The Federation is Going to Hell

Flashback: September 23, 1995

screen-shot-2016-09-30-at-4-11-51-pmLife was so much simpler then. Or was it? Not for the Star Trek Population of three or four quadrants. At the time, I had a friend in the US Foreign Service posted in some obscure country who wasn’t getting to see any of the new shows. There was NO video on the incipient Internet of course. He tried to get his hands on some episodes on VHS (tape), but was hopelessly lost with everything that was going on. So I summarized it for him:

“…By now you’ve probably got your hands on some Star Trek episodes. If not, I have most of the original series (which you probably don’t want), most of TNG. I don’t have much of Deep Space Nine, although I think there have been a few really good episodes on an otherwise dull series.

The new series, Voyager, which I’m not taping, is more like the original. A strong (woman) captain, a mixed crew, even a (black) Vulcan science officer. Lots of action. They’ve been flung out into the unexplored Delta quadrant and are making there way back to the Federation. If they don’t find a better way, it will take them 75 years to get back. At warp speed. Wow. (It might be wishful thinking on the part of the studio that interest in the series will last that long, but who knows?)

Meanwhile, back in the Federation, things are going to hell. Kirk came back from death in “the zone” (or whatever Guinan called it in the “Generations” movie) long enough to team up with Picard against Malcolm McDowell, who is so keen on getting that great high of “the zone” that he’ll kill 200 million people just to get there. Of course they bump Kirk off once and for all—so Paramount can get a new crew to kick around the full length universe. While the two Enterprise captains are trading quips, Riker, that boob, has lost the Enterprise D to a couple of troublesome Klingon sisters, ruling family wannabes, pirates basically (since the Klingon empire is pretty tight with the Federation ever since Kirk managed to get rid of Christopher Plummer in “the Undiscovered Country”). They have to destroy the Enterprise in every movie now. So they do, and well that’s most of the movie.

But wait, there’s more. The politics are just awful! On DS9 Commander Sisko has finally been promoted to Captain, and they’ve given him a battleship called the …oh hell…anyway, which was designed to battle the Borg (Who are no longer a threat since they were totally neuroticized by the virus planted in …, And the misguided leadership of Data’s brother Lore). To make things interesting, every now and then Sisko zips off into the Gamma quadrant to hassle the Dominion, the empire ruled by Odo’s people, the shapeshifters, and their batttle-bred drones, the Jem Hadar.

The Dominion in turn has infiltrated the Federation, and intend to take it over, and the Romulans and the Cardassians too. Speaking of the Cardassians, there’s a secret faction in that empire that is not satisfied with the treaty with the Federation (surprise!), and they’ve been making it difficult for the Federation colonists on the border. Since the Federation has provided virtually no support for the colonists, they have created their own rebel force, called the “Maki” (mach-ee), to protect themselves and force the Cardassians into open warfare that the Federation won’t be able to ignore.

Disgruntled Federation officers have joined the Maki ranks (literally), including Riker’s “brother” (Richard?) who was duplicated from Riker in a bizarre transporter incident, and that Bajoran bitch Ensign Roe, who humiliated Picard by defecting to the Maki while working for him undercover. In fact, the whole Voyager series began because the Federation asked the Voyager (on leave at DS9) to pop over to the Gamma quadrant and track down a Maki ship. Not such a great idea, as it turns out.

No sooner have they popped out of the wormhole, than they get into this nebula and are sucked by some whacko technology from the Gamma quadrant to the Delta quadrant. They find the Maki ship and capture the crew, and since they’re all “lost in space” (remember, we’re talking about a 75 year return trip!) they decide to team up and let the Maki rebels be part of the Voyager crew. (This obviously provides plenty of opportunities for conflict on the ship if they run out of other script ideas. In fact, they already lost one Maki member—another disloyal Bajoran bitch, of course—to some Delta quadrant villain race. The Voyager crew caught her in the act of trying to sell Federation technology, and she managed to escape to the villain’s ship. Think we’ll hear from her again? I’ll bet we do!)

So there you have it. As I say, the Federation is going all to hell. Pressure from the outside, and infiltration and defection from the inside.

Kirk must be rolling over in his grave—or pile of rocks and twisted metal as it were.”

