Thursday, 19 October 2017

09:14 – It was 37.6F (3C) when I took Colin out at 0630, clear and breezy.


Barbara is starting to get stuff ready for her trip to upstate New York. She’s leaving tomorrow afternoon and returning Sunday a week following. It’s ridiculous, but since she’ll be driving through or staying in more than one anti-gub state, she can’t even stick a pistol in her glove box.

It’ll be work as usual for me while she’s gone.


10:43 – Barbara pulled out the cameras she’s taking with her. I’ve used Pentax SLR’s since 1970, so when we bought our first DSLR it was a Pentax. Her oldest one now takes AA cells. I’d stored it with none in it. When I installed four fresh Costco Kirkland AA alkalines, the camera didn’t even recognize that it had power. So I pulled those and stuck in four Panasonic Eneloops straight from the blister pack. The camera fired right up.

I still had that two-pack of Anker LC-40 flashlights unopened, so I installed three Eneloop AAA cells in each of those and handed them to Barbara. One goes in her purse and the other her suitcase. She gave me back the cheapie Chinese single-AA light she’d had in her purse.

While I was thinking about it, I asked her where the Fenix E01 keychain flashlight was. I’d bought that for her back in November 2014. She said it hadn’t lasted long, and had basically exploded into a bunch of small components. So much for the supposed better build quality of brand-name flashlights.

I’m standardizing on these Anker LC-40s, and also on Eneloop cells. I’ll use up the remaining Kirkland alkalines in things like $3 flashlights, remote controls, and so on, but I don’t plan to buy any more alkalines, ever. The LSD Eneloops actually don’t cost that much more than alkalines, maybe 5 or 10 times as much depending on size. Given that the Eneloops are rated for 2,100 recharges, they don’t take long to pay for themselves.


55 thoughts on “Thursday, 19 October 2017”

  1. Subbing again today, and tomorrow, and Monday. Freshman mostly today and tomorrow. Annoying little creatures, especially the female variety.

    They all have Chromebooks. Assignments are posted on something called Google Classroom, they do the assignment and put the results back on Google Classroom. This works well for the teacher as she out for two weeks due to surgery. She can check the students work and progress from home. As for me being here, I just babysit and watch for any cell phone usage.

    Students have the Chromebook for the school year, turning the device in for the summer. The following school years they get the same physical device back thus having the same device for all four years.

    If I was in charge of the program at the end of four years I would just let the students keep the device. Four years is at end of life for these Chromebooks. The logistics of getting the devices back, cleaning them, reinitializing the device to eliminate traces from the prior student, then handing out a four year old device to an incoming freshmen is not worth it. That freshmen at the end of their four years would have a device that is eight years old and horribly out of date.

    If the school chooses to have the devices returned then the school has to dispose of the devices. That would be a difficult problem unless the school donates the devices. Disposal of all those electronic devices for the entire school system to be destroyed is a lot of waste. School cannot donate them except to another public agency as the devices were purchased with public money. There are not a lot of options.

    Best, in my opinion, is to just let the students keep the devices once they graduate as seniors. Those that don’t graduate lose the devices.

  2. Glad you’re feeling enough better for her to go.

    Currently 66F and 96%RH. Clammy doesn’t quite cover it.

    Today’s FEMA summary shows that some of the previously reopened hospitals in PR are closed again. 43 on grid power, 21 still on gennies. They have two Federal Medical Stations open, and the USS Comfort is still in the area. There was an article yesterday that medical conditions there are “Post-apocalyptic.” This from a US based Dr who rotated out after volunteering there. This is a very good argument for UPPING your medical preps. We’ve had the discussion before about whether you should stockpile materials you don’t have training with or know how to use. CLEARLY you should. PR and Venezuela both show that supplies will be scarce, but the skilled people will still be around. It also begs the question, do you know how to contact a Dr or nurse WITHOUT going thru the medical system? If things get sh!tty, you won’t want to be sitting in a room with 100 sick and bleeding people waiting to tell the Dr you have some supplies if he can give you some guidance in their use.

