Thursday, 22 January 2015

08:24 – Barbara’s recovery continues. She’s doing extremely well, better than when she had her other knee replaced three years ago. Colin is assisting in her treatment by snuggling up to her during the day and all night, as well as licking the affected area frequently.

I’m working on science kit stuff, filling bottles and building subassemblies.


09:12 – When the PT guy was here yesterday, he said that he’d been listening to weather forecasts. Apparently, some forecasters are predicting a severe winter storm event and others are predicting nothing. That’s often the case here in the lee of the mountains. What will actually happen is almost impossible to predict accurately. We might get nothing, or we might get an ice storm like the one several years ago that left us without power for four or five days.

After the PT guy left, Barbara wondered aloud if we needed to make a supermarket run for groceries. I told her that if we did, I had no business writing a prepping book. At this point, we’d be okay as long as the ice storm lasted no longer than 12 to 15 months.

33 thoughts on “Thursday, 22 January 2015”

  1. Only the Federal Government would hire the same buffoons they previously fired.  More tax dollars down the tubes.

    Seven months after federal officials fired CGI Federal for its botched work on Obamacare website Healthcare.gov, the IRS awarded the same company a $4.5 million IT contract for its new Obamacare tax program.

  2. We have gotten around three inches of rain today. Both of my office ponds are overflowing which is very unusual. Usually just the front pond overflows since it has a much larger runoff area. Both ponds are around a 1/2 acre in size normally.

  3. We have gotten around three inches of rain today.

    Please direct remaining rain to Vegas, please.

  4. We have zip for percip here, all this week. Temps in the teens and a nice sheet of ice over everything, from previous percip a week ago.

    We is happy as clams dat there is no wind; otherwise it would be subzero again for the chill factuh. Fine, while we’re inside by the stove; kinda sucks after a few minutes, though, when I’m trying to replace a headlight bulb on the Saab; my hands/fingers barely fit in that space between the light bulb and batter and I’ve got about a 3-minute window before my fingers are too frozen to do anything. Got the old bulb out finally, but can’t pop the new one in, more complicated than it needs to be, thanks a bunch, Saab engineers, once again!

  5. I always disliked the panic shoppers at the grocery store. 6 inches of snow predicted and suddenly everyone needs 3 dozen eggs and 6 gallons of milk. It’s absurd.

  6. Wow! I am so glad that we do not use Seagate hard drives.

    If I recall from like 15 years ago. WD used to suck and Seagate was awesome. Now they’ve flipped.

  7. I gave up on external hard drives near the end of this past year; don’t need ’em here; using USB sticks for backups, mostly documents anyway. The pics and movie files likewise.

    Yup, we even get the moronic panic shoppers up here, too; mostly they’re not-from-around-here types, anyway. They’ll do it if it’s just friggin’ rain in the forecast. And other drivers get even worse than usual in any inclement weather; they’ll actually SPEED UP, I reckon, to get out of it faster??

    Most of us old-time New Englanders kinda dig major snow storms and blizzards; we is prepared and it’s fun to watch. Then we get out and really dig them. After the vehicles, doorways and driveways are cleared, we go x-c skiing, check the sap buckets, go snowshoeing, sledding, have snowball fights, etc. Fun times!

    A fellow cop I used to know many years ago who lived down in Woostuh, MA, near the bottom of a hill, used to go out with his buddies and just watch the idiots careening down it in their cars and rolling them, sliding off down the embankment, etc., and laugh their asses off. It’s flat here so no such fun for us.

  8. Got the old bulb out finally, but can’t pop the new one in, more complicated than it needs to be, thanks a bunch, Saab engineers, once again!

    I replaced a headlight bulb on the daughter’s 1997 Honda Civic a couple of years ago. I had to remove the front bumper. On a nice spring day in the Land of Sugar.

  9. Please direct remaining rain to Vegas, please.

    Trying to figure some variation on “What happens in the desert, stays in the desert” but getting nowhere as usual.

  10. I gave up on external hard drives near the end of this past year; don’t need ‘em here; using USB sticks for backups, mostly documents anyway. The pics and movie files likewise.

    You must not have many movie files. Anything bigger than 256 GB is expensive.

    Our LAN backup is 2.3 TB. At its growth rate, we will be using external spinning hard drives for a long time. In fact, the next time I buy an external, I will be partaking of the new 6 TB monster for the extra room:
    http://www.amazon.com/Book-6TB-Hard-Drive-Backup/dp/B00KU686HI/

  11. I told her that if we did, I had no business writing a prepping book.

    Gotta admit, that startled a laugh out of me.

