Mike

The Go to Hell Bag and Zombies

It is called many things but I believe there is a difference between a “Go Bag” and a “Go to Hell” bag. Being a former military member I am well aware of what they are. It is a pack ready to go in case the world goes to shit and you need to get out of dodge — quickly.

I won’t go into details here because that is not what this site is about. I do want to discuss why I am writing about it. First, I miss my iPad Pro. It has always been one of my favorite computers for writing but I haven’t been using it much these days. That is a real shame. This thing rocks!

I guess the real reason I am mentioning a GTH bag is because I find myself inspired by all of the science fiction I’ve been reading lately. Most of them are about either a zombie acopalypse or the end of the world as we know it. Most stories have a military component and that includes GTH bags. It caused some reflection on me and my training as a member of the military. I find myself wondering why I didn’t have a GTH pack ready when I know they make perfect sense no matter what life is currently throwing at you.

I’ll post a link to a great article about GTH packs and what you should pack in them. This site is great.

Planning for an emergency situation is always a smart idea. Know this — you will definitely be in the minority when trouble hits.

Be prepared. The zombies could be coming…

Birthdays and What They Actually Mean

I’m writing this post because a lot of people (Google) seem to have an issue with understanding what birthdays actually are.

Their own definition is…

A birthday is the anniversary of the birth of a person or an institution. Birthdays are celebrated in numerous cultures, often with gifts, cards, a party, or a rite of passage.

Two words are missing. Living and Existing. A “living” person and an “existing” institution.

Birthdays are a celebration of life. If you have 5 birthdays than that means that you have been alive for at least five years.

If you die at the age of five then you will never be able to have a 6th birthday. You know…because you are DEAD.

Google loves to put up a birthday celebration honoring a particular figure in history. The problem is that they are usually dead.

It is impossible for any of these people to have birthdays past their death date.

For example, Princess Diana is not 56 years old. She only ever made it to 36.

 

Two Favorite Quotes

Both are from Eleanor Roosevelt.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.
The 1st quote has had the biggest impact on me.
The 2nd quote is something we all could revisit from time to time. Including myself.

The Problems with Star Trek Discovery

I have to admit that I was one of those people who just couldn’t wait for another Star Trek series. I like them all although admittedly, some more than others.

Enterprise had a good start but really went off the rails pretty quickly. For a show that took place 100 years before Kirk, they made some mistakes with canon. Perhaps misunderstood, the show tried to do too much and I think that is why it got cancelled. It doesn’t matter what the writers think or what the producers “think” people want. You can’t take a property like Star Trek and just move away from everything Gene Roddenberry was trying to do. The really cool stuff happens in the Picard era and the Archer generation would have been a great platform for ironing out the kinks and showing us what it is like to be the new kid on the block. The fantastical plot lines didn’t need to happen for the show to be good. I guess that is my point.

Discovery takes what I just said and completely ignores it. I’ve read a host of comments about why fans don’t like the show or the approach that has been taken. I agree with most of them. Spore drive? Really? Lead character is a woman. No problems there but the name is ridiculous. Michael? I don’t have a huge problem with it but come on writers…you couldn’t have thought of anything better? You are given a blank slate and that is the best you could do? Sister of Spock? Never mentioned…anywhere. That makes this one, not cool. You could have done the same thing without involving the Sarak character. There are milions of other vulcans and the Star Trek universe should not be that small. Not everything involves Kirk, Spock, McCoy…and so on. You get the idea.

The producers and writers are going to end up asking themselves “why” when this show gets cancelled well before the seven season run that a few Star Trek shows have enjoyed.

The answer is obvious. You can’t shit on the fanbase. Especially, the Star Trek fan base.

They will be the ones flushing you out of the proverbial air lock.

Note: The reason I wrote this post was this article in Wired. Obviously, they at least acknowledge that there are problems.

 

Why People are Growing Weary of Scientific Conclusions

This story is a perfect example of how science makes leaps without actually doing any of the research.

Here is a story about what the brain does when changing focus or losing attention; you can call it anything you like. The study was conducted on humans…oh wait…it wasn’t.

When your attention shifts from one place to another, your brain blinks. The blinks are momentary unconscious gaps in visual perception and came as a surprise to the team of Vanderbilt psychologists who discovered the phenomenon while studying the benefits of attention.

This is not about the human brain. It is about what they saw in an animal’s brain.

