Post Mortem II

By: Bogon , 7:50 AM GMT on November 12, 2012

Share this Blog
6
+

I am a creature of the twentieth century. I was born smack in the middle of it. I spent all my youth and most of the better parts of my middle age in it. The thing is, when one lives for a long time in the same place, one acquires certain habits and expectations.

In the century where I was born, there was an expectation of change: political change, social change and, most of all, technological change. For most of my working life I was pleased to navigate the shifting currents of technology. My outlook is fundamentally scientific. As a young man I wanted to be out there on the bleeding edge, helping to scout out the future.

Not everyone was happy with the prospect of change. Take, for example, the religious conservatives who still travel by horse and buggy. They want to stop the clock, to live a more sedate life. More power to 'em, I say. I have a growing feeling that we could all learn something there. Not about religion, necessarily, but about how a human being is meant to live.

Then, as now, there were those who felt that change threatened their way of life or their privileged status. Often these folks are correct. Historic social trends point toward a more open and egalitarian society. Those who imagine themselves to be inherently superior and entitled are cruising for disappointment. Rank, privilege and respect must be earned. They cannot be decreed, arrogated or inherited. The same general idea applies to religious zealots, who claim that only they possess the keys to heaven. Those people need to get out more. Their deity, if he/she/it exists, is surely free to prove me wrong. I'm altogether willing to take that chance. I figure I know just as much about the unknowable as they do. Maybe a bit more — they apparently don't realize that some things are, in fact, unknowable.

Some people, myself included, worried that the hell bent pace of technological change endangered the welfare of the planet. Sometimes that put me in a conflict of interest. Most of the time I kept on doing my job and tried not to think too much about it. Some folks dropped out, joined a commune and sought to live closer to nature. Far be it from me to say they were wrong.

There were hopeful signs. During the seventies a wave of consciousness raising led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. Laws were passed to control pollution and to preserve extant species of plants and animals. It seemed an optimistic change. Maybe it wasn't too late to take action, to make a difference.

In the early eighties a majority of the American people got tired of the pace. They voted for Ronald Reagan. Avuncular cowboy Ron calmed them down. He represented a return to a simpler time, the mythical Good Old Days. He spoke for traditional American values. He reassured us that the American Dream was still achievable.

Reagan's message didn't jibe with reality. The pace of change was accelerating. Like it or not, things were going to get different. Personal computers hit the market during Reagan's first term. A decade later we had the internet. Phones became portable. People chose to share intimate details of their personal lives via the web.

Up until this time I had been a happy camper. The nerd in me reveled in high tech. The human in me was... aging. There were warning signs. I spent the late nineties working on Y2K bugs. Most of these came about because widely circulated paper documents were designed with date blanks of the form 19__. The software shop where I worked sold digital versions of several such documents. The fix we adopted was to introduce a four digit year: ____. It wasn't a perfect fix. Dates entered with only two digits still defaulted to the twentieth century. It was, after all, twentieth century software.

I continued to work at the same place after the millennial odometer rolled over. Increasingly I was obliged to fix bugs that arose because our old software had issues with newer versions of the operating system. Our customers understandably wanted to run the latest generation of computers. Our boss unaccountably refused to allocate the resources necessary to bring the company's software up to twenty-first century standards. Like me, he was getting older. Undoubtedly he was anxious about the future, complacent in the present.

Eventually I grew tired of chasing a moving target. Indeed, to a software engineer much of the change seemed gratuitous. It was not introduced to fix bugs; it was decreed by Microsoft's marketing department in order to sell more software. Each iteration of this vicious cycle introduced more bugs, more incompatibilities and more problems for people obliged to use the software. I wanted off that treadmill. Eventually I got married and moved away. I lost a job, but I gained a wife and measure of serenity.

Now I'm a 20th century guy adrift in the 21st century. Sometimes I feel a bit like this guy.



This picture was painted by Winslow Homer in 1899. Perhaps people back then worried about Y1.9K bugs.

As we age we weary of riding the wave. We look for shelter and something solid to cling to. We are increasingly comfortable with the old and familiar, the tried and true. The other day I watched an old movie, The Electric Horseman. I was surprised, actually, at just how old it has become. Doesn't seem that long ago...

Anyhow, there is one scene in which the enterprising reporter, played by Jane Fonda, enters a phone booth and calls her office. It all seemed utterly familiar. I remember how to do that. You have this big black phone constructed with the solidity of a vending machine. For decades (until roughly Y2K) they were everywhere.

Now we have the cellular phone. Cell phones contribute to that uneasy feeling I was talking about. To me they are a case of technology going one step too far. I don't like carrying the dang thing. Hands, keys, change and wallet are enough to fill my pockets. I don't like things hanging off my belt. Most of all, I don't like the implication that I have to be reachable. Wrong. You can call the number any time you wish. I might have the danged gizmo with me, and it might be turned on. All or nothing: I don't use the voice mail. Different era, different expectation. It amuses me that cell phones don't work at Mom's house. There's no signal. If you gotta have phone, it's land line only. I'm glad there's still somewhere like that on the planet. I know how to live there.

