Fri. April 27, 2018 – busy, busy, still…

55F damp and sunny this AM, which promises to be another great spring day here in Houston. Love them while we can…

Spent yesterday in classes with kids of all ages at my daughters’ school. Interesting to say the least. Wide variety of abilities and development levels in each class. Generally good classroom management, although I’ll observe that the ‘guidance’ technique, ie. “Jane, do we do xxxx in our classroom?” might not really be working if they still do xxxxx with only a month or so left in the year.

Most of the classes (of older kids) were doing review for the mandatory testing. Very specific review. “The test will try to fool you, think carefully, true or false, All polygons are rectangles….” When I was in high school we signed up for and paid for additional testing coaching, outside of class time. I don’t remember specific test prep coaching during class.

VERY marked differences in behavior and work output between the boys and girls at all grade levels. VERY different.

And yeah, some of the kids were starved for a daddy figure, (providing same is one of the stated goals of this program and the one I object most to.) It wasn’t just the boys either, there were some very sad little girls looking for attention which is something I hadn’t considered.

All in all a very tiring and rewarding day, with a small glimpse behind the curtain.

n

Author: Nick Flandrey

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

76 thoughts on “Fri. April 27, 2018 – busy, busy, still…”

  1. I probably should have led with this, given its potential world changing impact–

    North And South Korea Declare End To War, Proclaim “New Era Of Peace”

    “We solemnly declare to our 80m Koreans and the world that there will no more war on the Korean peninsula and a new era of peace has begun,” North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean president Moon Jae-in said in a joint statement.

    Imagine what re-unification will do to the South Korean tech and manf sectors and .gov spending to bring the North up to snuff. See Germany for examples….

    Sounds like other firms in those sectors might get a breather…..

    n

  2. And yeah, some of the kids were starved for a daddy figure, (providing same is one of the stated goals of this program and the one I object most to.) It wasn’t just the boys either, there were some very sad little girls looking for attention which is something I hadn’t considered.

    It isn’t just daddy figures that are missing from the kids lives. It’s male role models in general. I think there are twenty eight classrooms in my daughter’s school and about four male employees, half of whom are janitors. My wife also teaches at the same school. I am more concerned about the future of my wife’s male students than I am the female students. The girls are much more consistent at academics. The boys in my estimation are all over the place. There are some wonderful boys at my daughter’s school, but they are outnumbered by the discipline problems. One of my wife’s male students is such a behavior problem that I am tempted to ask the principal why she hasn’t expelled him.

  3. 54º and sunny now. Gonna rain tomorrow, so I’ll just get wet.

    This time of year until late October we have livable weather on the North Coast. I don’t know how folks on the South Coast do it.

    @Nick – great school stories. I’m a little annoyed at the test prep now. It should be unannounced testing. “Test Today”. Then find out what they’ve learned. I’ll be going to school board meetings to espouse that idea.

  4. …but they are outnumbered by the discipline problems.

    All of our public schools (elementary through high school) have “rooms” where the problem kids spend their day in a virtual lock-down for their learn’n. Surveillance cameras all over, and monitored by a “School Resource Officer”, armed cop(s).

    Ain’t public school a wonderful place to send your kids? No!

    Three gang related shooting in Kennewick yesterday. Somalis and MS-13. That is a couple more than usual in Kennewick, but a slow day in Pasco.

    My Wife mentioned this morning that she is so glad to be retired and not having to be trying to save these scum in surgery with armed police in scrubs keeping an eye on things. Too many nights she had a police escort to go in for an emergency and then a police escort home.

  5. Via CBS News:

    Kim Jong Un is bringing his own toilet to the Koreas summit

    For the first time since Korean War armistice in 1953, a North Korean leader will cross into South Korean territory, when Kim Jong Un meets with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the border village of Panmunjom.

    Not only is the physical meeting of the two Korean leaders historic, merely engaging in a conversation is as well. In fact, the leaders of the two Koreas have only held talks two other times since the Korean War. The most recent of those talks took place more than a decade ago in 2007, when Kim Jong Un’s father, Kim Jong-il, was in power.

