All posts by cpupilot2000

Just an ordinary man that happened to live a life like something out of a soap box opera (without all the sex-LOL). My passions are computer software, racing cars, piloting (and building my own aircraft) along with a variety of other sports such as climbing, biking, swimming, kayaking and the ever popular horizontal mamba. Professionally I have been a warehouse worker, a cop, a computer engineer, a master mechanic, an apprentice painter, plumber, electrician and even an experimental automobile designer for Andy Granatelli.

To What do We Owe the Rise of Trump?

Trump has lit a fire. Can it be contained?

An already ugly campaign takes a violent — and ominous — turn. ~Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post

If it weren’t so sad I would be laughing at this article. No! You can blame Trump for his rhetoric but it is actually the very same rhetoric that has been bandied about by the MSM and the Administration for several years now. It all started with Treyvon Martin and a President of the United States inserting a personal opinion that preceded even the most basic investigation into the facts. Obama said “He could have been my son.” in response to a picture of an innocent appearing teenage boy rather than the huge thug that he had grown into. He made that comment before the facts became evident. He pandered to the race-baiters and even refused to reject their calls for assassination and public riots which damaged the property and lives of the innocent. This has established a pattern which continues to this day. Obama, the Justice Department and MSM constantly turning everything, regardless of fact, into a race war and out-of-control LEO population that culminated in the BLM movement. This domestic terror organization has publicly called on its members to kill random police officers, bomb police stations and attack and kill random white people for the crime of “being white” and yet, after these public and vociferous threats Obama invites the leaders to the White House for dinner and a chat. One of them is on the FBIs most wanted list for killing a police officer.

Then there is Ferguson and another clearly justified shooting of another black criminal that had just finished committing a strong-arm robbery. What do we hear? “Hands up, don’t shoot.” Again the President and the MSM jump aboard to the defense of the rioters and looters. As the facts again are revealed the damage is already done. We blame the MSM especially for considering rioting, looting and burning down the homes and businesses of the innocent as an “expression of free speech” protected by the Constitution of the United States. Obama, MSM and the rest of Washington, DC have now set the stage.

During this entire period we are inundated with an Administration, backed up by MSM, that the unemployment rate is down from 10% where it ended during the Bush administration to under 5% today. problem is that the job growth they refer to is in the service industry with some of the lowest paying jobs in the country. People need to work 2 – 3 jobs just to get by now. Most of these jobs don’t even come as full-time. This also disregards that fact that our employment participation rate is at the lowest point it has been at in over FIFTY YEARS!! These are the huge masses of unemployed white collar workers that have been displaced by H1B Visa holders and overseas outsourcing of high-tech and manufacturing positions. Current statistics report that as much as 47% of our healthy working age adult population is either unemployed or under-employed right now.

This gets us to Trump. He is verbalizing the actual emotional state of the vast majority of the American populace and yes, many don’t actually like him or see him as presidential (me included) but do see him as the ONLY person running that is not afraid to come right out with the truth of where we, as a nation, are right now. During this period we are told by the pundits in the left-leaning MSM that we Republicans are a bunch of racist Neanderthals with little, or no, education despite the obvious and glaring fact that at the beginning of this campaign the Democrats were running two old white people while the racist and misogynist Republican party put forward a group of very diverse people including a black-American, a Female CEO, two Latinos and a couple of traditional old white guys. We are racist and uneducated because we think that laws are meant to be enforced, knuckle-draggers because we think that a person should try to stand on their own two feet rather than live off the sweat of another, Neanderthals because we don’t think that dead people and non-citizens should be permitted to vote in our elections.

I want you people in the MSM to think about this, and think real hard even though it hurts to actually use your brains… How many attacks have been made by Trump supporters at Democratic events? You think we are stupid and uneducated, even those of us like me with dual-Masters and a life-time of engineering. Even my friend’s spouse with her PhD because she decided to vote for Trump but gets called “Uncle Ruckus” because she HAPPENS to be a black-American! As ye sow, so shall ye reap and the left has reaped the whirlwind.

Check out my original post ar Tweety Byrd

What is the REAL Risk of Islamic Terrorists?

