Monday, November 21, 2016

Computer Class November 21, 2016

Hi everyone,

It's that time of the year; the air gets cool and crisp, people start baking and inviting family over for visits.  Lots to be thankful for; family, friends, a roof over our heads, food in the fridge, electricity.  Not so thankful for Windows  , oh well!  ☺  But, we still need to be on our toes for scammers.  And there's a lot of those going around now.

The big one is the "Your computer is sending out viruses"  or "You've been hacked."  You'll go to a site, a pop up will take over your screen and you'll reach for the phone.  But don't do it!  Do not call them.  They'll want a credit card to charge you at least $200.  Money that could be better spent elsewhere.  Chances are you haven;t been hacked or downloaded a virus.  It's not impossible though.  If you think anything strange is going on, run a full scan with your anti-virus and your anti-malware right away.  Those are both programs you can start up and walk away from for a bit.  Then check when you get back from making lunch or something.

If you need a second opinion, you can run ESET's Online scanner.

To check a few other places, you can download and run ADW Cleaner.  This is an easy to use program.  After you download it, run the program from your Downloads folder.  Click the button and then sit back for a bit.  The scan usually takes less than ten minutes.  When it's done, ACW Cleaner will show you tabs for the places it scanned.  You can click on these and read, but you don't have to.  ADW Cleaner will give you a report later.  Just click the button when the scan is complete.

I just did that, and ADW Cleaner found six threats.  I'll finish this email after I reboot.

There, I'm back, all nice and scrubbed clean.   ADW Cleaner found some Registry entries.  Which I do not recommend people mess with as making changes in the Registry are instant and dramatic.  No reboot required and can turn your computer into a doorstop.  (But, Darrell, you just said....  Yes, I know.  I have yet had ADW Cleaner break a computer.  The one I'm typing from is my main computer.)

There are a few other programs, but those are ones that should be run with some supervision.  If not mine, find someone you know and trust to help you.

Bottom line: Do Not Call The Scammers.  ☎

Now, some teaching stuffs.  Saturday, I spend the day with some very nice people helping them get their computers less out of control.  The first stop was to fix some password issues.  This is a reminder to check all the places a password might hide -before- leaving.  Because with programs like Outlook, you have to change the password in the Account settings.

Second stop was check Internet Explorer.  Yep, people use IE.  And that's quite alright.  IE does the job, and now it's been updated enough that if you like IE, keep using it.  (However, I do recommend trying out Chrome and Firefox, even Seamonkey.  They are all free to use.)  IE was set to stop just about everything, which means no shopping online.  Took a visit to the Internet Options and set the slider in Security down a few notches.  Now, Cookies can be used and purchases can be made again.

Last stop of the day was to help with internet connection problems, but my advise was followed.  The first things to do if you can;t get online is "power cycle" your router and/or modem.  That just means to pull the plugs from the back of the devices.  Routers and modems aren't the brightest of devices and can get confused if they are plugged in too long or get too hot.  

Also, we looked at Word.  Word is it's own little beast, with changes from version to version.  In this case, I think we were working with Word 2010.  One thing we needed to change was having gridlines on the page.  That was corrected by clearing the box next to Gridlines on the View tab (or menu).  Gridlines can helpful if trying to position pictures or tables.

We also added footers by using the Insert tab/menu.  You can add a variety of Footers with page numbers, date, and other information.

List Of Links

CHP Incident Site:  

CalTrans WebCams:  

San Luis County Incidents:  

Vandenberg AFB Weather Radar:  

USGS Earthquake Map:  

Tis The Season To Be Snowing:⛄

Rainy Mood:  ☔

Soundrown:  ❄
scroll right for more sounds

Raining FM:  

Calmsounds:  