If you read the hype, you might believe that the whole world is on Facebook. I'm not. I never have been, and I have no desire to start. I believe in personal privacy. I don't need to emit a tweet every time I visit the restroom. Some things are nobody's business but mine.

So why am I hitting you with all this first person singular verbiage? Well, I guess I'm looking for company, for evidence of shared experience. A lot of us who blog here seem to be of a certain age. Are you also tossing restlessly on the Gulf Stream of a new century?

Today I had a sudden realization, a kind of epiphany, about a big part of what has been bothering me. As a 20th century man, I have been clinging to old habits of thought. Namely there was this optimism, that we might all find the wisdom to slow down, to back off, to seek a better balance with the planet that sustains us. I'm not talking about a retreat into Ronald Reagan dreamland. I'm talking about reordering priorities, inventing a better way to live.

That idea turns out to be a non-starter. It's too late. The polluters, deniers, flacks, shills and apologists have won. They have presented us with a fait accompli. The world that I hoped to save is lost and gone forever. Dreadful sorry, Clementine.

That's a big dose of pessimism to swallow all at once, but it helps to let go. I can stop caring now. Bring on the apocalypse.

On a personal level I can take comfort, that as a 20th century relic I probably won't survive to see the worst that is to come. I only wish I could live long enough to see the polluters, shills etc. discomfited. As things grow inexorably worse, the defenders of our carbon-based economy, who evidently consider present profits more important than the public welfare, will be obliged to spend an increasing fraction of their precious profits on things that are no fun at all. Things like filters to keep nasties out of their air and water.

They'll have to spend more for suitable land to construct their mansions. They'll have to build houses like fortresses to withstand the "new normal" weather.

They'll need fences and guards to keep ordinary people out of their estates, anyone who might covet their wealth or wish to hold them personally accountable for the deterioration of everybody's environment. They'll need to be secure at home, because they'll be spending a lot of time there. Travel will be risky. Their enemies will be following them on Facebook.

There probably won't be that many places worth going anyway. Will it still be possible to swim unprotected in the ocean? Will you risk prolonged exposure to sunlight on a mountain top? Can you buy local food for any amount of money? Can you buy safety, security, trust or allegiance?

Money is an abstraction. Reality trumps money every time.

Previous Entry

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 71 - 21

Page: 1 | 2Blog Index

71. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
7:19 PM GMT on December 23, 2012
Bogon has created a new entry.
70. Barefootontherocks
5:34 AM GMT on December 23, 2012
Ps. Please accept my condolences on your Mom's recent passing.
Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 151 Comments: 18349
69. Barefootontherocks
5:27 AM GMT on December 23, 2012
Hi Bogon,
Stopping in to wish you and yours a
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 151 Comments: 18349
68. Proserpina
3:24 AM GMT on December 23, 2012
Christmas2012-2
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 169 Comments: 18082
67. Bogon
2:53 AM GMT on December 23, 2012
Hey, folks. I'm home again. Enjoying being home, actually. Been living out of a suitcase too much lately.

I've started work on a new blog entry, which is about our vacation in the Virgin Islands. That week was a welcome break even with luggage. Didn't need much besides a swimsuit and flip-flops down there anyhow. Next time I go, I'll pack lighter. :o)
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 78 Comments: 3637
66. sp34n119w
6:34 PM GMT on December 21, 2012
What Ylee said.
Happy Solstice.
Member Since: January 27, 2007 Posts: 82 Comments: 4307
65. Ylee
5:25 PM GMT on December 21, 2012
Hi, Bogon! Checking in, seeing how you're doing......
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 92 Comments: 15337
64. insideuk
11:16 AM GMT on December 17, 2012
I just wanted to pass on my condolences too Bogon. I hope all the funeral plans go smoothly.

I'm so pleased that you did get to take that trip to the British Virgin Islands. I'll look forward to hearing about it in a future blog.
Member Since: February 28, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1386
63. BriarCraft
4:01 AM GMT on December 17, 2012
It may sound strange to say and I hope you know my intent is good when I say that I'm glad the timing went the way it did. You and wife got to enjoy a nice trip to a beautiful place and were back home when it mattered. Do what you gotta do, Bogon. Our thoughts are with you.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 77 Comments: 3918
62. LowerCal
12:24 AM GMT on December 17, 2012
Sorry to hear of your mother's passing. Good to hear that as such a thing goes you both could experience relative dignity and mercy. May she abide in pleasant memories.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9154
61. Bogon
3:31 AM GMT on December 16, 2012
Thanks, guys. Mom had a good run. She had already exceeded her life expectancy by a wide margin. Can't complain.

I won't complain about the circumstances of her passing, either. As recently as last summer she was still living more or less normally. The cancer diagnosis came in September. It was only a couple of months ago when we learned that there would be no possibility of a cure. The end came quickly. I'm grateful that she did not linger and suffer.

The lady took the bad news stoically. After Thanksgiving she made her own funeral arrangements. The only part she could not specify in advance was the timing.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 78 Comments: 3637
60. RobDaHood
2:57 AM GMT on December 16, 2012
Quoting Bogon:
My mother passed away early this morning. Obviously under the circumstances my plans for catching up here at WU are on hold. I have a funeral to attend.

