What’s Going On Here

Haven’t posted anything all day, and I’m not especially certain what to talk about. Let’s see…


While I’m quite happy with Ubuntu on my laptop, the thought occurred to me that, no matter what they say, I should be entitled to a Windows 10 upgrade, even though I no longer have a Windows machine. So, I asked about it today on their forum, and haven’t heard back from them. Maybe I should take it as a sign. My biggest concern is that I’ll get questions about it from people I know who install it and can’t find anything and can’t do anything, and I’m really not the sort to shrug my shoulders and say “beats me.”


There’s one specific Windows program that I like to run, Solitude for Windows, written by Dave Bernazzini. It’s a collection of 91 different solitaire games, great for killing time when I’ve finished everything I need to do for the day. To run it, I use wine, a program that allows me to run Windows programs on either Linux or Mac OS X. It’s a Windows emulator, although they tell you the name means “wine is not an emulator.” If you’re like me, and have Windows programs you’d like to run on Mac or Linux, give it a try. They might not work, but then, they might. Anyway, I installed both today on Ubuntu, which works a little differently than it did under earlier releases, but I’ll figure it out.


Amazing the things you think about in the middle of the night when you wake up and can’t get back to sleep. I woke up last night and started thinking about this aphorism, and it started to bother me. I found the quote (attributed variously to Berkeley Breathed, Tim Robbins, and Dr. Wayne Dyer) on Brainy Quote, along with a number of others that I think are more appropriate. What do you think of these instead?

  • It’s never too late to be what you might have been. – George Eliot
  • It’s never too late – never too late to start over, never too late to be happy. – Jane Fonda
  • It’s never too late, in fiction or in life, to revise. – Nancy Thayer

Anyone else have any ideas?

STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS SATURDAY: My Windows 10 enthusiasm is gone

Windows 10 — yeah, you’re probably tired of hearing about it from me…

I’ve been waiting for a 128 GB flash drive to arrive from Amazon to do the upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10. It took longer than I had expected to get here, but it was here this morning (it’s just after midnight on Saturday), a full ten hours before the 8 PM cutoff. I, of course, was like “all right! I can make my system image and upgrade to Windows 10 today!” I mean, I was excited, enthusiastic, definitely in the mood to get this done, etc. etc.

So! I sat down this afternoon to create my system image. And, wouldn’t you know it, I can’t put the system image on a flash drive. No explanation from Microsoft as to why the heck I can’t use a flash drive to hold the system image, I just can’t because they say so. Great.

Well, that’s too bad, I say. I’m just going to go ahead and attempt the upgrade. I’ve done upgrades on Windows before, there’s never been a problem before, I’m just going to go ahead and do this without a net. Everyone is saying that the install “just works,” no one has reported any problems with it, yadda yadda yadda. So, that’s just what I did.

A few hours later, I return to my office, and everything is installed. Great! I can sign on to Windows 10 and start customizing it, fixing the things that aren’t right with it, and have a working system in no time. I’m really enthusiastic now: I’ve been hearing all these great things about how it “just works” and how much faster everything is going to run. So I sign on, and notice right away that the Start menu, one of the major things that they said they had fixed from Windows 8, isn’t working. Neither is Cortana. Firefox works, though, and I use it for a while, then decide I’m going to try restarting the machine to see if I can get the other pieces working.

Well… no. In fact, the pieces that were working now don’t work. The system repair tool claims it’s fixed the problem, after which it restarts the machine and whammo! More errors! Errors that prevent me from starting it at all.

So, now, I have a dead laptop, and I don’t have the pieces I need to do a fresh installation of Windows 10, nor can I recover to Windows 7, because I don’t have a system image.

Know what? I’m installing Ubuntu, what I probably should have done to start with. The hell with Microsoft.

Well, at least you’re not going to hear about Windows 10 from me anymore…


Anyway, this has been another entry into Linda Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Visit her blog for the official rules and a list of pingbacks from other participants.