    The historic summit will focus on Kim Jong Un’s recent vow to suspend nuclear and long-range missile tests, as well as North Korea’s plans to close its nuclear test site. The Trump administration will also be keeping a close eye on the events of the summit as it prepares for a meeting between Kim and President Trump that is anticipated for May or June.

    While Kim has agreed to a seat at the table, however, he is reportedly refusing to sit on any of the summit’s public toilets. And accordingly to Lee Yun-keol, who worked in a North Korean Guard Command unit before defecting to South Korea in 2005, that’s par for the course.

    “Rather than using a public restroom, the leader of North Korea has a personal toilet that follows him around when he travels,” Lee Yun-keol told the Washington Post.

    The reason? They are protecting against a literal info dump.

    “The leader’s excretions contain information about his health status so they can’t be left behind,” Lee Yun-keol explained.

    Similar travel considerations are reportedly made whenever the North Korean leader conducts on-site inspections of military bases and state-run factories across the country. In fact, according to the South Korean news agency DailyNK, there is a customized bathroom built into Kim’s convoy of vehicles at all times.

    “The restrooms are not only in Kim Jong Un’s personal train but whatever small or midsize cars he is traveling with and even in special vehicles that are designed for mountainous terrain or snow,” a source in South Pyongan Province familiar with Kim’s Escort Command told the DailyNK in 2015. “There are multiple vehicles within the convoy so that people cannot tell which one he is in, and there is a separate car that acts as his restroom.”

    So, in this respect at least, it seems this historic summit is no different than Kim’s other excursions. He simply always uses a personal, highly guarded toilet in “loo” of public facilities.

  6. Our area is still very low crime. The public school our daughter attends is pretty good. The only real incident I’ve heard about was the kid in kindergarten who managed to draw another kid’s blood with safety scissors. He’s now at another school in the district which has the “emotionally handicapped” classroom. The biggest problem at my daughter’s school is generally disruptive, disrespectful boys.

    I think our kids have a serious problem with a lack of male role models in their lives. Absent fathers are the biggest part of the problem, but there are almost no male teachers.

  7. which begs the question, what’s he hiding?

    I remember a short story where the end payoff is gloating over the success of planting a (false) hair on a chair for adversary spies to collect, thinking it’s the President’s hair.

    Remember the scoffing articles bout someone shining lasers at his office window to spy? And yet you can buy a laser listening system.

    Remember the scoffing articles about an office being bombarded with microwaves? And the science fictional story about planting a tuned cavity in a room that only re-radiates (with local vibrations encoded into the radio waves, ie. sound)? Or the reasons the US Embassy in Russia was unusable?

    It wouldn’t surprise me AT ALL if the dirty tricks boys were looking at excrement, hair, or even sweat for metabolites, etc. for high profile figures. How useful would it be to know someone was on heart meds, anti-seizure meds, anti-psychotics, etc? You can bet that the ‘puffer’ surveillance in airports screens for more than just explosives.

    (and the TSA agent at an airport I went thru recently refuted an assertion I made by saying that the naked scanner is a sniffer as well……)

    n

  8. As regards to the Cosby conviction, my wife thinks that Cosby is getting railroaded. She thinks that it is all about his money and that these “victims” are going to sue him into the poorhouse. I wonder how many other women feel this way ?

  9. It wouldn’t surprise me AT ALL if the dirty tricks boys were looking at excrement, hair, or even sweat for metabolites, etc. for high profile figures. How useful would it be to know someone was on heart meds, anti-seizure meds, anti-psychotics, etc? You can bet that the ‘puffer’ surveillance in airports screens for more than just explosives.

    Viagra. Another possibility would be female hormones for a male going through the transition process.

    The last time we flew through Orlando about five years ago, the TSA was insistent on putting one fairly obvious (to me anyway) transgender woman through either the body scanner or a strip search. The scan was still optional, and I was flagged through without a scan or strip search. The pervs wanted a look.

  10. Speaking of the USPS, they want to get into banking. This has actually been proposed several times over the past few years, but it seems to be gathering steam this time around.
    The poor need bank accounts, and USPS has the answer
    If it comes about it will be an expensive disaster. The people who are in this situation are functionally illiterate and have no comprehension of how to handle money.

