Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sick Puppy


I'll spare you the gory details but if I don't have at least a head cold I have a sinus infection.  Feel free to pray for me.


Gun Control: The Key Word Is Control

From someone who used to support gun control laws until they dug into the statistics, here is a very interesting page full of statistics about how gun control laws do not work to make people safer and reduce crime. At least half of it is graphs, so even YOU won't be bored by numbers!

 Hat tip: Instapundit

Dell Inspiron 600/600m Laptop Computer Loose Touchpad Surround Trim Plastic Repair

The Dell Inspiron 600 is getting a little old these days and it is starting to show.  I had one come through the shop, then another and another, with one particularly annoying sign of old age: the cute little colored plastic piece around the touchpad is loose enough to make a tapping noise when you tap the touchpad to click (or double click) on something, and it makes the whole touchpad feel like it is going to fall out of the computer.

This is how you can fix that loose trim piece, permanently.

Tools required:
  • #0 Philips screwdriver, preferably one that is strongly magnetized
  • Similarly-small flat-head screwdriver
  • Fine-tipped soldering iron
  • A little scrap of extra plastic

Start by unplugging the power cord and removing the battery, and set yourself up at a static-free workstation (ideally) or at least plan on not-moving for a while and have everything handy.  This repair was successful at my regular table in a carpeted area, with me wearing cotton clothes and touching the screw on a power outlet nearby before working to dissipate any large static charges.  These computers seem relatively static-tolerant but Murphy says you will zap your motherboard if you are not carefeul.  You CAN kill your computer if you attempt this work at a not-static-free workstation. 

You have been warned.

Click any image to see it full-sized.

Unscrew the screws that hold the keyboard-surround/touchpad bezel in place.  Set them aside in a pile, they are all the same length.

Open the computer all the way flat so the display is laying as close to your bench top as possible.  Gently insert your small flathead screwdriver in the little notch at the right end of the trim piece over the keyboard.  It takes some moderate wiggle/pull-up forces but this piece is only snapped in place. 

Pull all these screws also.  Set them aside more carefully, as they are NOT all the same length.

The keyboard will pull right out now; use the pull tab on the connector, do NOT pull up on the cable!

Unscrew the grounding strap by the video cable connector and gently pull up on the tab (not the cable) to remove the connector.  The entire top/display module is now loose.  Set it carefully aside.

One more screw was hiding under the keyboard.

Gently disconnect the touchpad connector.
Nothing else besides plastic 'snap' retaining tabs holds the top plastic piece in place.  Gently tug and pull, and the plastic all the way around the top of the computer will pop right off.  Do not be alarmed that this sounds like the end of the world.  Unlesss you are pulling TOO hard, it is just the snap tabs popping loose with no damage - but don't force it.  If you are pulling too hard make sure you got all the screws out, or you will end up buying a new top panel on ebay!*

Three screws hold a metal shield in place under the touchpad.  This shield may do double-duty as a brace for the touchpad, but on this computer it was not touching the plastic (or at least, not pressing hard enough to keep it firmly in place).

The factory heat-staked the colored trim surrounding the touchpad in three places.  Sometimes that was enough, but sometimes the trim piece works loose.

This kind of plastic was heated and injection-molded to form it into a computer part.  Re-heating it and adding a little bit of plastic to your computer part will not harm anything when done properly.  Just keep the heat as low as it will still melt the plastic (I used 600ish degrees F, and worked quickly) and be VERY careful as you are working.  

If you have never done this, practice on a piece of scrap plastic first to avoid destroying your computer!  My technique was to cut a little bit of scrap plastic and pick it up with the tip of the soldering iron.  Then I stirred the new plastic on the to-be-repaired area with the tip of the iron, ever so slightly melting the trim panel and keyboard bezel, and the new scrap of plastic, into one lump.  Be very careful not to melt through the bezel or trim piece!  Smooth the finished bead of plastic with the tip of the soldering iron after is the plastic has cooled and hardened. 

 I used a bit of scrap plastic from another (dead) computer and a gentle touch, and welded the trim panel to the keyboard bezel in several new places, plus I reinforced the three heat-staked spots.

The touchpad flops out, and I welded a couple more spots near the bottom.  Be careful here, because one false move and you will ruin the touchpad!  Also you need to be careful about the dimensions of your weld spots.  Gently trim the welds if they are too big, until it all fits together perfectly again.

That's it, you're done.  Put it back together. Assembly is the reverse of disassembly. 

You will notice that now, when you use the touchpad and tap by the edges, it feels like one solid piece of plastic.  It is.  Congratulate yourself.

*Speaking of eBay, if you haven't yet gone to eBay and purchased a 1.6GHz  or 1.7GHz processor for yours Inspiron, do that next after you do this. 

Be sure NOT to get any processor besides the Pentium-M, and be sure it has a 1M cache and 400MHz bus speed, to prevent buying an incompatible CPU!  Also buy more RAM for your computer while you are there.  Both of these upgrades should be less than $20 and you would be surprised how much of a boost you can get.  If you are rocking a 1.3GHz CPU and 256 or 512MB of RAM, it will be like a whole new machine once you max it out!  Before you install the new processor, be sure to visit and download/install the latest BIOS and you SHOULD be able to use a faster processor no problems - but be sure to buy from a seller that accepts returns, just in case.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Recession? What Recession?

In case you missed it between all the "fiscal cliff" and "gun control" blathering on the news, the world is still headed deeper into a global recession (or, if you like, the second downturn of the ongoing global depression).

Japan and Europe are currently on deck, with most of the rest of the world out of the headlines but on the same greased slide.  The solution is the opposite of what most countries are doing to fix the problem.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

For Steve, Two Hondas

Steve, he loves him some Hondas.  Here are a couple of local cars from a night drive a while back.

An S2000 from a frequently-seen angle:

And an RSX just barely-visible in the darkness.  Almost like a drawing but let me tell you it's a gen-u-wine photo.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

I Hate Funerals

The last time I went to a funeral was several years ago.  Before that one, I don't even remember the last one.  I don't think I would even go to my own parents' funerals. 

But when you are asked to be a pallbearer at the funeral of your brother-and-shipmate, how can you say no?  So I went to a funeral today.  Mostly I was as stone-faced as ever but I had to point my eyeballs up a little extra when somebody in the family of the deceased started bawling by the casket, and again during the military honors.  If there had been a 21-gun salute I think I would have been Mr. Faucet Eyes already.

It wasn't supposed to be this way.  We were all supposed to have basically endless, carefree lives in intimate association with God, in person, on a daily basis.  Then a serpent had a conversation with Eve.  Physical death is hateful to me.  ESPECIALLY the death of somebody I care about, and ESPECIALLY a brother-in-arms.  It doesn't matter if he was 87 years old and barely kept one step ahead of the grim reaper for the last decade.  He wasn't supposed to die.

Well, he didn't really, but his widow from a 65-year marriage is probably going to miss him until they meet again.  It seems like it would be cold comfort, the first time you would go back to a bed that would always be empty when you left it.  Over coffee the next morning, it seems like it would be very comforting to know that your loved one is in a better place.

Still.  Standing at attention and staring down into a hole lined with landscaping timbers during prayers, and seeing an old lady's eyes all watery . . . sucks.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

"The U.S. Will Have To Change."

Well excuse the [deleted] out of me, I think I will stay just the way I am.  The only thing that needed to change right before that school shooting was the order of killings: asshat first, then the kids.  He got the order wrong but at least he took himself out at the end.  President Obama, being both a Democrat and a Leftist, likes to clump people together in groups instead of thinking of individuals.  Well guess what?

I'm not going to kill anybody, and neither are you, and neither is the guy who shot up that school last week.  In fact, that will never happen again because he's dead as a door nail! 

Well, then again, President Obama is still in campaign mode.  He got elected and re-elected as a blank slate. People projected what they wanted him to be onto the vague platitudes he spoke, and elected what they wanted!  In the spirit of bipartisanship, I will project what I want onto His Vagueness also.

The U.S. will have to change.  Yes.  The USA should become more like Israel and have the Card-Carrying Good Guys wear guns in the schoolhouses across our nation.  No, not the Police . . . the TEACHERS.  How many school shootings like this have you heard about in Israel?

Let's take a guess as to whether CT's strict gun control laws or the likely Gun-Free Zone nature of this school campus gave the shooter even a moment's pause.  Yeah, they don't stop any CRIMINALS from doing bad.  They stop GOOD PEOPLE from being able to do good.  You know what stops a school shooter?  Here's a hint: it's not laws forbidding private gun ownership . . .


