Friday, 31 March 2017

09:14 – It was 53.5F (12C) when I took Colin out around 0715 this morning, foggy and raining. We had several deluges overnight. The electronic rain gauge claimed we had 1.62 inches (4.1 cm) total, but it reads very low, particularly when we get heavy rains. We don’t have the tube gauge outside now because freezing weather fractures them, but my guess is that we had somewhere between 2 and 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm) total. And it’s still raining. Things have been pretty dry since late January, and now it looks as though we’ll get an entire month’s worth in a couple of days.

I was disturbed this morning when I turned on my Kindle Fire HD7 and the splash screen told me that Alexa had been installed and needed to be activated. I never asked for Alexa. I don’t want it on my tablet, listening to everything we say and sending it to Amazon’s cloud servers. Several times in the past I’ve thought about rooting the Fire and installing Android, but this latest outrage by Amazon may actually be the final straw. If I brick it, it’s no great loss. I think I paid $69 for it. Once I figure out how to install Android on my HD7, I’ll also install it on Barbara’s HDX7. I really resent vendors like Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple, who seem to think that they’re entitled to use other people’s hardware and resources for their own purposes, especially when those purposes are against the user’s interests.

Speaking of annoying software, LibreOffice has gotten worse and worse with each update. For the last several months, it’s been crashing periodically, taking down all instances on the taskbar. Lately, it’s also started hanging frequently. I’ll save a document or send it to the printer, and LO hangs for 30 seconds or a minute before it brings up the save or print dialog. To make matters worse, yesterday the LO rendering went wonky. When I scrolled up or down in a document, it became unreadable.

So yesterday, I decided to uninstall and reinstall LO to see if that’d help. My Linux Mint installation doesn’t offer an option to nuke all of LO; I had to remove each of the applications separately. When I finished doing that, there were no instances of anything LO-related showing as installed. I use only the word processor and spreadsheet, so I installed those individually rather than installing the whole package. When I finished doing that, I rebooted the system, just to be safe.

When I then clicked on a document file in File Manager, it came up normally, albeit ugly looking and with a different color scheme than I’d had–blue rather than Linux Mint green. But the real PITA was that when I minimized that document, it didn’t show up on the task bar. That makes switching between/among open documents very difficult, since it appears that there are no open documents. I can still use Alt-Tab to toggle through the open (but invisible) tabs, but that’s very awkward.

So I downloaded Apache OpenOffice, which, like LO, is a fork of the discontinued OOo, this one sponsored by IBM. I haven’t had time to install it but it may come to that.

 

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50 thoughts on “Friday, 31 March 2017”

  1. Had a thought this morning.

    The interwebs are a way to monetize argument.

    The internet has evolved into a tool for narcissism – ie. “Look at me”, argument- look in most any comment section, and lastly entertainment presentation. Those are the 3 legs. Information presentation, or research is just a footnote in terms of traffic (I’d bet.)

    (I left off surveillance on purpose, as the is coming from the other direction.)

    n

  2. On another note,

    An example of the kind of thing you can learn from a scanner. Last night, on the ‘all area’ talkgroup, there was an ‘all units stand by for critical information’ alert. Seems a crim with open warrants for ‘retaliation’ has declared that he’s gonna kill some cops. Description of him and his possible vehicles followed. Crim is from the nearby town of Katy.

    That’s probably not gonna be in the news…

    n

  3. Nick: Left Katy Wednesday morning. Nice drive to Santa Rosa – except for the first part of heavy rain.lightning with that storm you had. Rain at the ‘red’ level (radar color). But nice weather to the west as I headed for Santa Rosa NM. Next day, continued to Shiprock NM, turned right, then headed north through Moab UT.

    Great scenery in Moab area. Lots of red rocks, really pretty. Stopped at Hole In The Rock (just north of Moab); funky place, worth a stop. Had a full size jeep made of rusted tools and license plates. (Check it out at http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2229 .)

    Took I-70; west of Green River UT is some spectacular scenery – Staircase NP, Eagle Canyon, etc. Hit a bit of rain heading into SLC, and finally got into Layton UT at about 8pm.

    Visiting with the kids for a day. Returning the wheelchair we borrowed (wife got a minor leg fracture the first day of our trip; leg brace and crutches and wheelchair is fun). Back to the wet Peninsula Saturday.

