The High Tech Junk Drawer……………

Who has a box like this?

Everyone has a “Junk Drawer” in their house and of course with the technology moving forward so does the junk drawer.

I have a box full of bits and pieces of computers and technology what nots.  Some of it’s just hard to get rid of because as soon as you throw something away, you’ll need it !!  But, it is time to clear out some of these antiques that I definitely know I’ll never need again.

Various device connectors.  I only had one device that used the Firewire, my old Digital 8 camcorder.  USB A to B, that I’ll keep just in case……………………

Adaptors.  Serial to USB. Ethernet to USB.  This was for the cross over years with technology changing and trying to keep the  old technology usable.

About a dozed computer power cords.  I’ll save two of the longest ones.

Cat 5 and old phone cords.  Every computer I had came with the little package of phone cord and every modem did too.

RCA cords.  GONE !!!!

OHHH, I remember this octopus.  I was big time 20 years ago having two desktops sharing a monitor.  Probably cost a lot for this way back when, but useless today.

Gadzooks !!!  There are more not shown, but I have every printer or scanner power supply I ever owned.  I actually haven’t owned a printer in the last 6-7 years as I can do all of my printing at work.  I will save the old phone chargers.

How long do you keep the original packaging for some of your devices??

I didn’t realize I had so many old hard drives.  Every time I got rid of an old computer, I took the hard drive out and kept it.  Early on in my home computer days I had a computer crash and I lost everything on it.  Now, 20 years ago there wasn’t that much to really lose, but I learned something.  From then on I got in the habit of adding a second hard drive to be used as data storage, and the original hard drive would be for programs and the operating system.  I would also max out the memory as well.  I learned a lot about working on computers doing that.

But !!! I actually had one desktop that had the C Drive crash after about 6 months of use, not too big of a deal, I was able to replace it and reinstall the operating system.  BUT !!!!!!!  6 months later, that drive died as well !!!  Turns out that adding the extra drive was not allowing enough airflow to cool the C Drive.  Nice engineering job !!!

So, I had a choice of sitting around and waiting for the old hard drives to get wiped, or I could take them apart.

Now I know what they look like on the inside.  I did check each one to see if there was any data I wanted to keep.

 

So here’s my empty “High Tech Junk Drawer.”

CRAP !!!!

I found more bits of things to keep !!!!!

 

Why I Support “Red Light Cameras”

I am a Conservative and a very strong one.

I believe in individual liberty, economic liberty and small government.  America would be a far better place with much less government entanglements.

Amongst conservatives “red light cameras” are almost universally demonized as a horrible, overreaching improper government intrusion.

I have quite the different view.  Youtube is full of videos showing people running red lights and the carnage that happens because of it.  Because the police can’t be at every intersection, to me, red light cameras are a way of punishing bad drivers that accidentally run a red light and asshole drivers that deliberately run through red lights just because they are assholes.

Below is a video from my dash cam.  This guy was speeding up on my rear and when I started to brake he swerved around me (cutting off a driver in the other lane) and ran the red light.  Thank God there was not an accident.

NO EXCUSE !!!

I can’t express enough how serious a safety issue I think running red lights is.

BONUS FOOTAGE !!!!!

This post was in que and I captured another red light running douche bag:

I am certainly by far not a perfect driver, but because of a driving issue when I was 16, automotive safety is one of the most important daily issues for me. (I drive 70-100 miles daily)

There are a lot of reasons people argue against red light cameras.  I disagree with almost all of them.

Generally, if you don’t want a red light ticket, drive correctly and don’t run red lights.

I once received a red light ticket.  I contested it as a legal “right on red” and won.

My only concern with red light camera use:

CHICAGO GRIFTS DRIVERS WITH SHORTER YELLOW LIGHTS

The Chicago Tribune released findings from their ongoing investigation into the city’s red-light camera program on Thursday, revealing that with the city’s transition to a new camera vendor came a “subtle but significant lowering of the threshold for yellow light times.”

The new vendor, Xerox State & Local Solutions, took over the program in 2013 after Redflex Traffic Systems Inc. was alleged to have paid $2 million in bribes to city transportation official John Bills.

But it seems as though Chicago has simply traded one suspect vendor for another, as disputed tickets issued by the Xerox cameras are 50 times more likely than those issued by Redflex to have resulted from a yellow light shorter than the three-second legal minimum, according to the Tribune.

 

That is a major problem and my biggest concern.

But it shouldn’t mean that there should be no red light cameras.

 

Huh !?!?! $1,000 Video Monitor STAND????

