Friday, 5 February 2016

09:57 – Not much interesting going on around here. Barbara is upstairs washing out more 2-liter Coke bottles. Once those have dried, we’ll transfer 100 pounds of bread flour to them. We need to get the steel shelving set up in my office and the unfinished basement “natural area” if only to have shelf space for all these bottles we’re filling.

Although I’ve been calling this long-term food storage, it’s actually medium-term in the sense that these are the containers we use routinely and cycle through. The next time we buy bulk sugar, flour, etc., it goes into the 7-mil foil-laminate Mylar bags sold by the LDS store. I have a box of 250 of those bags on the shelf, along with enough oxygen absorbers to add one per bag.

I also need to get my new desktop system set up, although I’m not happy about running Windows on it. Once I get it set up, I’ll probably pull a couple of backups of the Windows installation and then pull the hard drive and stick it on the shelf. I’ll install a fresh hard drive and install Linux Mint on the system. Now that USPS Click-N-Ship again supports Regional Rate boxes at the Commercial Base Pricing rate, I no longer really need Stamps.com, which was the reason I needed a Windows system in the first place. Not that the new desktop will go to waste. My little notebook system, with only 4 GB of RAM and a slow hard drive simply couldn’t cope with the load I was putting on it. The other day, I had so much stuff running that it simply locked up. The cursor would move, but I couldn’t even quit any of the running programs, let alone start any others. I’m pretty sure the system was using 100% of the available RAM and the processor was 100% occupied trying to swap stuff out of RAM to disk and back. A hard reboot solved the problem temporarily, but the long-term solution is simply that I need more capable hardware to do what I do.




66 thoughts on “Friday, 5 February 2016”

  1. If you’re going to replace the hard drive, I’d seriously consider replacing it with one of the Samsung Pro SSDs.

  2. I’ll just stick a $50 WD Blue 1GB in it for now. I’ll add an SSD later. I don’t really need a huge amount of working storage on my system. I have external drives for backup and archiving.

  3. @RBT – With your new computer don’t be in a rush. Until you have let Windows run through its install routine (do not accept any defaults, too many to list but you are smart enough to figure them out), and then Windows will update and update and update…

    Do not try to adjust/configure your system or install any of your programs until you have made sure that Windows has really completed updating AND upgarding. Even though you just bought your computer it will 99.9% surely come with the original version of Windows 10 which has to install completely and update and then it has to upgrade to Build 1511 and update update update. If you try to shortcut the updates you will have a system that does not work correctly and you will be very unhappy.

    Look back at all the recommendations made by us from when you were planning to get the laptop, they still apply. Have fun.

    This weekend I have appointments to setup a couple of new laptops for folks. Yawn.

    The prices on SSDs are practically falling daily. I use CamelCamelCamel.com to follow SSD prices on Amazon.

    Edit: Almost forgot to add that you should use an ethernet connection, NOT Wi-Fi when doing your initial startup install update update upgrade update update update… . The initial drivers that come with Windows 10 are abysmal and need to run through the updates/upgrades to work properly.

  4. Last PC I built, I put the system and swap partitions on a fast SSD drive and left the data partitions on large chunks of spinning iron. Makes a VERY Fast desktop with 16 GB ram and dual 20 inch screens. I do regular backups to local NAS device and Amazon Cloud storage so I have data available locally and from anywhere in the world. I just couldn’t be productive with less. Use my Google Nexus tablet for media consumption and web reading.

  5. lol! No drones within 32MILES of the Super Dumb Bowl. The FAA has to be kidding. Maybe they have a plan to “nuke it from space, just to be sure.” So I guess anybody in the 32 mile radius is grounded? Some commenters suggest everybody launch drones and see if the FAA scrambles the F-15s on standby. Who cares about collateral damage! It’s the Super Dumb Bowl, dammit.

  6. This week we upgraded our food storage with a run by Aldis and local sales. I estimate we have about 6 months supply. The wife has been reading “The Rift” about an earthquake in the nearby New Madrid fault and become very prep minded lately. I am looking for a good / affordable clean water system. Something to produce enough clean water fro 3 or 4 person per day from questionable water sources. Having no background in bio-chemistry myself I have to question all advertising copy.

  7. Go with a Sawyer PointZeroTwo, which filters to 0.02 microns absolute. That’s small enough to filter all but a few of the tiniest known viruses, none of which are pathogenic. Filter life is 1,000,000 gallons with periodic back-flushing and it filters about one liter per hour, which is fast enough to keep six people in drinking water, assuming each consumes 4 liters/day.

    http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0051HHNJ8

    It’s a kit. You’ll need to provide your own 5- or 6-gallon pails. The filter itself needs a reservoir pail and a collection pail, but you’ll probably want some spare pails for doing pre-filtering, hauling water, etc.