    Katy is a nice area; newer homes (big ones) in Fulshear area. Had lunch at Dozier’s BBQ in Fulshear. Nice. Good visit with relatives. But will be nice to get home.

  4. Description of him and his possible vehicles followed. Crim is from the nearby town of Katy.

    Nick: Left Katy Wednesday morning.

    Uh, what were you driving, RickH?

  5. Lotta people moved out to Katy for the schools and the new infrastructure, and clean living.

    But The Diversity ™ followed them (or was pushed by DHHS) and they’re in the process of wrecking Katy too, like everywhere else they live.

    I’ve talked with several people who are moving back toward Houston from Katy. They say, “We moved to get away from that BS, and put up with the long commute. Now that the BS is here too, why have a long commute?”

    sucks

    n

  6. If you choose to live anywhere in the Clinton Archipelago, you’re going to suffer diversity. Move to an area populated by deplorables if you want undiversity.

    I mean, Sparta/Alleghany is 1% to 2% black, but there’s no diversity here at all. Black residents are just like anyone else here: the same accent, the same political leanings, and so on. I doubt anyone who lives around here even notices that they’re black. They have no more in common with inner-city blacks than I do.

  7. “A Day in the Life of a Data Center”
    https://www.backblaze.com/blog/day-life-datacenter-part/

    “A data center is part of the “cloud”; as in cloud backup, cloud storage, cloud computing, and so on. It is often where your data goes or goes through, once it leaves your home, office, mobile phone, tablet, etc. While many of you have never been inside a data center, chances are you’ve seen one. Cleverly disguised to fit in, data centers are often nondescript buildings with few if any windows and little if any signage. They can be easy to miss. There are exceptions of course, but most data centers are happy to go completely unnoticed.”

    I did not know about the cold and the hot areas. Makes sense though.

  8. Speaking of annoying software, LibreOffice has gotten worse and worse with each update. For the last several months, it’s been crashing periodically, taking down all instances on the taskbar.

    My Excel 2003 (before the XLSX file format and the ribbon menu that I abhor) crashes often when I am exiting it. But I installed Excel 2010 on my pc for some testing and then uninstalled it. It seems to have corrupted my Excel 2003. One of these days I need to do a reformat and a reinstall of everything. And I also have a copy of Excel 2016 on my desk that I am dreading.

  9. And I also have a copy of Excel 2016 on my desk that I am dreading

    Not too bad. I am running a copy of Excel 2016 on my Surface. Not any really difference from Excel 2013, or Excel 2010. Some collaboration features that most will not use. For most of Excel 2003 will work just fine and will work with the newer version of Excel file formats once you install the file format converters. Some can make a compelling argument that Excel 2003 is better than the newer versions (the ribbon).

    I can get you a copy of Excel 2003 with a key that does not phone home and activates the product. OF course I will have to take a swim in the Brazos river first.

  10. Ray, what versions of Windows does Excel 2003 run on? 32 bit? 64 bit? XP/7/8/10?

  11. Alternative to Libre Office. I can recommend Softmaker Office. A very complete Word/Excel/PowerPoint clone from Germany. Costs a bit ($99) but comes in native LINUX versions. Have used it for years and hand no trouble with it or with files from Microsoft users.

    Check website Softmaker.net

  12. @Steve_F

    Uh, what were you driving, RickH?

    Umm…not saying….and I got rid of the car when I got to Utah.

  13. Ray, what versions of Windows does Excel 2003 run on? 32 bit? 64 bit? XP/7/8/10?

    We run Excel 2003 (actually Office 2003) on several Windows 7 x64 PCs.

  14. Back from picking up wife and MIL at the airport. Hung out for a half-hour at the latter’s place while they each had a nice glass of vino, nothing for me, thanks. And MIL regaled us with how she apologized to the German gent sitting next to her in First Class for the way our President treated his Chancellor, and the German gent said “Thank you” twice and vehemently. I involuntarily clapped my hand to my forehead and said “Oh brother!” and got the death stare from wife and then the usual comment on how tRump is a nasty pig and he treated her bad, blah, blah, blah. I just shut up and let it ride. Not worth it anymore. They get their info from the WAPO, a known CIA front operation, and thus also the NYT and Boston Glob, and FaceCrack memes and the Colbert show. I wanted to ask her where she got off speaking for the rest of us but didn’t bother. They’d both been up since 04:00 and had a bitch of a time driving to the airport from the East Bay area, major jam due to an accident, and maniacal drivers creating more havoc.

