Changing the name of Aycock Dorm at ECU

Really?? WRAL (yes, I’m watching the news already this am…)  just reported on a meeting to discuss changing the name of Aycock Residence Hall at East Carolina University to something else.  Why you ask?  Because he was a spokesperson in 1898 and 1900 of white supremacy campaigns.

ECU/Aycock - Rewriting History - An American Hypocrisy

Let’s Rewrite History

Listen folks, end the wailing, gnashing of teeth, “want to rewrite history depending on political correctness at the drop of a hat” liberalism. Enough already.  If you want to take the man’s name off a residence hall because he had some currently deemed “unacceptable” viewpoints, where do you want to draw that line?

Let’s take a QUICK look at a few names out there.  The Von Braun Center in Huntsville Alabama.  AMERICA’S Father of the Space Age.   Card-carrying Nazi and developer of V1 and V2 rockets that caused so much destruction in England as part of WW II.  Although he, according to all reports, was never involved in the atrocities that so shocked and horrified the world, he was still a Nazi.  He was still integral to killing and wounding a LOT of our ally country’s citizens. Unsubstantiated numbers below:

V-1 2,754 killed, 6,523 wounded
V-2 5,475 killed, 16,309 wounded
8,229 total killed in England, 22,832 wounded

A lot of deaths – even if these numbers are incorrect, it’s obvious there was some serious damage.  But he’s got HIS name all over a center in Alabama.  No signs protesting that.

Speaking of World War 2, hell, the Japanese were lopping off heads of American soldiers left and right only about 70 years ago. I don’t see anyone boycotting their Honda, Mitsubishi or Lexus cars or trying to change names on them. Or bitching about their Sony televisions.  NOW, they’re our buddy.

And let’s go back yet a bit further to examine our own American political-correctness hypocrisy.  What do we do with names that are all over things like some of the founding fathers, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson?  Both were verified slave owners.  Washington provided emancipation for his slaves AFTER HIS DEATH. So does that make him a good person?  Thomas Jefferson was one of the largest slave owners in Virginia at points during his life.  That would certainly be unacceptable according to current, politically-correct acceptable viewpoints.

If you want to start down this road, then be prepared to change an awful LOT of roads – like all those roads that are named “Washington Street” or “Jefferson Street”.  I suspect you’ll probably also want to be changing the names of “Washington DC” and probably the state of Washington.  I suspect there are a lot of towns out there that paid homage to both of these presidents by taking it as their official municipality name.  I foresee a whole lot of realigning here that needs to be done.

But you know what? It goes back even further than that.  The Greeks and Romans, to whom we owe so much of our ideas of freedom and democracy, also were firm believers in slavery.  Without turning this into a long rant – where do you want to draw the line Mr. History Rewriting Moron? I think there have been far more reproachable people to worry about than Charles Aycock.

Aycock was active with the white supremacists at the turn of last century – no, NOT the one about 15 years ago, the one about 115 years ago.  He did a lot of great things for education period. Should we throw out all of the positive things he did because some of his views are now socially unacceptable?  I think not.

I think very few of us could stand up to scrutiny of all the things that we individually have done, opinions we have held throughout our lives.  As we age and become more aware of the world around us, we hopefully gain some wisdom. Hopefully that does reflect in some of our choices and decisions.   But to negate all the positives of someone’s life because of political correctness being applied oh… a century or so down the road?

I think not. Then again, we can just stay quiet and let George Orwell’s 1984 become a reality. Continual rewriting of history to suit the current purposes.

The world has too many mouthpieces filled with “high-mindedness” and short on reality.

Our thin blue line – get a grip

I sit pretty much in my chair every night.  Right here in front of the computer with my TV right next to it.  And as such, I watch the news pretty regular.  You know what’s getting my goat these days?  You’re absolutely right – a LOT of things. But this one in particular – all the people that want to raise a ruckus when their career criminal, wanted for murder, couldn’t follow a cop’s direct orders, idiot of a child, son, husband, boyfriend ends up getting shot.

We’ve seen a number of high profile cases where we really need to be examining police actions. Too many cases where perhaps a little clearer perspective may have saved someone’s life – but, in the heat of the moment with split seconds possibly being the difference between life and death, decisions need to be made.  There are changes that are made. Too many “BooYAH” macho cops out there IMHO are doing a real disservice to the serious majority of caring, professional law enforcement personnel out there.  And then there are some out there that just shouldn’t even be cops, but that’s not the point of this piece at all.

What’s REALLY bugging me is these families that get on television screaming and protesting and cursing the police with screams of racial bias, murder and more. And I’m seeing this too many times per week right now on the evening news.  Then the next statement is “the suspect was wanted on suspicion of murder..”, “the suspect is a career criminal with x armed robberies…”, etc.  You know what?  If you’re a felon, ex-felon or an about-to-be felon, you probably need to think that the cops likely are NOT going to give you the benefit of the doubt.  If you decide that you want to reach for something after the cops tell you to NOT move?  You should probably expect some lead flying your way.  And there is likely a strong possibility that you won’t survive it.  I’d really think twice before disobeying an officer – I don’t care WHAT color you are.

The case that made me first start noticing these idiotic stances and poor, poor choices was a police shooting right here in NC down the road in Sanford a month and a half ago.  I have to admit that I feel for this guy’s family. No one should have to go through losing a loved one like this, but… They also need to realize that when their son/brother/friend was wanted for multiple felonies, anything other than, “Yes, officer” while putting one’s hands behind their head is probably NOT going to fly.

Cops just shot him for no reason. We don’t understand why at all.

