The Twelve Days of Obsessive Christmas Decorating day 7 late again

Or why we won’t have self driving cars, now or maybe forever.

Yesterday I needed to connect a radio to a software program. No big deal, I had done it before. But that was two software updates ago.

The software won, I didn’t get the radio to talk to the software. I feel like a failure. I worked so hard to get it working. I’m not a programmer, I don’t have the tools to find out what is wrong. I read the manual, I dig through Google looking for help. The stuff in Google is so out of date, I push the buttons and then I find they don’t match the version of software I have. There is no runbig button in the current software. The programmer of the software is so busy he won’t read your email. He has to get improvement to the software out. So I go to the forums and get laughed at or told to read the manual.

If you have read this blog for long you know I’m not a fan of programmers. Why? Two reasons. Programmers are paid to write software. They wont document what they write. Documentation, that’s work for peons. They don’t care if the program kills the user. They wrote the program to the specification they were given and if they complain about the spec they know they will be placed on the list of the next person to be laid off.

So they write the program that confuses the pilot and crashes the airplane, killing several hundred people. They write the program that accelerates the car and won’t let you turn the engine off.

So the next time you press the button in an elevator just think. The programmer that did the software for the box you’re standing in got paid, is off on another job, and won’t go to court if the elevator drops to the bottom and kills you. He was part of a team and the head of the company is worth so much more, they’ll sue the company or the head of the company.

The next time you are about to cross a street, even at a light, remember you are one step, one software glitch or one bit that should be a 1 not a zero form having a self driving car run over you.

They tested the software you say. Well the first thing they teach a budding software writer is that you can not test all the ways a program will fail. So a smart programmer knows that if he is late with a program because it fails a test he will only test the software in ways he knows it will pass. His bonus for getting done on time depends on it. If you can’t do something why brother to make life hard on yourself.

I’m pounding my head on the desk trying to get the radio that use to work working again while the Christmas lights outside whisper “fix me”, “put more lights up”.

So every hour or two I get out of my chair after working fruitlessly. I go outside and fiddle with the lights for a couple of minutes so I don’t go looking for a greedy, soulless programmer.

I should be glad that nobody reads these posts. Why would anyone believe them? The web is full of stories of Putin, the Russian president, telling his people that America is about to attack them and that’s why things are so bad and why he should remain in office. The Chinese have refused 60 ship loads of coal from Australia because someone in the Australian said something the leaders of China don’t like. Even while the power had to be shut off in major Chinese cities because they ran out of coal. The Chinese leaders blame the young people for the outages. Maybe that’s what happened in this country in the 1960s, It’s all the young people’s fault.

Stay strong, write on.

Professor Hyram Voltage

You are good, You are real, It’s OK to have an option

A friend submitted a piece to a newsletter, and he’s ashamed of it. In the piece he expressed his opinion. Those opinions are not the the groups opinions.

His opinions are not immoral or criminal. They’re his opinions. Why have the politically correct police made having an opinion a horrendous slight against humanity?

I find stories that are politically correct boring. If everything is perfect there is no conflict.

Look at the best sellers. They’re stories about serial killers brought to justice, even if the hero has to break the law to bring the murders to justice. They’re stories about magic. You can’t have magic because religions forbid it and you have to respect all religions. You can’t have romance stories because it’s shows improper actions to under aged children.

Are we doomed to have the history books rewritten to say that WWII was fought over slavery?

Are your stories going to be banned, outlawed, by a self appointed overseer, when you include a scene out of a real life incidence, when the scene does not meet the overseer’s idea of moral correctness?

Are we on the edge of becoming the Fahrenheit 451 world?

It’s not against the law to have a opinion. It’s not against the law to say something that someone can twist to mean you promote a horrible act.

Are we going to be slaves of the Politically Correct? Are we going to be slaves to the protestor that threaten you with revenge, if you talk to the police about a murder that happened in a police free zone? Are we going to be slaves to trolls that hound people till they commit suicide?

We are fiction writers. We are the last free people.

Stay strong, write on.

