I had a chance to check out the new Lexus RX 350L at the recent local car show. This is the new stretched variant of the very popular Lexus RX that will fit 3 rows of seats. Since my parents have a regular length RX, I’m familiar with the interior and how relatively small it is so I’ve been really curious to see how Lexus would go about stretching it and making it fit three rows. The reason for Lexus to do this is pretty clear: the 3-row non-truck-SUV or CUV (for crossover utility vehicle) segment is wildly popular with cars like the Audi Q7 and the Volvo XC90 and Acura MDX. In fact, looking around the car show, Lexus and Subaru appear to be the last two major car brands to produce a vehicle to fit this slot. (Subaru’s Ascent is arriving imminently.) The Lexus RX 350 (without the “L”) is too small for three rows. The next largest Lexus is the GX which is undeniably a truck (shares a platform with the 4Runner and is built body-on-frame) which excludes it from this category. Therefore, Lexus has a hole and stretching their most popular model to fill the hole makes perfect sense. How did they do?
Restore a Prior Firefox Session
I had a set of Firefox windows and tabs open on my Windows 7 laptop. I was in the middle of one thing when I started an unrelated effort to rebuilt a secondary disk to allow the laptop to boot MacOs and Ubuntu. I knew I wanted to preserve the session of Firefox windows for my other effort so I was using Chrome to keep the two projects separate. Somewhere in there, I installed new software which automatically opened Firefox and then I rebooted effectively killing off my ability to use Restore Previous Session from the Firefox menu. But I wasn’t ready to be done with those tabs! So I dug around in the Firefox folders and figured out how to restore the session I wanted. Here’s what to do if it happens to you in the latest version of Firefox.
Shrinking a USB Disk Image and Burning to Disc
I successfully installed MacOS on my Dell Latitude E6430. With that complete, I wanted to make an DVD archive of the USB drive I used as the installer. I have DVD archives of my past hacintosh installations and to keep up the library and to keep the permanent backup, I wanted one for this install too. This task proved to be impossible and impractical and good golly I wasted a lot of time on it. But since I learned a lot on the way, I needed to write it up. I’ll forget it if I don’t and some of the lessons learned can be useful for the future. Primarily for me, but perhaps for somebody else too.
Triple Boot E6430, Sort Of
I’ve got my Dell Latitude E6430 booting Windows 7, Ubuntu 14, and MacOS 10.11. I’ve done this before with this computer but it wasn’t ever really stable and I didn’t document it because I hadn’t gotten it the way I wanted. I’ve also done it before with earlier versions of these OSes on my previous computer, the Dell Latitude E6410. But it wasn’t until today that I got a set up with the E6430 working the way I wanted. And although it cheats a little by using two disks, I do get all three OS on a GPT disk booting using UEFI. Sort of.
Resurrecting a B&O Turntable
My Bang & Olufsen turntable had been stowed away for years. It always lived prominently on top of my A-V rack. Of course, a turntable needs to go on top so the lid can open all the way. When I got my first plasma TV, the TV was so wide, it chewed up space not only on the center rack but on both side racks too and that meant nothing else could go on top. But I wasn’t listening to vinyl anyway, so the turntable was packed away.
But vinyl is hip now and I had now “archived” other components such that there was now room on a lower shelf for the turntable. No, the lid can’t open all the way. But it opens enough to get a vinyl record in safely. I put the turntable there a year ago but didn’t plug it in. I didn’t have time to futz with that stuff at the time. Last year for Christmas I got a record (original “Boston” album on picture vinyl) and I put getting the turntable working again on the to-do list. Now, nearly a year later, it finally got to the top of the to-do list. Time to dust it off and plug it in.
Migrating Windows XP To SSD
One of my family members is still using Windows XP on an older computer and they got a “no boot device found” error. Apparently the hard drive had finally given up. But the computer does what they need it to do and they don’t want to buy a new one and of course, there’s stuff on the hard drive that they didn’t want to lose. Here’s what I did to get the system disk switched to an SSD and get them back to where they were before the hard drive failure.
