool until you see that your computer is full of trial-ware, and other “stuff” that you don’t use.  Delete it or “uninstall it.”

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Startup

A quick look at the startup software will usually tell you that you have too much crap starting up.

A CTRL ALT DELETE or three finger solute will bring up a menu which you can then bring up task manager.  Look at the processes utilization and so forth and see where it is.  Frequently I see machines that have used all of the allotted memory and are now into virtual memory.  Virtual memory is orders of magnitude slower than “real memory” as it is swapping to your hard drive.  Troubleshoot the issues and remove programs or processes that are starting up that you really don’t need.  The goal is to keep the machine using only real memory and not have to deal with a bunch of “Rocks!”

Hardware dust bunnies

dirty-computer-fan I have seen worse! IMG_0228

They are overclocking some computer so they have taken to using water cooling systems much like they did back in the days of the Amdahl MainFrame’s.

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There is a special breed of animal that I liken to gremlins.  They live inside your computer and other electronic “stuff.”  They plug up the vents, restrict air flow and clog up fans and get inside your CD Rom drive stopping it from working, even inside your floppy drive if you still have one.  These are the ever present Dust Bunnies that once only lived under beds and furniture.  Now they have found a new occupation destroying electronic stuff and they are not even cute!

dustbunnies-by-suzanne-proulx Someone had way too much time on their hands…

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Just like Gremlins, don’t get water anywhere near them!

One thing that I never overlook is cleanliness of the machine.  These things are ecological disasters when it comes to dust!  If Hoover was smart they would build a combo PC / Air Cleaner as these things really do look like the inside of the vacuum cleaner bag.   If you have pets or maybe are in a warehouse etc. the problem is exacerbated.  While I really want to title this BJ, I decided that might be too crass.  You get the idea, take it outside and blow the crap out of it, “literally,” with an air compressor if you have it, or that expensive canned air. I clean mine out every 6 months and that goes double for laptops as people use those things in strange places, even on their bed where the machine can’t breathe correctly! Laptops should be used on a hard surface, not carpet, couches or beds!

These machine generate heat and must be adequately cooled.  If your machine is still running warm after the BJ, consider buying and installing a better CPU cooler and even more fans for the case.

While I am talking about hardware, make certain that your power supply is up to the task at hand.  It needs to be able to produce more wattage than you need and it should have a large fan in it that moves lots of air.  Today they have power supplies that have plug in cables that give you the ability to only use that which you need in the way of cables and not have a lot of extra wire floating around inside the box!  Anything in there that you don’t need can obstruct air flow.

While I am talking about cables, dress them properly.  They should be neatly tied together and routed where they do not obstruct a fan from turning and if possible away from air paths so cool air can make its way through the case.

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Antivirus

Antivirus is Key to computer users today and more critical than ever before.  While my tin foil hat side of me thinks that the creators of this software are all out to be better than the next guy by actually producing and passing the thousands of viruses out there; I don’t have the smoking gun.  I see that this is a huge industry and where there is money there is greed / motive.  I cannot fathom why anyone would sit around in their mother’s basement in their underwear writing destructive viruses if they cannot see the effect of their work and are not being paid.

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Eww, I just about feel bad putting this here….

My current favorites are Eset Node 32 and Trend Micro.  I also have Norton running on a PC that I use infrequently and do not depend upon or even allow anything “free” other than defender on my network / lab computers / home computers.  Free is not worth what you pay for it!  Defender is not the end all be all product and I would never depend upon it as my sole protection.  That would be like people practicing the “rhythm method” for birth control, you know what they call those folks right?  Parents!

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Get the latest updates

Allow the stinking updates from Microsoft as they have a vested interest in your machine working properly.  Like the antivirus folks who work tirelessly to constantly put out new updates, so does Microsoft.  It may be a simple tweak and yes, they frequently allow stuff out that should be tested more thoroughly so you may want to wait for a few days before you actually install it yourself but, most of the time they are the thing to do.

