You Can’t Miss It!

People often forget the problems and errors they overcame to reach a successful conclusion.

In the early years of the Iditarod sled dog race I heard it said, and I wasn’t the only one to experience “you can’t miss it” denial and over-simplification. Ask where the trail is leaving one checkpoint to go on to the next. “You can’t miss it!”

When you call someone on this falsehood they may say, “Normally it is not a problem.” OK, that may be a typical definition of normality, but a lame excuse that’s no help when there is a problem.

I was guilty of practicing and perpetrating the same over-simplification in the previous post.

Depending on Windows for many years with no alternative, the problems are so prevalent and egregious that most users no longer believe anything built by Microsoft is simple and fail-safe. Puppy Linux is simple, overcomes most problems with Windows, surpasses Windows in many respects including cost/benefit and usability, but there is a learning curve and of course you can make mistakes.

So, related links to help new users understand Puppy Linux and avoid mistakes:

Using Puppy to recover data lost to corrupted and dysfunctional Windows:

Another unexpected discovery:

Last week trying to download a newer Puppy version to give it a test run, I experienced consistently slow download speeds at all the wifi hotspots in town. I kept on thinking there was something systematically wrong with the Internet infrastructure in town until my nephew with blazing fast Internet in city far away told me that it was that particular ftp site. Duh! It was improbable that all the wifi locations in town had the identical pathetic 65 k/s connection speed when the common denominator was the download site. In this case the better ftp site also shows the total bandwidth available and current use on that site. I got avg 900 k/s at one location in town, 200 k/s at the library where many other wifi users were present. Here a parent directory of Puppy Linux on that site there are many different .iso live CDs for various computers and applications:

Below links for discussion and download Puppy Linux installers that will install alternative Puppy O/S to your hard drive from within Windows if you want to keep that Windows dead meat on your computer. Then you can boot into Puppy instead of Windows anytime you want and especially when Windows is SNAFU (situation normal all fucked up) otherwise of course if you have Puppy live CD or USB you can run your computer off the CD and RAM plus have the option to create a save file for data and preferences on the Hard Drive. With USB OS you already have save to memory on the USB device, giving you a portable operating system including personal files, preferences, data that you can plug into any computer with usb boot option.

To purchase USB memory stick with various Puppy OS already installed look at

A tip for using Puppy Linux: To access memory devices including USB and CD/DVD drives you usually have to first mount the drive. The desktop will show all devices with a name for each such as sdb1. When you click on the device icon it will be mounted to show a directory. From within a system or program directory, such as within the word processor, for example, to access a particular file on a drive, you will first have to mount the drive from the desktop, then in the word processor window you probably need to enter the drive name in the form /mnt/sdb1/ click enter to reach the directory of that device.

Occupy Wall Street, Occupy NSA, Occupy Microsoft

They are all Fascist corporate or military gangster institutions extracting protection payments from the public for problems they created or caused in the first place.

How does it feel to pay hundreds of dollars for a computer and then discover you do not truly own it? That you must continue to pay license and software and security/protection fees to be able to use your own damn hardware.

The answer: Occupy Your Computer! Take your computer back from Microsoft and the other megalithic scammers. One inherent problem is that Windows allows vendors and websites to write code into the operating system. That opened the door to all the damage, expense and grief computer users have experienced. For security, we were told, but also because of sloppy greedy programming, the operating systems became more bloated and slower despite faster and faster CPUs. I remember the early computer OS that resided on a 56 kb floppy. With a learning curve comparable to Windows 98 and the successors, even easier, it was functional but, without the GUI, you had to learn the control codes. Not a big problem, memorize a few control codes or look them up in a chart beside your keyboard. Some of them are still usable: control A selects the entire page that cursor is on, control C copies, control V pastes.

As some techie famously said, the only product Microsoft could make that would not suck would be a vacuum cleaner. But we thought there was no alternative to Windows bloatware.

