Cloudacademy New Musical Intro – FOR EVERY BLOODY LESSON!

Warning, this is TL;DR material

(UPDATE: Oct 28, 2018 it seems that one of two things occurred: a) cloudacademy removed that annoying musical intro for every lesson, for everyone or b) they turned it off for my account only…?? not sure which but I am a much happier camper, especially having to also deal with Verizon FiOS issues I had to finally write about and publish {we should not be getting pixelation & drop outs over fiber, especially for 980 Mbps line speeds}.)

Well, I have seen and heard some pretty annoying and distasteful things in the past, especially on the telly where you get this “annoying”, “unwanted”, “so-called musical intros” – the kind of thing that makes people change channels as fast as possible or leave the room.

Which then puts the individual into a negative state of mind so as to:

a) stop watching / listening

b) stop recommending something to friends and loved ones

Well, much as it pains me to say so, Cloudacademy.com has gone into that category. Originally, I was going to do this blog in all red but did not want to have any readers suffer…

Not sure why Cloudacademy.com thought these cute, wonderful, musical interludes were going to be a winner for them as a marketing ploy/brand. It’s not. Even if it is “only about 5-7 seconds” – it is unwanted.

When I heard it for the first time, after they went live recently – I about jumped out of my chair. And my laptop volume was not turned up loud – that music simply OPENED. UP. LOUD. as a FRIGGIN’ DEFAULT!!!! So now, whenever I start a lesson, I have to make sure that the FRACKING (replace the letters RA with U [have to be politically correct you see]) volume is turned off. FOR EVERY LESSON!!!!  Yes, I am teed off, can you tell…? This is, for me, primarily in the AWS courses but the musical intro is in other platforms as well as I checked a few (Google, Azure, etc.).

WE. DO. NOT. NEED. THAT. INTRO. MUSIC. ON. EVERY. BLASTED. LESSON!!!!

And, you cannot pause it to turn the volume down.

AND, you cannot skip it, aaaarrrrggghhhhh…….

 

Okay, I’m back – I had to calm down for a bit.  Yep, that is how aggravating it is…  NO MUSICAL INTROS, return to that state.

In the meantime, it seems I am just going to have to step away from this site and simply use competitor sites until cloudacademy returns to silent lesson intros…  That is all we want, some quality content, decent instructors, content that is thorough AND timely that we can focus on – WITHOUT this cute new musical intro in EVERY. BLASTED. LESSON!!!!

If not, I’ll just stop using them and recommend to my networks and acquaintances to go elsewhere. Easy.

Not quite sure how many other users out there like that musical intro – cloudacademy should do a poll to find out about it…

 

Note: This all originated Sunday / Mon (Oct 22nd) when I wrote to their tech support with the following:

In attempting to go over some course material, nothing plays in firefox!!!! That ‘NEW’ very annoying cloudacademy lead in on EVERY. SINGLE. COURSE. plays for sure but then we get a rectangle at the top left corner of a dark video screen and then nothing.
I have logged off and on the course.
I have gone to other courses on the site – same problem.
I have gone to other sites and their material works….
On cloudacademy, we get that white outlined rectangle in the upper left corner of a dark screen, then the title page of whatever course we are looking at and that is where it stops. The title has a gray tint to it but no controls to do anything….

One of their tech support responded & stated he could not replicate it. So I did more digging (being a very long time IT person myself) – I figured, hmmm, it might be firefox since it works well in chrome & IE (the annoying music still played as well).

But today, I saw that firefox has a new update, ver 63 – so, again – I figured I’d update that browser.

It did resolve the non-playing, grayness and lack of video controls but it is still acting up. It is not firefox or my laptop (alienware, i7-7820 / 16 GB DDR4 RAM / 8 GB GDDR5 video  Win 10 pro and an SSD).  As you hover over a course to play, that desired lesson starts blanking out and then fluctuating (you have to either refresh the page or kill the tab). This only occurs with firefox – so some setting was tweaked at cloudacademy that pertains to firefox but not to other browsers. Nope, not going back to cloudacademy with my findings, I can do without the aggravation.