Saturday, December 15, 2012

New Wallpaper

Fall has finally fallen in Central Texas.  This file was left at 1680x1050 pixels for those of you on the same screen resolution as I am using at home.  Click through, seriously - it's huge.  Right-click, view image, zoom in by clicking again.

Not Bad

My long range sniper deer rifle is back up after a couple of years waiting for a part.  Finally for the first time in too long I took it to the range.  Four shots with one called flyer and the other three within a 2" "group" right on target at a hundred paces.  The yellow dots are 4" circles.

Close enough.

Now if only someone would invite me on a hog hunt I could get some bacon with it . . .

How To Tell If A Woman Has Children

You can know your lady has kids very easily in one easy step.  This actually happened to me the other day.

If you are on the phone with her, and about to hang up, and she says in a calm voice:

"No, get your feet off his face.  Bye!" and hangs up, she has children.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Winning: Use IrfanView for First Cull.

If you are not using IrfanView as the default image viewing program on your PC, you are doing yourself a SEVERE disservice.  Before you read the rest of this post, go to the IrfanView Official Homepage and download the program and the plugins, install the program, install the plugins, and let it associate all the file extensions with IrfanView.  Double-click any image file and note that it opened more-or-less immediately.  Hit the space bar on your keyboard and the next image is there.  Hit backspace and the previous image is there.  It works with pretty much all image file types, and can even read some partially-corrupted images.

I have been using IrfanView since the years when it actually mattered that the entire program can fit on a single floppy disk.  It is one of the first programs I install on any new machine.  I like it so much I actually donated my own money to support the program, and I NEVER donate to shareware/freeware authors.

Anyway, I just realized as I was sifting through a pile of images on my camera's memory card that when you hit DELETE on the keyboard, and it gives a confirmation dialog, and you hit Yes or the Enter key - it deletes the image as if you had deleted the file in Windows Explorer.  My previous method of doing a first-cull to delete throwaway images was using the Filmstrip view in Windows Explorer, full-screen so it shows up a big image.  With IrfanView, it can give a fullscreen image, and hitting control-H shows the actual pixels so you can see every last detail.  Windows Explorer resamples in a not-great way but IrfanView shows a very clear image on my monitor.  My life just got more efficient.  Thanks to Jesus! (and to IrfanView!)

SOLVED! $0 DIY Nikon D70 CHA/CHR Error Fix FREE*


You love your D70 but it keeps giving an error on the top screen, "CHA" and every once in a while you lose a picture.  The camera will say "This Card Cannot Be Used" with a known-good CF card, or when it does work, it will sometimes say "Zoom Cannot Be Used With This File" or it will fail to record an image.  Sometimes it even says the card has to be formatted - which deletes ALL your photographs!

This rarely happened, then it got worse and more-frequent.  The camera is no longer a beloved friend, it is become an enemy and not to be trusted.  Maybe you even (ugh!) resorted to using your phone's camera instead, because at least it reliably captures images, however low-quality they may be.

You have found that pressing harder on the CF card in the camera, or maybe a few insert/removes of the card will temporarily clear the error, sometimes for weeks!  Perhaps you have taken to leaving the card in-camera and using the much-slower USB interface on the camera instead when downloading files.


For money: The CF slot in the camera is bad. It is about a $40 part if you can find it, and the repair requires disassembly of the camera.  Having a shop repair the camera might be more expensive than buying another, newer-model, used body.  But.  I have not seen the CHA error in months and I am happy to consider this fixed, "free."

*Tools required: 
  • Ability to do fine-pitch soldering by hand
  • Helping Hands (with magnifying glass!) 
  • Veeeery fine-tipped soldering iron 
  • Very thin solder
Very carefully disassemble the D70 to the point where the CF slot subassembly/circuit board is completely free of the camera.  Use your helping hands to hold the board while you work.  Very quickly and gently reflow ALL the solder joints between the CF card reader slot pins and the circuit board.  Add just a tiny daub of solder to each joint.  Make this a very quick operation to avoid melting the plastic pin frame and make it a tiny bit of solder you dab on there to prevent bridging/shorting between adjacent pins.  Thoroughly clean all flux residues when you are done.  VERY CAREFULLY inspect your work for solder bridges, as you could kill the camera by doing this wrong.

The REAL root cause: These were machine-soldered with either the wrong sort or not enough solder, or they did it wrong>  The joints ended up "cold" from the factory.  Over time, with each insert/removal of your compact flash memory cards, the solder joints are stressed and eventually they break.  This is a problem of execution, not design, and Nikon would repair it under warranty when a warranty still existed on this camera.  These days, you will pay handsomely for them to repair it if they still will, but at least it will be returned VERY clean!

What is not the problem: Your new cards and your old cards are probably fine if they will work in your computer's card reader.  You DO NOT need to FORMAT your card and lose all your vacation photos!  An image-recovery software tool should be able to extract any images properly written on the card, even if the camera cannot read them!  The pins are not plated with too-thin gold plating, which eventually wore off.  Some people (me included!) found partial success coating the pins with dielectric grease because it lubricated the pins, putting less mechanical stress on the bad solder joints with each card insert/remove.  The phase of the moon is not incorrect. 

At least in my case this was a fairly straightforward repair of a problem common to poorly-made soldered electronics. 

MANY thanks to for their wonderful disassembly/repair instructions!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Way to Foster Democracy, Guys.

Islamists want a caliphate under a supreme leader.
Leftists in the USA claim to want democracy.
So we helped in the out-kicking of a dictator in Egypt.  Are you with me so far?
Then the islamists elected their own to power in Egypt.
Then the elected islamist rulers excluded the infidels and rushed through a session creating their new constitution  . . . effectively making the new Egyptian President . . .

wait for it
the new dictator!  Congratulations, President Obama and Secretary Clinton!  Your Smart Diplomacy® skills have evicted a dictator who was friendly to the USA and promoted stability in North Africa, and installed a dictator who would probably like to nuke the USA and have the whole region consumed with islam-related warfare until peace breaks out.

Peace, of course, to an islamist means only one thing: everybody is either a muslim, paying tribute, or dead.

So, pat yourself on the back American taxpayer; you had a hand in the upcoming war also!  Okay, good night - sweet dreams!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Magic Under The Lights

Imagine walking at night in near-total darkness on an abandoned city side-street
Straight into a forest
Where trees are a hundred feet tall
The grass is trimmed neatly
And each tree is covered in points of light right up to the top of the canopy 

That was the perspective from the eyes of #4 last week-end.  If this does not qualify as a magical experience for a child, I don't know what would.

Click the image to see it supersized, hit escape to close the image window.  Better yet, right-click the image and "view image" then click it again to see it full-size (I left it at 1600 pixels wide so it should cover your entire screen)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Everybody Caught A Case of the Stupid?

First Blogger went and cocked up their interface, now Photobucket?  Well, Blogger at least saved all my old posts.  Photobucket decided to just flush a thousand photos - with links all over the internet going back to my album - straight down the crapper.  AND the interface sucks.

Thanks guys.  I think I'll find my own image server.

Update a couple days later: Well it turns out I was looking in the wrong account. I have TWO photobucket accounts and I only ever use ONE of them. The other, apparently, I had totally forgotten about. I sent a complaining e-mail to their tech support and they got right back to me trying to be helpful, at which point I wish I had done a little-harder looking before I sent the e-mail. The interface now is less great than it was, but at least my pictures are still there.

PEC at Night

The Pedernales Electric Co-op has put up a few lights again this year.  Wandering around under the trees is magical, especially for little children.  For adults, it's pretty sweet too.

Walking up the street to the PEC building: (click the image to see a larger version, hit escape to close the picture)

A Little Premature

The President has given a list of outrageous demands to the Republicans with no concessions on his part, as his play in negotiating the upcoming "fiscal cliff".  The Republicans had already started talking about compromise before the Democrats even thought about coming to the table.  This will end in the age-old pattern: tax increases with no corresponding budget cuts because the cuts were put off into the future and the political cowards on Capitol Hill will not allow them to go through when the piper comes for his pay.
Today I cashed in my 401(k) account.  I am sure the President would love to convert it -today- to a government account but the Republicrats still stand in the way.  The wishy-washy Republicans that can't even make up their mind to allow a previously agreed-to bipartisan compromise to happen, when they are certain to get the blame no matter WHAT happens.
Well, my capital is flying.  Now.  Unless they make a confiscatory law retroactive to today, my money will be mine.  The gains (all the gains) my money made will be lost, but I will preserve the capital. 
The ruling elite in Germany thought they could control Hitler with the national legislature, and we all (should) know how well that came out.  Maybe I'm wrong.  I stand to lose significant capital gains, but at least I am making an effort to be prudent.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

No News, As They Say...

