Sunday January 7, 2018

It was 5 degrees, sunny, and calm when I took Colin out at 8:15.

Frances and Al checked on Bob yesterday.The nurses said he had a good day. I need to be in Winston Monday morning. The weather forecast for here is calling for a chance of something frozen to fall tonight or in the morning. Al is coming up to stay with Colin when I head to Winston to visit Bob and stay over with Frances. Hopefully we will get Bob moved to rehab sometime tomorrow.

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44 Responses to Sunday January 7, 2018

  1. Mat Lemmings says:

    Very best of luck for tomorrow, Barbara.

    Another step on the road to Bob’s full recovery.

  2. CowboySlim says:

    Yes, best of luck for Barbara and Bob.

    @ nick, WRT OFD, are you able to access my email address so that I may return OFD’s. If not, I’ll post another for redaction.

  3. Greg Norton says:

    Jerry Pournelle used to post about the astronaut passings. It seems strange not to have his comments about John Young this morning.

    https://www.cnn.com/2018/01/06/us/john-young-obit/index.html

    Young at the 25th anniversary of STS-1.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HVd2Xh98uw

  4. Nick Flandrey says:

    Great news Barbara, continuing improvement! And it’s good to have good friends…..

    n

  5. ech says:

    Young was a great pilot. He was on the first Gemini mission and the first Shuttle mission. On the latter, it was a spacecraft that had never been launched before.

    He was involved with one project I worked on and I found him to be smart, professional, and great to work with.

  6. ech says:

    On a happier note, our kitchen cabinets are being installed and should be done by Tuesday. Then we get the granite measured, cut, and installed, followed by the appliances. I hope we’re done by Friday.

    On an unhappier note, my PC failed. I bought a new MB, CPU, memory, and power supply, but they won’t boot. So off to Microcenter this AM to troubleshoot.

  7. Vince says:

    Continued prayers and best wishes for Bob, Barbara and OFD.

  8. Nick Flandrey says:

    @ech, I feel you on the pc issues. I’m trying to sort out several issues I’ve let go, and add some things I put off.

    One of those things is having a pc/media player on the tv in the bedroom. While I was testing the little pc for my dad, I got used to having one in the bedroom to watch youtube before bed. I didn’t want to spend the $150 if I didn’t have to, and if I get a good cheap solution, I could put it in the living room too.

    I have some mini-pcs from Acer that should do the trick, so I installed win10 on one and the for laughs, Kodi on the other. I really like the Kodi install and idea, but the execution is not quite there. (kodi is the continuation of the XBMC project, or an open source media box that runs on just about anything.)

    It’s quick, and responsive on the minimal hardware, which is not to be said for win10. And I dont’ want to buy win10. My only issue with kodi is the youtube app looks terrible and doesn’t display thumbnails or meta data for the vids.

    This is clearly one of the ‘good fast or cheap, pick any two’ problems. I could just buy the $150 win10 box and be done. well, done except for the constant attention win10 needs, the ads, the spying, and all the tweaks to the UI to make it tolerable. Or I can keep poking at Kodi (some online info about reverting some changes they made that broke the functionality.)

    My desk pc needs me to get off my duff and move the NVR and cams to another machine.

    My wife/kids All-In-One either needs replacing (new machine has almost identical spec so that’s not promising) or I can install an ssd and do all the cloning, etc to get that working. I think the ssd would make a big difference in speed and usability. I’ve already cleaned off as much as I can.

    I’ve got backups to pull, network changes to make, vonage to replace, and a WAP to replace.

    And I no longer think of computers or pc support as a hobby, but as a tedious chore.

    nick

    OH, and congrats on the recovery progress!

  9. CowboySlim says:

    @nick: Try “[redacted]”

  10. CowboySlim says:

    @nick: Replied!

  11. Ray Thompson says:

    I think the ssd would make a big difference in speed and usability

    It will. Had a small, low end, laptop that was given away during a dog and pony show by a vendor. About the slowest and cheapest they could find. Really ran poorly. I removed the hard disk and put in a SSD. It was like a new machine. Responsive, fast, and just worked so much better.

