Thursday, 23 February 2017

By on February 23rd, 2017 in personal, prepping, science kits

09:37 – It was 46.5F (8C) when I took Colin out this morning. Today I’ll be working on taxes again and Barbara will be working on kit stuff.

My most recent Walmart order was supposed to arrive yesterday. The first box actually arrived Tuesday, with 12 cans of Keystone Beef Chunks and a 26.7-oz box of Walmart instant mashed potatoes I wanted to try. Interestingly, the Walmart mashed potatoes list the ingredients as essentially 100% dehydrated potatoes, with minor amounts of citric acid and other preservatives. I compared that with the Idahoan ingredients list, which was a long paragraph with lots of non-potato ingredients.

That shipment was fine, but the box that arrived yesterday had two problems. First, a big rip in the bag of Krusteaz buttermilk pancake mix had spilled enough of it to make a mess. There was probably 9.9 pounds of the nominal 10 pounds still left in the bag, so we transferred it to PET bottles.

The second issue was just annoying. I’d ordered a 29-oz #10 can of Augason Farms non-fat dry milk to try. What they actually shipped me was an 8-oz #2.5 can. This despite the fact that it explicitly said on the order confirmation and the packing list that it was a 29-oz can.

This isn’t the first time they’ve shipped a smaller container than I ordered and paid for. For example, I ordered four 10-oz cans of Rumford baking powder and they instead shipped me four 8-oz cans. I ordered a 3-pack of cannisters of Hershey’s Cocoa powder and they shipped me just one cannister. On that order, I just gave up because they made it impossible to apply for a credit. They wanted me to drive to Walmart  to return the product. This time, at least they offered to send me a return postage label so that I could have USPS pick it up. I requested a replacement rather than a refund, so we’ll see if they actually ship me the #10 can I ordered or another #2.5 can. I’m kind of expecting the latter.

Barbara always says she doesn’t understand why I keep ordering stuff from Walmart since their fulfillment and packaging sucks rocks.  My answer is that it’s because they usually get it right and Amazon prices on items I order is often 50% to literally 300% or 400% higher than Walmart charges. So I’ll keep ordering from Walmart and just put up with the occasional aggravation.

With regard to kit sales, 2017 is starting out better than 2016. As of today, we’ve matched kit unit sales and revenues through the end of March 2016.

* * * * *

10:24 – It seems that the mainstream media blames Trump for everything, but I have an item that they’ve somehow overlooked to add to their list. Donald Trump is responsible for SPAM. Since his inauguration, the amount of SPAM I’m getting has at least doubled and possibly tripled or more. I check my email and empty the SPAM folder. Literally 10 minutes later, I check my email again and find another 25 or 30 messages in my SPAM folder. So, Donald Trump is obviously responsible for this increase in SPAM, and should be impeached.

 

59 Comments and discussion on "Thursday, 23 February 2017"

  1. nick flandrey says:

    And also the number of robocalls from “Jenny” about my extended warranty, or the girl who says “Oh, excuse me, I’m having trouble with my headset” before trying to sell something.

    Definitely Trump’s fault.

    n

  2. Greg Norton says:

    Barbara always says she doesn’t understand why I keep ordering stuff from Walmart since their fulfillment and packaging sucks rocks. My answer is that it’s because they usually get it right and Amazon prices on items I order is often 50% to literally 300% or 400% higher than Walmart charges. So I’ll keep ordering from Walmart and just put up with the occasional aggravation.

    I used Walmart.com for several Christmas items. Zero problems. Shipping on small orders was much more sensible — $6.50 for a lightweight tablet cover vs. $10 for the same item from Amazon.

    Walmart made a few strategic acquisitions over the last year with the goal of fixing thier e-commerce operations. One acquisition in particular, Jet, has a CEO with an axe to grind against Bezos having been a co-founder of the now-defunct (thanks to Amazon) Diapers.com.

    Remember, Walmart has to make money while fixing their system. Wall Street still doesn’t hold former DE Shaw analyst Bezos to the same standard.

  3. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Walmart has some serious advantages over Amazon, if they’re smart enough to use them. I suspect the chief advantage is Walmart’s physical store count. All of those stores are already setup to package orders for pickup, so it’d be a relatively small step to convert those operations into UPS/FedEx/USPS shipping locations. Given that about 99.9% of Walmart’s potential on-line buyers are located within a half-hour drive of a Walmart, they should be able to parlay that into greatly reduced shipping costs versus Amazon’s costs. Of course, Amazon distribution centers are much more automated and efficient, but even so Walmart should be on at least an even playing field. And I’m sure that Amazon and Walmart both already get the lowest possible shipping costs from all the big shippers, but shipping distance will still matter hugely. As I’ve said before, Walmart badly needs to hire some top shipping/fulfillment people away from Amazon.

