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Monday, January 30, 2017

Delete That

What my dad thought of Hardwired to Self-Destruct... well, no. Not my dad, Lars Ulrich's dad.

Fire Up the DeLorean!

NO ONE can fathom how deeply I want to go back in time, to April 2016, which is when I purchased an external hard drive at Best Buy, and tell myself to just wait. If I had the power to do that, I would have seen this article - - today and its offer for $9.99 data recovery for external hard drives.

Except, dummy me, would have thought that I wouldn't need to worry about data recovery because I had not gone through what I went through for the majority of 2016 when I sent that EHD to 3 different data recovery vendors.

Got any Grapes?

Royal Rumble 2017 Results



No. Results Stipulations Times[37][38][39]
1P Becky Lynch, Nikki Bella, and Naomi defeated Alexa Bliss, Mickie James, and Natalya Six-woman tag team match[40] 9:35
2P Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson defeated Cesaro and Sheamus (c) Tag team match for the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
Two referees were assigned to the match[41]
3P Nia Jax defeated Sasha Banks Singles match[33] 5:10
4 Charlotte Flair (c) defeated Bayley Singles match for the WWE Raw Women's Championship[42] 13:05
5 Kevin Owens (c) defeated Roman Reigns No disqualification match for the WWE Universal Championship
Chris Jericho was suspended in a shark cage above the ring[43]
6 Neville defeated Rich Swann (c) by submission Singles match for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship[44] 14:00
7 John Cena defeated AJ Styles (c) Singles match for the WWE Championship[45] 24:10
8 Randy Orton won by last eliminating Roman Reigns 30-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania 33[46] 1:02:06
  • (c) – refers to the champion(s) heading into the match
  • P – indicates the match took place on the pre-show

Royal Rumble match entrances and eliminations

     – Unassigned
Draw Entrant Brand Order Eliminated by Time[46] Elimination(s)
1 Big Cass Raw 3 Braun Strowman 09:57 0
2 Chris Jericho Raw 27 Roman Reigns 1:00:13 2
3 Kalisto SmackDown 4 Braun Strowman 08:17 0
4 Mojo Rawley SmackDown 2 Braun Strowman 06:16 0
5 Jack Gallagher Raw 1 Mark Henry 03:20 0
6 Mark Henry Raw 5 Braun Strowman 03:17 1
7 Braun Strowman Raw 9 Baron Corbin 13:11 7
8 Sami Zayn Raw 25 Undertaker 46:55 0
9 Big Show Raw 6 Braun Strowman 01:42 0
10 Tye Dillinger NXT 8 Braun Strowman 05:27 0
11 James Ellsworth SmackDown 7 Braun Strowman 00:15 0
12 Dean Ambrose SmackDown 16 Brock Lesnar 26:55 0
13 Baron Corbin SmackDown 21 Undertaker 32:39 1
14 Kofi Kingston Raw 10 Cesaro 16:13 0
15 The Miz SmackDown 24 Undertaker 32:44 0
16 Sheamus Raw 14 Chris Jericho 12:13 2
17 Big E Raw 12 Sheamus and Cesaro 09:46 0
18 Rusev Raw 20 Goldberg 22:31 0
19 Cesaro Raw 13 Chris Jericho 06:44 2
20 Xavier Woods Raw 11 Sheamus 04:47 0
21 Bray Wyatt SmackDown 28 Roman Reigns 24:11 0
22 Apollo Crews SmackDown 15 Luke Harper 05:46 0
23 Randy Orton SmackDown - Winner 20:52 1
24 Dolph Ziggler SmackDown 17 Brock Lesnar 04:21 0
25 Luke Harper SmackDown 22 Goldberg 09:56 1
26 Brock Lesnar Raw 19 Goldberg 04:30 3
27 Enzo Amore Raw 18 Brock Lesnar 00:18 0
28 Goldberg Raw 23 Undertaker 03:21 3
29 The Undertaker Unassigned 26 Roman Reigns 08:46 4
30 Roman Reigns Raw 29 Randy Orton 05:05 3

No Punk at the RR 2017

I miss CM Punk and when I heard rumors that he might show up at the Royal Rumble, I was hopeful. He did not, but just thinking about his time in WWE lured me to to find the following videos:

Friday, January 27, 2017


Shrinkage as a Good Thing


Gene Hoglan drum play through of Strapping Young Lad track Skeksis. From Gene's brand new DVD The Atomic Clock : The Clock Strikes Two.

Based upon this video, I need to expand the list of bands I listen to on a regular basis to include SYL.

Worst lip sync in history right there

In 1980:

And 35 years later (2015), they look like this:

Great Tune

Somehow, I hope "All Nightmare Long" finds its way back into the Metallica set list.

Growing on Me

I love how Lars gets up at the end of "Halo on Fire" and snaps his fingers - it tells me he really liked the way the tune "felt" as he played it.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Not Today

From the Austin, TX, Craigslist page comes this beauty. I've looked at a lot of Ludwig Vistalite sets and it is rare to see a 18" floor tom. If only I had $1250 burning a hole in my pocket...

Early 70's Drum set, Clear Ludwig Vistalite - $1250 (Austin)
Excellent condition, no cracks, a few love marks here and there. Comes with original tom holder. Brand new clear Remo heads on top and bottom .
13" rack tom
18" floor tom
24" x 14" bass drum

Brief Pro-Life Essay

Just submitted this brief essay here.

I eat at your restaurant a lot in Coralville - have done so for years - but after reading this article - - I am compelled to ask you to please cease donating to Planned Parenthood. Assuming the article is accurate is always dangerous - especially in this era of alternative facts. I am Catholic, I am pro-life, and abortion is murder. I just don't buy the it's not a baby until it's born argument. I know several 'pro-choice' mothers & grandmothers that attend baby showers for their daughter(s) & granddaughter(s). Why call it a baby shower if it's a fetus until it's born? I think I know the answer - these pro-choice women say it's a fetus because if they repeat it often enough, they hope God will believe them and forgive them. Everyone has to account for their sins - and believe me, my list is long - and I also know that being pregnant unexpectedly would not be what I would choose for my own 20 year-old daughter.

