Tuesday, 26 February 2013

08:11 – We dodged the bullet again. When I woke up this morning, it was pouring rain and one degree above freezing. Barbara made a flying visit home last night after work. We had dinner and then she packed work clothes and her gym bag for today and took off to head over to her parents’ place to keep her dad company overnight. She’s taking him to the doctor this morning to get the paperwork done that he needs to get Medicare to approve a scooter.

I didn’t get as many containers filled yesterday as I’d planned because I ended up having a lot of other stuff going on. For one thing, I discovered I was short of caps for the 15 mL bottles. My vendor sells bottles and caps separately, and the numbers don’t correspond. For example, the 30 mL plastic bottles come 1,500/case but the caps for them come 1,440/case. That’s not so bad. I can keep those in close sync simply by ordering a case of bottles with a case of caps and an extra bag of 144 caps. Then, every once in a while, I’ll order a case of bottles without the extra bag of caps and things work out pretty closely. The 15 mL plastic bottles are more problematic. They come 1,100/case but their caps, different from the 30 mL caps, are still 1,440/case. So, unless I’m careful, sometimes we end up with a bunch of leftover bottles and sometimes a bunch of leftover caps.

So, we currently have one half-full case of 15 mL bottles and maybe 50 or 100 caps. I thought I had another case of 15 mL caps, but if so I can’t find it. So yesterday I ordered two cases of the 15 mL bottles and two cases of caps for them. That matches 2,200 bottles up with 2,880 caps, and should make things come out right. We needed more 15 mL bottles anyway, because Barbara will be starting on labeling new batches of bottles. Meanwhile, I got all the labeled 30 mL bottles filled yesterday, and would have started on the 15 mL bottles if I’d had caps for them. Oh, well. I have several hundred tubes to fill anyway, so I just changed gears and started filling tubes. And, with what we have on hand, those 2,200 15 mL bottles are enough for about 60 more chemistry kits and 60 more biology kits.


12:30 – Amazon has apparently created a monster with free Kindle books, and now they’re trying to clamp down by penalizing sites that feature their free ebook downloads. I’m not surprised. In the past year, I’ve downloaded close to 1,000 free Kindle ebooks. Well, 2,000 actually, because I download them for both my Kindle and Barbara’s. And even at that, I’m being pretty selective. I only click the link to view a book on Amazon if it looks like something we might want to read, and the sites that provide the link do some preliminary winnowing–minimum stars required to be listed and so on. On a typical day, that might mean I have a quick look at five or six books among the 50 to 100+ candidates. I then do a 15-second review of the description and number/average of the reviews. If it passes that test, I download a copy for me and one for Barbara. In the past, I’d typically download three of the final candidates; now I’m more selective and usually download only one or two a day. Then every couple or three weeks, Barbara will go through the titles I’ve gotten and winnow them further. The upshot is that we end up with maybe 1% of those free titles on our Kindles as final candidates. Then we read the first couple of chapters–or sometimes just the first couple of paragraphs–to decide if a book is worth spending any time on. Maybe a quarter of them are good enough to be keepers, and the vast majority of those are self-pubbed titles. So, overall, we actually end up reading maybe 0.25% of the featured free Kindle books. The good news for the winning authors is that we then usually go out and buy the rest of the titles in their series. But Amazon is doing its best to put a stop to all of this.