    Boss had a MacBook Pro that was getting a little long in the tooth. He wanted more speed. I convinced him to get a 500 GB SDD. Made a world of difference. Machine was now faster than of the offerings from the Apple showroom.

    In my opinion replacing spinning platters with a SSD is the biggest improvement you can make to any system.

  12. jim~ says:

    Ray, I’m with you on that regarding SSDs. Especially laptops, which tend to brag about size, but run at 5400 RPM.

    If someone is doing research, post results here. My criteria right now is about 1Tb and reliability. Cost is secondary.

    Cowboy, send me an email! c**l*yji*@gmale

  13. SteveF says:

    @gmale

    Did you just assume that account’s gender?

  14. CowboySlim says:

    had to add “.com” to address, or c**l*yji*@gmale.com.

  15. nick flandrey says:

    Just repaired a samsung galaxyTab 10.1 that I bought for a few bux at goodwill.

    Seems that if the battery level falls too low, the internal charge controller won’t allow ANY charging. This can happen if the unit sits unused too long.

    The only recourse is to attach an external charger to the internal battery and charge it up past the cutoff point. Fortunately a guide is online, and a suitable charger is only about $2 on ebay.

    I’ve soldered on the charger and recharged on unit. It’s factory reset and updating now. Sweet! The other one I got cheap is on the charger now. Hopefully that one will be recoverable too.

    I love fixing things!

    n

  16. jim~ says:

    @Nick
    I’ve had a Galaxy 10.1 (4, I think) SM-T531 for ages and never heard of that. Sweet little tablet.

    Battery is losing its ooomph and I’d like to replace it. If you have a link handy, it’ll save me some searching.

    Oh, a tip: put a drop of hot glue gun gunk on the topside of the charging plug so you don’t force it in wrong. I’ve read that’s a really common cause for an expensive repair.

    @Stu
    You got it. Send me something! Your old address bounces.

  17. ech says:

    I have 2 SSDs in my desktop system. One has the OS and programs like Office, etc. The other has nothing but MMOs and other games. I use a hard drive for paging. Makes things much, much faster.

  18. nick flandrey says:

    @jim~ Youtube has a bunch of vids, just search for gtab batt replacemnt -spell it all out

    The USB port is straightforward and cheap too, I did the other one, thinking that that might be the problem. The kindle fires have the same problem with USB, you CAN force it in upside down. There are lots of repair parts for them too.

    i love it that there are repair vids and parts available for so much of the consumer crap. I’ve replaced batteries, a nintendo DS screen, USB ports, and of course recapped lots of boards. I also love it that there are people FIXING this stuff that was never designed to be fixed.

    It would be better if it didn’t need fixing, but we’ve got ridiculously low prices on consumer products when you consider what you are getting. And there are ways to fix the stuff.

    nick

  19. medium wave says:

    @Nick: Never received an email from you, although since @jim~ got OFD’s home address from @paul that issue is moot. For future reference, those are two zeros and not capital O’s preceding the @ sign in my email address.

  20. nick flandrey says:

    @ech, is your HD smaller and fast or just an ordinary drive?

    n

  21. MrAtoz says:

    I also love it that there are people FIXING this stuff that was never designed to be fixed.

    ifixit.com has lots of guides and vids on repairs. A lot of Mac and iPxxx stuff, but a section on Android. I’ve purchased some repair tools from them in the past.

  22. lynn says:

    “FAIL: NOAA’s winter climate outlook claimed ‘warmer than normal’ temperature”
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/01/07/fail-noaas-winter-climate-outlook-claimed-warmer-than-normal-temperature/

    “Global warming/climate change advocates want us to believe that computer models will accurately predict temperature out to the year 2100, yet NOAA, which uses computer models to predict the next seasonal outlook, couldn’t even get that right. The north, northeast, and deep south have been in a deep freeze, with blizzard like conditions, and well below normal temperatures. Temperature records have fallen all over the eastern half of the USA in the last two weeks. Meanwhile, advocates of global warming/climate change certainty, such as Al Gore and Michael Mann, took advantage of the cold snap and said have said “that’s exactly what we should expect from the climate crisis“.”

