Installing Ubuntu in the VirtualBox Hypervisor

To install a hypervisor in Windows 11 and install Ubuntu, you follow these steps:

    1. Check your PC’s virtualization support: Before installing a hypervisor, make sure that your PC supports virtualization technology. To do this, you can check your PC’s BIOS or UEFI settings. Look for an option named “Virtualization Technology” or “Intel VT-x” and make sure that it’s enabled.  My observation is that PCs made after 2015 generally support virtualization.  Many older PCs do also.
    2. Download VirtualBox.

a. Go to the VirtualBox website ( and download the latest version of VirtualBox for Windows hosts.

b. Double-click on the downloaded file and follow the installation wizard to install VirtualBox on your PC.

    1. Download the Ubuntu ISO: Next, you need to download the Ubuntu ISO file from the official website ( Make sure to select the correct version for your system architecture (32-bit or 64-bit).
    2. Create a new virtual machine in VirtualBox: Once you have VirtualBox installed and the Ubuntu ISO downloaded, create a new virtual machine to install Ubuntu.

a. Open VirtualBox and click on the “New” button.

b. In the “Name and Operating System” window, give your virtual machine a name and select “Linux” as the type and “Ubuntu” as the version.

c. Choose the amount of RAM to allocate to the virtual machine. Ubuntu requires at least 2GB of RAM, but you can allocate more if your PC has enough.  I prefer at least 8GB but try to allocate 16GB in general.

d. Create a new virtual hard disk or select an existing one. Make sure to allocate enough storage space for your Ubuntu installation.

    1. Configure the virtual machine settings: Before installing Ubuntu, configure the virtual machine settings.

a. Select the newly created virtual machine and click on “Settings.”

b. In the “System” tab, make sure that “Enable EFI (special OSes only)” is checked.

c. In the “Storage” tab, click on the “Empty” CD/DVD drive and then click on the “Choose Virtual Optical Disk File” button.

d. Browse to the location where you saved the Ubuntu ISO file and select it.

    1. Install Ubuntu: With the virtual machine configured,  install Ubuntu.

a. Start the virtual machine and select “Install Ubuntu” from the boot menu.

b. Follow the Ubuntu installation wizard to install Ubuntu on the virtual machine. Choose to install Ubuntu alongside Windows or erase the disk and install Ubuntu only.

c. Once the installation is complete, restart the virtual machine and boot into Ubuntu.

7. Install updates to Ubuntu.  Open up Terminal after logging in and execute the following commands:

a. sudo apt-get update

b. sudo apt-get upgrade


95-95-95 Rule

The “95-95-95” Rule is a guideline for employee communication that suggests that a company should aim to share 95% of information with 95% of employees, 95% of the time.

The idea behind this guideline is that companies should strive for transparency and open communication with their employees, and that withholding information or communication breakdowns can lead to mistrust and disengagement.

The 95-95-95 Rule does not necessarily mean that every employee should be informed about every single detail of the company’s operations or plans. The goal of the rule is to create a culture of open communication and making sure that employees are informed about the things that are relevant to their work or that might spark innovation. Employees who have worked for me in open environments tend to perform well above the job requirements and turnover rate has been near zero. I attribute this to the 95-95-95 Rule. Unless a specific situation dictates otherwise, sharing of information is one of my top priorities as a manager.

It is important to note that the 95-95-95 Rule is just a guideline. Different companies may have different communication needs and styles. For example, my experience in the defense industry is that customers and management actively seek ways to limit communication to the bare minimum “need to know.”  The purpose of limiting information flow is to reduce the attack surface that adversaries could use to glean information about critical military capability. Of course, the result is also duplication of work, less motivated employees, and less opportunity to develop innovative ideas as a team. But, as a general principle, open and transparent communication helps build trust and engagement among employees. This improves morale, productivity, and overall business performance.

Deepfakes – What They Are and How to Spot Them

Deepfakes are highly realistic videos or images created using artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms. Deepfakes can be used to create fake news or propaganda, to defame or blackmail individuals, or to spread false information.