One-Liner Wednesday: Breaker One-Nine #1lineWed

I used to work in a bullpen office, and the speakerphone mics were turned off intentionally to encourage people to use the meeting rooms for conference calls, and not use their speakerphones. . . We ended up with half a dozen people listening to THE SAME CONFERENCE CALL at their desk on the speaker, and hollering into the handset mic like it was a CB.

This comment demonstrates why you should always read the comments that accompany an article. They’re often more entertaining than the article.

Windows 10 has a search feature you can use to find files on your computer. However, searching for a file on your computer will also return results from the web, thanks to Bing, which now handles all requests from Cortana, the new “digital assistant” delivered with the operating system. You can stop it from doing so, but it involves turning off Cortana to get it to stop.

Eric Ravenscraft, who wrote the article for Lifehacker, said that, while you can shut off Cortana and Bing searches, Cortana is way cool and he can’t imagine anyone wanting to shut it off before at least giving it a try. Several people then replied that the last thing in the world you need is a bunch of people all trying the voice features of Cortana in an open-plan office, a situation much different from a lone freelancer sitting in his home office. This comment brought to mind Broderick Crawford in Highway Patrol.

This is another entry in Linda Hill’s One-Liner Wednesday. Clicking the link brings you to a page with links to other participants.

Just so everyone knows, the hashtag in the title is used by both this blog hop and by someone else on Twitter. Evidently, it’s OK with the other group.

Hurry Up And Wait


I left my laptop plugged in and turned on last night in anticipation of receiving the Windows 10 installer file, scheduled to make its appearance somewhere on my hard drive today. I guess the response to this release has created a considerable backlog, and they’ll now be sending it sometime between now and whenever.

It’s fine by me, because, as it turns out, I’m not quite ready. I went to make an image file of my Windows 7 system, like they suggested, and it turns out the only option I have there is to write it out to DVD. I had thought, make the image copy on the hard drive, then FTP it onto the backup drive I have on the Mac, which is 3 terabytes, segmented into 3 1 TB partitions. So I have the disk space to do it, both on the laptop and the backup drive; I just have no way to get it there. I’ve already thought of unplugging the unit from the Mac and connecting it to the laptop, but that presents a whole raft of logistical problems.

Then, I thought I could define the partition on the external drive as a network drive on the laptop. Easy-peasy, right? I just tell Windows that the F: drive (or whatever letter I choose) is the partition on the external drive on the Mac. So I start the backup, only to learn that I can’t do that with my version (Home Premium) of Windows 7.

So, I ordered a 128 GB flash drive from Amazon, which should be here next week. I didn’t realize they’re making flash drives that big. I had a 1 GB flash drive I bought not long before the stroke, and that was the biggest they had then. That was eight years ago, so I guess they’ve had time to figure out how to get around that limit.

It’s no big deal at this point; Sony is writing brand spankin’ new drivers for Windows 10, and I suppose I should wait for them to come out. As I mentioned the other day, it’s as though they were caught sitting in their underwear reading the newspaper when they realized Windows 10 was coming out and a few of their customers might just want to install it. So I could wait until they get their act together, or I could wait until I get the flash drive so, if the upgrade to 10 ends up a total disaster, I can recover back to 7 and continue to wait.

Anyway, if you thought I would have a report on how the upgrade went, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait.

The Week That Was, pre-Windows 10 edition

The Week That Was

That’s right, Microsoft plans on unleashing Windows 10 on the world this week, kind of like a plague of locusts (or army worms). As I mentioned Friday, I do plan on installing it, albeit in a separate partition, because I want to be sure to have a working laptop so I can continue to write these blog entries when I’m at Starbucks chugging decaf venti Americanos. (At home, no problem; my desktop is a Mac Mini, running OS X Yosemite. Yosemite has its quirks, which I hope will be resolved by El Capitan when it’s released.) Yes, I’m aware that Sony (makers of this $60 computer I’m writing on right now) has cautioned against being on “the bleeding edge,” as it were, but you know me. I discussed much of this in Friday’s entry. The way I see it, the bulk of the problems will be with Cortana (which I’m not using, anyway) and their brand spankin’ new browser, Microsoft Edge (which I won’t be using, either). On One-Liner Wednesday, I shared the command that I’m certain Cortana won’t know how to do, turn itself off and leave me alone, a process that’s well-documented already.