    If you can’t predict the current winter, how do you predict the next 100 years ? And don’t give me that weather not equals climate argument.

    If I told my customers that my simulation software was no good for the immediate future but was exact to five or six digits for the next 100 years, I would be laughed out of business.

  23. Greg Norton says:

    In my opinion replacing spinning platters with a SSD is the biggest improvement you can make to any system.

    If you need extra storage or cost is an issue, I’ve had a decent experience with the 1 TB Firecuda SSHD in an old MacBook Pro that I run as a Windows 7 machine. The jury will be out on that for a while.

    I put a desktop size Firecuda in my wife/kids PC a few weeks ago. It is a long term experiment since nothing mission critical goes on that system.

  24. SteveF says:

    If you can’t predict the current winter, how do you predict the next 100 years ?

    Now, see, questions like that are going to get you shouted down as a science denier, if not a Nazi.

  25. SteveF says:

    By the way, I’ve seen claims that the Old Farmer’s Almanac, derided though it constantly is, is approximately as accurate as the “professional scientists”. The OFA’s predictions are 4-16 months out from when they go to press and the professional scientists’ “coming season” predictions are about 3 months out. (Note that I haven’t verified the relative accuracy myself, just seen others’ work about how far off they were in predicting temp, rainfall, etc.)

  26. ech says:

    Is your HD smaller and fast or just an ordinary drive?

    I use the hard drive for paging because my C: drive SSD is an older one and I was concerned about drive life. They are cheap enough now that I may move the page file back on if there is enough space left on it. The other SSD is getting tight on space, as some of my games are pretty big.

  27. jim~ says:

    @Nick
    I generally hate YouTubes because they’re so damned long-winded when reading a page goes so much faster. I did the hot glue gun trick starting with my first Kindle and have never had to replace a receptacle on them or any USB thingamabob.. I have replaced a few screens, though. Wasn’t all that hard. I think my finest moment was replacing the camera in a smartphone. The camera etc. cost me something like $5 on eBay and worked (or still works?) like a charm.

    Next up is replacing the screens on a bunch of old, but identical laptops. I think I have about five of the same model I picked up here and there. The stupid CPU fan needs replacing too, but it’s buried so deep I’ve shied away from it until now.

    @MrAtoz
    Yep, ifixit.com is turning into a nice operation.

  28. nick flandrey says:

    The trick is finding a good youtube of what you need. With the usb port replacement, the first couple were either too little or just gloss. I hit right arrow to jump thru pretty quickly. The one I found finally showed the critical step– release the flat ribbon cable. The comments were full of “I broke the cable clip” so I wanted to get that one right. Despite working on some REALLY expensive modern hardware, I had never seen this particular cable retaining clamp before. That’s the kind of thing you don’t get in the instructible…

    n

  29. jim~ says:

    @Nick
    Well, that tidbit alone is worth wading through YouTube.

    Ever tried to root it? I have a Samsung phone, also a bit old, but I’m too chicken to try. It would be nice to pare them both down to the bare essentials. Especially the phone: the volume is so low (for safety’s sake!) I can hardly hear it. I also want to edit the bloody HOSTS file.

  30. brad says:

    Rooting – coming soon. I have a cheap phone bought while mine was being repaired, so I’ll experiment with it first. Goal for this summer is a complete “googlectomy” – drop Gmail, Google business services, all smartphone services, everything.

  31. brad says:

    Follow-up to the “Googlectomy” post: I’m not quite sure what to replace Gmail with. We could just take an ordinary email account at a local ISP. Or we could go whole hog with ProtonMail.

