Friday, February 14, 2020

A Valentine From God ...

Late in the summer of 1977, the United States launched two probes into space - Voyager 1 and 2. Their primary mission was to explore and photograph the outer planets in the solar system. 

Among thousands of beautiful pictures they took over decades of their journey- the most unique - was Voyager 1’s look back on the entirety of the solar system on February 14th 1990. 

In that photograph, the earth appeared as a tiny dot inside a ray of sunlight.

Renowned Astronomer and atheist Carl Sagan commented on the picture:

“Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.”

In fact, this picture is the opposite of loneliness. It is the opposite of darkness.  It is the opposite of insignificance. It’s the opposite of meaninglessness.

If ever there were a picture to sum up God’s love- this is it. The earth, bathed in and singled out by light. 

While earth may seem lonely in the dark of space in comparison - it is significant and meaningful beyond comprehension none the less. It’s importance as God’s creation is his greatest wonder - and - He put YOU here - as a sign of His love - specifically you. 

So, if Valentine’s Day makes you feel lonely or insignificant- remember - all of God’s creation - which includes beautiful and wonderfully made YOU - is singled out in His light - in His love. 

This photograph is His Valentine to you.

You are not lonely. 

You are God’s Valentine. Always.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Cash America Officially Takes Over America

Not reported anywhere I could find:

First Cash, Cash America, & U.S. Money Shops pawn shops all merged (or completed mergers) in late 2019.

If you buy from pawn shops this could have a huge effect on higher prices. This essentially gives Cash America a nationwide pawn shop monopoly.

Many independent pawn shops are going out of business due to local regulations - especially on gun sales. Nationalizing pawn shops - and thereby low cost loans and “untracked sales” I think has the same negatives as nationalizing banks has (and has had).

 If you’ve been inside a bank lately you’ll know what I mean.

You can’t even deposit cash into your own checking account without ID. Yeah, you heard that right. You can’t deposit cash at a bank as of November 2019 → many banks having implemented the policy before then.

I foresee that soon the fed or state governments will want “monitoring” of loans from pawn shops to be on “official record”. Pawn Shops already supply law enforcement with monthly serial number and description databases for burglary recovery.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

The Ruse Of Skywalker or How toxic fans almost ruined the prequels and then tried to ruin the sequels to Star Wars.

The following is a review and discussion of Star Wars: Rise Of Skywalker. There is somewhat of spoiler talk although reading this may help you understand the plot better and may actually help you enjoy the plot more.

I hate critics because this was a decent story.If you pay attention, it fits together much better than the haters are saying.

I’ve gleaned these details below having thoroughly studied the plots of all the movies - tying them to the story arc of The Rise Of Skywalker.

Was the Emperor actually Darth Plagueis? Did the dark side take over Palpatine and turn him from Plagueis to Sidious? In Revenge Of The Sith was he referring to killing himself?

Was Snoke actually a clone of Anakin made from Vader’s DNA inside Vader’s “haunted helmet” and did the Emperor fuse even more with his helmet in Return Of The Jedi and this is what killed him? Was Palpatine feeding off Anakin the entire time and took even more life force from Vader when he tried to save Luke?

The Rise Of Skywalker (for the time allotted) did a good job of exposition on this while leaving some mystery. In the prequels there was a lot of mystery around Palpatine - indicating that he was an ancient being and not just some dark side person from Naboo.

Look at these words to get an idea of my theory about Plagueis & Sidious being the same person. Also remember that Lucas had Obi Wan say to Luke “Vader betrayed & murdered your father.” Did Sidious betray & murder Plagueis by spreading the viral dark side through his midichlorians?

Sidious was so obsessed with power that maybe he had to go further down the dark path by essentially killing himself and THIS is what he’s referring to in the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis story he relays to Anakin at the opera.. 

Palpatine: Did you ever hear the tragedy of Darth Plagueis The Wise? 

Anakin: No?

Palpatine: I thought not. It's not a story the Jedi would tell you. It's a Sith legend. Darth Plagueis was a Dark Lord of the Sith, so powerful and so wise he could use the Force to influence the midichlorians to create life… He had such a knowledge of the dark side, he could even keep the ones he cared about from dying. 

Anakin: He could actually save people from death?

Palpatine: The dark side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural. 

Anakin: What happened to him?

Palpatine: He became so powerful… the only thing he was afraid of was losing his power, which eventually, of course, he did. Unfortunately, he taught his apprentice everything he knew, then his apprentice killed him in his sleep. Ironic. He could save others from death, but not himself.

Anakin: Is it possible to learn this power?

Palpatine: Not from a Jedi.

