Monday, 27 January 2014

By on January 27th, 2014 in science kits

09:53 – We have two chemistry kits left in stock, and two orders for chemistry kits came in overnight. Fortunately, we have all the components needed to build another 14 quickly, so that’ll be the first priority today after we get outstanding orders shipped. Then I need to assemble another couple dozen biology kits and build another two or three dozen subassemblies for chemistry kits.

Postage rates go up today. I haven’t looked at them in detail, but it looks like our average shipping cost will increase by about 5%. I’ve taken a quick look at the 2014 price lists for our major vendors, and it looks like the components we use a lot of will increase by 3% to 6%, with an average around 4.5%. That excludes chemicals, most of which show significant price increases every year. I’ll have to do some detailed calcuations, but it looks like our 2014 kit prices will increase by an average of maybe 5%.

Barbara labeled about 800 bottles yesterday afternoon. She probably would have gone over 1,000 except that I ran out of labels for the bottles. But, using our patented AIT (almost-in-time) inventory management system, I have another 7,500 bottle labels due to arrive today. Not to mention empty bottles. We’re down to only a couple thousand in inventory, but I have several more cases due to arrive this week.

19 Comments and discussion on "Monday, 27 January 2014"

  1. Chuck W says:

    Wow. Internet seems half dead. My RSS news feeds won’t update; cannot get through to BBC news site (but the weekly podcast download went fine); this site is super-duper slow. The tech that was out last month told me that the part of the Internet backbone they maintain has no backups anymore. If something breaks, it is down until they fix it. Something must be down.

  2. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Hmm. Seems normal speed or perhaps a bit faster to me.

  3. bgrigg says:

    Normal speed for me, and FF 26.0 is working fine, as well.

  4. Ray Thompson says:

    Comcast just upgraded my speed to 50M down and 10M up. Verified using Got a new wireless router, Netgear Nighthawk. I can achieve 50M down and 10M on my iPad using the 5G frequencies.

    Tomorrow Comcast is installing the X1 system with DVR. I can now record 4 channels at once and watch another. Will also be able to access the DVR from any TV in the house. Only $2.00 more a month than what I am paying now. Plus it will get me HD on all my TVs.

    I do have to pay a $60.00 installation charge because a “tech” has to do the install. I suspect I could easily do the install myself.

  5. Lynn McGuire says:

    Tomorrow Comcast is installing the X1 system with DVR. I can now record 4 channels at once and watch another.

    Is this their old DVR that will record two HD channels and two SD channels simultaneously?

    Last Monday night, we actually had our DirecTV Genie DVR recording five HD channels simultaneously. Worked like a champ.

    And I saw major internet problems earlier today. I could not get to either or . But all is working now.

  6. Chuck W says:

    Yeah, not sure how widespread the problem was, but other people I interface with were having significant outages this morning, too. Strange that a few sites were working, but very, very slowly, and email and my podcast downloads from BBC were completely unaffected. All of the links for my daily weather report to the radio project were out: NOAA, Weather Channel, Weather Underground, Clear Sky Clock, BBC Weather; but all are working now. This site is never speedy for me, but it is back to normal—which is about 10 to 15 seconds for a page to display. This site is always slower than most others I visit.

    Had a business lunch today, so I am just back to my desk. All the links are working again, including the RSS feeds.

  7. Ray Thompson says:

    Is this their old DVR that will record two HD channels and two SD channels simultaneously?

    Supposedly there are 6 tuners, 4 used to record, one used for live viewing, one inactive. All are HD capable from what I have been able to determine.

  8. rick says:

    Ray Thompson said:

    Tomorrow Comcast is installing the X1 system with DVR. I can now record 4 channels at once and watch another.

    I rarely find one channel worth recording, let alone 4.

    Rick in Portland

  9. Lynn McGuire says:

    Monday night is the premiere night for DVR time shifting in our home:

    7 pm central:
    1. Switched at Birth
    2. Bitten

    8 pm central:
    1. Fashion Police
    2. The Fosters
    3. Mom
    4. Being Human

    9 pm central:
    1. Castle
    2. Teen Wolf

  10. Ray Thompson says:

    I rarely find one channel worth recording, let alone 4.

    I don’t find many. I like the history channel, Ax Men and Goldrush. Science channel is good. I do like Survivor, CSI, Big Bang Theory, The Amazing Race and a few other shows. Primary need is to not conflict with wife who watches every crime show (should I be worried?). Secondary need is to skip commercials. I wait until about 20 minutes after a show starts before I start watching. That way I can skip the commercials and finish about the time the show is done.

