Miscellaneous computer tips – Volume 13

Tip #1: Bring back the old Gmail web Inbox

Former Gmail leader design and Inbox co-creator Michael Leggett looked at the terrible Gmail web interface and said Go look at any desktop app and tell me how many have a huge f_cking logo in the top left. C’mon. It’s pure ego, pure bullsh_t. Drop the logo. Give me a break. Leggett decided to do something about Gmail: He created a Chrome extension called Simplify that makes Gmail on the web look and work more like, wait for it, Inbox. See https://simpl.fyi/gmail/

Tip #2: Encryption problems

If you work in a corporate environment, depending on what encryption [if any?] is used on portable media [i.e. USB keys and drives], you may find that the encryption may in fact cause problems.

For example, if you are the local support person, encryption may stop you from booting up a USB key to [say] fix a computer that got hit with malware.

Depending on your configuration, they may allow non-encryption but you have to tinker with some settings.

In Windows 10, for example, if you right click on a file, you can select File ownership -> Personal to not encrypt. [Once again if enabled.] But that’s nice fore one file but what about [say] hundreds of files in folders and sub-folders?

Fortunately, there is a command-line tool that can help you out, and it’s really simple. Assuming the E-drive is your USB key, to not-encrypt the drive, the command you is:

cipher.exe /d /s:D:\ .

Note than in most Windows command-line tools “/s” is include sub-folders. Here, the tool assumes sub-folders but specifying the folder to keep decrypted.

Tip #3: Panther in Windows

This actually isn’t a tip, but a FYI.

Why is there a folder called Panther in Windows since Windows Vista?
Panther was the code-name for the new setup/servicing engine that first introduced in our beloved Windows Vista. Some suggest that before Windows Vista was shipped [“RTM”] that the folder name would be changed to something more meaningful, but because the folder path was all over the place in the Windows code at the time, it was never changed.

Wonder if it will ever show up in Jeopardy.

Contestant: Alex. $1000 for Windows trivia.

Alex: It is the code name for the new setup/servicing engine that first shipped in Windows Vista.

Contestant: What is Panther?

Alex: Correct!

A quiet-ish week for Trump

It was less than a day when Donald Trump went from “total exoneration” and “Game over, folks,” to “bullsh_t” as Robert Mueller’s report portrayed Trump as deceitful and paranoid, encouraging his aides to withhold the truth and cross ethical lines in an attempt to thwart a probe into Russia’s interference in US elections.

Now Trump is newly furious at the people — most of whom no longer work for him — whose extensive interviews with the special counsel’s office created the epic depiction of an unscrupulous and chaotic White House. He’s is seeking assurances from those who remain that his orders are being treated like those of a president, and not like suggestions from an intemperate but misguided supervisor.

Trump was aware ahead of its public release what was contained in the Mueller report. Attorney General William Barr told reporters Thursday that both the White House counsel and Trump’s personal legal team were given an opportunity to read the redacted version in the previous days.

In the report, press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders, who was out the office when the report was released, is shown repeatedly misleading the press, a fact she attempted to downplay in morning television interviews. Tell me something we don’t know!

Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani insisted Trump’s 2016 campaign did nothing wrong by taking information from the Russians. Giuliani called the Trump campaign’s effort to get political help from representatives of the Russian government possibly ill-advised but not illegal. Nevertheless, he said “there’s no crime.” This from a lawyer who has repeatedly made judgements that were counter to laws.

Sen. Mitt Romney said in a statement on Twitter that he was “sickened” by the findings in Mueller’s report that cited details on how the Trump campaign welcomed political dirt from Russia.

No shocker that Trump criticized Romney for his comment by saying if Romney “spent the same energy fighting Barack Obama as he does fighting Donald Trump, he could have won the race (maybe)!” In 2012 Romney won a slightly greater percentage of the popular vote than Trump in 2016 but President Obama won the election.

To end the week, Trump announced that he would revoke America’s status as a signatory of the arms trade treaty regulating conventional weapons including small arms, battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships. The US signed the treaty in 2013 but never ratified it. The NRA [where he announced it] has long claimed the treaty poses a threat to the second amendment. Of course it will help his buddies sell more arms.

Trump, of course, off script when he came across a line about pharmaceutical companies “rigging the system” when it comes to pricing drugs more cheaply overseas than they do domestically. “Many drug companies are giving European countries a better deal than they give their own country, and that has to stop,” Trump said. Yes. He know with so much facts that US companies are giving European countries better deals. It’s called buying in bulk.