Deepfakes were first used to create fake celebrity pornographic videos in 2017 when a Reddit user started to post clips that he had compiled with his own home computer.  The Reddit user collected thousands of photos of famous people from the internet and used them to train a computer program to replace the faces of real porn actors with computer-generated faces of celebrities. 

Since then, the technology has advanced rapidly, and it is now possible to create convincing deepfakes of anyone using just a few images or videos.

One famous deepfake is a video of Richard Nixon announcing that the Apollo astronauts had died. The video shows a realistic-looking Richard Nixon delivering a speech in which he announces that the Apollo astronauts have tragically died on their mission to the moon. The speech is accompanied by somber music and images of the Apollo spacecraft in orbit and on the lunar surface. The purpose of the deepfake was to demonstrate how easy it is to create convincing fake news or propaganda using deepfake technology. It was also intended to highlight the potential dangers of deepfakes in the context of politics and elections, where they could be used to sway public opinion or discredit political opponents. The deepfake of President Nixon was created by a team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as part of a project to raise awareness about the dangers of deepfakes.

The deepfake was created by training an AI model on hours of archival footage of Richard Nixon speaking, as well as audio recordings of his voice. The model was then able to generate new footage of Nixon speaking that was highly realistic and virtually indistinguishable from the real thing.

Besides the dangers of deepfakes being used to sway public opinion and discredit political opponents, deepfakes can be used to blackmail people and spread false “information.” When people see videos of experts speaking, they tend to give them more credibility than written or second hand information.

There are several tips and tricks that I recommend for spotting deepfakes. These include looking for strange visual artifacts, such as mismatched facial features or unnatural movements. You can also listen for inconsistencies in the audio. Finally, you can check the source URL of the video in your browser. Did it come  website you recognize?  Did it come from an official or corporate website or YouTube channel? Finally, you can Google the subject matter to look for collaborating articles – or articles refuting what the video says or shows.

Deepfake detection technology is rapidly improving, and there are now several tools available that can help identify deepfakes with a high degree of accuracy. Here are a few:

  1. Sensity AI: Sensity AI is a deepfake detection tool that uses artificial intelligence to analyze videos and images for signs of manipulation. It can identify facial inconsistencies, unnatural eye movements, and other visual artifacts that are indicative of deepfakes.
  2. Deeptrace: Deeptrace is a deepfake detection platform that uses machine learning algorithms to analyze videos and images for signs of manipulation. It can detect deepfakes in real-time and provides a confidence score to help users evaluate the authenticity of a video.
  3. Microsoft Video Authenticator: Microsoft Video Authenticator is a deepfake detection tool that uses AI to analyze videos and images for signs of manipulation. It can identify deepfakes with a high degree of accuracy and provides a confidence score to help users evaluate the authenticity of a video.
  4. Amber Authenticate: Amber Authenticate is a deepfake detection tool that uses blockchain technology to verify the authenticity of videos and images. It works by creating a unique digital signature for each video or image, which can be used to verify its authenticity.
  5. Truepic: Truepic is a platform that uses blockchain technology to verify the authenticity of photos and videos. It can detect signs of manipulation and provide a tamper-evident seal to verify that a video or image has not been altered.

It is important to stay vigilant and skeptical of surprising videos in the face of deepfakes. Due your due diligence. Ask questions. And do not hesitate to use these tools if you suspect something. Please comment about your experience with deepfakes or any of these tools.

A Holistic Approach to Success

Bill Walsh is a business coach and venture capitalist.  I had the pleasure of hearing him speak on March 15, 2023, at Success North Dallas.  He emphasized a holistic approach to personal and business success: Prioritize family, faith, and fun in your life to achieve success. He suggested dividing your goals into four categories:

  • Develop Expertise
  • Become Empowered
  • Seek Exposure
  • Execute Your Strategy

For each of these categories, he outlined specific actions a person can take and resources that are available to help.

Develop Expertise

Walsh thinks that it’s important for businesses to find a specific area to focus on to be successful. He advises entrepreneurs to make a cover for a book they plan to write, even if they haven’t started writing it yet. They can use a website like Canva to do this easily. After creating the book cover, entrepreneurs can make a Facebook page for their book and use the cover as a picture to show that the book is coming soon. Walsh also suggests starting a podcast by interviewing two people every month using a free platform called Anchor. Entrepreneurs can then post their podcast on Spotify to reach a wider audience.

