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TRS-80 100 for the 21st century.

What I really want is a distraction free device.  Back in the 1980’s I really wanted a TRS-80 100 portable computer.  It was a simple, all in one computer that had a 40×8  line text display.  However, in 2017, this is just a horribly outdated device that commands a very steep price, well over $100 for a working model.  I wanted something affordable, practical, modern enough to work with modern computers, and, most importantly, be distraction free. 

The TRS-80 100

dana wireless.: you can see the resemblance to the TRS-80 100

I heard about dana word processors in the past and finally found a model that really met all my needs, the dana wireless.   It is a Palm based device, released in the mid 00’s,  I am very familiar with Palm devices and it has 2 SD slots and USB connectivity and USB printing.  It meets all of my needs, and then some.  The device also has a wireless connection, but I really have not tried that, since I wanted something to create on without the distraction of Facebook, twitter, and a host of other distractions.  Best of all, a good, working, clean model can be had for less than $25, shipped.  

This whole post was written in just a few minutes on the dana.  I have really missed a single tasking device, like a word processor.  Yes, it is a full fledged Palm based device, but I don’t have to use any of these features.  I can just press the Memo button and start typing.  I also installed a 128mb SD card, so I don’t have to worry about dead batteries and I can easily plug the SD card into any modern computer.

The device is fairly light, about 2.5 lbs, and runs off of 3 AA batteries.  The rated battery life is 20 hours, but I will see how that works out in real life.  The keyboard is full sized and has a nice travel and click.  The most endearing feature is when it sends files to your computer, via USB.  When you plug the dana in, it emulates a USB keyboard.  Just open a document, select the transfer speed, and the text in the document gets ‘typed’ to the screen.  It really is cool to watch, and makes text transfers possible to ANY computer with USB.  

I’ll update this post as I spend more time with the little word processor, but so far, it has already exceeded my expectations.  

September 16, 2017

Modified the dana to have internal NiMH batteries.

The battery indicator now show the correct levels.  When regular AA are installed, looking for 1.5V instead of 1.25 volts.  This should allow the dana to be useful for years to come. I can now charge the unit and, if the batteries fail, simply replace them with a new set in a few years.

 

 

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Posted by on September 16, 2017 in Computers

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Not even outraged, #4

With the recent shootings in Orlando Dallas Baton Rouge, a Virginia Baseball field, I don’t know why people are outraged. After Sandy Hook and the daily shootings in cities across America, why are people surprised and outraged?
 
The congress has been bought and paid for by the NRA for decades now. No one will stand up to them, or any other gun lobby, so we should just accept how this will be. Sucks, but it is the truth.
 
Unless the gun laws in the country change, this will keep happening. Creating concentration camps with Muslims won’t solve this. Creating a gestapo that removes 11,000,000 Latino won’t stop this. Common sense gun laws will. See Australia and the UK.
 
Next time this happens, and it will, I will copy and paste this post with new names.
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Posted by on June 15, 2017 in Uncategorized

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100 Days of Trump

Since we are almost 100 days into it, I wanted to look, for myself how Trump is doing with his SIGNED CONTRACT WITH AMERICA.
O-TRU-102316-Contractv02

The pdf above was downloaded from https://assets.donaldjtrump.com/_landings/contract/O-TRU-102316-Contractv02.pdf

That’s right, from donaldjtrump.com.  His photo, with his hand over his heart AND his signature is on the page.  Keep in mind, this is a PDF, it really is a legal document, like a FAX.  I copied it locally, in case it is deleted from his official website.

Lets see how he has done:  Long story short, pretty pathetic.  

 
Six measures to clean up the
corruption and special interest
collusion in Washington, DC:
★ FIRST, propose a constitutional amendment to
impose term limits on all members of Congress.

No evidence this has occurred.

★ SECOND, a hiring freeze on all federal employees
to reduce the federal workforce through attrition
(exempting military, public safety, and public health).

This was true for a short time, about 60 days, but has expired.

★ THIRD, a requirement that for every new federal regulation,
two existing regulations must be eliminated.

He did sign an executive order for this.  It carries no weight of law and is pretty meaningless.  No evidence this has done anything.  

★ FOURTH, a five-year ban on White House and
Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they
leave government service.

Has not been instituted, laws have not changed.  Executive order signed, but that only applies to the White House officials and can be cancelled by the next president.

