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The Tax Man!

It’s tax day, the deadline to file Federal (and State) Income Tax returns in the United States…

My vote is that we do away with income tax entirely; implement a “wealth” tax and a VAT.

Simplify the tax laws!

Originally posted 2009-04-15 12:00:45.


If you’re interested in running a fairly full featured mail server on Windows, take a look at hMailServer — it’s completely free and through version 4 Open Source.

I have a patch to V4.4.2-B279 and V4.4.2-B283 that allows you to set the directory separator for IMAP folders (by default it will use “.” — and for many people that’s not a good choice).

To get it working:

  • Download the source.
  • Download the patch.
  • Un-archive the patch
  • Apply the patch (easy to do with SVN)
  • Setup a build environment (Microsoft VS2005, Microsoft VB6, Inno Setup v5, CollabNet SVN [optional]).
  • Run the build tool (you may need to make some changes to it’s configuration).
  • Install the resulting package.
  • Edit the INI file and change the FolderSeparator to “/” or “\” (I would not advise using other characters)
  • Restart the service.

It only took me a couple hours to modify and test the code; other than installing the environment to build it (and I recommend you do that on a virtual machine since these are older tools) it should take you substantially less time.

Some notes:

  • The changes to the build configuration are not necessary; you will need to make the appropriate changes for your build environment so I would say don’t apply them.
  • The changes to the HIS_DBWrappers is because you do not need to (and in many cases it will fail) register the built DLL on your build machine; it will be packaged in the install file and registered on installation (you would only need it registered if you wanted to debug, and I recommend building, installing, and then attaching to the running process so you need not worry about configuration issues if you want to debug).
  • This is Open Source software, and it’s not MY software — I don’t make any claims about it or warrant it in any way.  It’s your responsibility to test it.  While I’m certainly interested in anything you find, I’m in no way responsible.

I have a couple more modifications I’m considering (both of which will require much more work):

  • Changing the way folders and sub-folders are stored so that the folders appear in the file system in directories that match the folder names (and removing the limits on depth and number).
  • Potentially adding a ‘search’ feature that’s integrated with WDS to quickly find messages.  Since IMAP will only search within a folder, I’m thinking about adding a special folder called “Search” and any folder created in it will actually be the search term and the results displayed will be dynamic based on WDS output. 

In case you’re wondering, I don’t really care about hMailServer as an end-point mail server; I care about to manage my IMAP message store.  I have nearly 40GB of mail, nearly 50,000 folders, and WAY too many messages store on a server with 16 spindles in a RAID5 configuration.  So my “interest” doesn’t align closely with most users.

This is only the patch file; you must download the source from here.

These are patches produced from the specific versions listed, but they can (most likely) be applied to any v4.4.2 build fairly recent).

Originally posted 2008-11-09 08:00:38.

Libre Office

In the beginning there was WordStar, then WordPerfect, then Word… then Microsoft Office, Star Office, Open Office, Go OO — and all was fine until Oracle purchased Sun…

Now we have Libre Office — which is the Open Source Community’s answer to Larry Ellison’s initial statements about commercializing Open Office (after all, open doesn’t necessarily mean free).

While Oracle has since halted plans for commercialization of Open Office, and turned Open Office over to community development; the forked version of the code which became Libre Office supported by The Document Foundation is quickly becoming the defacto personal productivity suite.  Go OO has already started combining their code improvements into the Libre Office mainline codebase, and has announced plans to cease development of their branch of Open Office in favor of having one community based project.

While the name Open Office might be easier to say than Libre Office… there’s not doubt that Libre Office will be the right choice for individuals and businesses who are tired of big business exerting control over their document software.

Go ahead, uninstall Open Office and install Libre Office 3.3 (or what ever the latest version happens to be) — be part of the future.



Originally posted 2011-04-25 02:00:44.


I’ll open by underscoring this is my personal opinion.

I’ve read and watched a number of individuals come forward about being sexually harassed in the past — and I think that’s a great travesty that people would take advantage of another based on their position, social status, wealth, or power — but let’s wake up here… that is how the world has operated (and we’ve all turned blind eyes for years, decades, millenniums), so let’s ratchet down the (false) indignation and work for a newer world order where harassment is a thing of the past.

I see this as an issue were we need not only looks at who did what — but when it was done.

Yes, the standards 10, 20, 30, 40, 50… years ago were very different than it is today.  And the way things were done might be appalling by today’s standards, but none the less that’s how they were done and we all knew it (don’t even try to pretend you thought all those stories of the “casting couch” and “sexitaries” was just locker-room banter… you knew it was true, and simply chose to do nothing about it).

