Chas' Compilation

A compilation of information and links regarding assorted subjects: politics, religion, science, computers, health, movies, music... essentially whatever I'm reading about, working on or experiencing in life.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

HP bloatware can slow down your computer

I've turned off some of the programs, but some may still be running in the background and slowing down the computer. I may end up deleting most of it. Here is some advice about it from a forum:

Re: HP Advisor
03-09-2010 05:08 PM

Here's what HP software and hardware I removed from my HDX 18 and my dv8 : The first list is the software

1) HP Media Smart Flash Demo. (it's a demonstration an advertisement if you will ; it takes up space on the hard drive)

2) HP Support Assistant ( this one is very annoying, it runs in the back ground and starts up from boot and slows the computer down on start up. I don't want HP telling me that there is an update from HP to download some of there poorly designed software: if the HP software is working then LEAVE IT ALONE !)

3) HP Update ( another HP program that keeps the laptop busy. Again it starts up on boot and makes for a slow start up. Don't let HP update any of its own software. If it's working then leave it alone. Up dates should only be done if you are having problems with the software and not simply because there is an update available.

4) HP user Guides ( this is a big program, when I uninstalled it, it took about 7 minutes before it was finished. Windows has it's own guides and help topics with in the operating system, I found I simply did not need two. To this day I have never missed this software and even if it was still on my machines I never needed to access it.

5) HP Wireless Assistant ( Windows already has the software to turn off and on the WiFi and Blue Tooth radios. You don't need another from HP to do the same thing. To access the Windows WiFi switch go to control panel > choose icon view > find Windows Mobility Center > top row, far right box, you can turn it off and on from there. The Blue Tooth radio can be controlled with in the software itself. Go to your tool bar > if the Blue-tooth icon is not there then click the "show hidden icons arrow" > right click on the Blue Tooth icon > a list will appear > find "turn adapter off", second from the bottom. You can toggle between off and on. The Blue hot key above the key board turns both radios off and on all at ounce. Just to note that the Blue Tooth radio is actually a HP product, but you don't need the HP Wireless Assistant to control it.

There are a number of other HP programs as well. HP media Smart TV. I am in Canada, this didn't work up here, nothing was available. HP Media Smart Live TV. Again this didn't work in Canada. HP Media Smart MPV. If I get a cam-corder I will more than likely use the software that will come with it to edit my videos. HP Media Smart Smart Menu. This you need, it contains the software for the volume control and the eject button on the hot keys for my dv8 and HDX 18. I could uninstall it and use the volume control in the tool bar and simply use the eject button on the side of the dvd tray. It's your choice. HP Media Smart Web Cam. This is needed for the small camera on the lid at the top of the screen. HP tone Control. This is the software that controls the bass and treble hot keys. HP Media Smart Sling Player ??? Still haven't figured out what this is for. I uninstalled it and so far I haven't missed it.

HP drivers :

1) HP Drive Guard : This is very necessary if you drop your laptop. The software detects a fall and locks the hard drive to keep itself from being damaged on impact.

2) Hp Integrated module with Bluetooth wireless technology : You need this obviously for your Blue Tooth radio ( although if you were to uninstall it the windows software would take over)

3) Hp Quick Launch Buttons : I have uninstalled this. It is thought that it somehow interacts with the hot keys on these models. If some one could tell me what the use is, for this driver, well be my guest. The only thing that I have discovered where this software is needed is on my mothers 3 year old dv7. This some-what bloated software provides the audible clicking sounds when the volume is adjusted. When I uninstalled it that was the only thing that was affected. All the hot keys worked normally other wise.

All of the above can simply be reinstalled from the recovery manager. Open the recovery manager from the all programs list. On the far right pane there are choices to install the drivers and the software. Just follow the prompts to reinstall any of the software or hardware if you find it necessary to reinstall things that you have removed.

This also applies to Vista. How ever the recovery manager is arranged differently than In Windows 7, but it still does the same thing.

