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Friday, April 11, 2014
Amazon.com Music Cloud Album Confusion
I have been using the Amazon Cloud for music but it has shortcomings that apparently they don’t have any interest in fixing.
• The most obvious is that you can’t edit or reject the album cover that they wish to assign to your music. (See below for examples).
• Secondly, I can find no easy way to distinguish between music sources. Which songs did I buy from them and which did I upload myself?
• Lastly, whatever happened to matching music and letting me get a digital copy that would replace and LP that I ripped myself?
This English “boy band” was a big seller in Europe but this ripped CD clearly has the wrong cover.
Johnny Depp’s short lived singing career is mistaken for The Carpenters! Does Amazon think he looks more like Karen or Richard?
Rod Stewart is two or three decades after the folks listed on this album cover.
Sweet Comfort Band is not Foreigner. Again, this CD purchased in Canada somehow misses the mark.
While the Cornerstone article on Mike Warnke mentions his partying after shows, I don’t think Word ever had this as a draft cover for his comedy LPs.
Monday, March 24, 2014
Red Robin: Faulty Family Fare
I took the family to the local Red Robin restaurant yesterday for dinner. It is the first time in over a year that we have visited them. The experience was unsatisfactory.
We waited twenty minutes for a table—which is not that unusual—even when several tables were not in use. Our waitress was not very good. We never did get napkins or silverware brought to our table—even after food was served. I had to get up and walk over to the food prep area and get them from another employee. Later I had to go back to get mustard for the wife. The food was noticeable smaller portions than it used to be and was not prepared the same way. No attempt was made to garnish the plates or show pride in the food. Also, the “bottomless French fries” weren’t very bottomless when they never brought them out right away and kept the basket full. (Our teenager eats French fries by the handful.) Our $55 outing (for four) was disappointing. Pizza would have been cheaper.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Who Took the Gun to the Lego Movie?
I went to the local theater on Monday to take the boys to the Lego Movie. We were meeting another party there so I bought tickets for all of us. I left the teenager to meet his friends out front while little brother and I went inside to save some seats. (It was clear the early show was filling quickly since it was the President’s Day holiday.)
After securing seats, I called the teenager and told him what great seats we had taken. He then informed me that his friends were on the way with an extra person. He told me he had already tried to get an extra ticket but the show was now sold out. Much to my disappointment, this was a package deal and we all needed to sit together in the same showing; since that was no longer possible, I reluctantly left the theater and proceeded to get a refund for the show.
As my younger son and I stood in line to get the refund, I noticed the kids in front of me pick something up that was on the ground, play with it for a few seconds and then drop it again. I looked at the object on the ground in disbelief. I asked my son to pick it up. I then asked him if it was metal. He replied I think so. I then took it from his hand. It was a large bullet for a powerful pistol. (I later learned that it was likely a 38 Special round.) It was about the diameter of my pinkie finger and the casing was about an inch and ¾ long. The bullet was a concave shape.
After completing my refund, I took the bullet and gave it to a security guy at the theater and then we left.
I believe in the Second Amendment—more even than many Conservatives—but no responsible citizen would be dropping live ammo on the ground for small children to play with. I don’t think the owner of that bullet is responsible enough to be “packin’ heat” in public.
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Merry Christmas 2013
For unto us a child is born , unto us a son is given : and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor , The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
Isaiah 9: 6 & 7
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Redefined Soon: Dog is Man’s Best Friend
A few years ago, Paul Shanklin did a parody of a man taking wedding vows with his dog. What was a whitty jab at judges changing the definition of marriage a few years ago has taken several large steps toward reality during the first half of this month.
On Monday, a Federal Judge struck down parts of the anti-polygamy laws in Utah.
A federal judge in Utah has struck down part of that state’s law banning polygamy, after a lawsuit was brought by the stars of the television reality series “Sister Wives.” The ruling late Friday by U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups threw out the law’s section prohibiting “cohabitation,” saying it violates constitutional guarantees of due process and religious freedom.
Elsewhere, the decision was explained as striking down the polygamy law because the law limited freedom of association in violation of the First Amendment. Kody Brown and his four wives, who gained notoriety in the reality TV show “Sister Wives,” are challenging Utah’s bigamy statute, claiming it is unconstitutional because it violates their constitutional rights to due process, equal protection, free exercise of religion, free speech and freedom of association.
OK, so polygamy is now allowed under the First Amendment as a freedom. However, this decision says that a man can still only have one marriage license.
Those of us who support marriage as being between one man and one woman have been saying that the next domino to fall would be prohibitions on polygamy. Clearly, those floodgates are about to burst if they have not already. To decriminalize polygamy is a de facto judicial approval of the behavior.
