Thur. Mar. 22, 2018 – I may have issues

Hey all, don’t know if my issues have resolved but here’s today’s open.

Got a bunch of stuff to do out in the real world today too, so don’t know if I can troubleshoot.

Page visits were down yesterday, so I know that at least some of you were still having trouble.

If you still have trouble connecting to the site, please email me at flandrey@aol.com and let me know. I may be a while responding. Please include browser and any addons you have installed.

Many thanks to Rick who has been chasing this.

n

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86 Responses to Thur. Mar. 22, 2018 – I may have issues

  1. Dave says:

    I had issues accessing the site Tuesday night until Wednesday around noon, but I haven’t had a problem since.

  2. Ray Thompson says:

    My issues disappeared about 6:00 PM yesterday. I am using the default Comcast DNS servers. I considered using Google DNS but Google makes a business model on capturing data from everyone. Maybe I am being an idiot in my limited paranoia but with the recent FB issues the less I let online entities know about me the better.

    Yes, I still use FB. Have some connections with family members and former exchange students thus FB provides that vehicle. I also post sports pictures for the HS students as most of them use FB. However the amount of information FB has about me is very limited and what FB does require is not available to the other users.

    What I don’t know with the recent revelations is how much of that information did FB release to Cambridge Analytica which subsequently violated FB policy by releasing (selling) the data to a third party. I don’t install any FB apps, avoid clickbait, and am generally very cautious.

    I suppose from the photos that I post it would be easy for FB or nefarious parties (Cambridge Analytica) to determine my location and movements. I do watermark all the photos as I know that once something goes on FB I have lost all control.

    I do have an IOT thermostat, a nice unit indeed. But it connects to the WEB for control over my phone and remote locations. The device also sends lots of data to EcoBee servers to allow reports that are quite detailed. Do I like it? No. But I think the benefits outweigh the risk. Apparently EcoBee support can see more data than what is available to the user. Ciphered this when I needed to contact tech support and they were able to read a lot of stuff from the thermostat of which I was unaware.

    I suppose this is the nature of things. The Nest thermostat is just as data intensive as EcoBee or Honeywell. Google, which owns Nest, is probably more intrusive because as I stated earlier Google is all about data. From my interactions with EcoBee I think I trust them more than Google, but not much.

  3. Nick Flandrey says:

    FB has way more data about you than you think as it tracks your interaction with all other websites if you are logged in to fb. Also correlates with sites you visit that have the fb “like” button.

    It looks like the democratic party also hoovered up (both senses) massive fb data on users and kept it to use.

    google knows everywhere you’ve been with your android phone, every search you make using them, across platforms, they keyword scan your email (gmail), and probably listen in to your phone, and certainly listen with their ‘assistants.’

    fb does much the same, as well as using the “quiz” data to profile you.

    n

  4. JimL says:

    24º and sunny here today. No snow at all, which is disappointing. Looking to break another record if we can. Who wants bragging rights?

    I saw the justhost page most of the morning. FlushDNS didn’t make a difference, so my nameservers had bad data, which I didn’t feel the need to fix. I’d use 8.8.8.8 as primary, but I like to use it in reserve & let my provider provide DNS in most cases. No worries, and thanks to Rick H for keeping on top of it.

    I’m posting the Bill of Rights on Facecrack right now – one a day. (Schedulers are nice). First got a lot of cheering. Second got more than a little sneering. Third went up at 6 this morning. I’m not commenting on them AT ALL. Just posting. I’ll see how it comes out.

    I’d still like to see the 17th repealed, but I won’t even comment on THAT one.

  5. Ray Thompson says:

    I log out of FB after each use, I don’t do quizzes, I have an Apple phone. I cannot avoid all surveillance but I try to do what I can. I know the cell phone companies have a record of everywhere I have been and would give up that data to LE for a bag of peanuts. The only way to eliminate this is to go entirely off-grid, live like a hermit, in some remote location in Alaska. That ain’t gonna happen as the spousal unit likes flushing toilets and Walmart.

  6. DadCooks says:

    Just now it took me 3 clicks of the “Reload current page” to get past the justtoast page.

    Getting access here yesterday was a complete exercise in frustration. All the past posts of yesterday dumped into RSS Reader over several times for short periods of time last night at various times. No rhyme nor reason.

    I have flushed DNS and everything else (including the toilet 3 times) and the same justtoast blank page keeps coming up.

    Let’s blame it on the latest Nor’ Easter, Global Climate Change, Sun Spots, and blck holes (sorry if anyone perceived a racial slur).

  7. DadCooks says:

    Comment editor flipping up an error page, so please excuse my errors in my previous post. It’s justtoast.

    3 tries to get this to post. justtoast.

  8. DadCooks says:

    BTW, the Austin Bomber tried to hide his tracks by turning off his cell phone when he wasn’t using it. Someone figured that out and then they just kept watch and got enough data points to triangulate him.

  9. Nick Flandrey says:

    So far today I’m reloading and commenting without issue.

    n

  10. Greg Norton says:

    BTW, the Austin Bomber tried to hide his tracks by turning off his cell phone when he wasn’t using it. Someone figured that out and then they just kept watch and got enough data points to triangulate him.

    Turning off the phone doesn’t really matter. You have to pull the battery, something that is becoming increasingly difficult as of late.

    Something is up this morning. News trucks are out in front of Austin PD HQ.

    My new job is in the old (70s) Southwest Bell switch building in Downtown Austin. I am, as they say, “In the center of it all.”

  11. Nick Flandrey says:

    as I sit here trying to get ready to go out, I am spinning the dial on my radio to check out my new antenna transmission line, and the added 10-15 ft of height.

    I have to say, it’s made a big improvement.

    I have been listening to sw programs on a TN station for the last two nights. They have been coming in consistently and loud for hours at a time. This is a big change. Alex Jones program coming in loud and clear, almost as good as commercial am broadcasting. (around 5 mhz for both)

    I have been able to hear hams on 20m during the day, which I couldn’t do before. Currently hearing canadian time signal on 14.670mhz, easily readable.

