image of man holding sun [ Our firmfriends.us domain is hosted at  inmotionhosting.com ] image of man holding sun
My Contact info
Water  Hawk  Computers

image of hawk

--------------------    David Cook    --------------------
----------    david.hubert.cook@gmail.com    ----------
--------------------    (603) 493-9597    --------------------
------    website: https://weasel.firmfriends.us    ------

Manchester, NH       

To view and navigate these webpages, click on any 'topic' in the list in the LEFT PANE. When finished with that topic, first try and see if the browser's back-arrow button is armed and use that if it is. Otherwise, simply delete/stop the current 'browser-tab' and your view should return to the previously-viewed page.


Welcome!

The 'weasel' lives here. This is his new home.
  He's a tricky little fellow...e.g. known to play dead when confronted by his enemies.

Actually, I'm just a weasel wannabe...it's the Morley family members who really ARE weasels.
[ I guess I'm also a ferret wannabe too...so I can 'ferret' out the truth. ]

[ AngularJS logo ]
Scroll-interval, in milli-secs:
[ To freeze/pause the built-in auto-scrolling in this Carousel, enter a negative number
(for the scroll-interval value), or hover-on or click-on the left/right nav-arrowheads,
or just hover your mouse in the images-area. ]



Three very funny "best of Saturday Night LIve" skits

Titled "The Herlihy Boy", who offers various services...(with Adam Sandler and Chris Farley)

Hint: Use the 'full-screen' button near end of control-bar, for a better viewing experience



More "Saturday Night LIve" skits (with more Chris Farley in #2 and #3 )

Threesome is titled "The Gap Girls" (with Adam Sandler and David Spade)

Hint: Use the 'full-screen' button near end of control-bar, for a better viewing experience



Fareed Zacharia's 2022 excellent explanation of "Inflation/Recession"

[ I captured and extracted this 5-minute snippet from his Sunday 2022 shows on CNN ]




My wife's "debut" appearance on the TV-show:

"25 Words or Less"

[ I captured and extracted this 21-minute TV-program (from 'Tubi') ]

Trish is the episode's "Super-fan"' and appears twice...at 6:59 mark and again at 18:55

Hint: Use the 'full-screen' button near end of control-bar, for best viewing experience



Richard Engel's 2023 special: "Ukraine's Secret Resistance"

[ I captured and extracted this 1-hour TV-program from my Comcast recorder ]

Hint: Use the 'full-screen' button near end of control-bar, for best viewing experience



Donald Trump is psychologically damaged and is UNFIT to be president

'The Altantic' magazine's EXCELLENT article on the warped psychology of Donald Trump

       Click here for their 2016 article: "Trump's psychological traits"
Bill Maher says something very similar. Bill's diagnosis: "Narcissistic Personality Disorder"

Diagnosis: "Narcissistic Personality Disorder"

Lawrence O'Donnell says that Trump is just a common criminal

[ "Trump University" lawsuit" ]

Bill Maher also did two more "must-hear" commentaries on Trump

[ Two of the most accurate assessments of Trump...the man was/is UNFIT for the office. ]

Obama's 2016 parting comments (about a future 4 years under Donald Trump)

It's my opinion that Obama was a VERY good president...in my view, he was arguably the best president in my lifetime. I say that NOT because of his political party. I don't care whether he was a Democrat or a Republican. (In the past, I've never been a Democrat nor a Republican. My voter-registration has always been as an "Independent".)

GOOD NEWS going towards the 2024 election: The Gallup pole in 2021 says: "Overall in 2021, an average of 29% of Americans identified as Democrats, 27% as Republicans and 42% as independents." "Gallup"

One of Obama's best attributes is illustrated in this video...it is how steady, smooth, and articulate he is, when being interviewed and when explaining issues to citizens and communicating with foreign leaders. (Whereas, it is claimed that Trump had a very HARD TIME reading/comprehending his 'daily briefing' writeups).


Why are so many college-educated Americans pro-Trump?