Turn off indexing

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By default Windows has indexing turned on.  As your computer ages and you fill up those massive terabyte hard drives with stuff, the computer uses valuable horse power to index all of your stuff.  That can slow your machine down to a crawl!  Unless you search for files constantly turn off indexing! If you still want to have faster access to certain files you can selectively index.

Defrag

After all else, run check-disk and then defrag your hard drive.  If during the checkdsk process you find bad sectors don’t wait, stop right there and back up everything and replace the hard drive!  Most all electronic equipment is rated in MTBF or (mean time between failure.)  It is not a matter of “if” but when it will fail.

Let it Die

XP is dead, get over it.  End of life software keeps those that write the stuff in business.  Software is an incredibly dynamic industry.  Linux is more static if you want to learn something totally new but even it changes.

Machines that run DOS have been re-cycled and are polluting third world countries where some send old boards and parts to allow low budget workers to re-claim precious metals at risk to the person and their ecology.  If old Al really wanted to something of value, he would tackle this issue as those people are seriously polluting their environment as our garbage is a job for them.  Bottom line, re-cycle your old hardware in a responsible manner.  PC’s are not an investment in hardware but rather for what they do!  They have a finite life and when they start sucking the life out of you by you having to baby them, wait on them and spend your hard earned money to “fix them” get a new one!

 trs80ii DSC06133 os2warp4xp_boot2000px-StartingMsdos2 If I had a nickle for every time the phone rang asking me what do I do now with this C thing….!

If you decide to re-cycle any old computer and you are worried about your “information, as you should be” remove the hard drive and hang on to it.  When you are certain that you no longer will need anything that possibly could be on it, take your drill and drill a hole, straight through it, hit it with a hammer multiple times, after dropping it on a cement surface, and then put the remains into the recycle bin. Wear your safety glasses just in case….

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I am experienced in forensic computing so trust me, if you do any of the above, or some combination, nobody will get anything off of it, ever!

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Crap Cleaner as part of its program has something called Drive Wiper.  That may very well do it, without all of the destructive energy being spent.  Once you run it everything is gone to the great bit bucket in the sky, or basement..

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Who am I?

I am just a guy who has been working with computers since before Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were anyone, period!  The internet was not around and Al Gore was still inventing the calculator to determine how much to charge for green-house gas emissions, from the basement in his mansion!

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Al, what can be said?  

download (1) Al+Bore+Chicken+Little

Actually a lot, can you say “MEME,” I bet you can…

There was no e-mail, no internet; and porn was not digital anywhere!  There was still Greg Shorthand and Secretaries were a hot commodity, as executives could not construct a proper sentence without them.

005184115 First picture of something racy that was found on the internet I think using “gopher.”

gopher2 Early Internet usage… This is actually advanced as there is a browser!

I lecture, consult, and when time permits, give back to the community with things like this “free advice or entertainment.”

Re-post this if you think that it will help your folks, or readers, or some family member that wonders why their computer is “so slow!” just don’t edit it and make sure proper credit is given.  Thanks!

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Just in case: There are no warranties expressed or implied with this “free advice” for the legal record, let’s call this “entertainment” as I know that there are those out there that will do something to their computer and try to claim that this blog was in some way responsible and they might even be the ambulance chaser attorney type, that sees a lawsuit in a free lunch!

So, anything that you read here is “entertainment” and if you should try this at home, you do so at your own peril, if something goes awry!  “Plain language…if you stuff it up” I am not responsible.

Stuffed Up!
Stuffed up!

-Best to you and those that you care about!

Copyright 2015 TimeDok, All rights reserved

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Hubris in IT

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It would seem that “Pride cometh before a fall” is something that is lost on most people who work in IT.

 

As someone who has been working with computers from about the time Bill Gates was buying an operating system from some poor guy in Washington State, and Steve Jobs was phone phreaking; There is just not much that escapes me.

 

I was doing some consulting for a company that was simply put together with bailing wire and scotch tape.  They had a huge pipe to the internet and were getting a dribble through by the time it hit the desktop.