    If you are REALLY serious about it, there are ways to get large quantities of medical supplies, with no oversight. See the stuff in this listing for example– a lot of it I have no idea of its use, but there are lots like this often. Some of it is more usable than others.

    https://www.slapsale.com/pallet-of-miscellaneous-medical-supplies-for-educational-purposes-only-136038

    Anyone want to bet this stuff is on ebay soon?

    n

  3. fall garden update, beets and radishes have sprouted! Still waiting for turnips.

    oranges and grapefruits are starting to show yellow dusting of color. Lemons are still green.

    Still need to get some stuff in the ground…

    n

  4. “If the school chooses to have the devices returned then the school has to dispose of the devices. That would be a difficult problem unless the school donates the devices. Disposal of all those electronic devices for the entire school system to be destroyed is a lot of waste. School cannot donate them except to another public agency as the devices were purchased with public money. There are not a lot of options.”

    Not in Tx. They just pull the drives and send them to auction. Usually without power supplies. The school recovers some of the cost of the devices.

    There is a large amount of attrition in the devices too. I don’t have any numbers, but the devices are built to be cheap, not especially durable, and teens aren’t known for their care-taking abilities. With Chromebooks, most of the user data lives in the cloud, so changing out devices shouldn’t be that hard.

    Most states have a requirement that public assets be auctioned at the end of their life to recover whatever they can. Depending on the items, it might cost more to prep and auction than just pay an ewaste disposal company to do it, but ‘the law is an ass.’

    It’s how I make my living (such as it is.)

    nick

    https://www.govdeals.com/index.cfm?fa=Main.ZipSearch&zipcode=37901&miles=100&milesKilo=miles&showMap=1&category=00&kWordSelect=2&locationType=miles&kWord=&country=&btn_submit=Submit

  5. If I was in charge of the program at the end of four years I would just let the students keep the device. Four years is at end of life for these Chromebooks.

    IIRC, to avoid problems, Google practices forced obsolescence with Chromebooks. After a certain time period, the devices no longer receive updates to the OS. Four years is bumping up against that limit.

  6. They just pull the drives and send them to auction

    Seems like more trouble than it is worth. But government is never known for being intelligent.

    the devices are built to be cheap, not especially durable

    They appear to be low end Chromebooks. The school system did provide a protective case. That may help.

    Chromebooks, most of the user data lives in the cloud

    That does appear to be the case in most of these devices. Although there is local storage on the devices the students can use.

    Google practices forced obsolescence with Chromebooks

    Interesting.

  7. “Google practices forced obsolescence with Chromebooks.”

    Interesting.

    Apple’s laptop line is now essentially disposable, and they pulled off the transition without significant rebellion from the user base.

  8. Bad science but not a bad joke:

    You are made primarily of Hydrogen (H), Oxygen (O), Carbon (C), and Nitrogen (Na).
    Therefore, you are almost 100% NaCHO.

  9. When I installed four fresh Costco Kirkland AA alkalines, the camera didn’t even recognize that it had power. So I pulled those and stuck in four Panasonic Eneloops straight from the blister pack. The camera fired right up.

    The store-brand alkaline batteries do not provide enough power up current for the DSLR.

    In a pinch, I’ve used Energizer batteries in our PowerShot cheapie cameras, but they never last very long.

  10. “Given that the Eneloops are rated for 2,100 recharges, they don’t take long to pay for themselves.”

    I think there is still a place for regular alkaline batteries. I particularly like them when traveling. I just dump the old ones in the trash and install new. No carrying another charger, not keeping track of used and unused…

    I used to travel with LOTS of AA batteries. Flashlights, laser levels, measuring tools, music players, and other stuff meant I had bags of them in my carryon and tool bag. Literally dozens. Use them up and throw them away.

    n

  11. Apple’s laptop line is now essentially disposable

    I am beginning to also wonder about Microsoft stuff. My Surface Pro quit, just would not power on. MS Support said a bad battery or a bad connection internally. Not repairable. Bought a Surface Laptop to replace the Surface Pro. No screws so it must the same assembly, glued.

