Monday, December 23, 2019

10 take-aways from the Trump Presidency

  1. The economy that Trump is destroying was created by Obama policies after inheriting the worst economy since the great depression. (that was in the 20s for the Trumpers)
  2. Obama brought the US back to trusted status around the world after W and Cheney (et al), lied to get us into the most expensive and longest war in history. In less than 3 years the world is laughing at us, and at the dirty joke that is Trump. Only his base 30% refuse to see this.
  3. Obama helped create and atmosphere of cooperation among different ethnic and religious groups in the US. Trump started to destroy that during his campaign.
  4. The US has historically eschewed Dictators and Authoritarian regimes since Washington (as in George, the 1st President). Trump made friends with all of them and alienated Democracies around the world, including the UK and NATO.
  5. Presidential communications are, by law, required to be saved, are public property and are subject to FOIA (the Freedom of Information Act - 5 U.S.C. § 552 July 5, 1967). The nine exemptions to it strictly exclude any information based on embarrassment or criminal acts.
  6. In 2016 Trump aide J.D. Gordon said at the Republican Convention that Trump directed him to support weakening the position supporting Ukraine against Russian Invasion in the official platform. Again for Trump supporters, this was BEFORE the election.
  7. Those that grew up on the East Coast near NY, know that Trump has been a con man and a cheap grifter way before his "You're Fired" reality show. He was a self promoting, lewd dirty joke who was made the butt of jokes even by Howard Stern ( the Shock Jock). He was known for calling in to radio shows, claiming to be someone else who extolled "The Donald". This was well known in the area.
  8. Before Michael Cohen, Trump's lawyer was Roy Cohn, best known for being Senator Joseph McCarthy's chief counsel during the Army–McCarthy hearings in 1954. In 1986, Cohn was disbarred from the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court for unethical conduct after attempting to defraud a dying client by forcing the client to sign a will amendment leaving him his fortune and later died of AIDS. The term "McCarthyism" was coined as the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence. Trump had a good mentor.
  9. Trump has made a point of trying to undue anything that President Obama accomplished. It's not just because Trump is a racist dirty joke, while Obama is a respected statesman. Much of it may be due to the 2011 White House Correspondents' Association dinner. Hawaii released Obama's birth certificate and He roasted "The Donald" there for a good 5 minutes.
  10. In the final analysis, the world will remember Trump (I hope) as a failed Fascist. He has been a dirty joke since I was in High School and he remains one today. I am hoping that his presidency will be a lesson to Democracies around the world, and especially here in the US, that fascism is always alive and useful to those who are only concerned with their own good.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019


IT folks live in a different kind of work world. Generally they know more than the people who pay them, and yet they often can't blatantly tell those folks what is really going on.

The war stories go on (I have a great one I'll save for later) everything from "My cup-holder doesn't work" (CD drawer broke) to smoke.exe (which may be apocryphal IDK)
In order to keep their jobs and still communicate effectively a few acronyms were created. The acronyms can be added to the report or "trouble ticket" and the IT folks will understand, and no one will get fired.

PEBCAK - Problem Exists Between Chair and Keyboard

PICNIC - Problem in chair, not in computer.

ID-10-T error -  look at it again it will come to you :D

Networking - layer 8 issue - There are only 7 layers in a network. The 8th would be in the chair again.

1. Physical  (e.g. cable, RJ45)
2. Data Link  (e.g. MAC, switches)
3. Network  (e.g. IP, routers)
4. Transport  (e.g. TCP, UDP, port numbers)
5. Session  (e.g. Syn/Ack)
6. Presentation  (e.g. encryption, ASCII, PNG, MIDI)
7. Application  (e.g. SNMP, HTTP, FTP)

Click, Click, Click

It was nearing Christmas time and Dan had been around the block with tech support, which is how he came to me. I was the final "tier" of support and customers were sent to our team when all else failed.
As I read his trouble tickets I thought "Holy Sh**" Dan had made 18 calls to Tech Support and no one had been able to fix his issue. His problem was simple, really; his hard drive kept dying. It would work fine for a few days and then start generating write errors, eventually turning into a BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death).

We had made him sit through 4 FFR (format and re-installs) of Win 95 on the original hard drive. The process takes about an hour. We then sent him 4 more hard drives which forced him to sit through the FFR process 4 more times. They all did the same thing.

