malada: bass guitar (Default)
Saturday, May 27th, 2017 06:53 am
For a brief time, Micro Soft was allowing people to download ISO images of Windows 7. Since most computers don't come with a separate disc with back up software, they were allowing people to download the operating system so they could have it. At least, I think that was the reasoning.

I grabbed Windows 7 professional both 32 and 64 bit for the two Win 7 machines in the house.... just in case. Of course you need an activation key to make they work. But since I have them with the machines that's not a problem.

Now there are places on line that will sell you activation codes - usually from systems that have been retired or recycled. Usually. I did find a site that posted a whole pile of codes for 'student use'.

I got two computers with dead hard drives. I used some live Linux distros to check the rest of the hardware so I know they both work okay. One worked surprising well with Linux finding the built in WIFI chip and weird AMD graphics set up.

The question is.. could I replace the hard drives and load up Win7 on them with the disks and codes I found on the Internet?

Short answer? Yes. Long answer? Not really. The result is kinda sketchy because they're not Genuine MS products. If you just use the bare ISOs and sketchy activation codes you get basic Windows 7. It takes hours to load up and then you get the barest of drivers. So then you hunt down the drivers... and reboot after each one is installed. More hours of work. Then there's the many many updates and security patches to Windows to download... best done overnight IF you don't have one that asks you questions (and some do). One of the things about the updates is that some of them are designed to find sketchy installs - like the two I did - and let you know that the software is not genuine, registered software and won't you really like to buy the real thing?

There are ways around these notices... for now. I'm sure MS has a few people working to shut down any sketchy operating systems with the next security patch. The machines do work. Sort of. Usually you need to dig into the Registry to make them function. But even after all the work of getting the operating system, the hardware drivers and dodging the notices that say 'hey, this isn't really registered software' ... you have to download Firefox or Chrome and all the other software that make a computer productive.

So after spending days patching together two sketchy Windows 7 machines... the thought occurs to me: do I really want to deal with sketchy Windows machines?

Nope. They're a pain in the ass and who want's pirated software? I did this more out of curiosity than wanting to own a Windows machine. If I really want a Windows 7 machine I'll buy one second hand.

It's a log of work wasted in a sense, but I'll be wiping the hard drives and installing Xbuntu. The installs won't take is long, the updates are quicker, and they come with all the standard software already installed. Web browsers, graphic viewers, media play back _already installed_. It takes less time, less hassle, you get more and it's all legal and nice!

Oh, did I mention that Linux is both more secure and free?

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Sunday, May 21st, 2017 01:01 pm
Some places in the news are making a big deal about Trump's bow/curtsy when receiving a medal (for what?) from the Saudi royalty. I can't tell much from the camera angles but I have another explanation about his strange posture, his half bow - half curtsy:

Back problems.

Make all the jokes you want about Trump being inflexible... but it appears he couldn't bend his back low enough to receive the medal... so he bent his knees. As someone who has suffered almost all her life with a bad back I sort of have some compassion and understanding if this was the case. Of all the things to bash on Trump about this is the least important thing I can think of.

Selling the Saudi's millions (billions?) of dollars of armaments? That's alarming. The Saudis are in a proxy war in Yemen and I'd hate to think of the bloodshed they're going to cause.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Friday, May 19th, 2017 08:12 am
So... Trump is going on a trip to visit foreign countries - where he does *not* have a resort.

With his staff in chaos, not a one of them a seasoned foreign affairs expert, does anyone think he's going to come out of this looking good?

Top points! He's visiting the pope! Why? In god's name, why?

He's going to Jerusalem! After outing an Israeli intelligence source to the Russians?

He's going to Saudi Arabia! Is Melania or Ivanka going to cover up?

Yes, he's a huge embarrassment to our country... but at this point I just want to get out the popcorn and watch him get skewered.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Monday, May 1st, 2017 06:36 pm
Dear congress critter....

I am astonished to find that - once again - Trumpcare is being brought up to replace the Affordable Care Act.

I have a pre-existing condition. I have epilepsy. I had my first seizure when I was a child and remember the moments before consciousness left me vividly. That was many decades ago and with proper medication I have been able to live a fairly normal life.

The prospect of being shunted into a 'high risk' pool due to my pre-existing condition is alarming to me. Being unable to afford health insurance due to higher insurance premiums is a real threat to me and to millions like me.

