Wednesday, 30 July 2014

08:24 – Business is picking up nicely. Ten days ago, it looked like we’d be lucky to do 50% of last July’s revenues this month. As of this morning, we’re only a few hundred dollars short of matching last July’s revenues, with two days remaining in the month. Routine orders over the next couple days should let us beat last July’s revenues, and if one bulk order comes in we’ll blow through those numbers.


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57 Responses to Wednesday, 30 July 2014

  1. OFD says:

    Excellent news to start the day; outstanding, Dr. Bob!

    Mostly sunny today so fah here; off to get rental cah and then later to the Big Interview up in the mountains, LOL. Probably just good practice, but ya never know…

  2. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Best of luck with your interview. You deserve a break.

  3. MrAtoz says:

    Knock ’em dead Mr. OFD. Well, you know what I mean. Good luck!!

  4. OFD says:

    Thanks, guys!

    Me and Mrs. OFD drastically need a break here lately.

    As does the country.

  5. medium wave says:

    Break a leg, OFD!

  6. MrAtoz says:

    You just can’t make this gummint excess shit up. Really? Raiding a home for a fucking car. The assets used probably had a bigger carbon foot print than the entire life of the car. Stooooopid!

    And a followup on the Scouts at the border story. I guess the “agent” felt threatened by a camera and dropping boots and had to draw his weapon. This is just fucking ridiculous. You can’t make it up it is so stoooopid!

  7. MrAtoz says:

    According to Lois Lerner I can add asshole to my list of things that describe me. The former leader of the IRS. I wonder what the new leader of the IRS thinks of US citizens.

  8. Lynn McGuire says:

    Good luck, Mr. OFD! Sounds like a good place to work with hills of music.

    My business is at 98% of July 2013 but as you say, the month is not over yet.

  9. Lynn McGuire says:

    Raiding a home for a fXXXXXXX car

    These are the same DHS people who will be running FEMA detainment XXXXXXX refugee camps in the USA if we let them.

  10. OFD says:

    Hey, cool, I’m an asshole, too! (added to the list of things they call me; hey MrAtoz, you ain’t lived till you been called a “slaver apologist” or a “Jesuit stormtrooper”.)

    Interview seemed to go very well; now they will churn and churn and have meetings and whittle down to a group for a second interview; mind you this is not some wicked high-level IT genius position, either. But they gotta fill the time somehow. I’m just practicing interviews at this point; it probably doesn’t pay much but it would be a permanent gig with bennies, instead of the damn contract and temp shit I’ve been doing off and on now since 2007.

    A one-hour commute on dry roads and a clear and sunny day, going the long way round, which is what I’d have to do in winter. 40 minutes the more direct way, over the Gap, which is closed in winter. That last couple of miles was pretty steep and lots of sharp curves; I hadn’t been up there in quite some time, and forgot. Mos def would need 4wd and aggressive tires. I’d be reporting to their CFO, I guess, and he seemed to know the lingo and concepts pretty good. Tall bugger, too, almost as tall as me but quite a bit thinner, LOL.

  11. Lynn McGuire says:

    Congratulations! Is this a Windows shop? XP or 7?

    Permanent gigs with bennies are a good thing. You do not have to pay taxes on bennies. And maybe they will pay a decent amount. Especially since you will need to buy a new 4wd (subaru forester or truck?) and buy a LOT of gas.

  12. MrAtoz says:

    A one-hour commute on dry roads and a clear and sunny day, going the long way round, which is what I’d have to do in winter.

    Brings back my commute to the Pentagon from Woodbridge. Two years of HELL! Ugh! I hope you get the job Mr. OFD, but hate the commute.

  13. SteveF says:

    The answer to long commutes is podcasts. http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/ioth is a good start. This program ended three years ago, but the 131 episodes are still current. Melvyn Bragg has about four other “In Our Time” series going back almost 20 years, and most of their episodes are also still timely.

  14. SteveF says:

    Oh, and I don’t know how much role luck plays, but good luck, OFD.

