Unwanted Hiatus

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Due to a medical condition, I will not be doing anymore blog posts until further notice.  Additional information is available on my Facebook page.  Thank you for your continued support.

Unwanted Hiatus

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​I have some bad news.

Last week, I tried to update to the latest build of Windows 10.  After nearly 3 weeks of failure, it finally downloaded and unfortunately it caused one major problem.

My computer kept crashing not allowing me to do anything with it.  I could not even rollback to the previous build of the operating system.  So I had to do the worst thing possible: boot to the recovery system and backtrack to Windows 7.

In doing this, I lost everything on my computer or at least on the surface.  I am going to try to recover most of my important files, if I can and then reinstall the programs I use to write my blogs.  

This means that I will be dedicating most of my computer time to repairing my system, hopefully and getting back within a month.  Until then I will not be writing any posts to either blog, however when I do return I plan to start with the topics that I previously announced.

Let me say in closing that I have never experienced an incident that caused an upgrade to fail like it did in all the years that I have been using Windows, but there is a first for everything.

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, I will keep you posted on my return.

Until then, happy computing.

Half Year Review

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This week’s blog post is being presented in both of my blogs as the information is relevant to both blogs.

 

Tomorrow, we will be exactly half way through the calendar year.

 

This means at this point that I look back at what has transpired over the last 6 months.

 

On the Staples blog side, the merger that didn’t happen was the big story and appears that the company has suffered greatly because of it.  Whether or not the back to school season will save them is yet to be seen, but if it continues to be as bad as what it has become in recent years, I predict more closures will result along with more cutbacks.

 

On my other blog, no topic was really a standout topic with the possible exception of the Time Warner Cable/Charter merger.  Another topic gaining some traction is the continued problems with the ongoing updates to Windows 10.  As I write this, I am still awaiting the download of the latest build.  Each build seems to be getting less stable as features seem to crash more frequently.  I will report on both of these topics as the need arises.

 

Now for the overall state of both blogs, I must say that I am disappointed.

 

While both blogs seem to have at least 50 followers, it seems that nobody ever seems to comment on either blog much anymore.  Maybe it might be that the topics are not interesting or maybe the inconsistent updates of my posts.  It could also be the length of the posts as well.

 

Recently many of my posts have become much shorter on average.  The reason is that I feel that people may be more engaged if the posts were shorter.  I would appreciate hearing from my followers if they prefer longer posts or shorter ones.  My preference would be to take long topics and break them down into several posts if it is a long topic, but I would like to hear from you.

 

While I do have some disappointed about how things have been in the past, I do have a couple of topics of interest on the upcoming docket.

 

Up first, which will be on the next post to both blogs and run for a few weeks, will be my recent trip to Orlando, Florida.  In case you wondered where I was the first couple of weeks back in early June, I was with my family on their anniversary trip to Orlando for the umpteen times.  Granted I left just hours before the weekend of horror happened with the 3 major events that rocked the city.  Since we drove down there, I have much to share about things that happened along the way and down there.  Yes, nothing really went as smooth as one would think.  This topic will be of interest to both blogs and I hope that it will be interesting as well.

 

After I complete that topic, my plan is to bring the topic of the game show revival that is happening this summer.  I have recorded these new shows, but have yet to watch any and am anxious to compare them to their older versions and how they stack up.  On the Staples blog side, I plan on discussing more of the retail downturn and what companies may be next to bite the bullet.

 

Overall, I think that the topics upcoming will bring great interest to both blogs.  As always I appreciate any comments and any topic suggestions.  You may reach me here or by becoming my friend on Facebook.

 

Until then, enjoy the upcoming holiday weekend.

 

 

 

Facebook’s Many Problems

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When I joined the Facebook community a little over 7 years ago, I thought maybe that I could keep in contact with my friends from my former job or even more so those people who I went to high school many years ago.

 

Little did I realize that there would be so many issues along the way.  Having some people friend me and then unfriend me months later for no really good reason given.  Why did these people friend me in the first place if they knew they had no intention of wanting to continue to be my friend?

 

Add to that the few that have even blocked me for no real good reason either.  To uncover those who blocked me, I created a second account under an alias to spy on others and find out who blocked me by testing their URL with my primary account.  I was shocked at how many people have blocked me even though they never really friended me.