Next to follow is why limit such loving arrangements to one man and several women. This clearly is discriminatory. What if a women wants multiple men simultaneously? While it might strike at the financial empires of Hugh Hefner and Larry Flint, clearly this is a reasonable corollary once polygamy is allowed. Soon any random assortment of consenting adults will be allowed to play house however they would like.
While this exponential decay of traditional marriage is underway, a second movement is also in the works. When combined to the above discussion, this get really weird because it opens up the possibility of legalizing bestiality.
I would like to introduce the other cutting edge movement that is gaining momentum on the fringe Left; personhood. No sadly, this has nothing to do with recognizing that all the unborn children aborted each year are baby humans. This also has nothing to do with the ethics of euthanasia. Instead the enlightened members of the Ivy League Left are pushing the recognition of the personhood of sentient animals.
Enter Yale University and the “Personhood Beyond the Human Conference” This event held December 6-8, 2013 was described by organizers as:
This historic event will focus on personhood for nonhuman animals, including great apes, cetaceans, and elephants, and will explore evolving notions of personhood by analyzing them through the frameworks of neuroscience, behavioral science, philosophy, ethics, and law. http://nonhumanrights.net/
The event featured the crazy bioethicist, Peter Singer. Singer is the guy who advocates that children that are born should not be declared “human” until they pass rigorous testing. Those children that fail to measure-up as human should be destroyed. “Newborn human babies have no sense of their own existence over time. So killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person…” http://www.princeton.edu/~psinger/faq.html In short, Singer is the poster child for the eugenics movement of the 21st Century.
Here is another quote from the abstract page of the non-human rights web site. “Legal personhood for animals would symbolize and institutionalize the intrinsic value of animals and, furthermore, offer significant procedural advantages.” - Saskia L. Stucki
Once whales, dolphins, elephants, and apes are made legally equivalent to humans—which is one of the chief goals of the conference—then it won’t be long before Fido is added to the list. Every movement needs a face people can love to sell the idea to the masses, what better poster being for this movement than the family dog. Yes, Lassie and Snoopy will be the gateway pets to proving the personhood of canines to the public.
Once the ideas of the Personhood conference gain traction and are combined with the definitions of marriage (and family) being developed by the courts then it is reasonable that an animal could be included into the definition of a family. To exclude such sentient beings from being equal partners in our families is “Speciesist”. If things continue as they are, the day is coming soon when a dog will truly be man’s best friend.
Here are a few passages from the “Good Book” that come to mind on this topic.
And God said , Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful , and multiply , and replenish the earth, and subdue it : and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Genesis 1: 26-28
Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion. Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: And the land is defiled : therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants .
Leviticus 18: 23-25.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Happy Thanksgiving 2013
Hope everyone has a good holiday.
Here is a quick item to put a smile on your face.
A few days ago, I asked my son if he knew what “Black Friday” was?
He answered, “Isn’t that the day Jesus died?”
You can’t really say he is wrong. I think it puts the Christmas season in a better context and helps remind me that this time of the year is not about “retail therapy”. Please remember that Jesus is the reason for the season. Stryper has a song by that name and I think I’ll give it a listen.
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Cattle Call with Michael Savage
Radio Talk Show Host Michael Savage
Recently I spent two days with Michael Savage. OK, I actually only saw him for about ten minutes over the course of two days, the remainder of the time I was camped outside his front door. He made me swear not to say anything until he was thru with me. I did as he requested. Now that I have been released from my obligation, I wanted to share the experience.
This actually all started about six weeks ago. I was surprised to get a personalized invitation complete with a pre-paid parking pass. (We all know what a premium there is on big city parking spaces.) My employer was willing to let me go with pay so I had no excuse not to attend.
I consulted the appropriate website for instructions and reported at 8 AM as requested. I ended up being in a group of 150 folks. The room where Michael held court was so small that we had to enter in two groups of 75. Michael was actually in the room when I entered. He greeted us and then his secretary swore us to secrecy. Michael then dismissed us to wait in the hallway and called in the next group.
My experience was nothing like you see on television or the movies. Michael was actually statesman like and even tempered. However, his time management skills were not very good. It’s no wonder that he has people to cover for that deficiency.
The cafeteria in the building where he works is a cash only business so at lunch I opted for alternatives within walking distance. (Magic plastic is my currency of choice when traveling.)
The other thing I learned was that he really likes to take Fridays off. I never knew he liked golfing but what else do professionals like him do during the week when they aren’t working.
Michaels’ producer was named Josh and I actually interacted more with him than with Michael. I had flashbacks to my Navy days with all the hurry-up and waiting that I experienced.
