chess

     I have always wanted to learn how to play chess.  People would assume that I was in the chess club or could play the game.  And they were surprised when I said I didn’t play.  One of my goals this year is to learn how to play chess.  I looked for some quotes about chess to say how challenging an undertaking it is.  Instead I found one from Emo PhillipsEmo as you know is one of the greatest philosophers of recent history.  Emo has this to say about chess, “A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick boxing.” I hope I don’t resort to that with the game.

                I found some guidance for the game from a 49 page book called “The Rules of Chess” by Bruce Pandolfini.  It looks like it covers the basics of chess with diagrams and other illustrations to get the point across.  There are guides to other resources in the book as well.  Currently Amazon is offering this book for free for Kindle devices.  With anything from Amazon the price can change with no notice so if you are interested in this book get it for free while you can.  I can’t make the claim that is has made me a good chess player.  It is more of a guidebook to get me started.  If anyone wants to play chess with me on-line let me know.

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CK-12 Basic Geo

     Amazon is offering free K-12 textbooks on almost any subject from the CK-12 foundation. The CK-12 Foundation is a non-profit that strives to bring down the cost of education and increase access to education in the US and throughout the world.  If you are looking for free study tools, the CK-12 foundation has some on their website as well.  Having access to something like this makes a good student great and a struggling student a success.

     I have looked through some of the textbooks and found the quality of material to be pretty good. Better than a lot of college textbooks I have paid over $100 for in the past. I got the Statistics textbook for myself because I will be attempting to take Statistics…….again. I need all the help I can get. These textbooks would be a great resource for those who are homeschooling or just need some assistance helping your kids with homework. They are great subject matter refreshers as well for those going into college. As always with Amazon the price could change at any moment. However I think these will more than likely continue to be free of charge.

You can browse all the CK-12 textbook offerings by clicking HERE.

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HCSB

Through Amazon.com you can get some free Bibles for your Kindle.  Amazon is offering the Holman Christian Standard Bible (Digital Text Edition), English Standard Version (with Cross References) and the English Standard Version (without Cross References).  I have gotten bibles for my Kindle in the past and have found them hard to use if you need to look up a lot of verses.  However some people like to have a Bible in their digital library none the less.  As always with Amazon the price could change at any moment so if you want to jump on these free E-Bibles then you need to act sooner than later.

ESV

 

For a good tablet based bible program I enjoy using the “YouVersion Bible” app by LifeChurch.tv.  Multiple translations and study guides are available. This bible app is very easy to read and use.  The app also offers many different reading plans as well.  It is available for Kindle, Android and Apple devices.

bibleapp

 

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Dell’s Data Safe software suite comes comes on a lot of Dell PC’s.  Revo Uninstaller can install it 50% of the time but not all the time. There is a quick and dirty way to get rid of the error message so you or your end user can compute in peace.

Step 1:

DDP1

Browse to “*\Program Files\Dell” in Windows Explorer.

Step 2:

DDP2

 

In *\Program Files\Dell” you will find a “Dell Data Protection” folder. Right click on it and rename it to “Dell Data Protection_old.”

Step 3:

Download and install CCleaner.

ddp3

Step Four:

Run the registry cleaner tool in CCleaner.

ddp4

 

Step Five:

 

After the scan concluded click on “Fix selected issues…”

 

ddp5

 

Step Six:

 

It is usually safe to select “Fix All Selected Issues.”

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You will be asked if you want to back up a copy of the registry.  That is up to you.  Never a bad idea to back up the registry.

 

Step Seven:

 

You should get a window from CCleaner saying that all of the issues are fixed.

ddp7

At this point the orphaned registry items have been removed from the system. Now you just need to restart the PC and you should be good to go.

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Reality and popular opinion today is something crafted by Hollywood and Washington.  More often than not there is nothing “real” about it.

The truth is not always black and white, Republican or Democrat.