    And the other gorilla in the corner is Costco. Right now, they offer only a small fraction of their products on-line. If they decided to jump into offering their entire line of products on-line, that would give Walmart and Amazon both some serious additional competition.

  4. Denis says:

    Only impeached? Spammers should be keelhauled, then hung, drawn and quartered!

  5. nick flandrey says:

    Because of the way walmart’s supply chain is set up it may not actually be very easy to do in store fulfillment for online orders.

    They beat the heck out of their suppliers, who typically warehouse, pull, pack and ship to stores directly. The pulls get controlled by walmart’s inventory management system.

    I’d bet that online sales get handled thru a completely separate warehouse fulfillment network.

    there may be financial organization issues too with stores actually belonging to different operating companies under the general umbrella, but that’s something I haven’t looked at.

    I did work (peripherally) for a big walmart supplier, who was required to do all the warehousing (outside of their own warehouses) and fulfillment for walmart.

    Walmart in general shifts as many costs off to suppliers as possible.

    n

  6. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    So does Amazon.

    As far as fulfillment, I place a lot of Walmart orders, and they usually ship in multiple boxes, usually from different cities. I was kind of assuming that they were actual Walmart supercenters, but it’s possible they’re third-party warehouses. But I’ve been ordering from Walmart on-line for several years and I’ve noticed a shift. For example, it used to be that any Augason product I ordered, whether one can or three cases, was shipped directly from Augason. That stopped a year or more ago, when Walmart started shipping them direct, with a Walmart return address on the label. I actually preferred the old way, because I almost always buy at least two or three cans at a time and often a case or multiple cases, and Augason used shipping boxes that were the correct size to hold two, three, or six #10 cans, depending on how many cans I’d ordered. Walmart just tosses them in a big box with a few scraps of twisted paper. That’s what they did on this last order, and 11 of the cans were undamaged and only one had a noticeable dent in it.

  7. OFD says:

    54 up here today, sunny w/blue skies and VERY windy again. Showers expected later and tomorrow with a Flood Watch in effect.

    Say, friends; R U confused???

    https://westernrifleshooters.wordpress.com/2017/02/23/confusion-2/

    Like the spam in our email boxes, we’ve finally identified a culprit.

  8. Greg Norton says:

    And the other gorilla in the corner is Costco. Right now, they offer only a small fraction of their products on-line. If they decided to jump into offering their entire line of products on-line, that would give Walmart and Amazon both some serious additional competition.

    I think Costco is wary about pushing Amazon too hard with Bezos trialing physical stores around Seattle and most of Costco’s HQ staff in living a 30 minute bus ride from Amazon’s fancy new office complex downtown. The home turf battles could get ugly fast, especially with Costco being yet another company held to a higher standard by Wall Street.

    At this point, as long as they stay out of each other’s way, Amazon is probably also wary of pushing Costco. The Democratic Party in WA State is owned by Costco to the point that the company’s lobbyists wrote the current liquor regulations. Bricks-n-mortar stores could quickly become real hard to build around Seattle, especially in “closed shop” union-friendly WA State.

  9. OFD says:

    OFD is not real happy with Amazon lately; despite having the same P.O. Box and street address for the past nearly five years on orders with them, they suddenly can’t ship anything to the post office box, and the street address is now “invalid.” Plus back in December they charged our bank account $250 for a gift card that I’d gotten via rewards points accrued on another credit card. The bank sez it’s not their fault, AMZ sez not theirs, and the credit card company likewise and we’re out that money still.

    Many emails and phone calls back and forth and I’m worse off now than when I first reported these issues to them.

    What I cannot understand is why our shipping address is suddenly no good. I’ve told them that unless this stuff gets resolved PDQ, I’m closing out my account (Prime since the beginning and a biz account for two years now) and buying my stuff elsewhere. Not that they give a rat’s fart, of course. I’d do more with splashing this around a bit on their site and some others but why waste the time and energy? May be time to say buh-bye.

  10. pcb_duffer says:

    The e-mail volume to my yahoo account (the one I give to folks I don’t necessarily trust) has erupted in the last couple of weeks. It’s all sexual spam, either a lonely housewife wants to meet me or some company wanting to sell me a product to increase the size of my penis, etc. It’s almost enough to make me long for a Nigerian prince. For the preceding month, the spam volume had been almost zero. The last time I saw such an increase was right after I gave that address to Blue Cross of Florida when trying to get health insurance. Bastards.