As you might have surmised by now, I was not hanging with the radio talk show host but with a superior court judge while auditioning to serve on a jury. Since I was number 144 out of 150, I knew I would not be on the panel.
After the jury gig was concluded, I looked him up on Google. I found that Judge Savage seems willing to throw the book at folks that deserve it. He is best known in the media for his comments on the failures of child protective services.
In a searing condemnation of CPS, the judge recounted repeated failures to save the little girl from months of beatings that eventually killed her and sent her mother and Martin, the mother’s live-in boyfriend, off to prison.
“There is not the slightest evidence in this case that the protection or safety of Valeeya or her brother was ever a priority, or even a significant concern, for the agency or the caseworker charged with their protection”…
Judge Savage and I also have a mutual acquaintance; former NFL player Keith Wright. Wright spent several years playing professional football. His last team was the Detroit Lions. Wright was disabled as a result of injuries sustained in the NFL and was attending the MBA program at the University of Phoenix when I met him. A few years later, Wright was sentenced by Judge Savage to life in prison.
Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Savage sentenced Keith Wright to 114 years to life, plus 120 years and eight months in prison.
Last month, Wright, 32, was convicted by jury of 19 charges, including forcible oral copulation, armed robbery, kidnapping, first -degree burglary, and false imprisonment for a series of crimes last year.
On July 21, Aug. 8, and Aug. 21 of 2011, Wright committed three home invasion robberies in the Natomas area. Each time, Wright threatened the victims with a firearm, demanding money and property.
During one of the robberies, Wright sexually assaulted and kidnapped the female victim, forcing her to drive to two different banks and withdraw money.
Wright was determined to be a suspect in the Aug. 8 robbery after it was discovered he exchanged rare foreign currency stolen during that robbery at a currency exchange business. He was linked to the Aug. 21 robbery and sexual assault through DNA analysis.
Property from each of the victims was found during a search of Wright’s home.
Michael Savage, the judge, looks more like Sam Waterston from the TV show Law and Order than the radio talk show host. I found an internet article stating that Savage is also a long distance runner.
Actor Sam Waterston from NBC’s Law and Order
My brief time with him was interesting but I’m glad to be back at work.
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Proposal to Illustrate National Debt
Many people have tried to reduce the astronomical size of the national debt to something that Rush’s “low information voters” can understand. Many such attempts revolve around trying to equate our nation’s debt to household budgets and credit cards but this doesn’t really do the whole discussion justice.
I wish to advocate a different approach. Let’s embrace the largeness of the debt and explain it in a way that regular Americans can understand it. Three levels of debt that need to be illustrated are national, state, and local government.
I would like to see the debt displayed similarly to this map of 2012 election results by county.
My idea is to display how much American real estate would need to be sold to the Chinese or whoever in order to pay down the debt. The map would need four colors, one color for each level of government debt and a fourth color to show what is leftover. If you really want to illustrate the point, you could do two maps, one current debt and the other all the unfunded obligations that government has made.
For dramatic effect, start the map on the western shores of the Mississippi River and let’s see if anything remains of “flyover country”. I think it would be an interesting exercise. Perhaps we could literally show that the government has mortgaged the future of our citizens in a way even “baby-boomers” could understand.
Monday, July 15, 2013
Another Greig Supporter Quits CRA
Today Craig Alexander went public with a letter stating that he resigned from all the CRA Board and leadership posts that he currently holds.
… my resignation as a Vice President that go beyond my no longer carrying that title. I also resign from all committees of the CRA Board of Directors including the CRA Special Litigation Committee…
I also resign as the Chairman of the OC CRA President’s Council. I resign as the Chairman of the OC CRA Elections Committee and from the committee itself.
Craig is an attorney that has been involved in CRA for many years. Recently he has found himself on the losing end of several votes. At the April 2013 Convention, he was a backer of Celeste Greig for CRA President and more recently, he tried to thwart the de-chartering of the Republican Assembly of the Greater Santa Clarita Valley. Once it was clear that RAGSCV would be de-chartered, he and fellow attorney Chris Mays tried to bifurcate the issue so the territory for this club would still exist and allow for a reconstituted group to take its place. This was subsequently slapped down by the CRA Board on its July 4th vote.
In the process of de-chartering this second Santa Clarita group—which was chartered over the top of an existing club—the Sergeant at Arms revealed that he was aware that this second Santa Clarita group was created as punishment because the existing club in Santa Clarita did not support Celeste Greig in her Presidential contest versus Karen England. Reportedly, had things gone according to plan, this smaller group would eventually be given much if not all of the Santa Clarita area at the expense of the larger group. However, the plan never moved on to that stage.
