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.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Sunday, January 22nd, 2017 07:39 am
To all the LiveJournal refugees who remembered me and friended me again here, thank you.

To all the Dreamwidth people who remembered me when I first came here and friended me, thank you.

To all the new folks who are haven't known me at all and are just picking me up, thank you.

I call you all - affectionately - the Zoo Crew. Just because it rhymes. And in this Zoo, there are no cages.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Saturday, January 21st, 2017 06:02 pm
-streaming movies-

Even though I followed the instructions multiple times, I could not get my Amazon account to log into my Xbox.

Read the instructions, followed the instructions, blah blah, rented a movie on the website, still would not log me in.

The error? A problem logging in! We'll send you an email with a code.

Did that. Still can't log on.

So watched 'Tank Girl' on my PC. It was worse than I expected. How the frell wrote that mess?

I finally chatted with a tech at Amazon who had me clear, redownload, turn the xbox off and on, log back in - fail - and finally try one more time entering in the secret code they email me.

I'm not sure what the clog in the system was but it seems to be working now. Or they did some magic in the back ground.

Iron Man marathon postponed for now... but still on the calendar.

Oh, and apparently you can't order from the XBox... you have to order on the website then go watch it. Bad back end design if they wanted to make this the Media Box for the home.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Saturday, January 21st, 2017 12:36 pm
I'm not really that good at prediction, but I'm going to give it a shot.

It'll go down in this order:

China flexes it's muscles in the South China Sea

Trump sends in the fleet to confront them.

If someone gets trigger happy the Chinese fleet will not do well against the American fleet. I'm not going down that fork... it's too messy to guess at. North Korea might lob some missiles but they'll probably end up shooting themselves in the foot.

If not, tensions will still be high. The Chinese government shuts down trade with the USA.

The US consumer electronics market crashes. Worse, the US IT market crashes. Most computer/networking/Internet components are Chinese in origin.

Walmart and similar stores crash. The US economy crashes.

While Trump points the finger at China for causing problems and attempts the rally the country behind him, Russia attacks the Ukraine.

(( The Russian tank corps will roll in about 150 miles before they break down. ))

Naturally, because Trump loves Putin, he stalls. NATO either becomes paralyzed or the Europeans say, "F*ck it", and unite long enough to take the war to Putin.

So we have the possibility of Polish and German troops marching side by side, entering the Ukraine and being hailed... as liberators.

Pity about the millions who will get killed, displaced and injured.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Friday, January 20th, 2017 08:04 am
On Donald Trump's very special day, let's review his past enterprises:

Trump Vodka - fail

Trump Steaks - fail

Trump Ice (WTF?) - fail

Trump Shuttle - fail

Trump Towers (Toronto) - fail

Trump casinos - multiple fails

The list goes on and on. In fact, I'll bet Trump Vacuum Cleaners would be the only thing that didn't suck.

There is one product that Trump can put his face on that will sell - Trump Toilet Paper.

'Cause I can't wait to wipe my ass with his face.


EDIT - from

At Chocolate Moose, a novelty gift shop a half-mile from the White House, shelves were lined with Trump whoopee cushions and chocolate miniatures of the Capitol. The Trump mask, a Halloween favorite, was back in stock.

“Up to now, absolutely, it’s been all about the gag stuff,” said Michele Cosby, the store’s owner.

The best-selling item? Toilet paper emblazoned with Trump’s face. “We sold cases upon cases of it,” Cosby said. “And at $12 a roll, it wasn’t cheap.” (But, she added, she stopped selling the popular item once Trump became president-elect: “We didn’t want to cross the line.”)
malada: bass guitar (Default)
Thursday, January 19th, 2017 07:59 am
I'm throwing this out there because... well, I can. And hell, it might be accurate.

I doubt it but if I can poke the short fingered vulgarian, I will.

We all know Trump is a serial liar, a con man and a generally nasty person. We know that from his history and behaviors. Let's tilt the viewing angle slightly.

