Monday, 25 July 2016

09:05 – Barbara just left to head down to Winston to run errands. As usual, Colin deeply resents being left at home with me. He’s going to help me build a bunch of boxes for biology kits and burn the DVDs that go into them.

Email from Brittany. They had a food repackaging party over the weekend. They didn’t finish everything, but they got a lot done: they filled, sealed, and labeled about 100 of the LDS 1-gallon foil/Mylar bags with bulk staples, about 500 pounds total. Her husband hadn’t finished building the shelves in the basement, so they have stacks of filled bags all over the place for now.

Brittany said there’s a real learning curve involved. When they filled their first bag, for example, they quickly realized that they had no way to seal it because if they laid it on its side to seal it most of the food would spill out of the open end. They quickly solved that problem by building a stack of bricks high enough to lean the filled bags against while they folded the tops of the bags over a steel ruler and used an old clothes iron set on high to seal all but the last inch or so of the top, leaving space to stick an oxygen absorber in before sealing the final small gap.

It wasn’t until they’d filled several bags with beans that they realized that the filled bags were going to be kind of lumpy, so it might be better to label the bags before they filled them. So they ran enough half-page labels to label enough bags for the rest of the beans and used them to pre-label bean bags before filling them. They ended up with a partial bag’s worth of beans left over, which Brittany put in a labeled ziplock bag for immediate use.

They then opened a bag of oxygen absorbers, went back and squeezed as much of the air as possible out of the filled bean bags, dropped an oxygen absorber in each, and sealed the final small gap. They then squeezed each bag to make sure it was sealed completely, put the unused oxygen absorbers in a half-pint Mason jar, and set the sealed bags aside. When they looked at them several hours later, Brittany was surprised to see that the oxygen absorbers had already had a visible effect on the bags, which were now all shrunken in on themselves and lumpy. Thinking ahead, they’d sealed the bags at the very top edge. As Brittany says, by opening them carefully, they’ll be able to re-use the empty bags for more beans, albeit not quite as many in each succeeding pass as they got into the bags on the first pass.

After beans, they repeated the process to bag rice, oats, cornmeal, pasta, salt, and (finally) flour. All except the flour went well, because all of those other foods are reasonably granular. But, like most people who’ve bagged bulk staples, Brittany quickly came to hate repackaging flour. As a light, fluffy powder, flour tends to go everywhere but where you want it. Brittany’s kitchen ended up with a light dusting of flour on the counters, cabinet doors, floors, and every other surface. Her husband grabbed a new tack cloth from his workbench, which they used to remove flour dust from the mouths of the flour bags before they heat-sealed them.

They ended up with about 150 of the LDS foil/Mylar bags unused from the original case of 250, and several sacks of bulk staples that they hadn’t had time to transfer. They intend to buy more sacks of bulk staples this week, and fill foil/Mylar bags again this coming weekend.


84 thoughts on “Monday, 25 July 2016”

  1. How inconvenient for the DNC:
    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/07/25/authorities-2-killed-over-a-dozen-shot-at-florida-nightclub/

    For me its an obvious gang shooting, more black on black.

    The MSM is going to be in spin overdrive this week. I can’t wait to see the coverage of the Bernie Fart-In Protest.
    http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-07-25/fart-in-smoke-in-and-actual-protest-crowds-come-to-philadelphia-for-dnc
    http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-07-12/bernie-fans-say-fart-in-against-hillary-will-go-on

    The best parts of last night’s 60 Minutes have been hidden (the think) on the web.
    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-overtime-hillary-clinton-tim-kaine-clips/

  2. Ruh-roh. Brittany said she’d like to contact Jen directly. I asked Jen, and she said to give Brittany her email and phone number. Must be a girl thing. I’m wondering if, once they hook up, I’ll ever hear from either of them again.

  3. So much doom and gloom. What signs should I look for that the country will not crumble into Greece? Are there any? Will technology and better leadership save the country?

    On a better note, we got another doxie a couple of weeks ago. I guess she thought it was bath time:

    Cholula

  4. Ah the thrill of waiting in the SS office with the dregs of society and annoying government workers who think you should kiss their ass. I need to get a replacement SS card and apply for Medicare part B. I really hate this place.

  5. “What signs should I look for that the country will not crumble into Greece? Are there any? Will technology and better leadership save the country?”

    We may not crumble into Greece or Venezuela for a long time, if ever.

    For your third question, I have grave doubts; technology as we know it now is dependent on electricity, itself derived from fossil resources or nuclear. And what is this “better leadership” you speak of, kemosabe?

  6. tRump 2016! “He’ll save the country since he’s the Great White Dope ™”

  7. It’s interesting how libertarians seem to be split right down the middle. Nearly every one of them thinks Trump and Clinton are both horrible, but they’re about evenly divided over which is more horrible.

    I come down in the Clinton-is-worse group. We *know* what she’s going to do if she wins: pack SCOTUS with even more progressives; double down on the prog agenda for expanded federal healthcare, gun confiscation, etc., etc. We don’t know what Trump is going to do, but at least he talks a good game on SCOTUS and guns.

