So is this proof of the EM Drive?

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Nearly everyone in science considers Roger Shawyer’s EM Drive to violate the laws of physics, but many wish that it, or another drive like it could be developed. As much doubt that there is about the EM drive, it has been in the press often this year (See my posts of 7/31/15, 7/30/15 and 5/8/15). After all, a drive requiring no fuel other than electrical power would make a significant impact to future space craft.

Paul Kocyla, a self acclaimed “Professional Hardware Developer, HAM, Oldscool Coder, Demoscener (TRSI), and Space Enthusiast” recently undertook building and testing a prototype EM Drive. While both of the tests he performed implied that the EM Drive was producing thrust, the results was not clear proof that the EM Drive was actually achieving it’s claims. As in other tests thus far of the EM Drive, outside influences could be responsible for the results.

While I hope that the EM Drive is proven to work, only time, and strict scientific testing will answer the question of “Does the EM Drive Actually Work?”

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iPhone Tip – How to Handle SPAM Calls

iPhone Tip - How to Handle SPAM calls

I occasionally get what I consider SPAM phone calls. While there is nothing I know of to prevent getting these all together, I do know that I get a call from any given number only once. This is a simple fix, but not everyone I have mentioned it to has set it up.

  1. Go into Phone >> Contacts on your phone and create a new contact with the “+” button in the top right corner of the screen. I just gave the contact entry the name “SPAM”.
  2. Now you want to designate that contact as ‘Blocked’. Go to Settings >> Phone >> Blocked >> Add New. This will bring up a list of all of your contacts. Scroll through and select the contact “SPAM” you created in #1 above. This will cause all phone numbers associated with this contacts entry to be blocked. (Contacts can also be blocked using Settings >> Messages >> Blocked or Settings >> FaceTime >> Blocked)
  3. When you receive a SPAM call, open Phone >> Recents then find the information on the SPAM caller.
  4. Tap on the blue “i” at the far right for the offending caller. Scroll down the page and click on the link “Add to Existing Contact”. That will bring up your list of contacts. Scroll down and select the entry you created in #1 “SPAM”. This will add the offending phone number to SPAM and you have already set that ‘contact’ to be blocked.
  5. Having done this, while someone from that offending number may try to phone you in the future, you will never be bothered by
    them again.

I have had my iPhone set up this way for about a year and my “SPAM” contact entry now has eight phone numbers that are being blocked.


Read my other iOS articles


 

Review of “The Mark of Halam”

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“The Mark of Halam” eBook was published in 2015 (August) and was written by Thomas Ryan (http://www.thomasryanwriter.com). This is Mr. Ryan’s second novel.

I obtained a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I would categorize this novel as ‘R’ as there are instances of Violence. This Thriller novel is set primarily in contemporary New Zealand. The primary character is Jeff Bradley, who has retired from the SAS and now has a vineyard in New Zealand.

Life has settled down to a more normal pace after Bradley’s exploits in the first novel of the series, “The Field of Blackbirds”. There is an attempt on the life of a woman Bradley knows. Sudden;y Bradley, and his close friends, are being threatened by the brother of a man he had to kill back in Kosovo.

Complicating matters, the first US nuclear submarine is about to make a port of call in New Zealand. Many protestors are out in force. Soon it becomes evident that Bradley is only a secondary target. There is a group of terrorists in New Zealand and they plan an attack on the US submarine.

As Bradley seeks information on those hunting him he repeatedly steps into the path of danger. Even though he is long separated from the SAS, he still feels the need to personally do every thing he can to stop the terrorists or die trying.

I enjoyed the 8.5 hours I spent reading the novel. The novel picks up a short time after the first novel concludes, and while there are characters in common, I think it would be a good stand-alone read. I think that the author improved between the first book and this one. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Transferring Files To and from Your Mac

I, like many others, often find myself in the position of needing to transfer files between my Mac and my other computers. The first thought is to simply pick up a USB thumb drive, inert it into the source computer, copy over the file the move the thumb drive to my Mac and copy it off. Sounds simple. But . . .

The source computer in my case will either be a Windows 7 machine or it could be an Ubuntu Linux machine. That dictates that the only commonly accessible file system format of USB Thumb drive would be one with the FAT32 or ExFAT file system. This is because OS X in addition to reading OS X file systems will read only the FAT32 and ExFAT file systems. Most thumb drives come formatted as FAT32. In most cases is not a limitation, however in my case I want to transfer large media files (greater than 4GB) and the maximum file size under FAT32 is only 4GB. I could have reformatted the thumb drive to ExFAT as it does allow larger files than 4GB, but I didn’t want to reformat. And transferring with a thumb drive can be excruciatingly slow. So how did I solve this problem?

