Wed. Mar. 28th, 2018 – state of the site…

70F and 96%RH this morning. Pretty much the same as yesterday. It did finally rain a bit, mostly sprinkles late in the afternoon. The humidity makes it all so unpleasant as soon as you start doing some work. But that’s Houston, it’s a swamp.

Some interesting statistics about this place.

Last 7 Days (Week):------4,177------15,530
Last 30 Days (Month):---17,488------65,376
Last 365 Days (Year):--114,054-----588,394

Most days we see around 700 “unique” visitors, who come back multiple times. This has stayed pretty consistent for some time. Even on “slow” days we rarely see fewer than 500. There are about 300 people registered to comment (which is free and I encourage you to join the conversation!)

Thanks to you all for sticking around.


added- sorry the numbers format-the site strips out whitespace

added- and also changes dash to emdash at random lengths.

Added by RickH

For those of you that like pictures…here’s the last 10 days. The last data point is  today, as of 1030am PDT. Click to embiggen.  (Also put a ‘code’ tag around the numbers to line things up.)

Author: Nick Flandrey

Mid 50s, stay at home dad, with two elementary school age girls. Love my family and my life.

43 thoughts on “Wed. Mar. 28th, 2018 – state of the site…”

  1. 39º and foggy by the shallow lake, and it promises to be the nicest day of the week. First paid running race of the year is coming up this weekend. I’m hoping for decent weather.

    I like to look at site stats for my site. It’s most interesting on race day and the days that follow. I can see anticipation building, all the folks looking at results, and the drop-off after. I make it a point to NOT compare it to anyone or anything else. I know what’s normal for my site.

    What I do pay attention to is the distribution of my visitors. I know that iPhones are the largest share of devices (and I don’t own one). So I make it a point to periodically check with a friend to see that my site and its content display adequately. I don’t make any money directly on the site, but participants that like my site recommend me to other races when they are NOT happy with results.

    I do check for SEO, but only in the basest sense. I make sure I don’t have any egregious SEO errors and watch for spelling & grammatical errors that might turn off a fussy visitor. That’s it.

    And I come back here because there are interesting personalities, discussions, and FLASHLIGHTS. (Haven’t seen that lately. It’s time.)

  2. Hah, I opened the 3 pack of small flashlights I picked up at Costco a few weeks back. 3 FLASHLIGHTS and duracel batteries for all, for $16. Daughter needed one for camp. AND I was pretty sure it wouldn’t make it home. Yup. 2 FLASHLIGHTS for $16 is not such a deal.

    Flashback– insert plug for $3 chinese ebay flashlights, provided by whatever commie factory is making them this week, at whatever randomly varying quality level–

    I think for the extra $2, there is no reason to order random ones off ebay filled with Wonhunglo batteries.

    They work great btw, and at the price, I don’t care if the duracel (leaky cr@p) batteries destroy them.

    In other news, someone (Jenny’s mini-me) sent me a Streamlight Nano for my little mini-me, who LOVES it. Wife loved it too, and got one for camp. Camp ranger loved it and will presumably also be getting one.

    If you are looking for a tiny light to put on a lanyard (with your 5/15/30 bug out list) and a mini-leatherman, I can recommend the Nano. I’d put one on each kid’s bookbag, every bugout bag, and even on jacket zipper pulls too. That little thing ROCKS.


  3. I bought all of us keychain flashlights some years ago, but ones that take a standard AAA battery. They see a lot of use. Possibly not as bright as ones that take specialty batteries, but more than good enough for seeing steps in the dark, opening the mailbox, etc.. We have bigger flashlights (2xAA) for when we need more light.

    We don’t have are any sort of big LED lanterns, but we always have a good supply of candles on hand. Power failures are very rare, though, maybe once every 2-3 years. Anyway, candles will also do just fine for SHTF situations. Ikea products are often variable in quality, but we’ve been quite happy with their candles. Another good source it to find a church supplier – their prices (at least here) tend to be a lot cheaper than standard retail, as long as you are prepared to order a lot at once.