    I’d say the antenna is working well for receive at least, on 3mhz up to 20m at 14mhz.

    nick

  12. Nick Flandrey says:

    Jeez, listening to a guy on 20m whose gonna be 99yo in a week.

    n

    Says “It’s kind of shattering. I thought I’d be 16 yo forever but it doesn’t work out that way.”

  13. Clayton W. says:

    “It’s kind of shattering. I thought I’d be 16 yo forever but it doesn’t work out that way.”

    Just now figuring that out? 🙂

  14. Harold says:

    The “recent revelations” about FB came as no surprise to me.
    I worked at a data mining firm AdKnowledge for a while and know that FREE services like FB & GMail & Twitter & Google are ONLY about collecting information on users to sell to data mining firms. At AdKnowledge we used very specialized DB engines with one processor per disk to perform distributed queries accross huge data volumes. This technology is VERY effective in predicting customer preferences based on browsing history and email contents.

  15. Harold says:

    “It’s kind of shattering. I thought I’d be 16 yo forever but it doesn’t work out that way.”

    I never expected to live past 50. Never planned for it. Imagine my shock to be 66 this year and wondering what to do in my dotage.

  16. nick flandrey says:

    young at heart of a slow learner…. 😉

    n

  17. brad says:

    Just remember: growing old is mandatory: growing up is optional.

  18. Greg Norton says:

    I suppose this is the nature of things. The Nest thermostat is just as data intensive as EcoBee or Honeywell. Google, which owns Nest, is probably more intrusive because as I stated earlier Google is all about data. From my interactions with EcoBee I think I trust them more than Google, but not much.

    I regret installing a “smart” thermostat (Nexia) with the system changeout last summer. When the year labor warranty is up from the original installer in June, I’m going to solicit bids on standard programmable alternatives.

  19. JimL says:

    I have one “smart” device – Alexa. In my kitchen, which is isolated from the rest of the house. I have zero interest in turning off the living room lights from Pittsburgh or turning them on 5 minutes before I get home. I’ve never needed that functionality before. Why should I need it now? What good does it do for me?

    This coming from an early adopter of many technologies.

  20. Nick Flandrey says:

    “I’ve never needed that functionality before. Why should I need it now? What good does it do for me?”

    there is a long post in this, but got stuff to do.

    The established security (alarm) companies see home automation as the entre’ to the home, and desperately want some of the market. The innovators are looking for an exit plan, so that works for them. The reason they could innovate was the complete lack of understanding on the part of existing companies. There has been a huge wave of mergers and acquisitions in the surveillance, home automation, and home security markets (and pro markets as well.)

    Take video monitoring. Alarm companies STILL only offer it to SOME commercial customers (it’s called video verification in the trade) despite the desire to see who’s in the home and who’s at the door driving the creation and growth of ring, nest, and a host of others. Surveillance is still done VERY POORLY by the vast majority of installers, be they pros or DIY.

    Alarm cos are looking now to ‘convert’ DIY alarm and surveillance customers into “recurring monthly revenue” by signing them up for monitoring. That right there is why alarm companies won’t succeed. Their whole mindset and company structure is to milk the customer/cow monthly. Customers are tired of having their teats squeezed. Alarm cos are built on the model of installing some proprietary (but very simple) hardware ONCE and then collecting money in perpetuity. That is not how surveillance, or home automation works. Instead of being at the perimeter of peoples’ lives, you are at the very center of their homes. TOTALLY different mindset and requirements.

    Home automation rarely makes any sense for a normal size homeowner. If you are away much of the time, have rental tenants, limited mobility, there are a couple of things you might want. Most of the function is in your 20yo programmable thermostat. You can easily add the equivalent of the old rotary lamp timers for lighting control.

    Having said that, I have cameras, a video doorbell (that still doesn’t do all it promised), push button lighting control with one button presets in the ‘public’ parts of the house, and (added this year) the ability to program it or access it thru and app. My electronic door lock is NOT internet accessible.

    The cams run unattended. The lighting control was installed to overcome the deficiencies of a previous remodel that had -no shirt- 11 wall switches in the kitchen. Plus, I know a guy, so the components were cheap. The control isn’t “automation” unless we’re on vacation. The t-stat is the simplest one you can buy. I set it at 75F and leave it alone, unless we go on vacation, then simple turn down/up before we leave. The constant heating and cooling cycles are hell on your home and your gear.

    I used to have a bunch of x-10 stuff. Never really used it. Used to have a programmable t-stat. Kept setting it on “Hold”. Used to have a complicated programmed remote for the AV system. Have 2 now, tv and tivo. Get the bluray out when needed.

    Part of this is ‘the shoemaker’s kids go barefoot’ or ‘the carpenter’s house is never built’ because part of what I do for a couple of people is home automation/av control/cams. No interest in complicating my life, and that’s what it would do. For them, with their huge house, lots of sources and destinations, having a bunch of stuff controlled from Ipads makes sense. They still don’t have any lighting control though.

    So TL:DR – most people don’t need and won’t use more than the basics. There are a lot of companies and money chasing people in the marketplace. I think they’ll mostly not succeed.

    nick

  21. Rick Hellewell says:

    When a nameserver for a domain is changed, that change needs to be synced to all the DNS servers in the world. That is called DNS Propagation, and can take up to 48 hours depending on the DNS server that your ISP uses (or that you have set on your computer or local router).

    The nameserver for ttgnet.com was inadvertantly changed on Tue afternoon to the nameservers at JustHost. After your DNS server was updated, you started getting the JustHost ‘not found’ page.

    I fixed the error on Wed morning (about 9am PDT). That required another DNS Propagation delay.

    Changing your DNS server (on your computer, or your local router) to 8.8.8.8 (Google’s) would probably fix the error, based on the assumption that Google’s DNS server are more likely to get updated faster. (There are some other alternatives).