And that’s the way it was…





“Courage”, Innovation, and Headphone Jacks


screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-4-22-08-pmA word about “Courage”:
Phil. Seriously? At this particular date, with all of its significance, the word “courage” applied to the way people use their $600 telephone is a mind-jarring mis-use of English. Is this just another case of pandering to the drama of Ellipticals? They can deal with it. It’s just a freakin’ jack!!

The crazed, emotional rants in advance of the official product announcements were generally from people complaining that they don’t want to give up their wired headphones. You don’t have to give up your headphones. You lose the jack.

Read the details people.

  • The iPhone 7 comes with Apple lightning connector “Earpods”—you connect them to your phone with a “lightning” connector. (The same connector used for your power adapter.)
  • Apple also includes a little “dongle” to connect your current headphones using the Lightning port.
  • This only applies to iPhone 7 and newer Apple devices going forward.
  • For now, you can’t charge your phone and listen at the same time. Wow. Big inconvenience.

iMac 1998—What’s a Big Inconvenience?? The first friggin’ iMac was a Big Inconvenience!
The first iMac was the first Macintosh with USB connectors. Printers? Scanners? Modems? Hey, none of the old stuff worked!! You had to buy all kinds of new cables, adapters, and peripherals. USB was brand new. And mice? Thank you, Jonny Ive, who designed this crazy ROUND mouse (which became known as “the Hockey Puck“) that spawned a whole industry of replacements and add-ons because it was so useless. AND there was no floppy drive to install all the new drivers!! Gone! All those boxes and stacks of 3.5” floppies were now about as useful as…well, nothing. We didn’t call that “courage”, we called that “Steve Jobs fixing Apple”.

As for the new wireless earbuds, airbuds, EarPods, AirPods, whatever…those beautifully designed Dyson-style, GI-Joe sized, mini-hairdryers will only work for people who can put them, and keep them in their ears. I can’t. Love the technology. Hate the shape.

Here I am giving away another brilliant idea again: “Pod Shapers”, a special adapter for the AirPod to hold it on your head because it won’t stay in your ear. Especially for the Boomer market, available in a range of fluorescent colors to make them little buggers easier to find!

To The Whiners—If you really hate Apple roping you into its eco-system and “forcing” you to go wireless and buy airbuds, EarPods…whatever, then go on, buy a Samsung. Just, make sure you also buy a fire extinguisher. 😎



Want a Private Facebook? Try #Slack

NYTimes: A Charming Alternative Universe of You, Your Friends and No News

imageThe Times article (above) tempts with the idea of an alternative to the competitive, super-public, extrovert dominated world of fake friends and insincere “likes”. But, the NYT never seems to escape from that social norm, suggesting instead the candy sweet illusion of Instagram “Stories”.


TechWite says: Try Slack
Do you want a place online where you can share photos, web links, movies, and all that other stuff but not have it smeared with ads, streams of articles and media curated by robots, comments from people you don’t know, don’t remember, or want to forget? Do you want an app where you can have a private conversation (the “DM”—Direct Message—in Twitter becomes a “Private Channel” in Slack) with someone you already know, who is already participating in this place, and where you don’t have to use email to do it? And your team only has members that you want in it. Period.

Not “The Next Big Thing”—Better!
Yea, yea, yea, everyone tells you to use Slack for business, for software development projects, to integrate your two diverse companies that now have to merge their email systems and don’t have a common platform to work on, blah, blah. Blech!! I’m suggesting you, and a small group of real friends who want to plan your next bike trip, group vacation, backpacking adventure, etc. etc., create a Slack Team. Spend a little time and effort figuring out how Slack works. Yes, there are apps for iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, and POWB (plain old web browsers). And sure, there are tons of plug-ins and commercial upgrades and corporate tie-ins, but only if you want them. This is not “The Next Big Thing”—this is the thing you want to use to communicate and stay in touch with your REAL Friends and Family. The basic version is free.

Life is short. Create a team! Have fun!
These links open in a new window:
Create your own Slack Team:
Join the public SlackBITS Team run by our friends at TidBITS:

Tell them TechWite sent you!

BTW: No, I have no commercial, financial, or stock interest in #Slack. But I am open to the possibility!

—Peace Out

Followers, Friends, and Likes. Oh My!! Engagement is a Social Lie.

via And Now, I Unfollow Thee – The New York Times

Take it all “with a grain of salt…”

More help for the Nverts. TechWite dashes another social myth!

