Microsoft added AI to Bing (fail)

For the first time ever for me, today MS Edge gave me a search result that automatically sent me to their AI chatbot. Of course, the result wasn’t helpful – I needed information about how to do the task with PowerShell, not interactively. So I clicked the button to copy the AI chatbot prompt, did new search, typed in “powershell” and pasted the original query in. It came back with results.

The results were wrong. Completely wrong. But they looked like they might be right.

If I were some new sysadmin trying to figure out something I was unfamiliar with, this would have so fouled me over.

I just have to laugh at Microsoft being so incompetent.

I mean, I know I have a chip on my shoulder about Microsoft. But man they keep shooting themselves in the foot. It’s hilarious.

Microsoft’s company motto appears to be “Quality is Job Secondhundredandthirteenth”.

Microsoft moving their documentation to GitHub – What could go wrong?

I’m not a Windows expert: as much as I dislike Microsoft for their lack of ethics, this should be no surprise. So when I do need to do Microsofty-sorts-of-things, I need to RTFM – which I’m fine with. They took the time to write the manual so I wouldn’t waste valuable people’s time with basic questions. I should Read The Friendly Manual.

I also know that things people link to might change behind the scenes. There’s no way for the changer to know that something else on the planet links here, so yes dead links happen. It should be a temporary problem; and as soon as someone who knows where the page moved to can supply the answer, the dead link can be fixed.

Recently I got a 404 This is not the web page you are looking for on Github. The source document is on Microsoft’s GitHub for PowerShell. Specifically the paragraph that said “Install PowerShell using Winget (recommended)”. That contained the sentence “Note: see the winget documentation for install instructions.”

I’ve never dealt with Winget before, so yes, please, let me read how to install it.

As of this moment, if you were to click on the link winget documentation you get 404 This is not the web page you are looking for.

Okay, this can happen. I have zero idea of what the actual link should be; but, I can let someone know there is a problem. I opened an issue in GitHub.

And it was closed, with the comment “The URL is correct on the published docs site. The links in the markdown source files are relative to the docs site, not to Github”

Well that’s nice. Between that and 404 pennies, I can get a coffee at Starbucks.

Factorio starter base – still looking for a favorite

At the moment, I’m trying ElderAxe’s Quick Start Base (v8.1.1)

I remember trying something else from ElderAxe and being pretty happy with it. I like the idea of adding different pieces as I go along: maybe I want Military Science early on, before other blueprint pieces. This modular system looks like it let’s me do this.

I kind of hate Docker

The beauty of Linux is that every program writes log files. The ugly of Docker is that nothing exists after the session ends. Because things like my ssh session are running in a temporary limited container, nothing works and there’s no record of what went wrong.

I’m trying to get a share on a Synology mounted as the media folder in Home Assistant, but Home Assistant doesn’t do SMB 3. There’s a video that shows how to edit a config file to make it work; but, for me it doesn’t work. That would be fine if I could see the log files to figure out what is making it unhappy with my particular installation. But there are no log files from Home Assistant. It is reporting all clear / everything is good. But of course the files aren’t there from the CIFS / SMB share I’m trying to mount.

I tried using ssh to manually do the mount command, but that didn’t work, and the Dockerized ssh doesn’t have access to the log files. This is bullshit.

Maybe I hate Home Assistant for being Docker -only software. Except that every time I have tried to get something to work with Docker, it didn’t, and there was no way to tell what went wrong. Even the stuff that did some logging, logged only the most trivial of events. Service started. Service ended. Gee, thanks for the detail. That was super helpful. Who wrote this? Windows programmers?

Factorio blueprints – Kitch’s Totally Practical Strip Mall

On the one hand, I really like this mall. The layout makes sense to me, and the way it intersperses feeder bus and production columns is straightforward and clean.

