Wed. Feb. 21, 2018 – the cynical left

As I look thru today’s headlines I’m reminded that the left will use any thing and anyone to advance their agenda. Like the Terminator, they just won’t stop until you’re dead.

n

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84 Responses to Wed. Feb. 21, 2018 – the cynical left

  1. Nick Flandrey says:

    People are too F’ing lazy to live….

    “Researchers unveil new technology that could charge your phone from across the room using invisible LASER beams”

    “The engineers put thin strips of aluminum near the power cell on the back of the smartphone in order to keep the device from being overheated by the laser.

    The strips do away with excess heat from the beam and allow the laser to sufficiently charge the smartphone.

    The report concluded: ‘The researchers believe that their robust safety and heat-dissipation features could enable wireless, laser-based charging of other devices, such as cameras, tablets and even desktop computers.

    ‘If so, the pre-bedtime task of plugging in your smartphone, tablet or laptop may someday be replaced with a simpler ritual: placing it on a table.’

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5415273/You-soon-able-charge-phone-wirelessly.html

    Leave aside for a moment the fact that these researchers think people are burdened unnecessarily by having to PLUG IN THEIR PHONE. There already exists tech, which actually works and is in shipping product, to charge your phone by “placing it on a table.” Leave aside the fact that this system needs a great big heatsink on the back of your phone.

    They are putting a 2 watt infrared laser in your house. Normally eye safe lasers are in the 0.x milliwatt range, but IR lasers are particularly dangerous because they don’t cause a blink reflex in the eye. So they’ve built in elaborate safeguards to keep someone from interrupting the beam, but the don’t address the problem of REFLECTION at all. The smooth shiny finish of most cell phones makes a great mirror. So does that heatsink.

    I guess if you are too lazy to plug in your phone, or put it on your charging mat, you deserve to be blinded by a TWO WATT laser. Unfortunately, I know who’ll be paying for dumb@ss’s care, and it’s you and me.

    n

  2. Greg Norton says:

    People are too F’ing lazy to live….

    People need to put down the f*ing phones.

    I charge mine on the drive to work every morning, and I’m good for 24 hours. Most of the time, I don’t even bother with a charger on the weekends, and I’m rarely below 50% on Monday morning.

    Maybe I’m getting old. I only have a “smart” phone for maps.

  3. MrAtoz says:

    This is obviously someone’s Ph.D.

  4. Greg Norton says:

    This is obviously someone’s Ph.D.

    UW. It figures.

    During my first grad school attempt at WSU Vancouver, none of the tenure track faculty would look at a thesis topic that wasn’t focused on either tech interesting to Google (one prof had a grant) or “green” power.

    My second trip through, I made sure to apply to a program where the thesis was optional.

  5. Dave says:

    Call me old and set in my ways, but I don’t get the popularity of the text message in the smart phone age. Email works for me. Back when I got my first smart phone, I was like why should I text when I can email. Before the 140 character text message limit was dropped, email was the way to send longer messages. So now I have to check text and email messages. I don’t need to text with people who don’t have smart phones.

  6. Nick Flandrey says:

    I started out hating text, but came to like it. It’s less intrusive, lends itself to single subjects, and simple answers, which is what I’m usually looking for now.

    Also decoupled from real time.

    n

  7. DadCooks says:

    Billy Graham has passed away (via Drudge):
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/21/obituaries/billy-graham-dead.html

    Just another sign.

    Rest in peace Billy.

  8. JimL says:

    I just hate phones. So, of course, I have one of the latest smarty-pants phones there is. Because I can write myself notes without taking a pen & paper.

    The one saving grace of text messaging is it makes it possible to just push a button and make a phone call if that is required. @Nick’s points apply as well.

    Aaaaaand, I almost never send texts from my phone. I use Mighty Text to type & send text messages, as well as read them. Because, well, I hate phones.

  9. Greg Norton says:

    Just another sign.

    Rest in peace Billy.

    Someone at the Times corrected the information about Graham’s education in Florida. The original obit, probably written 20 years ago, had the school and location wrong.

    Billy Graham is a distant relative, but I’m not sure of the link in the family tree. My grandmother burned all of her pictures and genealogy paperwork after she went legally blind.

  10. DadCooks says:

    :thumbs up: for Mighty Text

    Just got a Ring Neighborhood Alert. Another person who has Ring cameras spotted a suspicious character in his neighborhood (other side of town from me). Called Police and they responded and arrested the guy on outstanding warrants. The Police thanked the homeowner as the skel is a frequent flyer too, 450 contacts in the past few years. Oh and he has MS13 tats.

  11. Nick Flandrey says:

    Doin’ the jobs americans won’t do…..

    n

  12. Dave says:

    I suppose I am begrudgingly starting to like texting. A lot of people I know have multiple email addresses, and I do not want to bother them at work, and I am not sure how often they check personal email.