Another resource that Walsh suggests is HARO (Help a Reporter Out), which is a platform that connects journalists and sources. Entrepreneurs can join HARO and offer their expertise to journalists who need content. This can help entrepreneurs build their personal brand and establish themselves as experts in their field.

To get funding for their business, Walsh suggests that entrepreneurs write one grant per quarter and aim for a small grant of 100K or less. He also advises entrepreneurs to use gift cards instead of traditional business cards. The gift cards should have a QR code and five important things to know about the business. Icons of social media platforms should be included on the cards instead of the social media names. Entrepreneurs should use a domain from GoDaddy and G Suites to get a professional email address.

Become Empowered

Walsh suggested that entrepreneurs should outsource certain tasks such as research, email, and social media management. This will allow entrepreneurs to focus on the bigger picture of their business. He also suggested building a board of advisors including organizations like SCORE Business and local influencers.  These advisors can provide valuable insights and support.

To learn from other business owners, Walsh recommended joining a mastermind group. He also suggested reading “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill and “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki for personal growth and success.

Walsh highlighted the importance of giving back to the community by supporting local charities without expecting anything in return. He advised entrepreneurs to build a team that is motivated and inspired by their leadership. Additionally, implementing a loyalty program and referral program can help build customer loyalty and attract new customers. A good referral program and a website that is easy to navigate, with a landing page that showcases your products, is also crucial.

Seek Exposure

To make a successful business, entrepreneurs should focus on exposure. Walsh suggests having a website that is easy to use and allows customers to buy a product in three clicks. Important information should be easy to find. Offering big product packages can also attract customers, and having a strong sales team can help close deals.

Writing a vision statement can help attract people to your business and using tools like can improve your written materials. LinkedIn Helper can also be useful for building connections and growing your network.

Social media is crucial, especially Instagram and Facebook, to promote your brand. When posting, make the posts organic and avoid putting links or hashtags in the posting. Once a post gets at least 50 likes or comments, then you can add links and hashtags in the comment section.

Walsh also recommended creating free video content using Twitch and possibly using Streamguard to help protect the content against piracy and theft.

Execute Your Strategy

Walsh stresses the importance of taking action to make things happen in your business. He recommends setting specific goals, making a plan to achieve those goals, and tracking progress along the way. Reading business books, attending conferences and seminars, and following up with potential clients are all ways to continue learning and growing your business.

Walsh advises focusing on your strengths and letting others handle areas where you may be weaker. A positive attitude, perseverance, and determination are also important in achieving success. It’s essential to care of yourself, your team, and your customers.

In summary, Walsh’s message is about finding balance between personal and professional priorities, building a strong team, and taking action to achieve your goals. Success requires a holistic approach that encompasses many different areas of life and business.

Cybersecurity Training at MIT

Here are 18 FREE courses from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) that will help build or sharpen your cybersecurity skills:

1. Cryptography and Cryptanalysis:
2. Advanced Topics in Cryptography:
3. Selected Topics in Cryptography:
4. Cryptocurrency Engineering and Design:
5. Network and Computer Security:
6. Computer Networks:
7. Data Communication Networks:
8. Network Optimization:
9. Introduction to Network Models:
10. Information Technology Essentials:
11. Information Technology I:
12. Introduction to Deep Learning:
13. Introduction to C++:
14. Computer Systems Security:
15. Database, Internet, and Systems Integration:
16. Computer Systems Engineering:
17. Communications and Information Policy:
18. Media Literacy in the Age of Deepfakes:

These courses can help you develop essential skills in high demand in the cybersecurity industry, such as risk assessment, threat analysis, and incident response.

By taking free MIT cybersecurity courses, you can gain valuable knowledge and skills that can help you advance your career or pursue a career in the cybersecurity field.

Thank you to Ron Sharon for compiling this list.

