Windows 7 update errors resolved

Here’s how I fixed a friend’s computer that stubbornly refused to install some Windows updates, including the upgrade to Windows 10.

The computer was riddled with viruses/malware, which corrupted drivers, files and registry entries. AVG Free antivirus and Malwarebytes helped disinfect the computer, but the damage remained.DjMSROG

No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t force Windows updates to install. I received error codes including 80070002. I tried methods such as running sfc /scannow for the command prompt and installing the Windows Update Readiness Tool. No luck.

The problem — at least with upgrading to Windows 10 — turned out to be corrupt drivers. (I never was successful in finding a way to install smaller Windows updates. Only moving to Windows 10 resolved the issue.)

The solution was to install a program called Driver Talent, which scanned the computer for damaged and outdated drivers. After identifying two corrupt drivers, the program allowed me to download clean and updated drivers.

Driver Talent charges money to automatically install the drivers, so I installed them manually:

  • Locate the location where Driver Talent downloaded the driver in .7z format.
  • Extract the contents of the file using a program like WinZip.
  • Go to Device Manager, find the system device with the bad driver, select Properties and then Update Driver, and then browse to the folder where the new driver was unzipped.

After doing so, I was able install Windows 10 by downloading the Media Creation Tool and putting the Windows setup files on a clean USB drive. Then I ran Setup from the USB drive, chose NOT to download updates, and the process worked!

A bear market for batters

MLB batters don’t make contact with the ball as much as they used to, making for a game that emphasizes strikeouts and walks instead of hits and defense.

The long-term decline in contact rate ((AB-K)/AB) has accompanied a trend toward fewer home runs, fewer runs scores and lower batting averages. Contact rates have been steadily falling since they reached a peak in 1981 unseen since 1956.

Many fans, myself included, would prefer a game with more balls put in play, but baseball has changed in the statistically oriented, post-steroids era. Batters understand the value of a walk, and they’re not afraid to strike out, setting K records in nine straight seasons.

When will this pattern end, leading to more contact and more run scoring? There’s no way of knowing.

Ordinary average bunts

Runner on first, no outs. The table is set for a mistake.

Managers often see this situation as a great opportunity to bunt the runner over, but the numbers show they’re giving away runs and wins even when the sacrifice is executed perfectly.

By giving up an out for a base, teams lose more than they gain. Everyday, run-of-the-mill bunts cost teams in expected run scoring and the probability that they will win.

The most common bunt can be the most damaging type of sacrifice over the long run. The median win probability added of all 2,114 sacrifice bunt attempts in 2013 was -0.02, according to an analysis of data from the Play Index. That means teams’ odds of winning drops by 2 percentage points when they lay down a bunt.

  • The Cardinals and Diamondbacks were tied at 9 in the top of the 13th inning on April 3, 2013, when Matt Carpenter bunted over Jon Jay to second. The Cardinals went from having a runner on first with no outs to having a runner on second with one out, and their win probability declined by -0.02. Jay never scored, and the Cardinals lost 10-9.
  • With runners on first and second, no outs and trailing 5-3 on April 15, 2013, Luis Cruz of the Dodgers bunted the runners over and was thrown out at first. The Dodgers WPA dipped -0.02, and the Padres went on to win, 6-3.
  • Denard Span bunted over two Nationals’ players to second and third in an effort to come back from a 4-2 deficit. Again, the bunt was successful, but the Nationals lost -0.02 in WPA and lost to the Cardinals 4-3 on Sept. 23, 2013.

If these examples seem similar, that’s because they are.

The same story repeats itself over and over. Each time, teams lose fractions of a win when they bunt runners over.

Bunts may be worthwhile when the pitcher is batting or when a position player is fast enough to bunt for a hit.

But in most other situations, teams shouldn’t bother with the bunt. They’re killing themselves with smallball.

Bunts do more harm than good for most teams

Most of baseball’s managers harmed their teams when ordering non-pitchers to lay down bunts last season.

Only 13 of 30 Major League Baseball managers improved their teams’ chances of winning with sacrifice bunt attempts, according to an analysis of information from the Play Index.

The other 17 managers would have been better off letting their batters swing away.

In the 2013 season, the managers and teams that were best at bunting — both the decision to try a bunt and the execution of a bunt attempt — were Terry Francona of the Indians, Joe Girardi of the Yankees and Ron Roenicke of the Brewers. The managers who made the worst bunting decisions were John Gibbons of the Blue Jays, Mike Redmond of the Marlins and Walt Weiss of the Rockies.

The most profitable bunts occurred when the batter reached base, either by beating out the throw or when the defensive team committed an error. Bunts also made a positive difference in win probability when they advanced runners from first and second to second and third with no outs.

For example, Juan Centeno substantially improved the Mets’ chances of winning on Sept. 29, 2013, when he bunted in front of home with a runner on first and no outs in the bottom of the 8th. The runner, Juan Lagares, came all the way around to score, tying the game at 2. The Mets went on to defeat the Brewers 3-2. With a win probability added of 0.37, that play had the highest WPA of any sacrifice bunt attempt in the 2013 season.