This is now a moot point for me, I likely won’t be on the site until they get rid of that musical intro for every lesson…

 

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The Voices of Women – Meaningless? And the Erosion of Democracy…

Apologies to the length of this writing (this is TL;DR for some) but Trump, Kavanaugh, McConnell, Flake, Collins, Hatch, Graham, Manchin and injustice is making life, well, Topsy-turvy to be polite…

Well. It appears that the voices of women mean nothing where it is most important – in sexual assaults (and in every day life to be fair). Even if an event happened 30+ years ago, the voice and statements of a woman are still important.

As of today, Saturday – Oct 6, 2018, America has voted onto the Supreme Court an individual with more divisiveness; with a more controversial background than Clarence Thomas had.

I’m a guy and what women say IS important, always!

That is, until it is proven it is not true. But, where it is ambiguous and no concrete evidence can be found, many of us will side with the woman – not just give lip service and say ‘we believe her’ as certain members of Congress have done (so the congressional members can retain their positions of power in their home state/district). What a woman says can make a difference. In many of the sexual assaults it is primarily a crime not witnessed by others and that is why the victim does not come forth and the guy gets away with it. (Sometimes, sometimes, yes indeed – there are women who also commit sexual assaults, it is just not that many.) And Trump – making an outlandish tweet that young men should be scared is ridiculous. No young men should be assaulting women in the first place (that goes for older men as well).

In America, or rather parts of America – certain Americans have decided that a man with a blemished background and temperament can be put into a position of significant influence and power. Certain Americans have placed an individual with what appears to be a highly tainted past onto the highest court, a court which now will be looked at for every decision it makes for the next 30 years with a jaundiced eye.

All because an individual who was put into the White House due to many electoral college members deciding that this person was the best choice for America in 2016. Trump.

If this Supreme Court vote turned your stomach, you had best “get your butt off the couch and go vote” in the NEXT SEVERAL voting turnouts, for the next couple of decades! The mid-terms, primaries, all of them. This will be the only way to restore some semblance of sanity to America.

Because if you do not, we, America, will be doomed and damned!  Are you one of the people looking to return to the ‘Dark Days’ of yesterday when only the males of one race had the power to lord over everyone else of a different color and all women? Do you really want to return to the days of suppression and repression…?

More and more pieces of democracy (not talking about the democratic party here, just democracy) will be chipped away as they are being done today. More “socialist” programs will be lost for years, if not decades until we can return to the path of growth and equality that we were on until Trump was put into the White House. And what I mean by socialist programs are:

  • fire departments (think you don’t need this socialist program when your home catches fire)
  • libraries (not everyone has high speed internet or even computers at home)
  • police departments (what happens when your local police department is gone and you need law enforcement)
  • schools (everyone needs to seriously consider removing Betsy D. from the dept of education…)
  • hospitals
  • social security (what are you going to do when you are older and have no money to rely on)
  • should I go on….?

Socialist programs, today, in 2018, are meant to help everyone, not just the poor and downtrodden – the programs are meant to make the lives of everyone easier,  better and safer.

This is how Hitler grew into power. Think about that – think long and hard – do your ‘own’ thinking. Over several years, Hitler and the people around him whittled away at more and more programs until they gained power – a vise grip on EVERYTHING! (There are some who say this erosion actually started right before Hitler came into the picture – but we all know for fact, Hitler destroyed democracy in Germany.) And what was the result of that, guess! Extermination of massive numbers of the Jewish race, in multiple countries (Poland, Germany, France, Austria and more). The Holocaust was the ultimate disgrace to democracy. Things started out small in Germany and many of the Germanic race were happy and fine that Hitler was looking out for them. Hitler was going to “Make Germany Great Again!But then when it was too late to do anything, such as removing Hitler, Himmler, Goering and others of the SS and the Nazi party – it was far, far too late.