These instructions are for my HDX 18 and for my dv8. I am sure they will also work on most HP models. All of what I learned is from when I did a full install of a retail copy of Windows 7 on my HDX. I found out exactly what the bare minimum it took to operate my laptop and I found that most of the problematic HP stuff was not needed. It was really nice starting from scratch. All there was, was the operating system and nothing installed in "programs and features"
Most of the stuff seems redundant. I'd like to keep the "HP Health Check" Software, but I don't want it to run automatically, and to automatically update itself. It's MY computer, and I should be the one who decides if and when those things should happen.

I found this advice about turning off the HP Health Check:

Re: Turning off HP Health Check
04-04-2010 02:11 PM - last edited on 04-04-2010 06:44 PM

Try this: Go to the task manager and then "services" on the bottom left find "services" again and maximise. Look for HP health check services in the list and right click on it. About in the middle of that box is a drop down box that gives you choices on what that service does...choose to disable it and restart your machine. I just discovered that in order to disable the service you have to stop it first. If you try to disable with out stopping first it may say "access denied"

Personally I have uninstalled all of the HP stuff from my dv8 as I have no use for the HP bloat ware in my machine. I can always reinstall it from the recovery manager. It will allow you to install specific drivers and software.

If you choose to uninstall it just make sure it's listed in the recovery manager or on the HP web site specific to your model.

In all honesty you will probably never miss it. See this thread about HP bloat ware. [...]
So I went to apply this on my Windows 7 laptop. I would describe it as thus:

Go to "Control Panel/System Security/Administrative Tools". Click on "Services (Local)". Select/highlight "HP Health Check" from the list. To the right some options will appear, to "stop" or "restart" the service. Stop the service.

Then right click on "HP Health Check", and from the drop down menu that appears, select properties. A window will open that provides you some options.

In the center is an option for "start up type". It has a drop down menu next to it. The default selection is "automatic". You can choose "disable" as one of the options, but I chose "manual". Then I clicked on the "apply" button in the lower right, then on the "OK" button.

I hope that does it, but if that doesn't work out, I'll go back in and try "disable". Eventually I may start deleting a lot of the other stuff too. I don't want programs I'm not using and don't need, sucking up my system resources.
     

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

The book "When Money Dies" is back in print

When it was out of print, only used copies were available, and were selling for more than $900.00. Now the book has been republished and is available for a very affordable $10.00 on Amazon.com:



When Money Dies: The Nightmare of Deficit Spending, Devaluation, and Hyperinflation in Weimar Germany
Product Description

When Money Dies is the classic history of what happens when a nation’s currency depreciates beyond recovery. In 1923, with its currency effectively worthless (the exchange rate in December of that year was one dollar to 4,200,000,000,000 marks), the German republic was all but reduced to a barter economy. Expensive cigars, artworks, and jewels were routinely exchanged for staples such as bread; a cinema ticket could be bought for a lump of coal; and a bottle of paraffin for a silk shirt. People watched helplessly as their life savings disappeared and their loved ones starved. Germany’s finances descended into chaos, with severe social unrest in its wake.

Money may no longer be physically printed and distributed in the voluminous quantities of 1923. However, “quantitative easing,” that modern euphemism for surreptitious deficit financing in an electronic era, can no less become an assault on monetary discipline. Whatever the reason for a country’s deficit—necessity or profligacy, unwillingness to tax or blindness to expenditure—it is beguiling to suppose that if the day of reckoning is postponed economic recovery will come in time to prevent higher unemployment or deeper recession. What if it does not? Germany in 1923 provides a vivid, compelling, sobering moral tale.

“Engrossing and sobering.” —Daily Express (London)
Chilling, because it really happened. A timely lesson from the past for us all. There are some interesting comments about the book in the customer review section too.

Also see:

Has US Currency already "collapsed"?

What would a U.S. currency collapse look like?

What happens when Tax Cuts Expire in 2011?

Our true national debt: $130,000,000,000,000.

Argentina's Example: Are we heading there?


   

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"TV White Space" next step in WiFi Revolution




"WiFi on steroids" gets final rules, drops spectrum sensing
At its monthly meeting today, all five FCC Commissioners set disagreements (mostly) aside and unanimously supported the final rules that will open empty TV channels to unlicensed broadband use. If all goes according to plan, these "TV white spaces" will be the raw material that unleashes another WiFi revolution—but this time with longer range, better building penetration, and even more speed.