Happiness is not when the world and it’s riches are given unto you. Your own happiness does not come from the hard work of others.

 

Reality is real when accept your reality and deny the reality that others are trying to thrust upon you.

To know the truth you need to seek it for yourself and know without a doubt that it is true.  Truth can’t just be spoken to become an undeniable fact…unless you are God.

Happiness can often be found where you are, you don’t always have to go looking for it somewhere else.  Work hard for your own happiness.

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I have always been impressed with Buffalo products. And the 3TB USB 3.0 DriveStation Axis was no exception. The unit is well packed and arrived to me in perfect condition from Amazon.com. I plugged it in and Windows 7 identified and installed it right away. In no time flat I was ready to rock and roll with this unit.


This is the first self-contained USB 3.0 external hard drive I have purchased. I was greatly impressed by its file transfer speeds. When transferring a 3.5 TB ISO file this unit moved the file in only fifty-two seconds (0:00:52.00)! A USB 3.0 external hard drive dock by USPEED moved the same file in one minute and forty seconds (0:01:40.00). At ESATA speeds using the same USPEED dock the file transferred at one minute and nine seconds (0:01:09.00). USB 2.0 transfer of the same file using a Roswell external hard drive enclosure took two minutes and four seconds (0:02:04.00). By far the Buffalo 3TB USB 3.0 DriveStation out performed them all.


One thing I discovered is that my PC would not properly recognize the Buffalo DriveStation and another external USB 3.0 unit at the same time when plugged into my USB 3.0 hub. Plugging in directly to the USB 3.0 port on the computer the unit worked fine while the other unit was plugged into the hub and plugged into the hub itself without the other unit it performed fine as well.


When I purchased the unit I paid $129.99 in early September 2012 from Amazon.com. It is now early October 2012 and the unit is going for $148.66 on Amazon.com. That is still a good deal for a device that performs very well. I would expect that the 1 TB, 2 TB and the 4 TB models will perform equally well. Amazon has them all available for sale. Buffalo has great technical service and support. In the past year I had to RMA a network attached storage device made by Buffalo and I was very pleased with the outcome. Everything was resolved very quickly with no hassle at all. It is rare that I have problems with their products. Whenever I have needed any support it has always been very efficient and effective and usually from their tech support center in the United States.


I highly recommend this product. As with any Buffalo product I have purchased over the years I have found that this external hard drive has greatly exceeded my expectations.

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I have been working on this side project for the radio station.  The goal of the project is to have something to deliver an audio stream of older music from our music library that our listener might like to hear from time to time.  I am working with an open source automation system called Rivendell to deliver the content.  And for the most part I have it working.  So far I have encountered just a few hang ups but it could deliver music today if I wanted it to.    As I was working out the bugs in the system I was getting frustrated.  I was asking myself, “Why won’t this just work?”  And that led me to ask broader questions of myself…

I think I have been running my life like it was automated lately.  If something does not get done by an already set in motion processes it does not get done…in a timely manner.  I can’t afford a robotic lawn mower so the lawn sits until it becomes a small wilderness.  My study is trashed due to all the work that I have brought through there lately and it won’t automatically clean itself up.  I haven’t lost any weight, that won’t go away by pushing a button.  (Or is it because I push buttons all day that I am chubby? – Question for another day.)  As I scavenge the garage for computer parts it has become a mess.  I think if I don’t take action soon I will become a total mess overall.

I know there are ways to get things like that in order by changing habits.  I have read the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People twice.  You would think I am a highly effective person after that but I am not.  The theme of the book is putting into practice habits that keep your life and priorities in proper order.  It takes a lot of non-automated effort to get there.  In radio automation talk I need to load a new schedule into my life and then press the “Jump & Reque” button to have it kick in and take over my current automated process of inactivity.