Rey (as a Palpatine) - possibly being a ¾ midichlorian manipulation birth (Anakin was ½) was the appropriate person to kill Palpatine but THEN claim her birthright as full oneness with the force by claiming the Skywalker name. Going from ½ force to ¾ force to wholeness or 1 or finally balance to the force. Are you following?

THIS would explain Rey’s extraordinary force abilities & being able to just pick up on the force - just as young Anakin did with no Jedi and no force training before meeting Obi Wan & Quigon.

This would also explain how she is able to defeat such a strong force user as Kylo Ren.

‪So, if you pay attention - the point of the Skywalker saga is bringing balance to the force. Palpatine/ Plagueis put the force into an imbalance - claiming to be a Skywalker brings that balance.‬


Other thoughts ...

‪Rey is the balance to the force. Technically that’s what the Skywalkers were chosen to create. When Yoda said, “there is another” he was seeing Leia but not seeing the complete vision.‬ And then Rey claims the Skywalker name.

Although probably the worst scene in any Star Wars movie to date - Mary Poppins Leia from The Last Jedi - it does show how Leia used a protection bubble around her to survive a major accident. Did Palpatine use a similar protection when Vader threw him down the energy shaft in Return Of The Jedi?

Friday, September 27, 2019

How have I missed out on this? or How do I remove a DLL file from startup?

So, I've been a\having a problem with my laptop for a few months where it comes up on startup with a message about there being an error starting an ink level check in an older HP 8600 Officejet printer that I have.

I finally had a tiny bit of free time on my hands and found a program from Microsoft to solve this specific issue.

Called AUTORUNS … it analyzes all the processes of your Windows Operating system and tells you which ones have conflicts and can therefore be removed. Not only saving hassle of seeing error messages but also saving space.

This program also eliminates the potential risks of messing around with REGEDIT.- although usually I know what I'm doing.And, no matter how deep you dig in Windows directories, you're bound to miss some piece of a file ~ somewhere.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

What does the SCION logo mean or signify?

In an official statement from a Toyota dealer:

It’s the mirrored image of a road leading into the horizon - forming an “S” shape. 

Meaning: This is where we came from, this is where we’re going”

So any other baloney you read on any other clickbait website that you got to from search, just made stuff up.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Rustomers: The tale of “RUS!”

My name is Rus.

Here is one of many insane stories of IT nightmares I've dealt with over the years.

The first two installments are published here:

You Better Do What The Boss Says
The bMac

Today's story has to be edited to protect the innocent (me). Only names are changed.
In mid 2005, I was working as "The Apple Guy" in a small computer store. One of my software troubleshooting fortes was the very troublesome desktop publishing software Quark Express. Many small advertising and marketing firms used Quark Express to layout client brochures. When it worked, it worked great. When it didn't work, it was a nightmare that could cause conflicts system-wide on your Mac. I had built a name for myself helping small advertising firms in the area - fixing issues with Quark. One day, a client called into the shop and asked if "An Apple Guy named Rus Smith worked there." Hand cupped over the bottom of the phone, the office manager shouted, "Is there an Apple Guy named Rus Smith here?" I smiled and then picked up the phone at the front desk.

"Hi, my name is Cynthia* and I was told by a friend that you saved their business by helping them with Quark Express and by fixing their Macs, do you think you could come work some of your magic for me?"
Me: "Can you bring the computer in question into the shop?"

"No, our computer is very tightly integrated into a printing press we have in our basement."

Me: "Ok, can you give me your name and address?"

She proceeded to repeat only her first name, but gave an address, 35 miles away. I informed her that there would be a trip charge of 1.5 hours labor - which was $120 an hour, but we'd just call it an even $150 for the trip charge if that was okay.  I also inquired for her to repeat her last name (even though I knew she had not given it.)

She informed me she was desperate to get up and running again and agreed to the trip charge. She asked if I had the ability to transfer zip disks to CD as well. I told her she was in luck as I had a CD/DVD burner and a zip disk expansion bay for my laptop. (A Powerbook Pismo*) I glossed over the fact she still had not given me her last name. I told her I could come early in the morning and that I would leave my home at 8AM. She agreed.

She lived in a nice lakefront home in a gated community.I was informed at the gate that her husband would "beep" me in. I drove down the narrow cliff-shouldered driveway that was flanked with landscape lighting. I decided to turn around completely facing outward so I wouldn't have to back out when exiting and so I could have easy access to my trunk.

