Leave Net Neutrality Rules Alone

I am hardly ever on the side of government regulation, but I have to confess that the thought of the FCC weakening 2015 “net neutrality” rules on broadband December 14 concerns me more than a little. I usually support free market solutions to problems so now I’m very confused. (More about net neutrality) Particularly when I look at the list of people and companies against the FCC’S proposed move. It just feels weird to be on the same side.

Anyway the gist of the story is that the FCC wants to reclassify broadband communications from Title II to Title I with “light-touch regulation” as the FCC Chairman Ajit Pai calls it. In doing so they would be placing less oversight on the large broadband providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon.  (Sounds a little like the fox watching over the hen house.)

So rather than just bellyache about it, I’m going to the FCC website to let my voice be heard. Let the FCC hear your voice too. (Click this link to the Filings page for Docket 17-108 and look in the right side menu for “express comment”.)

Should Congress Get Different Health Insurance?

Regardless of your political leanings, I think most Americans would agree that members of Congress should have to live with the same bad legislation that it foists on the rest of us. Somehow, though, they always manage to exempt themselves from laws that they pass while we the people are stuck and have no options. It is ridiculous. We are literally sheep being led around to do what they decide for us without any impact on their own priveleged and sheltered lives.

Today the case in point is healthcare. Why should we pay stupid, high cost health insurances premiums while a select 535 select individuals and their staffs enjoy their own good deal? Worse, do you think that anything is going to change with that inequity?

You not want to get out of the easy chair just yet and march or protest about this, but if you want to do something then click this link and add your name to a petition. That’s it, easy-peasy. Perhaps it will light a fire and start you thinking about something more substantial and if so, make it happen and be the difference!

iPhone 6S is silent

I don’t have an iPhone, but my wife does. The other day she handed it to me and asked if I could figure out why she couldn’t hear it ring. She says she checked all the settings; notifications, speaker volume, even the do not disturb feature. After looking at the phone a minute the answer was pretty simple. There is a tiny switch on the side of the phone near the top that silences the phone. If the switch has been activated (pointing down) the phone is silenced. Push the switch to the up position and bingo the ringer and all the various notifications that you have set will be audible. She’s happy again.

Switch up, normal (not silenced) mode.

Switch down, not normal (silenced) mode.

Whirlpool dishwasher problem

I don’t usually post things like dishwasher repair fixes, but it took me forever to finally figure out how to get our Whirlpool Gold Series model #WDT710PAYM3 working so I hope that this may be of benefit to others with the problem.

The issue that we had is that when you’d press a button, any button, to start a dishwashing cycle, nothing would happen but the button with the lock symbol on it would flash three times. We learned that this was called a Control Lock, a safety feature that you can invoke on purpose to keep children from starting a cycle.

However we did not initiate this Control Lock, and were not sure how the dishwasher got into that state. The owner’s manual explains that pressing and holding the Lock button for three seconds initiates Control Lock and repeating that three second press disengages it too. But when we tried that, it didn’t “unlock” and allow us to operate the dishwasher.

There are many posts on the interweb regarding this Control Lock issue and multiple Whirlpool models, but none of the solutions provided any remedy. I continued to dig and then ran across an article describing how to cause the controller to go into a diagostic mode and generate codes that could be used to identify problems. This process can get pretty technical and fortunately for us we didn’t need to.

The fix for us was just causing the control to go into diagnostic mode which clears out errors and apparently also  “unlocks” the system. The way that you do that is to open the dishwasher door and press any 3 keys in the sequence 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3 with no more than 1 second between key presses. When we got out of dignostic mode, the dishwasher was unlocked. This article has more details on diagnostics if you need to go deeper into that. We may never know how our unit got locked in the first place, but at least if at happens again we’ll have a solution.

The Free Market and Stuff

I was surfing the interweb earlier today, being sucked into more of the seemingly endless Mac vs. PC debate when the thought hit me, isn’t it great to live in a society where that can even be an issue?

In spite of all the many political and social problems that the good ole US of A may have, we at least are blessed to be able to purchase and consume literally anything that we desire. Organic food, designer sunglasses, performance footwear, exotic cars, the latest gadgets, if you can think of or crave of something, in a mere moment it can be yours. Usually you don’t even have to leave your house to get it because it can be sent direct to you!

Now in the long term view of eternity, I’m not sure if this unbridled access to stuff is truly a blessing or a curse, today I can at least marvel at how this economic juggernaut works.

Why do we obsess over the presidential election?

Every four years the U.S. holds a presidential election and you’d think that nothing in this country was more important. We endure the intrusions of 24/7 news coverage and the seemingly endless stream of political ads. I’m agreed that electing a president is serious stuff, but does one elected office deserve this much focus? Did the decisions of just one person get our country to where we are today?