  11. As regards to the Cosby conviction, my wife thinks that Cosby is getting railroaded. She thinks that it is all about his money and that these “victims” are going to sue him into the poorhouse. I wonder how many other women feel this way ?

    My wife sees it that way, but she also came of age in the 80s. She knows the score about a lot of what X-er women were willing to do to get ahead in the 80s and 90s.

    Cosby is being punished by the Prog leadership for refusing to budge on his stand that black men should pull up their pants and learn English as he did to succeed. Someone paid for Gloria Allred and the obvious Trial Science at work in the selection of the jury.

  12. Someone paid for Gloria Allred and the obvious Trial Science at work in the selection of the jury.

    I think that Cosby is going to pay for that. Allred made an investment and it will start to pay off in a year or two or three.

    BTW, lawyers sell seminars about lawsuit “investments” to each other. It is a very big business for them once they get a favorable ruling in a federal court. And usually about bad science. Silicone breast implants, smoking, asbestos, Pradaxa, Global Warming, etc, etc, etc. Once that favorable ruling is reached, there is race to sign up the “victims” for the eventual class action suit.

  13. I just got $10 as a settlement from some diamond lawsuit. I don’t even remember signing up or declining, and I’ll bet everything I own that the law firms involved got WAY more money and anyone in the class who was ‘damaged.’

    n

  14. BTW, lawyers sell seminars about lawsuit “investments” to each other. It is a very big business for them once they get a favorable ruling in a federal court. And usually about bad science. Silicone breast implants, smoking, asbestos, Pradaxa, Global Warming, etc, etc, etc. Once that favorable ruling is reached, there is race to sign up the “victims” for the eventual class action suit.

    Jon Edwards’ great contribution to civilization.

  15. I just got $10 as a settlement from some diamond lawsuit. I don’t even remember signing up or declining, and I’ll bet everything I own that the law firms involved got WAY more money and anyone in the class who was ‘damaged.’

    Service Merchandise? Yeah, their database was comprehensive. Legal gold for all kinds of class action lawsuits for a variety of products sold in the 80s and 90s, especially diamonds.

  16. Speaking of the USPS, they want to get into banking. This has actually been proposed several times over the past few years, but it seems to be gathering steam this time around.
    The poor need bank accounts, and USPS has the answer
    If it comes about it will be an expensive disaster. The people who are in this situation are functionally illiterate and have no comprehension of how to handle money.

    Walmart has many basic banking abilities already. And the poor shop there already.
    https://www.walmart.com/cp/walmart-money-center/5433

  17. my wife thinks that Cosby is getting railroaded

    As do I. I think it was consensual, the women knew what they were doing, were drunk out of their minds or consumed the drugs willingly. Now that others have started suing, the convictions made, the monetary awards forthcoming, the flood gates have opened. Now Tom Brokaw is being accused and he strongly denies everything. Fat lot of good that denying accomplishes.

    I personally think men that let women use them to further the woman’s career are scum. Taking advantage of someone in that situation is in my opinion reprehensible, but it is most certainly not illegal or even a civil issue.

    Others are now seeing this as an opportunity to get back at someone they knowingly used, and the promises did not come to fruition, as an opportunity to get back at the male for the broken promise. There will be more of this. I would advise any male in any position of authority or power over any female to never be alone with any female (except spouse) for any reason. To avoid like the plague any female who approaches the male for any kind of favor in exchange for hanky-panky. The risks are too great, even 50 years later.

  18. While I like Amazon Prime at $99/year, $119/year is Ok. If I watch _a_ movie a week that’s ~$2.30 each.

    Netflix, which I have not tried, is $11/month. Perhaps with sales tax added. But definitely without free shipping like Prime.

    Redbox is $1.50 plus time and gasoline to go to the grocery store and repeat the next day to return the disc. If my truck actually got 16 Mpg, add on the price of a gallon of gas…. currently $2.49.

    Why yes, that is a buffalo you hear as I squeeze that nickle. 🙂

  19. A flyer for that USPS utility was in my mailbox yesterday.

    I have been using that service for almost a year. Lets me know what is coming in the mail.

    Have only had one issue. Got an email where the checks my wife and I receive from the school system for subbing were supposed to be in the mail. Mail arrived and the checks did not. Everything else that was supposed to arrive except the check. I figure the checks were stolen.