 

Loading WireShark (a free protocol analyzer) examining the broadcast packets it was easy to see why.  The OS was literally working with NetBIOS to route packets.

 

A quick examination of the “server room” found the switches all tied together with Fiber and, patch cords going from one switch to another causing untold amount of routing loops etc. While the picture above is a stock photo the room in question looked very much like this.

 

My job however was not to fix their networking issues as this was the task of the guy I was “helping.”  He was the System Administrator.  I sent e-mails to him alerting him to my findings so he could take the appropriate steps, which for some reason he discounted and did not do.

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The weeks went on and the problems persisted several times a day where people were kicked off of the network or files were corrupt or lost etc.  His response/fix was to release and renew the IP address.  Putting one band aid on the problem day after day I guess gave him a sense of accomplishment but the problems were looming and like the 500 pound gorilla in the closet, soon to get out.

 

One of the things that I learned many years ago is to work with VARS.  Value added resellers have years of experience to draw upon.  They know which products are buggy and to stay away from and which are tried and true.  If you are a business don’t try and save money via internet stores as you will get what others can’t sell for one reason or another.  They are on sale for a reason…

 

When I asked him for his vendor contact list to include in his DR plan, there were no VARS on the list.  Everything was from internet companies or local retail locations.  He in fact had no fallback plan if the $hit hit the fan.

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The hardware purchased looked as much.  There were no standards anywhere.  There were high end SANS tied to cheap switches.  The workstation of choice was whatever he got a good deal on making mass deployment of anything just about impossible.  Hardware was way past its lifecycle and the list just went on.  Because of his pride; he was not willing to listen to anyone regarding anything IT.  If he does not change it will be his undoing.

 

This is not my first rodeo and certainly not my first encounter with arrogance.  As a manager I can deal with it, as a consultant one must work around it and if it becomes too big of an impediment, bow out.  There is no reason to sully your name with a situation like this when the outcome will likely somehow be your fault.  

 

Always hire people smarter than you are and have the humility to acknowledge that you are not the end all be all.  There is simply too much information out there to know it all.  Wisdom is; knowing that you need help and to leverage VARS and consultants is simply smart.

 

-Best to you and those that you care about!

Space Pollution, a possible niche market for someone with deep pockets

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Since this “political football known as sequester” we need someone who wants to tame the new frontier, to “boldly go….” Ok enough..

Calling Bill Gates, or any of you other billionaires out there with nothing to spend your money on….  I have a proposition for you! Read on to hear my plan…

One year ago, in April, we just about lost a $960.000.000 telescope to a defunct Russian spy satellite.  Quick thinking on the part of several people managed to save our telescope however; the risk remains and it is not getting better, but worse.

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With each and every launch, other “stuff” is left in space to orbit, and slowly fall back to earth.  Depending upon the altitude and velocity, it could take weeks, years, decades or centuries for the orbit to decay enough for the earth’s gravity to pull it back down.

The good news is that things fall back to earth often and usually burn up during the re-entry process , falling harmlessly into the ocean or some other body of water, the Canadian Wilderness or the Australian outback.  This is just about a verbatim statement from “those who know.”  I for one am glad that these things only fall where people aren’t; pretty clever of them to arrange that.

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Truth be told, (you know how I like truth) this claim is made because 70% of the earth is covered with water of one kind or another.  If you have ever gambled you know that it is all about the odds, which are derived from percentages of one thing or another.

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By last estimates there are 23,000 pieces of space junk and about 1500 satellites give or take the dozens that neither country will admit to.  That means that there are about 24,500   objects up there with no planned way of removing them safely. I think that we actually have an “end of life” policy created for ours, if the thing is still functional.

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The hazards are increasing exponentially with each and every launch and of course should two satellites collide as they did in 2009 at hyper speeds, lots of space junk gets released into orbit.  The collision between Iriduim 33 and Kosmos 255 was not the only collision in space.  In fact there have been 8 known high speed collisions and several minor collisions.  Someone gets paid to keep up with each and every little thing up there.  How well do you think they do their job?

