I am not what anyone would say is a cutting edge adopter of new technology and software, certainly not at the bleeding edge.

The year is 2014.  This year I have been privledged to witness Microsoft telling me my Windows XP was beyond support and I am still embracing this O/S at my place of employment Although this is not self-imposed, I am OK with the technological lag.  My preference for the last year would be for Windows 7.  But its not my call and I do not feel like a dinosaur on XP, therefore I am content to wait until my IT depoartment upgrades me from the 8+ year old Dell laptop I have had to

Thats the point of this post.  New laptops are being shipped with Windows 8.  This operating system makes me less than happy.

Let me back up 3 months.

As happens at regular intervals, the sun makes an entire revolution around the sun and its said Dave is a little older.  Not since the days of my x268 based laptop have I had a laptop that was purchased for personal use.  (For some of my readers that was several presidents ago and it was prior to the widespread use of Windows as an operating system.)  Said laptop has, among other bells and whistles, Windows 8.  I think after 3 months of regular usage I can say it is a stinking dinosaur thats dead and doesnt even know it.  What were you thinking MS?  How convoluted can you make an operating system?  It is apparent you desire to expand your market share into the burgeoning tablet market, but come on why do we PC users have to suffer through your failed attempt?  Yes, failure is already a foregone conclusion because youve got to be innovative to survive against your tablet competition.

Now heres the kicker.  Due to circumstances beyond my control I was required (hurray!) to upgrade from Office 2003 to Office 2010 by my IT department.  Hey its 2014 and I am finally moving up to Office 2010 (vs. 2013) but thats huge for me!  I am a fairly heavy Word, Excel & Outlook user and guess what?  I am loving the upgrade and saying where were you all my life?

So when Office is clearly an improvement in simplicity and sophistication at the same time, why has Windows gone back to the dark ages?  Riddle me this lumbering giant in Redmond.

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“They are doing it because they want to save the child the pain of splitting up from their best friend. But it is natural for some children to want a best friend. If they break up, they have to feel the pain because they’re learning to deal with it.”

OK, so I shelter my child from the pain of breaking up with their best friend.  Assume the lesson is successful.

Fast forward 35 years.

What kind of marriage does this adult have?
What level of friendships (aka support network) does this person have?
Fast forward another 35 years.
Who’s at the funeral?
What was the meaning of a life lived without friends?
Do people actually put any thought into decisions like this or are they reacting to their own aversion to past hurts?
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The title of this post is not referring to you all, my loyal readers, all two of you.  No, it’s referring to the cogs in the wheels that make our society run.
Wired.com reports: Fed Propose Limits for In-Car Dialing, Texting, Surfing [February 16, 2012 @ 8:19pm]
Just so that I am on the record once again. THEY MISSED THE POINT!  A recent accident determined that the cause was related to distracted driving.  Not distraction caused by dialing the phone, not distraction caused by texting, web surfing or even eating a taco.  The “distraction” was talking on the phone!  I’ve said this for more than a decade!
The feds and automakers are scrambling to deal with side issues.  Why can no body listen?  The problem is not with activity, the problem lies in the mental processing of the brain when having a conversation with someone who is not present.  The brain is spending extra processing time, maybe figuring our all the non-verbal cues that can’t be seen, maybe not.  The PRIMARY distraction is not what is being targeting.
Are we all so tied to our phones that we can’t simply say – it’s not safe to carry on a phone conversation and drive?
Now where’s my $350,000 grant?  You know someone with “credentials” will spend years and exorbitant dollars to come to my conclusion.  I wonder if I can patent a psychological analysis?
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Subtract line 17 from line 16 (If less than zero, see instructions)
Line 18—Amount Available To Pay Additional Tax
If line 17 is larger than line 16, line 18 will be negative. You will owe additional tax. To figure the amount owed, treat the amount on line 18 as positive and add it to the amount on line 10. Enter the the result on line 19.
Further instructions
Line 13
You do not qualify for a refund if 1 (a, b, or c), 2, and 3 below apply to you.
1. You were:
a. Under age 18 at the end of 2011, or
b. Age 18 at the end of 2011 and your earned income
(defined later) was less than one-half of your support
(defined later), or
b. Over age 18 and under age 24 at the end of 2011 and a full time student (defined later) and your earned income
(defined later) was less than one-half of your support
(defined later).
2. At least one of your parents was alive at the end of 2011.
3. You are not filing a joint return for 2011
So you get a negative number, then use the absolute value and add it to line 10.
And, if 1 AND 2 AND 3 apply, but only if 1a OR 1b OR 1c apply, then take the credit, but only if you meet these conditions, then check the box next to line 13, skip to line 14 and enter the amount from line 13 on line 15.

This is for real!!!