$1,000 Apple Monitor Stand

Apple just announced a $5,000 computer screen that doesn’t come with a stand. Instead, the stand costs an extra $1,000.

It’s not made of carbon fiber or encrusted with jewels. Though the stand seems to be perfectly nice, it doesn’t appear to stand out in any particular way.

It is exactly what it proposes to be: a computer-monitor stand.

 

This isn’t just bad marketing, this is really bad optics for Apple.

EBOLA !!!!

Ebola just spread into Uganda. It may soon become an emergency

Ever since the second-largest Ebola outbreak began raging in the Democratic Republic of Congo in August, health authorities have feared that the virus might one day spill over DRC’s porous borders.

That moment, unfortunately, has arrived.

On Tuesday, the World Health Organization confirmed the first cases of Ebola spreading from DRC to neighboring Uganda. A 5-year-old Congolese child traveled across the border with his family on June 9 and then sought medical care in Uganda. The boy died overnight. His 50-year-old grandmother was also diagnosed with the virus, and died a day later. Now the boy’s 3-year-old brother is being treated for the virus near the border.

According to the WHO, Uganda has been preparing for this moment. Health authorities there have vaccinated nearly 4,700 health workers in 165 health facilities (including the one where the deceased child was cared for). They’ve also set up Ebola treatment units to isolate and care for the sick.

Still, it’s a disturbing development in an outbreak that remains out of control. “This epidemic is in a truly frightening phase and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon,” said Dr. Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, in a statement. “We can expect and should plan for more cases in DRC and neighboring countries.”

Ebola is a horrible disease with a high mortality rate.

Ebola is mostly preventable by just avoiding areas that are likely to have outbreaks or avoiding contact with other people that may have had contact with people from potential outbreak areas.

Not too hard eh?

The US of A used to have incredibly efficient and effective way of preventing outbreaks here:

DON’T LET  INFECTED OR POSSIBLY INFECTED PEOPLE IN !!!!!

Good God, is that too hard to do?

It was until Obama was President.

Ebola evacuations to US greater than previously known

An undisclosed number of people who’ve been exposed to the Ebola virus — not just the four patients publicly identified with diagnosed cases — have been evacuated to the U.S. by an air ambulance company contracted by the State Department.

“We moved a lot of other people who had an exposure event,” said Dent Thompson, vice president of Phoenix Air Group. “Many times these people are just fine, they just had an exposure. But you have to treat it as though the disease is present.”

How many exposed patients have been flown from West Africa to the U.S.? Thompson said medical privacy laws and his company’s contract with the State Department prevent him from revealing the figure.

“I’m not avoiding it,” Thompson told Yahoo News. “I’m just not allowed to talk about it.”

 

WHY ARE YOU IMPORTING A DEADLY COMMUNICABLE DISEASE AND FLYING THEM AROUND THE COUNTRY??

There is no cure for Ebola.

From the CDC:

Treatment

Symptoms of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) are treated as they appear. When used early, basic interventions can significantly improve the chances of survival. These include:

  • Providing fluids and electrolytes (body salts) through infusion into the vein (intravenously).
  • Offering oxygen therapy to maintain oxygen status.
  • Using medication to support blood pressure, reduce vomiting and diarrhea and to manage fever and pain.
  • Treating other infections, if they occur.

Recovery from EVD depends on good supportive care and the patient’s immune response. Those who do recover develop antibodies that can last 10 years, possibly longer. It is not known if people who recover are immune for life or if they can later become infected with a different species of Ebola virus. Some survivors may have long-term complications, such as joint and vision problems.

Therefore, Ebola can be treated in place, rather than transporting thousands of miles.

We know some things about Ebola, and certainly not everything.

DON’T TAKE CHANCES !!

The Google Fascists

The Google Fascists (no better word to describe them)

https://spectator.org/the-google-fascists/

The story is pretty simple.

Google (and Liberals and other monopolistic tech companies) deny bias against non liberals.

Proof of the bias is given.

Google censors the proof.

The irony, it burns.

Until the 2020 election is over:

RELEASE THE KRAKEN AND SCORCH THE LAND !!!

Just How Stupid Are Facebook Users????

Facebook uploaded email contacts of 1.5m users without consent

 

Facebook has admitted to “unintentionally” uploading the address books of 1.5 million users without consent, and says it will delete the collected data and notify those affected

The discovery follows criticism of Facebook by security experts for a feature that asked new users for their email password as part of the sign-up process. As well as exposing users to potential security breaches, those who provided passwords found that, immediately after their email was verified, the site began “importing” contacts without asking for permission.