    There are five Wal Mart stores in this county, four of which are on property they own and which are therefore easy to track in various county databases. (Florida’s strong public records law is a big help, too.) Those four are all listed as being owned by Wal-Mart Stores East, LP with a P. O. Box and mail stop in Bentonville in common. I checked property records in two other counties in Florida and one in Alabama. All the tax bills go to the same P.O. Box and mail stop as the ones here. Just for giggles, I totaled the property taxes for the four stores that pay them directly. Pre discount (4% for paying in November) they had a 2016 liability of $542,724.43 .

  11. pcb_duffer says:

    Whomever wrote that WRSA piece has a very limited knowledge of the history of the 20th century.

  12. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    How so?

  13. Dave says:

    The thing that amazes me is all those on the Left who want Trump impeached are trying to get a guy who would be considered a Democrat anywhere outside of NYC or the Bay Area impeached so he can be replaced with someone who is far more conservative.

  14. lynn says:

    “AMD launches Ryzen”
    http://www.osnews.com/story/29677/AMD_launches_Ryzen

    “AMD’s benchmarks showed that the top Ryzen 7 1800X, compared to the 8-core Intel Core i7-6900K, both at out-of-the-box frequencies, gives an identical score on the single threaded test and a +9% in the multi-threaded test. AMD put this down to the way their multi-threading works over the Intel design. Also, the fact that the 1800X is half of the price of the i7-6900K.”

    Just in time for the desktop market to collapse.

  15. MrAtoz says:

    Apple is whining about President tRump’s revocation of OdooshNozzle’s transgender bathroom policy. It’s all about inclusion, says Chief Homo Tim Cook. Right. His idea of inclusion is the Federal Government shoving LBGTXYZ “rights” down our throats. It’s enough for me to give up on my Apple gear. But I’ll wait. I’m too invested in it now.

  16. lynn says:

    My spam is running about 15 to 25 per day. It is up a little bit since Christmas. But we host the MX record of our main domain at google apps so we can get the totally awesome Postini email filtering service for free ! We are still grandfathered and do not have to pay the $50/year/email address yet for our 12 email addresses. I am amazed that they still perform this service for us for free.

  17. Greg Norton says:

    “BYE BYE LAPTOP, HELLO APPTOP”

    Google obsoletes Chromebooks faster than Apple does with the MacBooks. IIRC, after only four years, all of the original Chromebooks are now doorstops.

    Apple will obsolete all of their devices without 64 bit integers with the next iOS release. My guess is that their executables will become some form of LLVM bytecode, compiled to CPU-specific assembly upon installation. After that, the CPU in the laptop really won’t matter, but they will keep a fire lit under Intel.

    Sure is handy that Chris Lattner is on the payroll … What? … Doh!

  18. RickH says:

    Just got my monthly electric bill today; almost $400 for the month. There has been some cold weather here in the WA Peninsula this last month, with temps down in the 20-30F range daily. We have a heat pump only, which is not efficient at those cold temps, so it ran about 80% of the day, I’d guess. Newer house (~15yrs), double-pane windows, insulation, etc; so minimal leakage. Electricity costs here are base rate (600KW) at $0.085.KW, and over-base at $0.1035/KW. Last billing period use was 3773KW.

    Avg daily use (this month/last year same month) was 118KW/87KW. Average daily temp was 43F/47F (which seems high).

    The house has lots of ‘can’ lights with 65W bulbs. I have replaced some of them with CFL, and now a few LEDs. But decided to get 18 more LED ‘can’ bulbs to replace a majority of them.

    According to the LED cost savings calculator here https://www.ledwaves.com/pages/led-calc , I will save about $750/year in just electricity costs with those 18 bulbs. Payback is about 5-6 weeks overall. So I judged it worthwhile, even though I will probably donate the old (and still working) bulbs to Habitat/Humanity.

    Found a 6-pack of them from WalMart (via Maxxim); all are dimmable, Cost is $19/6-pack. Ordered 3 of them (herehttps://www.walmart.com/ip/Maxxima-LED-BR30-60-Watt-Equivalent-Dimmable-8-Watt-Light-Bulb-Warm-White-720-Lumens-Energy-Star-3000K-Pack-of-6/966829754 ).

    I may need to find heat alternatives during the coldest days of winter. We have a propane fireplace, but didn’t use it much. It doesn’t put out much heat. Don’t want a wood stove. Had a pellet stove in a previous house that had a heat pump; it worked well. I’ll have to do a cost/payback comparison on that.