As documented elsewhere, Celeste Greig and Steve Frank were among the ring leaders of this plan that was executed in 2011. At the special CRA Board meeting to de-charter RAGSCV on June 22, 2013, the Sergeant at Arms stated he knew about this conspiracy back in 2011 and not until later did he decide that this was wrong. That is why in 2013 he was working to correct this injustice to the existing RA Chapter in Santa Clarita.
The irony is that this unpunished confession by the Sergeant at Arms—which Craig Alexander claims lead to his resign from the Board—would not have been revealed if Alexander had not tried to derail the proceedings at the June Special Board meeting. The Sergeant at Arms felt that without his revelation to the Board that the vote to de-charter the fraudulent unit might fail. He spoke to get others at the meeting to understand the seriousness of the wrong that had been committed. In 2011, he stood silently on the sidelines and did not object but now he needed to speak-out to right the wrong that he had been secretly laboring to correct.
Here is a portion of Alexander’s email from June 30th:
During the board meeting we were discussing and debating the topic of the proposed de-chartering of the Republican Assembly of the Greater Santa Clarita Valley (RAGSCV). RAGSCV had been created in July 2011. As it turned out there were irregularities with the unit’s creation and territory as it impinged upon SCVRA’s territory. There were many facts to sort out and I was also concerned about the manner in which the review of this situation had been conducted. It would be fair to say that the meeting was contentious and I (and others) asked more than one pointed question of the people involved on both sides.
During that discussion Sgt. At Arms Aaron Park (who was in favor of the de-chartering of the newer RAGSCV unit) stood up and told the entire board that he had lied to the board about the newer unit that was being considered for de-chartering. That after the April 2011 CRA convention, that he and two other Board members (who are no longer on the CRA board) decided to promote and create the new unit on top of the older unit as punishment for the SCVRA’s support of another candidate for CRA President during the 2011 convention. Vice President Steve Macias posted this on his blog post:
“After over an hour of lively debate before the board, Sergeant-at-Arms Aaron Park stepped forward to lend clarity to his role in the chartering of the RAGSCV. Aaron explained that the charter was intentionally pushed through against the bylaws for “political revenge.” Aaron elaborated that the new group was part of a plot to retaliate against the SCVRA’s refusal to support President Celeste Greig. “Bob Hauter, Steve Frank, and I lied,” confessed Park. “We perpetrated a lie, we lied to the board of directors. We knew what we were doing.” To date, Park is the only one to come forward.” (http://www.stevemacias.com/end-of-cra-drama/)
Like everyone else at that meeting, I was shocked by these statements. Right after he made these statements, I asked Aaron publicly if he was tendering his resignation from the board. Mr. Park did not offer his reisgation. We then voted on the de-chartering issue.
Alexander then spent the rest of his June 30 email trying to make Aaron Park the issue instead of the fraudulent CRA chapter. His lawyerly tactic was that a vote to give the territory formerly held by the de-charter RAGSCV back to the older Santa Clarita RA was somehow a vote to support Park. He asked Board members that agreed with him to switch their vote to “Abstain” and let him know via email that we agreed with him.
Thus I would ask of you two things:
1. 1. Cast your vote to Rohit Joy to ABSTAIN on the vote for the SCVRA units territory;
2. 2. Send only to me a separate reply to this message if you agree or disagree with my conclusions about Mr. Park needing to be off the CRA Board of Directors and off these committee assignments.
Alexander’s resignation letter today was again about Park. His four page letter can be summarized thusly, “if the Board won’t go after Park then I quit”.
Were Alexander some sort of innocent and disinterested party in all this then I might be more inclined to agree with him; however, he is not. Craig Alexander has been up to his armpits in intrigue at various times in CRA.
What? Political groups have intrigue? That’s a surprise? … NOT.
Craig has been involved in CRA Black Ops for a long time. He hasn’t been willing to volunteer the information but the “Sith Lord” has the goods on him should it come to that.
My point is not that I can play tit-for-tat with the best of them but that this bickering has to end. Someone has to be the first to be wronged and not retaliate. There is no such thing as “perfect justice” in this life. God is the one that balances all things at the end.
How does an unending quest for purity—be it ideological or ethical—help to grow a group? It can’t. We are all human. We are often wrong and wrong others. We act with only partial information and usually see only our perspective or see it as best anyway.
Somewhere, somehow, we need to turn a corner and adopt a different paradigm of doing things. Yes, Aaron was wrong and did a bad thing or at least acted badly. However, he is one of the few folks in CRA that has owned-up to his actions. Greig, Frank and others just threw a tantrum then picked-up their stuff and left. To this day, they admit no fault.