  13. dkreck says:

    Text is okay until you get someone that wants to go back and forth 20x. Hell 10x is too much for my liking. Just call me please. It is a phone.
    So what’s Mighty Text’s profit model, besides spying?

  14. dkreck says:

    So even though I have about 8 email accounts I use for varying reasons, mostly work, they all forward or send copies to my oldest primary personal account on Earthlink. I have the Earthlink app on my phone so I get all that I need and then some.

  15. Greg Norton says:

    I have the Earthlink app on my phone so I get all that I need and then some.

    Earthlink? Haven’t heard that one in a while, but a lot of people still use the service. They have (had?) a big customer service operation in Vancouver, WA not far from our old rental house.

    Earthlink — that reminds me — Merciful Xenu, allow OFD to heal quickly and rejoin us soon.

    (I’m looking forward to the first message from OFD telling me where to stick my e-meter probes.)

  16. JimL says:

    Well, since you asked.

    https://mightytext.net/
    The two things I find most useful are the archived messages and the photo upload. I paid for the pro version just so I wouldn’t have to fight to find pictures. (At the time the picture uploads were limited to some extent.)

    There it is: Remove the 150 messages/month cap in our free version. I send & receive more than the 150, so it was worthwhile to me to pay for it. It’s like heroin. Give you a little taste so you get hooked. Then make you pay for a little more. Worked on me.

  17. dkreck says:

    Okay there is an upgrade to pro. That make some sense. Maybe that’s what Twitter needs (no I have an account I never use).

    Earthlink bought OneMain that bought Lightspeed.net (a local ISP I moved to after Compu-Serve, maybe 1995 or so.) I also later had TWC Roadrunner at home with my cable. When TWC/AOL merged they were forced to add alternatives to the cable system and Earthlink was one of them. I still have EL as my ISP but get the service from what is now Spectrum/Charter after they bought Brighthouse that was spun off TWC.
    Simple.
    Oh and when Spectrum took over I had about a week of hell to get the fact that I had EL on their system and was them paying for it but they weren’t paying EL. Kudos to EL as a billing manager there took over and fixed it.

  18. CowboySlim says:

    When out of WiFi cellphone coverage, I use this for SMS, text messaging:
    https://www.amazon.com/Garmin-010-01735-10-Inreach-Explorer/dp/B01MY03CZP

  19. Nick Flandrey says:

    Regarding OFD, I got this from his wife Liz the other day:

    “Hi Nick- Dave can’t move his arms or legs or speak and is still in the hospital- looks like he will be here for a while. Docs slay that recovery is going to be slow and they are trying to get his nutritional status to the point where they can begin to wean him off the vent. He is not up to participating in much right now. Also, he can’t check email, so I go through it when I can- my email is [redacted] if you want to reach me directly. Thanks so much for all the cards and prayers- keeps hope alive. Thanks again”

    I’ve got a plan, needs discussing and help.

    n

  20. Greg Norton says:

    Oh and when Spectrum took over I had about a week of hell to get the fact that I had EL on their system and was them paying for it but they weren’t paying EL. Kudos to EL as a billing manager there took over and fixed it.

    Ah, Sp-rectum. Yeah, fortunately Earthlink still has back office work onshore. A lot of students in CS at WSU Vancouver cycled through that place at some point in their careers.

    I have ATT.net for non-Google Mail simply because of momentum. I think Verizon runs the service now, ironically.

  21. Chad says:

    I started out hating text, but came to like it. It’s less intrusive, lends itself to single subjects, and simple answers, which is what I’m usually looking for now.

    I detest voice mails especially. My greeting on my voice mail says “send me a text or call back later.” I don’t mention anything about leaving me a voice mail and I purposely recorded 30 seconds of silence after my greeting so most people will hang up before they ever hear a beep. Same goes for my work phone. It tells people to send me an email or call back later followed by a LONG silence before the beep.

  22. MrAtoz says:

    Mr. Nick, thanks for the OFD update. Please let us know anything Mrs. OFD needs for her plan.

  23. Dave says:

    I think the plan is from Nick, and I eagerly await details.

  24. dkreck says:

    I rarely get voicemails because I answer my phone (unless it’s something I really want to avoid or I’m on the phone. I rarely allow call waiting interrupts) I hate people that screen calls with voicemail when I know damn sure they should be working. Maybe I’m just too old school. I’m customer oriented, after all that’s where the money comes from.
    Most voicemails are from my wife, where the money goes.

  25. dkreck says:

    Well the news for OFD is neither very good nor encouraging; but there is hope. I for one am hoping for a recovery and a normal life ahead.

  26. DadCooks says:

    Is the OFD address still the same?

    Might bear repeating for anyone who may have misplaced it (like me). I sent off a card each of the past 3 weeks.