  4. Churches over there use a lot of LED lanterns, do they? (I kid!)

    I really don’t like candles. I have a bunch for emergency use, but it has to be pretty bad for me to give up on the flashlights. As in TEOTWAWKI bad. I’m just afraid of someone knocking something over and burning down a perfectly good house. I’ve seen too many.

    In fact, candles for the Halloween Jack-o-lanterns are now battery-powered devices that don’t blow out. I like that.

  5. Streamlight Nano

    I have a small light, ARC-AAA GS from ARC, no longer in business, which contains a single LED, runs on an AAA battery and is not much bigger than the AAA. Tough light. Guy that made them, Peter Gransee, is no longer producing the lights. I got mine for free as I helped him with his resume when he decided to possibly get out of the flashlight business, which he eventually did.

    ARC Flashlight

    I have had my light for about 15 years and it still works well.

    Yup. 2 FLASHLIGHTS for $16 is not such a deal

    CostCo had a two pack of battery powered flood lights, with batteries, for $15.99 after the $4.00 rebate. Each light runs on a 4 AA batteries, is a very bright flood light, and has a CAT (as in Caterpillar) branding. Bought one package, showed one of the lights to a few people, and wound up buying three more packages as they wanted the lights. Recommended.

    What I don’t like about the CostCo LED flashlights is the square LED and the zoom lens that makes no attempt to smooth the beam. That makes the beam output square on maximum zoom and the flood on the minimum zoom very uneven. A good light to stash a few in critical places, but not a light I would rely on all the time. The lights are indeed cheap enough as they come with batteries. I have purchased a couple of packages myself.

    LED flashlights have gotten to the point that longevity is no longer an issue. They are cheap enough (especially at CostCo) that if a light gets damaged just toss it and get another light. Keep a couple handy so when one fails you will have another. Even if the batteries leak (which they will), no big deal, just toss it.

    SureFire lights are nice and I have three of them. Rugged, excellent color of light, excellent beam quality. But expensive. Those are the lights I count on when I really need reliability. For everyday use I just use the cheap lights. It has almost gotten to the price point that it is cheaper to buy new lights at CostCo with the batteries than to replace the batteries.

  6. Took me years to get the womenz around here to safely use candles. Low, wider than tall, in glass on a saucer or pan and nothing overhead or that can come in any contact.
    Still a battle at times. Use led candles, they even flicker like real ones. Sorry they are not scented.

  7. A couple of years ago I bought a high-end (read expensive) keychain LED flashlight with a great dome difuser to spread the light, not throw tight beam. Loved it till I dropped it one night and the little dome popped off. I tried superglueing it back on but the light never worked well after that. I now have an assortment including cheap Ebay micro USB rechargeables that are flimsy but at $1 each I have a few to spare. Still looking for a GOOD one that fits my needs.

  8. Nitecore and Thrunite make fine light throwers, not pricey. Some models are USB chargeable, extra convenient for the car. Big River is your friend, or They have an absurd 600 plus models available.

    I still have throw away FLASHLIGHT packages from way back Xmas sales at Home Depot still in the clamshell. Long enough ago that the batteries are probably dead.

    Retired mini MagLites long ago in favor of cheep UltraFire LED lights and 18650 batteries and chargers. Tough little buggers.

  9. I still contend that the Light Emitting Diode (LED) is one of the 5 greatest inventions of the 20th century.

  10. @nightraker- my wife just bought a NEW minimaglite in LED. It works and looks just like the incan ones, focus-able, and twist to turn on. Great light. She really likes that it DOESN”T have a switch, hi-lo, or strobe.