I've always been able to comprehend why relatively un-educated people and 'religious-right' people, etc, became Trump-supporters. But, as a college-educated person myself, I've encountered many college graduates who became Trump supporters. And, many of those even claim or appear to me to be 'pro-science'. Yet, they somehow arrive at the point where they've VOTED for him. What's going on in their thought-processes to cause them to reach that point?

The closest I can come to being able to explain them, is to group them into a category I call "anti-government'. More precisely "anti-Federal-government". And, I also include the crowd that feels that their rights are being infringed upon...that the government is DICTATING (legislating) too many things that citizens MUST DO.

Because, I AGREE with many of those sentiments. Because I too think of myself as a "small-government" advocate. For example, I agree that eliminating the military draft was certainly the correct action to take. And, I'd have no problem at all if we were to privatize the Post Office'. And, I agree with those who point out how inefficient the federal beauracracy is. (Tho I did not vote for Trump, neither did I vote for Hillary nor Biden. I voted for the Libertarian candidates. And, in the upcoming election in 2024, I DEFINITELY plan to vote for Liz Chaney...primarily because she's such a Libertarian-leaning politician.)

A good example of a politician who espouses those conservative views is Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky...who is a medical doctor by training. Yet, even though he is a 'conservative', listen some of his totally idiotic political statements. In my book, he a great example of a highly educated man who is also a totally confused politician.


Will Trump run again in 2024?

Hmmm...as of August of 2022...just AFTER the FBI raided his Mar-a-lago estate in Florida, it seems to be quite likely that he'll be found guilty of stealing top-secret Govt documents. And, they say that the penalty for that is that he won't be able to run again for ANY Federal government office. I'd be happy with that...I don't care whether he ever has to spend any time in prison.

[ That said, tho, now we still DO have to worry about candidates such as Ron DeSantis and Ted Cruz. Yikes!!! ]


Cyber Newsworthy:

      Read how cyber-hackers are scraping your profile info from Facebook and other social network sites.

GEEK ALERT: How to make Windows-10 desktop-UI look like Windows-7

      If you own a computer running Windows-10 (or Windows 8.x), but want the desktop UI to look and act like it did
      back on Windows-7, there IS a (free) solution. So, just download and install the software called the Windows
"Classic Shell"

Watch a skydiver's most recent feat. [ Awesome ]

[ I retired from skydiving (after jump #386), back in my younger days, so this video has special significance for me. ]

Go "Luke" !
Watch these 4 skydivers as they jump from 25,000 feet
( for best experience, use the 'full-screen' button at lower-right )

Watch two basejumpers do a "reverse-skydive" [ Unbelievable. ]

[ I never graduated to base-jumping. It resembles skydiving, except for their special "wing-jumpsuits" ]

Watch THESE 2 guys step off a mountain top
( for best experience, use the 'full-screen' button at lower-right )

Marijuana: Understanding the difference between Medical(CBD)....and...Recreational(THC) components

[ When I think of Bill Maher, (or Willie Nelson), I frequently think of a good 'toke'. ]
========
========
Charlotte's story (seizures) -- Medical(CBD) click here
My interest in medical cannabis originates in the handful of seizures I've had, from a benign brain tumor.
========
========
My interest in recreational cannabis comes from......well, you know...who hasn't either
recreated with it or at least hasn't been affected by a friend or relative who has?
chart of Indica vs sativa attributes
========
"TED talk": A scientific talk of brain architecture / chemistry (connections with marijuana's effects) click here
"TED talk": A scientific talk on the POWER of EXERCISE on the brain. click here


Why an old-school 'flip-phone' is an IDEAL 'smartphone' !

Tho I'm quite 'tablet-literate', I plan to continue to upgrade to yet another"flip-phone"...(Yup, a phone with those 10 physical keys numbered 0 thru 9 and each containing 3 or 4 letters of the alphabet). If you're thinking it must be awkward for me to compose a TEXT-MSG, you're right. That's not a bad thing!!! I've found a minimalist flip-phone model to be the nearly PERFECT device, for encouraging hands-free operation while driving. It works perfectly for RECEIVING normal text-msgs (e.g. from your doctor or dentist), yet it neatly discourages you from SENDING text-msgs, beyond a simple "OK" or "Roger, that.". Long live the EMAIL-system!

