How to calculate SHA-512 hashes in Microsoft Windows

In two recent blog articles (here and here) I have called out the USPTO for programming Patentcenter so that its Acknowledgment Receipts list false information about what a filer uploaded in Patentcenter.  The practitioner wishing to independently check such things will thus be interested to know how to calculate a SHA-512 hash (Wikipedia article, what the USPTO calls a “message digest”) of a PDF or DOCX file on the practitioner’s hard drive. One way to do this is with a command-line utility within Microsoft Windows. Continue reading “How to calculate SHA-512 hashes in Microsoft Windows”

Getting a VPN

The other day I heard from a friend of mine that somebody they know “has a living situation in which she needs a VPN” and the question was, could I recommend “a good VPN”.  These questions always drive me crazy.  I will explain why.  Continue reading “Getting a VPN”

Being alerted when a vehicle enters your driveway

click to enlarge

If I am in my house and I hear a certain chime, it tells me that a vehicle has entered the driveway.  I find this to be very convenient.  Maybe this is during the day and it lets me know that a UPS truck or Fedex truck is arriving.  Or maybe it is in the evening and it lets me know that the expected dinner guests are arriving.  Either way, I can bestir myself and head down to the front door and greet the arriving visitor with a bit of advance warning.  How does it work, you might wonder?  I will tell you.  The photograph above right helps to explain how it works.  Continue reading “Being alerted when a vehicle enters your driveway”

Our telephone company sets an example again

Around five years ago, our firm migrated nearly all of our telephone services to a company called  Not once have we regretted it, and again and again we have seen reasons to feel good about this choice.  Today we see this company once again setting an example.  Here is what they have done:

At we are deeply touched by the situation impacting the Ukrainian people. As a token of solidarity, effective today, will be absorbing all costs for call termination to Ukraine until at least March 31st, 2022. Our goal with this small action is to show our support for those directly and indirectly affected by the situation taking place in the country, with the aim that not only we can help to keep communication alive to the region but most importantly to also spark a bit of hope in these very difficult times.

Yet more innumeracy in the popular press

What’s wrong with this sentence in this January 14, 2022 news story

The $180 million solar farm will produce enough energy to supply the equivalent of more than 36,000 average households in the state annually, and it will provide around $54 million to local landowners.

Just like sentences that I blogged about on December 4, 2021, this sentence has a mistake that jumps off the page. Actually, two mistakes that jump off the page. Continue reading “Yet more innumeracy in the popular press”

What the rolling electrical blackouts in the mountains of Colorado on December 30th were all about

It turns out that the rolling electrical blackouts in the mountains of Colorado on December 30, which were a consequence of the devastating Marshall wildfire in Boulder Country, Colorado, were about the gas company avoiding having to relight pilot lights!  

If there is anything that the gas company hates doing, it is having to send out workers to go from door to door to relight everybody’s pilot lights.   Continue reading “What the rolling electrical blackouts in the mountains of Colorado on December 30th were all about”