Sorry to ramble - I work as a writer during the day so I like to string words together.

Editor's Note: Received this reply on 1/27:
January 27, 2017

At Chili’s, we have a longstanding history and take pride in giving back to unite our local communities together. We recognize every community is unique, and encourage our restaurant managers and franchise partners to support causes that help bring communities together and leave a positive impact on our valued Guests, neighbors, friends and families we serve.

On Wednesday, we learned that an independent franchise partner of Chili’s in Indiana and Kentucky made the decision to host a Chili’s Give Back Event on behalf of Planned Parenthood Indiana and Kentucky. While our franchise partner had the best intentions, we have received growing feedback and concern from community members regarding the Give Back Event. This feedback does not reflect Chili’s focus on bringing communities together and the event was never intended to be viewed as a partisan event or political statement, therefore we, along with our franchise partner, have decided to cancel the event.

We will more clearly communicate the focus of Chili’s charitable giving efforts, so that our restaurant managers and franchise partners can feel empowered to support local organizations that bring communities together.


Chili's Guest Engagement Team

When he said "I'll Be Back"

Lest we Forget

In 17 days (2 weeks, 3 days), the second half of the 7th season of The Walking Dead premiers. I am excited when I see Trev analyzing things.

Cracks in the System

Lawmaker: Case workers didn't take abuse reports seriously before teen starved

Replace "programmer" with "technical writer"

How to Select the Best Laptop for Your Programming Needs

No Coffin

Hello?! Do yo know what I mean?

How to Get Through a Tough Job Search

It was a year ago today when Paul Arens told me that my Senior Technical Writer position had been eliminated at Pearson. I remember I cried. I was angry that I was about to undertake yet another job search just as the wounds from the previous job search - April 13 - May 31, 2011 - were starting to scar over. I felt like I was going to retire from Pearson even though I knew there were going to be 4,000 layoffs before the end of 2016. When I look back at that job search, I could have used articles like this one to pull me through the dark days when I felt isolated and alone and stupid. Thankfully, I landed up at the University of Iowa and in 2 months, 3 days, I will celebrate my 1 year anniversary within HCIS.

Editor's Note: I learned earlier this month that Paul Arens left Pearson to go to ACT. There is also an unverified rumor that my former manager is selling their house and possibly moving back to the state from which she came to Iowa - again, unverified speculation.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

So What is Going to Happen? No idea

So, at the end of Monday's episode of Raw, the promotional picture for Sunday's Royal Rumble showed 21 entrants; and then after Tuesday's episode of Smackdown, there are 22 entrants.

Because it's difficult to view all the wrestlers in that poster, here's a list: (thanks Wikipedia!)
  1. Goldberg
  2. Brock Lesnar
  3. Big E
  4. Kofi Kingston
  5. Xavier Woods
  6. Chris Jericho
  7. Braun Strowman
  8. Baron Corbin
  9. The Undertaker
  10. Dean Ambrose
  11. The Miz
  12. Dolph Ziggler
  13. Cesaro
  14. Sheamus
  15. Bray Wyatt
  16. Randy Orton
  17. Luke Harper
  18. Big Show
  19. Sami Zayn
  20. Big Cass
  21. Rusev
  22. Mojo Rawley
The RR is a contest with 30 people* and it has always been about surprise entrants, as in wrestlers who have been off TV because of an injury (kayfabe or legitimate), who use the RR as a way to make their return. This article - Power Ranking Likely WWE Royal Rumble 2017 Winners After Final Raw, SmackDown - plots out the likely and unlikely winners.

When I look over that list, I can see many outcomes. Using the list above, here's what I think:
  1. Goldberg No
  2. Brock Lesnar No
  3. Big E No
  4. Kofi Kingston No
  5. Xavier Woods No
  6. Chris Jericho It's possible
  7. Braun Strowman It's possible
  8. Baron Corbin No
  9. The Undertaker No
  10. Dean Ambrose No
  11. The Miz No
  12. Dolph Ziggler No
  13. Cesaro No
  14. Sheamus No
  15. Bray Wyatt No
  16. Randy Orton No
  17. Luke Harper No
  18. Big Show No
  19. Sami Zayn It's possible
  20. Big Cass It's possible
  21. Rusev No
  22. Mojo Rawley No
It's not that I don't want the wrestlers with No next to their name to win - I just don't like their chances. The wrestlers with It's possible all have a scenario where winning sets them up for a major feud.

I don't have the WWE Network so I won't be watching the PPV as it happens. That said, I will likely have my Bleacher Report app active on my cell phone so as to get an idea as to what is happening.

* Traditionally, this is an all-men match, but there have been women that have entered in the past so I'll call the people in the match "people" to allow that there could be a woman in the match.

Editor's Note: This article -WWE Royal Rumble By the Numbers: Using Historical Context to Predict 2017 Winner - is also relevant to this topic.

Not It's, Its

From an email I received this AM:

January 22, 2017: The WorldWired tour made it's first stop in Asia on January 11th at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, South Korea. The show kicked off with the new album one-two punch of "Hardwired" and "Atlas, Rise!" along with the live debut of TWO new songs, "Now That We're Dead" and "Halo On Fire." Of course the classics "One," "Master of Puppets," "For Whom the Bell Tolls" where on the set list too; the night closed with "Nothing Else Matters" and "Enter Sandman."

I pray for the correct usage to overtake the world.