Sorry to hear that man. Thoughts with you and yours.
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 96 Comments: 31762
59. Ylee
2:55 AM GMT on December 16, 2012
My condolences, Bogon. As always, we'll be here when you return.
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 92 Comments: 15337
58. Bogon
2:51 AM GMT on December 16, 2012
My mother passed away early this morning. Obviously under the circumstances my plans for catching up here at WU are on hold. I have a funeral to attend.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 78 Comments: 3637
57. Bogon
9:03 AM GMT on December 15, 2012
Hi, BriarCraft. Thanks for visiting my photo gallery. New photos are up. I had nearly 250 in the camera after last week's trip. I'm up late tonight picking a dozen or so for WU.

Should have a new entry soon.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 78 Comments: 3637
56. BriarCraft
9:51 PM GMT on December 06, 2012
I'm glad you and wife are going ahead with your planned trip. I know you both have done the very best you can, so regardless of what happens, live, enjoy, and only take fun trips (not guilt trips).

Be sure to take your camera so we can vicariously share your trip when you get back, okay?
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 77 Comments: 3918
55. Bogon
12:24 AM GMT on December 06, 2012
Thanks, Ylee.

We're looking forward to the break. We've been traveling back and forth to Mom's house so much. Wife can't remember when she last had a free weekend. This vacation is for her most of all.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 78 Comments: 3637
54. Ylee
11:41 PM GMT on December 05, 2012
Godspeed, Bogon.
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 92 Comments: 15337
53. Bogon
10:18 PM GMT on December 05, 2012
Yeah, Ylee, I'm not sure what those Community Activity boxes are supposed to do for us. The little window is too small to follow when things are really active. Maybe there's a way to subscribe to that information as an RSS feed or on Twitter.

Not that I have an interest in either. I watch the good ol' blog list to see what's new. Perhaps WU plans to make page content more configurable. If I had a choice, I would probably disable or hide the Activity box.

As for Mom, I know you mean well, but there comes a time when the usual platitudes don't work any more. Mom is dying, and at this point I don't expect that she'll be long about it.

Wife and I recently had a talk on this very topic. She confided that she was tired of hearing people murmuring cheery inanities about her mother-in-law. We've known since October that Mom would not be getting better. When people ask, that's what we tell them. I may not have been totally clear about that here. If not, I apologize. Consider yourself briefed.

I'm not angry. If it weren't for the recent conversation with Wife, I would have let it pass. Americans are sometimes a bit shy and mealy-mouthed when the subject of death comes up. I'm criticizing that aspect of our culture, not you personally, Ylee. You're just an innocent bystander. :o)

Wife and I had to reach a decision about traveling this week. We've had a vacation scheduled for months. We'll be gone a week, and, frankly, Mom may not last until we return. We've decided to go anyhow. It's not a trip we can reschedule easily. The doctors can't give us a date certain, and meanwhile life goes on — for most of us. We have done what we can for Mom. She knows what's happening. Last year she was in much the same situation with Dad. It didn't slow Mom down a bit. She went to Europe. Dad died a couple of days after she got back.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 78 Comments: 3637
52. Ylee
8:20 PM GMT on December 05, 2012
"Come to think of it, these WU blogs are a form of social medium. They may not be so tightly coupled and responsive as sites that were designed from the ground up for that purpose, but they have a charm of their own."

Well, they're trying with that annoying "who posted what on where" box on NUWU! Me, I'd rather stay blissfully ignorant of all that, and stay on Classic! :)

Hope your mom is doing OK!
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 92 Comments: 15337
51. Bogon
9:18 PM GMT on December 04, 2012
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 78 Comments: 3637
50. Bogon
6:30 PM GMT on December 04, 2012
In comment 48, when I say ‘we’, I'm talking about we humans, we members of species Homo sapiens, we fractious citizens of a small planet in all our teeming billions. When I make predictions about the future, I'm talking about the long term, perhaps on the order of a thousand years -- much longer than a single human lifespan and rediculously longer than a five-year business plan.

If we (humans) are going to solve our global problems, we must begin by adopting this kind of global perspective. If we are to have a long term future, we must take into account the long term consequences of our collective actions. If we want to be in business a thousand years hence, we need a thousand-year business plan. To that end, it seems likely that cooperation will serve us better than competition. Competition requires ‘us’ to beat ‘them’. When you adopt the global perspective, there is no ‘them’. There is only We, the People.

I don't claim to be Nostradamus. But after hanging around Weather Underground this long, I fancy I can tell which way the wind is blowing.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 78 Comments: 3637
49. ycd0108
3:53 PM GMT on December 04, 2012
Good Morning again Bogon:
You write better than I can think some mornings.
While I would rather be able to point out some wonderous progress our species has accomplished - look at all the fancy weapons, bridges and buildings we have made - I have to agree with your summation.
It has been "interesting" though.
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 174 Comments: 4586
48. Bogon
3:12 PM GMT on December 04, 2012
It's another cool sunny morning. There's a promise of rain in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow, but for now it's truly dry here in the Dry Slot. A few moments ago, as I went to get a second cup of coffee, I watched birds gathering around the birdbath to drink. The idea of drinking bath water doesn't appeal to me; obviously the birds are less picky. I suspect that may be because shallow potable water is getting hard to find. I suppose I should go refill the birdbath soon. Maybe we'll get enough moisture to make puddles and fill ditches. Maybe not.

