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101  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Recommend some music videos to me! on: February 03, 2015, 08:44:59 PM
@SB - Agree 100% with you on your assessment of superstar lineups and the quality of this number being an exception to the normally disappointing results most of those get-togethers produce. I don't really think Prince took over the performance as the person quoted suggests. Prince was tapped for the "show solo" and did what is expected when that role is handed to you. No more. No less. I found his performance nicely played and respectful to both the song and the rest of the ensemble. I'm not much of a Prince fan...but credit where credit is due. Thmbsup

The following is from another mega-rockstar tribute lineup that played for The Concert for George back in 2002. Pretty much anybody who was anybody in that genre (and still alive) was there onstage that night.

Here is Samantha (Sam) Brown performing Horse to Water. She reminds me a little of a beagle we used to own. We could never figure out how such a small body could pack so much raw vocal power.

<a href="" target="_blank"></a>

Really nice sax work, piano playing, and some superb backup vocals on this one.

Sam's father (musician Joe Brown) closed the concert with I'll See You in My Dreams which is also worth a watch:

<a href="" target="_blank"></a>

Just goes to show that even a corny old love song like this one (written in 1924!) can still charm the heart and ear if done well.  Thmbsup

*Note: there is an unspoken but very real thing called "gig etiquette" that governs how (most) professionals conduct themselves when performing as a guest - or hosting non-band members - at performances such as these. The exact details of 'the rules' varies by genre of music (i.e. blues, rock, jazz) and venue (i.e. stage vs studio). Suffice to say, Prince's performance and stage manner was in perfect keeping with rock stage etiquette. But being the perfectionist in all things Prince supposedly is, I'm hardly surprised.
102  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Do we have any musical people on DC? on: February 03, 2015, 07:16:23 PM
Think you've seen it all? How about a Gibson SG Tenor guitar? Haven't seen one? No surprise. Built in the late 50s and early 60s, they're incredibly rare.


If you're interested in learning more about them, visit Steve Pyott's Vintage Tenor Guitars website for more info and pictures of the surprising variety tenor guitars come in. Most have a 23" scale length with 4 strings tuned in ascending 5ths. (Same as banjo BTW.)

But suppose you want to own one? Well...the originals go for a fair amount of change. But Eastwood Guitars will be releasing a close twin based on a guitar in Steve Pyott's collection.


Due out and available for ordering in May 2015, it's called the Astrojet Tenor which they are self crowdfunding here. The goal has already been met so it's a go.

Usually tenor guitar is associated with Bluegrass, Celtic and similar music. But there's nothing to say it has to stay there. Here's a demo by a more modern player named Jose Macario playing an electric solidbody tenor. A bit too much reverb for my taste, but still an interesting example of some out of the box thinking when it comes to this instrument.

<a href="" target="_blank"></a>

103  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: server 2008r2 x64 VPN to Windows 8.1 Home Premium x64 for remote access on: February 03, 2015, 04:41:38 PM
It is only a headache for me to keep asking as I have already been told not to ask.  That is one reason we are on Server 2008 and not 2012 and if I had not sneaked it into a budget we would still be on Server 2003.

Good grief! What exactly does this business you work for do, if you can say? tellme

BTW, good thing you did. Microsoft will be tomb-stoning W2K3 Server on July 15, 2015. Per the mothership:

Windows Server 2003 support is ending July 14, 2015

What does end of support mean for you? After July 14, Microsoft will no longer issue security updates for any version of Windows Server 2003. If you are still running Windows Server 2003 in your datacenter, you need to take steps now to plan and execute a migration strategy to protect your infrastructure.
104  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Sad news for scifi booklovers. Borderlands Books of San Francisco is closing. on: February 03, 2015, 04:05:47 PM
But I did see that when he did have to clear payroll- the bottom line wasn't as flush as it was before.  And when one of the new "paid" help was caught stealing... the realities of dealing with people that he hadn't known for 15+ years became evident.

You just hit on a very important point with that. You can't purchase a relationship. Something many business owners fail to understand. If you have one with an employee or customer, it's incumbent upon you to do everything you can to protect and keep it. That is something that pays dividends in trust and mutual concern that go far beyond simple financial considerations.