    Kirkland AA alkalines, the camera didn’t even recognize that it had power

    Alkaline batteries will not provide enough current due to internal resistance. The voltage will drop from the current draw and thus the camera will not recognize there is power.

    I had to use alkaline batteries in my flash one time due to some unusual circumstances, someone stole my spare batteries. Recycle time went from 5 seconds to almost 30 seconds. Basically not sustainable.

    Lithium or better is generally required for high power devices such as cameras and electronic flashes.

    I think there is still a place for regular alkaline batteries

    Yep, no recharging worries. Pull some out and you have power for FLASHLIGHTS and other AA powered devices. Our church goes through a dozen every Sunday for the wireless microphones. Put in new batteries every Sunday before use. That way there are no problems with dropped signals or distortion.

    Just don’t leave the batteries in the device as leakage seems to be more of problem than the past. Thinner or cheaper cases perhaps. A battery that leaks generally destroys the device. Losing a $1K microphone is not an option. I have lost a few flashlights over the last couple of years due to leaking batteries.

  12. I am beginning to also wonder about Microsoft stuff. My Surface Pro quit, just would not power on. MS Support said a bad battery or a bad connection internally. Not repairable. Bought a Surface Laptop to replace the Surface Pro. No screws so it must the same assembly, glued.

    Microsoft wants to be Apple, but, at least with Windows laptops, you still have a lot of choices at all price levels.

    With Apple you either accept getting 6-7 years out of a $3000 laptop … or you switch to a Windows machine.

  13. “The store-brand alkaline batteries do not provide enough power up current for the DSLR.”

    They always worked before.

  14. They always worked before.

    Maybe they’re made more cheaply than before, with a lower peak draw?

  15. Maybe they’re made more cheaply than before, with a lower peak draw?

    Or more internal resistance limiting the current they can supply due to EPA and tree huggers forcing a change in chemistry.

  16. With Apple you either accept getting 6-7 years out of a $3000 laptop

    When I was looking for a replacement Apple was considered. I got a lot more for my money with the Surface Laptop and no licensing issues with my current software. I use the laptop for doing pictures and would have needed to acquire new licenses for some software, probably could have talked the vendor into a new license. Adobe products I use the CC products which are based on logging on to their system so those would have worked.

    The Surface Laptop is quite nice. Thin, light, and works well. Price was less for more performance and more storage. The keyboard is comfortable for a laptop with that fake fabric covering. Key travel is good and spacing is good. Nice display, clear, crisp and easy to see. I like the machine and would recommend the Surface Laptop.

    I am hoping to get the new Microsoft mouse that was just announced for my home system.

  17. Interesting re camera batteries. My old (15+ years) Olympus c3040z still works fine on alkalines (Kirkland included); the ni-cad re-chargables I tried back then didn’t hold up at all and I quit trying. The ever changing world of technical devices, fun times.

  18. NiCad batteries are about 1.2 volts per cell whereas alkaline are 1.5 volts per cell. Voltage may be the issue. Newer cameras perhaps accept a lower voltage. My fairly recent Olympus camera is OK on battery consumption. Focusing my big lens consumes a lot of power and I have to have the battery grip with two batteries to get reasonable life out of the batteries. I do have an alkaline adapter but having tried them the lens focusing was much slower.

    Try some nickel metal hydride batteries as they are about 1.4 volts at full charge.

  19. They should go south, between Austin and San Marcos. That is closer to the airport, closer to their warehouse in San Marcos, closer to San Antonio for folks from SA, and closer to I-10.

    Or better, as far out US 183 as they can manage towards Hwy 29 and Liberty Hill. Yeah, it’ll make getting to Austin more of a pain, not that I go very often. Mostly, it’ll drive up the value of my house. As everything turns into strip malls and McMansions, my house sitting in the middle of 25 acres at the end of mile of gravel road is going to look really nice.

