A Dilbert Moment at Yahoo

or How a Great Company Killed Itself.

I tried to log in to Yahoo to change my password. I haven’t gotten a notice that my password has been hacked, it’s just for safety reasons I want to change the password. I went to sign in. The sign in box say it does not recognize my email address or my user name. I have a password vault program that I store my user names and passwords in, so I know the names and passwords are correct.

I go to the help page. There are a bunch of FAQs. I work through the FAQs and none of them help to get me logged in. I click the contact box (as in contact Yahoo) and it bounces me back to the FAQs.

It looks like Yahoo has laid off all the help desk humans. Saves lots of money if you have people that don’t work for Yahoo tell you how to work around Yahoo problems. I can see why users needing help get frustrated and desert Yahoo. With less users and income Yahoo has to lay off more workers. The executives get pay raises for firing people and saving money. Service goes down and more users leave. Finally executives lose their jobs, but only after making millions or hundreds of millions of dollars. This is not user friendly, this is a death spiral.

I go to the user groups and can not post a request for help because I can not log in. I need help to login in and I have to log in to get help. That sounds like a Dilbert Moment.

Good bye Yahoo, I will miss you.

Stay strong, write on.           Professor Hyram Voltage

A Dilbert Moment at MicroSoft

A recent update to MicroSoft Windows 10 caused many computers to lose the ability to connect to the internet.

In an old Dilbert cartoon the Dilbert character email stopped working at work. The next panel shows him talking to the company computer technician. Dilbert tells the technician that his email doesn’t work. The computer technician smiles and tells Dilbert to send him an email.

For the loss of internet problem the official MicroSoft fix is to turn off your computer, leave it off for one minute, then turn it back on. If that does not work then go to the MicroSoft web site for more help.

If you’re a programmer you have several computers and this makes sense. If your an older user and have only one old second hand computer that someone gave you (and doesn’t connect to the internet because of a MicroSoft update so you can’t get to the MicroSoft site) or if your on the road with only one computer then you’re a very angry Dilbert character about to form a neck tie party and go after some pointy haired MicroSoft types.

Stay strong, write on.          Professor Hyram Voltage

Responding to my readers

This blog is being changed to a responsive format to make it readable on mobile devices. The changes are not going well. Stay tuned. Currently trying to get images to show on Home page. Not have much luck with that.

Write on, draw on.  Professor Hyram Voltage

Spam fighting on a WordPress blog site

I recently installed Akismet plugin on this BLOG page to combat the spam.

Akismet moves what it thinks is spam to a spam folder. It may also may move things that are not spam to the spam folder. I checked many of the comments in the spam folder and did not find any normal comment in the ones that I checked but there were tens of thousands of spam comments in the folder. The spammer are very smart and they won’t stop. They make their comments sound like they are interested in what you have written then it’s followed by the request to email back. If you didn’t know about the URL or email addresses being linked to spammers you would think you were emailing an ordinary person not get caught in a baited trap. I have never emailed back yet the spam keeps coming stronger than ever.

There was so much stuff in the spam folder that I erased it all (that’s a handy feature of Akismet) without checking all the comments. There were ten of thousands of comments in the folder.

If you commented and I deleted your comment I am sorry.

I do not know if Akismet is the best program. I am not a BLOG or WordPress programmer but the Akismet program has helped.

The spammers have won.


Write on, draw on.    Professor Hyram Voltage

Your Hard Drive is Going to Die

It’s not if but soon. Hard drives fail, all the time, so back up your data. I’ve said it before, now go back up your data. Even new SSD (Solid State Drives) fail. If you know how SSDs work then you know they are constantly failing and that they have excellent error correcting electronics but one day they will get so bad that the error correcting can’t correct the errors.

I’ve lost data in hard drive failures. I now back up my data at least once a month. I back it up on two different USB connected hard drives. I keep the USB Hard Drives locked up and stored well away form the computer. And I keep old copies of the data. If the data on your hard drive get corrupted and you copy it onto the back up USB hard drive over the data that was there then you’ve lost the data anyway.

I also backup working files on thumb drives. It makes the files handy and if I write over a file with to many changes I can always pull an old copy off the thumb drive and start over.

At the last writers meeting we had a new guy. He’s making a graphic novel using a image program. He’s stuck, his hard drive died and he lost a lot of the old images so he has to make do with the images he has. The graphics program he uses has changed so it would be a major undertaking to make new images in the style of the old images.