One the other hand, it doesn’t have accumulators or solar. It does have nuclear power pieces, but I haven’t gotten into nuclear power. Yet another resource to mine, which also means setting up transport in and subsequent refining. I’d rather do solar.

I did find these two blueprints by Diana. One is for accumulators and the other for solar.

I’m still really happy with NRC’s Mining.

New Nextcloud setup with cron and transactional file locking problems (solved)

I set up Nextcloud on a new instance of Debian, and thought I had added all the pieces for memory cache and file cache, and had set up cron to run php -f /var/www/html/nextcloud/cron.php correctly. But in the Administration Overview screen I was still seeing this:

  • Last background job execution ran 2 hours ago. Something seems wrong.
  • The database is used for transactional file locking. To enhance performance, please configure memcache, if available.

But had installed Redis and APCu and configured them … so what is wrong?

I should mention that I’m using php 8.2. Apparently, with that new version of php, the APCu code now needs an additional setting that wasn’t needed before.

Find your way to /etc/php/8.2/mods-available and edit the apcu.ini file. Add this:


Finally! I have the green check mark: All checks passed.

How to test if you cron job is going to run correctly:

sudo -u www-data php -f /var/www/html/nextcloud/cron.php

I had to add the sudo package to Debian, because the basic server build did not come with that. But what it does do, is let me switch user and do the command. First, I specify the same user that Apache is going to use: www-data and then I run the PHP interpreter, using the file /var/www/html/nextcloud/cron.php

Prior to the change, it erred out with a rather ugly OCP\HintException: [0]: Memcache \OC\Memcache\APCu not available for local cache (Is the matching PHP module installed and enabled?)

Now after the change it simply runs without reporting anything (everything ran sucessful)

Mildly amusing: 7.3 miles and 13 green lights in a row

I happened to be driving back from Tulare tonight, and wanted to pick up tacos for dinner at BT’s on Mooney Boulevard in Visalia. I waited at the left hand turn signal at the intersection of Tulare Avenue and CA-63 (Mooney) in Tulare. Turned left, put the cruise control on 40 MPH, stayed in the right lane. I didn’t have to tap the brakes or adjust the speed for the next 7.3 miles. Never even hit a yellow light, though for one intersection a cross-traffic car had pulled up so I thought I might. Thirteen green lights in a row. 🙂

Yes, 40 MPH is really slow for this trip. I wasn’t in a hurry, and know that optimal fuel efficiency is around 30 MPH: higher than that and I’m burning fuel to defeat wind resistance. 40 MPH is a fair trade-off. I’m not so slow that I’m a hazard, and Mooney is two or three lanes the whole way.

New OpenSuSE Tumbleweed cannot ssh in

Problem: I’ve installed OpenSuSE Tumbleweed fresh on new hardware, and I cannot log in as root with ssh. The solution is three steps.

I should also mention the symptoms: I could try to log in with ssh root@host and I would get prompted for the password – as if it was going to work. But no matter how many times I put in the password, I would simply get prompted to enter the Password again, as if I had typed it wrong.

I used an ISO of OpenSuSE Tumbleweed and the super easy to use Imagewriter to make a bootable USB. I installed openSuSE Tumbleweed fresh, with the option to delete every existing disk partition no matter what: this is about the simplest OpenSuSE Tumbleweed install I can make. Oh, and I installed it as a server install, without a graphical user environment. It’s going to be a Nextcloud server. Actually, the whole idea of installing Tumbleweed for a server was a bad idea. I’m going to wipe it and install OpenSuSE Leap. Problem is, I’d like to install and configure and the database and Nextcloud from the machine I’m typing this on, and not from the text console attached to the physical hardware. For that, I’m going to need ssh.

Care to guess what doesn’t work out of the box?


  1. cp /usr/etc/ssh/sshd_config /etc/ssh/
  2. edit sshd_config and change the following
    • PermitRootLogin yes
    • PasswordAuthentication yes
  3. reboot now

So, apparently the idea is that allowing root to ssh in with “just” a password is a bad idea. This is why the default settings were changed to make it not work. But this does leave us with a bit of the “pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps” problem: how can I use ssh-copy-id root@host if I cannot complete the operation by logging in as root?

