The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The story behind the most iconic wallpaper ever..and Ctrl-Alt-Delete

I ran across this story about the iconic desktop picture that was the default picture used in the XP operating system.  With the demise of the official support for the XP operating system I figured I would add this story-bit about the system, the picture and of course the "Ctrl-Alt-Delete" function that is a staple of everybody's experience with Microsoft products.

XP Wallpaper-Most Famous Photo Ever

The incredible story of the XP Wallpaper ‘Bliss’ image – now considered one of the most viewed photos of all time.
As the world mourns (or not) the end of the road for Windows XP—as of Tuesday, Microsoft is no longer offering support for the operating system—Microsoft Netherlands has posted this nine-minute film on its YouTube channel all about XP’s famous default wallpaper.
The backstory is told by Charles O’Rear, the photographer who snapped the iconic picture, aptly titled “Bliss,” in 1996 along a California highway north of San Francisco (reports seem to differ on whether it’s Napa or Sonoma).

This was Bill Gates explaining about the "Ctrl-Alt-Delete" feature that is used on all Microsoft based operating systems.

“Basically because when you turn your computer on, you’re going to see some screens and eventually type your password in, you want to have something you do with the keyboard that is signalling to a very low level of the software—actually hard-coded in the hardware—that it really is bringing in the operating system you expect,” Gates said. “Instead of just a funny piece of software that puts up a screen that looks like your login screen and listens to your password and is able to do that.
“So we could have had a single button, but the guy that wanted to do the IBM keyboard design didn’t want to give us our single button, and so we programmed at a low level… it was a mistake.” 

Here is a video explaining the story a bit more from the programmer that designed the feature.  David Bradley.
I will continue to check on viable options for upgrading my XP.  I don't want to buy a new computer...Mine runs fine for what I use it for...and the money I spend on a computer, I could use to .....Buy another gun.  Something that isn't obsolete as soon as I unpack it.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday Music "Take on Me" by A-Ha

I mentioned this song last week so I decided to blog about it and I would post it on the next "Monday Music".  I had mentioned that this was the first "cd" that I saw.  My roommate in AIT at Fort Devens had bought a CD player for $400 at the PX.  The sound quality was incredible compared to the cassette and LP's that were prevalent at the time.    The video was also awe inspiring.  It was cutting edge the way they combined "real life" and the sketches.    We would watch video's in the day room before we would march to class.  MTV was very popular for all of us "young soldiers".  I saw Whitney Houston for the first time when she sang " How will I know"   a good song.  I also saw level 42 and a few others for the first time on MTV in the day room.

"Take on Me" is a song by the Norwegian synthpop band A-ha. Written by the band members, the song was produced by Alan Tarney for the group's debut studio album Hunting High and Low, (1985). The song combines synthpop with a varied instrumentation that includes acoustic guitars, keyboards, and drums.
The original "Take on Me" was recorded in 1984 and took three releases to chart in the United Kingdom, reaching number two on the UK Singles Chart in November 1985. In the United States, the song was the only A-ha song to ever reach the top position of the Billboard Hot 100 in October 1985, due in no small part to the wide exposure of its memorable and cutting-edge music video on MTV, directed by Steve Barron. The video features the band in a pencil-sketch animation method called rotoscoping, combined with live action. The video won six awards and was nominated for two others at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards. In 2013, both Cuban-America born rapper, Pitbull, along with American recording artist, Christina Aguilera, took a heavy sample of the song and for their hit song, "Feel This Moment", which, although not a cover version, charted at number five in the UK Charts and number eight in the US Billboard Hot 100 while they charted number one on both the dance charts in both of the respective countries.

Lead singer Morten Harket and actress Bunty Bailey in a scene from the music video, which features them in a pencil-sketch animation / live-action combination called rotoscoping.
The first release of "Take on Me" in 1984 includes a completely different recording, and was featured in the first video, which shows the band singing with a blue background. The second video was directed by Steve Barron, and filmed at Kim's Café and on a sound stage in London, in 1985. The video used a pencil-sketch animation / live-action combination called rotoscoping, in which the live-action footage is traced-over frame by frame to give the characters realistic movements. Approximately 3,000 frames were rotoscoped, which took 16 weeks to complete.
The video's main theme is a romantic fantasy narrative. It begins with a montage of pencil drawings in a comic book style representing motorcycle sidecar racing, in which the hero, played by Morten Harket, is pursued by two opponents, one of whom is played by English actor Philip Jackson. It then cuts to a scene in a cafe, in which a young woman, played by Bunty Bailey (Harket's girlfriend at the time), is seen drinking coffee and reading the comic book in a coffee shop. As the girl reads, the waitress brings her the bill. The comic's hero, after winning the race, seemingly winks at the girl from the page. His pencil-drawn hand reaches out of the comic book, inviting the girl into it. Once inside, she too appears in the pencil-drawn form, as he sings to her and introduces her to his black-and-white world which features a sort of looking-glass portal where people and objects look real on one side and pencil-drawn on the other.
Meanwhile, back in the restaurant, the waitress returns to find that the girl is not there. Believing that the girl has left without paying the bill, she angrily crumples and throws the girl's comic book into a bin. This makes Harket's two opposing racers reappear, armed with a large pipe wrench and apparently aggressive. The racers smash the looking glass with the pipe wrench, evidently trapping the girl in the comic book. Harket punches one of the thugs and retreats with the girl into a maze of paper. Arriving at a dead end, he tears a hole in the paper wall so that the girl can escape as the menacing opposing racers close in on him. The girl, now back in the real world and found lying beside the bin to the surprise of restaurant guests and staff, grabs the comic from the bin and runs home, where she attempts to smooth out the creases to learn what happens next.