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As of yet, there are no Universal treaties as to who does what in space; so the problem continues to get worse.  The lawmakers are too concerned about anything but what they should be, so don’t look for help from any government.

Along come the visionaries…

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Well maybe not these folks…

We need some visionaries to come up with a way to reclaim the space junk.  Instead of figuring out ways to make a weapon more precise or more lethal, how about working on this problem before it is totally out of hand?

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I actually have an idea that might work.  Scientist have proposed building a type of tractor (not like the one on Green Acres) but a “Space Tractor” to snag or deflect an asteroid causing its trajectory to change enough to save the earth.

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What if…we tested that theory on some space junk?  What if…. we slowed the orbit of some space junk down enough so its orbit would decay at a more rapid rate, and maybe, just maybe with some practice, we could manage where and when it would fall, not using the current Vegas method of science, but real science.  Instead of trying to deflect an asteroid first, start out with something small and closer to home like, a defunct satellite.  One could actually make a business out of it, and charge Millions!  Why does it take a science fiction writer to come up with this stuff?   Maybe if the space station has enough mass they could figure out a way to test the theory with it.  It is already up there, with a crew and everything!

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No, Ok well how about this?

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If any of you happen to know Michio Kaku; or the guy that demoted Pluto, or some other notable “scientist,” forward this to them.  If you know Bill, give him my best and show this too him but, sell it as the newest form of software development.  Someone would have to write the stuff to control this thing, right?.  I would love to hear why it would not work or why it is not a good idea.  Personally, I think if the nation(s) could focus on something else, other than politics, it would be a good thing. If any of you scientist need any more “out of the box thinking”…call me….phone is write here…waiting….

-Best to you and those that you care about.

Information Technology then and now

Information Technology then and now.

Having started in this industry when IBM Selectrics were the only game in town, I have seen many things come to pass.  I have witnessed the end of Greg Shorthand to dictating equipment to word processors and finally executives typing out their own letters and e-mails.

Back not so long ago an executive would dictate a letter to a secretary who would go type it up and return it to his inbox for his approval.  During this process he would change something and she would once again type it up and return it to his inbox.  This process could take the entire day to generate one letter.

The dictation machine came about; and the secretary with Greg shorthand know how, turned into a secretarial pool where somewhere in a smoke-filled room several typists, typed letters and submitted them in similar fashion.  The letter would be accompanied by the tape or in the early days a “dictabelt” or even a wax cylinder.

In the late 70s the word processor came about in the form of a typewriter that could save the keystrokes to a magnetic card.  When the letter came back for revisions the card would be placed into the slot on this huge box that sat on the floor next to the typewriter and the typist would hit “play” and the typewriter would come to life regurgitating the keystrokes until she got to the part that needed to be changed.

It wasn’t too long after that the true word processor was born in that there was a green screen and one typed much like I am doing now.  Editing was not near as simple as this, but it was a huge step up from the manual typewriter.

Before Bill Gates and Steve Job were household names, Xerox, IBM, and Burroughs, not to forget Unisys, Pitney Bows, and Wang, were the big boys.

No one expected that college kids in a garage with a rudimentary understanding of business would revolutionize the world with what we have today.

I met Steve Jobs while working for a company that had one of his creations for computers.  The NEXT computer which was a UNIX based computer that had a GUI that was semi user-friendly. The cases to these computers for whatever reason were crafted from magnesium and shaped like a pizza box or a Borg Cube however; the wiring of them regarding the keyboard and mouse are very similar to what apple is today.  Little did I appreciate at the time the man who started out his career as a techno-criminal by phone freaking, would be responsible for my Smartphone and my beloved iPad. For this alone I am eternally grateful.

As technology is an ever changing target the personnel also have to be malleable and willing to learn, grow and in some cases leave.

After I placed a pc on one secretaries desk and after she had been to training I walked by her one day to see her making a spreadsheet with a ruler and paper.  The PC and Lotus and the secretary were not working well together.

Technology is one part of the equation when it comes to business.  Finding and keeping the proper people is a challenge that can make any CEO’s head spin.