America, Heck Yeah with Ronald Reagan

Recent events have put Daesh at the forefront of the news again. We have seen the effects of their attacks in Mali and Paris. They are doing what terrorists do…ramp up the level of fear, interfere with normal activities in order to depress the economy and keep themselves in the news. To some extent they are being successful in these aims. Belgium has basically been shut down for several days. Conservatives are up in arms about the refugee problem and Liberals are all up in our face about how taking them in is the “Christian thing to do.”
But the real risk to any individual American from a terrorist attack is still remarkably low and, as a percentage of the population likely to remain lower than the risk you engender from a simple surgical procedure or driving on a road after the bars close! So what is the point? What do the terrorists really work for?
First understand that there are multiple levels within the terrorist organization. The upper level that has the leaders and religious guides (Imams) that NEVER put themselves at risk, the rank and file soldiers of Daesh that perform the duties normally associated with an invading army and occupation force that are motivated by the opportunity to benefit under strict Sharia law by engaging in slavery, rape and extortion of anyone that does NOT agree with them and, finally, the lowest level consisting of confused and misguided youth that are brain-washed into a belief that there really is a paradise with 72 virgins at the other end of a suicide attack!
As we may have noticed their tactics, in general, have never resulted in anything permanent. The upper levels don’t care as they are all about the power they exert below them and the rewards of being well-paid. The soldiers don’t care because their motivation lies in the immediate pleasures of rape, pillage and plunder with little consideration to tomorrow and the awareness that, at their level, if the hammer falls they can run, hide and reappear as “innocents”. The lowest level are “true believers” and therefore need re-education if they are ever to be saved, beyond that they are ‘lost”.
But the upper level planners DO have a plan and it IS working and has much to do with the aforementioned refugees.

Herein lies the “true key” to Islamic Jihad. At this point in time the powers within Islam that are devoted to the teachings of their prophet; those that truly believe that Islam and Sharia Law are destined to rule the earth; consider the various terrorist organizations and their actions to be little more than a side show intended to keep our minds occupied with the news. In the meantime they will deliberately create a liberal climate that willingly permits large numbers of Islamic refugees to enter into the western countries. The average birthrate of an Islamic family is between 8 and 22 children — don’t forget they are encouraged to have each man hold 4 wives. Additionally they are permitted under their own culture to make indiscriminate use of non-Islamic females through rape and sexual slavery to increase their numbers. During this same period the average couple in western cultures produces LESS than two children per family. Eventually the Islamic population of any given western nation will become the majority population at which time they can simply vote Sharia into being. Islam will become the defacto state religion.

For this very simple and obvious observation made while living amongst the Islamic faith for in excess of 5 years I have to say that we, as a people, must be very careful about how we treat this in the future. It is imperative that we allow Islam into our nation but at the same time it is important that those members of the faith make a good faith effort to incorporate our values and culture within their hearts. Please understand that many do. The difficulty is going to be getting them vocal enough about it to voice this desire to the Imams, the people in power and, especially, to House Saud. If this doesn’t occur I can foresee a day in which the only resolution will be to commit to a nuclear attack right at the heart of the faith to demonstrate its lack of truth and power.

So What’s Up with the Microsoft Haters?

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I became involved in the Windows 10 Preview back in October of 2014 as one of the very first to sign up. As an IT professional and a VERY long-term user of Microsoft products back to the earliest releases of MS-DOS I have been a member of MSDN since its inception. Microsoft had some ethical issues, especially with the Netscape/Internet Explorer warfare. But a lot of the ‘evil’ is really not, it is actually aggressive marketing. All in all Microsoft ended up providing what amounts to the world’s premier operating system with a +90% market share of desktops and a significant portion elsewhere.

My interest in Windows 10 was, in no small part, due to the overall bad perception of Windows 8 and 8.1. While I had no real difficulty in understanding the direction they were taking I also understood the concerns of the legacy users, and especially of the corporate world, regarding the huge changes to a well established and successful Graphical User Interface (GUI). My involvement with the preview program, like that of many others, was to help ensure that the finished product did its best to address the concerns of legacy and corporate customers while NOT losing sight of the ultimate, and necessary, changes in the way we will be interacting with computers in the future by way of new, and far more human, input methods. All in all I think we have a great start. It is just a start, so keep that in mind.