The American Medical Association is against Trumpcare. The AARP is against it. Even the Chamber of Commerce is against it. I ask you to keep the Affordable Care Act intact and functional and vote against the abomination that is Trumpcare.... because when you run the numbers... President Trump doesn't care.

Thank you.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Wednesday, April 26th, 2017 07:06 pm
Dear congress critter...

I read with alarm how cozy you were with President Trump and his tax plan. I don't know if you remember any of the previous tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. I do. They got a whole pile of cash and the deficit blew up.

Let me tell you something about 'trickle down' economics: it doesn't. Whatever money that the wealthy and the corporations - what are mostly owned and run by the wealthy - save by having their taxes cut *never* gets reinvested into the economy. It's used to buy back stock, invest in holding companies and spent on large luxury items for themselves. It *never* expands the economy. History has shown time and time again that giving tax breaks to the wealthy does *nothing* to help the economy grow.

It does help the deficit grow. A lot.

Oh, but you're going to give little people like me a tax cut too? I'll tell you what I told George W. Bush, "You can keep your chump change."

Do your research. History has shown again and again that cutting the taxes to the wealthy does not stimulate the economy. Look at Governor Brownback big tax cuts - now his state in mired in debt.

I hope you will study up on the subject - check your economics history - and learn from the past.

Thank you.
malada: bass guitar (Default)
Friday, April 21st, 2017 05:35 pm
The New York Times - and Glenn Thrush in particular - referred to Ted Nugent as:

" — a guitar demigod, knife-between-the-teeth hunter and conservative provocateur — "

which shows how little they know about rock music.

I've seen Ted Nugent live twice in my life... and BOTH times he was outclassed and out played by the 'warm up' bands.

The first time it was the fat man... and I swear he was the biggest man to ever pick up a guitar... by the name of Leslie West. He had a little group in the 1970s called Mountain. "Mississippi Queen" was the claim to fame. He was there with a drummer and bass guitarist... that's it. He played four songs... and was on stage for 40 minutes... 40 mind bending minutes of awesome guitar work. Ted Nugent and has army of other guitarists was a let down.

The second time the opening act was some new group which had just put out their first album. Their name was "Van Halen". Yeah... THAT Van Halen.

Ted Nugent is no guitar demigod but a washed up has been who I personally saw spiked by a fat old man and a young punk kid.
malada: bass guitar (Default)
Sunday, April 16th, 2017 01:19 pm
I don't know if it's just incompetence, chance or someone in North Korea has a clue.

After a lot of bluster from both the dictator of the USA and the dictator of North Korea... although the gunboats are in place, no shots were fired and no nuclear tests were demonstrated. This weekend.

Although there was a rocket launch by North Korea... which seems to have failed in some manner.

I'm suspecting that the ambitions of the leader are North Korea are well stated, sound, and based on the reality that they're still at war with South Korea and will give up power only after slaughtering millions of people... and they themselves are dead. So... missiles, nuclear weapons and an over sized army are an effective deterrent.

The *technical* reality is that over sized armies are relatively easy, missiles and nuclear weapons... yeah it's rocket science and not easy.

North Korean missile technology has not been shown to be reliable. I'm not surprised by this since this is a country where loyalty matters more than competence. Then there's the simple case of someone on the inside not tightening a few screws or crossing a wire here and there and ooops! There goes another missile test up in flames.

The biggest thing I see is the problem of China. China would much rather North Korea go away and stop causing problems... but it won't... because Face. And because China is the closest think to an ally, if North Korea does get attacked it must retaliate... because Face.

Of course, a united Korea... that faces West... would put a US ally at the border of China. I don't think the South Koreans look very favorably on China. I don't think most North Koreans do either.

We escaped destruction... this time. We escaped more through chance than any great effort by the President of Starving Nation or President of Orange Alert.

No wonder I have trouble sleeping at night.
malada: bass guitar (Default)
Saturday, April 15th, 2017 12:27 pm
With war with Syria (and possibly Russia) looming, and war with North Korea (and possibly China) looming... how about some good news.


Located near lovely (?) Binghamton NY the Animal Adventure Park is home to April the giraffe who's been pregnant for ... well forever. Until this morning.

Sometime Saturday morning... you can go to the news sites to see the archived videos... April gave birth! I scrubbed through it... because from the point of hooves appearing to the final drop was nearly 2 hours. I was amused that the branding switched from Toys R Us to Babies R Us.