  27. Nick Flandrey says:

    Perhaps “plan” is overly generous. I’ve got a “desire” and an “idea.”

    My idea is to get a lappy with win7 (as the last non-tile UI) and a webcam and install the open source/free stuff I linked to previously.

    -eye tracker
    -whatever mouse click helpers are needed
    -remote support

    Then test that it actually does work, either-
    -with a “chat board” which is selectable words and phrases for communicating
    -with windows control utilities so that he can use at least FFox

    The “chat board” is likely the most helpful. (there used to be hardware called that for non-verbal people, searching on that term will get nothing useful)

    The search terms relevant are “Assistive Communication Device” or “Augmentative Alternative Communication Accessories”

    So, get hardware, get software, config and train to verify it works, integrate additional software, standard windows crap, then send it to a tester to go thru the instructions and training of the eye tracker, then deploy to OFD….

    Liz is not technical, so anything we did would have to be straight forward, and have simple and complete instructions.

    n

    see- simple plan

  28. Nick Flandrey says:

    @dadcooks

    As far as I know, the addy for the hospital hasn’t changed, and clearly stuff is making it there.

    n

  29. Nick Flandrey says:

    AFK for a bit…. couple hours at least

    n

  30. Nick Flandrey says:

    Before I go out, I have received all that Barbara can find so far of Bob’s prepping book.

    It’s chapters 1, 4, 5, 6, and they are pdfs. That means they’re probably not all there is, as there should be a open office file for each. back in June of 2016 RBT posted the link for chapter 4 and had this to say

    “Here’s a link to a PDF of a chapter in the prepping book I just finished the first draft of this morning. I haven’t even read through the chapter, so it’s probably a mess. The chapter naming starts with a three-digit number–007, 030, or 365–to indicate whether it’s in the first section (prepping for a week), the second section (a month), or the third (a year). The second number, in the form Cxxx, indicates the provisional chapter number within the book as a whole. This is an early chapter, but I have nearly all of the book in progress at this point.”

    That last bit implies there is more somewhere.

    Anyone have any chapters for review from before that I haven’t listed here?

    n

  31. lynn says:

    We have now had three young men arrested in Fort Bend County for making terroristic threats against schools. Our sheriff is very upset and is telling the parents very loudly that these threats start at a Class A misdemeanor and jump to a felony very quickly.
    http://abc13.com/teen-arrested-for-making-terroristic-threat-against-fort-bend-co-school-/3113858/

    When did this all go crazy ? Was it the War on some Drugs ™ in the 1970s ? I remember the drug dogs coming through our high school in 1977 because my idiot locker mate had pot in our locker. The dog alerted and we got to spend some quality time with the vice principals. This was in a high school of 6,500 kids.

  32. DadCooks says:

    Some schools get it:
    https://www.theblaze.com/news/2018/02/21/texas-school-will-suspend-gun-control-protesters-here-for-education-not-political-protest

    “Students who join in scheduled gun control protests and walk-outs during school hours will be suspended for three days, according to a letter from the superintendent of Needville Independent School District in Texas.

    In the week since 17 people were killed during a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, gun control advocates have organized several national marches and other forms of protest calling for action by lawmakers.
    What was in the letter?

    Needville Superintendent Curtis Rhodes sent the following message to parents and students in a letter and on social media:”

    The Needville ISD is very sensitive to violence in schools including the recent incident in Florida. Anytime an individual deliberately chooses to harm others, we are sensitive and compassionate to those impacted. There is a “movement” attempting to stage walkouts/disruptions of the school through social media and/or other media outlets.

    Please be advised that the Needville ISD will not allow a student demonstration during school hours for any type of protest or awareness!! Should students choose to do so, they will be suspended from school for 3 days and face all the consequences that come along with an out of school suspension. Life is all about choices and every choice has a consequence whether it be positive or negative. We will discipline no matter if it is one, fifty, or five hundred students involved. All will be suspended for 3 days and parent notes will not alleviate the discipline.

    A school is a place to learn and grow educationally, emotionally and morally. A disruption of school will not be tolerated.

    Respect yourself, your fellow students and the Needville Independent School District and please understand that we are here for an education and not a political protest.

    “When are the scheduled protests?

    Students in Florida have planned the “March for our Lives” on March 24 in Washington, D.C.

    The group that organized the Women’s March has planned a National School Walkout on March 14.

    Another National School Walkout is planned for the anniversary of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, April 20, organized by a student who lives near Sandy Hook Elementary, the site of a 2012 school shooting.”

  33. lynn says:

    “Florida House votes down motion to take up weapons ban with Douglas students present”
    “Final vote was 36-71 on first day of lobbying for students”
    https://www.local10.com/news/parkland-school-shooting/florida-house-votes-down-motion-to-take-up-weapons-ban-with-douglas-students-present

    The Florida legislators get it. Banning guns will not solve any problems. The answer is to arm the teachers who want to be armed.