It's important to note here, that Dan bought an $800 system. We had spent nearly $2,000 trying to fix it. We could have shipped him a new one for just under $500.

Granted, I had access to some resources that lower tiers did not; I could call the warehouse and have them check on shipments, incoming and outgoing. I could request expedited service (and they had better make it happen) when they got a call from me they called me "sir". I usually put a stop to that right away and had them use my name. I used this ability sparingly and treated them with the kind of respect they deserved; for that reason they were always fine hearing from me. When someone helped resolve and issue they always got a "star" from me, which meant a $10.00 bonus in their paycheck.

With Dan it was different. I had to ask them to check on a shipment of Hard Drives that we received, and find out what was wrong with them because, according to policy, every hard drive that Dan had replaced came from the same box.

I assured the fellow I was talking to that he had done nothing wrong but could I speak to the Ship/Rec Supervisor. When I had him on the phone I asked him to look up recall orders, which took a while. Sure enough there was a recall for that specific box of Hard Drives. I did not ask the Supervisor why they had not been returned.

I got Dan back on the phone. I was writing up an order, with the justifications to send him a new (not refurbished) system. While I talked with him I heard a clicking sound in the background; Click, Click, Click. I ask him if that was the hard drive.
"No," He said, "That's my 38."

I was hoping he did not mean a revolver, but I pressed the red button to start recording everything and signal the team lead that we had a 911 situation.

"Dan?" I said, "I'm writing up and order to send you...";
Dan interrupted me, "Not another hard drive"
"No," I replied. Click, Click, Click; BANG!

"Dan?" I closed my eyes.
"It's dead. I shot it."

Relief swept over me. I did not cancel the 911 alert, and the team lead was coming up the aisle. I was afraid he might turn the weapon on himself.
I struggled to find something to say that would defuse the situation.

"Dan," I said after a few beats, "You realize that voids your warranty?" I kept my fingers crossed.
There was a moments silence and then Dan burst into laughter. He dropped the phone. In order to recover it he had to put the gun on the table, I thought heard him do that. He grabbed the receiver but was laughing so hard he had to sit on the floor.

"I..." laughed Dan. "I hadn't... considered...that." He was still laughing and had forgot about the gun. Some of this I found out later.

When he calmed down a bit I chatted him for a few minutes and told him I was sending off a new system. I called the Warehouse and asked them to expedite the shipment.

I got a box of chocolate chip cookies from Dan a week later with a nice thank you note. I got a $10 bonus in my paycheck, too.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Timothy Snyder "On Tyranny"

When the men with guns who have always claimed to be against the system start wearing uniforms and marching with torches and pictures of a leader, the end is nigh.
When the pro-leader paramilitary and the official police and military intermingle the end has come.

Monday, December 09, 2019


I will tell you now that the best darn book case I ever owned was made from 32oz. Coke bottle crates and lumber 1/4"x 3' x 8's. They used to hold 6 "Family Sized" bottles, but my Susie (oops) Susan used to polish off 2 per day. She also had snickers for breakfast (sometimes 2) and would have eaten nothing but sugary crap if I hadn't cooked for her. Worse yet, she brushed her teeth once a day, had perfect straight white teeth and NEVER had a cavity.

She was the most intelligent person I ever knew and could play guitar better than me (than I?). She spoke 7 languages fluently with the flatist white girl accent on the planet. My foreign accents were far better than hers but I was speaking poppycock, while she was speaking the language.

She called me out of nowhere some 10 years after we said goodbye and told me not to "waste my life like (she) did" among other things. I asked her how I could get a hold of her and she said "that would be a very bad idea".

I was so worried about her, from her tone of voice and what she said, that I called the suicide hotline I used to work for in Florida. The best they could tell me is that it was an extension at the Regional Hospital where she worked. I called there, but try as I might they wouldn't even try to put me through to her.

We both worked on websites that listed the campaign funding of local candidates, that hardly anyone used. Several weeks later I was checking hers and her husband posted a notice that said she had passed from brain cancer, the night she called me.

I will never know what to make of that, but I still miss her to this day.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Paper or Plastic?