    If you are looking for the classic mini mag form factor, but in LED, you can go back to the source…


  11. @nick Thanks! I’m kinda swimming in various LED mini lights, so just popped for a couple conversion kits for the 6 “D” cell head knocker units:
    Used to keep one of those “authoritah” lights between door and driver’s seat. Reviews suggest good performance rather than the NiteIze converters I tried on mini Mags a long while back which were only “meh”.

    EDIT: Changed my mind and went for:

  12. I like my Nitecore FLASHLIGHTS in 18650. One of my favorite lights is my Black Diamond headlight (3 AAA). I’ve used that a lot in the attic and night work. It has a red LED, too, when you want to preserve night vision. At amazon and your local REI.

  13. Last Christmas, someone gave me a ‘flat’ FLASHLIGHT that came from Kohls. Made by Kikkerland, it is really flat and has a magnetic back.

    It’s covered in plastic, and is only about the width of a pencil, and about 3″ long by 1 1/2″ wide. Light output is acceptable, probably about the same as a small keychain LED FLASHLIGHT. Two LED lights, non-replaceable battery. Might be slightly waterproof, since it is encased on a plastic film.

    Their web site has lots of interesting/weird things.

  14. Nice site Rick. With such essentials as catbutt magnets who can resist.

  15. I can’t believe I’ve been dragged into talking about flashlights. What’s next? Cars, or guns? 😉

    The Streamlight Nano has been one of my favorites for years and years. I buy them by the dozen and hand them out in India, along with a strip of extra batteries. Power cuts are common place down there, so they come in handy. One’s on my keychain, a spare in my purse. Handy Hint: wrap some plumber’s tape around the threaded top; that way the head doesn’t get unscrewed by itself so easily.

    For those of you interested in cooking, today’s Google Doodle caught my eye.

    Never heard of the gal, which is odd because I have exactly 4 main cookbooks, one of which is Mrs. Beeton’s, and I like old-tyme cookbooks.

    Segue to prepping…. Somewhere amidst my dusty shelves I have a slim little volume on basic butchering of different animals. It was cheap, but since butchering is an art so few people are familiar with (unless there’s an abbatoir at your local market ;-)) it’s worth it. Couldn’t find it after a quick glance, but if anyone’s interested I’ll hunt it down.

  16. I first thought she had been burned as a witch. Then I thought someone famous used her name for a witch. Now I think I must be misremembering.


  17. I have this one,

    Basic Butchering of Livestock & Game: Beef, Veal, Pork, Lamb, Poultry, Rabbit, Venison
    by John J. Mettler (Author)

    But have not had opportunity to use it.


  18. Most days we see around 700 “unique” visitors, who come back multiple times. This has stayed pretty consistent for some time. Even on “slow” days we rarely see fewer than 500. There are about 300 people registered to comment (which is free and I encourage you to join the conversation!)

    I wonder how many of these 700 unique visitors are web crawlers such as googlebot ?

  19. OK deplorables, the wife and I watched the new Rosanne tv show last night. It was pretty good but we liked it before. Just kind of more of the same. Apparently 18 million people watched it also. The cast was a bit rusty but that will play out. The first episode (there were two 30 minute episodes) featured an extended discussion with insults between Jackie and Rosanne about Trump. The Rosanne character and Rosanne Barr are firm Trump supporters, “You know Jackie, it is all about the JOBS”.

  20. Never liked Rosanne as a show, or as a comedienne. Glad she’s back and hope the show goes well as we need some real counterbalance to the steady drumbeat of the liberal media.


  21. @Lynn … the plugin that provides those stats (WP Statistics ) says that they exclude ‘robots’ from their statistics.

    Best stats WP plugin I have found so far. Does not enable Google Analytics or other analytic services. Seems to have good numbers.

  22. I have the same book by Mettler and some on foraging, shrooms, smoking meat, canning and freezing.

  23. Nothing about FLASHLIGHTS happening here. How about TRUCKS?

    I finished my dash project. The panel with the defrost vents was broken. Crumbly, too. Ok, I can buy the part for about $200. Then I discovered someone had installed a half-dash cover cap. I don’t want to know what that part cost. The half dash cover or the dash panel. Nor do I want to figure how to replace the original dash. From eBay I bought a carpet full dash cover for $26.

