Blue Moon

You know the phrase once in every blue moon. It means a rare event that doesn’t happen very often. A blue moon is the second full moon in the same calendar month. Today’s full moon (July 31) is a blue moon. We had a full moon back in July 2 and the second one today. The next blue moon will not happen again until January 2018. Why do we have blue moons? A lunar month is 29 days long, while our monthly calendar is 30 to 31 days, with February being the sole exception. So, it’s not unusual at all for two full moons to fall within the same month. It just doesn’t happen so often. More like every 2.5 years.

Get Windows 10 Now

Today is July 29. Windows 10 is now available. Microsoft has been taking reservations for the Windows 10 update leading up to today. There’s no telling when your system will actually be updated. However, Mashable is saying that there’s a way to get the newly released Windows 10 now instead of waiting for it. Forcing the update requires that you to access the command line and run this command.

C:\> wuauclt.exe/updatenow

I tried to do the upgrade, but I ran into another issue. I’m using an older motherboard with a Nvidia GeForce 6150SE nForce 430 GPU. Microsoft is telling me that the display manufacturer, which is nVidia, hasn’t made my display compatible with Windows 10. Microsoft says to check your manufacturer for support. Basically, I have two options. Wait for nVidia to tell Microsoft nForce 430 is compatible with Windows 10 or get a new GPU. The latter is the quickest fix.

Virtualization Options

If you’re thinking of creating a virtual machine on the OS of choice, there are quite a few options to consider. In addition to having a powerful computer with lots of memory to be able to run multiple hosted operating systems, there are several virtualization software to consider. Which one is for you depends on your budget, your expertise and preference. Some virtualization software are free to use, others you have to purchase. Here are your options:

  • VMWare’s vSphere
  • Redhat’s KVM
  • Microsoft’s Hyper-V
  • Citrix’s XenServer
  • Oracle’s Virtualbox

VMWare is the 800 pound gorilla. It dominates the virtualization market at 56%, but it has been eroding over the years. There’s stiff competition from Hyper-V, XenServer and KVM. My personal favorite however, is Virtualbox. It runs on multiple platforms, Windows, Mac and Linux. It’s relatively simple to use. Others may find Virtualbox a bit slower and some find it technically challenging, but to each his own. As they say, your mileage may vary. It really depends on your preference.

Microsoft’s Cortana

Cortana is Microsoft’s equivalent to Apple’s Siri and Google Now. Cortana is Microsoft’s digital voice assistant that will be available in Windows 10. Cortana voices are going to be customized to the user’s home country. Initially, it will be available in the US, UK, China, France, Italy, Germany and Spain. The rest of the world would have to wait. If you like to hear some voice samples, here is Time’s article about Cortana.

Pluto

In 2006, scientists demoted Pluto from planet to dwarf planet. Technically it’s still a planet. It’s just not a very big one, but we all knew that. And why use the word “planet” at all because it creates a lot of confusion. Unless scientists are willing to drop the word “planet” altogether and just call Pluto a dwarf. But, that would not be politically correct. I think the politically correct word for dwarf is little person. Should we call Pluto a little person? Now, that we have closeup pictures and more data of Pluto these past few days, will we see a promotion back to planet? The latest pictures indicate that Pluto has mountains and water. It even has five moons, that’s four more than what we have. Hopefully, scientists should reconsider and call Pluto for what it is, a planet. A small planet. Then, we can avoid all the political correctness by not involving all the little people.

Prime Day

What is Prime Day? Prime Day is a new sales holiday invented by Amazon. It was held on a Wednesday in the middle of the summer. It proved a huge success for the company. How successful was Prime Day? It sold more units than the biggest Black Friday ever back in 2014. You have to be an Amazon Prime member to take advantage of the discounts, meaning you pay an annual fee of $99 for free two-day shipping and other benefits. Not everyone is happy with Prime Day. Some critics say that Amazon didn’t offer enough in-demand tech gadgets. Some say Amazon was selling useless crap. Despite the criticism, Amazon did quite well that they are thinking about bringing it back. No details yet as to when that will take place again.

iPod Touch 2015

Apple just released a new version of the iPod touch. It’s powered by an A8 chip. It comes with a 8mp iSight camera. It’s available in 5 colors. The retina display has a 1136 x 640 resolution. Most importantly, the new iPod has been updated to match the iPhone 6. The only difference with iPhone 6 and the iPod touch is phone capability.

Uninstall Flash Player

If you’re tired of all the vulnerabilities with the Adobe’s Flash Player, you may not need this piece of software after all since most video players nowadays are HTML5 video compliant. There might be a program or two that needs Flash. As an option, you can run Flash safely inside the Chrome sandbox. Here are the uninstall programs that you need to remove Flash on both Windows and Mac OS.

 

Mac OS El Capitan Now Public Beta

Mac OS El Capitan is now public beta. That means, you can now download and play around with the latest Mac OS. Apple plans to release El Capitan sometime in the Fall of 2015. If you’re curious about the new features of El Capitan, check out the video by DetroitBORG.

Spotlight looks really promising. The new Mission Control and split screen view is the feature we’ve all been waiting for. How about the pin tabs for Safari, or the muting audio from a single tab or all tabs? And no more spinning beach balls. What’s up with that?

Finally, they should have an official theme song for El Capitan when it comes out later this fall. I suggest they play this song containing this lyric, “Soy capitan. Soy capitan.”

Artificial Rhino Horns

From Slashdot.

Black Rhinoceros horn material sells for $65,000 per kilo. The rhinos are rare, which helps up the price, but the horn is also prized “as a fever-reducer, a cosmetic, an aphrodisiac, a hangover care. And so people highly value it in the Vietnamese and Chinese cultures. So we are trying to reduce that value by increasing the supply,” says Jennifer Kaehms of Pembient, a company that’s working to make artificial rhino horns that are not only chemically indistinguishable from the natural variety, but are 3-D printed to look the same. The idea is that if they can flood the market with human-made rhino horns, it will cut poaching — which is a big deal because there are only about 5,000 black rhinos left in the whole world.