Thursday, March 31, 2016


As a progressive independent I like Bernie Sanders. I’m reluctant to vote for him because I don’t see he’ll be an effective and productive president, and his lack of international and diplomatic experience, focusing on national interests which would greatly benefit the vast majority of, concerns me. With the Republicans in control of the House of Representatives and maybe the Senate, if they hold it which is promising but questionable, he wouldn’t get any of his agenda through into law.
What I like about Sanders is that he’s awakened the younger generation and many older people who have felt forgotten and left out of the progress of this country. He’s right about what needs to be done to move us forward. He’s the best advocate for rebuilding the middle class, the nation’s infrastructure, our education system, protecting the environment, and ensure the future of government programs.
It’s sad so many white people don’t see this to realize how much he and the democrats are far better for them than the republican politicians. But we know many of them vote against their own self-interests because they vote for other reasons than to improve their lives. They vote on religious ideas and the perceived view of what we are as a country. They don’t see the reallity of the consequences of their votes.
That said, I can’t say I like Hillary Clinton. Despte her political statements, she’s a conservative democrat, who has taken in a lot of personal and campaign money from the big banks, financial and investment companies and Wall Street and has more hawkish views toward solving many international crises than President Obama, who hasn’t, in my view, done enough. Clinton worries me she’ll mire us more in places we don’t need to have such a large presence.
I think she’ll make the more effective and productive president than Sanders, and while she won’t push far enough against changing things for working people and against corporations, she has the skills to get more done. And as much as I’d like to see a more traditional democrat as the candidate, someone between Sanders and Clinton, that won’t happen, but Clinton will make the better candidate in the general election and president.
Sad as that realization is, it’s a lot better than any of the Republicans. It’s the reality of this election. As much as the supporters for Sanders want, they effort strikes me as more quixotic as happened with George McGovern in 1968. Great ideas but not good politics.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

When Everything Fails

I've written my problems with my digestive system and an undiagnosed unidentifed bacteria infection or overgrowth, ad naseum to myself and likely readers here. I've also been reading the last few years about the concern to decrease the use of anti-biotics for conditions which don't warrant them.

And now I've reached the point, the problem isn't going away on its own, and a few times a month flares up to be a problem for a few days before the body comes around to fight it and get it back in check, but it hasn't gone away now for 18 months.

Really, a year and a half. I've had all the test gastroenterologists can conduct to identify the bacteria, but research has shown me that unless it's a physical problem in the digestive system that's obvious from tests, meaning shoving things inside you, or from tests pushing concoctions through the system, they're effectively clueless.

That's because there are so many types of bacteria in your digestive system, many good, some innocuous and some bad, that bacteriologists don't know them, only the ones they know cause problems. All the bacteria samples sent to two labs come back, "aggregate bacteria", like that helps anyone.

And that's where I reached the point there is no treatment outside of a universal anti-biotic they can't, or won't, prescribe because, despite all the symptoms it's an infection causing persistent flu-like symptoms along with physical and digestive problems, they don't have a diagnosis to get anti-biotics approved.

Yeah, they need a diagnosis, for their profession and health insurance coverage. They can't prescribe anti-biotics without good medical evidence or reason. Some gastroenterologists suggested, even recommended, "other" treatments, all of which have failed.

I've been through 4 probiotics, 2 enzymes, and 3 health or naturopathic supplements, all of which were short-lived and then made conditions worse, but none did anything against the bacteria. I've effectively run out of options via health or naturopathic sources that people have suggested or I've read about.

This only leaves the last resort doctors can't use, or continue down the road chasing the illusive treatment and cure for something everyone knows is a problem but can't identify it to do anything. Otherwise, it's the "patient heal thyself", meaning hope the bacteria eventually goes away or something happens which causes it to go away.

That's the story to date, exasperating when it's worse, and hopeful when it's best but knowing that's short-lived. The bacteria is a permanent resident of my system, and from now on it's just how the body deals with it, because doctors won't do anything even when doing nothing is doing harm.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Google Software Updater

Update II.-- Reboot after doing all the work. OS-X doesn't clear caches which may have some remanent links to Google file which want to run. Rebooting clears the caches, and if everything works, you should not see anything Google in the console log after the reboot.

Update.-- Another lesson. When I tried to update Chrome and it failed, but it still installed the system and user version of Google Software Updater in the user's Library/Google folder, and it ran every hour after that. I used the sudo command to remove the system level, but forget the user level.

I learned is that you can remove the Google Software Updater folder (simple move to trash), but you also have to remove the launch agent, which is in the user's Library folder under LaunchAgents as file. This is the file the system launch agent runs which starts the updater.

Original Post.-- I wrote a recent post about Google's Software Updater app, how intrusive and incidious it is on your computer running in the background. I wrote the tool to remove it, using the "nuke" options works to  permanently remove it from your computer.

What I forgot to write and learned today is that you can't update any Google app without it. I tried to update Google Chrome which I use with Website which have problems with Safari  and to test my Website, but it wouldn't update because the updater wasn't installed.

