Fri. Jan. 26th, 2018 Finally Friday

It has been a long week. Busy weekend of work and family ahead too, but at least the weather should be a bit better.

53F and mostly clear in Houston today. I took a look at my citrus trees and they don’t look good. Between the cold and being covered, all the leaves are pretty much shrunken and dried. I guess I’ll see if they recover in a few more weeks. I certainly hope so. The grapefruit I got this year is delicious.

It feels like we’re wrapping up winter, and getting ready for spring. I got the last of the Christmas stuff down and put away (didn’t want to do it wet). It’s unlikely we’ll have more sub-freezing temperatures. The yard and garden are brown and a mess, but we’ll soon see what we can get started on. I might just throw down some native wildflowers in the front yard flower beds.

This definitely feels like a time of transition… both in the natural world, in society, and personally. Transitional times are tricky. They are a time when the smallest influences can lead to big changes. I think they call for conservatism, balance, a ‘centeredness’, and being prepared to move in any direction either defensively or to take advantage of opportunity.

This is a good time to take a step back from daily strife, and re-evaluate where you are, where you want to be, and your plan for getting there. If there ever was a time to position yourself to move freely in any direction, this is certainly it.

nick

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81 Responses to Fri. Jan. 26th, 2018 Finally Friday

  1. H. Combs says:

    The yard and garden are brown and a mess

    The same up here in Memphis. Temps rising into the 50s after weeks below freezing. I have all the decorations in the garage but will need an extra hand to help me get them back in the attic. Hoping the granddaughter comes over this weekend and I can rope her into helping for an hour. With the garage filled with Christmas stuff and my Harley I’ve had to put the wifes car in the drive. She doesn’t like that. It’s her baby and she wants to pamper it. She has a 1993 Honda Del Sol (Civic frame and removable top). Best Anniversary gift I ever gave her.
    We will be eating from our deep pantry this year as we reduce food storage in preparation for retiring to Oklahoma next year. I don’t want to move tons of food storage if I can replace it easier when we get our next (last) house. We will move all our repackaged foods in 5 gal buckets but all the tins of stuff we have stored in closets and under beds will get eaten.
    I really Really REALLY need to work on my radio license this year. When we get moved I want to set up a real radio shack like I had as a teen.

  2. Nick Flandrey says:

    Get started! Get listening at least. That only takes a long wire and a radio….

    n

  3. Dave says:

    Speaking of amateur radio and listening, there is a very inexpensive software defined radio dongle at Amazon. I already have too many projects on my plate or I would pick one up to play with it. There is also a blog and a paperback book about the kit that you can buy.

    From my short glance at this it appears to be a receive only software defined radio USB dongle, but there are a number of applications I can see for that.

  4. Nick Flandrey says:

    That is a nice kit, but you can get one without the antennas for even less money. The software is free, and there are several major projects to choose from. Or try them all.

    I’ve got mine on a discone antenna, sometimes a long wire, and sometimes just my dual band.

    The dongle based projects are pretty much all receive only, and the ones that include TX need an external amp. The output power is very low.

    Still, they are a great and cheap way to add some really cool capability. They also run pretty well on old hardware. I can run mine on my old toughbook CF-30 xp laptop , or run the AndyLinux ham distro on even older CF-29.

    https://sourceforge.net/projects/kb1oiq-andysham/

    There is a live distro so you can check it out.

    The sdr dongles are great for messing with digital modes. You can receive and decode satellite maps, look at a waterfall display to see where the activity is in the spectrum around you, etc. There are even projects that (mostly) decode digital public safety traffic.

    There are lots of add ons too, like a freq converter to lower the effective range of the dongle so you can listen to HF, pre-amps, UHF and gigahz stuff….

    I def recommend getting one and checking it out. For the cost of some time and $20 you can learn a lot and have a cool thing to play with.

    nick

  5. H. Combs says:

    Nick: I have a couple of cheap Baofeng handhelds and CHIRP and need to put some time in setting things up to get my ears on. In the 70’s I had a corner of the garage with a Heathkit multi-band short wave and collected QSL cards from near and far.

  6. Dave says:

    I have a couple of Baofeng’s and Chirp, and it has taken me all my patience to keep from throwing them out the window and buying something else.

  7. Nick Flandrey says:

    @dave, Forget chirp. For now. Unless you are in a very busy place you have one or 2 local repeaters with any traffic on them. Google to find their freq, offset, and PL tone. put that in one memory of your radio. Repeat for a second.

    Start listening.

    Or dig out your old analog scanner and put in all the local repeater freqs (all 2 or three) and start scanning those. Just leave it on while doing other things. It will become clear in a few days if there is even any traffic in your area. Then set up one channel on the baofang for that repeater.

    I’ve had mine for a couple of years and still only have one repeater in memory. Occasionally, when driving, I’ll put it on scan to see if there is any other traffic.

    Fairly often I’ll punch in 162.000 and scan up until I hit my local NOAA weather and listen to that forecast.

    For that matter, once you find your active and friendly local repeater, it’s not hard to put 444.300 in the radio, and add a 123.o pl code. The BF remembers that for a long time (I’m not even sure what makes it forget, but it might.)

    Watch a youtube vid for how to put in the freq, offset, and PL if the manual doesn’t make sense.

    Google the alternative manual and cheat sheet put together by a white guy if you feel like having more manual.

    My point is, and OFD was particularly guilty of this, stop finding things to do before the thing you want to do…. You don’t need chirp working or extensive freq lists to get on the air locally. Probably 90% of the repeaters listed in the book NEVER have any traffic, or only for an hour of drive time each day. They MIGHT have a weekly club ‘net. In major areas, there will be one or two repeaters with most of the traffic, and hopefully they will be internet linked so they have more than just the local guys yakking. (allstar, IRLP, echolink – all voip linking protocols – and a whole area to learn about if you are interested.)

    DO IT. Stop finding reasons not to 🙂

    n

  8. Greg Norton says:

    From my short glance at this it appears to be a receive only software defined radio USB dongle, but there are a number of applications I can see for that.