Thanks, ycd, for reading and (especially!) for thinking. :o)

Come to think of it, these WU blogs are a form of social medium. They may not be so tightly coupled and responsive as sites that were designed from the ground up for that purpose, but they have a charm of their own. The pace is slower; the background noise is lower. The blogs and comments wait quietly for you to come, whenever you take a notion. No hype, no pressure, no keeping score.

I hesitated (for, like, a year) before I opened a blog here, because I view it as a responsibility. The header has to be updated periodically. Good comments deserve replies. Sometimes I like to give a commenter the last word, but there is no way for you, the reader, to tell whether my silence is deliberate. I may be too busy to spare the time, I may be off-line, or it could be that I'm experiencing technical difficulties.

Fair warning: Wife and I are going off-line later this week. We should be back next week, and hopefully I'll return with pictures and material for a new entry.
It ain't over yet. I don't get the sense you have really given up either.
I have given up on saving the Earth. First and foremost, I can't do it alone. Second, it's too late now. Maybe it was always too late, and it took me this long to notice. When I was much younger I truly believed that mankind (man: the thinker, the adaptable animal) would rise to the challenge, that we would all pitch in to preserve our one and only habitable planet. In retrospect I can hardly believe how wrong I was: four decades of opportunities wasted.

True, here in the United States our air and water are arguably cleaner now, but those changes are like a band-aid on a festering sore. Our environmental laws only apply within a single nation. It's a global problem. We have done little to address the fundamental biological and economic trends that continue to drive us toward the brink. Until we do, we will continue to flunk the exam.

Meanwhile we're running out of time and resources. Maybe we can still patch things together well enough to keep limping along, but we need to act. It's up to us. The Earth doesn't care. It will go on spinning, with or without us.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 78 Comments: 3637
47. ycd0108
5:14 PM GMT on December 03, 2012
Good morning Bogon:
I also had to check out Kidder's website. Another of his books I enjoyed was "House".
Finally got around to the "read and think" I mentioned in comment #2.
"If you read the hype, you might believe that the whole world is on Facebook. I'm not. I never have been, and I have no desire to start. I believe in personal privacy. I don't need to emit a tweet every time I visit the restroom. Some things are nobody's business but mine."
- WU blogs take up all the time I want to spend on social media. I suppose this is similar to FaceBook in some ways but one can browse and respond or not and some posters put a fair bit of work into their blogs and comments.

"So why am I hitting you with all this first person singular verbiage? Well, I guess I'm looking for company, for evidence of shared experience. A lot of us who blog here seem to be of a certain age. Are you also tossing restlessly on the Gulf Stream of a new century?"
- I also wonder sometimes why this forum has become important to me. Discussion, even argument and information have always been high on my list.

"Today I had a sudden realization, a kind of epiphany, about a big part of what has been bothering me. As a 20th century man, I have been clinging to old habits of thought. Namely there was this optimism, that we might all find the wisdom to slow down, to back off, to seek a better balance with the planet that sustains us. I'm not talking about a retreat into Ronald Reagan dreamland. I'm talking about reordering priorities, inventing a better way to live.

That idea turns out to be a non-starter. It's too late. The polluters, deniers, flacks, shills and apologists have won. They have presented us with a fait accompli. The world that I hoped to save is lost and gone forever. Dreadful sorry, Clementine."
- It ain't over yet. I don't get the sense you have really given up either.
That's all the thinking and typing and correcting I can manage this morning.
"Have a sparkling day"
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 174 Comments: 4586
46. Bogon
10:54 AM GMT on December 03, 2012
Ycd, the name Tracy Kidder sounds familiar. I wish I could remember whether I have ever read that book, but I don't. I had to look it up.

The Wiki says the book was published circa 1981. It describes a project to build a minicomputer at Data General. Two projects, actually. One was staffed by lead engineers; the other was a group of kids fresh out of college. Guess which project succeeded?

It would not have been Dell. Dell sells personal computers, which weren't common until the mid 80s. Michael Dell got his start assembling PCs for his fellow students at the University of Texas. That venture proved so successful that Dell dropped out of school to form his own corporation. I recall that bit of history, because at the time I was living in Austin, Texas, the epicenter. I remember when a big new building with "PCs Limited" on its side suddenly appeared by the highway east of town.

I walked inside one day to find out what the heck they did there. The lady who minded the front door pointed to her shiny new desktop computer, which was embossed with the company's logo. I wanted one. Alas, I did not possess the requisite dinero. It would take another couple of years -- and a better paying job -- to satisfy that desire.