I’m having trouble finding sympathy for the guy. I’ve lost data and I could not afford at the time to pay someone to get it back. Sometimes when a hard drives fail and even the best techs can’t get the data back. It’s also very expensive to recover data from a damaged hard drive.

USB thumb drives are cheap and have plenty of room for the files that you generate (you don’t need to backup everything). Even if it is a bunch of pictures there are 128 Gbyte thumb drives out there. Get two thumb drives and store them in different places. One glitch in the hard drive and you could lose all your children’s baby pictures.

There are four terabyte USB portable hard drives for sell. Stick with the two terabyte drives, I have heard that the three and four terabyte hard drives have problems. These drives are fast and hold a lot. Again get two to protect against fires and floods and store them in separate places. Think about getting a water proof and fire proof container to store them in.

On line or cloud storage is not the answer. If your files on your computer get corrupted and the computer syncs the files on the computer to the files on the cloud then the cloud stored files are damaged and no good. If a hacker gets mad at One Note or Google and develops a virus that start destroying cloud files you’re out of luck because all your files were in one place and that place got hacked.

It’s your data and it’s your responsiblity. Back it up.


Write on, draw on.  Professor Hyram Voltage

It’s raining viruses

Saturday September 13, I spent all day at the C4 Comic con. On my feet all day and I was tired. Got home turned on computer for less than an hour to check if there was anything important.

Sunday turn on the computer and it acts funny. Slow and the mouse barely works. New batteries in mouse doesn’t help. It’s a Logitech wireless tackball and I like it a lot more than a mouse.

Microsoft has pushed several updates to my machine recently and I have had the updates foul things up. A check of the technical blogs and no one is complaining about anything like that.

Remember that sometimes a major update push from Mircosoft will turn on Windows Defender (the Windows antivirus program) and that program will conflict with the antivirus program I use. Search the Internet for how to turn off windows defender, I am not a programmer and I don’t want to be a programmer. Yes, windows defender was on and I turned it off. No it didn’t help.

Run a virus scan. The quick scan finds a virus and deals with it. The computer is still acting bad, very bad. I run a deep scan. It takes hours. The deep scan finds nothing.

I’m now ready to take the computer in for repair. They want to much money, I can almost buy a cheap (as in $220.00) laptop for what they want to do check up and repair.

I now have a budget. I go to Cnet and download another antivirus program. Run the new program and it says my computer is clean.

I am pounding the table the computer is so slow and the mouse has to be clicked several times to get any program to do something.

I download the MalwareBytes antivirus program. It’s scan didn’t take as long as the program I was using and I was using the paid version of that program. MalwareBytes found twelve viruses. Twelve viruses and I had a paid version of a well known antivirus program running with Windows Defender also running and I was only on the computer for an hour.

Write on, draw on.   Professor Voltage.

email newsletters and updating email addresses

I’ve been updating my email address to many newsletters since I changed ISPs. Look at your newsletter. If the user has to unsubscribe and then resubscribe to your newsletter the user may not resubscribe. All I want to do is change the email address. Several newsletters and web sites make it very confusing. A user should not have to try many different things to change an email address. One site hid the change email address button under the New tab, that was a low blow. It may have made sense to the programmer but not to me.

If the web site or newsletter made it very difficult to change the email address then I thought very hard about how much I wanted to get the newsletter. I now do not subscribe to several newsletters since it was to much effort to resubscribe.

I’s called voting with your feet, so go make tracks people.


Write on, draw on.

Windows Live Mail Error, Or How I Love a Good Conspiracy Theory

I recently switched from Time Warner Cable to Verizon FIOS. TWC email service went out twice in one month then there was a internet outage early one morning. No real explanation was given for the second email outage or the internet outage. After switching to Verizon FIOS internet the Live Mail Program inside Internet Explorer would generate error messages “Unexpected Server Termination”. This happened every three to three and a half minutes.

Researching on the Internet I found:

1. Posts that indicated that this problem has been around since 2011.

2. It would cost money to have this fixed by Microsoft.

3. That if the server you get your mail off of is throttling, just have your IT guy fix it. This is obviously for a enterprise user, or some rich guy who can afford to have an IT guy.