    And now we’re out $2K toward a new harp for Princess, and a third grand today for her apartment and living expenses in Moh-ree-all. While she supposedly looks for and interviews for jobs.

    OFD not real thrilled today, but did the kitchen cleanup and am making a nice ham, asparagus, mashed buh-day-duh and applesauce dinner for us. Also working on the cellar storage stuff.

    Overcast, breezy, high 30s, and they’re expecting a stormy mix of snow and rain in the greater AO tonight and tomorrow. Sunny on Sunday; we’ll see. It’s still Mud Season and spring is a ways off.

  15. Ray, what versions of Windows does Excel 2003 run on?

    I can vouch for Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10. Does not matter if the version is 32 bit or 64 bit.

  16. I finally fixed our office administrators PC which was running very slow. I swapped out the 32 GB of ram with an older 16 GB of ram from one of the file servers. The older motherboard (on the shelf in my office with an I7-2600K cpu) that I put into the admin PC had trouble addressing the 32 GB of ram so it got way slower. I just wish that it had refused to boot. Man, you have to be careful reusing old parts !

  17. I’m not impressed.

    I ordered 3 cans each of Keystone pork, beef, and ground beef plus 2 cans of DAK ham. They shipped from two locations. Tracking says everything is at the store. All the store could find was the box of pork and ham (which was packed snugly in a box with a token balloon padding thing).

    “I’m very sorry, come back tomorrow” just doesn’t cut it. I’m 20 miles from the store and I have other plans for tomorrow.

    Not a happy camper over here….

    If I ever get the stuff and like it, I’ll have is shipped to the house in the future. The cow generally leaves packages alone.

  18. Ray, what versions of Windows does Excel 2003 run on? 32 bit? 64 bit? XP/7/8/10?

    We run Excel 2003 (actually Office 2003) on several Windows 7 x64 PCs.

    I’ve noticed strangeness installing Office 2007 on clean Windows 7 x64 installs over the last year. I suspect that OLE in the default templates installed with Office are the issue. Sanity check me — try creating a new PowerPoint document, click on the text area of the blank page, and hit return.

    I have LibreOffice installed for small documents, but, if nothing else, I’ve learned to appreciate LaTeX in grad school.

  19. I finally fixed our office administrators PC which was running very slow. I swapped out the 32 GB of ram with an older 16 GB of ram from one of the file servers. The older motherboard (on the shelf in my office with an I7-2600K cpu) that I put into the admin PC had trouble addressing the 32 GB of ram so it got way slower. I just wish that it had refused to boot. Man, you have to be careful reusing old parts !

    Crucial.com has a useful database for maximum memory configurations recommended to use in various motherboards. Even if the board will accept more RAM, I never exceed the recommendations.

  20. “Sanity check me — try creating a new PowerPoint document, click on the text area of the blank page, and hit return.”

    Office 2007 on win8.2 x64that doesn’t do anything unusual….

    n

  21. here is ATT cellular pushing their throttling as a good thing for users.

    Stream Saver has been added to all eligible lines with qualified plans on your account — no extra steps required.* Stream Saver allows you to save data by streaming higher definition video at Standard Definition quality** (about 480p). So you can extend your data and watch more video with your same data package.

    And you remain in control. You can turn Stream Saver off and back on at your convenience. Log into myAT&T, select Manage my data usage, and toggle Stream Saver off or on for each line/device on your account.

    So their proxying all the data and inspecting to see if it’s video, then replacing your stream with ANOTHER stream of lower quality. And that’s a benefit to you. on your unlimited data plan.

    n

  22. Office 2007 on win8.2 x64that doesn’t do anything unusual….

    I haven’t seen the strangeness on Windows 8, 10 or even XP, just Windows 7.

    I suspect Microsoft knows something is up with Office, but they would rather see people drop Windows 7 in favor of Windows 10.

  23. Crucial.com has a useful database for maximum memory configurations recommended to use in various motherboards. Even if the board will accept more RAM, I never exceed the recommendations.

    I just grabbed the used motherboard off the shelf with cpu installed. I did have a package of ram so I used that, I did not even notice it was 32 GB instead of 16 GB. That was a surprise when it first came up.