  11. rick says:

    Lynn just proved my point.

  12. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    We haven’t watched any network/cable TV shows other than via DVD or streaming for more than a decade now. I can’t imagine wanting a DVR. Given our viewing habits, it’d be completely worthless to us.

  13. Chuck W says:

    Of course, I figure I am an exceptional case, but I truly have not watched TV since the first kid came along. I began telling people I did not watch TV unless I got paid for it, and my wife often had to attest to the truth of that. And I did get paid for it at work.

    I expanded that to include country music (don’t listen unless I am paid to) not long after that. And I have been paid to do several shows both in Chicago and Branson, MO.

    Primary need is to not conflict with wife who watches every crime show (should I be worried?).

    No. She just has to be German. 90% of all TV there is whodunit crime shows. They also have a huge pulp industry in what they call “Krimis”, which are whodunit novels. Nearly everyone who was reading a book on the trains in and out (a good 80%) was reading a Krimi during my commutes.

  14. SteveF says:

    Fortunately, we have all the components needed to build another 14 [chemistry kits] quickly

    That’s a much better way to put it than your other stock phrase: “we have everything we need to …”. The latter one doesn’t make mention of time, which seems to be the commodity in shortest supply.

    our patented AIT (almost-in-time) inventory management system

    Gotta admit, that one got a chuckle out of me.

  15. Chuck W says:

    This IS mystifying. Xmas music on radio was doing worse every year since about 2009. Until this year. Ratings soared for stations running Xmas music. The Indy ’80’s station, which is frequently at or near the top of the ratings stack, blew away everybody else by almost doubling their ratings last month. They started playing nothing but Xmas music the day after T-giving. Ratings for other stations did not change much at all from previous months so that implies that people who do not normally listen to radio, listened in big numbers that month. I suppose most people do not have a large collection of Xmas music on their iPods to listen to, so that may account for them returning to radio.

    But it is just baffling why this year, in particular, Xmas music would be so much bigger than in the immediately previous ‘trending down’ years. It was the same story all across the country.

  16. bgrigg says:

    Chuck, how do they get the ratings? How can they tell who’s listening to what? I’ve never been asked what radio station I listen to, and I have been asked about TV. I was once a Nielson Ratings viewer almost thirty years ago, but was “fired” for not watching enough TV, but radio? I only listen to radio in the car, unless there is an emergency, and I can tell you this much, I changed the station EVERY time a Xmas song came on. Once December hit, I listened to CDs.

    Greg, I always figured the Danes for a bunch of tight asses.

  17. Lynn McGuire says:

    Sigh. The local channels are malfunctioning on my new DirecTV Genie DVR and we did not get any tv recorded last night on those. We could watch the local channels but not record them. Talked to a DirecTV support person for 20 minutes, rebooted the little monster (that takes 10 minutes while it talks to the satellites) and no improvement. If we do not get the local channels guide back with two days, they will bring us a new Genie and we will lose all of our recorded stuff on that DVR.

    We have a backup DVR and they are networked together so I set all of our local shows to record there for the time being. This is so weird, it is only the local channels that are having problems. The “cable” channels (mtv, syfy, usa, spike, fox news, etc) all work just fine.

  18. Chuck W says:

    All the important markets are ‘metered’ now. If selected, you get a little device that is about as big as a cell phone and it picks up an essentially inaudible signal that all the stations broadcast, and records the info of which station you listened to and how long. Even if you are in a store and they play a radio station, that gets recorded and sent to Nielsen at the end of the day. Ten years ago, it was all done by people keeping diaries—writing down in a book of daily forms, each station they listened to, and how long. When they moved from diaries to ‘Personal People Meters’, PPM’s, station ratings in most markets changed significantly. Which, to me, shows how unreliable diaries were.

    Nielsen is the only game in town, now. Their customers are complaining loudly that they are reducing sample sizes too much. But why should Nielsen change it’s ways? They have no competition now—they bought out the others. Great legislators we have in DC, walking us down this path of despotism from every angle of life.

    As a statistics prof told us many years ago: don’t spend time questioning sampling; it works. My son, the math and economics guy, agrees. Although I am sure it is possible to build an app for cell phones that would turn it into a people meter. That could greatly increase the sample size and confirm results of smaller samples for those that worry. My programs have always been rated highly, so I have no complaints.

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