Going over to the theft part, most good employees have a very good sense of what they feel is fair compensation. And when their paycheck doesn't reflect that amount, they will get what compensation they feel is due them one way or another. Indirectly, by reducing the level of responsibility, service or initiative they exercise in the course of carrying out their duties. Or directly by cheating the clock, abusing sick time, doing personal work on company time, "borrowing" office supplies and things like photocopies, postage, and network bandwidth - or - in extreme cases, embezzling funds or committing theft.

To deal with that you need to do two things. First, hire good people. (And despite all the cynics out there, there are many good people to hire. Good people number in the majority.) And second, pay them fairly at the very least - and even somewhat generously if you're smart and the business can afford it. (Many times it can.) Unless the person in question is somebody who is in line to become a partner or co-owner, it's somewhat unrealistic to try to sell intelligent people on the "Every employee is a business owner here!" line of nonsense. Because they're not. And in most small businesses, they never will be. So it's wise to stop trying to kid them about it. And it's even more important that a small business owner to stops trying to kid his or herself. If the rewards are different for an owner versus an employee, it's mainly because (or should mainly be because) the owner takes on all the risks of the business. The average employee is talent for hire at a mutually agreed fair level of compensation. Most employees - even stellar employees - don't wish to take their jobs home with them every night and weekend. Which is something a wise business owner or major stakeholder usually does - because they damn well better.

You do get the occasional bad apple out there. But they're rare from what I've experienced. If big organizations see a lot of them, it's likely because they hire a lot more people than a small business. So the statistical odds are higher for hiring a bad employee. If a small business sees a lot of bad hires, it's usually because they're trying to bottom feed when hiring help. It's not that you can't get "good help" like many business claim. It's just hard to hire them at slave wages and expect them to be grateful for it over the long term.

Want good people? Then hire good people. And pay them. A Harvard Business School study showed that the single biggest employee motivator for performance and willingness to take on additional responsibility was a slightly better than expected salary or wage offer. Not "empowerment." Not "involvement." Not "the opportunity for growth." MONEY!

That was a very disappointing thing to learn for many businesses which hoped a weekly "quality circle brainstorming session" might be a cheap way to keep people happy, and let them think their opinions and suggestions really were being carefully considered by upper management. ("That's good thinking Jenkins! Y'know...I shouldn't be telling you this, but Mr. Big has his eye on you. Um-hm! Keep up the good work!")

Which brings us back to small bookstores. It's hard to get crackerjack people in for what most can (in truth) afford to pay. You get the occasional "book freak" (I was once one) who is so happy to be working in a bookstore that they don't care how little they're being paid. Or at least not until they're facing eviction for non-payment of rent.

It's sad to see the look (and working in a bookstore I have seen it) of absolute hurt and betrayal when these people explain their situation to the shop owner, and ask for a raise, only to discover that the "valued associate" designation they've been given amounts to little more than a line of text under their name on their employee nametag.

Yet another reality you'll find at small bookshops everywhere. Sad
105  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Sad news for scifi booklovers. Borderlands Books of San Francisco is closing. on: February 03, 2015, 01:49:39 PM
All three of us were willing to work for credit.

Interesting. I'm not even sure if you can do that where I live and still claim the 'expense' of the credit for tax purposes. Still...'free' labor is free labor. Although I understand that's starting to be looked somewhat askance at by government. And rightly so IMO since it's so open for abuse.  smiley help allows a business to get sloppy if its not careful. Staring a payroll (that absolutely must be paid) in the eye every week does a lot to keep business owners on their toes. Most savvy businesses owners know - to the penny - what their daily "nut" is. We call it "what it costs to put the key in the door" in my business. How many dollars a day do we burn by just existing as a business? We need to keep our average daily revenues up plus our gross profit margin ahead of that number, on a consistent basis, or we're out of business. That, and make sure we get paid in a fairly timely manner. Sales and cash flow. It really is that simple. Everything else is finesse. Grin

106  Main Area and Open Discussion / Non-Windows Software / Re: *FIXED*: Help! Problem with NoScript add-on in Firefox 35.0.1 on: February 03, 2015, 01:03:57 PM
@SB - that's perfect! Grin Grin Grin
107  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Sad news for scifi booklovers. Borderlands Books of San Francisco is closing. on: February 03, 2015, 12:45:26 PM
Ok...your background and mine is similar. I worked bookstores and I have friends who owned one so we both have a down in the trenches bird's eye view. I have also run a few businesses of my own, including the current one, so I deal with this sort of reality every day.

