Old Wisdom – Humor

Velma’s having a bit of fun sending me a few jokes.  This one is a story about a dog that outsmarts the rest of the animals in the forests.

One day an old German Shepherd starts chasing rabbits and before long, discovers that he’s lost. Wandering about, he notices a panther heading rapidly in his direction with the intention of having lunch.

The old German Shepherd thinks, “Uh, oh! I’m in deep trouble now!”

Noticing some bones on the ground close by, he immediately settles down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat. Just as the panther is about to leap, the old German Shepherd exclaims loudly,”Boy, that was one delicious panther! I wonder, if there are any more around here?”

Hearing this, the young panther halts his attack in mid-strike, a look of terror comes over him and he slinks away into the trees.

“Whew!,” says the panther, “That was close! That old German Shepherd nearly had me!”

Meanwhile, a squirrel, who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree, figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the panther. So, off he goes.

The squirrel soon catches up with the panther, spills the beans and strikes a deal for himself with the panther.

The young panther is furious at being made a fool of and says, “Here, squirrel, hop on my back and see what’s going to happen to that conniving canine!”

Now, the old German Shepherd sees the panther coming with the squirrel on his back and thinks, “What am I going to do now?,” but instead of running, the dog sits down with his back to his attackers, pretending he hasn’t seen them yet, and just when they get close enough to hear, the old German Shepherd says….

“Where’s that squirrel? I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another panther!”

Moral of this story….

Don’t mess with the old dogs… Age and skill will always overcome youth and treachery!
Bull_ _ _ _ and brilliance only come with age and experience.

Of course, I am in no way insinuating that you are old, just ‘youthfully challenged’.

You did notice the size of the print, didn’t you

How Do You Know it’s Time To Get A New Chip Reader

The Floppy is dead, the “Stiffy” is long gone, the CD is dying, the DVD is annoying to use.   Apple moved away from “optical media” for distributing their software years ago at this point. 

So just how do you move data around today?

For a while, it was Compact Flash cards that were almost indestructible.  They’re still around, but not terribly well supported any longer.  There were stories of these larger than a postage stamp sized square getting lost in the trash or dropped into the bottom of the pool and surviving.   I still have a few of these things from that era.

It went to USB “thumb drives” and the SD Chip or SD Card.  Most likely we all have a few of those thumb drives around.   They’re typically much smaller than your thumb, but when they came out, that is what they were shaped like. 

As for the SD Chips, I’ve got quite a few of those.  My camera uses them, my Android phone uses them, one lives in my laptop for professional data, and there is one that lives in my Nook tablet.  There are at least two sizes of them, but they’re all the same hardware so they can be used in many places fairly easily.

Today I had a few pictures to get off of the camera, and I couldn’t tell you where the cable for the thing was so I had to pop the chip out and put it in the reader.  I’m still waiting for it to read.   I’ve got a blue spinning donut on the Windows Explorer window telling me that it just doesn’t know what to do with all this electronic chaff.   I imagine the little person who lives inside of the LCD screen sitting there, scratching his virtual head, twiddling his virtual thumbs waiting to do something with this but it isn’t quite right.  He’s about the size of an ant and looks like one too because I see him walking around on the outside of the computer once in a while.

You see, the chip reader is “flaky” and it’s time for a new one. 

I guess that means that the pictures of the Penta, Bougainvillea, and Hibiscus from the back yard will have to wait for another day. 

SD Cards are fairly “robust” and put up with a lot of mistreatment.  There is one of them sitting bare on the “mulch” that is on top of my table between the two big green chairs in the living room.  It really should be in a device like a computer but there isn’t any real pressure for me to do so since I trust it to survive being placed between a copy of Information Week and last month’s check register from the Bank. 

On the other hand, the $.59 reader that I had shipped from a web site a while back isn’t doing too well.  I’m afraid the patient isn’t going to survive Mr. Moose.

I’m sitting staring at a translucent box plugged into the USB port in the side of my laptop in what mom would have called “Bilious Green”.  It’s got my 8GB chip sticking toward me like a computerized electronic tongue saying “Neener Neener Neener, I’m not going to give you those pictures! Bwahahah, go find something else to do!”.

I guess the Gods of the Devices aren’t in my favor and I’ll just have to wait a week for that new $.59 reader to get here from my friendly UPS Driver or my friendly USPS Postman.  Both nice folks.  We’re lucky that way.