Have a most Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!  ✨

Monday, October 24, 2016

Dropbox: A short(ish) tutorial

               Dropbox is one of many “cloud storage services” that offer to store your files in “the cloud.”  You can store documents, pictures, videos, and music in the free 2GB of space (can be increased to 2.5GB with some additional steps).  Dropbox can accessed by either going to their web site, and signing up or logging in (on any Internet connected computer), by using the Dropbox program (from the web site or, or by app (both Android and iOS).
                Slight tangent: What is “The Cloud?”  The cloud is just a way of saying non-local data storage.  Your data is stored on a distant computer.  It’s the same idea as web based email, such as Gmail and Yahoo.  You can store up to 25GB in Gmail, and other services offer varying amounts of storage.
                With Dropbox installed on your computer, you can tell it which folders and file you want to keep updated.  When you click and drag a folder or file to the Dropbox folder, which tells it to sync that item.  You can treat that folder just like any other folder, meaning that you can also copy it to your own local storage, such as an external hard drive.  You can even save files directly to Dropbox.
                The Dropbox acts just like any other folder on your computer.  You can copy, cut, paste or delete files as you see fit.  If you right-click on the file, you now have a “Copy Dropbox Link” item in the menu.

You can email this link, once pasted, to people.  They can only see that item, no others.
             In my Dropbox, I also have folders for pictures I’ve taken of my backyard, documents for the computers and classes, screenshots from car racing, and my stories.  Mini and Myrtle are my Chevy Cavaliers.
                You can use keyboard commands or the right-click menu to organize the files and create new folders, or delete folders and file you no longer want in Dropbox.

+C            Copy
+ X           Cut
+A            All Items
+V            Paste
+Z            Undo
+       Permanently remove item
F2                           Renames highlighted item

More commands:  

Monday, October 10, 2016

Streaming Audio

Radio and Audio Streaming Stations
October 2016
(For web browsers)

Call letters, location, number (if known), band, Home Page first, audio player links after.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, just the ones I’ve collected over the years.
Many stations also have apps, if you own a smartphone or tablet.  You can search the Google App Store or the Apple Store. And, yes, I like news. So there’s a bunch of AM stations.

AM Stations:
KFI, Los Angeles, 640 AM:  
CHED, Edmonton, 630 AM:
CFFR, Calgary, 660 AM:     
KGO, San Francisco, 810 AM:
KVEC, San Luis Obispo, 920 AM:
(has app)                                 
KNX, Los Angeles, 1070 AM:
KUHL, Santa Maria, 1440 AM:
WGCH, Greenwich, 1490 AM:
KNZR, Bakersfield, 1560 AM:
KLIV, San Jose, 1590 AM:    
KDMT, Denver, 1690 AM    

FM Stations:
KCRW, Los Angeles (89.9 FM, PBS)
KCBX, San Luis Obispo (90.1 FM, PBS):

Other Sources
Classic FM Radio Player:               
                (Can use any UK postcode for access, E4 0AD for example)
Coast Community Radio from Astoria, Oregon: (PBS)
Can use player on right, click on stations to play, might need to right-click to Run This Plugin, or click on the two icons for KMUN or KCPB. has an auto-running player and buttons for stations
Radio Le Mans, live audio of car racing from around the world:
Radio Live New Zealand:                   
Public Domain Classical and Jazz:     
Interlochen Public Radio’s Show Tunes, with Kate Botello:

Search for stations, genres
                These sites allow you to search for a station by call sign or genre.  There are hundreds (if not thousands) of stations carried by each.

Emergency Services:
Radio Reference, streaming scanner:
                SLO County feed:                   
Broadcastify: (has app)                        
NOAA Weather Radio:
                Monterey, CA                         
                Los Angeles, CA:                     
Weather Radio Stations:                     
Weather Underground:                                      

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Streaming Video

I started looking at what a mess my bookmarks are today.  I can't tell which ones are working or not, what they do, or where they go. So I thought I'd start with my Media folder.  In that folder are more folders for TV, Radio, Racing, Audio Streams, Live Video, Twitch (a site that streams people playing games, I'll explain in a bit), YouTube links and more.

Right now, I'm going through the TV links. I tried to keep them organized by station, but as I find new links I was just adding them without much thought.  I'm now trying to pare them back to a home page and a live page.  So I'll have a link to which does live video and to for the main site, or home page.  This will cut down on the mess.

Many TV stations do live streaming.  I believe the main local stations stream news, both morning and evening.