"Passion," and "differentiate your offering," and "don't compete on price," are all well and good. But they don't really make any difference when you can't contain operating costs despite all your "good faith" efforts and heroic sacrifices. People who work need to get paid. People who own businesses need to make a living. Your sales volume and profit margin need to provide enough surplus to meet operating expenses - of which wages make up the bulk in most small businesses; along with rent, utilities, and taxes.

You can't do much about rent costs in retail since location is critical - and landlords know it. So regularly shopping rents and relocating isn't viable. Utilities are fixed. You can reduce your use as much as possible. But health & labor regulations determine just how far back you can cut the heat or A/C before you get into trouble. And if your customers are uncomfortable, they leave and often don't come back. Taxes aren't worth getting into. Most real tax strategies don't apply to small business. You can minimize taxes with competent ($$$) help. But taxes don't go away. And they generally keep going up.

So where does that leave us? With the prime gross margin (i.e. gross sales minus returns and discounts minus prime cost of goods sold - which includes freight-in). Costs are largely driven by volume here. Big orders = higher discounted unit price + more advantageous shipping charges. Small shops can't compete in that arena. So to a certain extent, you could say cost of goods is largely out of a small business's control. You can do some adroit shopping for vendors and try your best to "buy smart." But at the end of the day, your suppliers don't really need you in the book publishing world. Most times you'll need to order your stock through aggregators such as Ingram rather than deal with the major publishers themselves. And these middlemen will take a cut too.

So what's next...ah yes...prices!

Nope. Amazon has got you skunked there. Those discounts they offer customers are killer. So much so that I see people in B&N routinely see a book they like, pick it up, scan it with the Amazon app on their smartphone, put it in their online shopping cart - and then put the book back on the shelf. "Thankee B&N! I just wanted to take a look at it before I bought it!" Then, on the way out of B&N, they hit the one-click purchase key and Amazon delivers it to them a few days later. If B&N is lucky, these folks (and there are many) maybe bought a magazine, or cup of coffee during those two hours they were "shopping" in the store.

So what's left? Labor expense? Lay off non-family workers and work longer hours yourself? Ok. But for how long? And besides, even though you can elect not to pay yourself as the owner - everybody else (at least in my state) has to be paid minimum wage. To run a store responsibly takes at least two people. One to cover the front plus one to help out in front and cover everything else like shipping and receiving, paperwork, janitorial tasks, stocking shelves, doing the bank and PO box runs, etc. These two may swap roles back and forth. But you still need at least one person available to serve the customers and watch the store at all times. So small business labor savings are pretty much determined by how able the owner is to do without a paycheck. Not a very compelling proposition for most folks who don't have a trust fund to fall back on - as one of our town's former booksellers did. (interestingly, she was the first to close shop when things got really bad. ("Old money" doesn't tend to continue backing a losing proposition - even when they can afford to. A least not the "old money" crowd I've known.)

Despite all the fancy management bromides and new age business thinking, the two things that will most often sink a small business are:

  • Insufficient sales volume
  • Bad cash flow

Not enough money coming in - and not on a regular and predictable enough basis - are what kills small businesses more often than every other factor combined.

So no...I don't think the change in the average customer's expectation to pay lower prices than small bookstores can afford to offer is oversimplifying things at all. It goes right to the root of the problem. And that is what is most directly shifting the sales of books away from the traditional local shop, and over to large discount booksellers.
108  Main Area and Open Discussion / Non-Windows Software / *FIXED*: Help! Problem with NoScript add-on in Firefox 35.0.1 on: February 03, 2015, 10:02:25 AM
UPDATE: Never mind. Found it. Bad setting in about:config. Fixed. Yay!