    I said to Barbara the other day that maybe we should vote in November for Trump, since NC may be in play.

  8. itself derived from fossil resources or nuclear

    But, but, but…solar and wind “Green” power is going to save us dirt folks. The elite will have thorium reactors in their basements. What dirt person needs electricity at night or dark days or windless days anyway?

  9. My political idiocy.
    I think Cruz came up with at least one good idea in his farewell speech. Vote your conscience. Hillary has managed to surge to the top of my liar’s board by about two to one versus Trump. I can dream!
    I like Milo. Watching him is like seeing a giant (90 lbs) standard poodle all set up for a show turn to sink his teeth into the asses of the usual inflated egos. Their pained howls are music to my ears.
    Lurker.

  10. I saw the lead-in to 60 Minutes with HRC complaining that there were two standards and she was being picked on. That’s all I could watch. I switched to The Simpsons.

  11. If you don’t think that Presidents matter, take a look at this article, “5 Takeaway Points From the EPA’s TAR leading to CAFE Midterm Evaluation”:
    http://www.hybridcars.com/5-takeaway-points-from-the-epas-tar-leading-to-cafe-midterm-evaluation

    “To be clear, CAFE technically does not mandate more than 1-3 percent of the cleanest plug-in electrified vehicles. The feds gave the industry an out and CAFE can be met with things like 48-volt electrical systems, 8-plus speed transmissions, Atkinson and Miller cycle engines, downsized turbos, cylinder deactivation, gasoline direct injection, light-weighting, and more.”

    “Boiling it to the essence, Roland Hwang, the NRDC’s director of its Energy and Transportation program, said the handwriting is on the wall for automakers to pull out the stops.”

    ““Automakers can meet 2025 carbon pollution and fuel economy standards with known technologies, on time, and at the same or lower cost than previously estimated,” he said.””

    The AGW crowd is driving up the cost of our cars and trucks. Plus the cost of our construction equipment and farm equipment. This is not trivial and is anti-competitive with other nations. Plus, I wonder about long term reliability and cost. These are all cost factors and must be taken into account.

    I am an engineer and love efficiency probably more than the next person. However, usually efficiency and capital costs are trade-offs.

    ““Overall, do stronger standards inhibit sales and profits? Empirically speaking, the answer is no,” he said. “Standards are as high as they ever been, and automakers are having near record sales and healthy profits. In fact, now is the time to keep strengthening the standards, to ensure they invest in clean car technology they need to remain competitive. Investing for a rainy day, if you will. I’m doubtful that the federal government will want to bail them out – again—if they head towards bankruptcy when the next oil price spike hits.””

    I have never seen the situation where higher costs cause a market to flourish. The vehicle market is flourishing in spite of the higher costs.

  12. My mother knew the truth more than 50 years ago. Back in the early 60’s, my dad decided to run as a Democrat for City Council in New Castle, PA, the small town where I grew up.

    My mother was horrified at the thought of my father being a politician. She refused to help him with election work, and when he lost she was sad for him but delighted for the rest of us.

    I suspect part of my dad’s problem was that he knew everyone and he knew everyone’s names, but he didn’t put the two together so he was always calling people by the wrong name. Even I, as an elementary school student, knew a lot of the people’s right names. It was pretty embarrassing to run into a guy on the street whose name I knew was Ed and have my dad call him Joe. Of course, as we continued walking down the street we’d run into Joe and my dad would call him Ed.

  13. I like Milo. Watching him is like seeing a giant (90 lbs) standard poodle all set up for a show turn to sink his teeth into the asses of the usual inflated egos. Their pained howls are music to my ears.

    Me too. He is living his own particular kind of crazy to the extreme. And, that is his right here in the USA. The dumbocrat crowd will take that away from him someday as their strange attraction to the muslims causes them to veer away from the LGBTQABC crowd.

  14. The SS worker printed out a form for my employer to sign that states I had health insurance. I asked what date to put in for the ending date (only a month and a year). I then asked if the part B coverage started that month (August) or the month after (September). He did not know and had to go ask. Came back and said to put in the date I wanted coverage to start in the place on the form. I then asked which place on the form. He scanned the form and found no such place (I knew that already). He then had to go ask someone. Came back and said to put the date in the remarks. Seriously? That is the place on the form you are supposed to use? How are us mere mortals supposed to know that?

  15. I think Cruz came up with at least one good idea in his farewell speech. Vote your conscience. Hillary has managed to surge to the top of my liar’s board by about two to one versus Trump. I can dream!

    I am fascinated by how many people in the USA say “so what if Hillary is a crook and I plan to vote for her anyway ?”. It is a reflection of our culture and not a pretty one.

  16. I said to Barbara the other day that maybe we should vote in November for Trump, since NC may be in play.

    Wow. I am speechless.

  17. The Bernie Bro activists are now saying they won’t vote for Hillary! as she is a crook. DWS got booed off the stage by the delegation from her home state of Florida. Yay!

