Noilly Prattle: October 2016

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Rebuilding my mid-2009 MacBook Pro

     I retired my old mid-2009 MacBook Pro notebook computer after a re-install of OS X Leopard from the DVD that came with the computer left it pretty much out of date on the Internet and useless. Another reason I put it away is that the keyboard was malfunctioning and I decided to buy a new notebook computer. I did not throw it out, however. 

Core Telephony Trace File Error
        I bought a 2015 Mac Air with OS X Yosemite installed and upgraded it to OS X El Capitan 10.11.6 and that worked fine until recently when Apple came out with a new upgrade to OS Sierra. To make a long story short, I ran into a problem with the Air when I did something wrong with a 500 GB external hard disc that was formatted for Microsoft Windows 8 as a storage device. After trying to format it for the Mac the disc got corrupted and wouldn't load in either computer, the PC or the Air. And I got a dreaded error message on the Air about a “Core Telephony Trace File Error”. After a panic call to Apple Support I re-installed OS X El Capitan and that got rid of the error message.

MacBook Pro (before)
        The experience made me realize how vulnerable a computer can be and thought it would be sensible to have backup machines. I started doing some research on the Internet and found a lot of advice about rebuilding an older Apple computer. Since my old MacBook Pro was just gathering dust I had nothing to lose by experimenting with it and decided to give it a shot.

USB keyboard and mouse (Logicool)
        I read that nothing could be done to upgrade my OS X Leopard but that it was possible to buy a DVD for OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.3 from Apple for around $20 to upgrade from Leopard. I bought a DVD and installed it and then upgraded it to Snow Leopard 10.6.8, from which you can upgrade to later versions the Mac OS X series right up to El Capitan. I had forgotten about the keyboard problem and found that upgrading to Snow Leopard hadn't fixed the problem. I found that my Windows 8 USB keyboard bypassed the Mac 's onboard keyboard and worked fine, so I bought a Logicool USB one for around $20 (including a mouse) from a local shop.

RAM Memory (green cards)
RAM Memory cavity (clips on sides)
        With the USB keyboard and mouse the MacBook Pro worked fine with Snow Leopard since it had only 2 GB of RAM Memory. However, to upgrade to El Capitan 4 GB of RAM Memory are recommended to avoid sluggish performance. Before attempting the El Capitan 10.11.6 upgrade I bought 4 GB of Ram Memory (generic no brand for $34) from another local shop. You can unscrew the back of the Mac and remove the old memory cards and install the new ones. The are easy to remove and install by releasing the clips on each side. They almost pop out. Remove the old ones and pop in the new ones until you hear a click sound indicating that they are properly seated. Screw the cover back on, boot up the computer and check that the cards are properly installed (click Apple logo, open About this Mac and check that Memory is correct).

from 2GB to 4 GB Ram Memory
4 GB RAM memory (2 x 2 GB)

El Capitan [bottom] on Apple Store (Purchases)
      Getting El Capitan from the Apple store can be tricky. I had previously downloaded El Capitan for my Mac Air so Apple still had a record of it. You go to Apple store and click on Purchases. If you have downloaded it before with a valid Apple user account El Capitan will still be there. If it's there just click on it and the download and upgrade will begin automatically.

       So far so good, but I ran into a problem with my Wi-Fi network. Nothing I tried would make the Wi-Fi work with El Capitan. Fortunately, the old MacBook Pro still has a connector for Internet cable and the house is wired for it from before Wi-Fi days when all we had was cable. So, I simply plugged the Pro onto the Internet with a cable, and, voila, I now a have functioning back up computer at relatively little cost.

MacBook Pro (after) 4 GB RAM, OS X El Capitan 10.11.6
USB Logicool keyboard and mouse, Internet cable (red on left)


Monday, October 17, 2016

The Big Con

The View from the Dark Side


There is an odd note in the 2016 Presidential Campaign, something surrealistic about it. It almost seems as though Donald Trump is intentionally try to lose. He can’t be as dumb and clueless as he appears to be or is made out to be by his legions of detractors. Robert di Niro, in an extraordinary video, goes downright rabid in his invective laden denunciation of Trump. (Is he perhaps reliving some of his famous movie roles?) But there are a couple of interesting hints intriguingly laced among his words. He labeled Trump a con man and suggested that he was “gaming society”. Not a great stretch considering Trump’s casino background and other shady business "deals". Di Niro ends up bemoaning the impression “that this country has gotten to the point where this fool—this bozo—has wound up where he has.” The unstated implication being that a vote for Hillary Clinton will turn things around and put the country in the right (no pun intended) direction.


But, what if a wily con man like Trump is, in fact, gaming the system for his own ends—playing the “big con”—Henry Gondorff-style? To what purpose? There were a couple of apparently feeble attempts at “jokes” in the first presidential debate that seemingly fell flat. Hillary made the first stab at humor about “Trumped up trickle-down economics”. Perhaps the incongruity of a Hillary making a joke and the flat delivery of the punch line left it DOA. Moving forward, the Donald made an almost off the cuff remark, not an attempted joke, about how he was going to build some building (a casino?) on Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House, and was going to Washington one way or the other. The remark didn’t resonate much more than Hillary’s lame attempt at stand-up comedy.