My kids have taken to saying "I've got good news and bad news" lately.  On a recent trip home from church . . .

#2 (2.5 years old): Ah gah goonews ambanews.
DW: What's the bad news?
#2: No.  No news.
VFD: And no news is good news so...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Windows 8 Sales Unexpectedly Weak

  1. Take the greatest mass-consumed computer operating system in the last decade (arguably, Windows 7)
  2. Determine all on your own that right-frikken-now is the time for the world to begin using tablets instead of PCs or Notebooks
  3. Focus all your energy on a new operating system that combines the hopefully-greatness of the next generation operating system and the totally-useless-for-more-than-one-thing-at-a-time interface of a tablet and slash the price.
  4. Sit back and wait as the money totally fails to roll in like the tide.  

The Windows 8 user interface is horrible on anything besides a small touch screen.  If all you want to do is check your stocks real quick on your phone, then whatever.  Me, personally, I have FOUR 22" monitors going all day every day and usually eight to twelve applications running in WINDOWS on the desktop, where I can see what each is doing with minimal overlap and interact with different programs by moving my cursor.

WindowS.  As in, more than one thing displayed at a time.  You know what windowS 8 can't do?  Yessir that is correct.  Aside from having a counter-intuitive interface for EVERYTHING, Microsoft has decided the new Windows does not need to give you the ability to effectivly multi-task with so many as TWO displayed windows on your quad-core computer with 8 gigabytes of RAM and enough video hardware to simulate a nuclear explosion.  One thing displayed at once, because shut up that's why.

Thereby holding fast the time-honored Microsoft tradition of releasing a new operating system nobody wants or "upgrades" to, every-other OS they put out.

DOS: changed the world
Windows 3: meh
Windows 95/98 (same thing) changed the world
Windows Me/2000: ignored by the world
Windows XP: 40% of the world still uses it
Windows Vista: Unless a new computer came with it nobody bought it
Windows 7: What Vista should have been, a real winner
Window 8: sucks at using.  Runs good, uses bad.

Way to fail, Microsoft.  Here's hoping this bombs hard and fast enough that 9 goes back to what we are all used to, and willing to pay money to upgrade to: a desktop with a Start button and Metro interface onto the dungheap of /dev/null allstars.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

"Well, [deleted]."

So I am trying to wipe the hard drive on a laptop with no optical drive.  No problemmo!  The Customizing UBCD page at has a two-line text command and a built-in program on the Ultimate Boot CD will automagically turn a formatted USB stick into a bootable Ultimate Boot . . . uh. . . Stick.  This used to be a hassle with older versions of UBCD, but now it is dead simple and worked


on the first go.  So I booted the laptop, changed the BIOS settings to boot from USB first and rebooted.  It loaded the UBCD menu in frikken RECORD time and shaBAM here I am in Darik's Boot and Nuke ready to blast the data on my hard drive all to smithereens.  So as usual I typed "autonuke" at the prompt and DBAN started a'wipin all the drives it saw.  Including my shiny new UBCD-on-a-stick flash drive.

At this point, I said rather a naughty word.  Then I was happy I had the Customizing UBCD page still open, and (after reformatting the USB drive in Windows Disk Management) I proceeded to REmake my bootable USB UBCD drive.  Like a boss.  Only perhaps, next time, I will tell DBAN just exactly WHICH drive to nuke. 

Complacency will get you, and your flash drive software, killed.

Even My Darling Wife Had To Laugh

In Hawaii, the Libertarian candidate for President got 2.5% of the vote.  He only barely made 2% in a few states on the mainland.  5% is the threshhold for public funding next time.

Headline from Yahoo! News: "Johnson runs most successful Libertarian campaign in history"

The affectionate term is "Losertarian" for very, very good reason.  Nobody knows like a Libertarian exactly who will NOT be winning in any given political race.  We need at least one third party, but I am afraid Libertarian is not going to be it, given their very long association with dismal failure at all levels.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Well, What Did You THINK Would Happen?

Congratulations, Republicans.  You selected the worst of all possible choices to be your candidate, and he lost.  AGAIN.  Fuck you very much.

The country is currently on the fast track to "screwed."  Let's see what the New Boss does with all those environmental regulations he put off until after the election, eh?

November 6, 2012 Travis County, Texas Voter's Guide

As this is the Most Important Election of Our Lifetime, is this VoteForDavid’s most important Voter’s Guide EVAR?  Well if so we’re in deep trouble.  Or something.  I compiled this guide, like the others I've posted here before, for my benefit.  For a change, I didn't post it for your benefit.  I hope you managed to muddle through without me.  Without further ado:

These are the notes I made for myself, for the races where I live, plus a couple for Travis County elections I have comments on.  You people are on your own for the rest.  Not that you will voted anyway.  The URLs are where I found the sample ballots.

Travis County Clerk Elections Division
November 6, 2012 Joint General and Special Elections

Straight Party  - Only if you are a fool.  I hit the straight party button because it filled in most of my selections for me.

This is a wasted vote, no matter how you cast it.  If you are a Christian you have nobody to vote for.  If you are an American and not a Christian, vote for Romney.  All the others are destined to lose or are evil, or both.  I voted for the Losertarian on the off chance they might get 5% of the total, and so we could theoretically have a third party with public funding . . . next time.

United States Senator
 Ted Cruz - REP - This is a no-brainer.

District 17, United States Representative
Bill Flores - REP – vote for Bill Flores.  His website is full of stuff that reads like election year soundbytes, but at least I agree with most of them.
Ben Easton – LIB – like most libertarians, goes too far toward the “Liberty” side of the equation.  Vote for him if you like this sort of thing.  Note: he will lose, because he is running a campaign on principles instead of money.  Sad but true.

Railroad Commissioner
Christi Craddick - REP – by process of elimination my vote goes to Christi Craddick.  Not a bad candidate, but this isn’t exactly a vote FOR.
Dale Henry - DEM – Old, too old.  Sorry old people.  He’s going to be 80-dead by the time the next election rolls around.
Vivekananda “Vik” Wall - LIB – a believer in glowbull warmening has no place on my Railroad Commission!
Chris Kennedy - GRN – it looks like the Green party is about as sophisticated at getting candidates to have campaign websites as the Libertarians were a few years ago (hint: not at all)

Railroad Commissioner, Unexpired Term
Barry Smitherman - REP – As I recommended in my previous voters guides, please keep Commissioner Smitherman in his position.
Jaime O. Perez - LIB – For a huge change, a Libertarian with a website!  Not a CAMPAIGN website, more of a blog/screed site where he denounces the evils of modern fiscal policy.
Josh Wendel – GRN – on the ballot, but apparently not running a campaign?  If you want to WIN, you have to RUN!

Place 2, Justice, Supreme Court
Don Willett - REP – please keep Justice Willett in his position on the court.
RS Roberto Koelsch – LIB – another Libertarian not taking campaign contributions is another libertarian who will lose.

Place 4, Justice, Supreme Court
John Devine - REP – the candidate who has been a judge.  Everybody else is a n00b.  This guy.
Tom Oxford - LIB
Charles E. Waterbury - GRN

Place 6, Justice, Supreme Court
Nathan Hecht - REP – Please keep Justice Hecht on the court
Michele Petty - DEM – says she likes to do what she thinks is right, regardless of precedent.  Not good.
Mark Ash - LIB
Jim Chisholm - GRN

Presiding Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals
Sharon Keller - REP - She's there, let's keep her.  She made a single controversial call and that's about all the opposition has to say against her.
Keith Hampton - DEM
Lance Stott - LIB

Place 7, Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals
Barbara Parker Hervey - REP – Please vote for Judge Hervey
Mark W. Bennett – LIB – Spouts off personal opinions on matters about which he might have to issue court opinions.  Horrible judgement for a JUDGE candidate.

Place 8, Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals
Elsa Alcala - REP – I’ll be voting for her this time.
William Bryan Strange, III - LIB

This is one of the few times I will put my check in the “R” box and move on.  Both seem to be decent candidates, with Judge Alcala having the slight advantage of currently BEING a judge.

