Delay your Windows 10 updates

Microsoft keeps shipping out Win 10 updates that are apparently insufficiently tested.

What can you do about slowing down the updates till it has been tested?

That depends on the version of Win10 you have.  Professional has a number of settings that allow you to delay updates for upwards to 6 months.  This is the version of Win10 I run.  I have read that Win10 Home has many fewer settings for slowing down the installation of OS updates. Maybe no settings?

So I set out to see what others have to say about slowing Win10 Home updates.  Well here is a “BTN” (Better Than Nothing) trick but it requires that you manually shutdown a Windows service and later restart it. The Author is quite specific and it should be possible for nearly anyone to follow the “Howto”.  The main problem with this “fix” is it doesn’t “expire” at all.  You have to manually restart the (update) service.

Another workaround for Laptops is to use the “hibernate” command.  This allows you to turn off the computer move it and turn it back on.  This allows you to “put off” the update while you finish critical/time-sensitive work (Essays, Tests, Research Papers, etc). “Sleep” will work but the machine is not actually shut down so it can still run out of battery power before you get to the next place to use it.

I just across this post which is fairly comprehensive for delaying Win10 Home updates.

Win10 Professional has various menu items in the “Updates and Security” section of the menu “Spocket” (aka: Settings).  Slowing down your updates for a couple of months can take you out of the “oops” problems that Microsoft OS has been subject to for more than a year.

They will “fix” the problems that showed up and then roll it out again.  Pay attention to your media feed.  Make sure it includes “Windows”.

Tom M





Make Windows 10 look like Windows 7

Making Windows 10 look more like Windows 7 has been a perennial favorite topic.

I ran across a new article on the topic in my cellphone news feed.

So why would anyone WANT to have their Operating System look/feel like Windows 7?  Because a LOT of users found Win7 to be the sweet spot between looking good and performing faster than the previous version.

When you have been using the same interface for years, having to figure out “where something went” on a new but not exactly the same GUI is something you don’t want to struggle with.  Instead, you just want it to “work”?

One of the fascinating things the Author of the above article has done is describe how to make the File Explorer of Win10 look a lot more like the Win7 File Explorer.  He offered the same advice on how to make the menu off the start button look more Win7-like. And last but not least he pointed to a still-evolving/growing free product that does a very good job of rendering the Win10 into Win7.

Tom M


Job Hunting after becoming Semi-Retired

After I retired from Truck Driving because of a decline in health (Sleep Apnea). I became “Semi-Retired” (Pun).

I have now worked about 29 different job titles as an employee, contractor, temporary, self-employed (whatever).  My paid/volunteer jobs have varied from materials handling (light manufacturing, re-work projects, direct market mail handling, Subway Associate), to transportation (Taxicab, Airport Shuttle, Truck Driver), to Customer Service in a Call Center (FAFSA, Medicare, Affordable Care Act) to Information Technology (Programmer, Help Desk, Computer Hobbyist (computer bulletin boards, BOINC)).  I have worked as a Janitor and in Food Service “several” times.

So “What do you want to be when you grow up”?  The last (odd) time I read that line was when I read Peter Drucker’s autobiography (Adventures of a Bystander) which he apparently wrote sometime when he was in his 70’s.  I believe PD lived to be 93 and published more books after he was 70 than before.  Since I can claim to be “way up there” too, I too wonder “What do I want to be when I grow up”?

I keep reading about “side hustles” that allow you to monetize your passions and hobbies.  How can I monetize reading Science Fiction?  Unless I want to become a hard-nosed reviewer, I don’t think I can. How can I monetize lending out my computers for distributed data analysis/simulations?  Let’s face it, I don’t have a big enough computer rack to actually make money off it.

Clearly, I want to be a “Blogger” 🙂  But do I want to migrate to a for-pay version of WordPress where I can select Affiliate Ads and offer Info products?  (What?  Actually, make some money?)

Tom M





New Years Resolutions (Keeping)

Everyone knows of the common story of New Years Resolutions Made and Lost.

Have you considered using S.M.A.R.T. goals to get from here to there?  What if that is too high-faulting for you?

Consider the “poor mans” approach then. Take your “goal” and break it into a series of specific steps.  Take a calendar and put each step into a reasonable date.    I found a calendar that said, “Make a Plan” at my local Target store in the discount section near the front door.

Then work on those steps and don’t worry about anything later.  Ideally, you want short enough steps you can’t “stall out” on anyone step.  Maybe set a group of tasks or a single task each week.  Your reward at the end of each step is you got it done.  Your reward at the end of the steps is you have reached your goal.

By rewarding yourself for your short-term behavior (each day/each week) you keep yourself “on track” and get to that specific, time-limited goal.

What was your New Years Resolution(s)?  Add a comment 🙂


ps. As a procrastinator, I am still considering what my New Years’ resolution(s) should be.  Well, at least I have the “Make a Plan” calendar.

Learning to be a News Reporter

I am writing this post because the local Newspaper LJW is running an Ad for a News Reporter.  They are willing to consider newly graduated from school Journalists.

It occurred to me that maybe if I got a “Diploma” or Certificate in Journalism I could qualify as a “newly graduated from school” Journalist.

I have been a long-time consumer of online training.  One of my favorite free Ad-supported training websites is You can get some exposure as well as “real training” on a large variety of topics at this Website/School.  It is clearly UK/Commonwealth oriented with many courses taught by India-based Professors.  If you pass the testing at the end of a module/certificate/diploma you can order a paper copy of that achievement.  This and Ads and paying for a course are their main methods of supporting this School.