There is. Live CDs are operating systems that reside on a read-only disk. A simple streamlined, complete, except for the current browser that you choose and download, Puppy Linux O/S will run even an old computer at blazing speed compared to Windows with no built in vulnerabilities to be exploited or protected. You download the operating system online (free of charge) then burn it to a CD. You interrupt your normal boot to Windows on your hard drive to instead install the operating system from the CD/DVD drive to your RAM. In fact, if your Windows has crashed your computer because it has become corrupted you can do this to access all your documents and files, bypassing Windows. In any case you can use the operating system without writing anything to the computer hard drive, or you can allow it to start saving your preferences, configuration data, and downloads on the hard drive.

The versions I use 528.005 are explained and available through this link. I notice there is a newer edition 5.3 but have not tried it since no big difficulties with 5.2, so-called Lucid.

The downloaded ISO, the Live CD operating system, includes a stripped down browser, Dillo, that you use to download the more functional browser or browsers you like to use normally like Chrome and Firefox. But sometimes you might want to use Dillo because it refuses to download the Frames and Flash that bloat most websites and will only display the html content, text and photos in vertical order.

Puppy Linux will do High Speed Internet, Wifi and also dialup (though you might need to buy a USB modem if your computer’s dialup modem, if it did have one, is actually and typically a Windows software modem, not a hardware modem.)

Every Windows computer user could benefit from having one to use when (not if, because crash is inevitable) you need to get at your data on the hard drive.

Human Intelligence Is Greatly Overrated

“The flexibility we’ve seen [in dogs] is similar to the flexibility we’ve seen in human infants, [and] human infants are imputed to have an understanding of intentionality,” Hare said. “So if you use the standard applied to human infants, well then it seems like what [dogs] are doing is really quite sophisticated.”

Beyond pointing, dogs also appear to use the direction of human gaze and the placement of physical markers to find hidden food and objects, tasks that apes also struggle with. And earlier this year, Buttelmann and his colleague Michael Tomasello from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, found that dogs seemed to interpret human emotional expressions. In their study, an experimenter would open two boxes, looking at the dog after each with one of three expressions: smiling broadly, neutral face, or making a face of disgust. Though the dogs seemed to have trouble distinguishing happy or disgust expressions from the neutral one, when one box brought the person happiness and the other disgust, the dogs preferred the happy box.

The article quoted above also includes the comments of experts who belittle the mental ability of dogs. These advocates for human exceptionalism are overreaching in my opinion. Typically they refer to thought or some aspect of human thinking as uniquely human. No question, humans have the ability to manipulate words and language and abstract symbols far beyond any other animals. But when the denigrating experts try to define thought or reasoning or a corresponding single word in a way to exclude animals they invariably have to move the goalposts and change the definition when new data comes. What is the point anyway except to claim that humans are exceptional and we all accept that; it is the particular differences that are worth studying and defining with experiments and data, generally differences in degree and not in kind.

This Chicken Tastes Like Feathers!

My grandmother was sitting with me at a table in the dining room of the nursing home where she was living at the time. She was over 100 years old, but still mentally sharp.

To distort a quote from the George Attla movie mentioned in a previous post on this blog: between what she knew and I knew, we got it figured out!

Furry and feathered animals like dogs and chickens have a higher dietary requirement for the sulfur containing amino acids, methionine and cysteine, typically limiting factors in the growth of hair and feathers.

In large commercial chicken farm factories hydrolyzed feathers are added to the animals’ feed formula for the above reason. The acid digested chicken feathers are bought from the chicken slaughter houses and processors, that is, recycled.

Around the time of my grandmother’s astute remark I bought 300 kg of hydrolyzed chicken feathers to feed to dogs. It was cheap. I never used much and this morning put the remainder out on the compost pile. I had forgotten it was there in the corner of the feed room.

Purely random coincidence, I read in the science news yesterday that one of the first signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is impaired taste and sense of smell. Elizabeth McCann (Rogers) at 100 years of age did not have that.

After lunch that day a group of students from the local school were introduced to serenade the senior citizens. They started in on “Don’t tell my heart, my achy breaky heart…” Grandmother was irate at being forced to listen to this moronic earworm song. “No, no, stop! Take them away,” she muttered.

By the way, among her favorite foods were pork, eggs, butter, applesauce, and apple pie made with lard crust. She also was so addicted to coffee that she sometimes had to boil up a new pot at 2 AM to be able to get back to sleep.

Remember now kids, coincidence and association are not causality.