[ Our   Firmfriends.us domain is hosted on a web-server at  inmotionhosting.com ]

Below is my business-card - Call or email - Very reasonable prices...and estimates are free
(I have an "Acer Chromebook 15-inch laptop that I can loan to you, while I'm repairing your computer.)
Water  Hawk  Computers
image of hawk
David Cook
http://weasel.firmfriends.us
(603) 493-9597

----------    david.hubert.cook@gmail.com    ----------

Manchester, NH        Boulder, CO         Jacksonville, FL

Computer (Laptop / Desktop) repair               Video processing
Windows-OS Repair / Virus removal                 Home networks
 


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. ]

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Donald Trump is psychologically damaged and unfit to be president

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


       Click here to read their article titled: "Trump's psychological traits"

Bill Maher says something very similar. Like many others, Bill's diagnosis is: "Narcissistic Personality Disorder"


Diagnosis: "Narcissistic Personality Disorder"


Bill Maher also did another "must-hear" commentary on the Donald


[ Probably one of the most accurate assessments of Trump...the man was/is unfit for the office. ]

How to setup and and use a (free) VPN (Virtual Private Network)

Fundamentally, VPNs provide two services: #1:Encrypting your data between two points but MOST importantly: #2:Hiding your computer's unique IP-address, from which your geographic location can be derived. and more importantly. who your ISP is (e.g. Comcast/XFinity). Stated another way...if your IP-address is NOT being hidden, then anyone monitoring your computer traffic (including your ISP themselves!) can monitor each piece of data that goes in or out. Thus, they can determine the precise name and origin of a file you are downloading or content that you are watching at the moment.

Most "premiere-VPNs" charge a monthly fee. For that, their service will watch and protect ALL Internet traffic in and out of your computer...no matter which software program is actively doing the trafficing at the moment. Whereas free VPN software gets installed 'inside' some specific browser and thus hide just the traffic eminating from that browser, Such a VPN is typically implemented as a so-called 'browser-extension'.

Full VPNs cost about $10 per month, whereas browser-based VPNs are typically free.

[ Note: The Opera browser has a built-in VPN...just enable it in Opera's settings and you're good to go. ]
But, if you want a VPN for Google's "Chrome" browser, read on.
[ For example, say that you want to 'torrent' download some Internet content...]
[ ...or watch some 'controversial' website...or whatever. ]

You first need to learn how to setup, say, a 'Windows-10' laptop's Chrome-browser, so that you can enable and disable it as desired. tool, such that every browser tab (including, say, the browser-extension named "jsTorrent", which is used for torrent downloading from any of the popular torrent-based websites) so that you are using a 'hidden' IP-address.

Ok...this setup is actually quite straight-forward to do.

Here's a basic article explaining VPNs

It's a good idea to leave your VPN disabled, except when you actually needing it's protection. Thus, any time, just before you're ready to actually BEGIN doing a torrent-download, or to BEGIN viewing your favorite'explicit' website , you must first remember to manually go enable your browser's VPN, and when you're done, disable it. [ In other words, the lion's share of your daily Chrome-browser usage should be done with your VPN disabled. That said, however, one COULD just enable the VPN once and leave it enabled all the time. A warning tho: the PROBLEM with that, is that you'll usually experience very slow performance in that browser]

So, let's assume that you have installed and configured Google's Chrome-browser to be able to use the free downloader named "JSTorrent". (well, almost free...there's one-time payment of $2.95 for it, at the Chrome webstore) . Also, let's assume you have installed and setup the Chrome-browser-based VPN extension named "Browsec", which is also available at the Chrome webstore. We will now, go thru the motions (for practice/familiarity) and ENABLE your BROWSEC VPN, by simply clicking on the round-silver-grid-world logo for BROWSEC. [ The first-time using it, you can attach it to the right end of Google Chrome's address bar. So now click on that BROWSEC icon. It's dialog popup has a clickable 'slide-switch.' When clicked into the ON position, it should have a list-box of various country-name choices, of various countrys' VPN-servers that you wish to use. I typically just use the default choice of the Netherlands. ]

Some cautions on using the torrent-client named JSTorrent correctly, with Browsec! (Pay close attention...I stumbled upon the fact that there are two different ways of passing JSTorrent your desired 'torrent/magnet' info. This first way will NOT hide your IP: that first way would be to first launch iJSTorrent separately from outside the browser and then 'copy' the magnet link and 'paste' it into this already-launched JSTorrent. While that will indeed DO the desired download, that download will NOT be protected by your VPN, because JSTorrent is now running external to the browser.