Writing this is therapy for me I think.  You have to first admit that you have a problem and then go about solving it.  I don’t have any actual advice for you except that you should maybe read the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People three times to get a good foundation for organization and prioritization.  I guess after 35 years of practicing bad habits, the bad habits are really hard to break.  I have been trying to break them for years.  Change does not come about overnight.  And I guess I would not be where I am if I was totally disorganized.  Being married to someone who shows OCD tendencies where it comes to organization helps.

 

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stone

I wonder how much my lack of action on some things in my life has caused greater problems for me down the road.  “I’ll get around to it” or “I will take care of that soon” is more often heard from me then “I will do that right now.”   I am a good example of a procrastinator.  It took me two years to get a flower bed put in.  I still weigh about what I did this time last year…and the year before that…and the year before that…etc.  Even though I have been saying for years I need to lose weight. For many years now I have said things like “32 pounds to drop before I turn 32” or “35 pounds before I turn 35.”  Now I really need to lose something like 60 pounds before I turn 36.  Inaction leads to no action and no progress.

Today I am using this forum as a confessional.  I am declaring I need to take action.  A rolling stone may gather no moss but a sedimentary stone just seems to get bigger and attracts the bags of Doritos around him.  And that stone goes nowhere fast.  Currently I have a good job that I thought would be around for a while.  I slowed down the pace on my schooling and industry certifications because I got comfortable where I was.  I was thinking “What’s the rush?” and “Why hurry.”  With my good job going away now in a few short months I can painfully see where inaction is starting to lead to no future.  Job prospects are slim and not having my degree and more certifications are going to prevent me from getting a decent job in my field.  There is a price to pay for inaction.

I think back to when a handful of men changed the world for good.  Jesus said to go and tell the entire world about him.  What if they said back to him they would eventually get around to it?  As our inaction to bring about change in our personal and professional lives can cause stagnation and possibly unemployment, spiritual stagnation can literally take the life out of you.  God has been nudging me along lately and you all have read some of the things that came to mind in my limited quiet time with Him.  I also feel that I am being rebuked a little by God as well.  I think he is saying to me “I gave you many opportunities to do great things with your life and career for My glory and you have been stagnate!”  And I agree with that.  I have been blessed with each job opportunity that has come along in the last decade or so.  I have been given great opportunities for professional and personal growth and I’ve taken advantage of those opportunities in the most minimal way.

Bad habits are hard to break and I need to break them.  So I ask for accountability partners here.  I need to do a number of things to get back on track:

  1. Not be stagnate in my relationship with God.
  2. Not be stagnate in my relationship with my family and friends.(Boy I have been bad with this one lately to.)
  3. Maintain focus and action on the short term goals that need to be quickly achieved.   (Certifications, Find a Job, Finish College, Lose Weight, Pay off Debt)
  4. Maintain focus on the long term goals as well.  (Continued growth in faith, employment and education)
  5. Become a rolling stone and shed the moss and the fat.  (Not a groupie for a rock band.)
  6. Remember what Dave Ramsey says and teaches about being a good steward with money.

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ST_200x295

 

Twenty-Five years ago I was a ten year old full-fledged Trekker well versed in Star Trek history and lore.  I think by then I had seen all of the entire original series episodes.   By this time I had already begun to devour the Star Trek books, comic books, records and all the tapes that I could get my hands on.  When my imagination wandered it wandered into Gene Roddenberry’s concept of the future and I traveled the stars.  Granted being a Star Trek fan did not give me any cool points back then.  Geek wasn’t sheik until about 15 years later.  Oh well I was ahead of my time.

When Star Trek: The Next Generation was announced I could hardly wait.  I had made it known in no uncertain terms that I wanted to watch the premiere two-hour event, Encounter at Farpoint, as soon as I knew when it was going to come on.  My family made sure to make no plans to accommodate me on that night.  My parents liked Star Trek to.  It became my Saturday ritual for years on end after that to watch the show.  That year we also got our first VCR.  That was exciting for me because I was a TV nut back then and we did not have cable.  The first VHS movie given to me was Star Trek IV the Voyage Home.  When my uncle purchased it he paid $99 in 1987 money.  Do you remember when VHS movies were as cheap as two and three dollars before they disappeared almost completely?  When the re-runs of the first season of ST: TNG came around we had the VCR and I managed to record most of them.  I even mastered the perfect pause so I would not have commercials in there.