    Your local computer will use it’s DNS setting on it’s network adapter. If that is set to ‘automatic’, then the next device up the line (your router) will use it’s DNS server setting to resolve the domain name to the IP address. If the router is set to ‘automatic’, then the next device up the line (your ISP) will use it’s DNS server setting. (All of this assumes that you are not running your own DNS server like OpenDNS.)

    So, assuming that your local computer setting (and your router) is set to automatic, you are relying on your ISP’s DNS server to resolve the domain name to the IP address. And if your ISP’s server is ‘slow’ to get DNS record updates, the IP address you get may not be current – that is the “DNS Propagation” delay.

    I use the 8.8.8.8 setting (with a backup of 8.8.4.4), both of which are Google’s DNS servers (because I am not worried about any information gathering). It’s sometimes faster than an ISP’s DNS server, especially with DNS Propagation delays.

    There are various troubleshooting things you can do with NSLOOKUP and other tools. But I’ve found that setting my local DNS server to the above works just fine.

    Now, it is possible that you are connected to a compromised DNS server – there is ‘DNS Spoofing’ attacks that have been done. But, overall, using a manual setting for DNS on your computer (or your local router, if you want to have that setting for all your local devices) should fix any problems due to DNS Propagation delays.

    (/geeky stuff)

  22. Ray Thompson says:

    Just got a call from the son. His wife was admitted to the hospital as there are problems with the pregnancy. Something to do with the placenta. May have to do an emergency C section today or tomorrow. His first child, wife and I first grand child. The due date is still a month away. They are currently monitoring her and the fetus to determine the next course of action. Three hour trip to Nashville if we have to leave, which may be on sudden notice. Needless to say I am concerned and mildly upset.

  23. nick flandrey says:

    Well, it seems to be working now, but I’m still concerned that the elements of the justhost page were mostly not being served by the justhost domain; that my first element resolved the address correctly, but everyone after that seemed to fail; and I was using google dns servers….

    I’m VERY glad to have Rick looking after the tech end of this place!

    n

  24. nick flandrey says:

    @ray, prayers that there isn’t a medical emergency, and that she and the baby will be fine.

    Get your stuff ready anyway. I’m sure you and your wife will be a great support for them, no matter how it goes.

    nick

  25. nick flandrey says:

    and now, having started 3 robots on their tasks I REALLY need to get out of the house.

    n

    dish washer, clothes washer, and slow cooker. The normal robots are slaving away at their everyday tasks of heating water, and controlling the temperature of the air in the house.

  26. Harold says:

    I just finished a Novel “The Atrocty Archives” which is great fun for experienced IT folk with a demented SciFi bent. It’s a very British book with lots of Brit Speak for those who have spent time in the UK. It’s sort of a cross between the UK Register’s BOFH, MI5, and Lovecraft. It ranges from the horrors of a MS License Audit to an incursion of the Old Ones brought on by Nazi SS Thulian Survivors from an alternate dimension. The IT stuff rings so true on so many levels I found myself nodding “Yes, that the way it works”. Perfect recreational reading for this old IT survivor.

  27. lynn says:

    Dilbert, “Somebody unplugged the server”
    http://dilbert.com/strip/2018-03-22

    Heh.

  28. lynn says:

    _Back to the Moon_ by Travis Taylor and Les Johnson
    https://www.amazon.com/Back-Moon-Travis-Taylor/dp/145163773X/

    Book number one of a two book space opera series. I read the excellently printed and bound MMPB by Baen. I have the second book _On To The Asteroid_ and am reading it now.
    https://www.amazon.com/Asteroid-Travis-S-Taylor/dp/148148267X/

    In the middle of the 2020s, there is a space race back to the Moon with China, NASA, and an American private space touring firm. The book feels incredible realistic with all of the highly documented problems between the various space ships. And it is not very kind to China.

    Unfortunately, the book was published in 2010. Shortly after the writing, NASA dropped its goal of going back to the Moon and is now focused on going to Mars. Which, will probably never happen.

    My rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars
    Amazon rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (28 reviews)

  29. Ray Thompson says:

    Get your stuff ready anyway

    Leaving in the next couple of hours. Will need to spend the night in Nashville. Better to be there and not needed then to be needed and three+ hours away.

    Surprised me the son said we needed to be current on our Whooping Cough inoculations. I had a Tetanus shot about 5 weeks ago for a sliced finger and some stitches. Apparently it is a combination injection that includes Whooping Cough, commonly known as the DPT injection. Wife had hers about 5 years ago and the injection is good for 10 years.

    Pharmacist was able to look it up. Doctor’s office will not do the shot. Apparently all such injections for communicable diseases are reported and tracked by the state. Pharmacist was able to look up our records.

    So on the road in within the next hour, hoping for a good outcome. C Section does not worry me so much, baby being a day early and under stress is a significant concern. Good part is the DIL is in the hospital and both are being monitored. Neonatal medicine is amazing these days.

    Wish me luck, good fortune, prayers, Gregorian chant or whatever floats your boat.

  30. lynn says:

    My new job is in the old (70s) Southwest Bell switch building in Downtown Austin. I am, as they say, “In the center of it all.”

    Hey, I thought that building did not have any windows ? Can you see outside ?

    I have one employee in a interior office. The circular hallway goes around all sides of her office plus the bathrooms and server room are in the middle. She calls it the dungeon. I offered to move her to an outside office with two windows (I have three empties) and she refused to move. I hate managing people ! ! !

  31. JimL says:

    @Ray – our first child was a month early – wife’s water broke and Emma joined us that very day. Best day of my life, matched only by the arrival of our other two. (I was too inexperienced to be scared.)

    In any event – yes. Neonatal care nowadays is astonishingly good.

    And my prayers go with you.

  32. lynn says:

    Just got a call from the son. His wife was admitted to the hospital as there are problems with the pregnancy. Something to do with the placenta. May have to do an emergency C section today or tomorrow. His first child, wife and I first grand child. The due date is still a month away. They are currently monitoring her and the fetus to determine the next course of action. Three hour trip to Nashville if we have to leave, which may be on sudden notice. Needless to say I am concerned and mildly upset.