  15. OFD says:

    “Is this a Windows shop? XP or 7?”

    Both. No congrats due yet, not until I get a second interview, get hired, and draw my first pay check. The XP will probably have to go away and they’ll no doubt standardize on 7, while having to upgrade a few machines. Dude asked me about Office 365; I told him I knew next to jack about it; all previous Office, sure. They also wanna standardize on Outlook for email, which half of them use and the other half use a web mail thing. Wireless is mostly outsourced to a local outfit but I’d be working with them, too; ditto all their point-of-sale and Windows Embedded machines, some of the latter still using really old versions. In a nutshell, they have a hodge-podge of Windows machines and network, put together on an ad-hoc basis over 20 years by one or two people. Kind of doofy for a sort of major resort and tourist attraction. Maybe I can get them into the 21st-C. We shall see.

    “…but hate the commute.”

    An hour commute here is not much like the one-hour commutes down in Megalopolis; there is fah less traffic and LOTS more gorgeous scenery, pretty much anywhere in the state. Winter and Mud Season can be a challenge, but hey, that’s the price we pay, plus lower pay for jobs. I’d be tooling along and listening to audio books, music CD’s or the radio and the other drawback would be the gas expense, so looking at 4wd trucks with good gas mileage stats now.

  16. OFD says:

    Bookmarked that link, Mr. SteveF; thanks! Looks like wicked interesting stuff, too!

  17. MrAtoz says:

    Mr. OFD’s new commuter car. 🙂 Maybe you could tear the seat out so you would fit.

  18. OFD says:

    I almost always enjoy reading the comments after articles like this one; I’m in the half of Murkans that will never do a driver-less cah thang. I even hated it riding in commercial planes mainly because I had no control over the flight; now if MrAtoz was piloting I’d be A-OK.

    It’s beginning to look as if me and my generation will be the last ones to have all this neat stuff, like drive our own cars (Happy Motoring!), use desktop pooters, and eat and drink and smoke what the hell we want.

    But don’t jump the gun, boyz, or count the chickens; I figure these guys will see the previous chit I’ve done and put me down for over-qualified and/or too old. Not planning on any vehicles yet, that’s for sure. Gotta fix the one we have left first. Probably at least a grand.

  19. SteveF says:

    OFD (or anyone), if you want I can probably* put up a pile of links for the podcast feeds I subscribe to. Mostly science and tech, but a fair amount of history and culture and whatever strikes my fancy.

    * It can’t be that hard to extract the list of feeds from Rhythmbox, though at first glance the settings file seems to be binary rather than XML or any other practical format. This bears investigation, just on account of it’s pissing me off when I was already just one more nag away from “full boil”.

  20. OFD says:

    Have at it, in re; your pile of links. All four of those areas are among my many interests; I just read that the more interests we have, the longer we might live in this vale of tears with most of our faculties intact; unhappily that hoss has long since left my barn. But I endeavor to persevere nonetheless. (how many archaisms can OFD squeeze into one sentence, new goal).

    Also those of us with many interests are usually creative types, so I read, ain’t dat swell? I bet a bunch of us here are creative s.o.b.’s, amirite?

  21. Ray Thompson says:

    This http://f650pickups.com/20134×4.html would be a good commuter vehicle for Mr. OFD. No one will get in your way and deep snow will not be a problem.

    Turned out my problem on my computer was not the SSD. Seems that one of the spinning Seagate drives has a problem. It was the main drive that stores all my data. I have backups on another spinning platter. But it turns out I had also switched the labeling on two of the four drives in the system. While I thought the failing drive was an extra storage drive it was my main storage. Not sure how that happened.

    The drive has been removed, another drive configured to be the data drive and the data files copied over. I may replace the defective drive with a 2 gig which can be had for about $100.00. Simply amazing how prices have dropped. First hard drive in a PC, purchased by my bank, that I ever used was $3,000.00 for 20 meg. We stood in awe and wondered how we would ever fill it up.