  34. Nick Flandrey says:

    Per my opening statement today, if you think “students” are organizing these protests/marches/bus tours, I’ve got a low priced bridge in Brooklyn for sale, cash only.

    n

  35. medium wave says:

    A new gun law I could get behind: Trump supports arming teachers with guns

    An unexpected benefit is that the students might think twice before sassing their teachers. 😉

    “An armed society is a polite society” RAH

  36. MrAtoz says:

    Per my opening statement today, if you think “students” are organizing these protests/marches/bus tours, I’ve got a low priced bridge in Brooklyn for sale, cash only.

    David Clarke: Fla. students’ gun control push has ‘George Soros’ fingerprints all over it’

    Soros needs to croak. And his son.

    H/T Drudge

  37. lynn says:

    Per my opening statement today, if you think “students” are organizing these protests/marches/bus tours, I’ve got a low priced bridge in Brooklyn for sale, cash only.

    “David Clarke: Fla. students’ gun control push has ‘George Soros’ fingerprints all over it'”
    http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/374840-david-clarke-fla-students-gun-control-push-has-george-soros

    Why have we not evicted George Soros, the avowed anarchist, from the USA ?

    Hat tip to:
    http://drudgereport.com/

  38. Rick Hellewell says:

    @Nick: regarding your ‘OFD Plan’, that is quite the ambitious project.

    Perhaps a better project is an ereader with Audible enabled. Someone would have to be there to turn it on and off, and select books for him, of course.

    Or a subscription to a music streaming service, so he could listen to music, rather than the TV shows.

  39. Nick Flandrey says:

    @rick, that would be fine, and probably less of a burden on caregivers, but it doesn’t help with the “can’t communicate” problem. I think that would drive a person mad….

    And I don’t propose to do it alone, someone already volunteered a lappy (might not be appropriate) the software is FOSS, and used for the purpose, and we’ve got a ton of talent here……

    n

  40. medium wave says:

    Or a subscription to a music streaming service, so he could listen to music, rather than the TV shows.

    Let’s hope OFD isn’t watching TV, esp. the “news”.

    Can you imagine him with all that pent-up angry reaction to the “memo”, and the FL shooting, and, and, and, …, and no way to express it?

    When he finally IS able to respond again, it’s gonna make Chernobyl look like a small town fireworks display! 🙂

  41. lynn says:

    “FTL”
    https://vimeo.com/253308808

    Pretty cool.

    “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
    Arthur C. Clarke ( http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/776.html )

  42. MrAtoz says:

    Beat you by a minute, Mr. Lynn.

  43. lynn says:

    I saw that. Great minds think alike.

  44. medium wave says:

    This just in from the constipation Olympics: Suspected Harlow drug dealer has now gone 33 days in police custody without pooing out his drugs

    Go, baby, go! 😀

  45. Greg Norton says:

    And I don’t propose to do it alone, someone already volunteered a lappy (might not be appropriate) the software is FOSS, and used for the purpose, and we’ve got a ton of talent here……

    I volunteered a T420 Thinkpad with 8 GB Crucial gaming RAM, but you would need a hard drive. I don’t have any spares I would trust with something that mission critical.

    I have zero time to help, unfortunately. New job starts Monday, and it has a travel component.

    A month ago, I was bored silly. As Ferris says, “Life moves pretty fast…”

  46. Greg Norton says:

    I wasn’t home when the AC contractor stopped by the house today. He took out the Nexia which crashed the other night but left a programmable which doesn’t seem to be configured for … AC!

    Heat only???

    I’ll let it be my wife’s problem when the temps hit above 75 on Saturday. I’m tired of being bad cop.

  47. Jenny says:

    @Nick
    When my friend was stricken with Lou Gehrig’s disease she lost her ability to speak and was very weak.

    I built a speech machine for her with a Nexus 7 touch screen tablet, it’s built in text to speech, and a tiled phrase builder app that cost a few dollars.

    -added-
    This was the app:
    Speech Assistant AAC
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=nl.asoft.speechassistant
    -resume original comment-

    We built in a couple of common phrases and she used it to aid communication in her last few months of life.

    Took me a couple hours to build, and less than $250 out of pocket. We had to add a lightweight speaker as the Nexus speakers were too anemic from her elderly husband to hear.

    I’ll try to find my notes on the app I used. It was pretty slick. Might be a good fast option for OFD if he can move a finger for touch screen.

    Great advantage was the cost and light weight.
    Down side was it had no capacity for eye tracking.
    I did find several do it yourself eye tracking tools but they were all beyond my brain power (still nursing a baby and super stupid then as a result)

  48. brad says:

    My wife saw Trump’s proposal, and pretty much freaked. She’s not a prog, but she’s pretty anti-military/anti-gun. The miracle is that we ever got together, considering the first time she saw me, I was in uniform.