  12. 6 inches of snow predicted and suddenly everyone needs 3 dozen eggs and 6 gallons of milk.

    Chad, that ain’t nothin’!

    Here in Upper Alabama, the weather liars want to boost their ratings, so they predict (always billed as the Storm of the Century!) 1/8 inch of snow overnight, expected to melt by 10 AM and the stores are mobbed.

    There are fights in the bread aisle.

    There are fights in the dairy department.

    There are people lined up with 3 overflowing shopping carts at the checkout.

    The snow does not happen.

    2 days later the weather liars want to boost their ratings again, so it’s rinse, lather, and repeat with the very same culprits racing back to the stores.

    I always wonder what those people did with that $500 dollars worth of groceries, bread and milk in just 2 days.

  13. I always wonder what those people did with that $500 dollars worth of groceries, bread and milk in just 2 days.

    We get the same thing with hurricanes. They return it all and the store employees go nuts. Grocery stores and Home Depot / Lowes.

  14. What a country!

    Cattle and sheep have more brains.

    But they get eaten.

    If the Great Collapse ever does happen here, those types of people will get eaten.

    My late aunt told me when I was a kid: “OFD, 98% of the American people are stupid.” Here it is half a century later and I think she was optimistic and starry-eyed. RIP, Aunt Elinor, you was a hot ticket back in the day. She lived at home with my grandparents, never married, commuted to her gummint accountant job in Boston every day on the friggin’ bus from Fairhaven, MA, smoked, and her room’s walls were lined with classical record LP’s. She could also play the piano, usually Chopin. Dead in her fifties of some kind of cancer.

  15. OK, on account of being an idiot, I quoted the wrong sentence above. And didn’t notice until hours later. Herewith a correction:

    At this point, we’d be okay as long as the ice storm lasted no longer than 12 to 15 months.

    That got a laugh out of me.

  16. I merely chuckled, briefly.

    Ice storms are about the worst we have to fear here, from ol’ mudduh nature, at least at this house. But they generally do their worst over a couple of days and nights and then we have the aftermath of no power in a lotta places and bone-chilling cold setting in nicely. Good to have a solid woodstove, new windows, and plenty of firewood on hand. Plus beans, lotsa beans, dry and cooked. Batteries for the radios. Lanterns and lamp oil and matches and wicks. Stuff to read. And Dr. Bob’s yer uncle.

  17. I always wonder what those people did with that $500 dollars worth of groceries

    They return it all and the store employees go nuts.

    Unless there is something obviously wrong with the product, I cannot imagine grocery stores allowing returns?! Certainly for anything perishable, the store has no idea whether or not you stored it properly.

    – – – – –

    Re LibreOffice: Good enough, but just barely. For example, writing offers and reports, I use the styles a lot. Often they will somehow get out of whack – I’ll get a paragraph with an obviously incorrect font size, I can select the style as many times as I want, tell it to override formatting – doesn’t matter: the font size stays wrong. So I have to go manually fix it, which kind of defeats the purpose of styles.

    I have a grading spreadsheet that uses macros to calculate grades. Some cells update correctly, others only update if I save and re-load the spreadsheet. This seems to have something to do with the fact that I defined a macro (actually, just a function) to do part of the calculation, but that’s really no excuse.

    I also do a lot of presentations (for my lectures) with Impress. The styles are really limited – you get one set of nested styles, that’s pretty much it. Every few weeks, it starts eating the illustrations in my presentations – just a couple of random illustrations, not even new ones – will disappear out of a presentation. I gave a presentation on Tuesday, and Impress was determined to show the presentation on my laptop, and the original on the projector – the usual “swap displays” did nothing.

    Of course, lots of people use Office and want to swap documents. Now, I know Microsoft deliberately made their .docx/.xlsx/etc. formats hard to use, but LibreOffice can only deal with the absolute simplest of documents in these formats. Anything complex is a disaster.

    The foundation is good; it’s all these little things that eat time and drive me barmy. I really think there’s an opportunity for some company to come in, clean house, and make a good product out of it. Dunno if the licensing allows that; that may be the catch…

  18. Unless there is something obviously wrong with the product, I cannot imagine grocery stores allowing returns?!

    They do just to keep the customer happy. Any food items cannot be sold again and must be tossed. Even sealed packages such as cans cannot be restocked. The store takes the hit on the loss. If I was the manager I would tell the people tough, you bought it, you keep it, not my problem.

