Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Russians hacked the DNC?

I'm hearing on NPR, Fox, and the 'Net a theory that the Russians hacked the DNC emails and released them on Wikileaks to help The Donald.
Why in the world would they do that?
    Hillary is a known quantity.  She is not very smart, she can be bought, she won't make waves.  She has had four years as Secretary of State to demonstrate her incompetence in foreign affairs.  If I was Putin, that's exactly the kind of person I would like as president of the only surviving superpower. 
   Trump on the other hand, might do anything.  America is an exceptional country, and with imaginative leadership it can do almost anything.  Under mediocre leadership (Hillary) nothing much will happen.  But under charismatic leadership America won WWII, developed nuclear weapons, traveled to the Moon, eliminated polio, and gave its people the best standard of living in the world.  Under Trump, America could be an irresistible adversary to Russian expansion worldwide.  Why risk that?  Far better to have a mediocrity who will let things slide as they have been doing.   
   So I don't believe the Russians wanted to help Trump.

Monday, July 25, 2016

You would think they would know that Email is public

Debby Wasserman Schultz and most of the top brass at DNC are dumb enough to put things in email that they would never want to become public.  They are too ignorant to know that email ain't private, ain't secure, any thing you put in email can turn up on Wikileaks, or the front page of the newspapers.  This has been clear since Ollie North tried to erase his incriminating emails on the Iran Contra affair back in the Reagan administration.  In Ollie's case, he deleted his emails all right, but efficient IT people at the While House had backed them up on mag tape, and produced them at the Congressional hearings.  Bye bye Ollie. 
   I knew this soon as we got email at work, 30 odd years ago.   Use email for stuff everyone wants to see, such as how to fix a circuit board, how to design with our company's parts, how good our product is.  Don't email gripes, bugs, opinions of customers, anything uncomplimentary to anyone. 
   Talk face to face, out of doors or in a secure location, or use a payphone, or a cell phone from a moving car, when you are talking about bad or sensitive stuff.  Never by email.  Cause email ain't secure.
   Debbie and company should have known this.  She is stepping down, which will help the Democratic party.  The Democrats will do better when they don't have a chuckle head running it. 

Fixing my laptop after installing Win 10

This wasn't so hard.  Run the built in BIOS diagnostic.  And now the Start Menu (pure software) works, and the power button (Hardware but with a lotta software messing it up) works.  a
   Some website explained the way to get into the BIOS diagnostics was to hold down the ESC key while you hit the power on button.  And this appears to work even while the power on button isn't working.  According to a website, the BIOS diagnostics have been standard in HP laptops since 2009. Which means a lot of 'em have it.  On my HP laptop, a 2014  model, the BIOS diagnostics do start up, but they don't give you any messages on the screen except for one, They ask if you want to skip the disk test. 
   And the diagnostics reset a bunch of internal variables, which revived both the power on button and the start menu.  This shows a crappy design on the power button.  Any decent power button ought to assert the reset line to the processor and the entire motherboard.  When reset is released, all micro processors jump to the starting address, (top of memory on some, bottom of memory on others) and start executing code.  The purpose of reset on micro processors is to regain control and start running the program from the top, no matter how messed up the software is.  That ain't happening on HP laptops, some kinda hardware and software kluge is breaking control of the reset line, and the machine fails to start when the button is pressed.  Running the BIOS diagnostics fixes the software part of this kluge.
   Good work HP engineers.   I wonder what else you have screwed up.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Win 10, no Start menu, Power on button broke

So after running a bit after my upgrade to Win 10 I find.
1.  The advertised "start menu" , a replacement for the trusty "start menu" in Win XP, is nowhere to be found.  Some web searching tells me that this is a common problem.  A bunch of fixes were offered,  I  have tried a few of them with no luck.  Without the new and improved start menu, the only way to reach the "settings" app is thru Cortana.
2.  From the settings app I tried out Windows update.  It trundled away downoloading a patch for office and then failed.
3.  The power on button doesn't work,  Press it to start Windows and nothing happens, I get a blank screen.   Work around,  power off the laptop.  Unplug the charger and remove the battery.  Count to ten. Replace the battery and the laptop powers up and runs windows.
4.  Task Manager shows something called "OneDrive" is soaking up 300 Meg of Ram.   Apparently OneDrive gives access to "the cloud" for file storage, after you spend money.  Since I have 600Gig left on the hard drive, and I don't trust "the cloud"  I'm thinking of removing One Drive.  