The next panel shows Harket lying seemingly lifeless, and the girl begins to cry. But he wakes up and tries to break out of his comic-book frames. At the same time, his image appears in the girl's hallway, seemingly torn between real and comic form, hurling himself repeatedly left-and-right against the walls as he attempts to shatter his two-dimensional barrier. (This scene is largely patterned after a climactic scene in the 1980 film Altered States). He escapes from the comic book by becoming human and stands up. Smiling, the girl runs towards him and he embraces her. The video story is effectively concluded in the intro sequence of its successor, "The Sun Always Shines on T.V.".
At the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards, the video for "Take on Me" won six awards—Best New Artist in a Video, Best Concept Video, Most Experimental Video, Best Direction, Best Special Effects, and Viewer's Choice—and was nominated for two others, Best Group Video and Video of the Year. It was also nominated for Favorite Pop/Rock Video at the 13th American Music Awards in 1986.
  • Director: Steve Barron
  • Production Company: Limelight Productions, London
  • Producer: Simon Fields
  • Cinematographer: Oliver Stapleton
  • Editor: Richard Simpson @ Rushes Film Editing, London
  • Animation: Michael Patterson & Candace Reckinger

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Mozilla firings and what it portends...

Sorry about the lag in posting,  Went camping with the Boy Scouts and were unable to load the scheduler or finish this post I tried to get out on Friday Morning. 