Not just "Excel Tips & Tricks" - These are REVOLUTIONARY Excel Tips and Tricks

51 Best Excel Tips and Tricks = Professional In Excel

A Wordy 53

I went to pay my electric bill today and saw the following help text:

Because I write for a living, I have an opinion about how to make that text better. Using a few minutes of my morning, this is how I would write that text:

Provide your actual billed usage as a result of your household consumption. You can also view the correlation between changes in usage at your residence or business based upon the following factors:
  • time of day
  • temperature fluctuation
  • the installation or removal of equipment

Here's my thought process. In the first sentence, I would not repeat the name of the screen. I would have a heading above the first sentence, which this help text does not have. I would do that because it would make it easier to single-source this content with RoboHelp so that I could generate a PDF - whether that is a requirement or not is unknown.

Then I would structure the first sentence to complete the sentence "The purpose of this screen is to" which makes this the first sentence: [The purpose of this screen is to] Provide your actual billed usage as a result of your household consumption. Yes, certainly you can do two things on this screen, but I would choose one as the most important - "Provide your actual billed usage as a result of your household consumption" - and make the text about the correlation be the second sentence. I also moved the "location" (residence or business) to the beginning of the sentence to avoid additional layers in the content. The word "factors" is a first draft - I would consider "based upon the following" instead because "factors" isn't really important as a description of the bullet list.

Again, this was a first draft / first crack - subsequent revisions would likely follow.

2 B Bands that are an A in my Book

I would love to play "Rat Salad" as a drum solo in a band, but no, I wouldn't ever want to take up 12 minutes of a set. I'd be fine with a 5 minute drum solo. Doing so would be 2.5 times longer than the only recorded drum solo I have from the gigs at Bonehead's, which, yes, my drum solo was 2 minutes long.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Hype the Rumble Royal

The 2017 edition of the Royal Rumble is on Sunday, 1/29, and the episode of Monday Night Raw illuminated that three legends will be involved in the 30 man battle, as shown below:

To read the entire recap of the episode, refer to this article.

Social User Assistance

This is an interesting article that has a direct impact upon my work as a technical writer: Social User Assistance

The Last J

Episode VIII of Star Wars will be called "The Last Jedi."

For more information, refer to this article Where’s the trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi?.

Such a Long Time Ago

I don't think I had a clue that U2's "The Joshua Tree" was released on January 23, 1987. For historical purposes, I was a junior in high school. I don't have any specific memories of that day so I had to look at the calendar - it was a Friday. It's likely that I went to school that day, pined for the girl I wanted to ask out, perhaps had a test or quiz, and then went to swim team practice until probably 7 or 7:30 PM. Then I likely went home and ... did nothing. Although, I vaguely remember that my junior year was the year that we would go to Zio Johno's after our final practice before a swim meet so I may have gone to eat with my teammates. I was just trying to recall if I was driving the 1980 Honda Accord at the time or if our family didn't have a third vehicle. I really don't remember.

For more information about their album, refer to 30 Years Ago: U2 Make Their Masterpiece, ‘The Joshua Tree’.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Needs Editing

I received an invitation to link with someone I don't know on LinkedIn. I declined the invitation. Unrelated to that decision, I object to the beginning of the 4th sentence because it repeats the first 8 words of the second sentence.

How To Recover Data From Drive With No File System In Windows

How To Recover Data From Drive With No File System In Windows

Sunday, January 22, 2017

An Eternity of Dance

Coming Soon

From Friday night

CR Prairie (50) – Griff Clark 1-6 2-2 4, Max Smith Drahos 8-14 3-3 19, Jake Eilers 2-4 0-0 6, Keegan Murray 1-2 0-0 3, Logan Serbousek 3-4 0-0 6, Matt Lorenz 2-5 0-0 4, Levi Usher 1-5 0-0 2, Kris Murray 1-3 2-2 5, Darren Kilpatrick 0-1 0-0 0, Blake Krapfl 0-1 0-0 0, Zach Johnson 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 19-46 8-10 50. West (74) – Connor McCaffery 8-10 2-2 24, Patrick McCaffery 4-8 2-3 11, Devontae Lane 9-13 1-1 23, Nate Disterhoft 0-1 0-0 0, Izaya Ono-Fullard 1-3 1-1 3, Hakeem Odunsi 2-5 0-0 4, Evan Flitz 1-5 0-0 3, Seybian Sims 2-3 1-2 5, Josh Van Roekel 0-1 1-2 1, Jacob Anderson 0-1 0-0 0, Hirsche Henstrom 0-1 0-0 0, Mulhim Nasr 0-0 0-0 0, Ahmed Idris 0-0 0-0 0, Dante Eldridge 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-52 8-11 74.

Three Years Too Late

Today is the 3 year anniversary of when I auditioned and won the drummer's chair for Uncle Rico the Band in Cedar Rapids. Since the band disbanded on August 23, 2014, I have been unsuccessful in finding a new band. I have simple requirements. For more information, refer to my All Videos of Me Playing Drums page. The only reason I mention this is that I recently saw the following ad on the Craigslist > Cedar Rapids > Musicians page. It was an ad for another ideal band, except this band already has a drummer:

Lead Vocalist & Bassist/Singer for Busy 60's - 90's Group Wanted (Cedar Rapids)
Drummer, with the rest of a group of well experienced players, is recruiting a the above spots in the Central/Eastern Iowa area. This group will focus on quick-fire dance/party Pop songs from the 60's to the 90's. We are a collection (3) of very experienced, mature guys, former & current Regional Act Players, that are ready with the ability and contacts to hit the road running immediately upon putting a well rehearsed/entertaining show together. Breaks will be brief; music will flow from song to song as quickly as possible. We intend to spend whatever time necessary over the next 4 - 5 weeks to make this happen; at a practice spot as central to the five of us as possible in the CR/IC/CF/DSM area.
Our Prime market will be the Casino Circuit, Special Events, Weddings/Summer/Spring and Fall events, filling in with Bar Gigs between larger shows. Our goal is to produce a high quality dance party wherever we appear, fill the floor, & keep it full, and we need two additional quality members. We require total focus on this one band, and would also need calendar transparency for the next 12 months on an ongoing basis. We will seek Bookings to fill as many weekends as possible. We will also venture into neighboring States.
NO egos, attitudes or arrogance. We are a good bunch of guys that again, have done this, or are currently already doing this.
Please respond directly to this address if interested in being considered.