    Next day I get an email from the post office and the same two checks are being delivered that day. I go to the local post office and want to know what happened. It was not their doing as they don’t do the photographs, the regional facility does that. This was on a Saturday. The checks, and my other mail, was still at the post office as the carrier had not started her rounds.

    On Monday I go to the regional facility and show them print outs of both emails where the same item is arriving on two different days. The manager (so they say) of the facility said there is no way that happened as they do not delay mail. I showed them the emails. Manager said it was a problem with my email. I showed them different images in the same email. Manager said it was not their problem as they sent the items to the local post office on the day indicated. I then asked how their facility photographed an item on the day after it left their facility. The manager just said it was not their problem and if I wanted to file a complaint I would have to contact the local post office then walked away.

  20. HEB pushes, well, strongly offers, NetSpend cards. It’s like a debit/visa card but, the fees are crazy.

    As an employee in the Business Center area they sent one to me. I read the paperwork and tossed it all into the burn barrel. Reloads are free. ATMs are $2.50 a transaction after 4 in a month. Online bill pay cost extra. About the only way to use it without paying was to debit at the check stand for your groceries. HEB employees get a waive on the various fees. Then again, they require direct deposit and how is some high school kid that’s bagging groceries 20 hours a week going to pay for a bank account?

    A few months later I was asked why I haven’t activated my card. They didn’t seem to like my reasons. Or my saying it’s creepy that they are asking. But.

    Money Orders are 69¢. You can pay a lot of different bills with an added fee of $1 to $2.50. Some of it makes sense… after you buy the money order and a stamp a $1 is a deal. And then you have folks paying their PEC electric bill. For an extra $2.50. Which is nuts, PEC has an office in Bertram and in Marble Falls and well, it’s almost across the street from Wal-Mart.

    Oh well. Everyone is stupid somehow.

  21. Tuesday morning I am having my gall bladder out. So if you wonder why I’m not saying anything, or I’m less coherent than usual on Tuesday, I just thought I’d mention it. There is a 98% chance I will be home from the hospital by Tuesday evening.

  22. Finland ends its experiment with “Universal Basic Income”

    IIRC, RBT was pro-UBI.

    And RBT was anti Medicare for All ™.

    Just the opposite of me.

  23. I somehow stumbled across this story about a bank error. A family in the UK has been reduced to poverty after one bank made errors on all three of their accounts. Hopefully this will get resolved. This seems an unlikely situation, but still a real world scenario for which one can prepare. Some cash hidden at home, and having a stash of foods in the pantry would have been a great help. Or at least an account at another bank…

  24. how is some high school kid that’s bagging groceries 20 hours a week going to pay for a bank account?

    Credit Union.

    I pay no fees for anything. They also provide bill pay through a service company for no charge to me, ACH when possible otherwise the service mails a check. I have not paid an ATM fee, paid for checks, or any service with the exception of a safe deposit box for 20 years. I have not paid for sending a bill payment for over six years, not even a stamp.

  25. and the ability to keep money in foreign demominations.

    I could hold euros or other currencies in my paypal account. sovereign man salvo is always harping on having assets that aren’t in dollars.

    Having 3 months expenses (all of them including you payments) in cash is a good idea.

    n

  26. Walmart has many basic banking abilities already. And the poor shop there already.

    Walmart handles a lot of remittances for both legal and “undocumented” workers sending money back home. From what I understand, the stores are cheaper than Western Union if the receiving party takes the transfer in the form of a Walmart gift card.

    In agricultural areas of WA and OR, the lines at the customer service counters on Friday nights were almost out the door.

  27. HEB has Western Union. Wal-Mart has Money-gram. The little bank in Wal-Mart has Western Union.

    From what folks have said, WU is better than MG. Both on cost, ease of use, and general stupidity of the folks where you do this stuff.

    It’s all a rip. $8 to send any amount to Mexico and crazy stuff like $45 to to send a few hundred from Burnet to San Antonio or Austin. Heh, for $45 I’ll drive to Austin. 🙂

  28. Having 3 months expenses (all of them including you payments) in cash is a good idea.

    That is a lot of cash. Gonna keep that under your mattress ?