  18. I’ll think about it. I usually vote Libertarian, but their candidates this year are closer to old-style Republicans than they are to Libertarians. Besides which, I want to vote for or against some of the local and state candidates, so I’ll be at the polling place anyway.

  19. The Great State of Texas is not in play this year but it will be soon. Illegal immigrants are 25% ? 20% ? 30% ??? of the population. The day that the illegals get to vote, Texas will switch from red to blue as they vote for free stuff !

  20. And then there are all the progs moving from California to Texas.

    I’d like to see large cities become sovereign. Any city of over, say, 100,000 population should legally not be a part of the state in which it is physically located. City residents should not pay any state taxes, and should not be able to vote in state elections.

    Actually, I’d prefer that progressives simply not be permitted to vote, period.

  21. Now the Ds seem to realize that insecure e-mail systems can be a bad thing. I can’t decide if it’s more funny or sad. In either case, I won’t be voting for one of the two major candidates. I also won’t mourn if either or both parties are sundered into bits by this year’s fiasco.

  22. The area in the Houston city limits are blue. Most of the surrounding suburbs are red. The six million people in the suburbs way overwhelm the two million people inside the Houston city limits so the entire metroplex is conservative. For now.

    Dallas – Fort Worth is the same way. For now.

  23. Here are the things that disturb me enough about HRC that I am going to vote for Trump.

    1. She wrote a legal brief arguing that Richard Nixon should not be entitled to counsel at his impeachment hearing.
    2. She got a guy who raped a girl off, and joked about it afterward.
    3. The whole FBI email scandal and her blatant disregard of national security.

    Given Bill’s inability to keep his pants up and the rumors of her anger at this, why can’t she bring herself to divorce him? The only thing I can conclude is at some level she needs him. America’s first woman president, a feminist who can’t function without her husband?

  24. Here are the things that disturb me enough about HRC that I am going to vote for Trump.

    +1,000

    She would be nowhere without Bill. If she is elected, I wouldn’t be surprised if Bill bit the dust.

  25. As more and more of the DNC emails are screened, I’d be very nervous if I were a Dumbocrat. Those progturds are fukstiks to the max.

  26. ” In either case, I won’t be voting for one of the two major candidates. I also won’t mourn if either or both parties are sundered into bits by this year’s fiasco.”

    +1,000

    Voting for the lesser of two evils is STILL voting for evil. Is Trump evil? Depends on how one views his business management, I guess, and he hasn’t had a chance to become evil yet, maybe. But we can safely say he’s probably a psychopath, like almost ALL people who run for political office above, say, the town meeting level. And I’m none too sure about some of them, either.

    It will make life interesting no matter which psychopath is elected, though. If it’s Field Marshal Rodham, the Heroine of Tripoli and Benghazi, and failed lawyer, then we can ordinarily expect her to, as others have said, double down on repression and bloodthirsty militarism. But she’s clearly got some serious medical and psychological problems and the so-called husband, Larry, is a walking cadaver.

    If Trump gets in, we might, if we were clueless bumpkins, expect him to fulfill at least SOME of the things he’s said he would do, but of course he will then be inhaling the toxic vapors and satanic smoke of Mordor, and he obviously will have to make good on any favors hitherto rendered. And deal with the Congress and SCOTUS stuff. Foreign policy? It would be nice if he could find a way to sidestep/avoid World War IV. Or something may happen to him before November; or this may all just be a big sideshow and the fix has always totally been for Cankles no matter what.

    The ruling junta decides, ladies and germs. Not us Dirt People frittering about the fraudulent voting machines and polling stations yet again. Like it was fucking South America or the old Soviet Union.

  27. “Here is Trump’s number one foreign policy, “Trump Doubles Down on Taxing Companies that Manufacture Overseas””

    OK, that’s a wunnerful thing, but will he actually DO it? Or will he be prevented from doing it? These psychos tell us all kinds of stuff during campaigns but how often does any of it get accomplished? And can he magically bring back American manufacturing to this country and make it so that American workers will be well paid and have decent health care benefits again?

  28. Or something may happen to him before November; or this may all just be a big sideshow and the fix has always totally been for Cankles no matter what.

    You gotta wonder what the October surprise is going to be this year. I’ve always regarded the First City Bank seizure by the FDIC on Oct 30, 1992 as the best October surprise ever. My brother and two of my friends worked there. My brother bailed right before the seizure but my two friends, both in accounting, were forced by the FDIC to hang on for several years to close it all down.
    http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/stories/2003/11/10/story2.html

    And in the end, the bank was proven to be solvent and the First City Bank stockholders won a lawsuit against the FDIC for fraud.

  29. And can he magically bring back American manufacturing to this country and make it so that American workers will be well paid and have decent health care benefits again?

    Maybe Trump will slow the exodus down and get a few of the ex-patriots to move their manufacturing back to the USA. It will be highly mechanized though and not provide near as many jobs left the USA.

    Health care ? The USA is heading down the Single Payer road so fast that it will make your head spin. I suspect that it will be enacted in Trump’s first sixty days in office. The enactment will probably be staged but the act will not.