I don't think I ever considered trying to get booked at Riverside Casino with Uncle Rico the Band. In hindsight, we were playing all sorts of good dance music, as this video shows. It makes me mad that I am now thinking of that today.

This is why, in 2017, I intend to do all that I can to find another band.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Still Here

I just used Shazam to discover So Good by Beat Connection.

Sitting in Lane Bryant

I just used Shazam to discover Fire Under My Feet by Leona Lewis.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Last Drop

Yes, This is Political

Today, on the inauguration of the 45th president, I read an amazing article in the New York Times. My hope is that the 45th president finds a way to connect with the people in this great nation in the way that President Obama did, as illustrated in the excerpt below. You should read the excerpt below and then definitely use the link at the bottom to read the entire article.

I have tears in my eyes after reading the excerpt so it's perfectly fine if you do too.

I reached out to some of the people who sent letters to President Obama and asked them why they decided to write. “Well, I never thought he’d read it,” was the most common refrain, followed by: “I was desperate.”

“My mom, my brother and I were cleaning up the glass,” Ashley DeLeon, who is from Jacksonville, N.C., told me, relaying the story about the night in 2014 when she decided to write to the president. It was Christmas. “All the remnants of the fish tank and everything that my father had shot up,” she was saying. “And he shot the flag that was awarded to him when he retired and all of his medals and everything — all the memorabilia associated with the Marine Corps, he shot first. And that to me spoke more than anything. And so we cleaned up as much as we could, and then I went upstairs and I wrote the letter. And — yeah, I wrote it that night.”

Dear Mr. President,

My father was a United States Marine for 22 years before retiring as a master sergeant. As part of the infantry, he deployed on six occasions. Each deployment, my father came back less and less like himself. [ ... ] But after he retired, my father was forgotten. [ ... ] He no longer had the brotherhood of fellow Marines; no one thanked him for his service; no one called to check on his well-being. He was diagnosed with severe PTSD and was medically disabled.

So he drank. And drank. [ ... ] He would drink all night, come back at 6 a.m., sleep all day and repeat the cycle.

I am a junior at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. [ ... ] Every day I would look in the mirror and see the remnants of him in my facial features. But the man that I resembled so much, the man who constituted half of me, wasn’t one that I knew any longer.

Christmas Eve was a rainy day in Jacksonville, N.C., Mr. President. I was taking a shower upstairs when I heard the first two shots. I knew it was him. As I jumped out of the shower and ran down the stairs in nothing but a towel I could see my father pacing in the living room with a shotgun in his hand and tears in his eyes. He yelled at me, his little girl: “Get the f*** out of my house! GET OUT!” And in that moment I knew that I had two choices: to run and leave my little brother upstairs and my dad with a loaded weapon. Or to stay. I chose the latter. You see, I chose to stay in that room and fight over that gun because I knew that my dad was still in there somewhere. He had to be. As I struggled with my father, he shot. And shot. The small girl who grew up waving the American flag at her daddy’s homecomings yelled “NOOOO” from the bottom of her gut. Glass shattered. The dogs barked. [ ... ]

I didn’t care if I died, Mr. President. I’m 21 years old, and I would sacrifice myself without a second thought to save the man who raised me from taking his own life. Because when his country turned their back on him, I was still there. The light has long been gone from his eyes, but he is still my father. I am still his little girl. [ ... ]

I’m writing to ask you for your help. Not for my family, Mr. President. My family died that night. I’m asking you to help the others. The little girls and boys who have yet to see their mothers’ and fathers’ souls die away. They need help. Get them help. Don’t forget about them. They need you. Just like Sasha and Malia need you. They do.

With hope,
Ashley DeLeon
Jacksonville, N.C.

DeLeon’s letter ended up in a pile just like all the others in the O.P.C. hard-mail room. A staff member read it and wrote, “red dot.” He took it across the hall to Lacey Higley. “This is the first time that I read something and I needed to take a walk,” he told her. “We need to make sure someone else sees this. We need to make sure this goes somewhere.” Higley scanned the letter, forwarded the scan to the V.A.’s crisis unit. Then she took the letter to Reeves. “The president needs to see this,” she said. Reeves included DeLeon’s letter in that day’s 10LADs.

DeLeon’s letter didn’t come back in the next batch marked “Back from the OVAL.” It didn’t come back in the batch after that either. Some letters the president stewed over. Some letters he answered in his own hand, on a white card marked, “The White House.”

Ashley —

I was so moved by your letter. As a father, I can only imagine how heartbreaking the situation must be, and I’m inspired by the strength and perspective you possess at such a young age.

I am asking the V.A. to reach out to your family to provide any support that you need. And please know that beneath the pain, your father still loves his daughter, and is surely proud of her.

Barack Obama

Ashley told me she was shocked when she got a letter back from the president. She said she was grateful. But that didn’t mean she got her dad back. He later crashed his motorcycle into an S.U.V. “He had two gallon-size freezer bags full of medication at the time that he died,” she said.

Higley told me she kept DeLeon’s letter hanging over her desk. It was the letter that helped shape in her a sense of purpose. “It was one of those moments where you just kind of realize the importance of what you’re doing,” she said. “It led me on a new path. Like, helping people and helping families like Ashley’s is something I want to do.”

