TECH HARDWARE: Carry a second laptop

Under the heading of “lessons learned” recently, one really has to test one’s personal dr plan. In this case, I COULD have just carried a second laptop. That was probably the easiest solution. I COULD have completed my “uninstalled life” project where everything would have been backed up on the inet. I COULD have printed my fob’s password list. And, there are probably other things that I could have done. I’ll be working on all of those couldas in the coming weeks. It’s not that I travel much, but one should be prepared.

Upon reflection, the cheapest, easiest, no brainer solution would be to carry the second laptop.

Note Bene: For all those who say use the hotel’s business center, all the one’s that I checked only offered you a common screen – mouse – keyboard – inet connection at fifty cents a half-minute. Argh! That could run into real money very quickly. In the Golden Nugget, their “business center was two units side by side in the lobby. Not private. Not comfortable. Not conducive to work. As someone who “clocks” hours on my computer, that’s $60/hour. If I wanted to do 40 hours, then that’s $2400!! Buying a new laptop was on 500$. (It was a Gateway.) After further review, I should have pulled the trigger on Sunday night and been done with it. But, now I know.

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TECH SERVICE: Microsoft updates Windows without users’ consent


Microsoft updates Windows without users’ consent
By Scott Dunn

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Microsoft has begun patching files on Windows XP and Vista without users’ knowledge, even when the users have turned off auto-updates.

Many companies require testing of patches before they are widely installed, and businesses in this situation are objecting to the stealth patching.

Files changed with no notice to users

In recent days, Windows Update (WU) started altering files on users’ systems without displaying any dialog box to request permission. The only files that have been reportedly altered to date are nine small executables on XP and nine on Vista that are used by WU itself. Microsoft is patching these files silently, even if auto-updates have been disabled on a particular PC.

It’s surprising that these files can be changed without the user’s knowledge. The Automatic Updates dialog box in the Control Panel can be set to prevent updates from being installed automatically. However, with Microsoft’s latest stealth move, updates to the WU executables seem to be installed regardless of the settings — without notifying users.

When users launch Windows Update, Microsoft’s online service can check the version of its executables on the PC and update them if necessary. What’s unusual is that people are reporting changes in these files although WU wasn’t authorized to install anything.

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Yup, just like Darth Vader. And you wonder why I’m departing the Microsoft fold?

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INTERESTING: Internet equivalent of “sensory depravation”

I am just coming off a week of enforced “radio silence”. It felt strange. Like I had lost a large part of my mind. I had many interesting things happening and no place to record them. A pad of yellow paper is no substitute for a keyboard and this podium. Over the coming week as work, time, and attention permit, I’ll try to transcribe the ramblings of the “crazy man” in the electronic isolation booth.

An electronic version of a “sensory deprivation” tank?

I have eleven pages of notes. I’m not sure that all of it will make it to the keyboard. A whine looses something after it ages. Also, not being “in the moment” means the subtle details are lost. The mind plays funny tricks with what it chooses to remember. It’s probably the Intelligent Designer’s gift to us that failures are forgotten and successes are remembers.

I’m in the process of doing my after action “lessons learned”. And, boy, do I have a lot of “learning” from this trip to do!!

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POLITICAL: Dick Morris’ says Hillary is trying to slide her health care program by the electorate


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The public face of Hillary Clinton’s new health care plan is sunny, filled with choices for consumers and bright with promises for better health care for all. But a close examination of the proposal alongside other initiatives of Sen. Clinton in the past few years reveals a dark side she wants to hide from public view until after the election is over.

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Hillary speaks of the importance of stopping health insurance companies from raising premiums on those who are sick. But she does not mention the inevitable flip side of her proposal — to raise premiums on those who are well. On the one hand, she would cover all those with chronic conditions with low cost health insurance and, on the other, would stop insurance companies from “cherry picking” healthy and young people for their insurance plans. The net effect would be a major increase in health insurance premiums for the vast majority of Americans.
In effect, her plan would turn “insurance” into “subsidy.” The concept of insurance is that one pays a relatively low premium to guard against catastrophic expenses that are outside of our ability to meet financially. But Hillary’s program would really be nothing more than a cash transfer from the healthy to the sick, not an insurance program at all.

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Hey, if the bull doesn’t see the sword behind the cape, then he’s dead. Just as dead the American health care system, if the voting public can’t see thru the Democratic smoke ‘n’ mirrors around “free” health care.

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TECHNOLOGY: but how does it fit in a Hummer’s grill?

World’s smallest four-seater car takes centre stage
Last updated at 20:29pm on 11th September 2007

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The world’s smallest four-seater micro-car was unveiled by Toyota at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

The ‘IQ’ prototype is just 9ft 9 inches long – about three inches shorter than the original Mini – and is expected in showrooms within two years priced between £9,000 and £10,000.

It has enough room for three adults and a small child, but a sliding seat arrangement means it can be driven as a two seater with added boot space.

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Now call me an “injineer” but since I see that most times, people commute alone, perhaps there’s a market for a single seat “car”. My only criteria is that is has to survive a crash with a Hummer.

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