Surface Pro 3 and Stability; New Free World Class Education; and other items

Chaos Manor View, Monday, June 29, 2015


Precious, the Surface Pro 3 that I hope to make into a principal machine here – I keep remembering the Compaq HP Tablet I used for so long – woke with her Wi-Fi and Bluetooth forgotten. I have no idea why. Eric came over just after dinner and fixed it, although he has no idea of how. The Surface Pro 3 has had weird problems with wireless, according to reports all over the web, and Microsoft keeps releasing drivers for the wireless device; we may or may not have installed an update; it’s hard to tell. But Precious reports that she’s up to date on everything, and all my local computers can see her, so it’s now possible to transfer files back and forth (or send them to the cloud), so all’s well, although until either there’s more experience of working properly, or we understand what happened, Precious certainly won’t be a primary system here.

But that’s mostly because we’re running a pre-alpha version of Windows 10, and I’m certainly not going to pronounce a pre-release OS reliable enough for work. If I had to do a lot of road work and needed a portable, I’d probably get a MacBook Air and a new ThinkPad; the Air for truly portable, and the ThinkPad for setting up in the hotel room and just leaving there. I’d also carry a small router to let the two talk to each other and shield them from direct connection to the Internet, Since I don’t get to so many computer shows, I probably won’t do all that.

And if I had good reason to believe that the Surface Pro 3 would behave as well as she is just now, I’d take her along – she’s a joy to use when she’s behaving. And if you do get one, invest in a Microsoft Arc Bluetooth Mouse; it really is the best portable mouse I’ve ever used. The Surface Pro 3 has the problem of needing thermal insulation when used as an actual laptop – it does get hot – but if it can sit on a table it does fine.

Meanwhile, the Kindles are working fine. A reader tried to make me a gift of an eBook, and that caused problems: I managed to get it onto my desktop machine where I don’t read books, after which I couldn’t get it onto a Kindle. Worse, I had never saved a local copy, and I couldn’t find it in the cloud again even for the desktop. Well, I could find it, but I’d have to pay for it. This was mildly infuriating. It has to do with the arcane way you must act to accept an eBook gift – well arcane to me — After several futile hours – I didn’t spend all that time working on this but I compulsively kept coming back to it – I eventually gave up and punched the help button on the Fire. Within a minute I get an American who spoke perfect English, who could see my screen but not me; I could see him but not his screen.

Amazon already knew a frightening lot about me. He was able to cause the book to appear in the cloud for downloading. Of course when I got it, it asked if I wanted to pay the extra couple of bucks for audio. The original gift was with audio. I tried to explain that top the Amazon chap, but giving me the audio version was apparently beyond his powers. The score was, I paid at least an hour of time – actually considerably more because I was on the “phone” at least half an hour – and Amazon got the two or three dollars for audio that it never delivered; on the other hand they lost the wages they had to pay for the technical support chap. There may be a lesson there.

But I have the book now, and all my Kindles as well as the Kindle App on my iPhone know it. I just downloaded it to the iPhone; took a bit of figuring out how to get to where to do it, but that’s because there’s no HOME icon on the Kindle app for the iPhone (go to Library, of course) and I kept looking for one. Anyway it works fine although even the Big iPhone 6 is a bit small for me. I like the Kindle Fire a lot, for reading. Just at the moment I’m enjoying Tim Powers’ Hide Me Among The Graves, about Christina Rossetti, her brother Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Swinburne, and other mid 18th Century poets, with back story elements involving Byron and Shelley and vampires and ghosts and why Gabriel Rossetti buried workbooks of his poetry with his dead wife and why they dug them up again (a real event) – in other words a ripping Tim Powers story. It reads good on any Kindle, but the big Fire HDX is easiest to read.

So all is well at Chaos Manor, at least for now. The Kindles are working\, the Surface Pro 3 is working, the Microsoft Arc mouse is fun and portable, and there was a hilarious episode of Major Crimes on the TV tonight.

And I just got email from Eric, there’s a new build of Windows 10 that looks even better, so I’ll do that one tomorrow.