Also note that a flip-phone is FULLY blue-tooth capable. So, yes, if your vehicle is modern enough to have bluetooth support in its console, your contacts will auto-upload into your car's console. You can make and receive calls 'hands-free', just like you can via a 'normal' smartphone. Which is why I'm here to declare that, phone-call-function-wise, a flip-phone is just as 'smart' as the more-common touch-screen-based smartphone.

Another characteristic of flip-phones, is that they're small enough that you can easily carry them attched to your your trouser belt, yet they're much less likely to get tangled up with the seat-belt, as you enter/exit the vehicle. (The case on my left hip is only 3" x 4") !!!

Consider: So the only two features MISSING, as compared to a 'normal' smartphone, is (#1) a 'touch screen'. and (#2) a much larger collection of free 'apps' in the app-store. (A well-kept 'secret' is that the modern flip-phones (like mine) DO support a variety of downloadable apps!) And, they typically also have a built-in CAMERA!

When I test-drove a couple of 'normal' touch-screen smart-phones, a big 'negative' attribute is that their screen-size was just a bit too small for my taste. (e.g. the tightly-space keys on the virtual keyboard made it more likely that a touch will instead click the neighbor-key to the one you really wanted.

Lastly, I work out daily (at Planet Fitness). Almost everyone there these days carries around a 'smart-phone' and wears a bluetooth headset or bluetooth ear-pieces, so that they can listen to music. Well...guess what. My flip-phone does that too! It has a built-in music app and bluetooth connectivity, and I routinely play all my favorite tunes into my bluetooth headset! Cheers!




GEEK ALERT: How to capture a video/audio multimedia source, using an HDMI-capture device and an HDMI-cable

Our goal is to capture a movie/TV-show that is 'streaming' (playing) from our TV's set-top box into the back of TV-set
#1: Using a (FREE) software-program named "OBS Studio" (My laptop currently is running Windows-11)
#2: Using hardware: (1) an HDMI-cable and (2) any HDMI-to-USB capture device (card/dongle/board/what-have-you)

Let's assume you bought some HDMI capture device. So, instead of plugging the HDMI cable into your laptop directly, plug the cable into our new capture device, such as the 2-inch black 'dongle'. Then, plug the output ( the USB-end) into a USB-port on your laptop. You are now plugged up to capture from a 'source' port known generically by name of 'USB_video' inside of VLC. Voila...you're now ready to install and learn to use some simple free software called VLC Player, to 'capture' a video stream (of whatever TV-show/commercial is currently playing on your TV-set). Do a google-search "where can I get VLC for Windows" (or MacOS or whatever your laptop uses) and download and install it. Launch VLC. (First-time thru, click 'View'>'Advanced Controls', which causes VLC's hidden 'Record' button to become visible/usable...it's round and red...it should now appear, just above the 'Play' button at lower left). Now: #1: Click on "Media->Open Capture Device..." For 'capture mode' choose 'DirectShow' and for Device Name you want to choose the last (newest) choice...named "USB Video" (which appears dynamically in the list because VLC added this choice due to detecting that you plugged your device into one of your USB-ports!) Now hit 'Play' button....and you should be seeing/hearing your TV show's content! #2: Click VLC's Record button (next to the Play button). #3: When you've recorded, say, 30 seconds worth of content, click Record button again to stop. #4: Using your fav file-manager, navigate to where VLC stores captured content ('Videos' folder on Windows...'Movie' folder on MacOS) and retrieve your new video file. You're done!

