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Ralph Grabowski
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Opinion I recall, back in the 1960s, seeing AT&T's new videophone being demonstrated at a World's Fair (see figure at left). We were assured that this technology would invade our homes quickly. Even today, marketing tells us that one new tech or another will be part of our lives very soon. A 3D printer in every child's bedroom, anyone? The videophone didn't catch on, because the infrastructure couldn't support it. And because it was expensive (about $5,000 in today's dollars). And because people didn't want to have to get all dolled up before letting strangers -- strangers! -- look inside... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at WorldCAD Access
Opinion Whenever I get another laptop computer, I swap out the SSD (solid state disk) it came with, for a larger one. (If it's a desktop computer with a HDD [hard disk drive], then I swap it out for an SSD for speed.) I deliberately buy the laptop with a small SSD, because that saves money. Hardware vendors overcharge for larger capacities. I then put in a 1TB or even 2TB drive. That means I have these other, smaller-capacity spare SSDs laying around -- typically 256GB or 512GB. What to do with them? One thing is to reuse them in... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at WorldCAD Access
Opinion Artificial intelligence is 65 years old. It began as a 1950s computer programming exercise, resulting in the LISP programming language, among others. Since then, AI endured decadal cycles of summers and winters. Back in 1970, for instance, AI pioneer Marvin Minsky proclaimed, “From three to eight years, we will have a machine with the general intelligence of an average human being” [source]. We didn’t. With AI’s 2023 resurgence through ChatGPT, the tech industry hopes AI will give it the sales boost denied by earlier debacles like gorilla-themed NFTs, crypto exchange failures, and the lackluster adoption of mixed-reality goggles. The... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at WorldCAD Access
Opinion Ford's Sync brochure boasting the latest in modern gadgetry -- from 2008 Sixteen-year-old computers might seem old, but not really: I bought my desktop in 2010, and it's still purring along. Tech doesn't have to be self-obsoleting, and the tech industry needs to understand that it's now as mature as the automotive industry. The 16-year-old computer I'm taking about is, in fact, a car. Or rather, in a car. Last week, I bought my latest car, a 2009 Ford Escape hybrid -- in the very rare color ice blue metallic --, which was built in the summer of 2008.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2024 at WorldCAD Access
Opinion My scanned slides archived on pCloud, which operates like P: drive on computers; Icedrive operates similarly, as I: Remember when Dropbox dropped on us? Although it was extolled for being new and therefore cool, it really was just FTP with a prettier face. (FTP, file transfer protocol, was the way we moved big files around before Dropbox; using FTP was not pretty.) (1) Dropbox was even better by giving away boatloads of storage for free for all kinds of reasons. I took advantage of many of them, and so today I still have 26GB of storage free with it,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2024 at WorldCAD Access
Repeated indexing could be a sign that a previous indexing job was not finished. Eurdora indexes all your email so that the search functions instantly. You could try turning off indexing: Tools | Settings | Find Messages, and then turn off Use Fast Search.
Opinion Now that I no longer am a beta tester for the four CAD programs I used to beta-test -- AutoCAD, ARES Commander, BricsCAD, and nanoCAD -- I no longer have access to free CAD. Once in a while I still need to sketch something up in CAD. There are a few CAD programs out there that are free, and so I thought I'd try some of them out. Rayon 2D CAD program running a Web browser, with my drawing of a bathroom being remodeled nanoCAD from NanoSoft nanoCAD v5 is free from NanoSoft. It is a well-functioning CAD package... Continue reading
Posted Feb 7, 2024 at WorldCAD Access
Opinion I heard about Hushed through a PC World promotion, which offered a lifetime subscription for US$26. I was intrigued enough to buy it. (If you buy it through PC World, then be sure to follow the instructions on the purchase page that has your redemption code; you can't redeem it thru the Hushed Web site.) Phone Numbers In short, Hushed gives your cell phone a second phone number, without your phone company knowing about it. You can choose your number from three countries (UK, Canada, USA), and then an area code of your choosing. I selected Canada, area code... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2024 at WorldCAD Access
Thanks for the tips, Steve!