District 10, Member, State Board of  Education
Tom Maynard - REP – I was for him during the primary, and I am still for him.  See my first 2012 voter’s guide for the reasoning.
Judy Jennings – DEM

District 14, State Senator
Kirk Watson - DEM – not the worst Democrat out there, but still somewhat typical.  I’m not a Democrat
Ryan M. Dixon – LIB – I’m voting FOR Ryan Dixon for District 14.  I’m also not a Libertarian, but I agree with a lot of what he has to say.

District 46, State Representative
Dawnna Dukes - DEM – not the worst Democrat out there but still a Democrat.  As long as Democrat = “social justice” and leftist policies in general, we need fewer of these.
Andy Fernandez – LIB – seriously?  He looks to be about 12 years old and is (surprise) a Libertarian without a website. 

For a change, I will NOT be casting a ballot for State Representative.  This is a shameful place for our State to be but here we are: a child vs. a democrat.

Place 2, Justice, 3rd Court of Appeals District
Jeff Rose - REP – is in the job and I haven’t heard anything bad about him.  Let’s keep him.
J. Andrew Hathcock – DEM

Place 3, Justice, 3rd Court of Appeals District
Scott Field - REP – His website reads like a judge’s should.  Bonus points for intentionally taking cases from civil litigation and appellate fields, and serving as a lawyer for defense and prosecution. 
Diane Henson – DEM – listening to her makes me a little sick to my stomach.  Looking at her doesn’t make it any better.  Video at HIS website.

Both are career lawyers, and she has been on this bench for a term.  I’m pulling out my “R” and “Y” cards and he gets my vote.  “Y” card: that chromosome, he has it.  Yes it’s sexist.  Deal with it.  He was my pick in the primary election too ;)

Place 5, Justice, 3rd Court of Appeals District
David Puryear - REP – keep Justice Puryear on the job for six muryear.  Bad pun intended.
Karen L. Watkins - DEM

Place 6, Justice, 3rd Court of Appeals District
Bob Pemberton - REP – Keep Justice Pemberton on the court also!
Bryan Case - DEM

Raymond Frank - REP –seems like a solid candidate, if rather VERY old for taking on a new job
Greg Hamilton - DEM – I will be voting for Greg Hamilton AGAINYes, a Democrat, yes again.  He is in the office and seems to be doing a decent job, plus he has big ideas for the next four years.
Jaclyn L. Finkel – LIB – wow another Libertarian without so much as a website.  Way to get on the ballot, guys!

County Tax Assessor-Collector
Vik Vad - REP – I like all his talk about making this slice of the government more efficient.  Let’s let him try.
Bruce Elfant - DEM – If Vad were not running, I could vote for him with reservations.  Let’s be honest, it says something about your personality if you physically resemble a pig.
Mike Burris – LIB – a Libertarian with a website!  Oh wait, that’s the website for his 2010 run for Treasurer.  No, back to ‘another Libertarian without a campaign website’

Precinct 2, Constable
Toby J. Miller - REP – I would have been happy with either of the Republican candidates and will happily vote for Miller this November.
Adan Ballesteros - DEM – Almost anyone would be a better candidate than this guy.
Raul “Roy” Camacho – LIB – If there were no Republican in this race I would be all about voting for Camacho, but there IS a Republican in this race.  Here’s hoping Camacho doesn’t turn out to be a spoiler and give us Ballesteros again!

The Democrats have done quite a job of being the only ones running for various judgeships.  This sucks, but where were YOU when the primary season came and went?

Travis County Clerk Elections Division
November 6, 2012 Joint General and Special Elections

For Austin Community College, Austin I.S.D., Round Rock I.S.D., Travis County M.U.D. No. 18, North Austin M.U.D. No. 1, Wells Branch M.U.D., Lakeside M.U.D. No. 3, Williamson-Travis Counties M.U.D. No. 1, Southeast Travis County M.U.D. No. 1 & No. 2, Tanglewood Forest Limited District, Travis County WCID- Point Venture, Westbank Community Library District, Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District

Remember as you read these proposed proposals, $1.50 per $100 of assessed property value is about $250 a year out of your pocket for EACH measure.  Do you really have that to spare?   If you can think of another way to accomplish the purpose for which they propose the tax, vote AGAINST it and let them try again the more-efficient way next year.


This election is to decide whether the voters of Precinct 402 would like to have TWO new taxing bodies to take their money, and then they will all be voting themselves $31,106,650 worth of community indebtedness as well as an annual NEW tax of about $500/year for each family.  Level-headed individuals will vote AGAINST all these proposals.  They will probably all pass with a handy majority.


This election is to decide whether the voters of Precinct 401 would like to have TWO new taxing bodies to take their money, and then they will all be voting themselves $46,522,233 worth of community indebtedness as well as an annual NEW tax of about $500/year for each family.  You may guess my opinion on this subject.

Travis County Clerk Elections Division
November 6, 2012 Joint General and Special Elections

For Central Health, Cities of Austin, Lakeway, Lago Vista, Jonestown, Pflugerville, Village of Point Venture, Village of Spicewood Canyon
All precincts
Approving the ad valorem tax rate of $0.129 per $100 valuation in Central Health, also known as the Travis County Healthcare District, for the 2013 tax year, a rate that exceeds the district’s rollback tax rate. The
proposed ad valorem tax rate exceeds the ad valorem tax rate most recently adopted by the district by $0.05 per $100 valuation; funds will be used for improved healthcare in Travis County, including support for a new medical school consistent with the mission of Central Health, a site for a new teaching hospital, trauma
services, specialty medicine such as cancer care, community-wide health clinics, training for physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals, primary care, behavioral and mental healthcare, prevention and
wellness programs, and/or to obtain federal matching funds for healthcare services.

Please vote AGAINST Proposition 1.  The University has a billion dollars in the bank.  If they want a few hundred million dollars to build a hospital, let them write a check!  This will be, to put it bluntly, a combination of a hospital to serve homeless people and illegal aliens, and a research facility that the University could pay for out of pocket.  The SECOND largest hospital group in the city has come out against this.  Guess which hospital group benefits from it?  Hint: it rhymes with “diggest”

Shall the city charter be amended to provide for the election of council members from 10 geographical
single-member districts, with the mayor to be elected from the city at large, and to provide for an independent citizens redistricting commission?

Vote YES on Proposition 3 if you like the idea of representative government.  If you like the bicycle lobby and the rich folks in Terrytown to continue to run your city into the ground, then vote No.

Shall the city charter be amended to provide for the election of council members from eight geographical single-member districts, with the mayor and two additional council members to be elected from the city at large?

Vote NO on Proposition 4.  This is a head-fake by the people currently running the city to distract you from the better proposal in Proposition 3. 

Shall the city charter be amended to provide a civil service system for most city employees who are not already covered by a state civil service statute?
Adoption of the emergency medical services personnel civil service law.

Vote AGAINST Propositions 10 and 11.  Civil service laws = government employee unions.  If you think your city services suck now, just wait.  You haven’t SEEN inefficiency and poor treatment of the Citizen until you’ve seen the government employee figure out they can’t be fired thanks to a fat union deal on their behalf.

The next section (Propositions 12 through 18) is nearly guaranteed to all pass, because bond measures in Austin ALWAYS pass. This is a series of elections for Austinites to add $385 MILLION to their community indebtedness.   Most of it SHOULD fail, and the City should be made to do what it can with LESS money, not more. Buuuut that’s not who Austinites are, so:

LOL it’s all monopoly money anyway and it doesn’t come out of MY paycheck!  APPROVE ALL THE BONDS!!!!!

Vote for one
Omar Peña - I almost didn't take the time to read the other candidates' websites to see what they had to say.  This guy, and this guy by a mile!

Monday, November 5, 2012

TOMORROW You Will Learn of the "Redskins Rule"

Today the only people happy to report on the so-called "Redskins rule" were right-wing talk show hosts.  17 of 18 times the Redskins lose, the opposition candidate wins the Presidential election.  Well, now that the NFL says they should have won, you will hear lots of interested speculation throughout the next few days as to how valid the rule should be considered to be.

What you will still not hear is, every time the election is held on November 6th, the Republican wins.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

New Jersey Won Handily By President Obama

Citizens of New Jersey displaced by the recent storm will be allowed to vote by e-mail.  What's the worst that could happen?  At least they are pretenting to try to do it right, treating it like a rapid-turnaround ballot-by-mail type deal.  I guess this is the only alternative for those who, like NJ, have exploding-head syndrome when they hear the alternative in some places is to go cast your vote inside a repurposed MILITARY truck.