We’ve got to be able to authenticate before the keys can be copied up; otherwise any random bad guy would load their keys in. But if we’re not allowed to authenticate “because passwords are bad”, then we’re not allowed to authenticate….

This is way less of a problem if I’m working on a virtual machine. VMs have a virtual console, and opening that is trivial. I can log in as if I were on the physical console at the same time I have web pages open searching for the way to fix this problem.

But today’s case wasn’t a virtual machine – it was a physical machine in the other room. Without a web browser.

Well, okay, sure, I could install Lynx, but last time I tried, most web sites (including Google) didn’t work. I’m pretty sure the text ssh session doesn’t have a clipboard I could copy/paste “/usr/etc/ssh/sshd_config” to and from, either. But I digress.

The other minor pain point is that there are many articles on the Internet that talk about the PermitRootLogin option and the PasswordAuthentication option. But they say to edit the file: /etc/ssh/sshd_config

That file doesn’t exist there, in a freshly minted ISO from OpenSuSE. They moved it to /usr/etc/ssh because that’s where packages place these files. If someone in the sshd project comes up with a better version, this is where the updated configuration file can be put (without warning) because users are not supposed to store user data in /usr. It’s too much of a hassle to then copy the default file from /usr to /etc without clobbering the user supplied updates: so they don’t. That’s up to me.

But it does mean that the config file I need to edit isn’t there. Gee, thanks.

Now that I have the ssh key copied up to the new server, I’ll go ahead and turn off the root-allowed-to-log-in-with-a-password option.

But man what a PITA it was to get to this point.

Matt Taibbi question “Where have all the Liberals Gone?”

I think it is a valid question, but from my point of view the answer is sinister. Although this is a nice catchy headline, the question Matt is asking might better be stated “Why have Liberals switched to being against freedom of speech?”

My answer is that Liberals have a faith that the government solves problems; that the people in government are good folk doing good works.

Me, I’m a Libertarian, so from my point of view the more honest phrase is “… government are good folk doing good works (with other people’s money)”. Conservatives and Libertarians will donate to the charity of their choice, thank you very much. We trust charities to spend money wisely because their funding is optional, provided by their donors. If they waste money, the donors will leave. But I digress.

Back to the problem: Government has been “regulatory captured” (to use a contemporary phrase) by the deep state, who are more interested in control than good.

I’m sure it is not lost on the deep state that revolutionary forms of communication media cause tumultuous change. Hilter harnessed the power of radio; prior to radio somone wanting to be a leader could only talk at 500 – 1,000 people at a time (at most) in a beer hall or stadium. Slightly more with electricity and amplification. After radio, Hilter could talk at 100,000, then a million, then millions, every week.

So along comes Facebook and Twitter, and of course the deep state wants to control them. To control them is to control the future.

Were people allowed to converse freely, they might question the decision to cede any power to the deep state (which does not run on democratic representation).

Shouldn’t government be completely transparent about who is spending your (taxpayer) money? Who are these people, and why are we funding them? How do we stop them?

I can imagine this leads to a reaction: “Oof. These people are going to destroy everything. Quick! We need bread and circuses! Stat!” And when that isn’t enough, we get this:

From that point of view, Donald Trump was a masterful psy-op. It is still working today.

Although personally I don’t think the deep state is that smart. I think they blundered by thinking that there was zero chance that Donald Trump would actually win; but they misunderstood just how bad Hillary Clinton was as candidate. I could digress some more, but I’ll stop.

Matt Taibbi asks why are Liberals so on-board with suppressing free thought / free speech? My answer is it is because they are listening to the whispers in their ear from their deep state advisors: “If you let the rabble say their terrible things, everything will go to hell. You (we) will lose everything gained. You’ve got to control the narrative – no matter what! (First Ammendment be damned).”

