Archive for the ‘Technical’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Do U Twitter?

Well, I didn’t know what it was either, until I read this post from Hugh Hewitt. After following a few links there, including the one to get the Twitter 101 beginner’s guide, which explains how useful it could be, I signed up for an account.

My Twitter URL is simply twitter.com/thoughtsaloud and now I need some associates to “follow” and “tweet” to. So, if you Twitter send me a tweet and I will add you to my list. I suppose I will tweet every time I add a post or comment here, and perhaps make quick comments on things I surf across that do not merit a post here.

If you do not currently Twitter, it is probably because you are a fossil like me. Lets give the kids a run for their money and join in their new paradigm for staying connected. Sign up and reply to one of my tweets and I will reply to yours. Good grief, this sounds silly; but I think there is perhaps some utility to it, if for no other reason than to expand our horizons and perhaps attract more commenters to our blogs. ◄Dave►

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PostHeaderIcon Gagged

As a followup to my Child Wind post below, here is another example on Michelle Malkin’s website:

Jeffrey Rosen’s piece there is rather interesting.◄Dave►

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PostHeaderIcon A Chill Wind

This story at Atlas Shrugs bothers me – a lot! I first encountered it last night as I was making the rounds of the key players in the Obama Birth Certificate saga. I figured there was some reasonable explanation, and that Pamela was just becoming paranoid. Now, 24 hours later, there are more damning updates to it, and Google seems to be avoiding dealing with it.

If it really is what it increasingly appears to be, I feel a chill wind blowing across our internet. Say it ain’t so… please! Else, what is the next best search engine? Google just got really sour for me. 🙁 ◄Dave►

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PostHeaderIcon Blog Readability Test?

I saw this “badge” on another blog and decided to check it out.  When I entered the URL for this blog it returned the code to embed here to produce this:

blog readability test

I found that encouraging, because I have often been criticized for my verbosity and penchant for fifty-cent words. It seemed implausible, however, and I noticed that my last entry was the simple one regarding my new hardware; so I tried it again using the URL for my “About Thoughts Aloud” page. This returned:

blog readability test

Come on… OK, how about my serious essay on Sovereign Rights? This returned:

blog readability test

Ouch! I guess I wasted my time with that one! How many geniuses am I going to entice to read it? I tried several more and a few of the longer posts I have made. They all came out as Jr. High School, High School, or:

blog readability test

Finally, I retested a few of them to confirm that it is consistent, and not just generating a random output. If this thing has any validity, I am pleased; for that means my writing is readable by most nominally educated folks, even if they occasionally need to use a dictionary. 🙂

You can try out your own blog, or just about any webpage, by clicking on any of the above images; they all take you to the same test. ◄Dave►

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PostHeaderIcon 3G Network

Phil, you may be the only one still following this blog who will find this interesting; but I’ll make the report anyway.  I am located too far from town to get cable or DSL service, so I have had a Hughes Satellite system for several years. When not throttled back because I have exceeded my daily limit, it provides download speeds approaching 100 KB/s.

I have also had a Cingular (now ATT) aircard for a couple of years for my laptop, which got me speeds in the 25 KBS range on their Edge Network anywhere my cellphone would work.  Recently, I noticed that my cellphone was indicating that the new 3G network was available at my home location.  Yesterday, I purchased one of ATT’s new “Mercury” USB adapters that you see the guy plug into his laptop in weird locations in current TV commercials.

The device is a marvel of technology.  The installation software is built into it, so all one need do is plug it in to any computer and run the painless install program.  It even has a slot for a micro-SD memory card, so that it can also be used as a portable flash drive. I bought it at Radio Shack, and a 2GB memory card only cost $ 13 (I still can’t get used to how small and cheap memory is now).

The performance is even more amazing. The response time to a request is noticably faster than dealing with the latency of the trip up and back through the satellite and Hughes Network Center.  More importantly, it is approximately twice as fast on the download speed.  I reach speeds over 300 KB/s with it, although it averages less… probably 150 KB/s, which is still half again Hughes best speed, and I would have been tickled with a 75 KB/s average on that network.