Friday, November 2, 2012


Today on the way home from work, I heard a siren.  I looked around and couldn't see the origin.  I heard a BIG horn honk with the siren and was expecting to see an ambulance or fire truck.  Couldn't see it.  Louder and louder, still couldn't see it.  The car behind me moved to the right and finally I barely-saw in my mirrors a policeman on a motorcycle, blindingly coming out of the setting sun (as we drove East).  I made a typical Austinite's get-in-where-you-fit-in merge and the cop went up to the next car.  A couple cars more moved over, and then he got stuck.

This car had a police motorcycle on its 7:00 for maybe half a mile, with lights and sirens going.  There is NO way the driver didn't see the flashing lights.  Finally a couple of neurons connected somewhere and the cop saw the driver looking at him.  The policeman waved VERY big "move over" waves with one arm and the driver thought about it for a moment, finally yielding HALF a lane.  Close enough for a motorcycle though, and the cop was off like a rocket to the next car, who let him go by and on it went.

I pulled up behind this car that had failed to yield for entirely too long and I kid you not - the plate said 9DRRK.  Drrk drrk drrk drrk (with hand banging chest)  To top it off, it was a handicapped plate, and the headliner was drooping in the back window.  For the win.  Turned out to be an old man driver.  Well, at least he did eventually move over, but he cost me a humm-dinger of a woman driver joke.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Just Maybe, I Was Wrong?

I have called this election a landslide for Romney, with low turnout.  Apparently not everyone is as unhappy about Romney being the candidate as am I.  I may have been wrong.

I'm still calling a win for Romney, don't get me wrong but I've been hearing these reports - and then today happened.  I kept hearing people all over the USA say it was crowded when they went to vote early.  Today I went to swing by the nearest early voting location after work (yes, I have a voter's guide, no I haven't posted it yet, yes I am waiting for Christmas).  There were cars literally around the block at the polling place.  The line to vote was back-and-forth across a 30 foot room several times and out the door.  This was the same as I saw on Election Day, 2010.  Mission downgraded to: get a sample ballot to make sure I knew all the votes I was going to cast.  Cruise into the parking lot.  20 seconds later, cruise out of parking lot.  Parking lot full.  

For EARLY voting. 

I now think this may election may have quite a high turnout rate.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Speaking of What Well-Run Military Strategerie

The latest twist is:

One of the ex-SEALs that disobeyed orders not to go help at the Consulate in Benghazi died because he was spotted by a mortar crew.  The mortar crew that was shelling the Consulate.  The mortar crew he was actively painting with a laser target designator.  They saw his targeting laser and had time to re-aim and fire on him. 

He will have watched them adjusting their aim to hit him.  He likely saw the round launched that killed him.

Why did he stay?

You don't just shine a laser target designator on bad guys in hope that somebody in the sky might see it.  You light up a target when you KNOW a weapon is up there, ready to rain death on a target - THEN you light them up.  This man was a pro-feshinul fighter and he knew what to do with that designator.  It is nearly certain that he KNEW there was a weapons platform in the air, and that they were ready to rain hot death on the peacefulreligionofpeace mortar crew.  Speculation is that there was either an armed drone overhead, or maybe an AC-130 gun ship. 

That aircraft did not fire its weapons.  Did the same "smart diplomacy" and "a gutsy call" leadership team who ordered the CIA Annex to NOT go help the Consulate, also tell the aircraft to hold its fire?

If so, why?

Fitghting the Good Fight

Iraq was bad.  Iraq was Bush's war.  The just war was Afghanistan because Bin Laden was there.  Now that he's dead there will be no more terrorism and we have pulled all our troops out of Afghanistan.  Oh, wait. . . .

Make that, Secretary of State Clinton tries to get Algeria to help us invade frikken MALI in the global war on not-specifically-islam-or-something. Great.

hat tip: Instapundit

Friday, October 26, 2012

HUGE News, Film at Never

FOX News broke the news: there were THREE separate phone call requests up the chain of command from the CIA Annex about a mile away from the consulate in Benghazi.

The agents heard gunshots and requested to be allowed to go help.  Denied

The agents disobeyed an order to stand down (sit on their hands and listen to the fighting) and went.  They rescued who they could, and brought back a corpse.  They asked for help.  And again.  Denied, and Denied.

We know now that there was a drone flying overhead watching the whole mess unfold, and that it was being watched in the USA at the State department, and probably in the White House Situation Room.  We are being told by the Obama Administration spokesmouths that we didn't have enough information to mount a response.  We are told They didn't get any military assistance moving toward the consulate even though 24 different recipients got e-mailed messages, because "it could take hours" to sort through all the intelligence, before someone might finally stumble across the message of the attack underway.

Then shortly after this news broke today, a caller came on the Rush Limbaugh show ("Doug") and claimed to be the sort of person who used to be in places where this sort of thing could happen.  He said, there were a hundred high-speed low-drag Operators that could all be on the ground with all their gear - killing goblins within 5 hours, probably a few dozen could have been there within a couple of hours.  He said, there is a Protocol.  When a certain type of classified "flash traffic" message is sent and the Ambassador is declared to be In Distress, there is a man on watch at the White House.  He gets this message and hands it to the guy next to him and says

"Get this information to POTUS"

The protocol is very likely to be strictly defined, probably down to the exact verbiage to be used.  The message is required to be handed directly from messenger to messenger, all the way to a man standing beside the President of the United States, within minutes.  There is ZERO chance this communication sat unread in any inbox waiting to be sorted through and found.



Did nothing.

THAT'S why the cover-up.

If we had a neutral press, he would be forced to resign tomorrow.  If.

I'm a Frikken Reporter Already!

The people where I work were concerned about a huge plume of smoke that looked to be just up the hill from where we were.  That would be, the heavily wooded hill, and our place surrounded by a wood.  I asked if we should send somebody to go scope it out and PB said it would be a good idea.  I had a camera in hand, so I jumped in the Hot Rod and went to snap some photos. 

From our parking lot, it looked close-ish.
From the highway, it was obviously across a four lane divided highway, across a ravine, and over a hill.  Much less worrisome to us directly.
Two alarm fire, at least.  Note the irony of the Emergency Room wait time billboard.
Somebody is going to come home to a pretty nasty surprise tonight.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Kids Co-Workers Say The Darnedest Things!

NP was amazed at and he was glancing through their list of offerings. He said "oh sure, lion is out of stock, but we can get you some shark fin soup."

VFD: Oh, that's easy, you just go to the Sea of Japan...
NP: (disapproving tone) yeah . . .
VFD: (enthusiastic tone) well that's good though, because shark fin soup is sustainable! You cut off the fins and you can just throw 'em back in the water!
NP: (LOL) I don't think it works like that.
VFD: (LOL) I'm pretty sure it does.

Note: cutting off the fins and tossing a shark back in the ocean is a dick move. At least have the decency to shoot it in the head first! ********

A customer asked about a spectrum analyzer, which is an instrument that shows a display of amplitude vs. frequency (or wavelength, if you do the maths) of an electromagnetic signal. Wires have a physical property called "length." Wires have neither frequency nor wavelength on their own.

FOG: Customer Question: Will this measure the wave length of a piece of coax?
VFD: A piece of coax has no wavelength. This customer is worth blocking


Note: the links are what I was thinking at the time. FOG is slightly too proffessional to have caught my meaning over the instant messenger program.

VFD: Who likes candle smells up there in the office wing?
FOG: All the ladies ?
FOG: Not sure if understand purpose of your question
VFD: NP has a candle warmer which releases the scent without all the pesky burn-the-building-down action
VFD: this room = too big for one candle warmer, does nothing
VFD: is willing to donate to the front office wing
FOG: Do you have to have wax or anything?
VFD: have to have candle. in glass container
FOG: It is plug in?
VFD: is
FOG: How hot gets?
VFD: hot enough to melt candle?
VFD: !!!
FOG: Depends on candle
FOG: Hot enough to HURT?
VFD: wow

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Kids People Say The Darnedest Things!

#4 is now 2 years old. Tonight he came into the kitchen as I was awesomeing around the house and said . . .

#4: My necklace!
VFD: (turns around, sees #4 with canteen hanging around his neck)
VFD: That's a pretty big necklace
#4: Yah!
VFD: It's like you've got a midget hanging from your necklace
#4: (goes and plays somewhere else, oblivious to adult humor)

For those who are too young to catch it, too non-afro-murikin, or both: you didnt' miss much, really.