A columnist named Charley Reese back in 1984 penned a great column for the Orlando Sentinel entitled, “545 people are responsible for the mess, but they unite in a common con.” The whole column is well worth the reading, but one quote is particularly appropriate.

Reese wrote, “You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The president does. You and I don’t have the constitutional authority to vote n appropriations. The House of Representatives does. You and I don’t write the tax code. The Congress does. You and I don’t set fiscal policy. the Congress does. You and I don’t control monetary policy. The Federal Reserve Bank does.”

“One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president, and nine Supreme Court justices – 545 human beings out of 238 million- are directly, legally, morally and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.”

Thank you Charley, that is utterly profound. And think about this. Congress is apparently so arrogant and so full of itself that they insulate their own selves and families from the laws that they pass and foist on you and me. Really? Folks wake up!

America, don’t you think that it makes a lot more sense for us to be spending at least the same amount of time or even more time scrutinizing the candidates for the House or Senate than we do on the president? I think it does and it’s time to start some serious “House” cleaning.

Making the 2016 presidential choice simple

It’s a little less than a month before the presidential election and I’m sure that a vast majority of voters have determined how they’ll vote by now. So this post isn’t for any of you, but it’s for the small minority that are still scratching their heads. And without going through all of the issues and the candidates’ positions on them all, I’ve boiled the whole thing down to just two issues to make selecting a president simple. Here they are:

First, who do you want at the White House helm to nominate the next Supreme Court justice(s)? Second, and maybe more importantly, do you want more Washington intrusion in your life or less?

See, that’s it. Just two issues and your vote for president is now made simple. So you can make the election as easy or as complicated as you want. I’m going for easy! You can thank me later.

Respect authority

The story of the year will likely be about the set of events played out over this summer and also this past week in Ferguson, MO. And as I have watched it all unfold and reflect on it, this unfortunate and yet also horrible story has struck so many emotions in me.

One, sorrow for the community at large, having grown up in Ferguson in the ’60’s and ’70’s and remembering it’s glory. Next, concern and fear having a son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren who make their home there. Then there’s compassion for a family who lost a son in a most unfortunate way. But last, there was and still is the shock at the depth of depravity of citizens supposedly engaged in peaceful protests that turned into hate-filled, out-of-control mobs looting, stealing and destroying public and private property.

Has it now become acceptable to loot, steal and destroy property as part of a protest? Have we as a society finally embraced lawlessness and rejected the respect of authority and the law? Since very few of our leaders today speak out against actions like these, I suppose it now is politically correct to allow the mobs to break the law. I’ve heard some even refer to it as letting them vent their anger. Really? At whose expense do we allow this? More importantly, what’s the message that we’re sending in this? It’s the mob rules.

What a sad state of affairs our society has turned into! I close with a scripture that I pray all social, political and church leaders will begin to shout from their lecterns and pulpits. God’s word is the only thing with the power to cause change.

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.” Romans 13:1-5 (NIV)

Interesting gift idea

Now I don’t mean to disrespect the millions of men wearing goatees, but as I was surfing the interweb for personal hair trimmers, I stumbled upon this rather menacing, err… interesting item.



The first image that came to mind after looking at this was the villain, Bane, in the Dark Knight Rises.


Not the most attractive or calming image mind you. Seriously though this is the 21st century. Can’t we come up with something else to help you guys with goatees out?

Windows speed up time

It’s the first day of November and a lovely Saturday off for me too. Tonight we set our clocks back and I’m getting ready to change those batteries in the smoke detectors all around the house. So while I’m thinking of maintenance tasks, I can’t think of a better day to perform a quick Windows computer maintenance chore that most of us put off. I’m talking about cleaning up your PC’S temporary files, clearing internet cache and deleting that always burgeoning recycle bin.

Now ignoring these maintenance tasks won’t necessarily shut your computer down, but if not done occasionally they can certainly impact the speed at which your computer interacts with world wide web. I’ve been using a handy utility for quite a few years that does this pretty fast, is easy to use, has a very tiny footprint and best of all is FREE. It’s called the Temporary File Cleaner or TFC.exe. Here’s a summary of what it does:

TFC. or Temp File Cleaner, is a small utility that will clean out all the folders on your computer that house temporary files.  The temp folders that TFC will clean are the Java, Windows Temp Folder, and the Internet Explorer, Opera, Chrome, and Safari caches. This tool will clean the folders for all accounts on the computer including the Administrator, NetworkService, and LocalService accounts.

All you do is download the application, run it and it does the job quickly and even gives you feedback of how much space that it cleaned up. Before you run it make sure that you have Administrator privileges on your machine and that you don’t have any important files in your recycle bin, cause they’ll be gone.

Here’s a shortcut to download TFC.exe thanks to the good folks at www.bleepingcompter.com. Do it today and give your cpu a little break!