  19. Yes, I agree totally with Mr. brad here; it sure would be nice if some developers got together and worked out all that stuff in LibreOffice and made it a real competitor to the M$ apps, and once that happens, if it ever does, we can finally dump Windows here. And I’m pretty sure I can find a way to stream videos from a Linux box if need be; those are the only two things keeping us from doing it.

  20. I live in Tulsa in 2011 when they got record snowfall (14″ in 24 hours) that totally shut the city down for a week. We didn’t even get mail for 5 days. I drove over to the grocery store so I could grab some junk food to eat while we binge-watched various shows and was shocked at what I saw. Entire milk section was empty (even the oddball stuff like soy milk, almond milk, milk in glass bottles from grass-fed cows, etc.). Bread section was empty too (including those overpriced loaves of weird grain bread). No eggs. No batteries. No baby formula or baby food. I was there for chips and cookies, but wandered the whole store assessing what was gone. Crazy. I asked the manager what was up with the empty shelves and he said their suppliers couldn’t get through the snowy city streets to restock them. I replied something like, “All these moms in minivans made it here on unplowed roads, but an 18-wheeler cannot get through? I think you’re being bullshitted.”

  21. I also have some issues with LibreOffice. Has anyone here tried any alternatives? There are some that get decent reviews, and some even cost money.

    So far, every time I have had a problem with LO, I have resolved it in the various settings. Not always easy, but I think I am getting it to what I need. I will say that the Help is pretty good. Also, there are whole sets of downloadable istructions at libreoffice.org.

  22. All those moms in minivans cleared the place out before the winter weather hit.

  23. [snip] All these moms in minivans made it here on unplowed roads, but an 18-wheeler cannot get through? [snip]

    Also, an 18 wheeler that gets loose under bad conditions presents a huge exposure for the insurance company. So the various vendors simply say “We’re not going out until it’s more or less cleared up.” Back in high school, my bus had to take a roundabout, longer route to the school because the insurance carrier dictated it.

  24. Reminds me of when I had my mother’s stuff delivered here, after she died. It took a roundabout way through the Netherlands, where it was loaded onto a truck coming this way with a series of deliveries. Took a lot longer than it should have, because of all that.

    Anyway, this truck finally reaches Switzerland in December, on the day of our first big snowfall. Dutch driver, no winter tires, refuses to drive anywhere it’s not plowed. So he dumps my stuff with some random Swiss moving company that had a warehouse near the airport (i.e., reachable on plowed roads). Logically enough, the Swiss moving company wanted paid for storage, and then for delivery, even though I had no contract with them.

    We see much the same thing with FedEx, UPS and DHL – driving around in oversized vans with summer tires, often as not bald. What a surprise, when they have trouble making deliveries in the winter…

  25. Now, I know Microsoft deliberately made their .docx/.xlsx/etc. formats hard to use, but LibreOffice can only deal with the absolute simplest of documents in these formats. Anything complex is a disaster.

    Yup. You would fascinated with how much money that MS has spent on software developers to get Microsoft Office usable by so many people with dissimilar needs and desires. At one point, I was hearing 5,000 software developers, not including support staff. Office is the biggest software development effort at MS and rules the roost there. Bill Gates ran the development personally at MS until about 10 years ago:
    http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2006/06/16.html

    “In those days we used to have these things called BillG reviews. Basically every major important feature got reviewed by Bill Gates. I was told to send a copy of my spec to his office in preparation for the review. It was basically one ream of laser-printed paper.”

    “I noticed that there were comments in the margins of my spec. He had read the first page!”

    “He had read the first page of my spec and written little notes in the margin!”

    “Considering that we only got him the spec about 24 hours earlier, he must have read it the night before.”

    “He was asking questions. I was answering them. They were pretty easy, but I can’t for the life of me remember what they were, because I couldn’t stop noticing that he was flipping through the spec…”

    “He was flipping through the spec! [Calm down, what are you a little girl?]”

    “… and THERE WERE NOTES IN ALL THE MARGINS. ON EVERY PAGE OF THE SPEC. HE HAD READ THE WHOLE GODDAMNED THING AND WRITTEN NOTES IN THE MARGINS.”

    Bill Gates is arguably the best software developer of all time. Not as a coder (but he has a rep there for the economy of the first Basic interpreter), but as somebody who could get a working software package out the door. Libre Office and the other wannabees will not get a working office package without the same type of driver and funding. Google is working very hard on Google Apps (they tried to get me to come work for them about five years ago after I published an open source COM interface for Excel) and may succeed at this since they have the capital required to attract the best of the best.

  26. Yeah, but how many of those 5,000 coders were doing useful code and how many were intentionally breaking things for other software houses?