186 Days Ago

When Erick Erickson published these two damning articles - one about the liberal media and the Black Lives Matter movement, one about the future of the United States being full of gloom and despair - it was July 18, 2016. This day, Inauguration Day 2017, was 186 days away.

I looked back at these two articles and have added some comments about what has transpired in the last 186 days regarding both targeted attacks on police officers and the Donald Trump campaign. For the purpose of this exercise, I wrote no more than 100 words for each.

Targeted Police Assaults

Begin writing below this line

Blah blah blah
Blah blah blah

Donald Trump received the Republican nomination for president in July 2016 in Cleveland, OH... right? There had been talk of a rebellion and this line of text is being written before the start of the convention.

Begin writing below this line

Blah blah blah
Blah blah blah

No Sandman Entering

I'm very surprised that "Enter Sandman" failed to make their setlist!
Editor's Note: The setlist was later updated to include "Enter Sandman" as one of the tunes that was played:

Damnit! STUDY!

University of Iowa suspects grade tampering reason for HawkID security breach

Summary of the Iowa Men's Basketball Season

The Iowa men's team was down by double digits before they came storming back to take the lead against Maryland, a ranked team, before ultimately being defeated by eight points. You can read the recap of the game here and see it in the highlight video:

I had hopes for a victory, sending a text message to my friend Brian Rock. I had asked Brian if he wanted to go to the Iowa v. NE men's game on Sunday, 2/5, because we have gone to games together over the last few years. He has been somewhat resistant, you could say, suggesting that instead of going to Carver-Hawkeye Arena, we could watch the game in a bar. I am resistant to that idea because
  1. I don't drink
  2. I think the game will be really good since the last time they played, the game went to double overtime before NE squeaked out a 3 point victory
I wrote the following to Brian @ 7:46:

Seeing how Iowa is scratching their way into the game now makes me feel like we need to see the NE game in person. They were down double digits and now lead with 4:28 left against MD who are #18 in the rankings

At 7:50, Brian wrote: It's not over

At 8:07, I wrote: Jinx

At 8:08, Brian wrote: Not this year

I am disheartened. Certainly, Fran McCaffery is too, per this article, which points out the following:

But questionable calls didn’t stop his Iowa team. Maryland did,” Medcalf added in his social media comment. “Melo Trimble did. That early 15-point hole did. Trimble looked all-Big Ten down the stretch.

So where does that leave the team? It leaves them at 3-4 in the Big Ten and a tough one upcoming next Wednesday, Jan 25 @ Illinois. I hate when they go to Champaign, IL, to play any Illinois team because it is not an easy place to play. They will take their 11-9 overall record and go to play a team that is 12-7. I will hope that the team rebounds, both figuratively and literally, when they arrive for the game in IL.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Sell like a Champ

Lang x 2

There's a Coyote Outside and [Insert_Name_of_Dog] is Going Nuts

I like this instructor as he's down-to-earth and personable. I like how he starts to play something, messes up, and apologizes. I will resume teaching my weekly drum lesson with Zach soon and yes, if I screw up a pattern, I apologize.

I also want to know what "LARGE FRB" means...

Editor's Note: It's hard to believe, but a tag for "John Bonham" now exists on this blog.

How to Give and Ask for Advice

I try to shoot straight about my career as a technical writer. After 8014 days (21 years, 11 months, 1 week, 2 days), I like to think I know something. I also have learned that if I sugarcoat my experience and only talk about rose petals, thereby ignoring the thorns, who is going to learn? My answer would be "no one." Thus, when I saw this post on the Techwr-L list today, I was compelled to write back:

At my current company, the product management team's vision for the next generation of their products is to eliminate end-user UI usage documentation entirely and provide contextual in-product help using video walkthrough tools such as
To make a case for using video as an additional learning resource instead of a replacement for context-sensitive UI Help, I'm looking for information on the percentages of technology users who are visual, textual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners.
Case studies of companies who went to a pure-video documentation model and found that their support calls went up and user satisfaction went down would also be useful.
Any suggestions?

I went through this @ my previous employer. We had distributed PDFs for our "current" product but for the "next generation" product, we moved to Confluence. Our manager used this as an opportunity to ditch the things she didn't like in the user guide and declared the following guiding principles for the "next" generation documentation:
  1. Write system – not role-based, not custom configured – documentation - even though the "current" product user guides were written for a specific level of user
  2. Don’t write the obvious which were defined as “no step-by-step instructions” and “don’t use the name of any UI object in the doc” because anything the user saw in the UI was to be considered “obvious.” - even though the "current" product user guides had step-by-step instructions and references to the UI.
  3. No screenshots - as in NONE, even though the "current" product user guides had screen shots when it was appropriate to ensure the user had the right information.
  4. No PDF - as in NONE, and everyone will be instructed to use the online Confluence site because as soon as you publish a PDF, it is obsolete.
None of those guiding principles flew. The first customer to see "the next generation user guide" wanted terminology to be changed to match the way the system was customized for them (some customers called a thing "groups" while other customers called them "classes" and the "group" customer didn't want to see "class" because it didn't match their system), they wanted step-by-step instructions, they wanted screenshots, and they wanted to be able to print the whole thing by distributing a PDF.

Ultimately, after stating over and over (and over) again that we would use those 4 guiding principles, we caved on all of them and gave the customer what they wanted. I can tell you that no amount of discussion about what the customer had currently made a difference - it wasn't up for negotiation.

Thus, if your product managers are bound and determined to go their route, go with it. Just remember that if a menu and/or screen that is shown in 10 videos changes, you may have to re-record 10 videos and, on top of that, you will not have an easy way to track which videos do actually need to be changed without watching them (unless you have detailed video scripts with the names of the screens documented in those scripts).

Good luck!