Oh yeah, back at Data General... the skunk works project won. The newbies were too inexperienced to know that what they were trying to accomplish was impossible.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 78 Comments: 3637
45. ycd0108
5:30 PM GMT on December 02, 2012
Tracey Kidder wrote "The Soul of the New Machine" in the '70s I'm guessing.
The book was required reading in my last Computer course.
Kidder's take regarding the building of the Dell 32 bit mainframe seemed to me to be that no one really knew what was going on - they just kept on working till the software and hardware meshed (more or less).
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 174 Comments: 4586
44. Bogon
3:54 PM GMT on December 02, 2012
Skye, when I bought my first personal computer back in the late '80s, the software came with solid, complete, beautifully printed documentation. To produce those manuals a) the software had to be finalized and tested before the writing started, b) the programmer had to be involved in the writing process.

Nowadays you're lucky if you get on-line documentation. The help file is composed at the last minute under time pressure from the marketing department. It is typed by a technical writer, who may have scant knowledge of the problem domain and limited access to the guys who actually understand what the software is supposed to do. The software may, at the time, be unfinished and buggy and incapable of demonstrating the function for which it is ostensibly designed. Talk about verging on fantasy...

ycd: "Willing suspension of disbelief"? Exactly. It works better if you are a strong-willed individual.

Check out how those guys in space suits are oriented in a helmet-up position. Almost as if they were all hanging from black wires. 8o]
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 78 Comments: 3637
43. ycd0108
3:27 PM GMT on December 02, 2012
"Willing suspension of disbelief" advised, eh?
One movie I can not forget was Disney's "Black Hole".
At one point the heroes are charging down a corridor in the massive starship (supposedly) and you can see the cardboard walls of the set shivering with each footfall.
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 174 Comments: 4586
42. Skyepony (Mod)
3:03 PM GMT on December 02, 2012
My job as programmer was to instruct the machine, not the user.

I suspected as much when I noticed these computer gadgets mostly stopped coming with instructions anymore:)

Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 161 Comments: 37304
41. Bogon
2:39 PM GMT on December 02, 2012
Good morning. Ycd, I read the BBC piece about Skyfall. The author's criticism is apt. We may wonder whether the same issues will offend you as a viewer.

From a techie's perspective the movie industry routinely takes liberties with its depiction of high technology. In many cases that risks ruining the movie for some of the folks who might otherwise count themselves among its most devoted fans. It's very hard to get a decent science fiction flick out of Hollywood, for example. Sci-fi fans (like me) pay attention to basic rules of physics. Movie makers are wont to paint their story in broad, hand-waving strokes that refuse to be confined by physical laws. The thing is, pesky physical laws define the nature of the universe in which we live. Gross violations of those laws are glaringly obvious to folks who know what to watch for. Such violations push the action across the line from sci-fi into fantasy.

Yep, I noticed the cheap special effects behind Silva. The aluminum scaffold, plastic hoses and blinking lights were intended to represent a server farm. It's theater, I told myself. Those are props. The quality of the presentation is at least as accurate and imaginative as similar scenes in, say, Moonraker.



Get a load of those sound effects. Zap! Zap!
There's no sound in a vacuum -- only in the producer's dreams.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 78 Comments: 3637
40. ycd0108
12:14 PM GMT on December 02, 2012
What am I doing up at this hour?
Reading BBC:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20555621
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 174 Comments: 4586
39. Bogon
4:36 AM GMT on December 02, 2012
No problem, ycd. Glad to help if I can.

I won't claim to always have the right answer, and I definitely won't promise to phrase it in the way that the questioner finds most helpful. My job as programmer was to instruct the machine, not the user.

One thing about that User Account setup -- there's a checkbox in there that says something like, "password does not expire". If you check that, the machine won't keep bugging you to change your password.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 78 Comments: 3637
38. ycd0108
4:08 AM GMT on December 02, 2012
Late evening here Bogon:
"Damn if I know, Damn finares, damfinates"
(how to declench a Latin verb).

I took the machine with today and searched the brains of a couple of folks. did not take the input chord so the box was as dead as a door nail - I assume it ran out of charge while downloading all the updates.
Even my grand daughter could not make the machine burp.
Came home, plugged it in and entered a password
et voila!
I do appreciate your attention to my request. If you ever ask (I'm not too bad at retrofitting houses) I promise to think as hard as I can these days.
Thank you.
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 174 Comments: 4586
37. Bogon
3:48 AM GMT on December 02, 2012
Hi, ycd, sorry to take so long. I've been on the road today. Time to check on Mom again.

I probably ought to preface my remarks by saying that I am no longer working in the software biz. Ergo I am no longer plugged into the latest and greatest version, Windows 8. As a matter of fact, I'm not even running Windows 7. My home machine still runs Vista. I'm going to assume that Windows 7 inherits family traits that have persisted across versions in Microsoft operating systems for years now. Based on Microsoft's propensity for randomly changing things just for the heck of it, I can't think of any reason why that assumption would necessarily be valid.

On all versions of Windows since NT, somebody has to be the Administrator. You could run into a major snag, if the account you have been using to access the machine does not have administrative privileges. Assuming that you are the Administrator, all you should have to do is find the User Accounts Control widget. The first place I would look is on Control Panel.