    If there’s any chance the unit will freeze, don’t use it until you really need it. Freezing a filter that’s had water run through it destroys the filter.

  8. @Harold

    I may have to read The Rift and see if it’s any good. I remember feeling a minor shaking of the New Madrid fault 40 years ago.

    Update: Wikipedia doesn’t list the quake I remember because the 1968 quake happened when I was 3. The good news is we are about 250 miles away from the fault line. I may be remembering the 1974 quake.

  9. A 1 TB drive is more than enough. My working data directory is less than 20 GB.

    Ooops. Just noticed the G typo.

  10. If the New Madrid fault ever cuts loose, I’m sure we’ll feel it here in the Blue Ridge Mountains. If it knocks down most or all of the bridges over the Mississippi, which it probably would, people are going to get hungry over here on the east side of the river. I don’t know how much food we produce on this side of the river, but I’m sure it’s a small fraction of what’s needed to support the population. I suspect there would be desperate efforts to ship food to east coast ports via container ships and via rail through the northern US and Canada, but I’m not sure enough could be done to feed the eastern half of the country.

  11. Yeah, we moved away from San Francisco after the ’89 (world series) quake. And after a couple of decades working our way around the word, somehow ended up here in Memphis. The climate is too much like Hong Kong (hot & humid) and the prospect of a catastrophic earthquake is much higher than I’d like. Went through a tornado when I was 9, took the house down around our ears, and had two children injured in the ’89 quake, so I am keen to move on when I retire in a couple of years. At least with tornadoes you have good warning and they are very localized. Earthquakes not so much.

  12. “If you try to shortcut the updates you will have a system that does not work correctly and you will be very unhappy.”

    Yikes. What a gigantic PITA. I fixed this 8.1 box to not get any more of their pernicious “recommended” Windows 10 “upgrade” nag reminders and also deleted all the related files they dumped on it here, which amounted to nearly 10GB of crap. This will stay at 8.1 until I can get rid of it completely and install a Linux distro.

    “…but I’m not sure enough could be done to feed the eastern half of the country.”

    Me, neither. In that scenario, it will be interesting to see what the Almighty State cobbles together under tremendous pressure; their previous escapades with Katrina and other events do not inspire much confidence. I suspect Megalopolis will be on its own, mostly, and the cities will erupt.

  13. For those that don’t drink soda, how do you obtain quantities of 2-liter P.E.T. bottles? Buy the cheapest soda at the store and dump it, then clean, etc.?

    .mg

  14. No problems with Windows 10 here on my 4 year old HP laptop, or the wife’s two laptops, or the old desktop system (which is mainly used as the primary data backup system, with cloud backup as the secondary backup).

    Sure, updates are needed with any new install, Windows or Linux. Has always been, will ever be. But no system problems on any of the updates (two from Windows 7, one from Windows 8.x).

    All of my old programs worked fine, all data is still there, and the screen display seems a bit ‘crisper’.

    I’ve never seen a need to move away from Windows; it works fine for me, and has for years. The next system (laptop) I get will be Windows, hopefully with an SSD drive for OS, plus a second drive for data.

  15. When I get the chance, Ima gon do pretty much like RBT and yank this Winblows drive (already backed up externally), and probably install that 240GB SSD to run the Linux distro, with data and other stuff on a spinning drive and automated incremental backups externally. This machine is maxed out at 16GB RAM and that should suffice and then some.

    Trump doing the “Green Acres” song, Obola jitterbugging on the golf course and digging that crazy hip-hop jive, Larry Klinton playing the saxophone on Arsenio’s show, the two Bush clowns, Jimmah the peanut farmer, Ronnie the phony conservative deity, etc., etc., just a long string of goofball sock puppets with their fingers on nuclear triggers and doing the bidding of the actual rulers.

    But hey, the election’s coming up and maybe Ted Cruz and his Goldman-Sachs wife will save us, or on the other side, the commie parasite Sanders. Gee, duh, all the other hacks in Mordor hate Cruz, so that must be good, duh…or, Bernie really care about us out here and will soak the rich, duh…

    What a country! (shamelessly stolen again from Mr. Chuck)

  16. Last PC I built, I put the system and swap partitions on a fast SSD drive and left the data partitions on large chunks of spinning iron. Makes a VERY Fast desktop with 16 GB ram and dual 20 inch screens. I do regular backups to local NAS device and Amazon Cloud storage so I have data available locally and from anywhere in the world. I just couldn’t be productive with less. Use my Google Nexus tablet for media consumption and web reading.