It's also important to know when to ask for help and to know when the answer you receive is all you're going to get. It's how you ask for help that makes you a better person and believe me, I've asked for help a gazillion times over the years. I have learned that when the person on the other end of the conversation is giving you the hint that you're a pest, you stop writing to that person. This is the email conversation I had yesterday:

From: A Website for Word Tools
Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2017 8:06 AM
To: Me
Subject: RE: Quick Question (I Hope!)
In order to find information, I would need to Google too and to examine the found results before I could reply. That was what I did in relation to my first reply too. Therefore, it always takes time even if I may be able to find useful results faster than many. I never just grab a link without checking. Even if I have huge amounts of links but I have to dig deep into my material to make sure I find the most relevant in the situation. Sometimes/often, I could write code faster than finding and checking other people’s code  - but since many people want my assistance, I can’t.
Best regards

From: Me
Sent: 18. januar 2017 14:59
To: A Website for Word Tools
Subject: RE: Quick Question (I Hope!)
I understood your statement about not having time to “provide personal assistance for free) and didn’t mean to imply I was asking you to code what I needed! I had just found the first link helpful and was asking if you had a second link handy in your Favorites. I can google - no problem.
Thank you for writing back.

From: A Website for Word Tools
Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2017 7:33 AM
To: Me
Subject: RE: Quick Question (I Hope!)
It is possible to tweak the macro. Please search the internet for solutions. Even if I wanted to, I do not have the time to provide personal assistance for free (as also stated on my website - but I provided assistance in the first place anyway ;-)).
Best regards

From: Me
Sent: 18. januar 2017 14:23
To: A Website for Word Tools
Subject: RE: RE: Quick Question (I Hope!)
Thanks for the link! I was able to get that macro to work. It doesn’t help me with the “Body Text Indent, DRM_P_Body Text Indent, HCIS_P_BodyTextIndent” style, though. The constant is that the styles begin with “DRM_” and if it’s in the middle of the style, there’s a comma (,) between the next name.
Do you have a resource that you could point me to get rid of the “DRM_*” style when it’s in the middle?

From: A Website for Word Tools
Sent: Tuesday, January 17, 2017 3:05 PM
To: Me
Subject: RE: Quick Question (I Hope!)
You need a macro. Google “VBA word rename styles” or something like that.

From: Me
Sent: 17. januar 2017 21:37
To: A Website for Word Tools
Subject: Quick Question (I Hope!)
I have styles that are named like this:

How do I find all instances of styles that have "DRM_ " in the name of the style and replace it with “HCIS_”?

I think the person on the other end of the email conversation was helpful.

If it's This Simple, Why Isn't EVERYONE Doing it?

Peace, Love and Happiness

Keep peace in the mind, love in the heart and happiness in relationships.

To view this thought online, see

Metallica Talks to the Press

I am a fanboy - there's no denying it. Whether it's Lars Ulrich or James Hetfield or Kirk Hammett or Robert Trujillo, I crave information about Metallica. I have little doubt that I will never talk to any of them in person, but if I were given that opportunity, I'd like to think that all this craving for information would embed the ability to not ask a question that they've been asked in one of the interviews I've watched or read. I hope that.
Editor's Note: It's hard to believe, but tags for "James Hetfield" and "Kirk Hammett" now exist on this blog.

Sweet Relief

This is a table of the Check Disk that just finished after running from Tuesday morning, through Tuesday night, Wednesday, and through Wednesday night.
DateTimeFiles Processed
1/188 AM1558224
1/189 AM1658701
1/1810 AM1748396
1/1811 AM18575577
1/181 PM1927399
1/182 PM2106315
1/183 PM2156934
1/184 PM2243000
1/18when I left work at 4:30 PM2280848
1/19when I got to work at 6:30 AM3677837

Of course, now, I'm getting messages about permissions and trying to open y:\music_shell\date. I went into the properties of the drive and am changing all files on the drive to be "write-enabled" so now I wait as messages like the one below flash by for every file on the drive:
The struggle continues! All I want is to be able to get into my Excel file that stores our monthly bills information so I can pay the Discover card, which is due today.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Hoping for the Best

When people I don't know but have a sincere respect for are having issues in their life, I hope for the best possible outcome:
  2. I scanned through an article and saw Lex Lugar ranked as #10 on the Top 15 90s wrestling stars who have aged terribly. The entire article is worth scanning through, though.

Unexpected Again

WOW! No "Enter Sandman" or "Nothing Else Matters" on the setlist for the January 18th, 2017, concert in China!

  1. Hit the Lights
  2. Atlas, Rise!
  3. King Nothing
  4. The Memory Remains
  5. The Unforgiven
  6. Now That We're Dead
  7. Moth Into Flame
  8. Harvester of Sorrow
  9. Confusion (Live debut)
  10. Halo on Fire
  11. Sad But True
  12. For Whom the Bell Tolls
  13. The Day That Never Comes
  14. Creeping Death
  15. One (with Lang Lang)

To see the source for the above list, refer to Jan 18 2017 Metallica Setlist at LeSports Center, Beijing, China WorldWired Tour.

Makes Me Chuckle and Giggle and Burst into Loud Laughter

This was in my "Technical Writer" job in Iowa Indeed email this AM - be sure to go to the bottom to read my perspective from working as a Technical Writer for 8013 days (21 years, 11 months, 1 week, 1 day).

Technical Writer/Instructional Designer

Caliber Public Safety - Cedar Falls, IA Position Overview :

Caliber Public Safety is looking for a Technical Writer / Instructional Designer to produce high-quality documentation that contributes to the overall success of our products. You will join a team of Application Consultants who work collaboratively with developers, quality engineers, product managers, and client services staff to make our products easier to use.

The Technical Writer will write, edit, format, and maintain client-facing and internal documentation for Caliber applications and will work with subject matter experts and product teams to help derive the content of the documentation.

Technical writers create operating instructions, how-to manuals, and frequently asked questions (FAQ) pages to help technical support staff, clients, and other users within the company. After a product is released, technical writers also work with product managers, QA staff and Application Consultants to improve the end-user experience through product design changes.