The research was conducted with macaque monkeys that were trained to shift their attention among different objects on a display screen while the researchers monitored the pattern of neuron activity taking place in their brains. Primates are particularly suited for the study because they can shift their attention without moving their eyes. Most animals do not have this ability.

Science means data which means accuracy to me. Those things have to be important for the process to work properly. There was a time when scientists didn’t report on something until their testing was completed.

Star Wars Battlefront II

I had some reservations about running Battlefront II on my xBox One S. I had a feeling that the game would run slower and not be as responsive on the S as it would be on the new X.

So far, I am happy to report that the game runs perfectly. I had to restart the xBox once or twice in the very beginning but I think those problems have ironed themselves out.

The game runs just fine on your xBox One S. The graphics are simply amazing and I think it is an utter joy to be able to run around on Yavin 4, Naboo, Starkiller Base, Takodana (where Maz lives), Jakku, Kamino, Endor, Death Star II, Tatooine, Hoth, and Kashyyyk (where Wookies are from).

I love the arcade component because I can pick the battles and conditions of my choosing. My multiplayer skills are lacking in ground combat but my piloting skills are much better. Vulture droids, interceptors, bombers, and all kinds of other things you can fly around in make for a very interesting game.

I would recommend this game to everyone. It is loads of fun.

Net Neutrality – Mostly Misunderstood by Nearly Everyone

by way of Arstechnica

Net Neutrality sounds like something we should all get behind. Equal internet access for all. I get the same speeds as a big corporation does and all that. The internet should be free…what…wait?

The internet is not free. The internet will never be free because someone will always have to pay for it. As long as you have to pay for something, it ain’t free.

Keeping the government out of the internet and inviting Net Neutrality do not go together for obvious reasons. Pro Net Neutrality folks hold up signs that say “FCC Have a Heart. Keep the Internet Free.” The FCC has nothing to do with that. At the end of the day, you are still going to pay for it. We are not talking about freedom. We are talking about government regulation of something that should be free of government interference.

You can’t be pro Net Neutrality and pro free internet. They don’t go together.

The folks against Net Neutrality aren’t pro big business. They are pro “government should not regulate the internet” or “keep the internet free” as some would call it.

I think most supporters don’t understand what Net Neutrality is.

That is also very sad.

 

Update (11/29/17): Looks like most of the comments favoring Net Neutrality on the FCC website are false.

Update (12/02/17): …and even more panic attacks from Wired. They obviously have no idea what the true issues really are. Just a bunch of writing designed to scare people into thinking that big government is always the answer. Well geniuses, it is NEVER the answer. Hence, the 2nd amendment. To allow us to keep and bear arms against each other? No. To keep and bear arms so that the government isn’t the only one who has them. Net Neutrality opens the door for the government and quite frankly, that door needs to stay closed. History has taught pro net neutrality folks nothing.

Light Pollution is Now a Thing

From space.com

“[Light pollution] threatens biodiversity through changed night habits, such as reproduction or migration patterns, of many different species: insects, amphibians, fish, birds, bats and other animals,” Hölker said. “And it can even disrupt plants by causing … late leaf loss and extended growing periods, which could of course impact the composition of the floral community.”

High levels of artificial light may also impact health in humans by reducing the body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that can affect things like the body’s immune system, mental health and fertility. It also reduces people’s ability to see stars and celestial objects, which astronomers and social scientists argue has a negative impact on culture and science. It’s estimated that about one-third of the world’s population cannot see the band of the Milky Way galaxy at night, due to light pollution. That includes 80 percent of people living in North America.

The researchers said they hope their research can be used in efforts to initiate policy changes that combat light pollution. Kyba is involved with the International Dark-Sky Association, which is taking steps to fight this problem.

The paper appears today (Nov. 22) in the journal Science Advances.

 

Please note the uses of the words “can” and “could.”

I would agree with the argument that nocturnal creatures would have a problem with the absence of a night cycle. However, with that being said I also believe that those creatives would evolve just as we’ve always done. The environment we live in is ever changing. Evolution is a constant process.

The article in space.com paints a picture that is far from reality. We are in no danger of having a Coruscant style of planet nor are we close.

Sometimes, I really think scientists as a whole are just trying to justify their own existence instead of helping mankind.

Someone probably paid real money for this research and that is just sad.