    We rebuilt our source code file server in 2015 with a Intel SSD 240 GB C: drive and 4 TB WD Black D: drive. Windows 7 x64 Pro and 16 GB of ram. Works like a champ for our needs and is fast, fast, fast. We use over 10,000 files to build our software package and the SSD is just the way to go. Everything else can be slow.

  17. It looks like the venerable A-10 Warthog will hang on for a little while longer. Thanks to the POS the F-35 has become. It reminds me of the the OH-58 Kiowa. My first “real” helicopter assignment (trained as an aeroscout). It had more air worthiness directives against it than any other Army chopper. Congress made sure tons of money were put behind it to succeed, even though the Army didn’t want it (Army wanted the OH-6 Cayuse). Thanks to Johnson and his backing of Bell Helicopter.

    Now the F-35 will go over a trillion dollars. Guess where your SS and Medicare dollars are going?

  18. “Gamers are embracing Windows 10”
    https://www.petri.com/paul-thurrotts-short-takes-february-5

    “While Microsoft is correctly pointing to Windows 10’s relative success compared to its predecessors, there is one thing that really does stand out. And it’s not 200 million active devices. It’s that gamers are clearly embracing Windows 10 in record numbers. Case in point: Windows 10 is now the second-most-frequently-used OS on the Steam gaming service, with 34 percent of usage. It’s second only to Windows 7, with 42 percent. Why is this important? Because gamers demand performance, and this is an implicit endorsement that, yes, Microsoft has gotten it right.”

    Huh, I am surprised.

  19. FWIW, I’m actually reasonably happy with Win10. Turned off all the “call home” stuff I could, and I log in with a local account (MS wants you to use your MS account). However, it seems snappier than Win7, or at least no worse, and it takes up a good bit less disk space. Still many times what Linux needs, which makes no sense, but I’m grateful for what I can get. I have an early 128GB SSD, which has Win10, Linux, and a reserve partition on it, and things are a bit tight.

    Time for a new machine soon anyway, as this one has started having odd, random problems…something, somewhere is about to die. Looking at the pre-built stuff on offer, it frankly looks like an Acer Predator (gaming machine) is currently a good deal: 32MB, 512GB SSD, etc., for a very decent price. The video card is better than I need, but who cares…

    – – – – –

    The F-35 stuff, geez, it brings back my days in F-15 system acquisition too clearly. The F-15 was the same thing: the various models are supposed to use the same air frame to do every mission under the sun (the F-15E was supposed to replace the A-10, this some 20 years ago).

    Ridiculous. In what world does it make sense to use a $100 million (F-35) aircraft in a ground support role, where it can be shot down by a $50k SAM? Then you get the minor factor of loiter time. You want loiter time, you need big wings. A fighter air frame is a brick kept airborne by sheer engine power; by the time it reaches the battlefield, it already needs to leave.

    The costs, of course, are driven by politics. Political corruption would be a more honest description. Remove Congress from the picture, and you could cut costs by a factor of two or three. Streamline the military procurement regulations, and you could easily get another factor of two. Imagine if the F-35 cost $15 million instead of $100 million – might be worthwhile, then…

    Not gonna happen, because too many Congresscritters get rich off of that particular trough, not to mention the number of ex-government types (civilian and military) who wind up working for a company they once procured from.

  20. I’m not surprised at all. My Windows 10 machines are more stable and reliable than the Windows 8 and 7 machines have been. That’s saying something, because 7 was pretty good.

  21. Not only have the A10s been pulled back from the grave’s edge but the AC-130 gunships live on, still doing combat roles all over the world; big old slow fummamuckers but man, they can drill holes like you wouldn’t believe on the ground below. Good luck to those caught underneath. And the AF will keep the B52s humming until the year 2050, a century-long lifespan for ’em, preceding ol’ OFD and flying on long after I’m gone.

    I don’t game very much on the PC and couldn’t care less about that aspect of it; for home use, even biz, the 8.1 suffices for now but Linux will take over here eventually, maybe totally, as wife doesn’t seem fazed by using the Linux netbooks and laptops as backups for her Windows 7 laptop. Turns out that LibreOffice does, in fact, do what she supposedly needed from Microsoft Office. Beyond that, what, email and net? All she needs.