    In other news, I’ve been working on the Reading program. I’ve decided to do it as a website app in PHP/MySQL. Right now in the page-design phase.

    Found out that there is a great text-to-speech available in modern browsers. It only requires about 5 lines of Javascript code to ‘speak’ the text. The result is not robotic-sounding. If you are interested, this is a demo page of the first-level pass of the design http://cellarweb.com/readingtlc/speakdemo.php . It will change, of course, but you can try out the speech part to see how it sounds.

    Nice day here: partly cloudy with what we call ‘sun breaks’, temps at 46F right now, with 30-48F and showers forecast for the next week.

  19. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    “Don’t want a wood stove.”

    Why not?

  20. RickH says:

    @RBT / wood stove

    Not a bit fan of the wood-smoke smell, plus the wood storage issue (we have a very small and narrow property with not much storage area). Wood costs around here are $150/250 per cord (seasoned and stacked). Plus the bother of continual ‘feeding’ of the fireplace. And I’m getting too old to cut my own wood (besides, I’d need to buy a truck).

    If I was to change anything, it would be to a pellet stove with battery-backup fan (for the occasional power outage, although that would be powered by the generator). Much more efficient; really liked the one we had 15 years ago in a previous heat-pump-heated house. I suspect they have gotten better since then. On-line calculators indicate a break-even of 7 years.

    I’ve got the propane stove on now, to see if the heat pump would work less today (I can hear when the heat pump starts up). I’ve had the propane fireplace on for about an hour, and can tell a bit of difference in the heat in this room (it tends to dry out the air).

    No natural gas available around here.

    Not sure if the payback period for replacing the propane with pellet is worth it.

  21. Greg Norton says:

    Just got my monthly electric bill today; almost $400 for the month. There has been some cold weather here in the WA Peninsula this last month, with temps down in the 20-30F range daily. We have a heat pump only, which is not efficient at those cold temps, so it ran about 80% of the day, I’d guess.

    I saw that Portland/Vantucky (Vancouver, WA) is expecting snow tomorrow (Friday, 2/24). This has been a record-setting cold winter in WA State. Usually, Meteorlogical “Winter” is over by now and the weather has settled into “50s and crud” until July.

    I’m surprised that you don’t have gas lines for heating/cooking in WA. You must live in the boonies.

  22. Greg Norton says:

    “Don’t want a wood stove.”

    Why not?

    For some insane reason, in WA State it isn’t uncommon for the local government to have a ban on wood fireplace/stove installation in remodels and new construction. This is especially true in the areas along I-5 west of the Cascades — yet another reason to consider looking elsewhere for someplace to prep.

  23. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Re: natural gas

    When Barbara and I went up to New England back in 1988 or so, we were thinking about moving to New Hampshire. We were surprised to find that there’s no natural gas service available pretty much state wide. Then one of the folks we mentioned that to replied that they don’t call it the Granite State for nothing. It’s simply too costly to run natural gas.

  24. dkreck says:

    Gas fireplaces are probably the best pay-off between aesthetics and efficiency. Modern ones can have both with little downside. San Joaquin Air Pollution Control Board has been doing their best to kill off the wood fireplace here. (and anything else they can) Natural gas and propane are still okay, well at least until the kill it with carbon taxes. In California they must be vented however. To that I agree but it can add to the cost, if not retrofitting an existing one.

  25. RickH says:

    Re Portland snow:

    Portland tends to get more snowy days due to the cold air rushing down the Columbia River basin.

    On our part of the Olympic Penisula, we are in a ‘rain/snow’ shadow due to the prevailing SWesterly storms splitting around the Olympic mountain range. Although we have gotten a few snow storms, but not more than 1-2 inches in our area. Lots of snow just east of us (on the other side of the Hood Canal bridge) during the last big storm; happened on the day of our flight to CA, which was cancelled due to snow at SEATAC airport. Very snowy on the trip there – lots of slide-offs from local idiots on 2-4″ of slushy snow on the highway. We got about 1/2 way to the airport (normally 1:45 hours) before the text alert of the cancellation.

    No natural gas anywhere on the Olympic Peninsula, only propane in tanks (you’re welcome) around here. No bans on wood stoves around here; and pellet stoves are 95%+ efficient. Never had problems with the pellet stove he had previously.

  26. OFD says:

    We got rid of our pellet stove as soon as we could; very finicky, i.e., one tiny chip of a pellet caught in the hinge side would cause it to shut down or not start. Noisy, and ran on juice, so useless if the power goes out and no generator. Only put out warm air directly in front of it, so if we sat on the couch, fine; no heat anywhere else in the room, let alone the rest of the house. We figure the previous owners had it mainly for their toddler’s playpen area there and otherwise relied entirely on the oil tank and deliveries to it. The wood stove has long since paid for itself and once it gets going, it heats the whole house; it’ll be even better when we finish the rest of the windows.