So, use this method: (1) Enable your Browsec VPN. (2) Navigate to a torrent-site using Chrome, and search for and choose the video's torrent/magnet link that you want to download. When you click on your chosen file, iit will now visibly launch JSTorrent, in behalf of this browser instance. So, now you have JSTorrent's torrent stream downloading through the VPN/tunnel!

To become familiar with STARTING and STOPPING the 'Browsec VPN Service', and TESTING that it's operating as expected, create yourself a browser bookmark that points at . IPLocation This will visibly show you that your VPN service is having the desired effect of CHANGING your IP-ADDRESS, from your normal Internet Service Provider ("ISP") to a private generic/non-descript IP-ADDRESS, originating in the country that you configured your VPN to point to. So to 'test', first manually enable your VPN,and then visit the testing URL above, refresh that test page (by and look at your Public (effective) IP-ADDRESS, and then go back and turn OFF the VPN-service. and again reload that test URL and you should see that your IP-ADDRESS is now different than before. ( It's not at all important to know WHAT your IP-ADDRESS normally is, but only that it is now DIFFERENT than before. WARNING: I do NOT recommend that you actually USE any of the various clickable buttons on this test-page...they might actually mess up the workings of the Browsec VPN! This test URL is only for your educational understanding, so that you can trust that the VPN is having its desired effect.)

An'artificial intelligence' (AI) website: a free medical diagnostic-interview

Smiley face
The header above says it all...just point your browser to "MEDOCTOR.COM". i.e. just click or touch here

You'll be taking a medical interview, by entering some basic info, which includes the year you were born, your gender, the affected part of your body, followed by a series of mostly 'yes' or 'no' questions.

My first experience there, was for some mid/lower back spasms and intermittent pain in my lower back. In my case, the interview part was approx 30 questions long, before it decided it was ready to give me a diagnosis, which resulted in 'three' (3) possibilities/probabilities: These are your 3 most likely conditions or diseases with their ICD-9 identification codes, as determined by your answers and the logical process of the MEDoctor system:

Disease Name ICD-9 Identification Code
1. Low back pain 724.2
2. Lumbar disc displacement 722.10
3. Low back sprain 846.0
The site's "PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING". i.e. which translates to: Just TRY IT...you'll like it !

The impressive thing is how, during the interview itself, it starts teaching you the correct medical terminology that is (probably) most relevant to your problem. For example, I began just by memtioning the word 'pain' and indicating the general area of the lower-back. After a few first questions, it soon start asking if the pain could be described as like from a 'muscle spasm'. When I saw that question, I'm thinking like "YEAH, YEAH...now we're GETTING SOMEWHERE". So, like I said...you've just got to TRY this website, to experience the power of ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE at its finest.

Cyber Newsworthy:

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

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 what' is called the Windows "Classic Shell"

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

[ I retired from skydiving after jump #386 as a skydiver, back in my younger days, so this feat has special significance for me. ]
     Go "Luke" !   Watch these 4 skydivers as they jump

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

[ I never graduated to base-jumping nor hang-gliding...I finally finished college (after 10 years) instead. ]
Now watch THESE guys as they    step off the mountain top

Social Media / Social Networks: Yikes...they've been mutating into beasts (and worse)

[ I now just say 'NO' to Twitter(2006) and Facebook(2004) ]

Hmmm...so it's been 15 years ago now that Facebook came online, followed by Twitter 2 years later. As a geeky/techy Internet-curious programmer, I joined them both when they emerged. Back then, both Facebook and Twitter seemed innocuous and benign...they appeared to fulfill reasonalbe and legitimate functions for people.