What is "steaming media?" It can be video or audio, and is data from the Internet that is not stored on your computer.  You can usually start and pause the stream at any point and come back to it later, if the page is still open.  So you can watch something that's been pre-recorded and pause it.  It usually isn't possible to pause a live stream, something many DVRs offer now.

You might need to right click if the site uses Flash to run the plug in and have the video start.  Chrome has has it's won Flash and is updated automatically with Chrome.

Here's a few I've found over the years:

NHK World News, main site:
NHK World News (English):
JIBTV: (takes you back to NHK)
France24: (might need to click on Watch Live)

San Francisco (live)

Los Angeles (live)

KOVR, Sacramento:
KXRM, Colorado:
WKYC, Cleveland:
WKRN, Nashville, TN:
KATU, Portland, OR:
KOMO, Seattle, WA:

I'm sure there are hundreds, if not thousands, more.  Just Google (or use Your Favorite Search Engine) the call letters and see what comes back.  Or you can search for the city name and "live streams" or "TV stations."

Twitch is based on gaming, people playing computer games and other people watching.  But it's not -just- games, Twitch also hosts cooking shows, arts and crafts and more.
You can check it out here:
Warning, these are usually adults and can use some rather adult language.
Creative covers music, drawing, cooking, painting, and much more!

One last link, to Gresham College ( It was founded in 1597, Gresham College is in Oxford, UK and provides lectures on just about everything from fashion and religion to astronomy and physics.
Main Site:
Past Lectures:

(Sorry, that's THREE links!)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Monday, September 19, 2016

Aurora, a planet in the Terran League


Princessa, Gamma Volcak

PIC: 42n844444

            The planet Aurora is a temperate world long settled by STL colony fleet shortly before the invention of the sub-hyperspace overdrive and is one of the major trade hubs of the Terran League.
            Fourth planet of an F9 star, Aurora has one large moon (dia: 3,160 miles) and is known for gentle seas and rolling hills.
            Aurora has a large metallic core that produces one of the strongest magnetic flieds from a Terra-type planet.  This strong field brings the auroral lights as far south as the equator.  New Horizons Tours offers 7 and 14 day packages for trips to Aurora just for those displays.
            The large moon, Corazon, is well cratered and carries a thin carbon dioxide atmosphere.  It is home to a few research facilities and astronomical science labs.  One of the largest radio telescopes is based at the DeGrasse Center, measuring over 10 miles across.  It is used to study the Volcak Cloud and the center of the galaxy.
            One of the features of the night sky on Aurora is the Volcak Cloud.  Princessa is on the opposite side of the Cloud from Demion System.  About four times the apparent size of Corazon, the Volcak Cloud makes a magnificent backdrop for romantics from all over the galaxy.
With predominately Latin settlers, Aurorans speak Spanish, Portuguese and English interchangeably.  Place names tend to use the “el” and “la” of Spanish with the name itself in English.  This has lead to a linguistic situation that is an issue to teachers and linguists across the galaxy.
            Gamma Volcak was “explored” by long range telescopes and very early FTL robotic scout vehicles in the late 2200’s.  Shortly there after, STL colony ships were launched.  The colony ships are still in orbit, being used as museums and tourist attractions.  The ships FAR HARBOR and DISTANT SHORE are showcases of the European Development Corporation technology for cryo-sleep and long range fusion drives.
            Aurora is larger and denser than Earth, having a larger percentage of heavy elements.  This gives Aurora a gravity of 1.15g.
            The day is 27 hours 45 minutes and 33 seconds long.  The 45 minutes are usually used as an extended lunch / break / rest period during the day.
            Being farther from its bright primary, Aurora has a rather long year of 630 days.  The Auroran year was broken down to six day weeks (there is no Monday) with 15 months and seven weeks per month.
            The Auroran calendar is unique in that they put the months back in their proper order, as follows, while adding three new months.  The new months are Tritember or Tresember (for the number three), Dosember (for twelve), and Diosember (from the Spanish word Dios, or God).  They are usually shortened to Trese`, Dose`, and Dios.  Those that wish to, celebrate Christmas in Diosember, at the end of the Auroran year, after the traditional Thanksgiving feast in November.  Landing Day is the first day of January.  The Aurorans do not sync their calendars with any other planets.  They do use Terran dates in official paperwork as they are part of the Terran League.

