Arthritis or Cancer? New Windows 10 Build Works; Free University Education

Chaos Manor View, Tuesday, June 30, 2015

There is a new build of Windows 10, and I had no trouble installing it. A cursory look failed to disclose the “improved” features replacing the old “Computer” and “Network” icons/commands which showed all the places you are connected to. I can use the Network command to see Precious from Alien Artifact (Windows 7, my main system now), but I can’t find any equivalent command in Windows 10. However, they have a lesson and I’ll go to that after lunch, and that may solve the mystery.

I think Microsoft has gone arrogantly mad. Having got used to networking with Windows 7, which just worked and came in just in time for me to decide to stay with Windows despite having been about to switch to Mac after the brutality of Vista – having done well with Windows 7, Microsoft decided to improve it to unusability. There were early signs that Windows 10 would keep the improvements of Windows 8 and bring back at least some of the comprehensibility of Windows 7, but those seem to be getting lost; but that may be my fault for not doing a systematic study of Windows 10. I can do almost everything with 7, so why spend any painful hours with 8 and after? But of course I do silly things so you don’t have to – one reason I bought the Surface Pro, and before the stroke set up a fast and powerful Windows 8 system – but I am perhaps less tolerant of the pain and frustration.

I recall a time when Microsoft had a unit of industrial psychologists who tested new Microsoft software using as test subjects junior and middle executives from Seattle businesses; but I guess the bean counters got that unit. It used to be that Bill Gates used this stuff and cared, but there seems to be no one of sufficient rank looking out for the interests of users now. Lots of Microsoft people use the Surface Pro, but they get so used to the improvements that they forget the old ways.

I suppose we’ll get through this, but I do wish they’d bring in a user or two when they go to improve something that we learned with some effort, but having learned it, it worked. Memory is cheap, CPU cycles are cheap, and few would notice if you left in some of the old stuff redundantly; and it would sure save wear and tear on older users.

Richard Hay’s Supersite for Windows, reports that the unusual thing about this build of Windows 10 is that there are no known issues: they probably have not found all the bugs, but they no longer know of any, and this in a pre-release build. Hurray.

It’s lunch time. I’ll do that lesson on the new build later this afternoon.


I have tried to get the Surface Pro to tell me of an easy way to get  “This Computer” and “Network”, but it always searches forever or sends me to odd places. Then Eric sent me this

Explorer should be in the task. Also WINKEY + E will create an Explorer window, as always.

Eric Pobirs

and Lo! It’s all true. WINKEY plus e produces a list. This Computer and Network are in it. When I choose Network,  Precious sees all the machines on the local net. They are on a different login and password, so I have a bit more work connecting to them, but it works. I can connect to them.  I suspect if I had known this simple, not obvious but not to be forgotten once known, command I wouldn’t have had all the frustrations I have had.  But I had the stroke just after installing the Surface Pro 3.

Of course Explorer is not on the Task Bar, or if it be there, I cannot recognize it. Also the stylus does not always count as a click when I tap the screen, and my finger control is not so good; the new Wireless Arc Mouse has solved that problem and I can cease to try to control Precious with the stylus, leaving it for actual writing.

Winkey – the key with the Windows symbol – plus E produces precisely what I need. So I will never have that problem again. Why that was never the answer to any of the dozens of inquiries I made about how to find the “Computer” or “This Computer” or “Network” commands is another story; perhaps a Microsoft programmer will read this. In any event I look forward to better relations with the Surface Pro 3 and Windows 10. Now if I could recover from my typing difficulties… But in fact that is slowly happening as I learn to type with two fingers. My biggest problem is that I often hit ALT at the same time as I hit the spacebar, and that produces an unwanted menu that threatens what I am doing and halts the flow of typing. I have to learn not to do that.  As a touch typist I never did. But I am learning.


Meanwhile there’s interesting news

Inflammation, Arthritis, and the vagus nerve

There’s a single nerve that connects all of your vital organs — and it might just be the future of medicine

clip_image003Lina Hayes/Flickr

When Maria Vrind, a former gymnast from Volendam in the Netherlands, found that the only way she could put her socks on in the morning was to lie on her back with her feet in the air, she had to accept that things had reached a crisis point.

“I had become so stiff I couldn’t stand up,” she says. “It was a great shock because I’m such an active person.”