This is not a “diploma mill”.  You have to be able to pass the tests in order to gain the Certificate/Diploma. So if you didn’t learn the course material it is unlikely you will pass.

If you have a topic you are interested in take a look.  Can’t hurt. Might help.




Arts in Minutes

Art in Minutes by Susie Hodge

Subtitle: “200 key concepts explained in an instant”

I bought this at the Kemper Art Museum bookstore while attending an Italian Movie Festival there last spring (2019).

And finally started reading it in the last week or so.

This is NOT a textbook.  It might be the kind of thing you take to an Art Museum where you use it to learn a little more about an Artist/Painting/Drawing/Sculpture you are viewing.

It is organized chronologically with excursions to various geographical regions during the same time periods. There is more complete coverage where there is more recorded history or it is western European art.  The extensive index makes it possible to quickly lookup Artists, Periods and Movements.

The only thing I regret about this book is the fact that most/probably all the “plates” are in gray tones.  You have to use your imagination to try to layer on the colors the author is talking about.

Or get another Art History book with color plates.

If you are wondering a little bit about “Art” this might be a very good book to read.  It tries to place you in the historical context from which the Art was created. But it doesn’t try to bury you in minutae.

Tom M




Information wants to be free

Information wants to be free really sounds like a great idea.  But.

It takes time and effort to create information.  If you also have to “work” to keep a roof over your head and/or food on the table then you understand why there is “TANSTAAFL” (There Ain’t No Such Thing as a Free Lunch).

Consider the problem of the “Starving Artist”.   He/She/They are creating “information” and usually can’t NOT do it.  So how do they live?  Often enough it is “badly” to the point of the clique about the “Starving Artist in a Garret”.

One possible solution is to hire lower-cost Information Workers to create information that is just as good as something you, yourself may create but you pay less for it.  Don’t laugh, that is exactly how many MBA professionals make a living in a place like India.  They sell their lower cost MBA skills to companies in America via telecommuting or other channels.

Andrew Yang makes a perfectly reasonable case for VAST TECHNOLOGICAL un-employment in the near future.  He is not the first.  More than one Science Fiction Author and probably more than one Social Critic have written about this.  Andrew Yang is the first in this US Presidential race to talk about it and offer solutions.  One of the drivers for unemployment is when someone or something can do it cheaper and still “make a living at it.”  Artificial Intelligence even in limited forms (aka Expert Systems) can and have replaced flesh and blood natural intelligence.  As AI gets better and better, expert systems can turn into “self-taught” expert systems.  As soon as AI gets really good at it, a variety of Knowlege workers will become technologically unemployed.

Tom M

Low Code Software Development

What is prompting this post is some recent articles on my cellphone Google News Feed talking about how much faster “low-code/no-code” development is.

I coded my first computer program back in the early ’70s.  I have been an interested (mostly) bystander since then.

There have been many attempts to make software development quicker and more efficient.  Some have worked.  Some haven’t.

Some of the earliest improvements to speed up software development were caused by doing more/most of the software development in “higher-level” languages rather than Assembler.  Someone reported that if you had a good optimizing Fortran IV compiler you could hire 4 Fortran programmers for the cost of a single Assembler programmer and get very nearly the same performance out of the code that was created while getting nearly 4 times more software production.

Then along came the idea of “4th Generation Languages” that were designed to allow you to tell your computer “what” you wanted to be done and then “it” spent its time during the “compile” phase figuring out “how” to do it.  The results were spectacular in the speed of development but the resulting code wasn’t always very efficient.  The original version(s) of FOCUS was one of many examples of “how-not-to” replace a very fast data-entry system in Command Level CICS/Cobol with a much slower rapidly developed equivalent in FOCUS.  I heard a report that they had to quadruple the staff using that version of the Application to get enough productivity.

SQL is still the most commonly used and efficient language of this type.

Another idea that has come into and gone out of fashion is the “low-code” or “no-code” approach to software development.  This can speed up the development process significantly.  The catch is the “tool/interface” you are using has to be able to fully support the solution of the problem you are trying to solve.

When programmers started having to “customize” the code after it had been built by the no-code environment this caused problems until something like “round-tripping” was invented.  Up to that point every time you generated a change with the no-code environment you made all your customization(s) disappear so you have to “re-apply them”.  This was very inefficient.  So the no-code people tried using techniques like “round-tripping” to preserve the customizations.  Apparently, there was never a really good way to preserve customizations because no-code systems to create customized development appear to have fallen out of favor some time ago.  Now they are apparently back.

One other thing that came into favor and is still a favorite was “COTS” packages that provided limited parameter-driven flexibility for well-understood business processes.  The major brand names on this are products like SAP.

So now people are promoting “low-code/no-code” development again.  But wait, there’s more.  Apparently, they are trying to use Machine Learning and other Artificial Intelligence techniques to leverage up the power of computer hardware and reduce the human element in coding a solution.

I am a great fan of being able to tell my “computer” what to do and having “it” figure out how to solve the problem(s).  And while things are getting better I am not sure how soon that this new trend is going to succeed in un-employing countless journeyman software developers.

Tom M

ps. One of the no-code developer systems is called “Divi” and it allows you to create a custom-built WordPress-based website without coding.  It is on my TTD list to implement and start using.






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