    Selfish? Moi? Yeah!!!

  20. I’m done with trying to get more speed for internet. For now. The Burnet tower that I was on, is supposedly scheduled for up-grades this Summer. The tower I’m on now, even though they can connect the radio directly to their laptop computer and pull 35+Mbps, I can’t get more than 5Mbps because the “radios on the tower can’t talk to my radio faster than 5Mbps”. Huh? That makes no sense.

    So I now have 5 down and 1 up for $50/month. It seems solid. Well, it was at 3 down and 1 up for the past two days. This is better than paying $59 for 3 down /1 up…. and getting closer to 2 down on a good day (on the old tower).

    Less money, more speed. A new radio is a plus. The Motorola Canopy was over 10 years old.

  21. WRT to school district provided Chrome books: I suffered my entire professional life as an aerospace engineer as I was not provided one in high school; my parents had to buy me a slide rule (which still functions perfectly 65 years later). No tax dollars wasted on me.

  22. parents had to buy me a slide rule

    Awesome Slim. I would have placed you as an abacus man myself.

    I still have my Pickett Metal slide rule. That and log tables in the back of the book were all that I had. Wimps today have them new fangled calculating devices that are accurate to decimal places that I could never imagine.

  23. That should help the Austin traffic problems. “Snicker”

    If they put the HQ2 in Austin, it is all about the “culture” (cough … bacchanalia … cough). I don’t think it will happen, however, without a serious rebuild of Austin-Bergstrom’s main building, and I don’t think the Progs want to admit a mistake with regard to capacity of a terminal not even two decades old

    The Barbara Jordan Terminal — doesn’t the name scream “pork barrel”?

    I’m still guessing that Bezos will put HQ2 in South Florida, specifically Fort Lauderdale, inland in new Class A space built to withstand a Cat 5 storm. Bezos grew up in the area, Amazon will be the big dog of the region, and the transportation infrastructure, as bad as it is, is still light years ahead of Austin.

    Magic Leap’s building will be available shortly…

    Either way, the clock is already ticking for us in Austin. Moving here was simply a compromise to get us out of the Northwest.

  24. Locally, they want to put it 2 1/2 from my house at a Boeing office complex where I used to work.

    @Ray: Yuuup, mine was a Pickett (only metal brand, IIRC) also. Yes, and tables in the paper handbook. I can’t imagine how Einstein did it without a Chromebook or iPad.

  25. “I can’t imagine how Einstein did it without a Chromebook or iPad.”

    Blackboard. Pencil and paper.

    I suspect we’ve had no one of that caliber since. Anywhere in the world. I dunno, maybe Hawking.

    I recall slide rules but never used one; never used a calculator, either. Pencil and paper and the math classroom blackboards. Through Plane Geometry and then I bailed.

  26. I’m still guessing that Bezos will put HQ2 in South Florida, specifically Fort Lauderdale, inland in new Class A space built to withstand a Cat 5 storm. Bezos grew up in the area, Amazon will be the big dog of the region, and the transportation infrastructure, as bad as it is, is still light years ahead of Austin.

    I am guessing that one of the income tax free states, Florida, Texas, etc, will be the winner as Bezos does not like taxes. Isn’t the inland height of South Florida just 8 ft above sea level ? That seems a little short to me for a new 50,000 worker bee building. I would think more like Jacksonville or Tallahassee to get closer to I-10.

    Back to Austin, the new I-14 bypass for I-10 is just north of Austin (see map on URL). I would not discount that at all. But having a headquarters on both east and west coasts does sound logical. There is a good map on the following URL:
    https://www.interstate-guide.com/i-014.html

  27. You are made primarily of Hydrogen (H), Oxygen (O), Carbon (C), and Nitrogen (Na).
    Therefore, you are almost 100% NaCHO.

    Not to be pedantic, but Na is Sodium.

    I’m having one of those days.

  28. I am guessing that one of the income tax free states, Florida, Texas, etc, will be the winner as Bezos does not like taxes.