  29. Imagine what re-unification will do to the South Korean tech and manf sectors and .gov spending to bring the North up to snuff. See Germany for examples….

    Are you presuming that South Korea will lead the reunification efforts ? That would require Kim Bigg Asss to move to exile somewhere. And China might have something to say about losing their buffer zone between them and SOUK.

  30. “New C# Ransomware Compiles itself at Runtime”
    https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/new-c-ransomware-compiles-itself-at-runtime/

    “A new in-development ransomware was discovered that has an interesting characteristic. Instead of the distributed executable performing the ransomware functionality, the executables compiles an embedded encrypted C# program at runtime and launches it directly into memory.”

    Lovely.

    Hat tip to:
    https://www.codeproject.com/script/Mailouts/View.aspx?mlid=13581&_z=1988477

  31. “Emergency Preparedness Supplies Tax Free Weekend, April 28-30”
    http://fbcoem.org/emergency-preparedness-supplies-tax-free-weekend-april-28-30/

    “In order to be prepared for the upcoming Hurricane Season, or for any disaster, the weekend of April 28-30, 2018 has been designated as an Emergency Preparation Supplies Sales Tax Holiday. The tax-free holiday runs from 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, April 28, 2018 and ends at midnight on Monday, April 30, 2018. There is no limit on the number of qualifying items you can purchase and you do not need a tax exemption certificate.”

    I had no idea that The Great State of Texas did this. I wonder how many retailers know also ?

    ADD: Of course, non-restaurant food and water are never taxed in Texas.

  32. Are you presuming that South Korea will lead the reunification efforts ? That would require Kim Bigg Asss to move to exile somewhere. And China might have something to say about losing their buffer zone between them and SOUK.

    I think it will work out. Not like Germany of course. China will make money on the deal simply because China is next door. As for Kim, if he can save face and live like a king in Switzerland (or somewhere) he’ll fade away.

  33. I had no idea that The Great State of Texas did this. I wonder how many retailers know also ?

    I think this has been going on for a few years. Though…. finding out when, the day before, pretty much screws up any planning budget wise.

  34. Trying this out for posterity, “Only Trump could end the Korean War”. Yup, sounds good.

  35. “A new in-development ransomware was discovered that has an interesting characteristic. Instead of the distributed executable performing the ransomware functionality, the executables compiles an embedded encrypted C# program at runtime and launches it directly into memory.”

    Lovely.

    Is your former junior programmer tired of C# yet?

    Management phone interviewed a guy today who had solid Windows C++ skills and passed our IQ and C++03 tests with flying colors. However, he voiced hesitation about being able to pass the coding test part of the on-site interview, done at a Linux workstation with just a command line compiler, text editor and web browser for tools.

    I used VI and ‘cl’ under Windows, but I’m weird.

    Meanwhile, someone out in Dripping Springs (!) is beating the bushes for C++ and general Linux server development skills. I’ve heard from three separate recruiting firms about that position. Competition for labor is heating up in our niche of software development.

  36. Oh well. Everyone is stupid somehow.

    Now, I’ll spend the next week figuring an example of why I am the exception to this.

  37. …..with the exception of a safe deposit box for 20 years.

    Not me, well, I do pay by maintaining a minimum balance in my checking account and thereby store my wife’s family silverware safely in that bank’s safe deposit box.

  38. Is your former junior programmer tired of C# yet?

    Nope and I am quite proud of him. He really left for the 35% pay increase that I could not match. I really want what is best for my friends and people.

    He is now an uncle. His middle brother’s wife, an Iraqi refugee, just had a baby a couple of weeks ago. He texted the O/R picture to my wife.

    Management phone interviewed a guy today who had solid Windows C++ skills and passed our IQ and C++03 tests with flying colors.

    I wonder if I could pass your tests ? I know vi well as I used to be a Unix (Apollo and Sun) programmer. Plus I wrote all of the html and C++ code on our website using vi.

    Meanwhile, someone out in Dripping Springs (!) is beating the bushes for C++ and general Linux server development skills. I’ve heard from three separate recruiting firms about that position. Competition for labor is heating up in our niche of software development.

