The Week That Was: June 7,2015

It was a good week here at the old blog, though things have settled down from the bounce the A to Z Challenge provided. I’m back to drawing about 25 visitors a day, some of them spammers, many of whom look at the front page and don’t visit a specific article. But I’m happy for all of them, except maybe the spammers. And thank you for stopping by today. On to the summary…

The Week That Was

  • Monday was the first of the month, meaning it was Battle of the Bands day. The song this week was Bacharach and David’s “Anyone Who Had A Heart,” and the combatants were Luther Vandross and Linda Ronstadt. There’s still time to vote, the winner will be named tomorrow.
  • The featured artist on Two for Tuesday was The Small Facees, the band that gave us “Itchycoo Park.” More popular in the UK than in the US, they’re still considered a British Invasion act. Sadly, drummer Kenney Jones, who has played with The Who since Keith Moon’s untimely death, is the only remaining member.
  • On Wednesday, I shared my answers to the survey Joanna over at Christmas TV History published last week for her July Christmas TV Party. Come on over and join the party! Joanna’s blog is worth following: she doesn’t post too much (maybe a couple of times a week, at least until next month), and she puts a lot of work into the posts.
  • Thursday, I shared the advice I would share with my 20-year-old self, taking my cue from Fortune Magazine’s “40 Under 40.” It was Thursday, so I shared ten pieces of advice. As I was writing it, I thought of comedian Sinbad’s book, Sinbad’s Guide To Life (Because I Know Everything). He said he knows everything because he’s screwed everything up at least once. The book is out of print (and I haven’t seen him in a while; hope he’s OK), but if you find a copy at the library, it’s worth reading.
  • Friday, I eulogized Betsy Palmer, who died earlier in the week. Known for her work as a panelist on “I’ve Got A Secret” and as Mrs. Voorhees in the movie Friday the 13th, I chose to remember her small but significant role in the “The Walk” episode of the sitcom Just Shoot Me!. It’s a funny, but poignant episode, and it’s embedded in the post (complete with Greek subtitles), if you want to see it.
  • Yesterday was Stream of Consciousness Saturday. As the prompt was “information,” I discussed the soon-to-be-released Windows 10, Microsoft’s latest attempt at designing an operating system that people like. I offered my opinions on three of its features: Cortana, the personal digital assistant that sits there and spies on you, supposedly to help you, but which I suspect calls the FBI when you do something that, in its opinion, seems suspicious; Microsoft Hello, which uses biometric data to allow you to use your computer, using the camera that nearly every modern computer has, which might or might not be turned off after Hello has completed its tasks; and Microsoft Edge, the supposedly completely-rewritten browser that is meant to replace Internet Exploder (although, I’m sure, 95% of the code for Edge comes from IE) as the browser people use to download Chrome or Firefox. As Edge and Cortana work hand-in-hand to “observe” you to “make your online experience easier,” I’ll just stick with Firefox, thank you very much.

    Got some good questions and comments on this one:

    Glazed wondered if installing a version of Linux (e.g. Ubuntu or Fedora) would avoid the inevitable privacy invasion involved with using Edge and Cortana. I said that I was sorely tempted to just install Ubuntu and be done with it. Still, I honestly want to give Microsoft a chance to prove its worth.

    Lauralynn opined that the reason for Windows 10 was the lousy reception of Windows 8 among its users, many of whom demanded that Microsoft provide a path to restore Windows 7 (owners of new PC’s, sadly, were SOL). I told her that was part of it, and the need to keep up with Apple was probably another part.

    Deborah wanted to know where Microsoft came up with a silly name like “Cortana” for their digital assistant. Those of you who play the Halo games recognize her immediately as the artificially-intelligent character who gives you backstory and tactical information. Jen Taylor, the voice actress who plays Cortana in the games, also provides the voice for Microsoft’s Cortana.

    Lori said she’s holding on to Windows 7 as long as she can. Understand, I don’t expect Microsoft to drop support on Windows 7 or 8.1 anytime soon, but there are some rumors they’ll do it more quickly than they did for Windows XP (that’s still supported, albeit on a “it’ll cost ya” basis).

So, that was last week. Coming this week, I announce the winner of last week’s Battle of the Bands, we have another artist from the British Invasion on Two for Tuesday, another topical decade on The Thursday Ten, more Stream of Consciousness on Saturday, and a few surprises. Be with us then!

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