     Several years ago there was a proposition 8 in the land of fruits and nuts called California, it was basically a defense of marriage act stating that marriage is only marriage if it is between a man and a woman.  Well it passed with 7 million votes.  It was struck down later on in the courts as "Unconstitutional".  Well the CEO named Eich had contributed $1000 to it.  He and 70,000 other people who did from the articles that I have read.  First off, how did the donor list get published...Stuff like that is normally confidential.  But as I understand..A newspaper the L.A. Times got hold of the donor list and published it.   This disturbs me to a great deal,  This list was published to support a certain political opinion that" happened"  to support a liberal agenda, Yes I know...I am shocked....   if you have an opinion that isn't politically popular with what is considered "acceptable" in today's society according to the leftist ideology, then you are hounded.  To me this is the new McCarthyism,  We as a formerly free society still have rights to have our own opinion.
    .  I am a fan and a student of history as many who have read my blog will agree with, I put historical stuff and pictures on my blog all the time.  There is a phrase that I like to use and it is very popular, " Those that forget the lessons of history will be doomed to repeat them.".  If you lived in a totalitarian society like the Soviet Union for example, if you had an opinion that was different than the state sponsored belief , you kept it to yourself unless one of your neighbors found out and denounced you to the local party official and you would get an all  expense paid trip to Siberia to work out at one of the labor camps until you either died or worked long enough to survive to do penance for having a thought that was counter to what was the "accepted" groupthink.
To give more background on this issue, Mozilla the maker of the popular web browser "Firefox" has been losing its market share to other browsers from the Internet Explorer, Chrome,Safari, Opera and Pale Moon.
    I have used Firefox for many years, I considered it superior to IE it don't have the security glitches that seemed to be prevalent in the Microsoft offering.  Well Eich whom was their chief software guy got the job to reverse the slide of Mozilla and return the software giant back to prominence.  Well when he got the job to fix Mozilla's problems, apparently there was a group that got offended that Eich got the job, Well I am talking about the professional LGBT activist, they stirred up a supposed firestorm.  I say "supposed".  We all know that blog on the conservative side of the blogosphere is that the LSM(Lame Stream Media) decides what is newsworthy and releases it for broad dissemination to the uninformed masses. Provided that it fits certain criteria, usually supporting a liberal agenda or thoughspeak.  Well Mozilla caved like Obama did for Putin and basically "encouraged" Eich to leave the company.
     There are those that said that Eich first amendment rights were violated.  Well here is a quick explaination of 1st amendment rights using Honey Badgers:
Well Mozilla fearing the wraith of the what I call the "Gay Lobby" basically showed him the door.  There is a professional activist group out there that purports to back the LGBT community, They go absolutely bat crap crazy if there is any instance of what they perceive as a slight on the LGBT community.  These activist have a very sensitive skin so anything is a slight and they immediately crank up the twitter outrage, and the facebook postings and anything else that deals with social media. and drum up what they call a firestorm of protest.
   If you do not agree with the left and/or the LGBT Community on anything, they will find a way to exact retribution on you, so beware what you donate to as you exercise your right to free speech. The left is watching, and with a leaky federal government, your information may become available to the other side, illegally.
Remember the following story when you hear Democrats talk about transparency regarding donations to 501(c)4 organizations who do not have to report their lists of donors to the IRS. Also think about the unbridled ire we would hear from the left and the MSM if it was a liberal who was made to resign over the same issue at a conservative company.prop-8-statewide-map
That is what appears to have happened to Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich, the inventor of Java Script, who dared to donate money to a cause of his choice years ago. What was the cause? Eich donated to California Proposition 8, the ban on same-sex marriages, which won that year only to be overturned by the courts last July.
(See the map of voting on Proposition 8 on the right from 2008. Notice the coastal community vote in yellow, they dominate California on all matters.)
That victory apparently was not enough for the LGBT community because Eich was forced to resign. Out-of-character for we at SUA to report a statement by Bill Maher, but he said this of the whole situation:
“I think there is a gay mafia,” Maher said. “I think if you cross them, you do get whacked.”
But its not just the fact that they were upset, that they are sore winners after seeing the Proposition overturned, they got help from the IRS:
“…this fact first came to light in 2012, after the Internal Revenue Service leaked a copy of the National Organization for Marriage’s 2008 tax return to a gay-advocacy group…” (Read more at Gateway Pundit)
 As I recall the latest statistics, about 3% of the population is gay, and 97 percent of the population are cowed by the activities of 3% of the population.
   Before anybody piles on me for being a "gay hater", I am a conservative libertarian, which basically means that my political beliefs are libertarian with a conservative leanings.  What 2 adult aged people do in the privacy of their bedroom is NONE of my or the government's business.  What I have a problem with is the ramming down my throat is the agenda of the professional gay activists that try to "mainstream" their beliefs into thinking that the "hanging it out there" behavior is acceptable.  You doubt me..? Look what comes out of Hollywood, they have pushed their agenda through the broadcast media.    It is all about power, the more they can influence people the more power they have.  We as a society have been conditioned to be polite and that is a good thing, but they use that politeness against us.  What I don't like is the gestapo like tactics used by the gay grievance industry.  If you have an opinion that runs counter to what they believe, you are an evil person to be shunned and driven away or persecuted like how Islam views people that don't believe in Mohammed.
     Oh *snap* I just mixed Islam and Gayness....I will have both groups pissed at me.   But seriously, what sticks in my craw to use an old southern-ism.  Is that they want everybody else to be tolerant of their beliefs....but they don't reciprocate the belief.  It is supposed to be a 2 way street, but it is all one way.   They want their cake and eat it too.  We as a society are cowed into submissiveness by these antics and instead of telling these professional rabble rousers to go away, we just meekly bow our head because of the Politically correct movement has crushed any dissent to the politically accepted group think.
      We live in what is called a formerly free society, the rules of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, what you could do what ever you wanted to as long as your life, liberty and pursuit of happiness didn't conflict with somebody's else pursuit of the same.   Well it isn't that way anymore,  I am an adult leader in the Boy Scouts of America, My son is a boy scout and I am very proud of him and the other boys that are in the program, the program teaches time tested values of how to succeed in life and prepare you to be a productive citizen of the Republic.  What we basically do is take boys and teach them how to be "good" men.  Well recently the B.S.A. got caught up in the gay lobby because of the exclusion policy that the B.S.A. maintains.  No openly gay leaders are allowed.  Boy Scouts have a " don't ask don't tell" policy.  We don't ask, so you don't tell."  Sexuality has no reason to be involved in this.  We are gender neutral in this.  The same gay activists that push the B.S.A to allow openly gay leaders, if these activists have any kids, their kids will NEVER be in the Boy Scouts, it is just a  perceived glass ceiling to get broken.  This is agenda driven, and not for the interest of the organization. 
     I don't know what will correct this situation, I do know that these people thrive in the Western based societies because we as a society are tolerant of others of different beliefs.  The same gay activists would not survive in a totalitarian society or in a society that is religiously based like a caliphate would be imprisoned or killed.  These people don't appreciate where they live and actively try to tear it down or support those that would.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Model Jet engines and how a jet engine works

I was talking to one of our inspectors who is a avid model collector, and he was showing me various models on "Ebay" then he went to "Youtube" and showed me a working model Jet engine like what you would find hung under a wing.  It was pretty neat.