So far, I couldn’t be happier with my purchase, and will probably now cancel my Hughes account.  It is like I just got a turbo system.  Not only is it nice to be able to watch videos uninterrupted because they load faster than they play, I can download an hour-long podcast in a couple of minutes, and fast servers like the Drudge Report load and refresh snappier; but as far as I know there is no FAP (fair access policy) to throttle me back for transferring too many MB of data in too short a period. ◄Dave►

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PostHeaderIcon Thin Air?

This is a test post to try the “Blog Post” feature in MS Word 2007. This is a really nice feature that allows one to use the word processer to make a post to a blog without even having a browser open, much less the blog. While the internal WordPress editor works fine, I am quite impressed with the utility of ScribeFire for making a quick post in response to something while surfing without having to open the blog; but for essay type posts, this feature of Word is awesome. It even automatically went out and imported the “Category” list so one can categorize the post as it is made. Sweet.

By some estimates, one trillion dollars was lost in the stock market yesterday. Where did it go? The same place the “value” in our homes went in the past year? The same place the new $650 bn of credit came from that the FED made available to the financial markets yesterday, perhaps? This demonstrates how worthless our currency actually is. 34,722 Tons of gold didn’t just disappear at the Wall Street casino yesterday. Nor did 22,569 Tons of the stuff suddenly materialize over at the FED. No wonder it seems like every other commercial one hears on radio and TV these days is for some gold trading company. (I miss my forum emoticons… eyes should be rolling here.)

The thing to notice is that the value of individual savings denominated in U.S. Dollars took yet another enormous hit yesterday. Those invested in the stock market took a double hit. On average, their stocks, mutual funds, and retirement accounts lost 7% of their value in a single day. Then, the buying power of what is left was diluted by the introduction of another $650 bn of brand new funny money, representing nothing but thin air, by the FED. One way to understand the effect of that mindboggling figure is that it is the equivalent of adding another 21,666,667 welfare families to our population overnight. Then giving them each an unearned $30K tax-free income for a year, to compete with us in the marketplace for exactly the same amount of goods and services that existed yesterday, none of which they helped produce. The market is rational, even if the government is not. Supply and Demand are always balanced by Price. In a free marketplace, it could not be otherwise. Is there any question that prices will soon increase accordingly?

That is why, when I could not buy silver with it, I went and bought another $1K worth of coffee, tobacco, and beans. It is interesting to note that back when I was earning that money just a few years ago, a three-pound package of Jose’s Columbia Supremo coffee beans at COSTCO was under $7. I buy some every trip I make there and have watched the price steadily climb the past couple of years. I had to pay almost $11 a bag for the two cases I bought yesterday; but I have no reason to think it will ever be cheaper. As an imported commodity, assuming that COSTCO survives, it will be interesting to see how much it costs a year from now. If they don’t, it may be more valuable than gold.

Today, I am thinking of going to buy some more ammunition. Not that I need it; but since I can’t find any silver, it will undoubtedly conserve the value of my ready cash better than all these worthless green pictures of Franklin. Besides, if we do spiral into unfettered hyperinflation, bullets could come in handy for bartering. ◄Dave►

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PostHeaderIcon 777

This is a test post using ScribeFire (new tool) on my old blog, which I am now resurrecting.  It has been a few days since I stopped participating on the Reasonable Rationals forum (where I made 2,240 posts in a year), and with the world as we know it coming to an end, I need a place to comment on current events… even if nobody reads them.

I moved the index page of my blog to the front page of this website; but all the old files are still where they always were.  My old index file has been renamed, so that it can be accessed at the [Old Site] link on the right in the Internal Links section and will then function as it always did.  Once there, the “Home” button will bring you back here. (Eventually, I will change its name to “Blog,” and delete the current “Blog” button, which is currently a broken link… I don’t have Expression Web installed on this machine, since all my websites are now dynamic, so I will have to drag out the laptop to fix it.)