The issue was first noticed in early April, when the Daily Beast reported on Facebook’s practice of asking for email passwords to verify new users. The feature, which allows Facebook to automatically log in to a webmail account to effectively click the link on an email verification itself, was apparently intended to smooth the workflow for signing up for a new account.

 

OH DEAR GOD !!!!!

How could any person be so stupid to give their email password out???

But the real shame is on FACEBOOK !!

How many people in their organization knew of this, allowed this and accepted this idea???

CAVEAT:

I have a Facebook account only because it is the only way I can keep in contact with a few people.  Otherwise, I would never go near Facebook.

 

Blink Camera Review

I live in a nice neighborhood but I always do have concerns about the possibility of ne’er-do-wells being on or near my property.   And it’s an extra concern when I am away on vacation.

I’ve worked with video surveillance for the past 20 years and am well acquainted with video systems and have always wanted to put cameras on my property, but since I live in an old brick house and it is impossible to run power to the cameras.

But the great thing about technology is that it’s moving forward fast !!

So the first major requirement is to be battery operated.  Cameras work on low voltage, but battery power is very limited.  I looked around quite a while and found several possibilities, but they either required a payment for online storage or were too expensive.

I spoke to a coworker about home security cameras and he told me he had a Blink system at his house and found it to be quite capable.  There is of course a phone app and he showed me the quality of the video and it was quite acceptable.  It ran on two lithium AA batteries and the claim was that the batteries could last up  to two years.  It also had free online storage !!! It was limited storage but I would not have a need to retain historical video.

The cameras are indoor/outdoor and a three camera package ran around $300.  I was willing to spend $100 on one camera system to test on my house.

It took a few weeks to get the camera mounted in the right place with the right angle to record what I wanted, but to not record unnecessary video that would waste the batteries.  One of the most limiting parts of this camera was the fact that you could not “mask” areas so that motion would not trigger recording. You were only able to adjust the sensitivity based on distance.

BUT !!!!!

About a month ago Blink put out an update that allowed basic masking !!!

Woooooo!

Below is a good example of daytime video:

Below is an example of video at nighttime:

I even caught some “wildlife”:

 

 

Bottom line.

This is a fine camera for the price.

The good news is Blink is owned by Amazon, so there is a good chance the the camera system won’t be obsolete quickly but the bad news is Amazon owns Blink.  (really not a huge fan of Amazon and it’s Liberal ideas/values/agenda)

Tesla Fails !!! (Again)

 

Tesla Fails (Often)

Tesla Fails (Still)

Tesla Fails (Of Course)

This list could go on for a very long time.

When your business model is based on a product that few people want, few people can afford and only exists because of tax payer subsidies, it’s going to be hard to be very successful.

“Tesla Model 3 Delivery Delayed Again”

“The new Model 3, crucial to the company’s success, won’t hit full-scale production until the end of June, Tesla said last week — nearly a year after the company began manufacturing the car in small numbers.”

“Throughout last year, Tesla CEO Elon Musk trumpeted a production level of 5,000 a week by December 2017. In November, he pushed that goal to the end of March 2018. Now that target won’t be hit until the end of June. The electric-car maker said in an online statement January 3 that it expects to produce 2,500 a week by the end of March.”

“Only 1,550 Model 3s were delivered in 2017’s fourth quarter. That’s on top of the 220 Model 3s the company delivered in the third quarter, for a total of just 1,770 since the first deliveries in late July.”

 

Goal of 5000 a week and actual delivery of 1550 for a quarter.

Missed it by that much……………

 

Tesla can best be summed up with this Monty Python bit:

Good Bye Old Friend !

It’s with deep sorrow that I have to report that I will be losing a good friend:

Old_Friend

HP Pavilion a1224n:

519K P4 Pentium

1 GB Memory

220 GB HD

I bought this desktop at the end of 2005.

I left out the best attribute of this computer:

Windows XP !!!!!

I love Windows XP and in my life of being a computer user, XP has been and will be (for quite some time) my favorite operating system.  Do people remember Win 98 and ME?????

My XP computer works well for most of what I do with it.  It is  however under powered for watching Netflix online, Youtube, listening to Old Time Radio, Mark Levin and other activities like that.

Did I mention that I love my XP?????

I work for a large company and quite literally, I was the very last person that had an XP machine sitting on my desk when the company was forced to “upgrade” to Win 7.  I do a very esoteric job and a lot of it involves using recorded video from some very,very old video systems that we once had and still use.  There are a number of programs I use daily that are less than fully compatible with Win 7 which adds to my daily grumpiness at work.