Paper or Plastic

I (sort of) remember the 1980s. I do remember I was quite proud to "Save a tree" and ask for a plastic bag. I didn't think of it then but now, I can't help but wonder who started this campaign? I researched it like crazy, but try as I might, I couldn't find any reference to an environmental organization that claims it. It seems that, just like Big Tobacco, Big Plastic may have had a hand in it.

I say this because I did find a reference in a November 17th, 1984 New York Times article in which these statements were made:

Plastic sacks have other advantages as well. ''They have handles, you can use them to carry your kids' bathing suits home from the beach, they're great for dirty diapers,'' said Frank Corbin, director of community relations for the Society of the Plastics Industry

Ronald Schmieder, marketing manager of the plastic grocery sacks division of the Mobil Chemical Company claimed. ''In Australia, 100 percent of all grocery bags are plastic,'' Mr. Schmieder said, adding, ''One can always hope.''

''This is progress, and with progress some products get left behind,'' said Charles Jenest, a chemical and plastics consultant for Arthur D. Little Inc. in Cambridge, Mass. ''People were loyal to paper bread bags too, and to many other paper products'' that have been replaced by plastic.

The article included paper bag loyalist claims as well:

''People are fond of the old paper bag,'' said Peter A. Bunten, assistant manager of the Kraft and Packaging Papers Division of the American Paper Institute. ''It's as American as the flag and apple pie and all those other red white and blue cliches.''

''Heavy plastic bags hurt your hands,'' said Samuel Posner, vice president of the retail bags division of the Samson Paper Bag Company.

Once again it seems that big corporations are deciding how we should live our lives. Not surprisingly Petroleum companies had a hand in it. Not much has changed.

Source: The New York Times

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

"Breaking News"

We live in a country where the president is fined $2 million for stealing money from charity and nobody cares.

Main Stream Media should have had Banner Headlines, TV should have had "Breaking News" Reports every 30 minutes. Average citizens should be out in the streets demanding his resignation.

However, like Trump University, the Trump Foundation, and even a recent eat-lunch-with-the-president contest in which winners donated but never got to eat lunch with the president; no one seems to notice. That's just the highlights, there are dozens of scams.

Our President is a crook, a shabby con man, a hater, racist and a moron. The Trumpsters eat it up (possibly they see him as a reflection of their own tastes) and average folks just post on Facebook and Twitter.

If you really care about our country, if you are not a racist, if you believe we should be progressing to a better world, instead of regressing into hate and racism then do something.

Call your congress people. Call your local news papers and stations. Write letters, send telegrams, take to the streets if you have to. Join Greta's protests, Boo Trump, donate to your favorite cause ($3.00 will do).

Most important VOTE. It is your duty as a citizen, it is your right as an American. It is what our veterans fought and even died for.

If you don't know who your Congress Persons are, you can find out (and shame on you). Here is an easy way to find out:

Vote local, too. That may be even more important. Your County Clerks Office web site has all the info, and an online registration page, too.

For My New Mexican Friends you can start here:

Vote or Shut up.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

You'd Be Surprised

You might be surprised by the number of technical support calls that are ended by asking one question; "Is it plugged in?"

You may also be surprised how many tech folks, appliance repairmen and auto mechanics "Google" the brand, model number and problem before attacking your problem. You can try that, too before calling someone else.  example - "JVC LT-43MAW588 no power" (try it).

I spent nearly 30 years in IT, from tech support phone rooms to my own contract business installing entire networks for medium sized companies. 8 times out of 10 the bosses master password was in his secretary's desk drawer, or under her desk pad. At first it dismayed me, later it just pissed me off. Before long I started concentrating on the Bosses secretary (no, not like that. Gosh what a mind you have) and gave her special training, because she did all the work anyway.

You would also be surprised how many people use "password" as their password. That being said, it's not considered the worst password. (insert face palm here)

Quick tips:
Does your password have your name, birthday or address in it? Change it now.
Are you using the same password for everything? Don't. Use different passwords for your bank, utilities etc. NEVER use those same passwords for Facebook.
You're best bet is a password manager. Most IT sites (Spiceworks, Cnet, Pcmag, et al.) say this is the way to go.
I found one that is free for multiple devices.
Full version is only $36.00 / year

 I have not used it yet, as I use my own system (28 years in IT) and sorry, I am NOT going to share it. Soon I will be using one, probably this one, because they are better than mine and easier to migrate (move from system to system).