    The real problem lies elsewhere: Somewhere I recently read an article (who knows, was it a link from here?) that pointed out that most of these shooters grew up without fathers. Father figures are important, news at 11:00.

    Anyway, the answer is simpler than arming the teachers. It’s just removing the declaration that schools are gun-free zones, and letting the teachers and staff decide for themselves. Possibly one wants to prohibit students from bringing guns to school, just because of the aforementioned problem with fatherless boys…

  49. Miles_Teg says:

    Lynn wrote:

    “The Florida legislators get it. Banning guns will not solve any problems. The answer is to arm the teachers who want to be armed.”

    Former Australian ambassador to the US and wannabe PM thinks teachers with guns is nuts. Well, I don’t agree…

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-22/trump-suggestion-of-arming-teachers-nuts-kim-beazley-says/9475910

  50. JimL says:

    It is very simple, and I’m somewhat surprised that it hasn’t been tested.

    What has changed that there has been an increase in school shootings? Fatherless homes? My gut tells me that there has been an increase. I cannot cite any source for proof. Gun-free zones? Ditto. Guns? Not an increase in numbers, but increased fear of guns. (No source to cite.) What other factors are there?

    I have my feelings about the matter, but I won’t beat it into anyone. It needs to be tested. We have should enough data to do a reasonable analysis. We have enough test systems to know what works and what doesn’t. That, and I’m tired of being beat with the “science stick”. I accept science pretty rigorously. I don’t particularly care for the political follow-on.

  51. Ray Thompson says:

    He took out the Nexia which crashed the other night but left a programmable which doesn’t seem to be configured for … AC!

    Probably just a setting in the configuration. My Ecobee can be set for heat, A/C, or auto. Old thermostat, while not smart, was programmable and could be set for heat, A/C or auto. I will leave the new thermostat the same way, set it and forget it.

    The Ecobee does provide some interesting reports in the app. You can get a graph of the settings, run time for heat or A/C, and outside temperature (from the web, not a sensor). It has been interesting to see how slowly my house responds to changes in the outside temperature. Thick walls, lots of insulation, triple pane windows, etc.

    The system will detect when there is no activity in the house using remote sensors. These sensors can be used to average the temperature or be used to heat/cool an area where people are located at the expense of unoccupied areas. I have them set for average. If there is no activity in the house the system will adjust the settings to save energy (lower the heat, raise the A/C). When the system detects activity it will resume the scheduled settings.

    The more I get used to the Ecobee, the more I like it and think my son made a good choice as a Christmas gift.

    It was easy to install, has an adapter for four wire systems that will get you a “C” wire for power, app seems fairly good.

    @Greg: Consider the Ecobee for a thermostat. Not much more expensive than regular T-stats. I would highly recommend you get at least a couple of extra sensors, perhaps more. I have four in my house.

  52. SteveF says:

    The real problem lies elsewhere

    and

    What other factors are there?

    Drugs. Reportedly all of the perpetrators of mass killings in the past few years have been on prescribed drugs with mental effects.

  53. JimL says:

    So, drugged up, single parent kids in gun-free school zones?

    Perhaps drugging ADHD kids isn’t the answer. Perhaps encouraging single-family homes is a bad idea. Perhaps gun-free zones should be thought through. Perhaps banning assault rifles will make up for the other three things.

  54. Dave says:

    And I don’t propose to do it alone, someone already volunteered a lappy (might not be appropriate) the software is FOSS, and used for the purpose, and we’ve got a ton of talent here……

    I volunteered a T420 Thinkpad with 8 GB Crucial gaming RAM, but you would need a hard drive. I don’t have any spares I would trust with something that mission critical.

    I’m in for helping however I can. I’m supposed to be closing on the sale of my mother’s house today, so next week I should have time and funds to contribute to the project. I would be happy to buy an SSD or hard drive for the laptop. I’m in the middle of Indiana, so I’m not close to OFD. If we need someone to deliver the laptop to Liz and show her how to use it, I could do it. Although at least one of us is much closer than I am to Vermont.

    I think it’s a cool idea. I don’t personally have any experience with assistive technology, but will help in any way I can.

  55. Greg Norton says:

    @Greg: Consider the Ecobee for a thermostat. Not much more expensive than regular T-stats. I would highly recommend you get at least a couple of extra sensors, perhaps more. I have four in my house.

    The AC system is less than a year old and still under labor warranty with the contractor. Parts warranty is 10 years. My policy has been strictly “hands off” with the hardware lest I be accused of something that voids the warranty.

    I had planned to replace the thermostat with a Honeywell relay board and control panel when the year was up. The problem I face is the same one the contractor didn’t want to mess with — a five wire control line to the thermostat has to control a 2H/2C system.

  56. Nick Flandrey says:

    Our costco has the ecobee on sale in an endcap display this month.