Through the years a niche market evolved from the early days of Novell.  Novell was one of the leading networking companies long before Bill Gates came up with a server OS.  I have worked with their products since ver 1.X.

Novell made a good name for itself early on.  They came up with the idea to “certify” hardware for their product.  The manufacturers of hardware would submit their hardware to Novell and pay them to evaluate their hardware and then put the “Novell stamp of approval” on it, which of course drove the price of their equipment up and made their equipment more in demand.

It wasn’t long after that, they came up with the idea of “certifying” people.  This certification process begat a whole new industry across the entire technological spectrum; the training and testing and certifying of people.

The problems with this are many, and the industry is fraught with deception.  Many people can take a test but cannot physically do the job.  Technology is forever changing which requires ongoing certification classes or CEC.  The cost is very high and the certification may be short-lived.

It did not take me long as I started making my way through the classes and certification process to figure out that this was simply a way for Novell and others to make yet more money.  In fact today there are certifications for damned near anything and everything.  The industry standard as a whole is some sort of certification.

While this may give a hiring manager some quantitative measuring stick to know if John Doe is who he wants to hire as a technologist; myself as a hiring manager, I can tell you that certifications were the last thing that I looked at.  As I worked my way up from the lowly support person to Director Level, I could and can speak intelligently about technology and I can tell if someone is full of….well crap.

The classes and certifications are so expensive that very few people will invest their own money to get them.  That means that some company paid for them.  Again as technology changes the weight of their certification looses validity much like a new car looses value, once you drive it off the showroom floor or in the case of technology, the next day.

Years ago I interviewed for company for a project management position.  I could talk about projects and milestones and task and deliverables all day long; without that certification this guy was not interested. My guess is that he had no idea what a project manager was and the certification was the thing that would do his job for him.  Keep in mind that I had been doing this before there was a class and the PMP certification did not exists.  I could in fact write a book on it.  I was doing this before Microsoft ever thought of MS Project.

When I hired project managers I would ask them to tell me about a project that they had done and I would look for certain details.  The certification was superfluous to me.  Can they do the job? Can they tell me how they can tell  the health of their project. Can they articulate themselves well, verbally as well as in writing? Do they work well with others?

Personnel can make or break a company.  As a troubleshooter not only do I have to determine if the technology is the right fit for the business but, I often have to figure out if this person is the best fit for this position at that company. The problems are indicative of the industry.  As the technology increases or evolves the personnel must change with it, and in fact embrace change because that is what this industry is, “change”.   Information technology is a very fluid dynamic field.  Unlike history or geology, computer science changes with the next program or hardware modification.

One of the issues that I see often is that the higher up the food chain, the more the person in that position does not fit.  When one gets up into the management area where titles are involved, the duties and responsibilities seem blurred.  When there is a failure, the high up individual always seems to have a way to have a subordinate fall on their sword rather than owning up to the fact the he or she is at fault and may need training, be repositioned within the organization or retire.  I knew this as the “Peter Principle.” Simply stated, as one stays within a company long enough he or she is promoted to a place where they can no longer function, as their skill set or intelligence is lacking.

One way to flesh this out is to insist on a root cause analysis of the failure.  Truthfully this should be done every time that there is a failure so future failures can be avoided.  Obtaining clients is an uphill battle, loosing them over an unnecessary screw up is simply not acceptable.

Too seldom will one ever see a CIO take responsibility for his lack of knowledge or forethought as his own ego will not permit him or her admit that, they may be the problem.

Teaching people to own their mess ups is something that we have lost with this new generation of kids coming fresh out of college and expecting a corner office.

I have worked for many CIO’s that were more interested in the bottom line than their job.  My guess is that their boss had incented them to save money so their actions were predicated on not what is best for the company necessarily but what do I have to do to meet my budget or come in under; so I get my bonus.  This is often done at the expense of the company and or personnel.  So in that light, I have decided to define what a CIO is.  See how closely this matches how you define your CIO or if you are one, does this fit?