Toggle Commented Jan 15, 2024 on Running Generic CADD in 2013 at WorldCAD Access
You can download old versions of PaintShop Pro from
Opinion It was pretty exciting when, 11 years ago, a new kind of CAD company emerged, several seemingly at the same time. They were pure cloud-CAD plays, taking advantage of new capabilities in Web browsers that allowed us to select and edit entities. The companies had names like, TinkerCAD, To3D, and Onshape. All ended up being acquired by larger firms. After the Open Design Alliance cracked the RVT and RFA file formats of Revit, a second wave of CAD companies emerged two years ago, with names like Infurnia, Snaptrude, and Qonic. All three handle some aspect of architectural design... Continue reading
Posted Dec 11, 2023 at WorldCAD Access
Opinion I came across the cleverly named Sharge after clicking on an Internet ad. Yah, I know. I do it, like, once or twice a year, much to the relief of Google, the ad agency, the advertiser, the Web site owner. The company sells truly cool looking power banks and other computer peripherals. The ad I clicked on was for a new triangular model that still is not for sale, as it is still in Kickstarter mode (see image at left). So I settled for a rectangular model (see image below). The Shargeek 100 (I paid US$159; previously called the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 8, 2023 at WorldCAD Access
Opinion Sometimes, a computer breaks down, and the the hard drive -- with all its precious data -- becomes inaccessible. When specific components of a desktop computer break down, they can be replaced easily. For a laptop, however, regaining access is a bit trickier: When the keyboard fails, attach an external keyboard; I recommend a corded keyboard attached to a USB port, as Bluetooth keyboards are not as quick to set up in an emergency. When the screen fails, attach an external monitor to the laptop's HDMI, VGA, or USB-C port. When other components fail, such as the hinges break... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2023 at WorldCAD Access
Opinion Solid Edge 2024 (all images sourced from Siemens) Turns out, for many MCAD vendors, PLM is not enough. For nearly 20 years now, they’ve known that by selling software that documents all stages of the lives of products – from conceptual design through to disassembly at end of life – they would make lot more money. Now CAD vendors are transmogrifying PLM into digital transformation. “It’s the integration of digital technologies into all aspects of your engineering business,” explains Siemens, which calls their digital transformation software Xcelerator. It’s a collection of software, hardware, third-party vendors, and a marketplace. Forgive... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2023 at WorldCAD Access
The problem occurs when the Web browser on your phone displays text differently than Substack presents it. One solution is to use the Web browser on a laptop, instead. Or turn your phone sideways so that the screen is wide.
Here is an article on hardware fixes for the keyboard 6-beep error: An alternative might to be use a keyboard that plugs into a USB port, or a Bluetooth keyboard that need no wires at all.
Opinion I think what happened at OpenAI was that the board, which has the responsibility of ensuring AI is developed responsibly (see corporate structure below), became worried about the commercial direction in which ChatGPT seemed to be heading, and so fired the man leading the charge. Microsoft, which hopes that commercializing AI will help them win the race against other mega-tech-giants, naturally wants to hire him. Structure of OpenAI In my opinion, the potential importance of AI is a scam, and Microsoft might end up looking as foolish as following its desperate purchase of Nokia. Opinion-ators on Twitter -- and... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2023 at WorldCAD Access
Opinion With the fired OpenAI ceo now an employee of Microsoft, along with about 100 of his mates, I'll be interested to watch how long the serial entrepreneur lasts inside the corporate behemoth. Meanwhile on Twitter, staff and commentators have some bitterness to float: @bradlightcap (COO OpenAI): "OpenAI is nothing without its people." @miramurati (CTO OpenAI): "OpenAI is nothing without its people." @danbarker: "OpenAI's board gave themselves the prime duty to 'protect humanity' from AI, but seem to have ended up inadvertently handing much control of that to Microsoft." @joe_darko: "By the way, [OpenAI ex-ceo] Sam and [OpenAI ex-co-founder] Greg... Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2023 at WorldCAD Access
Opinion The twitteratti had their bags of popcorn out upon the news that the board of OpenAI asked the former ceo to be the reinstated ceo. Here are some of the best ones: "Sam Altman returning to OpenAI after a day is like Steve Jobs returning to Apple after 12 years, but for the TikTok generation." - @mattturck "reinforcement learning from human feedback" - @ryxcommar "'Hey Ilya, it's Satya. If you want those Azure credits to work on Monday, we're going to need Sam back'." - kantrowitz "Anyway, he's gonna be INSUFFERABLE if they bring him back. He already has... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2023 at WorldCAD Access
Opinion Following Friday late afternoon's ouster of OpenAI's ceo Sam Altman, followed by co-founder Greg Brockman quitting, the twitterverse offered up its own version of advice: "Quitting as president of a company as massive as OpenAI with a lower-case only email is so insanely based I can hardly believe it's real." - @functi0nzer0 "pretty wild that the first job openai took was sam's" - @blader "BREAKING: Convoy of black vehicles fill SF streets as ousted Open AI leader attempts coup to reseize power." - @antoniogm "If Biden wasn't a million years old, he would issue an executive order to preserve... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2023 at WorldCAD Access
I think that the messages presented by the install process depends on the the installer, and how it was written. It is painful when they say "Not every has been uninstalled," but then don't tell us what was leftover!
Opinion User interface of the free version of Revo Uninstaller One of the weaknesses of Windows is how much debris is left behind following an uninstall. There are registry entries, folders, and files that remain and that will never again be used, cluttering up our storage drives. CCleaner takes care of unused registry entries, but not leftover folders. I finally got really fed up after uninstalling a very recent version of AutoCAD. It left behind a new horror: a bunch of files and folders controlled by SYSTEM, which meant I could not remove them manually. Tech support didn't respond to... Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2023 at WorldCAD Access
Vancouver Canada is not a popular stopping over point for big jazz stars, but I did get to see Pat Metheny twice. My wife and I had tickets for Keith Jarrett, but when we arrived at the concert hall, the gates were locked, and a handwritten sign told us the concert was cancelled and to get refunds for our tickets -- I sure regret that one!
This could explain why I could not find any color laser printers in local stores: the cost of toner is tiny compared to the profits on ink cartridges, so stores instead push the seemingly cheap $50 inkjet printers.
I have found that after a decade or three, belts made of rubber sometimes turn into a black sticky goop, rendering the machine unusable. Glad you like my musical taste!