Wednesday, 5 December 2012

07:35 – We started watching Rescue Me on Netflix streaming last night. The writing so far is excellent, and it has a good cast. The Big Three have always been a staple of American TV drama series: cops, doctors, and lawyers. I’m surprised there aren’t more fire department shows. I guess they’re more costly to shoot. Barbara likes this one, although she says it’s a “guy show”.

We got a chemistry kit order yesterday from a woman in Canada, who wanted to order the US version of the kit and have it shipped to a US address. Figuring she was visiting friends in the US, I told her the kit should arrive Saturday, and asked if she’d still be there then. No problem, she said, she’d just drive down and pick it up when it arrived. As it turns out, it’s only a three-block drive.

I built a dozen of the new chemistry kits yesterday. I would have built more, but I had only a dozen of one of the subassemblies shared between the two chemistry kits. We’ll build 60 more of those subassemblies this weekend.

11:48 – The question needs to be asked: Is Europe Suicidal?

That eurozone countries would even consider the idea of abdicating sovereignty to the EU Supreme Soviet in Brussels makes that a reasonable question. That Britain would even consider remaining a member of the EU with such a kamikaze club in prospect suggests that Cameron has been ingesting hallucinogens. What Cameron should be doing as quickly as possible is withdrawing unilaterally from all EU ties other than the common market. At the same time, he should be strengthening ties with the US and Canada, including applying for membership in NAFTA. Geopolitically and culturally, UK interests align with those of North America, not Europe.

27 thoughts on “Wednesday, 5 December 2012”

  1. I have seen all the “Rescue Me” seasons/episodes and was bummed that O’Leary ended it this past year. Highly recommended and at least four stars from OFD. O’Leary grew up in a tough Woostuh, MA hood and was pals with one of my former cop partners many years ago. He is a huge fan and supporter of firefighters and hockey and does a lot of charitable work.

  2. Yeah, that was our impression as well.

    Not to minimize the risks that cops take, but voluntarily running *into* burning buildings puts firemen in a class of their own as far as I’m concerned. I think I might have had the intestinal fortitude to be a street cop when I was young and foolish, but I don’t think I’d have had the nerve to do what firemen do on a daily basis.

    The issue of female firemen came up during the several episodes I watched. Although I’m not crazy about the idea of female street cops, that’s at least arguable. Although they don’t have the physical strength and intimidating presence of men, I’ve known many women who could outshoot most men.

    But I have the same attitude about women as firemen as I do about women in combat: they’re simply not physically capable of doing the job. If I were a fireman, I’d want my buddies to be strong enough to pick my ass up and carry it out of a burning building. There are very, very few women who can even budge me, let alone carry me.

  3. Three block drive…

    Heh, 90% of Canadians live within one hour of the Canada-US border, and IIRC only 10% of Americans do.

    I’m two hours away, myself. I know a company in WA, that will accept packages on my behalf, for only $5/box. I always have to justify the gas and time (four hour round trip, most of a tank of gas, lunch or some snack at least) compared to the cost of shipping and brokerage.

  4. Agreed on the issue of women firefighters; in my experience over the years, there were even smaller men that were incapable of passing the physical entrance and ongoing tests, such as carrying a 150-pound dummy a certain distance. Sorry, girls, there is only so much y’all can do, whether it’s firefighting, breaking up fights in biker bars, or bayoneting enemy troops in a machine-gun bunker under fire while they try to carve you a new one. And of course there is always a small handful of women who are big and/or strong enough to do the physical parts of those jobs; fine, have at it, but still, I believe, insofar as the infantry and spec ops combat roles are concerned, that it puts male comrades at some risk, as they will invariably be looking somehow to protect the women. Not that they don’t do that that with their male comrades, too, but we all know the difference, don’t we.

  5. Heh, 90% of Canadians live within one hour of the Canada-US border

    They’re probably just trying to stay warm.

  6. @MrAtoz; first link wouldn’t load all the way but I get the gist and have seen other reports already about the blatantly tribal aspects of the gimme-gimme crowd again. The second link nicely illustrates the value of the social networks/unified communications phenomenon as it relates to nooz info and intel gathering. I sort of follow an ex-Chicago cop who has also noted this and remarked on it and does his own of both, using cell phone and Ipad or whatever, recording videos, etc., and also doing investigative journalism and legal work on behalf of clients.