What does a Country Bar and Jamaican Mangoes have in common?

Last night I had a walk.  All by myself, and not with the dog, I went out the door in the evening warm.   The weather had ended its fitful rains and all that was left of Tropical Storm Debby was a lot of wind coming in the wrong direction, off the Everglades. 

It was a bit like walking in a hairdryer toward the end of the walk but that’s part of living in Subtropical South Florida in late June.

I was alone with my thoughts, walking North on Northeast 6th Avenue toward Oakland Park when I stumbled on something.  Looking down at my right foot I noticed the familiar orange color of a squished fruit.  I laughed at myself thinking, only I could be walking around town and have Mangoes find me.

This was a massive tree, more than 30 feet tall, shading the yard and draping over their privacy fence and sidewalk beyond.  Making a mental note of the location, I walked onward to the bar.

My friends were not there, despite my arriving late after having three different people ask me why I was alone and wanting to share their own drama.  One friend worried about where Mrs Dog was.  Another about his pending move.  A third saying hello and asking about how I was doing.  It’s nice living in a small town, even if it is surrounded by a much larger neighbor.

After hanging around and watching the instructor do her Country Line Dancing routine for about 10 minutes, I left.   Country music is neither.  I really can’t abide Country Music preferring the static of my own thoughts to that prattle.  Like the old joke goes:  Play the song backward and get your dog back, your wife back, and your truck back.

As I was walking back toward the house, I was thinking about that tree and how amusing it was to go out for a walk alone for the first time in recent memory and stumble across a small pile of fruit.  Literally a windfall, I thought, for the neighbor.  Enjoy it.

Going back more than 20 years in my thoughts I was trying to remember the name of a woman with whom I worked.   I couldn’t remember her name, but I could remember the story and the love she showed in the story.  Like most stories of that kind, she was probably romanticizing it, and after all this time, I only knew of the highlights.

She was a born Jamaican.  Beautiful tall and statuesque woman with deep brown skin.   Sweet of demeanor, and pleasant to speak with.  One day we were talking over lunch and she started talking about the differences of what it was like to grow up in Jamaica and living in Suburban Jenkintown PA.  You couldn’t walk long distances in Jenkintown, the roads didn’t have reliable sidewalks for the task, but you could in Jamaica.  Where she lived, she’d walk down the road and said that if she were hungry, all she needed to do was reach up and pick a Mango and go on her way with sweet juice dripping down her arm.  On Jamaica, people didn’t plant trees for decoration like we do here.   A tree had to have a purpose.  If you plant a tree it needed to give back to society more than the protection and shade it offers.  It should give forth fruit or nuts.   Apparently where this woman grew up, the streets were lined with gold in the form of mangoes.

That thought stuck with me to this day, especially as I bent down to pick up one choice mango from the swale for later enjoyment.

I’ve got a bottlebrush tree in front of my yard, but it is old with termites and dying.   When it goes, I’ll have to choose what to plant there.  When I plant it, you can be sure that it will give something back.

So THAT’S what the Snails in the Candy Box look like!

I see these shells everywhere.

Snail on a Recycle Bin in Wilton Manors, FL 2012 from www.ramblingmoose.comAbandoned homes stuck to signposts, mailboxes, and other stationary objects. 

Silent sentries to a life once lived below the notice of everyone.

I do not know what they’re called, just that they’re common here in Florida.  I finally saw one alive.  It was in the middle of the deluge that was Tropical Storm Debby.   Climbing for high ground on top of a recycling bin, this small fingernail sized creature was exploring.

In six years of living on the sand bar that is South Florida, this is the first time I have seen one.  Usually I hear them as they become one with the pavement and my shoe at the night time dog walk on a poorly lit sidewalk stroll.   Those and their much larger Apple Snail cousins. 

Trust me, if they were edible, South Florida could easily become the culinary capital of Escargot.  They may be, but since I see what they spray on lawns here, it’s best to find your protein elsewhere.

It did occur to me as I looked at this random picture on my laptop blown up to many times larger than normal, I had seen them before.   In the soft focus of the zoom, the last time I had seen one came to mind, or rather tasted one.   Those higher end chocolates that you get in a gift box have a piece that looks quite a lot like this.  In fact, I tend to reach for those quicker than some of the others in an assortment.

This isn’t praline filled, it’s gone on to live out its life on the street behind mine.   Climbing around slowly, just caught for a glimpse and now going back into its unremarkable existence.  Unnoticed by most and shared here by me.

