georges' blog

October 22, 2013

Logging in Automatically and Other Windows 8.1 Tweaks

Filed under: Technology,Uncategorized — kendall @ 1:13 pm
I run Windows 8.1 as a virtual machine in VMware Fusion.  I let the host operating system take care of security, specifically:

  • Require login at boot and wake from sleep
  • Screensaver enabled after 5 minutes
  • Require password at screensaver
  • Start screensaver hot corner

If I lock my host OS, then you can’t get to the guest virtual machines.  So, I don’t want additional screen savers or passwords on my virtual machines–life is too short to enter your password too often.

With previous versions of Windows, including Windows 8 you could set your computer to automatically login using the netplwiz.exe or ‘control userpasswords2’ utility.

After upgrading to Windows 8.1 the “Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer.” configurable option was no longer present for me.

To fix this it was necessary to go to Control Panel > User Accounts and select “Reset Security Policies” (see image to the right).  Then you could use netplwiz or ‘control userpasswords2’ to setup automatic login.  Alternatively you can use the Windows Sysinternals Autologon utility to configure automatic login.  Reboot for changes to take effect.

You must also disable the lock screen–not only don’t I want to enter my password to login, I especially don’t want to have to swipe up a lock screen.  This feature only seems worthwhile on a tablet, but even on a tablet that’s debatable.  To disable the lock screen from the command prompt, launch gpedit.  Navigate to Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Administartive Templates > Control Panel > Personalization.  Double click or right click and select “Edit”.  Select the radio button to enable this option.  Reboot.

A couple of other desirable tweaks to Windows 8.1:

  1. Turn off the screen saver and go to sleep features in power settings.
  2. Set the Metro background to the same image as your desktop.
  3. Go directly to the desktop when you login.

I’ll let you figure out how to turn off the screen saver and sleep features on your own and also set your desktop wall paper to also be your Metro start menu back ground.   Now that Windows 8.1 is feeling more like a desktop OS again, I find it desirable to go directly to the desktop on login.  To enable this, launch the desktop from the Metro menu.  Right click the taskbar and select properties.  Select “When I sign in or close all apps on a screen, go to the desktop instead of Start.”

user accounts

Reset Security Policies

netplwiz

User Account Settings

gpedit

Disable the Lock Screen

goto_desktop

Login Directly to Desktop

November 18, 2011

Some Unsolicited Advice about Posting a lot of Pictures on Facebook

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendall @ 12:35 pm

Recently while checking Facebook, I saw that a friend had added 200 new photos to a gallery. I had to say something. So I messaged him with some unsolicited advice. I realized that there are others out there who need to hear this message so I am republishing it here as an open letter:

Dear Friend,

I wouldn’t bother saying this unless I was trying to be a friend, and not just a Facebook friend, but a REAL freind… And I don’t know how to say it other than just saying it… you need to be selective with the pictures you post. I really want to look at the pictures of your travels, but c’mon, 200 pictures!  When I see 200+ pictures in this gallery, I physically groan and either unhappily slog through the gallery or don’t bother at all–depending on my mood and general busyness. Because I like you. And like your family. And I want to keep up with what you are doing. But seriously, you should stop posting every picture you take.

Here are some tips you didn’t ask for:

  • Professional photographers take a lot of pictures and then choose only the best for publication. Take a cue from that. Pick a few that are truly representative of your trip. You don’t have to capture every moment, place or event. Select pictures that capture the overall feelings, impressions, beauty… from your trip. I use a max 10% rule. Only post 1 in 10. You will have to make tough choices. It is OK.
  • Do a little post processing. It isn’t so intimidating when you only have one or two dozen photos to work on. In iPhoto there is an auto-adjust that is very often all that is needed to improve the color and exposure on an ordinary picture to make it a lot better. To make it come alive.  This is important.  One great picture will leave a stronger impression on the viewer than 200 “meh” pictures.
  • If you are just using fb as a way to preserve your photos in the event of a disaster there are better ways to do it… Carbonite, Flickr, Phanfare, SmugMug…
  • If you have friends or family who really want to see every single picture from your trip, Phanfare or SmugMug are good options. You can create private galleries and send invites to those people, or you can simply include a “to see more follow this link” in the description of your galleries on Facebook. Then everyone who wants to see some highlights from your trip can see that and if they want to see more, they can go to the SmugMug or Phanfare gallery.