Now, this is not saying Trump is a Nazi but – he is providing a helping hand in the destruction of the American way of life and all of its democracies. Trump has enabled the worse of the worst to come forth (recall the nighttime ‘Tiki Torch’ parade). Trump has unleashed the hounds of hell, to put it mildly, to come out of the wood-works and raise pure hell. Look at:

  • early February 2017 where the House and Senate voted to repeal the so-called “stream protection rule”- Coal companies now have a freer hand in dumping mining pollutants into streams
  • the white nationalist rally incident in Charlottesville, VA where Heather Heyer was killed
  • Chris Collins and his insider trading on the lawn of the White House – how brazen was that?
  • Many of the cabinet members Trump installed and the self-aggrandizement these individuals did while in power – sound-proof phone booth in his office (guess who that was);
  • Expensive furniture, what was it, ~$31,000 for his office – you know who this was, the man qualified to run HUD because he grew up in the projects (I grew up in the projects too)…
  • Zinke of the Interior Department and his sell off of federal lands
  • The black protestor who was sucker-punched by a white man in the stands at a Trump rally in Fayetteville (and trump said he would pay the legal fees for the puncher)
  • we could go on and on with this list…

The point is, if Americans do not come to their senses and stop this extreme political partisanship, we will continue going down the rabbit hole of more:

  • hate crimes – racially & religiously motivated
  • individuals like Michael Gerard Grimm, former congressman & former FBI, who threatened to throw a reporter off the balcony – a reporter who was doing his job (after his prison term for that, Grimm had the audacity to try running again for public office)
  • corruption – how can people follow the law when the law makers and peace keepers are the ones causing this corruption and excess to continue – so they can feel powerful and make money in many cases for doing so
  • erosion of public lands for corporate revenue – oil exploitation, so that oil companies can continue to make large pools of revenue before the clean energy wave really kicks in and fossil fuel use will be a money pit
  • inequalities – women and racial – women and those of different skin colors doing the same job as men of a certain color “SHOULD BE PAID EQUALLY” for doing the same job
  • anti-discrimination against new immigrants to America – and we all know this is how America started
  • to name a few….

What do we need to do people? You all have to use your head and think!!!!

You have to perform research and think and talk about your actions before you do them! You cannot just listen to unqualified individuals who spout hate and conspiracy theories. You must do your own thinking, it is what makes you “you”!

So, what are you thinking? Are you thinking things in the political environment are going in the right direction?

Are you thinking Trump is making America great – when he raises tariffs, the ultimate cost is on you, the American citizen because you will be the one paying more for the products with the tariffs. 

Do you think the tax cut he instituted was wonderful? Well – continue thinking about that when your local services (any or all of them) are cut or eliminated due to your city budget does not have enough revenue – ‘because of that tax cut’.

What about clean air and clean water? Think your kids are going to be able to run around as you did years ago but now the air and water are more polluted (remember, the coal mine dumping above and the Trump administrations’ attempt to relax car emissions letting car makers off the hook…)

Use your brains. Think about the future. You cannot just think about yourself because you do not like gays or dark skinned people. You cannot say “hey, my religion is the foremost important thing in the world” when other people believe in a different religion. Do not make a mistake, as an American and a global citizen – I. DO. NOT. WANT Sharia Law anywhere near America.

Ultimately, what is being stated here is that Americans need to be better.

  • Give women their voices – it is hard enough to come forward publicly as it is
  • Think about unity, amongst all Americans (i.e. why do we still have Sundown towns in parts of America? Why do we still have so many skinhead/white nationalist/white supremacist groups around the country?)

Because America has to come together again and be a “United States” and grow stronger and be better as a country for itself. As well as in the face of rising problems with:

  • Russia’s Putin doing the meddling he is doing globally and
  • China doing what they are doing – attempting to force people / countries to kowtow to them; giving China hemispheric power to do what they wish, such as build man-made islands in the South China Seas and claim more of the region as belonging to them (we could discuss the Uighurs and the police state they are living under as well as the great firewall of China as well as internet and public censorship so the Chinese citizens have no voice and are unable to vote politicians out of power – these are big stories on their own…)

We are losing the luster of being a world leader because we do not have any serious diplomatic power. Who do we have that is a shining star in the world of diplomacy? Our ‘leader’ in the White House is not one who has great powers of diplomacy. He is continually causing America to devolve into a laughing stock of the world every time he utters a sentence or disseminates a tweet.