Has anybody else run into this? After the latest update (now FF 35.0.1), the NoScript add-on no longer seems to be working.

It shows itself as being installed (v2.6.9.11). I even removed it, closed FF, reopened and then reinstalled it. Same result. It's not working.

Suggestions on where to look?
109  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Sad news for scifi booklovers. Borderlands Books of San Francisco is closing. on: February 03, 2015, 09:44:44 AM
It's a change in venue and a change in distribution.  Adapt or die.

It's actually more a change in expectations that's the tipping point AFAICT. As the owners of Borderlands Books said in their blog, the list price of books are set (and printed on the cover of books) by their publishers. And with the advent of Amazon, nobody expects to pay list for a book today. So the indie stores can't push the price up above list because that's simply "not done" (nor is it doable) when it comes to books that are in print.

"Adapt or die" is one way of looking at it. (I suspect Renegade would applaud that one.) But there are practical limits. What's happening to these small stores is the equivalent of sealing them in a glass jar and telling them: "You have a simple choice. Learn to live without oxygen - or perish."

110  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Sad news for scifi booklovers. Borderlands Books of San Francisco is closing. on: February 03, 2015, 09:08:40 AM
^It's whole new world for word publishing. The landscape of which is looking pretty grim. I mean seriously...for a shop like Borderlands to be shutting down in a city like San Francisco???

I'm not getting warm fuzzies.

Ten or so years ago, my town used to have three independent bookstores, two used book shops, and a Borders.

It now has no bookstores...unless you want to count the half-assed one our local college installed in the ruins of Borders old location. It's mostly school-branded stationary, campus swag and course texts, with a very small fiction/general book section - plus the de rigueur coffee shop. (This school has a lot of off-campus residents living in the immediate area.)

About the only saving grace is that our local library association still throws its major used 'book faire' in the summer, plus one or two smaller ones in the fall and spring. (And they're invariably mobbed so it's not like nobody is reading physical books any more.)

111  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Internet of Things thread (IoT) on: February 03, 2015, 08:56:28 AM
Dunno. There are specific situations where an IoT would be a godsend. Unfortunately, I don't think it will stop there.

In my head I keep hearing the words to the Alan Parsons song To One in Paradise where they go:

I believed in my dreams...
Nothing could change my mind.
Till I found what they mean.
Nothing can save me now.

112  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Raspberry Pi 2 Model B on sale now. Lots more for the same $35 on: February 03, 2015, 08:08:45 AM
Gotta admit...I am HUGELY tempted to buy a batch of these to cluster together (Maybe 10-16 of them in total), and run Windows 10 on them...would be a sweet little supercomputer to have at home xD

Out of curiosity, how would you implement it? Using Arch Linux as a base and setting up a Beowulf Cluster seems to be what most are doing. But it may not be a panacea. I've heard that one of the limitations for clustering with the Pi is the lack of power in the CPU. So while it worked rather well for some distributed processing scenarios, parallel processing cases didn't work out quite so well. Maybe with the faster ARMv7 and that additional RAM it will be less an issue?

Another consideration - the roughly $2k (all in) you'd need to budget to do it right would allow you to build a bumpin' PC with a high-end i7 and a ton of RAM. With that machine you could run VMs until the cows come home. So it might be more practical for normal PC use if you don't actually need a render farm or similar non-mainstream environment. Because unless your app supports distributed processing, having a cluster won't get you anything. would be fun to build one purely for esthetics... Thmbsup Cool
113  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Raspberry Pi 2 Model B on sale now. Lots more for the same $35 on: February 03, 2015, 05:38:15 AM
This looks beyond awesome!...We are just talking about that in #donationcoder

Cool! - I'll cross reference it in my OP above and direct people there to keep it all in one place. Thmbsup

Erm, that wasn't a thread haha, that's the link to the chat room cheesy  Sorry if I wasn't clear on that haha  Cool

Fixed.  smiley
114  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Sad news for scifi booklovers. Borderlands Books of San Francisco is closing. on: February 02, 2015, 07:49:40 PM
SF writer Cory Doctorow posted some very sad news on Boing-Boing. One of the very few independent science-fiction bookstores left in the USA, the famous Borderlands Books in San Francisco is planning on shutting its doors by March 31, 2015.