The reason for the title I have chosen is due to observations I made during the preview regarding some users that now seem to have also targeted the publicly accessible components of Windows 10 as a contiguous platform. In all honesty they PMO! I understand why the people at Microsoft can’t do anything about them, but I can. So let’s look at the behaviors I am referring to.

First understand that the preview was opened to millions, Microsoft didn’t choose who participated it was open to anyone that had the desire. Upon entering the program you were required to accept a special license agreement acknowledging that you understood that the software was “experimental in nature and not even at BETA level”. What this means is that things may appear like buttons and functions that actually have no relevant code so they don’t actually “do” anything. Further we were all advised that Microsoft recommended that the Preview NEVER be loaded onto a production system, never be used for critical processing, that privacy couldn’t be expected due to the need for telemetry monitoring so personal and confidential data should NOT be stored on systems running the preview software. Lastly there was a small risk that you could lose data, or even suffer a catastrophic hardware failure due to use of the software. From day one we legitimate testers would have to put up with 100s and even thousands of continuous complaints about Microsoft actually keeping their promise regarding all these negative events. Now that the system is publicly available much of the concern about the privacy of the OS is actually based on these same monitoring tools even though they were deliberately removed by Microsoft two weeks prior to July 29th with the release of the final test build 10240. This is NOT to imply that privacy is not a concern. Many of the features this new OS offer are contingent upon a user wanting to use the feature. Things like text-to-type and Cortana for example NEED to send your data, including your voice, in order to ‘learn’ how you interact with them in order to function correctly. This isn’t actually new tech, we’ve been using similar utilities like Dragon for years and nobody bothered them about harvesting your voice data to make the program work. Handwriting recognition is as old as the very first OCR scanner. Now it is built into the OS it suddenly is an issue? iPads and iPhones have been doing it for over 5 years but because Windows 10 does (by the way this is actually old in Windows too) it is suddenly an issue? Microsoft still depends a great deal on government and corporate users that include doctors and lawyers, for example, that must be able to comply, and prove they comply, with rules regarding data privacy. Microsoft software has never had a problem with meeting those standards and Windows 10 still doesn’t, it just requires more user involvement if you desire that level of privacy and a clear understanding that you must give up some of those features if you do. However nothing in my experience to date convinces me that Microsoft uses that data for anything more than what the license agreement states which is, “to improve the functionality of the feature and thus improve the overall customer experience.”

Then we get to the really immoral “users”. I put the quotes around the word users for a simple reason. I reading their complaints and issues I have come to a simple conclusion. They are either complaining about a product, or service, they have NEVER actually used or they are, in a word, liars. Microsoft is unable to call these people out. But amongst testers in the forums we other testers had no problem with identification and then calling them out. They would target a specific function which we, the real users, had already received notice that the function was deprecated (which in IT terms means removed or non-functional). Or, and this is even more common, they would complain about something NOT working while the rest of us had no problem at all. This last is a bit difficult to identify because in the real world (outside of Apple, Inc.) there actually are situations where a specific group of software and/or an unusual hardware configuration could result in stoppages and errors that only affect a minority of systems. Where it become immoral is when the Microsoft engineer, or another user with the same hardware/software configuration, is “unable to duplicate”. The words in quotes are the term we used in software support when a customer complained about something in one of our products and we couldn’t get the sandbox to do the same. At my end of the pipe I would request further details in order to discover what was special about the users system that caused the failure and use that information to replicate the error, discover the root cause, and issue a fix. Time after time we asked these individuals to please engage Microsoft Support (it was completely free to Insiders) only to be rebuffed and informed how “hard it was”, “support would hang up on them as soon as they identified themselves as an Insider”. Probably true if they didn’t use the dedicated Support lines and chat boards set up for us.