White space devices will still need to query a special geolocation database before transmitting, in order to avoid broadcasting over existing TV channels and wireless mic users, but the FCC has ditched the expensive "spectrum sensing" tech it initially required back in 2008. On a conference call yesterday, reps from Google, Dell, and Public Knowledge worried that a requirement to include both the database check and spectrum-sensing hardware would make the new white space devices too costly and too difficult to build, while broadcasters and microphone users have long argued both techniques are necessary to avoid any interference.

In addition, the agency decided to handle the contentious issues of wireless microphones (most of which won't be recorded in the database) by setting aside two empty channels in every market for exclusive microphone use. Each channel should accommodate 12-16 wireless mics, but large productions (think NFL games or Broadway shows) can petition the FCC for more spectrum in advance; if approved, these productions would be temporarily added to the geolocation database.

The FCC meeting featured the "first appearance of an iPad" in the Commission's meeting room, as Chairman Genachowski noted, but it also featured a show of unity that has been hard to come by during more contentious proceedings, like the one about net neutrality. Every Commissioner loves the idea of white space devices, and each talked up the potential benefits of white space devices in no uncertain terms.
[...]
Another step towards wireless everywhere.
 

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The "Jobless" Recovery. A Second "Dip"?

Recession May Be Over, but Joblessness Remains
The United States economy has lost more jobs than it has added since the recovery began over a year ago.

Yes, you read that correctly.

The downturn officially ended, and the recovery officially began, in June 2009, according to an announcement Monday by the official arbiter of economic turning points. Since that point, total output — the amount of goods and services produced by the United States — has increased, as have many other measures of economic activity.

[...]

The declaration of the recession’s end confirms what many suspected: The 2007-9 recession was not only the longest post-World War II recession, but also the deepest, in terms of both job losses and at least one measure of output declines.

The announcement also implies that any contraction that might lie ahead would be a separate and distinct recession, and one that the Obama administration could not claim to have inherited. While economists generally say such a double-dip recession seems unlikely, new monthly estimates of gross domestic product, released by two committee members, show that output shrank in May and June, the most recent months for which data are available. Output and other factors would have to shrink for a longer period of time before another contraction might be declared.

Even without a full-blown double dip in the economy, the recovery thus far has been so anemic that the job picture seems likely to stagnate, and perhaps even get worse, in the near future.

Many forecasters estimate that output needs to grow over the long run by about 2.5 percent to keep the unemployment rate, now at 9.6 percent, constant. The economy grew at an annual rate of just 1.6 percent in the second quarter of this year, and private forecasts indicate growth will not be much better in the third quarter. (The Business Cycle Dating Committee itself does not engage in forecasting.)

“The amount of unemployment we’ve already got and the slowness of recovery lead to predictions that we could have 9-plus percent unemployment even through the next presidential election,” said Robert J. Gordon, an economics professor at Northwestern University and a committee member.

“What’s really unique about this recession is the amount of unemployment in combination with the slowness of the recovery,” he said. “That’s just not happened before. We had a sharp recession followed by a sharp recovery in the 1980s. And in ’91 and ’01 we had slow recoveries, but those recessions were shallow recessions, so the slowness didn’t matter much.” [...]
The rest of the article compares this recession and recovery with ones that have occurred previously, and looks for explanations to account for the differences. Some of their findings are interesting, but the real question they should be asking is: "Why aren't employers hiring?" There ARE reasons. See the links below:

Why the "Recovery" is stalling

What happens when Tax Cuts Expire in 2011?

Obama's Anti-Business Policies Are Our Economic Katrina
     

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Too much of a good thing? Are too many wireless plug-ins turning us into "The Borg"?

802.11n Wi-Fi making huge impact 1 year after standard ratified
Wave of RF innovation leading to Ethernet-like Wi-Fi
Shipments of 802.11n access points have accelerated since the IEEE standard was formally approved one year ago. But what the numbers alone don't show is the new reality of Wi-Fi networks: they are fast becoming the preferred way to connect and stay connected in the enterprise.