  30. Ex-patriots for expatriates? I like it!

    I claim sheer incompetence and wonder how I scored so well on that vocabulary test. DH is probably still rolling on the floor laughing.

  31. Works for me; ex-patriots, assuming they ever were such, moved their ops offshore over the past couple of decades, including my former job at IBM. Making money was/is WAY more important than American citizens’ jobs and livelihoods, or such outmoded and outdated old-fogey concepts as “national sovereignty.” Even when it involves national security.

  32. I think Trump will be bad. I know Hillary will be very very very bad. How is this a hard decision?

    The Dems + normal Repubs will act as a brake in Trump. The Dems will be egging Hillary on. Plus there’s the Supremes and gun issues.

    Yes DH, I know I don’t understand…

  33. I always vote even if it seems futile for a republican in California. As Bob says it’s the local races I’m voting for (and we heading for 17 propositions on the ballot this time). HRC could come out and say, “I don’t really care what all you little turds think.” and still win California.
    Yes I think the SCOTUS is probably the biggest issue. Trump will appoint his sister but still has to get it past the senate.
    It’s all gone to shit.

  34. “How is this a hard decision?”

    A hard decision for whom? Us Dirt People? We have no say in any decisions, least of all through voting for either one of them. That has all been decided by now. If the ruling junta wants Cankles, then it’ll be her; if they want Trump for whatever reason/s, it’ll be him. Or maybe they’ll decide they want neither and leave Obola in place for “national security” reasons, like after the next black flag event. Or simply declare the Party nominations null and void and make them nominate others meanwhile. These people just do whatever they want. That ought to be eminently clear to anyone in the world by now, especially after seeing her emerge entirely unscathed after all the stuff about her felonies and treason.

  35. Yes I think the SCOTUS is probably the biggest issue. Trump will appoint his sister but still has to get it past the senate.

    Hillary will appoint Ruth Ginsberg’s ideological children. A score of them.

  36. A hard decision for whom? Us Dirt People? We have no say in any decisions, least of all through voting for either one of them. That has all been decided by now. If the ruling junta wants Cankles, then it’ll be her; if they want Trump for whatever reason/s, it’ll be him. Or maybe they’ll decide they want neither and leave Obola in place for “national security” reasons, like after the next black flag event. Or simply declare the Party nominations null and void and make them nominate others meanwhile. These people just do whatever they want. That ought to be eminently clear to anyone in the world by now, especially after seeing her emerge entirely unscathed after all the stuff about her felonies and treason.

    It has become obvious that Obola and Hillary are working for Soros. I wonder about Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. But I doubt that Trump is working for Soros.

  37. Donald Trump is the Rob Ford of American politics.

    Everyone remembers Ford as the drunk, drug addled buffoon but he was elected mayor of Toronto. He was elected because, idiotic populist clown that he was, he was preferable to the candidates that opposed him. His platform made little sense but neither did anyone else’s. One of his campaign slogans was “Stop the gravy train”. He than demanded, after election, that the public transit system be expanded by building more subways, the most expensive and least efficient form of transit. He wanted subways because he said that he didn’t like streetcars. I don’t think that the man ever rode on any public transit vehicle in his life. He was elected because he made the right reassuring noises for the electorate.

    I have long advocated that Toronto should become a city-province. Montreal as well. The cities have about 15% of Canada’s population between them. Toronto is less likely because it is also the provincial capital although I see no reason not to send Queen’s Park to North Bay. Both cities provide substantial revenue to their respective provinces. In fact both cities pay far more in taxes to both provincial and federal governments that they receive. No province will let a revenue source like that get away.

  38. 19 stabbed to death in Japan. Ban all knives!!!

    Clinton operative caught on sting video: this is how we ban all guns.

    What a day.

  39. “Clinton operative caught on sting video: this is how we ban all guns.”

    I assume this is what the Lost Wages correspondent is talking about:

    http://bearingarms.com/bob-o/2016/07/25/breaking-democrat-delegate-confesses-clinton-plot-ban-guns/

    Pretty effin blatant, ain’t it.

    You wish they would just come right out and say “We intend to ban and destroy all your guns, tax you at 90%, and make utter serfs/slaves of all you Dirt People.”

    What’s funny is that their operators, like this chick, think they’ll be taken along for the ride and given carte blanche, too. Hell, they’ll be among the first loaded into boxcars and later shot.

  40. https://hopenchangecartoons.blogspot.com/2016/07/now-its-getting-in-tents.html

    “SEE: The mother of Gentle Giant Michael Brown, who shares the story of the gargantuan attempted cop-killer who transformed into a liberal martyr right before our eyes!”

    “Meanwhile, the Philly cops’ union is purportedly furious that Clinton has invited the families of police shootings to speak, while completely ignoring the families of the slain Officers from the past few weeks.”

    You know, if Hillarity puts any BLM mothers up on that stage, she can kiss off getting any alpha male votes. Oh wait, she isn’t getting any alpha male votes. One wonders what the ratio of alpha males to beta males is in the USA ? It used to be fairly high, now I suspect it is below 1.0.