An animated image of a jet engine to show how the air flows through the engine.

 Now for those people that don't have any idea exactly how a jet engine works...Here is a 
  diagram(I love Pictures) of the air flow.
This is a picture of how the air flows through a jet engine.
Jet engines move the airplane forward with a great force that is produced by a tremendous thrust and causes the plane to fly very fast.
All jet engines, which are also called gas turbines, work on the same principle. The engine sucks air in at the front with a fan. A compressor raises the pressure of the air. The compressor is made up of fans with many blades and attached to a shaft. The blades compress the air. The compressed air is then sprayed with fuel and an electric spark lights the mixture. The burning gases expand and blast out through the nozzle, at the back of the engine. As the jets of gas shoot backward, the engine and the aircraft are thrust forward.

An animated image of a jet engine to show how the air flows through the engine.

The image above shows how the air flows through the engine. The air goes through the core of the engine as well as around the core. This causes some of the air to be very hot and some to be cooler. The cooler air then mixes with the hot air at the engine exit area.
A jet engine operates on the application of Sir Isaac Newton's third law of physics: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is called thrust. This law is demonstrated in simple terms by releasing an inflated balloon and watching the escaping air propel the balloon in the opposite direction. In the basic turbojet engine, air enters the front intake and is compressed, then forced into combustion chambers where fuel is sprayed into it and the mixture is ignited. Gases which form expand rapidly and are exhausted through the rear of the combustion chambers. These gases exert equal force in all directions, providing forward thrust as they escape to the rear. As the gases leave the engine, they pass through a fan-like set of blades (turbine) which rotates the turbine shaft. This shaft, in turn, rotates the compressor, thereby bringing in a fresh supply of air through the intake. Engine thrust may be increased by the addition of an afterburner section in which extra fuel is sprayed into the exhausting gases which burn to give the added thrust. At approximately 400 mph, one pound of thrust equals one horsepower, but at higher speeds this ratio increases and a pound of thrust is greater than one horsepower. At speeds of less than 400 mph, this ratio decreases.
In a turboprop engine, the exhaust gases are also used to rotate a propeller attached to the turbine shaft for increased fuel economy at lower altitudes. A turbofan engine incorporates a fan to produce additional thrust, supplementing that created by the basic turbojet engine, for greater efficiency at high altitudes. The advantages of jet engines over piston engines include lighter weight with greater power, simpler construction and maintenance with fewer moving parts, and efficient operation with cheaper fuel.

    Speaking of models, the same inspector showed me a 100% lego engine based on the 
Rolls Royce engine. that a bunch of engineering students were building.

The weird things you find or in my case have people show me while I was at work.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Some more XP stuff and information. EOL April 8 2014

Today is the last day for support for the XP system,  I guess I will have to check into Windows 7 or something like that.  I cannot use Windows 8 or 8.1, I don't have a touchscreen.  Dangit.   I got some more information on options and upgrades.   I am looking at upgrading from XP to windows 7.  I am looking at Ebay and Amazon.   I don't want to buy a new computer......

Microsoft extends Windows 7 consumer support till 2020

Just earlier today, we read that Microsoft decided to offer extended support for its Windows Vista operating system till April 2017. Now there is great news for Windows 7 consumers too!
windows7 lifecycle 600x186 Microsoft extends Windows 7 consumer support till 2020
Microsoft has announced that it will offer extended support for Windows 7 till January 14, 2020. Windows 7 mainstream support is scheduled to end in January 2015, till which time it will continue to receive feature updates along with security patches. But now with this revision, Windows 7 consumers will receive security updates till January 2015.
This chart explains the difference between Mainstream Support and Extended Support.
microsoft lifecycle 2 Microsoft extends Windows 7 consumer support till 2020
Earlier, Extended Support was not offered for Consumer, Hardware, and Multimedia products, but this announcement marks a clear policy shift in the way Microsoft will be offering consumer products like Windows 7.
That is great news for Windows 7 users – especially for those who are not planning to upgrade to Windows 8.
You can see the details at the Microsoft Lifecycle website.

The Windows operating system commands 90% and the 11 year old Windows XP holds a chunk of it. StatCounter says Windows XP market share is around 19% whereas NetApplication says it is around 29%. Both have their own methodology of calculating this. Windows XP End of Life is fast approaching. The deadline for the lifecycle support for one of the most popular operating systems, the world has ever known in about to be reached. In less than 5 months, Microsoft will cease supporting the decade old operating system, Windows XP. While there are many people who still argue that the operating system isn’t completely dead yet, there are many critically important reasons why you need to take a call now about upgrading to a newer operating system like Windows 8, or even Windows 7 at least!