    Of course this presupposes that someone in the AO here is available to harvest the wood, cut it down to fireplace and stove sizes, and deliver it. And we either stack it ourselves or get the neighborhood kids to do it. I’ll be 64 and wifey will be 62 so how much longer can we stack it and haul it in; ten years? twenty? If I could get rid of the remaining back pain and sciatica I otherwise feel pretty dahn spry.

    Came back from the dump run and got detoured off my usual route home from “in-town,” due to, first, a huge oversized load, i.e., a giant tank of some sort for the Ben & Jerry’s plant near downtown; and then again a few blocks away for unknown causes; not an accident. Might have been the street was flooded and part of it caved in; I’ll find out via the paper tomorrow, I guess.

    57 now and the Flood Watch/Warning stays in effect through Sunday, at least; I saw several local streams in full rollicking spate. Supposed to hit 65 on Saturday; the weather liars are saying these are records for this time of year up here.

    I blame tRump and the Deniers. Hey, that sounds like a great name for a rock band; Donny and the Deniers!

    Meanwhile wife’s check finally arrived, and like one of my fellow vets is always saying, “Buy more ammo!” So I’ll do a bit of that but also ramp up the food and wotta storage and them fancy LSD light bulbs.

  27. Greg Norton says:

    Portland tends to get more snowy days due to the cold air rushing down the Columbia River basin.

    We never saw it snow after the first week in February during our time in Vancouver, WA. This Winter seems more extreme than when we had our “that’s it, we’re done” moment three years ago.

    I worked briefly in Downtown Seattle in 2013, and I remember the Winter weather generally being better up there than Portlandia.

  28. lynn says:

    I blame tRump and the Deniers. Hey, that sounds like a great name for a rock band; Donny and the Deniers!

    I really do not like the Denier label. That label is specifically intended to associate AGW deniers with Holocaust Deniers. The Skeptics label is much better.

    And I am hearing that the new proposed head of the Dumbocrat party Keith Ellison is a known anti-Semite and has dealings with the Muslim Brotherhood. The USA is the last bastion of Jews in the world after Israel. If any Jew (religious or heritage) votes for these racist morons in the dumbocrat party, don’t come crying to me when it all goes bad for you. The USA is rapidly approaching a muslim population of 1%, bad things start XXXXX continue to happen at that point.
    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/01/06/a-new-estimate-of-the-u-s-muslim-population/

  29. MrAtoz says:

    Off to CA today with MrsAtoz on a 3-day biz gig. Golden Valley High School and Victor Valley Community College to work with “immigrant” parents. lol! Keeping my piehole shut, ya’ll.

  30. MrAtoz says:

    And in other news:

    The Fourth Circuit Court has been busy

    The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has been busy uprooting the Second Amendment this week, delivering a stunning opinion which essentially overturns the Heller decision without so much as a by your leave to SCOTUS.

    Does Dr. Bob have to turn in his “assault” rifle with high capacity “clip?” Inquiring minds want to know.

  31. lynn says:

    “300 protest in Anaheim after videos show off-duty LAPD officer firing gun in dispute with teens”
    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-lapd-anaheim-20170221-story.html
    http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2017/02/23/anaheim-protest-arrests/

    Well, this is getting worse by the minute. That 13 year kid is lucky to be alive when his friends surrounded the off duty officer and closed in.

  32. OFD says:

    “The USA is rapidly approaching a muslim population of 1%, bad things start XXXXX continue to happen at that point.”

    Apparently it’s when they get up to 10% of a country’s population that they then really start kicking out the jams. For us that would mean they gotta get up to around 32-33 million. Assuming they continue immigrating by the tens and hundreds of thousands, it’s only a matter of time. Their birthrate far exceeds our own and they’ll bring demographics to bear eventually. But by that time, most of us here will be long dead, even if they came in at the rate of a million per year.

    We should keep an eye on our European cousins meanwhile.

  33. CowboySlim says:

    “Off to CA today with MrsAtoz on a 3-day biz gig. Golden Valley High School and Victor Valley Community College to work with “immigrant” parents. lol! Keeping my piehole shut, ya’ll.”

    Used to do a lot of 4Wheelin’ around the Victor Valley. Well, all up and down the I15 from Whiskey Pete’s to Victorville.