Of course you can just say “I don’t give a rat’s a$$ if Kendall looks at my galleries or not. I’m gonna just keep doing it this way.” That would be fine and I won’t think any differently of you. Just trying to be helpful.

KG

January 5, 2010

My Dad Was Right

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendall @ 3:56 pm

I never talked with my father about important things. My father was not my confidant, my mentor, my counselor, or my adviser. I have friends who to this day consult with their fathers about important things… what to study, where to work, where to live, who to marry, what to drive, to buy or rent, how to manage their money, how to run their businesses… I could not imagine having this kind of relationship with my father. It was incomprehensible to me. The pieces were not there. There was no interface. No way to plug it in. We didn’t just speak different languages, we were from totally different solar systems. That kind of communication… connection… that kind of relationship.. was inconceivable to me. But, I was envious of these guys. I did not have the relationship with my father that I would have liked. We didn’t have the relationship that I want to have with my kids.

He was not my role model. I think a lot of us don’t want to become like our parents. When we see our parents in the way we look, talk, act… parent our children… well, we don’t like it; we hate it. But for me with my father, I think it was even more acute. I did not want to become like my father in any way. I wanted to actively distinguish myself from him. I wanted to chart a different course for my life than he did for his or would for mine. Actually, that makes it sound like I tried to figure him out. Actually, I didn’t. I actively tried to make decisions without any concern for his opinion in the least. Secretly, deeply I wanted his approval, but was disappointed often enough that I quit trying, utterly.

Don’t misunderstand me. My dad was not a bad guy. Not at all. There are a lot of people with bad dad stories… drugs, alcohol, abuse, abandonment. That is not my story. And I don’t want to give that kind of impression at all. My dad was a good guy. And he was a good dad. It took me too long to realize it. I realize it more and more as time goes on, as I grow older.

My father passed away ten years ago, the day before Christmas Eve 1999. Is it that he is no longer with us, that I have learned to appreciate him more? Is it because he is dead that I don’t have to contend with him any more? Would I appreciate him as much if he were still around? When my father passed away, we were on good terms. We didn’t have any outstanding issues between us. Nothing that was left unsaid. Our accounts were clear, at least as clear as they could have been at the time. I have changed. I have grown over the past ten years. I’ve learned to appreciate where he was coming from. I’ve learned to appreciate where he was coming from on issues… social, religious, political… I still may not agree, but I’ve learned to appreciate and respect his opinion. His point of view, his world view, his life, and experience.

Could we relate as adults now? Or would I still be a kid. On the verge of my fortieth birthday–man, that is hard to believe–but on the verge of my fortieth birthday would he still treat me like a kid? Could we be friends now? Could he be my counselor now?

I say we never talked about important things. That may be hyperbole, but I recall that very often our conversations about important things would end in an argument. I used to be very much at odds with my father about a great many things. And there was no one I could argue with more vigorously than my father. Now I am beginning to realize that my father was right about a lot. In time I may find that he was right about everything.

It started subtly, this notion, this apprehension. It snuck up on me. Surprised me. Last fall, I was working in the yard. We were rearranging our flowerbeds. We had these rose bushes scattered around. They had not been care for well by our house’s previous owners. They were wild and misshapen. We thought we’d clean them up, prune them, and put them all together in one place to make a little rose garden. There was also this pile of rocks on the side of the house that wasn’t doing anything, just collecting dirt and weeds. We transplanted three rose plants to a flower bed in the front of the house, to join one plant that was already there. We laid down some weed control fabric. We cleaned those rocks and covered up the fabric. When we were nearly done, I had a flashback to my childhood home. This rose garden in front of my house bore an uncanny resemblance to the rose garden we had in the front of the house I grew up in. Down to the same kind of rocks. Weird. How had circumstances conspired with my subconscious to make my house become more like the house I grew up in–my dad’s house?

I was talking to my step-mother the other day on the phone. I had to tell her how I was finding that I was becoming more like my dad in surprising ways. I told her that when I got my Oklahoma driver’s license I also registered to vote, as a Democrat. I haven’t been registered as a Democrat since I lived in my dad’s home–before I knew better–before I realized that “Christians were Republicans.” My father was a life long liberal and Democrat. He was also not only a member of the California Teachers Association, but an officer for a number of years. I find that I am now also a strong supporter of organized labor. Capital is organized; labor should have a right to organize. I’m not in a union though–there are unions for state employees, but the university is not unionized. I am, however, entertaining the idea of joining the IWW just out of principle. I may end up being more liberal than my father before long.