    Some local pol, maybe the mayor of Albany, was just pimping this location for Amazon, because we have so much to offer.

    Very high taxes. That’s on offer.
    High cost of living. That, too.

    Really, why would Bezos choose anywhere else?

  29. Not to be pedantic, but Na is Sodium.

    Well, yah. That’s why I said it was bad science.

  30. Big Boss’s Surface Book took the long power-down a few weeks ago. Only option was $600 and mail it in for a replacement unit.

    Couldn’t even pull the drive. (Good thing we store all data on the network. Right, Boss?)

    I love(d) the Surface family of devices, but having it FAIL and the only option is replacement just turned me off. I’ll never recommend them again. I’ll use them for certain. But when they go away I won’t be getting any more.

  31. I am guessing that one of the income tax free states, Florida, Texas, etc, will be the winner as Bezos does not like taxes. Isn’t the inland height of South Florida just 8 ft above sea level ? That seems a little short to me for a new 50,000 worker building. I would think more like Jacksonville or Tallahassee to get closer to I-10.

    Airport quality is one of the criteria, and Fort Lauderdale has easy access to two large international airports with active construction underway on a high speed rail link north from Downtown Miami, through stops up the coast, terminating at Orlando’s airport.

    As for elevation, by this time next year, after Magic Leap’s bankruptcy (cough), the old Motorola buildings in Sunrise will be vacant. That campus has been around since the 80s without a problem from storm surge.

  32. “…pimping this location for Amazon, because we have so much to offer.”

    Don’t forget cold, long-ass winters. That’s a plus, too, think of the skiing!

  33. but having it FAIL and the only option is replacement just turned me off

    People are demanding thin and light. Thus lots of glue and other assembly processes that cannot be undone. Exchange student in Germany had a thin and light Dell system that failed. Same resolution as provided by Microsoft.

    I am guessing that one of the income tax free states, Florida, Texas, etc, will be the winner as Bezos does not like taxes.

    Knoxville TN put a proposal. However, the Knoxville airport is horribly expensive. Last trip to Europe cost from Atlanta was $1500 a person. Same trip from Knoxville was $2300 a person. Thus for both of us the difference was more than the cost of a single ticket. Proposal also failed to mention some other high profile projects that went astray costing the city a few hundred thousand. The meth heads, homeless and high welfare (lazy) population. The interstate and road system could not handle the amount of increased traffic. Currently I-75 (major north south route) and I-40 (major east west route) are a big problem and mobbed with trucks. The proposal also did not mention the almost 10% sales tax on everything except medical (yes, even food is taxed).

    The only good points in the proposal were The University of TN and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, neither of which would really help Amazon.

    Personally I would hope that Amazon avoids my area entirely, as in far away.

  34. Our big store nooz up here is we’re getting a Target finally, for Burlap, along the street that has a bunch of other stores and restaurants (and the Vet Center), so traffic there will become a worse tangle; it already sucks down there like it’s eastern MA or northern NJ. I avoid it all as much as possible. Hell, I avoid going downtown over in the “city” three miles up the road.

  35. Back to Austin, the new I-14 bypass for I-10 is just north of Austin (see map on URL). I would not discount that at all.

    I work just off of the only freeway segment of US 190 connecting Belton to Killeen. That project is going nowhere fast in Bell County — too many hard feelings about the Trans Texas Corridor boondoggle.

  36. I wouldn’t complain if Amazon brought a facility here. Our current biggest asset is an airport that’s only 7 years old, doesn’t have a lot of air traffic, and has a 10,000 foot runway. Also available are thousands of acres of develop-able parcels adjacent to the site. However, it must be said that 1) a ‘liberal’ corporate culture wouldn’t be a very good fit 2) Jax has access to Atlantic shipping lanes and both I-10 & I-95 3) Miami has access to those same Atlantic shipping lanes and is the largest gateway to Latin America (excepting Mexico) and the Caribbean nations.

  37. Don’t forget cold, long-ass winters. That’s a plus, too

    No need for expensive air conditioning for the data center. Just open the window.