    I like ProtonMail’s emphasis on security, but they may carry it too far: they only let you read email through their locally-installed client, which provides full encryption. The idea of ProtonMail is that your stuff is stored encrypted, and transferred to you encrypted when you read it. They do not support POP/IMAP, because those protocols do not support encryption natively.

    The alternative would be a normal mail provider with PGP / GPG. At present, I’m playing with the GPG plugin for Thunderbird. It’s nice, easy to use, but the only thing that gets encrypted is an email to/from someone else using it. Otherwise, all of your email is stored and transferred in plaintext.

    Thoughts?

  32. Denis says:

    “Otherwise, all of your email is stored and transferred in plaintext…”

    I am inclined to think that sending encrypted email pretty much guarantees that someone will attempt to decrypt it – it’s like sending your snail mail in a red envelope. If you think your encryption can withstand sophisticated attack, OK, otherwise, you’re asking for unwelcome attention. OTOH, one should assume that any and all plaintext mail is being parsed by all and sundry… snakes and ladders.

    Continued best wishes to Bob, Barbara and OFD!

  33. Nick Flandrey says:

    That’s my take on encrypted email as well. I don’t have anyone to exchange it with either! If one of the big platforms moved to routine encryption that would help with acceptance, but there is a perception that only someone with something to hide would use it.

    Of course, that could change in a short time, like the acceptance of Bitcoin.

    If you truly have something to discuss that must remain secret, you probably shouldn’t put it in email anyway. It’s just too easy to intercept. That said, any business that uses email FOR business should be using it routinely.

    I’d like to see all financial institutions and ecommerce platforms switch to encryption as a matter of course. No problem with spam or phishing if the keys don’t match….

    But, the realist in me says it’ll never happen because .gov wants to continue reading the mail, and the big platforms were all captured long ago.

    nick

    (and this is where OFD could/would chime in with some relevant info, as he was pretty far along on this quest, iirc)

  34. brad says:

    It’s not so much that I have anything to hide. It’s more that we know our governments lie and spy, legality be damned. The more encryption there is, the more cover for those who *do* have something to hide. Sort of a public service, if you will.

  35. SteveF says:

    Encrypted email is a pain because few systems support it properly and compatibly. Once you get GPG/Thunderbird set up correctly, you can then exchange email with others who are able and willing to use encrypted email … and then you discover an incompatibility between your system and their Outlook+plugin system. Or your email service adds a footer to the message or does something with line endings and your plugin can no longer decrypt. The message is readable, but only if you copy the encrypted block out and paste to a text file and then run command-line GPG to get the message. I’ve experienced all of those.

    As you say, there’s also the “notice me!” aspect. I’d like to see encrypted mail be the norm, the way HTTPS is becoming the norm — Google started pushing that because the rare HTTPS traffic stood out and invited TLA attention.

    Aside from all that, there’s the problem of searching your old email on your own system. If you knew one of your correspondents emailed you the best waffle recipe evah but don’t remember who or when and all you’re sure of is that the subject line didn’t have anything to do with waffles, you’re pretty well stuck. Thunderbird’s GPG plugin didn’t work with Thunderbird’s search last time I checked. (And I can’t check now because I don’t have any encrypted email in my local folders.)

    Bottom line, encrypted email would be nice to be usable and widespread, but I don’t see it happening unless Google or other major player gets their panties in a bunch because of government action.

    My workaround for the past few years has been to set up a private blog or forum server with a self-signed security certificate. The members of the conversation will hash out what needs to be hashed out, then I’ll shut down the system and, if desired, blob up the discussion, encrypt it, and email it to whoever wants it. This system works only in very limited scenarios, but it does work.

  36. SteveF says:

    The more encryption there is, the more cover for those who *do* have something to hide. Sort of a public service, if you will.

    Bingo. That’s one of the reasons I use the Tor browser. Little if any of my browser traffic is of much interest to anyone, but my traffic helps smear the trail of those who do have something to hide.

