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Todd's Blog

  • Todd's Blog has 678 entries (4 private) and has been viewed 2,159,829 times.
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May 6, 2016, 9:57 amSubscribing to Apple Music will delete your files

It looks like this rarely-reported fact is finally getting some mainstream attention.  Check out the article (link below) by a composer who writes that when he subscribed to Apple Music, the service systematically deleted the 122GB of music on his computer — including music he composed himself and rare recordings of various songs.

Apple seems to get a pass on these things in the media, which for some reason is infatuated with the company.  Any other company would be excoriated for doing stuff like this.

I never have, and never will, subscribe to Apple services for reasons like this.  I do not even enable iCloud, other than for backing up my phone.

Microsoft's OneDrive music service and Groove music pass are much better, IMHO.  If you have your own music library, you just copy the music into your OneDrive Music folder (which retains the original files on your PC) and then the service lets you stream that music on any device, including iPhone and Android phones.  That's a free feature of OneDrive + the Groove app, which is pretty incredible.  If you optionally purchase the Groove music pass service you can also stream any music (not just music you own) to any device.


Last Edited: May 6, 2016, 9:57 am

Entry #678
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April 17, 2016, 1:55 pm"Crooked Hillary"

For those waiting to find out the nickname Trump would label Hillary with, you now have your answer.


Entry #677
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March 20, 2016, 5:33 pmWhirlpool is the last American appliance manufacturer


If Donald Trump is not elected, I wonder how long it will be before Whirlpool moves to China or Mexico.

Entry #676
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February 25, 2016, 9:58 amPolitical science professor: 97% chance Trump is general election winner

Good news piling up this morning!  Thumbs Up


A professor of political science at Stony Brook University has forecasted that Donald Trump has a minimum 97 percent chance of winning the general election as the Republican nominee.

Professor Helmut Norpoth's forecast presentation took place Monday evening in the SUNY Global Center in Manhattan, which was organized by the Stony Brook Alumni Association.

Norpoth created a statistical model of presidential elections that uses a candidate's performance in their party's primary and patterns in the electoral cycle as predictors of the presidential vote in the general election.

Donald Trump has a 97 percent chance of defeating Hillary Clinton and a 99 percent chance of defeating Bernie Sanders in the general election, according to Norpoth's formula.

"The bottom line is that the primary model, using also the cyclical movement, makes it almost certain that Donald Trump will be the next president," Norpoth said, "if he's a nominee of the [Republican] party."

Norpoth's primary model works for every presidential election since 1912, with the notable exception of the 1960 election. These results give the model an accuracy of 96.1 percent.

Norpoth began the presentation with an introduction of the potential matchups in the general election, including a hypothetical Sanders vs. Trump general election.

"When I started out with this kind of display a few months ago, I thought it was sort of a joke." Norpoth said referring to Trump and Sanders, as many alumni in the audience laughed. "Well, I'll tell you right now, it ain't a joke anymore."

As the presentation continued, laughter turned to silence as Norpoth forecasted a 61 percent chance of a Republican win in the general election.

This forecast was made using the electoral cycle model, which studies a pattern of voting in the presidential election that makes it less likely for an incumbent party to hold the presidency after two terms in office. The model does not assume who would be the party nominees or the conditions of the country at the time.

"You think 'This is crazy. How can anything come up with something like that?' " Norpoth said "But that's exactly the kind of equation I used to predict Bill Clinton winning in '96, that I used to predict that George Bush would win in 2004, and, as you remember four years ago, that Obama would win in 2012."

Norpoth then added data from the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries to narrow down the forecast to specific candidates. As he brought up the first slide with matchup results, the silence was broken by muttering from the audience.

"Trump beats Hillary 54.7 percent to 45.3 percent [of the popular vote]. This is almost too much to believe." Norpoth said, with a few members of the audience laughing nervously. "The probability of that [outcome] is almost complete certainty, 97 percent. It's almost 'Take it to the bank.' "

The primary model predicts a Trump victory with such certainty due to Trump's relatively high success in the Republican primaries, Norpoth said. Clinton, in comparison, is in an essential tie with Sanders in the Democratic primaries. As a result, Sanders would also lose to Trump in a similar landslide if Sanders were to be the Democratic nominee, Norpoth said.

In contrast, Norpoth forecasted that a hypothetical presidential race with Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio on the Republican ticket would be a much closer race. The results showed Clinton with a 55 percent chance of winning the race against Cruz or Rubio with a 0.3 percent lead in the popular vote.

Norpoth's model showed Sanders losing against Rubio or Cruz with a 0.6 percent gap in the popular vote, giving a Rubio or Cruz ticket a 60 percent chance of winning against the Vermont senator.

Norpoth added that while the non-Trump Republican ticket would be much more unlikely to win the general election due to differences in the popular vote and the electoral college vote, there is almost no chance that Trump would lose the electoral college vote with his forecasted lead in the popular vote.