Of all the TV shows of my childhood I think Star Trek: The Next Generation stands out the most.  I got the action figures, models, toys, trading cards, and anything they would sell Star Trek.  I played with them.  As an adult I wish I had taken better care of them because they would have been worth a lot of money today.  I have recollected things over the years and to this day my wife thinks I need to get rid of my toys.  That won’t ever happen.

As a kid I did not care about the quality of the scripts or the special effects I was just glad to have more Trek in my life however I could get it.  The show always had a good moral message and overall substance that you can’t find in any TV programs today. When I look back at Star Trek: The Next Generation you can tell it had a rough start as far as the writing was concerned.  They tried to copy some of the plots from the original series like the TNG episode “The Naked Now” which based itself off of TOS episode “The Naked Time.” Some of it was just poorly written.  I read Will Wheaton’s book called Memories of the Future Vol. 1.   Wheaton played the teen genius Wesley Crusher on Star Trek:  The Next Generation.  He looked back at that first season and broke down a lot of the episodes and gave some perspective on them that only someone who was there filming them could give.  I think his views on the first season episodes mirror mine as far as episode quality and plot.  Even when I was a teenager some of the first and second season episodes were hard to watch again after watching them the first time.  I recommend Wheaton’s book, if you enjoy Star Trek you will enjoy his view from the inside.

Star Trek:  The Next Generation changed science fiction and the general public’s perception of it in good ways.  It made it more mainstream with characters and situations that the 20th century could relate to.  It carried on Roddenberry’s torch for a positive outlook for all people of all races and nationalities where all were equal and contributing to society at large.  CBS is taking all of the episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and remastering them in high definition from the original film used when shooting and editing the series.  What I have seen of it has been visually stunning.  Fathom events will be showing two of the remastered episodes on the big screen this Monday, July 23rd 2012 in select theaters.  You can find out where to see it in your area by going to this link.  Star Trek: The Next Generation Season One on Blu-Ray will be released on Tuesday, July 24th 2012.  You can pre-order your copy or order your copy by clicking here.  Simon and Schuster is celebrating the anniversary by giving a 30% discount on Star Trek downloadable audio books.  You can see what they have to offer by going here.  As long as we work together to make the future bright all will be well with the world.  That was one of the messages that Star Trek always had.  I hope you do what you can to make the world a better place.  If we all did then there would be no limit to what we could do.

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     QUANTUM

     In Quantum: Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate about the Nature of Reality by Manjit Kumar we are taken on an exciting journey through the history of Physics over the last 150 year.  Kumar takes un into the thick of debate between Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr as they debate the finer points of quantum mechanics and a closed theory describing it.  Quantum takes us through the turmoil of World War One and World War Two and gives the reader insight about how the lives of many prominent German citizens of Jewish decent were forced to flee once Hitler came into power.

This fast paced narrative is not written for those who live their lives in a physics lab.  It is written for the general reader explaining the aspects of physics and it’s formulas in way anyone can understand.  The book clearly tells you that the physics community is still not in total agreement about quantum mechanics and its theoretical nuances.  Furthermore it points out that there is so much more to discover and learn about the physical world.

Einstein said that “God does not play dice,” referring to the quantum mechanics of his day.  Nothing is left to chance was his view.  Scientist today have the equipment to perform the tests that could not be performed 60 years ago to give a more definitive answer about how quantum mechanics works.  And the results are a little clearer than in Einstein’s day.  I believe this book would be a good read for anyone interested in science and in the history of the 20th century at large.  The men and women that are discussed in this book shaped not only modern physics but a lot of the things that drive the modern world today.

 

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