    So somebody be-bopping into the joke that has long been the White House spots three usual-suspect lefty types waltzing on in also; good intel. Like the reports a while back of the Wall Street potentate who was in and out of the Oral Orifice repeatedly, by himself, and apparently at will, IIRC nineteen times over several weeks. No doubt to let Nosferatu II know the current playbook routine of what to do and what not to do during the preliminary run-ups to the Great Default, coming to your ‘hood real soon now.

  7. We will be annexing O Kanada Real Soon Now. C’est bon, mes amis! Laissez les bon temps rouler!

  8. So, if the USA annexes Canada, will that start the war of 2012 with Great Britain? If so, we better do it soon.

    BTW, the Freehold book is a very loose retelling of the war of 1812 reset to 2512 (or so). Of course, the USA in 1812 was a libertarian utopia, right?

  9. @MrAtoz; medals all around for those big brave heroic law officers! But man, that site is wicked slow to load and then I can’t scroll down or look at anything else on the page, etc., etc., and I am on a very fast net connection right now.

    As for Baracka Santa, yeah, of course; the half that does squat and bitches all the time about stuff they want, want, want, is now demanding their cut. and Santa of course will hand it over to them from the half that works and slaves and sacrifices. I love seeing this shit right after our household income up here just got cut in half, thanks to Mrs. OFD’s situation, and we are down to the bone now and headed to the marrow after New Year’s Day. But oh Lord, they handed Mittens his big stupid head when he made the mistake of bloviating about the “47%.” Apparently they think that this situation will just continue indefinitely.

    We will only annex those sections of O Kanada that are financially rewarding and where there are easily and inexpensively extracted natural resources. We will not be taking hold of La Belle Province Quebec, LOL. They and their poutine and frisbee hamburgers are safe from our depredations.

    The war with Great Britain in 1812 was a bad mistake but our hand was forced somewhat; in any case, neither side really won and it was just another sad and terrible waste of life and property. We do not want another one with our British cousins as it would once again be decent, honorable troops battling each other while the incompetent generals and civilian leaderships once again screw up and go scot-free.

  10. I’m coming more and more to despise the chickenhawks, too. I’m thinking of how to become the Terran Overlord. Once I’m in charge, I’ll set the minimum age for military service at 45, except that politicians’ children as young as 14 will be conscripted. I’m pretty sure wars would end that very moment.

    And my pay/tithe/whatever as Terran Overlord would be very low, too. Send me a hot babe every now and then and I’ll be happy. … Except, you know, my wife wouldn’t let me keep them. Dammit, what’s the point of being Terran Overlord if your wife still nags and complains?

  11. ” Dammit, what’s the point of being Terran Overlord if your wife still nags and complains?”

    Indeed, sir, indeed.

    And I really, really do not like chickenhawks. Not much I’d like better in this world than to frog-march these mofos straight to the effin’ front. No doubt many soldier-ghosts would be looking on approvingly from the Hereafter.

  12. Yes, Rajoy has seen the light at the end of the tunnel, from that oncoming express train.

  13. Don’t think people in Congress were not acutely aware of who was being drafted during Nam. A close childhood friend of my father’s who was in Congress during Vietnam, called my dad one day and told him that I was in the next ‘folder’ of guys to be drafted by the local draft board. Sure enough, I got a notice to report for physical the next week. This all happened only a couple weeks after my student deferment ran out. They worked fast!

    But I was so damned lucky it was almost unbelievable. Two days after the notice for physical, there was a freeze on all drafts, and the lottery was instituted. I was well outside the first 50, which IIRC was all that were called. Physical was cancelled, and that was the end of my brush with a military career.

  14. Today’s work ended earlier than expected, so I had some time to play. I hate it when I have a new toy and no time to spend with it. The new Asus Ultrabook has been neglected pretty much since I got it—probably has less than 12 hours on it—most of that sitting idle next to me while I research something about it on the older laptop.

    Took quite a bit of that research to find out how to make a backup of the recovery partition. For the many thousands of hours MS claims it put into testing Win8, it does not have much to show for it. Many features are still not activated in the RELEASE version I have of Win8. They promise those will be working in future updates. The Asus sales poop (I use that word because it fits) assured me that I could make my own backup installation discs and need not purchase the extra discs they were selling. First thing I discovered is that the procedure they describe in the help files is totally useless, because the so-called icon for backup and recovery provided by Asus does not even exist and the MS-provided recovery methods are just that: recovery, not installation.

