Saturday, April 21, 2018

The Post (Available to Rent on Amazon)

The story is so compelling that it overwhelms the serious shortcomings in the production. It is not up to Steven Spielberg's expected quality. The acting is stilted in many ways. But more than that, the story is told in what you'd expect in a 1930s movie where the characters are under-developed (McNamara as a wimp, oh please) or over-played, without the subtlety or nuance one might expect  and certainly hope for in a first-rate production. Also, it would have been easy to cut a half hour without losing anything except extraneous stuff. The casting is made for the television-binging afficionado, in that the lead spy from the Americans playing Daniel Ellsberg, Saul from Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul for the hot-head reporter, along with others from the West Wing, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Glow, Fargo, Gone Girl, The Good Wife, Mozart in the Jungle--and more but you get the idea. All that said, it's well to remember the day the U.S. Supreme Court stood up for the First Amendment, which it might have to once again, with the outcome this next time well in doubt. It also is nice to see some courage by people at risk, which there is a grave shortage of these days. 

IMDb Link to The Post

Second Plea to Get the New Shingles Shot

As my loyal readers know, I do not like repetition and especially do not like saying things twice. So, with apologies, this is my second plead to get the new shingles vaccine. The link below to a recent NYT article explains why. It also explains the post-vaccine effects you likely will experience for a couple of days. After getting the shot, be sure to flail your arm around with some frequency which won't do anything for the other symptoms but may reduce or eliminate the feeling of having been socked in the arm with a sledge hammer. Here is a short summary from that article:

"Lest you have doubts about the value of this vaccine, consider the effects of shingles. It is a painful infection of a single sensory nerve on one side of the body that can occur almost anywhere but most commonly involves the torso or face. Initial symptoms of tingling or burning pain within days develop into a red bumpy rash and very painful blisters. The blisters heal in a week or two to form crusty scabs that eventually fall off. But for about 15 percent of people, shingles does not end there. Instead, it leaves them with deep, searing nerve pain — a condition called postherpetic neuralgia, or PHN — that can last for months or years and has no treatment or cure. More than half the cases of PHN affect people over 60. Other possible complications of shingles include pneumonia, hearing problems, blindness and encephalitis. That’s not all. Although most people get shingles only once, it can happen again, especially if you have a weakened immune system, which most everyone does with advancing age.

"Here’s how the new vaccine (Shingrix) compares to its predecessor (Zostavax), which over all reduces the risk of shingles by 51 percent and of PHN by 67 percent. According to the C.D.C., Shingrix can protect 97 percent of people in their 50s and 60s and 91 percent of those in their 70s and 80s. It also reduces the risk of PHN by 86 percent, and it appears to be longer lasting than Zostavax, which starts to lose its protection after three years. What makes Shingrix so much better is the inclusion of a substance called an adjuvant that boosts the body’s immune response to the vaccine. Another difference is that Zostavax contains a live, weakened virus, making it unsuitable for people with poor immunity, whereas Shingrix contains a nonliving virus particle and may eventually be approved for those with compromised immunity, who are especially susceptible to a severe case of shingles."

Link to Full NYT Article

Dual Control Mattress Recommendation: The Helix

While Tuft & Needle and Casper mattresses are perfect for many or most couples, some couples need each side of the mattress to be customized. That's what Sleep Number mattresses tout but they are not well rated. The 360 p6 Smart Bed, with underground lighting, zero gravity positioning, and sleep warmers, and embedded sensors, might just be the thing, but at $2,800, some might consider that a little much to spend on a mattress. At under $1,000, the Dual-Comfort Helix has all the advantages of T&N and Caspers and buying online, with the flexibility of Sleep Number mattresses, as each partner takes an online survey before ordering and then each half of the bed is custom adapted to each partner's profile, i.e., one side can be soft and downy while the other feels like sleeping on boards with a thin duvet cover. 

Link to Helix Mattress Website

Image result for helix mattresses

Sneaky Pete (Season 2 on Amazon Prime)

Season 2 of Sneaky Pete is not flawless. It has so many characters and sub-plots that it not only can be unduly confusing, but also an undue waste of time with events that have little import. That said, it's still very very good, and definitely worth watching. And do not be deterred if you are not enamored with the first few episodes, because the season gets better as it goes on. Indeed, even if you watch just the last 3-4 episodes, you will be glad you did. 

Friday, April 20, 2018

Auto Updater for Windows Programs: Patch My PC

Patch My PC automates the checking, installation and updating of over 300 applications on your Windows PC. It is a small, free, portable application that scans your computer for any available updates for over 300 programs, and if it finds any, it will download and install them automatically. One of the great features of this application is that you can download the latest version of any program on the list, even if you don't have it installed - check the box next to the program and it will be downloaded and installed along with any other updates you choose.

Updates are displayed by category: plugins and runtimes, browsers, multimedia, file archivers, utilities, hardware tools, documents, media tools, messaging, developer, Microsoft Visual C++ redist., sharing, graphics, security, gaming, miscellaneous, and portable apps.
Updates are also color coded, showing whether programs are out of date or up to date on your system.

Green – means the application is installed and up to date
Red – means the application is installed but outdated
Black – means the application is not currently installed

The color code can be changed to a different configuration in the options. In fact there are several excellent options available, including auto start, scheduling scan updates, shutting down your system after installing updates, the option to keep the downloaded .exe files (the default is delete), automatically create a restore point before updating, install 32 bit apps, disable the auto update of individual apps, the ability to export settings so you can use the program across multiple systems, and more.

Patch My PC also automatically updates to the newest version when it's launched, a nice touch.
Right clicking on any of the updates listed in the left hand pane gives you the option to disable per app scanning, silent installation, and auto updating. You can right click to open the program description page or add that update to the auto install in the .ini file if you're using the app across multiple systems.

Patch My PC