I guess the word for today is 777.  Interestingly, that was almost exactly 7% of the market wiped out in a single day, and I got the news from a TV set in a bank as I drew out most of my ready cash.  I left just enough to keep my debit card useful for gasoline stations, etc.  I expected to get an argument, but didn’t.  She even had it in the drawer and didn’t bother to call a manager.  There wasn’t a long line, or anything like that; but I got the impression that they had become quite accustomed to folks walking in and withdrawing several thousand dollars in cash.  I intended to buy some more silver with it, but silver has dried up all across the country.  Even Kitco can’t supply small denominations:

The following products have been temporarily removed from our Precious Metal Store until further notice due to production and delivery delays that retailers are currently facing; 1 oz Gold bars, 1 oz Kitco Gold bars, 10 oz Gold bars, 1 oz Silver Eagles, 1 oz Silver Maples, 1 oz Silver Philharmonic coins, 1 oz Olympic Silver Maples, 100 oz Silver bars and 1 oz Palladium Maples.

Since congress promptly decided to take a couple of days holiday after their failed bailout bill crashed it, tomorrow’s stock market activity should be rather interesting too.  It sure feels good not to have any assets invested there.  Since they did not pony up the $700bn the financial markets needed, reports are that the FED printed another $650bn today!  The future for gold is looking brighter all the time. ◄Dave►

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PostHeaderIcon Housekeeping

I have done some rearranging of the forum. First, I did away with the Essays forum to consolidate and spread out the lopsided topics. Nothing is lost, and all links to individual posts still work, but I have moved all the Essay topics to other forums. Those that could be classified have been put where they are topical. Older essays that don’t fit the classifications have been moved to the Miscellaneous Forum. The Reason vs. Tyranny forum has been renamed Galt’s Gulch in honor of Ouray, Colorado and the second most influential book ever written, “Atlas Shrugged,” by Ayn Rand. The Reason vs. Religion forum has been renamed a less formal Atheist’s Corner. The Science vs. Skepticism forum has been renamed Science & Such and the subject “metaphysics” added to the description, for it will surely turn up.

That accomplished, along with the addition of the FREETHINKERS? essay, now I am ready to go trolling for some more libertarian thinkers. 🙂 ◄Dave►

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PostHeaderIcon Crash Report

OK, Scott, I had to take that ignoble pile of balsa out of the Jeep yesterday to go shopping. I got tired of looking at it this afternoon, so I stripped it. The aluminum prop adapter was tweaked; but I guess that saved the motor shaft, because the motor itself is fine and runs true. The motor controller, receiver, and all the servos are undamaged. I suppose that one of the additional advantages of the new 2.4 GHz radio control system is that I don’t have to worry about a faulty VHF crystal now either.

The cowl was history, but the canopy was unscratched. That, the magnetic hatch, carbon fiber spar, and misc. hardware was all I bothered to save. Even though everything aft and one of the wings was perfect, I just don’t have room for saving spare airframe parts anymore. It is just as well; back when I had a garage full of them, I rarely used them. Now all I need to do is glue up the new model, and reinstall all the electronics. I am on it, buddy; but don’t expect to be ready by Sunday. L

Btw: The problem we were having last night with the laptop was the mapping software desperately trying to get a GPS fix even though I had unplugged the receiver to bring it out to the picnic table. I am glad it happened, for I had been blaming Vista in my mind for my ever-busy and thus power hungry processor, and certainly don’t need to load it when I am sitting still. I also download a new Vista compliant driver for the touchpad which I hadn’t bothered to do yet because I use a wireless mouse on the desk. The sudden shutdown at the end was just a depleted battery, which Vista recovered nicely from. I guess we spent more time viewing Adams’ animations than I had thought. J Meanwhile, I have added some additional remarks on the subject to the forum debate on it HERE.◄ Dave►

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