  41. You gotta wonder what the October surprise is going to be this year. I’ve always regarded the First City Bank seizure by the FDIC on Oct 30, 1992 as the best October surprise ever.

    I worked at the Texas DOB for 5 years. Quit in March ’93. Low level… file clerk. The guys in the print shop outranked me. I’d get in trouble for reading the newspapers… Dallas and Houston had 2 each, San Antonio, Austin, and Fort Worth each had 1. But I had all my stuff done by 11am. Gotta do something and I didn’t think sunbathing on the roof was an approved activity. Nice view of Shoal Creek up there, tho.

    I read fast and learned a lot as the copier sucked in paper. 🙂

    First City seemed, to me, a good bank. Ditto MBank, fka Mercantile Bank of Dallas. FC had a bailout, same for MBank which the FDIC sold to BankOne, an Ohio bank. I never grokked why the FDIC didn’t sell First City to someone.

    BankOne is now Chase whatever. I forget how we now have Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

    But what do I know? I do know Frost Bank is the largest Texas bank that has not had a bailout. “We’re from here” is a good true slogan. Frost did pick up most of First City’s branches in Austin. Changed their logo color from brown to First City blue, too.

    Guess where I’ve banked since, oh, 1982? Yep, at the only bank that would cash a check for me. Chase National Bank, corner of 183/Research and I35. Member Cullen/Frost Bankers. Branch banking wasn’t allowed in Texas at the time. So, holding companies…. My check was the deposit refund from the apt in McAllen. Yeah, I had to open a $50 savings account. I still have it. But the $180 cash in my pocket was useful for silly stuff. Like food. Something more than mac and cheese and canned soup.

    The other banks I tried? All gone. Good riddance.

  42. “You gotta wonder what the October surprise is going to be this year. I’ve always regarded the First City Bank seizure by the FDIC on Oct 30, 1992 as the best October surprise ever.”

    I worked at the Texas DOB for 5 years. Quit in March ’93. Low level… file clerk. The guys in the print shop outranked me. I’d get in trouble for reading the newspapers… Dallas and Houston had 2 each, San Antonio, Austin, and Fort Worth each had 1. But I had all my stuff done by 11am. Gotta do something and I didn’t think sunbathing on the roof was an approved activity. Nice view of Shoal Creek up there, tho.

    I read fast and learned a lot as the copier sucked in paper. 🙂

    First City seemed, to me, a good bank. Ditto MBank, fka Mercantile Bank of Dallas. FC had a bailout, same for MBank which the FDIC sold to BankOne, an Ohio bank. I never grokked why the FDIC didn’t sell First City to someone.

    BankOne is now Chase whatever. I forget how we now have Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

    But what do I know? I do know Frost Bank is the largest Texas bank that has not had a bailout. “We’re from here” is a good true slogan. Frost did pick up most of First City’s branches in Austin. Changed their logo color from brown to First City blue, too.

    Guess where I’ve banked since, oh, 1982? Yep, at the only bank that would cash a check for me. Chase National Bank, corner of 183/Research and I35. Member Cullen/Frost Bankers. Branch banking wasn’t allowed in Texas at the time. So, holding companies…. My check was the deposit refund from the apt in McAllen. Yeah, I had to open a $50 savings account. I still have it. But the $180 cash in my pocket was useful for silly stuff. Like food. Something more than mac and cheese and canned soup.

    The other banks I tried? All gone. Good riddance.

  43. Hi Paul, it was probably the inadvertent double post.

    Also, it’s not spelled out anywhere but you can use some basic html formatting,

    notably

    (b) xxxx (/b) for bold
    (s) xxxx (/s) for strikeout [used ironically most of the time]
    (i) xxxx (/i) for italic
    (blockquote) xxxx (/blockquote) for an extended quote, indented and italicized

    replace the “( )” with less than and greater than “” of course — the theme removed the symbols, so for anyone who doesn’t know, they are above the comma and period on a standard US keyboard.

    the html for making a link works too, but I can never remember the syntax.

    nick

  44. Japan, the perfect place to send 1,000,000 Syrian Mooslims. Yeah, like they would let that happen.

  45. Oh, wisenheimer eh?

    {smack}{smack}{smack}

    {doink}{smack}

    {whoo}{whoo}{whoo}

    nick

  46. Branch banking wasn’t allowed in Texas at the time

    I worked for National Bancshares Corporation from 1981 to 1988, a holding company that owned 23 banks scattered around Texas. Largest bank was National Bank of Commerce in San Antonio, about two blocks from Frost National Bank. I wrote the Pulse switched ATM software that was used by Broadway National Bank (still around but moved from North SA to downtown SA across from NBC’s old building) and by City National Bank in Austin Texas. Sold the software, well NBC sold the software, to both entities.

    About 1987 I saw the handwriting on the wall. A couple of banks NBC acquired to avoid them becoming insolvent. Sometime around that time frame Texas allowed branch banking to keep some of the smaller banks from failing.

