Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Archive for the category “Miscellania”

Left Without a Scanner to Stand On

Preciousssss! Mine’s perpetually coated with dust, but the touchscreen-style controls across the top surface don’t care. They visibly appear only when they are able to be used for what you’re doing. Otherwise, there’s only an entirely blacked out disc, the main power button, and the display, which folds back flat. A door swings up like a drawbridge to seal off the front.

There’s always something disappointingly inevitable when updates to the operating system on a computer wind up leaving some gizmo that you use back in the dust. You know, some kind of clever device that works great until suddenly it is no longer compatible with your computer. For example, printer manufacturers eventually abandon the high road for their “obsoleted” models, though the computer’s operating system itself often takes over for basic printing functions. Sure, they all kick out some new drivers, updated software or firmware for a few years, but eventually, the party’s over. You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.

The party’s over a lot sooner with scanners, especially when a built-in flatbed scanner is built into an “All-in-One” unit. That abandonment happened early in my case, since my 2010 Canon Pixma MG8120 lost its ability to scan 35mm film (using Canon’s software) a long time ago. An update to High Sierra (MacOS 10.13) clinched the deal, with the scanner part being left for dead by Canon. That’s not the best, since I’ve just loaded up on inkjet cartridges for it – it uses 6 of them at a time – and mechanically, it’s been the most problem-free inkjet printer I’ve had since my HP 500 B&W printer back in the 1980s.

The changes within High Sierra are significant enough to throw a wrench into a lot of third-party software, Canon’s included. But the only market that Canon pays attention to are the Read more…

The Glock Model 23


A Glock Model 23 in .40SW.

A Glock Model 23 in .40S&W. It’s considered to be mid-sized.

Part of my opportunity to evaluate three different pistols, one after the other, while at the Silver Island Mountains near Wendover, Utah included an Austrian-made Glock Model 23, a semi-automatic (self-loading) pistol in the .40 S&W (Smith & Wesson) caliber. (It is common for a given caliber of ammo to include a qualifier after it, since multiple purpose-driven variations often follow which are not interchangeable.) This Glock was a Gen4 (Generation 4) version, which is the latest. Apart from an internal spring change for longer service life, the Gen4 is mechanically similar to previous versions except for some ergonomic improvements. Those include a size-adjustable grip assembly as well as equal adaptability for left-handed people. That may make me yawn, but if I were a lefty, I’d suddenly think it was a very big deal.


Glock, as a brand, is heavily used by military, security agencies, and law enforcement agencies throughout the world, including about 65% of U.S. law enforcement agencies. It initially gained publicity in the 1980s as the infamous “plastic gun” that would surely sail through airport metal detectors and jeopardize the lives of thousands of American citizens, according to the popular press. It garnered lots of attention and sold a lot of newspapers by hyping fear and chaos, but the truth is that the frame itself is polymer, while the barrel, slide, and internals are steel – because they have to be. Glock sidearms have become so popular not because of misleading articles, but because of Read more…

New Name, Same Game

What’s in a name? Since I want to upload a special audio file to this blog, the only way to do that with as my webhost is to change my free “” account into a Personal Pay to Play account that costs $48/year. That also provides other perks of course, one of them being a new domain name of my choice, should I prefer that. Uploading audio files used to be in the free plan, as were plugins. But I guess that came to be viewed as less economically viable than charging money for them. A portion of businesses sometimes take their modus operandi from drug dealers, and the rest of the time from pirates.

I chose “” as the new web address. You can probably see that up above, in the web address window of your browser. That address change doesn’t alter anything you have to do to get here, because the old name and old links out there simply redirect all inbound traffic to the new web moniker automagically. Functionally, it makes no difference – except to me. Now I can better clog this Internet Tragedy with even stupider content than I could before, and in greater quantity. What more could one ask?

Introducing: Team Shoestring

Now that some of us will soon be recovering from injuries received over the Christmas dinner table, whether digestive or emotional, I present something which will almost certainly damage your psyche. That is the reassembled promotional website of Team Shoestring. So let me refer you to the diabolical Team Shoestring blog page that currently contains a half-hour audio recording called “The Team Shoestring Updates”. I plan to expand this page over time with a little of the pictorial shenanigans originally depicted on the original Team Shoestring website. I’m undecided as to whether that’s a promise or a threat, so you be the judge. As I do so, more of the topic titles on that page will be changed into active links which lead to their own special pages.

Backstory: Actually, you need this in order to have the anything on that page make any sense at all, particularly the “Team Shoestring Updates” audio recordings. This is a blatantly ridiculous promotional scheme that goes back to Read more…

Merry Christmas!

In the true spirit of the holiday, at least as we practice it here at Rancho Begley…


But personally, I have minimal expectations this year, as always.

It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again!

The Bridge of the USS Defiant as it was in 2013. It’s pretty much the same now, except for a thick layer of paperwork needing to be scanned or otherwise dealt with.

I’ve got this big-screen iMac, circa 2009, and it’s proven wonderful both for critically editing and cleaning up film photographs to make art prints, and also simply to be able to work on one document while another reference source is on the screen right beside it. Its screen sharpness is fabulous, which makes me wonder why Apple later upgraded it to just barely beyond the visual limits of human eye resolution. Apart from being a marketing brag, what’s the practical use for all that extra cost? No matter. I was pleased to be able to concentrate on my workload rather than have to frequently troubleshoot why my computer suddenly couldn’t find my printer.

