Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Week That Was, pre-Windows 10 edition

The Week That Was

That’s right, Microsoft plans on unleashing Windows 10 on the world this week, kind of like a plague of locusts (or army worms). As I mentioned Friday, I do plan on installing it, albeit in a separate partition, because I want to be sure to have a working laptop so I can continue to write these blog entries when I’m at Starbucks chugging decaf venti Americanos. (At home, no problem; my desktop is a Mac Mini, running OS X Yosemite. Yosemite has its quirks, which I hope will be resolved by El Capitan when it’s released.) Yes, I’m aware that Sony (makers of this $60 computer I’m writing on right now) has cautioned against being on “the bleeding edge,” as it were, but you know me. I discussed much of this in Friday’s entry. The way I see it, the bulk of the problems will be with Cortana (which I’m not using, anyway) and their brand spankin’ new browser, Microsoft Edge (which I won’t be using, either). On One-Liner Wednesday, I shared the command that I’m certain Cortana won’t know how to do, turn itself off and leave me alone, a process that’s well-documented already.

I’ve been reading the articles Gizmodo has been publishing before the launch. As always, the articles are nowhere near as entertaining or informative as the comments the readers leave. I do find it fascinating that, whenever Gizmodo shows a screen shot of one of their desktops, there’s an icon for Firefox or Chrome and no icon for Edge unless the article is specific to the new browser. That leads me to believe Edge will replace Internet Explorer as the browser people use to download and install Firefox or Chrome. And speaking of Chrome (that spends an inordinate amount of CPU cycles tattling on what you’re doing to the Google mothership), there’s every reason to suspect that Edge will spend much of its processing time reporting everything you’re doing to Microsoft, aided and abetted by that little vixen Cortana, whose primary job, it would seem, is to translate things you tell it to do into requests for Bing, Microsoft’s nosy little search engine that also likes to tell on you.

Not that privacy is a concern. I use Firefox as my browser and DuckDuckGo as my search engine, neither of which Cortana interfaces (or interoperates, or whatever the word for “work together” all the cool kids use these days is) with, and I wasn’t going to use her, anyway. Word is, Cortana is Clippy’s sister. Remember him?

I told him to go away, too…

Anyway, it’s coming Wednesday, or thereabouts, so I’ll have a lot to say about it once it’s in.

We did a lot of music here this past week. Monday, I shared Sammy Davis Jr.’s last appearance on Late Night With David Letterman, less than a year before he died of throat cancer. He sang a beautiful rendition of the classic standard, Gershwin and Duke’s “I Can’t Get Started,” accompanied by Paul Shaffer and the World’s Most Dangerous Band. As I mentioned in the comments, when told he had throat cancer and that they wanted to take out his larynx, he refused, saying he’d rather die with his larynx than live without it.

The featured band on Two for Tuesday was The Troggs, another band from the British Invasion. This week’s entry will be the last one in the British Invasion series, though I’ll be featuring bands and artists from that era going forward.

I shared the results of my latest “Battle of the Bands” on Wednesday, where Eydie Gorme’s version of Jobim’s “One-Note Samba” was voted preferable to Frank Sinatra’s by a wide margin. The feeling was that, while Frank is one of the great singers of our time, his bossa nova period wasn’t one of his best. Uncle Jack said that the song wasn’t a “typical Sinatra song,” and of course he was right. Ol’ Blue Eyes will be featured in a future Battle of the Bands, as will Eydie, but not together.

The Thursday Ten was the fourth installment in the occasional series, “TV Theme Songs.” I seem to have found a kindred spirit in Jeffrey Scott, who commented on all four installments and made some suggestions for Part 5, coming your way sometime in the near future, probably October. If there are themes you’d like to hear, by all means leave me a comment. I just pull them out of my head otherwise, more or less at random.

Yesterday’s Stream of Consciousness entry was prompted by the letters “vis.” Naturally, I wrote about television and my fascination with the medium. I’ve never read the books of Marshall McLuhan, the famous Canadian philosopher of communication theory (thank you, Wikipedia) who coined the phrase “the medium is the message,” because I haven’t had much luck finding a copy of them in the library, but I just bought a copy of his Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. Looks like an interesting read.

So, that was last week. This week, the last British Invasion Two for Tuesday (guess who the band will be?), Battle of the Bands on Saturday featuring a song made popular by Eydie Gorme’s husband, Steve Lawrence, a list of ten on Thursday, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, and you can bet your boots (haven’t used that phrase in a while) I’ll have plenty to say about the Windows 10 install and my overall impression of it. Be sure to join us then!

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

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