    I cleaned out the chunks of plastic. I had a couple of feet of rain gutter screen. Sized pieces of that to cover the vents and sprayed with flat black paint. Trimmed cardboard to fit and sprayed painted around the defrost vent holes. Next a few ti-wraps and chunks of foam pipe insulation to support the defrost ducts for the door vents. Glued the foam in with silicon after a test drive. NO rattles.

    I rigged up a strip of sheet aluminum and used a couple of the clips that come with after market speakers. The cowl(?) over the instrument cluster needs a couple of screws to hold it up and there was nothing there. Was… 🙂

    Glued the cardboard in at the windshield edge with silicon. After letting everything cure overnight I tried the fit of the carpet cover again. More cardboard, more painting, and more glue to fill the gaps between “dash” and A pillars. Glued my screens into place and then it was Miller Time.

    I cut the carpet about 5 inches back from the defrost vent holes. It’s just laying in place. After cleaning much old glue from the half-dash cover, I installed it. I had to trim the cardboard a bit to clear that handy depression for cell phones over the glove box. Glued with silicon where there were places to glue to.

    It looks pretty darn good.

    The half-dash cover is a bit bowed up. Just 3/8 in the center. I think it will flatten after a few hot days. Or the cardboard will sag a little. No more rattles from the dash and now I can hear the door panels creaking. 🙂 That noise is what the radio is for….

    Now the blower fan sounds like it has a bad bearing. AutoZone wants $85 for something I can get from eBay for $35. But first, pull the fan and check for debris. The noise started instantly, not slowly like other bad blowers I’ve known.

    That’s all I have about TRUCKS today.

  24. Mr. AT&T technician came by. But when I came in today, the problem DSL modem was up and running. He said that another tech had made a mistake at our CO (central office) DSLAM yesterday. They fixed it last night or early this morning. He checked out our modem and pronounced it ok. I gave him a cold Ozarka bottle of water and he left.

  25. @paul, that is quite a bit of work! Glad to hear you got it all together, but I’m confused… not one mention of duct tape, wd-40, or a big hammer. You’re gonna have to turn in you hillbilly card I’m afraid…

    Kidding aside, getting something cobbled together to save the money and having it come out well is its own reward.

    @mratoz, I’ve got a bunch of similar in the “library” for after the fall. I guess if I was serious about it, I’d have picked up a bunch of medical textbooks for a dollar each, but for me, that is just a step too far. I’d have to admit that the library was meant to rebuild civilization, and not just keep me one step ahead of the kids as they go thru school and we go camping.

    I did pick up a nice star chart/night sky thing today. Stopped at my fav Goodwill after the post office. Got some CDs too. I like owning media, even if I rip it for convenience.

    There were a couple of obvious resellers working their way thru the book shelves. They each had a little scanner that would look up the book and beep if it was selling for money, or bloop if not. They were working thru the stack at a rate of one book every three or four seconds. If you are gonna sell books as your niche, it pays to be fast at it.

    Sold a toy that I picked up at the other good Goodwill for a $60 profit today. Sold some surplus science stuff, and a book. It’s been slow but seems to be picking up.

    @ barbara, package arrived, thanks! And the extra was perfect given today’s topic of LED FLASHLIGHTS.


  26. @Nick – interesting about that book-scanning app. Hadn’t thought about that as an income source, but, as usual, “there’s an app for that”. Interesting thought for some alternate income, for someone that has access to a used book source.

    Might take some time for investigating for income possibilities.

  27. @Nick – interesting about that book-scanning app. Hadn’t thought about that as an income source, but, as usual, “there’s an app for that”. Interesting thought for some alternate income, for someone that has access to a used book source.

    I had not even thought about farming Goodwill stores for reselling stuff. And we have a brand new big Goodwill store about two miles away from the house.