  34. Ray Thompson says:

    Apple will obsolete all of their devices without 64 bit integers with the next iOS release

    I am facing that issue with my iPad 4. It still works, does what I need; basic email, web, watch some videos. Doesn’t seem worthwhile to upgrade. Wife has an iPad 2 which meets her needs. I will probably only upgrade when the batteries fail. I do find myself using the Surface Pro 3 more and more for things. When the Surface Pro 5 comes out I may just upgrade. A really nice machine.

    Victor Valley Community College

    Went to school there for a couple of years. Hook JR High, then Victor Valley Jr High. Still have a couple of family members living in the area. Mother lived there until she died. No desire to go back.

    I also lived for a couple of years in Wrightwood where we got a lot of snow. A couple of times the students had to help the bus driver put chains on the bus just to get home. Dual rear axle with a large V-Belt running between the two axles between the tires. I think it kept rocks and snow from building up between the wheels.

    That 13 year kid is lucky to be alive

    Of course the officer will be in trouble even though he feared for his safety, the very reason to carry a weapon. He is white, the thugs are black. He is going down on hate crime, civil rights violation, race issues, etc. What he should have done is offered the precious snowflakes a coloring book and crayons so they could express their feelings.

  35. SteveF says:

    Their birthrate far exceeds our own

    Spay/neuter your Muslims! It’s for their own good, and it will make them more pleasant to have around.

  36. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Why go to all that expense when can just pay $0.25 for a round of .223?

  37. lynn says:

    That 13 year kid is lucky to be alive

    Of course the officer will be in trouble even though he feared for his safety, the very reason to carry a weapon. He is white, the thugs are black. He is going down on hate crime, civil rights violation, race issues, etc. What he should have done is offered the precious snowflakes a coloring book and crayons so they could express their feelings.

    I doubt that the officer will be demoted or fired. He was being attacked by three other men. I cannot tell if he fired a warning shot or if he accidentally triggered a round. Doesn’t matter. He had kids all around him, some who were bigger than him. And the biggest one tried to punch the officer in the jaw, that just bought him an assault and battery on a self identified police officer.

  38. lynn says:

    We should keep an eye on our European cousins meanwhile.

    The weather in Paris, France is really nice at this time of year. Just sayin’.

  39. OFD says:

    From the Tip of the Iceberg Department:

    https://pjmedia.com/instapundit/258130/

    How many more “law enforcement” agencies and departments at the Fed and state levels, especially, have their mitts in secret slush funds and nearly zero oversight?

  40. Greg Norton says:

    I am facing that issue with my iPad 4. It still works, does what I need; basic email, web, watch some videos. Doesn’t seem worthwhile to upgrade. Wife has an iPad 2 which meets her needs. I will probably only upgrade when the batteries fail. I do find myself using the Surface Pro 3 more and more for things. When the Surface Pro 5 comes out I may just upgrade. A really nice machine.

    You are probably fine around your house with the iPads, but avoid taking them to public WiFi environments.

    I’ve been on my wife’s old iPhone 5 since Cyanogenmod went Tango Uniform, but Apple will obsolete that phone with the new iOS. Hopefully, LineageOS starts to show maturity soon and I can go back to cheap rooted Android phones.

  41. SteveF says:

    How many more “law enforcement” agencies and departments at the Fed and state levels, especially, have their mitts in secret slush funds and nearly zero oversight?

    Every single one which is funded in part by asset forfeiture.

    Asset forfeiture, by the way, was a strong reason to oppose Jeff Sessions as AG. He seems so-so on most things from what I saw, but he luuuuuvs him some nonjudicial theft. It’s a mystery to me that that was not used as a hammer by his opponents before and during his confirmation hearing.

  42. nick flandrey says:

    @steveF, you never attack your opponent for something that you do too.

    Glass houses and stones, etc.

    n

  43. SteveF says:

    Agreed, but I didn’t think the “progressives” did the civil and criminal asset forf schtick much at all. Most of the push is from Republican AGs and prosecutors. (And police departments of all orientations, as they cash in big on the deal.)

    Or at least that was the case a couple years ago. Maybe it’s changed, what with progressives always needing more money for their schemes and this providing a nice supplement to tax extortion.

  44. SteveF says:

    By the way, nick, I’ve sent you a couple emails which have gone un-replied-to. Sent to the f-name at AOL. If you just haven’t gotten to the email, that’s fine. If you’re blowing me off, that’s fine. If there’s been a communications breakdown, that’s not fine, and we need to end Global Climate Disruption (which is REAL and we’re all gonna die) to end the comms disruption.