Windows XP End of Life risks

windows xp end of life The risks of staying with Windows XP after End Of Life
Windows XP is reaching End of Support in 2014 in 5 months. According to Microsoft, Windows XP Extended Support will end on 8th April 2014. Although the Mainstream Support ended on 14th Feb 2009, the Extended Support will end on 8th April 2014. This post explains in detail the difference between Mainstream Support and Extended Support. Windows Embedded products based on Windows XP, however, have different dates for End of Support.
Windows XP Product Lifecycle Support Policy The risks of staying with Windows XP after End Of Life

So what does this mean to the Windows XP user

Microsoft will stop providing security patches and updates to Windows XP SP3. The OS will be dead in the water, and with no support from Microsoft, it will become an open playground for hackers and malware pushers. Microsoft is very likely to even stop pushing updates to its security software Microsoft Security Essentials, which is being run on Windows XP. Will other antivirus software too, do the same? Who knows if they would want to take up the challenge of solely protecting an unsupported operating system – although some of them have said that they would continue to support their security software on Windows XP.
After the end-of-support, attackers could try and reverse engineer security updates to identify any other vulnerabilities that exist in Windows XP. Attackers could then have the advantage knowing very well that any exploits code they develop, will not be patched by Microsoft. This could even spark a frenzy among malware writers & hackers – all wanting to compromise Windows XP systems. Zero-days exploits could then remain effective for even months, before some 3rd-party software decided to patch them.
In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if hackers had already hoarded exploits and malware – and are just waiting till April 18th, to unleash their attacks, knowing very well, that Microsoft may not patch vulnerabilities after End of Life.
This alone makes it imperative that you now start thinking of upgrading to a newer operating system. Hey, I am not here to sell you Microsoft products. Feel free to switch to Mac or a Linux-based OS too. The point being – its time you let go of Windows XP!
Windows XP is like an old shoe, worn-in, cozy, comfortable, which no one wants to discard! Over a period of time, its been patched, patched and patched to make it what it is today! But its time to move on now! The past is dead ! The future, yet unborn ! Time to live in the present, I say!
Time to upgrade from Windows XP
Windows 8 is 21x more secure than Windows XP. But security isn’t the only reason Windows XP users need to move on. In fact, using a dated operating system has its shortcomings on various aspects of computing. There is no support for the latest versions of Microsoft Office, Windows Media Player, Internet Explorer and other Microsoft software.
1] Internet Explorer 11 is available only for Windows 8 & Windows 7, but no support for Windows XP or Windows Vista has been provided by Microsoft.
2] The productivity suite, Microsoft Office 2013 can’t run on a Windows XP machine. So if you are running Windows XP, you can only run up to Office 2010, which obviously is again, old and lacks many new features.
3] The default media player, Windows Media Player too can’t be updated to the latest version. The version 12th is only available for Windows 7 or higher OS.
4] Modern motherboards don’t support Windows XP. Since you are running a decade old operating system, odds are your computer hardware is very old too. There are two problems with having old hardware, one is, as the technology evolved, new software came in the market, and they all demand a powerful processor, a system which is capable of running them. So running them on a downgrade system will not exhibit the best of results and computing experience.
5] The other factor to consider here is again, the security aspect. There are two kinds of security protection you can have. One is, that is the most common, at software level. The other, the one which is quite popular nowadays is Security level at the hardware level itself. For instance, UEFI – Secure boot. So some hardware peripherals have security implementations right out-of-the-box, which lets it protect the integrity of the device and data protection. This feature obviously enhances the security of your system.

6] The new computers offer a better display, powerful processor, more storage, all-day battery life and compact design.
7] The scenario is quite similar at the software end as well. Most of your built-in tools would be outdated. Most of them can’t be updated or even worse, replaced by a 3rd party app. While Chrome and Firefox might will provide you support till next year, securing your system in toto would be next to impossible.
8] To make migration easier for Windows XP users, Microsoft has made available as a free download, PCmover Express for Windows XP, a data migration tool.

Asiana and Boeing argue over blame for the Asiana 777 crash

As people know that have been reading my blog for a long time, know that I work in the aviation industry and I do like airplanes.  The Boeing 777 has an enviable safety record.  I don't like working on them out of personal preference, the airplane is a great airplane, and it is a BIG airplane and to work on it, basically involves tall ladders or man lifts.  I am an older person and not as limber as I once was and climbing up and down ladders after a while gets telling on the body so I tend to work the narrow bodies( MD-88's, 737's, 757's and Airbus 320 series aircraft.)  They are lower to the ground and to an older person...That ain't a bad thing. 
     I was reading from Aviation week and ran across this article and I figured I would post it along with some pictures I "googled" on the internet.  since I am a simple person and I like pictures.   I am a visual kind of guy.    What I got off this article is that the lawyers are posturing again,   and nothing is said about the culture in the cockpit.  Anybody that works in the aviation industry will know what I am talking about. 