How many hundreds of millions of man-hours are wasted doing this stuff?
Imagine what would be saved if:
  • No one had to interpret the tax laws to determine what was owed and what was not
  • No one had to try to figure out how to word the directions to make these forms work.
  • No one had to write/update and test a complex algorithm like this each and every year
  • No one had to maintain the hundreds of volumes that contain the current law
  • If no one had to spend tens and hundreds of hours in schooling each year to learn how to decipher this code for the benefit of their clients
Think about the tax industry from one end to the other.  Millions upon millions of dollars just to figure it out and get it right.  What if… what if this all ended?
Every one simply paid a flat tax.  Rich or poor, material possessions or not.
– What if instead of the poor spending hundreds of dollars to fight for every penny we let them pocket that money and asked if they made more than $x, then you owe a % of that to Uncle Sam?
– What if instead of the rich spending thousands of dollars to fight for every penny, then finding loopholes to keep more than the poor, we asked them to pay the same % as the poor to Uncle Sam.
– What if for the vast majority in the middle was asked them to complete a form with 5 or 6 lines and pay the same % to Uncle Sam.
The system is fair.  All have an equal voice in the political process, all should have the same level of contribution – proportional to their earnings – assuming they even have enough to live.
Uncle Sam would be happier.  All the money it loses each year for codification of the law, analysis, audits, bureaucratic salaries, etc.  That could virtually be eliminated.  Think of the savings to the government AND the taxpayer.  Wouldn’t that result in increased productivity that actually fed into the GDP?  Wouldn’t we all be better off?
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First off, let me say I have not had a single good thing to say about HP printers or computers for 10+ years. Somehow, I keep getting roped into replacing with newer HP hardware. I keep thinking, “HP is a huge company, no way they’d do that to their customers on purpose”, and the saga continues into a new generation of hardware/software. (I admit I am a little thick at times).

This experience has been a good one for me. Maybe I am finally ready to cut the ties on my last piece of HP hardware – permanently. Time will tell.

So what does one do when they replace ink cartridges and you get the error:

Ink System Failure
Error 0xc18a0101

The printer driver also prominently displays the same error, saying click here for more information. I click, what do I get? Nothing except “check the users manual”. Now I know where this is going. I can see the writing on the wall. But so I can say I tried I download the users manual – because they don’t give you a users manual in writing and I guess it costs too much to include the extra bytes with the driver install. As I suspected, the user manual does not even hint that such an error can even occur.

I speed out to the Internet. I get lots of results for Ink System Failure and Error 0xc18a0101. I am almost literally standing on my head through some of these procedures. Here is some advice I get:

  • If removable printhead place in boiling water for 30 minutes
  • Unplug power for 2 minutes
  • Do not turn off, unplug power, wait 30 seconds, remove all print cartridges, plug in, turn on, install print cartidges, power off, turn on.
  • Use a pin to clear both holes in each of the 5 ink cartridges housing assembly
  • Find the circuit board that hosts the battery for the CMOS chip and remove battery for 30 minutes
  • File a class action lawsuit because HP advises discarding printer and upgrading
  • On the HP site, the information is “curiously sparse” – hmmm, printer is out of warranty. BUT I can pay $20 to ask a rep my question. Not an option!

Now, for the last 2 years I have been using remanufactured cartridges from (as far as I know) a reputable Internet firm that stands behind their cartridges with a 100% money back guarantee. I suspect from the online chatter that HP has built some type of “counter” into the printer that tracks usage of non-OEM inks. We all know they figured out many years ago that the money in printers is in the ink, not the printer itself. Give away a printer and you have a customer for life – until those REMAN vendors came into the picture… You get the chatter. True or not, something here rings fishy – especially when you see the SOLUTION to my dilemma which I post below.

Five hours of my life were exhausted before I found the solution at Fix your printer!.

So here goes… This will get you into the “super secret” menu. Who knows, maybe HP would have given me an upgrade credit for my printer so they could send to their remanufacturing unit for resale – and a tidy profit for less than 2 minutes of “techy work” to make the printer usable for some new sap.

  1. Perform the below steps on the front panel of the printer
  2. Press and Hold the “Print Photos” & “Red Eye Removal” buttons.
  3. Release both buttons.
  4. Display should say “Enter Special Key Combo” (if it doesn’t proceed anyway, as if it does)
  5. Press and release in sequence
    “Red Eye Removal”,
    “Print Photos”,
    “Red Eye Removal”
  6. Display should say “Support” and display the firmware rev (something like R0616R)
  7. Press and release the right arrow button until the display says “System Configuration Menu”
  8. Press and release the “OK” button.
  9. Display should say “Hardware failure status: Clear. Press OK to clear”.
  10. Press and release the “OK” Button.
  11. Message changes to “Hardware failure status Cleared. Press Cancel to continue”.
  12. Press and release the “CANCEL” button as many times as necessary, so that, either the “Welcome to Photosmart Express” screen appears, or the “Ink System Failure” screen appears.