Anyone Can Launch a Balloon to Fly Over China

Anyone can launch a balloon to fly over China, including you and me. We do not need to ask for permission from the US government. In some cases, we do not even need to tell the authorities. For around $100,000 or less, a normal person can use a balloon to take high-quality pictures and listen to radio signals over the Chinese mainland. For just $1,000, a smaller balloon can fly over China and gather some information. You could even put your name on the side of the balloon!

In May 2022, I went with one of my sons to the Dayton Hamvention in Dayton, OH. This yearly convention is the largest amateur radio convention and show in the US. One of the people we wanted to meet there was Tom Medlin. His ham call sign is W5KUB. Google him. I have been interested in balloons for many years and Tom is probably the foremost expert on high altitude balloons carrying amateur radio and other payloads. Here are a few thoughts based on my research and Tom’s seminar:

Regular birthday balloons made of mylar, like the ones you can buy at Party City, can travel around the world. They are usually 18 to 24 inches in diameter and filled with helium. If you choose carefully, you can attach things like solar panels, a computer, GPS, and a low-powered shortwave radio to the balloon. They may even have a temperature sensor. You can find plans for this online.

The amount of helium in the balloon and the weight of the electronics are carefully chosen. The relationship between the two determines the cruising altitude of the balloon. There are fairly simple mathematical formulas for this. Typical balloons intended to float around the world fly at around 40000ft above the ground. This keeps them above most thunderstorms but still in the upper currents of the jet stream. The jet stream propels them naturally. No engines or fuel are required.

Balloons like that, launched from the US, will almost always fly over the Atlantic, through Southern Europe or North Africa, through the Middle East and Central Asia. Before crossing the Pacific and reappearing over the United States, they fly over China. My United States shot down a balloon over Alaska with this flight pattern on February 10, 2023. Another was shot down over Canada the next day. Each shoot down costs well over $1M.

Remember that there are no permits required for such a balloon. And there is no requirement to notify the government. Design it and then let it go. That’s it! The total cost is $1,000 or less.

Larger balloons are also readily available for purchase online. The larger the balloon, the more helium it can hold. The more helium it can hold, the larger the payload can be. Huge balloons are available for $100-$200. A larger balloon could carry a high-resolution camera, purchased from Amazon, and even a radio receiver capable of recording a wide swatch of frequencies – from Chinese TV to cell phone and military communications. Decent receivers are also available on Amazon for less than $100. Most are Made in China and are marked that way. US made ones are available, though.

Several people have spoken with me about the possibility or need to jam the radio signals from spy balloons. If there is interest, I am happy to explain why jamming is certainly possible but with severe damage to our own communications infrastructure. Having said that, the wind patterns for balloons flying around 40000ft reduce the need to even have communications on the balloon. Since the winds blow the balloon back over the United States after they have circled the earth and flown over China, a balloon would simply have to detect its re-entry into US air space and then deflate itself. Simple. Once the contents are retrieved, high-definition pictures of China as well as recordings of Chinese communications could simply be read from an SD Card.

Before concluding, I must mention balloons that operate at higher altitudes. To operate at a higher altitude, a balloon either has to be bigger, or its payload weight has to be reduced. Based on information gathered during the on-going flight of the W5KUB-112 balloon at 50000ft, winds at this altitude are very light and the direction is variable. Balloons at this altitude drift all over the Northern Hemisphere at slow speeds. A medium size balloon could easily be steered with a propeller from a drone, powered by solar panels. The cost to do this would be low and the components are readily available at Hobby Lobby or online.

I personally have the technical knowledge to make something like this with limited help from others.

All of the parts are readily available in the US.

Parts are available in most countries in the world to do this.

Undoubtedly, many private, commercial, and government balloons are currently aloft. And convention has always been to allow them to stay afloat and do whatever they are doing. The bottom line is that any private citizen can send a balloon around the world – and across China, North Korea, Russia, or any other place of interest. What intelligence the balloon gathers all depends on how much the hobbyist is willing to spend. And the balloon owner can even decorate the balloon with letters or words in any language.