    The dongles based on the RTL2832 are a lot of fun to play with.

    I had a thesis idea for ADS-B “Out” air traffic data received via cheap hardware that I could never sell to faculty in either one of my grad programs. The upstream project from my leftover GitHub repository is a cool way to get started with RTL2832. I’ve even run the code on a Raspberry Pi 2!

    https://github.com/gsnorton/dump1090

  9. Nick Flandrey says:

    @H Combs,

    I have a bunch of shortwave radios, BUT there are only two sitting next to my desk. I turn them on and scroll around the bands at night while I’m sitting here doing other things. Just quickly see how the time signals are coming in for a quick idea of band conditions. Then if the band is open, take a quick scroll around.

    Most nights, bands are noisy, or DX is very poor, and after a minute or two of checking I turn the noise maker back off. Some nights, with good signals, I’ll spend a bunch of time scrolling around, tuning the 80m and 40m ham bands. Usually, I just listen for shortwave DX. Band conditions are generally poor now due to lack of sun activity, which is gonna limit what nights (or days) it’s even worth scrolling thru.

    Point is, with the radio sitting right here (hooked to a long wire in one case, using the internal antenna in the other), I actually listen several times a week, if only to see what conditions are like. If I had to go somewhere to do it, and dedicate a particular time, I wouldn’t even get it turned on most of the time.

    Yep, it’s little tiny baby steps. Little tiny sips from the hose, but it’s better than no sips at all! And every once in a while, something cool will come booming in, and I’ll spend some time listening, looking up call signs on QRZ.com to see where people are, and looking up the shortwave stations to see how great the DX really is. Usually, band conditions change, and after 5, 10, or 20 minutes I end up turning the radio off and going back to what I was doing anyway, so little tiny sips are all I get!

    nick

  10. Nick Flandrey says:

    @greg n,

    opps, forgot about that! one of the coolest uses is to be part of one of the ‘visualization’ or ‘tracking’ efforts that display on a map all the shipping in your area (and since something like 90% of the population lives near a coast or inland waterway there is a really surprising amount of shipping) or all the air traffic (ads-b).

    https://global.adsbexchange.com/VirtualRadar/desktop.html

    https://www.myshiptracking.com/

    Even if you don’t participate in feeding data, just looking at the map is cool as heII.

    n

  11. Nick Flandrey says:

    Hey guys, just had an idea (I know, it hurts.)

    I think I will try something new. There is no way to tag comments with content tags, just the main post. Since (as was pointed out) many of the comments lead to more comments, and a bunch of valuable info is in the comments, I will try to add tags that reflect the comment content if a discussion turns into something useful.

    Forex, I tagged this post “amateur radio” and “radio” even though the post doesn’t mention radio.

    Do you guys think this is worth doing? It will probably be inconsistent because I’ll forget….

    n

  12. jim~ says:

    @Nick
    Worthy idea of adding tags, but it’ll be a time sink, I think. Since there’s such limited number of ‘regulars’, and I suspect that will drop, unless it’s easy I doubt it’s worth the bother.

    Hardwareguys2.com has expired, and Ikonboard got so antiquated I gave up on it, but I still have a TAR somewhere – either final or close to it – that if someone both knowledgeable and serious is willing to port it, let me know.

    The “Swap Meet” section never took off, but I can see it happening here. Appreciate the SW radio tips.

    On a final note:

    Best WWII Documentary series

    The Rise and Fall of Adolf Hitler: Volume 1 – The Face of Evil
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/B01D1OFNV2/

    The Rise and Fall of Adolf Hitler: Volume 2 – The Hitler Conspiracies
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/B01D1OFPEC/

    The Rise and Fall of Adolf Hitler: Volume 3 – Why Hitler Lost WWII
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/B01D1NTVAC/

    All Amazon Prime. Unlike those lugubriouly slow documentaries which dole out facts at the rate of 1 per minute and narrated by a 2000 year old man with Parkinson’s, this is really concise and goes so quickly I found myself rewinding just to catch a date or something. Also, a lot of movies and photos not seem in other documentaries. Also, thank God, it doesn’t spend the first ten minutes telling you *about* the documentary, but dives right in; nor does it repeat itself after every commercial break.

    Might want to start with #3, then fill in details by watching #1 & #2 since there is sime overlap, but from a different perspective.

    PS – Lol, you’d need a RAT tag…

  13. RickH says:

    Maybe add a FLASHLIGHTS tag.

    As for tracking ships, since my house has a great view of the Admiralty Inlet of the Puget Sound (just across from Mutiny Bay), I’ve used the http://www.marinetraffic.com/ site to track the ships passing by. Lots of container ships/etc headed back and forth to Seattle and Tacoma, plus the occasional Navy submarine from Bangor, and bigger Navy ships from Bremerton. (The USS Nimitz has passed by a couple of times, but haven’t been able to catch a look of it yet. Although you can see several aircraft carriers as you drive by the Bremerton base.)

    During the summer, Thursday night about 530pm is when the cruise ships pass by on their way up the inside passage to Alaska.

  14. JimL says:

    @Nick,

    Tags are nice, and they can’t hurt, but I agree with jim~. It’s a time sink and the best-laid plans of mice and men…

    RBT kept this board going by simply posting something every day, and letting the conversation flow. I don’t know if it will survive, but I would like it to. This forum is worthwhile.

  15. nick flandrey says:

    Eh, it only takes a couple of seconds to click edit, and then scroll thru the list of tags and make selections. The big thing would be doing it with any sort of consistency. I see a lot of bloggers attempt to tag even their own posts and not do it consistently.

    I’ll give it a try. I’m not even certain that anyone ever uses the tags that Bob used on posts to search.

    n

  16. lynn says:

    “How bad was Harvey? Worst rain ever, Hurricane Center concludes”
    http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/How-bad-was-Harvey-Worst-rain-ever-hurricane-12526259.php

    If Harvey II goes north of Houston, I think that over half of the city will get flooded (half of two million homes).