    So it will be buh-bye Billy Gates and the Microsoft empire finally, and I hope to hell I don’t have to deal with it at any work sites in the future, assuming I ever see one again. And very soon now, good-bye to gmail, Chrome, Google, Yahoo email, Skype, and I’ve already dumped the two long-inactive FaceCrack accounts. Firefox and its clones or downstream manifestations have been gussied up with all the security add-ons and extensions and I’m on an offshore VPN. No, this won’t keep pesky snoops and spies outta my hair but they’ll have to work for it a little harder. Not that I have anything worth spying on, anyway.

    What concerns me more and more, though, is that it’s becoming increasingly impossible to pay for anything anymore with cash. So far I can still do it for our mortgage, utilities, net/landline/tee-vee, heating oil and firewood, but it takes some effort to do it in other places. I do get the impression, however, that most places up here actually LIKE being paid in cash, rather than having to mess with checks and credit cards, so that’s a hopeful sign. The gummint, though, seems hell-bent on eliminating it.

  22. The only disk in my current personal PC is a 1TB SSD. When the HD in the machine went flaky, I decided it was time to add an SSD, and then decided to go ahead and go SSD only.

  23. The only disk in my current personal PC is a 1TB SSD. When the HD in the machine went flaky, I decided it was time to add an SSD, and then decided to go ahead and go SSD only.

    If you do not mind, which SSD and how much did you pay?

  24. What concerns me more and more, though, is that it’s becoming increasingly impossible to pay for anything anymore with cash. So far I can still do it for our mortgage, utilities, net/landline/tee-vee, heating oil and firewood, but it takes some effort to do it in other places. I do get the impression, however, that most places up here actually LIKE being paid in cash, rather than having to mess with checks and credit cards, so that’s a hopeful sign. The gummint, though, seems hell-bent on eliminating it.

    Why? If you want to go off the grid, good luck! Dude, you are a combat vet. You are at the top of all the lists.

    I asked my son why he was getting an FFL as that would move him to the top of all the lists. His response was, “Dad, I am a combat vet and already there”.

    He is glad that he did not file for the PTSD payments. He had a number of USMC buddies do that and are now getting letters from the VA saying that they need to give up their guns due to mental instability. He knew that was going to happen as the VA has been also politicized like the IRS.

  25. “…and are now getting letters from the VA saying that they need to give up their guns due to mental instability.”

    What do those letters say, exactly? The only stuff I’ve seen on that is they were going to question some veterans’ ownership of firearms if they had a history of mental instability or illness and/or someone else was/is handling their financial paperwork for them. We have several combat vets in our group who get PTSD disability payments and still have their firearms. None has mentioned getting any letters like that. Plus there has been a chit-storm of protest and outrage that any such crap would be implemented, and last I heard, they were backing off it.

    As for lists, I’ll be joining your son with the FFL and combat vet status. Fuck ’em. Molon labe, baby, molon labe. He sounds like he knows the score pretty well.

  26. The only stuff I’ve seen on that is they were going to question some veterans’ ownership of firearms if they had a history of mental instability or illness and/or someone else was/is handling their financial paperwork for them.

    Yeah, that’s what I’ve seen. If someone has a guardianship over you, then you might lose gun rights.

  27. The WAR ON CASH is a war on privacy
    Iceland is working hard to eliminate cash altogether and Germany now has a proposal to outlaw cash transactions greater than 5000 Euros. The idea being to eliminate money laundering and stop terror but we know the REAL plan is to involve the government in EVERY transaction so it can TAX and CONTROL. There have been some similar proposals in the US but none have ever made it to a bill. Yet. I run ATM machines and I know one reason people still use lots of cash in anonymity. To hide transactions from parents and wife’s. I’m happy to help.

  28. WRT unalienable right to keep and bear arms: I just don’t understand why people don’t understand what a strong word unalienable is. Oh, right, most people are ignorant idiots and have never bothered to understand our Founding Documents, just so much toilet paper now.

  29. Of course you want to paid in cash if you can. Only works in business where you sell services. Hard goods inventory can be tracked. Anything going through the bank is on record.
    A guy I worked for 40 years ago had about 25% of his business as cash, the rest was check, credit cards or in house charge accounts. He always watched that cash register (we only had one). If he saw enough cash biz he would total out the register and move the audit tape up a couple of inches. Then at the end of the day he would total again, take the money out, put it in his pocket and throw away the second audit tape. Probably made $50-100 a day back in the early seventies. He always said you had to steal from yourself to keep the government from taking it all.

  30. WRT unalienable right to keep and bear arms: I just don’t understand why people don’t understand what a strong word unalienable is.

    So where is the word unalienable?

    From:
    https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/second_amendment
    “The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.””