The brilliant analysts of Wall Street, looking for better ways to blow more air into the bubble of Social media believe that “engagement” is everything. But what is it?

“Engagement*” – Catch word for ‘user involvement’ –  the popularity of your web site, application, social feed, page, etc. “Engagement” supersedes “eyeballs”: the number of people who looked at a page. Engagement sounds more scientific, and is therefore more useful to analysts, stock brokers, and journalists in declaring the success or failure of an online campaign, and especially in applying a monetary value and potential for advertising revenue. But unfortunately, there is no standard “measure” of engagement. Is it: How many members have signed up? “Daily Views” of a page, or video? **  How many times they ‘click’ from one page to an advertisement? How many “likes” they post for your business on Facebook? How many “friends”, how many “followers”, how many? How many? And how many of those are even real???

Wake up world. This is all vapor. Not even the kind of vapor you can inhale.

Today’s lesson is easy: Whatever anyone tells you about the popularity and massive use of a site, page, or “social network” is probably not (I’m being kind here…) exactly what is going on. Review your own experience with social. You are a VALID user. Your experience is probably not much different than anyone else’s. Think about it:

  • Facebook—In spite of the many ads you can now find all over “your” Facebook, how many times have you ever actually used one of those ads to make a purchase? Have you? Tell me!
  • YouTube, Web Pages, and elsewhere—The pop-up ad on the web page, do you want to see it? Or skip it?
  • Twitter—Poor Twitter. I like Twitter. Do you choose to read Tweets that Twitter inserts in your feed? Do you have any idea where they come from? Can you really keep up with the tweets of the 50 Twitter feeds you follow? 150? 500? Do you think those people who claim to follow over a thousand other Twitter feeds ever even LOOK at the tweets?? How do you feel about being followed by all those robots and porn sites?
  • Instagram – More robots and porn sites. More opportunities to buy followers.
  • Followers – That’s right, you want to have a popular Twitter feed or Instagram?? Buy yourself 10,000 followers. Or more. It doesn’t cost that much.*** We are really talking about a hall of mirrors here.

You can read more about it using the links below. I won’t waste more words. I want to get off my computer now because I have a real book I am reading. One made with paper. Seriously. So, because it means nothing:

  • Don’t follow me on Twitter!
  • Don’t like my Facebook page!
  • Don’t follow me on Instagram!

Peace Out,


(Links below open in a new window.)

*Engagement (Rate)
Trackmaven – Engagement Rate is a metric that measures the level of engagement that a piece of created content is receiving from an audience. It shows how much people interact with the content. Factors that influence engagement rate include users’ comments, shares, and likes. <>

“4 Instagram Analytics Tools for Your Business”, HootSuite, <>

**Daily Views
“Snapchat Video Traffic Has Caught Up With Facebook”, Fortune <>

“Facebook Daily Views get New Metrics”, International Business Times <>

***Buy Followers:
“Big Business: Buying Fake Instagram Followers”, Huffington Post,<>

That VR is so hot right now.


VR is HOT right now. Do you know why? You probably see those goofy goggles and imagine some gamer shooting aliens. That is WAY off. The whole VR world has changed. TechWite helps you understand how.

  • “Old VR” – Think of Google Maps “Street View”—flat, boring…
    • 2D – although you can “move”, the images have no depth.
    • Viewed through a porthole – big screen, little screen, it’s still like a submarine.
    • Controlled manually – by a keyboard, joystick, or game controller. It kind of works, but it’s not like being there.
    • Still images create the 360 degree “dead” world
    • No interaction with anything “in” the images
  • “New VR” – Think of Star Trek TNG’s “Holodeck”—mind blowing, you are there!
    • 3D – What you see has depth, you can see “around” objects
    • It Devours your vision – that’s what those goofy headsets are for- everything you see is part of the VR world. Add stereo sound, and that’s why it’s called “immersive”. You are in it!
    • Controlled by your movement – Turn your head to the right, you see what is on your right in the VR world. Look up, look down, ditto. This alone is a bit of a shock the first time you experience it!
    • Content can be 3D 360 degree video – Want to go for a helicopter ride over Manhattan? Be sure to hold on to something before you look down!

