Water Worlds

Great article in Scientific American about debate on whether life would exist or not on a world made up of water.

I like the comment near the bottom of the article about comparing everything to Earth and why it is not always a good idea.

“I think it could be dangerous just thinking about everything in an Earth-mindset,” Ramirez says. “You might be missing out on other possibilities.”

I still feel a bit of arrogance from the scientific community about life on other planets. You can’t armchair quarterback the universe and the only way you are ever going to know what these worlds are like — is to VISIT them.

In unrelated news…I still think it is super cool that I can copy a link on my iPad and paste that link into my MacBook Pro. </end geek moment>

Misunderstanding Apple Pay

Gruber at Daring Fireball has some good points about a poorly written/researched Wall Street Journal article about Apple Pay.

My take away is that Apple has been doing a poor job of marketing Apple Pay. I still have friends and co-workers who — when I mention Apple Pay — have a “deer in the headlights” look on their face.

There should have been enough commercials running everywhere by now that everyone knows what Apple Pay is and what it is used for. But, alas — there is not.

Update: 04.04.2018 – Apple released some new Apple Pay ads.

Broken Links

Over the weekend, I took a trip down memory lane and decided to read the older blog posts from several years ago.

Good stuff — except for the broken links.

Websites come and go. I know that more than anyone and with them also goes their links and pictures.

Fixing the links is no small task. I will probably need to do some research on each one and locate the picture from elsewhere.

Happy to do it but will probably not be until this weekend.

TTFN

A Break from The Crazy – Part II

We were supposed to have our new system up and running by now. We’ve hit a few snags and now it will be a few more weeks until we are using new software. Better to be safe than sorry, I suppose.

This past weekend I got an overwhelming urge to reach out to a friend of mine whom I have not heard from in a few years. We plan on catching up this weekend and I’m hoping to plan a few camping trips this year.

I would like to keep up with writing but until we get to the other side of this major project — not very likely.

After about a year and a half, I picked up the drum sticks and began playing again. I was afraid the “song in my heart” that made me want to play in the first place was gone after my breakup. It has been a slow recovery for me and hiding behind that pain with laughter is what I’ve done for the past 18 months.

A close friend of mine has just undergone open heart bypass surgery. No matter how much safer these procedures are these days, it is still a nail biting experience until you get that first call from them. I got that call yesterday morning. He didn’t sound great but it was a welcomed call. His road to recovery is just starting and I wish him all the best.

When I was 5 years old, my neighbor (Mr. Cooney) had bypass surgery when the process was still new. He didn’t make it. I still have sad feelings wash over me when I think about it. They were the nice older couple next door and would watch me and my sister before we had to go to school. I miss them.

Well, this has been another fine brain dump.

I have a couple of blog posts in the hopper and I’ll post as soon as I can. One of them is about the Cannes Film Festival.

Fuck. Them.

A Break from The Crazy

We’ve been getting ready to complete a major project at my day job. This project has been pushed back a couple of times because it seems the scope was much bigger than anyone imagined. Anyone but me, of course. I remember talking to a co-worker who believed we could get this thing done in a month. It looks like we will get this done in 3 months. Ideally, this should have taken 6 months.

In talking to a few folks over the last several weeks, I realize there are two things that I am really passionate about outside of the day job. Those two things are writing and hiking/camping. Throw in a few ideas about “prepping” and you’ve got quite the mix.

A couple of books in the audible library are about what happens when we loose electricity. The power grid goes down and the whole world goes to shit. Literally. I have a few different titles but they all seem to show a common thread. People who have not prepared expect those who do — to take care of them. Extreme liberal views are like that. I have friends who believe that the government should run everything. Not because the government clearly knows what they are doing — but because they believe in being “taken care of” by someone other than themselves. As a military veteran, I would strongly disagree.

I think I am overdue to a short shory so I am hoping to write one this weekend.

I should probably start posting on this site because, why not?

This website is for me. I don’t write on it to keep anyone else informed. It is my place to discuss whatever I like and… occasionally, I get to swear.

Being single has its perks.

TTFN.

Busy Times

I am not really posting a lot right now. Our major project deadline keeps getting pushed back.

It is now going to be at the end of this month.

Once I get to the other side, I’ll have plenty of time to get back to writing which is something I love to do. I’d also like to write about my new amazing (and very stinky) 3 day pack.

I plan on doing a lot of camping this year. The idea is to set up a base camp and simply lounge about and write.

I’ll post more if I get the chance.

Projects and Plans

It is almost the end of February. Where did it go?

I’ve moved the website over to Captain Nukko but it has issues. The kind of issues that I usually don’t encounter like missing graphics, the books I read, etc.

That is why I am writing this post on my normal site. Captain Nukko might have been a great idea at the time but chipheadmike works and I should probably just stick to this site.

Watch both sites…just kidding. I’ll most likely just write here.

With that aside, I’d like to update my small following on what has been going on at Castle Nerda.

The big work project is in full swing and has been pushed back a couple of times. It is the same idea as NASA “Go” or “No-Go” for launch. We’re getting there. We should be done with this soon.

Camping…

A couple of months ago, I got the camping bug again. I love camping. I love taking a three day hike/camp in the woods and being outdoors and living in nature.

I did it as a kid, a teen, but not so much as an adult.

I’m changing that this year. I’ve decided to keep three bags ready. My big GTH bag, a 3 day trip bag, and a day trip bag.

I’m in the process of stocking those up.

I am watching numerous bush craft videos on youtube as well as “prepper” info. It is good stuff.

This month will almost be over soon. Where did it go?

Dumbing Down of America

I found a pretty good article that talks about why Americans seem so dumb today compared to what they were just a few decades ago.

The article points to the education system but I disagree about why Americans aren’t as smart as they used to be.

The number of American citizens who can do very high-end research who also can easily get security clearances is limited,” Ignatius says. “The ability of our schools to produce American students at a world-class level, that’s an important national challenge.

Again, I disagree to a point. I believe the problem is something else entirely. Do college graduates really need to remember anything? In the age of “just Google it” do we really need to even try to retain information? I believe the answer is no. If I can’t remember a song, there is an app for that. If I can’t remember what camping gear I need to take with me — again I can just Google it.

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.