Because he was wanted for multiple felonies and my guess is that he was not doing the “Yes, officer” routine which would have likely saved his life. It’s not THAT frigging complex.   Ending up with a gun in his hand doesn’t really help this case either. I’m sure there were screams of conspiracy but…  It started off with someone breaking the law. In this guy’s case, he already had a fairly solid demonstrable history of breaking the law – resisting a police office, possession of  a firearm by a felon, robbery, drug paraphernalia. I’m just sorry, when you have THAT kind of history in the police records, they’re NOT going to just come up and offer milk and cookies and just have a little chit chat. Get a f*cking grip.

And then we take a turn for “You’ve got to be kidding me…”

Late Wednesday, some family members set fire to furniture in the front yard of 621 Magnolia St. Police and fire crews returned to the home and extinguished the fire.

Family members said Thursday they burned the items because they believe police may have bugged them.

Later in the night, however, family members set fire to a wooded area across the street from Faison’s home. Police and fire crews returned, and the crowd dispersed.

Read more at http://www.wral.com/sbi-man-killed-by-sanford-officer-wanted-in-shooting/14267989/#ddy0MbKSWvKtHXs2.99

If memory serves me watching the report that night, they had little signs out and looked as though they thought they were trying to start some sort of spontanous protest – similar to the protests that were occurring elsewhere across the nation at that particular time sparked by the “I can’t breathe” case.  The poor fellow with “I can’t breathe”? There was NO reason for that and that office got away with at LEAST manslaughter if not worse.  I don’t know if they expected Al frickin’ Sharpton to come winging on down or what, but…   I’m sorry – I know you’re hurting – but you just aren’t going to win in any type of court – legal or public opinion – when you’re trying to defend someone that’s wanted for all this crap.

“People are angry, very angry,” Womack said.

You know what? People ARE angry. At least I’M angry. Angry that too much of our time and group energy is being wasted by those wanting us all to focus on glorified stories that deserve NO glory.   Angry that too many are being blinded by THEIR own prejudices and assumptions that little things like reality, truth and actual scientific evidence are dismissed as a vast consipiracy when it disagrees with their opinion. And finally angry that these people don’t have any better home training. My parents told me when a cop said “stop”, you better d*mned well stop. And you better follow that up with a “Yes, sir?” All actions have consequences. If your parents didn’t get that through your thick head, then shame on them.

Save your energy for a poor 12 year old shot by a cop that didn’t deserve or belong on a police force. Save your energy for a BOOYAH macho guy that wanted to take down a 300 pounder with an illegal choke hold – for selling cigarettes – MAYBE. Save your disdain and protest for that – NOT for defending the indefensible.

So if you want to be a bad*ss, go ahead and get in that cop’s face, ignore him, go for your gun – and be prepared to die. If you want to NOT get shot? I really suggest just putting your hands up and listening to him.

Truth in Advertising – Your Car

Wrote this little blit last week, but I forgot about this until I was in today, but general forces conspired against me. Hate when that happens. That said, last WEEK… This morning, it’s running a cool, mmm… 10 degrees Fahrenheit outside? OMFG. It’s cold (similar to yesterday, but worse) and that made my observation yesterday even more ironic.

ncsuSo… I met with a client in Raleigh yesterday. Came in off the quagmire that always seems to be getting on the 440 beltline INNER loop (why people seem to have problems figuring out which is an inner loop and which is an OUTER loop is absolutely beyond me – a WHOLE lot more descriptive than 440 E or 440 W – IT’S A LOOP – BOTH OF THEM GO North, East, West AND SOUTH at SOME point.) In the merge lane TO THE INNER LOOP (be d*mned, map mavens) when I finally got there, I was behind a car sporting some stickers – which may or may NOT be an accurate reflection of the driver.

In the back window, I see 3 stickers. You know, the peel off ones that advertise something as in – you use their products, you’re in agreement with their products, you’re in alliance with them period, you believe in their cause, you’re (I HATE this phrase) “raising awareness” of some idiotic thing, etc? “NC State University” and 2 for Ron Jon Surf Shop tastefully placed on the outside of the NCSU sticker. Nice.

Cool Dude or Chick Ahead!

testImage2So I got thinking, “What kind of person is in this car? Do they go to NCSU?”  Probably. It IS Raleigh after all. “DO they actually surf?” Yeah, we HAVE coast here, but it’s not very exciting for the most part until we have a hurricane moving by… Okay, so admittedly, I got over-thinking the whole thing.

Which then brought to mind the stickers that used to be just absolutely ubiquitous around on car and truck windows, though I haven’t seen many of them lately. “Mr. Zog’s Sex Wax.” This is also a surfing thing. However if everyone had the sticker for purely surfing purposes, then there would have been approximately 15K surfers that used this particular wax back in the mid-80s at ECU – according to their window stickers at least. There weren’t.

So, I’m thinking maybe the stickers aren’t QUITE indicative of what they are supposed to be indicating.  And THAT’S what got me thinking about all these window stickers and why we put them on our cars and trucks. We’re preparing a face to share with the public…

So who IS in that car?

ron-jon-41I don’t know if it’s just me or if other people do this, but I get a picture in my head sometimes when I get behind another car. Depending on the stickers, the type of car, the driving, etc, I always end up with some sort of mental picture of the driver. This one was a toss up for me. The car itself said 20something girl. The stickers got me thinking more 20something guy. Here’s where the “truth in advertising” part comes in…

My assumption about drivers is that if you have something that you do, activities that you frequent, places you live, etc that you’re particularly proud of, THAT’S when you put a sticker on your car.  You are creating the face to meet the public – and of course set the right tone for any ensuing encounters. Advertising who you are. Even if it is complete bullsh*t.

So with a set of surfing stickers on the back AND an NCSU college decal on the back window, thinking this must be an athletic type guy that has a brain and wants to advertise that fact. Cool dude looking for cool chicks that dig smart surfers. Yeah, wrong. It was a chubby chick with glasses. But with the glasses and all, she probably was smart. I guess I called that one at least partially wrong – though the instinct on the car being a girly car WAS right.

