North Korea Proofing The Computer

I’m writing this entry on my IPhone, because I’m having one of my programs, Advanced System Care, check any possible vulnerable spots on my Windows PC. 

In light of what happened last week around the world, where “ransom ware” got unwillingly installed on scores of computers worldwide, I could use the piece of mind. 

Now, I have time to get the latest Windows updates when they come out, but not everyone has the time or patience for it. That’s how these hackers get you. As Robert De Niro said in the movie Casino, they are lions looking for weak antelope. 

No, I’ve never thought about becoming a hacker. I enjoy life without the threat of going to jail. Some people don’t care of course, and that’s no way to live a life. 

Holy Ballz


There was a friend of mine who I went to elementary school to high school. His speaking accent was normal, but if he said the word balls, he’d say it in a Northeast accent that’d give me the giggles as if he put a Z on at the end.

All these years later, I’m playing this game called Ballz on the IPhone. I still get the giggles saying that word all these years later, by the way. 

The game is like pocket billiards in a few ways, with the object being hitting these square blocks with numbers on them. Once you hit the block that number of times, the block disappears. With each turn, one or more blocks descend, plus the chance to get another ball if you can hit it. 

The game continues until one or more blocks hit the ground. Sounds simple, but I find it highly addictng. 

Another Computer Kerfuffle Or Ten


I was alerted on my Windows 10 computer (now with the Creators update) that it wanted to update a driver or two, and it needed to reboot.

So it did. My machine, which usually boots very quickly, sat there for a good 20 minutes not moving from its starting screen. Luckily, I’d been down this road before a couple of years ago.

My solution was to reinstall Windows, even though I had an ISO file on my hard drive ready to go. In the “fog of war” I had forgotten it was there, and I’ve since moved it over to a thumb drive in case of a further emergency.

The bad news with the reinstall is that all the programs that didn’t come with Windows were wiped, and most had to be installed again. I cleared some time to reinstall the printer, which I thought would be a real bitch.

Five hours later, and trying to figure out why the drivers in the installation disc wouldn’t install, I discovered why the printer and computer weren’t talking to each other. The drivers weren’t wiped with the reinstall. All I had to do is tell the computer where the printer was.

The machine again works well, although it’s now an “old fart” in computer years. Most hard drives die in two years. I’ve had this machine almost four and a half. It’s now survived two scares, and it still goes.

Out Of The Park, Again

ootp18loading.png

If it’s the baseball season, I can probably be found at night immersed in a little computer program called Out Of The Park Baseball. It is a baseball simulation of enormous depth created by German developer Markus Heinsohn, with the 18th version (known amongst fans as OOTP 18) just having been released a few weeks ago. The game is so popular, owners and players have been known to play it, and it’s even been used in schools to teach business economics.

With each new version comes new bells and whistles. When version 17 came out last year, it added a minor league historical database along with the major leaguers so you could get a more accurate account of what the baseball world looked like in a given year. This year’s improvement added the Negro Leagues, setting up what-if scenarios that now included baseball not having a color barrier prior to 1947. But that’s just ONE thing you can do. You can even play the standard game and manage or be a general manager of teams in the modern MLB, the minors, Cuba, Japan, Mexico, or beyond. Wherever you want to go, OOTP can likely take you there.

My personal favorite enterprise the last few seasons have been the ability to have players debut randomly. For instance, what if Evan Longoria played in the first decade of the 20th century as opposed to the 21st, or if Clayton Kershaw pitched back then, when starting pitchers usually went the full nine innings?

There’s a lot less you can do as oppose to what you can do, including the ability to create fictional leagues and structures within and play commissioner, proprietor, and God. It’s not just a sim but a baseball laboratory any fan would enjoy.

Computers And Dinosaurs

My computer desk, such as it is, January 16, 2017.
It dawns on me today that our cell phones are getting so powerful, it’s probably more likely than not they will eventually replace PC and Mac computers. I’m thinking within the next 10 years. 

I still remember when calculators were called computers. 

I still remember my first computer: one from Texas Instruments I got for Christmas in 1983. I don’t think it did all that much, though, didn’t even have BASIC on it if I remember right. The next year, I wound up getting a Commodore 64.

It had a game on it called Frog Master I’d play endlessly where frogs basically played football. They would be born, grow to adulthood, inch toward the goal line, have turf wars with each other, and disappear, which I assumed meant death. 

I’ve had a PC in my home for 20 years, minus a one year break in 2007 and 2008. Prices have come way down from when the one I got for Christmas at a Montgomery Ward store (remember those?) at the old Clearwater Mall in 1996. That was back when America Online was a big thing. 

The thing about technology seems to be its continuing evolution. Podcasts are slowly replacing radio, on-demand video eating away at TV’s industries. 

It’s a changing world, and all we do is change with it.

Grandmaster P In The Hiz-House, Yo

I noticed a few of my friends on Facebook were using this app called Auto Rap, so I thought I’d give it a try.

The results were pretty hilarious, or so I thought. The rap was set to something called “Turkey Burgers” (which somehow reminds me of Audrey Middleton of BB17), and apparently, you can get what you want said set to other rap songs.

Rap music? Sorry to say for the most part that’s Greek to me. I’m not saying there hasn’t been some great rap songs, one of my favorite being “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio. (Could this be a future Flashback in 2017? Maybe.) But, this AutoRap app might make things more interesting.

The Podcast Rules

Back before Thanksgiving, I had mentioned the podcasts I was listening to at that given time. Since then, I’ve developed a few rules about the podcasts I listen to in order to make sure I’m getting a wider field of knowledge, and thus making sure I’m not listening to the same topics or bands.

My rules are:

  • Only one podcast to a topic.
  • Only one podcast from any one company. (For example, only one podcast from NPR.)
  • I try to listen to at one show with a topic or host I disagree with.
  • I don’t try to listen to podcasts with a very open political bias that’s a strong point of the show.
  • If I have no podcasts with current episodes to listen to, I allow myself to add a new one.
  • But, I’m also allowed to waive any of those rules…you guessed it…one time.

Notice how the number “one” keeps coming up? Hmmm.

And so, my current list looks like this:

  • 6:05 Superpodcast (comes out every 10 days or so, but the host, Brian Last, puts out exceptional work, so worth the added wait)
  • The Jim Cornette Experience (yep, used my “waiver” on classic wrestling, a lot more fun then than it is now…)
  • The Big Listen (NPR’s podcast about other podcasts with the fun and snarky Lauren Ober)
  • Lionel Nation
  • Dead Fantasy (The Johnny Cash podcast stopped putting out new episodes sometime in July)
  • Five Hundy By Midnight
  • Three Moves Ahead
  • Common Sense With Dan Carlin
  • Freakonomics Radio
  • Gambler’s Book Club (sporadically does podcasts, but puts out good stuff when they’re on)
  • Penn’s Sunday School
  • Brain Samich
  • Flash Forward
  • This Week In Tech (I still think Leo Laporte is an ass, but you gotta keep up with current technology somehow)
  • The Minimalist

This list will get refined over time with my tastes, but it’s a good starting point as 2017 dawns.