    Prayers offered. Having lost a baby during delivery 37 years ago, concerns are very real. But today’s diagnostic tools are so much better than then.

  33. jim~ says:

    My great-uncle invented the DPT shot. He was physician working at a pharma lab which made the vaccines. He hated to see kids go through three series of injections, so figured out how to combine them all. Took no credit, of course. Invented a lot of other shit you see everyday, too, and took no credit for them, either. He wanted them disseminated. Great guy — my hero.

    RBT used to have a wonderful argument for patent protection lasting only SO long, so that others might improve on the ideas once the initial spark had run its course and made a profit. God only knows how that plays out now concerning intellectual property: Edison might still be getting royalties on the incandescent bulb, and Gates on DOS.

  34. DadCooks says:

    Took 3 refreshes before justtoast gave me the correct page.

    Of worthy note, the justtoast landing page lights up all my adblockers and bad-site protectors with anywhere from 3 to 17 blocks. Occasionally I get a malware alert on the justtoast page.

    I use OpenDNS, setting not only in my router but also on every device in my house that connects to the internet.

    I understand the propagation thing, but I believe there is something else here. Don’t have the technical smarts to say exactly what it is, but the common denominator is justtoast.

    Just say’n.

    Now we’ll see how tries it takes this to post.

    4 tries and no post and again uBlock Origin, AdBlockPlus, and malware all lit up on justtoast.

  35. JimL says:

    @jim~ – originally patents were 14 years (7+7 for copyright). Now it’s 28. Copyright now seems to go on forever. In any event, the original intent was to allow the creator to profit from the original work, and society to benefit as well. The current system (forever + a lifetime) recognizes no benefit to society.

    (edit – correction of terms for copyright & patent.)

    So your uncle’s work is truly appreciated.

    As I recall, Jonas Salk did the same with Polio vaccine, and Sir Alexander Fleming made sure Penicillin was available patent free. Those are people that could have profited from their discoveries but chose to gift it to mankind instead.

  36. JimB says:

    FWIW, I have not looked at this site much over the past three days, but whenever I have, it has worked fine. This, mostly using my Android phone (AT&T) and just now my Linux desktop using Frontier DSL’s DNS servers. I often keep a Chromium tab on this site, but didn’t since a day ago, when I had to restart this system due to some pesky Mint updates, so I might have missed some outages. All hail to Rick H for his diligence.

    Also FWIW, I dumped Firefox a few months ago, when it seemed slow. Since I had migrated from FF to Chrome on my Android phone a few years ago, I decided to try Chromium on Mint, since that was in the repos. It does work a little better than FF, but has a few problems of its own. I started with Mosaic a while (!) ago, and have had issues with almost all browsers, especially with speed over a slow connection, and with underpowered computers. And, I rarely go to the big commercial sites. IMO, Chrome on Android is the best implementation of a browser on any platform. It is lightweight, and can maintain up to a hundred tabs for those of us who can’t be bothered to do much bookmarking. And, it renders very well, especially on a limited screen (ancient Note 3 that still rocks.)

    Back to lurking, but before that, many thanks (again) to all of youse who keep this place up. That’s not to say I don’t miss Robert, may he rest in peace.

  37. Greg Norton says:

    Hey, I thought that building did not have any windows ? Can you see outside ?

    Portions of the lower floors lack windows, but our office is fairly high. My guess is that customer service and accounting were here as well as switches.

    My wife says that the old Southwest Bell building looks just like the one her father worked in when he was on the payroll for Pacific Northwest Bell. The Bell System must have reused blueprints with minor changes for region.

    The building is notorious around Austin for having housed several non-PC telemarketing operations post-Southwest Bell, including (worst of all) the Texas Republican Party. Gasp!

  38. medium wave says:

    Stephen Hawking Is Dead, Not ‘Free’:

    “Does my wheelchair feel like a prison? Do I ever wish I weren’t disabled? Would I choose to become able-bodied if I could?

    “Those are a few of the things people have asked upon meeting me. My answer is always the same: a strong and unequivocal “no.” I’ve never fully understood the mentality behind the questions, much less the shocked reactions to my replies.”

    No sane person would actually think this way.

  39. CowboySlim says:

    @Ray,

    Hoping for the best! Realizing that being there for routine births of our two grandchildren was wonderful for the wife and I. Girl is doing well as sophomore in high
    school. Boy is senior in high school and admitted to a number of universities for next fall. He is focusing on Civil Engineering.

  40. ITguy1998 says:

    @Ray – best wishes for a healthy grandbaby. My only child was 5 weeks premature. My wife went into preterm labor 7 weeks early. She was admitted tot he the hospital where they stopped the labor and put her on bed rest. The insurance company wanted to send her home. Her doc (fantastic lady) was very insistent that she stay in the hospital. Between her efforts, and my multiple threats to sue them if ANYTHING happened, well, they said she could stay until 5 weeks before due date, which is apparently a low Rick for complications if delivered at that point or later. At 5 weeks to go, on the day, she was being discharged in the morning. She never made it. She went into labor and was wheeled into a delivery room.

    The delivery was perfect (wife had an epidural) and our son was healthy. He only spent 4 hours in the NICU for observation, and an extra day in the hospital for the same. Holy cow, he turns 14 in around 4 months. Time flies.

  41. Vince says:

    @Ray – hope everything goes well.

  42. DadCooks says:

    @Ray, prayers and hope for you, your wife, and your baby.

  43. nick flandrey says:

    In a meta sense, here are two examples of cognitive dissonance and not being able to see the forest for the trees. One from MSM and one from zerohedge.