    BTW, I remain convinced that Cankles XXXXXX Hillary is a gun grabber. Her first act will be to load up SCOTUS in the grand tradition of FDR. Her next act will be presidential proclamations that limit gun ownership to criminals only (if you aren’t one already, you soon will be).

  31. Okay @Lynn I got my “…shall not be infringed…” and “…unalienable rights…” confused. Please forgive my old brain.

    So I’ll revise my post as follows (still has the same strong point):

    WRT the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed: I just don’t understand why people don’t understand what a strong statement shall not be infringed is. Oh, right, most people are ignorant idiots and have never bothered to understand our Founding Documents, just so much toilet paper now.

    IMHO, you had better be prepared for the gooberment to not just grab guns but also bullets, followed by all your cash and precious metals (including all numismatic coins). We will all be issued a Federal EBT Card with a set benefit each month based on where you rank in the “party”. Trade and barter will be outlawed, the black market will flourish.

  32. If the gummint gets to that point and is confiscating firearms and other property then we can expect some violent push-back nationwide, and any EBT card-type stuff can fail anytime the Grid hiccups or shuts down.

    We are not at zek-status yet as illustrated by the late, great Solzhenitsyn, and we have other means, training and experience at our disposal than a few shovels, rakes, frying pans and steak knives to deal with them. He and other zeks rued not taking the steps to bash a bunch of NKVD heads in when they knocked at their doors or kicked them in. A few weeks or months of that and maybe the Gulag could have been stopped cold right there.

    But we’ll see; there is no doubt that certain gummint elements work day and night to come up with ways for more control and power at our expense. The main factor that gives us hope is what fuck-ups they often are and their inefficiency and cluelessness. Also the hope that a bunch of peeps on the inside actually sympathize with us and won’t go out of their way to enable any of these projects. This would be true, for example, of large numbers of LE and armed forces drones, but not so much the brass.

  33. One of the proxies I use for the health of the US economy is the thickness of trade magazines.

    I get a lot of trade magazines across a wide range of businesses, but mostly manufacturing, electronics, engineering, business, entertainment, and some others.

    When times are good, the mags are fat with ads and content supported by the ads. When times are tough, the mags are thin.

    Right now they are the thinnest I’ve seen in a dozen years. One for electrical contractors is down to 34 pages. One general eng/manf one, Machine Design is down to 64 pages. It’s less than 3/16th inch thick. Years ago it was over a half inch.

    No one has the money for ads. Most of the mags have one or two long term major advertisers who are clearly supporting the mags, almost as an in-house effort.

    It’s quite depressing.

    nick

    They can lie all they want, but the economy is in the toilet by any objective measure.

  34. The computer consulting (long-term contracts, mostly) biz is hurting, at least in this area. Many fewer gigs than before, and hourly rates are down. Surely it’s a coincidence that a very high fraction of the people getting the gigs are here on H1-B (overwhelmingly from India) and working for much less than the formerly prevailing rate.

    The various freelance writing and editing gigs I used to get are also drying up, as work disappears or is taken in-house, or the rates paid are going down.

    Many of my acquaintances are either long-term unemployed or long-term underemployed, either in terms of hours per week or in terms of taking monkey jobs which don’t use their years of experience in another field or their education.

    I don’t know enough self-employed people to have a good handle on how they’re doing.

    Quite a few people I know work — that is, are employed by — the state or federal government. They’re doing quite well. Oh, sure, they got only a 3% pay increase on top of any step increases, and promotions are hard to come by as fewer people retire until they have to, but compared to practically everyone else, they’re in fat city. (Which was totally not a comment on the silhouette of the typical government employee.)

    This is all anecdotal and most is in upstate NY. Take it for what it’s worth.

  35. “… the thickness of trade magazines…”

    And not only those; I’ve found some “Time” and “People” and related trash rags lying around at various waiting rooms and other venues recently and they’re also a lot thinner than before. And a number of mags have gone exclusively digital in the last couple of years or maybe you can pay more and get both.

    ” Surely it’s a coincidence that a very high fraction of the people getting the gigs are here on H1-B (overwhelmingly from India) and working for much less than the formerly prevailing rate.”

    Across the board in the IT field, not just programmers and developers. My job at IBM went to peeps in India and Slovakia. How they managed to do the 80% of it that was hands-on and inside the data centers is still an enduring mystery for me. And my job also required a security clearance and regular ITAR certs.

    “Many of my acquaintances are either long-term unemployed or long-term underemployed, either in terms of hours per week or in terms of taking monkey jobs which don’t use their years of experience in another field or their education.”

    That’s me, for the past couple of years now. I’ve had zero, nada, nothing, since October of 2014.