 

However, Facebook has more issues than that as far as who hates me on their site.

 

Recently, it was reported that the site’s trending topics have been slanted to support certain viewpoints.  I will say that I see significant differences in trending topics between my 2 Facebook accounts.  I believe that part of this is because my primary account has so many liked pages and my secondary account has hardly any liked pages at all.  Could they be slanting trending topics toward topics that I have liked pages of before?  It certainly appears that way.

 

Now onto other issues with Facebook:

 

When I started using Facebook, it was on a PC with a browser.  When I got my smartphone, I started using the Facebook app.  However I found the app to be huge and a significant space hog taking up as much as 280mb of precious space.  It has slimmed down somewhat since then but it is still unusually large,  I have tried many of the so-called alternative wrappers of Facebook, which usually are rather small but are hindered by a large number of ads or just don’t work properly.  Currently, I am using the Chrome browser on the phone to access Facebook.  If anyone knows of a really good Facebook alternative app, let me know because none seem to work well for me.

 

The next problem has been with Facebook Messenger.  This program started out as being part of the Facebook app but has since been separated into its own app.  This too is a fairly large program and since I don’t communicate much at all with anyone using the PC version, I find this program totally useless.  However, Facebook still thinks that I need this to use Facebook.  I think not.  If I regularly had any conversation at all with anyone, then I might consider it, but I see it currently as a waste.

 

Next up is the onslaught of friend requests that I have received lately.  I know that most of these requests are fake, but I accept most of them just because I want to report the content in which they are sharing.  Many of these fakes delete their accounts within a few days but others have lingered so they may very well be real.

 

I report at least one post or profile daily.  However, the results from these reports mostly are disappointing as many of them are not considered violating their “community standards”.  This makes me wonder if a real person is looking at what I am reporting or if this is being done by some sort of bot program making the decision.  My usual feedback is negative if the offending item is not removed.  I would say that 80% of the posts are not deleted.  This is a high percentage of material that should not be on Facebook, but somehow still remains.  Sometimes after several times reporting the same post, it does get deleted.  However, nobody should have to report the same thing multiple times to get something deleted.

 

Overall, Facebook continues to be a very mixed bag of frustration, happiness, and hatred.  It doesn’t seem that there is a way to ever make anyone ever happy on the site, so sometimes I still wonder why I stay there except to announce the postings of my blogs.

 

Congratulations to the NEW Couple?

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Yesterday, Charter Communications completed its acquisition of Time Warner Cable and its sibling Bright House.

 

While for TWC this change may be a slight upgrade in service, it seems that it might be a big downgrade for Bright House; at least that is what I see from how Consumer Reports have reported the 3 different services.  While I cannot report on Bright House or its customers, TWC seems that this might be a plus.

 

So while no changes will happen in the near future, I expect that very soon all those annoying TWC commercials will be replaced by talks of the Charter merger.  Along with that, I expect to start seeing changes in how we receive our service.

 

First changes I expect is saying goodbye to the words “Time Warner Cable” off the guide along with that weird blue swirl thing.  Just getting rid of these is a start to prove that TWC does not exist anymore as is.

 

Over the next couple of months, I expect that the entire guide will change (for the better, given how their other guides look).  This change will include the elimination of the dull looking guide along with a complete renumbering of the channel numbers.  While this may seem like an inconvenience, it may be in the long run a big plus.

 

I also expect to see a much faster internet service and hopefully more fulfilling experience.  Given what I have read the service that Charter offers for the same price as what I pay now means that my service would go from 15mps to 60mps (on average).  This is a much worthy upgrade if it really happens.

 

Overall, everything I have said here is speculation given what I have seen on Charter’s website in their areas already being serviced by them.

 

Given that the DVR service here has not really been upgraded since last November, any upgrade and bug extermination would be much appreciated.

 

As always I will keep you informed of changes to services (at least as I see them here in the Portland Maine area).  I am optimistic that big things and good things may happen in the very near future.

 

Fingers crossed for a better cable and internet.

Why I Didn’t Caucus in Maine

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Writer’s warning:  The following post may contain material that may be offensive to some people.  Reader is advised.