His lifestyle is gold plated and tacky.

He displays a profound dislike of women in general.

At the same time he works really hard at being a 'lady's man'.

Obsessed with masculinity.

His wives tend to look like pre-pubescent boys with boobs and long hair.

He's got a 'thing' for strong, manly men.

Now, add that up with the fact that prostitutes come in both sexes...

I'm not saying that Trump is a closet queen - I can't tell - my gay-dar is notoriously inaccurate. Just consider the possibilities.

Because the Republicans don't care if your a thief, a con man, a liar, a hypocrite, a womanizer - damn, they like those kind of people! - but they just can't stand Teh Gay.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Saturday, January 14th, 2017 11:43 am
- suspicious activity -

At the moment, I'm just casually poking around seeing what I can do with this puppy. Mostly, I'm cruising YouTube and playing a demo game of 'Bejewelled'. It's a nice mindless game but it helps me learn how to use the controller.

I briefly logged into Diablo 3 - the game that was stuck in the box when I found it. I thought I had it set to play locally but I saw other gamers - so it must have dropped me in a game somewhere. I immediately logged off because I didn't want to deal with other players. I may play the game solo but I don't want to join teams and play with 14 year olds.

I notice a lot of the Youtube videos for the XBox sound like teenage males. I'm old enough to be your grandmother, kid.

To get to the meat of the story, I log in and discover I can't log into XBox Live. I get the error code


This profile cannot be downloaded right now.

Status Code 8015D000


To quote from the MS web site:

If Microsoft notices unusual activity on your or account, we may temporarily block it for your protection.


Supposedly, this means that there's been suspicious activity on my account and they want me to log in via my email account.

Gee, I've had the account for two weeks, tops?

I go to my computer and jump through hoops to log in because... well, I can't. I finally get the codes from my cellphone (they only send text messages which my land line doesn't do) get confirmation from my other email account, log in and change the password, look around for any suspicious activity. Nope. Nothing. Some promotions from XBox, an email from another one of my accounts, nothing bought.

I still tightened up my security and blocked most things from my account.

Not sure what's going on here. A security glitch? Is the console serial number still attached to somebody else? I did wipe the drive so it should be okay but maybe they're still tracking by the console number. The console suddenly stop playing COD (there was a bunch of saved games for Call of Duty on the drive), all the accounts were deleted and a new one created. That might have twigged some algorithm.

So, trying out streaming movies is still on my bucket list. Maybe sometime this weekend I'll rent 'Tank Girl'. I heard was a movie so bad it was good so why not?

I'll do an 'Iron Man' marathon some other weekend.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Saturday, January 14th, 2017 11:36 am
-! Microsoft !-

For it's raw capabilities, the XBox 360 was a pretty decent bit of hardware. When it was released it had exceptional graphics and processing power for the price. However, all of this power was locked under code and intertwined hardware. It was structured and designed to be what Microsoft wanted and now anything else.

Of course, hackers are an ingenious bunch who like to poke at the loop holes in the code. Like the original XBox people started finding ways to get around the blocks to make it do what *they* wanted. In the case of the original XBox there were enough loopholes for people to install custom Linux distros and tie a bunch of them together to create micro super computers.

Not so much with the 360. And with ever successful hack and crack the wonder folks at MS are busy patching them. To really hack a 360 you need external probes, soldering skills and specialized software to crack the system. These cracks will work usually until the next kernel update. It would not surprise me if there were people at MS whose job it is to patrol the hacking community to find the latest attacks and fix them.

Because, well they want you to use their product their way.

To be honest... most of the hacks and cracks are to play either pirated games or games not approved my MS. It keeps all the money flowing to MS. They've lawyered up to protect their games from being copied. Cracked and pirated games may be cheaper - if not free - but my thoughts are that if the pirates are willing to cheat MS they'll have no problems cheating you.