    If you do not have flood insurance in the Houston area, you are playing with fire.

    I still do not have an exit strategy from my house if the Brazos river comes over our levee and puts 8 ft of water in the house. That is 12 ft of water in the street. And NOAA did a document search and has legitimized the flood of 1913 where the Brazos river was one ft higher than our levee. That flood was 6 ft higher than the Harvey flood.
    http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=HGX&gage=RMOT2

  17. nick flandrey says:

    Speaking of time sinks, peter over at https://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.com/ has links and commentary up on something absolutely fascinating. The canadian prof who made an uproar over not using the now legally mandated made up pronouns for trans people is being interviewed and he OWNS the interviewer. Well worth watching if you ever have meaningful interaction with SJWs. Scott Adams has trenchant commentary from his own point of view too.

    Worth a half hour.

    n

  18. Terry Losansky says:

    @nick
    For comment tags, would this work?
    https://wordpress.org/plugins/basic-comment-quicktags/#description

    I am not familiar with the workings of WordPress other than as a visitor, so I may not be on the right track.

  19. Nick Flandrey says:

    @terry, thanks, I’ll look, but if I can’t be bothered to tag stuff, I’m not sure commenters would either….

  20. RickH says:

    @Terry: that plugin has some built-in tags, and doesn’t allow you to add additional ones.

    As for post tags; they can be useful for the original post. But discussions here wander all over the place, and often do not have anything to do with the subject of the original post. (Which is what makes this place interesting.)

    The post tags are useful, though. I have a plugin that exports all posts into an HTML file. It optionally lets you specify the tags, so you can export all posts with certain tag(s). This would be useful if we wanted to create an ebook of RBT’s posts on a certain subject.

    Once you get the HTML file, you can import it into Word, tweak it a bit (for page breaks, etc) and create an ebook (or a print book on http://www.Lulu.com ). Just did that with a blog that I run. Can turn out a nice-looking book – a 165-page book, full color, hardbound, 8 1/2 x 11, cost about $40 to print via Lulu. Other output options are cheaper.

    The plugin doesn’t export comments (although I could change that, I suppose). But it is a great way to turn a blog into a ebook/printed book.

    Could be used to create ebooks/books to sell for this site, if Barbara desired.

  21. Greg Norton says:

    If Harvey II goes north of Houston, I think that over half of the city will get flooded (half of two million homes).

    If you do not have flood insurance in the Houston area, you are playing with fire.

    If a million homes in Houston are flooded in Harvey II, even the folks with flood insurance are in for a long wait for repairs. FL still had FEMA trailers parked at the airport outside Fort Myers in 2006, two years after Charley, and that number was tens of thousands of homes.

    I dread to think about the gas lines. Every significant weather event forecast in Austin now results in a line at the HEB on my way home from work.

  22. Nick Flandrey says:

    @greg, that’s why the prepared individual has gasoline stored to double the range of your primary vehicle, run your generator for 2 weeks, or whichever is larger.

    During hurricane season, I increase my stored gas to more than 35 gallons. I usually run it down to 15 or so during the rest of the year.

    I used to just keep the cans in a rubbermaid cabinet beside the garage, but now I have a Flammables cabinet there. It’s in the narrow space between fence and garage, so it never gets sun, and the temps stay pretty constant.

    nick

  23. Nick Flandrey says:

    I’ve been trying to avoid even thinking about this story, especially coming just a week after the cops shooting and killing the suicidal man they were called to help…

    “FBI agent shoots kidnapping victim dead during rescue mission after abductors demand $20,000 from his family”

    “During a raid on that home, an agent accidentally shot Villadares dead while he was still bound and gagged”

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5314769/Man-killed-FBI-agent-Houston-raid-kidnap-victim.html

    Facial tats, unpaid debts to gangbangers, kidnapping the wrong guy, and something with the wife. Plenty of fail here to go around, but WTF is the FBI doing shooting bound and gagged victims?

    n

  24. Nick Flandrey says:

    off to microcenter!

  25. lynn says:

    I used to just keep the cans in a rubbermaid cabinet beside the garage, but now I have a Flammables cabinet there.

    I would like to have one of those Flammables cabinets also. I just keep four empty five gallon gas cans for now. Which, I did not fill for Harvey.
    https://www.amazon.com/flammable-cabinet/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Aflammable%20cabinet

    Wow, those are expensive ! Or did you get it for less than $500 ?

  26. lynn says:

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5314769/Man-killed-FBI-agent-Houston-raid-kidnap-victim.html

    “Villadares was shot dead by an agent while the FBI were conducting a raid on the home to rescue him. Authorities say he was still bound and gagged when he was fatally shot.”

    “It’s unclear what led to the gunfire. Garza said the agent who fired the fatal shot is on administrative leave pending an investigation.”

    I’ll bet that it is never announced. I’ll also bet that the FBI agent got spooked and shot his gun.

  27. lynn says:

    The Fort Bend Herald newspaper quote of the day:

    “Life is fraught with opportunities to keep your mouth shut.”

    ― Winston S. Churchill

    I’ve been wondering if I need to practice this some.

  28. Dave says:

    I need to sit down and watch the Jordan B Peterson interview that has a lot of people talking. It encourages me that someone as smart as he appears to be is out there standing up against political correctness. I have ordered a copy of his book from Amazon. I’m also encouraged by reports that his book is the top selling book on Amazon.

  29. JimL says:

    “Life is fraught with opportunities to keep your mouth shut.”

    ― Winston S. Churchill

    I find that I often practice this. It’s painful, sometimes. When someone is WRONG, I just want to correct them. That’s when it’s best to shut up.

    One may remain silent and be thought an idiot. Or one may speak and remove all doubt. (Origin of this bit of wisdom is in question.)

  30. Nick Flandrey says:

    “Wow, those are expensive ! Or did you get it for less than $500 ?”