Their blog post serves up a neat summary of the seemingly insurmountable challenges an independent bookstore faces under the current realities of retail book selling.

You can read it here.

There is still some small hope. From their blog:

Some of you reading this probably have questions popping into your minds -- Is there a way to keep Borderlands open?  What alternatives have you considered?  What about moving out of SF?  What is going to happen to the cafe?  Is the business for sale?  And so on.  Before asking us your questions, please wait for a week.  We'll be sending out and posting updates frequently over the next week or so and those updates will probably answer most of your questions.  We will also be holding a public meeting in the cafe at seven P. M. on Thursday, February 12th. We'll be on hand to answer questions and moderate a discussion about alternatives to closing the store.  Although we do not believe that any viable alternative exists, we also think that we have a very smart and imaginative group of customers.  It is not impossible that we've missed a potential solution, and so we want an opportunity to hear your thoughts.

Hopefully some clever Jill or Joe will come up with an idea in time.

If not, "So it goes."
115  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Raspberry Pi 2 Model B on sale now. Lots more for the same $35 on: February 02, 2015, 07:14:05 PM
This looks beyond awesome!...We are just talking about that in #donationcoder

Cool! - I'll cross reference it in my OP above and direct people there to keep it all in one place. Thmbsup
116  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Raspberry Pi 2 Model B on sale now. Lots more for the same $35 on: February 02, 2015, 04:52:31 PM

It's got a quad-core 900Mhz ARMv7, processor, 1Gb RAM, and 4 USB slots - and the I/O ports are finally (mostly) grouped together.


Here is the full list of specs for Raspberry Pi 2 Model B:

    SoC: Broadcom BCM2836 (CPU, GPU, DSP, SDRAM)
    CPU: 900 MHz quad-core ARM Cortex A7 (ARMv7 instruction set)
    GPU: Broadcom VideoCore IV @ 250 MHz
    More GPU info: OpenGL ES 2.0 (24 GFLOPS); 1080p30 MPEG-2 and VC-1 decoder (with license); ​1080p30 h.264/MPEG-4 AVC high-profile decoder and encoder
    Memory: 1 GB (shared with GPU)
    USB ports: 4
    Video input: 15-pin MIPI camera interface (CSI) connector
    Video outputs: HDMI, composite video (PAL and NTSC) via 3.5 mm jack
    Audio input: I²S
    Audio outputs: Analog via 3.5 mm jack; digital via HDMI and I²S
    Storage: MicroSD
    Network: 10/100Mbps Ethernet
    Peripherals: 17 GPIO plus specific functions, and HAT ID bus
    Power rating: 800 mA (4.0 W)
    Power source: 5 V via MicroUSB or GPIO header
    Size: 85.60mm × 56.5mm
    Weight: 45g (1.6 oz)

Info and order links here.
117  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: stickies Notezilla memoboard as full-blown personal note system on: February 02, 2015, 02:31:55 PM
Outline 4D emphasizes in their blurbs screen writing and fiction writing.  And it does look like a solid tool in many ways. The question is whether it adapts well to non-fiction writing.

I've used it for everything. It's not a genre specific tool. smiley
118  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: I've not been happy with Macrium Reflect Free, and perhaps their paid versions.. on: February 02, 2015, 10:31:00 AM
re: Paragon. They make a fine partitioning tool. I own a copy. But I still think GParted is the single most useful and reliable tool out there for general drive partitioning work. It's FOSS software, very actively maintained and regularly updated - and it's free. This is the partitioner every Linux distro installer uses, so it's been extensively field-tested for reliability. I've never encountered any issues when using GParted. YMMV.
119  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Memory lane for motorists on: February 02, 2015, 10:04:37 AM
I hate sites that provide only slide shows rather than letting you see a list of the items, and life is too short to step one-by-one through 100 slides.