Here on MLK day I’ve decided to share my thoughts — though let’s not pretend like MLK was a saint… he too was a sinner. He too (seemingly) had issues with equal rights for all (you didn’t hear him mention women, you didn’t hear him mention races other than white and black, you didn’t hear him mention gays).  The one thing Dr King did do: he opened up dialog which started to move this country forward from a long period of stagnation.

My feeling is actions which happened many years ago need to be looked at in the light of the prevailing time… those people need to be admonished at minimum, but if they didn’t cross what was the norm at the time that needs to be the end of it.  We just need to make sure that we update our image of the past and those personalities to include that they failed to treat everyone with the respect they deserved, and failed to take a stand to end harassment.

However, when similar things are happening now, or within the past several years — that’s different.  Clearly these events are transgressions that go far beyond the accepted norms.  Not only do we need to admonish these individuals, but we need to take action to insure that they and the industries they are in change.  That change needs to occur sooner, not later.

Should they be fired — yes — if they don’t have the courage and integrity to resign.

But should individuals who committed transgressions many, many years back when times were different be fired — that’s a little more complex; we need to look at the individual now, appraise what changes have been made to their life, and if they are still that same person.  If they are — then they’re out; however, if they’ve made change… we can give them a little time under the microscope before we make our final decision.

I’m all for zero tolerance, but zero tolerance never seems to be that (just check when the local school’s sports hero crosses the zero tolerance line, there always seems to be tolerance for at least a second chance — so something else we need to be honest with ourselves about — rarely do we really have zero tolerance, it’s just a catch phrase).

Personally I abhor harassment of any kind, I abhor those who feel they are better than others and can get away with it, I abhor those who help hide it and punish the victims… but this is a problem where we have to start to resolve today, and not get carried away with witch-hunt after witch-hunt of “dark” figures from out past.

Patriot Act

I’ve made it clear a number of times that I believe the USA Patriot Act should have never been passed, and that it should have been repealed a long time ago — it doesn’t help the US win the “war” on terrorism, it’s an admission to the world that the US has lost.

The Patriot Act moves civil rights in the United States back in time to where due process was nothing more than a term with no substance.

On 26 February 2010 the US House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved an extension to the USA Patriot Act just one day after the US Senate approved the extension.

The really sad thing in all of this is the President Barrack Obama requested that the extension be approved and almost immediately signed the bill (28 Feburary 2010).  So we have to hold Obama accountable — while he did join a filibuster as a US Senator to block the bill, and then he promised to support repealing it, and voted to make key changes to prevent abuse; as President he asked for an extension to it with no changes to it.

As Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) explained, “this legislation would extend section 215 powers of the PATRIOT Act, which allows the government to order any entity to turn over ‘any tangible things’ as long as it specifies its for ‘an authorized investigation.’ Section 215 orders constitute a serious violation of Fourth and First Amendment rights by allowing the government to demand access to records often associated with the exercise of First Amendment.” Under the Patriot Act, gone are the requirements for probable cause, oaths, warrants and particularity.

Passed during the panic of the post-9/11 era of the Bush administration, Representative Kucinich noted of the Patriot Act that “passage of this legislation continues to make Congress complicit in the violations of constitutional rights.” He added that a vote for extension of the Patriot Act is a clear violation of the congressional oath of office: “As Members of Congress swore to protect the rights and civil liberties afforded to us by the Constitution, we have a responsibility to exercise our oversight powers fully, and significantly reform the PATRIOT Act, ensuring that the privacy and civil liberties of all Americans are fully protected.”

Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office Laura Murphy saying, “Congress refuses to make reforming the Patriot Act a priority and continues to punt this crucial issue down the road. Once again, we have missed an opportunity to put the proper civil liberties and privacy protections into this bill. Congress should respect the rule of law and should have taken this opportunity to better protect the privacy and freedom of innocent Americans. We shouldn’t have to live under these unconstitutional provisions for another year.”

Maybe Der Führer can lighten us as to what country and time we live in.

Originally posted 2010-03-01 02:00:58.