Just like the Big Boys I can easily see pirates putting in back doors and data scrapping code to lift your account and credit card information. Data mining is big business to sell your information to *cough* advertisers (NSA, CIA, FBI, and all those Russia letters too).

Again, you really don't own your hardware that you've bought. I'm betting MS loses money on the hardware - it's the subscriptions and official games, downloadable content, and the money they get from the streaming video services (hello, Amazon) when you rent movies.

More of you get to rent stuff - not own stuff.

It's the back end where they make their money, not in selling game consoles. The original vision was not just to be a game box though, it was to be a media hub where you store your music, rent your movies and play your games on. One box does it all! And we have chat rooms and audio/video conferences so all your social media needs are right here in this one box!

Eh, not... quite.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Wednesday, January 11th, 2017 04:31 pm
- how much was the part? -

My part(s) came in from Amazon! Specifically, a little rubber band that drives the gears that open and close the DVD tray. I look at the old part verses new part - the new part looks thinner and definitely smaller than the original.

Oh, and I had to order 10 of them. Total cost plus shipping - about 10 bucks. A dollar a piece.

Install it, spend half an hour fussing with the alignment and... tray goes in, tray comes out.

Yes, a gaming console worth maybe 120 dollars on the used market was smashed up and discarded because of the failure of a dollar part.

A part that was buried deep into the machine and difficult to get at.

It's worth a lot less because the plastic case got all smashed with the original owner trying to get out his game disk. I'm betting that the machine saw a lot of abuse over the years as the rubber part slowly stretched out of shape and the DVD drive got beaten to death.

The electronics are operational. After a good cleaning and wiping of the hard drive it seems to operate just fine. This is not unusual for electronics anymore - from the manufacturing date this beast is about 8 years old. I've got computers that still work that are older - but outdated. Yes it's nice to have new things with better technology and yadda yadda - but building things with the part most likely to fail inaccessible to most people is... in my humble opinion... just bad design. It's designed to be hard to fix so you *have* to replace.

At this point I could invest in replacement plastic case and make it look pretty again, of just enjoy the ugly metal inside case.

But there's whole side of the XBox I'm discovering... mostly through Google and Xbox forums... that shows another side to this device both good, bad and really ugly.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Sunday, January 8th, 2017 04:48 pm
My eyes have gotten really bad over the past few years. However, I've had a pretty good eye surgeon to help restore my vision.

Cataract removal, implant lenses, laser surgery and even cornea replacement has brought my eyes from 'it's getting hard to drive' to nearly normal. My night vision isn't as good as it used to be though.

One thing that has changed since my eyesight has improved is the realization of how lax I've been in the cleaning department. I'm a cluttered person (I'm still working on that) but I'm not a dirty person. Well... I can now clearly _see_ that the floor needs to be mopped more often and my shelves need to be dusted. So, I'm getting back to regular cleaning around the house.

Decluttering isn't something I need to do periodically but to do *all the time*. I understand people who hoard things - I'm borderline there. I keep stuff around forever just in case it might be *useful*. And I have thrown stuff out I've kept for years and then found a use for it a week later.

That said I've kept stuff for decades and never used them.

Slowly, I make progress. The first part is to not *collect* stuff in the first place. Then to weed through what I have and slowly, make room.

And keep an eye on the dust and dirt.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Sunday, January 8th, 2017 01:18 pm
-networking, cabling, movies unavailable and a bass guitarist-

I like Cat 5 cable. It's more secure and reliable than WIFI - so I have our computers wired up to our Internet router, then into a switch for my 2 - sometimes 3 - systems. Also from the Internet router I have a 75 foot drop of scrounged cat 5 that goes to the basement (where I have the Laboratory) and into another switch. From there there's a drop up into the living room.

I have more cable so I ran another length to from the basement router to the Snow Box... and fought with connectors for a few hours. It didn't work. I suck. Bought replacement connectors and tried them. It still doesn't work. I suck. Checked the cable for continuity - it's fine.

