First Post From Mint!

Hi All!

I am back in business. I now have Linux Mint 19 Codename Tara Version Cinnamon installed on my new HP Laptop. Everything is running completely smoothly now (including the WiFi – it was just a matter of finding the correct source code to install the proper driver for the AMD Ryzen chipset).

I can already tell this is going to be an excellent change. The OS is so fast, so responsive and so simple I feel like I’ve been taken back 20 years in time! I’m only 31 but I appreciate beauty in simplicity and function when I see it. This definitely delivers that.

Anyway, I need to get back to work but I figured you all would be interested to know that. All is well.

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An Update to the Comment Policy

Again, I really don’t like to have to institute formal comment policies, but I’ve had to once before and it’s mostly kept the assholes at bay. Alas, I still get one every now and then (such as the current one) so I need to make a modification to said policy to tighten it up and impose harsher penalties for the relentless ones.

In case those outside of WordPress didn’t know, the blogging software tracks IP addresses from all commenters. The most recent thorn in my side is a little odd – it’s someone (probably a student) from the University of Arkansas Medical School. See here:

ip1

Which brings me to the update to the policy. The same three strikes rule will still apply as previously listed on the page Comments: Read Me First. However, this will also apply: to those who comment through an educational institution or through a company email/ISP, your institution or company will be notified of your harassment. For those who are through a regular ISP, depending on the severity of the offense, your ISP will be notified.

In the case of the offender above, UAMS has already been notified so they can take the disciplinary action they see fit to dish out for the abuse of their electronic communication conduct standards, if applicable. We’ll see who gets the last laugh here.

So with that, let’s all be nice and get along. Most of you are great. It’s just the few bad apples that make me have to implement such policy.

Some content on this page was disabled on March 30, 2019 upon receipt of a valid complaint regarding the publication of private information. You can read more about WordPress.com’s private information policy here:

http://en.support.wordpress.com/private-information/

First Post From macOS Mojave and First Impressions

So this is officially the first post from my computer after it got a nice little upgrade – macOS 10.14 codename “Mojave” was released yesterday and I’ve always been one to stay up to date with the latest and (sometimes not-so) greatest OS versions so I naturally jumped all over it.

So what are some stand-out features for me, the light-to-average user who occasionally does some heavy duty stuff? Well the first thing I noticed after installation was how much faster the boot sequence was. Though not nearly as fast as the new Macs with either solid state drives of PCIe storage, my Mid-2012 13″ MacBook Pro (with aftermarket 320GB SATA hard drive, 2.5 GHz Dual Core i5 and 8 GB RAM) booted up in a reasonable amount of time, compared to High Sierra which I dreaded doing cold boots from as it took forever.

I also noted some very definite performance gains – Apple seems to have lightened the operating system quite a bit. The responsiveness of my computer is much better and I’m not stuck staring at that dreaded pinwheel hardly at all. Looking at my SystemPal, it seems like the “wired” RAM (i.e. the part that is used by the OS’s base operation) stays well below 2 GB constantly:

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Compare this to the high 2.x to low 3.x range from High Sierra. This probably speaks to a majority of the performance gains.

For other features, Siri seems to be a little more refined and the native Apple apps have been updated to be compatible with what is in my opinion the coolest feature of this iteration, which we will get to in a minute. Before I get there though, I will say I also absolutely love “stacks” – it brings the functionality of stacks/groups that is found in iOS to macOS. It really helps keep clutter down, which is what makes this so nifty.

Now, before I get to the greatest feature of this OS, I think I should first talk about what annoys me. The big annoyance is that Safari still sucks the big one. Safari has always sucked, but it REALLY sucked in High Sierra. Every time I would try to launch it the computer would freeze. I don’t have that problem here but it does still take a big performance hit and it’s slow and clunky as always. As such, I’ll continue to use alternative browsers. I typically use Chrome for everyday use with Firefox for my 3D CAD software as Chrome just doesn’t run it smoothly but Firefox is a CPU hog so it’s not a good option for “light-to-medium” browsing. The other thing is that it still has the lackluster dock of 10.10 on. I miss the 3D Dock that was in OS X 10.9 and earlier. Not a huge deal as I use cDock to theme the dock.

So with that, the moment you’ve all been waiting for! What’s the greatest feature about macOS Mojave? Here it is…

THE NEW DARK THEME!!!!

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Isn’t that absolutely awesome? It’s so much easier on the eyes and it just looks cool. Dark background on light lettering? It’s a thing of beauty. I absolutely loved this sort of lighting scheme when Google debuted it on YouTube – I now run that in dark mode in all my browsers so its’ good to see Apple incorporate the same look into their OS. This would have been worth the upgrade alone, but of course everything else adds some icing to it.

So would I recommend upgrading? If you’re running High Sierra it’s a no-brainer. High Sierra is to Apple as Vista was to Microsoft – it was absolutely terrible in every way (bloated, slow, ugly, clunky, resource hog, etc.).  For earlier versions of Mac OS X/macOS; probably not a huge jump but the eye candy is quite nice.

Please keep in mind I’m not a tech expert so my words should be taken with a grain of salt, but for me, I quite like this change.

How Social Media Has Benefited Me as an Autistic Person

So many are all up in arms preaching about the evils of social media. They talk about how people spend too much time on social media, how they post too much on social media and how political or religious discussions often go sour and ruin friendships and even marriages. Of course, taken to the extreme anything is bad but as someone on the autism spectrum and a generally socially anxious/introverted person I have to say social media and the blogosphere have been a huge blessing for me.