Election Hacking and Guidelines

Nice post from Reuters, however…

If you truly want to protect a vote from hackers the best way to do it is either using “closed” systems that cannot be connected to via the internet or outside world or…

paper.

Duh.

The Problem with Using One Note for Work

The caveat – I love using One Note. I think it is one of the best apps that Microsoft ever made.

The problem – Microsoft does not understand sharing, what it truly means, and why clamping the file down to the computer that created it is a bad idea.

I’ll elaborate. There are certain times when I do not want data I create for work purposes to be solely on the work machine I created it on. Why not, you may ask? Excellent question. Sometimes it can be a security issue where I may not entirely trust our IT department to back up the data or more often than not, I just want to have access to that information from various devices. I could be out at the mall and get a call from work that requires that I look at some of my data. It has happened more often than one might expect.

One Note is not friendly to this type of use. I cannot create the notebook in Dropbox and then use their app to see that notebook across platforms. That is not sharing. For instance, I’ve created a great notebook on my work computer which is a Surface Pro but I can’t access that notebook on my MacBook Pro. I know that I should be able to. That isn’t the reality.

I’m sure tons of techie folks will challenge what I’ve said. Whatever you suggest will never make One Note work the way I think it should.

Why Aliens Won’t Visit Us

I recently heard a great idea about why we as a species would never be visited by an alien race. The idea is simple. Sentient beings are not capable of truly getting along with each other and always end up killing themselves off before the Star Trek utopia actually happens. Sentient species that are capable of murdering each other are not capable of creating an environment where interstellar travel is a real possiblity. Politics, hatred, and a plethora of other emotions cause them to commit hanous acts of violence against each other and while they are doing that they never reach the level necessary to travel between the stars.

Hell, we can’t even agree of what global warming really is. It is extremely difficult for any scientist to apply static science to a dynamic situation. The Earth doesn’t stay in any one pattern so how do you know that it is or isn’t following one? Easy. It never is. Does the over population cause a problem? Sure. How much of our weather is a result of that versus nature? Not really sure that anyone on this planet is qualified to truly answer that question.

The reason I felt like even writing anything about this has to do with an article on the space.com website titled “Slaughterbots video depicts a dystopian future of autonomous killer robots.” The idea is frightening enough but after watching the video you feel like you want to join their cause to ban these weapons. That isn’t the scary part. The scary part is the fact that simply “banning” something doesn’t stop it from being produced by anyone with enough drive, money, and determination to do so. We were so busy asking ourselves “if we could” that we didn’t stop and ask ourselves “if we should.”

This post could simply been about why aliens won’t visit but there is so much more to explore than that. Let us speculate that an alien society does exist that has mastered the subtle art of co-existing in peace with one another. They reach the level of technology necessary for interstellar travel and they stumble upon Earth. Would they want to contact us? Why? How would they choose which nation to approach? Would the fact that we are not all united under a single earth government matter to them? So many questions but you can certainly get the idea.

I’m including the link to the video. It is worth a look.

Here is a link to autonomousweapons.org. A website devoted to stopping the production of these types of weapons.

Microsoft Word to OneNote

I have been using Microsoft Word to keep a master document of everything new I learn about my job. It was an idea that I got from someone I used to work with and it was a great idea at the time.

As of this writing, my little document has grown into something a lot less managable.

I’m going to start converting my documentation over to OneNote. I saw a co-worker using it the other day for the exact same thing I do and it looked like it worked much better. I also believe the search function is a bit more advanced.

I don’t know why I’m posting this on my blog.

Talking to myself, I suppose.

November/October Update

Well, this has been a pretty busy couple of months for me leading up to the retail holiday peak season.

I believe the peak season starts earlier with each passing year.

I’ve started to deep dive into Swift 4. I’m taking courses here and there and watching YouTube videos. The difference between Swift and Objective-C is enough that I find myself scratching my head every once in a while. Swift is extremely easy and more forgiving than previous languages.

I stay away from politics on my website because I don’t follow politics anymore. I found it to be too much of a distraction. In my opinion, I’ve never seen so much ado about nothing when it comes to “Russian Hacking.” That easily translates into buying advertising and that does not equal hacking. Since the Democrats lost the election solely because they abandoned the worker classes, whether or not anyone “hacked” an election seems to be a distraction from their real issue. I’m pretty sure the democrats still haven’t learned their lesson and I don’t see them winning another big election any time soon. Ok, enough of that crap.