    I last used Office in the Office 2000 version under Windows NT 4 and XP. I gave up on Office long before I transitioned to Linux because I was writing full-time at the time, doing very long complex documents, and Office on several occasions corrupted a document file beyond retrieval. I’ve never had OOo or LO corrupt a document.

  27. Yeah, but how many of those 5,000 coders were doing useful code and how many were intentionally breaking things for other software houses?

    All and zero. I have worked on a software project with 40 developers and it was a howling maelstrom. I cannot imagine 5,000 developers with another 10,000+ support personnel. We would have somebody go in and change something very small, or so they thought, in a base method. Then the screaming would start as their changes rippled through the individual sandboxes. And I do mean literal screams. There was a impromptu meeting one day in the office next to mine as one of the developer leads and her team were discussing a base constant change. 5 or 6 people all yelling at the top of their voices at each other for two hours. I was dumbfounded as the normally quiet Chinese woman was the loudest screamer.

    A couple of references on why nine women cannot produce a baby in a month:
    http://www.amazon.com/Mythical-Man-Month-Software-Engineering-Anniversary/dp/0201835959/
    http://www.amazon.com/Showstopper-Breakneck-Windows-Generation-Microsoft/dp/1497638836/

    What do you write your books in? I use Word 2003 for our five software manuals of 300 to 600 pages each. Previous versions of Word did get the crashies all the time. And newer versions have the ribbon menu that I abhor.
    https://www.winsim.com/doco.html

  28. I’m using Libre Office now. I converted from OOo not long after the split. Before OOo I tried several and ended up using StarOffice briefly. I don’t know about later versions of Office because 2000 killed any willingness I still had to use MS apps, period. And, as I said, that was long before I bagged Windows for Linux.

  29. Off2000 was horrible, and I don’t blame anyone for dropping it. OffXP, OTOH, wasn’t so bad, and Off2003 is excellent. AAMOF, I just spent the last day or two upgrading my admin install for it.
    Still have some tiny fixes to apply, but by God, it works and almost never crashes or does anything unexpected.

    I have Off2010 on some machine around here and I hate it. What’s with that ribbon? That’s like swapping the positions of the brake and clutch pedal.

  30. What’s with that ribbon?

    It’s like any other software package, you have to learn where things are located. I had just as much trouble with Office 2003 and the drop down menu in the beginning. After using the ribbon for awhile I find it is just like any other software interface.

  31. Off2000 was horrible, and I don’t blame anyone for dropping it. OffXP, OTOH, wasn’t so bad, and Off2003 is excellent. AAMOF, I just spent the last day or two upgrading my admin install for it.
    Still have some tiny fixes to apply, but by God, it works and almost never crashes or does anything unexpected.

    100% agreement. Office 2000 was horrible. Office 2002 was Ok with a few nasties. Office 2003 is awesome.

    I have Off2010 on some machine around here and I hate it. What’s with that ribbon? That’s like swapping the positions of the brake and clutch pedal.

    Great analogy! Even the Brits know where the gas, brake and clutch pedals must be. I still do not understand the ribbon menu and I have used it quite a bit.

    I have both Office 2003 and Office 2013 on my office pc. Office 2013 is even worse than Office 2010 since it has both the stupid ribbon menu and looks like a stupid phone app (similar to Windows 8).

  32. I have used several versions of MS Office, and find the keyboard shortcuts to be pretty uniform. If they differ, I can always change them. I rarely use menus in a word processor, and have only seen the ribbon a time or two. My “word processing” predates the mouse, so I don’t use that much, either. Part of my getting used to LO Writer has been redefining some of the keyboard commands to be what I am used to. These days, I could get by with a good text editor, but keep up with a word processor because my wife needs one, and it is easier to use what she uses. Difference: I rarely print a file, but she uses her word processor to generate paper and to exchange files with colleagues who use MS Office. Most of these people are very skilled in their fields, but have never taken the time to learn how to open or convert “foreign” files. If they have a problem, it is always blamed on the non-MS product.

    Spreadsheets are a different story. I do not so much use the menus as the formula composer, or whatever it is called. Again, since I am retired, I don’t do as much with spreadsheets as I used to. I do admit to finding uses beyond “normal” spreadsheet practice. I still think the spreadsheet is the single most important kind of software in modern business.

    LO has great potential, but like most products it also has some irritations. Many of these are the result of a volunteer mentality, and have little to do with lack of resources. I agree that some company should base a solid commercial product on it and solve its remaining problems. No money in that, though.

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