We are a country where it is now up to the states to institute clean air and clean water and equality for all. That is, those states with a forward looking mindset for the next 10 – 30 years…

 

 

Hmmm, Sexual Molestation is now a Republican or Democratic Party Thing Is It…???

Wow. Who would have thunk it (yep, I used that phrase).

It seems we are now a country where if you are of one party, sexual molestation is perfectly fine, no matter if it was yesterday or 30 years ago. And that a woman’s words are of no consequence – that her words are of no importance.

One party tends to jump on its members who have been accused and the individual moves on, fesses up, gets punished.

While the other party seems to be saying, well, “it was 36 years ago”. Or, “surely the woman in question is confused or does not have a good memory”. While at the same time, saying that the person being accused in this party is a “perfectly fine, honest and upright individual” and no one can smear this soon to be powerful individual. The accuser (through the lenses of this party’s eyes) appear to be seen as nobody’s, no one of worthwhile consideration.

Does it not matter to individuals’ of the latter party that honor, integrity and ethics are still valuable? Does it not matter to these individuals that if Kavanaugh is voted into a Supreme Court seat that they are installing someone of a dubious nature into a lifetime role where legal opinions are produced that last for possibly generations.

Yes, even though we have several women and men who have what appears to be enough personal, historical and background knowledge to cause significant doubt – we do not have any actual authorized legal investigations.  Although, many of us are fervently hoping that one or more women will file an actual criminal complaint to get this ball rolling… Most of us cannot even state for fact that kavanaugh is guilty because we do not have a legal basis or authorization to do so.  BUT… We do have what appears to be empirical knowledge that continues to build up as more information is being shared and more women come forth (as well as men who seem to have credible information). How much does it take though, to make it sink in that this latter party is betting on the wrong horse?

What does it take to believe women? Let me be sarcastic like Rod Rosenstein when he was sarcastic about wearing a wire.  Does a woman have to wear a wire or have cameras set up in advance to record when mentally challenged (or insecure) men molest or rape them? Does the woman have to set up some kind of recording hardware or have a hidden person to witness the forthcoming attack? (Yes, the woman would have to be clairvoyant but you understand what is implied here.)

How embarrassing it will be “if” that latter party above seats Brett kavanaugh and a follow up investigation into his (and Mark Judges’) activities do turn out to be true…? What will the members of that latter party feel like when they realize they knowingly voted for an alleged molester for the highest court? What will these members of this party feel like when they bullheadedly voted for an individual, who if it is true that kavanaugh and Judge actually did some of the alleged information coming forth (that they got women drunk and doped up for multiple men to molest and do more with the, ummm, ‘pliable’ woman)? If Michael Avenatti has solid information about what kavanaugh and Judge did to women 32 – 36 years ago, what are those members of the aforementioned latter party going to belatedly think of when they voted for kavanaugh to be installed on the Supreme Court at whatever cost….???  Just because he is a republican…

What. Does. It. Take. To. Believe. Women!!!! Are we not advancing as a society or has the current American president caused a fog to fall over the eyes of so many people in America (not calling it the United States for now because “we are not united“) causing many people to revert and go backwards in time to a darker society?

Rouhani of Iran – America does not have Nazi Dispositions!

Be very careful Rouhani, Iran’s President – be very careful of what you say.

America, for the vast majority of its citizens, does not have a Nazi disposition.

Yes, we do have an idiotically sad and malcontent bunch of individuals in America who for whatever reasons, believe in a Nazi future and want to make America pure white (Crazy, yes, I know. Especially when not all of the skin head and militia members are pure white themselves… get them to take a DNA test to prove it [heck, I might even pay for some of those myself to prove their ‘purity’]).