¡Locura en el Trabajo!

We have cleaning buddies that are supposed to sweep & mop the floor 2x/week to keep the dust down inside where I work. Today, they came around with a big dustmop for a broom and swept up most of the big chunks prior to the mopping. A 2" screw was left calmly sitting where moments before it had been surrounded by other debris on the floor.

I asked NJ if he wanted to see something amusing. He did and he came over to my AO. I told him the story. He chuckled & said it would be funnier if I cordoned off the area and put a little caution cone or something.


(Click to embiggen)

You may guess from the language on the cone what is the principal language of los amigos limpianos. I took a photo and then, because even I am not that obnoxious, I picked up the screw, threw away the cone and barrer tape (both made from post-it notes) and went on about my day.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

USA Economy Unexpectedly To Improve Next Year

In case I have been insufficiently clear on the subject: When Romney begins to be perceived by the business community in America as the likely winner, the economic indicator polls will start to turn toward "right track" and "positive outlook."  After Romney wins the White House, a stronger-than-1% recovery will begin.  On or before Inauguration Day, the economy will begin to come roaring back as business owners realize they no longer have a self-declared enemy* for a POTUS.  

Then within a couple of years the initial headrush of freedom will wear off and things slow down, hampered by regulations that were never taken back when Romney got into office  -IF- we allow it.  IF the Tea Party hammers on Mitten/Ryan, the whole thing could be turned around.  IF Obamacare and a few tens of thousands of pages of executive department regulations are reversed, the economy picks up.  If Obamacare is allowed to stay, the economy only gets slightly better.  Either way: with Romney, we will see growth.  With obama, we would see a continued "growth" rate of ~1% but everyone will somehow be worse off except government and union employees, and maybe a few well-connected-to-Democrats businesses.

Unexpectedly: What they say who were not paying attention before the fact

* the line is ambiguous, like the man himself.  If you want him to hate private enterprise, he does.  If you want him to feel like the token black guy feeling out of place in a corporate job vs. community organizing like he wanted to do, that's how he felt.  Either way: Barack Obama described -in his own book about himself- working at a real job vs. rabble-rousing as being behind enemy lines.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Going To Let Joe Just Be Joe?

So apparently it is okay to be rude, now.  Because Joe Biden was sure rude to Paul Ryan.  Make that, the man a heartbeat away from being the most powerful man in the world, was very rude to a member of the national legislature, on one of the most-viewed televised events of the day.  On purpose.

Rush says Biden was a very appealing debater, to the kooks in the core of the Democrat party.  Maybe.  I wonder if the obamaphone crow-voice lady would have been laughing at the 80+ times he interrupted his opponent.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Narrative Falls Apart

The operators at the Department of State have refused to fall on their swords.  You remember how the murderous attack on our consulate in Libya was officially designated as the result of spontaneous protests over a movie nobody saw since its release several months ago?  Yeah, now it is coming out that State had NO intelligence to that effect and the Administration was LYING.

It was, in fact, a coordinated attack on the anniversary of 9/11, AND the now-dead Ambassador had REPEATEDLY requested better security and been denied. And the private local security people gave up the secret location of our hiding Ambassador. As our sensitive documents blow around on the ground, unsecured even still today, CNN told us how the Ambassador's journal recorded his security concerns leading up to the day.  The 'spontaneous protest' story is unravelled, and it is increasingly clear it was made-up.  State says they didn't make it up, and they were testifying before Congress as I write this.  They will be telling the truth or risk going to prison - and they didn't make it up.  This leaves a shortening list of people who came up with this story.  It includes various people who are or who want to be President of the United States of America.

This is not Soviet Russia.  This is America (still, for now) and we have the Internet (still, for now). You can't DO this sort of thing here and expect to get away with it. The only people who will buy the first official "movei protest" line a month from now are the low-informed voters who are voting for Obama regardless of anything.  He could rape and murder a school full of little boys and they would vote for him.  For everyone else, he has damaged his reputation very badly with this very badly-done cover-up.

IF "they" will knowingly make up stories and LIE about this event . . . about what else are you being misled?

we knew in first 24 hours that it was planned, not a result of the protesting.  First thing heard at embassy was explosion, gunfire.  Obama KNEW an attack was underway, and he . . . went to bed for the night, to get a good night's sleep.  THIS is the reason.  He is demonstrably -from this event alone- not suited to be the Commander-In-Chief of the most powerful military force on the planet.  But . . . if you could manipulate the Press into convincing the People it were just some protest gone out of hand and the guy with a rocket launcher just happened to show up, that is maybe not as bad as going to sleep when your people are under surprise attack.

P.S. going around spending our taxpayer dollars to tell people about the excuse/cover video story and getting them all worked-up, leading to days/weeks of violent protests all around the muslim world does NOT quite qualify as "smart diplomacy."  We'll see if Secretary Mrs. Clinton ends up under the bus on this one.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Well, There Goes Greece.

Greek society is officially circling the drain.  When the government is warning of a collapse like happened to Weimar Germany, and the citizenry storms the Ministry of Defense, and you're officially bankrupt and NOT even past the start line fixing your economy . . .

Stick your nation with a fork, it's done.  Coming soon to a united State near you?

Madness At Work!

Overheard where I work:

"HIGHLY unproffessional, men!"
(new employees walk in)
"Most work places, you don't have people poking holes in the ceiling by kicking the thigh bones of dead animals around."

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Leave Well Enough Alone!

VFD: What are you doing?
Darling Wife: (unreadable facial expression)
VFD: Wait
VFD: Do I want to know what you are doing?
DW: (shakes head, giggles)
VFD: Okay. (walks away)

If someone says you don't want to know . . . trust them!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Way to Be, Sony

It took a day, but I finally came to an important realization:

Sony could give a flying [deleted] about users who want to run 64-bit MS Vista on older laptops.  You want drivers?  Suck it!  Because shut up, and buy a new PC already.

Okay, 32-bit it is.  Who needs an extra gig o' ram anyhow?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

News You Can Use . . . If You Can Hear It

In case you forgot due to mass-distraction tactics by the leftist press during this electoral silly season . . .

China and Japan are acting pissy about the islands nearby.  Well, now Taiwan is out with their boats in the water too. 

What's the worst that could happen?!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Meek Shall Inherit The Earth

"The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of islam" - Barack Obama

You know what counts as slander to those who were reared in schools that only teach the students the koran (like Obama went to in Indonesia)?  IF you say Mohammed is a false prophet, that is slander.  IF you say that believing in Allah will not get you to heaven that is slander.  IF you say it is true, that Jesus is "the way, the truth, and the life, and no man cometh unto the Father but by me" then THAT is slander.

Being a Christian is slanderous against the prophet of islam, according to the prophet of islam.  Also being a jew or other non-muslim is slanderous.  Rejecting the new religion he preached is rejecting him, because that is all he was about.  That is why Mohammed led several dozen raids on caravans and neighboring villages, murdering people by their thousands and stealing their stuff - because they would not submit.

Islam is an Arabic word.  In English it means "submission." 

Muslim is an Arabic word.  In English it means "one who submits."

The President has claimed that the future belongs to those who go out in jihad against the Christians, Jews, Buddhists, etc. (non-muslims), because according to Mohammed's word AND example, that is true Islam.  He is, in fact, inciting the protesting mobs in the Middle East to riot and murder in the name of their prophet.  What is worse, if he were thinking straight, he would realize it - which is a double-edged way of saying he is not a great President.

But you are still going to vote for him because he has a D by his name.  Good job.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

P.S. The New Blogger Interface Sucks

To use. I'm pretty sure to the reader it looks the same but trust me on this end of the keyboard it is stupid.

Well That was Gross

Listen to the children. Sometimes you'll get a valuable heads-up.

As we were driving home from church, VFDKitty was reported to have a tooth poking out funny. When we got home, she was brought up to the Master Bathroom (mine) where there are coincident bright lights and a big countertop. I had my Darling Wife hold the cat down on the counter while I held the cat's head. The poor thing had a lower canine tooth poking out the front of her mouth, with the upper lip resting on top of the tooth. I gave it a litle tiny tug and the tooth came right out.

The cat was none too happy about these shenanigans, but within a few minutes was reported to be back to cheerful and playing. My Darling Wife said "well that would explain why she hasn't been eating her food." I wouldn't want to eat anything either! I gave her 1/4 a baby aspirin in some peanut butter and she should be just fine.