I've always had a slight tremor in my hands making really fine work difficult - like wiring up cable connectors. It's gotten worse as I've gotten older. So I just suck at this stuff.

So I take the connection I *do* have to the living room and wire it up to a cheap switch.

So I have 4 ports from the Internet router - three in use. One goes to my housemate's computer, one to my switch, another to the basement switch. The basement switch is has eight ports - one is connected to the switch in the living room (8 ports) which two ports are used. Yes, it's silly but it works.

So how about a nice movie to watch on my old but big TV in the living room. Download the Amazon app! No, I don't want to pay monthly to join Amazon Prime. Look for Tank Girl.... not available? Well, shoot. Download the YouTube app. Search for Tank Girl - it wants me to go to another site... which I can't click on in my Snow Box. Or it's been pulled because of DMCA violation. Okay. Check with the computer... go to the site... log in? Create an account? What kind of skeevy site is this? Go back and try another version. Same thing except it sends me to a different skeevy site that wants me to create an account.

Hello, guys! I've got this credit card... I just want to stream this movie. I'll pay a few bucks because I'm a Good Girl. I don't want to join some skeevy site to watch an older movie.

Back to my computer... ah.... I need to sign on to my Amazon account to stream/download movies! Okay. But I had to dig through the website to find out. The apps aren't really intuitive or informative.

And cruising the web on the Snow Box? Eeeeewwwww.... Internet Explorer!

However, checking out YouTube I did find a clip of Jack Bruce talking about and playing 'NSU'. Heard of him? No? Great bass player. He was in this group called Cream - or The Cream. You might of heard of the guitarist, some slow hand named Eric Clapton. Now I know that 'NSU' stands for non-specific urethritis - which is a urinary tract infection that is not Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It's a sexually transmitted disease. Jack related that it was first song he wrote for Cream. It was called that because Clapton had it at the time. X-D.

It's a great song and the words have nothing to do with STDs.

Waiting for parts to arrive - the DVD drive sort of opens when it wants to and I can hear it trying to open. If I pry it while it's making noise it opens and closes - at least for a little while.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Friday, January 6th, 2017 06:36 pm
I'm investing 5 bucks into getting some replacement rubber bands to replace the old one in the DVD. I only need one but they come in packs of 8. Oh well...

Downloaded the trial version of Bejeweled and found it was a fun way to get used to using the controller. Of course, it bugs me on every level to 'unlock' the full version. After doing a few levels I thought, 'Heck, it's Bejeweled. How much can it be?'

15 DOLLARS!!!!????!!!!

That's a big old NOPE.

I guess no one's heard of the words 'micro payments'. If Bejeweled was just a couple of dollars I'd spring for it. In the meantime I'll check out the Used section of GameStop.

Streaming movies is the next experiment.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Monday, January 2nd, 2017 03:52 pm
- where I ask.... why so nosey? -

Heheheheh. The soapy hot water did the trick! It didn't work at first so I gently pried open the drive again, dropped in the game disk just to check if the disk drive still read the disk. Closed it manually and the game started up. Nope.

Restarted the console with disk still in it and the game loaded.

I pressed the eject button... and out it came!

So I opened and closed the DVD drive a couple of times and it now seems to work!

So I loaded up game again - still keeping it off the net - even though it always bugs me to reconnect - and created a character.

And it won't play the game.

It seems this is a game where even in off line mode you have to be connected to XBox Live to play it. Now why can that be? Is there some vital piece of the game missing or are they just being noisy pokers?

I swear, I'm tired of all the tracking and data mining. And if I'm going to use this thing in my living room I'm going to have to run another cable to the router. I don't mind running a little Cat 5 cable... it's just a pain to *need* to be online to play games.