April 07, 2014
Credit: NTSB
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board might be six months from declaring the probable cause and contributing factors in the Asiana Airlines 777-200ER crash in San Francisco last July, but two main participants in the investigation, Asiana and Boeing, have already formed their own conclusions.

In documents submitted to the NTSB and published on March 31, both the airline and the manufacturer contend that a basic lack of monitoring and failure to follow airline and industry standards for abandoning an approach led the pilots into a situation where airspeed and altitude were too low to avoid crashing into the sea wall in front of Runway 28L, but the agreement stops there.
Asiana says its pilots were blindsided by lack of a timely low-speed aural alert and an autopilot flight-director system mode—flight-level change (FLCH)—that is inconsistent with practically all other modes in that it allows the autothrottle to go into a “hold” mode with engines at idle and no low-speed “wake-up” to prevent the aircraft from flying too slowly. Boeing, however, says the 777 and its automation systems and training materials were not at fault in the crash, but rather the pilots were not adept at visual approaches and did not take advantage of several opportunities to abandon the unstable arrival before it was too late. Asiana provides 11 recommendations in its submittal; Boeing offers none.
It is unclear how any of the posturing could influence the NTSB's determinations on the accident, or any of the more than two dozen civil lawsuits filed in the weeks after the crash, actions that blame both Asiana and Boeing for the accident. Given the potential liability in admitting to deficiencies while cases are ongoing, it is not surprising that Boeing is not offering recommendations on how to improve its aircraft, even if the company is internally contemplating changes to low-speed alerting systems or modifications to the autothrottle logic. Changes to the 737NG autothrottle and low-speed alerting systems, both of which played a role in the crash of a Turkish Airlines 737-800 crash in Amsterdam in February 2009, took more than three years to reach the fleet, either in the form of a service bulletin or an airworthiness directive.
In the meantime, Boeing is staunchly defending the 777 FLCH mode, noting that aircraft equipped with the mode have performed 55.6 million successful landings, which it says equates to more than three landings per minute, every minute of every day for the past 32 years. FLCH is normally used for changing altitudes in cruise by selecting the mode and entering the target altitude on the mode control panel.
In the San Francisco crash, Boeing says the pilots “erroneously” pushed the FLCH mode button at 1,600 ft. while descending on autopilot toward the runway, causing the autopilot to climb toward a preset altitude of 3,000 ft. that had been set in case of a missed approach. The pilot-flying in the left seat, who was completing his transition training to become a 777 captain after flying the A320 as a captain for five years, turned off the autopilot and pulled the throttles to idle thrust to descend, an action that in FLCH mode puts the autothrottles in “hold.” On the flight deck, a green box in the flight-mode annunciator area of the primary flight displays would have highlighted the word “Hold” for 10 sec.; but no associated audible announcement would have cued the pilots to the mode change. In interviews, the pilots said they had assumed the autothrottle would have maintained the 137-kt. approach speed they had set in the mode control panel, despite their having had recent training in the nuances of FLCH.
Regardless of the mode, Boeing says, the crew failed to monitor airspeed, thrust and altitude to verify a stable arrival.