Be prepared: You will be required to enter a 12 character password which is
At least 12 characters long
At least 1 number
At least 1 lowercase letter
At least 1 uppercase letter
Not your email

There are many other choices, Cnet has the most readable list, but you can just google "Best Password Managers" to find your own.

Just for entertainment, here is a list of bad passwords, the top 10 are much the same anywhere you look. If your password is on there, get a password manager, NOW.


#10  iloveyou
# 9  qwerty
# 8  sunshine
# 7  1234567
# 6  111111
# 5  12345
# 4  12345678
# 3  123456789
# 2  password
# 1  123456

Monday, October 14, 2019

Because a mis-informed Christian chose to argue with me about the Bible.

 I am an Agnostic. That means I don't deny the existence of a higher power (God, if you wish), but I don't support it either. I see no evidence and no reason to suspect there is a Higher Power. However, I see no reason to deny it's existence either.

 Let me take that a step further; I see nothing in the Universe (which includes You and I and the little barking puppy down the street) that can only be explained by the existence of this Higher Power. Life is inevitable; place the proper chemicals together and apply heat and life occurs. No divine intervention is required. That does not mean there wasn't any, just that it is not needed.

 It behooves me to let You believe whatever you wish, without calling you names or saying you're a fool for believing it. I hold others to that same standard. But, I will call out logical fallacies when they are used as proof in any circumstance, including religious proselytizing (oh, look it up). 

I do not ask that you believe as I do, I only ask that you do not shove your religion down my throat. That includes telling me to have a "blessed day". I don't wish to have a day like that, it is not in my belief system. However, I appreciate that you feel that I deserve to have one, based on your beliefs; Thank You.

What I truly resent is folks who insist that this is a "Christian" country and then cheer the caging of children, deny the FACT of climate change and support the lies and outright evil coming from some of our leaders. Folks who claim to be Christian and then cheat on their spouse. Christians who misquote the Bible (that really pisses me off).
I hold all religious people to this same standard; do not misquote the Bible, the Quran or the Torah. Do not twists the meanings of these sacred texts to suit your twisted ideas.

Things Christians should know about the Bible (but probably don't):

The Bible was written in Aramaic and Hebrew, not English. It was translated into Greek and then Latin sometime later. The current English version is based on the King James version (early 1600s) which expunged many references that King James and his Bishops didn't like; notably many about women.

The Roman Emperor Constantine convened The Council of Nicaea (AD 325) and decided what books would be henceforth included in the Bible. It was at this council that Christ was declared to be divine. Before that he was a Human.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Why It Matters

Why It Matters

 Around The World

Around the World people are fighting for freedom; I don't mean soldiers. Often, the soldiers in countries are fighting against freedom for the Dictators who have taken over the countries.
In Hong Kong, in the countries overtaken by ISIS, in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Turkey and many others. It is happening here, in the US, now.

It has long been the vision of the sub-human dictators and corrupt rulers to exert complete power over their subjects, so they can have and do whatever they want.

Decade after decade we, the people have defeated them. WW1 and WW2 and wars and movements long before them. It has always been that the regular people, those to whom the World actually belongs, have defeated the maniacs; the Putins, Hitlers and Erdogans.

It's Still Easy

We have less chance now; partially because of technology. It is much easier now to find out who the protestors are (see China), easier to bring down hellfire and destruction on the world from afar (see Syria and so many others). The shear volume of propaganda and just plain bullshit being posted is staggering. The ability of social media users to re-post the lies (which they often don't even understand) is equally staggering.

What Can I Do?

We Americans have a chance now, to stop this; at least to help. We must do everything we can to stop the Dictators and their puppets (see Johnson, Trump etc.) from destroying the freedoms in Our World.

It is Our World, our countries; it does NOT belong to the Trumps, Putins, Erdogans and MBSs, whatever they believe.
If it takes marching in the streets we must do so, but it is far easier for the people of the US. Just vote.
There are far more freedom loving, human admiring people in our country then there are Patriot Prayer, Proud Boys, et al. There are more folks who weren't fooled by the lies and the BS that continues today. (see the Senate Report).

We in the US, have a totally non-violent, risk-free way to take Our Country back; Just Vote.