Increasingly, technical information is being delivered online. As a result, the Technical Writer/Instructional Designer will use the interactive technologies of the Web to blend text, graphics, multidimensional images, sound, and video.

Conventional hours for this role are 8am to 5pm with occasional travel and occasional extended workdays. The travel expected for this position is less than 10%.

Primary Functions :

  • Writing, editing, formatting, and maintaining client facing user documentation utilizing technical publication tools, e.g., Flare, Adobe Acrobat Professional, ePublisher, WebWorks which includes the use of photographs, drawings, diagrams, animation, and charts that increase users’ understanding
  • Research and gather information required to document the application
  • Determine requirements and content for the user documentation
  • Attend project team meetings to track project progress against product development schedule to ensure deliverable deadlines are met and attend product design reviews to gain application knowledge
  • Work closely with subject matter experts to ensure technical accuracy of documentation
  • Develop instructional materials which include instructor guides, participant guides, and instructor-led support tools.
  • Create course content for various course offering with assistance from the team
  • Conduct needs analysis to ensure all development materials are focused on addressing business outcomes.
  • Assist with the design and development of training programs ensuring accuracy, credibility, and effectiveness of the materials used.
  • Other duties as assigned.
Qualifications :
  • Instructional design experience, including curriculum development, creation of course materials and formulation of exercises for both instructor-led and eLearning approaches.
  • Bachelor's degree in related field or equivalent work experience.
  • Experience working on multiple projects with competing deadlines.
  • Superior oral, written and presentation skills.
  • Superior time management, task coordination and organization skills.
  • High level of problem solving and analytical skills.
  • Skilled in developing and writing training exercises and other documentation is a distinct advantage.
  • Team player with ability to work and communicate effectively with cross-functional teams across sales, professional services, client services, etc.
  • Candidate should be self-confident, self-motivated, enthusiastic, and have an ambition to succeed along with setting and achieving goals.
  • Demonstrate key skills necessary for development of high-quality programs; including strong computer literacy, strong technical-writing and editing skills, knowledge of graphic design principles, and strong project management skills.
Company Overview : Comprised of seven businesses within the public sector market (Global Software, InterAct911, Sleuth Systems, TAC.10, Cisco, VisionTEK, and MDS), Caliber Public Safety and Caliber Justice are leading providers of diverse and pioneering software solutions for the public safety and offender management markets. The suite of highly specialized product offerings empowers dispatchers, first responders, law enforcement and public safety administrators to interact with accurate, real-time information and advanced situational command and control.

With a combined 75+ years of experience, Caliber features integrated computer aided dispatch (CAD), records management software (RMS), mobile applications, and jail and offender management solutions. Customers benefit from a single source provider with proven and reliable integrated solutions for data sharing from dispatch to booking. Offered in both hosted and on-premise environments, local and state governments will reduce operational costs while streamlining communication across multiple agencies and improve officer safety. Our first responders have one of the most important and challenging jobs, and we are privileged to share in this mission to help protect and serve when seconds count.

Caliber Public Safety is a business unit of Harris Computer, which is a member of the Constellation Software Inc. group of companies. Constellation Software is a rapidly growing conglomerate of vertical market software (VMS) companies; each focused upon dominating its respective market niche. Constellation's growth is based on a simple strategy: identify promising VMS firms; acquire them; and then integrate them into the Constellation family while building on their fundamental strengths to help them become world class organizations.

Harris is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

My Thoughts

Wouldn't you want to improve the end-user experience through product design changes BEFORE a product is released to your customers?!? I'm sure there is a reason for phrasing it as it was phrased.

After a product is released, technical writers also work with product managers, QA staff and Application Consultants to improve the end-user experience through product design changes.

I do like these words as it shows they are not trying to do all the things mentioned in the full ad with Microsoft Word:

  • Writing, editing, formatting, and maintaining client facing user documentation utilizing technical publication tools, e.g., Flare, Adobe Acrobat Professional, ePublisher, WebWorks which includes the use of photographs, drawings, diagrams, animation, and charts that increase users’ understanding
  • Increasingly, technical information is being delivered online. As a result, the Technical Writer/Instructional Designer will use the interactive technologies of the Web to blend text, graphics, multidimensional images, sound, and video.

Standard disclaimer applies. No, I'm not searching for a job. I am just in the habit of seeing what positions are out in the wild as a means to make my current situation that much brighter!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Mind-blowing video shows how all Pixar films are connected

26 Days (3 weeks, 5 days) Until TWD, 7B, Begins

The Walking Dead Recap/Season 7B Teaser Released

Future Hawk?

Ohio State, UCLA enter the Oliver Martin sweepstakes

Revolution Radio keeps Sounding Better & Better

More Links To Elsewhere


Unexpected: Metallica Just Played Their First Headlining Concert Since '85 NOT to Feature Any 'Master' Songs

Metallica live in Shanghai, January 15, 2017

  1. Breadfan (Budgie cover) 
  2. Atlas, Rise! 
  3. King Nothing 
  4. The Memory Remains (followed by Kirk's solo) 
  5. The Unforgiven 
  6. Now That We're Dead 
  7. Moth Into Flame 
  8. Harvester of Sorrow (followed by Rob's solo) 
  9. Halo on Fire 
  10. The Four Horsemen 
  11. Sad But True 
  12. Wherever I May Roam 
  13. For Whom the Bell Tolls (followed by Kirk's solo) 
  14. The Day That Never Comes 
  15. Whiplash