I’ve been reading the articles Gizmodo has been publishing before the launch. As always, the articles are nowhere near as entertaining or informative as the comments the readers leave. I do find it fascinating that, whenever Gizmodo shows a screen shot of one of their desktops, there’s an icon for Firefox or Chrome and no icon for Edge unless the article is specific to the new browser. That leads me to believe Edge will replace Internet Explorer as the browser people use to download and install Firefox or Chrome. And speaking of Chrome (that spends an inordinate amount of CPU cycles tattling on what you’re doing to the Google mothership), there’s every reason to suspect that Edge will spend much of its processing time reporting everything you’re doing to Microsoft, aided and abetted by that little vixen Cortana, whose primary job, it would seem, is to translate things you tell it to do into requests for Bing, Microsoft’s nosy little search engine that also likes to tell on you.

Not that privacy is a concern. I use Firefox as my browser and DuckDuckGo as my search engine, neither of which Cortana interfaces (or interoperates, or whatever the word for “work together” all the cool kids use these days is) with, and I wasn’t going to use her, anyway. Word is, Cortana is Clippy’s sister. Remember him?

I told him to go away, too…

Anyway, it’s coming Wednesday, or thereabouts, so I’ll have a lot to say about it once it’s in.

We did a lot of music here this past week. Monday, I shared Sammy Davis Jr.’s last appearance on Late Night With David Letterman, less than a year before he died of throat cancer. He sang a beautiful rendition of the classic standard, Gershwin and Duke’s “I Can’t Get Started,” accompanied by Paul Shaffer and the World’s Most Dangerous Band. As I mentioned in the comments, when told he had throat cancer and that they wanted to take out his larynx, he refused, saying he’d rather die with his larynx than live without it.

The featured band on Two for Tuesday was The Troggs, another band from the British Invasion. This week’s entry will be the last one in the British Invasion series, though I’ll be featuring bands and artists from that era going forward.

I shared the results of my latest “Battle of the Bands” on Wednesday, where Eydie Gorme’s version of Jobim’s “One-Note Samba” was voted preferable to Frank Sinatra’s by a wide margin. The feeling was that, while Frank is one of the great singers of our time, his bossa nova period wasn’t one of his best. Uncle Jack said that the song wasn’t a “typical Sinatra song,” and of course he was right. Ol’ Blue Eyes will be featured in a future Battle of the Bands, as will Eydie, but not together.

The Thursday Ten was the fourth installment in the occasional series, “TV Theme Songs.” I seem to have found a kindred spirit in Jeffrey Scott, who commented on all four installments and made some suggestions for Part 5, coming your way sometime in the near future, probably October. If there are themes you’d like to hear, by all means leave me a comment. I just pull them out of my head otherwise, more or less at random.

Yesterday’s Stream of Consciousness entry was prompted by the letters “vis.” Naturally, I wrote about television and my fascination with the medium. I’ve never read the books of Marshall McLuhan, the famous Canadian philosopher of communication theory (thank you, Wikipedia) who coined the phrase “the medium is the message,” because I haven’t had much luck finding a copy of them in the library, but I just bought a copy of his Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. Looks like an interesting read.

So, that was last week. This week, the last British Invasion Two for Tuesday (guess who the band will be?), Battle of the Bands on Saturday featuring a song made popular by Eydie Gorme’s husband, Steve Lawrence, a list of ten on Thursday, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, and you can bet your boots (haven’t used that phrase in a while) I’ll have plenty to say about the Windows 10 install and my overall impression of it. Be sure to join us then!