My father was a Christian. I am a Christian. So it probably goes without saying that on matters of religion, there were ample opportunities to butt heads. Just one example… My dad would say things like, “You don’t have to go to church to worship God.” I used to think that was just a cop out. He was just lazy and preferred to watch football. Now I think that a lot of people, probably most, would be better off if they’d just stay home. How I arrived at that conclusion I’ll save for another post.

So, I’m becoming like my dad. And that’s alright. I love my dad. I miss my dad. He is with me because he’s in me in good ways.

October 22, 2009

Indoor weather fun….CRAFTS

Filed under: Uncategorized — claudia @ 12:00 pm

http://www.daniellesplace.com/

I like to craft with my kids regularly and for a season I was looking for crafts to do during our house church time. I found lots of free websites with wonderful ideas to inspire me or implement if I was not feeling especially creative. This is one of two websites that I feel is worth the annual cost: http://www.daniellesplace.com/

Check it out for free and search it completely once you have joined.

Enjoy!
Claudia

August 15, 2009

Who do our elected officials work for?

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendall @ 9:54 pm

Two months ago now, a federal court found that Jamie Thomas-Rasset willfully infringed the copyright of 24 songs, and the ruled that she must pay the Recording Industry Association of America $80,000 per song for an amazing total of $1.92 million. I personally was outraged. Not that she was found guilty of copyright infringement–she was guilty–but buy the shear size of this judgment. Understand this was not a criminal trial, but a civil trial–a case brought by the RIAA against Thomas-Rasset.

Anyhow, I was angry that big business could use our laws and court system in this manner–that they could use our courts as a revenue stream–as a means of extorting money from ordinary individuals. I’m sure that current copyright law did not take its present form apart from the influence of the RIAA and others like it (the Motion Pictures Association of America, for example).

So, I thought I’d write my senators and congressman. I wanted to express my outrage. I hoped they’d share my outrage. And I hoped that they’d also recognize that our courts were being misused and our copyright laws–laws that senators and congressmen enacted and amended–were being applied in such outrageous ways.

Well, much to my surprise, I got a response from all three of them. I think I was equally surprised that not a single one of them shared my concerns. And to the man, more or less, said that there was nothing they could do. What?! Aren’t these guys legislators–from the latin for law–and they can’t do anything about laws that are screwed up?

It is hard for me to walk away from this experience thinking that my elected officials actually represent me–that they work for me–and not for lobbyists like the MPAA, the RIAA, and others. If this is the response I get with regard to copyright law, what can I expect with regard to health care reform? Will they care about my interests or will they be looking after the interests of the pharmaceutical and insurance industries–the guys who paid for their campaigns?

Should I also take offense with the subtle condescension as each one, to a greater or lesser degree, tried to educate me in how our government works and the roles of the judicial, legislative, and executive branches. If they think that the people they represent are idiots, then maybe there should be more talk on capitol hill about improving our ailing education system.

Anyhow, this experience hasn’t helped lessen my present cynicism. To be completely fair, at least Senator Inhofe said he would “keep my views in mind” when these kinds of issues come before the senate. However, in my present cynical state, I’m inclined to chalk that up as savvy–you don’t serve for 15 years without learning a thing or two about how to deal with boobs.

I’ve included the text of Congressman Cole and Senator Inhofe’s messages below. This post follows up an earlier post when I responded to Senator Coburn, here. Your feedback is appreciated.

From Congressman Cole:

Dear Mr. George:

Thank you for writing to Congressman Cole regarding Jamie Thomas Rasset.

On behalf of his constituents, Congressman Cole makes inquiries to resolve issues pending before the executive branch of the United States Government for residents of the 4th District of the State of Oklahoma. Since Ms. Thomas-Rasset’s is a resident of Minnesota, this matter would be more appropriately brought to the attention of her Congressional office. Therefore, we have forwarded a copy of your email to Senator Amy Klobuchar for her review and consideration.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any personal concerns at the federal level of government.

Sincerely,

Debe Homer
Office Manager/Case Worker

From Sentor Inhofe:

Dear Mr. George:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the case of Jammie Thomas-Rasset. As your public servant in Washington, it is good to hear from you.

I appreciate your sharing with me your frustrations with the lawsuit initiated by the Recording Industry Association of America, but this is not a matter with which my office can offer assistance. I do not have the authority to interfere with litigation currently being handled in our judicial system.