  14. Using the Power Button, turn the unit OFF and unplug the power cable from back of the printer and wall outlet.
  15. Wait 30 seconds for the power to get discharged and then plug the power cable into the wall outlet first and then into the back of the printer.
  16. Turn the unit on. The printer may display message “USE POWER BUTTON TO SHUTDOWN THE PRINTER” followed by “PRESS OK TO CONTINUE”.
  17. Press OK.
  18. Print a self test page from the printer.
  19. Make sure that the printer is on and loaded with unused plain, white paper.
  20. Press Setup . The Setup menu appears.
  21. Press the down arrow button to select Tools.
  22. Press OK.
  23. Press the down arrow button to select Self-test Report.
  24. Press OK.

Thank you very much, HP!

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Does Google frustrate anyone besides me?  Overall, I’d have to say it’s my preferred search engine in quality, flexibility and presentation of the data I search for.  BUT…
And these are huge… it’s
  • Awkward with places you dare not click or something appears (in the olden days white space was always a safe clicking area to gain control the the mouse)
  • Sluggish when entering my search terms
  • Multi-frames each with independent scroll bars means excessive scrolling (esp. images.google.com)
  • Bookmarks has twice lost all are some of my bookmarks
  • All these “newfangled” icons for entries (+1, etc.) aid to confusion
  • Browser “back page” yields initial Google home vs. list of search terms – argh!  Now I have to use the slow search box again!
OK, to be fair these are ONLY the ones on the top of my head.  There are a lot more.  Whatever happened to the old days when a search was simple and not some bloated do-everything-in-one-neat-package-so-you-slow-the-function-down.
Come to think of it Microsoft went the same route, as have many other software companies (Intuit, etc.)
Why can’t you add bells and whistles and make them 100% optional.  Remove all their functionality (and resulting slowdowns) if I decide they’re not worth the price.  Give me the option to keep what is working fine, working fine.
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What’s with the prevailing attitude of this younger generation?
At the risk a a broad-brush stereotype why is the merging generation of young adults sitting around waiting for their ships to come in?  It’s a tough job market.  I have several peers, advanced in decades, who have lost their jobs for various reasons over the last 10 years.  For the most part they have jumped in and taken whatever they could find – some even working 2 jobs at fast food and mowing lawns to reduce the impact of the reduction in income.  These are men who have “paid their dues” jumping in and moving back to ground zero in the job market.  They do what it takes.  Most have, after a few weeks, months or in some cases years, finally found the job they were hoping for in the first place.
Then there’s this emerging generation of adults.  They refuse to look at “menial” jobs.  They know the one they are looking for is just around the corner.  Give me a break.  A year later and still not working?  Why is it you’re so much better than my peers who break their backs and do what it takes?  Do you deserve better?
Or have you been trained to “not get stuck in my dead-end job” and the unintended consequence of my generations training is to create and attitude of entitlement?  I have observed my generation as a whole and we are pretty spoiled.  We pretty much grew up thinking we should have the cars, houses, furniture of our preceding generation without the years of work it took them to get to that point.  We saw credit at the answer to our dilemma and so many of us dug ourselves in pretty deeply.  Why didn’t we have to pay our dues?
Guess the wheels keep turning and we get what we perpetrate.  Thank goodness there are exceptions to the rule.  These will be our leaders while the majority stay on their little wheel striving for the futile.
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1981: The IBM 5150 Is Born
IBM launched the 5150 PC on Aug. 12, 1981.


It wasn’t much by today’s standards, or even yesterday’s. The 5150 featured a 4.77 MHz 8-to-16 bit Intel 8088 processor. It was less powerful than other processors available from Intel and Motorola, but those were thought to be “too powerful” for a PC. IBM also gave the 5150 a full 64 kilobytes of RAM — expandable to whopping 256 kB — one or two floppy drives (your choice) and a monochromatic display.


The 5150 was developed in less than a year by a team of 12 led by Don Estridge. The project was given the codename “Project Chess” — which we mention only because it sounds so cool — and built using off-the-shelf components.


Depending on how you configured your 5150, you’d shell out anywhere from $1,565 to $6,000 for one. That comes to $4,000 to $15,000 in today’s dollars. The success of the 5150 made the IBM PC the industry standard, and before long a whole bunch of “IBM compatibles” and clones jumped into the burgeoning PC market.
Wired Magazine – August 12, 2011

Sounds great but a bit misleading.  IBM was a little late to the forray… so I did a little homework.
Was it the IBM PC?
Bzzzt! The IBM PC was introduced in 1981. It was perhaps the first to wear the “PC” label, but that was IBM’s only innovation. They sure sold a bunch of them, though.
Was it the Apple ][?
No, the 1977 Apple ][ was the first highly successful mass-produced personal computer, but not the first personal computer. Nor was the 1976 Apple 1, which can be considered an Apple ][ prototype since only 200 or so were made.
The Apple 1 signaled the end of toggle switches and blinken lights, and launched the interactive graphical microcomputer as a new class of machine.

There were many other devices even before the Apple, TRS-80 and others entered the market.  As I recall IBM only reluctantly decided that the market might have some potential.
So to be true, yes the “PC” is 30 years old BUT the Personal Computer itself pre-dates the PC by many, many years.  As long as we’re all on the same page.
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