    Look on craigslist. I sell them when I get them for $150 to $300 depending on size. There is one on there right now but it’s small and the bottom is rusted out. They do come up.

    If you want, since you’re in Houston, I’ll keep an eye out for you… (put you at the top of the list for the next one I score cheap!)

    nick

  31. Dave says:

    “Life is fraught with opportunities to keep your mouth shut.”

    ― Winston S. Churchill

    Yes, I find myself doing that a lot. I keep hearing from someone who complains about someone we both know. I’m tempted to say the guy being complained about isn’t perfect, but that I think he’s a good guy and I wish I were more like him. But I keep my mouth shut, because I wouldn’t say it that politely.

  32. Nick Flandrey says:

    @dave, that’s the one I linked above, H/T to Peter Grant, who also has the scott adams commentary. Scott is a super bright guy and has been very perceptive throughout the Trump campaign and presidency so far.

    n

  33. Dave says:

    @Nick,

    Sorry I missed your link to the same interview. Yes, I’ve been surprised by how insightful Scott Adams is. Given that he’s been very successful with Dilbert it should be obvious he’s very smart. But he’s clearly even smarter (and wiser) than I thought.

  34. Chad says:

    It’s probably been asked before, but can we turn on images in the comments? It would be most helpful (and a little fun). You can always boot the abusers.

  35. lynn says:

    “Microsoft reportedly planning another doomed attempt at jettisoning Win32 apps in 2019”
    https://mspoweruser.com/microsoft-reportedly-planning-another-doomed-attempt-jettisoning-win32-apps-2019/

    Note to self, Microsoft is not my friend.

  36. JLP says:

    When someone is WRONG, I just want to correct them.

    It is tough to sit in a meeting and hear someone pontificate about something you KNOW is wrong. Whether you open your mouth in front of everyone is determined by real world business politics. Some people don’t take well to being corrected and can become vindictive and try their hardest to make life hell for you. There are some who will accept criticism and correction knowing that it will prevent a larger and more embarrassing disaster later.

    Knowing which person is which type is a business survival skill. It’s no different from knowing which plant to eat and which plant will poison you in the jungle. Luckily as a lowly scientist nerd I’m not always expected to be perfectly politically correct. And I’m not.

  37. Rick Hellewell says:

    @Chad:

    It’s probably been asked before, but can we turn on images in the comments? It would be most helpful (and a little fun). You can always boot the abusers.

    Currently, there is no option to allow images in comments (partly because of the ‘comment editing’ plugin that is in use here).

    I suspect there is a plugin that will allow that (there’s a plugin for just about anything).

    But, what is the consensus of the group? What potential pitfalls are there? (For instance, images that contain malware or links to malware.) Is it needed?

  38. lynn says:

    “Another look back at Hurricane Harvey”
    https://spacecityweather.com/harvey-nhc-recap-houston-weather/#more-6771

    “1. The highest storm total rainfall that can be confirmed is 60.58″, which occurred near Nederland, TX in the Beaumont-Port Arthur area. A 60.54″ report was confirmed in Groves, TX near Port Arthur as well. Both of these totals, along with five others (most in the Friendswood area), establish a new United States record for rainfall associated with a tropical cyclone, breaking the 1950 total of 52″ in Hawaii from Hurricane Hiki.

    2. The previous Lower 48 record was 48″ from Tropical Storm Amelia in Medina, TX back in 1978. Harvey broke that record in at least 18 locations.

    3. Radar estimates of 65-70″ were noted, but cannot be confirmed.

    4. The spatial extent of the heaviest rains from Harvey was “overwhelming” and likely has never been matched in American history.

    5. Harvey was the second costliest tropical cyclone in US history behind only Hurricane Katrina.

    6. At least 68 deaths from Harvey in Texas (about half of which occurred in Harris County) were the most from a Texas tropical cyclone since 1919. However, zero deaths are attributable to storm surge, which is amazing for a storm of this magnitude.

    7. Highest observed wind gust was 126 kt (145 mph) near Rockport.

    8. 57 confirmed tornadoes in the Southern US from Harvey.

    9. Over 300,000 structures were flooded, along with over 500,000 vehicles.

    10. 30,000 water rescues were conducted and 40,000 people evacuated from flooding.”

  39. JimL says:

    Aside from minor tweaking, I don’t know that RBT ever did much to change this site. It just works. I remember when he increased the lookback on the comments (25 to 50, as I recall). Minor, but made it easier for me to catch up, so was much appreciated.

    If I want pictures, pr0n links, and so forth, I have Facebook, Reddit, Fark, and others. I come here for the conversation. It is among the best, most intelligent discussion I have found. And I’ve looked.

  40. jim~ says:

    Well, completely lost the last post and the “select All and copy” before I posted didn’t work…

    I have fun here, and probably ought to be doing some work — been under the weather for a few days/week.

    RE Protective Screens

    Non sequitur:

    I did quite a bit of research before buying my first “real” smartphone (Samsung j7, India, GSM, Dual-Sim, unlocked) a couple years ago. The brand the guy put on as a freebie was crap, but afterwards I got 2 x Nillkin.com brand. Two: one for backup. Saved my butt because although I dropped it on a corner months ago and the screen has cracked, ever so imperceptibly, the Protective layer has held it all together for months. YES! Clean clean clean, and practice laying on the screen before you remove the protective cover. I learned about cleaning glass from years of experience installing window film in automobiles… Super-clean micro-fiber cloths are great, but wash and wash them without fabric softeners or the like.

  41. dkreck says:

    I mostly use Chrome with the addon Hover Zoom.
    on a link like this
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxLWd_RKNPevalZjTFhGRVNfTVE/view?usp=sharing
    a pop up will show the image as long as you keep the pointer over it. Also smaller images come up larger. No need to click the link.

  42. Miles_Teg says:

    Rick H:

    I don’t think we need images. A poster can just post a link. I judge wether to click on links based on interest and the poster. I have occasionally wanted to post pictures, but feel they would just clutter the place.

  43. medium wave says:

    I agree with Miles_Teg.