    First, video of the las vegas alleged shooter just going about his business has been released. Listen to the anchors as they introduce the video, and the voice over, and listen to them afterwards.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=92&v=QELibKY2UjU

    During the voiceover the anchor makes declarative statements one after another that tell the official narrative. None of it proven. Then after the video they talk about how incongruous it is. How he seems so normal… how it doesn’t make sense. No motive. Holding two incompatible ideas in their heads at once- he’s the mass murderer, nothing makes sense with him as the shooter.

    Then this article, about Whole Foods execs leaving after AMZ bought it.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-03-22/were-losing-institutional-knowledge-wfm-executives-jump-ship-following-amazon

    ” “It makes it really difficult when you lose the institutional knowledge,” ”

    The article seems to see the departure of hostile execs as a bad thing, once again missing the forest for the trees. NOT ONCE that I can recall, has a big company bought a smaller company (because it was the best at what it does) and then NOT changed everything. Hostile execs and people who are rigid in their ideas are exactly who Bezos WANTS to have leaving.

    n

  44. Ray Thompson says:

    Update. Baby arrived and is doing well for being 4 weeks early. Lungs are the last to develop so Kaleb is on oxygen in NICU. Will be for a couple of days. Prognosis is excellent. Mother is sore from being cut open. Son just went back to see his son, wife is next, I am last. A major life event.

  45. nick flandrey says:

    Congratulations Ray, and to the new family! That is awesome news! The care and knowledge available for premmies is extraordinary these days. Best wishes to all involved!

    nick

  46. DadCooks says:

    Congratulations @Ray. Now, how is that college fund coming along?

  47. medium wave says:

    Excellent news, Ray!

  48. lynn says:

    Congratulations @Ray. Now, how is that college fund coming along?

    +1 and +1 ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

    And I like the name Kaleb. The kid won’t have four in the classroom with the same name like my son Michael did.

  49. lynn says:

    I am getting the Justhost website all over again !

  50. nick flandrey says:

    There are several Kaleb, Caleb, and other versions in my daughters’ classes. It’s very ‘of the mode’. Good solid name though.

    n

  51. Ray Thompson says:

    I have been informed it is Caleb, not Kaleb.

    Went back to see the baby. Darn near brought me to tears. Caleb looked so fragile but nurse said he is doing well. The making of a human, that tiny, is remarkable.

    College fund is not my problem. Good point about only one kid responding when the teacher shouts their name.

  52. Greg Norton says:

    Update. Baby arrived and is doing well for being 4 weeks early. Lungs are the last to develop so Kaleb is on oxygen in NICU. Will be for a couple of days. Prognosis is excellent. Mother is sore from being cut open. Son just went back to see his son, wife is next, I am last. A major life event.

    Congratulations!

    My son was born at 25 1/2 weeks gestation. Four weeks is serious, but the baby should be fine.

  53. lynn says:

    College fund is not my problem.

    Nowadays, it takes a village to be able to afford to get these kids educated. That is, if they are college educable. Some may want to do plumbing, A/C, cars, etc, etc, etc. Their choice.

  54. nick flandrey says:

    Instead of more shiny plastic cr@p, we ask the grandparents to give to the kids’ college fund. In our case, some sort of numbered program ?529? that has tax complications….

    n

  55. lynn says:

    Instead of more shiny plastic cr@p, we ask the grandparents to give to the kids’ college fund. In our case, some sort of numbered program ?529? that has tax complications….

    My parents gave my kids both Texas Tomorrow Funds. My son used half of his at TAMU and then cashed it out after USMC to help him buy a house. He finished his two degree at UofH on the GI Bill. And his Dad (yours truly) threw in a few more thousands).

    My daughter used about a 1/3rd of hers and TTF refunded the rest when she turned 28 (state law) with zero freaking interest. Maybe someday …

  56. MrAtoz says:

    Congrats, Mr. Ray.

    For the last several years, the “kids” in the family get collectible silver coins for Christmas. At least there will be some intrinsic value. I couldn’t help getting the “Captain America” coin last month. Cap’s shield in miniature. Curved and everything. Including a display box and special curved plastic coin sleeve.

  57. Vince says:

    @Ray – Congratulations!

  58. Dave says:

    @Ray,

    Congratulations! A friend just had his second grandson show up about that early, a week later, baby is now happy, healthy and home!

  59. Ray Thompson says:

    Four weeks is serious, but the baby should be fine.

    That is what the nurses and the ODGYN doctor have stated. I asked several questions while having the short visit. All were answered positively. Caleb is breathing on his but has oxygen added to make it easier on him. Watching that little chest heave, the tube in the mouth with blood (from the delivery), bubbles from the mouth (lungs were not expelled of fluid as in a vaginal delivery), is just difficult to watch. NICU nurses said that is normal and he is doing well.

    Caleb will probably have to be in the hospital for a week. Apparently they make remarkable progress in a week. The technology really helps with the monitoring, training and expertise of the doctors and staff. There were four other babies in NICU besides Caleb.

    At the hotel for the night, will visit again tomorrow, spend another night, then home on Saturday. Mother recovered fast from being totally knocked out. They have to deliver the baby quickly after the anesthesia so there is minimal impact on the child. Mother is in pain from being cut. Gave a drug that is several times more powerful than Morphine for the pain. An hour after delivery she was talking and in good spirits which improved remarkably after the pain killer.

    Mother still has not seen the baby. Maybe about 2:00AM when she will be able to walk. I think that is frustrating for her, father, grandparents all seeing the baby before her. She will probably go home on Sunday, baby will remain until next Friday.

    Still just a freaking miracle to produce a tiny human.

  60. lynn says:

    OK, this sucks. The wife went to test drive a 2018 Honda CRV today. Great car, great size, great fuel economy. No CD player. There are massive complaints on the intertubes about the lack of a CD player in Hondas.

    She is not buying a Honda CRV or Pilot. No CD player. She lives for her audio books from the library. Burning them to MP3 is not kosher. Maybe she will get a Toyota RAV4 or Highlander instead without the upgraded audio that drops the CD player.