    Good programmers have always been hard to find. Awesome programmers like me are nigh unto impossible. Average programmers are a dime a dozen and usually detrimental to the product.

    And yes, the programmer market is definitely heating up. But EVERYTHING in Texas is heating up: land, homes, businesses, road construction, etc, etc, etc.

    ADD: And yes, I am suspecting that Amazon is coming to Austin also. That would definitely drive the central Texas everything to boiling. And Paul will probably get homes on 50 ft lots next to his ranch.

  39. Cash isn’t cash if it’s in the bank, see all the new rules for ‘depositor bail in.’

    Gun safe, fire safe in attic under fiberglas insulation, in glass jars, whatever. NO ONE KNOWS you have cash in the house except you! You aren’t at any more risk of robbery than you are right now.

    I’ve commented before that I keep a couple hundred in “give up” cash in my desk drawer. I want them to find that and stop looking….

    n

  40. Back in the 1980s our local banks (truly local, now a thing of the past) and credit unions taught “banking for kids” at the beginning of the school year. Then the local financial institutions came to the schools one day a week and set up a “bank” during lunch period. The emphasis was on savings accounts. That was back in the day when savings accounts earned way more than 0.05%.

    I leave it to you to figure out the obvious reasons some people considered this unfair so it had to be discontinued.

  41. I wonder if I could pass your tests ? I know vi well as I used to be a Unix (Apollo and Sun) programmer. Plus I wrote all of the html and C++ code on our website using vi.

    I thought I failed the IQ and C++ tests, but they called me in for the in-person interview.

    The C++ test really hammers STL, getting into really obscure parts of and general container iterators. The IQ test was mostly about spatial manipulation.

  42. And we called it here:

    Privacy fears as it’s revealed cops used genealogy website to identify the Golden State Killer, by matching crime-scene DNA with genetic material stored by a distant relative on the site

    The man suspected of being the Golden State Killer was arrested on Tuesday, after investigators used a DNA ancestry website to identify him.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5665453/Cops-used-little-known-open-source-genealogy-website-identify-Golden-State-Killer.html

    “Cops followed DeAngelo and were able to get another DNA sample, which gave them ‘overwhelming evidence’ he was the killer “

    nick

  43. My 30+ year Ford employee father always said that the company would be on borrowed time when it stopped selling the Crown Vic. I wonder what he would have thought of this week’s announcement.

    https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2018/04/26/ford-is-basically-giving-up-on-us-car-business-and-gm-is-not-far-behind.html

    This change was heralded by the police departments switching to Chevy Tahoes. Fort Bend County made the mistake of quoting in a commissioners meeting that they were buying ten Tahoes for $23x,xxx several years ago. The crown vic was not much less than that and was not as tough. I am hearing that the police Tahoe is over $30K now but the cops love the room and the extra alternator.

    ADD: Ford is reputedly coming out with a 100 mile plug-in electric F-150 with a generator in 2019. GM should be right behind them on that. That will get their CAFE averages up much higher and they will not need the cars for high CAFE.
    http://www.autonews.com/article/20171130/OEM05/171139990/ford-electric-f150-pickup-marketing

  44. The C++ test really hammers STL, getting into really obscure parts of and general container iterators. The IQ test was mostly about spatial manipulation.

    I only know std::string, std::vector, and std::map. We don’t use much anything else.

    I am really torqued that you cannot say
    std::string msg = 0;
    and get an empty string. That is just wrong. Instead, you get a crash when msg is referred to. I got bit on that lately.

  45. And Paul would probably get homes on 50 ft lots next to his ranch.

    Possible. But many years from now. Heck, it’s 400 feet (guessing) to the nearest prop line and that place is a few hundred acres. 900 feet to the gate. Along the back, over the so-called creek, is another parcel large enough to have 30 cows running around. The remaining side is 15 acres owned by a friend and past that is another 40 or 60 acres.

    Rural. A bit. Use to be pitch black at night but assholes decided to build a woman’s prison… on top of a fricking hill and lots and lots of lights. So now it’s an amber glow instead of being dark. But I’m all of 4 miles to the grocery store. We went further when in Austin.