  16. Whiskey in the Jar
  17. Nothing Else Matters
  18. Enter Sandman
VJPaczek74 wrote, "I think this would be the ideal Metallica set list arrangement for the Worldwired Tour (Giving different options to slightly mix things up each night):
  1. Blackened / Hardwired / For Whom the Bell Tolls
  2. Creeping Death / Moth into Flame / Atlas, Rise!
  3. All Nightmare Long / Broken, Beat & Scarred
  4. Through the Never / Holier Than Thou / Struggle Within
  5. King Nothing / Memory Remains / Fuel
  6. The Call of Ktulu / Orion
  7. Dream No More / Halo on Fire
  8. Welcome Home (Sanitarium) / Harvester of Sorrow
  9. Outlaw Torn / Bleeding Me / Unforgiven / Unforgiven 2
  10. Disposable Heros / Dyers Eve / Fight Fire with Fire / Damage, Inc.
  11. Now That We're Dead / Confusion / Am I Savage?
  12. Nothing Else Matters
  13. Whiplash / Jump in the Fire / Ride the Lightning
  14. One
  15. Enter Sandman
  16. E1. Master of Puppets
  17. E2. Spit Out the Bone
  18. E3. Seek & Destroy

jkspawn wrote, "Here mine

** = Rotating slot

  1. Hardwired
  2. Atlas, Rise!
  3. The Four Horsemen
  4. The Frayed Ends of Sanity
  5. One
  6. Moth Into Flame
  7. Leper Messiah / Trapped Under Ice / Metal Militia / Through the Never**
  8. No Leaf Clover
  9. The Unforgiven II
  10. All Nightmare Long / Just a Bullet Away**
  11. Dream No More / Here Comes Revenge / ManUNkind / Am I Savage?**
  12. Ride the Lightning
  13. Bleeding Me / The Outlaw Torn**
  14. Halo on Fire / Confusion / Murder One / Now That We're Dead**
  15. The Day That Never Comes
  16. Master of Puppets
  17. Enter Sandman
  18. Astronomy
  19. ==ENCORE 1==
  20. The Call of Ktulu
  21. ==ENCORE 2==
  22. Spit Out the Bone

Nerves on a Tuesday

I don't like how my laptop complained about my 4 TB EHD this AM:

I'll just let this ride.

On a related subject and as a follow-up, I cannot use Carbonite as my strategy to back up my data. Carbonite supports a single EHD and does not support backing up the Western Digital MyCloud drive. For the EHD requirement, I have more than one I want to backup:
  1. E:
  2. T:
  3. U:
  4. Y:
  5. Z:
Even if I could back up those with Carbonite, I would not be able to back up the MyCloud drive.

Thus, I am going to use CrashPlan, which does support multiple EHDs and does support backing up the MyCloud drive. On top of that, Carbonite was $100 / year and CrashPlan is $49 / year. I do feel bad that I purchased Carbonite from my friend Jeremy, who is a Carbonite reseller, but I can't see spending $100 for a software solution that doesn't satisfy my needs regarding backing up data. There's no ill will about it - it's just not a good fit.

Per Adobe, 13 < 11

I read about a Dreamweaver extension called "emmetio" over the weekend. I thought it would be good to see if it would help me be more productive and maybe even faster in my HTML / CSS coding. I went to install it and got this message:

So, being a good technical writer, I opened up Dreamweaver and looked at the version I have installed and nearly spit out the Pepsi that was in my mouth because of what I saw:

So, yes, there is an alternate reality in which Adobe exists. I certainly do not consider myself a mathematician, but I do know with version 13 installed, I should have been able to install an extension that requires version 11.

Examples of Poorly Written Instruction Manuals

There was a thread on Techwr-L that included a link to "examples of poorly written instruction manuals" and it led to a brief excursion into the underbelly of my profession. Here are some of the links I looked at:
  1. Examples of Poorly Written Instruction Manuals

Friday, January 13, 2017

CR Donutland Jumps on Board with Credit Card Payments

From the Cedar Rapids Gazette:

If you're picking up some doughnuts to make it through the morning, one more place now accepts plastic -- finally. Donutland at 4307 Center Point Rd. NE in Cedar Rapids has taken the leap into the world of credit cards, reports The Gazette. "The dinosaur has come out," store owner Vicki Zinkula said of the decision that's been a long time coming. The shop that has been a mainstay at that location since 1971 had been resisting the use of plastic as a form of payment because businesses pay a merchant fee when customers use a credit card as payment -- a fee that would have been passed back down to the customers. But customers who didn't have cash or time to write a check were often bypassing Donutland for nearby shops that accepted plastic. At the urging of customers, employees and even her own family, Ms. Zinkula finally bit the bullet late last year. All major credit cards are accepted and Ms. Zinkula is planning on raising prices to cover merchant fees.

I remember going to the Donutland on Center Point Road many times with Mom. It's embarrassing to say but Mom would go out for breakfast pretty much every morning, M - F. If I ate breakfast at home, it was rare. We would either go to the Spring House or to Donutland. Even into high school, I would go with my teammates after swim practice to eat breakfast at that restaurant. I think the customers who asked for the store to accept credit cards should never - ever - complain about the increase in price. How long have credit cards existed and how many years did Donutland resist their acceptance? It doesn't matter much because the reason they didn't accept credit cards is because it would cause an increase in price.

2017 Rock Fest Lineup
  4. KORN
  11. CLUTCH
  14. RATT
  17. LIT
  21. AVATAR
  26. VIMIC
  37. SIN 7
  42. VALORA
  51. MOTLEY 2
  56. WHO'S WHO
  57. VIA
  64. 7'S CATACOMB
  66. ANTHEM

In alphabetical order:
  12. CLUTCH
  27. KORN
  30. LIT
  34. MOTLEY 2
  42. RATT
  51. SIN 7
  52. SLAYER
  62. VALORA
  64. VIA
  65. VIMIC
  67. WHO'S WHO


Your First Look at the 100% Real* Script for the Fan-Made Star Wars: The Last Jedi Remake, Which is Definitely Happening