    I have an older one I was gonna sell on ebay ($100) but maybe I’ll look at it for my use. I am home all day, so I just want a t-stat that will automatically switch between heat and cooling for the couple of weeks we need that, and maintain a constant temperature.

    We turn it down for trips, but that’s it. I want it between one and two degrees of the same temp all year long.

    n

  57. Nick Flandrey says:

    Some things about school shootings.

    First, the schools have not always been ‘gun free zones.’ Joe Biden pushed that thru in the late 90s. If you want to add politics, it’s just another example of progressive belief in the perfectibility of man (wishful thinking), useless gov overreach (no federal authority over education in the constitution), and their belief in the power of word magic and talismans.

    Second, put aside and “feelings” about guns, and teachers, and schools and consider the facts. The most simple one is timing. Most active shooter events last 2-5 minutes. Response time for PD, even under the newer doctrine, is 5-8 minutes. Increasingly we seem to be faced with shooters that just keep going until stopped, so some of the numbers might change. Most (would have to look up %) of these incidents end AT THE FIRST INSTANCE OF RESISTANCE. It’s been proposed that these type of shooters are running a script in their head about what they’ll do and how it will go, and the first thing that interrupts the script throws them out of the fantasy, and a large percentage of them will suicide at that point.

    Third, current doctrine fails real world tests. Most districts have a “lock down” response to active shooter/intruder. Most have only practiced it under ideal and very restricted conditions. If the kids are in the hall, at recess, at gym, etc. they don’t get locked down very well. And schools STILL don’t have good lockdown ability in many cases. Once past the locked door, the attacker can shoot fish in the barrel. Further, if the attacker is motivated to take hostages (google Beslan) then a lockdown is exactly the wrong response (same if the attacker has explosives or poison.)

    Fourth, perimeter restrictions on THINGS don’t work. 95% of tests against TSA were able to get prohibited items past security checkpoints. PRISONS with CAVITY SEARCHES can’t keep drugs, cell phones, and weapons out. Further, any delay at entry points just moves the attack point further out (see attacks on security lines in the recent news.)

    Finally, the most common school shooter is a trusted insider. IE, a student. They are familiar with any security measures. They are authorized to be there (or were). They are familiar with policy. This makes it difficult to keep them or their chosen attack method OUT.

    Whatever the root cause, and there are more than one type of attacker and more than one type of motivation, the responses tried to date have largely failed. Any rigid policy is going to fail when faced with an alternative attacker or attack method. Perimeter security can’t be effectively done even at our airports or prisons. Lockdown and evac both fail when faced with the opposite threat (shooter vs bomb) and we’ve SEEN combined threats before. Having a responder, equipped to end the attack or at least derail the attacker’s plan ON SITE is the logical backup to all the other measures.

    nick

    (I could also go on about the “blood in the streets” arguments that ALWAY get raised whenever there is talk of arming people, but it would take away from my focus above. Suffice to say, Utah has a track record with this and the teachers do better than the resource officers. Texas allows armed staff with district approval already, and some rural district have done so.)

  58. Ray Thompson says:

    a five wire control line to the thermostat has to control a 2H/2C system

    The Ecobee will handle two stage systems. Whether that is with your wiring configuration I don’t know.

    Ecobee System Support

    They have a page on their website that will check compatibility. My system only had four wires, no “C” wire which is needed for power. Installed the Ecobee adapter, which came with the device. Works like a charm.

    The use of a different thermostat will not void the warranty on your system. A thermostat is merely a control device and not really part of the actual air handling/ac/heating system.

    Check it out on their website. You just put in the wires you have connected to your existing thermostat and the site will determine compatibility. Pretty slick system.

    I just want a t-stat that will automatically switch between heat and cooling for the couple of weeks we need that, and maintain a constant temperature

    The Ecobee will do that, and more. It has away settings, vacation settings, etc. And will average the temperature in the house if you have multiple sensors.

  59. Nick Flandrey says:

    WRT OFD…

    Thanks Jenny, that sort of app is exactly what I meant by ‘chatboard’. Unfortunately, Dave doesn’t have ANY movement of arms or below, according to Liz.

    However, that sort of app combined with an eye tracker should work, if anything will.

    I like a lappy better than a tablet, mainly because of form factor. You can set it on a table and point it at the user. Also, more free stuff available simply because laptops have been around longer.

    There are services and paid apps that do most of the work for you. They might be a simpler option, but are sure to be more expensive. EVERYTHING to do with special needs is stupidly expensive. I asked Liz if the VA was going to do anything along these lines for Dave, but she didn’t answer. The VA would probably find it easier to manage him as a patient if he’s paralyzed and unable to communicate, so I don’t know where their true motivation lies. If that consideration makes me a bitter cynic, so be it.