What we have in America is a puerile president who believes he is all powerful and can say and do what he desires – to whomever he wishes. And no, the American PEOPLE did not vote him into office, a large number of electorate college members for whatever reasons of their own, elected our current president into office. It was not the people – many of whom now regret what they voted for…

And yes, you are unknowingly (or knowingly) correct that this current president IS of German ancestry – do not cast aspersions on all of America on what this incompetent and ill-suited president spews from his, errrr, oratorical mouth-piece.

And yes, this includes many of the unqualified individuals he surrounded himself with.

 

Most of America has true democratically open values but cannot bring them to the forefront for the world to see when we have as our ‘leader’, an individual who consistently AND constantly makes America look like the laughing stock of the world.

Yes, we are embarrassed and highly angry that we have to spend so much time and money for what this individual does, Every. Single. Day!  (I for one hope that some group does a cost analysis study to show how much money has been wasted overall due to who was put into the white house.) In the meantime, we, as a country and as part of the global society, are not moving forward in economic, social, educational, environmental, health and democratic (united) fronts but instead are going backwards at a remarkably fast rate.

America will be back, once the entire current administration is out of office. And it will take a little longer than many of us would prefer because too many of this president’s base, for whatever ill-considered reasoning they have of their own, want to keep this person in office while he snookers them in the meantime…

America does not have to be ‘great again’, America is already great. We just have a president who has put a layer of mold and mildew on top of America that we have skim and clean off and then disinfect to start shining again. Sad but it is the state we are in… This American president has humiliated Americans so badly. Imagine, wait, no – it actually happened – an American president being ridiculed at the U.N….

Trump and his Reality Show Love Affairs with Dictators, errr, Leaders

NOTE: Remember, do your own due diligent research and deep critical thinking – think for yourself after hearing commentary from other sources who may or may not be qualified to provide you with the necessary and relevant material/analysis.

Hmmmm, still finding it very, VERY difficult to understand why the people who voted for our American president still want him as the president.

We have a problem in America. We have a president who seems to be on a roll with himself and other heads of states, the wrong kinds of heads of state.

  • Trump: Hey, didja see me with Kim Jong Un?   Done. Check.
  • Trump: Hey, didja see me with Putin in Helsinki? NAILED IT!!! Check.

So, what is next with Trump – maybe Erdogan?

  • Trump: Hey didja see me with Turkey’s dictator, sorry, president (for life) – HEYYY, that is a magnificent mansion you live in… maybe I should have one like that too, paid for by my base (and even those unenlightened people who ‘did not’ vote for me…).

Then too, could Syria’s Assad be in Trump’s sight-line as well, maybe?

  • Trump: Hey didja see me with Assad? He has quite the way of putting down civil disturbances. Why, he even has Putin on his side to help him out…

Trump appears to have no idea as to the magnitude of what he is doing to America; its economics, its educational system, its welfare system, its environment, its, well – I could go on but it is as if the people who need to wake up (Trump’s base and a fairly large number of politicians which is an even larger oddity in itself), they just do not get it. They still want Trump in office when the man should be removed as soon as possible.

It’s likely that Putin is laughing his butt off right now after his ‘summit’ with Trump. (It is also likely that Kim Jong Un is still laughing his little body hard as well, especially after Kim, ahem, theatrically blew up his nuclear reactor site. Many of us know that if the intent was to truly blow up that site, the explosive/kinetic force would have been exponentially much larger than, what was that – blowing up the entry way into the site. Folks, just go back and look at it again through the eyes of a diligent observer and equate the size of the blast with the area that was to be destroyed)

Trump, as it has been stated multiple times today, has basically dismissed the intelligence community’s assessment of Russia. And then had the audacity to say that “we’ve all been foolish about our relationship with Russia.” Has Trump not read ANYTHING over the past 2 decades about Putin and Russia???? One has to wonder if Trump even knows that Putin is a former career KGB officer…

What do we have to do is to get “MORE” people {somehow} to wake up and push a movement to impeach Trump before he causes even more damage to America and the global alliance of allies…

UPDATE: Trump came back and stated, 36 hours later that he ‘did’ agree with our American IC (intel community, of which I was a part of for a while). Interesting….