1                    January      1 Jan = Landing Day
2                    February
3                    Tritember / Tresember
4                    March
5                    April
6                    May
7                    September 2nd Saturday = St. Brigitte’s Day
8                    October
9                    June
10                December
11                July
12                Dosember
13                August
14                November 4th Friday = Thanksgiving
15                Diosember 25 Dios = Christmas Celebreation

            The length of the month is not tied to the orbital period of Corazon.

The City and Starport of Castillo de Estrella

            Castillo de Estrella (shortened to CdeE and pronounced say-day-eay, Spanish for ‘Castle of the Stars’) is on the eastern coast of Aurora’s north continent, Rancho Grande, providing excellent launching for both equatorial and polar orbits.  Also being on the edge of a circular bay allows ships to land offshore if too large to land in the starport or in an emergency.
            CdeE is a bustling city of about 200,000 people with a definite Spanish / Latin flair.  As in 21st Century Spain, just about everything in the city shuts down for at least two hours, except the starport.  “Siesta” is a time loosely defined as being between noon and 4PM.  Most businesses close and employees go home if they live nearby for lunch.  Businesses open late in the morning, 8 to 9AM, and stay open later in the evening till around 9PM.  Restaurants and other gathering places stay open till well after midnight.
            People are friendly and helpful.  Everyone is welcome and made to feel at home.  The streets are clean and well maintained and buildings are a colorful and eclectic mix of styles from across Western Europe and South America.
            The climate is warm winters and warmer summers with the occasional thunderstorm.  Hurricanes are rare and usually strike land hundreds of miles to the north of CdeE.  Fog is occasional and mostly in the valleys along the mountains.  Rain is during the Fall and Spring.  Much water control has been done with the Arroyo Grande for flood control, notably on the Puerta Sur side of the river.
            Castillo de Estrella is powered by four fusion reactors.  The starport has its own power supply and is independent from the city though each power system can augment the other.  Power for ranches in the Dragonridges is provided by solar, wind and some small hydro-electric generators.  Water based power generation in the bay would be difficult with multi-hundred thousand tons starships setting down.
            Avalon is an island about 15 miles off the coast of Puerta Sur.  On this island are large, rolling ranches with large homes, usually covering hundreds of acres.  Many “old” families on Aurora have owned land there for hundreds of years.
            The Dragonridge Mountains to the west are nearby for hunting, fishing, camping, skiing and many other outdoor activities.  A few thousand people live among the mountains and in the foothills just to the east.
            Other large cities on Aurora are:  Alta Mesa, Guadalupe, Los Alamos, Los Osos, Keller’s Corner, Palm Desert and Nueva Barcelona.
            The average Auroran enjoys excellent medical care and can expect to live about 120 years (without CD activation).  They tend to be fun loving and positive and enjoy seeing the beauty of “the big picture” of things. They enjoy life without the “over the top” celebrations of “Festival and its “Year of the…” parties.
            Aurorans are of mixed ancestry, with the majority being from Western Europe, South American and southern North America.  Spanish and Portuguese last names are common with the occasional Anglo name for something different.
            Most males tend to be under 6 foot, and women under 5’ 9” though people of both genders over 6 foot are not unheard of.  Hair is dark brown to black and brown eyes with some blond hair and blue eyed child Spanish ancestry.  Red hair and freckles are not seen unless someone immigrates to Aurora.
            Few Aurorans desire to move off-world.  They are very happy with their home and few planets offer better living.  With the wonder of the Volcak Cloud just a few light years away, the wanderlust to join ORAC or the Space Patrol is low.