Facebook Changes Default Emails to @facebook

Sure, it’s annoying.  I’ll never use it.

Yeah I know, “Never Say Never” especially since that is the way “it works”.

Facebook is the social media 800 pound gorilla that you love to hate.   It makes arbitrary changes that you don’t like, that aren’t in your interests, and are downright scary from a security and privacy standpoint.

On the other hand, it makes some aspects of life easier and it really is not a requirement in life.

I tend to use Facebook to go out and gather my news items.  I make a random comment here and there, but not more than 10 a day on average.  Oh and those ads are blocked.

So if you’re like me and don’t intend (remember, never say never?) to use their email system “ever”, here are the instructions to check whether you have been changed.  I wasn’t but I also don’t have Timeline yet.  I never opted in, and it is probably one of the most ugly designs for a display of information that I have ever seen, and yes I do web project management professionally.  

Really Facebook, put away your crayons and get your designers back to work.

Anyway – sign into Facebook and follow these steps for “Old Facebook“:

  • Click About to get into your Account Settings
  • Under General Settings, Click the button beside the appropriate email account to set your primary email account.

Mind you, this looks totally different under the “old” facebook.   Timeline settings are different.  I’ve been lucky to fly under that butt-ugly Timeline for now… Lets hope …

For Timeline,

  • Click About to show settings.
  • Next to “Contact Info” click Edit to show your current status.
  • Set personal information to “Shown on Timeline”.
  • Set the Privacy option on Email to what you would like it:  At this point you can show to only you, or anyone else at four different levels including Public and Friends.  If you want nobody emailing you, set it to Only Me.

Remember if you aren’t the customer, you’re the product being sold.  If you don’t want Facebook sharing it, Don’t put it on Facebook.   That basically sums up their terms of service.  If you understand where you are in that particular “game”, you can act accordingly.

This particular information is all over the web and the blogs but if you can’t fathom my information above, there is an article on Tech Crunch that gives you all the pictures you can possibly want to help you along.

Looking Forward to Microsoft Surface with Windows 8

Recently, Microsoft brought out their “beta” version of Windows 8 for all to see.  You can download a test copy if you want to play around with it.  I didn’t link that purposely here because I know I would and someone would be thinking they’re getting a free upgrade – you aren’t, they’re timed to die shortly after the next version of Windows comes out and you’d just blame me.   Unless you have a spare computer around you may want to hold off.

Microsoft also showed off their “Alpha” hardware that will run it.   You see we’re in for a choice now.  That always makes things interesting.  I’d give you a direct Microsoft link but they’re changing things around for their next big thing.  You can see pictures of the hardware here at this blog posting on Tech Crunch.

What’s happening is that the move into the “Post PC Era” is fully underway.  There will always be people who demand the fastest hardware and the shiniest boxes.  Most of the people who I speak with don’t need that.  In fact, I’m writing this on my go-to PC which is a 2 year old laptop that was lovingly upgraded with as much memory as it will take when it was on sale.  When asked “Bill, what kind of PC do I need”, most folks would do very well with an iPad or just a refresh on their older machines.

But boy do those new machines look great.

You see we’re all being trained to want a tablet machine to play with, a home computer to sit in the corner, and far too many people are walking into street light poles while they’re texting on their iPhones and looking for current conditions.   We’re always on and always looking for things on our teeny little phone screens.

Not necessarily a bad thing, but if someone pulls out a phone while they’re talking to me, I’ll find a reason to end the conversation.

On the other hand, the way we use our smartphones are finally influencing the way we’re using our home computer.  We are beginning to ask the question “Why can’t I do that on Windows”.   After all, Microsoft still owns the desktop despite that we can have an Android Tablet, iPhone running iOS, and a Windows machine as our “daily driver”.

Microsoft will be answering that, and the hardware is interesting that they’re using to do so.  Basically it’s the same hardware as an Android Tablet under the hood but it comes with a really slick keyboard that is detachable.  They realized that there’s a very strong market for covers and detachable keyboards for the iPad, so if you can’t beat them, join them.   It looks just like I would expect it to for something that is supposed to get you to the next step past the iPad. 

That keyboard will talk to the new Surface tablet using Bluetooth and can be left behind if you want to hunt and peck on the tablet’s glass screen.  I’ve never quite gotten used to that, it always feels numb to this touch typist so that candy colored keyboard will be welcome.

