Unexpected Adventures in Computing, with a happy ending.

Chaos Manor View, Saturday, June 11, 2016

Additional  2300 Sunday, June 12, 2016

Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for Western Civilization as it commits suicide.

Under Capitalism, the rich become powerful. Under Socialism, the powerful become rich.

Under Socialism, government employees become powerful.



This has been an interesting weekend. More unexpected adventures in computing, coupled with more unwanted adventures in computing, coupled with a call to Mike Diamond Plumbing to unstop a drain. The main drain. So that the toilets are backing up.

But wait. There’s more. It’s Saturday Morning, and the Internet has amazing slowdowns.

It all started Friday afternoon when, in a moment of foolishness, I invoked Steam to buy a copy of Total Annihilation, a rather old game that I don’t really need. That turned out to be a bit more complicated than I thought, because Steam kept wanting to add the silly game to my “Wishlist” rather than just sell it to me. Eventually I figured it out, and thought to test the installation. Whereupon I got several unexpected updates to video drivers; I can’t think why. I should have rejected them, but I didn’t and the adventures began.

The game ran fine, but when I exited, all of my open displays were concentrated up in the upper left corner of the screen, all piled up so that, at least for me, it was very difficult to get hold of a corner arrow to drag for expanding them. It was also difficult to see which one I was trying to work on, since they were all piled together in an area about the size of a playing card.

I could see some red x’s, so I figured I’d just close them. Then I could adjust the screensize one at a time. Worked fine with Word, and not so well with Firefox which has the worst session manager I know of, usually managing to only return part of the last session, while unerringly including a video that immediately begins talking; I closed it long ago but here it is, and I have to pick out which has the audio going from a bunch of windows. But I managed just fine if a bit tediously restoring my previously open windows until—

I opened Outlook. The blue starting window came up. It said Starting. Little things moved across the screen. Endlessly. After five minutes nothing had changed. I closed it. Reset the machine. Everything worked. Opened Outlook. The blue starting window came up. And stayed there endlessly.

All right, find scanpst. First you need to remember that while it’s chkdsk, it’s scanpst. Then you need to remember that just typing scanpst in the lower left corner will not find it for you. Cortana will refer you to the Internet, which won’t tell you how to find it either.

Microsoft once had a file manager program and a search function that worked, but modern Windows 10 will have none of that. But if you open a file explorer, and go to ThisPC, and search in the upper right corner for scanpst, it will show you a dozen documents where it is mentioned but eventually it will show you SCANPST.EXE with its own clever little icon, and you can open it from there. For the record, it’s in Windows / program files (x86) / Microsoft Office / root / Office16, not the most intuitive place in the world. Meanwhile, Cortana will refer you to the world wide web. She never heard of no stinking scanpst. Incidentally, you can find it in file explorer searching the C: disk, but Cortana still never heard of it.

So I ran scanpst on outlook.pst and a couple of other pst files; this takes time, but it works (of course you have to know where to find the relevant pst files). Then I opened Outlook. The blue starting screen came up, the dots started moving – and this went on endlessly. Then, on Eric’s advice, I went to Control Panel > Programs and Features > Office and selected Change. The system offered to repair Office. I let it do that. It didn’t take long, and told me it was all repaired. Opened Outlook. The blue starting screen came up. The dots moved. And this went on until I closed it. No joy.

By now panic was creeping in. I used the Surface Pro (where Outlook was working fine) to communicate with my advisors. There was some stress in that, because again I could not tell if my messages were getting to anyone. I was getting mail, just none from me. Went to Swan, a large modern machine in the back room. The messages weren’t getting to him either. The panic level crept up. Then I got an answer from one of my advisors: at least one message got through. I was replying to that with some joy when a whole pile of messages from me suddenly appeared. Apparently something had been delaying my sent mail. It appeared to be fixed now.

Went back to my main machine. Tried to update Office. No Updates. Went to Control Panel to see if there was a more drastic Repair under Programs and Features. There is, an on-line repair that might take some time. Fine by me. Chose that (while I was writing this in Word), and was told that I should save my work, the repair program had to close Word.

Saved, returned to the repair program, and told it to have at it. Took a while, but finally up popped a screen saying all was well, and did I want to register this copy of Office as one of the ones I am paying for. Yes, said I.

Noted that neither Word nor Outlook was on my taskbar now. Found Word in the Start list, opened it, and here we are. Pinned it to taskbar while I was at it.

Found Outlook in the All Programs list, opened it, and – well, the blue starting screen appeared, and it trundled until I closed it.