It was 1993. Vrind was in her late 40s and working two jobs, athletics coach and a career for disabled people, but her condition now began taking over her life. “I had to stop my jobs and look for another one as I became increasingly disabled myself.” By the time she was diagnosed, seven years later, she was in severe pain and couldn’t walk any more. Her knees, ankles, wrists, elbows and shoulder joints were hot and inflamed. It was rheumatoid arthritis, a common but incurable autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks its own cells, in this case the lining of the joints, producing chronic inflammation and bone deformity. <snip>

Before I had brain cancer and x-ray treatment, I had terrible joint pains. It was assumed that it was degenerate arthritis, and that delayed the brain tumor diagnosis for at least a year; it was eventually found through blood work. Then came 50,000 rads of hard x-rays, which got the cancer – an inoperable lump the size of a ping pong ball in my head – and, alas got much of my balance. But I’m still here.

If they think you have arthritis, have them check for cancer as well. A brain tumor in the right place can cause back. Hip, and shoulder pains indistinguishable from arthritis.

This article shows more connections between brain activity and arthritic pain; it is well worth your reading.


MIT Invented a Way to Automatically Fix Software Bugs With Borrowed Code

A new system from MIT’s CSAIL, or Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, does something incredible to fix buggy software: It borrows healthy code from other applications–and then fixes the bug without ever accessing the original source code.

Think of it as an organ transplant. Except in this case, the sick patient is a buggy software app. And the “donor organ” is a piece of code from another application, even if it’s written in a whole different language. That’s a crude and imperfect metaphor, but it helps explain CodePhage, a system that was presented by MIT researchers at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Programming Language Design and Implementation conference this month, as MIT News explains today.

CodePhage’s creators explain it like this: A program with a bug is the “recipient.” When CodePhage identifies a bug, it searches for a fix from a slew of other programs and repositories. Once it finds a good piece of “donor” code, it patches it onto the recipient and tests whether it fits—without ever gaining access to the source code. It keeps doing this until it finds the ideal donor.

What’s really cool about this system is that it can fix bugs using solutions that might not even be written in the same language, creating a kind of patchwork of good ideas from a broad range of sources. You can find a full run-down of how CodePhage works in this presentation by one of its creators, Martin Rinard, but to MIT News Rinard explained how CodePhage is part of a broader effort to create a system that will reduce the need for new code completely:

“The longer-term vision is that you never have to write a piece of code that somebody else has written before,” Rinard says. “The system finds that piece of code and automatically puts it together with whatever pieces of code you need to make your program work.”

The intricacies of how the system checks and re-checks its fixes using a symbolic expression are complex, of course, but even from a layperson’s perspective it’s easy to see how a system like CodePhage could be a forerunner to systems that are constantly finding and patching bugs, drawing on the collective intelligence of multiple authors and sources to built better applications.

For more, check out MIT News’s writeup.



Study Suggests That Google Has Its Thumb on Scale in Search    (nyt)


Google entices people to search by promising links to the best that the web has to offer. But research released Monday, led by top academics but paid for by one of Google’s rivals, suggests that Google sometimes alters results to play up its own content despite people’s preferences.

I’m shocked, shocked…


This was in yesterday’s View but I don’t want you to miss it:

World Class University Education – Free!

“Everything would be free, but program participants that want to receive a credential will be required to pay a small fee. The program is available to learners across the globe, all that is needed is internet access.”

The university – MIT.

Charles Brumbelow

Boston, Mass. – For learners who don’t want to invest in a full residential college ride, or who want to avoid the massive amounts of debt associated with university studies, a program called MITx could be a viable alternative.

With the advent of the internet came a revolution of information becoming available to the average person. MIT University took it one step further when they began a program called OpenCourseWare, which allowed anyone to download full course materials for virtually all classes for free.

But the new MITx interactive online learning platform will go further, giving students access to online laboratories, self-assessments and student-to-student discussions.



Researchers Use Femtosecond Lasers To Display Touchable Images In The Air

A Japanese company called Aerial Burton has been using lasers to ionize air molecules in midair for a few years now, thereby creating bright pixels that float in space. Using the original system, however, you were essentially creating floating plasma which could burn you if you touched it. Now, however, the company has reduced the power necessary to generate the images by using femtosecond lasers, a feat that lets you actually tap images to interact with them.





Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




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