  44. MrAtoz says:

    Mr. dkreck, I don’t get a popup on your link. I’m using Chrome on a Mac and everything else seems to popup including Avatars on this board.

  45. dkreck says:

    @MrAtoz
    You’re right. Bad choice because that’s not a direct link to a pic. Google drive obscures the actual link to an image. However Hover Zoom is pretty nifty.

  46. pcb_duffer says:

    My lemon tree seems to be in the same condition as Nick’s grapefruit. That lemon is one of my last remaining links to my older sister, and I’ll be devastated if it is kaput.

  47. BillF says:

    I agree. No images. Just good conversation and SFW links.

  48. paul says:

    If we’re to have tags, I have one to suggest: White Mans Burden.

    🙂

    Ok, HEB is a Texas grocery chain with a dozen or so more in Mexico. They have a frozen pizza line…. purple boxes…. and the thin crust option seems to be going away. Self rising? Sure, four flavors. Thin crust went away at the Burnet store a few years ago. Replaced by some “California” brand that cost an extra $4. But Burnet has just four doors of frozen pizza….

    The Marble Falls store is about a week from closing. Yeah, store 284 is almost history. So it makes sense that the candy racks at check out are barren and there are holes in shelves. Fear not, a new HEB is about to open on the other side of the parking lot. Looks to be about four times the size. Ok, so, purple box thin crust pizza are gone and the freezer is filled with whatever is sitting in the back freezer.

    Went to Austin today. Didn’t actually get to Austin proper, just past Leander was all we needed. Stopped at the Leander HEB Plus. Huh, no purple box thin crust. In FIFTY FEET PLUS of frozen pizzas! (ok, I didn’t take the time to pull out a tape measure or count doors.) But there is un-tagged empty space.

    So I bought a couple of Tony’s. $2.50 each. Ain’t expecting much. Perhaps better than the $2.50 each Hill Country Fare pizzas.

    Tonight will be cheap pizza for supper and Hitler on the Roku.

    Thank you jim~ for the links!

  49. Nick Flandrey says:

    “and Hitler on the Roku.” is one of those things I never thought I’d read…..

    I’ve got mixed feelings about images. Many times I wished for a way to just post the image instead of the link. My main concern is anonymity, and links went to my dropbox, which was any mouse, but dropbox leaves the metadata on the pics and if you went looking, the original location has my real user name in the file path….

    photobucket got all spammy and almost impossible to use, but at least they stripped the exif from photos….

    I know how to embed photos in actual posts now, so that might happen.

    In comments, I’m content to keep using links.

    nick

  50. SteveF says:

    re tags based on comments: It might be useful to some. It might be useful in better search engine indexing. I’d likely never use those tags, as I never use the tags anyway. If you do go that route, see if there’s an “autotag” plugin; as RH says, there’s a plugin for everything.

    and OFD was particularly guilty of this

    “Is”, we may hope, with nothing but a hiatus at the moment.

    Aside from that, I agree with your point of “do something” rather than infinitely plan and optimize and schedule and budget and never actually take the first concrete step.

    I think that the FBI was never as professional and shiningly competent as was portrayed. Like so many other institutions and other groups, better information from non-controlled sources shows that FBI agents — oh, pardon me, I mean “short bus special agents” — are just as prone to corruption and bumbling as is Deputy Jim-Bob; the FBI simply had better control of information going out. Ref also the non-stop revelations about issues at the FBI crime labs, recent revelations of political tampering, the still-not-addressed (alleged) murders by Lon Horiuchi, relatively recent reports of how thoroughly Hoover controlled news coverage over four decades, and probably more that I’m not thinking of. With information control like that, even Stalin would have good public favorability ratings. Oh, wait…

    For what it’s worth, my few dealings with FBI short bus agents have been uniformly unpleasant. In short, they’re assholes with a massive sense of superiority not justified by anything I could identify. Anecdote, not data, but comports with much of what I’ve heard.

    I agree with Miles_Teg.

    Ditto, regarding images. And, yes, the words “I agree with Miles_Teg” burn in my mouth. Or on my fingertips.

    but WTF is the FBI doing shooting bound and gagged victims?

  51. lynn says:

    Ok, HEB is a Texas grocery chain with a dozen or so more in Mexico. They have a frozen pizza line…. purple boxes…. and the thin crust option seems to be going away. Self rising? Sure, four flavors. Thin crust went away at the Burnet store a few years ago. Replaced by some “California” brand that cost an extra $4. But Burnet has just four doors of frozen pizza….

    We have about four HEBs of various sizes in the Land of Sugar. Sorry, but I’m not buying a thin crust freezer pizza at any of them. I get my thin crust pizza hot and fresh from our Domino’s down the parkway and around the corner from the house. Pepperoni and double onions, yumm !

    Our HEB in Riverpark was not like the others. It was laid out different and had totally different aisle configurations. We got a new manager and boom, he spent a million dollars or five on the store and made it like the others, even though ours is a only a medium size 65,000 ??? ft2 store. Bummer, I liked the old configuration.

  52. paul says:

    Part One of Hitler on the Roku was pretty good. The Tony’s pizza was ok, I’ve had better.

    Domino’s? Yeah, we have one but they don’t deliver past the city limit. No price break for pick-up. So, take a frozen pizza, dress it up a bit with a few more pepperoni slices, some olives, jalapenos, extra cheese… it works.

    HEB has bought a few other stores. The Skaggs-Alpha-Beta slash Albertson’s that was the very first store in Austin to have scanners at the register comes to mind.

    but WTF is the FBI doing shooting bound and gagged victims?
    Very good question.

  53. Greg Norton says:

    “Microsoft reportedly planning another doomed attempt at jettisoning Win32 apps in 2019”

    Note to self, Microsoft is not my friend.

    It will never happen.

    Okay, maybe “never” is a strong word, but Microsoft made the commitment with Windows 10 to support VB 6.0 indefinitely, and that support requires Win32 with ActiveX and older Windows IPC tech like DDE.

