Monday, May 8, 2017

Alien Musings

I get so irritated with all the speculations about advanced aliens, the aliens among us, alien installations in Antarctica and the oceans to say nothing of the moon and other places.

The level of hubris in our society that we are the final and greatest step in evolution is actually silly.

Our history is minuscule in nature.

So called histories are written by the victors if recorded at all. Go back a couple of hundred years and what is written is open to conjecture. Go back a couple of thousand and there is very little we can understand at all.

Maybe we are not the "smartest" people who ever existed.


Maybe there were what we consider as advanced societies in the past. Serial different societies. Maybe they killed themselves off by biological warfare or by the use of biologically modified foods that did infinite destruction in the future generations.

Who really knows?

If only we could find some of their computers. The only problem is things like that only last a few years and then they are gone. Just like our current vast amounts of digital data given a period of time. Maybe we should be carving our important records in stone to give them a little longevity.

Are we the first people to have escaped the surface of the Earth?

How can we be so self centered as to think that no one in the previous tens, hundreds, or even millions of years previously thought of ways to do this?

Maybe there are self sufficient colonies distributed through the solar system who have escaped the plagues and asteroid strikes and abrupt climate changes on the home planet. They are all who survived and possibly reseeded our planet after the disasters.

Mutations over a vast number of years and in varying environmental circumstances would make us very different. Maybe our current structure is the result of biological research in days long gone. Maybe our current diseases and frailties are mistakes of some sort. What if they are ways of controlling the population?

Could all these supposed aliens merely be our predecessors?

Asteroids have struck the Earth. Climate has changed radically and abruptly. It is very difficult to believe that our current version of humans are the very first to do anything.

Could the scary creatures of Greek, Roman and other mythologies have actually been based on biological research by previous civilizations?


It is very difficult to prove anything with no real records. The Jews only go back about 5000 years. Egypt, India and China really can not go back huge amounts of time either.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Rain Today, Tomorrow, Etc.

Many, many years ago, in the good old days, this house was heated using oil.

Actually, heating oil was so cheap that it did not make any sense going through the cost of converting to gas heat. The furnace was actually a converted coal furnace from the real good old days.

The oil company was Ashland and they would periodically send out tips on economical usage with their bills, as energy companies still do today. They could be quite useful.

I particularly recall one that was a reply to a question about when to shut the furnace down for the summer. After all, you get some hot days in May and it would be nice to be able to take out the storm windows and put in the screens as soon as possible to take advantage of the nice weather.

The reply was a cautionary one. It was suggested that June was a much better choice for shutting off the heat. There is quite a bit of wet and even cold weather to be had in May. The risk of mold in a damp, unheated house is considerable and aggravated by the erratic weather.

To say the least, I thought this was just sort of a sales pitch to sell a little more oil at the time.

From experience though, all you have to do in May is shut off the furnace and open the house up and you will definitely get a cold, wet streak. It can get quite expensive switching the furnace on to get some heat and end up heating the great out of doors.

In this part of the country it just is too soon in May to put those screens in regardless how many of your neighbors do. The Niagara Frontier and similar geographical locations just have too much variety in their weather.

Just a look out the window today will show this. A week of rain and cold in May with maybe a little bit of snow mixed in is not all that unusual.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Vista Is Gone

The day before Microsoft officially ended support for Vista my computer made a funny sound while I was watching a Youtube video. It then shut off and restarted and said I had to run a computer check.

The check was run and the computer restarted. It worked fine for a while and then shut off again. This happened a number of times and at various times I was instructed to run Startup Repair and checkdsk. I even tried running Checkdsk with the repair option which takes a couple of hours.

Letting the computer run overnight the usual backup ran ok and everything seemed all right but when I started using it I started getting my reboot business.

Now what to do. The system was unstable. Who could do anything if it was going to shut off unexpectedly?

I had tried a program System Mechanic which was highly rated by some reviewers but I had taken off because it seemed quite effective but it had I lot of added in functions I did not need at the time.

Checked on Google and found it was on sale for about $25. No second thoughts. If I could get the computer going for that small amount it would be worth it.

Ran the scans and did the repairs it called for. Could not get anything to start by clicking desktop icons. Startup menu showed but everything was rearranged and mouse clicks had no effect.

This is a total disaster. Shut off power using the switch because nothing else worked.

Turned on power and was asked whether I wantad to start windows normally or in one of the safe modes. Chose normal and got a black screen. No prompt or anything.

Went through this again thinking maybe safe mode would work and maybe let me use checkdsk. No luck.

Do not have a startup disk and do not think the CD drive works any way.

Have a stick with 64 bit Lubuntu on it but that is no good for this 32 bit HP computer.

Went to the old Acer computer with Lubuntu on it with the stick and downloaded a new *.iso file of 32 bit Lubuntu and managed to get it loaded on the stick so it would act as a startup for the installation.

I decided to overwrite everything on the HP because everything in windows was just locking up.

Used the boot menu option to boot up from the stick. Worked good so I figured "why not?" and proceeded to install Lubuntu.

Install went great. Everything worked great. Firefox worked great and I got access to my emails. Even got the printer working easily.

The only problem for me was Lubuntu is really a minimalist system for older and smaller computers. There is just a plain screen and you have to figure how to install everything on it.

I wondered if maybe the full functioned Ubuntu with all its menu options might be a better choice long term for this machine.

There is a startup disk creator available on the latest version of Lubuntu so I decided to try downloading the Ubuntu iso file and installing it on a startup stick. I could always go back again if I wanted.

Everything went great. The install could not have been simpler. I am now running Ubunto 16.04 and the computer seens to be working perfectly.

I do have some problems like my backups are on an external hard drive that only seems to work on windows with backup software that is only for Windows. I will work my way through this somehow in time. My modem does not work either.

At least the computer now seems to be wooking quite well. The reboot problem seems to have vanished with the installation of Ubuntu.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Unsubscribing From Newsletters

I just went through the process of unsubscribing from most of my email newsletters.

I had developed quite a few over the years ranging from politics to business schemes. Some were also supposed to be just informational but seemed to be edging into advocacy for various things.

There were Democratic and Republican oriented ones as I always liked to receive information from the best source and not take the opposing side's word for it. The conversations on both sides seem to have degenerated into a sort of he says, she says type of stuff. All this harping about we are going to get you gets repetitious and boring.

I think I will just wait for any actual trials and convictions rather than dealing with all this name calling stuff.

The same with the supposed business things. They are mostly fluff pieces rather than something of substance.

I am trying to empty out some email addresses as keeping them up does not make any sense any more.

I think there is so much of value out there but it is hidden by the noise of all the irrelevant junk.

Some times you have to step back and decide what is really meaningful.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Model Trains

I still remember the train setup we had on Ferry St. That was a really interesting thing to play with. We had a couple of trains. There were different types of tracke. There were switches. We could really set up complex setups. I really would like to get myself going in something like that again.

It would be good to lay my hands on something real. This computer stuff is all an abstraction. There is nothing real to lay your hands on. It is fun to work out puzzles in programming but what do you really have at the end. Days and weeks of serious labor and then when you run it it goes by in a flash. I did notice this at Moore when working with coding. All the work you go through and it is over in a flash.

The electric train thing seems to be a wedge into the days in the past. It is fun. It involves thinking things out. There is plenty of room in the basement to work. That is what basements are for.

This does not have to be a major project.