  61. brad says:

    “…push button lighting control with one button presets in the ‘public’ parts of the house…”

    What I find odd with “home automation” is this: I had most of the advertised capabilities with X10 automation 30 years ago. Ok, there was no Internet, so no apps, but pre-programmed settings, stuff working on timers, central control from a computer – all that was possible. It was kind of cool at the time, but never really went anywhere.

    I’m with JimL: I just don’t see the need. It was fun to fool around with at the time, but I eventually got bored with it. If I want light, I hit a light switch. If I’m away, I can put lights on a timer with less effort that it takes to do the same in some crappy app with a crappy interface. I haven’t changed the program on our thermostat in years; why should I want to fiddle with it on an app?

    Video surveillance? I can see it for the outside doors. In the house, not so much. Anyway, video surveillance systems are (or should be) separate from home automation.

    Permanently-on microphones that send stuff to their mothership, like Alexa? Not going to happen. Anyway, I don’t really want to talk to the furniture – at least, I don’t want it answering back.

    I’m just not seeing a big market here…

    @Ray: Congrats, and best of luck to the family and the baby – glad the c-section went well!

    @Lynn: “I hate managing people ! ! !” Ditto. I’ve mostly managed to avoid having anything but technical responsibility on projects, which I’m apparently good at, even though I dislike “being the boss”.

    Anyhow, what I really wanted to say: We’ve had a RAV4 for years now, and we’re totally happy with it. Nice car, and where we live the 4×4 comes in handy in the winter.

  62. Greg Norton says:

    OK, this sucks. The wife went to test drive a 2018 Honda CRV today. Great car, great size, great fuel economy. No CD player. There are massive complaints on the intertubes about the lack of a CD player in Hondas.

    No aftermarket … or is the mandatory backup camera insanity an obstacle?

    My peeve is the push button emergency break on new cars, but CD player would be an obstacle for me as well.

    Some artists’ music doesn’t sound the same to me in MP3. My last album (Cats in Space “Scarecrow”) came directly from the artists in the UK because Amazon didn’t have physical media.

    (The big single from “Scarecrow” cr*ps on Facebook in the usual sly British way. People outside the US get it.)

    She is not buying a Honda CRV or Pilot. No CD player. She lives for her audio books from the library. Burning them to MP3 is not kosher. Maybe she will get a Toyota RAV4 or Highlander instead without the upgraded audio that drops the CD player.

    The Highlander is a bit bloated anymore for the size engines they’re putting into those. Take a long test drive or a loaner if they will give you one. Toyota is selling a ton of RAV4s for a very good reason.

    We miss my wife’s 4Runner. Once the Exploder is paid off, we will start looking.

    I have a 2001 Solara which will proabably require replacement this year unless I want to spend $1000 on power steering hoses to get the car through inspection. The Toyota service rep suggested finding a busy inspector who may overlook the hoses now that I have the fluid leak controlled with Stop Leak.

  63. Ray Thompson says:

    The Highlander is a bit bloated anymore for the size engines they’re putting into those

    I am on my second Highlander and spousal unit and I both like the vehicle quite well. Will be buying a third Highlander sometime around the 2023 time frame if they are still around.

    People must like them. The one I have now I bought used, found it at a Ford dealership, had just come off a lease. I had been looking for three months as had my regular Toyota dealer. Car Max had one but it was in Virginia and I would have had to pay shipping charges of about $450.00 whether I bought it or not. Used Highlanders in the three to four year old range are really scarce.

    I was looking for one with the V-6 engine in the limited edition, 2WD. The one I found was 4WD (sorry Slim, AWD). It does have a CD player that we never use instead opting for an iPod or Sirius/XM radio. I have not used a CD in a vehicle in 15 years.

    While looking for the vehicle we have now we drove several other brands and we both migrated back to the Highlander. The ride, the space, comfort and dealer support pointed us to the Highlander.

  64. JimL says:

    Even when a CD player is available I simply don’t use it. It takes 10-15 minutes for me to rip a CD, and I’ve ripped every CD I own.

    All of that, and I never listen to them anymore. It’s just easier to turn on the radio & listen to whatever comes on. If I want something esoteric, Amazon music, iHeartRadio, or some other app will have what I want.

    CDs are fragile, bulky, and limiting (in my opinion).

    I see CDs going the way of cassettes, which went the way of 8-tracks and am-only radios. It’s technology that has been superseded. Speaking of which, I replaced my AM-FM with a full-screen device for the backup camera I wanted to add. 3 months later I realized it’s FM-only. No AM radio.

  65. nick flandrey says:

    I’ve actually been listening to AM in the truck. We’ve got 3 AM stations that play indian and other “asian” music. Some of it is quite appealing.

    Otherwise I listen to XM, but I have to plug in the player in the pickup, so I only do it if I’m gonna be driving around all day.

    I do listen to CDs in the pickup.

    The radio in the Expy hasn’t worked in a while and I haven’t taken the time to figure out why. I have a backup for it if needed, but need to do the t-shooting. The silence is actually nice most of the time. If I’m sleepy, I pull up youtube on the phone.

    n

  66. MarkD says:

    @Ray, Congratulations. My daughter, now 35 was born 5 weeks premature due to a placenta previa. I had to take my wife to the ER three Saturday evenings in a row, and the third time they kept her. My daughter was born seven weeks later, tiny, but healthy. She did gymnastics until she graduated from high school, graduated from Penn State, and has two daughters of her own. It was nerve wracking, but turned out well. Modern medicine is a miracle.

  67. dkreck says:

    Congrats Ray. College funds worked well for us. FIL set them up for all three of his grandkids. We and my parents also added some over time. Worked out as my daughter graduated debt free with a BS in accounting. Been working over a year and getting ready to take CPA exam. Still has money in the fund to take care of that.

    We bought a Kia last year. Long time Honda devotee converted. Have the Optima sedan but know others with the SUVs and they all love them. Sportage is pretty much a CRV knockoff. Almost bought one. (those hampsters designs look good too). Radio. Sat, CD, aux input/usb, and bluetooth. I still mostly listen to OTA radio.