  22. Chuck W says:

    Adding to SteveF’s podcast list, I have always pushed BBC’s “Business Daily” podcasts. These are so well done that after the first month, I felt like I knew far more about events of the world than just listening to what passes for newscasts these days. Radio news is pandering to Hollywood and the ‘stupid antics’ stuff. ABC radio news used to be a touchstone, but is laughable as a serious news outlet these days. And ALWAYS a story about what Nobama did today.

    I still aggregate podcasts with Juice on Windows. I can see that it is not going to be possible to dump Windows altogether in my effort to replace XP with Mint 17. There are some things Windows can do that Linux just cannot. Editing .wav files natively without conversion into and out of another format is just one. I know Linux has had a long haul to get where it is, but significant new development is just no longer present, and it is clear that finding maintainers for useful programs out there, is a big problem these days.

    Spent the weekend on the campus of my old alma mater. At the end of every summer session, the campus radio station sponsors an Alumni Weekend, where the alumns take over running the station, and do it like we did back in the day. One thing is for sure, keeping college hours with minimal sleep (which is what we did all weekend) requires much more recovery than it used to.

  23. OFD says:

    “Not sure how that happened.”

    Yeah. Well, some of us have a pretty good idea. Shoulda listened to them lifer maggot NCO’s…

    I want that truck.

    Will be casing banks tomorrow…

  24. Chuck W says:

    Geez, after the climbing to get into that truck, I would be too exhausted to drive it. I would need auto-drive to get anywhere. But if I had one of those, I can tell you I would be the envy of every farm boy around here.

    As far as auto-pilot, what makes you think the NTSB will allow anybody to drive cars manually, once it is available?

    BTW, all the best to OFD on the new job possibility. Back to work is long past due for you.

    I know nothing about Office 365, but I thought that was their 100% cloud-oriented offering. The alma mater I spoke of, has turned over all email to M$ and closed down the campus email servers, including ‘Pine’ is it called? They have maintained that since the Internet began. Anyway, I am eligible for an email account from the university. I IMAP it at Office 365 from Evolution. I get lots of notifications of interruptions to that service. Do not know whether it is me or them, but it works about 90% of the time. One thing is for sure, settings for almost everything computerish are becoming more picky as time goes on. Get just one little thing wrong, and things don’t work.

  25. SteveF says:

    One thing is for sure, settings for almost everything computerish are becoming more picky as time goes on. Get just one little thing wrong, and things don’t work.

    I disagree. Sure, there are lots of things that mysteriously go wrong when something way over there breaks or is changed, but recall the arcane picky things from years ago. How much time did you waste in the 1980s and early 1990s, adjusting jumpers so three boards would work in your PC at the same time? What about getting your top-line, fast modem to talk with the BBS’s top-line, fast modem?

    My theory is that there’s a constant amount of picky BS in the world. (Or possibly a constant amount per person, per device, or something.) As engineers and other developers work to make something simple and automatic, the picky BS picks up and moves somewhere else.

  26. Chuck W says:

    Well, you are right about the distant past. How quickly I forget. But fighting with Linux is a case of tiny, misapplied settings, or even things executing in the wrong order. And I spent nearly an entire work week trying to get the Barix audio encoder working for the Alumni radio weekend (we simulcast from Bloomington to a station in Indy). Took a guy much more experienced than I to make it work. There are about two dozen configuration options related only to networking. Get just one wrong, and it fails totally. He got it working in a matter of 5 minutes when I could not get it to work after 3 days of near constant experimenting. Pays to know what you are doing.

  27. OFD says:

    “…the picky BS picks up and moves somewhere else.”

    Indeed it does; from moving back and forth between Windows, Linux, Apple, VMS, etc. From revolvers to semi-autos, from bolts to levers.

    “Back to work is long past due for you.”