    The IT department got sold to MTech out of Dallas and they wanted to convert everything to IBM and run some big data line from the main office to Dallas for item capture. Wanted to run IBM terminal programs on Burroughs terminals using some protocol converter box. Protocol was not the problem, it was the way things were displayed. I was responsible for writing the mapping software on the mainframe to support the terminals and printers. I knew it was never going to work but my pleas fell on deaf ears.

    In March 1988 I departed. Under less than ideal terms. I knew I was going to be leaving, had a trip booked to house hunt in TN. Vacations were cancelled but I took the trip anyway. Mike Briggs (the chap in charge of the conversion) was royally pissed and fired me. With me gone they never got the project working or even close. I knew more than anyone about the internals and failed to provide that knowledge to anyone else. Code I had was crap as I knew it would not work. They called me after I left and asked for advice and assistance. I hung up on them.

    Shortly after MTech was bought by EDS, who was then bought by General Motors. I figured my retirement money was gone. But about six years ago I got a letter from Bank of America asking me to decide what to do about my retirement funds. I never worked for BofA so I was confused. After some phone calls it turned out the retirement fund had morphed over to BofA.

    Really enjoyed working for NBC. Had friends at Frost, Broadway and City National. All basically in the same roles. Too bad the holding company folded and got absorbed all the result of the oil boom collapse in TX.

  47. I’m enjoying watching the Dumbocrats implode. They really know how to get those Bernie people to support Cankles by yelling at them, insulting them, taking away their signs, etc. They are putting the “Dumb” in Dumbocrat.

    Pass the Moxie and pretzels!

  48. Moochelle took a couple of swipes at Trump. If he says anything back he’ll be called a raycis and misogynist. This is gonna be great.

  49. Likely enough.

    But, through overuse, they’ve lost their power.

    “You’re a racist!”
    “Who cares?”
    “Didn’t you hear me? I said you’re a racist!”
    “Still don’t care.”

  50. “Shortly after MTech was bought by EDS, who was then bought by General Motors.”

    Your northern correspondent worked for EDS’s Wireless Division in Waltham, MA from 1995-98; I saw writing on the wall, too, and was getting married and moving to Vermont anyway, so buh-bye. I’d been a VMS, OpenVMS and Windows NT sys admin there and got one of my brothers hired in tech support. Then they were bought by HP and he eventually had to find other jobs in IT down in MA, and has somehow always been able to simply be-bop from one job to the next, unlike his two older brothers, who, coincidentally, both have short fuses and little tolerance for fools and asswipes.

    After that I worked for the state up here for four years and slowly went insane.

    “They really know how to get those Bernie people to support Cankles by yelling at them, insulting them, taking away their signs, etc.”

    The Bernie derps have nowhere else to go now. And meanwhile Mrs. OFD just informed me on the phone from Denver that she’ll have to vote for the war criminal and treasonous felon with bloody claws so as to hopefully prevent Trump from winning, who she considers the anti-Christ, I guess. Jesus wept. Can’t talk sense to her, and it’s supposedly a free country. Jesus wept. Explaining that Trump hasn’t got anybody killed yet or robbed the country of tens of millions does no good. Trying to get her not to vote for EVIL, also no good; she considers Cankles the lesser and telling her it’s still voting for evil, no dice. Jesus wept.

    “If he says anything back he’ll be called a raycis and misogynist. This is gonna be great.”

    He’s been pretty slick about responding to chit so far. Scott Adams seems to have his number, mostly.

    “But, through overuse, they’ve lost their power.”

    True, but works both ways, evidently:

    “She’s a felon, a thief, a liar, a war criminal and a traitor, with American and foreign citizens’ blood on her hands.”

    “I know that; I’m still voting for her.”

    “Did you just hear what I said?”

    “I don’t care; I’m still voting for her.”

    What do ya do with someone like that? Fuck. And these are educated readers, too.

    “Trump makes me sick to my stomach.” (actual quote tonight)

    I gave up. Cankles makes me sick to my soul that such a creature still walks the earth, free as a bird, while lesser beings rot in prison for offenses not even a 100th of hers.

    Or they’re fucking dead because of her.

  51. Ray wrote:

    “I knew it was never going to work but my pleas fell on deaf ears.”

    Yeah, I’ve been down that road too. In the early Eighties, as a newly minted programmer, I was put to work on developing a heavily numerically based system in Cobol on a CDC 3500 (may peace and blessings be upon it.) It might have worked in Fortran, but the nabobs wanted to use Cobol for some reason. We’d just rolled a Fujitsu M200 running a MVS clone in the door but they didn’t want to put this system on that, which had modern virtual memory and databases.

    I was very skeptical but kept my trap shut because I was lower than pond scum at the time.

    Two years later we had a system that could only be run by dedicating a mainframe for the whole weekend to it, running a severely cut down subset of requirements. It was at this point that the boss admitted he should have pulled the plug in 1980.