Regardless, the iMac has been a real workhorse right up until Apple emailed me in 2013 that too many of the special Seagate hard disk drives (HDD) they use were failing, and would I please take my iMac to one of their authorized service centers for an HDD replacement at no charge. I found this notable because they knew I was several months out of warranty and Read more…

Quiet Miracles

I suspect that it’s normal to compare current medical knowledge in relation to that of the past, and when that takes place, the new knowledge always seems to shine. I mean, we’re so much smarter now, aren’t we? Not like those stupid and superstitious fools who once practiced medical philosophy instead of medical science. Those are the inferences I detect whenever I hear the same old refrains. For example, it’s always popular to deride the medical practices of centuries ago by citing the practice of bleeding with leeches. That’s often used as a cudgel in arguments, even though bloodletting is still used today as a corrective measure for iron overload, a condition which most commonly results from a genetic mutation in people of Celtic, English, and Scandinavian descent. It has been proposed that the relatively high numbers of people with this mutation in those groups came about from the mutation being a helpful factor in surviving the plagues. On the downside, this genetic predisposition to iron overload also popularizes cardiomyopathy (heart failure and the like), arthritis, cirrhosis of the liver, and diabetes along with it. Whenever someone with iron overload came into play, the ancient practice of bloodletting suddenly validated the procedure, and it usually needed to be done on a regular basis. Unfortunately, since that benefit only applied to a mysterious subset of people, and a knowledge of why it helped was limited to preexisting philosophy and deductive reasoning based on observation, it appeared to simply validate bloodletting as worth a shot for anyone suffering from anything. The only problem was that they could only theorize about why it worked, and in whom.

Perhaps, as we get older and more exposed to modern medical practices and philosophies, it’s normal to begin to detect some cracks in the seamless veneer of modern Medical Science. I think we’re still in the medical Dark Ages, but I say that because Read more…

The Busy Bee Syndrome

In the same way that a 1960 Cadillac is a motorcar, this vintage Holiday Rambler Aluma-Lite travel trailer brings a touch of magnificence to the concept of Wretched Excess. I’ll have to ask what length and year it is, but it looks like 33′ at perhaps 10,000 pounds loaded. Unlike the prestige nameplates of today, in its prime the quality of Holiday Rambler materials and construction was high, and upscale meant more than gewgaws posing as “amenities”. The brand has since been bought and sold a few times, and the current owner manufactures only motorhomes now.

It really has been an activity scramble here, more so than upon arrival “home” in past years. I’ve been reviewing what has and hasn’t worked out well on the road, then researching each area and addressing it in some fashion. That review ranges from rig hardware, devices and software, to myself. The Four Wheel pop-up truck camper itself was notable for its pronounced absence of issues and inconveniences. The solar system I added on worked, yet didn’t perform as hoped for. I’ll detail that once I physically fix the problem.

The Corsair Voyager Slider X1. Read speeds are okay, but God help you when you need to write data to it. And this is the replacement I received when the original scrambled and went unreadable two weeks in.

My laptop, used among other things to edit and store photos and videos, was positively glacial in how fast it could call up, process and transfer data files. That was my doing, because I’d been having to rely on using an external USB3 thumb drive as the hardest working drive, the internal drive being very fast but too small in capacity to hold all that’s needed. The USB drive proved fine for simple file transfers, but when thrashed hard while programs pulled and pushed data to “live” libraries, it suffered constipation (not to mention abdominal cramping and gas) from the get-go. Simply closing or quitting my photo editing program took minutes for it to button itself up, instead of seconds. Sorting through some halfway affordable solutions took quite some time, as did the “how-to” of replacing a main drive with no risk of losing anything. (Hint: always have a Plan B available for when Murphy’s Law kicks in.) Updating the operating system in a majorly way sometimes causes one or two third-party programs to Read more…

The Evolution of Thanksgiving

Relevant dates in this holiday’s history.

As with most U.S. holidays, Thanksgiving slowly morphed into something that more accurately reflects our priorities and culture. In the year 1620, the Mayflower landed in a small bay just north of Cape Cod. Aboard were Pilgrims fleeing religious persecution in England. Well…they were, but we skipped a step in recounting events. In 1534, England broke ties with the Pope and the Catholic Church. The reasons were not so much religious as they were marital and political. King Henry VIII resented the Pope’s interference in his unusual string of serial monogamy. He instituted the Church of England, to which Protestant reformers flocked. They were later called Puritans, because they hoped to purify the new Church of traditions and practices which they considered to be unBiblical.

Here’s a newspaper’s account of Washington’s proclamation.

Well, progress in that effort was molasses slow, and eventually a small separatist group emerged from the Read more…

Ups and Downs

Yup, my mousepad needs a good scrub, but I smile every time I look at it!

I made it to Wellton yesterday, where my travel trailer is parked! The summer bake was not kind to the Defiant, among other things. After unloading all the junk clogging its main aisle and setting it on the concrete patio, I found that the overhead living room lights no longer work, and a change of bulbs had no effect, so that will probably come down to trying to locate a similar fixture, assuming that its rather cheesy slide switch is deceased. More significant is that an apparent windstorm from the east ratcheted the forward roof vent fully open, but I was able to crank it closed again without difficulty. The rearward roof vent over the bathroom, however, was not so fortunate. That one, being just a couple of years old, opened and then Read more…

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