Ultimately, the deep state has successfully convinced Liberals that they should not serve the public: the public should serve them. Only if they can do their work unfettered will they be successful in their good works – so don’t trust the public: rule them.

It’s the deep state way.

Quarterly Inventory 2023 Q2

The time frame is April through June 2023

Dear FutureMe,

Today would be a good day to do a quarterly inventory.

How is your personal life going?

How is your work life going?

How is your volunteer service life going?

Note that apparently I was too busy May 1st to do Quarterly Inventory 2023 Q1

Personal Life:

Not much is happening in my social life. I have friends in my social circle, but they are more like acquaintances, which is okay. I do have a friend who I consider my best friend at the moment, but it’s not a typical friendship. Through that relationship, I know a lot about him and his life, which is fine. However, I don’t really have any close personal friends in my life, and that hasn’t changed. On the bright side, I have a great relationship with my son. We go out for breakfast every couple of weeks, and he’s a wonderful part of my life. He recently purchased a new home, so there are a lot of interesting things happening in his life.

Nothing else has really changed with my other related family.

In an effort to improve my diet and lose weight, I decided to make some changes. I had previously purchased an air fryer toaster oven from Costco, which was a great addition to my kitchen. It allowed me to cook foods without heating up the entire house like a regular oven. It was also faster, so the amount of electricity I burn was reduced. I ended up buying a variety of foods that worked well in the air fryer and were delicious. However, after a few months, I realized that those foods were not suitable for my diet and weight loss goals.

Costco offers frozen pizzas at an affordable price, but consuming a whole pizza was detrimental to my weight. So, I made the decision to change my diet. In the past, I had successfully lost a lot of weight by consuming low-calorie yogurts from Costco, which had replaced sugar with alternative sweeteners. Each large container of yogurt contained only 100 calories, allowing me to have three or six of them a day, totaling 600 calories. This approach was effective in helping me lose weight. On alternate days, I would also have a salad protein bowl from Subway, adding around 600 calories to my daily intake, resulting in a 1200-calorie day alternating with 600-calorie days. I did lose a lot of weight, 35 pounds, in about three months.

Although this method was successful, I eventually grew tired of the Subway protein bowl salads, not to mention the rising prices due to inflation. To save money, I decided to cook my own meals instead of relying on Subway. I contemplated trying a carnivore diet, as it provides satiety without feeling hungry, and if I enter ketosis, my body would actively burn fat instead of storing it. I recently purchased a considerable amount of steak, finding them not-terribly priced. However, one drawback of buying food from the grocery store butcher is that the packaging can emit a foul smell when disposed of, necessitating more frequent trash bag changes. Additionally, with the arrival of hot weather, going outdoors to empty the trash becomes less desirable. I do live in what would be desert, if not for irrigation: this weekend the high temperature will be 110 °F (43 °C). Moreover, I now have to run the dishwasher every day, and sometimes even twice. That’s some running up of the electric bill I’d rather not do.

Despite these minor inconveniences, I will keep experimenting with a carnivore diet to achieve to lose weight. I didn’t stick to it completely this past week, so I’m unsure if it’s a sustainable long-term solution. Nevertheless, I will continue to give it a try.

I noticed that Monster energy drinks became unreasonably pricey, so I made the decision to stop buying them. However, I realized that completely cutting out energy drinks wasn’t a solution because I was in dire need of a caffeine fix. When I stopped drinking them, my ass was dragging. Terrible. Instead, I found Rockstar energy drinks were available at a more affordable price at Smart and Final. I made a mistake when they were priced at $1 per can – I should have stocked up on as many as possible; shortly after, the price jumped to around $1.30 per can. I do buy only the zero calorie or low calorie versions to help with my diet.