I believe when it comes to personal relationships, I’ve determined that love is not in the cards for me. Since my breakup last year, I’ve had a lot of time to think and I honestly don’t think I’m a good catch. I like being alone. Don’t get me wrong, if my ex showed up and told me she wants to give “us” another try, I’d jump at the chance. She was and always will be the perfect one for me. When you meet that person you just “know” that you’ve found your soulmate. I’m not planning on pursuing love interests or any other “interest” for that matter.

I believe that is all for now. I’m still waiting for the Minecraft 4k update.

What else is there?

September Vacation

I have a much of stuff I’d like to do this time around. My last vacation was a trip to Georgia. This time I plan to stick around the house.

I plan on using a lot of time to code but I also want to work on some of my Minecraft creations. Over the weekend, I found a lot of designs that I had done previously but when I revisit them now, they look completely wonky. I’m pretty sure that is a real word.

I plan to keep track of what I am doing. I believe iOS 11 and MacOS official releases come out this week.

Hopefully, I won’t screw off too much.

Update: The original plan was to post about what I did each day while on vacation but as it turns out, I played way too much Minecraft. I built a resort town and am actually still working on it. I think that is very ironic.

Stephen King’s IT

Went to see the movie last night with a couple of co-workers.

I am obviously not going to write a detailed review. I am not very good at that. I will say that I think it was a little better than the first version. If I recall, that was a mini-series that lasted about six hours.

One of the guys made a comment before we went in the theatre “Geez, if the first IT was 6 hours how long is this going to be?”

Running time was a bit over 2 hours.

Nice job and I would recommend IT. Pun intended. 🙂

The Lititz Balloon Incident of 2017 was a nice touch.

New MacBook Pro

I am expecting a new laptop to arrive soon. The last time I bought a new Apple laptop was all the back in 2009.

I think the touch bar is what did it for me. The laptop I am using right now was given to me in exchange for a Mac mini. It is a good and solid laptop but I felt it was time for a new one.

I’ll post more about it when I actually have it.

Update: MacBook Pro arrived yesterday. I ran into a hiccup as a result of me using High Sierra to make my Time Machine backups. The new computer was using Sierra and thus, would not recognize the Time Machine backup for Migration Assistant. I upgraded the laptop to High Sierra and proceeded from there. The restore ran overnight and the only issue I have now is that I have two accounts under my name on this computer. Not bad overall. My old laptop is going to a good home. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. The Apple Developer website was down for a couple of hours so I had to wait for a while before I could install High Sierra.

Microsoft Outlook Kudos

I noticed a small issue with Outlook 2010. I use it at my day job. If I compose a message but decide not to send it, I’ll choose to delete the draft. Outlook marks the message as “unread” and then puts it in the trash.

Because I may suffer from a touch of OCD, seeing that there was an unread message in my trash bothered me.

I tweeted about it.

The Outlook team responded.

That is cool.

Minecraft Greek-i-ness Edition

I have been working on a flat world. The idea is that this is the perfect foundation for a city. I started with a small area and realized that a “monorail” would be cool and then kinda of started taking it from there. Here are some screen shots from my Greece-like area.

Minecraft Weirdness

The follow picture is a building I have constructed in Minecraft. I sealed up the building when I created it. The only way inside is by going through doors you have to open (they are not automatic). My question is how do horses end up on top of my structure? There is no logical way for them to be up there and yet, there they are.

Slacking

I am really slacking on posting. It is amazing how little time I get to do these types of things when I am on my regular schedule.

I plan on updating the vacation posts this weekend.

#mikeissuchaloser

Vacation 2017 – Roundup

I will be finishing up my vacation posting with some more photos and commentary.

Probably won’t be until later on in the week or possibly, the weekend.

It was wonderful.

Vacation 2017 – July 8, 2017

The Plan…

This is the last full day of vacation in the great state of Georgia. We are planning to see a couple of sites today along with some kitten rescue work/relocation. Tonight we plan on having dinner at Ate Track. They feature a bunch of eight track players all about the restaurant. I plan on taking a ton of pictures while there.

 

Vacation 2017 – July 7, 2017

The Plan…

No big plans today. It is a work day for everyone here. I am catching up on some Lynda courses about photography.

The Reality…

My friend took me to see the Tellus Museum. I took 97 photos and below are just a few of them.