Agree. But  that's how it works when you get ad revenue for each page visited.

I went through 10 or so out of curiosity before I quit. These were all well outside my self-imposed price range.


Guess I'm just not that into it. huh My GF, however, would have probably run through the entire list. Unlike me, she actually likes cars. And she's not immune to the automotive siren's song of 'fine motoring.' (In many respects we're as opposite as they come. Grin)
120  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: I've not been happy with Macrium Reflect Free, and perhaps their paid versions.. on: February 02, 2015, 09:54:17 AM
I have no wish to enter into a detailed analysis of what does or does not work in various pieces of backup software. My own experience with Macrium Reflect has been entirely satisfactory, and that's good enough for me.  smiley

Same for me. And same here. I've not encountered any problems with Macrium Reflect. It's always worked as advertised for me. smiley
121  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Interview with John McAfee on: February 01, 2015, 10:25:24 PM
Is it just me or does he look like some evil incarnation of the late Frank Zappa? He sure spouts some stuff good enough to belong in a Zappa and the Mothers tune. Grin
122  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Recommend some music videos to me! on: February 01, 2015, 10:11:21 PM

Quite impressive !  I am just wondering why she is not using real arrow tips ?

Because accidents can happen? I'm sure it was the show management that insisted. smiley
123  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Memory lane for motorists on: February 01, 2015, 10:08:52 PM
Hey Chris? You need to fix your link above... Wink

It's showing as
124  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: server 2008r2 x64 VPN to Windows 8.1 Home Premium x64 for remote access on: February 01, 2015, 10:04:41 PM
Any advice on the best way to accomplish this on a small scale would be appreciated.  This is not a "Domain" network, simply a need to share file access by about 30 people regardless of whether they are on-site or working from home or on the road.

I'd strongly advise you to set yourself up to use a domain and AD if at all possible. Microsoft's entire security model is built around using both of them. Once those are in place, everything (i.e. additional "roles" such as VPN, routing, and remote access/desktop services becomes relatively easy to accomplish using the features built into Windows Server itself. (Note: you'll also want a separate hardware based firewall in addition to what Microsoft provides on your network perimeter for boundary protection.)

This is something you really might want to consider having someone (who's local) handle for you if you haven't done this sort of project before. Seriously! To do it right isn't something that can be accomplished by simply working off a checklist if you don't know the ramifications, or the whys & wherefores. Done wrong, it can open your company up to a host of headaches and woes.

So again, I'd have to recommend you contract with some qualified local resource to help you out with this one. It shouldn't be that expensive.

Just my two cents  smiley Thmbsup
125  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Do we have any musical people on DC? on: February 01, 2015, 09:13:41 PM
stoic  Yeah, that is a thing.  

To go back to the stoic bit for a moment, this is an example of that "gimmee more bass" thing guitarists love to do to their bass player when they launch into an interminable solo.

My old band had a few 'rules' when it came to solos:
  • No drum solos. (fine by our drummer)
  • No bass solos. (fine by me)
  • Guitar solos to run no more than 1 minute long.
  • Always leave the audience wanting more - not less

Unfortunately, my band had this one particular (very fast) song that one of our guitarists staked out as his showcase piece. He gradually stretched his speed solo beyond our 1-minute limit until it ran as long as he thought he could get away with. He'd just close his eyes and go into the Ego Zone until the rest of us (and sometimes the audience) were on the verge of mutiny.

When he launched into his solo, I'd be playing this for his backing riff in second position, with the metronome running around 155:


It's not a difficult a passage to play. But since this song was invariably played just before break at the end of our second 50 minute set (most clubs where we worked contracted for three 50 minute sets if you were the only band on the marquee) - it was not the most reasonable time to expect me to play this part for 5+ minutes straight while he bored the tar out of everybody. (I think he was doing it mostly to impress his girlfriend, who was convinced he was a 20th century Orpheus or something.) Nobody but him was shocked when our lead singer (who wrote the song) finally removed it from our playlist.

This is the sort of nonsense a bassist often gets to put up with. undecided  Wink
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