Let’s take as an example one of my newest local friends, “Laura.” She’d seen me comment on a lot of news stories on Facebook but always kind of admired from a distance. She might have replied to me a time or two but nothing major. Well a few months ago she said she saw me in person, describing me as a “majestic creature” (LOL right?) wearing short shorts and could have sworn it was me but didn’t want to say anything for fear of repercussions. Well, I’ll just let you look at that exchange:

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Well I guess she never saw my reply but needless to say that was August and she hadn’t said anything to me since then, until this past Tuesday. I was having a debate on the ethics of suicide on a local news station’s page and she chimed in as follows:

screenshot_2016-10-28-08-41-29_1

Well I wrote her that Tuesday but didn’t hear back until the next day (expected it as Facebook screens PMs from non-friends). Well as we started talking we immediately bonded and in just two days we’ve become really close friends.

Now, what does this have to do with how social media has benefited me as a spectrumite? Well, if it was a direct face-to-face encounter for the first interaction I doubt I would have opened up so easily. There’s always that fear of judgment and my slight social awkwardness and tendency to get snappy and defensive (not on purpose mind you) when sensitive subjects come up. I imagine puts a lot of people off even if I do decide to open up to them. The computer screen at least provides a little bit of a buffer to tame that.

A vast majority of my real-life friends were Facebook (or MySpace back in the day) friends before we ever met in person. I can’t say I’ve met any of them real-life first and I likely would never have reached out to them (or vice versa) otherwise. My social anxiety would prevent me from reaching out to them and my initial shyness and introversion would put them off. As they got to know me with the initial buffer of a computer screen it allowed them to see past my social awkwardness and anxiety.

Then of course the blogosphere goes without saying. I love all of my WP followers and friends and I’m glad to know you even if just through blogging. Of course, if any of you do want to get to know me more on a personal level you are free to friend me on Facebook or email/chat with me (contact info on the home screen side bar). If not for you all I wouldn’t have many friends at all.

It’s a tough world for those of us on the autism spectrum so anything to make our lives easier and/or better is a good thing, and social media has definitely made my life better. Sure, as with everything it has its drawbacks but I wouldn’t be where I am today without it and without you all.

Can I Ever Catch a Break?!?!?!?

I swear at times it seems like I have the absolute worst fucking luck. It pisses me off so much. It seems like every time something goes a little bit right for me it turns around and goes a lot wrong.

Case in point: my new car. After 11 years of driving a beaten up hunk of junk and sinking countless hours and dollars into repairs (a lot of which I did myself), I finally got the opportunity to get into a brand new car. After doing extensive research I narrowed it down to a few top contenders and went on the search and I found what seemed to be a perfect match for me: a 2015 Ford Fiesta with 1.0L turbocharged 3-cylinder “EcoBoost” engine. It was deeply discounted due to being a year model old already (but still brand new) and a manual transmission (which nobody knows how to drive anymore – at least in the US) and as such it was too good of a deal to pass up. I had to drive a fair ways to get it, but it was like it was just meant to be.

Let’s just say one thing – I pretty much love this car. It’s fun to drive and gets fantastic fuel economy (I average 38-39 combined MPG and I’ve gotten as high as 44 MPG highway). It’s not the fancy high-end Fiesta or anything, but it’s got plenty of features for me. I’m a simple guy with simple taste after all. I have no wife, no children and will never have either so I don’t need a “family” car – just something big enough to haul myself and my musical instruments around as needed.

Anyway, so it comes times for my oil change a couple of weeks ago. The owner’s manual recommends 10,000 mile oil changes or whenever the so-called “intelligent oil life monitor” alerts you that you need to change your oil (the IOLM monitors your driving habits to suggest when an oil change is needed as opposed to a set interval which is pretty much meaningless). Well as I neared 10,000 miles I still hadn’t gotten the warning and another week’s worth of driving would have put me past so I just decided to get the oil changed. No problem right? Well that’s when things started going horribly wrong.

So the owner’s manual has a reset procedure for the oil monitor right? I follow it verbatim and it doesn’t reset. Well, I figure it must have to trip before you reset it. So I wait and it doesn’t trip for another 500 miles – 250 miles beyond the maximum oil change interval of 10,000 miles. That’s the first indication something wasn’t right. The next one came when I followed the reset procedure again without success. Took it to the dealership two days later and they tried to reset it and that didn’t work.

So I got to looking and there is a service bulletin regarding the oil life monitor on my particular make, model and year model. Great – I have the solution right? Wrong.

I take it into the dealership this morning to have the powertrain control module and instrument panel control system reprogrammed as per the recommendation of the bulletin and guess what? All my software is up-to-date, which means there is something else wrong that they have no clue. They asked me to leave the car there while they try to find a fix and I have to go out of town this week so that wasn’t an option so I’m stuck with that stupid oil light until I can take it back to them or find a dealership in Houston to leave it with for a few days while I’m down there.

I swear, there’s always a fucking catch for everything. Like why can’t something good happen without a setback for once? I have the worst luck ever and I don’t understand why.

At what point does one give up hope? At what point do you just throw in the towel, say “fuck it” and end it all? How much more bullshit am I supposed to take?

I hate this, man.