Note: There are NUMEROUS 'how-to-capture' videos on YouTube. Below are my two favorites. Watch them BOTH (both use the 'OBS Studio' software program, but different EXTERNAL capture devices). These will help you understand the 'big-picture'. The key-concept for your specific hardware setup: Plug the source end (up-stream end) of the HDMI-cable into, say, your set-top box (e.g. the one provided by e.g. Comcast) or your Roku-box, and the plug the down-stream end of the cable into the HDMI-port of the capture device. Plug the output USB port of capture-device into one of your laptop's USB-ports...faster port is better. (Hint: Any USB-port with an internal BLUE tab is faster than one with an internal BLACK tab)


''This video shows use of a (black 2-inch long) capture device (aka 'dongle'). "

I strongly disagree with this first guy's insistence that you need an expensive graphics-card and mucho memory and mucho-fast CPU on your laptop! Those factors can limit the highest resolution of graphic input signal that you can smoothly capture...but just do a trial-and-error test with whatever laptop you've got, and I'm betting you'll be satisfied when viewing the output video file captured onto your laptop. (He's a high-end guy...wants/needs that power because he captures video from games, etc.) As to NEEDING an HDMI-splitter and extra HDMI cables that he mentions: granted that those will allow you to simultaneously watch the live content on both your TV and in your capturing software viewer (i.e. VLC or OBS) during your capture-sessions. but, I've been managing just fine, for the last 2 years, without his "HDMI-splitter and 2nd HDMI-cable" setup.


''This second video shows use of a different capture device (aka 'card');

This 2nd video also uses the same free "OBS Studio" software, as I do.


[ Oh, and here is a 3rd video, but does NOT use the free "OBS Studio" software that I'm recommending. And, once again, it's using the little 2-inch black 'dongle' that I have. ]

''This 3rd video also uses the same capture 'dongle' that I do!"

''And a 4th guy ALSO recommends this same capture 'dongle' !"

OK, let's go launch our 'OBS Studio' program. Hmm...FIRST I should mention that the "lion's share" of all this 'capturing streams of video/audio' stuff, is about learning the details of using the SOFTWARE-PROGRAM that we've chosen to accomplish this task. I wanted to be using the best 'open-source' (aka 'free') video/audio processing tool available. Tho I haven't tried many of the others (other than 'VLC' which works just fine for the job!), I noticed that recently (in 2020 and beyond) 'OBS Studio' seems to have become more frequently recommended, rather than VLC Player. ( I grabbed/installed a copy of OBS a year or so ago, and it quickly became my new favorite tool-of-choice.)

Overview: Go to about the 4:10 MINUTE-MARK in that second video, and just start watching/listening, when he talks about how to use OBS to record the input from a capture device. Oh, another tip: When recording videos using VLC, the output files default to type ".avi", and in OBS, they default to ".mkv". But, both tools allow you to change those defaults to, say, ".mp4", if that's what you prefer. [ Most serious video-file creators DO want .mp4, with .mkv a close 2nd. Stay away from VLC's .avi choice! It is an OLD uncompressed video format, so the resulting avi-files are MUCH larger than equivalent .mkv and .mp4 files. ]

Ok, here's the one-time (first time) setup sequence that will get you up and running in OBS. (Once you got OBS set up the first time (defining/creating/adding your specific 'source for your capture device, OBS will REMEMBER it all (as does VLC, too). So that the next time you launch the tools, come come right up with the little live-viewer window active...you're already to just hit their respective 'Start Recording' buttons. Here's my first-time setup sequence steps: #1: Click "+" (aka 'add'), then 'Video Capture Device' (near bottom of list), then 'ok' (in the popup). #2: In large popup, it'll initialize to camera-image of use...click the up-down-arrow 'Device' line, and choose 'USB Video', and 'ok' #3: (You should NOW being seeing the live video feed...(you're now 'watching tv' in the top center panel) #4: Cool! Now go click the 'Start Recording' button (in the Controls panel). You're now 'capturing'!!! #5: When you've captured for the duration you want, click that same button (which renamed itself 'Stop Recording') #6: Just as before (with 'VLC' tool), navigate your laptop's file-mgr app to where OBS stores it's output files (which is 'Videos' folder on Windows and 'Movies' folder on MacOS) and retrieve the file! You're done !!! [ It's safe to shutdown OBS...your new 'USB Video' source gets saved. (Click its 'padlock' to reduce chances that you'll mistakenly delete it.) ]




GEEK ALERT: How to 'edit' (snip out) sections of a video (e.g. maybe one you captured earlier)

Note: You'll probably want Windows or MacOS device (not a tablet/smartphone-based browser)

If you are hoping that OBS Studio can help, no it doesn't support 'editing' (sigh). But, I've read that our earlier free tool named VLC Player CAN do this editing job. (I'll leave details of VLC editing for you to search out other author's editing writeups.)