GM has a good quarter.

So sayeth the Wall St Journal.  Sales of high margin SUV's and pickup trucks is way up.  The article goes on to do some back patting, and noting GM's plan to buy into (buy up?) Lyft.  And worries about Brexit messing up the European market more than it is. (GM's Euro operations have lost money for years and years).
    No discussion of GM's bread and butter business, selling sedans in North America.  Take a drive on Rte 128, half, maybe two thirds of the vehicles on the road are smallish four seat sedans.  That's where the real volume is in the car business.  Pickups and SUVs are a niche market, granted a large niche, but still a niche compared to small four passenger sedans, the family get-to-work and go-to-market car.  GM is still a huge company, and it must compete in the big markets to survive.  A behemoth needs a lot of feeding to stay alive.  Pickups and SUVs don't have the volume to feed a GM.  They must got for the big market, small sedans.
   GM does have some product for this segment.  First thing GM needs to do is find some better names for the vehicles.  Low end ($14K) is called "Spark", a name that makes me think of blown fuses, electrical faults, crapped out VCR's.  Not an auspicious name for a car.   The next step up is called "Sonic".  Everyone knows that Sonic is a computer game hedgehog.  Both Spark and Sonic are very simular looking hatchbacks, with the road snuffling forward lean styling.  Not very good looking.
  Next step up is Cruze, a decent looking conventionally styled sedan for $16K.  The name suggests only a certain sawed off movie actor.
    GM needs a good car in the low end of the market.  Say a MRSP of $10K, with distinctive styling so you can tell it's a Chevy when you see one on the road.  Distinctive styling helps two ways.  It attracts buyers, and it serves as a rolling advertisement for the car line if it looks like a Chevy rather than just another econobox.  And find a decent name for it.  Actually GM owns a bunch of decent car names that it doesn't use anymore.  Corvair, Pontiac, GTO, Roadmaster, Oldsmobile, all come to mind.  Surely GM can do better than "Spark".  

The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming

   Bogger, this blog's host, supplies a "Stats" page showing the number of pages views, where the viewers come from, and hit counts on your most popular posts.  Being a blogger of ordinary vanity, I check "Stats" every so often to see how popular my humble blog might be.  For the last few years it's been jogging along at 50-100 pageviews a day.  Yesterday, bingo, 350 pageviews.  Today 800 page views.  Wow, a ten X growth in viewership. 
   Where does all this traffic come from?  Would you believe Russia?  Today I have 528 page views from Russia, as opposed to only 39 from the United States.  Either I have gone viral in Russia, or Blogger's Stats function has gone crazy.  Hmm, I wonder.  Actually, I think it's more likely that the Stats function has ceased to function properly, but who knows.  

Saturday, July 23, 2016

HP Support Assistant.

It's one of those vaguely documented programs that comes on HP computers.  Far as I can tell, it's the HP version of Windows Update.  It keeps track of the versions of the HP code in your machine, device drivers mostly, and updates them when it feels like it.  I don't believe the version on FlatBeast (which came from the store running Win 8.10  ever worked at all.  I remember running it a few times and over the course of a year, I don't think it even did anything other than whine.
   Win 10 took offense at HP Support Assistant and claimed it wouldn't work, it would give the computer rabies, and other offensive stuff.  So after getting Win 10 squared away I googled on HP Support Assistant, just to see what others had to say about it.  Best advice I found, was to just re install the damn thing from the HP website.  The writer claimed this would fix all evils.  And it did. 't
   I ran it, and it wanted to replace seven or eight bits of software.  So I let it have its head, and it took awhile, it wanted to reboot after three or four downloads,  but it got to the end and it didn't break anything. 
   Suggestion to you HP owners out there.  Should you find that HP Support Assistant ain't doing much, try downloading a fresh version from HP.  This might get him going again.