Troubleshoot Microphone Errors in Rosetta Stone – Brown University

Troubleshoot Microphone Errors in Rosetta Stone by Stephanie Obodda 2018-07-04

— Brown University

Hmmmm, I was attempting to aid students/folks who have problems getting their head sets with microphones to work properly by adding a compliment for Stephanie & the CIS IT Support team posting Stephanie’s article and including what kind of head set I use for Rosetta Stone.  But it may take a day or two (or a few…) before it is visible, if it appears at all – there are 0 comments on the site.

The article is @: https://ithelp.brown.edu/kb/articles/troubleshoot-microphone-errors-in-rosetta-stone

The school (or author) provides a list of head sets:

 List of recommended headsets: Altec Lansing AHS302i, Andrea Electronics NC‐7100, Califone 3066‐USB, Logitech USB 350, Logitech USB 250, Logitech ClearChat Pro USB, Logitech H330, Logitech Premium Notebook Headset, Logitech ClearChat Comfort USB, Microsoft LifeChat LX‐3000, Plantronics DSP‐400, Plantronics DSP‐500, Plantronics Audio 500, Plantronics Audio 470, Plantronics Audio 645, Plantronics Audio 655, VXI Talk Pro USB‐100, VXI Talk Pro USB‐200

Note: Rosetta Stone also provides more information about their Recommended Headset Microphones and Vendors

 (I had to write another comment on the site “if” it gets posted to inform them that the link of “Recommended Headset Microphones and Vendors” they provide to students is an old, dead link that no one verified…)

My additional info is that VTIN HC head sets with microphone also work successfully – it is a head set with a 3.5 mm jack that plugs into:

a) a connector with a USB connection on it for PC use or

b) smart phones / tablets via the 3.5mm jack without that connector piece

The VTIN HC head set, even though it is not one of the ‘recommended head sets’ above, works for me for Russian and Chinese language refreshers on my PC.

AG Jeff Sessions – No Religion in Government – Didn’t You Learn That

First, be sure and clear here – if an individual wants to believe in a god or a religion, that is fine. That is their business – for themselves and their families (at least for those members who do not turn away from the god that their family believes in). Religion is an individual effort – it is not to be forced on others to see and hear (preaching the good book and all that). If religion is your calling, good for you, just do not push it on others who may believe in science and logic.

Jeff Sessions, Attorney General Jeff Sessions!!!!

Did you not learn about “no religion in government“!  There is supposed to be separation of state and church…!

It is bad enough that we have Mike Pence, the American vice president, who is so religiously devout, in government…

Or better yet Sessions, that same religious quote you used (Romans 13), well: it was used by Christians in Europe to defend Nazi rule and by white religious conservatives in South Africa to defend apartheid, Lincoln Mullen, an assistant professor of history at George Mason University, pointed out in The Atlantic on Friday. (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/15/us/sessions-bible-verse-romans.html)

Or from another news outlet that many trust, the Washington Post:

“There are two dominant places in American history when Romans 13 is invoked,” said John Fea, a professor of American history at Messiah College in Pennsylvania. “One is during the American Revolution [when] it was invoked by loyalists, those who opposed the American Revolution.”

The other, Fea said, “is in the 1840s and 1850s, when Romans 13 is invoked by defenders of the South or defenders of slavery to ward off abolitionists who believed that slavery is wrong. I mean, this is the same argument that Southern slaveholders and the advocates of a Southern way of life made.” (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2018/06/14/jeff-sessions-points-to-the-bible-in-defense-of-separating-immigrant-families/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.c135817a2860)

Come on, get your act together, you are the AG of America, you of all people should not be using religion in your official capacity – at no time in your official duties should you be doing that.

Let’s hope you change that outlook on how you use your belief in a god and in the work you are supposed to be doing… We DO NOT want to start regressing further back in time when religious leaders and groups forced religion on everyone else.

freedom from religion in government (FFRG) may have a thing or two to say on that count….