    Plus, we’ll see if Microsoft is able to sunset Windows 7 on schedule. Where I currently work is a recognizable IT name, and practically every computer in the building is still Windows 7, with some internal web apps and customer-facing interfaces dependent on Explorer!

    (I don’t want to get flamed for where I work, but I’m sure you can figure it out from my old posts. I’m nearly 50, and I was unemployed for almost seven years between the Vantucky and grad school misadventures — I didn’t have a lot of choice. I work. They pay. I go home.)

  54. Greg Norton says:

    HEB has bought a few other stores. The Skaggs-Alpha-Beta slash Albertson’s that was the very first store in Austin to have scanners at the register comes to mind.

    Our HEB in North Austin/Round Rock is a converted Albertson’s. It is an old building, but the store is still lucrative due to location. A lot of houses are close enough so people walk to the store!

    Walk! Texas! Imagine!

  55. lynn says:

    Domino’s? Yeah, we have one but they don’t deliver past the city limit. No price break for pick-up.

    Huh. Our Domino’s gives a $3 discount per pizza for carryout. Plus, no driver tip. In fact, they are selling a large three topping pizza for $7.99 carryout only now.

  56. lynn says:

    “Microsoft reportedly planning another doomed attempt at jettisoning Win32 apps in 2019”

    Note to self, Microsoft is not my friend.

    It will never happen.

    Yup, that was the point of the article. MS will not be able to walk away from Win32 like they walked away from Win16 / Dos16.

    (I don’t want to get flamed for where I work, but I’m sure you can figure it out from my old posts. I’m nearly 50, and I was unemployed for almost seven years between the Vantucky and grad school misadventures — I didn’t have a lot of choice. I work. They pay. I go home.)

    I honestly have no idea. Dude, I am very proud that you have a job. And sounds like a good job.

    A friend of mine just left a 15 person oil well downhole tools firm for Black and Decker. He builds custom interfaces using C and a embedded operating system. His drive went from 4 miles (10 minutes) to 20 miles (60 minutes on a good day) but, the paycheck will be more consistent. Who knew Black and Decker had a custom programming shop here in Houston over on I-10 ?

  57. lynn says:

    (I don’t want to get flamed for where I work, but I’m sure you can figure it out from my old posts. I’m nearly 50, and I was unemployed for almost seven years between the Vantucky and grad school misadventures — I didn’t have a lot of choice. I work. They pay. I go home.)

    My junior programmer (only has 15 years experience with C++ and a few other languages) passed up on a job recently where they were hiring a “chief project engineer” here in Houston. Their offer was 80% more than I pay him. He turned it down because they are a Java shop and he hates Java. I told him he is crazy. And it was 5 miles closer to his house. Plus they work 9am to 6pm and I let him work 1pm to 9pm. Sigh.

  58. lynn says:

    Walk! Texas! Imagine!

    I drive from the large office building to the warehouse (100 ft) or the wellhouse (150 ft). Usually it is 50 million F or pouring down rain though.

  59. Nick Flandrey says:

    There is an automobile firmware company too, just off the belt, south of 10. Weird place for it….

    So my adventure with upgrading my wife’s All-in-one has progressed.

    I bought and D/L the Drive Copy program from Paragon. They’ve incorporated the Migrate OS tool into Drive Copy, but didn’t tell anyone. Thought there was a mistake with the download and charges. Turns out it was fine.

    But I absolutely couldn’t get it to work with an external usb to SATA adapter.

    I decided to take a bare 1 TB drive and try a full disk clone first, and as a backup (since there were some good stories here.) Could not progress. Finally I realized that the first step the wizard wanted me to do was create a recovery media. Turns out this is WinPE with their software on it. So I D/L the winPE tools, it makes a bootable thumbdrive, and I try again, so I’m not USING the C drive while trying to clone it.

    Still Fails. Now I’ve decided that it must be the adapter, so I pull the back off the machine, install the power splitter, unplug the DVD drive, hook up my 1TB, reboot into WinPE with their tool, and suddenly it works. I make a clone of the drive.

    Today I go and get a Kingston 240GB SSD for $75. Should be big enough. Needed about 90GB.

    Get home, set up the SSD, reboot, run the tool, DE-select all the data, dox, pix, vid, and their tool runs fine. Perfectly good clone of os, without the data. Move the drives around, install the PCIe SATA card, (Thanks guys!) and I’ve got an SSD boot drive, with a 1TB platter for data. Changed some windows settings and shortcuts and everything is back to normal.

    Boots MUCH quicker, and just feels speedier all around. The windows experience tool shows disk ops going from 5.9 to 7.6 after the install, whatever those numbers mean.

    I’m bidding on a stick of ram to match the existing 4 gig stick. I can’t believe how much they still want for ram for a 6 year old machine. Goes to my point that things haven’t really changed much.

    Oh, the kingston drive was very thin, and that is great, because there wasn’t much room inside the pc. In fact I had to get out my snippers and modify some plastic shapes so the back cover would go back on.

    I’ll see what the ram does for the speed, and think about moving from the i5 to an i7 if it’s still bogging down. I don’t think I’ll need to though. It felt pretty snappy.

    So, I’ve got some time, and about $100 in the upgrade so far. Seems reasonable. Cheaper than buying a new one.

    nick

  60. lynn says:

    Boots MUCH quicker, and just feels speedier all around. The windows experience tool shows disk ops going from 5.9 to 7.6 after the install, whatever those numbers mean.

    Congrats ! My Intel Core i7-2600K (3.4 Ghz) with 16 GB ram and a 500 GB Intel SSD here at the office has a 7.4 windows experience index.

    I’m bidding on a stick of ram to match the existing 4 gig stick. I can’t believe how much they still want for ram for a 6 year old machine. Goes to my point that things haven’t really changed much.