  52. Miles, nice mix there: “…Fujitsu M200 running a MVS clone…”
    It must have been an IBM 370 clone running a flavour of MSP. 🙂

  53. Yes. The M200 (single CPU at first) was “one of the most powerful computers in the Southern Hemisphere” when installed on 25th April 1980. The operating system was OSIVF4, an MVS clone. In fact, acording to a later lawsuit by IBM against Fujitsu, the OSIVF4 source code still had the IBM copyright notices in it!

    Fujitsu changed program names from the IBM prefixes IEBxxxx (or similar) to KEQxxxx (or similar) but left everything else the same. Eventually we got a second CPU and then replaced the lot with more powerful machines.

    The ABS had been a pure CDC (may peace and blessings be upon it) shop ’till then, running a cornucopia of CDC mainframes (3200, 3300, 3500, Cyber 72) running TAPESCOPE, MSOS, MASTER, KRONOS and so on. Unfortunately the CDC tender didn’t succeed – this was when government departments in Canberra were, inexplicably, running towards IBM and its clones, even though they were much less efficient at number crunching.

  54. Yeah, I’ve been down that road too

    The real difficulty, and insurmountable, was the way data was displayed on a terminal. Both systems had fields you could put on a screen with various attributes, both had function keys you could designate. Screen real estate was markedly different. Both had 80 columns by 24 rows so no issue. But when you started using field codes the system fell apart.

    The IBM terminals used memory locations to control field codes and screen attributes thus not taking any space on the screen. Burroughs terminals all used two screen positions for each field, an opening field and a closing field. Thus if you have a screen row with 8 fields you had 16 less characters on a row with which to work. The banking application they were trying to convert to use was IBM based and always assumed 80 characters on a row. Chop off 16 characters and you have a real problem.

    So the plan was to map each screen to a slightly different format that would work on the Burroughs terminals. That was never going to work properly as the vendor of the software changed screens every couple of months. Wrapping to the next line made the screens almost unreadable.

    A plea was made to another Burroughs terminal vendor to modify the terminal firmware to use hidden characters. That was met with a price point that was significantly more than the cost of new IBM terminals.

    The actual teller machines were not so restrictive. But were missing some features that the banking software required. This could be emulated in the mapping software and resolved with some limitations.

    I knew it was going to be impossible to make it all work with my meager skill set. I had written all of the ATM software including the Pulse interface. I was in charge of the MCP (operating system) and had written custom modules. I developed many utilities to support the network front end system, printers (remote and local). I was the top code slinger at the bank. But even my meager skills would not be able to solve the problems. Thus my code on this project was a total piece of crap. No documentation, code that was hard even for me to follow. I did not care as I knew I was going to be leaving the project.

    Yeh, I was an asshole.

  55. They deserved it, just as so many of the arseholes I worked for deserved it.

    One tosser’s greatest claim to fame was having played a round of golf with Bill Gates. Our nickname for him was TDI (Tall, Dark and Ignorant.) His pro-Microsoft/IBM mainframe bias was so extreme that he was eventually dragged out of a meeting and told (by the head honcho of the ATO) to retire or be sacked.

  56. I never did understand why MTech wanted to scrap a perfectly working system on-site to transition to a mainframe located 250 miles north. It was going to require a massive (and expensive) pipe from the phone company (1987, pre-TCP/IP days), some additional expensive equipment, using technology that had not been tested.

    Several people were going to lose jobs, especially the computer operators, who quickly started finding other jobs at local banks.

    We were also going to have transition all the records to another software package to replace a software package that had been modified to meet the banks needs (such modification a bad idea in the first place). All the ATM software was going to have be redone using an off the shelf package requiring significant modifications because of the no branch banking rules.

    Coders/Developers were all going to need retraining into the IBM world with RACF, VTAM, CICS, and all other manner of IBM four letter incantations. Network (point to point) was all going to need to be redone to accommodate a different network topology.

    In my area which was the online software group that maintained all the terminal, teller machine, ATM and PULSE software, and myself along with one other individual who maintained the OS and OS utilities, was cut from 12 people to 5. And we must not only maintain what we had, but work on the transition to the new system. I alone had to decide which 7 people to layoff and it was the most difficult decisions I think I have ever made.

    One time after a hard day of work I had just gotten home when I got paged. Seems that main CIF database had crashed. This was the central database for all the accounts. I went back in to work and spent the entire night until 10:00 AM the next day getting the database recovered and everything working. I went home. Next day I came in late and there was a note on my desk from Mike Briggs to see him in his office.

    I went in with high spirits expecting some praise for getting things back on track. Instead I got ripped for coming in late and a speech about putting in my 8 hours. I let him finish then informed him of my recent schedule with the DB problems. I told him that if he expected 8 hours that is all he would get and by my watch they owed me 16 hours and walked out the door.

    I came back two days later and there was note on my desk from Mike Briggs to come see him. I did fully expecting to get canned (which was fine by me). Mike instead apologized and said he did not know what I had done. I informed Mike that he would get his 8 hours, and more, and if I was not there it was for a very good reason.

    A couple of weeks later I went into Mike’s office and told him I was sleepy and was taking a nap at work. He never said a word.