After that particular “reveal”, I got into thinking about the whole sticker thing. What would happen if instead of trying to portray ourselves as we would LIKE to be perceived, we just worked with reality and placed THOSE stickers appropriately? Let’s examine some of these stickers…

Where You Live

Raleigh - Yup - yer cool.The ever popular white oval with “OBX” in there. Outer Banks? UrbanDictionary has a different take on it here. You’re driving around in Raleigh. Thinking you probably don’t really live in OBX, but it screams again, “I’m beachy. I’m cool.” Probably much better than a big oval with “RTP” or “RLGH” in it. I’m personally thinking I’d like to see a big BLANK white oval with a black border on it. Now THAT will keep them guessing.

You likely DON’T live any place that really IS  that darned exciting.  If you do, so does everyone else around you. Net gain: 0. Poing.

Your Persona’s Activities

Sure, you’d like everyone to see how with it and what an interesting person you are. Let’s face it. Most people? Not so much. TV. With a few exceptions in my circle of friends, plopped in front of the TV is where you’re probably spending a LOT of your free time. Not nearly as sexy as the “I’d Rather Be Hang Gliding” thing that you’re sporting on the back of your vehicle now is it?

Nor as exciting, of course, as the whole Ron Jon thing implying vast amounts of cool.  Then again, I’m not sure if the chick was talking more about the activity of surfing or if she liked shopping there. It’s far more likely that she shops there I would think. Shopping is much easier than surfing. Then again, maybe the only shopping she actually DID there was to buy the stickers. You just never know.

And Reality. The Real You.

So, what would *I* think the average Joe’s window would look like – in truth?  Let’s find out…

americas-real-window-stickers

Sometimes, reality is not very sexy.

Google needs to eat it’s own dog food

Google needs to be eating it's own dogfoodI really don’t want to bitch, but YES, I do. It seems like everything in life can get stacked up against you some days. Here’s a nice simple task. And this bit of bullsh*t is brought to you by primarily the fine folks at Google. F*cking eggheads. I think this world would be a whole lot easier if they went with the Microsoft “Eat your own dog food” philosophy. I really can’t imagine ANYONE actually using these processes or interfaces day in and day out thinking many of them are really that swift . Can they push through it as a demo? I bet. And they might even be able to do it with a smile. Once. Maybe even twice. But about the time they have to go through this bullsh*t day in and day out? I bet they’d change their processes and UI designs pretty frickin’ quick.

Sort of like letting someone who knows nothing about working on a car design it. You end up with headlights that require disassembling the dashboard to get to a certain bolt, that holds on the engine, that covers up another bolt that holds on a retaining clip to a fan that covers over the access to the headlight.  And that’s exactly what Google’s processes seem like every time I go to use them. Period.

I am going to put one of my clients into Yext to get the proper citations in place for them so they can appear properly in the Google local listings (the little map thing on search pages).

This started at 12:15 pm on Thursday Jan 15, 2015.