    Regarding time. We’ve got time to trade for money in this case. OFD is going to be in this condition for a number of YEARS. It’s my personal belief that if he’s really unable to communicate or interact with the world, he’ll go nuts or give up long before that. So there is some urgency as he’ll benefit more the earlier he gets the ability back.

    nick

  60. dkreck says:

    Kern High School District in late 2016 enacted rules to allow trained and vetted employees to carry in their high schools here. Jerry Brown and the rest of the socialists in Sacramento contracted the vapors and managed to end it a year later.
    http://www.bakersfield.com/news/legislation-undoes-kern-high-school-district-policy-allowing-concealed-guns/article_5d4f3b84-b2b1-11e7-83d7-53a3458e0d0b.html

  61. Jenny says:

    @Nick
    Damn – no movement at all. Tablet is no good. I was doing that denial thing – “surely there remains a bit of finger control…”

    I’ll see if I can find the DIY eye control diagrams I found. It was pretty cool and certainty within the abilities of one of us. It was relatively inexpensive to build.

    When I was researching assistive tech for my friend I too noted the outrageous costs. The local MLS support folks were going to set my ALS friend up but the wait lists and time lines were so long, hence the tablet. Turns out ALS took her long before any help could come from the local non-profit.

    We can do better than that for OFD. I can’t imagine a greater hell than OFDs situation.

  62. Jenny says:

    This MIGHT be what I was thinking of, Nick

    OptiKey

    http://www.businessinsider.com/an-eye-tracking-interface-helps-als-patients-use-computers-2015-9
    https://github.com/OptiKey/OptiKey

    I have to get the house roused and everybody out. I’ll dig more later.

  63. Nick Flandrey says:

    I’ve gotta go do some paying work today, as well as some meatspace relationship maintenance, so might be AFK for a bit.

    Tomorrow I will revive the RBT habit of asking “what did you do to prep this week” so get your rememberin’ caps ready….

    n

  64. Ralph says:

    Optikey used with one these Tobii eye gaze gaming trackers. I have tried it out and it does work pretty decently.

    https://tobiigaming.com/products/

  65. Nick Flandrey says:

    Dang that thing looks cool….

    n

  66. DadCooks says:

    All this eye tracking stuff is just getting us conditioned for the day they lop off our heads and give us robo-bodies, or just carts like Captain Pike in a Star Trek episode. AR is our fate.

  67. Jenny says:

    @Nick
    I re-read https://github.com/OptiKey/OptiKey

    The recommended eye tracker is $99, limited stock. I can buy one today if I hear agreement that this will do what we want for OFD.
    https://tobiigaming.com/product/tobii-eyex/

    Note that it requires a USB 3.0 or tin lieu of 2.0

    The OptiKey is free.

    So we have a laptop, which needs a drive. I think I’ve got a new 500 GB laptop drive floating around. I’ll find it tonight.
    The eye tracker is $99
    The software is free
    Build time for the laptop?
    Include OpenOffice?
    What else do we need (besides time to build it)?
    Do we have anyone close enough to do the initial tech setup with OFD and wife?

    If someone can refresh my terrible memory of which facility OFD is in I can check with my nationwide Cardigan dog club to see if any tech savvy members are close enough to help. Maybe they can sneak in a dog to offer some cheer.

  68. Vince says:

    Would definitely like to help do something for OFD as it doesn’t sound like the VA is doing much for him.

    Not sure exactly what would help though.

  69. SteveF says:

    Do we have anyone close enough to do the initial tech setup with OFD and wife?

    I’m three hours away, probably the closest, but that’s only for the next week. I’m heading out of state for several months for a contract.

  70. Nick Flandrey says:

    I think we should get all the parts in one place, do all the config, get the chatboard working with the eye tracker (if we go the hardware route instead of the webcam route) and then send it to someone else involved to start from “open the box” to “the machine talks” to validate it’s all working.

    Only then send it or deliver it to Liz and OFD for final setup and use.

    I’m inclined toward cheap by nature, using a webcam and free software for the tracking, and free or cheap app for the chatboard. HOWEVER this might be a case where spending some money would save a bunch and actually help with the integration.

    The components (as I see it) are –

    hardware platform – in this case a laptop running some version of windows

    eye tracker – either built in or add on webcam, or commercial product
    –there are dependencies for the hardware, the gamer one is native only on win10

    Software –
    -an onscreen kb/m program to maneuver in windows and any “normal” apps
    —as much as it pains me, maybe win10 with tiles would actually be easier to use
    —Dave’s been using linux, might not be familiar with win10, I’m not

    -AAC or chatboard app, either from app store, MS talkingTiles, or similar freeware
    —-there are dependencies for the voice – windows versions must have a voice tool or addon helper for the voice

    -teamviewer (for support)
    -skype (ditto)
    -audible?
    -kindle reader?
    -pdf reader
    -voice screen reader (might get fatiguing using an eye tracker)
    -email tool?