OH – and I have an Amazon Echo but haven’t set it up yet. Stay tuned.


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.



Human driver ban and gay marriage decision


Now that the USSC has determined that a person who has a right in one state has that right in all states, I’m waiting for someone from Arizona (where honest citizens can carry guns without permission from the

bureaucracy) to demand that his or her right be recognized in California.

As far as a ban in human drivers in cars, your co-author Larry tossed that idea into a story in which a character watches a drag race and is astonished that the cars were under control of their occupants!

Glad that you continue to improve.


Doubt that will work, but on the logic of the last decisions it should.


F-35 vs. F-16.



Roland Dobbins


‘What they’ll do as they reach, say, thirty-five years old is not the concern of an economy based on revolving cubicles, marginal salaries, and importing acquiescent labor.’



Roland Dobbins

Pronouncements like the following have become common currency: “The United States is falling behind in a global ‘race for talent’ that will determine the country’s future prosperity, power, and security.” In Falling Behind?, Michael Teitelbaum argues that alarms like this one, which he quotes, are not only overblown but are often sounded by people who do not disclose their motives. Teitelbaum vehemently denies that we are lagging in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, now commonly abbreviated as STEM. Still, he writes that there are facts to be faced:

• In less than 15 years, China has moved from 14th place to second place in published research articles.

• General Electric has now located the majority of its R&D personnel outside the United States.

• Only four of the top ten companies receiving United States patents last year were United States companies.

• The United States ranks 27th among developed nations in the proportion of college students receiving undergraduate degrees in science or engineering.


A-10 & the GAO
In its report, the GAO found that “the Air Force has not fully assessed the cost savings associated with A-10 divestment or its alternatives.”
“For example, A-10 divestment could increase the operational tempo of remaining CAS-capable aircraft, which could increase costs related to extending the service lives of those remaining CAS-capable aircraft,” the GAO said. “To the extent that this occurs, it would reduce the actual savings from the A-10 divestiture below the estimated $4.2 billion.”
On the other hand, the GAO said that savings “could be greater than $4.2 billion because the Air Force estimate did not include the costs for things such as software upgrades or potential structural enhancements that it could incur if it were to keep the A-10.”
“Without a reliable cost estimate, the Air Force does not have a complete picture of the savings it would generate by divesting the A-10 and does not have a reliable basis from which to develop and consider alternatives to achieve budget targets,” the GAO said.
The report stopped short of making recommendations, pending a more detailed GAO assessment and report to Congress later this year on the issues surrounding the potential retirement of the A-10 fleet.

Last week, the Senate by a vote of 71-25 approved the National Defense Authorization Act including funding for the A-10 for another year. President Obama has threatened to veto the bill.
— Once again, the A-10 gets a reprieve. But, His Imperial Highness Obama I wants to veto the bill funding it. Take the ground support task away from the Air Farce and give it to the Army. Or, retire every Air Force officer above the rank of Lt. Colonel who had not flown an A-10 in combat or commanded an A-10 unit in combat. And, promote A-10 fliers/commanders accordingly!


Jerry, you’d better be sitting down when you read this one

Seriously.  Sit down.  Now.

My first reaction was “Dear God in Heaven.”  I think you know me well enough, over the years, to know it takes a LOT to get me to react like that.

I don’t know whether the law even provides penalties appropriate for someone screwing up THIS badly.

I don’t believe it is even POSSIBLE to screw up this badly by accident.

And it sort of doesn’t matter whether it was by accident or on purpose, this is so bad.


Hackers Stole Secrets of U.S. Government Workers’ Sex Lives

Infidelity. Sexual fetishes. Drug abuse. Crushing debt. They’re the most intimate secrets of U.S. government workers. And now they’re in the hands of foreign hackers.

It was already being described as the worst hack of the U.S. government in history. And it just got much worse.

It’s scary all right. And it’s all true.

I wonder if Senator Obama was in those files?


Elon Musk, First Martian? A Serious Conversation About the Future in Space – Bloomberg Business





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




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