Professor Hyram Voltage

Windows 10 has Disappeared, Christmas Cookies Recipe

It’s the day after Thanksgiving and I have convinced my friend to upgrade to Windows 10. He has two machines that are Windows 7 and they’re not that old. I keep telling him that Windows 7 is going off support and the program is buggy. Microsoft may not have invented the software bug, but they are hard at work at reaching new heights of bugginess. Microsoft can’t get updates out for Windows 10 without having big problems. Some of the problems required Microsoft to bar some brands of computers from getting the latest updates. That leave those computers open to current software virus attacks until Microsoft gets around to reworking the update.

Microsoft has it’s best programmers working on Windows 10 and isn’t doing good. I believe they have the second string programmers working on the older versions of Windows software. Once Windows 7 is abandoned they can fire the programmers working on Windows 7 and save a bunch of money. The customer will get a better experience with Windows 10 or get shafted by the virus people if they don’t upgrade.

So I took my friend down to Fry’s Electronics to buy a copy of Windows 10. He was unhappy when the clerk at Fry’s confirmed that he would have to buy two copies, one for each machine. He was angry when the clerk told him, after looking at the store computer, that they didn’t have any Windows 10 software to sell.

We went over to Best buy to get the copies of Windows 10. Once we got a salesman to show us where the Windows 10 boxes were displayed my friend grabbed the only box on the rack. He shook the box and said there’s nothing in it. The salesman said you have to go up the the checkout and the guy at the cash register will scan the box and get the Windows 10 product from upstairs. He also said just have the cash register guy scan the box twice to get two of the product.

We waited in line. It was not too long of a wait. The cash register guy tried to scan the box, but there was nothing to scan. He had to ask a couple of other cash register types what to do. He found out that you don’t scan the box. He then got on the radio he was carrying and called for someone to get the Windows 10 box.

Wait, sort of like a computer program where the machine sets there and nothing seems to be happening. He calls again. Wait and then calls again. Finally he pulls out his cellphone and dials. “Oh, were out of it.” he says. Couldn’t the guy he called on the radio told him that?

I told my friend that we can get a copy off the web, most likely Amazon. My friend throws a fit. He had just listened to an NPR broadcast where businesses are being driven out of their business by fakes and counterfeits. He did not want a virus filled counterfeit loaded onto his computer. I have to admit that some counterfeits look just like the real thing and Amazon does little to combat the fakes.

Less than a year ago I put together a media down-streaming computer. I got a copy of Windows 10. It came in a cardboard box with very little in the way of instructions and a USB drive. Form what I can figure out from web chatter is that Microsoft has the product (box, instructions, and gets the USB drive loaded) made in China and the tariff war is stopping the box, or as they say in the trade “product”, from being imported to the U. S.

It is a pain to work with a person that is set in their ways. They get that way from experience, and they just may be smarter than me.

Microsoft is pounding everyone to go put Windows 10 on their Windows 7 machines. Of course not all old machines will work with Windows 10. How can Microsoft stay in business if you can’t buy their product unless you risk buying a counterfeit?

Microsoft can’t make an update that’s not filled with bugs and you can’t buy the latest addition of their product. Let’s hope someone comes up with a better operating system and soon. This can go on, but it’s only going to get worst.

Stay strong, write on, and persevere when you try to help someone.

Standard plug to buy my book.

Christmas Cookies

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup oil
2 teaspoon vanilla
5 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons Cream of Tartar


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In one gallon plastic bag add flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Mix well.
  3. In electric mixer cream butter and sugar.
  4. Add eggs, oil, and vanilla. Mix well.
  5. Remove from mixer.
  6. Add dry mixture to butter mixture. Mix well by hand (can be mixed in electric mixer if careful).
  7. Make dough into cookies by;
    a. roll dough into balls 1 to 2 inches in diameter.
    b. roll dough into a log and slice into 1 inch thick disks.
    c. Dribble almond extract and 1/8 cup of milk onto dough. Mix well. Pack into pastry gun. Or if you prefer take a tablespoon of dough and roll it into a ball
  8. Place on un-greased cookie sheet. If you prefer to roll dough into a ball, then flatten the ball with bottom of glass dipped in sugar.
  9. Bake 8 to 10 minutes

Sugar cookies were made to be decorated. Use sprinkles and icing. Go buy cookies cutters. Have children help.

Windows Update, Reset; Rant

Caution Rant. This blog is late due to a Windows update.

Last night Windows gave me an ultimatum. Update now or update in an hour. No if, ands, or buts.

I hit the button and launched the update.

All the talk about faster Windows updates and a kinder Microsoft is just talk.