  1. Fill out profile on Yext identical to website. Done.
  2. Verify other NAPs match what is on the website – should, but no guarantee.
  3. No, there aren’t many of them but they have the biz name wrong and address street spelled out “Boulevard” What up?
  4. Google has created it’s OWN local page – which does NOT match the address on the website – that is they have spelled EVERYTHING out. And put a period in there. And of course they have the business name wrong – wrong enough to throw the citation building NAP off. All these NAPs need to match for max love
  5. Since we can’t control the existing entry and just change the address – as Google has just created it on it’s own with NO input apparently from us OR our website and there is no “Is this YOUR business?” question on it which might allow an authorized representative to TAKE it over, then we need to create a new page.
  6. Somehow we get sent to a Local Business type interface. WTF? How’s that? I thought Google had gone to straight G+ pages? This is a throwback from a few years ago where G promised “Oh, we’ll migrate all these business pages over very shortly and you’ll be the in the catbird seat.  DON’T create a G+ page – we’ll take care of that.”  That took them 3 years if memory serves me. While all the “johnny come latelys” were whipping up G+ pages and getting indexed with all sorts of great information in THEIR profiles, the people that HAD used the Local Business pages (as Google indicated we were supposed to) were stuck with short crap descriptions and very little flexibility on much of anything.  Yet ANOTHER reason that I find Google so GD irritating – they go off on their own tangents and basically say “F Off. We’re google. We’ll do what we want.”   So… Why are these pages still lingering around? It seems the most RECENT explanation that EXISTS of what this is or how to use it is from 2013. Thank you for that awesome updated support Google. There is additionally a VERY long detailed page about everything. Absolutely everything. Except what I would like to really see – 3 sentences that describe WTF Google is doing with this still out there and why it appeared when I went to create a business account and I haven’t seen this crap in OVER 2 years. But I do today.
  7. Read up on the Google Local Business pages. Still seems like they’re out of favor. But no recent data so just really not sure. Let’s progress using G+ pages.
  8. NOW, create a new G+ account as originally anticipated.
  9. Need an email address – new Gmail? Actually, let’s not confuse things any further, let’s just setup our Google out of the target domain – webmaster@domain? Perfect.
  10. NOW, we need to authorize it. With a phone number.
  11. Whip out BurnerApp. Click buy 15 credits to do some ongoing authorizing.
  12. Can’t connect to server to complete purchase.  Try a few more times. No go.
  13. Reboot phone.
  14. Get 813 area code burner number.
  15. Google indicates that the phone number cannot be USED to verify. Tried voice. No. Same thing. Wasted 4 bucks.
  16. Okay, use Callfire phone number. What’s another buck to find out? Nope that didn’t work. Tried several more numbers.
  17. Broke down and used my OWN personal phone number for verification. Note: Buy cheap “real” burner phones for this going forward. If Google can pin all those accounts down to MY phone, then they can certainly tie them all together. And we KNOW how Google likes to claim that they don’t check all this stuff out, but I guarantee, one of their eggheads one day is going to write a query that will one day tie all of this stuff together and they’ll find a way to penalize because you have some of your sites linked together and you’re trying to “game” them.
  18. Create a non-useful G+ profile? When all I really want out of all of this is to setup a REAL business page with the RIGHT information instead of the *crap* that Google put out? No. Let’s just do a business page.
  19. Discover that no, you can NOT create a business page under any circumstances without creating a personal page – even if 1. You HAVE verified the account that is going to be doing the creating and 2. the personal page will never serve any useful purpose other than to manage the REAL business page.
  20. Create a personal G+ page.
  21. Phone verification AGAIN. Yes, I’ve changed EVERYTHING about msyelf in the last 76 seconds since you LAST sent me a text message to verify this phone number.
  22. FINALLY, BACK to creating a business profile.
  23. Okay, Apparently, there is no option to just create a business page. Often you see, “Create a business page?” or perhaps an “Is this your page? Would you like to claim it?” No. Not here.
  24. Search for “Create G+ business page”
  25. https://plus.google.com/pages/create – thank fricking god.
  26. Google checks to see if there’s one already listed – and sure there is, but it’s incorrect.
  27. Whole new setup.
  28. Now Google has decided (after I’ve filled out the entire profile for the business that was already existing, but of course wholly incomplete and was auto-created by Google itself incorrectly) that this is an existing business. Would you like to use this profile? Well, since the name is wrong, the address is incorrect, not really, but if it would expedite things, sure let’s see if we can tie them together and…
  29. Google: WHOA! This profile has already been claimed by someone. Who claimed it? You under a different profile? Someone you don’t know? Etc. 4 options. HOW IN THE F*CK AM *I* SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHO FILLED OUT AN INCORRECT PROFILE FOR THIS BUSINESS AND CLAIMED IT??? MY REAL EXPECTATION IS THAT IT WAS AUTOGENERATED INCORRECTLY DIRECTLY BY YOU EGGHEADS OVER AT GOOGLE WITH A HALF-TOASTED ALGORITHM PROGRAM AND IT DID IT INCORRECTLY. G*D DAMN.
  30. Go BACK through it and this time tell Google that the crap that it HAD generated and supposedly verified was indeed incorrect – and USE MY SH*T.
  31. Now wait for a PIN code to arrive in the mail. Great. 1-2 weeks.  This part was expected but still after all the frustration of dealing with their half-*ssed methods, it’s just a topper for the whole thing.  A little whipped cream for the big sh*t sundae.

It is now 3:20 pm Thursday. 2 hours and 5 minutes – because Google autocreated a f*cked up address and business name. Is it better for my client in the long run that I create a correct NAP entry on G+? Yes, it is. What might have been even BETTER is that Google DIDN’T create an incorrect entry that has done no good FOR my client and further adds to the amount of static on the internet.

NOW I can go into Yext and add my client.

Is there any f*cking EXCUSE FOR THIS TO BE THAT D*MNED DIFFICULT TO DO? No. NOT IN THE LEAST.

Of Little Boys and a Man

So this isn’t the most savory of topics, but it mystified me the other day. It was and still is one of those head scratching moments.  It still mystified me today when that particularly memory came back to roost in my head as I went by our bathroom.  How did we get here?

That whole period from the third week in November here in the US – yes, turkey day, or our own American Thanksgiving – onwards to the end of the year is a great time. Well for many things. Not necessarily for getting work done, but it is a great time for food, family, sharing, togetherness and all that.

Calvin and Hobbes - Little boys

Little boys don’t smell so good…

Now, being a cave geek, I don’t leave my little shell very often. My girlfriend, the hair stylist, Kristty, however, is very social. Check out her facebook page here. She has a pretty healthy social life outside of my little sphere here at the house. Moreover, she enjoys lots of people being around.  So, one of her school friends needed to finish up an exam of some sort in the middle of this time period on a Saturday. Kristty being ever the “SURE WE’LL HELP” sort, suggested that her friend, Red, bring over her crew of kids (3 – only 2 of which are boys) to sleep over and then hang out with us.  Mom could then head off to take her exam on Saturday morning around 7 am. A sleepy-eyed little head appeared mysteriously (to me) Saturday morning with no warning from the guest bedroom. All of the arrangements apparently transpired between me going to bed around 8:30-9pm and the next morning when I got up at 3 am.

Keep an eye on a couple boys. It sounds easy enough. And probably if you’ve BEEN a parent for any length of time, it probably is. When you’re a cave geek, such as myself, anything that occurs that’s outside the realm of normal can be a whole new wrinkle. And those 2 boys, 4 and 9, definitely WERE a bit of a wrinkle. The youngest got up around 7 am. 7 am in MY world is pretty quiet usually. It’s news time, currently about the time the sun is coming up, time to prepare before the work day starts. Yes, even on Saturdays, the workday still starts. The joy of being a small business owner. There is no “I don’t work weekends” for a lot of small businesses – mine included.

The little shaver came out rubbing his eyes and hopped up on my lap for a few minutes. So far, so good. As long as he was not quite fully awake, life was good. After he started waking UP? A handful. As I looked up at the clock after answering some dozen questions, setting him up with some breakfast (2 bites were eaten), questioning what he was playing with in the other room (odd sounds were emanating), I realized while it felt as though an hour, hour and a half had passed, it was actually only slightly LESS than half an hour.

Long story short, they went off to one of those adventure type places for kids – loved it. Well, I did. I don’t know how they made out, but I loved it. Back to quiet LOL.