I applied the file sharing technology in OS X, Windows, and Linux. All three types of computer can be set up as a file sharing host, and each can be set up as a file sharing client.

For transfers from the Windows 7 machine I chose to set it up as the host.

  1. To do this I had to enable file sharing on the Windows 7 machine. To do this go to the Control Panel >> Network and Sharing Center >> Choose Homegroup and Sharing options >> Change Advanced Sharing Settings >> click “Turn on File and Printer Sharing”. When I did this on my wife’s Windows 7 machine I found that file sharing was already enabled.
  2. I needed to know the IP address of the Windows 7 machine so I could connect to it from my Mac. Click on Start >> Control Panel >> Network and Internet >> Network and Sharing Center. Click the link next to Connections (in my case Local Area Connection as the Windows 7 machine is hard wired into my home network) >> Details. In the pop-up window the IP address assigned to the machine will be listed. Jot that down as you will need it.
  3. Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 11.31.45 AM
    On your Mac go to Finder >> Go >> Connect to Server. There type in smb://192.168.1.75 (use the IP address you found for the Windows machine in #2 above). You will be prompted for the user ID and password for the Windows 7 user. You can generally leave the workgroup at the default value.
  4. Once authenticated, the directory shared from the Windows 7 machine appears on the Mac desktop and you can transfer files between your Mac and Windows machine.

The exact details will vary some depending upon which version of Windows is in use, but the referenced articles should help you past those difficulties.

For transfers from the Ubuntu Linux machine I chose to set up my Mac as the host.

  1. First File Sharing must be enabled on your Mac.
    Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 7.01.26 PM
    Go to System Preferences >> Sharing. Click in the check-box next to File Sharing on the left side of the window.
    Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 7.17.11 PM
    Then click the ‘Options’ button and click the check-box next to ‘Share files and folders using SMB’ then click the check-box next to the user ID that you want the shared.
  2. Then you will need to find out the IP address of your Mac.
    Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 5.44.55 PM
    Go to System Preferences >> Network. There you will find the IP address of your Mac. Jot that down as you will need it later.
  3. On the Ubuntu system I then clicked on Files >> Connect to Server.
    Screenshot 1
    I used the server address of smb://192.168.1.70 (use the IP address you found in #2 above). The file browser will then open with a directory view of the shared Mac files.

In either case, once the server connection has been established, files can be manipulated as if they were in a local system directory. How long these transfers will take will depend on the network the computers are sharing. An example copy is shown below from my Ubuntu system to my Mac.
Screenshot 2

References:

  1. How to share files between Windows and Mac OS X
  2. How to Share Files Between Windows & Mac without AirDrop
  3. How to Share Files Between Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs on a Network
  4. OS X: Sharing files between Windows and Mac

See my other OS X articles


Review of “The Lightning Stones”

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“The Lightning Stones” eBook was published in 2015 (August) and was written by Jack Du Brul (http://www.jackdubrulbooks.com). Mr. Du Brul has authored or co-authored 15 novels. This is the eighth novel in his “Philip Mercer” series.

I obtained a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I would categorize this novel as ‘R’ as there are several instances of Violence, Mature Language and Mature Situations. This Thriller novel is set in contemporary times in the US, Afghanistan and the Pacific Islands, though it begins with the flight of Amelia Earhart.

The primary character is Philip Mercer, a Phd. Geologist who seems to be a magnet for violence and intrigue. Mercer attempts to visit a long time friend who is part of an experiment being conducted deep in a Minnesota mine. He arrives to find his friend and the rest of the party murdered. He attempts to pursue, but the assault team escapes him.

Mercer then sets about to track down those responsible for his friend’s death. He races across the US, but the gunmen always seem to be one step ahead of him. Those times he gets close he, and those with him, are faced with one life threatening situation after another.

Mercer soon learns that the reason for these assaults are a set of crystals found almost 100 years earlier. These stones have curious properties that attract lightning. A wealthy Frenchman is behind it all with plans to use the crystals to impact world climate, making millions for his company.

I enjoyed the 9.5 hours I spent with this novel. The action seemed to be near non-stop and there was one plot twist after another. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “If Then”

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“If Then” ebook was published in 2015 (September) and was written by Mathew De Abaitua. This is Mr. De Abaotia’s fourth publication.

I obtained a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. This Science Fiction novel is set the future in a small English town. The Process controls the lives of the inhabitants, though some need to be evicted from time to time. There is also a connection to the Battle of Suvia Bay in the Dardanelles campaign of World War I.