    “…are employed by — the state or federal government. They’re doing quite well.”

    Good luck trying to find one of those jobs or get into one; they make it damn near impossible now and the paperwork is endless, roughly akin to what MrAtoz and I have dealt with in regard to VA guaranteed loan stuff. Background checks, fingerprint cards, questionnaires, multiple interviews, and all this for crappy low-level drone gigs. Yet SOME peeps stroll right on in, like that guy down there in the Navy Yard site who walked around blowing people away until somebody finally nailed him. Probably forgotten now, in the U.S. of Amnesia, but gee, background checks and clearances weren’t a problem for him, evidently.

    “This is all anecdotal and most is in upstate NY. Take it for what it’s worth.”

    Ditto for “upstate” VT. Only jobs are either “senior” this and that or minimum-wage shit, nothing in between, yet we’re told the state continues to have very low unemployment. More anecdotal stuff, and for years now: lots of us have seen our staffs and teams become skeletonized and we’ve watched our work loads double and triple. So peeps still working are pulling much longer hours and weeks for the same pay, and often with bennies reduced. That last gig I had for all of six weeks was getting done prior to my arrival by two high skool kidz. They left the day after I started and I was expected to do the whole thing by myself, instantly. I often went in at O-Dark-Thirty and stayed until 6 or 7 at night, thus overlapping the two manufacturing shifts, and also came in on weekends to do shit I didn’t have time for during the week, if I expected to eat, sleep and pee. Even that wasn’t enough for those people.

    And, of course, ‘none dare call it treason…’

    http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/homeland-security/268282-dhs-ordered-me-to-scrub-records-of-muslims-with-terror

    Dovetails nicely with my place in the book I’m reading right now on the Nazi siege of Leningrad; Stalin and his top minions absolutely refused to believe that they were under attack, even many hours after the Germans had been bombing and rolling dozens of miles into the country with their Panzer divisions, total blitzkreig. If you, as a commander, took steps beforehand to prep for that sorta thing, which was becoming very obvious, you stood a good chance of reprimand at the least and being taken away and shot at the worst. Then, once the Germans had struck, and your units got leveled or wiped out, you again got taken away and shot for that. A lose-lose thing, like that guy working for DHS. Don’t scrub the records and get fired and never get a Fed job again. Scrub ’em and watch musloid scum pull off one atrocity after another here, knowing they didn’t have to happen. With no one accountable.

    None dare call it treason? I do. And the people responsible should be stood against a wall like Beria used to stand them, and shot. (Beria himself shot not many years later).

  36. The majority of MrsAtoz’s work last year was with schools (Obola-Bucks), so defacto working for the gummint.

  37. “They can lie all they want, but the economy is in the toilet by any objective measure.”

    What are you saying? The international headlines here say that U.S. unemployment is down to 4.5%, which is a very good value indeed. Of course, no mention of how the definition of unemployment has quietly been changed over the years.

    Re the war on cash: happening on this side of the pond as well. The European Central Bank wants to eliminate the EUR 500 note. Supposedly, this is to make money laundering more difficult, but as I understand it, the criminals don’t use the big bills for that anyway – it’s too obvious.

    This is really about preventing large parts of the economy from going underground. When much of Europe has around 20% VAT, and the economy isn’t great, people have an incentive to do more cash transactions. The governments, being unwilling to admit that they’re on the wrong side of the Laffer curve, want to prevent that.

  38. Fred is puzzled

    Fred, like Michael Behe, is ignorant and confused. Neither understands basic cell biology, let alone evolution. Their argument boils down to “I don’t understand this, therefore god.”

  39. Me being me, I usually phrase it more like, “Your ignorance and low IQ do not mean that god is the only possible explanation.” Usually I’m not that deliberately offensive with the True Believers, but some fanatics simply don’t know when to shut up.

  40. WRT the unemployment rate: Once again the gooberment has changed the definition, you are not counted as unemployed if you have ever been unemployed once (no citation needed, it is intuitively obvious to the most casual observer, like everyone who reads RBT’s Daynotes Journal).

    Technically I have been unemployed since April 19, 1995. Yes, that is the day of the Oklahoma City bombing. In the morning of that day I was called in to the Executive Staff Meeting and given a $10,000.00 check for a safety improvement I had identified and implemented throughout the site; rousing round of applause and handshakes all around. That afternoon I was summoned to my boss’s office, was told how valuable I was but I was getting RIF’d anyway so allow these guards to escort you to your office to pack up (basically most men who were 45 or older were RIF’d that day). To this day I still get the occasional call about how something was done back-in-the-day.