The things you create on your tablet will be able to be used on your other computers since it will come equipped with an SD chip – think teeny little postage stamp sized memory stick.  So why lug a big heavy laptop or tether to a desktop machine?

Power mostly.  The Surface Tablets will be running low power ARM chips, just like an iPad or Android tablet.   Those chips will let you work almost all day on a charge, but they are a little short winded when it comes to the kind of things that Windows does well like running many programs at once.  Most folks won’t mind of course, power users will.

On the other hand, all your familiar desktop/laptop programs will make it there since you’ll be running “Real Windows” on a tablet.  Microsoft Office, standard browsers, and all the games we’ve come used to will run on that 10 inch screen on a light computer that can go anywhere.

It’s all about rightsizing your computing needs.  After all, how many homes really NEED that $2000 beast of a Desktop computer when all you’re doing is surfing.  I can do that quite well on a 10 year old laptop running an old copy of Windows XP or Linux.  If you really do need all that horsepower, it’s gotten pretty cheap in comparison to those old beasty Desktops that I built over the years when I thought nothing of spending $1000 to get a machine that would cost twice that “back in the day”.

There are two things I don’t care for in the whole Tablet marketing.

1) You’re locked in.  You can’t upgrade.  You may be limited to the current operating system you buy it with.  You may not be able to use it once the parent company decides they aren’t supporting it any longer.

2) They’re designed to be disposable.   That is why you get Apple Care on your iPad.  Hello Mr Genius, it doesn’t hold a charge, fix it.  Or something similar.  The latest Mac Books are glued together and that means that the parts are not recyclable nor reparable.   It’s a trend that will continue because it means that you’re locked into their production cycle.

I expect that those two things will never change since they’re in the “vendor’s” best interests to keep things the way they are.  After all, if it is a problem, I can spend the same money that I would on an iPad and get one very powerful laptop. 

You’re making a choice between portability and power and for once you actually do have that choice.

Witticisms of Ignorance – Humor

Our Velma from Philly sent me this list of Witticisms.  I’m reading them as I’m formatting the list for the web and got a few chuckles out of it so I’m sure you will too.

Witticisms of Ignorance

Its not whether you win or lose,  but how you place the blame.

You are not drunk  if you can lie on the floor without holding on.

We have enough youth.. How about a fountain of “smart”?

The original point and click interface was a Smith & Wesson.

A fool and his money can throw one heck of a party.

When blondes have more fun do they know it?

Five days a week my body is a temple.   The other two it’s an amusement park.

Money isn’t everything, but it sure keeps the kids in touch.

If at first you don’t succeed skydiving is not for you..

Reality is only an illusion that occurs due to a lack of alcohol.

Time’s fun when you’re having flies…….Kermit the Frog

We are born naked, wet and hungry. Then things get worse

Ninety-nine percent of all lawyers give the rest a bad name..

One good thing about Alzheimer’s is, you get to meet new people every day.

Xerox and Wurlitzer will merge to produce reproductive organs.

Alabama  state motto:  At least we’re not Mississippi


You know why a banana is like a politician?  When he first comes in he is green,
then he turns yellow and then he’s rotten.

I think Congressmen should wear uniforms like NASCAR drivers so we could identify their corporate sponsors.

Murder at Costco – Humor

I guess I should be glad I gave up on Costco a while back.  They never had my dog’s favorite dog food and BJ’s Wholesale has it.  In fact BJ’s has it at a good enough price that I save the cost of a membership after buying two large bags of “Purina Lamb and Rice” there.  After all it really is all about my dog Lettie, isn’t it?

As for the membership fees – they’re bogus no matter where you go.

At any rate, a friend Scott from up in Philly sent this one along.   He’s got a dark sense of humor sometimes… maybe he’s trying to tell me not to go back to Costco.  There’s this story about someone’s last trip to Costco…


Tired of constantly being broke and stuck in an unhappy marriage, a young husband decided to solve both problems by taking out a large insurance policy on his wife, with himself as the beneficiary, and then arranging to have her killed.

A ‘friend of a friend’ put him in touch with a nefarious, dark-side underworld figure who went by the name of ‘Artie.’ Artie explained to the husband that his going price for snuffing out of a spouse was $10,000.

The husband said he was willing to pay that amount but that he wouldn’t have any cash on hand until he could collect his wife’s insurance money. Artie insisted on being paid at least something up front, so the man opened his wallet, displaying the single dollar bill that rested inside.