 

With the retirement my my XP desktop, I have a couple of options.

  1.  Get a new desktop
  2.  Get a docking station for my $#@%! Win 8 laptop

Getting a new desktop really isn’t in the budget right now and I don’t have enough Amazon gift cards saved up to get a desktop through Amazon.  I would  also prefer not to buy a big ticket item through Amazon after a couple of “poor” experiences and the fact that it’s hard to find a really good deal that would be less cost compared a sale at a local big box electronic store.  I do what shopping at Amazon mostly because I can get free Amazon gift cards.

There are several downsides to the docking station idea as well. One is the cost.  Getting a decent docking station would cost  a large percentage of getting a new desktop along with the idea that the docking station would be a short term solution.  The second is that most of the better docking stations seem to not do well with $#@%! Win 8.

Whether I go with option 1 or option 2, I will have to get new software as well.  I currently use Quicken 2003 for my bookkeeping and it works just fine.  But, Quicken 2003 will not load on my $#@%! Win 8 laptop.  Quicken 2005 will also not load on that laptop and despite Quicken 2008 being able to load, it will not upload/convert my Quicken 2003 data file.  The good news is that I will soon by my TurboTax for the year and very often, the big box computer store will have a deal when you buy several Intuit products at the same time.

Sometime this week I will stop on my way home from work at the big box computer store and get the most recent version of Quicken, and then I can retire my buddy, the XP machine.

 

But XP will live on !!

I still have an XP laptop that is still pretty darn good ! (except the “a” and “s” keys keep popping off.)

I Stimulated The Economy

Below is a photo of my “Family Truckster” (Chevy Chase/ Vacation reference).

A 2004 with 150,000 miles on it.

For me, a vehicle is just transportation.  I don’t try to make a statement with it or any attempt for it to be an “image”.

I never “needed” a pickup for my job that I have today (I had a pickup supplied by the construction company I worked for years ago) but it has been very useful to have when I did any home improvement projects or to pick up “curb treasure” for my wife, carry my bicycle around or just to toss the fishing poles in.  You’d be surprised to see how many tables, dressers, chairs, cabinets etc we’ve found that we’ve either resold or repainted that have come via curbside.

Truckster

Below is my new car that I traded The Truckster in for.

I really didn’t want to have to buy a new vehicle, but it was time.   In this  Obama Economy, my money is tight, really tight.  This will be the second year in a row that there will not be merit raises.  The Truckster got about 19 MPG and I knew (because I am compulsive about tracking my expenses) that I spent quite a bit of money on gasoline, but The Truckster was paid for and it didn’t really make too much sense for me to trade better mileage for a car payment.  We haven’t had a car payment in our household for over 6 years.  But I needed new tires and it was going to need brakes sometime this year and I just couldn’t be sure that The Truckster wasn’t going to go “Bluesmobile” on me at any moment flying down the tollway !

Car_001

The only way I could make this deal work is if I save a lot of money on gas.  The Chevy Cruze is rated to get 38 MPG on the highway.  60 of the 66 miles I drive daily are on the tollway and is a small blessing considering how much I would have been spending on gas if I had “city” driving instead.  Worst case scenario, if the new car “only” gets 30 MPG, I should still be saving about $100-$125 a month in gas costs and that is a third of the car payment.

Now, being the notorious cheap bastard that I am, I have in the past year and a half cut out as much as I can from the family budget, and it’s still going to be a stretch to “find” the rest of the money for the car payment.  Several good things are that we do not have any credit card debt and I can at least count on not having any major repair bill on The Truckster.

Well, I’ve had the car now for two weeks and have driven to work 10 times.  I got gas after the first five trips to work, but since I wasn’t sure how much gas the dealer had put in, I couldn’t be sure how accurate the numbers were going to be but it did figure to be 33 MPG which I thought was good, but considering I drive the optimal conditions for achieving the highest EPA rating, I thought that it should have been better. (Phew, feel like I pulled a Hemingway with that run on sentence!!)  The wife did make about 50 miles of city driving trips that surely lowered the MPG.

Below are some calculations on the second tank of gas.  This time there were very few superfluous miles added on.

Gas_001

Bottom line is that I got over 36 MPG and saved $33 !!

Very, very happy about that.

My biggest long term concern was going to be how comfortable the seat is.  I am a full figured gentleman and some 17 years ago had a L5 Microdiscectomy.  I feel best when I can sit back /thighs/legs all being at 90 degrees and the bench seat in The Truckster was great for that.  But as it has turned out so far, I have been able to adjust the bucket seat in the car so that it has not been an issue.