    Things have been tight here lately so I don’t have any new spares at the moment (see last weeks no payers and slow payers comment). And, PCs always fail when the salesperson is having hysterical shrieking about getting a contract put together because the client is ready to close and, this time she was correct. The office manager was sick and I called her in anyway. She came in a 5pm, touched her mouse, and her pc motherboard literally melted down and start spontaneously rebooting every ten seconds.

    EDIT: I just tried http://www.crucial.com for a Giga-Byte GA-Z68XP-UD5 motherboard. It says 32 GB of ram is ok so, it is wrong. Or, these particular 8 GB sticks are wrong for this combination of motherboard and cpu.

  24. Office 2007 on win8.2 x64that doesn’t do anything unusual….

    In my experience, Office 2007 is buggy. Very buggy. I rewrote our Excel data transfer code to use DCOM instead of DDE because of Office 2007. That rewrite got our Excel data transfer code working but it was still buggy. Office 2010 cleared up all of those issues for us. And DCOM works much better than DDE anyway.

  25. I use Office 365 on all my Macs and iOS devices. No problems, so far.

  26. Since “retiring” from my 3rd career, I haven’t even started anything in the MS suite. That’s a couple of years now…

    I use wordpad if I need to copy and paste anything with structure, and notepad++ for anything that works on lines.

    Haven’t even started visio in a long time.

    Fired up sketchup the other day, and realized I’d installed the latest version when I last used it. 2014.

    Mostly live in the browser these days.

    n

  27. I’m kinda like Mr. Nick; I rarely have to bother with any Orifice suite and use Leafpad in Mint for most short stuff and notes to myself or cutting and pasting chit from somewhere else, whereas I’d used WordPad and Notepad before.

    And yeah, mostly living in the browser these days, whether for research or my various online courses. And email.

    Now I have to see if I can find a German person in this AO somewhere so I can tell them I think tRump was if anything, obsequious with Frau Kommissar Merkel. And especially so WRT to the bill for military support services he allegedly presented to her. Thus canceling out MIL’s “apology” the other day on the plane.

    The ham and spuds dinner was a success here earlier. Mrs. OFD is stuffed. First decent meal she’s had in three weeks of traveling around; she could eat better on her travels but is usually too exhausted to do much looking around for it, other than grabbing cold cuts and making a sammich for herself somewhere or back at her accommodations. Lord knows if I had to travel like that and be on the day schedule again, I’d be gobbling down my three squares every single day to the limits allowed on my expense account.

    We’re getting a hard cold rain and sleet and snow mix here, pretty light, though. Everything is white again, like down in the Capital District.

  28. Fired up sketchup the other day, and realized I’d installed the latest version when I last used it. 2014.

    I would love for my software to use SketchUp as the base software. SketchUp is reputedly the easiest 3D software to use. And, process engineers are moving into 3D fast as they are trying to fit more and more equipment into limited spaces.

  29. sketchup is absolutely maddening if you have any traditional CAD or pen and paper drawing experience. BUT it is HUGELY powerful, and once you understand how all the ‘inference’ engine works, it’s fast.

    You need to get your head around the paradigm or it will be a long and miserable experience. Forex, I needed to draw a fence and just could not figure out how to do an array copy. Finally gave up and went to the web, and it was so easy, and completely natural in the paradigm that I was disgusted I didn’t even try that.

    Kinda like the mac os, things are either easy or impossible.

    n

  30. RBT: When you nuked your LibreOffice installation, did you also wipe the configuration files, found in /home/{RBT}/.config/libreoffice ? When I do a new linux installation, I always copy that over from my most recent backup, and have never had a problem with it showing up just like I want it to.

  31. @terry, thanks for the link to softoffice. That looks like a full featured and mature and good looking suite.

    I think I’ll try out the free version on my phone, just in case.

    n

  32. After weeks of poor HF reception, the shortwave bands are alive tonight.

    n

  33. Speaking of glitches and poor HF reception and suchlike; a related pondering:

    I’ve noticed more weird glitches and downtimes and problems on the net recently, including my ongoing saga of AMZ not recognizing the same fucking shipping address I’ve used with them for nearly five years all of a sudden. And ditto a RAM order from Crucial which they canceled because of some mysterious problem, again with my address, associated with the credit card. So they canceled it but the credit card asswipes have still not credited back to my account.