I spent about an hour with this novel reading about 10% of it. At that point I had to invoke the “Rule of Fifty”. I read a lot of Science Fiction, but I just could not get into this novel. While I would not recommend it to anyone, I can’t give it a rating since I did not finish it.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review of “Pirate Hunters”

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“Pirate Hunters” eBook was published in 2015 and was written by Robert Kurson (http://www.robertkurson.com). This is Mr. Carson’s third non-fiction novel.

I obtained a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I would categorize this novel as ‘PG’ as there are a few instances of Mature Language. This Non-Fiction novel is tells the story of the treasure hunter team, John Chatterton  and John Mattera, who discovered the remains of the pirate ship ‘Golden Fleece’.

The story describes both men and their history. It tells the story of how they began their hunt, the trials that they went through, and how they finally reached their goal. I do not read many non-fiction novels, but the description for this one caught my eye. I found the 6.5 hours of reading to be very interesting and easy reading the way that Mr. Kurson presented the information. I give this novel a 3.8 (rounded up to 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review of “The Fourth Reich”

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“The Fourth Reich” eBook was published in 2014 and was written by Helen Goltz (http://helengoltz.com). Ms. Goltz has published 7 novels and this is the third in her “Mitchell Parker Crime Thriller” series.

I obtained a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I would categorize this novel as ‘PG’ as there are some instances of Violence, Mature Language, and Mature Situations. This Mystery Thriller novel is set in contemporary Washington DC and Berlin.

The son of a Holocaust survivor, Benjamin Hoefer, writes a book about his father’s experiences in World War II Germany and in Auschwitz. Hoefer is threatened and odd displays appear in the Holocaust Museum where the book is being introduced.

The FBI is called in because of potential links to a new Nazi movement, and Special Agent Mitchell Parker is leading the team in the investigation. What at first appears just to be threats soon escalates into a far ranging political conspiracy to put the Nazi party back in power in both the US and Germany. Parker and his team must infiltrate the neo-Nazis behind the plot and disrupt their plans.

I enjoyed the 6.5 hours I spent with this novel. There were frequent references to what the team had gone through in the prior two novels of the series, but for the most part this was readable as a stand alone novel. While the primary subjects of the novel were from the US, there were several phrases used by Ms. Goltz that definitely came from her being Australian. While this did not detract from the story, it just seemed odd to have American characters order “white coffee” and have “biscuits” served with coffee/tea, among other phrasing. That said I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review of “Code name Infamy”

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“Code Name Infamy” eBook was published in 2015 and was written by Leland Shanle (http://lelandshanle.com). This is Mr. Shanle’s fourth book, and the fourth in his “Aviator” series.

I obtained a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I would categorize this novel as ‘R’ as there are instances of Violence and Mature Language. This World War II era Thriller novel is set in both Europe and the western Pacific during the closing days of World War II.

Just before Germany surrenders in 1945, an SS General Bassenheim escapes from a secret German research facility with four functional nuclear weapons. Shortly after his escape, US forces make a daring air landing in Germany to save scientists who had been working at the research facility from the advancing Russian army.

They discover that Bassenheim has left with the bombs and begin an air chase that takes them to Africa, then South America. Bassenheim is able to escape from South America in a German U-boat, and heads for Japan. He is able to make contact with Japanese military leaders who are unwilling to surrender.

Using secret aircraft and submarines that the Japanese have been developing, Bassenheim heads towards the US to make a final strike. The US forces are still on Bassenheim’s trail and it becomes a race to see whether Bassenheim can be stopped before nuclear weapons can be unleashed on US cities.

I spent a little over 4 hours with this book and enjoyed it. I had not read the prior 3 books in the series, so that put me at a little disadvantage, but this novel stood well on it’s own. I did feel though that it was a little choppy. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review of “Sabotage”

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“Sabotage” eBook was published in 2015 (August) and was written by Dale Wiley. This is Mr. Wiley’s fourth novel.

I obtained a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I would categorize this novel as ‘R’ as there are many instances of Violence and Mature Language. This Thriller novel is set in the contemporary US. There are a multitude of characters touched on in the story, with most being victims to a terrorist attack. What at first appears to be a jihadist attack on the US soon turns into something else. Bombings are taking place all over the US.

Most of the story centers around: Britt Vance, the twisted mind behind the devastation; Naseem the would be martyr, now seeking revenge on the man who had fooled so many; Grant Miller, the disgraced FBI agent; Pal Joey, the drug dealer turned rapper; and Caitlin the beautiful party girl. The lives of them all are intertwined.

The story was told in the unusual style of a lot of very short (some less than a page long) chapters. Much of the story concerns sideline characters that just happen to be in the in the wrong place at the wrong time. There is lots of action and suspense as the story unfolds. I enjoyed the 4.5 hours I spent with the novel and give it a 4.4 (rounded down to 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).