    That is when I went to the Internet, only to find that tons of others were having my problem—most of them people who work in IT! The gist of it lies in the recommendation from one site after 3 long pages of discussion among tech-savvy people: consider the Win8 OS on your new computer to be free, and go out and buy a copy of Win7 in an MS retail box and consider that the cost of the OS.

    I had visions of putting the Ultrabook’s copy of Win8 in Virtual Box under Linux, but from what I have read, Win8 ties itself to hardware so tightly, that those in that forum said MS would not give them an activation key if the OS was put on any other drive than the one the computer was delivered with. Go out and buy another copy of Windows if you are going to do that, was the helpful advice from MS.

    Besides, there is so much egregious crapware on my copy of Win8, that I would actually pay to get rid of it. Other places around the Internet indicate that crapware is now buried in the registry, so it is really, really hard to get rid of. Moral: buy the OS direct from MS and it will be crap free—even MS understands that people are being turned off in significant numbers by this OEM revenue source. Some claim that the crapware does not even reduce the price of a computer, it just adds directly to the bottom line of computer makers—kind of like getting a bonus on top of your regular salary. I am not kidding that after having a McAfee screen pop up FOUR times in a row after clicking “close”, for a moment I thought about going over to the dark side and buying a nice clean Mac with nothing but nice, clean useful applications already installed and never any crapware, ever. I had at least a dozen different pieces of crapware popping dialogs up constantly—sometimes 2 and 3 dialogs at a time. One article says MS knows this is costing them sales, but they really do not know how to deal with it. So they are opening their own retail stores, like Apple, and guarantee that you will be free of crapware, just like when you buy from the Apple store. (I have a friend from Africa who says there are 2 things he considers the sure signs of civilization: a Starbucks and the Apple store. There are neither of those in his native country.)

    Win8 is an abomination. I fooled around with it just long enough to see that doing anything in it takes hours longer (I am not kidding about that) than using any previous incarnation of Windows. Nothing is where it was in older incarnations. Even if you find Control Panel, stuff has new names, and some things are in different categories than in older versions or has been slightly renamed, so it takes some hard thinking before one realizes that just might be what you are looking for. Just try and find out where NTP synchronization is buried. And Windows still does not allow more than once-a-week synchronizes. When we had the computer failure at the radio project, the new computer had an internal clock that shifted a good 5 seconds a day, which is intolerable in that environment. Good old Dimension 4 to the rescue with synchronizes every 8 hours, and now we are never more than a half-second off.

    By the way, speaking of NTP, apparently it is not a secret, but also not publicized, that the Navy has all of its servers at my university alma mater, behind their own new IT complex, and that includes the Naval Observatory’s time servers, Tick and Tock. The people who work in those buildings never talk about what they do, although every student on campus knows what is located in that building. Don’t tell anybody I said this, or there might be black helicopters landing in my back yard. That building and town is probably a target for Iran and Syria’s long-range missile project. Fortunately, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is very close to me here, as very low-flying fighter jets going close to Mach 1 occasionally remind me. I had better think twice about moving from good and safe Tiny Town.

    Okay, to make a long story even longer, I found a couple places with instructions that supposedly backed up the “recovery partition”. Now many places said that hidden partition was 8gb. Not being able to locate it with any of the tools that came with Win8, I don’t know. I followed one set of instructions that supposedly copied that partition to a DVD. Seeing as how all the data on that DVD combined, is under 340mb, I am pretty sure that partition did not get backed up. Another place suggested a different method of putting that partition on an 8gb bootable USB flash stick. Okay, I followed those instructions and the first dialog told me I needed a 16gb USB stick. Actually, a 16gb stick was all I had free, but the mystery is that there is only 10.6gb of data on that stick, so who knows if I have a copy of the files actually necessary for reinstallation?

    A couple people recommended using Macrium Reflect Free Edition (from a Finnish programmer) to back up anything you want, saying they have tried it and it works with Win8. But after seeing Win8, I realized I have no interest whatever in tackling use of it. My work with video and audio involves such configuration-intensive changes (sometimes in the middle of editing), that I have no desire to go on hours-long scrounging trips through that abomination. I am just about 110% sure I will never need any copy of Win8, have already done all the playing with it that I will ever want to do, and will never look for it even if I have managed to properly save it. If I am ever crazy enough to need it, a new clean crapware-free copy would be worth the price.

