Climate Change (human caused)

I get in arguments about climate change from time to time. I’m no expert, of course, but I do as questions and really try to have an answer to climate change skeptics. Lately I’ve been getting two links that say climate change is false.

  1. Forbes
  2. Wall Street Journal

Climate science is complicated. With the increases of CO2 in the air it turns out that plants grow faster. Is that something that was figured into climate models? No idea. But we KNOW how that CO2 is getting into the air (a million barrels of oil getting burned every month). What’s funny is that when you talk about CO2 you’ll get the people saying that COWS put more CO2 in the air than humans do. That, of course, is FALSE by a factor of over 100x. But still, those cows wouldn’t exist if it were not for humans so even if cows are contributing it’s still ultimately a human caused problem.

Both of those articles are in the op-ed section of each paper. It’s not like they are reporting news. And I read both and neither are very specific and mostly rely on generalizations. And it’s pretty easy to find something that IS scientific that refutes the claims made by each author. Here is one:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/don-easterbrook-heartland-distortion-of-reality.html

That one is about Don Easterbrook and how what he is saying is way off. He’s using ONE of several models to prove a point that he wants to believe. And even in that one model he’s exaggerating the data.

The second link you sent was about Ivar Giaever who doesn’t even try to use science to refute the claims about climate change. He’s just saying that “it’s become a religion” and that he is skeptical of it. It’s great to question things (i.e., be a skeptic) but in order to change MY mind he needs to have some science to back up his claim and he has NOTHING and isn’t even trying. He’s saying that he is right in the same way that Mormons say they are right about what happens after you die.

Another thing to note is that we’ve been experiencing much higher temperatures right here in Phoenix. The irony is that it’s not the HIGH temperatures that are increasing but the LOW temps. The nighttime low temp has been getting higher and higher over the past 50 years. To be fair, the reason isn’t because of global warming . . . it’s mostly attributed to the “Urban Heat Island” effect that is observed in every big city with lots of concrete and asphalt (both of which hold the heat from the sun longer than the natural landscape and therefore, the temp never gets a change to go down before the sun is back up).

Oh, and I love this gif. Found it here: http://www.skepticalscience.com/big-picture.html

SkepticsvRealistsv3

Sheldon

Published
Categorized as Rant

Getting on Google

I’m a web developer.  I take ideas and use the tool I know best (the web) to make those ideas into a product. Sometimes that means I write a custom app in C# using ASP.NET MVC to help manage a business process and sometimes that means I set up WordPress and customize a template.

Everyone wants a website . . . from the CEO of a big advertising company to the soccer mom who wants to share a story and some pictures.  Some want a site as a forum to express something they NEED to say.  That kind of site has no goal of attracting readers or revenue from adwords.  Other sites are set up with a specific goal: marketing tool.

Inevitably the “marketing tool” sites are going to ask about Google, specifically, “How do I get on the google?”.  Here is my advice (in terms everyone can understand).

Google (and by “Google” I mean every search engine) looks at every site it can and and tries to figure out the ones that users will find interesting.  How it does and the order sites show up is magic and no one knows the how and why.  Google is always changing the rules to thwart those who think they figured it out.  If you want your site to show up when people search for something you need to have valuable content.  If you are a bike repair shop, create articles about DIY repair. Sure, some users are going to see your site and do their own repair but the vast majority are going to bring their bike in to you because they found you with Google.

So here it is . . . Sheldon’s Rule: To show up on Google add content to your site that reveals how you do what you do.  Tell all your secrets. Over time all those articles will add up to valuable content people want.  The more you reveal about how you do what you do the higher in Google’s ranking you’ll be.

Sheldon

Installing Windows 7 Upgrade on a fresh hard drive

Okay, so I decided to install Windows 7. Even if it’s all marketing it can’t be as bad as Vista and 9 years is long enough for XP.

I went to the MS store in Scottsdale and bought a retail upgrade copy of Family Pack Home Premium. The install failed in 4 ways on computer #1 because there were no drivers for the SATA controller. On computer #2 the 64-bit version installed flawlessly. I did a fresh install to the same hard drive that had and existing install of 32-bit Windows XP. It was really cool that in the “Windows.OLD” folder had the original Windows folder as well as Documents and Settings and Program Files. It was nice that those were out of the way but not gone.

After trying a few things out #2 for a few days I decided to go ahead and install on my main computer. On this one I decide I’ll install to a separate hard drive. I figured during the setup I could point to the other hard drive to tell it where Windows was installed or maybe the installer would ask for the disk (which I have).

I struggled for an hour when the installer asked for the Product Key and told me simply “The product key is not valid”. After typing and retyping and waiting for my wife to check it to make sure I wasn’t going crazy I finally realized it was because it wasn’t an upgrade. I read online that you can skip the Product Key and finish the install so I blank out the key and finish the install.

Of course, I couldn’t activate and this time the error message tells me it’s because I got the upgrade version and it’s not supported for new installs. So, I could just reinstall and override my copy of XP but that made me nervous since someday I could see myself having to go though this in the future. So I decided to give Microsoft a call . . . .