However, I appreciate knowing your views regarding intellectual property. As you already know, intellectual property identifies a number of legal instruments – including copyrights, patents, and trademarks – that provide innovators with ownership of their creations. Specifically, copyright provides authors with exclusive rights in their writings, visual works and other works of authorship, patents protect inventors of products, processes and other useful inventions, and trademarks protect the symbols used by merchants to identify their goods and services.

Some observers believe that intellectual property rights encourage industry concentration and create barriers to market entry. Others assert that intellectual property law promotes ethical and efficient marketplace behavior, holding that one individual should not be allowed to profit from another’s labor.

As Congress addresses intellectual property rights, I will certainly keep your views in mind. Again, thank you for your correspondence. Your input is valuable to me as I serve you in the United States Senate.

Sincerely,

James M. Inhofe

United States Senator

July 7, 2009

A Dialog with Senator Coburn

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendall @ 5:59 pm

About three weeks ago I was so shocked and dismayed by the $1.92 million judgement against Jamie Thomas-Rasset that I wrote my two senators and my congressman about it. I didn’t save a copy of those messages–though I now wish I had. I didn’t really expect that to go anywhere any way. Essentially what I recall writing was that there is something wrong with our laws and our courts when something like this can happen. I also hoped that my representatives were equally outraged. Well, today, the unexpected happened and I got an actual letter–you know, on paper in an envelope delivered to my mailbox–from Senator Tom Coburn. The delight at receiving the letter from my Senator quickly wore off when I read the contents. Here is the letter in its entirety:

Dear Mr. George,

Thank you for contacting my office regarding the federal trial of Jamie Thomas-
Rasset.

Unfortunately, the difficulties you described in your e-mail regarding Ms.
Thomas-Rasset are legal in nature. Therefore, her situation would fall under the judicial
branch of the federal government, not the legislative branch. The U.S. Constitution
requires a separation of powers between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches
of government, which means that as U.S. Senator I am not in a position to offer legal
advise[sic] to my constituents, to intervene in matters that involve the judicial branch of the
federal government, or interfere with matters or decisions that are rendered through our
judiciary system. Ms. Thomas-Rasset has been well represented by competent counsel.

I regret that my office was unable to be of more assistance. In the future, should
you require assistance with another matter, please feel free to contact my office.

Sincerely,
Tom Coburn
United States Senator

My opinion of the senator would have been better had he not replied to my initial message at all. Here was my response in its entirety:

Dear Senator Coburn,

First I want to thank you for responding to my initial message regarding the trail of Jamie Thomas-Rasset.

However, I must confess that I am disappointed with the contents of that response. I understand that her case is essentially in the hands of the courts at this point and you have no power to influence the judicial system in that particular case. However, the larger point of my letter to you was that there is something horribly wrong with copyright law as it stands today. When powerful media companies can employ our court system to bring an ordinary citizen to financial ruin and place upon her a life sentence of poverty for something as trivial as file sharing, something is horribly wrong.

It is not my intention to justify the actions of Thomas-Rasset or others like her. Nor do I deny the recording industry’s legitimate claim of infringement and damages. What bothers me about this case is the severity of the judgement. It is completely out of proportion and offends common sense and decency. This woman will be unable to rise above poverty for the remainder of her natural life. The RIAA will have a lien on her earnings until they receive their $1.92 million judgement. This is an amount she will likely never accrue in her entire working life.

The matter which I bring to your attention is that the courts were ruling on copyright law. I should not have to instruct you in these matters, but copyright law was enacted by legislators like you. And it was amended on numerous occasions by legislators like you. And I assure you that I know, without a doubt, that present copyright law did not take its present form free from the influence of lobbies like the RIAA. It is a system the recording industry has helped to create and now uses as a revenue stream.

You are right that the judiciary is responsible for interpreting and applying the law. And I am not arguing that they were wrong in their application of the law in the case of Thomas-Rasset. What I am saying is that there is a problem with the law–a problem that must be addressed–a problem that can and must be corrected by legislators like you.

I cannot agree with your letter and conclude that you are unable to do something about this, about copyright law, that is. I do not want to conclude that you are unwilling to do something about this. That would mean that you are content with a system that favors big business at the expense of ordinary citizens. I understand we are a nation with significant challenges at home and abroad. However, in the midst of these larger issues we should not be willing to neglect justice for individuals like Jamie Thomas-Rasset. I understand the complexity of this issue. I understand the complexity of our times. I would ask you to reconsider your position that you are unable to do anything. It is not beyond the scope of the legislative branch to amend copyright law, the US legislature has done it many times, it is time for you to do it again.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Kendall George
resident of Norman, OK

What do you think? Do I have a point? Am I overreacting? Your feedback on this little interaction with my elected representative is greatly appreciated.