Unless she's dying of somthing nasty with one of the symptoms being a tooth fall out. But more likely, she just snagged the tooth on a dog or something.

Friday, September 21, 2012

SOLVED! How I Installed a Fresh Copy of Windows XP on a Toshiba Portege M200/M205 Notebook Computer

As a computer-related thing to do, this sucks. I spent a couple of days trying to work around it and researching, trying to find out what would and would not work - finding out the hard way what did not work. This is what worked for me.

You will need:
  • Toshiba M200-series tablet/notebook PC
  • Windows XP license key (look on the bottom of the computer)
  • Windows installation CD (I used a Dell-branded OEM XP Professional SP2 reinstall disc)
  • Separate computer capable of booting from an IDE drive
  • Separate computer with Internet access, an empty USB socket, and a CD drive (can be the same separate computer)
  • (maybe) 3.5" to 2.5" IDE connector adapter
  • A USB flash ("thumb") drive
  • #1 philips screwdriver
  • Patience

Listen to the mustn'ts:

  • Nevermind booting from an external CD or DVD drive, that will not work for you. There are statistically zero PCMCIA optical drives that the M200-series will boot from.
  • Nevermind booting from an SD card. It can only read cards up to 1GB anyway, but you probably won't be able to get it to boot from an SD card. I tried using a Multimedia Card and it didn't work.
  • Nevermind making an image to copy on the hard drive, this way takes just as long.
  • The real kick in the stones: booting from a USB-anything is impossible
Here's What to Do:
  1. Shut down the computer and flip it over. Unscrew the one screw retaining the hard drive bay cover. Remove the cover
  2. Remove the hard drive. This is a 2.5" IDE drive. I had to look around for a computer that can boot to an IDE drive anymore.
  3. Install the hard drive in the separate "host" computer. You may need to use a 3.5" to 2.5" IDE drive adapter
  4. Load the Windows XP installation CD into the optical drive and boot into the windows setup program. You may need to change your computer's BIOS boot priority settings so the CD boots before the hard drive
  5. Load windows normally to the notebook's hard drive in the host computer. You may need the license key, depending on which version of XP you install, and who made your the computer.
  6. Let windows FULLY install. This involves multiple restarts. Do NOT let it install updates from the Internet, because you will just have to install them again in a few minutes.
  7. Boot into your fresh Windows installation and eject/insert the Windows installation CD.
  8. When autorun starts, tell it to install, then tell it to perform an in-place "upgrade" installation (NOT a clean install!) It will copy some files and tell you it needs to reboot the computer. When it says it is about to reboot, hit escape to allow you to shut down gracefully (vs. yanking the power cable).
  9. Shut down the computer. Remove the hard drive. Install the drive into the notebook from which it originally came.
  10. Boot the notebook. If you are lucky, it will wake up and recommence upgrading Windows WITH the components you need to operate the Portege, instead of the drivers for the host computer.
  11. Depending on the installation media and the brands of the computers, you may have to use the Windows license key to proceed. I gave it a Tablet PC Edition key and it changed from Dell XP Pro to Tablet PC - very trick!
  12. You will not have any of the toshiba-specific drivers installed. Toshiba has ALL of these on their website. You will not be able to access the Internet from the tablet yet. Use your second computer with Internet access for the next step!
  13. For the M205-S810 (my computer) these are found here: Toshiba support website
  14. Download all the drivers to a USB stick.
  15. Install the drivers on the tablet. Start with the chipset and Common Modules drivers to let the others install properly. This involves dozens of reboots.
  16. Connect your network cable to the tablet and download all your Windows Updates. I had to download SP3 before Windows Updates would work properly.

Done. Enjoy.


This might erase all your files and programs. You need to back up your stuff anyway. Do it now, while you are thinking about it!

Legal NOTE: I don't know if all these shenanigans are strictly in accordance with the Microsoft End User License Agreement, and I really don't care. I started with a tablet running this same OS, but had to wipe it to preserve confidentiality of a customer's data. I ended with a tablet running an installation of Windows that was activated with the key on the bottom of the computer.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Welcome to the Soviet Union

The United Soviet States of America, where the press does what the government wants, because the press works for the government!

President Obama said he is for redistribution of wealth. Came right out and said it, he did! The Washington Post called the White House and they admitted it was him, but NBC News won't air the damning tape until they authenticate it. And don't hold your breath waiting for them to authenticate it.

The Fast and the Furious is a public relations nightmare for the Obama administration . . . if the Public knows about and believes the story. So it is very helpful for prominent bloggers to poo-pooh and spin the story in convincing fashion. What better way for the blogosphere to be sure to stay on-message than to coordinate their stories in e-mail communications with the Department of "Justice"?

Remember children, the ends justify the means for the leftist, and that includes perverting the press into an organ of the State so the leftist at the head of the State is held in high esteem by the general public!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Let's Hope He's Wrong (for a change)

Mish has called an electoral college landslide for Obama. God forbid!

Not A Problematic Economic Situation At ALL!

In addition to shadow bankers disappearing/committing suicide/going bankrupt/leaving the country, China's economy is in the middle of another body blow.

Say you're a Chinese businessman "needing" a loan. Go to the bank! No, not the shadow banks, a legit REAL bank. They have been ordered by the Communist national government to lend, regardless of your credit-worthiness. All they want is collateral. Tell them about your warehouse full of steel, and they'll give you a loan.

Well let's say your business plan wasn't as great as you thought. You end up in default on the loan. Here comes the bank looking for their collateral warehouse-full of steel. Except you lied, and there is no steel.

Or, probably, copper and other commodities. To say this is a huge problem is an understatement. Let's see if the Chinese government lets the banks take a hit, even on paper, or if bailouts become "necessary" to "save" the banks in China.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony

That wasn't art, it was Teletubbies on acid. It was the dumbest thing I have ever seen. -Jeff Ward, on the 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony

While going through some old notes, I found this quote. Ward sure has a way with words sometimes.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Does This Qualify as "Smart Diplomacy?"

"How could this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction?" -Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Madame Secretary, this is a clue-bat. Our ambassador took your hit for you. Count yourself fortunate, although I fear he took the clue with him to his reward. They aren't grateful to you for your halfassed filibustering. They hate you. This is what you get for removing their impulse-suppressing strongman dictator.

Romney was right. It was because of weakness. Excuse me please for having listened to the open-mic candid audio recording of the reporters planning in advance how they could badger him for saying it, and how they would spin his responses against him. No bias there.

"We came, we saw, he died! LOL!" -Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Heckuva job, Hillary. You should be proud of how you established a democratic peace over there in Libya and Egypt.


For those who missed it, an act of war was committed the other day. Well, ANOTHER act of war. But the United States as a nation has decided to totally overlook the fact that we are currently engaged in fourth-generation welfare against islamists who obey the Sunnah.

Hint: you can't have legitimate victory until AFTER you have named -and beaten- an enemy.

Thanks, Lorax

"A tree falls the way it leans. Be careful which way you lean, kid." -the Lorax

As I lay awake it occurs to me that this idea has ominous implications for America because half of us pay no income tax. Fortunately that is the half less-inclined to vote but the margin is shrinking. This is why I'm not blogging as much any more. President Obama has cost me my hope. The country is doomed, whether Romney or Obama goes in, and if Romney goes in you can argue it will get worse FASTER. I already told you don't be surprised at anything that happens after they elect a socialist to the whitehouse. Rage against it all you like, Obama is an idealogue and he'll do what he "thinks" is "fair". If Mittens gets in I think I'll pick it up more, because there is hope that he can be persuaded. Okay, it is certain he can be persuaded and if you keep his phone ringing he'll do what is right. That is, after all, his platform: "you like that oh I like that too!" But Democrats have phones to call him also.

Romney: for big government, for gun control, and just came out and said he would KEEP parts of obamacare. Of course, we can't call it Romneycare because they already call in Massachusetts the bankrupt system he set up there as Governor. All we need is this guy with a compliant House and Senate. At least Obama would likely face four years of gridlock.

Also: waking up to noises and smells of a dog having messed the bed is not great, especially when you've just finished sleeping enough to not be sleepy any more, three hours before time to wake up at the start of a long day.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

IF You Had a Sketchy Few Minutes There

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
---you'll be a Man, my son!

You know it's a rough morning when Kipling is instructing you in manhood before 07:00. Well, it was a rough ten minutes, anyway. The morning is barely starting.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Don't Tell ME What To Compound, Sister.

