Category Archives: Administration

Spreading Myself Around.

A post here a post there. I I’ve been doing a little blogging about, or maybe it was some web maintenance. The good people that I work for, Process Control Outlet,  have a blog that we used to keep pretty active. Unfortunately it has not been maintained very well lately.  I did the appropriate updates, and put up a post mostly about LibreOffice 5 and Engineering Expodential Notatation.   If you don’t have LibreOffice this might be a good  time to try out this office suite.

This weekend, i got asked by my niece, Ashley, to help her with her new website.  She is just starting out on Suncandy, her custom jewelry  business, and her web site  had a couple of glitches.  I was pleasantly surprised that it also a WordPress site although with a custom template.  It wasn’t too difficult to straighten out the issues.  I look forward to helping her improve her site in the future.  I’m not into pretty jewelry, but her stuff is pretty kewl and all handcrafted.

Not as Bad as It Seems.

As we close out the old year and start the new one, it is a good time to get look at  where we are. Most of us tend to think the world  is pretty bad shape. Maybe it’s not as bad as we perceive.

Maybe Bill Gates explains it Best:

200 years ago 40%of all children died before the age of five. People didn’t have a chance to be literate or to read books, average life spans were less than 40 years. And so in a span of not to much time, even compared to human history, we have made unbelievable progress; the things we take for granted, the abilty to go out and learn things, to have air conditioning, tove clothing, to have a toilet is pretty phenomenal. So anyone who looks at capitalism and what it does and says, “Okay it’s been a net loss versus that life we had before.” I think there is a loss of perspective there.

Yeah, Its all about perspective.

There ISIS in Syria and Iraq, Tribal warfare in Africa, Yet things seem to be getting better, Our wars for the most part less deadly. We watch news eith its 24 hour cycle and we see war and the horrors of war, and the world seems to be comming apart at the seems. But is it as bad as it seems?

Judging the world through headlines is like judging a city by spending a night in A&E – you only see the worst problems. This may have felt like the year of Ebola and Isil but in fact, objectively, 2014 has probably been the best year in history. Take war, for example – our lives now are more peaceful than at any time known to the human species. Archaeologists believe that 15 per cent of early mankind met a violent death, a ratio not even matched by the last two world wars. Since they ended, wars have become rarer and less deadly. More British soldiers died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme than in every post-1945 conflict put together.

We face heathcare upheaval, Ebola killing thousands.  Our food is supposedly loaded with pesticides, herbacides and hormones. Genetically modified is gonna kill all of us who can’t afford to pay 4 times as much for Wholefood groceries.  It’s doom and gloom and we are all gonna die.  Would you believe that we actually aren’t doing that bad?

This helps explain why Bob Geldof’s latest Band Aid single now sounds so cringingly out-of-date. Africans certainly do know it’s Christmas – a Nigerian child is almost twice as likely to mark the occasion by attending church than a British one. The Ebola crisis has led to 7,000 deaths, each one a tragedy. But far more lives have been saved by the progress against malaria, HIV and diarrhoea. The World Bank’s rate of extreme poverty (those living on less than $1.25 a day) has more than halved since 1990, mainly thanks to China – where economic growth and the assault on poverty are being unwittingly supported by any parent who put a plastic toy under the tree yesterday.

Britons don’t need to look abroad for signs of progress. The Lancet report showed that, since 1990, life expectancy in Western Europe is up by five years – thanks, mainly, to fewer deaths from cancer and heart disease.

The 24 Hour news cycle brings attention to the violent world that we live in.  According to statistics perhaps there is something to entering the golden age of Aquarious.


To be sure, adding up corpses and comparing the tallies across different times and places can seem callous, as if it minimized the tragedy of the victims in less violent decades and regions. But a quantitative mindset is in fact the morally enlightened one. It treats every human life as having equal value, rather than privileging the people who are closest to us or most photogenic. And it holds out the hope that we might identify the causes of violence and thereby implement the measures that are most likely to reduce it. Let’s examine the major categories in turn.

Homicide. Worldwide, about five to 10 times as many people die in police-blotter homicides as die in wars. And in most of the world, the rate of homicide has been sinking. The Great American Crime Decline of the 1990s, which flattened out at the start of the new century, resumed in 2006, and, defying the conventional wisdom that hard times lead to violence, proceeded right through the recession of 2008 and up to the present.

Happy New Year everyone!!

Demonstration In Brockton

CAM00493 CAM00492 CAM00491 CAM00489 CAM00488 CAM00485 CAM00483 CAM00482 CAM00481 CAM00480 CAM00479 CAM00478They had a demonstration in my old home town of Brockton Mass. Despite the concerns of some. The demonstration was peaceful, ordely and well coordinated.  BPD was friendly and kept traffic moving.