Instead, I'll mention a 'cmd-line' tool that I use to cut (snip) video sections from a file. It is named 'ffmpeg'. (It's more common use is to convert from one video file-type to another.) But, I have also used 'ffmpeg' to cut out a section of a movie, to create my own 'trailer' (e.g. maybe a 4 or 5 minute favorite scene). It's quite straight forward to learn to use it, so I'll let you find details for its use elsewhere.




GEEK ALERT: Explanation of basic torrent-based downloading of video/audio multimedia content

Note: You'll need/want to use a PC-based browser (not a tablet/smartphone-based browser)

The two tools I recommend are both software 'extensions' to Google's "Chrome" browser. Their names are the "JSTorrent" extension, a 'BitTorrent client' which does the actual downloading activity, and a free VPN [Virtual Private Network] extension named "Browsec" (to protect your Internet privacy). NOTE: Rather than using Google's Chrome browser, it's my understanding that one can use the "Opera" browser...the advantage being that Opera has a built-in VPN, thus saving the step of acquiring, installing, and configuring the "Browsec" extension. (Note also that the Opera browser is 'extension-format' compatable with Chrome...unlike browsers such as Firefox, etc.) Various places of where you can acquire these two tools, is detailed in an excellent writeup here

Final NOTE: It's the understanding of WHAT tools are needed (rather than knowing WHERE to find your desired video-content or HOW to do the detailed steps of using the "JSTorrent" downloader), that is the tricky/difficult part. The WHERE and HOW parts are straight-forward, by doing a few 'google-searches, so I'll leave those to you. Have at it !!!


WEB-SAFETY:   How to check reputation/safety of any website/domain:

[ This cool webservice validates via a series of web-safety-provided 'black-lists' and 'white-lists' ]
[ Hint: Normally, you would specify a simple textual-URL such as 'Foobar.com', (rather than a numerical IP-address), for your website of interest ]
  Blacklist/Whitelist alerter

Understanding the blacklist output:
  If you see only the normal vertical list of 'OK' s, you're good to go...it's a SAFE/normal website.

Understanding any non-whitelist output:
  If you see any text like 'NOT WHITELISTED'.
  This indicates a WARNING-alert that the website in question is NOT RECOMMENDED, due to some undesireable restriction.
  For example, a site that is accessible/visable/useable ONLY after you've registered/joined it.

WEB-SAFETY:   How to view registration-info for any website/domain:

[ Here is Wikipedia's detailed explanation/useage of   "WhoIS" ]
  Get EasyCounter's WhoIS info for a website

A place to build your own website

     A good place to build your own website is at SITES.GOOGLE.COM

I mention this, because "sites.google.com" is a free domain provided to the public by Google, and is where my classmate Warren Hill built our wonderful high-school re-union website.
   our high-school class's Re-union Website

[ He told me he really knew nothing about building websites before he started, and that this base site of Google's provides a series of templates for various generic categories for one's site, and that he just 'followed his nose' after choosing the appropriate template. ]

Google offers this site, FREE to the public, as a place where people can construct their own sites. It offers a DIY (do it yourself) approach, and provides you with templates and tools and instructions to help you construct a series of webpages and data files comprising your 'site'.

Here's an interesting native Android widget-app (tribute to my father-in-law):

     The Dinarism-list widget
Using, say, Android's Chrome-browser,Touch here, to download my modified 'LoremWidget' for Android (aka the Dinarism-list widget)
It will go into Android's "Download" folder...so go there using, say, the 'ES File Manager' app, and touch the .apk, to install.
[Hint: You need to have 'allow from unknown-sources' enabled, in your Security settings.]
Note: Because this app is a widget-app rather than a full-screen app, to deploy it after installation, you'll need to drag/drop it from the 'Widget' section of the app list, onto your home-screen/desktop.