So, little boys… I really only have had experience with little girls (the stepdaughter types) in my life. They are somewhat different than little boys. As Hobbes of “Calvin and Hobbes” fame opines, “Little boys don’t smell so good.” Boy howdy. They seem to be a whole lot more active. They seem to be able to get into a whole lot more a whole lot faster. Maybe it’s just me and I’m getting older and gruffer. REGARDLESS….

So what brought all of this to mind today? I walked by the bathroom and visions of days past came to mind. The cleaning lady, Sue, is coming by today. She mentioned that it was shameful what a 20something girl had done (or not done) in the bathroom during her stay here with us. Messy, nasty, etc. No, it wasn’t quite a health hazard, but for some reason, it’s expected that girls will take a little more time to make sure their bathrooms are clean. She didn’t, and I have heard about it several times from Sue since, but I digress. Sue was glad the girl finally moved out – the bathroom has been above reproach ever since. Until the little boys came to visit.

After the little shavers left the next day, I went into the bathroom to take care of nature’s business. As a conscientious guy, I lifted the seat up, as I’ve been instructed to do by numerous girlfriends (including Kristty) and even a wife in there.

The horror.

What I saw – I’m just honestly not even sure how this could even occur according to the laws of physics as I understand them. How could something like this happen? How do you get that underneath a toilet seat period?? And for God’s sake, how can you POSSIBLY get that under CLOSED toilet seat hinges??? Does gravity not apply inside of a toilet for little boys? Is it just a complete gravity-free zone under their little bottoms? Maybe it’s an invisible warp zone force field continuum in that area and that’s why even as men we can’t ever hit the target properly and MUST PUT UP THE TOILET SEAT – at least according to the women in our lives. There are other possibilities….

I was watching the Sci channel yesterday and they had a kinetic railgun they were showing. The premise is that you can take a fairly small projectile and fire it at VERY high velocity and cause MAJOR damage. The whole f=mv2 thing. The scientists on the show took a solid block of concrete and dropped it into the center of a containment container. They then fired a 1 oz projectile (ball bearing looking thing) at it at a velocity of approximately 15K mph. The concrete just exploded and disintegrated into a shower of little tiny specks. And that also seems to be what happened underneath someone’s little bottom in my bathroom. I have NO idea how they might have generated that kind of velocity. Maybe it was possible but I just don’t remember having quite that capability even when I *was* younger.

So little boys – gravity-free zones, railgun intestinal structures… who knows? Regardless, the cleaning lady is coming today – and she’s going to be overjoyed we didn’t have kids stay with us again over the holidays. And finishing this just in time – time to go test out the warp zone force field theory…

Missing Helicopter in Four Oaks NC

Stock Photo - Similar to missing helicopter

Stock Photo – Similar to missing helicopter

Dec 25, 2014A missing helicopter was reported around 3:45pm on Dec 24, 2014 near the town of Four Oaks, NC.  A Radio Shack 2014 Skyking, recently acquired for Erickson Enterprises by Kristty Smith as a Christmas gift, was reported missing and presumed downed approximately 2 minutes after final takeoff on Wednesday.  There was a distress signal given by ground pilot, April Thompson Wright, seconds before the craft disappeared out of sight. Emergency landing directives were immediately issued, but the craft has neither been seen nor heard from again.

An extensive ground search by the ground pilot, and ground crew including Steve Wright, Parker Wright, Tony Thomposon, company representatives Kristty Smith and Eric Erickson, turned up no clues as to the disappearance of the craft.  The NTSB was not notified.

“One minute it was flying just beautifully, and the next it was just gone. I really… just don’t know what happened,” claimed helicopter pilot Wright.

Parker Wright, Mrs. Wright’s son, was quoted as saying, “It was so high! Did you see it??!”  Miss Smith was only heard laughing hysterically in the distance.  Despite attempts at restarting the engine for a remote takeoff, there were no indications of the craft’s whereabouts.

Dubbed flight CHR-2014, the craft’s maiden voyage was to be unmercifully short. Despite a lengthy 30 minute charging period after acquisition, it’s service time would only accumulate a total of approximately 4.5 minutes before the disappearance occured.

The investigation is ongoing, but the craft is presumed downed and lost.

Hangar for the missing craft

Hangar for the missing Four Oaks NC flight

UPDATE: Dec 25,2014 – 6:50pm EDT: All search crews have been recalled for the evening. Continued searching may resume as early as first light, though there is some doubt as to the value of continued searching. Recovery efforts have been centered around the home of Tony Thompson in Benson, NC.

The search radius was expanded by approximately 250 feet earlier in the day. One searcher, Colin Thompson, offered to source a 30′ extension ladder to search among the neighboring pines for signs of wreckage. This approach was dismissed over safety concerns for Mr. Thompson. Experts indicated that there is little hope that the aircraft has any remaining power after 24 hours and there will likely be no operational safety lights to pinpoint the wreckage.

“We’re just going to have to play it by ear. I just don’t see much hope of finding the craft at this point. The weather was gusty and there was a very light rain falling. Visibility was definitely reduced at the time of the accident and that’s making trying to determine the final resting point of the craft almost impossible,” said company spokesperson Erickson.

The craft is currently listed as “overdue and presumed lost.” Search teams may be assembled in the morning for a final grid search, but it appears that the craft whereabouts may never be known.

Ground pilot April Thompson Wright was only a novice pilot with just under a minute and fifteen seconds of flying time before the presumed accident occurred. Experts believe that lack of experience may have been a strongly contributing factor in the disappearance and likely resulting crash. Wright remained unavailable despite attempts to contact her for comment.

It is unclear at this point whether Wright may face any civil or criminal penalties.