I also have to say that I am very impressed with what has been done in the past 30 years with small car engines.  This car has a 1.4 liter engine, and it is not lacking in the “giddy up, go” department.  This was the last 1.4 liter car that I drove:

Little dead chevette

Little dead chevette

My mother came home one day in 1978 with a used 1977 Chevette. The only thing worse than a 1977 Chevette was a used 1977 Chevette.  This actually isn’t the worst car that my mother brought home.  She out did herself with a 1980 Chevy Citation.

Well, I guess Disney is off the list for this year.

60 more payments and it’s all mine !!

#@&!&^ Windows 8 !!!!

Ok, the good news is that I got a new laptop (the better news is that it was free and you all know how I like free).

The bad part is………..

No, check that the really, really, really bad part is that it has Windows 8.

Go out and find 10 thesauruses and look up all of the synonyms for “crap”.   That would sufficiently be my opinion of Windows 8 Metro.

I had read many reviews of computers with Windows 8 and while there were a few (very few) good reviews, the most were not favorable.  Now, I would consider myself to be at least, an above average computer user.  I survived ME, 98, 2000 and I have tolerated Vista.  But Windows 8 is the worst of the lot.  Windows 8 Metro was obviously designed for touchscreens which would be just swell if I had a tablet or a smart phone.  Hey Microsoft !!!!!!  I want my laptop to be a productivity tool, not an entertainment center.

My recommendation would be to NOT by a computer that has Windows 8 on it.

Now, if you are interested, this is the laptop I got for free:

Toshiba Satellite C855D-S5320

http://www.toshibadirect.com/td/b2c/retail-product.jsp?poid=2000039904

I got it mostly for the internet and the history and genealogy projects that I am always working on.

Now, how I got it for free.

There is a search engine that I use called “Swagbucks.” (Completely free)  I can earn “Swagbucks by just using their search engine and then use them to purchase Amazon gift cards.  Since 2010, I have earned over $300 just from the Swagbucks site.  There also have been a number of survey groups that I had participated in (still currently belong to one that I can get $10-$15 every three months).  All told, since 2010, I have earned close to $1,000 in Amazon gift cards.

If you are interested in “Swagbucks”, you can use this link to sign up (and I do get a kickback for it).

http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/duckman2000

Who Has An IPod Touch??

My nine year old daughter has a number of friends that have an IPod Touch and of course she thinks that she must have one also.  I personally don’t think that a nine year old needs to have electronic communication devices.  The last thing my daughter needs to be doing is calling or texting other nine year olds.  She does have fun running around with one of my old cell phones and taking pictures and shooting videos with it.

Is an IPod Touch something that my daughter would be able to get good use of even if it was not used very much for communication or internet use? (some internet use would be acceptable)

Target has an IPod Touch 4th gen on sale for $195 (with a $50 Target gift card)

AT&T Customer “Service”

Ok, here are the prelims:

I have had AT&T services for over 20 years.

Land line

DSL

Wireless phones

I pay about $140 a month to AT&T for these services.

A few months ago I saw that AT&T raised my DSL price from $30 to $33.  I personally think that DSL/internet service is worth about $25 to me.

So at that time I went on to their website and tried to get my price lowered.  Currently DSL is being offered for $14.95.  AT&T makes it a little hard for a customer to make contact with them for help.  I finally got around to making a serious effort to work out this issue.

In the first place, I had to go through 4 different customer service reps to get help.  I explained to “Maurice” that I was a long term, multi service using customer and that I would like to have my DSL cost reduced.  Well, I was told that only bundlers getting U-Verse service qualify for the $14.95 price.  I asked if there was a supervisor that I could speak to and “Maurice” said “Yes, but he will tell you the same thing”.

After a couple more minutes of chit chat, “Maurice ” told me that what he could do for me was to give me a $5 a month credit, lowering my DSL to $28.   With no other options, that’s what I accepted.

I’m not happy with AT&T

“We Don’t Care. We’re the Phone Company. We Don’t Have To”

I Got An “I Phone” !!!

 

OK, well, I found an I-Phone today.

I took a day off of work and was out for an early morning bike ride and there it was on the ground.  I found it waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy out on a country road where you wouldn’t be unless you knew where this road was.

I have no idea about how an I Phone works (I guess that makes me on par with President Obama)

Looks like the little rubber protector thingy didn’t work very well.

Is there any way to get data off this phone to find the owner?