    8 GB of ram is really the minimum for Windows 7 x64. 16 GB is even better. I have no idea about Windows 10 x64 ram feelgood ranges. I do have a 6 GB ram pc at the office running Windows 7 x64 and it is ok. In fact, it needs an SSD more to speed up its WD 1TB Caviar Black drive. Not gonna happen.

  61. Nick Flandrey says:

    this has an i5 – 2600 and will be maxed out at 8gig ram…

    It has 6, and I’ll bet just getting matched sticks of dual channel will help the speed. I’m fuzzy on the tech details anymore, just can’t be bothered.

    All my problems came from the fact it’s an All in One. Half lappy parts, custom MB, no room inside, no extra ports….

    But it has held up pretty well for the last few years, and still gets the job done, just slowly. Should have a little longer in it.

    The main thing, I don’t have to reinstall any software. That would suck.

    nick

    I see that a gunman has killed in Amsterdam-

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5317821/At-one-person-dead-shooting-central-Amsterdam.html

    But of course it’s not terrorism. “The dead youngster has been named locally as Mohammed B, a 17-year-old Moroccan immigrant.”

    Just the diversite’ adding vibrancy to the local playground.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5317821/At-one-person-dead-shooting-central-Amsterdam.html

  62. brad says:

    I’m late to the discussion, but my 2 cents worth:

    No tags, they just add clutter, and I rarely go back to search for things anyway. I mostly view this place as a running discussion, like in a good pub, and you can’t turn time back. You can always ask the same question twice, though.

    No to pics – whatever for? I think the way most people do it now is fine: “Here’s a link to a pic of X, for anyone who wants to look”. In the pub example, there’s a difference between offering to show someone a pic on your phone, and blasting it into everyone’s eyes with a projector.

  63. Jenny says:

    Images – I much prefer text. Images are distracting. Links to images are good.
    Tags – handy in top post, discussion wanders too much to make it worthwhile in comments.

    I despise Google but really like the simplicity of Chromebooks. Under the right conditions they fill a genuine need. Spent the morning setting up five for older kids at my daughters school. The OS updates and hardware configuration is very minimal. Even more so when you use Google Management Console. For reasons, we are not. Then I engaged in a certain amount of unnecessary self punishment and logged each system in as each student to ensure the instructor didn’t have to walk the kids through it. The Chrome browser config appears to get picked up on the first login, and reflected in the second login. I’d prefer to use GMC but for the number of students and machines and the schools overall tech level it’s not worth it.

    Houseful tonight celebrating husbands fiftieth. Too much food and beer and wine and coffee and dessert. Good company. Spirited discussions.

  64. Ray Thompson says:

    8 GB of ram is really the minimum for Windows 7 x64. 16 GB is even better. I have no idea about Windows 10 x64 ram feelgood ranges

    For home use, and actually a lot of business use, 8GB seems to be just fine for W10. Video editing and heavy Photoshop use will benefit from 16GB.

  65. Greg Norton says:

    I despise Google but really like the simplicity of Chromebooks

    My only gripe about Chromebooks is that Google practices a kind of forced obsolescence and cuts off OS updates after ~ 4 years. However, yeah, they definitely fill a genuine need, especially in a school setting.

  66. Greg Norton says:

    My junior programmer (only has 15 years experience with C++ and a few other languages) passed up on a job recently where they were hiring a “chief project engineer” here in Houston. Their offer was 80% more than I pay him. He turned it down because they are a Java shop and he hates Java. I told him he is crazy. And it was 5 miles closer to his house. Plus they work 9am to 6pm and I let him work 1pm to 9pm. Sigh.

    I get the part about hating Java. Too wordy IMHO. Also, his co-workers would probably be some flavor of H1-B or offshore. Any job requirement asking for Spring expertise is a dead giveaway. Every Fresher learns enough Java or .Net to fake their way through an interview.

    I’m currently pulling a long-simmering personal app project out of the iOS ditch. Objective C isn’t much better than Java, but below the user and network interfaces, I can build the model entirely in C++11. Closures and smart pointers are gifts from God -er- Stroustrup.

  67. Greg Norton says:

    I honestly have no idea. Dude, I am very proud that you have a job. And sounds like a good job.

    The big drawback is an hour drive each way. Plus, the work is monotonous, but I keep myself interested by automating the really tedious tasks.

    I built a Tcl/Expect runtime system that folds runtime, scripts, and data into one ~ 3 MB file for easy transfer to our deployed environments. Combined with Python, available on just about any Linux system these days, I cut days of typing out of some of our install processes.

    A friend of mine just left a 15 person oil well downhole tools firm for Black and Decker. He builds custom interfaces using C and a embedded operating system. His drive went from 4 miles (10 minutes) to 20 miles (60 minutes on a good day) but, the paycheck will be more consistent. Who knew Black and Decker had a custom programming shop here in Houston over on I-10 ?

    Black and Decker supplied tools for Apollo IIRC. The relationship with the space agency probably continued through Shuttle — as Dr. Pournelle always stated, it was a *rebuildable* space ship, not *reusable* with two week processing turnaround as sold to the public.

    I imagine B&D (or someone) built a lot of custom tools for NASA, and a Houston engineering shop makes sense. SpaceX and Blue Origin now attract technical talent to the Orlando area, but, in the early 70s, MCO was so primitive that Disney World opened with executive jet service to the property from West Palm Beach and Miami.

    (Look in Google Maps at a satellite image of the main Disney World parking lot. Then slide right/east — the airstrip is still there, out of commission by FAA rules until the EPCOT monorail goes away. They currently use it to park buses, but Disney utilized the facility to fly Walt’s plane to Disney/MGM — I’m always going to call it that — and, according to legend, Bush 43 landed there once in the smallish Air Force One for a quick campaign trip to The Villages.)

  68. Miles_Teg says:

    I never learned C, C++, C# or Java, but they all looked pretty much the same to me.

    (I’m an old school Pascal, Fortran, Cobol and Compass mainframe programmer.)

  69. lynn says:

    You can always ask the same question twice, though.

    Or ten times nowadays with my flaky memory.