  38. Don’t forget cold, long-ass winters. That’s a plus, too

    No need for expensive air conditioning for the data center. Just open the window.

    Most of the new data centers do not have air conditioning. They use ARM chips in the servers and SSD drives. Just forced ambient air cooling.

  39. Obummer and Shrub both colleagues in the same greater Clinton-Bush-Obummer Crime Family, all great buddies.

  40. I love thin & light, and the fact that it cannot be easily repaired isn’t such a big thing. The big thing is that the Surface book (especially) is known for taking the big sleep, with no known means of bringing it back.

    It’s like that Note 7 that I had to return twice. It’s a statistically significant part of the population having a problem, and it cannot be fixed. THAT is what bothers me. With the Note 8 I have a phone that doesn’t catch fire. That’s pretty good.

    I can deal with driver issues. I can deal with complicated restart / recovery methods. That wouldn’t bother me at all. I’d like the Surface family to be known for NOT failing (and never turning back on) for a significant population. That’s not happening, and it doesn’t look like Microsoft is even trying to fix the root cause.

  41. Re: Moore.

    I despise him. I also note that an accusation is not a conviction. I’ll gladly rip him a new one for things he has said in public. But accusations that have not been proven are a tough sell. I want compelling evidence.*

    * Note that this does not apply to my children. Anyone messing with them will likely be convicted in my mind immediately. But that’s just me.

  42. the Surface book (especially) is known for taking the big sleep

    Count the Surface Pro among those failing. System was working fine, battery lasted hours, went to bed, woke up the next morning completely dead. Tried a different power supply, no joy. When I mentioned it to MS they basically said there were no known issues. It was just the luck of the draw.

    I had the system about three years and had used it on several trips including overseas. I got good service.

    I decided on the Surface Laptop because I had the keyboard connected to the Surface Pro 99.99% of the time. So I opted for a real keyboard this time. A bigger display was a plus. I can also continue to use my Surface dock which I use at home for power, network, and a couple of USB attached disk drives. Those drives, and OneDrive, are where I keep most of my files.

    I had a Lenovo laptop system at the church that was used for broadcast graphics. It was a full laptop. It refused to power on at all, same as the Surface Pro. It was only two years old and failed the same way. No way to fix according to Lenovo support, a motherboard problem. No splash screen, nothing. Remarkably similar to the Surface failure. Complete and total failure. I rescued the memory and disk drive to use the memory in another machine and put the disk drive in a USB enclosure.

    Thus I don’t know if the problems is unique to the MS machines or is just a problem in the industry in general.

  43. This guy only does apple repair but it is fascinating to watch his troubleshooting and repair skills, with occasional social commentary.

    Poor design choices, (JTAG connector), weak parts, and moisture are the usual killers. As parts and traces get smaller and smaller, failures become easier to achieve.

    https://www.youtube.com/user/rossmanngroup/videos

    n

  44. And for an interesting look at what’s inside the new slim boxen, go to Ifixit and look up some of the battery change instructions.

    Almost everything CAN be opened and repaired, it just takes more specialized tools and knowledge. (Which makes sense as they are VERY refined products.) HEAT GUNS are required for a lot of the phone repair and screen replacements. Micro soldering is just an extension of regular soldering, SMD soldering, and hot air rework… All of which require more specialized tools and techniques than soldering thru hole components.

    Also interesting to me is that there are ‘hacks’ and work-arounds, and ‘backyard mechanic’ style techniques to make some of the repairs without the high end manufacturer’s tools. Sometimes though, you need the big iron, like to re-ball graphics chips.

    n

  45. Last year I picked up a second-hand Pentax K-20D cheap. A very nice camera. It uses a Li-ion pack, but it came with spares, and they really last a long time. I had purchased it with the intent of using my old lenses(from the ’80s), which do work, but I ended picking up a couple of autofocus lenses….

  46. re-ball graphics chips

    That sounds suspiciously like boning a chicken, and I don’t want anything to do with it.

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