    Agreed. And work will continue one way or another until I’m too old or sick to do it, or dead. Retirement? Don’t make me laugh. We’ve blown through one of Mrs. OFD’s and four of mine so far, to cover long periods of no work or unforeseen expenses. None of mine ever got very far, as a result. What a joke now. And those who did manage to save for twenty or thirty or forty years have watched them get plundered or blown by the organizations “managing” them. Or if they worked for a town or city or state, watched as those entities went bankrupt or blew the funds on some other crap without telling anybody.

    Retirement per se is a relatively recent historical phenomenon anyway; in the past it was most common for people to work until they dropped. So we’re back to that again, that’s all. Another common thing was that peeps awoke and went to sleep by the sun and the seasons, but after hitting the sack at sunset they’d wake up again at midnight and work or do stuff around the house until 4 or 5 and then go to sleep again until sunrise. Two four-hour sleep periods instead of one eight-hour period. Once the Grid goes down we can go back to that, too.

    And walking, bicycling, or riding horses; with luck, the trains and canals and boats. Balloons instead of Boeings. Canoes instead of cars.

    We’re ready here.

    Recommended text: “Outside Lies Magic”

    http://www.amazon.com/Outside-Lies-Magic-Regaining-Awareness/dp/0802713408

  28. brad says:

    I’m not a fan of podcasts, or any other streaming media really. The information comes at you at the speed determined by the creator, in a purely linear fashion. I much prefer reading – it’s easy to skip around, skim over bits you already understand, etc.. It just seems a lot more efficient to me.

    As for being creative, nope, that’s definitely not me. I like solving problems – math, programming, whatever – but real creativity is something else entirely.

  29. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Dave, I hope you get this job, but I’d encourage you to consider the idea that you may be looking at things backward. I think you think of this as a “real job” and look at your entrepreneurial ideas as being “fill-in” to generate some income until you have the “real job”. In fact, I think most smart people are better off looking at starting their own businesses as the real goal, with the wage-slave thing as fill-in to generate some income until they can get their businesses going.

  30. OFD says:

    “… better off looking at starting their own businesses as the real goal, with the wage-slave thing as fill-in to generate some income until they can get their businesses going.”

    That is exactly how I am looking at this situation; I’m too old to screw around with working in IT forever and the job market bears this out here; my plan, as I think I posted here, and as I’ve expressed to others, is to just take one more regular job for a couple of years while I transition into my own operation and get that up and running to somewhere in the financial ballpark of being a regular support for us. Mrs. OFD is of the same mind, as she realizes she can’t keep up many more years of the intense work she does around the country, and thus has been working for well over a year now on her jewelry business. A couple of things she’s learned is that it’s very labor- and time-intensive and she needs to at least double her prices now.

    I just need another year or two of regular pay checks and bennies to get us up and operating here. The past year of not working, and concentrating on the job search, has put a big dent in our finances.

  31. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Sounds like a plan.

    The problem, of course, is that during the transition you end up working the equivalent of two full-time jobs.

  32. OFD says:

    “…during the transition you end up working the equivalent of two full-time jobs.”

    Yeah. I can see that coming. I gotta get it going while I’m still more or less functioning well here.

  33. brad says:

    “A couple of things she’s learned is that it’s very labor- and time-intensive and she needs to at least double her prices now”

    It’s tough, earning money as an individual or micro-business. There is a huge, almost unfair economy of scale that comes with a large company. An engineer doesn’t have to deal with accounting, or worry about marketing and sales, or putting up new shelves, or getting the broken lamp fixed, or cleaning the toilets. In a small business, all of that just eats your time until you seemingly have none left for actually getting work done. I admire people like our host for actually pulling this off – but I also note that he posts his current work status 7 days a week.

    Crafting (like Mrs. OFD’s jewelry) is, I suspect, even more difficult. I have a friend who is a sculptress. Lovely, absolutely lovely work, but I would never buy one of her sculptures. I just can’t justify that much money for something that will sit on a table and collect dust. I am a barbarian, but there are many of me 🙂

  34. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    As I’ve said before, if I were a dog I’d be a Border Collie. I live to work, but I love what I do. And I have backed off as I’ve gotten older. I used to work routinely 80+ hours a week. Now I’m down to probably 60 hours.