System Information
Primary:           Princessa “Princess” Gamma Volcak), type: F9

Planets:            Pocahontas 1   Moons:            Fueza               “Strength”
Anne 11                                  Honor              “Honor”

                        Cinderella 5                             Fe                    “Faith”
Esperanza        “Hope”

                        Aurora 4                                  Corazon           “Heart”
                        Fa Mulan Asteroid Belt

                        Ariel 9                                     Cantar                         “to sing”
                                                                        Belleza            “Beauty”
                                                                        Amor               “Love”
                                                                        Acarice            “Cherish”
                                                                        Alma               “Soul”
                                                                        Verdad                        “Truth”
                                                                        Crea                 “Believe”
                                                                        Agraciando     “Graceful”
                                                                        Amiga             “Friend”


Place Names around Castillo de Estrella

Spanish                                                            English

Azul Sea                                                          Blue Sea
Maricopa Reina                                               Butterfly Beach
                                                                        Calm Sea
Oso Mille                                                        Thousand Lakes
El Dorado Lake                                              Lake of Gold
                                                                        Secluded Cove
                                                                        Griffin’s Bay
                                                                        Val Verde Holler
                                                                        Dragonridge Mountains
Castillo de Estrella                                          Castle of the Stars, major city
                                                                        Defender Beach
                                                                        Emerald Forest
Arroyo Grande                                                Big Ditch, major river
Rancho Grande                                               Big Ranch, northern continent
Santa Lucia                                                     Saint Lucy
Puerta Sur                                                       South Port
Muy Grande River                                          Very Big River
Rancho De La Marron                                    Brown’s Ranch
                                                                        Dusty Roads
Ranchoe Sestro de Caballos                           Resting Horse Ranch

McKeesport Station

            Orbiting Aurora is McKeesport Station, a starstation that caters to travelers from across the League.  At nearly four miles in overall length, the station can clearly be seen from the surface.  Being a quasi-military post, many ORAC vessels can be seen departing or arriving on a regular basis.  There is also a small ORAC fleet assigned to the station under the command of Commodore Antonio Reyes, aboard his flagship, the heavy cruiser TEMANACTLAN.
            McKeesport can repair and refit many ships to about 2500 feet in length and about 1.5 million tons in mass.  The station can also build small auxiliary vessels such as shuttles and work pods on site and to custom specifications.
            A few civilian craft make their home port here.
            McKeesport is quite capable of defending itself if the need arises with a formidable array of weaponry from MAD cannons to torpedo launchers and railguns.
            A STAR FORTRESS class vessel usually visits once a week.  No FORTRESS is assigned to the station, though one can be called upon at a moments notice.

Admiral Carol O’Hern
            She has been in command of McKeesport Station since 2994.  She is from Terra and was born on the east coast of the North American continent, near what used to be a small cargo port for mines, which McKeesport Station is named after.  The southern Pennsylvania area is now reforested after all industry was moved off Terra to the Asteroid Belt.  Many Lunar and Belter miners can trace ancestry back to this area.
            Admiral O’Hern is minimal nonsense person; she doesn’t tolerate wasteful actions or ideas.  She has read The Book, wrote parts of it, and is willing to throw out or downright ignore parts she doesn’t like or agree with.
            She is a small woman, standing about 5 foot 4 inches, with gray hair and green eyes.  She is perpetually in need of sunlight as she spends way too much time about the station.
            Carol likes old novels from the 20th century, mostly science fiction.  Over the years she has cultivated a network of knowledgeable book specialists.



A Plane Ride

This has been around for a while.  I think that is a 707 in the background.
A woman was flying from Seattle to San Francisco.
Unexpectedly, the plane was diverted to Sacramento along the way.  
The flight attendant explained that there would be a delay, and if the passengers wanted to get off the aircraft the plane would re-board in 50 minutes. 
Everybody got off the plane except one lady who was blind.
A man had  noticed her as he walked by and could tell the lady was blind because her guide dog lay quietly underneath the seats in front of her throughout the entire flight. 
He could  also tell she had flown this very flight before because the pilot approached her, and calling her by name, said, “Kathy, we are in Sacramento for almost an hour.  Would you like to get off and  stretch your legs?" 
The blind lady said, "No thanks, but maybe Buddy would like to stretch his legs." 
Picture  this: 
All the people in the gate area came to a complete standstill when they looked up and saw the pilot walk off the plane with a guide dog for the blind! Even worse, the pilot was wearing sunglasses! 
People scattered. They not only tried to change planes, but they were trying to change airlines!