That’s just the beginning. Size, gravity, time – they can’t stop you. Examples:

  • RTVR – Like drones? Be one. Experience flying, in Real Time Virtual Reality
  • Remember Fantastic Voyage? You are now a tiny submarine inside a living human body. Explore the arteries and veins and organs. You see this, and experience it.

There’s so much to learn about this, to think about. Fortunately, the Tech media is all over it. (Links for you, below.) Start reading about it. But no words can do this justice, you must experience it. Get some Google Goggles, get the New York Times app for your iPhone or Android, and download one of the demos. Then take some time to imagine the possibility of experiencing the impossible.


via TidBits On the iPhone, Virtual Reality Is Unofficially Real

via AirWatch Blog  5 Epic Examples of Business Using Virtual Reality

via Google Filed Patent For Injecting A Device Directly Into Your Eyeball To Improve Vision – Forbes —Yes, another suggestion that we are not that far from “The Matrix”.

via Augmented and Virtual Reality: A New Vision – Deloitte CIO – WSJ

via Virtual Reality Therapy: Treating The Global Mental Health Crisis | TechCrunch.

via Samsung Announces Gear 360, a New Virtual Reality Camera – The New York Times.


How to Fix Persistent Apple Calendar Entries

Icon_Calendar1Meetings, appointments, reminders—if you’ve put Apple’s iCloud Calendar to good use for awhile, you probably have lots of old Calendar events, maybe years, maybe decades of old events. You are paying for that storage with your money, and for the processor overhead with your time. And…do you really want the NSA to have access to all this? You should clean it up. It’s the past. Let it go! But how?

This is Apple, so it should be easy, right? Well, yes, but friends, this is one of those rare potholes in the normally smooth road of the Apple ecosystem. Apple will help you hide your old Calendar entries, but we want to DELETE, and just locating information on deleting them requires an epic effort worthy of a Homer narrative. For you, TechWite provides the “Cliff’s Notes” shortcut to the answers:

🙈  The iCloud Ostrich Method


Hide old events in iCloud: Click the Gear icon for Preferences… > Advanced > Old Events. But they are still there.  We want to DELETE and in iCloud, that’s as good as it gets. On your Mac? Back when versions of OS X were named after BIG CATS, there was a similar option in Calendar > Preferences. That option is GONE.

SAre_you_sure_you_want_to_delete_this_event?top Making Sense—Warning: If you manually delete appointments ONE at a time, iCloud will try to send “updates” to all your meeting recipients. You may have hundreds or thousands of entries. Imagine the annoyed responses from old friends, lovers, family, and former work associates asking why you are cancelling a meeting in the PAST?? My advice: If you encounter this issue, and get queries, DON’T RESPOND.

Like the Labors of Hercules! The long, tedious, and frankly annoying search propelled as if by a motivational prophecy from the Delphic oracle—that this should be easier, this should be obvious, and if “The Steve” were here, this simply would not be a problem.

iCloud: Advanced Calendar and iCal troubleshooting

The most common causes for data-based issues with Calendar are:

  • Unreadable or incompatible calendar data.
  • Reoccurring calendar events that have no end date (such as birthdays).
  • Duplicate events.
  • An excess of calendar events that happened in the past (especially those that were previously synced from another calendar client).

Any of these conditions could be the cause of your issues with Calendar in OS X (or iCal) and iCloud.

Well thanks Apple! And in that most important article, Apple explains how to perform all kinds of maintenance on your Calendars, backing up, disconnecting from iCloud and other services, cleaning up, and restoring. I leave that work to you, reader.

…to delete those old entries, I provide the two answers:

  1. Delete Entries in Macintosh Calendar App: In the search bar, type “.“—a single period—and press <Return>. This will produce a search response list of ALL your entries, which you may then select (using the various select options that you know how to use, right?) and <Delete>. (This still has the issue with sending “updates” to recipients, so be careful. Otherwise, go to #2, below.)
    [BTW: Can you do this in iCloud? I can’t even find the Search Bar in iCloud. Where is it??]
  2. Use a 3rd Party Macintosh Calendar Tool: Download a more capable Calendar replacement, or a Calendar utility. These will do the work for you that Apple has abandoned. I recommend BusyCal. You can download the free trial, and use it to batch clean your calendar using their wonderful List View of calendar entries. You may like it so much that you decide to buy it. (I did!)