  37. lynn says:

    It’s not so much that I have anything to hide. It’s more that we know our governments lie and spy, legality be damned. The more encryption there is, the more cover for those who *do* have something to hide. Sort of a public service, if you will.

    It is none of the government’s business. They should have to get a warrant for each and every conversation and email that they view.

    Bunch of peeping Tom’s if you ask me !

  38. paul says:

    It is none of the government’s business. They should have to get a warrant for each and every conversation and email that they view.

    Yeah, good luck with that since NSA supposedly sucks down everything. Except Hillary’s missing e-mail. 🙂

    Anyway.

    A few years ago we had a storm pass by. Trippy to have rain coming in all of the windows at the same time. March? Warm enough to open the windows during the day. It passed, went up the fence line to tear up a few trees, hopped up and dropped again a mile away and well, he /had/ a tin shed for his tractor. A usable shed that is. Crumpled up 4o feet away not so usable.

    Plenty of tree damage here. Plus the pump house was crushed. We filed a claim on the insurance just to get help on tree clearing. Got a new roof out of the deal, too. The adjuster seemed amazed we had never filed a claim in almost 20 years.

    We went with a metal roof. That helped the A/C bill. That Summer we had a deck added to the front of the house. I wanted a covered porch at the back door… with enough room for a few pairs of shoes. We ended up with the front deck wrapping a walkway around to the back door. The roof was extended 4 feet on that side of the house to cover the walkway. Nice. The electric bill dropped another $50.

    The next Spring we had the walkway extended across the back of the house and a few feet past the bathroom window. While this project was being built, a lady from the county tax office paid a visit. Twenty years or so here and this is the first known visit. She asked “where’s the hot tub?” I almost went off.

    Never mind the hot tub went away three years before when my b’day present was a roll-off dumpster. I asked her “How do you know about a hot tub? Do you people trespass when folks aren’t home?”. She left very soon. I got all kinds of flack. But the valuation of the house went down a few grand. So, score one for me.

  39. paul says:

    Oh. In between adding the side deck walk way and the back deck walkway, I replaced the central air system. Had a good time! Did it all except connecting the Freon lines. I moved the outside unit out from under the bedroom window. If the hall bath had a window, there it is. Annnnnd… the bathroom window is now a door. That swings out from the master bath.

    Next project is the kitchen. After that we’ll be due for new carpet or whatever.

  40. lynn says:

    Never mind the hot tub went away three years before when my b’day present was a roll-off dumpster. I asked her “How do you know about a hot tub? Do you people trespass when folks aren’t home?”. She left very soon. I got all kinds of flack. But the valuation of the house went down a few grand. So, score one for me.

    The Fort Bend County Appraisal district has my swimming pool valued at $22,690 and my hot tub valued at $7,370. But they have not noticed the 455 ft2 addition built in 2015 yet. And yes, I get to pay property taxes on those at 2.38% per year.

  41. nick flandrey says:

    Of course our state income tax is 0,00

    n

  42. lynn says:

    Of course our state income tax is 0,00

    I will guarantee you that when, not if but when, we get a state income tax in Texas, that the property taxes will not go down.

    Do it for the children !

    Do it for the police officer pension plans !

  43. Miles_Teg says:

    I exchanged PGP encrypted messages with a friend for a while but we both lost interest.

    I think I once read that end-to-end encryption was intrinsic to IPv6. I wish that encryption just happened but I no longer give it much thought.

  44. jim~ says:

    @Lynn
    >>Do it for the police officer pension plans !<<

    This is why his Trumpness won't privatize the bloody Post Office.
    That, and its real estate. There's a huge parking structure at about 4th and Lander here in Seattle — supreme real estate! not far from Costco #1, and it's for Post Office employees.

    Would you care to guess how full it is on any given day?

    Even Bezos himself wouldn't (and perhaps couldn't) acquire the combined debt of all those naked civil servants, pensions and medical included, PLUS the equity and interest on the bonds we so merrily agreed upon years ago to 'improve' the Post Office.

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