Speaking of inflation, a friend informed me about Southern California Edison’s request for a 23% rate increase, which I find absurd. I wrote a blog post addressing this issue. The rate increase is planned for 2024, and their justification is the need to upgrade their SAP Business Suite Enterprise software, which they claim will cost $35 million. I find this price tag completely unreasonable. No software upgrade should require such an exorbitant amount. Even if Southern California Edison has a large number of servers that need upgrading, there is no way it would justify a $35 million expense. It’s possible that SAP is quoting $30 million for licenses and only allocating $5 million for the actual upgrade, but if that’s the case, Southern California Edison should consider exploring alternatives to SAP. However, their statement simply states the need for $35 million to upgrade SAP, which is shocking. If I were to guess, I would speculate that the person responsible for the upgrades lacks competence and, instead of attempting to do it themselves and risking their job, they approached SAP for assistance. SAP likely saw fool and his money, and since the person isn’t spending the money from his own pocket, he agrees with it. It’s appalling.

There is also a proposal on the table to replace all the smart meters, which seems unnecessary. If they are not malfunctioning, there is no need to fix them. The prudent approach would be to replace them as they actually fail. Additionally, there is a $25 million budget to complete a $180 million project for new buildings, which isn’t great; but, if something is already under construction, it would make sense to finish it.

I suppose the $17 million allocated for wildfire management is the only expenditure I completely agree with. The Paradise Fire was devastating, and if Southern California Edison has neglected their infrastructure, it is essential for them to address and rectify that issue.

Another thing I’ve been enjoying in my personal life is using ChatGPT. It’s been quite fun. It’s quite proficient at reformatting text according to specific requirements. I particularly like using ChatGPT for my volunteer service work. I serve as the recording secretary for a 503(c) nonprofit, and part of my responsibility is to write up meeting minutes. Sometimes, discussions can be lengthy, and ChatGPT has been helpful in summarizing and condensing what’s said. Of course, it’s not flawless, and I still need to review and ensure the accuracy of the meeting minutes generated by ChatGPT. However, it has been helpful and makes my work easier compared to how it was before.

I have noticed that I still hold onto my old biases against Microsoft. It seems like they rarely get things right. However, I must admit that they did manage to do one thing correctly, and I even posted an article on my blog acknowledging their success. So that was a positive development. In another blog post, instead of simply complaining about Microsoft, I made an effort to be helpful. I addressed the issue of WordPress Media Uploads going to the wrong folder and provided a guide on how to import files into the WordPress media library using the command line. I believe this information could be valuable and beneficial to readers.

Furthermore, I reached a point of frustration with the Orbit B-Hyve sprinkler controller and decided to replace it with a Hunter Industries Hydrawise Pro-HC 6-Station Indoor Wi-Fi Irrigation Controller. This new controller has an on-screen display that allows me to search for available Wi-Fi networks, choose from the list, and enter the password. The experience with the Hunter controller has far surpassed my experience with the Orbit B-Hyve. Although I have yet to confirm if the lawn is being watered as intended, I believe I have correctly configured the new controller, but I’m not entirely certain. It has a mode where it can run for a few minutes and then pause to let the water soak in. I don’t know if this runs in parallel or serial on the watering zones.

Every year on Father’s Day, I enjoy shopping for affordable dress shirts. This year, I found a great deal at Costco where I purchased them for only $13 each. I ended up buying 10 shirts, so now I have two shirts in my daily pool. Initially, I wasn’t impressed with the material as it seemed prone to wrinkling. However, after washing them again with ample fabric softener, I noticed that they didn’t wrinkle as much. Additionally, there was a noticeable reduction in static electricity when I put the shirt on. Based on this, I have decided to keep them.

I recently switched from OpenSuSE Leap to OpenSuSE Tumbleweed, although I must admit I haven’t been particularly thrilled with OpenSuSE lately. Ubuntu made things even worse by implementing a policy where core packages are upgraded for free, but a subscription is required for other packages, which I find quite disappointing.