Finishing a Degree

Undertaking a degree program is a serious decision that requires careful thought before beginning and an unyielding commitment to finish.  While I believe strongly that human beings should pursue their passions and be willing to change course when changes are necessary, I believe that education programs should be finished once they are begun.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics published a report in 2021 showing the median weekly earnings and unemployment rate for people with various educational backgrounds.  The report presented data that indicates that high school graduates earn 26.7% more than people who have not obtained a high school diploma.  Likewise, an associate’s degree adds 19.0% to the average salary of someone who has graduated from high school.  And someone with a four-year degree can expect to make an average of 38.5% more than someone with an associate’s degree and 64.9% more than someone with a high school diploma.  However, someone who has taken college classes without graduating with any degree can only expect to make 11.1% more than a high school graduate.  The report data indicates similar differences in median unemployment rates of people with various degrees.

I know several people who have enrolled in universities, changed majors multiple times and then quit without a complete degree after 5 or 6 years.  One person started out as a computer science major.  After 2 years, he had 64 credit hours left to graduate with a Bachelor in Computer Science.  But, then he switched to music because he could not see himself working in front of a computer for the rest of his life.  He loves music.  So, he switched to music.  Since he had not taken any introductory music classes, he had 90 hours left for a music degree.  He worked on the music degree for 60 hours and then decided that the job prospects were not lucrative enough and that he preferred to be outdoors.  So, he switched majors to marine biology.  The marine biology degree would require another 60 hours to complete.  After another year in the university, he had earned 154 credit hours and had racked up almost $60,000 of student loan debt.  He realized that he would have difficulty completing the “summer at sea” part of the program because he easily got motion sickness on boats.  The prospect of changing majors again and his large student debt drove him to quit the university.  After spending several months unemployed, he finally got a job as a barista in a coffee shop.  His salary was, arguably, somewhat more than a barista with a high school diploma.  But, after student loan payments, his take-home salary was less.  He feels that he wasted 5 years taking university classes and has little to show for it besides a large debt.

I agree.  Obviously, median salaries and unemployment rates are only one measure of success.  But, I believe that they are excellent indicators of value.  To me, they indicate that completing a degree program is critical and that simply completing a high school diploma before entering the workforce is better than starting a degree and not finishing it.

Future of Wages

This is something I am watching closely. It is somewhat different than the point of view presented by the Harvard economist (former Obama official) who has predicted a V-shaped recession with significant employment and wage growth within the next few months.
If many people are working at home, then why should there be a wage differential across the country? Workers could just get a job in Silicon Valley and then work in the middle of Kansas where the cost of living is cheaper.
Personally, my feeling is that wages are going to get distributed more evenly across the country. So, wages in more rural areas will go up as those in less high-tech areas can nice job with Facebook. Dallas will stay about the same. And there will be cuts to California wages. I wouldn’t want to be in the California real estate market right now.

Arduino with Built-In Wi-Fi

This post describes the HiLetgo Wemos D1 Mini Development Board ESP8285.

This board is a combination of an Arduino and a Wi-Fi chip in a package that is approximately 1 inch by 1 inch.  Here are the steps to program it:

Connect using the standard CH340/341 USB driver for your OS

Be sure to select the 8285 board in the Arduino IDE board menu (if you select 8266 you may have issues).

And the one piece of information that is difficult to find online:

Tools->Reset Method, set it to “nodemcu”.

This is often the reason of issues with uploading/executing.

Update the boards for ESP8266.  Then you are able to see extra options that allow this board work.
Arduino IDE: 1.8.8 on macOS 10.14
Board Package: esp8266 by ESP8266 Community version 2.5.0-beta2
Board: Generic ESP8285 Module
CPU Freq: 80MHz
Flash Size: 1M (no SPIFFS)
Upload Speed: 115200
Crystal Freq: 26MHz
Reset Method: nodemcu
Debug Port: Disabled
Debug Level: None
lwIP Variant: v2 Lower Memory
VTables: Flash
Exceptions: Enabled
Builtin LED: 2
Erase Flash: Only Sketch
Port: /dev/cu.wchusbserial1420

Once you have it connecting and uploading sketches properly, this is the sketch that works for blink:

void setup() {
pinMode(2, OUTPUT);

void loop() {
digitalWrite(2, HIGH);
digitalWrite(2, LOW);