So with the threat of global thermonuclear war just on the horizon... enjoy a bit of life before we're all turned into to deep fried people.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Saturday, April 8th, 2017 03:04 pm
Let's see... Shayrat airbase was hit with 59 cruise missiles.

Estimated cost per missile - 1.2 million for an estimate total cost of 70.8 million dollars for a few hours (?) of bombardment.

Amount of damage done to the Syrian airforce - practically none.

Amount the Corporation for Public Broadcast spent in 2014: 445.5 million dollars. This is for 24/7 365 days worth of programming of public television, radio and web features.

So for about 6% of a year's worth of PBS we get absolutely nada. And remember, this was just a few hours (?) of missile launches. Image what a full scale war would cost... in just equipment, let alone blood.

Tell me again how wonderful Trump is at running things?

Don't be fooled, this is just window dressing. A pretty fireworks display to distract us. Militarily this was a stupid and wasted move that effected nothing on the ground - especially if the Russians and possibly the Syrians themselves were warned.

Stay frosty.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Friday, April 7th, 2017 08:02 am
I logged into LiveJournal and updated my user pic.... to the one with Putin as a Gay Clown.

You know the one... the one that's illegal to post in Russia?


malada: bass guitar (Default)
Saturday, March 25th, 2017 12:08 pm
With the Republicans in disarray Friday over the AHCA bill - half of them thinking it's going to hurt the people they represent and destroy their re-election chances - and the other half thinking it doesn't hurt people *enough* - the bill was withdrawn.

I'm sure it will be back.

But as I emailed to my representative about this abomination, "In the words of Andy Rooney, 'It costs more, you get less and it's not as good.'"

Meanwhile the popular vote loser is busy making mess out of government leaving positions unfilled, or placing incompetents or people actually hostile to the departments they're heading in charge. He's playing golf while the government burns after he threw gasoline all over and passed out matches to pyromaniacs.

Obamacare stills stand - but those who want to increase Suffering will still work to gum it up and cause it to fail like they want to do with most of the government.

Keep resisting. My congress critter will be hearing more from me. They've got a list... so do I.

I will not forget. I will not forgive. I will not join hands and work with an opposition that actively seeks to harm me. No singing Kumbaya from me.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Saturday, February 25th, 2017 09:09 pm
I have two odd traits - I'm cheap and I think I'm a fix-it-up wizard. The last one has some basis in fact but it isn't necessarily so.

I want to continue to fix up the SnowBox - if just for appearance sake... but the local Xbox fix it places won't sell me a replacement case. So... I started cruising Ebay. You might see where this is going....

Knowing my own thought glitches I set parameters so I would hopefully get what I wanted - a replacement plastic case - and maybe some other Xboxes to play with within a certain price range.

I ended up buying two Xboxes - labelled complete, in good physical shape, with power brinks and all cables - but don't power up. And one hard drive. With shipping it came just at my price point.

At the same time I ordered a few more tools from Amazon. Yes, I was a bad girl.

The Xboxes arrived with extreme speed! Before the Amazon stuff. After examining the two boxes I realized two things: first, the cases weren't going to work with the SnowBox - they were a different style. Second, they wouldn't power up because they sent the wrong power bricks. Heh.

It's the kind the Snowbox takes. And they were in better shape. Swap time!

A quick trip to the local GameStop taking with me the old brick and I got credit towards the correct one! Take it home, plug it in... one of then boots! Woo hoo! I felt so happy with my note book writing down the serial numbers and the kernel numbers. Just putzing around making notes of all the parameters I could find... pure joy. Can't explain it. Wire it up to the Internet... check networking... it's a BANNED CONSOLE.

Microsoft will ban a console - not an account, but the actual hardware - from XBox Live because it had been hardware hacked. It also seems like if you're a real sh*t they'll ban your hardware and your account. There doesn't seem to be a way to unban a console so I'm not sure where to go with this. I might actually see about chatting up a Microsoft tech about this.

This means I can't use it for XBox Live stuff. I'm not sure if I can download apps for it but game disks still work on it. The hard drive works but DVD drive is sticky. That I can fix. Fans are noisy. That I can fix.

The other has the 3 lights RING OF DEATH. That I might be able to fix when the tools come in from Amazon. So it's too soon to tell.

Now, for the good girl stuff.

I've got enough technical chops to resurrect some computers from the dead. I have a couple of old XP machines that I've done that with... but... what do I do with them? Nobody wants them. Oh, I can come up with some bogus excuse to hang on to them and play with them... in fact, I was considering upgrading the power supply in one because... well... reasons...