Every once in a while I rub up against the government in a way that makes me want to scream and commit acts of violence against people just trying to do their jobs. I went with #2 and #3 to get my usual "your largest quantity generic 30mg pseudoephedrine tablet" at the local pharmacy counter and the girl asked me who it was for, as I was paying. I indicated it was for #2 and #3, and she was thrown totally off her game. She asked how old #2 is and I told her.

She came back with a timid " . . . well, you know he has to be at least 12 years of age . . . "

I told her " . . . or I could give him the liquid preparation (that they carry on the shelf above the box of pills I'm buying) or I could grind it up and give it to him in something else like y'all would do."*

she continues to ring me up as I am pretty obviously not having any of her jive and very obviously over 12 years of age, but she says " . . . but . . . he has to be at least 12 . . . "

After we exited the store, I did a little brainwashing against unreasoning government that started with "that lady said she wants you to suffer with allergies for four more years . . . "


*What I also could have said was: "Excuse me but I can't help noticing you are rather young. Perhaps it has escaped your notice, but current recommendations and guidelines for administration of pseudoephedrine to children are based on questionable science and unquestionably bad legislation, due to kneejerk politics instead of logic. When you were still in high school, I would come into this very store and purchase -(turn around and point) right off that shelf over there- a tiny bottle called Infants' Tylenol Cold that was magic when used as directed on THIS boy (point at #2) when he was a few MONTHS old. I know that people are stupid and can't think, but I am not people I am a Person and a Man besides, and I know how to calculate doses based on weight just fine, and I read my labels to make sure I don't give anyone a fatal dose of anything. Which would be a neat trick with sudafed, now that this blessed wonderful drug is behind the counter and that crap phenylephrine which does nothing is on the shelf and the kids of America can't breathe. I happen to know for a fact that dosed by weight THIS kid (point at #2) takes one red pill and gets better. THIS kid (point at #3) takes half that much from (point at shelf behind counter) that bottle and gets better. Look at my face. See how the beard is cut, note the shape of the glasses. Remember this face and do yourself a favor. Never talk to me again about how old my boy should be before I give him the thing that makes him able to breathe.

But I didn't. One would hate to be escorted from the store for being mad at our Elected Heroes to the pharmacy clerk.

Mitt Romney Wins 3:1 Landslide Victory over Obama!!!1!

Borepatch puts more than his intuitive hunch to work and comes up with a landslide victory for Mitt Romney. I have said before, it would not surprise me to see a landslide win with very low turnout. Very, very low for the Democrats vs. moderate numbers for the Republicans. We'll see. If it weren't for the power over the rules made and enforced (or ignored) by the executive branch and the power to appoint judges, I wouldn't care about this election either way. Not that I don't care; that's just how big a Romney fan I am.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

DIY/Solved! Move Windows AND Programs to New Computer for FREE

I'm ugrading my work computer. This is like a 50% power boost so it's worth some time. I put more time in it than I had to; this is a single-day affair if you're being slow and doing regular work in between telling the computer what to do. It went wrong in various ways, but finally I was able to transfer Windows XP from one computer to a totally different machine, with all my programs and files intact. When I finally found the proper method, it was super easy! NO extra software is required if you have two legit Windows licenses and a Windows installation CD.

First I used the Seagate-branded Acronis disk copying software to clone my hard drive in case something stupid happened (and it did, repeatedly, because I didn't do things in quite the right order the first go-round). Then I set the original disk aside and booted the clone hard drive, told XP to upgrade itself to the version of itself on the XP installation CD, then shut down the computer. Instead of letting it reboot and "complete" the update on my old box, I moved the hard drive to the new machine and let it continue with the "upgrade".

I had seen the MichaelStevensTech page with similar instructions but it was presented in an intimidating manner. Then I found this page at Development Stuff that covered it in more-accessible language.

Paul's Computer Service
saved my bacon when it all seemed to work but hung at a black XP logo splash screen saying "please wait". It wanted a newer version of Internet Explorer than was on my XP installation CD. Boot into safe mode, install IE, install chipset drivers, reboot, activate, download a couple hundred megabytes of updates and we're done!

It works like a champ now. Thanks everybody!

Travails along the way:

First, I tried the dead-easiest way: (clone the HDD and) slap the hard drive into the new PC. Believe it or not, this HAS worked for me in the past when the PCs were close-enough to the same configuration. This looked initially encouraging, but it ended up in an endless reboot cycle, only getting as far as the splash screen before restarting. Trying the whole thing again with a Repair Installation of XP also looked promising, but also ended in an endless reboot loop. In safe mode it would get as far as a 7B stop error (STOP! I can't read the hard drives, hoss!). I tried this a couple times and killed the boot sector on the disk somehow. I changed the BIOS SATA setting to Legacy (ATA also worked) and got past the 7B stop to an Error Loading Operating System error. That was because it couldn't boot from the disk with a broken boot sector. The data was all there, but this required a full low-level format (fixmbr, fixboot, fdisk/mbr didn't work). I installed a fresh copy of Windows on the new drive to be sure it would boot and re-cloned the drive. THEN I did it the right way.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Austin Teachers 2013 Pay Raise

It must be nice to have a job in a labor pool with such low demand and high supply that there are 50 applicants for every job opening, and they still talk about pay rises in a down economy. Excuse me for noticing that the pay increase going to teachers who have sweet, sweet union contracts come straight out of the pay checks of NON government employees.

Austin is stupid.

Why The Ryan Budget Balanced: Dynamic Modeling

The Congressional Budget Office, by law, must only consider static calculations when marking up budget proposals. By this logic, a tax decrease means revenues fall (in contrast to twice in recent history when revenues ROSE huge when taxes FELL huge). Static calculations also say that when taxes are increased revenues to the government will increase. Funny then, how in Spain when they raised taxes and expected 4.3% increases, revenue just fell by 3.5%.

Really, the international left should do something about this pesky reality mucking up the numbers.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Obama Campaign Wants You To Dislike Mormons.

Well, they did until Buzzfeed asked about it, and then the helpful suggestion was yanked off the Dashboard . . . but the Internet never forgets.
Gee, if only someone could have guessed that those on Obama's side would try to make you dislike mormonism because Mitt is one. Oh wait, I did. Except I thought the actual campaign people would be decent enough to leave it alone and let the Press exploit the issue. No, that would be the actual campaign workers, encouraged to highlight the differences between LDS and Christianity. Well I guess somebody had to be first, and the campaign beat the press to it.

They will, of course, leave Catholics alone because both Ryan and Biden are them. Discussing Obama's reigion is old news, so why bother? Right? I mean didn't we run a 10-second spot once talking about it?

Hat tip: Instapundit.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Not Dead, Still Busy

The last many nights have been split between sleep, family, and getting the next batch of stuff ready for sale on eBay.

Can anybody loan me a few extra man-hours? Preferably for the really high-skilled labor-intensive stuff so I can just kick it with the family.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sustainable Depends Upon Comprehension of Sustainance.

Tokelau is getting a solar-and-palm oil energy generation scheme, funded by a few million dollars from New Zealand. It will be rotten and dead and forgotten within a decade and Tokelau will be back on diesel, and the "environmentally-conscious" people who stole the $6M from the good people of NZ will have forgotten all about it (unless they send a full-time bureaucracy to maintain this madness).

But, until it all turns solid rust-brown and the coconuts are stolen to feed the children, look how very sustainable it all is!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Art Imitating Preventing Life

So today at work, as usual, there was a crash, followed by snarky commentary:

Stuff: (crash)
RR: Safety first!
NP: Safety third!
VFD: Safety somewhere in the consideration, but let's not get carried away.

This sort of amusement happens more-or-less constantly at our company, so this one slipped into my personal /dev/null. Then to my surprise, I read a story from Skegness (in England, as you know) that illustrates the principle that we can, indeed, get carried away with safety considerations.

Skegness has a jolly fisherman for a mascot. There's an antique statue and everything. The statue has its arms out to the sides, all gay & skippin' around & whatnot. Well there are plans being laid for another statue. This replacement was to have its arms tight in by the body. This, of course, prevents children swinging on the outstretched arms, slipping off, getting hurt, and bringing lawsuits. The decision to be safer than reasonable so outraged the citizens that the plan to sissify the statue is being reconsidered.

Because [deleted] the kids. And safety. They'll figure it out after a couple of falls anyway.

England used to be the power of the western world, and truly manly beards were in evidence everywhere. They barely decided not to have Awesome be part of their name but settled on Great instead. Now look. Look and point and laugh, and be sure to never, ever vote Democrat.