Monday, September 29, 2014

Navigating Windows 8.1

Two ways to make the Desktop easier to navigate.
First put up some Really Useful Icons.  Namely Control Panel, Your files, Network, and My Computer (well M$ now calls it This PC) .  Once up you can tweak, look at your files, look at system files, and look on the LAN with  just one mouse click on the Desktop.   

 Next clear off the Desktop clutter.  New computers come with all sorts of "helpful" applications cluttering your desktop.  You have never heard of most of 'em, but you hate put them in the recycle bin 'cause you never know when you might want them.  Create a new folder to hold them.  I named the new folder "Craplets" and put it on the desk top.  One day, when I have the time, I will research the craplets and decide if I want to run them or uninstall them (zap them).  But in the mean time they are off my desktop. 

How to?  
1. Right Click on a blank portion of your Desktop  (Shades of M$-DOS, typing magic words to the prompt).  The Personalization Screen appears.
2. On the Personalization Screen left side, Click on Change Desktop Icons.  The Desktop Icon Settings window appears.
3.  Check all five boxes, Computer,User's Files, Network,, Recycle Bin, and Control Panel. Then click "Apply". 
4. To make the icons stay put, uncheck "Allow Themes to Change Desktop Icons.

Once done, you find most of the useful functions of the late, lamented "Start Button" are now available on your Desktop.  I found Win 8.1 less user hostile after doing this. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Congressional authorization to whack ISIS

Does Obama need it?  Or does the 10 year old Authorization for the Used of Military Force (AUMF) that George Bush obtained to overthrow Saddam Hussein  cover zapping ISIS in 2014.  Who knows?  Call in the lawyers and let them quibble. 
  Let's get real about the issue here.   Obama is commander in chief, the armed forces will do what he orders them to.  So Obama can order up air strikes, or anything else, and it will happen. 
   On the other hand,  any president with two brain cells firing, wants to go to war, or something less than war, with Congressional, political and media support.  Obama has already gotten funding for the anti ISIS effort into the "continuing resolution" a stop gap bill to fund the entire US government at least thru the new year.  That's not too shabby for Obama.  That will keep the bombs falling for a while. 
   If Obama isn't very serious about ISIS, and will settle for a few fireworks shows, no ground troops, that's probably all he needs.   If he actually wants to zap ISIS into the next dimension, he probably wants to have a brand new  AUMF that specifically names ISIS as the enemy. 
   To my way of thinking, there are only two reasons for NOT going to Congress for a new AUMF.  One, Obama fears that Congress would vote it down, making him look weaker than he already looks.  Two, Obama isn't really serious about ISIS, and doesn't actually plan on serious operations to wipe them out.  Take your pick.

Gold Plating hikes costs on KC-46

The KC-46 program is supposed to produce new jet tankers to replace the Eisenhower era KC-135 tankers that are still in service with the Air Force.  It's a reasonable program to have, tankers get a LOT of use, and everything has a service life.  The KC-135's have been flying, hard, for 60 years, and there comes a time when a new aircraft is indicated. 
   The idea was to buy Boeing 767 airliners, remove the seats, and install fuel tanks and a refueling boom.  Take advantage of the well proven, reliable Boeing design, hundreds of which are still flying passengers today. 
   The Air Force couldn't resist the urge to gold plate.  USAF has been into gold plating since I was in the service and that was a long time ago.  USAF insisted on rewiring the entire plane.  The new wiring scheme called for double and triple redundancy on a lot of circuits, and shielding and separation to prevent electrical crosstalk in the wire bundles.  Boeing has built 6 aircraft and now, finally, the Air Force inspectors noticed that some of  the new wiring wasn't up to spec.  The commercial 767 had about 70 MILES of wire in it.  The Air Force added another 50 MILES of wire. 
  The commercial 767 flies just fine, has been flying just fine for 20 years with the standard wiring system.  There was no need to change anything.  The Air Force insisted upon messing up a good thing, and it has bought them a 3 month program slippage.  Good work USAF.  My tax money at work.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Leaves are close to peak north of the Notch

Tomorrow will be a fine day for leaf peeping.  Peak color doesn't last long. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Economic Growth in Northern NH

Maggie Hassan, incumbent Democratic governor, seeking re election, came to Littleton the other day.  She got decent coverage in the freebie local paper, The Littleton Record.  They quoted Maggie waxing rhapsodic about Littleton's economic improvements.  She cited a multimillion dollar expansion at the hospital, and a second, smaller but still multimillion replacement of a public school building, and the famous Littleton main street rebuilding (they tore up all the paving on main street, rerouted a lot of sewer and water pipe, and then paved it over)  
  All this is cool, and needed to be done, but Maggie doesn't seem to understand that all this money spent is money spent on maintenance and services.  Where is the money spent on new manufacturing plant, new mines, new farms, new electric generation, new ski areas,  investment that makes stuff we can sell to pay the bills, to pay for new hospital expansion, and nice new school buildings?  You have to make stuff to sell before you can afford health care and education and well paved streets. 
   Manufacturing and farming and mining and recreation create wealth.  Hospitals schools and roads consume wealth.  If you don't have the wealth, you cannot afford the goodies. And that is why our children, after graduating high school, leave the area to find jobs.
   Maggie, like the average Democrat, doesn't understand the difference between weath creation and wealth consumption. 
   Vote for Walt Havenstein.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Economist ignores Scotland secession vote.

The Economist, London based,  naturally has taken the Scotland secession vote of last week much more seriously than the American media.  They had been running articles on it nearly weekly, editorializing that secession would be bad for everyone.  Scotland's economy would be weakened, and British morale would be torpedoed.  In the last weeks before the vote, when the polls started to show secession could win, they did a lot of hand wringing. 
   After the vote, where secession was voted down by 10%, a solid win, the Economist had nothing to say.  No "Thank God they came to their senses" editorials, no letters to the editor, no post election vote counts, zip zippo zilch.  Not  a word.  I expected at least a sign of relief.  Maybe the whole topic was so distasteful to the Economist that they were glad to drop it?  The Brits have not been happy about their loss of empire, prestige, and world leadership over the past 60 years.  To have Scotland, pull out of the United Kingdom after 300 years would have been totally demoralizing to the Brits.
   One thought I saw some where.  The real driver behind the secession voters was the takers against the makers.  The secessionists promised far more socialism than the UK parliament would ever do.  Parliament has been on an "austerity" kick trying to bring the UK budget deficit down.  Perhaps the Scottish makers realized that secession would make them poorer to do more handouts to the takers. 

Leaves are turning up here.

Color will be fair to good this weekend.  Next week end ought to be very good.  Two weekends from now may be past peak.  If you want to see the leaves in fall, now is the time.  It doesn't last long.