Improving Oral Health For Patients With Alzheimer’s Disease Or Related Disorders (ADRD)

This information is copied from Our Dental Care BLOG (please see the note at the end of this post for additional information, please visit their site to read the entire post — complete with additional reference links):

In their 2016 report, the Alzheimer’s Association found that a staggering 5.4 million Americans are currently suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or related disorders (ADRD). This number is projected to skyrocket to 16 million by 2050, the most pressing epidemic for our aging population.
While it’s alarming that someone develops Alzheimer’s every minute in the United States today, this rate has the potential to double by 2050. The rapidly increasing presence of such a debilitating disease raises serious concerns regarding healthcare costs and the availability of effective treatment options. As a result, we are already seeing inadequacies in dental care for patients with Alzheimer’s.
Poor training and strained communication are among the most prominent reasons dental pain among nursery home residents with Alzheimer’s goes undetected, and therefore untreated.
But the problem is a multi-faceted dilemma, one that will require the awareness and cooperation of patients, caregivers and dental professionals to overcome.

I’ve added this post by request to assist in helping individuals locate resources.  You should see the Disclaimer and Privacy Policy on the site before making any decision on whether or not to use it’s services.

Originally posted 2017-02-22 14:19:20.

Virtual CloneDrive

I’ve tried a number of virtual CD/DVD drive tools for Windows over the years.

Daemon Tools was one of the first (free) solutions that really worked well; but success went to their heads and to describe it as anything but a POS would be way too kind.

Microsoft released a very basic driver for Windows XP, and everyone hoped that they would just include the feature in future releases of Windows; but disappointment from Microsoft isn’t new, and isn’t likely to stop anytime soon.  Neither Windows Vista or Windows 7 had the feature, and the Windows XP driver can’t be used in anything but Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

Gizmo was a descent solution; the free version had all the features I really needed, it worked — but there was just so much baggage that came with being able to mount drive images; and there were times when it just didn’t work properly.

Virtual CloneDrive has been around for a very long time —  and it’s free.  In the past it always seemed like a so-so solution to the problem, but history has a way of rewarding the companies that stick with a fairly simple paradigm and who builds a product that just works.

While I’m not a huge fan of SlySofts other products (AnyDVD just never seems to work as advertised — and it’s an expensive solution), I have to say that Virtual CloneDrive is probably one of the absolute best virtual CD/DVD solutions for Windows.

Virtual CloneDrive

NOTE: Virtual CD/DVD solutions are used to create a virtual CD/DVD drive from an image of the disk (ISO, BIN, CCD, etc).

Originally posted 2010-07-22 02:00:40.

Computer Cables

Whether you have a Windows PC, a Mac, or a *nix box, the one thing you’ll have a headache with is all the cables.

And for those of you who try to say you don’t — all I’ve got to say in The Nile ain’t just a river in Egypt!

There are all kind of products sold on the market to manage the cables on your computer, and many of them will make it look better, but most of them just make it that much harder to do anything with them — so if you’ve got an Architectural Digest shoot coming up you might want to run out and buy one of those, but for those of you who just want to get a handle on the cables I’ve found something that might help.

What I’ve started doing is taking a couple (sometimes three) Velcro ties and bundling all the cables that come out of the back of the computer for about a foot to a foot and a half… what that does is it keeps them together and out of the way for sliding the computer back and forth, but doesn’t create a nightmare every time you need to do something.

You want to make sure that you allow all the cables to gently bend into the bundle (not sharp kinks — it’s just not good for the cables of the connectors), and make sure that there’s reasonable clearance behind the computer (if not, you can bend the bundle to one side).

The Velcro ties are fairly inexpensive, and you can get them at office stores, dollar stores, etc.

Originally posted 2008-12-22 12:00:42.

Where the Sidewalk Ends

Where the Sidewalk Ends
by Shel Silverstein

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.

Originally posted 2017-04-30 12:00:06.

US Poverty

The Census Bureau released new numbers on the US poverty rate yesterday — 14.3% last year; the highest since 1994.

Largely due to the rising unemployment amount working age individuals in this country (even the US government admits unemployment to be in double digits — and we can all be sure that they minimize the numbers as much as they can through their creative accounting and adjustments).

13.9%, or 39.8 million people in 2008 to 14.3%, or 43.6 million people in 2009… and you can be sure that number will be even higher in 2010.

The report also showed the number of Americans without health coverage rose form 15.4% to 16.7% (or 50.7 million people); mainly because of the loss of employment and employer-provided health insurance.  And the new health care provisions were passed; the main provisions won’t take effect until 2014.

Because of the Recovery Act and many other programs providing tax relief and income support to a majority of working families — and especially those most in need — millions of Americans were kept out of poverty last year.
· President Barrack Obama

The really incredible thing is that the numbers were expected to be much worse — and in fact it’s likely that increases in Social Security payments and expansion of unemployment insurance through federal extensions helped keep the numbers in check.

Clearly those earning over $250,000 need to have their tax cuts renewed!

Originally posted 2010-09-17 02:00:40.