And there you have it.  Peace Out.—TW


Forecast CLOUDY For IT Jobs and Vendors

AWS_sysadminWake up and smell the drought. IT infrastructure jobs fast evaporating…

via The Morning Download: Cloud’s Impact on Traditional IT Vendors Looks Increasingly Serious, JPMorgan Chase Says – The CIO Report – WSJ

“41.6% of corporate workloads at big companies are expected to be running in the public cloud within the next five years, up from 16.2% today.”

Hey, this is no happy blog post. Techwite wants to help, Techwite wants to be positive. And Techwite also wants to speak the truth. Sometimes that means taking a look at what is happening and discussing it. If that’s not for you, skip this. I’ll have a Tip soon about iCloud Calendars. Otherwise, if you have more information or comments about this post, join in.—TW 

Make no mistake, moving to “the cloud” is part of a trend to shift as much of corporate IT as possible into a commodity subscription service, like electricity.  Billed monthly by volume used, managed offsite, no local server upgrades or software updates, maintained by somebody else. The WSJ article referenced here concerns itself chiefly with the effect on the investment world of mega-cloud vendors Microsoft and Amazon on their smaller rivals Oracle and IBM. But from a human standpoint, your local IT, your local data center, your local administrator, your local Help Desk, THEY (and if you are one of these people, I am talking about you)—ARE ALL GOING AWAY.

“Hybrid Cloud” and “Middleman” Hosting is a stepping stone. You’re company isn’t putting everything in the Cloud? Not yet? Accenture, IBM, Dell—somebody like that—can take care of your local IT administration requirements! They’ll manage your relationship with Microsoft, and for now you can tell everyone you are “going to Office 365” although technically, you’re not. (That would be using Microsoft totally as your host for Office…)

Your IT Infrastructure Director may optimistically tell you, “Don’t worry, we’ll need someone to engage in ‘vendor management‘, someone who understands Infrastructure…, and heck, if you get on well with them, maybe you can work for the hosting vendor!”

If you know your stuff, you can probably point out that your “hosting vendor” is missing the boat with Microsoft Exchange backups, mobile security, a proprietary and non-standard archive solution that “locks you in”, and inefficient mail routing. But how long will that save your job if you are seen as a bump in the road to “the full Cloud”? And will that endear you to your potential new employer? Remember, the CIO wants his IT Infrastructure to be as easy to manage and replace as an iPad.

Meanwhile, the data center/hosting company is getting squeezed on both ends and trying to survive a similar change. How long can they compete with their big brother—and former mentor? Does anyone need a middle man?? Your Account Manager’s boss is telling him, “Don’t worry, we’ll probably get absorbed by Microsoft. And either way, you can probably work for them!”

We are seeing a massive consolidation and centralization of data and processing, and elimination of jobs. In addition to the stripping of jobs as the infrastructure ascends to the cloud, much of the work that was outsourced to cheaper labor sources will soon be automated—think robots and “chatbots“. There are going to be fewer and fewer jobs in IT Infrastructure. (Coincidentally,  last week the Verizon strike provided an example of this shift:  The Verizon Strike Signals a Larger Economic Battle.)

What about the people? The overall trend is clear for companies, especially large companies, and service organizations. But what about at the individual level? The level of the gal or guy in IT today? IT is the “service economy” equivalent of the Detroit factory job in the manufacturing economy of 20 years ago. This is just the beginning. Clearly there will be some jobs in hands-on management of Cloud services, such as AWS, and there is still time and opportunity for corporations and small businesses to hang onto that shred of control. As for other opportunities in IT? Infrastructure is going to shrink drastically or disappear altogether. That leaves software development. Web development, mobile apps, databases. The skills will be needed and they are constantly churning, so those who can stay on top of the latest development trends will likely stay employed.

Many of these trends are going to affect the rest of the economy as well. The Uberization of driving jobs will soon shift to autonomous cars and robot assisted shipping. Even the old saw about finding a job “flipping burgers” will not hold true for much longer. Where will people find work? That I would like to know.

“…we have to make sure that we have the kinds of policies here at home where we provide people with the skills they need to get the jobs that are available in the economy…”
US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, interview with Kai Ryssdal, Marketplace

Yes, Jack, we need to be sure that people are trained up for those jobs. But what are those jobs? And where are they? Where are they?

— Techwite