 

Spoiler alert:  This post contains information that it is a major part of my other blog about Staples.  If you don’t want to know things ahead of time just skip that segment when it comes up.  It will be indicated as such.

 

It was 32 years ago this year that while in college I took a course called “Introduction to Political Science”.  This 3 time a week, 50 minute course was probably one of the most interesting courses that I took during my time in college.

 

It was during this time that the primaries of the 1984 election were happening and much of the conversations in class were the discussion of that.  Since I sat in the front of the class, I always had to turn around to see who was talking and to listen intently to what they were saying.  Of course, it was also a good excuse to look at the pretty redheaded girl Rebecca, who sat right behind me and seemed attracted to me (that is a story for another post).

 

Since this was a core class, the room was filled of people with various majors and the love or hate in the political system.  We did have a textbook but it was rarely used except for the occasional test we took.  The professor was retiring after this semester and seemed to let the class run loose with their various comments of the current political environment.

 

While the conversations were always cordial, one thing was obvious:  the people were not deciding this or any other Presidential election.  It are the delegates who make all the decisions no matter what the will of the people is.

 

Sound familiar?

 

This is exactly the same sort of thing that we are seeing this Presidential election cycle.  We have states that have primaries, caucuses like Maine, and others like Colorado, where the residents don’t even get a vote.

 

Really, does all this seem fair?

 

Of course not, while people in Maine spent hours in line for a chance to caucus in their town or a nearby one, I figured that this time would be better spent elsewhere and not wasted on expressing my political choice.

 

Now the question is what political choice?

 

This year it seems that people are picking the person who they hate the least rather than those that they really support.  This is exactly the way that I feel this time around.

 

Sorry people, I am not really attached to any candidate this time around nor do I think that some should even be elected at all.  However, now that the field has whittled down to 5 major candidates, I think it is fairly safe to give my opinion of each of them.

 

First we have the three Republican candidates:

 

By far the furthest ahead for now is Donald Trump.  He is the most outspoken person on either side and enjoys putting people down and calling people liars or stealers.  Overall, he does have a good point as many states award their delegates at disproportional level.  You can have the most votes, but still lose in the delegate count.  I call it math gone wrong and Donald may have hit on something that has always been part of the establishment.

 

In second place, we have Teddy Cruz.  I call him Teddy because he likes to use the name Ted as part of the word “Trusted”.  To me, he cannot be trusted as he seems to have connection to SuperPACs and has his people send out false emails saying to vote for him as his competition were going to be dropping out.  While he seems to talk like someone who should be more of a preacher, his actions are less than religious.

 

Lastly we have John Kasich.  Ironically, this guy sits in fourth place in a three-man race.  Marco Rubio, who dropped out a few weeks ago, still has more delegates than Kasich does.  Unfortunately, Kasich seems like he is the most qualified and part of the establishment that everyone is avoiding in this election cycle.  Every interview that he is in, he seems to get angry that people have already cast him off as a no-chance candidate.  Do we really want an angry guy to be our next President?  Why do I keep thinking that this guy is going to change into some big green creature when he gets angry?  (To those who remember the old “Incredible Hulk” TV show of the 1970’s, you will understand the reference.)

 

 

Now the Democratic candidates:

 

The most well know Democratic candidate is Hilary Clinton.  Given her email scandal, she may be more qualified for the real life “Orange is the New Black” or maybe she is trying to be just like us by saying that she always tells the truth.  If you believe that, then you have not been reading my other blog as liars seem to be running rampant.  How many of us really want a 3rd Obama term?  Do we really want to continue to fail?

 

The other Democratic candidate is Bernie Sanders.  This socialist wants to change the country in ways that would destroy our economy.  He wants to ignore the ISIS problem.  He wants to break up big banks, but has no clue on how to do that.  He wants to have free college and healthcare for all, at the expense of big corporations and raising taxes even more on the general public.

 

I have a couple of Facebook friends, who seem to be very supportive of Sanders’ social destruction of our economy.  It is unfortunately that they don’t understand that such radical behavior would cause huge job losses and many companies to leave the United States.