Now I have to sit and watch as these same behaviors appear in the public’s eye. Today I simply wanted to purchase an app from the Store to play my DVDs. I was using a free FOSS package from VLC but wanted to use the Windows 10 app they recently released as my spouse couldn’t learn the much more complicated free version. So I open the Store app and do the search locating the Windows DVD Player. It is rated at a woeful 2.3 with 14 ratings of 1! I read the reviews and they are terrible including comments such as “will not play ANY of my personal or purchased DVDs”, “Can’t resize the screen without losing some of the picture”, “Sounds like a cartoon”, “Will not autoplay my DVDs no matter what” and things of similar content. There are also 7 “5” ratings (that is as high as you can go) and one each of “3” and “4” with not a single “4”. Right away I am suspicious due to the lack of a “4” rating. In any store that I have ever used be it the Apple Store or Google Play there is always a few “4”s. So many “1”s usually indicate an utter disaster of an app yet this one is still available. I have never seen an app so badly rated last more than 48 hours on any store. So despite the $14.99 cost I go ahead and purchase because to get it free on the systems I originally had WMC on requires a full reinstall of the OS and then a brand new upgrade to Windows 10 which will take a few hours per machine. My time is worth more than $15.00. You can imagine my surprise, and anger, when this “POS app” as described by one user turned out to function perfectly even playing Sony disks which have some of the most restrictive DRM controls and most complicated Codecs in the industry.

So it seems Microsoft’s toughest hurdle is going to be a battle against FUD. Made up bad press by rude and an almost criminal group of users (most seem to be Linux users incidentally) that have a hate for the company so ingrained and deep that they can’t seem to deal rationally with any product put forward.

Add published author to my skill set

In Search Of The Green Flash

It is with no little pride Smile that I announce the availability of my first published book. It is a quick read with illustrations done by my spouse, Lisa Vargas. The name of the book is “In Search of the Green Flash” by John Slavik and it is available on the Barnes and Noble website as an ebook. The story in this particular incidence is very personal and some who have followed this blog may even recognize one of the events.

If you are interested please go to http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/in-search-of-the-green-flash-john-slavik/1121955673?ean=2940151387989 and purchase it. You have no idea how much help you will be giving my family and I.

The Death of the Age of Heroes

Sir Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Churchill

Once upon a time we were allowed to have heroes. Men and women capable of performing extra-ordinary feats. Discover new lands or new peoples, new science, new art, stand up to tyranny. Many in the past have risen to legendary status. But in the process of creating a hero we neglect the simple fact that ALL these individuals are, at heart, still only people. As ordinary people they are subject to all the same faults, sins of omission and commission, that the rest of us are. Nobody is perfect, nobody is without sin. We hold that as a basic truth and you reading this certainly know that if you look within yourself with honesty that this observation is true.

During the 20th Century the man pictured in this blog, Sir Winston Churchill, was considered one of the most influential and powerful heroes of the age. He is generally credited with keeping the United Kingdom in the war when all else was lost to the NAZIs. His patience and steadfastness kept that island nation in things long enough for the US to enter into the conflict and bring an end to plans for global domination by an implacable enemy. Yet he was just a man, he smoked and drank, was a mediocre student and had to wear special dentures to correct a lateral lisp. He was, and remains, the most important Briton by public acclimation. When histories of great men are written we eliminate or gloss over the negatives and highlight and emphasize the positives.

The Rev. Martin Luther King was a known womanizer but is honored today with a holiday, speeches of remembrance and has even been on US postage stamps. About heroes of the past even less is known of their negative aspects . . . if any are known at all.

Now the era of the internet allows us to create history, even rewrite history on the run. I watch as heroes are taken to task via Twitter and Facebook even as thugs are turned into heroes by whitewash and outright lies in order to further a political agenda. It is now, for some reason that I am incapable of understanding, permissible to allow a person or persons to accuse someone publicly for a crime that happened so long in the past that no evidence of wrongdoing can ever be presented beyond the word of the accuser. However, since the accused is a public figure we must accept that these accusations MUST be true. We are now allowed, even coerced, into making judgments about past heroes based on values of today or, even worse, science of today that didn’t exist at the time. We are expected to overlook the sins of the loser while enhancing the sin of the winner. In this environment is it any wonder that few are any longer willing to stick their neck out for others? Being a hero today is almost a sure ticket to public humiliation just as being a hero of yesterday has turned the dead into a viable target incapable of even the most basic of self-defenses.