"If you win by 54 percent [of the popular vote], you have a big majority in the electoral college," Norpoth said. "Nobody who has ever gotten 54 percent has lost."

Entry #675
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January 8, 2016, 11:45 amStill running Windows 8? Time to upgrade, or else

I see from the Lottery Post web stats that many people are still running Windows 8 on their computers.  If you're one of these people, you really need to do the free upgrade to Windows 10.

Here is the link to an article that came out today describing WHY it is so important to upgrade:  http://www.zdnet.com/article/still-running-windows-8-time-to-upgrade-or-else/

You should leave yourself about an hour to do the free upgrade.  When you're ready, go to the following link and get started:  https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10

Last Edited: January 8, 2016, 11:46 am

Entry #674
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April 6, 2015, 7:16 pmNew Microsoft Surface 3

I've been a huge fan of Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 ever since it came out last August.  I purchased one of the Intel i7 models, and it was able to successfully replace my laptop, just as Microsoft claimed it could.

It's an incredible computer/tablet.

Now Microsoft has come out with the Surface 3 (note the word "Pro" missing), which is available for pre-order, and ships in early May.

I was at a Microsoft store in the mall today, and Microsoft has a bunch of the new Surface 3's that you can play with in the store.

All I can say is wow, they have done it again.  The thing is a perfect replacement for an iPad, as the size is very similar, and it's extremely light-weight -- and silent, due to the fact that it is fanless.  And it starts at $499!

While the Surface Pro 3 does offer the ability to be just a tablet when you remove the keyboard, the new Surface 3 is that tablet you can just chuck in a bag to read a book someplace, and easily lounge around on the couch and surf the Internet on.  The fact that it is so light and portable makes it even more amazing that the thing is a full Windows computer also, able to run anything that a desktop PC can run.  And the screen is spectacular -- great colors and better than HD (1080P) resolution.

Now, I love Apple hardware, particularly the iPad and iPhone.  But the thing I hate about Apple products is the operating system.  I really dislike how Apple forces you to use everything within their "walled-off" ecosystem, and if Apple doesn't specifically allow something on their devices, you're out of luck. 

You have some music on your computer that you want to put on your iPhone or iPad?  You practically need to be a rocket scientist to get it into iTunes and then synchronized onto your device.  It's great for Apple, because it "forces" people to buy their music through Apple's store, but not so great for users who want to be able to use what they already have.

So the fact that Microsoft is starting to make really terrific products that can match (and exceed) what Apple has out there is great news for me -- one step closer to living Apple-free!

Last Edited: April 6, 2015, 7:17 pm

Entry #673
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August 27, 2014, 10:45 am64-bit version of Google Chrome finally available

Google has finally released a 64-bit version of its Chrome web browser.  Also included in the latest release is improved font rendering, meaning that text appears much crisper, especially on high resolution displays.

They do make it a little tricky to upgrade to the 64-bit version though.  It doesn't automatically upgrade from 32-bit to 64-bit.

To do it, you need to re-install the browser, which is not as bad as it sounds.  Here are the steps:

  1. Go to the Google Chrome download page for 64-bit Windows
  2. Download and do the install (pretty simple)
  3. Restart the browser after the install is complete
  4. After restarting, to verify that you are running the 64-bit version, click "About Google Chrome" in the main menu, and you should see the version number as "Version 37.0.2062.94 unknown-m (64-bit)"
Entry #672
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April 5, 2014, 8:50 amHow wolves changed an entire ecosystem

This video, less than 5 minutes long, is pretty incredible.


Entry #671
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March 3, 2014, 9:56 pmSwitching back to Internet Explorer

After using Google Chrome as my daily Web browser for the last few years, I'm now switching back to Internet Explorer, at least for a while.

Chrome is a fantastic Web browser, but as of the past few versions, something is wrong. 

I always keep many tabs open, because during the day I constantly need to switch to various Web pages.  It's part of my work stream.

The problem is that Chrome seems to have developed some memory problems -- or something like that.  I have gotten to the point where I need to restart the browser at least once a day, just to "clear out the gunk".  I restart the browser and all of those dozen tabs or so are running snappily again.  And then they start slowing down until I need to restart again.

So it's back to IE.  I'm now using IE 11 running on Windows 8.1.

IE11 has most of the features that I love about Google Chrome.  Mainly the ability to automatically syncronize bookmarks, settings, and tabs between computers.  Plus at this point it's just as fast as Chrome, and it supports most of the same modern Web standards -- so you won't have to be left in the stone ages anymore.

And now that I mention syncing bookmarks and such, I should mention that's one great feature about Windows 8.1:  complete intergration of SkyDrive (which has recently been renamed to OneDrive).  What a great service.