 

 

****Spoiler Alert****

 

During my time at Staples, I wound up in the hospital because of a leg problem caused by them.  It cost thousands of dollars for the treatment that I needed during my weeklong stay in the hospital.  Because I had used my insurance, I received a letter threatening me that I would be terminated if I did not follow the procedures that Staples had in place regarding using vacation time to offset my time in the hospital.  While I did not follow that directive, I was constantly harassed on a weekly basis by the management because I required the use of a stool because my legs were still infected and I was still being treated by a doctor.  They kept asking when I would no longer need the stool because they felt that I was abusing the “privilege”, despite the fact that I had my leg constantly wrapped in bandages to help it heal.  Seven years later, I am no longer under a doctor, but walking is difficult and standing in one spot still hurts significantly.  Sadly, Staples was always in denial of the harassment and just considered me a “bad employee” after my termination.  This is why I have not been able to get a job since as their lies have continued to follow me all these years later.

 

Do we really want people like Sanders to have businesses dictate the healthcare of employees?  Given my own case, let me say that NO employee should have be subjected to the type of harassment by the management just because they needed to use their insurance.  Under a Sanders administration, employees would be fired for similar reasons as I did.

 

Sort of puts forth the following quandary:  Does Sanders support big business to destroy its employees?  My answer is yes.

 

***End of Spoiler Alert***

 

So overall, I expect that the delegates this year will pick someone to alienate most people in both parties.  There is no reason to think otherwise given that how fractured the parties are this year.

 

My personal choice this year right now is NONE of the ABOVE.  I could only imagine what that same “Introduction to Political Science” course would be like this year.  I know it would not be as civil nor would it have Rebecca and I together in it.

 

Sometimes if I could turn back that clock…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Broken Windows — March 2016

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Writer’s note:  I had planned on writing a different blog post this week on why I didn’t go to the Maine caucus a couple of weeks ago, however I feel this blog post is more fitting for my current situation along with many other people as well.  I plan on writing the intended blog post in the very near future, when my computer is much more stable.

 

As a member of the Windows Insider club, I put myself and my main computer on the line for the fast ring of Windows 10 updates.  Up until the most recent update, everything has been fairly smooth as far as functionality is concerned.

 

For those who don’t know what I am talking about, let me briefly explain.  Fast ring updates are pushes by Microsoft to release beta (or in their own imprint at the bottom of the screen “Evaluation Copy”) of new versions of Windows 10.  Comparatively, slow rings are more stable versions of the operating system, but still may have some bugs.

 

Everything was fairly well and good with my computer until last week when I installed Build 14279 of Windows 10.  Since installation I have had nothing but trouble.  Honestly I felt I have not seen so many problems since Windows ME many years ago.  Back then, you prayed that the computer would not crash while using it, but usually happened at least once per day.

 

Well, I have experienced just one huge crash yesterday when I received the blue screen of death with a “Memory Management” error.  I had thought given that I saw a funky frowning face with a countdown timer that my computer had somehow been infected by one of those horrible viruses.  Microsoft really needs to change their blue screen of death to look less like a virus and more like the old dark blue screens from older Windows versions.

 

Besides the awesome crash that I have experienced, here are some of the other problems that I have noticed.  This is not an exhaustive list just what I have experienced firsthand:

 

  • Unable to sign into Xbox live. Makes playing games like solitaire impossible.
  • Live tiles not working. Most of these tiles when you hit the start key are not flipping or updating to anything at all, in fact one of them is missing.
  • Web pages not loading in Chrome. While Firefox really don’t have this problem, it is like Microsoft is showing its hate to Google by impairing its browser.  I don’t use either Internet Explorer or Edge because these are really not good and I have never recommended them.
  • The Weather Channel application does not work at all. Up until this build, this program seemed to work fairly well, but now just refuses to work.
  • Microsoft Store does not update programs correctly. Some updates in this program want to update over and over again.
  • Notification icon does not update when new mail is received.

 

If you don’t have this build, I don’t recommend it.  If you do, let’s pray that the next update fixes some of the above mentioned problems.

 

Ironically, Microsoft had sent a feedback survey shortly before I started writing this that asked if its users like me had experienced lockups or crashes with this build of Windows.  Sadly when I clicked on the link, it crashed before I got to answer the survey.  I guess they will never get my opinion unless of course someone reads this blog.

 

I can now congratulate myself that I got through this post without having Windows crashing today.  Will I be so lucky next time?

 

 

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