A Little bit of Remodeling Around the Joint

Its been a while since I’ve changed the basic look of the Blog. I upgraded the old Twenty-Eleven Word Press Theme to the new Twenty-Fourteen theme.  For the first time I am using a three column format.  Long time readers with good memories might find the banner image familiar. I had used a similar photograph several years ago from a slightly different angle that didn’t show the signed barriers.  This picture was taken at the end of Seawall Blvd. and is a favorite spot of ours to bird watch or see the occasional dolphin.

I might change the banner image in a couple of weeks, I’m not thrilled with the green link text, and I might do something about the visibility of the text in BlockQuotes.

Last week the website actually went offline for a few days. The Credit Card I declared for the hosting auto renewal had been canceled because it had been compromised during the Target Thanksgiving POS hack. I didn’t catch the emails warning me I was about to be charged.  Oh well, I caught it within a couple of days and the hosting is paid for another 2 years.

I’ve been blogging for a long time now.  I started with the Independent Blogger and stayed with Blogger when it got bought out by Google, I bailed out on Blogger when they dropped out the self hosting option.  It’s been WordPress ever since.  The package is free, powerful, flexible, and easy to use.

Let me know what you think.

Radio Free Galveston

I  changed the Tagline of the blog to today. from “Observations of a Yankee Living in Galveston”  to “Radio Free Galveston”.  The old Tagline was lame and didn’t reflect about what the blog is really about.  The new one in three small words defines  the things I want to post about, and combine to make a tribute to an  effective free press operation.

The new Tagline suggest:

Radio. Is my newest interest and I am  fascinated by different aspects of Amateur radio.

Postings of Galveston news , happenings and politics. Now that the newspaper the Galveston Daily News has turned in a shadow of itself and the website has been buried behind a paywall, There aren’t aren’t as many choices as there used to be.

Free as in freemen (women too) there will always be free people and those who wish to take those freedoms away.


New Computer Build

Windows_logo_and_wordmark_-_2012.svgMy trusty little Intel Atom based desktop died a couple weeks ago.  This was a an Ubuntu based system was very inexpensive and yet functional.  I replaced it with a new modern Dell.  Its $600 price tag was double what my Ubuntu based Atom board costs, and came with Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system. I  need to have a functional Windows system these days, unfortunately I haven’t figured out how to configure the system as a dual booter. So for now I’m stuck in the Windows 8 ecology.  I can’t say that I’m impressed with Windows 8 the apps and the convoluted way one must do things,  but the whole Idea of an operating is to run the programs we need to use.

I’ve been downloading and configuring the different program and applications I will need and want to use. I find it kinda surprising how short my list is of essential programs that I have installed.

 Google Chrome

I have been using Chrome since the beggining.  What is pretty kewl is that the apps follow the user in a new installation, as well as ones favorites and book marks.  Eventually I’ll install Firefox but for now Chrome is good enough to do what needs to be done.  The nice thing about Chrome though is that the apps I’ve been using automatically got installed.  Some of these Apps are Tweetdeck and Barcode reader


Thunderbird is the default email reader for most people these days.  I’m amazed at how fast it is to set up and configure. The program prompts the user for email addresses passwords and IMAP or  POP3.  for most configuration login and mail download is automagilcly done.  Those who are still checking their email via a web brouser might reconcider and check out Thunderbird.

 Olympus Viewer 3

Linux and Windows Vista had pretty good import utilities.  Windows 8 though calls up an app when you plug in a camera into the USB port. The problem with Windows 8 apps is that they don’t use the desktop, so practical multitasking is not accessible.   I’ve previously avoided OEM supplied downloaders, and they were not available for Linux based systems anyway. The new Viewer 3 does a pretty good job and allows some touch up editing.  The program uploads and organizes images just fine. While I installed mine from the supplied CD, it is available online from the Olympus site and I suspect it might work from any camera or flash media.


I have a couple of Arduino devices, including the Arduino Mega 2560. The new versions of Arduino Programmer.have a real Windows install routine The Arduino is a great development tool for students and professionals alike.  Arduino is an inexpensive and easy way to develop both software and hardware solutions to control or measure or interface with just about anything.


I don’t have a preference or do I even know what the differences are between OpenOffice.Org and LibreOffice. As far as I am concerned they are pretty much equivilent.  Libre Office is now at version 4.0 and is my gotto for any document creation and editing.  A great Office suite and more than adequate for anything I’m likely to need at my home office.

Microsoft Online Office 365

 This is both a cloud and an application suite.  We moved to this at the office and it came with 5 installations per user so I was able to install everything at home on my desktop.  Suite has a bunch of parts, all which tends to encourage collaboration. The online stuff is hosted by Sharepoint.and is where all the collaboration magic is going to happen.Outlook is available with all of its normal parts, such as tasks and calendars.  Also available are messaging and a newsgroup type functions, blogs and website building tools.   Outlook is pretty good and is pretty much full function the rest of the Office applications is pretty much a neutered version of the real thing.  but is capable of of opening and creating  most documents.