The least useful bunt attempt happened when the Marlins’ Rob Brantley hit a popup to third that turned into a double play at first when Donovan Solano was caught off the bag. That play significantly reduced the Marlins’ chances of winning with a WPA of -0.27, and one strikeout by Craig Kimbrel later, the Braves notched a 3-2 victory on April 9, 2013.

This study excluded pitchers in order to compare National League and American League teams.

Sacrifice bunt attempts are one of the more easily measurable decisions that managers make, but of course this ranking shouldn’t be used to solely determine whether one manager is better than another. Many other managerial decisions include bullpen management, lineup configuration, intentional walks, stolen bases, training, scouting, preparation and intangibles, such as player motivation.

There was a low to moderate correlation between the number of sacrifice bunt attempts and their win probability added. The correlation was about 0.38.

MLB strikeouts reach all-time high (again)

Stronger arms and quicker bats led to Major League Baseball players striking out more than ever before last season — the ninth straight season in which a new high has been set.

Both strikeout rates and the total number of strikeouts reached previously unseen peaks, with pitchers fanning an average of 7.57 batters per nine innings and 36,710 batters overall during the course of the 2013 season, according to Fangraphs.

A combination of factors have contributed to the rise in strikeouts, according to an article published last May.

Pitchers throw harder, with average fastball velocities reaching all-time highs in 2013 at 92 mph, according to Fangraphs data. Batters now know that strikeouts aren’t much worse than other kinds of outs, reducing the stigma of whiffing, with contact percentages at their lowest rate since 2003. When starters get tired, fireballing relievers come in at a moment’s notice with fresh arms.

As a result, batters go deeper into the count, fewer balls are put in play and games take longer.

Atlanta Board of Education election info

Check out the AJC’s coverage of the Atlanta school board election, which promises to be one of the most important in years.
All nine Board of Education seats will be decided, but four of the current board members aren’t seeking re-election, meaning nearly half of the school board will be new no matter what happens.

The links below include a voter guide, information about the 26 candidates, coverage of the election’s significance, articles on each of the seven races and details about the moneyed interests trying to influence the outcome.

Each Atlanta voter will get to choose four candidates: one district representative and three citywide representatives.

Cut the cord and free your TV

cut_cable_TV_smallCable TV costs too much, wastes time with commercials and fails to offer channel packages I want. Who needs cable when we have the Internet?

So I cut the cord this week, which will save me money and focus my viewing on the content that I want to see. Without cable, I’m left with for baseball, Netflix for movies and TV, and an antenna on my windowsill to pick up over-the-air HD broadcasts.

I had enough of steep monthly cable bills when I didn’t even watch it that often — mostly for live sporting events or DVR’d movies that are also available through Netflix.

I was paying a promotional rate of $95 a month for 6 megabit Internet and AT&T’s U-verse 200 cable package, which didn’t even include MLB Network. Without the discount, full price for this package would have been about $135 a month, which seemed crazy to me. Now with 12 megabit Internet alone, my monthly bill will be about $51 each month.

For Internet content (Netflix at $8/month and at $50 for the remainder of the season), I use a Roku media player so I can watch shows on my TV. I’m also considering Hulu Plus ($8/month), but I’m not sure I need it.

For network and local channels, the over-the-air antenna ($10-$20) might seem old-fashioned, but the picture is fantastic and I don’t have to pay for the content.

I’ll miss out on some college football games under this setup because I won’t get ESPN and other sports channels. But I can instead see games over the air, at friends’ houses or sports bars. Even if I pay for food and drink at a restaurant while watching a game, I’ll still be spending less money.

Saving money may have been the primary reason for getting rid of cable, but it wasn’t the only one. I now have the freedom to choose the channels I want and watch them on demand.

How to avoid blackouts

Unblock-UsBaseball blackouts, be gone!

A service called Unblock-Us allows customers to get around’s blackouts of local games, which have long been an obstacle for fans who want to pay for online or TV viewing of their home teams but can’t. allows viewers to watch any baseball game, with the catch that you can’t watch your team within its coverage area. This restriction limits the promise of, rendering it useless to fans who live in the same cities as their favorite teams.

Unblock-Us avoids blackouts by routing an subscriber’s Internet connection through remote servers, making it appear that the subscriber is located outside of the blackout area. It works on desktop computers as well as media players such as Roku and Apple TV.

Being able to watch baseball through the Internet instead of on cable TV is a major benefit to fans who want to avoid paying for cable, watch game replays, view games across the league or listen to broadcasters different from those in their home market. In the Atlanta area, being able to switch to the visiting team’s broadcast is a great relief from the Braves’ regular crew in the booth.

Setup of Unblock-Us should be easy for most users. I had a harder time setting it up because of how my Internet service provider wired my home. A previous post titled “Make AT&T Uverse i38HG access point behave” explains how to address the same technical problem I had.

Fortunately, Unblock-Us comes with a seven-day free trial, and it costs $4.99 per month afterward. Unlike some VPN or proxy services, Unblock-Us does have any monthly data usage limits or require additional software.

I was surprised I hadn’t heard of Unblock-Us before now. If more baseball fans knew about it, they’d swarm to this kind of solution and would profit from new subscriptions.