In other words, I am back where I started. I have Outlook 16 on the Surface and on Swan, and in theory on this machine, although it won’t open here. Don’t know what to do next. I like this machine, but without Outlook it can’t be a main machine. I like the ASUS 15” ZenBook keyboard enough that I am seriously contemplating buying another to control all my other machines with; I can type much faster and more accurately with it than any other machine I have tried since the stroke.

I was beginning to like Windows 10, but now I wonder. I don’t want any more adventures in computing. I just want stability. Outlook isn’t as important as Word, but I do need a mail program on my main machine; if nothing else I need a way to select interesting mail and collect it so that it is easily found and accessed, but I would also like to work with the ZenBook keyboard because I had to correct every single word in the last sentence I just wrote (I am using the Logitech K360 wireless), the Surface Pro keyboard is marginally better but it is too small and simultaneously hitting alt-spacebar happens too often on it, and I don’t see the Surface screen all that well. The ZenBook made life a little easier, and I could control this machine remotely with it, meaning that I could do very well that way; too well. I enjoyed it too much, so I suppose this mess became inevitable. Why Not?

And when I start thinking that way I am on a slippery slope indeed, and at my age I can’t afford to slide down it. I might never get back.

So here we are. I was going out to Fry’s to see if there were any keyboards like the ASUS ZenBook’s but not attached to a ZenBook; obviously that isn’t going to happen today.

I have a bunch of selected mail, but I can’t open Outlook on this machine, and this is the machine I used to use to select out and restore in the To Be Posted folder the most interesting; I’ll have to go through a lot of mail to get that back. Or perhaps I can import the To Be Posted folder onto Swan. Or I can get someone to bring down the ZenBook from upstairs, put Office on it, and import the pst files from this machine, while I order another ZenBook to work as a control keyboard for here after I take my original Zen back upstairs. If that’s confusing, I need two free hands to navigate stairs. I can’t carry a big laptop up and down.

I’d appreciate comments, but do understand, I have thought about this. Computers are expensive, but compared to life extension not so much so.

Meanwhile, I did get this written, even if I am correcting 60% of the words, and that feels pretty good: one of the secrets of recovering from both brain cancer and a stroke is not to give up, and one cure for depression is to get something done. And the plumber is here, so one less thing to worry about.


I’d now go over to Outlook and look at what interesting mail I have collected, but Outlook doesn’t work; so I’ll post this, go to another machine where Outlook does work, and start sorting through mail; that’ll take a while.


One comment on the election: whatever you think of Trump, do understand that the New Mexican judge he claims ought to recuse himself from the case is a Board Member of La Raza. Whether La Raza is a racial or a Mexican nationalist organization, it is not unreasonable to assume a suspicion that he may be prejudiced against Trump, just as a member of the Communist Party of the United States might engender suspicions of partiality, or a Kleagle of the KKK might be thought to have some prejudices.

I saw today but did not read beyond the headline that Trump ought to be embarrassed because he once praised President Clinton. Perhaps so, but then many of us deserve criticism. I have often said that Clinton gave us the last balanced budget in the history of the nation. True, he had Newt Gingrich as Speaker at the time, but he was President, and we got a balanced budget. When Bush became President he didn’t have Newt as Speaker, and we got huge deficits. Then came Obama…

The United States budget strategy is to kick the can down the road and let the Millennials pay for all the free stuff. We can pay for it by giving them all free college. Of course when everyone goes to college, not many get a college education because the standards have to be lowered, so that national productivity is not likely to rise because of increased capabilities of the graduates, but perhaps the robots will bail out the children of the Millennials. The United States with its regulatory agencies increasing the expense for starting new companies has already succeeded in transferring a great deal of wealth from the young to the elderly. Unemployment has been defined down, but a smaller percentage of the population has jobs now than earlier; I’d say that was a Depression.

Trump is a pragmatist. So was Clinton. Neither is an ideologue, of Left or Right. Hillary is neither a pragmatist nor an ideologue: her performances in Libya and Iran show that. Lately she seems to letting Sanders write her ideology, then trying to run to the left of that. I can praise some of Clinton’s performance. Not so sure about Obama, whose record Hillary now defends.


The happy ending.