“Well the subpoena is ridiculous,” Trump said when asked what he plans to do in response to the subpoenas. In the days since special counsel Robert Mueller’s full reported was released, Congressional Democrats have started their own investigations and have begun issuing subpoenas. Yet there is little he can do – otherwise hit with an obstruction of justice charge.

As former Vice President Joe Biden entered the Democratic nominee race, Trump defended his equivocating comments [“people that were very fine people on both sides”] following white nationalist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, saying that he was referring to supporters of the Confederate general Robert E. Lee when he said there were “fine people” on both sides. He just loves changing what he meant – even almost 2 years later. If he meant something different why didn’t he say it earlier? He never specified Lee until now.

Trump also said that Biden and other presidential candidates are making him “look very young.” Trump is 72, Biden is 76. Not much difference. Bernie Sanders is 77. Elizabeth Warren is 69. Jay Inslee is 68. John Hickenlooper is 67. Everyone else are in their 30s to 50s. So Trump is the third oldest. He probably is also one of the least healthiest – known to be at least a bit overweight.

From an interview with Fox News, Trump said:

  • “But we have a fantastic [health care] plan that we’ll be rolling out and subject to us winning back the House, keeping the presidency…” So where’s the plan? Doesn’t exist.
  • Trump claimed that three reporters [two from Fox] should get Pulitzers. They favorably report about him.
  • “… these are the top people at the FBI where you had absolute dirty cops” and then said ” I know FBI guys, these are the best in the world”. The US must have two FBI agencies.
  • “So, I really say, now we have to get down because this was a coup. This was an attempted overthrow of the United States government.” I’d like to see who have been arrested for the “coup”. Nobody. Does he know the definition of a coup [as well as treason]?
  • “This was a coup… This was an attempted coup.” So which is it?
  • For the coup “I think it’s far bigger than Watergate.” Yes. He’s an expert. 45 years ago, he was probably too busy ripping people off.
  • “It was like a one-sided witch-hunt as I called it.” Isn’t it usually that?
  • “The fake dossier which even ‘The New York Times’ now says was fake…” This was the same New York Times which he has previously gone after continuously. So they are good when it suits him and bad otherwise.
  • “We have fighter jets, the F- 35, the F-18. We have jets the likes which no country has at all.” Except they have been sold to other countries. Canada, Saudi Arabia, …
  • “I could have fired Mueller. I could have fired anybody that I wanted to fire, Article 2.” Mueller can only be fired for good cause. “Article 2” in the constitution says nothing about who he can fire.

At a recent conference, Trump touted his administration’s border security efforts, including a southern border wall, as a great deterrent to drug smuggling. Trump called the US’s immigration laws “horrible, obsolete, weak, pathetic” and blamed the Democrats for not changing them. And who’s been in office for over 2 years with 2 years of that with a Republican majority in the House and Senate?

At one point this week, Trump was on a mega tweet storm. How big? Trump has tweeted [and retweeted] 52 tweets. In about a 30 minute span at one point, he retweeted 24 items — about nine different topics and from 15 people. The retweets came from all of is favorites. The tweets were mostly from the usual topics: Robert Mueller Report, immigration, collusion, obstruction, etc.

Trump told the NRA that he, “didn’t need a gun” to stop what he called a “coup.” He called them “bad apples” and claimed that they resigned. Those that seem to have resigned are from his administration. He said “We are taking power out of Washington DC and returning it to the people where they belong… taking place at the highest levels… Corruption at the highest levels” and mentioned “spying”.

Trump tweeted “No Collusion, No Obstruction – there has NEVER been a President who has been more transparent….” Would love to know how he measures that.

Trump also tweeted that Twitter has a liberal bias and does everything it can to make it harder for conservatives to use the platform. [He offered no specific, fact-based examples.]Maybe it’s because some conservatives don’t know how to type or know what Twitter is.

Trump lived with a poodle, Chappy, with his first wife, Ivana, who wrote in her memoir, “Raising Trump,” that “Donald was not a dog fan.” Chappy, she later said, “had an equal dislike of Donald.”

Trump held a briefing for the children of reporters on Take Your Child to Work Day. He went after the kids’ parents by saying “I like you more”. You don’t talk about a parent in front of a child.

Iowa’s longest-serving Republican state lawmaker, Andy McKean, is ditching the party in a protest of what he called President Donald Trump’s “unacceptable behavior” and is joining the Democrats. McKean, a moderate from eastern Iowa whose 29 years in the legislature include stints in the House and Senate, announced his party switch.