Yes, once upon a time we had heroes. People so special that they became more fictional representations of themselves. But these people were used to teach and educate the current generations about what could be and was good about being human. By taking away the hero we are left with a legacy of bitterness at just how awful being a human truly is. We are a cancer upon our world and it would be so much better if we would simply die out and leave the world in blessed peace. Somehow I don’t actually think that is the case.

In the interim we still have Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and all the other incorruptible fictional heroes . . . or do we? Last time I checked it is now fashionable to create negative back stories for the purely fictional too.

The “Age of Heroes” is past. How sad.

To All the Cars I’ve Loved Before: Part 3a

Terribly sorry about the significant delay in getting this finished. I actually started this article in November. Holidays and a death in the family in addition to the very first total loss claim in my automotive history (I wasn’t driving and nobody was hurt thank God) rather put a roadblock to the creative juices needed to make the story interesting reading so I took a long hiatus.  So let’s get back to work.

This part of the story may be the longest, it will, oddly, be the only one that talks about a single car so I am going to split it into sections marked with a letter.

1967 Olds 442 side view

You may remember that at the end of Part 3 my father had ordered me to get rid of the “death machine”. A heavily modified Peerless GT that, if I am honest, had no business being on the road. It was a race car. My friend Kenny and I took off to look for a replacement. I had invested all I had in the Peerless and, at the time, only had a minimal income from working as an apprentice mechanic and a dishwasher at a local graduate school. I had been accepted into a military academy so my life was starting to change directions very quickly during this time period and so I knew it would need to be a car that I could literally trade for, or keep the dollars to a minimum. Kenny had contacts in the industry and one of them was a man named Don Hood who, at the time, owned one of the largest Toyota dealerships in the state. It was 1973 and the gas crisis was in full-blown development. Toyota was taking the country by storm and Kenny pointed out that Mr. Hood had a huge selection of great muscle cars that could be had for a ‘song’. We sold the Peerless and pocketed the cash once we realized no dealer would touch the machine.

Mr. Hood walked us around and we found a almost cherry 1967 Oldsmobile 442 that was actually $300 below our budget. The car looked so good we had to ask, “Mr. Hood, why is it so cheap?”

“The car was traded in by an IBM salesman,” he replied. “It is only 6 years old and looks great but it has a lot of miles on it and there is some problem with it under full throttle.”

Kenny recommended a test drive and I concurred. We started the car and were immediately impressed with the rumble from the dual-exhaust being pumped through a factory installed Offenhauser header system that was matched to the Offenhauser intake manifold with three huge dual-throat carburetors. The power was transmitted through a T-10 Borg-Warner 4-speed nicknamed the Rock Crusher by aficionados. So we took it out on the street. After a bit of slow cruising while the engine came up to temperature we started getting on the throttle and that is when it happened! The whole car felt like it had simply run out of gas. The power dropped and when the throttle was removed and you tried to accelerate it would backfire. I stated the obvious, this car is “crap”! Kenny asked me to hold on just a moment and jumped out and popped the hood. I heard him tapping something, the hood came back down and he returned to the seat. I asked what was wrong and he simply replied, “Take us back to the dealer, don’t put the throttle down more than halfway, this is your car…trust me.”  I took Kenny at his word and returned to the dealership and traded $900 for the car.

We drove it home, slowly, and once there Kenny got out and together we looked at the engine under the hood. He pulled the air cleaner off the engine and showed me that the linkage to the two secondary carburetors was sticking when the throttles opened wide. Once open they stayed open and he car was getting far too much air at part throttle. He made a few adjustments and retightened the center section of the primary carb to the base plate. Once these adjustments were made the car ran like a top. So, of course, we simply had to take it out.