  68. DadCooks says:

    Kia Soul true story:
    Recently, my cousin was sitting at a stoplight in her new this year Kia Soul when a big SUV ran the light, broadsided a big pickup truck, the truck flipped into the air and landed on top of her Kia. Only damage to her Kia was scratched paint and a broken windshield, oh and she mentioned a “soiled” driver’s seat.

    There are a lot of good vehicles out there and many look the same. What is different is the quality of the dealership. Like it or not you’re going to have to deal with the dealership during the warranty period. If you buy your vehicle out of town, sure you can get it serviced at the local dealer, but trust me, you will probably not be satisfied with the service.

    So it was the dealership that determined that we would buy our Subaru Foresters from them. There were some features in other brands that would have been nice, but the other dealers were not worthy of my major investment.

  69. Ray Thompson says:

    +1 for the dealer. We have a Toyota dealership that I have used for 25 years. Trust them 100%. Told the salesperson that was looking for the Highlander for us that I found one at another dealer. He said fine. They would give us the same level of service. He had been looking for 3 months with no success.

    The dealer has messed up a couple of times and made it right at no cost to me. Even refunding the original service cost and giving me a couple of free oil changes. People make mistakes. The dealer owning up to the error, making it right, is the best answer. Fox Toyota in Clinton is highly recommended.

  70. MrAtoz says:

    I’m pleased with my Subie Outback. The Dealer was great and treated me like royalty. When they found out I was a Vet, they really went to work to get me 0% for four years.

    Every vehicle I’ve owned for years has had a CD player. I haven’t used any of them. I love XM/Sirius. My iPhone TuneIn radio app is also great. I use that all the time in rental cars now that I’m travelling a lot with MrsAtoz. I need to make a list of vehicles that have Apple Car Play. I prefer that to use Maps rather than built in nav which is mediocre in every car I’ve driven.

  71. ech says:

    I just finished a Novel “The Atrocty Archives” which is great fun for experienced IT folk with a demented SciFi bent.

    The whole series is really good. I’ve been touting it here for a while. The author worked in IT so it’s no coincidence that the POV character is named Bob Oliver Francis Howard.

    A friend of my daughter has an impressive home automation setup. She has Alexa set to control all her lighting, so when she gets a migrane she can tell Alexa. Poof, all the lights go red and dim so as not to make the migrane worse. I’ve got an Alexa and two outlet controllers. One is set to turn on a lamp by the front door, the other a lamp in the den that we turn on when watching TV. I can reach the other lamps from my chair, so this way I don’t have to get up to turn that one off.

  72. dkreck says:

    My son-in-law has the lighting down. Phillips Hue bridge and several bulbs, lighting strips and string lights(those popular retro ones that look like the ones every used car lot once had) over the backyard. All tied to Alexa and an Echo and Dot. Motion sensor in the hallway and a ring doorbell cam to top it off.

    I have the Hue bridge and some bulbs. One Echo and three Dots. A Zomodo four cam system with recorder. Just bought two Wyse cams. Mostly a great cam with a fantastic picture. Has some limitations but for a cam that cost about $35 (with mem card) a really good unit. Mostly use Alexa to control lights, timers and music.

  73. JimL says:

    That’s two of the things I _DO_ use Alexa for. Music in the kitchen when I’m baking and a timer. I can set two (maybe more) timers and not worry about messing up. “Alexa, set a rise timer for 90 minutes” and “Set a biscuit timer for 15 minutes”. The biscuits get made while the bread is on the first rise. Cornbread overlaps the end of the first rise and start of the second rise. Works great.

  74. lynn says:

    OK, this sucks. The wife went to test drive a 2018 Honda CRV today. Great car, great size, great fuel economy. No CD player. There are massive complaints on the intertubes about the lack of a CD player in Hondas.

    No aftermarket … or is the mandatory backup camera insanity an obstacle?

    No aftermarket addon that I can find. And the wife needs the backup camera.

    She goes through a library audio book cd a week. Ripping a loaner audio book is uncool in my opinion. Plus she is the opposite of techie and does not want to rip all of her audio books.

  75. lynn says:

    I’m pleased with my Subie Outback. The Dealer was great and treated me like royalty.

    I wanted her to buy a Subaru Forester. But the dealer is inside the secondary loop of Houston and a hike from here. We have Honda dealer and a Kia dealer five miles away and a Toyota dealer one mile away.

  76. JimL says:

    So you need a CD player. My thought is that they’re going to get rarer, and it seems I’m right.

    This article:
    https://thewirecutter.com/blog/add-cd-player-car-stereo/
    recommends a portable with a power adapter. That, or replace the head unit altogether. If you really like the Honda, those are probably the only two options.

    But boy does it churn me that it’s not even an option. That seems silly to me.

  77. lynn says:

    This article:
    https://thewirecutter.com/blog/add-cd-player-car-stereo/
    recommends a portable with a power adapter. That, or replace the head unit altogether. If you really like the Honda, those are probably the only two options.

    The Honda CRV does not have an aux input. They dropped that also. And I am not going to replace the indash stereo on a brand new car. My surfing last night come up with Honda says that invalidates the entire car warranty.

    And yes, Honda should have come up with a CD player that you can mount in the back somewhere. I would pay $200 or $300 for one as she likes the CRV very much.

    She is going to look at the Toyota Highlander and the Kia Sorento now. They both claim CD players on the base models.

    Thanks !

  78. Ray Thompson says:

    Get a portable CD player and one of those devices that transmit on an FM frequency.

  79. lynn says:

    Get a portable CD player and one of those devices that transmit on an FM frequency.

    Oh man, those sound like crap.

  80. Rick Hellewell says:

    How about a portable CD player, with speakers, headphone jack, and Bluetooth? https://amzn.to/2Gk1VN6 .