Fall – Windows Updates

Wow, we just got a snap of cold here in the Raleigh area.  The thing that always bugs me about our fall is that it seems to go so quickly.  Seems like we get those nice 60-70 temps for a short period before we get downright cold.  This winter promises to be no different.  Apparently they’re calling for a cold winter.  Ugh.

Upgrade Windows XP

Yeah, if you’re seeing THIS logo when you boot up, it’s REALLY time for an update.

Anyway, fall is a GREAT time to get the house geared up for the cold hibernation season.  We all spend far more time inside. With it being dark earlier, you’ll be hanging out more inside at night. That makes it time to get your computer all cleaned up.  If you’re a geek like me, you probably do things like this on Sunday mornings every once in a while.  I just finished my own computer cleanup. I usually do this stuff about once per month.  For those of you that are NOT uber-users, I also reboot about once every 7-10 days.  Little things start to get odd – like windows not floating up to the front when you click them, things taking way too long to open, just little glitchy things.  That’s when it’s time for a quick reboot.  And apply those updates when you do it.

Windows Updates

I always approach these with some degree of trepidation.  Microsoft is never clear about exactly WHAT an update is going to do.  It usually is sort of along the lines of “Microsoft indicates this is really important. You need to apply it now.” Okay, granted, they usually have a link that you can follow to find the notice about that update which has a link to another page which actually gives you a clue about what it’s going to do.  There is nothing more annoying than applying a number of updates and when you go to reboot, you start getting issues with your firewall, driver issues, or some other “GEEZ, I wish I hadn’t applied updates today” feeling.  You can see some other miscellaneous issues that we’ve documented over at Lizardwebs Computer Repair.

That said, updates ARE critical.  You do need to apply them for the most part.  I’m personally putting off an NVidia graphics driver update from Microsoft as it always causes great amounts of concern.  I run a triple monitor setup that never seems to do well when these updates are applied and I have ended up with multiple hours of downtime on more than one occasion.

One other things I *really* suggest is setting your computer to do updates – go with either the “Download updates, but let me choose whether to install them” OR the “Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them” options. The default setting is to automatically apply these updates. If you leave your computer up 24/7 like I do, you probably have a tendency to leave things sitting for the morning. If one of these things happen to be an unsaved Excel document, unsaved text document or any unsaved work, you end up with a mess.  You get your updates applied automatically and MANY of them require  a reboot to work properly. When that auto reboot happens, everything is slammed shut. So questions like “Would you like to save xyz document?” don’t get answered on shutdown.

What happens then is you get in many cases when you go back to see what happened to that document, let’s say Excel, is a popup indicting a document wasn’t saved and would you like to recover it?  Yes, of course you do.  Then it comes up as a temp file and you are then faced with figuring out if you really HAD made any changes and were they all saved.  Same thing as after your car leaves you sitting the first time and not starting properly. You never look at it as fully trustworthy again.  Some of my own spreadsheets are so large that I never have a real clue if any of the possible dozens of changes were successfully saved or restored the way I expected.  Just one row – that maybe is saving all the info about a website hosting setup – can be lost and lead to much frustration when you try to get into that server again.

BYPASS all that by just telling your machine via the control panel = “Windows Update” to use one of the above options and save a whole lot of grief.  Now, you’ll still get dinged with that if your machine happens to blue screen or otherwise go down unexpectedly. The Windows Update though IS one thing you can control – so do it. Learn more helpful tricks and computer repair information over at Lizardwebs.

America in Decline

This is something that I notice from time to time – and every once in a while, it just slaps me in the face.  As much as it hurts to say or admit, the US is NOT the “We are the pinnacle of everything that is good” that we once were in the feel good times of post-WW II.  This is not to say that individuals aren’t doing great and living the life of Riley.  There are certainly those out there.  Unfortunately, it seems as though the stratification of the US population is putting the whole cliche, “Them that has, gets”, into law and practice in an over-the-top sort of way.

Through ongoing shortsighted legislation by both parties over the years – but I do put more of this on the laps of the GOP – basic American ideals have been eroded to the a dangerous point.  And we are now seeing the sum result of all these choices.

While the U.S. enjoys the second highest per capita GDP of $45,336, it ranks in an underperforming 16th place overall. It gets worse. The U.S. ranks 70th in health, 69th in ecosystem sustainability, 39th in basic education, 34th in access to water and sanitation and 31st in personal safety.

More surprising is the fact that despite being the home country of global tech heavyweights Microsoft, Cisco, IBM, Oracle, and so on, the U.S. ranks a disappointing 23rd in access to the Internet. “It’s astonishing that for a country that has Silicon Valley, lack of access to information is a red flag,” notes Michael Green, executive director of the Social Progress Imperative, which oversees the index.

 

I find it interesting that as much time and effort as our Congress spends arguing over Mexican immigrants, we as a nation come in at 17th in terms of happiness – RIGHT BEHIND our neighbors to the south.  So even with all the drug wars throughout Mexico that our media blows off about on at least a weekly basis with lots of “How horrible”, “Can you imagine” and other commentary – they’re STILL happier than we are.

With 95 percent of all economic gains funneled to the richest 1 percent over the course of the last decade, and a tax code that has starved the federal government of revenues to invest in public infrastructure, America will be a country divided by those who have and those who have not. In The World As It Is, Chris Hedges writes, “Our anemic democracy will be replaced with a robust national police state. The elite will withdraw into heavily guarded gated communities where they will have access to security, goods, and services that cannot be afforded by the rest of us. Tens of millions of people, brutally controlled, will live in perpetual poverty.”