  35. OFD says:

    “I am a barbarian, but there are many of me :-)”

    As am I, but “hyper-literate,” LOL.

    She makes nice stuff but to be honest, I wouldn’t buy most of it myself; a lotta women seem to like it, though. And she has an internet site, but I can’t see her making enough of a profit to justify the labor and time until such time as she does get into it at least forty hours a week. She’s nowhere near that now, even during the few weeks she’s home.

  36. Chad says:

    But don’t jump the gun, boyz, or count the chickens; I figure these guys will see the previous chit I’ve done and put me down for over-qualified and/or too old.

    IT is extremely ageist. Especially the fun IT jobs (doing cutting edge work on cool projects for fun clients in a casual work environment). Now, if you want to sit in a cubicle maintaining antique code in slacks and a collared shirty for some megacorp, then age isn’t as big of an issue. A lot of older guys move over to the business side of IT (Project Managers, Business Analyst, etc.) as they get older.

    It’s getting better as the Internet generation ages. Looking for an IT job at, for example, age 55 today is much easier than it was 10 or 15 years ago.

  37. OFD says:

    I was never interested in the business or coding side of IT; I like the hardware end of it but also appreciate the ability now to do a lot of sys/net admin stuff from home, though God forbid any PHB manglers ever let us do it, without a lot of hassle and changing their minds and policies a dozen times a year.

    I’m 61 but honestly, not bragging at all (’cause I know how decrepit I am), don’t look it. I can pass for 50 or even less most of the time, it seems. I’m seeing more IT jobs opening up in this area, across the board of tech- and biz-oriented, and now rumors that the supposed pending sale of IBM’s plants up here did not go through after all, so they’re still in Limbo. If a sale does go through at some point and 4,000 people lose their jobs, it will be a major hit to the region and the manglers will no doubt then low-ball the pay for the few IT jobs that are around; it will be an employer’s market, big-time.

  38. brad says:

    It’s a shame you aren’t in Switzerland. I just got a call from a little IT company whose whole technical department just up, left, and started a competing company. The owner is feeling a mite desperate just now. He needs people who can run servers (mostly Linux, but some Windows) and do network stuff – but they’ve got to be able to hit the ground running.

    It’s more complicated than that – from what I know of the situation, there’s going to be a lot of on-site work sorting out the sh*t left behind – out-dated physical servers that need virtualized, etc.. Plus German would be pretty essential. Still, if anyone knows anyone who might be interested (or if OFD is portable and learns German real fast), y’all know where to reach me.

  39. OFD says:

    I’d love to fly over and do that sorta thing; I have a smidgeon of German and Princess is fluent in it and will be spending her junior year abroad in Leipzig coming up. Sadly, no passport, only that smidgeon of German, and a house and animals to take care of here. My sympathies to the owner; if I could help I would, just not real portable these days.

  40. OFD says:

    Just got a ride back to the house with one of the cah rental kids; he works p.t. at that outfit and also has a summuh gig at the state pahk three miles up the road from here, out on the point. His mom works at UVM and they’re state residents so he gets free tuition and dad works at IBM. If the latter blow outta here, his dad would have to move down to upstate NY and transfer, and mom and kid would have to follow and lose his free tuition; I assume dad must make tons of dough for that scenario. Anyway, I asked him what his major was, fully expecting some kinda drivel, but nope: Civil Engineering. I told him outstanding, and he plans to go on to grad school for it; he is also hip to the messed up grading and PC policies at the colleges now and is immersed in STEM big-time. An encouraging conversation.

  41. Lynn McGuire says:

    And she has an internet site

    And the URL is?

    Confucius say Man who does not blow own horn, same will not be tooted. Note, proudly stolen from Pournelle’s website.

  42. Lynn McGuire says:

    One thing is for sure, settings for almost everything computerish are becoming more picky as time goes on. Get just one little thing wrong, and things don’t work.