December 19, 2008

Review: They Might Be Giants Friday Night Video Podcast

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendall @ 4:15 pm

The occasion of our family’s first grand car trip–we’re driving from Oklahoma City to Los Angeles–reacquainted me with the They Might Be Giant’s Friday Night Video Podcast. This is one of the most awesome podcasts by any measure. And I am not exaggerating. It features John and John of TMBG as sock puppets. They enjoy some amusing banter as you would expect in any talk or variety show and then they introduce video clips from their children’s albums Here Come the 1, 2, 3’s and Here Come the A, B, C’s. Our children love the podcasts. And unlike some children’s programs their offbeat sense of humor and lyrics as well as their catchy tunes are very appealing to adults–at least Claudia and me.

If you are a fan of TMBG, Cake, or Bare Naked Ladies, you will enjoy the music. Your kids will too. And they’ll learn about the letters of the alphabet, numbers, and other things like conifers and Davy Crocket–well, maybe not too much about Davy Crocket. The biggest bummer of the podcast is that they took a vacation in the summer of 2008 and apparently haven’t come back. We look forward to their return. In the mean time we will probably have to pick up one or more of their CD/DVD collections.

Check them out on iTunes. Or you will get a sample of their some 813 Mile Car Trip in our road trip galley to be posted soon.

October 4, 2007

Making Hummus

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendall @ 6:00 pm

Kendall's Hummus
I simply have to follow-up on the recent posting of my no-longer secret hummus recipe. Well, just reading that recipe got my salivary glands going, so I had to make it. I’ve made it three times since I posted, and here are some pics from one of those times.
Licking the bowl.
Now I’m still evaluating, but I’m not sure if we are doing something right or wrong as parents. I mean kids are supposed to lick the bowl when you make a cake, right? I mean, are our kids a little weird? Or have we simply somehow managed to get them to actually like food that is good for you? Hmm?

You can see more hummus and other pictures at our gallery, http://albums.phanfare.com/packageorges.

Radiohead Rocks

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendall @ 5:52 pm

I just finished viewing a news report about Radiohead (http://www.radiohead.com) releasing their new album. I’m not a big Radiohead fan. But I have to say that these guys are cutting edge by the way they are releasing their new album. The only way to get their album is direct from them. Moreover, they are advance releasing their album by download. In fact, you’ll get the music two months early by downloading. But all that isn’t revolutionary. Lots of bands are doing that already. In fact, Steve Jobs made that point that point recently at the September iPod Special Event (http://www.apple.com). He stated that half of all music released this year has been released digitally only–never released on CD at all. The majority of music is never going to CD. That’s cool. But what Radiohead has done is even cooler. They are letting the buyer decide how much to pay for their album. That’s right, you can pay a nickel or twenty bucks for their new album. You decide. See a lot of people already decide. They decide that the music they listen to is not worth $10 or $15 per album and they download the music illegally. Radiohead is saying, “Fine, $10 is too much. How much are you willing to pay?” If they get only $1 per album that is money in their pocket–the reward for their talent and creativity that they might not otherwise see. I applaud their courage to take this risk and demonstrate a lot of trust in their fans. I’m looking forward to seeing how the experiment unfolds.

August 28, 2007

Singing in the car

Filed under: Uncategorized — claudia @ 1:54 pm

One of my favorite things to do is sing in my car. My husband gave me an ipod about two years ago, and I am still thanking him for it. I love having all of our great music at the tip of my fingers. I love being able to play any genre with just a few clicks; worship, reggae, kids’, or a playlist!

Whenever I don’t have three little ones buckled in the back seat of my SUV I play worship music. I play it really loud and I sing really loud! I wonder if other drivers realize I’m singing, or if they think I’m having a passionate conversation on my cell phone. Sometimes I raise my hands, but I never close my eyes. I like being able to worship Jesus without worrying that my off-key voice is preventing someone near from entering in!

Some of my favorites are Dwayne Roberts from IHop, Brian and Jenn Johnson from Bethel, Dennis Jernigan, Misty Edwards, Hillsong United, Vineyard, Chris Tomlin, and a whole bunch of others.

Thank you for my ipod, Lover!

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