One of the CIO’s that I know about did not even have a computer at home and when PDA’s were making the scene and everyone had one, he still used a pocket notebook.  This man was the very personification of Scrooge and had no business in that position, but like his boss they were both cheap to a fault and would look for ways to save a dime while costing the company thousands of dollars in lost productivity.  Why, lost productivity is not quantifiable if they never recognized it in the first place.  If on the other hand they had it and one removed it, than they would understand; much like cutting the internet off after they had incorporated it into their business model. This is a serious lack of vision.

So here is my definition of what a CIO is.

A Chief Information Officer (CIO) is responsible for providing the leadership, management and strategic technological direction that will enable the company to achieve its business objectives in a competitive environment. The CIO drives technology enabled innovation to improve the company’s performance and competitive advantage. The CIO champions innovation initiatives through a demonstrated ability to creatively apply emerging technologies to mature business processes in order to improve business performance. The CIO must strengthen the company’s core enterprise technological capabilities and leverage the expertise of third party suppliers and partners. The CIO should work closely with customers, partners, colleagues and other stakeholders to identify and maximize innovative opportunities to use technology to improve business processes and optimize performance.

While having a keen understanding of the business, the CIO should be able to sell his or her ideas to the board of directors, CEO and CFO explaining what the ROI is as well as the TCO.

In short the CIO must be a well-informed technologist with a good understanding of the business model as well as others in that industry and must be plugged into what is current and emerging in the market place to know when and what to explore.

In 30 years of Information Technology I have known one such person.  The rest were neither capable nor qualified to be where they were, they simply had good people around them or they were there because they knew someone.  While there is something to be said for surrounding yourself with people smarter than you are, the sad truth is if they are doing your job, than they are not doing theirs.

We live in an ever evolving world where technology is involved.  There is a term called LOAR.  LOAR stands for Law of Accelerated Returns.  Technology does not evolve linearly; in fact it evolves logarithmically meaning that it builds upon itself.  In the early 80’s we had a CPU that ran at 4.7 MHz and now 33 short years later we have laptops with multiple core CPU’s running 3 or more Gigahertz or GHz!  The technology in our smart phone is far superior to all of the technology that went to the moon in the 60’s!  In a few years your computer or smart phone may guess what you want to look up or what you want to do and start the process before you tell it to.  Advances in the next few years will be amazing and frightening at the same time; there is no going back.  Much like Pandora, once the box is opened we deal with what comes out.

One of the things that I happen to be very good at is going into a company which is having some sort of issues and fixing it.

As a troubleshooter, I often have to go into a company and look at how they are doing business.  What is their infrastructure like?  Were best practice standards followed then and now?  Is there a living document that defines all that is? Has someone like a programmer, been promoted into some management role when they have little or no management expertise?  (That is a common one)  What does your disaster recovery plan look like?  When was it last tested?

This is a very small example of the things that I look for.  When my deliverable (report) is examined by the principles of the company there is often to borrow a term from Bush II “shock and aw”.

Few CEO’s have any idea how tenuous a foundation that their data center is built on. Why, because they trust their CIO and ignorance is bliss.  Even the most astute CIO should have his data center, processes and procedures, looked over by an outside entity that has no dog in the fight.  An outside firm simply looks at what you are doing, how and why and balances that against best practice techniques.  These things often turn up in disaster recovery exercises which turn out to be a lot of ad-hoc work.  The company is better for it and it gives them some metric to measure their staff against.

While the word “Audit” dredges up some scary moments and thoughts the CEO should demand it!

The odds are good that the CEO and above consider information technology a necessary evil.  While it is most likely a cost center, the principles of the company would be wise to understand that without it for three days, the company may very well cease to exist! The marriage of technology and business is here to stay.  While the romanticized idea of a young pretty secretary taking short hand has some appeal, those days like the typewriter are gone.  With the evolution of sexual harassment rules and the overly litigious nature of things today, this is probably not a bad thing.   CEO’s should look at technology and those who maintain it as partners, because they are.

-Best