Draco Torre

David G Shrock

TechFestNW 2015

This year I attended the fourth annual TechFestNW at Revolution Hall in Portland, Oregon. Themes at the two-day event were virtual reality, augmented reality, robotics, drones, and the future of technology. Other topics included the sharing economy, diversity in the tech industry, and tech body modification as in cyborg. Revolution Hall is the newest music venue in Portland residing within the former Washington High School building which includes office space. The Roof Deck lounge provides views of downtown Portland. Located near major bike routes and quiet streets, Revolution Hall turned out to be a pleasant location with easy access for Portland’s many bike commuters working in technology. I came most interested in augmented reality, but I left impressed by the presenters on the future with drones and robots. Below I review my two favorite sessions, John Markoff on robots and Jonathan Evans on drones. TechFestNW offered a wide range of topics, good food and drink, games, music, and plenty of opportunities to meet or squeeze in some work.


The entrance to Revolution Hall was one of several locations to park bikes around the building. Late arrivals locked their bikes to a nearby steel fence.

Windows 10 Setup Options

Windows 10 makes it easier to share data and favorite settings between devices at the cost of bandwidth or privacy concerns. You may wish to review the EULA or browse FAQs linked to many of the settings found throughout Windows. Here I’ll cover how to find some of the privacy and data sharing settings. You may also wish to read Ars Technica’s review on default privacy settings in “Windows 10 doesn’t offer much privacy by default: Here’s how to fix it.” Another article on Ars, “Windows 10’s privacy policy is the new normal” covers the trend in operating systems sending and sharing more data.

You’ll find Settings by selecting the start button and choosing “Settings” with the gear icon from the menu. The new Settings is more streamlined than the old Windows 7 and earlier, and more detailed settings can be found through links within or from the menu within the Microsoft folders. Everything we need below can be found right here.

Upgrading to Windows 10

Pay close attention to the screen with the Use Express settings button, and instead choose the Customize settings option nearly hiding on the left side. Look over which settings you’d like. I cover some of these below and how to find them after installation. Or, consider the recommendations on the Ars post mentioned above.

Volcano Changing Landscape

The landscape within the blast area of the 1980 Mt St Helens eruption continues to change with trees growing tall. Like in my 2009 post, I have a few side-by-side comparison photos to share along with some others showing nature at work. My family first visited the blast area the year it opened to the public in 1983. The road was closed after the Miner’s Car for work crews. We walked another 6 miles along the road and on trails to reach Windy Ridge for a closer view of the crater. Driving from lush forest into the barren landscape for the first time is a moment I can’t forget. Today many trees grow in the area. I’ve tried to get as close as I could to standing in the same location for comparison pictures, but growth, trail washouts, and newer construction prevented a perfect match.

Beaver Meadows

Just before entering the blowdown area on Road 25, you’ll find this nice viewpoint where a famous series of photos were taken by Keith Ronnholm and Gary Rosenquist (USGS) showing the eruption.

MtStHelens BeaverM

Draco Calculation Now Available

DracoCalcIcon 200

I like Calculation solitaire because skill is a major factor for winning. The game is easy to learn and may help the little ones with their arithmetic. For example: adding 4 to 11 results in 15, and subtracting 13 is 2, the next card in the 4s stack after Jack (Knave).

In Calculation, we build a foundation of four stacks to Kings counting by 1s in the first stack, 2s in the second, 3s in the third, and 4s in the last. The first stack is simply A – K. The second begins with 2 and reaches King counting by 2s. Cards may be discarded to four piles in any order with a strategy of counting backward by 2s, 3s, or 4s as to later play them in sequence to the foundation. See “How to Play Draco Calculation” for details.

Upgrading to Windows 10 with VMWare Fusion

For those using VMWare Fusion 7 and upgrading to Windows 10 experiencing an issue with the video driver, Mike Roy at mikeroySoft.com has a nice guide. In short, use the Windows 10 ISO (available here) mounted as a drive to do the upgrade. After the upgrade, if you’re limited to low resolutions with the default Windows VGA driver, try “Reinstall VMWare Tools” on your virtual machine and restart Windows 10. Note that you may need to go to “This PC” in Windows and select the VMWare Tools to install. Then you should have the VMWare SVGA driver as seen in the screen capture below.



  • Make sure you’re logged in on the Adminstrator account, else you might get the “Something Happened” error.
  • Take a snapshot first.
  • During upgrade, check the “customize settings” option to see if there’s anything you’d like to disable, such as sending data to Microsoft. Also accessible after upgrade in personalization.