Twitter (2006): So, back when it first emerged, I joined and played with it for maybe a month or two. I soon decided that I thought it was 'goofy' and a waste of my time. But, I concluded 'live and let live'...'to each his own'. But fast-forward now, to a while after Trump had become president, and I became much more of a detractor. I'm confident than many/most of us never dreamed how Trump could pollute it, and the Russians could use it to re-adjust the outcome of our elections. Finally, most recently, I have had a very negative experience, when I attempted to use my long-dormant Twitter account, to follow a twitter profile named "Google Chromecast". Clearly, it's description implies that it is a generic way to get news from Google, about this product-family's happenings, etc. It shows that it has over 160, 000 followers and has so far had over 24,000 tweets. But, the one new/unfamiliar phrase in the description caught my eye. It reads: "This accounts Tweets are protected". Well, ok, so ignoring/discounting that, I clicked on its "Follow" button, to become a follower, and was greeted with the button's follow-text changing to some lighter-grey text reading "Pending". No problem, I thought. No doubt it's gonna take a few hours/days/weeks? before I'm actually granted ability to see its tweets. (When, if ever, will I be accepted into this privileged club?) So it's now been more than a YEAR, and it's still Pending! It was after only a few days, that I began to smell a rat. Twitter seems to have re-defined the meaning of 'Pending' to be synonymous with 'never' ! What a gross miss-representation. The more I contemplate this obfuscation, the more irritated I get. You can mark me down as in agreement with efforts I hear about US senators/representatives proposing new legislation to oversee and regulate some of these social-network business practices.

Facebook (2004):

One of my major criticisms of Facebook is the concept of a "private group". I'd support the idea of legislators banning the whole concept. Also, I'd support requiring Facebook to lockdown and flag the existing content, after becoming aware of a public group such as this obviously dangerous group.

Bottom-line: Lest you conclude that I'm over-reaching in my condemnation of some of the largest social-media web-based giants, here's an interesting book you should first take a look at: "the Four", which discusses Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Apple (and handful of their 'lesser-valued' cousins). But all this said, I'll of course let you decide. As always, YMMV

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

Tho I'm quite 'tablet-literate', I intend on continuing 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 the whole idea!!! 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.

Lastly, what I really like about flip-phones, is that they're smaller enough that they're much less likely to get get tangled up with the seat-belt, as you enter/exit the vehicle!!!


Bluetooth-wireless devices: [ Usages, concepts, and pairing tips ]

#1 AUTOMOBILE: Usage: Use a bluetooth connection for HANDS-FREE cellphone operation, in your vehicle.

If your car is new enough that its console and display supports bluetooth, using this feature with your cellphone is a no-brainer! (We had this ability for almost a year, before we finally got around to setting it up and trying. Consider yourself reminded that hands-free CALLING by the driver is now the LAW in about 16 of the 50 states in the U.S. (In general, those 16 tend to be the more politically 'blue states' in the U.S.) Whereas, TEXT-MESSAGING by the driver is illegal in about 47 of the 50 states in the U.S.) (Source:this article)

Here's a glimpse of what you'll experience, once you have it configured and working. So, each time you step into car with your cellphone present and its bluetooth chip enabled, your contact names and associated phone-numbers get loaded/updated into the console. So, when you select your console's 'Phone' screen (e.g rather than its FM-radio-screen, etc), and then touch its on-screen 'list/contacts' button, you'll see an itemized list of all your phone contacts. And, then you'll be able to INITIATE a call to someone, by just selecting their name from that on-screen list. Similarly, RECEIVING a call should be equally transparent. Let's say your console screen is currently displaying the FM-radio screen that you've tuned to. Typically, you'll hear an ring-tone, and screen will flip to a phone-screen displaying the person's name/phone-number, and with a single touch of an on-screen 'answer' button, you'll be talking to the caller. (And, any incoming TEXT-MSG typically get SPOKEN to you, so you don't have to remove your gaze from the road to read it). Pretty cool, yes!?

#2 EXERCISE: Usage: Listening to your favorite music via bluetooth 'headset' or 'earbuds' during workouts

The music 'hosting' device might be a cellphone or a bluetooth-capable MP3-player(e.g. SanDisk's "Clip Sport" MP3-player). Learning to extract your fav music tracks from commercial music-CDs and loading them onto an MP3 player or your cellphone, etc, is quite straight-forward, using a home computer.

Details here
#3 REMOTE BT-SPEAKER: Usage: Listening to your favorite music in your house or patio, on a bt-speaker.

The music 'hosting' device could be a modern tablet or a smartphone or laptop PC, which all support bluetooth links.

#3 COMPUTER MOUSE: I do NOT recommend this.

After using a few for 6 months or so, it slowly became clear to me that I prefer the other type of wireless mouse...namely, the 'USB-dongle' models. These are the ones that have a little three-quarters-of-an-inch long so-called 'dongle' that plugs into any of the standard USB-ports. They use much less battery power than blue-tooth mice. And, they are totally just plug-and-go...no need for 'pairing'. Perfect especially for laptops.