I know Aaron. He is often full of bluster and bravado. You know where he stands on any issue. I think he means well but sometimes he acts with his emotions and not his intellect. (Don’t we all?) Aaron is trying to influence the political process and on occasion does make mistakes. Nevertheless, he has a good track record and access to information this is often not public knowledge.
Unlike Mr. Alexander, I don’t want to call a special meeting of the CRA Board to throw Aaron out on his butt. Yes, I think Aaron needs more scrutiny in the future and I fully expect him to get it. Aaron is one person on a Board that can number over 100 people.
To me, the difference between Alexander and Park is easily distinguished.
On numerous occasions, Celeste Greig and her minions (including Craig Alexander) failed to follow the rules. In difficult situations, Celeste typically used an ends justifies the means approach. I don’t recall one instance where Alexander publicly called-out Greig for her lawlessness or cavalier attitude towards corporate bylaws and ethical behavior. As a result of the silence of Alexander and others, Greig caused much damage to not only the CRA but the Republican brand in California. At least Park saw the error of his ways and worked to correct the excesses of Greig’s antinomian behavior.
John Briscoe is trying to put an end to past wrongs and wrongdoing and start fresh so CRA can finally begin to grow. I think Briscoe should be given the chance to lead. I think Board members from Greig’s time as President—even Aaron Park—should be allowed on the Board, just not as a majority.
Monday, July 08, 2013
The Lone Ranger Movie
As a kid I used to watch The Lone Ranger TV show starring Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels. The show originally aired from 1949 to 1957. (Yes, I watched it in re-runs.) Prior to that, the program had a very long run as a radio program—1933 to 1954. Wikipedia has a good article on the topic. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lone_Ranger
Last weekend I went to see the new Disney version with Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp in the title roles. I had read that Despicable Me 2 was creaming it at the box office. I was shocked to read that the film cost over 250 million. I mean, it’s a movie about two guys that ride horses not X-Wing Fighters.
Between the information that I had read and the fact that Depp is almost as odd as Tim Burton, I was not sure what I was going to see. The team that had made Disney’s Pirates films was behind this version of The Lone Ranger. Was this group the right ones to take on the iconic Ranger?
There is a claim that movies often tell you more about who made them and what their views are than what the movie is about; even if it is set in another time period. This film is another such example. John Reid (a.k.a. The Lone Ranger) is portrayed as metrosexual that is afraid of using force or fighting for what is right. Only the coaxing of Tonto (played by Depp) and circumstances force the Ranger to slowly embrace his destiny. The writers of this movie should have read at least one book by Louis L’Amour and watched a few episodes of the old TV show.
Johnny Depp was given latitude to improvise and try to be funny, but his back-story was a repudiation of the portrayal given by Jay Silverheels. Basically the only reason that he hung-out with the Ranger was that the Indians would not have him because he was mentally unbalanced. In Ranger lore, Tonto was saved by the Ranger when both were kids and later Tonto was able to save the Ranger. They had a bond based on the virtues of honor and self sacrifice. Both men represented what was best and operated from a code of ethics that guided their conduct.
The Lone Ranger also suffered from another flaw. This is yet another offering from a large media conglomerate that portrayed all other for profit corporations as evil. Why does Hollywood portray corporations as evil but people are all just various shades of gray? The Ranger lived in a world of black and white; right and wrong. Railroad bashing seemed like a lazy foe from writers that were unwilling to have bad guys be the villains instead of pawns for evil corporate interests.
Also, the army as allies of the bad guys is not consistent with the universe where the Ranger lived. The Army can be delayed or even deceived but for them to willingly be allied with bad guys seems a violation of the established cannon of the golden age of westerns.
This movie reminded me of the Green Hornet movie a few years ago. It was a bad attempt to introduce an iconic hero to the 21st century moviegoer. Ironically, the creators of The Lone Ranger also created the Green Hornet. Per the Wikipedia article above, the Ranger was actually an Uncle of the Hornet.
Lastly, I doubt that few people under forty have ever seen the Clayton Moore/Jay Silverheels portrayal of the Ranger. Disney wrongly assumed that everyone knew who the Ranger was and had a favorable image of him.
The reality was that this movie was not a salute to the Ranger but a parody. The writing was weak and formulaic. I really wanted to like this movie; however, my advice, save your money and catch it on Netflix.
Saturday, June 29, 2013
Ultima IX Ascension on 64 bit Windows 8
I’m writing this blog to chronicle my attempts to run this Windows 98 game from 1999 on a modern PC. Nothing that I could find on the Internet seemed to have all the answers in one location. I hope this will help others wishing to run this program.
First off my equipment.