Or I could just recycle them and be free of them.

Be free of them.

After ripping out the hard drives they went into the trunk of my car. They accept electronics for recycling at work so they'll end up there Monday. Then I'll be free of them.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Friday, February 24th, 2017 08:44 pm
For Tolken it was Sauron. For the White Wolf games it was Pentax. You know... an entity or organization set about just to cause pain, suffering and hardship... because... reasons?

So it is with the Republican party. Forget their claims about 'Liberty' and 'Free Markets' - look at what their proposals will cause. Lifting restrictions on gun ownership by insane people? Bathroom police? Taking health insurance away from millions of people? Restrict the flow of critical health information from the Food and Drug Administration? Lifting the restriction that has *fiduciaries* take care of their client's interests first and not ripping them off?

It's like a bad novel where the bad guys like to hurt people because it's EVIL and BAD and they like causing suffering.

Yet... that is where we are at. We have a comic book villain as president surrounded by his toadies. They even look ugly... prime example... Ted Cruise. I wonder if he gets itchy wearing that human suit. I wonder what holds him up - by his on again off again love/hate relationship to Trump proved that he has no spine.

Bannon? There's an alien from outer space.

Unfortunately, this is not a novel or bad B monster flick ... but real life. So we (wo)man the barricades with our helmets of knitted pink yarn and march to meetings with our congress critters.

Raise hell. Resist. Not normal.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 08:05 am
So I'm got this rescued Xbox 360 with a broken outside case. It works but it looks ugly and I need a little screwdriver to turn it out.

Checking Ebay I could get a replacement case... or buy a 'dead' Xbox and swap cases. The only problem with that is the shipping costs.

So... why not check the local gaming stores? They except broken stuff for trade in... maybe they can help me out without the shipping costs.

Well, yes and no. They ship all the junk to the 'warehouse' to be refurbished and they don't sell certain parts to the general public. But... they would give me store credit for the old machine towards a refurbished machine.

So by trading in the Snowbox and paying 25 bucks I'd get a refurbished machine.

Eh, maybe not. The Snowbox works - that's the only important thing.

Ever since I rescued this machine from the garbage I've been feeling a little bad about obtaining somebody's device for 'free'. If I was Awesome and Super Cool I could have tracked down the owner (he didn't wipe the drive so I have his gamer name) and said, 'Dude, I fixed your box. Want it back?' However, cleaning out the dead insects from inside the box made me not want to meet this person. In addition, he could taken the device to GameStop and gotten himself a replacement machine with a small amount of scratch.

So, naw... don't feel bad about it anymore. I could have been an asshole and hijacked his account but I am Awesome and Super Cool. I just cleaned it, wiped it, fixed it and now I'm having fun with it.

Because raising equipment from the dead is what I do.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Tuesday, February 7th, 2017 08:12 am
I keep old computer boxens around to play with. If you upgrade the hardware to the max on some older Windows XP machines they operate fairly well. You dual boot with the latest Xbuntu Linux and they can really purr.

I prefer Xbuntu to regular Ubuntu because the XFCE interface is clean and sweet and not gummed up like the Unity interface. Also, the default XFCE utilities all work, unlike some of Unity's.

So what happens to that old boxen that you've gone from Xbuntu 12.04 (2012 release) to 14.04 (2014 release) to 16.04 (2016)? These are not clean installs like you really should do... but just let the system automatically upgrade to the latest release.

The upgrades take very well. Everything seems to work quite well if not better. It depends on your hardware really. However.....

Using an Ubuntu cleaning utility I discover almost 2 gb of outdated kernels, program cruft and old installs. It located nearly 2,000 outdated and unused items from the old installs.

If I was *smart* I would have wiped the drive and done a fresh installed of 16.04.

But what fun is that?

So I let the cleaner chew through the left over, outdated material... and watched it crash the system. Repeatedly. So I manually selected a few items at a time so it wouldn't overload the CPU. While it was doing that I played on my Snowbox, pausing every once in a while to add rerun the program.

So, you know those geeks who tell you that a clean install is best? They weren't kidding.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Sunday, February 5th, 2017 04:39 pm
I'm not a Facebook person - but I was directed to Ben Mallicote's post which I have copied and pasted in it's entirety. It's delicious.


Ben Mallicote on Facebook.