★ FIFTH, a lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying
on behalf of a foreign government.

Big fail on this one.  Michael Flynn anyone?  He did sign an executive order, but it is pretty meaningless.  

★ SIXTH, a complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising
money for American elections.

Can’t find any evidence this has happened.

 
Seven actions to protect
American workers:
★ FIRST, I will announce my intention to renegotiate
NAFTA or withdraw from the deal under Article 2205.

Flip flopped on this one.  No renegotiation or withdrawal yet.

★ SECOND, I will announce our withdrawal from the
Trans-Pacific Partnership.

This one came true, but I am not sure of this was a good idea.

★ THIRD, I will direct the Secretary of the Treasury to label
China a currency manipulator.

Another flip flop. Did not happen.

★ FOURTH, I will direct the Secretary of
Commerce and U.S. Trade Representative to
identify all foreign trading abuses that unfairly
impact American workers and direct them to
use every tool under American and international
law to end those abuses immediately.

Another executive order, but, have not see any evidence of actionable items.

★ FIFTH, I will lift the restrictions on the
production of $50 trillion dollars’ worth of
job-producing American energy reserves,
including shale, oil, natural gas and clean coal.

There are some investigations started, but not much real action on this one.  Since shale, oil, natural gas and coal are competitors, not sure how this one will work.

★ SIXTH, lift the Obama-Clinton roadblocks and allow vital
energy infrastructure projects, like the Keystone Pipeline,
to move forward.

He did fulfill this promise, sadly.  

★ SEVENTH, cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate
change programs and use the money to fix America’s
water and environmental infrastructure.

Did not fulfill this one.  It is in his laughable budget, but nothing has come of it.

 

Five actions to restore security
and the constitutional rule of law:
★ FIRST, cancel every unconstitutional executive action,
memorandum and order issued by President Obama.

A little vague here.  He is not the one to judge if something is constitutional or now.

★ SECOND, begin the process of selecting a replacement
for Justice Scalia from one of the 20 judges on my list,
who will uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution.

This one is a win*…with a Republican congress AND changes to 200 year old Senate rules. So a win with an asterix.

★ THIRD, cancel all federal funding to sanctuary cities.

Hasn’t happened and probably not constitutional.  

★ FOURTH, begin removing the more than two million
criminal illegal immigrants from the country and cancel
visas to foreign countries that won’t take them back.

This is kind of happening, but no real evidence deportations have increased, or if it really solves a problem.

★ FIFTH, suspend immigration from terror-prone regions
where vetting cannot safely occur. All vetting of people
coming into our country will be considered “extreme vetting.”

Struck down, twice, by the courts.

Now, on the back of the paper:

 
Middle Class Tax Relief and
Simplification Act
An economic plan designed to grow the economy 4% per year
and create at least 25 million new jobs through massive
tax reduction and simplification, in combination with trade
reform, regulatory relief and lifting the restrictions on
American energy. The largest tax reductions are for the
middle class. A middle-class family with two children will get
a 35% tax cut. The current number of brackets will be reduced
from seven to three, and tax forms will likewise be greatly
simplified. The business rate will be lowered from 35%
to 15%, and the trillions of dollars of American corporate
money overseas can now be brought back at a 10% rate.

Not introduced formally, just an 1 page plan that takes the above and sets them in bullet points instead.  After over 3 months, all the White House has submitted is what you read above, with no further details.  Pathetic.  

 

End the Offshoring Act
Establishes tariffs to discourage companies from laying off
their workers in order to relocate in other countries and ship
their products back to the U.S. tax-free.

Nothing to see here, nothing introduced.

American Energy and
Infrastructure Act
Leverages public-private partnerships, and private
investments through tax incentives, to spur $1 trillion in
infrastructure investment over ten years. It is revenue neutral.

Nothing to see here, nothing introduced.

School Choice and Education
Opportunity Act
Redirects education dollars to give parents the right to send
their kid to the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or
home school of their choice. Ends Common Core and brings
education supervision to local communities. It expands
vocational and technical education, and makes two- and four year
college more affordable.

Nothing to see here, nothing introduced.

Repeal and Replace
Obamacare Act
Fully repeals Obamacare and replaces it with Health Savings
Accounts, the ability to purchase health insurance across
state lines and lets states manage Medicaid funds. Reforms
will also include cutting the red tape at the FDA: there are
over 4,000 drugs awaiting approval, and we especially want
to speed the approval of life-saving medications.

