Thursday, October 30, 2014

Snarky speech, that used to be acceptable in the workplace, now adds to social tensions everywhere, since the Internet can amplify it


The norms of accepted workplace behavior have certainly changed in the past few decades.

I can remember, say in the 1970s and early 1980s, that it was acceptable to make snarky remarks under one’s breath about a lot of things.  For example, race in the NFL.  Or the cosmetic deficiencies of a lot of people (men and women both).  Even given the AIDS crisis of the 1980s, gay people didn’t get the verbal beating in “my” workplaces that a lot of others did.  The civil rights movement and perhaps Stonewall had changed some things.   But comments about a lot of other matters, like obesity, were common and took on a moral tone.
  
The Internet has complicated the “game”.  Now, if one has direct reports, subordinates could determine a manager’s own personal prejudices from his or her social media posts or web content, which I’ve often written about as a big conflict of interest problem.  Now, there is a new dimension to all of this.  If international terrorists are willing to manipulate the most psychopathic and unstable people among us online, a lot of older prejudicial content simply serves as more kindling.  

Monday, October 27, 2014

In Windows 8.1 on the HP Envy, USB ports get disabled mysteriously


My latest fiasco with Windows 8.1 is that on my HP Envy, sometimes the two USB ports on the screen attachment stop working, and sometimes even the base-USB port registers but isn’t recognized by the command prompt, although File Explorer sees it. 

The way I got it to work was to put a camera into the base USB port, use the camera software.  I restart the machine (not cut if off, but actually use the restart tab on the tablet desktop).  I go through the process one more time.  Then all the ports work normally, so far.

Microsoft has a KB, but the hotfix test did not work, as it said my machine wasn’t compatible.  Don’t know why.  Here is the link

One other little thing.  Windows 8 is supposed to close flash drives for you.  In Windows 7, you were asked to close it so you could safely remove it.  Maybe that part of this isn’t working right, as Windows admits that a USB flash drive can become disabled after a device is removed.  But the explanation isn’t very clear as to why.
  
Another oddity is that my Carboniite app somehow got uninstalled.   I re-installed when I went to my account.
   
Does anyone know more about this?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Who pays for lost-income of workers (outside of health care) quarantined by government because of possible incidental exposure? (to Ebola or anything)


Many people are losing income from work as a result of self-quarantine or CDC “controlled movement’ policies because they were on the same flights as Amber Vinson, or sat near her in the Cleveland-Hopkins airport recently.  The New York Times has a story “Life in Quarantine for Ebola Exposure: 21 Days of Fear and Loathing”, link here.

One couple was asked to stay home by their employer after admitting they had sat next to her.  They may be able to work from home.  IT people may be better off than most – but they could be stuck working with their own personal computers and connections, which could result in privacy and security problems at work 
  
A couple of male strippers and erotic novel authors (Axl Goode and Taylor Goode), who look smooth and buffed in photos, sat near her on the plane and place themselves in voluntary quarantine.  But that may seem more necessary if their work brings them into physical contact, however protected, with others.  The UK Mail story is here.
  
And the owner of the bridal shop which Vinson had visited has closed for three weeks.
   
And a Maine elementary school who visited Dallas and stayed ten miles away is told not to come to work, and parents pull kids from a school in Mississippi after the principal visits Zambia. 

The hospital can give its own nurses extra compensation for the disruption of quarantine, as well it should (as part of a probable legal settlement).  The military has already factored hazard into its pay.  But who pays for the lost wages of “ordinary people” for the capriciousness of health department and CDC behavior?  What about businesses that might never recover from a shutdown?   I’m “retired” but I can certainly envision ways of being affected.  And I don’t have the social connections to get “family and friends” (or “fundme” sites on Facebook) to make up for the negligence of others, most of all government.   So much for my perfect-world justice. 

Picture: Japanese chess, or shogi.  

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

More intelligence on random Windows 8.1 freezes


I found a couple more useful forum tips on random Windows 8.1 freezes on some machines.
  
Tom’s Hardware has this link where a user documents what sometimes happens for me – the machine always comes back normally when hitting the power button twice and remembers where it was.  
  
Before freezing, the mouse moves normally but the computer progressively fails to respond to most programs – often starting with caching a simple web browse request. 
  
Linus Tech tips has a forum where a user says that problems come from Windows 8 drivers in a Windows 8.1 environment, link here

There are reports of problems with the runtimebroker (KB2895291) and another KB2883200.    

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Some more clues as to why my Toshiba Satellite could have failed going to Windows 8.1


I have my replacement Toshiba Satellite Radius, which Best Buy provided under extended service contract after Toshiba could not replace the motherboard on my previous model.
  
This laptop is slightly smaller and lighter, and does not have a DVD drive on it’s own, and does not have Ethernet.  If you want those, you use an external DVD drive with USB, and you can get an Ethernet port with USB adapter for about $12 online. A few hotels have Ethernet instead of wireless (still) so it’s a good idea to pack the adapter.
  
I’ve noticed an anomaly in the Windows 8.1 bootup.  The Toshiba innovation welcome screen normally spins a few seconds, the screen goes black, and then a blue “please wait” screen comes up, and then your logon comes up.  It’s pretty fast.  Once in a while the innovation screen stops, but the process still continues normally if left alone.  But on a couple of occasions the innovation screen did not come up at all, but the notification icon for Internet access appeared by itself on a black screen.  

The bootup would not continue until I touched the laptop touchpad, when it would then come up.

This is notable.  When my original satellite failed in August, the Innovation screen had stalled, then gone blank, and usually the Internet notification icon appeared.  But the process did not go further.  But my trackpad had long been acting up, as I was using Logitech wireless.  Maybe if the trackpad had been working I could have booted up and never taken the machine in.  There never was a clear explanation as to the damage, except that maybe the fan had failed and the machine had gotten too hot during the Windows 8 to 8.1 conversion (three hour).
  
It may be important to take good care of a trackpad, particularly Toshiba, and not work on it with fingers made greasy, as from food.
 

The HP Envy has failed twice this week since it came back from Best Buy. Once when playing a Netflix film, it threw a false Hard Drive error.  Upon restart, the computer resumed at almost the exact spot on the video and resumed playing it.  The other time was just a random freeze, and it resumed normal operation upon restarting with the power button (takes very little time).   This seems to be an issue with Windows 8.1 talking to HP firmware and it isn’t solved yet.