The update took an hour. This is on a couple of year old computer running a core I7 CPU with 256 of solid state disk. It is not a ten year old machine. The connections is Spectrum cable and it still took an hour. If your in the middle of a presentation this is a killer.

The update didn’t end in a endless loop like previous updates. It did complete. I have a traveling computer so I was not down for the hour the update took. Smaller screen and a slower processor slowed work on the travel computer.

After the update, I tried a couple of programs to check out the update. When I fired up the word processor. I could not access the external hard drive. It’s a Western Digital, four terabyte, hard drive. The computer could not find the USB external hard drive.

Device Manager would not show the hard drive being connected. The computer would beep when the hard drive was plugged in, but the drive would not show up in file explorer or in device manager.

I fooled around for ten minutes and then hit restart. Still no external hard drive. Worried I plugged the external hard drive into travel computer. It worked so I did not have a SDF (sudden device failure).

Being lazy and not wanting to spend years to become a windows expert I sat down and tried to think of someone I could call. At a hundred dollars an hour for a service technician I could go buy a new hard drive (on special).

I fought with computer, off on on, for a couple of hours then went to bed.

Next day I fired up the computer and the external hard drive worked.

Stay strong, write on, and make voodoo dolls of Bill Gates.

Professor Hyram Voltage

How I plan to save the world

I’m out to save the world and everyone is against me. I must be right.

Many scientist proclaim that there is global warming. They may be right.

Like a character out of a steam punk novel I’m out to stop it or it’s effects. Effects, I am told, will lead to the deaths of many humans in a couple of decades if we don’t do something now.

How I can help? Well Solar cells are a start. The more solar cells we have the less energy we have to generate with fossil fuels. Plus something no one talks about, when you convert the energy of a photon to electricity the photon can not strike the ground or a molecule in the atmosphere and generate heat. Sound good, but don’t fool yourself. If it doesn’t get politicians votes they will not support it (why should they?). If it impacts the world in any way the environmentalists will be against it. That’s two powerful groups against solar cells. What can I do about that? By putting in solar cells for my house. And by writing by elected officials to extend the tax breaks for solar cell installations, both commercial and residential. They are not in favor of that. They need every tax dollar they can get. There are too many things to spend that money on now and the temperature will not raise enough to start killing everyone for another couple of decades at least. Then we’ll do something about it.
There are plenty of open spaces in the United States to put large solar cell farms. There are large deserts where these farms could be built. If you propose to build one the environmentalist will first research every plant and animals that inhabit the area. They will find something that is impacted by the farm and they will go to the lawyers to stop the building of a solar farms. They will fight tooth and nail to save the desert belly flower, even if it means they and their children will die in a couple of decades.

There are other things that could be done, but I’m just one person. Solar cells could be developed that absorb the rays given off by carbon dioxide and cause globe warming. A quick physic lesson. A ray of sunshine (a photon) enters the earth’s atmosphere. It strikes a molecule of carbon dioxide. If the ray of sunshine has enough energy it makes an electrons of the carbon dioxide molecule gain energy. That’s quantum mechanics at work. The molecule is in an unstable condition ( the molecule was happy in the state it was in and wants to go back to that state). The electron gets rid of the energy by emitting a ray of light (a photon), but because of quantum mechanics it can only emit the beam at a certain energy. That beam of light can not get out of the atmosphere. It will bounce off the ground and a layer in the atmosphere until it is absorbed by the ground or the atmosphere. The atmosphere is 78 percent nitrogen, 21 percent oxygen .93 percent argon and about .04 percent carbon dioxide, so there are other things, including dust, in the atmosphere to absorbs the beam of light or photon.
We can make solar cells that absorbs the frequency of light that a carbon dioxide molecule gives off. That is not as good as not burning carbon based fuels in the first place, but it is doable. Every photon of carbon dioxide that we absorb is one less photon to heat the earth.
I am just one person. I don’t have the billions of dollars to design and make the solar cells that would absorb the photons from carbon dioxide molecules.

Scientists say we have to do something now, not in one or two decades. People living and working in Washington D. C. should be worried. The place was built in a swamp that is barely above sea level, and the sea level is raising.

Politicians remember the end to the old joke, and ‘God said to Noah; How long can you tread water?’

Stay strong, write on.
Professor Hyram Voltage.