    Also, one of the little hassles associated with working behind a VPN that bounces around to servers in different countries is that you find you can’t do certain things on certain sites anymore.

    Quite annoying.

    Back to more scut and grunge chores and errands tomorrow and then the intention is that we’re gonna check out another church for mass tomorrow at 6PM just down the road a few miles. Whatever mass/parish that wife feels comfortable in, I’m still going down several times a month to the Latin mass in Burlap.

  34. DH wrote:

    “And MIL regaled us with how she apologized to the German gent sitting next to her in First Class for the way our President treated his Chancellor, and the German gent said “Thank you” twice and vehemently.”

    I should book a flight with your MIL and/or Mrs OFD so they can apologize to me for the way their co-religionists treated the Reformed and Baptists hundreds of years ago, and I can apologize to them for the way Protestants treated the Irish and other Catholics.

  35. There’s a difference between events of long ago and specious “apologies” offered for whatever, and events involving living persons. If we all went around apologizing to everyone else for chit that happened a hundred, a thousand or five-thousand years ago, there wouldn’t be enough hours in the day.

    And the next time I’m on a plane and sitting next to persons from Iran or Russia, I will express sympathy and outrage, speaking only for myself, and even though I had nothing to do with it, for the bellicose and jingo posturing our renegade Deep State and its minions have engaged in versus their countries and also for putting the world again on tenterhooks worrying about somebody’s itchy trigger finger on the wrong button.

    And with that…

    Pax vobiscum, fratres, et tempus fugit, semper paratus…

  36. sketchup is absolutely maddening if you have any traditional CAD or pen and paper drawing experience. BUT it is HUGELY powerful, and once you understand how all the ‘inference’ engine works, it’s fast.

    Oh, that is not good. Our user interface is fairly simple and we need it that way. We are very Visio like but we do not have the many, many, many image formats support that Visio has.
    https://www.winsim.com/screenshots.html

  37. Lynn, did the Russian wire transfer work?

    Yes. And we have started spending it already.

  38. OFD, what you might try one day when you have nothing better to do is drive the MIL around town for her errands. Apologize to everyone she talks to, saying “I’m sorry. She’s old and addled, and was a Democrat even before that. Just ignore the ridiculous things she says.” Sure, you’ll get dirty looks, but you say you get that anyway, so no loss there. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll push her into a heart attack or something. Potential win!

    And, before you ask, I’ve done similar with my wife.

  39. EDIT: I just tried http://www.crucial.com for a Giga-Byte GA-Z68XP-UD5 motherboard. It says 32 GB of ram is ok so, it is wrong. Or, these particular 8 GB sticks are wrong for this combination of motherboard and cpu.

    Let them know.

    In trying to explain why the latest $3000 MacBook Pro maxes out at 16 GB RAM, Apple claims that DDR3 is a problem in 32 GB configurations. I guess they are telling the truth.

  40. Give Miles_Teg some time. He’s getting on in years and can’t fertilize as many ewes per season as he used to.

  41. “… Sure, you’ll get dirty looks, but you say you get that anyway, so no loss there.”

    The death stare came from Mrs. OFD. I’ve noticed over the years that if we say anything at all that is even mildly opposite from their POV, they get angry immediately. Whereas we don’t. They actually get furious to the point of blood vessels being in danger of bursting. MIL doesn’t get like that over political bullshit and will only attempt to argue briefly and then give it up so as not to increase tension and screaming fits from the others.

    I’ve learned to pick my little battles along these lines carefully. Sooner or later I’ll get a chance to point something out that is simply irrefutable.

  42. “Sooner or later I’ll get a chance to point something out that is simply irrefutable.”

    That’s what I like about you most: your eternal optimism.

  43. “la la la, I can’t hear you!”
    — the response of any prog to irrefutable evidence that they don’t like

  44. Mrs. OFD is not exactly a prog; more of a traditional north-country Vermont old-school Kennedy Democrat. Came with Irish-Murkan family traditions going back to before the Good War.

    If she is confronted with irrefutable evidence, she recognizes it, finally, and admits that, yeah, the old right-wing gun nut was/is right after all. Whereas Princess simply won’t; she’ll argue until ‘the sun is blotted out from the sky’ and get increasingly shrill and angry.

    But as someone else pointed out here recently, any recognition of our truthful statement is only a one-shot deal, and soon forgotten.

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