Outlook is restored, actually by what I probably should have tried first. I should have opened Outlook in safe mode.  Actually I tried: at one time, control+click on the Outlook icon would do that.  No longer. Opening a command window and typing outlook /safe got me the information that  Outlook is not a recognized command.  That seems weird typed  and I may have had an unseen typo in the command. Eventually I remembered window-key r, which opens a run dialog window, typed outlook /safe and everything worked.  I hadn’t used safe mode in a long time and the view was not what I expected, but I sent a message and received it back.  I closed Outlook, opened it again, and it worked, looked right, and works still. My long adventure was done.

Lessons.  Microsoft generally works, but the help is a bit weird.  When I asked Cortana anything she usually referred me to online articles that told me exactly how to do it – but it didn’t work.  it used to work, but that was in previous versions. It is evident that Cortana does not know what version of Windows, or Office, you are running.  Obviously she does know because you can ask her, but like most AI programs she doesn’t know she knows until you tell her, and doesn’t realize that you don’t want to know the solution that would work with Windows 7 and Office 10 when  you are running Windows 10 and Office 365. Microsoft ought to let Cortana know what machine is hosting her, and assume that before she looks for useful help files.

For all that, I got it working again, and it works well.  I have the experience of finding and using scanpst, which I expect to need; I have in the past. I now know how to reinstall, even if that didn’t fix my problem. It’s good to know that works.  And I won’t forget windows-key+r as a way to run programs; I can see why Windows 10 pays so little attention to the command window.  No one uses it anymore.





outlook woes
Hi Jerry:
Are you running OneDrive on that machine ? If so, you might try disabling OneDrive completely, then starting Outlook. I’ve seen interactions with OneDrive that resulted in Outlook never managing to start.

That wasn’t the problem, and indeed I have OneDrive running nicely.  Thanks.

Eric sent this, but I didn’t see it until I had already done it,  The information may be useful:




I don’t think you tried this yet: Starting Outlook in Safe Mode. See the second link for description. Other hits in the search mention it too. It usually works but some report needing to do it on a regular basis due to something happening on their system. Bad shutdowns seem to be one cause and if a bad piece of software is present it may cause the damage over and over again.




One of the nicest commercials I’ve ever seen.




Why GOP Failed

This article outlines why Trump should not apologize and why the GOP is a failure from Pat Buchanan’s point of view and I think it’s worth



But Ryan’s remark raises fewer questions about Trump’s beliefs than it does about the depth of Ryan’s mind. We have seen a former president of Mexico curse Trump. We have heard Mexican-American journalists and politicians savage him. We have watched Hispanic rioters burn the American flag and flaunt the Mexican flag outside Trump rallies.

We are told Trump “provoked” these folks, to such a degree they are not entirely to blame for their actions. Yet the simple suggestion that a Mexican-American judge might also be affected is “the textbook definition of a racist comment”?

The most depressing aspect of this episode is to witness the Republican Party in full panic, trashing Trump to mollify the media who detest them.



The rest is interesting, especially when you consider the judge is an active member of La Raza (an ethnocentric group, La Raza means “the race”). And, you can see La Raza folks marching around, advocating violence. And Cesar Chavez thought La Raza was a racist group, despite all the crying by leftist that it isn’t:


◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC

Percussa Resurgo

It was certainly impolitic for Trump to denounce the La Raza Lawyer’s Association judge – he’s actually a Board member == but I do wonder what Trump’s critics would do if they were being sued and discovered the judge in their case was a member of the White Race Lawyer’s Association?



Middle East problems and IQ 

An interesting perspective on the current and future problems of the Middle East. The author opines it will get rather worse in future and details the underlying forces. Alas he identifies the problem, but fails to suggest a solution.


“The general rule is you need a mean IQ of 95 to have a modern economy.”

“Some old data suggest the mean (IQ in Saudi Arabia) is somewhere just north of 80, which is what you see in sub-Saharan Africa and American prisons.”

Indeed, how would a government raise the average IQ of its population?

Or even merely prevent its decline? The more I think of it the less there seems to any national discussion of this rather critical aspect of societies and nations.

Of course these days any attempt at a rational discussion of IQ, national or individual, gets you denounced as a racist. But then what doesn’t? A short story takeoff on “The Scarlet Letter” but with “R”

instead of “A” would be an interesting exercise for some enterprising writer.

(SIGH) Ah well. I do prattle on.

We must not despair, for despair is a sin. But some days that is certainly hard to heed. n.b. I have found target practice helps. 🙂



There are new studies of national – not racial – IQ and its correlation with all kinds of national wealth and economy.  The correlations are highly significant.  Obviously interpretations can vary, but the measure remains predictive on a large scale, although it was designed for individuals.






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




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