The Republicans leading with their poster boy, Paul Ryan, and his golden economic plan are proposing yet more cuts to those plans designed to create any bit of a societal welfare program. Believe me, I want to keep what I make and what I earn, but if I see a starving man and I have a sandwich in my hand, I’m going to give the man something to eat. Every plan that I have looked at is heavy on, “That’s MY sandwich – go get a job and buy your own.” And of course, as of late, that has been paired with a poor economy that doesn’t offer much in the way of jobs. The jobs that are in high supply are low paying minimum wage jobs. We see job opportunities increasing, but…

The countries ranked highest in social progress are doing the complete opposite. They’re investing in schools rather than drones. They’re expanding collective bargaining laws rather than busting unions. They’re providing their citizens with universal healthcare and education rather than selling these basic human rights to the highest bidder.

“Those who care about the plight of the working class and the poor must begin to mobilize quickly, or we will lose our last opportunity to save our embattled democracy. The most important struggle will be to wrest the organs of communication from corporations that use mass media to demonize movements of social change and empower protofascist movements such as the Christian Right,” observes Hedges.

Dems – not everything can be an entitlement plan – there needs to be a way of getting and measuring results. I can only give my sandwich away so many times before I get resentful. If I give my sandwiches away long enough to TEACH someone how to get their own, or allow someone to eat long enough to find a workable situation, THAT I can live with. What I can’t live with is ongoing “You owe me – forever” type attitudes.

America can be a land of many things. It can be a land of opportunity. It can be a land of freedom. It can also be a land without any of those things. My fear is that if we take our eye off the ball too long and let certain individuals and corporations get too far down the road with their own agenda, there may be no coming back for a lot of Americans that deserve those opportunities and freedoms. America CAN be the pinnacle of nations – but only if it is tended with wisdom. Decisions need to be made with the other 95% in mind.

Watching Sunday Political Shows

I was never really sure what I was going to put on this blog beyond just general geek stuff, but after my last post about the over the top antics of those “open-minded” liberals, I have discovered the purpose for this blog – commentary.  Bear with me – this is going to get a lot of the “Who writes this blog” stuff out there.  No one will likely ever read it, but watching the political circus that is Washington – and Raleigh NC in my case – gives me such frustration that it needs to get out.  It’s away from my normal businesses where, God Forbid, someone will undoubtedly decide that my personal or political leanings are a reason to NOT do business with me. I believe in something that they DON’T like, or I don’t believe wholeheartedly in something that they DO like.  Like my last post – have a position on ANYTHING and it gives someone the reason they need to be offended by you. The United State of the Offended.

How We Got Here

I am a legitimate geek.  Computers/web all day – every day.  I also feel that it’s imperative to keep up with something more than what happened last night on “Survivor” – or that god forsaken series of idiocy – “The Real Housewives of wherever the f*ck.”  Really?  That’s what the REAL housewives are like?  I feel really bad for all of them then. Anyway, I try to keep an eye on what’s happening politically – and it often gets me SOOO riled up that it just spills over.  And rather than stewing about it silently, it’s now going to go here. Period.  A place I can write freely. And maybe with ANY luck discover that there are a few more out there like ME. Disgusted with what our government does. How and WHY they do it. And have some sort of inner geek to them.

Today – How was it different?

Love some Bob Schieffer

Love some Bob Schieffer

I spent my morning watching the political shows.  My favorite has always been Face the Nation – love Bob Schieffer.  Nonetheless, I do my best to keep an eye on everything that I can.  Well, maybe after today, I’ll need to taper back a bit.  Why? What I watched this morning makes it more and more frustrating to even CARE what our government does.  Why?  Because the influence of the common citizen has eroded to negligible – and the people that ARE in charge?

Political War for Idealistic Control

We are currently governed by two opposing forces hellbent on the destruction of the other – and that seems to be their overriding goal – to hell with the people they are supposed to be representing.  A talking head woman, Republican Representative Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee, came up right off the bat on Face The Nation.  Watching her smug canned diatribe about how the Republicans will basically be spending their time trying to repeal the national health care law, I seriously contemplated would my time be more rewardingly spent watching the SyFy Channel.  Really I did.  As it turns out, it was going to be that silly Henson Creature Creator show – I looked.  Anyway,  she went on to explain that the Republicans were all about women’s rights despite the GOP blocking the vote last week on the equal pay for women thing.  I have NO idea what OTHER little earmarks were put into that bill – probably some bullsh*t earmarks giving away money to a pet project for Harry Reid.  And was that particular initiative nothing more than a Dem plant to take focus away from recent Democrat bumbling and foolishness with healthcare and the IRS as of late?

I’m so fed up with Washington.

Rep. Blackburn reminded me so much of the Dolores Umbridge character in the “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” movie.  Basically had that same self-assured, zealot, “You don’t know what you’re talking about” attitude while trying to present her party line as the only obvious choice to everything.  “There is NO DARK LORD.  Now drink your Kool-aid.”

It seems like every politician that flashed up across my screen is drinking the Kool-aid in MASSIVE quantities from their respective parties.

Put PEOPLE Back In Office

Talking Heads from Both parties

Talking Heads from Both parties

Trying to stay away from massive generalizations, I will say that USUALLY what I see from politicians is a perfect parroting of the party lines.   Is there like a weekly training thing that both parties sponsor for their representatives so they can learn the lines that they need to use whenever discussing things?  Like actors running their lines, these talking heads seem to be spouting most of their diatribe off without even taking a breath.  Seriously?  You expect me to believe that you DIDN’T stand in front of a mirror and work on that??

Are these people not human?  Seriously, both parties believe wholeheartedly in everything that their party stands for?  No doubts?  How refreshing it would be to hear some regular -“You know, I’m not really fond of that particular thing…” and then vote against it (or for it depending).  I realize that there are occasional crossovers and I REALLY applaud those people.  Though, why they choose to do those particular party-crossing line maneuvers is never above reproach given the caustic, antagonistic and self-serving atmosphere of American politicians.