  70. lynn says:

    8 GB of ram is really the minimum for Windows 7 x64. 16 GB is even better. I have no idea about Windows 10 x64 ram feelgood ranges

    For home use, and actually a lot of business use, 8GB seems to be just fine for W10. Video editing and heavy Photoshop use will benefit from 16GB.

    So, about the same as Windows 7 x64. I figured as much but did not want to say without verification.

    Business memory requirements are definitely going up. We use Act! 2012 for Groups for our CRM. Each of the computers that it is loaded on keeps the entire 1.4 GB database in memory.

  71. lynn says:

    (I’m an old school Pascal, Fortran, Cobol and Compass mainframe programmer.)

    You know, people do not talk about Cobol in polite conversation, much less admit to ever using it.

  72. Miles_Teg says:

    “You know, people do not talk about Cobol in polite conversation, much less admit to ever using it.”

    Man! I gotta eat and put a roof over my head!

    Learnt it in December 1978, and hated it ever since. I treasure the time I spent on Fortran, PL/1, Pascal and Compass.

  73. JimL says:

    I have a guy that comes in occasionally to maintain our old COBOL system. The one that was supposed to be retired years ago. He only charges $75/hour for consulting and is really easy to work with.

  74. Nick Flandrey says:

    @jimL, does he have a minimum number of hours? when I was freelance, I had a 4 hour minimum for onsite work. Otherwise, all my day got blocked out and by the time I added traffic time and mileage and Self Employed tax, I was better off at McD’s.

    n

  75. JimL says:

    @Nick – no minimum, but I won’t ask him to come in for anything that doesn’t require a good bit of work. It’s almost always because somebody boogered something up good. Simple stuff I usually handle myself. If it is something quick, I usually toss in the other work that needs done to make it worth his time.

    That, and he’s retired. Doesn’t need the work. But he likes us and is willing to do what needs to be done. We need to take care of that relationship.

  76. Ray Thompson says:

    You know, people do not talk about Cobol in polite conversation, much less admit to ever using it.

    First language learned was FORTRAN taken at a local college while I was still in high school. Went into the USAF and learned IBM1401 assembler, then COBOL, moved on to Burroughs Assembler, BPL and PASCAL.

    Even went so far as to write a couple of compilers of my own for a specialized language used by the personnel arm in the USAF. Fun stuff.

    COBOL works very well for business environments that do a lot of batch processing. A lot of work was done using COBOL. I worked on many banking systems, including ATM networks and massively online systems supporting hundreds of users. Real time transactions using a custom database in the background.

    I am not ashamed to admit that I spent 20+ years working on COBOL. Did a lot of good stuff.

    A language is a language to express a task, nothing more. Some are better suited to a requirement than others. I would hate to do heavy calculations using COBOL as it does not have the constructs that FORTRAN has implemented. I would hate to write an OS in COBOL, FORTRAN or most high level languages. The only high level language that was up to the task was ESPOL, a derivative of ALGOL, as implemented on a Burroughs large systems.

    I have dabbled in C, C##, those “write only” languages. Java sucks in my opinion as variable names are case sensitive. One minor error in the variable case and your program is crap and the problem is very difficult to locate.

    I worked with COLDFUSION for 16 years working on projects and it was extremely well suited to doing web applications. Other languages such as PYTHON, PHP, ASP, etc. that I dabbled in all pale in comparison. Using PRINT or WRITE statements to output HTML is tedious whereas COLDFUSION integrated into the HTML. Much easier to write and understand.

  77. Miles_Teg says:

    “I would hate to do heavy calculations using COBOL…”

    Been there.

    Was part of a project (starting 1980) that developed a population projections system in Cobol for a mainframe (CDC 3500) that was scheduled to be turned into a ship’s anchor by 1985. Would have been much easier if developed in Pascal, Fortran or PL/1. We’d just wheeled a Fujitsu M200 in the door, running a MVS clone. Should have been developed on that. A total disaster.

  78. SteveF says:

    A language is a language to express a task, nothing more.

    Bingo.

  79. Ray Thompson says:

    COBOL running on a Burroughs medium system (B-2500 thru B-4900) could do some significant calculations. It was possible to multiply a 100 digit number by another 100 digit number and get a result accurate to 200 digits. Same with division. It would be slow, relatively speaking.

    Banks loved Burroughs systems as it was possible to calculate interest to a significant level accurately. Well beyond what was possible with IBM, the other major banking vendor. IBM topped out at 18 digits before floating point kicked in and thus was not accurate beyond 18 digits. With an account with a 100,000,000.00 dollars 11 of those 18 digits of precision was taken up with the integer part. Add in two digits for the cents and you were already using 13 digits. That only left 5 digits for interest calculation. Daily interest on that amount required more precision to be completely accurate.

    Certain instructions in COBOL would automatically generate floating point instructions. For real precision it was possible to emulate those constructs using multiple integer operations thus increasing the precision of the result. Fractional interest calculations down to several decimal places was possible by implying the decimal point and just doing integer math. All results were stored as integers with the implied decimal point.

    Rounding was then applied to the result, always in the banks favor. This allowed the bank to accumulate the minute fractional interest that was never posted to the client accounts. All perfectly legal but had a small benefit to the banks bottom line. Very small amounts spread over a several billion dollars adds up over time.

    Some of my tasks at the bank involved getting these calculations to benefit the bank but still fit within the banking laws. I knew some COBOL tricks that would cause the compiler to generate the proper instructions. Some of it had to with manipulating the implied decimal points. Several of the programmers at the bank had trouble with that concept.

  80. Dave says:

    A language is a language to express a task, nothing more.

    Yes, a language is just a tool. It’s amazing how using the right tool can make a job so much easier. Or using the wrong tool can makes something that should be simple into a Herculean task.

  81. lynn says:

    A language is a language to express a task, nothing more.

    Yes, a language is just a tool. It’s amazing how using the right tool can make a job so much easier. Or using the wrong tool can makes something that should be simple into a Herculean task.

    Amen !

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