Took a while to find a number online and then that was the wrong number (Activation) so I got a new number for technical support (1-800-936-5700 in case you are wondering). I had to convince the support guy that what I was doing was reasonable (I mean, what if my hard drive died . . . would I need to install XP on the old drive and then upgrade again? … what if I had an OEM machine and I didn’t have the disk and couldn’t get it from the manufacturer anymore?). After talking to that guy for about 30 minutes it seemed like I was going to have to install XP and upgrade from there. I held steady and kept talking and wouldn’t let him off the phone. Finally he created a technical support case and transferred me. I explained the situation to the new guy and he understood and said that install to a fresh hard drive is not allowed with an upgrade copy but the good news is there is a workaround! Awesome!

So here is the workaround and the reason I wrote this in the first place. Luckily no one reads this blog so I’m not worried about getting in trouble.

Steps:

  1. Go to the registry to this key: HKLMSOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionSetupOOBE
  2. Change: MediaBootInstall value to 0
  3. Run this command from the command prompt (as administrator and in the system32 directory): cscript.exe slmgr.vbs -rearm

If you need more help that that you should probably just call Microsoft yourself!

Other notes:

  • The technician on the phone was very careful about wanting to control my machine and asked over and over if it was okay.  He was careful to explain what was going to happen before he did anything.  I had to install “Microsoft Easy Assist” so he could control the computer and after the session ended Easy Assist asked if I wanted to uninstall . . . very thoughtful!  A nice touch indeed.
  • I tired it on some older hardware (computer #1) and there were no drivers for the SATA controller and according to the Intel website, Intel has no plans to release drivers.  There WAS Vista drivers and those would probably work. Why not just let me try those out? I downloaded but it was an installer and it was just to replace drivers that came with Windows. So annoying! Nothing worked! I blame Intel for this problem, not Microsoft.
  • If there was a family pack for Professional I would have gladly paid a little more. On one of the computers I plan on doing the “Anytime Upgrade” to the Pro version (so I can do XP mode) and I’ll write about that later.
  • I later when to install iTunes and wanted to copy over the iTunes Library.XML file and it wasn’t anywhere in the Windows.OLD folder.  Had to go to my backup. Strange.

Sheldon

I accept!

Not sure if this came after www.stackoverflow.com but it’s horrible!

http://www.justanswer.com/

No mention that you have to pay to get an answer. And, just out of curiosity I decided to go ahead and offer $9 for an answer to my question (it was about my garage door and how it won’t close at around 5pm because the sunlight hits the censor at just the right angle) and the answer was useless (“How about shading the sensor”). Below is the dialog box for my reply. If I press accept then my $9 “deposit” is used up and I accepted the answer. Whack! I can’t wait for stackoverflow for home improvement!

Reply screen from the JustAnswer.com website
Reply screen from the JustAnswer.com website

Great Phone . . . or Greatest Phone

Some background first . . . .

I got my wife the iPhone 3G the day it came out.  Waited in a line for a few hours and everything.  She had been using a Razr for about 3 years and it was time.  And we were already on the AT&T network so it was easy.  I would have gotten one for myself but a month before the 3G was announced I got myself a Blackberry Pearl so I wasn’t eligible for the $199 new customer price.

At the time the biggest problem with an iPhone was the $30 mandatory data plan.  It’s the only phone on any network that requires you have a data plan.  I like the idea that even though I’m locked in for 2 years I can get the $40/month voice plan to lower my bills just in case. And a year ago the iPhone was a 10 and there was nothing even close from what I could see.

Anyway, a few months ago I went to Google I/O and got one of the G2 HTC phones (it’s called a Magic or myTouch or something like that on T-Mobile).  It was a dream come true . . . a chance to use “the other cool phone” without paying for it.  And the best part is that I got AT&T to give me a data plan for $15 a month!!  Please don’t call AT&T and ask for that plan and ruin it for me.  No, seriously . . I’m glad that no one will be reading this.  And it sucks that I only get “Edge” speeds because apparently 3G isn’t a standard and AT&T and T-Mobile do 3G data in different ways so if I want 3G on AT&T’s network I have to wait until an Android phone comes out for AT&T.

Okay, so that’s the background info out of the way . . . I’ve never had an iPhone personally but being the techie of the house I do get how the iPhone works and use it occasionally and I always know about cool apps for it before my wife does.  And I’ve used a Blackberry for over a year.  And now I’ve had the Android phone since May.  Here are the results:

If you are a non-tech person, the iPhone is a 10.0 and sets the bar incredibly high.  If you can afford that phone, ignore all the stuff about how crappy AT&T is and just get that phone.

If you are a tech person it’s a much harder call because although the iPhone is great . . . it’s locked down!  So, a phone like the G2 or any other Android phone (once they come out!!) has an incredible appeal since they are so hackable.  It’s an 8.2 to the 9.0 of a iPhone (not a perfect 10 because it’s missing concurrent apps and no Google Voice app but those things don’t matter to a casual user).  The old blackberry I had would be a 5.0 at best . . . I mean, you can use maps and check gmail with those apps but getting the apps in the first place sucks because you have to get them directly from the vendor (although this is different now from what I understand) AND it’s still a locked down OS that no one want’s to develop for.

The apps and the speed of the iPhone is why it has any chance against an Android phone . . . and both of those problems will fix themselves if someone releases some decent hardware.  It needs to be powerful and WITH a headphone jack (even though bluetooth noice canceling headphones have got to be in the pipeline somewhere at Bose, right?).

I’ll do a pro/cons list about my Android phone some other time, maybe.

Sheldon

Published
Categorized as Gadgets, Rant