It pretty much goes against every fiber of my being to set up an administrative account with no password, but it can probably be done. It would be much better from a security standpoint to make a separate account with ordinary User privileges, if you want to use the machine with no password. Remember, if you connect the computer to the internet, it won't be only you and your family who will have access. And it's not just a question of concealing your secrets. It's a matter of protecting your investment of time and data in setting up the computer. Every time you change a setting or store a file, whether it be the password or a recipe or photo, that is an investment of your time and effort. If you have to reinstall the operating system or buy a new machine, you stand to lose all that. Back to zero with nothing to show for your time but aggravation.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 78 Comments: 3637
36. ycd0108
4:25 PM GMT on December 01, 2012
Good morning Bogon:
I probably watched a couple of Sean Connery's Bond films but even they got old. The bits I saw of other Bond Stars did not catch my attention. Your review makes me think I might check this one out.
This morning I have a problem you might be able to solve quite easily:
We purchased an used Toshiba laptop "Satellite L455" running "Windows 7" from EasyPawn in Las Vagas. Tloml can use it at the kitchen table for recipes and felting images.
Just now it decided our password had to be renewed but since we never put a password in we have no idea what that could be. Our random combined memories of various passwords just seem to irritate the machine.
It is being very tolerant of our mistakes and at some point I clicked on the only functioning icon and the Toshiba started installing updates: 104 of them apparently - we are just now installing "update 76 of 104".
We have no need of a password anyway - nothing that Tloml or I have put on any machine or "cloud" or pen and paper needs to be protected as far as I know.
Is there some way to turn off the password requirement?
Maybe I should call the Pawnshop - but if you have any advice TIA.
"installing update 88 of 104" now.
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 174 Comments: 4586
35. Bogon
2:15 PM GMT on November 30, 2012
Not much to report weather wise. I'm liking November weather. Lots of people might complain that it's chilly, but I'm comfortable working outside in a t-shirt. Got big piles of leaves to show for my effort. :o)

There are more leaves sprinkled around the yard. Fortunately there's still some space left along the curb, and I've got plenty of time before the big noisy city truck comes to suck up my leaf collection. Speaking of weather, I sure hope the truck gets here before the next wind storm.

Good morning, BriarCraft. When I was a teenager, I checked out one of Ian Fleming's books from the bookmobile. That was so long ago that I don't remember much about the story or the quality of Fleming's writing. I remember feeling excited about finding a famous spy story. It must not have made too great an impression, though, because I didn't immediately seek out more books in the series. Perhaps I read one or two more, ever.

A lot has changed since those days. New Bond movies are set in the present, which automatically makes them different from anything Fleming would have envisioned. The movies sometimes bend stories and characters in order to preserve their own internal consistency, as, for example, when the movies are produced in a different order than the books were published.

Ian Fleming wrote a dozen novels and two collections of short stories. All of them have movies named after them. Since Fleming's death, the Bond character has appeared in numerous works by other authors. There have been several films and television shows produced by folks other than Eon Productions, which is the outfit responsible for the movies I describe as ‘canonical’ in comment 30.

So, from my point of view, it doesn't make much sense to worry about authenticity in a James Bond flick. Maybe if all of the movies had been set in a mid twentieth century Mad Men-style milieu... but no. It's too late for that. Furthermore, any and all future movies must either be remakes, or they must be derived from ersatz (non-Fleming) sources.

Too late for Star Trek, too. Are the movies authentic, or just the original television series? Is Deep Space Nine part of the canon, or is it anathema? Such questions keep gung ho trekkies up late at night.

Ho hum. Not me. I've got other things to worry about.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 78 Comments: 3637
34. BriarCraft
1:13 AM GMT on November 30, 2012
Good review of the various 007s in #30. Personally, I never cared much for George Lazenby or Roger Moore. Pierce Brosnan was my favorite and seemed more like the character Ian Fleming invented. I did read all the James Bond books as a teenager. Daniel Craig was quite entertaining in the last 2 movies (won't see Skyfall until it gets beamed down via satellite), but neither he nor the story lines of those movies bear much resemblance to Ian Fleming's books.

I feel like the comparison here is really a lot like the original Star Trek stories and characters as compared to the 2009(?) Star Trek prequel movie. I really enjoyed that latest installment, despite or maybe because it didn't bear much resemblance to the original. If you forget the namesake and just look at what the new movies provide, it's darned good entertainment.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 77 Comments: 3918
33. Bogon
4:54 AM GMT on November 29, 2012
We got a little rain here yesterday. It has been a dry month, so when I went outside to retrieve the garbage can from the curb, I lingered to pick up some dead, frostbitten flowers Wife had uprooted. Yes, I got wet. It was optional activity.

Today the sunshine was back. It was a bit cool this afternoon but not bad. Jack Frost will be back in town tonight.

Mass - Wife and I are dealing with a lot of stuff lately from our aging parents. So far we've mostly been managing one situation at a time. It sounds as if you're dealing with many things at once. Take care of yourself. Stress is a killer.

sp - I was kinda hoping we might get a discussion going about which actor was the best Bond, or what was everybody's favorite spy movie etc.