    So, next step is swapping out the hard drive and installing Linux. Going to go with Ubuntu 12.04 just for my own comfort. I seriously considered CentOS, but really do not need to be learning the strange intricacies of Red Hat/CentOS while under deadline for a video project. Have already used Ubuntu successfully under deadline, so for now, I will stick with that. Out of town for the next couple days, so I have that nagging little-boy excitement of having to go to school, while all my new Xmas toys sit idle at home. Guess that is why I always got sick right after Xmas—nice long sicknesses, like mumps, chicken pox, German measles; a new one every year. Never failed until I got to 6th grade.

  15. SteveF writes: “I’ll set the minimum age for military service at 45, except that politicians’ children as young as 14 will be conscripted.”

    I think we could just adapt the second half: Require politicians’ children, nieces, nephews and grandchildren to be sent to the front in any war that they approve. If they don’t believe in the war enough to make that sacrifice, then maybe it’s not so important after all.

    Even better! You know those stories where, instead of waging a war, both sides send a champion into battle to settle some issue. Blood games. Any politicians who support a war (or “military intervention”, or whatever else they call it) should be sent as the blood-game representatives. It doesn’t much matter who wins, of course, the point is getting rid of the bloodthirsty politicians. You could franchise the whole thing as reality TV and make a fortune.

  16. @Chuck in safe and sound Tiny Town:

    I’ve read a bunch of reviews now by professional IT people who’ve worked with Windows 8 for months and the general consensus from them is that they prefer Ubuntu 12.10 (which is what I have on my remaining desktop at home now, and about to double the RAM to 16GB on it) to Windows 8, which they say, quite simply sucks rocks.

    CentOS or RH are great for enterprise and biz servers but not a deskstop, laptop, tablet, netbook whatever. Been there, done that.

    I think your instincts are correct; but can you not simply format the existing hard drive in it and then install Ubuntu, rather than swapping it out for another drive?

  17. Chuck,

    If you’re so down on the whole Win8 experience, you’ll probably hate Unity as more of the same if you’re not already used to it. You may want to use Linux Mint 13 “Maya” which is based on the last Ubuntu LTS (12.04). Either the Cinnamon or MATE shells should work for you.


  18. Unity can be removed or disabled. Just search the web for “how do I get rid of unity in ubuntu 12” or similar.

  19. I am very happy with Xubuntu 12.04. What most impresses me are the version upgrades – the machine I am currently on was upgraded from the previous LTS version, with (almost) no hiccups.

  20. What SteveF said (again) about removing Unity; I don’t like it, either, and removing it and replacing it with any of two or three Gnome shells is a snap.

    I also have nothing but good to say about Mint, as well. Already comes with a boat-load of otherwise proprietary codecs.

  21. Another early exit day from work and tomorrow may be cancelled. We get lots of cancellations, because a video deposition is powerful leverage for settlement. When somebody actually has to face questioning in a legal affair in front of a video camera, they often cave and settle. Nothing we can do about it really. Nobody in the business charges cancellation fees, including the court reporters; it is just part of the business. What is good for the lawyers is good for us, and eventually they give us plenty of business that does not cancel, anyway.

    Already swapped out the 500gb hard drive. I really want the terabyte drive I bought in there, because it is made for AV uses, including video editing. Big problem though. The new drive is 9mm thick and the old one (which is a combo SSD/spinning platter) is 7mm. Had to force it a little and used screws only on one side for tension relief. The battery covers the screw holes on the other side, so it isn’t going anywhere. Slight bulge in the bottom of the case, due to some rubber mounts on the inside of the case. But the worst thing is that some keys on the keyboard do not work now. I really hate the tiny screws I have to deal with, but it looks like I will have to open it up again and assess what can be done. Nothing is ever simple. I really, really like the computer (Asus Zen Ultrabook). There is no reason why they could not have accommodated 9mm drives, though. It is not THAT tight in there.

    I’m okay with Ubuntu, and have played with it quite a bit—just have not had it installed as the main OS on a machine yet. Actually, I think Unity is a great leap ahead of Win8. I can work with Unity (but won’t), however, Win8 is just plain unusable. I have no interest in ever seeing Win8 again. In researching the Win8 recovery disc problem, I came across a couple videos of people being presented with Win8 for the first time. All of them said, “What is this?” and after being told, protested and said, “Give me back a real computer.” I think Win8 may be a bigger disaster for MS than Vista was.

    Meanwhile, Ubuntu is installing on the Ultrabook. Once done, I will open it up again. I’m not really an enthusiastic modder, and the drive situation points to the reason why, but I hope I can get that thicker drive to work in there. Will start by cutting 2mm off the thickness of those rubber pads on the case bottom.

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