    Although I really like my 2008 Highlander. Has about 170K miles now, no issues other than new tires (just this week), replaced front disc/rotor last year, and a somewhat-irritating rattle in the right door that I haven’t been able to find yet. Gets 20mph. Has CD player (which we rarely use) plus easily accessible aux input jack (which I use for Amazon music on longer trips). Taking it on a trip to Utah next week; not worried if there is snow (we had it while living in Utah for 3 years before this move to WA).

    Very reliable, as have been all of my Toyotas (5 Camry’s over the year; the oldest over 225K miles; although one with 250K+ just killed a piston). All bought from National Car Rentals – happy with all of those purchases.

  81. dkreck says:

    Does the CRV have a media/usb port? I have a couple of portable cd/dvd units that I bought to use with computers that lacked cds. Media and power over the USB. Should work though I’ve never tried it. I’ve used media ports for charging so they have plenty of power. Biggest problem if you plug in a device most car players switch over to the device for input automatically. Does that to my phone when all I want is to charge.

  82. MrAtoz says:

    Well, Mr. Lynn, looks like you’re gonna have to rip CDs.

  83. DadCooks says:

    I miss my 8-track.

    Reminds me, I need to dig out my old CB radios and see if they still work.

  84. lynn says:

    Well, Mr. Lynn, looks like you’re gonna have to rip CDs.

    If we get the Honda CRV, yes. I am leaning towards the Toyota Highlander with the big four cylinder though. But she is going to go look at the Toyota Rav4 again.

  85. brad says:

    @Greg: I agree, a push-button emergency brake…isn’t. It’s nothing but a parking brake, if that.

    BTW, do American cars still come with the push-down, ratcheting pedals for emergency brakes? Those are almost as useless, since – to use them as brakes – you have to also use a hand to disengage the rachet.

    The whole point of an emergency brake is to have a cabled, mechanical system completely independent of all other car systems. I have actually needed an emergency brake. I was driving in normal city traffic. Pushed the brake pedal, and it went straight to the floor, what a wonderful feeling.

    Based on that experience, I would never buy a car with anything other than a hand-brake.

  86. Ray Thompson says:

    Oh man, those sound like crap.

    For music yes, although the newer models have gotten better if you can find a clear frequency. For spoken word is top-notch quality really required? It seems to me that quality that approaches old POTS phones systems would be good enough.

    The whole point of an emergency brake is to have a cabled, mechanical system completely independent of all other car systems

    The dual systems currently used in cars is supposed to eliminate the need for an emergency brake. Dual cylinders in the master cylinder, cross connections are supposed to make it much safer. About the only single point of failure is the linkage to the master cylinder. Sometimes even the emergency brake will not work due to corrosion making it difficult to activate.

    Most, if not all, of the auto makers call them parking brakes, not emergency brakes, the nomenclature that was popular in the ’60s and ’70s. Thus getting it out of peoples brains that it is an emergency brake. Even the warning indicator that the brake is applied in my truck says “Parking Brake” as the does the owner’s manual.

    Very reliable, as have been all of my Toyotas

    As have mine. I have owned six of them, two Camrys, two Avalons (both wrecked by another cretin), and two Highlanders. All have been excellent. One Camry had 24K on it when I purchased it, drove it until I had 150K, sold it to a friend that put another 75K on the vehicle before he sold it.

    All were well maintained at the dealer. Yeh, more expensive than an independent shop but I trusted the dealer. That was worth the extra cost to me.

    One time I took the ’91 Camry in because it was making a noise in a left turn. Dealer said they found nothing. Two weeks later I crawled under to change the oil and found the front axle boots split open and grease all over the wheel well. Took it back to the dealer ready to let them have a small piece of my mind. The service rep looked it, said “yep, we made an error”. Then stated they would replace the axle boots and CV joints at no charge for labor or parts as it was their error.

    Another time had the Avalon in for service. As I was waiting the service adviser came to me and said their was a baffle that was a tiny bit loose in the valve cover. Car was out of warranty but dealer said it would be covered by the dealer as it probably should have been noticed while the car was under warranty. Kept the car overnight as they needed to order the part and gave me a rental to use while my vehicle was repaired. No charge.

    Biggest problem if you plug in a device most car players switch over to the device for input automatically

    My F-150 does the same thing if I use the USB ports. Instead I an adapter from Anker that plugs into the power outlet (one of three in the truck) and will charge two devices. I also have a 110V outlet in the truck if I wanted to use my charging bank that will charge six devices.

    I am leaning towards the Toyota Highlander with the big four cylinder though

    Drive the six cylinder before you decide. Not a lot of difference in the mileage but the six has much more power when needed and will have a quieter ride with smoother engine noise. It was worth the extra cost to me. I have opted for the six in both of my Highlanders.

    Grandson is still in NICU and will be for a few more days. They have to get them feeding on their own. He took a little breast milk yesterday and they will try some more today.

    The delivery was C-Section and apparently a lot happens in a vaginal delivery that does not happen in a C-Section. In a normal delivery the compression of the chest expels fluid from the lungs and preps the lungs to start breathing. The compression also expels fluid from the stomach. None of that happened in this delivery. They had to force the infant to breath upon delivery (which is normal in a C-Section) and have to get the fluid out of the stomach. Takes special equipment and skills to make it all work.

    The more I have found out about this delivery is the mother was in significant danger. There was a condition present that was starting to cause her organs to shut down if not resolved. The only resolution to the condition is to remove the baby. She was at her regular weekly appointment when it was discovered and was immediately sent to the hospital for an emergency C-Section.

    She had thought about skipping her appointment because she was not feeling well and just go the next week. Had she done so she very well might have died. It was really a serious condition.

    I have also found out that an infant being delivered a month early is fairly common. And will not cause any problems in the development of the child. The technology and the knowledge they have today is simply amazing.

    Mother will leave the hospital probably tomorrow. Will pump breast milk and store it for use when the baby is finally home. Baby will not be released until probably this coming Thursday when he finally able to suckle on his own and take in nourishment.

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