As for the graphic in comment 26, I use the same turkey every year. I have a new camera; perhaps I could take a new, improved, more current picture. My neighbor reliably displays his plastic bird each Thanksgiving. This is a case where good enough is the enemy of better. Chances are good that I will continue to post the same image, even if my neighbor moves away or abandons his inflatable yard art hobby.

Several of my neighbors have Christmas decorations up now. So far I've resisted the urge to take photographs.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 78 Comments: 3637
32. sp34n119w
10:37 PM GMT on November 28, 2012
I like those new pictures very much - saved the pear to my faves, as the color is excellent.

Thanks for the Bond review. I'm not a huge fan and have missed more than I've seen, but, everyone seems to think this is the best Bond ever, which has me thinking I might go see it.

My neighbor had an inflatable turkey out for TDay, too. I saw it as I was heading out that morning and it made me wonder whether you would post a pic of one this year and ... there it is! Ah, tradition :)
Member Since: January 27, 2007 Posts: 82 Comments: 4307
31. masshysteria
4:29 PM GMT on November 28, 2012
Hi Bogon!

Hope you and yours had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, as did hubby and I after what has been quite the tumultuous year.

Thankfully, hubby's done quite well in stabilizing and rebounding somewhat after suffering another stroke in July, a bout with pneumonia three weeks later, then a trans-ischemic attack (that landed him in the hospital again) two weeks later (the end of August). This is why I've been absent from the blogs during and since that time. In addition, I've had the responsibility of helping out his aging 91 yr old father (presently living alone one town over) who has finally consented to join his ailing 91 yr old wife who has been a resident in a nice nursing home for over a year now. It's been overwhelming to say the least and I've now been confronted by my own doctor to start focusing on my own health, as I dropped a critically needed ten pounds in the past year. The good news is that I don't have to count calories during these big holidays and have begun to pack on some of these needed pounds already. Keep the food and Ensure liquid supplements coming! LOL!

As always, I enjoy reading the various topics in your blogheaders, especially your current one, which I find so well thought out, articulately written and so relevant to me and others of our generation. I find that with each new day, we're now having to reprioritize and adapt to those foreseen or unforeseen circumstances surrounding us. It's no easy task now that I'm into my 60's versus the 60's decade so very long ago. I miss my more youthful zeal during that era (teens) which really aided as a buffer towards many of the similar difficult challenges I'm faced with today. For me, youth wasn't wasted on the young ... I took full advantage of it.
Member Since: June 21, 2006 Posts: 62 Comments: 7605
30. Bogon
5:12 AM GMT on November 27, 2012
Sunday afternoon Wife and I went to see Skyfall. The movie celebrates the 50th anniversary of the James Bond franchise. In that half century twenty-three movies have been released as part of the canonical series. For those among you who have seen them all, the new movie is a sure bet.

The first 007 movies caused a sensation. The author, Ian Fleming, began writing Bond stories in the early 1950s. It was a decade later, after the movies came out, when the spy story took off in popular culture. Remember Dean Martin as "Matt Helm"? How about James Coburn as "Flint"? On television there was The Man from U.N.C.L.E., I Spy and Get Smart. These were followed by more spin-offs and spoofs. Even Jethro on The Beverly Hillbillies wanted to be a "double-nought" spy.

Sean Connery set the tone. With his toupee and wry wit Connery was a hard act to follow. The first man to try, George Lazenby, portrayed a more human, vulnerable character. I thought he did a pretty good job, given the nature of the production. Perhaps he could have gotten better, but he only did one film.

The next actor to attempt the role, Roger Moore, made seven. Moore was debonair and quick with a quip. He showed up for the love scenes, but he needed a platoon of stunt men to back him on action sequences. Roger Moore is my least favorite Bond actor, and in my opinion the movies in which he starred are among the lamest in the 007 collection. They often seem more campy self-parody than ripping action/adventure yarns.

After Moore, Timothy Dalton was like a breath of fresh air. Dalton looked the part, and he could perform his own stunts. Dalton completed two films before the franchise broke down in legal wrangling. There was a six year hiatus in production while the lawyers got things sorted.

Pierce Brosnan revived the brand. What he lacked in physicality he made up in verve. Under new direction and with a revised cast, the four movies starring Brosnan were as fast moving as a carnival ride.

That momentum continues in the three films acted by Daniel Craig. Craig has the physique to play Bond. He moves well. I can overlook the blond hair. The new movies rely less on techno-gadgetry and more on the human factor. Craig's Bond is smart, but when in doubt he kicks ass. He bleeds, feels pain and experiences emotion. He's more real, less comedic.

It takes more than 007 to make a Bond film. Four different people have played M, the head of MI6. Bernard Lee lasted through the first eleven films. Judi Dench ends her seventeen year run in Skyfall. Four actresses have taken turns as Moneypenny. Lois Maxwell defined the role for twenty-three years. The record for longevity in the Bond universe belongs to Desmond Llewelyn, who played Q in seventeen films over thirty-six years. John Cleese provided a moment of comic relief in Die Another Day. Now there's a newbie taking over the quartermaster's shop. Forgive me, but that's a bit hard to swallow.