I told her I wanted to concentrate on getting the printer and Mac fixed timely so I would show her how to transfer the zip disks to my hard drive while I worked, then when she had "the box of 40" done, I'd come burn the "collection" to one DVD or several CDs according to their preference. Once one was completed, the husband introduced himself as "Larry Floosy*" as he walked me down to the basement. In the basement, there were life sized cardboard standups of people - mostly men in suits that looked to be presenting something. There were boxes upon boxes of brochures, printed and blank. Then, I noticed something on the wall. A giant 3x3 foot lipstick print with the words:

He proceeded to tell me that his wife didn't disclose their names or the name of their business because it wasn't important to whether I needed to fix their computers. He also expressed that the name of their business was just a clever mix up of their last names and ...

"I assure you isn't connected to anything peculiar."

I sat down at the computer while Larry Floosy explained what problems he was having. It was an older Mac (7300) running an older operating system (Mac OS 7.6) with an older version of Quark Express.

I dove right in. As per my usual procedure, I ran a utility called Diskwarrior first. Immediately, Larry Floosy walked up and put his hand on the back of the chair, watched for a minute, then said,

"RUS! What are you doing? It doesn't look like that's actively fixing our Quark Express problem."

Me: "I always run this utility first on the Macs I repair because I want to eliminate basic problems first."

(Diskwarrior still running on the Mac)

I can see the shadowy reflection of Larry Floosy pacing back and forth in the background like a drug addict wondering if he's going to beat his addiction this time.

Again, he puts his hand on the back of the chair.

"RUS! How long does this take? I just wanted Quark Express fixed."

Me: "Quark is a very complicated program, it requires a lot of sys ..."


"RUS! Dont explain any this to me. This looks like you're stalling and running up a bill!"

Me: "This is part of my procedure. I've had a lot of success with helping others using the method that I do."

(Calmly) "So, I've been told Rus. So I've been told."

His wife calls him upstairs.

He shouts, "I'm watching the computer tech waste time just watching the screen."

His wife comes downstairs and says, "Honey, why don't you come up stairs and help me with these zip disks and leave the Apple guy to do his magic."

He starts towards the stairs, mumbling, 

"Magicians at least do something."

Diskwarrior completes.

I shut the Mac down. 

I remove his monitor from the top of the computer and proceed to open it up. It's dusty so I sprayed some compressed air inside to clean it up.

Larry Floosy appears like an eager dog waiting for a treat.

"RUS! How does this fix a software problem?"

Me: "Like I said, this is part of my procedure. I also got to see that you have a custom printer card installed in this machine. Sometimes, if the computer is bumped, it could move the card out of place so I'm cleaning the slot and re-seating the card for your printer. I brought some extra memory for your Mac, but it's older memory and you have two open slots so I'm going to add that at no extra charge."

"RUS! Youve already added an extra charge by wasting a lot of time!"

Me (sarcastically): "You don't want the extra memory?"

"RUS! I don't like your tone!"

Me: "What tone? Listen, I really could get this done faster if you weren't over my shoulder the whole time."

SIDE NOTE: Yes, he really did repeat my name at the beginning of every sentence.

"RUS! Get up! Look at me! Don't ever treat me that way!"

Me: "You need to back off and calm down!"

"RUS! Don't tell me to calm down. This is my house! Get out! Get out! GET OUT! 

Me: "So, confirming here. You want me to get out!"

At this point his wife was watching events unfold at the bottom of the stairs. She asked in a timid voice for "Larry" to come up stairs. He complied. I packed my things. As I went by her, I said, 

"I think it's fixed and I added some extra memory no charge."

In a loud angry voice from upstairs ...
"I want him out of the house NOWWWWWWWWWW"

As I started towards the door, I went by the sofa to collect my laptop from atop the coffee table. I heard the clank of the fire place utensil set. He had grabbed a fire poker and had it pointing towards the vaulted ceiling. He went by the sofa, grabbed the box of zip disks and started running towards me. I ran for the door, got in my car, set my laptop on the passenger seat, started the engine, put the

car into gear and floored it with my tailgate still open. I saw him throw the entire box of (his) zip disks. I watched them scatter all over the driveway in the rear view mirror. He threw the fire poker. I continued to leave the subdivision.

I had not gotten paid so I had some explaining to do to my colleagues. Fortunately Mrs. Friendly had already called and apologized and said she would mail a check.

She ended up mailing the check as promised and I mailed 5 CDs back to her with the Zip disk data transfer.

The Friendly End.

* The PowerBook Pismo is the single greatest product Apple has ever made outside of the iPhone in my opinion. I had every custom peripheral imaginable for mine including a slot loading CD/DVD burner, a zip disk expansion bay and extra batteries, plus a G4 upgrade. The ease of expansion of this laptop is unparalleled even today by any manufacturer)