Has not come up for vote yet in house.  The second half with the FDA has not been introduced.

Affordable Childcare and
Eldercare Act
Allows Americans to deduct childcare and eldercare
from their taxes, incentivizes (sic) employers to provide on-site
childcare services and creates tax-free dependent care
savings accounts for both young and elderly dependents,
with matching contributions for low-income families.

Nothing to see here, nothing introduced.

End Illegal Immigration Act
Fully-funds the construction of a wall on our southern
border with the full understanding that the country of
Mexico will be reimbursing the United States for the full cost
of such wall; establishes a two-year mandatory minimum
federal prison sentence for illegally re-entering the U.S. after
a previous deportation, and a five-year mandatory minimum
federal prison sentence for illegally re-entering for those
with felony convictions, multiple misdemeanor convictions
or two or more prior deportations; also reforms visa rules to
enhance penalties for overstaying and to ensure open jobs
are offered to American workers first.

Nothing to see here, nothing introduced.

Restoring Community Safety Act
Reduces surging crime, drugs and violence by creating
a task force on violent crime and increasing funding for
programs that train and assist local police; increases
resources for federal law enforcement agencies and federal
prosecutors to dismantle criminal gangs and put violent
offenders behind bars.

Nothing to see here, nothing introduced.  I thought he was supposed to end crime in Chicago in a week?

Restoring National Security Act
Rebuilds our military by eliminating the defense sequester
and expanding military investment; provides veterans
with the ability to receive public VA treatment or attend
the private doctor of their choice; protects our vital
infrastructure from cyber-attack; establishes new screening
procedures for immigration to ensure those who are
admitted to our country support our people and our values.

Nothing to see here, nothing introduced.

Clean Up Corruption in
Washington Act
Enacts new ethics reforms to drain the swamp and reduce
the corrupting influence of special interests on our politics

Nothing to see here, nothing introduced.

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Posted by on April 28, 2017 in Political, Uncategorized

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How to not get hacked

Hacking, in the sense of a remote compromise of a networked or local compromise of a computer, is your data being accessed by parties unknown.  Hacking has evolved from simple phone phreaking (ever wonder why cyberphreak.com is spelled with a ph?) to curious individuals, to corporations, to, now, entire governments being behind and subject to hacking.  

I have been using computers for over 30 years and there is one thing I know:  If someone wants your information, they will get your information.  I don’t care how many firewalls or intrusion countermeasures you have, what operating system you are running, or hardware you are running; if it is networked, they can get in.  If they can get local access to your machine, they will get in.  

If it is hopeless, what can you do to keep sensitive information?  You will need 3 things:  A writing implement, such as a pen or pencil, paper, and bad handwriting.  If it really matters, get a blank book, write it down in handwriting only you can read, and put that book in a safe place.  Even if your home is broken into, it will be difficult to decipher the information.  If the book is stolen, well, you know what was written down in there and exactly what was lost.  At least with your poor penmanship, a human will have to painstakingly decipher your chicken scratch.  You can also destroy the book in a fire and grind the ashes.  

If you must use a computer, DO NOT NETWORK THE COMPUTER.  DO NOT INSTALL A WIRELESS CARD.  Have a specific computer that will never be connected to the internet, ever.  Yes, very 1983, but what else can you  do?  DO NOT STORE SENSITIVE FILES ON A HARD DRIVE.  Keep all files, encrypted, on a device that can be easily destroyed.  Something like a micro-SD card.  Tiny enough to hide anywhere, small enough to be destroyed if the need arises.  A cross cut paper shredder will do.  Someone with enough time and money might be able to get information using a scanning electron microscope, then decrypting the data, but, seriously, what are you doing to deserve that kind of attention?

If these steps seem a little extreme, they are.   The paper/book based is my personal choice, and I have really bad handwriting.  It can never be hacked remotely and I don’t write anything down that is illegal anyway, just personal that I don’t want strangers to see.  Turns out that little diary or journal you kept as a kid is the most secure choice after all.

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Posted by on March 28, 2017 in Computers, General Comments

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He Must Go

He must go.  He is a 21st century Hitler, I am not mincing words here.  He is evil and he is surrounded by Nazis.

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Posted by on February 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

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