“At 500 ft., the approach was not in compliance with the industry-standard stabilized approach criteria for sink-rate and thrust settings,” states chief engineer for air safety investigation Michelle Bernson in the Boeing submission. “A go-around should have been initiated.” Below 500 ft., she states, there were “numerous clues”—visual and tactile—that showed the aircraft's speed was decaying, the aircraft's thrust setting was incorrect, and the aircraft was increasingly below glidepath. The aircraft ultimately slowed to 103 kt., well below its 137-kt. target speed before the pilots attempted a go-around.
Thomas Haueter, a technical consultant for Asiana, says the automation design, combined with the high workload approach, may have been an accident in waiting. “You're in a situation where the autothrottle does not wake up to the set airspeed and it does not wake up as you get near stall,” he says. Haueter, veteran NSTB investigator who retired in 2012, says none of the three pilots on the flight deck remembers pushing the FLCH button on the mode control panel, although Boeing notes the cockpit voice recorder captured “sound of click” at the same time the flight data recorder shows the FLCH mode activated, confirming “that the button was pushed.”
Boeing questions the pilot-flying's fitness for handling the 777, noting that in the most recent training flight before the accident, the instructor noted that he was not well organized and deviated “from multiple standard operating procedures.” During interviews after the accident, the Korean pilot-flying said, in English, that the approach into San Francisco was “very stressful” and that he was “very concerned” about his ability to perform a visual approach there.
Asiana doubts at least part of that assessment, noting that there was not a professional Korean translator in the room, the pilot sustained a broken rib that he had not yet been treated for, and his use of the word “stressful” in English was not as intended. Asiana had asked the NTSB to review the recordings of the interviews, but the NTSB says it did not retain a copy. “That's not typical,” says Haueter. “Normally we kept absolutely everything until the [final] report was adopted.”
Pilots on the morning of the crash were flying the “Quiet Bridge” visual approach that Asiana says kept the aircraft high and fast—compared to a normal instrument approach—until fairly close to the runway. Controllers instructed Flight 214 to maintain 180 kt. until 5 nm from the airport, more than 40-kt. above its planned final approach speed of 137 kt.
In January, two crews of professional pilots gathered by the NTSB for a “simulator observational study” demonstrated that the Asiana pilots were not unique in getting behind the aircraft on the approach. The study used crews of pilots from Boeing and from the FAA. All “flew” a 777 simulator at Boeing in Seattle. Each crew performed 10 test flights, five of which simulated a “standard” approach profile; the balance followed the accident profile, including the altitude and speed restrictions that air traffic controllers issued to the accident crew. Asiana says the results indicate that both crews “had difficulty” achieving a stabilized approach by 500 ft. under the conditions matching the accident profile. “In fact, the aircraft was considered unstable due to excessive sink rates on four of the 10 test flights conducted under conditions matching the accident profile,” according to Asiana.

The NTSB also evaluated go-around scenarios with the crews, determining that a “normal” go-around would have been possible 12 sec. before ground impact on the accident flight. Asiana notes that the 777's “quadruple chime” low-airspeed caution sounded 11 sec. before impact on Flight 214, and the crew took an additional 3 sec. before advancing the throttles for a go-around. Boeing, however, says that the low-airspeed alert (the quadruple chime), which sounded 11 sec. before the crash, “provided a timely caution of decreasing airspeed.” Asiana is asking the FAA for a dedicated low-speed aural alert that will provide pilots with adequate time to perform a go-around. Boeing's low-speed warning was originally developed for issues at altitude, and the chime is also used “with more than 70 other potential issues,” states the airline.
Asiana also uncovered some concerns about FLCH that were raised by the FAA in 2011. In a “response item” from 787 certification testing that Asiana obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, the FAA had “strongly encouraged” Boeing to make changes to the 787 flight-management computer system to provide autothrottle “wake-up” capability to maintain a minimum flying speed in all autothrottle modes. Those modes are shared by the Boeing 777, 747 and 767.
The response item shows that an FAA pilot was performing certification stalls with artificial ice contours on the 787 in September 2010 when the concern first arose. “When in a descent such as FLCH with autothrottle in (hold) mode, and the descent has to be manually interrupted for something such as a traffic alert, the autothrottle will stay in (hold) mode and will not wake up [as] it does when you capture the original altitude,” the response item reads. “The speed will decrease well past maneuvering speed.” The FAA ultimately closed the item, but with the request for a software change to the flight-management computer at some future time.

The FAA discussed the origin of the response item during a December 2013 public hearing on the Asiana crash, but did not mention its request to Boeing to change the FLCH mode.
“Given [that it was not a safety or regulatory compliance issue], at that point, [the FAA pilot] believed it was an area where there still could be improvement and he worked with Boeing to include additional information in the flight manual to explain that the autothrottle on the 787 would not wake up from the autothrottle hold,” said Stephen Boyd, manager of the FAA's airplane and flight crew interface branch, of the 2011 response item.
Boeing's former chief test pilot, John Cashman, called the issue a “misunderstanding” of when the autothrottle would wake up and when it would command speed. “In the end, when [the FAA pilot] understood that this design has 210 million flight hours, he felt it was not as critical of an issue,” said Cashman during the December 2013 hearing.
Similar concerns had been voiced by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) during its validation of the FAA certification for the 787. EASA noted that the lack of a wake-up function in FLCH represents an “inconsistency in the automation behavior” to the pilots. “Inconsistency in automation behavior has been in the past a strong contributor to aviation accidents,” the agency stated.
Boeing makes the case that an FLCH mode that tries to control speed in two ways—through the elevator, as designed, but also through the autothrottle, as requested—will represent an inconsistency in its design philosophy and could prove unstable. “To do this would violate [our] design philosophy—that the pilot is the final authority for the operation of the airplane,” states the manufacturer. “This philosophy has led Boeing to avoid designs in which the aircraft overrides the crew's selected automation modes. There are some scenarios, such as when the aircraft is operating in a symmetric thrust condition due to engine problems, in which such a change could be potentially dangerous.”