  45. SteveF says:

    OFD, would you hypothetically be able and willing to provide Latin tutoring to a 9-y-o? I was thinking Skype or equivalent a half hour per week, with some studying and practice but not much other homework; details can be discussed. Rates whatever. With any luck Princess Punkadoodle will be accepted in that “classics” school* I mentioned before and she’ll need to catch up with the year of Latin her classmates will have gotten by next Fall.

    I’m mentioning it here rather than by email on the chance that anyone else would be interested but hadn’t realized until now that they would be interested.

    * They’re a small school with more applicants than places. If we were talking about getting into college, I’d be more than happy to go and cuts throats until a spot opened up for my kid to get in** but I’d feel, I dunno, reluctant to cut a ten-year-old’s throat. I must be getting soft.

    ** It embarrasses me to admit that it never once occurred to me to forcibly open up places for Son#1 when he was getting rejected time after time despite near-perfect grades and SATs and “extra activities”, in favor of much-less-qualified applicants who got the not-white-male-and-not-Oriental-male bonus points. He and his Chinese and Caucasian high school friends were starting to get really bent out of shape after about the sixth rejection as others got the first choices, sometimes with full scholarships, on account of their gonads or other diversity. We’d joked, but it wasn’t really a joke, that we should go down to Texas and smuggle him back and forth across the border, then call him a “dreamer” named Juan Zapeta. Boom! Free ride to MIT, yo.

  46. nick flandrey says:

    @steveF, I replied to your email just this minute.

    nick

  47. nick flandrey says:

    Great, someone is walking around with access to VX nerve agent.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-23/mystery-poison-used-murder-kim-jong-nam-vx-nerve-agent

    Just what we need.

    n

  48. lynn says:

    Great, someone is walking around with access to VX nerve agent.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-23/mystery-poison-used-murder-kim-jong-nam-vx-nerve-agent

    Just what we need.

    The norks are scarily efficient at times, aren’t they ?

    The older brother was reputedly setting up a nork government in exile. I am betting that his bro’ did not like that at all.

  49. Miles_Teg says:

    “I’m mentioning it here rather than by email on the chance that anyone else would be interested but hadn’t realized until now that they would be interested.”

    I assume Princess speaks English with a thick New York accent (but I repeat myself). That rules me out as I only understand spoken southern England English and Australian English… 🙂

  50. brad says:

    @RickH: Geez, can I have your electricity prices? We pay somewhere around $0.20/kwh here. Our bills run about $350/month, and that’s without electric heating. Granted, we have our company on the premises, which means lots more devices that we would need privately – that probably adds about 50% to our consumption.

    Anyhow, heatpumps. Lots of people here say they work well, but I have always wondered about those really cold winter days. This year, the entire month of January was very cold – even a heat pump with its exterior coils embedded in the ground (the usual installation method here) would have had problems, because the ground froze pretty far down.

    My BIL/SIL are living in a place with a really nifty wood-fired heating system. It burns ordinary wood at some crazy efficiency, heating a massive water tank. It then draws water from the tank to heat the house. So you don’t have to keep fired all the time, just when you feel like it. While they use ordinary wood, it’s also designed to work with an automatic feed system for pellets. Really nice system; I’m hoping for something like it in our next house.

    Of course, any system like that does rely on electricity. In our current house, we have both a masonry stove and a fireplace (though the fireplace is old-fashioned – a net loss, when it comes to heating). In our next house, I imagine some sort of wood stove, but then, we like wood smoke and fire.

    – – – – –

    “…in favor of much-less-qualified applicants who got the not-white-male-and-not-Oriental-male bonus points”

    Yep, that’s definitely a thing. Just yesterday, I was reading a rant by a developer working for some big American company. He got to sort out the problems after another developer released untested code that buggered the company’s accounting system. He took the code out of production and sent her a bug-list to fix. She blew her top, cussed him out publically for disrespecting her work, and generally made an ass of herself. He reported her behavior up the chain, and was told: we know, but she’s a black female working in tech, so she’s untouchable.

    Which sucks all around, because this kind of stuff destroys the reputations of the everyone with alternate plumbing and/or coloration, including the competent people. Affirmative action must be just about the most counterproductive idea ever.

  51. Denis says:

    “this is a demo page of the first-level pass of the design http://cellarweb.com/readingtlc/speakdemo.php . It will change, of course, but you can try out the speech part to see how it sounds.”

    Thanks. That is working for me under Chrome, but not Firefox. The synthetic speech is surprisingly good, apart from the colonial accent…!