    My 75 year old Dad was complaining about this Tuesday night. He got a Nexus phone so that he would always get the latest O/S from Google. Now he complains that the user interface changes all the time and he has to relearn things constantly.

    And Dad is extreme techie. He got his PhD in 1963 from Princeton with his thesis on programming Cat Crackers in refineries in Algol using IBM mainframes.

  43. OFD says:

    “And the URL is?”

    I’ll ask her when I talk to her later and post it here accordingly. I should probably have been keeping it bookmarked all along. I know there’s probably two sites, one at that Etsy place, the other I’m not sure.

  44. OFD says:

    Oh, forgot to mention; before I got the ride back to the house from Mr. Young Civil Engineer (who was a serious and polite kid and clearly a hard worker); I mentioned to the other guy about having been laid off from my RHEL cluster sys/net admin gig last year at IBM; he had never heard of Linux, amazingly. I spent a good ten or fifteen minutes giving him the dime lecture and a couple of url’s to check out, and saw him write it all down.

    T-storm passing through here now; the mutt is not happy but at least is not a total basket case like his predecessor.

  45. Miles_Teg says:

    Linux is for heathens!

  46. OFD says:

    Then I am a heathen barbarian, converted to the Holy Mother Church; all else are heretics and apostates.

    Sadly, my next probable job, wherever, is likely to be in a Windoze shop.

  47. Miles_Teg says:

    I’m learning C++ at the moment, having to get across Red Hat and something called Subversion very quickly.

  48. OFD says:

    Why bother? I thought you’d retired already?

    Red Hat rocks.

  49. Lynn McGuire says:

    I’m learning C++ at the moment

    Then try this:
    http://www.amazon.com/Accelerated-C-Practical-Programming-Example/dp/020170353X/

    Oldie but goodie. Then follow it with a read of:
    http://www.amazon.com/Effective-Specific-Improve-Programs-Designs/dp/0321334876/

    When you understand the difference between
    “std::vector <DataItem> anObjList;”
    and
    “std::vector <DataItem *> anObjList;”
    you are a C++ Knight.

  50. Chad says:

    Around here you need to code VB.NET, C#, or Java or you’re unemployed. Those three languages completely dominate the local IT market. Every once in a while you’ll see job postings for something else, but they usually want you to know that something else in addition to VB.NET, C#, or Java.

  51. OFD says:

    “When you understand the difference between
    “std::vector anObjList;”
    and
    “std::vector anObjList;”
    you are a C++ Knight.”

    I know, I know! It’s the asterisk! I wanna be a C++ Knight!

    I have no clue what the big languages are in this IT area offhand; it seems to be a wild mix of everything.

  52. Miles_Teg says:

    Yes, I’m retired, and doing the BSc in physics and chemistry I always wanted to do. I just thought I’d learn some C++ as most of my programming languages are Old Skool.

  53. OFD says:

    That’s pretty cool, Greg; I’ve always wanted to do an MA in Classics and may yet get around to it someday. I’d be ramping up on my Latin quite a bit and have already, in desultory fashion, begun studying Greek.

  54. Miles_Teg says:

    I wanted to do a PhD in medieval history, or some other field of history. Doubt it will happen now at my advanced age, although one of my mum’s WWII pals completed a PhD in her seventies.

  55. SteveF says:

    OFD and Miles_Teg, unless you want the piece of paper for some reason, just do the study. No need to matriculate, and probably no need for a college at all, except maybe for their library.

  56. OFD says:

    Yeah, I know; I’ve been doing it anyway on my own for years now. And I note that some of the major poets and writers bailed outta their grad programs, too. To wit, the very late Ezra Pound, for one. It’s just that if I ever decide to do some tutoring/teaching again with individual students or seminar-sized groups that MA would grease the skids a bit.

  57. Miles_Teg says:

    I need to learn stuff in groups. I like the social aspect, also I need the competitive pressure. Otherwise stuff doesn’t get done.

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