Or is it more a case of the individuals being so beholden TO the party by the time they get there that they MUST support every idiotic initiative that comes across their desk?  “Listen Representative Clown*ss, we PUT you here, we’ll put you OUT  of here if we choose.  Now drink your Kool-aid.”

Maybe I’m just insulated by the press and other news coverage outlets from seeing the humans behind the political faces.  What I would really like to see was some introspective self-doubt on occasion from some of them.

I read something somewhere – some quote about the difference between intelligent and stupid people.  Someone is sure to be offended by that statement.  Actually it’s a quote from Charles Bukowski

“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”

Of course, I’m thinking that I see a little too much introspective self-doubt on the behalf of our president at times.  He could use a little more self-assured stancing on international topics IMHO.  Bush/Cheney would have had American tanks parked on the Crimean peninsula long before ANY uprising could have occurred.  And they DAMN sure would have ‘em parked up and down the border right now.  They likely would have been quietly knocking off Russian agitators the whole time. I can see Dick Cheney on one of the news shows with all that self-assured confidence stating that is exactly what is needed.  FULL AMERICAN MILITARY FORCES NOW.  Maybe that ISN’T a move that we want in the big scheme of things, but something in between at least would have had a little more balls to it.

John McCain - If he just didn't pick Palin...

John McCain – If he just didn’t pick Palin…

John McCain – I could see shades of Cheney there today on Face the Nation.  Almost got nostalgic.  I really wish John McCain had not chosen that idiot Palin as his running mate.  I personally think he would have been a pretty darned good president.  He probably would have had my vote with a better VP choice.  I was signed up for his newsletter during the last campaign, but beyond the poor choice for veep, what turned me away?  Constant hammering on anything ever done by the dems and basically pandering and playing to the hard-core Republican party lines. John, they SURE aren’t going to vote for Obama. How about appealing to some of the middle of the roaders like ME?  Over and over – the evil democrats did this, they did that.  I don’t HATE the Democrats, you pollster magicians, any more than I hate the Republicans.  I like things out of BOTH parties – and dislike things out of both parties. What do I dislike about BOTH parties?  Political gamesmanship – where the only winners are…. NOT THE CITIZENS.

President Obama, you are supposed to be our leader – not a caretaker waiting for the return of the king… Managed to get two geeky references in here – this IS a geek blog after all…  I just get the sad feeling that what the world is seeing is a weak US president coming up with the same lame warning to Putin that I use on my dog when he has that look in his eye and I KNOW he’s about to run out of the yard – “Hey, I’ve got my eye on you!!”  It doesn’t work well with my dog either.

Now that I’ve set the tone and topic for this blog finally, I’ll try to keep the posts that follow more on topic and less everywhere at once.  It just HAD to get out though.  Thanks for bearing with me – 1 person.

Now drink your Kool-aid.

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F*CK OFF OKCUPID – Support For Brendan Eich

You know, I thought I had always been on the “right side” of the fight my entire life by promoting freedom of speech, freedom of beliefs and most of the things I THOUGHT the liberal side of the fence hold sacred.  I’ve been riled at what I take to be threats to those freedoms by raging right wing zealots – trying to stifle opposition to anything but Creationism, anti-abortion causes, etc.  While the far more open-minded “liberal” group wants to open people’s minds to new ideas and acceptance of those ideas ostensibly,  this past week’s “panties in an uproar” over Brendan Eich being promoted to CEO takes the cake and I think is the straw that broke THIS camel’s back.

Fire the guy for being incompetent, fire him for being crap to his employees, fire him for any number of technical or business reasons, but for expressing his OWN opinion by supporting Prop 8? Granted, he stepped down and it wasn’t an actual firing – but it was all precipitated by those same “expansive” minds that want everyone to embrace gay marriage, legalizing marijuana, and all that – all those “progressive issues” that cause so much friction.  I personally am ALL about being open to other things – and I FULLY believe in the right for gays to become married, unioned, or whatever a particular state might call it.

What I saw THIS week was those purporting to be open-minded, and always at odds with those “closed-minded” right wing types, being exactly what they rail against.  It appears to ME that those open-minds involved in this past weeks activities railing against Eichman have become the antithesis of what open-minded should be.

So, we’re damned if we have a position on anything.  Gay,  anti-gay – apparently neither position is acceptable. Apparently the only thing that WILL be acceptable in these “United States of the Offended” is having NO public position on anything.  What the hell happened to being able to hold an opinion?  To even support it?  I’m not gay, but I’ll sure support YOUR rights if that’s the situation.  And I’ll damned well support someone like Brendan Eich’s right to ACTUALLY HAVE AN OPINION.

And OKCupid and all the self-righteous indignants out there?  Here’s some “awareness raising” for you, jackasses.  I’ll be supporting a boycott of OKCupid – not for holding gay or anti-gay sentiments – but for being intolerant of other’s viewpoints.

And Mozilla?  I use it, I love it and will continue to use and love it. I am however highly disappointed that they let the left wing idiots dictate to them what kind of leadership they should have at the front of this awesome piece of software.  I’m somewhat disgusted that they went on their OWN BLOG and APOLOGIZED for picking a technical leader for their company. God forbid.

So count me FIRMLY in the usually quiet majority. I’ve never had ANY desire to be associated with the right wing bible thumping idiots, nor do I (at this point) have any desire to be associated with the expansive “liberal” minds from this week’s shameful display.  I’m so embarrassed to even have called myself a liberal at one point, I suspect I’ll refer to myself forever more as a “Realist.” and never utter the word liberal in association with my name again.  I believe watching this unfold, I went far more towards the center than ever in my life.

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Why Do I Need SEO For My Website?

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This Is Where SEO Come In

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WordPress Idx

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Real estate using wordpress with Advanced IDX integration.