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:



NAME CHANGED BUT STILL CONVEYING THE MEANING:
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 ..."

(Interrupted)

"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! 
GET OUTTTTT!"

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)

The 5 Risks Apple Should Take Right Now ...

I don’t usually post articles without a lot of substance, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how Apple doesn’t seem to take as many risks anymore.

Here are five areas I think Apple could dominate an entire industry in just two generations of the product (or service):

1) A car. Not a sedan. Not a truck. Not an SUV. Something like the Aptera.

(I’ve said this before on this site, but it bears repeating.) I think solar technology is far enough along to be able to generate at least a free commute out of a car.,I think Tesla has already missed a golden opportunity to market a solar garage for their cars, but I think Apple could do this. Think about how if Apple got into this space - the market would explode - just like every other market segment they break into.
 
2) A social media network. I used to own a web domain PPPLE.COM.

 I had the idea of a Facebook / Twitter/ YouTube hybrid without the fringe and insanity of Reddit. If it were combined with iMessage and Animoji - it’d be a killer app. 

3) An AI based animation app.

You type out a story and an AI animates the scene.

This could be a killer app for the aforementioned social media network. 

4) A thin circular 4”-5” diameter display that connected to an OBD adapter ..

 that was a replacement dashboard / gauge cluster for your car. The car industry is currently facing the same problems with car readout / gauge displays as they did with radios before Apple had CarPlay.
5) Scrapping the Mac Pro and making a daisy chain-able / stacking Mac Mini tower. Imagine having a dedicated video card component that could be changed out, multiple hard drive bays or just 4-6 high powered Mac Minis all working in parallel. Why hasn’t Apple done this? It be an enterprise dream come true. It’d be supported by a huge aftermarket and honestly I think it would revive the dying desktop computer market.


Thursday, April 18, 2019

Do not login with “shared folder” access to DashVac.com

If you receive an email - even if it “appears” to be from someone you know that leads you to a shared folder access website called DashVac.com

DO NOT OPEN IT

For reference:

It doesn’t matter who it is. If you are using a web interface - you must have a 🔒 next to the https (not http) in the web address.

Publishing to make into Google searches because I was unable to find ANY info regarding this phishing website.



Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Tennessee Senate Passes Major Reform Of Anti-SLAPP

Tennessee Senate Unanimously Passes Actual Anti-SLAPP Bill

Anti-SLAPP laws (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) shield citizens from bogus lawsuits clearly intended to silence criticism. This lack of protection has resulted in a number of merit-less lawsuits being filed. One of the most ridiculous -- a former university program head suing his replacement for things a journalist said -- managed to make its way all the way up to the state's appeal court. In the end, the defendant was awarded $10,000 in legal fees, but none of that was guaranteed when the plaintiff started wasting everyone's time and money.
As the law stands now in Tennessee, only communications to public officials about public entities are shielded from defamation lawsuits. It doesn't cover things like negative reviews of businesses, criticism of any public figure, or -- like the case above -- things defendants never actually said.
The new law would actually function like an anti-SLAPP law should. It would halt discovery until a ruling on the anti-SLAPP motion and allow the prevailing party to recover fees.
Under this bill, if a legal action is filed in response to a party's exercise of the right of free speech, right to petition, or right of association, that party may petition the court to dismiss the legal action. All discovery in the legal action will be stayed upon the filing of a petition pursuant to this bill and the stay of discovery will remain in effect until the entry of an order ruling on the petition. The court may allow specified and limited discovery relevant to the petition upon a showing of good cause.
The petitioning party will have the burden of making a prima facie case that a legal action against the petitioning party is based on, relates to, or is in response to that party's exercise of the right to free speech, right to petition, or right of association. If the petitioning party meets this burden, the court will dismiss the legal action unless the responding party establishes a prima facie case for each essential element of the claim in the legal action.
The bill passed both the state House and Senate, with the Senate sending a message with a decisive 33-0 vote in favor of the bill. If this passes, Tennessee will join the small minority of states willing to protect their residents from frivolous lawsuits filed solely to shut them u

Saturday, April 06, 2019

Rustomers: Rus's IT Customer Tales

My name is Rus.

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

The first installment is written here:

You Better Do What The Boss Says

I'm titling today's tale:

The iMac You Never Heard Of:  
The bMac 


Today's tale follows my time served as an area Apple Computer Rep. I represented a rather large 150 mile radius from Charlotte NC to Greenville SC to Atlanta GA to Knoxville TN and everywhere in-between. 3-5 days a week, I would visit Sears, Circuit City, Best Buy, CompUSA or the like and arrange displays of iMacs, iBooks, Powerbooks, G4 Cubes - and stock their corresponding brochures. I would train employees at said retail stores about Apple products and give points of interest for sales. 