    I was seeing the handwriting on the wall and found another job. Took the house hunting trip, left without telling anyone, and when I got back I was terminated. Which was OK as I had another job. I think that finally pissed Mike off enough. I don’t know if he would have let me go had he known the shape of the conversion programs I was writing.

    Someone else tried to take over the programs but was unable to make them work. Multiple attempts did nothing but crash the IBM mainframe in Dallas. The code was extremely complicated, had no comments, and had major portions just stubbed out with no actual working code. Parts of the code intentionally crashed as was designed.

  57. Strange to me that more than one person in the comments here worked IT for banks back in the day.

    I guess that this blog draws a high percentage of IT guys, of older guys, and that banks had a lot of IT and guys back then, vs say, trucking….

    Still a bit odd.

    n

  58. I got started on a Burroughs B-80, but never wrote software for banks.

  59. Never did IT for a bank; it was a university; corporations; and the state here. Applied for bank IT jobs but none ever materialized; some banks up here were still using VAX/VMS systems 10-15 years ago, too, when I was looking real hard to get out of the state job. And the state health department ran it but Gawd forbid I could transfer over there.

    Now the banks are hiring IT security guys but you gotta really know your stuff and have the difficult certs and a multitude of acronyms under your belt, plus security clearances yourself.

  60. I started programming on a Univac 1108 in 1975 and have been writing software for engineers since then. Including yours truly when I was a field engineer for a number of years. I even set some of them free:
    https://www.winsim.com/steam/steam.html

    Over the years, the only constant that I have noticed is change. There is no standing still, you will get run over on the information highway.

  61. The first “real” computer I used was an IBM 1103 back as a freshman in 1971. The Burroughs B-80 mini was after I got out of grad school, where I used an assortment of mainframes and smallish computers.

  62. Ray wrote:

    “Parts of the code intentionally crashed as was designed.”

    hehehe… I did somethink like that once.

    I had an argument with an operator (a trained monkey could operate a Cyber, and this one must have just come down from the trees) who refused my suggestion that one of the development machines was malfunctioning and needed to be deadstarted. I made an unwise hint that the machine might fall over if he didn’t push the DS button, which he said he noted for the record.

    So I wrote some system code that would grab an interlock on a vital table in memory and then drop, leaving the interlock in place. The machine would then freeze in a few seconds and have to be deadstarted. I mentioned this to the boss, who also was a non-conformist but he said he didn’t want to hear. A few weeks later he was reviewing my code and wondered what it did (there were comments in it which explained explicitly what it did.) He decided to try it out and froze a *production* mainframe, which immediately crashed and had to be deadstarted. After yelling “Fuck You [my name]” and attracting the attention of one of the more suspicious operators he went very quiet and told me later about the incident.

    I think that taught him to be a bit more careful and to listen to me in future… 🙂

  63. I started on an IBM 360 in 1972 as a Junior in HS. FORTRAN, punch cards, etc. I was never a professional programmer or IT guy like many here. Only a quiche eatin’ chopper pilot.

  64. Ray wrote:

    “I never did understand why MTech wanted to scrap a perfectly working system on-site to transition to a mainframe located 250 miles north.”

    It is not your role to understand, only TO DO. Even the impossible.

    Upper management at places I’ve worked at were always interfering instead of managing, TDI (mentioned above) insisted on having a godlike user access level that would let him do anything. He was given that, but we modified system utilities to not allow that access level to do much harm. “Lower” access levels, like mine, were the godlike ones… 🙂

  65. nick wrote:

    “I guess that this blog draws a high percentage of IT guys, of older guys, and that banks had a lot of IT and guys back then, vs say, trucking….”

    I was drawn to this site via the old HardwareGuys site run by our host, having bought several of his O’Reilly books. I thought “wow! most of these guys would be locked up in asylums in Australia.” I still do.

  66. Most of the men who made our country great would have been put in asyla in Oz.

  67. “….would have been put in asyla in Oz.”

    Ooooooooo! Is that the plural of “asylum?” Wow. Dint know that could be used alternately with “asylums.” Fah fucking out!

    I started looking into IT when I was doing “industrial security” sting ops at a large stereo manufacturer and my next-younger brother was working on their HP-3000 UNIX machines. I played “Adventure” on one of the terminals. Next got to selling DEC Rainbows from a university bookstore and playing with one at home myself and reading Pournelle’s stuff, along with Charlie Matco’s, lol. Didn’t work in IT for paying money full-time until 1986 at a manufacturer running a PDP-11 with RSX and a DEC MicroVAX box. Started at the bottom as an operator and eventually worked up to systems, network and security admin at the corporate enterprise level with RHEL clusters. And was then dumped, with hundreds of others.

  68. “Most of the men who made our country great would have been put in asyla in Oz.”

    And would have been jailed or had their careers destroyed HERE if they did those things now.

    n

  69. “Ooooooooo! Is that the plural of “asylum?” Wow. Dint know that could be used alternately with “asylums.” Fah fucking out! ”

    No. I just made it up.

  70. It can, in fact, be used alternatively as the plural of “asylum,” per Webster’s. You’re a linguistic kill shot genius!

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