  28. I resell a fair amount from Goodwill. Mostly housewares, high end cooking brands. I buy clothes, CDs, DVDs and books for me and the family. There are LOTS of niches for resellers to work. Some do just fashion clothes, some books, some records, some just jeans.

    Since I’m there looking anyway, if I see something I can make decent money on, I’ll buy and flip it. There are lots of people who share their info on youtube who are just looking to make $5-20 per item and move them quickly.

    Some limited printing CDs go for a lot of money, $40-100 for a set. Some people scan ever CD at an estate sale looking for the ‘good’ ones.

    Some look at every vinyl album, some at every piece of jewelry. In fact, at the goodwill online auction, you can buy jewelry in big bags. I’m sure it’s a treasure hunt going thru 16 pounds of costume jewelry, looking for vintage and real. You can do the same with watches too.


  29. OK, this is not good. Software APIs should not be copyrightable.

    If the Oracle case is upheld, IBM is suddenly going to become the most valuable company on the planet just based on litigation potential for the PC AT BIOS API.

    Patent attorneys know what could happen. A couple of years ago, I had a fascinating discussion with an engineer for one of the local patent law firms.

  30. Some limited printing CDs go for a lot of money, $40-100 for a set. Some people scan ever CD at an estate sale looking for the ‘good’ ones.

    So much of 80s and 90s stuff has either slipped out of print or been badly remastered by the bands.

    CDs and vinyl are once again outselling downloads. Heck, one company even started manufacturing cassette tapes again. The young’n’s are starting to figure it out — the secret is to bang the rocks together.

  31. For cheap AA batteries I figured I couldn’t beat the bricks of panasonic at home depot, or the rayovac at frys. ACDelco is super cheap at frys too – $23 / 100

    Some things just don’t need good batteries.


  32. Funny thing about batteries. I sometimes buy from Amazon, but not always. I usually check their prices when I’m at the big stores because I buy bricks at a time. Sometimes the Amazon price for cheap AA or AAA cells are great. Other times they’re awful. If they’re great, I order while I’m at the store. If they’re awful, I buy at the store.

    The funny part of that all is that the price is NEVER great when I’m at home. It’s only great when I’m out shopping.

    Tell me Amazon doesn’t know where I am. (It’s one of the reasons I use THAT browser, and I let Amazon know where I am from that browser. )

  33. Tell me Amazon doesn’t know where I am. (It’s one of the reasons I use THAT browser, and I let Amazon know where I am from that browser. )

    Get a surplus Fire Phone from EBay.

    I carried one as a camera on trips for about a year. The photos uploaded automagically to Amazon’s site as soon as I got within range of the hotel’s WiFi every evening. Super convenient plus I knew I could never get lost — Amazon is always watching.

    I never fed it my SIM, of course.

  34. No, I don’t mind. Really. I use that specific browser in that store with location turned on on purpose. I WANT them to know I’m looking at their competition. It’s a simple matter to force-close the browser when I’m done.

    When I don’t want anyone to know what I’m doing or where I’m doing it, I don’t take my phone with me.

  35. Ah, but then traffic analysis says you’re doing something sneaky and they’ll look harder at those gaps.

    Can you imagine trying to provide a cover id for a russian ‘cold war era’ spy in today’s environment? No way could you provide all the digital detritus to cover someone to .gov levels of investigation. On the other hand, with the fragmentation of the social media experience, some things would get easier. Lack of TV show knowledge could easily be armwaved as “my folks wouldn’t let us watch tv.” Ditto for sports.

    I seem to recall William Gibson writing a novel that looks at searching thru the huge mound of accumulated data to find people. I think he had someone with a natural ability to process the flood and make sense of the deluge… Idoru?


  36. Lights went off for an hour and 10 minutes a couple of hours ago. It was pitch black so I had a hell of a time finding my FLASHLIGHTS.

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