    I don’t think he’ll be needing the office suite… but can be installed.

  71. Dave says:

    I was going to suggest an app to play MP3s, but where do you get Gregorian Chant MP3s?

    Otherwise, that sounds like a good plan.

  72. lynn says:

    All this eye tracking stuff is just getting us conditioned for the day they lop off our heads and give us robo-bodies, or just carts like Captain Pike in a Star Trek episode. AR is our fate.

    My wife and I put her father into a nursing home XXXXXX XXXX rehab facility four years ago. He cannot walk anymore, the nerves and muscles in his lower body are dead above his waist now (Myositis). He would love to have mobility that does not involve being strapped into a wheelchair or an ambulance. He is 85 now and watches tv all day in bed while cat napping. Or getting his diaper changed.

    The wife just spent four days with him. It is tough for her to watch her big strong dad (6’2″, 300 lbs) being essentially helpless.

    Doesn’t the “Futurama” tv show (I don’t watch) have a bodyless, head-only, guy floating around the place ?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Futurama

  73. Jenny says:

    @Nick
    I hear what you are saying about keeping the costs low by going webcam, but time is valuable too.

    I looked at the ‘Additional Information’ for the Tobii EyeX listed for $99 here
    https://tobiigaming.com/product/tobii-eyex/
    and it says compatible with Windows 7, 8.1, or 10.
    The Tobii EyeX requires USB 3.0, however.
    That in combination with the free OptiKey software here
    https://github.com/OptiKey/OptiKey
    looks quite promising.

    I’ve got an extra $99 burning a hole in my pocket. It would be best if I had it shipped to someone in the lower 48 as shipping to AK is stupid expensive.

    The drive I have is a Western Digital, 1 TB, bought some time ago for a project I never executed. You are welcome to it if something better doesn’t turn up.
    WD drive model #WDBMYH0010bnc-NRSN

    If you want to try the Tobii EyeX email me your shipping address. I’m willing to take a chance on it not being the perfect tool.

  74. Nick Flandrey says:

    Ok, that sounds good. We can always do other software…

    It looks like fairly beefy requirements for hardware but that might just be when it’s used with a game…

    I’ll email you my address, and I can get Greg to mail the lappy. Then we have the fun bit. I’m pretty sure I have win7 licenses, but no 8 or 10…

    So if someone has a spare key lying around…..

    And Vince, you might make a good tester for the out of box experience…

    nick

    (Looks like I’m the only one with any time coming up, such as it is.)

    I

  75. Nick Flandrey says:

    @jenny, the “stuff” email?

    n

  76. Jenny says:

    @Nick
    Yes, the “stuff” email.

    Sorry – kiddo was having a rough time getting settled for the night. Took me offline longer than I expected.

  77. Ray Thompson says:

    I’m pretty sure I have win7 licenses, but no 8 or 10…

    I have some Windows 8.1 activation keys that I can provide. Volume license stuff but still valid and many installs left on the activation.

  78. Dave says:

    Did I miss something as to why we want to use Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 instead of Windows 7 on the laptop for OFD? Are we hoping it will make him recover faster so that he can wipe Windows 8.1 and install Linux?

  79. Nick Flandrey says:

    Hah, I’d install OS/2 Warp if I thought that would help…

    no, just that the tiles UI might be easier to navigate with the eye tracker and onscreen keyboard.

    I’d prefer win7, because I have more experience with it. I’ve killed all the tiles cr@p I could in win8 and the couple of win10 boxen I’ve set up. There might be issues with drivers, or fights between keyboards, or lack of voice capability. Whatever else MS has done, they have added a lot of accessibility to windows as they’ve gone along.
    n

  80. Nick Flandrey says:

    Ok, hardware wise, ATM-

    Jenny is sending a lappy hd, and eye tracker (thanks Jenny)

    Greg is sending a lappy (thanks Greg)

    I’ve got a win7 license, if that doesn’t work, I’ll be asking for win8 or 10

    I’ll get that hardware together, install an os, and the onscreen k/m. if it works, I’ll install and update all the rest o the joy of a win install.

    I’m copying the relevant comments to the OFD project page, in a ‘newest at the top’ format. That should capture the OFD stuff for anyone who’s following along at home.

    Any bitchin’ and problems will be “blog fodder” and I’m hoping for solutions from the group.

    Ok, READY TEAM? – – – BREAK!

    n

  81. Ray Thompson says:

    why we want to use Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 instead of Windows 7

    I also have some Windows 7 activation keys that I could provide.

    I’d prefer win7, because I have more experience with it

    @Nick: send me your email address to rayt four three five (use the actual numbers) at comcast dot (fish capture device) and I will send you an activation key.

    I actually have over 800 activation keys for Microsoft software of various varieties. All legal (well mostly) as in they all work, are not pirate keys. License for use may have expired but the keys are still good.

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