Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The role of @YahooNews in the latest stock market issues

I use Yahoo! e-mail through my web browser.  I get there by going to the Yahoo! home page and clicking on "mail."

The Yahoo! home page has pretty much a standard appearance most times I go there.  There's a list of options on the left. There's an image in the top center which is a still from a video.  The image moves through a list of top stories.  There's a list of trending topics on the right.

Below the still from the video there is a list of stories.

Many of the "news" items on the front page are not hard news, usually human interest or celebrity gossip -- or, if they are hard news, they're usually about crimes, rather than finance or world affairs.  Here's an example

On Friday, August 21, 2015, the stock market dropped by over 500 points.

During the weekend following, I was accessing the Internet from Time Warner Cable in northern New Hampshire.  During that entire weekend, the Yahoo homepage had a different format.   Only the list of stories, which are in the bottom center of the above screen capture, was displayed on the home page as I saw it.  The first story in the list was the "stockmarket meltdown".  Since I was accessing the computer with an older deskbook, with a smallish screen, the description of that story was pretty much the only thing I could see on the Yahoo! home page.

Naturally, the market fell again on Monday.

Now today again they have a sponsored item -- presumably some kind of paid add -- which is second in the list of stories at the bottom center, and which is predicting a depression, even though the market is up.

The behavior of Yahoo! is clearly part of the problem: generating panic.  What interest does Yahoo! have that makes them incite panic and further reduction in the price of stocks?  Why are they doing this?

On the one hand, I don't like the idea of censorship.  On the other hand, I can certainly sympathize with the decision of some governments, such as China, to prohibit the spreading of political rumors.  These rumors and cause destabilizing panic -- and just undermine public confidence.

News media should be more responsible in trying to disseminate calm rather than panic.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Struggling with things that don't work

It has been one of those days.

Earlier this summer, I upgraded my mac operating system.  Then I noticed that my mac had slowed to a crawl.  Then I found out that I could upgrade my memory.

I installed the memory, but only half of it seemed to be working.  So I did a lot of pulling out cards and switching them, and finally decided something was wrong with the computer.  I took it to the apple store  yesterday, and had to wait for a tech, who told me it would cost $390 to repair.  I decided not to do it.  Then later I realized I probably had not pushed the top memory card in completely, so I went home and tried and got the memory to work.

Then I tried a time machine backup, which failed. I contacted apple support.  They said that I should go onto my admin account (which I normally don't use) and get a log of messages from the console software.  So today I logged in to the admin account and ran the backup successfully.  Then I tried to go back to the secondary account, but the backup still failed.  Then I tried to go back to the admin account, but the computer froze.

So I turned the computer off and on again, and the result was that I only got a white screen and could not get into my computer.

I decided that it was time to go do some yard work.  I went out and tried to water the bushes.  I discovered that my faucet was leaking.  After I finished watering, I dismantled the faucet and took out the washers.

I also tried to dismantle another faucet that was leaking, but that was one that had cartridges -- and the nuts seemed to have frozen so I couldn't get the cartridges out.  I have another faucet upstairs where the cartridge can't be changed, because frozen.  This seems to be an issue with faucets with cartridges.  The cartridges may not have to be changed as often as a washer, but then, if they freeze up, you have to replace the whole faucet.

I tried taking the washers to my local hardware store, which used to carry washers, but they don't any more.  I went to home depot and they also have stopped carrying washers.  Finally Berger hardware had some, tho not exactly the right size -- and no packing washers.  For that I have to wrap something around and try to get the right amount.

So I went out for the evening and just left the house.

The computer is working now, so I was able to get the log of the prior session. I posted it to the apple support forum and the guy there said that my external hard drive is failing.  My son has told me never to get Western Digital hard drives, because they always fail and this seems to be a case in point.  I'm ordering a Buffalo one, which seems to be more expensive, in the hopes that it's better.

Addendum: So, it turns out that the computer starts much faster -- and does not overheat -- when the failing hard drive is disconnected.  I guess the computer was making continuous attempts to access this drive.