    BOHICA

  41. From what I can see up here and across the lake in the Vampire State, the real unemployment figure is closer to 15-20%, easily. And yup, most of us are old white guys over 45; more women are still employed, like our wives, doing crap jobs at crummy pay and little or no benefits. And a whole younger gen is subsisting on tax dollars, apparently, and eating junk food and smoking ciggies while glued to their cell phones and tablets. No one reads, no one understands any history before they were born, and all their knowledge comes from the tee-vee and pixels.

  42. Labor participation rate, true inflation rate, all kinds of fake numbers. The fed’s mandate of 2% inflation is nothing but a mandate to rob from savers.

    CAT is way down. Baltic dry index at historic lows, and by a large margin. 80% of auto loans are to subprime borrowers. Homeownership at historic lows.

    Bad everywhere.

    WRT cash. For years I avoided cash like the plague. I rarely spent more than $20 in cash a week, and what I did spend I had receipts for. There were business reasons to track everything.

    Since I’ve been technically unemployed (note that I’m ‘self’ employed so I don’t count) I’ve rediscovered the cash economy. I spend a great deal of time now in the secondary economy and it is booming. Yard sales, thrift stores, estate sales, flea markets, person to person (craigslist, ebay-to a degree) are all growing and all prefer cash.

    Most services around here prefer cash too.

    Cash is still king.

    nick

  43. Writing on the wall: My current employer of 8 years has instituted a “Lean and Mean” program over the past two years. This Billion dollar, global, London based, medical supplies firm has been cutting expenses. First it free cafeteria went to subsidized and now it has closed. The free coffee and sodas have been replaced by market rate machines. The latest measure is that janitorial services have been cut back and all staff are now required to bag and remove office rubbish. All travel allowance was cut last year except for VPs and above who just have to attend the quarterly sales blow-out in Dubai. When I joined, the recruiter bragged that this firm did EVERYTHING in house. Today we outsource everything. Just moved all IT from a Polish based firm to a group in northern India that has never even seen an English course. With jut 2 years to retirement I am hanging in there hoping for a nice package when they finally find someone to buy them.

  44. “I spend a great deal of time now in the secondary economy and it is booming.”

    I’m just gonna reckon that our activity in this AO is probably ten percent of yours, based on the population/density. But yeah, cash still works pretty good locally. I gotta get out for more meatspace time and go around to these things, pay more attention to the local rag circulars and notices and bulletin boards. Even jobs are posted on craigslist for local area and Quebec. Nothing I’ve sent in for them has gotten me even an acknowledgement so far, but that seems to be par for the course with IT.

    I also imagine cash will remain king for a while even after SHTF, and then we’ll be down to barter or a combination thereof. Stockpiling silver and gold coins doesn’t seem very realistic; ordinary folks aren’t familiar with that stuff and unlikely to accept it. Hard goods and property, mes amis.

  45. “This Billion dollar, global, London based, medical supplies firm has been cutting expenses.”

    Yeah, the nickel-and-dime employee-related stuff, make life miserable for y’all before the final crash. Gee, I wonder if the top dawg salaries and bennies are also being reduced…

    …and again that mystery…how do the IT guys in northern India deal with hardware issues on-site, like swapping out mobos, power supplies, RAM, monitors, etc.? Stringing ethernet? Racking and de-racking servers? The endless help desk issues? Got security?

  46. I got my Form 1095-B from MilPay last week certifying I have adequate ObuttwadCare via Tricare Retired. I was wondering how the rest of you certify to the IRS that you’ve paid your dues to support all the low life scum who won’t pay? Or are you just going to pay the penalty?

  47. “I was wondering how the rest of you certify to the IRS that you’ve paid your dues to support all the low life scum who won’t pay? Or are you just going to pay the penalty?”

    We’re paying our regular ongoing taxes, or at least filing the returns, and also back taxes from the past ten years or so, and we’re paying penalties, too. Mrs. OFD has to cough up $500/month for the so-called Health Connect mess up here with the web site still effed up and millions lost to contractors by the state, so we also paid for that in state taxes, a total loss.

    The long-term object seems to be to impoverish the general pop and make us utterly dependent on Holy Mother State for everything, while they spy on us and their permanent bureaucrats dictate what benefits and rations we’ll get. As various elected and appointed officials and the rulers become ever wealthier and more powerful. Same as it ever was, I guess, throughout human history. They’ve shit-canned our republic and ain’t looking back and most of the pop doesn’t know and doesn’t care.

    This is really beginning to look a lot like the old Soviet Union, with a Party, skool and media indoctrination, the nomenklatura, and a beta version of their gulag, with new technological tweaks and methodologies. An updated version of the very late Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon.