Monday, April 7, 2014

Monday Music "Drive" by "The Cars" off their Greatest Hits

I had bought this album The Cars "Greatest Hits" on cassette, because such things like MP3 and pandora and other such things wasn't even thought of.  I had seen a "CD" player in AIT at Fort Devens where my roommate Mark had purchased one it was portable and cost $400 bucks through the PX there.  He had one album "Hunting High and Low" with the song "Take on me" by A-Ha".(I will do one on this one next week) but I digress.  Well anyway I had this cassette
player in my Mustang(I had orders to Germany and authorized to ship POV, well I being young and dumb, bought a Mustang and shipped her to Germany.  The insurance was more than my car note and I was car poor for a couple of years.) in Germany and I was stationed at Cooke Barracks by Geoppingen Germany.  It was in the Schwabish alps area of Germany.  Well when I wasn't deployed to the field, or patrolling the1 K zone between East and West Germany
(Yes this is one of my photo's, I should upload more of them since they depict a Germany and a time that is no longer there)

    I would go for a drive in the mountainous areas south of Geoppingen and in the direction of Schwabish Gmund and I really liked the curvy roads that that area had with the forest overhanging them so I would have this album and others blaring through the speakers. 

"Drive" is a 1984 song by The Cars, the third single from the band's Heartbeat City album released in March 1984 and their biggest international hit. It was written by Ric Ocasek and produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange with the band. Lead vocals were sung by Cars bassist Benjamin Orr.
"Drive" was The Cars' highest charting single in the United States, peaking at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. On the Adult Contemporary chart, the song went to number one. It reached number five in the UK Singles Chart on its initial release; following its use at the Live Aid concert in 1985 as the background music to a montage of clips depicting the contemporaneous Ethiopian famine, the song was re-released and peaked at number four. It reached number four in West Germany and number six in Canada.
In a retrospective review of the single, AllMusic journalist Donald A. Guarisco praised the song for being "a gorgeous ballad that matches heartfelt songwriting to an alluring electronic soundscape. The music reflects the lyrical tone with a lovely melody that rises and falls in a soothing yet sad fashion."

 The music video was directed by actor Timothy Hutton and features model and actress Paulina Porizkova, who would later become Ric Ocasek's wife.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Windows XP and the EOL and the push to 8.1

I have blogged much about the issues I have had with Windows 8.1 that sits on the right hand of Satan is difficult as far as I am concerned, I don't like it at all.  I know that if your product is a touchscreen, than it works well, but there are many 'Luddites" like me that have older equipment and still use keyboards and Mice to move around in the digital world.   I understand that Microsoft wants to focus more energy on the new products that are coming out and that are on the horizon and to keep innovating.  But sometimes you also need to recognize that not all applications you can use a touchscreen for, where I work at, uses XP professional, if my company had to upgrade all the computers we use to touchscreen, the capital outlay would be enormous , we literally have thousands of computers that use the same operating system and are connected to a network that would have to be changed.  You factor that in with the upcoming Obamacare business mandates that have been put off until after the midterm elections, you are talking about a significant business expense and with some companies, this would be the pass/fail point to remain in business or just say "screw it" and fold thereby dumping more people into an already soft job market and a weak Obama economy.
     I have people in Real life say well "Switch to MAC" well I have an issue with the whole "Steve Jobs" cult thing going on if I join the "I" world, all would be kumbaya and the world would be a better place. Yes I know that there are fewer security glitches with apple than with Microsoft, I have no argument with that.  but to be a lemming and follow the crowd I have issues with.  I may have to learn Linux or something along that line so I can keep running my Firefox and other programs that I use.  I don't want to use any Google based operating system, especially with all the data mining associated with them from both the NSA and companies wanting to know where I surf to customize ads for my interest.(Jeez how many ammo, automotive or aviation ads can they hit me with).  I will continue to run XP as long as I can.  I remembered I waited for a while before I got XP because I was using Windows 98 2nd edition and it worked well so I didn't change so I missed the Windows ME, CE and another turd that Microsoft pushed out there before XP arrived.

I have pulled the following information from PC Pitstop, they have talked much about the demise of Windows XP and the push to 8.1

Windows XP Users Remain Loyal

PC Pitstop’s exclusive research is showing that loyalty to Windows XP is strong – despite Microsoft’s plans to end support for the popular OS.
At PC Pitstop, we have been tracking each and every trend related to CPUs, memory, storage, graphics, Windows, and bandwidth.
With tens of millions of PC’s in our database, Pitstop’s market research capabilities are unprecedented in terms of cost, depth, breadth, and accuracy. We have a front seat to all the most exciting trends in computing.
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Loyalty to Windows XP continues despite EOL

Windows XP Install Base by Location