            If nothing else, this surrealistic campaign has given Trump a lot of (free) publicity and name recognition way above and beyond what he already had. Being a “deal maker” and businessman as he claims, being a household name would give him enormous advantages for future business deals. What if his whole campaign is a brilliantly organized and executed scam to pave the way for post-election positioning (and financing) for lucrative business deals? We'll never know. The earmark of a successful con, according to Henry Gondorff in The Sting, is that conned persons stay conned. 

             Could it be that he fully intends to “go to Washington” as he hinted in the first debate? Not in the White House (who needs that headache) but in some golden Trump Tower on Pennsylvania Avenue? If so, I betcha he’d be invited over to Hill and Bill’s pad for cocktails! I thought that Bill had a gleam in his eye for Melania at the second presidential debate. And he wouldn't even have to rent the Lincoln Bedroom . . . 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Fake Progressive

The View from the Dark Side

Her supporters will tell you, at rather high decibels, that Hillary Clinton is the “lesser evil” because she is an experienced politician and public “servant”. In spite of much evidence to the contrary they will also tell you that she is a liberal “progressive” politician who cares deeply, deeply about the common man—much evidence in her record to the contrary.

Listed below, from the Infowars website (linked below), is a short list of some of her “accomplishments” (in Latin America) during her tenure as Secretary of State in the first term of the Obama Administration. The list seriously calls into question her claim to the mantle of friend of the middle and working classes. She has consistently undermined progressive socialist Latin American leaders and facilitated a number of right wing coups that led to the establishment of right wing governments of less than democratic persuasion. It used to be said that what was good for United Fruit was good for Latin America. It could be said now that what’s good for Finance Capitalism is good for Latin America. The Latin American fellaheen (in Kerouac’s sense) might beg to differ.

what a Clinton Presidency might look like??


Before Hillary: Under President Nestor Kirchner and his wife Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Argentina’s economy improved and the working class and students prospered.

After Hillary: After former president Nestor Kirchner’s sudden death in 2010, the U.S. embassy in Buenos Aires became a nexus for anti-Kirchner activities, including the fomenting of political and labor protests against the government. Meanwhile, Clinton pressed Argentina hard on its debt obligations to the IMF, also crippling the economy.
Before Hillary: Bolivia’s progressive president Evo Morales, the country’s first indigenous Aymara leader, provided government support to the country’s coca farmers and miners. Morales also committed his government to environmental protection. He kept his country out of the Free Trade Area of the Americas and helped start the Peoples’ Trade Agreement with Venezuela and Cuba.
After Hillary: Clinton permitted the U.S. embassy in La Paz to stir up separatist revolts in four mostly European-descent Bolivian provinces, as well as foment labor strikes among miners and other workers in the same model used in Venezuela.
Before Hillary: Brazil’s progressive presidents, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff, ushered in a new era for the country, with workers’ and students; rights at forefront and environmental protection and economic development for the poor major priorities.
After Hillary: Clinton’s authorization of massive electronic spying from US embassy in Brasilia and consulate general in Rio de Janeiro resulted in a “constitutional coup” against Rousseff and the Workers’ Party government, ushering in a right-wing, CIA-supported corrupt government.
Before Hillary: Ecuador began sharing its oil wealth with the people and the economy and the plight of the nation’s poor improved.
After Hillary: Clinton authorized a 2010 National Police coup against President Rafael Correa. The economy soon plunged as labor disputes wracked the mining and oil sectors.
Before Hillary: Under President Alvaro Colom, the nation’s first populist progressive president, the poor received access to health, education, and social security.
After Hillary: Clinton authorized the U.S. embassy in Guatemala to work against the 2011 election as president of Colom’s wife, Sandra Torres. Colom was succeeded by a right-wing corrupt president who resigned for corruption and then was arrested.
Before Hillary: Emergent multi-party democracy with a populist progressive president, Manuel Zelaya. Children received free education, poor children received free school meals, interest rates were reduced, and the poorest families were given free electricity.
After Hillary: Clinton authorized a military coup d’etat against Zelaya in 2009. Clinton family “fix-it” man Lanny Davis became a public relations flack for the military dictatorship. Resulting fascist dictatorship involved in extrajudicial death squad killings of journalists, politicians, and indigenous leaders followed the “constitutional coup” against Zelaya. During 2012, Clinton ordered U.S. embassy in Tegucigalpa to work against 2013 election of Xiomara Castro de Zelaya as president.
Before Hillary: The country under Fernando Lugo began lifting out of poverty the nation’s rural campesinos and urban workers. Paraguay also began a steady move toward democratization after years of military  dictatorships.
After Hillary: Clinton’s 2012 “constitutional coup” against Fernando Lugo brought back into power the military-industrial oligarchy with the nation’s campesinos being forced back into poverty and repressive rule.
Before Hillary: Under Hugo Chavez, the country provided basic social services to its poorest of citizens. Venezuela also provided discounted gasoline to several Caribbean and Central American countries through the PetroCaribe consortium.

After Hillary: After Clinton allowed the U.S. embassy in Caracas to foment anti-Chavez labor and political protests, the country began to falter economically. After Chavez’s 2012 diagnosis of terminal cancer, the State Department stepped up pressure on Venezuela, crippling the nation’s economy and political system.