The issue with OpenSuSE Leap is that while it’s stable and most things work, the software packages are outdated. I needed to use Audacity for filtering background noise, but the Audacity 2.2 version available in OpenSuSE Leap didn’t have that feature. Thankfully, upgrading to OpenSuSE Tumbleweed resolved the Audacity problem and even fixed a few other issues that were present in Leap. However, I’m a bit concerned because in the past, being on the bleeding edge with Tumbleweed has caused some trouble. So, while I’ve made the move, I’m cautiously waiting for any potential issues to arise.

Some users in the OpenSuSE forums suggest using Flatpak or Snap images as alternatives. However, when I tried using Ubuntu Snapper, it caused complications with my website for audio recordings in my volunteer service work. Although it didn’t completely break the website, it repeatedly notifies me that the Linux system version firmware is out of date whenever I attempt a software upgrade. This issue only started happening after I installed Snapper, which was initially done to facilitate certificate renewals with Acme Certbot. Snapper: I don’t like it.

Work Life:

There haven’t been many changes in my work life. I have one direct report who is proactive and does a great job with the assigned tasks, which is definitely a positive. However, he will be on vacation for a significant number of days next month, so I’ll be the only one available to handle the litigation hold work. It will be fine.

Recently, a colleague who had been with the County longer than I have, retired. I had the opportunity to attend his retirement lunch. It sparked my curiosity about employee numbers and their correlation to the start of County service. Lower employee numbers indicate longer tenure, and by that measure, I am in the top 1% of County employees. However, it’s important to note that I spent a significant period in the private sector and cashed out my retirement credit upon leaving the public sector. I am currently in the process of buying back those years of service, and once I make the final payment, I will overnight gain an additional 6.1 years of service credit. This detail is interesting to me because there will be a recognition event for individuals with 15 years of continuous service, and I have been invited to attend. It’s a bit annoying that despite “doing computers” for the County since 1988 (a total of 34 years), I will only be recognized for 15 years of service.

Overall, my work life remains uneventful, and if given the chance, I would retire tomorrow if I had $60,000 unexpectedly come my way to pay off my mortgage and complete the process of buying back my retirement service credit.

Volunteer Service Life:

I have taken on a new service commitment starting tomorrow as the secretary of the Sunday morning meeting.

In other news, the previous office manager at central office sadly passed away. A year or two before his passing, we had acquired a new computer for him, as the previous one had been purchased way back in 2012. It was never disposed of. A few weeks ago, during a storage room cleanup, I was asked if I wanted to take the old computer. I took the offer, as I’m interested in learning how to modify a page format using Filemaker Pro, which is still installed on that hard drive. It has become a new project for me. My plan is to familiarize myself with Filemaker Pro, make necessary edits to the production format used at the central office, and then decide whether to wipe and restore the machine to its original state or install Linux on it.

The Dell Inspiron from 2012 that I got is equipped with an Intel Core i5 processor, specifically a third-generation i5. Although we are currently on the twelfth generation, back when this computer was purchased, it was likely a top-of-the-line machine. I have used it briefly, and it appears to be functioning well. However, I believe upgrading from a traditional hard drive to a solid-state disk would significantly improve its performance.

Although it started with last quarter, this quarter I went live with a web site to host audio recordings from speaker meetings. The web site isn’t bad, but I’m still learning how best to make the audio recordings using a Sony ICD-UX570 Digital Voice Recorder. But I also learned that WordPress is good at the one very narrow thing it does. As soon as you want to go beyond that however, it is terrible. All I wanted to do was forms with workflow, man. Apparently it is too much to create a data entry input form and post something with a file attachment.

Medical Life:

I’m waiting for the results of a medical test to find out more about a potential condition. In about two weeks, the doctor will give me a report based on a genetic test. The doctor mentioned that these test results are highly accurate. I do want to get a clearer understanding of my situation.