Everything is setup to be able to automatically save to the "cloud", which is like an extra hard drive attached to your computer, except it's stored on the Internet.  So you never need to worry about losing your documents in SkyDrive, because Microsoft automatically backs everything up.  And because it's stored in the "cloud" you can access all of your files on any computer instantly.  The IE11 Web browser uses SkyDrive (OneDrive) behind the scenes to automatically syncronize all your bookmarks, settings, tabs, etc.

So I guess we'll see how this works out.  Who knows, maybe I'll be back on IE for a few years.

Entry #670
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January 30, 2014, 1:10 pmMitt Romney the front runner for 2016? I hope so!

He may have lost the 2012 election, but I am still as firmly convinced today as I was back then that Mitt Romney has the potential to be a truly great US president.  It would be rare to see a candidate come back for another run after a general election loss, but in my view it would be most welcome.


Entry #669
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August 22, 2013, 10:25 amYour perilous future on Windows XP

If you are still using Widnows XP on your computer, you need to read this article.  Especially if you are under the impression that you don't need to upgrade because "you don't need new features", or because "it works fine right now as it is", or any other reason.


Entry #668
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July 11, 2013, 9:05 amBest product demonstration of 2013

How many times can you say "WOW"?

The best part?  You can buy it now right here!

Last Edited: July 11, 2013, 9:08 am

Entry #667
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May 6, 2013, 11:37 amVideo: How the new Corvette interior was designed

This is a really interesting presentation that shows how the new C7 Corvette interior was designed, starting early on with sketches, and proceeding to clay and real material mockups.  There is a great amount of detail in the second half in the Q&A part.  It sounds like the audience is made up of dealers who want to know the details.

Entry #666
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April 22, 2013, 3:53 pmeBay letter points out dangers of proposed internet tax law

The Democrats in the US Senate are scheduled to introduce Internet tax legislation that will be extremely harmful.

Can you image trying to sell something on eBay, and then getting audited by some lawyer on the other side of the country because you didn't collect and pay sales tax?  Get ready:  if this thing passes, that's what you'll get.  Everything sold on the internet will be taxed, and, like always, it's individuals and small businesses that will be broken by it.

Here's the letter I received today from eBay:

•  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  • 

Congress is considering online sales tax legislation that is wrongheaded and unfair, and I am writing to ask for your help in telling Congress "No!" to new sales taxes and burdens for small businesses.

Whether you're a consumer who loves the incredible selection and value that small businesses provide online, or a small-business seller who relies on the Internet for your livelihood, this legislation potentially affects you. For consumers, it means more money out of your pocket when you shop online from your favorite seller or small business shop owner. For small business sellers, it means you would be required to collect sales taxes nationwide from the more than 9,600 tax jurisdictions across the U.S. You also would face the prospect of being audited by out-of-state tax collectors. That's just wrong, and an unnecessary burden on you.

Big national retailers are aggressively lobbying Congress to pass online sales tax legislation to "level the playing field" with Amazon. And, as they compete with big retail, Amazon is advocating for this legislation too, while at the same time they are seeking local tax exemptions across the country to build warehouses. This is a "big retail battle" in which small businesses and consumers have a lot to lose. But eBay is fighting, as we have for more than 15 years, to protect small online businesses and sellers and ensure healthy competition, value, and selection that benefit consumers online.

The solution is simple: if Congress passes online sales tax legislation, we believe small businesses with less than 50 employees or less than $10 million in annual out-of-state sales should be exempt from the burden of collecting sales taxes nationwide. To put that in perspective, Amazon does more than $10 million in sales every 90 minutes. So we believe this is a reasonable exemption to protect small online businesses. That's what we're fighting for, and what big companies such as Amazon are fighting against.

I hope you agree that imposing unnecessary tax burdens on small online businesses is a bad idea. Join us in letting your Members of Congress know they should protect small online businesses, not potentially put them out of business. Click here to make your voice heard. Together, I believe our voices can make a difference.


John Donahoe
President and CEO
eBay Inc.

Entry #665
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April 22, 2013, 12:31 pmVideo describes how Internet works

This is a pretty cool description of how a web page is delivered on the Internet.

It's cool because it makes the process fairly easy to picture, but in reality it is much more complex for a sophisticated site like Lottery Post, because a web page doesn't just come from one server, and there are dozens or maybe even hundreds of "round trips" like the one described in the video to dozens of servers for every web page you see.  For example, the web page you are viewing right now has elements that come from perhaps a dozen different servers from several companies.

A large part of my job is knowing how all these "pathways" for data and images from different servers will be requested for each page, and structuring the pages and requests so as many can happen as possible at the same time, in order to reduce the amount of time it takes for a page to assemble and load.  Also, I try to structure pages so that the minimum number of requests can happen before a page can be shown to you and you can start to use it, even when there are parts of the page that have not finished loading.  That's why you may see the browser's "loading" icon (a spinning icon) continue to spin even after you see the page for the first time.

Entry #664
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