You voted for Trump because Clinton was going to be in Wall Street's pocket. Trump wants to repeal Dodd-Frank and eliminate the Fiduciary Rule, letting Wall Street return to its pre-2008 ways.

You voted for Trump because of Clinton's emails. The Trump administration is running its own private email server.

You voted for Trump because you thought the Clinton Foundation was "pay for play." Trump has refused to wall off his businesses from his administration, and personally profits from payments from foreign governments.

You voted for Trump because of Clinton's role in Benghazi. Trump ordered the Yemen raid without adequate intel, and tweeted about "FAKE NEWS" while Americans died as a result of his carelessness.

You voted for Trump because Clinton didn't care about "the little guy." Trump's cabinet is full of billionaires, and he took away your health insurance so he could give them a multi-million-dollar tax break.

You voted for Trump because he was going to build a wall and Mexico was going to pay for it. American consumers will pay for the wall via import tariffs.

You voted for Trump because Clinton was going to get us into a war. Trump has provoked our enemies, alienated our allies, and given ISIS a decade's worth of recruiting material.

You voted for Trump because Clinton didn't have the stamina to do the job. Trump hung up on the Australian Prime Minister during a 5pm phone call because "it was at the end of a long day and he was tired and fatigue was setting in."

You voted for Trump because foreign leaders wouldn't "respect" Clinton. Foreign leaders, both friendly and hostile, are openly mocking Trump.

You voted for Trump because Clinton lies and "he tells it like it is." Trump and his administration lie with a regularity and brazenness that can only be described as shocking.

Let's be honest about what really happened.

The reality is that you voted for Trump because you got conned. Trump is a grifter and the American people were the mark. Now that you know the score, quit insisting the con-man is on your side.


Speak Truth to Power, Ben.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Saturday, February 4th, 2017 07:18 am
During a recent bout of computer necromancy I - a lot of swapping parts from old 'projects' and buying cheap refurbished items - I ended up with a hard drive with 32 bit Win 7 on it.

Let's swap the drive into an Windows XP machine because... why not?

It was cranky but seemed to work okay but something would lock up the hard drive causing it to run constantly. After several attempts I got task manager to run and discovered the system was sucking up 90% of the cpu resources.

After fiddling with it for several days (off and on - not continuously and never quite seriously) I decided to try a Win7 Repair disk and try to rebuild Windows.

Now it doesn't even boot.

I *could* try a full reinstall with some *cough* gray market software keys but... why really bother? I've got Ubuntu. Chalk this up to "Well that didn't work" and move on. I've got better things to do.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Monday, January 30th, 2017 08:07 pm
Okay, I've bothered both of my Senators and my congress critter. Who's next?

I'm open for suggestions. Any way this old lady can make her voice heard is welcome.

Because Silence = Death.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Saturday, January 28th, 2017 05:34 pm
... I know someone from my online group who is need of a new computer.

His present system has a decent video card but has a single core processor, a small drive and... Windows.... Vista.


He's on a fixed income so a replacement system is out of the question.

My housemate has her old system - Quad core Intel with Windows 7 (32 bit - bummer - they got it when the 64 bit was still having teething problems) and a dying hard drive, and an old, old graphics card. Funny, it used to one of the top of the line cards way back when....

I donated an SSD drive, keyboard, mouse and a 19" monitor. The resolution isn't too hot but it was cheap and it works.

Clean up the drive - done. Still dying though.

Fuss with it until I get it to shrink from 320 gb to 220 gb - done. That was a pain in the neck.

Clonzilla the whole thing to the smaller 250 gb SSD drive. It took me a couple of tries because I forgot to use the secret switch to let it copy even thought the target drive is smaller. Done.

Whoa. That made a serious difference in performance.

Remove old graphics card and insert better one. It too was a spare from an upgrade.

*properly insert graphics card*

*remember to attach external power connection to the graphics card*

Update drivers - done.

Install a few programs to check performance - done.

Shipping is going to be a bit expensive but I'm sure we can handle it.

This has taken me several hours to do and a fair amount of Googling.... but it's ready to roll.

Now if I can only fine a use for some single core XP systems....

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Thursday, January 26th, 2017 09:21 pm
Hello congresscritter, I didn't vote for you so I'm stuck with you.

And now you're stuck with me.

I don't know how good it is emailing my congresscritter and senator about the outrageous bull that Trump is pulling but it's better than fuming in silence.

And if ALL of us start doing it then it might make a difference.

Go do that now.