This means Google is not only watching what apps you have, it's controlling how you use the apps, preventing you from updating them without installing their software updater, which then launches when you login or reboot and runs every hour.

With that I removed Google Chrome, and the open source browser Chromium which Chrome is based on. I kept Google Earth and Earth Pro which I have, but likely can't update unless I install the software updater.

But I can update that app or install any Google app, and then remove the software updater. If you keep any Google apps, you can't uninstall (no nuke option) the Google folder in your user's library with the software updater bundle but it doesn't go anything without the Google software updater daemon running.

Anyway, that's the story to date. Google has embedded their software updater into all their apps which won't allow you to install or update them without it. Talk about intrusive, incidious software, corporate big brother.

As the adage now goes with computers and mobile devices, "Nothing is free, everything has a price, namely your privacy."

Monday, March 21, 2016

Phishing Scam

I think there is a new phising scam going around, or it's new to me anyway. I got a text message from my credit card company someone charged my credit card for $10 for shoes. They asked to reply yes or no to verify it was legitimate. It wasn't legitimate as the charge was at 2:30 am local time, so I replied no.

About an hour later I got a call on my cellphone, which caller ID showed as the valid number for the credit card company, from someone saying they were from my credit card company and wanted to verify my account information to verify the cancelled charge. They said they only had the last four digits of the card number and only my cellphone number.

They needed the full credit card number and PIN to verify the card. I asked who they were and where they were calling from, and they only responded their account information was incomplete. I said sorry I'm not giving them the information and would call the phone number on the credit card to verify the call. They said goodbye.

I called the credit card company which verified the text messages and that they cancelled the charge. They had no record of the call to my cellphone for additional information, only the text messages. After verifying no recent charges beside the fraudulant one they cancelled the credit card and said they would issue me a new one.

The charge was for $10 to Zappos for shoes. I suspect they had the name and CC number but not the PIN or other information which may have lead the credit card company to hold the charge. The people who called likely correlated it to a cellphone number matching the name. The charge was to test if it would go through or be stopped. Since it was stopped they were seeking the complete information to use for more charges.

Doing a search I found posts stating the caller ID may show the phone number for the credit card company but the actual number and caller aren't legitimate. Messages from the credit card company tell people to call the number but the caller this time was using it to disguise their number.

The card is no longer valid so they can't use it again, and they still don't have the complete information, although I think it's not hard to find these days. This is the third time in about 10 years my credit card number has been been stolen. The first time from a company with bad customer information security, and the second was the stolen information from Home Depot.

This occurred just a few days after buying something from a company through Amazon's market sellers Website, which I only used once before but won't use again. I wonder how they got the information since Amazon had the credit card information and the company had the name and address information.

Doing a search for the phone number in the caller ID, there are a number of posts showing the number is valid for the credit card company fraud line, but the caller isn't valid. And I have other reasons to know the caller was a fraud which I keep private as a check on people like this.

Interesting lesson learned. Now I'll have to remember to change the on-line account information the next time I go to those Websites, but until then no one can buy anything with the cancelled credit card.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Google Software Updater

Update (March 24, 2016).-- Since removing (nuke) Google Software Updater using the one line command, there have been no signs of Google on my computer outside using the search engine with Safari. And this has continued after updating to OS-X 10.11.4 this week.

I rarely used Google Chrome anymore and it's updates within the browser. I removed Google's Web Design app and only keep Google Earth Pro on my Mac, which rarely has updates. This means I don't need the Google software updater.

Original Post.-- I won't hedge my words to say that I'm a consistent user of Google's search engine, and don't use any of the other search engines after comparing results awhile back, albeit a few years now, to realize none of them are that good for very specific interests.

But I'm not a fan of some of Google's practices with users' information, and as such I don't routinely use Google Chrome, only to test changes on Web pages to ensure they work with Chrome. I'm a 99+% time user of Safari, even with some of its problems with Tumblr and other Websites which use unusual designs, applications or html code.

I also only use Google Earth Pro, but none of their other applications or services, except of course Blogger which is owned by Google and requires a Google user ID. One practice and application they have has been a source of irritation for years.

Some people may not know that if you install any Google application, Chrome being the most ubiquitous followed by GMail and Google Earth, Google installs it's software updater. The user is not informted as it's installed in the background at root level where the user never sees it unless they look at the console log.

And if they do they see the Google Software Updater start when the start or reboot their computer and runs every hour to check the status of the Google applications on their computer. Yeah, Google is watching what Google software you have and what version of it is on your computer.

You can remove all the Google applications from your computer but that won't remove the software updater. Until last year Google used to provide the instructions to remove it, but they dropped it when they redesigned it and left it to hackers to find how to remove it.

Most people might find this application innocuous since they don't pay attention to it and it's not thought of as malware or a virus, just another application watching applications, but some, like me, thinks it's onerous of Google to do this, since it's done without the user's knowledge or permission.

Adobe also does it through the Creative Cloud application with subscriptions, but the user knows this and controls the settings for it. The user controls how the application manager works on their computer. And a lot of applications check for updates, etc. when you open them and click the tool for it.

