Windows 10 saves more power

aggressively, thanks to a recent Windows Update.  The idea is to save power by turning off devices after a period of inactivity.

As a consequence, it became necessary to repurpose all of that saved power, and more, to discover why my Acronis True Image backups had begun to fail.  Reason given:  can’t find the backup location, which in my case is an external hard drive.  Helpful tips:  make sure it’s plugged in, turned on, connected, has space, isn’t corrupted – the usual shtick, and yes, it’s all that.

After trying various steps in various sequences and listening to the drive, I found that Windows 10 was putting the drive to sleep in advance of failed backups.  Wake up the drive but give it nothing to do for a few seconds and Windows 10 immediately puts it back to sleep – not helpful when Acronis spends about a minute calculating space requirements.  Windows knows the device is there, but either it’s not telling anybody else about it, or no one’s asking.

This scenario suggested two options:  either disable power saving, thus increasing waste and wear, or push some actual I/O to the drive via Windows to restart the sleep timer (10 minutes I think).  After consuming a great deal more of that saved power, I posted two working solutions here:

Suffer no more.

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the Art of Awe

Our own weaknesses are sustained by treating them with mercy, yet they never respond in kind.

Among the great arts are happiness and awe, perfected by the fierce and uncompromising discipline of ruthlessly recovering energy that was stolen by those weaknesses, and denying them further sustenance.

It takes energy to understand this. We can’t think our way out, because our thinking was rooted in weakness. The correct discipline simply recovers energy, and the extra energy enables us to see.

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Found in Translation

Automated language translation by software has been a source of confusion and amusement, yet it has been quietly evolving.

Back in November of 2009, I added Google Translator functionality to, and then asked non-English speakers in the LinkedIn community to comment on the accuracy.

The upshot was that Google had a lot of great features, but automated translation wasn’t one of them.  We had some good fun at my expense, and then without mercy I ripped that code out of my site and laid the idea to rest – or so I thought.

A lot of people from around the world have learned English to varying degrees – convenient for me as I blithely engage in Internet discussions with the merest smattering of words from 18 languages – and I must admire anyone who is conversant, if not fluent, in two or more.

When occasionally someone writes to me in another language, I dutifully run it through the nearest translation mill, reread the ground up mess a half dozen times, craft a response in English, and hope the other guy has better luck than I did.  Usually, he doesn’t.

Last week, an Italian fellow asked for help, and something hit me.  (No, wait, that was the glass door to my patio; and it wasn’t the door’s fault.)  This time, instead of the tedious process of several exchanges for clarification (which clarify little), I simply asked him to carefully rewrite his question in formal Italian.

When I translated his updated question with the Microsoft (Bing) Translator, the result was a thing of beauty requiring virtually no guesswork to understand.

Since I did not know the quality of his translation service, I wrote him a nice long answer in formal English and translated it to Italian.  When I translated that back to English, I was pleased to find it was nearly identical to the original.  Terrific!  But wait:  if there were self-correcting errors going both directions, I would not know the difference.

So I asked a bilingual Italian colleague to look it over.  The quality turned out to be “quite good”, needing only a few minor changes.  My hypothesis is that translations should be considerably more accurate when the originals are composed in a formal style.  After all, if you were to design a translator, would you base it on stable, official dictionary definitions, or on the shifting sands of temporary fads?

Before you begin, learn the difference between “to” and “too”, “than” and “then”, and other common mistakes.  Avoid idioms, buzzwords, quirky spellingz, contractions, abbreviations, artistic use of punctuation and special characters, and similar limitations.

Avoid ambiguous words.  Is your “Free” offering “liberated” from slavery, “loose” instead of attached, or is it at “no cost”?  Is your “Hot” deal “X rated”, “incinerated”, “stolen”, or just (potentially) “popular”?

The better you know and use your native language, the better your translations should be.

If you have performed successful automated translation tests on other formally written language pairs, please share your results, stating which languages and translator you tested, and your overall impression on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being worst).

Thanks for reading, and thanks in advance for sharing.


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Busy Signal

I added some Spring images to the Michigan! page. Late, yes I know, but doing some catch-up. Enjoy.

Domestics, maintaining my business web site, and volunteer work on the Web of Trust keep me thoroughly occupied.

And then some.

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If I am successful, it is in my eyes, not the eyes of others; I can look at myself and not despise what I see, and I can sleep peacefully. Here is a story …

A rich banker, vacationing on a tropical island, watched a tiny boat land on the beach. A man jumped out, carrying a few fish. The banker asked the man what his life was like.

The man replied, “Oh, I just sleep until noon, then I go out and catch a few fish. Then I come back and spend the evening with my family, eating good food, playing, and walking on the beach.”

Putting on his personal coaching hat, the banker suggested, “If you got up earlier and caught more fish, you could sell some of them. In a few months you could buy a bigger boat.” The man asked, “And then what?”

The banker replied, “Well, then you could carry more fish, and earn more money. In less than a year, you could hire a small crew.” The man asked, “And then what?”

The banker replied, “Then in a couple of years you could catch and sell enough fish to buy a really big boat, and hire a bigger crew.” The man asked, “And then what?”

The banker replied, “If you and your crew work every day from dawn to dusk, then in five to ten years you could develop a global enterprise.” The man asked, “And then what?”

The banker replied, “If you continued in this way for another 20 years or so, you could be rich like me, and then you could retire.” The man asked, “And then what?”

The banker replied, “Well, you could live on a tropical island, sleep until noon, catch a few fish, spend evenings with your family, eat good food, play, and walk on the beach.”

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Michigan …

After many years in Colorado, I’m now in Michigan as of 2010 September. This means SEO all over again, and you can bet it will be streamlined this time; but it’s worth it. My topic page, Michigan!, explains why.

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