For each movie there's the Bond theme, a Bond girl, and a Bond villain. Javier Bardem does the dirty work in Skyfall, where his expressive face provides counterpoint to Craig's dogged determination. The villain Silva keeps Bond on the defensive until the climactic scene, but Bardem appears far more menacing in No Country for Old Men. You'll be happy to hear that Bond movies still have not become quite that serious.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 78 Comments: 3637
29. Bogon
5:14 PM GMT on November 25, 2012
When I got home, there were still leaves clinging to some of the trees. There were signs that Jack Frost had visited, but the lantana was still blooming. That surely ended last night. It got down to 20° (minus 6⅔° C).

Now I have to decide what to do with the remains. Garden experts tell me not to cut back the hollow stems of plants like lantana, salvia and butterfly bush until around Groundhog Day. The lantana by the front door grew so big that it covered part of the front steps. I would like to whack it, but I suppose I must wait.

Meanwhile there are other outdoor chores to keep me busy, the foremost of which is leaf raking. The good news is that the cool weather in our forecast is eminently suited to burning calories. Last night Wife and I had our second Thanksgiving feast (her side of the family), so we surely have a cornucopia of calories to burn.

Ylee, I have been reading a book called Moby Duck. In his pursuit of a lost rubber ducky the author traces it all the way back to its Chinese manufacturer. He learned that our dollars are powering an economic revolution in a region around Hong Kong. Now thrifty China holds the note on huge American balance of payment debt.

Traditionally the United States has been a good investment. A lot of the world's economy is pegged to the U. S. dollar. Will future generations be able to make the same claim? Will we be able to work ourselves back into the black? We, as a nation, have never been in so deep a financial hole. If you can, this would be a good time to pay off your credit cards.

You know, if you have savings in the bank (i. e. a positive balance), the bank will actually pay you to keep your money safe. Imagine prosperity.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 78 Comments: 3637
28. Ylee
10:08 PM GMT on November 24, 2012
I wonder sometimes of the containers full of Christmas stuff that China makes has an effect of the workers over there.
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 92 Comments: 15337
27. Bogon
5:41 PM GMT on November 24, 2012
Everyone seemed to have a happy Thanksgiving, including Mom. Last night I returned home... a week later than planned.

For the next few days I should be around the computer more frequently. We'll see how it goes.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 78 Comments: 3637
26. Bogon
1:28 PM GMT on November 22, 2012
Prose, thanks for the poetry and the kind wishes.

Today I expect to be away from the computer. A horde of relatives has descended on Mom's house for her last Thanksgiving.

Herewith, the obligatory grotesque pneumatic fowl.



I would lay long odds that said fowl was fabricated in China. Do they have Thanksgiving in China?
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 78 Comments: 3637
25. Proserpina
2:01 PM GMT on November 21, 2012
WISHING YOU AND YOURS A VERY HAPPY AND BLESSED THANKSGIVING

Thanksgiving Images, Quotes, Comments, Graphics
Thanksgiving Pictures - Quotes - Photobucket

For flowers that bloom about our feet;
For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;
For song of bird, and hum of bee;
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee!
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 169 Comments: 18082
24. Bogon
3:27 PM GMT on November 20, 2012
Gotta make this quick. Wanted to reply last night, but WU gave me a server error when I tried to download this page.

Ylee, lately we've declared ourselves the world's only superpower and started acting as global police, swaggering around, swinging a big stick, poking our large red nose in other people's affairs. If the rest of the world comes to view us as the Great Satan or Babylon or the Ugly Americans, sooner or later that failure of public relations is going to be bad for business.

"Yankee go home!" (chuckle) I believe that sentiment originated here in the sunny South.

Skye - I sent you a WUmail.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 78 Comments: 3637
23. Skyepony (Mod)
4:25 AM GMT on November 20, 2012
I try & draw hope from the thought our rivers used to catch fire regularly, dust bowl, everglades, ozone.. We've screwed up hard before & with or without proper action nature turns wild & restores balance.

Never could get in the habit of always being tied to a phone either. I think it's a preference thing. I know enough older than you that have cellphones.

Hope your Mom gets better soon & your family has a great Thanksgiving:)

Wundermail me if your gonna be on 280 in Mills River & want an easy diversion. I could use someone to look at my place. I'm afraid the guy that was cutting hay on my field is in jail or something.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 161 Comments: 37304
22. Ylee
12:05 AM GMT on November 20, 2012
One could argue that the rise and fall of peoples, communities, and empires are just the result of large scale natural selection. You may be the king of your castle now, but someday, someone more able will take it from you.
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 92 Comments: 15337
21. Bogon
10:51 PM GMT on November 19, 2012
Yep, Ylee, the same thing applies to Native Americans, wild animals and plants.

They were here first. We are the conquerors, the interlopers. Does might make right? Or have we incurred a karmic debt?
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 78 Comments: 3637

Viewing: 71 - 21

Page: 1 | 2Blog Index

Top of Page

About Bogon

Unemployed software engineer. "What is that?", you may ask. It's someone who has time to blog about the weather...