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

Manchester, NH        Boulder, CO

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. ]

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

(I captured this 5-minute section from one of his summer-of-2022 Sunday morning shows on CNN)



GEEK ALERT: Explanation of basic torrent-based downloading of video 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 !!!




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.

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'. ]
========
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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.
========
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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!


A personal story: my PC's "ADWARE" infection (2022)

Has your computer ever contracted a virus? None of mine ever had, until September of 2022. After struggling for a few hours each day, for 4 or 5 days, unable to remove it, I finally stumbled upon a method to clean it from my laptop. Here's the full story:

It all began one day, when I suddenly saw, in the Windows-11 notification area on the right side of the screen, a repeated series of messages scrolling up...originating from Google's 'Chrome' browser:

Your computer is infected with 5 viruses!
ACTION IS REQUIRED!
Your McAffe subscription has expired!
Restore now to protect your computer.
If your computer is not protected, it is vulnerable to viruses and other malicious software.

There was also some additional text, stating that this virus is known by the name 'talktomeplease.biz', and suggesting that I go find and run my anti-virus software so I did a few google-searches for the name 'talktomeplease.biz', but came up empty. (That really surprised me...I CAN'T be the only person who has contracted this beast!)

As suggested by the warning message, I first launched the Microsoft BUILT-IN virus removal-tool called 'Microsoft Defender', which scans your computer and detects/removes most known viruses. After doing a 'full' scan, it reported that it could find nothing.

So, I google-searched for a list of all the well-known FREE virus-removal tools...and downloaded and installed them, and ran their scans. Same story from all...no threats found! (Ah...scanners find nothing, because there's no true infection that's findable! ) I later realized that the virus-removal industry should NOT claim/imply that adware is a true virus Having heard stories from others, about various virus/malware/adware infections, and having even helped remove them from a few friends' computers, I knew most such viruses were SCAMS. No actual harm to any files ever occurred from the infections. And, this one seemed to be the same...their motive is simply to frighten the user into sending them MONEY! Their 'notifications' began offering to sell me a fresh copy of McAffe Anti-virus, for only $54.95.

After another day or two, they ramped up their scare-tactics...now claiming: "WARNING! Your Chrome is severely damaged by 13 Malwares! We have detected that your Chrome is (62%) DAMAGED by Tor.Jack Malware."

But now they had a new 'special' offer...they could now sell me a fresh copy of 'McAffe' at a reduced price of $40-something dollars! (These folks are good at trying to sell you their product. They are really CLEVER at slowly increasing their scare tactics, hoping you'll eventally succumb.) Note: These adware/malware tricksters may or may NOT really represent McAffe. My theory that they do represent McAffe is that their 'virus removing software' may at least partially just be 'ad-blockers'...and that their 'scanning' runs are 'no-ops' that APPEAR to be finding and removing something. Rather, maybe they're just 'enabling' their ad-blocking code.

Soon after this whole ordeal began, it suddenly dawned on me that it was always the Chrome browser reporting this warnings. To verify that, I demoted Chrome as my 'default browser', downloaded and installed the 'Firefox' browser, and made it my 'default browser'. That was progress...all infection warning messages ceased! Curious, I completely un-installed Google's "Chrome" browser, downloaded a fresh copy, installed that, and restored it as my 'default browser'. Problem solved...end of story!!!

Bottom-line: I finally DID manage to clean this adware/ransomeware from my computer, and learned a TON about how hard it must be for an average computer user to deal with such situations. This got me curious enough to contact both Best-Buy's Geek-Squad and Staples to inquire about their advertized 'virus-removal-services'. I was told that they each offer a 'single-event flat-charge' for such an situation...they quoted me prices of $150 and $167, respectively.

UPDATE: About a month later, I was again infected by a VERY SIMILAR adware... but this time, it was while using Microsoft's new "Edge" browser rather than Chrome. Once again, my various 'virus cleaning tools' were unable to DETECT any infestation. But, this time, it was significantly MORE difficult for me to finally discover a way to manually remove this adware from my laptop. I (reluctantly) now have to recommend that you that you consider NOT using Microsoft Edge as your default browser! (Even though Edge is now operationally just as good as Chrome, the fact that Edge is so 'tightly integrated/builtin' to Windows-OS is its achilles-heel...making it VERY hard to isolate, virus-removal-wise. I was finally able to first 'quarantine' the infected Microsoft Edge browser. It wasn't until a week or so after that quarantine, that I finally found a way to clean Edge, so that it was safe to allow Edge to be usable again.)

Here's some new after-thoughts and conclusions:
#1: Unless you KNOW exactly where your browser(s) contracted the virus/adware/etc, then don't try to logically 'reason' about how one browser is better than another as far as being more likely to get infected than another. THEY HAVEN'T BEEN DRIVEN OVER THE SAME ROADS!

#2: Don't try un-installing and then re-installing MS's Edge browser on WIndows. It's difficult enough to un-install it, but even MORE difficult to RE-INSTALL it. (You'll probably have to wait for it to be auto-re-installed, by a future Windows-update.)

#3: (TBD)

#4: (TBD)

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.