Office 2013 comes to the package and is quickly installed from on line.   Microsofts cloud storage application. Skydrive Pro, the cloud storage app and resoursource is what ties the desktop apps with the online cloud apps. As long as one stores and accesses the Skydrive everything is synced.

This is all rent software and the desktop stuff only runs on Windows 8 or newer OS or Apple OS10 10.3  and better is supported. Vista and XP users are out of luck,  . While my installation is a corporate version . There is a home edition available.  With a licence for up to 5 machines it might not be a bad deal for some home offices with multiple machines and users.

Python 3.3 and 2.7

Python is a programming language. Its today’s BASIC. The nice part about python is that it is cross platform, and it is an interpretive language no compiler required. Its great for writing scripts and even serves as a self documenting calculator I mostly use 2.x because the syntax is a little different for 3.x .  Its a great install for someone who wishes to learn objective orientated programming or create some quick and dirty utilities.

Some stuff I haven’t installed yet but I know I will is Firefox. and Adobe Reader. While some might claim the PC is dead there is still a lot that can be done on a  home desktop. If it is a Windows machine.


Art Hewitt:

I found out today that our planet  is  a little poorer, We lost Art Hewitt.

Art was a remarkable guy who lead a remarkable life.  As a young man he got shot down over Austria, and was a POW near Munich where he  endured cold and near starvation. He came home and married his sweetheart.

I met him about 45 years later as a new recruit for League City Volunteer Fire Department. He introduced to me the art and science  of pumping water on a fire truck.  Art was the ultimate teacher, patient and quick to praise when a point was grasped,  The first thing I learned about Art was that he appreciated and respected fine machinery. He had just repacked the leather seals in Granny, the engine ,  He had an old Harley Davidson that he had bought when he came home from the war, He had kept  it up and took out for a ride every Sunday. He had bought it when he got home from the Army and had kept it up ever since. Like Granny she was an absolute show piece.

Most of us will meet only a handful of people that we can truly look up to, Art is one of those people. He will be missed by those who were lucky enough to have known him.

The sound in the first 3.30 minutes of this You-tube video is pretty lousy,  but it does tell just a little bit about one of the best of the greatest generation.

A Bloggy Face Lift

Updated the apearance of the blog a little, The header picture was taken at Galveston State Park, this last August. The Theme is an upgrade from Twenty Ten to Twenty Eleven.  Pretty much the default but it works.

I plan on more changes this year, like moving the blog to Host Gater, and combining the Wiki and the Blog so they share the site and host.

A Brilliant Idea

I had the privilege working on a project a few years ago. It was an experiment for creating a drug delivery system for targeted cancer cures or MEPS. A lot of people poured their hearts and souls into, but so far not much has happened to forward the idea. Maybe there is hope:

Angela Zhang of Cupertino has an idea:

 … mix cancer medicine in a polymer that would attach to nanoparticles — nanoparticles that would then attach to cancer cells and show up on an MRI. so doctors could see exactly where the tumors are. Then she thought shat if you aimed an infrared light at the tumors to melt the polymer and release the medicine, thus killing the cancer cells while leaving healthy cells completely unharmed.

Angela is only 17 years old.   Angela, Please keep it up and pursue your idea.


The GoDaddy Boycott Busts, Sort of

Thursday was the scheduled day for the boycott of Go Daddy over SOPA.  Go Daddy has gone from supporting SOPA to pulling support from SOPA  to claiming SOPA and PIPA is a bad idea.  I don’t know how sincere they are but it’s apparrent they were bleeding customers and their trust.

While GoDaddy had previously withdrawn its support for SOPA, until Thursday’s statement, the company had not voiced public disagreement towards the bill,which the House Judiciary Committee had been debating before adjourning for the holiday.

According to Yahoo, about 70,000 domains had already been switched before Thursday’s planned boycott. While these numbers aren’t extremely consequential to a company that hosts 50 million websites worldwide, these withdrawals along with high profile moves from Wikipedia, Cheezburger and image sharing site Imgur seem to have been enough to force GoDaddy’s hand.

Now, I don’t believe for a minute that Go Daddy is genuine in their recant of SOPA, their only regret is that their customer base found out that they have Hollywood’s interest over their customers.  The damage is done, they’ve helped craft the bill and supported it through the committee hearings it really doesn’t matter any more whether they support it or not.   Until we see proof that they will actually fight online censorship.

Go Daddy isn’t the only company that has supported SOPA and PIPA there is News Corp (Foxnews), CBS (C-Net), NBC and Disney. Just about all of the media, We don’t hear much about boycotting them.  Go Daddy struck our ire because we expected them to support their customers and the open internet.

I seriously considered pulling my domain.  I decided to wait. I have 2 domains, and am well paid up until for the next several months. If I were to bail on Go Daddy Thursday, they would still have my money, yet not have to provide any services. This would hardly be punishing them. On the other hand I can’t see renewing my services with them, Later on this summer I will move my sites to Host Gator. I will do so when I have used up my contract, and have the time to ensure that I can move this blog safely.