  48. What? Everybody didn’t get a 1095B? I think United Health sent ours but really I don’t remember. I’m sure a copy was sent to the IRS as well.

  49. Wife pointed out the form we got just yesterday. Like a 1099. Gotta keep the paper pushers and post office in business…..

    nick

  50. Everybody didn’t get a 1095B

    I got two of them. One from United Healthcare (the group plan provider) and one from the VA. Which one do I use for income tax? Called the IRS and they did not know.

    So with obuttwadcare you don’t have enough money to pay $50 a month, so you get a penalty of $750, which you cannot pay. What is the IRS going to do? Put you in prison. Cut off a digit and after 10 years start working lower? I fail to see how the government can force you to buy something from a private company, then fine you if you don’t. Oh, buy the supreme court said it was legal. Of course their healthcare is top of the line, zero out of pocket, premium facilities, top tier doctors, etc. They have no idea what commoners have to deal with.

  51. WRT the IRS knowing anything: never going to happen. Get TurboTax and get the right answers.

    WRT how is the IRS going to get blood from a turnip (sorry Ray I don’t mean you are a turnip 😉 ): OFD is a fine example, they will first take it from any refund you think you may be owed, then they will seize your bank accounts and/or take it from your Social Security check or any other gooberment payment you receive.

  52. Thing is, we filled out their damn forms like we were supposed to, and on time, too. They screwed up and seized our accounts. Then the burden was on us to get to the bottom of it and fix it, weeks later, with checks bouncing and bills going unpaid. This also involved dealing with the bank, and in the end, we got it straightened out, zero help from the IRS, and the hundreds and hundreds of dollars we lost in OD fees and bounced check penalties? Tough shit. Zero apology or even acknowledgement from them, either. Totally their fault and we paid for it and then some.

    If we’d ignored them, and just starting cashing pay checks and likewise at check cashing stores, they would eventually come after any retirement, SS, VA bennies, and finally the house and vehicles and other property. They probably have a SWAT outfit, too.

    “They have no idea what commoners have to deal with.”

    Not only that, they don’t give a fuck, either, and if anything, think it’s funny.

    And hey, if we’re gonna play the vegetable game: Mr. Ray is, in fact, a turnip. I’m a carrot. MrAtoz is a habanero pepper. And Mr. SteveF is a Venus Flytrap.

  53. WRT the IRS knowing anything: never going to happen.

    Such has been my experience. One time when I had problems with my taxes (filed an income on the incorrect form), I got two different answers from two different agents. Called on the phone and got another answer. Refiled the return as it should have been filed, taxable amount and withholding was the same, thus the same refund. Got a letter from IRS demanding to know why my return was different. Also on the same letter was a paragraph saying I had to much SS withheld. That never changed on my return. I also asked about that paragraph in my letter. IRS responded that my return was OK and the SS paragraph was a caution, not reporting an error. Clearly the paragraph stated error. My feeling is the IRS knew they screwed up and true to form, will never make a mistake.

    WRT how is the IRS going to get blood from a turnip

    I have been called worse. Turnips is what we called our system analysts on the USAF system I worked. Fourth generation language, we wrote the compilers, the analysts wrote the business statements.

    Mr. Ray is, in fact, a turnip

    More of a bell pepper I think.

    Tough shit. Zero apology or even acknowledgement from them, either.

    Same deal when I got the property seizure notice from the IRS. They had the wrong person as the SSNs did not match. But that did not stop them from going after my property simply because the names matched. I demanded a letter stating they were incorrect and had the wrong person. Never got one even after sending a registered letter that I know they received.

  54. We ought to start filling bell peppers, turnips, carrots and suchlike with various substances and filing them with our returns or something. They’re outta control and have been for a very long time. A gigantic Soviet-style bureaucracy with zero accountability to anyone and they produce reams of tax code and instructions that not even they understand or can explain.

  55. ” they produce reams of tax code and instructions that not even they understand or can explain.

    By design. For them this is a feature, not a bug.

    nick

  56. Of course, no mention of how the definition of unemployment has quietly been changed over the years.

    It’s not been changed. Labor force participation has fallen so much over the past few years that is new.

  57. Of course SSD is the only way to go. I did a lot of reading before buying in August and chose a 500 GB Samsung. The price has dropped by almost $20 since then.

  58. That Samsung 500 Gb for $153, is it good? Of course for a desktop, you have to get a 2.5 to 3.5 inch adapter.

    Geez, 1 TB SSD for $299 and 2 TB for $649, unfreaking real.

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