Artie sighed, rolled his eyes and reluctantly agreed to accept the dollar as down payment for the dirty deed.

A few days later, Artie followed the man’s wife to the local Costco Warehouse.  There, he surprised her in the produce department and proceeded to strangle her with his gloved hands. As the poor unsuspecting woman drew her last breath and slumped to the floor, the manager of the produce department stumbled unexpectedly onto the murder scene. Unwilling to leave any living witnesses behind, ol’ Artie had no choice but to strangle the produce manager as well.

However, unknown to Artie, the entire proceedings were captured by the hidden security cameras and observed by the shop’s security guard, who immediately called the police. Artie was caught and arrested before he could even leave the premises.

Under intense questioning at the police station, Artie revealed the whole sordid plan, including his unusual financial arrangements with the hapless husband who was also quickly arrested. The next day in the newspaper, the headline declared..

(You’re going to hate me for this…)

‘ARTIE CHOKES 2 for $1.00@ Costco

Printers Spewing Ads Caused By The Milicenso Virus

Not to worry, they are already working on the fix for this one. 

If you have not updated your Virus program in a while, it’s a good time for a reminder.   Personally, I use Microsoft Security Essentials.  It’s free, it’s widely seen as one of the better ones, and you don’t have someone looming over your shoulder selling you something every so often like a subscription.

I haven’t gotten hit by a virus yet, although MS Security Essentials has caught them on a download.

Just consider this as a friendly reminder to take a look at your virus program and make sure it’s up to date.  If the date on the “Virus Signature” is more than a couple days old, you’re going to need to update it.  I saw a computer recently that stopped updating its virus signatures.  The fix for that was to uninstall their old virus scanner, and install a new one of their choice. 

This particular virus is really a trojan.  It serves up advertising and makes your printer waste paper printing out reams of ads.  If you’re at home, you will notice it faster than if you’re at work.   There you’ll have your “IT Guy” having a fit with the printer.

Kind of an amusing threat, if you’re not the person who has to do that sort of desktop support.

So if your printer is spewing paper, update your virus scanner and make sure that you run a full scan.

Which ever virus scanner you have.

If you are feeling particularly “Geeky” you can read the write up on this latest virus here at Symantec.

New iPhone Connector Means Wrong Time to buy a Dock

If you have your eyes on a shiny new iPhone accessory and are thinking about an upgrade to the next phone, the iPhone 5… hold on to your wallet for a while.

In fact, don’t buy that dock until a month after the next iPhone comes out.   Rule of thumb of course.

Apple makes their money by staying “proprietary” but when you’re the 800 pound gorilla, your proprietary standards become what the market uses.

It’s been “leaked” by the technical press and the blogs that the next iPhone will come out with all sorts of features and specs.  Some are true, some are false.  One feature that has been confirmed already is a new connector for the bottom of the phone.  

Sure, that’s a small detail, but it’s an important one.   I see iPhone Docks for all sorts of purposes, from the very simple to the most complex.   Standing pylons that you can plug your phone into and have it act as a speaker system to fill the room with sound from the songs or streams you have on your phone are great, but if you buy it and they change things, you’re not going to be so happy.  Of course most audio docks have a place for you to plug your phone or non-Apple device into it using the headphone jack, and that’s what you’ll be limited to in the future with your current device.

I can hear one person in particular saying “But they don’t last THAT long, do they.”.  He is right, electronics aren’t built to last “that long” unlike my 1956 Blaupunkt Hi Fi that has tubes in it that are older than I am, but that isn’t really the point, is it?

The rest of the world, Android and Windows Mobile, use a standard connector.   It’s a “micro” version of the USB connector that we all know and love.  That Micro USB connector has a problem in that it is very small which means it snaps comparatively easily – be gentle with it, they don’t like to be slapped around.   Nobody does, but with an electronic connector a simple shock means that you could be at the end of your relationship with your prized device.

Apple steadfastly refuses to be standard.  So they have their own “standard” connector.  It’s an Apple thing, I guess that’s why I am writing this on an HP laptop.   Sure they make beautiful equipment, but you have to pay for an expensive warranty and buy into their whole mindset of use it and return to the Genius Bar to have it fixed.

For the “suburban types” who don’t want to learn how to repair or build their equipment, this is fine if not preferable.  Personally I prefer to know I am not limited by “standards”.