But with Google software updater, Google seems to try and stay ahead of the hackers trying to figure out the process, really a single line command, to completely remove all signs of the application. It's necessary to have this application in case you need to troubleshoot and reinstall stuff, it helps to remove the old verison.

And this is where, if you want to remove it, you have to search for the latest report, which is found using Google search for "Google Software Updater" and looking for the most recent report, which you can find at Never Ending Security or at Superuser (updated within last 6 months or so).

The command they provide requires administrator access, not root unless you're very confident of your talents not to break things, or know how to fix them if you do break them. I have that access on my Mac Pro so it's just the command and admin password.

The program is the same for managing the application with the different options, and the "--nuke" is the best as it completely remove every file associated with the application. The last line in the console log for "GoogleSoftwareUpdater" is the successful removal of itself.

Since I use other sources to report when updates are available for applications, such as Mac Update, you don't need Google doing it or keeping track. Google Chrome updates a few times a year and you can use the brower itself to check for and install any updates.

Google Earth rarely gets updates and isn't a target for hackers, so you can run older version for a long time, until the operating system won't let it work anymore. And don't user other Google applications but I suspect they have their own update tool in the application.

Anyway, that's the story today. I'm done with Google's Software Updater, until I install any new application, updates don't add this application, and then I'll run the command again. I like some of their software, just not this one and them watching.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Shorts and Socks

I’ve worn shorts everyday since September 2012. Yeah, I haven’t worn long pants since then, just shorts above the knees no matter the weather we have in the northwest. I’ve learned to wear various lengths of socks based on the weather, namely the temperature, but also the wind and rain or occasional snow. That means I have a huge drawer full of knee socks, over the knee (OTK) socks, and yes, thigh high socks.
The knee high socks are worn when the temperature drops below 50 or above that if it’s windy or raining. Above that, it’s just regular ankle socks, which is from about May into October, where fall weather changes back to knee socks. The OTK socks are worn when the temperature drops below 40 and the knees demands knee sweaters.
I use a product called Body Adhesive to hold the socks up, It’s never failed, even in the worst weather. The higher socks are for temperature near or below freezing to keep the thighs warm. Not surprisingly most of the socks I buy are labelled women’s socks, but in reality socks don’t care the gender of the feet they’re on, only that they fit and keep the person warm with style.
I also had Gore-Tex rain pants cut off into shorts slightly longer than the shorts to keep the shorts dry, so both are above the knees. I hate longer shorts and have all the shorts altered to be 1″ to 3″ above the knee depending on the weather. I also have a few pair of gaters for snowy or very rainy weather. They work better than long pants every could and why I’ll keep wearing shorts.
What I’ve learned from 4 winters in shorts is that if you’re walking your legs don’t really get cold, unless there’s a strong wind, but then most good wool or thck cotton socks do well against the wind, And the legs don’t get wet since you’re moving, and only from the water from the shoes or occasional mud puddle you don’t see.
It’s interesting now that I don’t have any long pants which fit anymore. Having walked over 4,200 miles I’ve lost 45+ pounds in the same period, so none of my old jeans fit. Even some of the shorts are getting baggy, but a smaller size is too small. I’m between a small and a medium now. All that said, I like wearing shorts everyday, and don’t plan to change, and the weather surely isn’t going to change that or me.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

I Guess

While I like Senator Bernie Sanders, the person who speaks for all of us who aren’t rich, own corporations, aren’t politically connected, whatever, and voices views on what’s best for this country, although some aren’t wholly thought through, I don’t see him as president, and I think his presidency wouldn’t be effective or productive. He is weak in areas where we need someone with the grasp of international issues and both the content and context of the US government (and military) in those issues.
I don’t see him succeeding. Not that he couldn’t try and still achieve significant gains for this country and the world, He’s facing a Congress who wouldn’t give him an inch toward his goals, and he would be faced with compromise and failure in the eyes of those who believe in him. I say this because that’s exactly what President Obama did, promise a lot but overall, while he succeeded in many ways, he lost more than he gained in almost all the fights. Congress intentionally from day one nullified his momentum he never regained.
I think Bernie would have a harder time and achieve even less. That’s not saying Hillary Clinton is better, and in fact I have reservations about her policies and views than any democrat in recent years, but she is by any measure the most qualified and experienced person to be president in this election of either party, and she has the political experience to succeed far more and better than Bernie Sanders.
The failure of elections is that we vote for people we like than who would make an excellent president. The whole republican field is a good example where they’re all selling their personality and character, but where are they talking about the issues and solutions more than just campaign rhetoric and punch lines? They aren’t. But Hillary and Bernie are to some extent, but not enough.
I guess I’m saying I haven’t decided yet which of the two since I kinda’ like Martin O’Malley. Governors are not guarranteed to be good president, George Bush is a great example of that, but O'Malley is a centrist and pragmatist who understands the process and has the wider view in mind. I can hope he’ll be the Vice President on the ticket.