PAIRING INFO: How to initially 'PAIR' your master ('hosting') device with an individual slave device

Examples: A smartphone and an MP3 player and a tablet are all examples of what I mean by 'master' devices. Whereas, a headset and earbuds and speaker(s) are all examples of what I mean by 'slave' devices.

Note: PAIRING is the one-time intial 'marrying' of each of multiple bluetooth devices to any given bluetooth 'peripheral device.

At a minimum, you'll need to learn the specifics of putting any given slave device into a state where it is listening for a 'pairing-request'. And, then, understanding how to cause the master device to initiate the ' pairing-request'. (If you happen to lose or misplace the instruction-booklet for any master or slave device, just do a 'google-search' on the Internet for those details of that model. The YouTube.com site has dozens of so-called 'unboxing' tutorials and reviews of virtually all models of bluetooth devices, and many/most of those tutorials also demonstrate the steps for 'pairing' the device.)

Sometimes, simply switching on the power on the slave device and letting it settle for a few seconds into a steady state, will put it into listening for a pairing-request. Then, on the master-device, navigate to its pairing-request screen or button and actuate it, and you should then typically see some visual indication of 'hand-shaking' (e.g. toggling values of hex-digits, etc), followed by some 'done' indication. Finally, on the master device, you'll end up seeing some cryptic abbreviated name/text string that is unique to the slave device.>

For example, one of my master devices is the bluetooth-capable model of SanDisk's "Clip Sport" MP3 player (onto which I've loaded about 100 separate MP3 files, including additional small images of 'album-art' for each music-album.) So, I've now 'paired' this MP3-player to two different bluetooth slave devices: (1) A bluetooth headset, and (2) a bluetooth speaker. When I look at the MP3's bluetooth-screen of its list of paired devices, I see the two names (1)"Grind wireless", and (2) "XT1481". These unique names, tho non-obvious, seemingly arbitrary and cryptic, are typically NOT needed during day-to-day usage.

Also, note that of course the two slave devices I mentioned might also be paired with OTHER master devices. Sure enough...I have both my headset and speaker paired with my Android-based "Nexus-9" tablet. But, as mentioned, any given master device is typically used in an entirely different location(room) and hence only one will typically be powered up/usable at any given time.

Note that having bluetooth ON/ENABLED is entirely different from having the master device powered up and being used for other non-bluetooth purposes. It is very common to turn-off just the bluetooth chip (and/or wifi-chip) on a cellphone or tablet (so-called 'airplane-mode', etc), when you don't wanting the signal(s) radiating. Doing that will also consume less battery power, and you'll not need to recharge that master device quite as often.

One last hint: Even if you NORMALLY don't read/study the how-to literature that comes with your tech-devices, I'm finding that I often miss important neat features. Just one key example: Both my BT-speaker and my BT-headphones have directional 'arrow' buttons. It turns out that both devices have a feature that I wasn't initially aware of. These 'arrow' buttons have MORE THAN ONE use! As you might guess, the headphone's two arrow-buttons are primarily for increasing/decreasing the volume, and a normal press-and-release do exactly that. But, on both devices, the arrow-buttons have an unexpected secondary function. On the headphones, instead of just a normal press, if you instead press-and-hold those buttons (for 2 or 3 secs), they send a control-msg back to the master device, to command it to skip to the next/previous song. Super-cool...so you don't ever have remove your master-device from its holster or clip, to restart or bypass a song. Who would have known this, unless they studied the device's documentation!

You'll quickly catch on to day-to-day bluetooth usage. HAPPY BLUETOOTHING!

[ I'm very happy with my "SkullCandy" bluetooth headphones. I chose them after googling around, where I learned that these earned a "PC-Magazine Editor's Choice" award. Also, I'd noticed at my daily 'Planet Fitness' workouts, that many more people have full over-the-ear wireless headphones, than wireless 'ear-buds'. Here's a YouTube review of a slightly higher-priced, but otherwise visually identical model. (Mine didn't come with that 'plugin-microphone-wand shown in the video.) Mine DOES have microphone 'hole'...tho I don't plan to ever TALK with these, as I also own an old WIRED USB-headset w/ swing-down microphone wand, that I still use occasionally for 'skyping' at home on my laptop. ]

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 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'.

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.

Contact info
You can email this 'Webster' here.