  52. SteveF says:

    I assume Princess speaks English with a thick New York accent (but I repeat myself). That rules me out as I only understand spoken southern England English and Australian English…

    We live in upstate NY, which might as well be a separate state from NYC. Her accent speaking English is similar to mine, which is not any typical American accent (probably because I’ve moved around a bit and am a polyglot and have to form sounds deliberately to work around damage done over the years. Tip: don’t drop a barbell on your face, avoid face-planting on asphalt when you’re moving fast, and try to keep from getting your throat cut.) In Selene’s case, her main language is English but she also speaks Mandarin (Sichuanese, actually, a Mandarin dialect) and her English is influenced by her mother’s crappy accent. (My wife does have a number of talents, but picking up new languages is not one of them.)

    Despite mutual comprehensibility or lack thereof, I’d think that time zones would be a bigger issue, Miles_Teg.

    Affirmative action must be just about the most counterproductive idea ever.

    Racism and sexism are really stupid. And affirmative action is nothing but racism and sexism in new clothes.

    “We need to get more women into tech!” Why? “For the diversity!” Could you go into a bit more detail on that?
    This line of questioning devolves to insults and accusations, usually within four questions. This is because religious tenets are being questioned. It’s not just my admittedly unyielding and abrasive personality. (Not always. Just, you know, most of the time.) Others, much more personable and easygoing but with similar skepticism of received wisdom, report the same.

  53. nick flandrey says:

    Well, just had windows 8.2 crash on me. That is a first. Something about an IRLQ not being equal or unequal…..

    And someone tried to reset my ebay password. Not a phishing attempt as the code came to my phone too. WTF is that all about?

    n

  54. OFD says:

    “OFD, would you hypothetically be able and willing to provide Latin tutoring to a 9-y-o?”

    See your email, currently winging its way through the ether or the cloud or the heavily toxic atmosphere created by climateglobalchangewarming and the carbon-dioxide given off by multitudes, nay, LEGIONS, of SJWs, progs, libturds and snowflakes.

  55. lynn says:

    Just got my monthly electric bill today; almost $400 for the month. There has been some cold weather here in the WA Peninsula this last month, with temps down in the 20-30F range daily. We have a heat pump only, which is not efficient at those cold temps, so it ran about 80% of the day, I’d guess. Newer house (~15yrs), double-pane windows, insulation, etc; so minimal leakage. Electricity costs here are base rate (600KW) at $0.085.KW, and over-base at $0.1035/KW. Last billing period use was 3773KW.

    I pay 8.0 cents/kwh at the house and 9.0 cents/kwh at the office here in The Great State of Texas. Both are all you can use plans with no minimums and no maximums. Our heat (water, air) at the house is natural gas but our heat (water, air) at the office is electric. The house runs $180/month to $280/month and the office runs $270/month to $450/month. The natural gas bill at the house is $30 during non air heating months and peaks at $100 in January.

    Both buildings are insulated R-19 in the walls and R-30 in the attics. All of the windows are double pane in both buildings. The house is 3,465 ft2 and the office is 5,344 ft2. The office also has a solar shield under the roof decking. Oh yeah, the office electric also powers the water well pump and the septic tank compressor and pump.

    I have a 5 ton and a 3 ton A/C at the house. The office has two 3.5 ton A/Cs with 10 kw of strip heat in each.

  56. lynn says:

    See your email, currently winging its way through the ether or the cloud or the heavily toxic atmosphere created by climateglobalchangewarming and the carbon-dioxide given off by multitudes, nay, LEGIONS, of SJWs, progs, libturds and snowflakes.

    In the John Wick 2 movie, Laurence Fishburne’s character uses pigeons carrying SD micro cards to carry messages. What could go wrong ?

  57. lynn says:

    I may need to find heat alternatives during the coldest days of winter. We have a propane fireplace, but didn’t use it much. It doesn’t put out much heat. Don’t want a wood stove. Had a pellet stove in a previous house that had a heat pump; it worked well. I’ll have to do a cost/payback comparison on that.

    One of my partners has a house in northern Colorado at 8,500 ft elevation. The temperature outside his house has dropped to -65 F (-54 C) or near that several times. He has one of those thermal brick furnaces with a separate electricity meter where he heats it up from 12 am to 5 am using base load power at 4.0 cents/kwh. It was 3.0 cents/kwh when he built the house 20 years ago. I’m not sure what his brand is.
    http://www.steffes.com/electric-thermal-storage/homeowners/

  58. OFD says:

    “Laurence Fishburne’s character uses pigeons carrying SD micro cards to carry messages. What could go wrong ?”

    Number Nine Birdshot.

    Seriously, though, if SHTF to the extent that the Grid is down for a long time, manual typewriters, carrier pigeons and the sneakerNET will come in very handy.

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