And that reality is sparking new demand from enterprise customers, and new innovation from wireless LAN vendors, to make Wi-Fi networks "work" like wired Ethernet – reliably, consistently, securely – for all kinds of traffic, including video.

"Enterprise wireless LAN vendors are continuing to work on spectrum management and other features for 2011 to create a self-adapting, self-healing wireless LAN," says Paul DeBeasi, vice president, research director, with Gartner's network and telecom strategies group. "The idea is a wireless network that will function like a wired network in terms of performance and reliability."

Ground zero for the 11n revolution is the college campus, with hospitals not far behind. Colleges and universities have a growing population of the unplugged: students who've never used an Ethernet cable. They have the expectation that whatever device they have will be able to connect wirelessly, and handle games, YouTube videos and "American Idol", all in addition to classroom applications.

What's more, says Jeffrey Sessler, director, information technology at Scripps College, Claremont, Calif., is that each student often now has "multiple Wi-Fi-enabled devices needing regular access." One student can have a game console, smartphone or Skype phone, laptop or tablet (or even both), printer, and Internet radio/alarm clock. [...]
When I was in college, I had an Underwood manual typewriter that wasn't wirelessly connected to anything. And neither was I. Somehow, I got by.

I'm not a Luddite, I love technology, when it's used wisely. It's just that I've noticed that the younger generation seems increasingly "plugged into" something, all the time. When people are always plugged into something that's bombarding them with information, it has to start to "shape" them. Perhaps even create a psychological dependency. I start to wonder what they would be like, without all the plug-ins.

Ideally, all this "information technology" is supposed to improve our lives by making our everyday reality easier by making the exchange and flow of information easier. But to what extent is it now creating our reality? Even a kind of "virtual" reality, a kind of mass-mind or "hive" consciousness, that actually distracts us from the more ordinary reality of just being alive, a living human being, the way we were in the pre-wireless world?

I used to take breaks from the computer and the internet, just stop using it for days or even weeks at a time, because I felt that using it constantly and relentlessly kind of put me in a "artificial" state of mind, living in a world of ideas more than living in the actual world I'm living in. Taking breaks from it made me feel more balanced. And when I went back to the computer/internet, I would enjoy it more, because of the contrast.

Nowadays, I find it harder to take those breaks. Oh sure, I take short breaks, but not for long. At minimum, I have to consult the internet to find out what the weather is going to be like, to see the on-line satellite maps, so I can plan my day on the farm or at work in town. Then there are work-related emails, and things I need to buy that I have to do on-line, or items or things I need to research on-line.

Clearly, I've become more dependent on the machine. But still, I'm not plugged in ALL the time. I don't have "the expectation that whatever device I have will be able to connect wirelessly", nor do I have "multiple Wi-Fi-enabled devices needing regular access." That just sounds kinda, well, creepy. People may want all that stuff; but do they really need it?

And let's not forget, that all this "wireless" stuff is done through radio waves. As this wireless radio traffic continues to increase, it's literally passing through our bodies and our brains. We may not be experiencing it on a conscious level, but does it affect us on an unconscious or subconscious level?

Have you ever been to a place that was so remote, that there were few or no radio waves? I have, and it seemed very quiet and restful in a way I had not experienced before. If I had not experienced that contrast, I would never have known about it. Such places are going to be increasingly hard to find in a wireless world.

No, I am not against radio waves or wireless devices. I enjoy them and think they are good things. I'm just asking, if perhaps it's possible that we are on the verge of overdoing, of over-indulging in a good thing, to the point where it's no longer such a good thing?

The rest of the article is about the growing use of wireless technology, and the changes that are coming. Whether we want them or not.

I know people have made these same arguments about other kinds of technology, like electricity and automobiles, etc. They all changed the way we live, and to some degree changed us. Most would argue that the changes have been mostly positive. We adapted, and struck a balance, to insure that the changes were positive. I suppose we will do the same with the wireless revolution. It's just that the idea of wireless everywhere, all the time, 24/7, seems so darn invasive. It will be yet another balancing act we will have to manage in our coming Brave New World.


Also see:

Bi-sacksual struggles with social networking
     

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