• I own a licensed copy of Ultima IX. Due to some bugs at the time of its release, I also have a second install disk that was sent to me by Origin. This is an installation disk of the final version, 1.18.
• I also have access to two PCs, I will explain why in a short while.
• I found VMware Player a necessary asset but not for the reasons that you think.
• Lastly, I had a full version of Windows 98 Second Edition and a bootable DOS 6.22 CD.
Summary of my adventures.
First, Ultima IX Setup will not run at all on my Windows 8 PC. Not straight out of the box and not in any compatibility mode that is offered in Windows 8. I had feared that I might be dealing with the fact that 16 bit code won’t run on a 64 bit OS but Ultima seems to be a 32 bit game.
I kept reading on the Internet that people were able to get it running. Of those that said it worked on newer versions of Windows none ever mentioned that they actually owned the game. I don’t make a habit of stealing games or getting them from illegal download websites. Also, many websites mentioned a home brewed patch dubbed 1.19 which I did decide to try.
Since Ultima was made for Windows 98 SE, I decided to try VMware to see if I could get the old OS to run. Windows 8 comes with Hyper-V virtualization software which I had used to setup Windows XP. Hyper-V will not support old Microsoft Operating Systems like 95, 98, ME. Unfortunately, VMware cannot exist on the same PC as Hyper-V unless you want to crash your operating system or create an environment that looks a lot like a dual boot OS.
As a result, I installed VMware Player on my Windows Home Sever 2011. The install was quick and I knew enough about virtualization that running it was rather simple.
Getting Windows 98 installed was a relative pain. I could not boot off the 98 CD even though it is the full version for new PCs. My recollection was that you needed a DOS boot disk to start the process. Believe it or not, I actually created a bootable CD for DOS 6.22 about the same time as Ultima was actually released. I popped the disk into the DVD player and then ran FDISK to create a partition and then ran FORMAT /S to get thing going. Then I put the 98 SE disk into the computer and ran Setup.
This worked well until it was time to detect hardware and the associated registry entries and then I got a message that the computer could not read from drive A. (Bootable CDs are treated as the A drive.) I terminated the install and rebooted the virtual machine. The 98 installation resumed and finished with no further problems.
After starting 98 in VMware; however, my virtual machine had no sound. I hunted online and found that installing a driver for Creative Labs Sound Blaster fixed the problem. http://www.techbug.com/en/knowledge-base/289/
Now I was ready to install Ultima. I was able to get thru the two CD installation. The last step is configuring the video and that is where my hopes were dashed. After several days of hacking and searching on the web, I was crushed to learn that VMware does not support 3D video rendering in Windows 95, 98 or ME.
Ok, so here I am with Windows 8 not letting me install the program one my computer and Ultima on my Home Sever installed in a virtual machine that doesn’t support the game. It was enough to break my heart. And then yesterday I saw a post that was my epiphany. I then knew how to turn my lemons into lemonade. Here is the post.
Re: Autorun problems - can’t install Ultima 9
Problem is still not solved, but I found a workaround (at least for my game). Installed Ultima 9 on my wife’s computer and then copied the 1+ gb Ultima directory onto my 2gb flash drive and moved it to my computer. Works fine. In fact I don’t use or need the game CD in the drive.
Old games don’t modify Windows registry because back in the day there wasn’t one and they often did not copy files to C:\Windows\System. I knew this guy was right. I copied the entire Ultima IX directory from my virtual 98 machine to a flash drive. Then I copied it to the root of my C Drive. This is why bit torrent folks could run it and those of us with the physical media could not.
Things I did to modify the install before I tried to run on my Windows 8 computer.
• Modify Option.ini file per http://ultimacodex.com/topic/possible-fix-for-high-crash-frequency-in-ultima-ix/ I recall modifying this file when I ran the game when it first came out. A similar modification is need for some of the Command and Conquer games.
• Patch 1.19 http://ultima9.ultimacodex.com/forgotten-world/
Ultima worked just fine and at a much higher resolution than the 640 x 480 listed on the box. The only catch is that the play disk needs to be in my Blue Ray drive to run the game. I haven’t found a tweak yet to fix that requirement. Perhaps I will mount an ISO image and see if that satisfies the program.
Friday, June 07, 2013
Yesterday was the 69th anniversary of the D-Day Invasion at the beaches in Normandy France.
It also happened to be the day of our month meeting of my local California Republican Assembly chapter. As President, I took the opportunity to remember the soldiers that participated in this assault; especially the 9,000 men that lost their lives that day.
Launching the invasions from bases in England, I can’t help but think that for at least some of these men, the last thing they prayed was the Anglican Prayer In the time of War and Tumults from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.