Conspiracy theory. Verizon and Comcast throttle your internet. Evidence, they throttle Netflix don’t they and users of these ISPs report this problem. If you ping an Internet route you only do so for a couple of microseconds so no one would notice if they throttled the little user. You think you’re getting fast speeds? Well you are for about three to three and a half minutes then the throttle kicks in. What does the throttle do? It cuts the link to the high usage server or terminates the connection (for several tries). I have Live Mail set to check for new mail every ten minutes but testing shows that it checks constantly, image software lying to you.

Verizon wants you to use their mail client (they won’t talk about Live Mail). I like Live Mail and have used it for years. Besides how do I know Verizon doesn’t scan emails so Verizon can send you targeted adds. Google has done that and they haven’t even slapped Google’s hand. Of course in the small print you signed you allow Google to scan your emails and Google will never forget what it found in your emails. If Google can do it Verizon would be dumb not to do it.

With Live Mail popping up error messages every three minutes and reloading deleted emails or marking read emails as unread every three minutes, those actions get to be un-tolerable quickly. Maybe this is why so many people have switched from Internet Explorer when all they needed to do was switch email clients.

I’ve switched to Firefox browser and Thunderbird email client now and do not have problems.

Write on, draw on hopefully without error messages.

Why I quit Time Warner Cable Internet

It doesn’t work.

For the second time this year the email service from Time Warner Cable doesn’t work right. It hasn’t been working right for a couple of days. Tonight I can receive emails but not send them. This is better than yesterday where for a time I couldn’t do either. No information on when this will be fixed.

I pay my bill on time but I am not getting full service. I did not get a rebate the last time the email went out for days. It was worst last time when getting emails was erratic for days.

Email is not life and death for me like it would be for a small home business but it seems like a simple thing to keep going and if it’s broken enough customers would complain that Time Warner Cable would get it fixed fast.

To irritate me more an article on Cnet this morning talked about how Time Warner Cable was improving service and giving free upgrades to customers in Kansas City. Kansas City has Google fiber so they may be losing customers there and have to do something.

There have been no rumors here about upgrades, free services, or improvements to the Time Warner Cable Internet in this area.

This month’s phone bill had an add on the outside for fiber internet connection much cheaper that Time Warner Cable and it would be more than twice as fast. I will have to accept a two year contract and change to a internet telephone but compared to the current phone bill it will be about break even in cost. The old land line telephone is a back up and I keep it because for many people it’s the only way they know to contact me. It’s not much of a back up, a couple of years ago a backhoe dug up the fiber optic cable that run out of the city I live in. Not only did we lose the internet connection to anyone outside the city we lost internet telephone to anyone outside the city and the tradistional phone could not call anyone outside the city. Gone are the days of mulitiple cable routes and backup of basic services.

I’m also concerned if Time Warner Cable combines with Comcast service could get worse and fee could, most likely will, increase.

Changing ISPs will require a lot of work on my part. I have had my email address through Time Warner Cable for a long time. Time Warner allows an alises to my old Adelphia.net email address and I have had that email address for a long, long, long time. Every company that I have bought software from and every web site I subscripe to will have to have my email address updated. Then I will have to notify friends and relatives. It is a great way to get rid of spam emails.

To prevent having to change all these emails again in two years if I deside to go to another ISP or if the new ISP changes for the bad (promise you one thing then change it after you subscribe) I am going to set up a web page and use the email address for that WEB site as a replacement for the Time Warner/Adelphia email address. The web page will be through a host that has nothing to do with Time Warner Cable or the telephone company and the web page will not change if the phone company does something cheap to its customers or I go another ISP. Of course it’s been years since I developed a web page and things have changed since then. Back to fighting the learning curve.

One web site says code your web site in HTML 5 another says HTML 5 is not catching on don’t use it.

Write on, draw on, code on.               Professor Voltage

24 inches of haven

I just bought a new LED monitor. 23 and some odd parts of an inches diagonal. There’s not enough room on the old computer bench for anything bigger. This thing is big. I’m finding that there is stuff to the side of web sites that has been always there but I didn’t see it with the old monitor. You can get a stiff neck reading text on this monitor, your head goes back and forth reading. The old monitor was so small that you could get a line of text in one glance with out having to move my head. This monitor is HD TV format. I wish it was a little taller for making drawings on it. This monitor is much better for drawing, much more drawing space. I don’t think I can use a 10 inch tablet, even with blowing the image up will not help.  If I get a laptop it’s got to be 13 inches minimum with a Wacom screen. Save your pennies and get the biggest monitor you can.

Write on, draw on.  Professor Voltage