General Failure when you PING?

Windows has enough quirks that you run into strange behavior from time to time.  It has been by experience with Windows 10  (through Windows 3.1 that is!) applications can have unexpected results in certain circumstances.   Let me give you an example for a customer of mine.


The customer described a windows 10 machine that was having connectivity issues.  One of the first things one does is try to ping the default gateway, typically you router is your gateway and typically resides at  but know for certain open a command prompt either right-click on the start menu or hold the Windows key W+ X . A pop-up menu, select Command Prompt:



The IP address listed next to Default Gateway is what you want to test.

Normally Ping will respond such as:


You might run into a problem where instead of getting a ping response, If you get message “Transmit Failed” for any ping there are a few things to check.

So here is where you need to ask yourself, if this normally works, what might have changed? In my case, I had recently installed a new VPN client, such as Private Internet Access, ExpressVpn or NordVpn.

Are you using any special capabilities of these apps, such as the internet kill switch, and is the VPN down? This switch helps ensure if you have a VPN running and for some reason it gets turned off (bad connection, scheduled down time etc.) then all apps will lose connectivity to protect any information from leaking on the internet/hackers/your neighbor/your or other government. Some apps have an App Kill switch, which mean if the connection drops it will KILL the processes. This is an alternative way to be certain things don’t spill onto the network, but now you are not preventing ALL communication out from a windows box, just making sure certain apps will be killed.

Hopefully this helps someone else, but one thing to look for a response “Transmit Failed” among others. This is a telltale sign you may have VPN software setup to kill all communications if the VPN goes down. So check there first.

It might be you have network configuration problems, which you can fix with the following commands:

ipconfig /flushdns
netsh int ip reset c:\tcp.txt
netsh winsock reset


You might try using the Network troubleshooter. Select Start > Settings > Network & Internet > Status. Under Change your network settings, select Network troubleshooter. Open Status settings

Make sure Wi-Fi is on. Select Start > Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi. Next, select Show available networks, and if a network you expect to see appears in the list, select it, then select Connect. Open Wi-Fi settings

See if you can use the Wi-Fi to get to websites from a different device. If you can’t, restart your modem, router, and device, and re-connect to the Wi-Fi.

Best of Luck!

Windows 10 Start Menu Fix for Right Clicking the Start Menu not working -Can’t Launch device manager, command prompt, computer manager, disk management, event viewer? Solved! Start Menu Troubleshooter

WinWash  It has been months since Microsoft’s Start Menu Troubleshooter stopped being available, despite being the number 1 solution to a miraid of problems detailed on the internet.   As far as I can tell, most of the Troubleshooting utilities have been moved into the help system in Windows, which I will detail below.  I  however, frequently run into a problem that does NOT get resolved by the the baked in troubleshooters that are part of Windows 10.  

The problem I frequently run into is the start menu stops working entirely when you click on it, OR when you right-click on the start menu, you get the list of admin tools, but none of them will launch when you try to click on them.   The only failproof work around I could find is to use Task Manager (CTRL – ALT – DEL)  then click on FIle –> Run New Task.   Check “Create this task with admin rights” if needed, but you will need to know the filename and path of the utility you wish to launch.


There are many reasons this problem can manifest itself, but of the many solutions mentioned online, there is one that I have not seen that solves it every time when it happens to me. To say I am a power user would be an understatement, so I do use quite a few utilities and programs to get work completed and to be creative.  This means there are plenty of programs that add context to right-click to “help” me; however, these sometimes are the source of the problem.    Since you right-click when you open the windows start menu, these get evaluated and cause conflict.  The hard part is finding what app is causing the conflict.   Th easiest solution I have found thus far is an old freeware utility that has  been updated to work with windows 10 from NirSoft called ShellExView.   ShellExView provides a table of all extensions loaded with each property and company associated and you can easily enable / disable all or some to quickly identify which utility is the cause of the problem.   In some cases, just disability and reenabling these will fix the problem for you.

Check this tool out, see if it works for you.  Let me know your thoughts, and at the very least, add this to your bag of tricks.


Imagine the chaos: FOX loses power to production truck for 2015 World Series Game 1 Royals and Mets – Program Manager’s perspective

I’ve had the ‘pleasure?’ of being involved when, well things go very wrong like they are right now on Fox network. Their production truck lost power and it has been offline for over an hour.  For this outage to be this long means this is no simple fix.   I can’t imagine there isn’t backup power available.  I don’t know how long it takes to reboot the production truck, but I KNOW it isn’t this long.

They have completed risks assessments for situations like this and know what to do when they happen.   This outage didn’t seem to be on the list.   Losing power, the #1 reason for outages, not covered?  I’m not buying it because being down is not an option.

I can’t help but believe what happened was intentional by someone who wanted to keep this from being broadcast.  A search of Google came up empty, but I did read that Google fiber apparently has a problem in KC as well that is preventing folks from watching this in their homes.  Two outages covering this game isn’t likely, but we will see what unfolds.  I have experience doing production work specifically as a sound engineer for broadcast and there are backup options.  The game was stopped because apparently this outage also meant the replay was no longer an option.    According to both coaches agreed to continue to play without replay.  This outage could impact the outcome of the game.  It’s interesting to witness.