O ALMIGHTY God, King of all kings, and Governor of all things, whose power no creature is able to resist, to whom it belongeth justly to punish sinners, and to be merciful to those who truly repent; Save and deliver us, we humbly beseech thee, from the hands of our enemies; abate their pride, assuage their malice, and confound their devices; that we, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore from all perils, to glorify thee, who art the only giver of all victory; through the merits of thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
We then had a moment of silence and began our meeting.
Monday, May 13, 2013
2006 Jeep Liberty Ignition Switch
Over all, I like my Jeep Liberty but I have had a few vehicle problems during my 106,000 miles. Some were manufacturer defects and a few were just wear and tear.
The first problem that I encountered was the tail lights. I used to go thru light bulbs as often as every three days. What I finally figured out is that the plastic inside the tail lights was touching the bulbs. The heat from the bulbs touching the plastic inside the light fixture caused the plastic to melt to the bulbs and they would break the bulbs—probably due to vibration—and the bulb would need replacing. Over a series of months, I used needle-nosed pliers to break out all the loose plastic inside the light fixtures. Once all plastic was removed, the bulbs worked properly.
The braking system was made using cheap parts. I had to replace rotors and pads after a few off-road trips. They go too hot and warped like crazy.
Also, the rear window motor on the driver’s side went out. The dealer charged $400 to replace it.
I have experienced the infamous key getting jammed in the ignition and not being able to remove it. This appears to be a frequent complaint of Jeep owners. I found many complaints on the Internet.
My latest adventure began with turning the ignition key and not being able to start the vehicle. Then the next time I would try, it would start right up. The last time this happened, my Jeep ran fine for two weeks before giving me trouble again. The only thing I noticed was that I had to turn the key as far as it would go and it would then start. The key movement was not right.
Well finally this week-end, it just died on me. I went to the local auto parts store and they advised me that intermittent problems—especially electrical ones—were the worst. The advice I was given was to bear with it until something failed completely and check the Internet for others experiencing similar problems.
Well, yesterday evening, the key mechanism failed completely. There was absolutely no resistance when I turned the key. Whatever happened, the break in the ignition system was no longer intermittent. When this happened, two lights on my dash board and the radio came on. I knew from reading the Internet that I needed to disconnect the battery until the issue was repaired.
I went only the Internet and found this entry. http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f9/ignition-switch-pin-actuator-repair-1378503/ The problem that I experienced was the actuator pin assembly was broken. The URL above described my problem and it includes a link to a video on how to remove and replace the broken part. The vehicle in the video, however is a PT Cruiser and not a Jeep. I would like to explain the differences between the video and the Jeep Liberty.
Broke Actuator Assembly—Metal Shard at Top—and Key Cylinder
First, the housing around the steering column is attached with two T-20 screws. They are recessed in two square holes on the bottom side of the cover, closest to the steering wheel. The top cover has some wires attached so it must be pushed out of your way.
Next difference from the video, the assembly for turn signals, wipers, etc. that is shown with T-20 screws in the video, just sits on top of two pegs on the steering column.
You need to remove three T-10 security screws to complete the disassembly. One screw is in the starter switch. This is the square box on the left side of the steering wheel with lots of wires running to it. The actuator assembly has two screws holding it in place. I found a small mirror came in handy when looking for the screws. I could remove them without crawling under the steering wheel.
Once I removed the assembly and inspected things, I noticed that the metal portion of the actuator was broken-off where it goes into the ignition switch. I required some needle-nosed pliers to remove a broken piece of metal from the switch. For some reason, I was unable to locate a second piece that was broken off of the actuator.
In total, it took ten minutes to locate the tools and remove the actuator assembly. I am writing this blog while waiting for the part to be delivered from the warehouse to my local auto parts store.
The part arrived from AutoZone an hour earlier than promised. Aligning the key cylinder with the actuator was a pain. It took several attempt to get it aligned. Once both pieces are inserted into the steering column, you do not get all key movements. You get both Off and a large, slushy On zone. After the ignition switch has been installed the movement gets better, but not until the actuator cover is screwed in place will you get all the proper key positions. Please note that the spring that must be installed with the cover must be correctly aligned or the cover will not fit over the actuator properly. Also, the tiny pin in the cover kept falling out and I had to hunt it down at least twice on the carpeting of the vehicle.
I hooked up the battery and the Jeep started just as it should. Then I had to program the radio and clock and now I’m back on the road. Cost of my part was higher than the Internet prices. Including tax, I paid $44.27. Elapse time was less than an hour.
Friday, May 10, 2013
Review: Ice Age Village
Ice Age Village, based on the popular movie franchise, is a fun way to waste hours on your phone or tablet device. It is a game that is fun for the whole family. Best of all, it’s free.