Right about the time the first slot loading iMacs came out, I was tasked to train employees at a Charlotte, North Carolina Circuit City. A little refresh on the format of these (former) stores. Circuit City retail stores were essentially high-pressure, commission-based car lots except instead of cars that people needed or wanted - it was electronics that people maybe wanted and possibly needed. For years, they had sold Apple products, on again, off again. With the return of Steve Jobs and the success of the iMac, Circuit City had decided to sell Apple computer products again, beginning with the third generation of iMacs - known as the slot loading iMac. They had begun to sell iMacs in the second generation at some stores but didn't have an official North American rollout until the third generation.

I drove to Charlotte early on a Friday morning from my hometown - roughly 120 miles away. I had two other stops in Charlotte to make and I had alotted two hours to this store to stock brochures, hang banners, and train employees for the new Blue Dalmation and Flower Power iMacs. Their special feature was either a slot loading DVD drive or a slot loading CDRW burner. I had spent the previous week learning all about the new models and prepared a few jokes for the eclectic introduction.

Joke 1:

 Why did the dalmatian go to the eye doctor?

 Because he was seeing spots.

Joke 2:
Why are A's like flowers?

Because bees come after them

With my ice breakers prepared, I took a deep breath, walked across the parking lot and into the store. This store had a foyer with showcased products on each side before you got to the main sales floor. A smile came across my face as I saw the left side - a Flower Power iMac!


Then, the screen started flickering and popping  ...
(Noises) ... pop ... pop ... pop ... crackle ... sizzle.
I could see little sparks through the semi-transparent shell of the iMac - looking like a dying Las Vegas strip sign.

I got up close and saw a beehive - an actual beehive - inside the iMac!

I rushed to the front desk and said, "Where's the manager?"

The sales floor rep said, "Can I help you?"

I stated in a panicky voice, "I need to speak to the manager as soon as possible, I'm the Apple Rep and I have an emergency."

The store manager came out, "Can I help you?"

In my still panicky voice, "I know this is hard to believe, but you have an active beehive in the iMac in the showcase at the front of the store."

The store manager, said, "Oh, I know, that just happened. It was cool because it its a Flower Power iMac. It's awesome."

Infuriated, I said, "DUDE! That's a fire hazard! If I were to report this, you could be fired!"

Store Manager: "Hang on, hang on Apple guy. Chill out. I'll get it taken care of immediately."

Calming myself down as I spoke, "Ok, I'll wait until you do."

Each night after a day of rep work I was supposed to go onto a website and type up a report. Boy, was this report buzzed with details.

Later that summer, I was privy to a private Apple partner meeting before MacWorld Expo. Steve Jobs came in to greet everyone and said a few words before the crowd.
(paraphrased from a significantly expletive laden rant)
Steve Jobs:
"At Sears, we've got power drills laying next to iMacs! And get this. Get this! We had a report of a beehive in an iMac! A live, active, swirling, buzzing beehive! This is what's wrong with Apple sales."
For the record, I had also reported power drills laying next to a junked and broken iMac at a SEARS in Knoxville, Tennessee on a bottom shelf, with "DO NOT INVENTORY!" - written on strip of masking tape across the screen.

Maybe this story helps you realize the significance and genesis of the Apple Store and why it was such a passion and promise of Steve Jobs.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

The false narrative about “fake news”

As reported by the Washington Post:
Teen who defied anti-vax mom says she got false information from one source: Facebook

This is a false premise. Fake news DOES NOT influence people. It helps them preach to a choir or reinforce beliefs. If she was or is “antivax” - she already had proclivity to do so.


Besides, the math doesn’t add up. If this kid saying this is 18 and Facebook has only been around since 2006, with the majority of users coming aboard from 2008-2010, her mother certainly didn’t get this opinion from Facebook or social media. 


While I do believe you can be misled with a compelling argument, it’s rare that anyone who agrees with a premise has changed their mind on a topic BECAUSE of someone else’s assertion.


Stop promoting the false narrative that fake news changes opinion.





Saturday, February 16, 2019

Why you shouldn’t buy LED headlights for your car ..



Unlike other light replacements on your car, LED low beam headlights use more energy due to cooling fans - which are prone to failure. Failure of a cooling fan in an LED headlight can cause overheating - resulting in severe damage to your car. 


LEDs are blinding to other drivers. The light produced by LED headlights may help you see better down the road but in most implementations - blind oncoming traffic and pedestrians. 


LEDs have a strobing effect on camera, in photos, & while wearing some high end polarized sunglasses / eyeglasses.


Upgrading your turn signal, brake, and other lighting in your car is a good decision as the smaller lights use less energy and don’t require cooling. In the case of “system support & safety lighting” - the brighter light LEDs put out is better.