-to be continued

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Monday, January 2nd, 2017 02:33 pm
- more geekery to start out the new year -

To be honest, I haven't done anything truly geeky yet - all it's been is Googling, checking tear down videos and such and a heck of a lot of cleaning.

I used the vacuum cleaner on the mother board and fans... then Clorox wipes... then came the canned air. Then we come to heart of the matter - the DVD drive. Be gentle with the connectors, 4 screws and we're in. Yep. Just like the rest of the Box - filthy dirty fuzz.

Clean clean clean. Now it doesn't smell as badly of cigarette smoke - just cigarette smoke and Clorox wipes. What can I say? It's a step up.

Let dry... reassemble. Without the plastic case the hard drive kinda hangs on but that can be dealt with later. You can transfer things to a USB stick which may be the way to go in the future.

Power up... and the console still boots! Hit the eject button and... nope. The DVD drive doesn't want to eject.

I can buy a replacement DVD drive but I'd have to swap the electronics. Er.... don't think so. It actually isn't that difficult if you have a steady hand and can solder well if the YouTube video is accurate. I can solder... but my hands are too shaky for delicate work. If it was just replacing the whole drive... hey, at 15 dollars, why not?

I could just cut the wires and solder the wires to the original wires - or create some kind of plug system.... hmmm.....

I suspect the little rubber band that drives the gears that eject the disc is too worn and stretched out. So I'm giving it a soak in warm soapy water to see if that helps. A package of 10 of them is like 4 bucks. Now that has possibilities.

Again, for the lack of a 40 cent part... to fix a console maybe worth 60 dollars to replace? What a crappy design. And of course it's something you need knowledge and patience and the right tools to fix. All to get you to buy the next newest console. And I'll bet most of the new games need the new console. Buy buy buy people... keep the wheels of capitalism moving!

I could also replace the broken plastic console housing too for around 20 bucks. Or not and build one out of wood because why not?

Still, it's interesting to see how designs are deliberately made to make it hard for the layman - or moderately knowledgeable geek - to fix their own stuff. I haven't given up yet.

-to be continued

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Sunday, January 1st, 2017 11:26 am
2017 - you'd better be good or I'll find some way, dog and the FSM willing, to kick your ass.

To be completely honest, this year promises to be hell. We've got Donald Trump taking office with the nuclear codes at his grubby little fingertips and he doesn't have a clue how to run things. He is surrounding himself with billionaire bankers whose only thoughts are how to rip people off and toadies who will bow and scrape at his every whim.

And science and reality deniers every one.

Hey, all you Republicans in the House and Senate... how does it feel to kneel to a lesser man?

Hey, don't blame me! I voted for taco trucks on every corner - what do I get? Nazi parades on every channel.

Game face on folks.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Saturday, December 31st, 2016 04:43 pm
-open that puppy up-

After skimming some of the disassembly web pages and videos I have my Torx screw drivers and my flat head screw driver. Let's take the plastic shell off this puppy.

The sides/top bottom came off fairly easily. I suspect that the box has been taken apart before. A few bits of plastic came off with them so this thing has seen some warfare. Inside was filthy and I used up more Clorox wipes.

Then came the top/sides. I managed to get one half of the plastic shell off and was dissssssgusted. Screw the wipes I took the plastic pieces to the basement sink to wash out the fuzz and dead bugs. Yuck. Dead bugs. More Clorox wipes for the metal case.

This is where I goofed up. I didn't watch the disassembly videos close enough. After removing the first half you're supposed to remove 6 really long screws to release the other half. I ended up breaking the plastic mountings for the screws. I'm not concerned as I have no interest in reassembling the console back into the plastic shell. More Clorox wipes and another round of washing the plastic shell.

Then I took the metal box and sprayed it with bug killer. Then I cleaned the floor where I had disassembled the console.

I still need to open up the metal box to get at the DVD drive... but I'm pretty sure I know what I'm going to find inside - more fuzz, dirt and possibly dead bugs.

-to be continued