I’m running the game on both my Windows Phone and Kindle tablet. The Android version is a bit slow on my first generation Kindle Fire. The game has a slight lag and catching Scrat is difficult. The experience on the Windows Phone is smooth and the display allows you to see more of the village on your screen at one time.
You purchase or earn various little animated animal families or entertainment venues for the animals in your village to enjoy. Based on your village configuration, you earn revenue from each thing in your village except items that give you bonuses. A family is complete when you have two adults and two children. It is somewhat disconcerting that all animals reproduce from eggs in this game but it does allow for conversations with children when you explain that Pandas and Llamas don’t really lay eggs.
Windows Phone 8 Screen Capture
The Social Network portion of the game is buggy and does not work as it should. Also, if you get your village up to a Five Star rating in all areas, it will reportedly crash the game. Hopefully this will be fixed soon.
Getting acorns in the game is difficult and clicking on items that you can’t afford will take you to a screen offering to sell you acorns for cash. Password the ability to purchase via credit card before turning the gaming device over to your children.
Below are two links with further information and cheat codes to get some quick cash early on in the game.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
CRA Aftermath: A New Hope
Celeste Greig was on display this week-end in all her glory. As the President of a statewide organization, her behavior during the Convention of the California Republican Assembly these last few days has been akin to that of a petulant child and not the leader of “the conscience of the Republican Party.”
Friday during the final Board meeting she presided over before Sunday’s election of officers, she had the boldness to ignore the agenda and deny certain officers the right to give committee reports because she had personal differences with them. She simply skipped the agenda items and declared that the meeting was adjourned.
Also, despite many promises, those thrown off the Board due to missing the illegally noticed March meeting were not reinstated. However, two new people were added to the Board.
Lastly, Celeste tried to clarify her infamous comments on rape. All she really did was double-down on the same comments made at the CRP convention.
Later on Friday, despite the best efforts of Steve Frank and Bill Cardoza, Celeste-who appointed the members of the Credentials Committee-was unable to gain any meaningful advantage from this body. The fate of seven chapters was debated. Three of the chapters never sent any delegates so no action was taken on them. Frank was only able to bring up three chapters for challenge. Fresno, Kings and Ventura RAs were challenged. Frank hoped not to allow their delegates to be seated. Fresno and Kings were settled quickly. Frank was beat back in his vigorous efforts to refuse the newly formed Ventura RA chapter from being seated. The evil club from Santa Clarita was only able to seat one delegate. The list they submitted only had one valid delegate and no alternates. Their bylaws require delegates live within their territory and three of the submitted names were not seated as a result of violating this provision. The net result was that the stage was set for a fair fight on the day of the election. One Sunday, turnout would be the key to the CRA Presidential election.
On Sunday, Celeste started the meeting with the report of the President. During her report, the CRA banner that was hanging on the wall behind and above her head fell off of the wall. It was never re-hung. I took this as a bad omen for her.
Celeste Greig about one minute before banner fell
Shortly thereafter, voting took place followed by several overly long committee reports on Bylaw changes and Resolutions. These reports were placed in this part of the program to allow all ballots to be counted. In the midst of the Bylaw reports, Steve Frank approached Celeste-who was seated at the front of the room next to the podium—and whispered into her ear. A few minutes later, she left and never returned.
After the Resolution Committee reports were completed, the election results were announced. Results were given in the opposite order of the ballot. This allowed the Presidential results to be announced last. There were 164 people eligible to vote; however, two did not. Celeste Greig received 78 votes and challenger John Briscoe received 84 votes.
Typically, at this point in the process, the outgoing President will congratulate the winner, pledge support and offer help during the transition. Greig did none of this. As I found out later, she had checked out of her hotel room and left the convention long before the results were announced. Such behavior is all anyone needs to know about her character. This display of contempt for the CRA and what it stands for is inexcusable.
I subsequently learned that last time Greig lost an election that she dropped out of the CRA for about eight years before re-appearing. This is the behavior one expects from a child not someone that is in their seventies and is a veteran of the political process.
Greig is the first sitting CRA President to loose since the Nixon era.
Most of Grieg’s geriatric supporters also disappeared. I think many will not attend another CRA event. The only exception might be Steve Frank. Frank for the first time in many years is off the Board. He was the lone looser in the race for Vice-President. There ended up being six VP openings and seven candidates.
Briscoe was quick to introduce more transparency in the Board and also more accountability for Board members. Jobs were given to VPs and Senate District Directors. Two clubs were de-chartered and four were referred to the newly established Chapter Review Committee. A new era has begun in CRA. Perhaps the post Alby era has begun.