Franken Too? Nope
Sexual assault is wrong. Let me start with that. Also, what Senator Franken did is sexual assault. And he has admitted as much in his apologies. But “Franken Too?”? No, not “too”. At least not when we are talking about Moore and Weinstein and Trump and Spacey and Rattner and Wieseltier and Nassar and Toback.
The Big Boston Radio Swap
CBS Radio and Entercom are trying to merge but they have too many stations in the same markets so they need to sell off a bunch to make the merger happen. Those changes have been announced and it looks like that’s going to lead to a shakeup.
First, the current landscape. A majority of the most listened to stations in the Boston area are currently owned by 4 broadcasting groups.
Trump & the JFK Papers
Not being a conspiracy theorist, I had not marked the date on my calendar. But when I heard that JFK Papers were due to be released, I thought it sounded like about time to make all known facts about it public. Now, as some of the JFK assassination documents are withheld a couple of thoughts occur to me. Most interesting to me is that all of these years later, somebody has identified something that is still not appropriate to be released? Perhaps it is because whatever that thing is would largely change the collective understanding of what happened? In other words, the only stuff that is interesting is the stuff that has not been released?
Or perhaps it is because some of the information would tell the world something about our security apparatus that we don’t want the world to know. And while I understand that we want to keep our intelligence gathering methods secret, it would seem to me that whatever was unearthed in the 1960s would have to be irrelevant to today, right? If not, the implication is that we are still doing something somewhat similar to what we did 50 years ago? Surely our nation’s security is not dependent upon 50 year old security measures.
And the issue of revealing our nation’s secrets about intelligence gathering is especially interesting considering that the man making the ultimate decision, theoretically, is Trump – the same guy who told the Russians information that leaked Israeli sources. And that got me wondering, does Trump know what he is withholding? If he was made privy to the content, one would think that Oliver Stone is trying to arrange a meeting between Kislyak and Trump. And surely the people who want to keep this information secret are smart enough to not want President Blabbermouth to know the contents.
So, it’s more likely Trump does not know what is being withheld. Which means that he is trusting the intelligence community even without digging in to the details? Why would he do that now when he hasn’t trusted them before?
I’m still not a conspiracy theorist but I have to confess that there’s a lot of weirdness here.
Trump is Armchair President Who Got Called Up
Much of the country has been puzzled about Trump’s choice of his attention in the recent week. There was the failure of the GOP to repeal the ACA and Tom Price’s inappropriate spending of taxpayer money, but a great deal more of his attention went to professional football players. Why was he not primarily focused on helping Puerto Rico? Shouldn’t that have been the thing that needed the most attention and where he could gain the most points? And now that he is talking about Puerto Rico, his focus isn’t on what is being done to help but on how the criticism of what he has done is unwarranted.
I think I have it figured out. Trump has lived for years on the outside with opinions about what he would do if he were on the inside. He’d see something he disapproved of and tweet about it. He knew what should be done – if only he were in a place where he could do something about it. Trump is our first armchair president who actually got called up. Like somebody who criticizes the NFL quarterback they watch on TV suddenly finding themselves wearing the helmet in a huddle on a real football field.
Except in this case, Trump has discovered that he cannot just decide to throw the ball somewhere else and immediately impact change – there’s another team on the field, after all. Presidents don’t govern as Kings. And he is still watching TV seeing what people say about his presidency and deciding where his focus should be based on that. As though he was the quarterback who was supposed to be in the game but instead he’s up in the booth yelling at the TV about how the game he is supposed to be playing in isn’t going well. And it’s clearly not his fault since he’s not on the field.
So he didn’t tune in to a channel showing coverage of Puerto Rico – partly because the devastation was so bad that there wasn’t plentiful TV coverage. Instead he watched a football game with people kneeling. That got him worked up so that was his focus. And then that created a feedback loop. Now that he is seeing coverage about PR, it is about how he isn’t doing enough, so that is his focus. Which creates a new feedback loop. Somebody just needs to turn his TV to a channel that only shows suffering in PR so that will be his focus. So Fox & Friends, how about a story on Monday morning about how these American Citizens in Puerto Rico are without food and water and electricity weeks after Hurricane Maria destroyed their cities and homes and lives?