I friend of mine is doing audio for the game.  Here are some photos taken today prior to the game:


Here he is with his credentials:



Apparently Game Creek Video normally handles these critical games like the world series, super bowl etc.   Check it out here:

Photo from

Breathing Lithium Ion Batteries Store 8-10 times the Power

An early demonstration model of the St Andrews air cell. Air enters and leaves via the porous circular membrane in the centre (Image: Peter Bruce/EPSRC)


  Interesting find

The lithium ion batteries used in laptops and cellphones, and tipped for future use in electric cars, are approaching their technological limits. But chemists in the UK say that there’s a way to break through the looming energy capacity barrier – let the batteries "breathe" oxygen from the air.

A standard lithium ion battery contains a negative electrode of graphite, a positive electrode of lithium cobalt oxide, and a lithium salt-containing electrolyte. Lithium ions shuttle between the two electrodes during charging and discharging, sending electrons around the external circuit to power a gadget in the process.

The problem with that design, says Peter Bruce at the University of St Andrews, is that the lithium cobalt oxide is bulky and heavy. "The major barrier to increasing the energy density of these batteries is the positive electrode," he says. "Everyone wants to find a way to push up the amount of lithium stored there, which would raise the capacity." 

New LASER can detect certain cancers in a patients breath?

Apparently it is true.  Using molecular markers by looking at wavelengths that are reflected can be used to fingerprint compounds.  This similar technique is used to determine the makeup of a distant star or planet.  Impressive

Photograph of Ioachim Pupeza and a colleague with the new laser system

Is there trouble brewing in the land of DevOps?

Does your organization use Agile project management?  Are you deploying new capabilities on very short intervals to your infrastructure?   Does your organization use middle-ware ‘service’ layer to help standardize your software product line? Is your organization such that this middleware is provided by a separate team?

It may behoove you to ensure there is compliance with time-tested documentation and proper change control.  Any middleware subsystems created as components used on new technologies but are not well documented, packaged, or maintained may suffer in the future and negate the benefit of being componentized.  This is “technical debt” that eventually will fall upon your organization.  All systems that use this middleware will be tied to a system that eventually will be unable to be updated unless the talent that created them are keep employed. This technical debt can bring down a company with a ‘market leading product’ quickly when the competition brings a new product to market.  New products can industrialize your organization’s product.  Your organization is quickly put into the position of having a legacy product, and management will need to invest heavily to bring your product up to the level and quickly to the new generation of product.

I follow gardeviance’s blog pretty regularly because he is the only source I have found insightful in IT leadership and how prepared organizations are for future success. This blog is gold for any CIO.

It is worth the investment in time to read. You may want to reserve time to read related content, but once you do he brings a unique perspective on new technologies coming to market, such as Amazon’s dash button.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

The View from the Front Seat of the Google Self-Driving Car — Backchannel — Medium

Interesting read about accidents Google’s autonomous cars are having are due to other driver’s errors.  Worth the read especially if you ride motorcycles for things to watch.

Interstellar TARS and CASE – the Machines background

I talked about this movie in a pervious posting that explained new physics / rendering that was discovered and worth reviewing.   I found a behind-the-scenes look at the machines (robots?) that were part of the movie.  They were unique in a lot of ways and had an interesting back-story.  Check it out

Google Earth PRO for free ! get your key while you can!

Most of the major news agencies use Google earth whenever there is a conflict or a disaster.  Next time you watch the news, look for the zoom from a wide shot down to a city, town, or street.   If you notice in the corner, you will typically see “Google earth” watermark on the images.  Now you too can do your own amazing videos to show your vacation spots!  


Check it out here:Google Earth PRO for free



Add a whole home surge protector

With all the electronics in today’s homes you need to potter your investments.   You may not realize how much can be affected…including your led lighting, furnace, and home theater and computers, mobile devices etc

Some things to look for in
a whole house surge protector

Video on how to install

Note you need two beakers available, and if you are not verified, consult an electrician.  It also doors not replace individual surge protectors for sensitive equipment that may share a breaker with other items that cause overvoltage, such as lighting or motors.

Can’t find the clamping voltage listed, this product looks promising.  less than $150

Amazing accurate rending of a Black Hole surprises scientists and Hollywood alike!

Here is a read that should intrigue pretty much anyone:  in the pursuit of accuracy for a upcoming movie, amazing things were discovered leading to new understanding of black holes as well as an amazing upcoming movie:Interstellar.  Check out the article from wired magazine and check out the video about the movie and it’s discovery.

image       image

Moon Landing Photos–NVIDIA Proves They are Real

Sometimes the silliest of things catch my attention.  I remember as a kid hearing of the controversy surrounding moon landing photos.  The idea being, cameras have a limited range of bright/dark they can capture.  They are less forgiving than our own eye.  There were photographs from the moon landing that showed a well-lighted space suit in the shadow of the lander.  There is only one light source, so folks argued there was no way there was enough light to be able to see the moon lit AND Buzz in it’s shadow.  Apparently, there is enough scatter from the moon surface to make it work.   Think what happens on a cloudy day; shadows tend to disappear because of the large difuse of light.  The moon itself acts as a giant fill-light lighting the shadow-side of the lander.  Read more here, and see simulated photos vs. the real thing:

True Top Free Windows Apps

I have never share a top freeware-type list, but I ran across this list and wanted to share there are some true gems that I have used a long time and some I never knew.  For those of you who know me, I have been a hard-core IT guy for a long time.