Back in the early 70s Camelback Road running west from 75th Avenue was a desolate landscape of open farmland that ran all the way to Litchfield Park Rd where it T-boned in front of the runways for Luke AFB. So we took the Olds onto that road and floored it. We dropped into a dry riverbed and up the other side with the car going so fast you couldn’t hear the motor and all there seemed to be was this bass vibration coming up through the seats. As we climbed up the other side I saw flashing red lights behind me! I looked at the speedometer and it was completely off the clock! I had no idea how fast we were going all I knew was that at that speed a ticket would be the least of our problems. So we kept the throttle down all the way to Litchfield Rd and the red lights got smaller and dimmer as the distance between us increased. By now we were also getting low on fuel, at this speed the best the Olds could do was about 2 miles to a gallon of fuel! I knew there was a petrol station 2 miles north on Litchfield Park Rd so I got on the brake and drifted the car through the turn and headed north. By now I couldn’t even see the lights anymore and hoped the police officer had given up the chase. I pulled into the gas station and began filling the car. Kenny put the top up as it was getting cold now that night had fallen and then went into the market to get us a couple drinks while paying for the fuel (yes, we pumped first and paid after back then). As he walked out of the market a police car pulled in behind me, lights on, siren blaring and tires squealing. The door of the police cruiser opened and he looked around. We were the only car there and I could distinctly hear the motor ticking as it cooled from its run.

“Were you driving this car a few minutes ago on Camelback Rd?” the officer asked.

I simply looked at him, not sure what to say and shrugged my shoulders. Kenny, being a bit more experienced than I in such situations added, “Might have been him, might have been me, are you sure it was this car? I am not sure what the name of the road we were on was.”

This actually got a chuckle out of the officer and he seemed to visibly relax.

“You know, I am not sure this IS the car, I don’t remember it having a white roof.” he then added, “I clocked the mother at 146 MPH in a 45 MPH zone.”

I looked him in the eye and said, “I am not sure this car could get up to that speed, only just got it.”

At that the officer simply said, “Please drive safe and keep it under control. Have a good night.” He got back into the cruiser and drove off.

We did keep it under the limit on the drive home down Glendale Avenue.

I spent the next couple weeks doing things like detailing the engine, restoring the logos, polishing up the factory original Viking Blue paint. I even pulled the fake wire-wheel style hubcaps and polished each spoke and remounted them although we did invest in some high quality rubber and custom wheels for “race day” events. We even installed my first CB radio in order that we could interface with long-haul truckers in order to keep a weather eye on the local yokels in order to prevent future “flashing light” events such as the previous.

That summer we drove the car to Big Surf for a small party and get together for Kenny as he had joined the Army and was getting ready to start his training. As we were leaving at the end of the day we found two really attractive women standing by the Olds, they wanted a ride. They were college gals: I had just finished High School so was duly impressed. I hit the road leaving Tempe with these two women sitting together in the backseat. The oddity of the seating arrangement became clear once I was on the freeway with the top down. Cars would come up alongside and toot, guys were pumping their fists in the air. “What the Hell” I am thinking. I glance into my rearview only to see a bared breast and nipple staring at me! I turn and gape into the backseat and the gals are perched on the flat plate area above the rear seat wearing nothing up top! I yell at them to get back inside before a cop pulls us over. Fun over they ask to be dropped off at the next exit to which I complied. The influence this event had upon me will become apparent in a future post.

Kenny left for training and was posted to Korea later, he never came back. I was told that he perished in a traffic accident when the open vehicle he was driving flipped over while on patrol. God rest you Kenny, everything that ever involved vehicles and my future was all due to your influence and patience.

To all the cars I loved before (Part One 1955 – 1972)

Part Three is coming real soon! Stay tuned for further updates.

The Heretic

Let’s start from the beginning. This is my beginning so will start with cars I owned in proxy with my dad. I think this is fair for a variety of reasons. I always had a knack for things mechanical and my father discovered this when I was very young. He was not being altruistic, he was being frugal, if I could fix something he saw no reason to spend money having someone else do it. In exchange I could drive anything that I could fit into even though I was not legally old enough to drive on a public road. So he would often take me somewhere private and we would play. Another reason for proxy ownership is that I eventually grew up to become a professional master mechanic, race car driver and petrol-head. These avocations led me into some long-term relationships with cars that, while I didn’t own them…

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