    And the prop tax est. appraised value came yesterday. They bumped the house and that acre up 20 grand and the rest, 24 acres, up almost 50 grand. Phew. That the taxes are locked for being old is a good thing.

    Ain’t sure about the being old thing being good.

  46. I have been a tiny bit useful today. I took my TV’s remote apart and cleaned it with 70% rubbing alcohol. It now works like brand new.

    The hard part is figuring out where the case splits. Well, and doing so without jamming a screwdriver into the palm of your hand. Been there.

    Ok, it’s a Vizio TV that is almost 10 years old.. A universal remote that ain’t at all universal. Uh, like, only “play” works for the Sony Bluray that was bought with the TV? Only volume down and mute for the Yamaha stereo. Never mind, everything has a remote and I have a coffee table. 🙂 I never really expected the thing to know how to run a Laser Disc player or a Squeezebox. It does have a learn mode but that is tedious enough to be useless.

    The really crazy thing…. I bought a couple of spare remotes on eBay a few years ago. New. $18 each. Now? $25 plus shipping for a used remote or $99 for a new remote.

    Well worth the risk of a screwdriver stab into the palm. Hint: start cracking the case at a back corner, not in the middle of the back end.

  47. I only know std::string, std::vector, and std::map. We don’t use much anything else.

    I am really torqued that you cannot say
    std::string msg = 0;
    and get an empty string. That is just wrong. Instead, you get a crash when msg is referred to. I got bit on that lately.

    Beyond those, I know std::stringstream, sort(), and a shared pointer template that I picked up with UW which is more or less a portable version of C++11 std::shared_ptr. Anything else I just dig out of Josuttis or hit Google.

    I learned about std::unique_ptr and Boost MultiIndex this week. Interesting

    My management isn’t totally thrilled with me compared to the new grad from TAMU who started on the same day, but, whatever. I can learn Boost and C++11, but I can’t be 25 years old … or female. We’ll see what happens when the field work starts. Until then, as long as the check shows up, I work.

  48. I wonder how the owner got it here since automobile manufacturers selling direct in Texas is illegal.

    Musk is probably running what will be regarded as one of the biggest if not the biggest case of securities fraud in history. What’s a few state laws, especially if they’re unpopular.

    I’m of two minds on car dealers. The Group One dealer who sold us my wife’s Exploder nearly got away with screwing us for $5000 of extended warranties listed in the disclosure paperwork as something resembling taxes. OTOH, the dealer in Georgetown who provides the regular maintenance has been exceptional, finding a throttle body for us (went out at *5000* miles) when the part was backordered for weeks nationwide.

    Ford knows that they have a dealer problem in many places and work with customers, refunding extended warranties upon request and providing warranty service incentives for work on cars bought elsewhere.

  49. A universal remote that ain’t at all universal

    I buy the older Harmony universal remotes on EBay, the ones without the LCD display. I’ve yet to find something for which I can’t download a profile from the Logitech website.

    That said, our living room TV is the last of the Sony WEGA 38 inch tube sets, and most universal remotes work well with that model. The TV goes when it dies.

  50. I couldn’t pass a single one of those tests today. Don’t want to, either. I gave up coding as being too tedious. I give up nearly everything after 5-10 years as being too tedious. Nothing stays challenging.

    I never worry about intelligence tests. I simply take them and move on. Never failed one. The ones that they tell me the results on are usually with a little wonder. I’m bright. The challenge is finding a challenge.

    As much as I’ve been griping about this SCO thing, I’ve been pretty happy this week. Not that the thing went down, but about getting it working and knowing 60 families are still working next week.

    Tedium and futility are my weaknesses. I can’t stand them.

  51. Rather than using a public restroom, the leader of North Korea has a personal toilet that follows him around when he travels

    I wondered what Jimmy Carter was doing lately.

  52. I couldn’t pass a single one of those tests today. Don’t want to, either. I gave up coding as being too tedious. I give up nearly everything after 5-10 years as being too tedious. Nothing stays challenging.

    I am 57 and my big problem with coding now is staying in the zone. Focused.

    Unless one writes a huge complicated design document, the programmer is both the analyst and the programmer. The analyst has to make a lot of decisions about the direction of the software. My son calls it shooting from the hip.

    And I hate making decisions nowadays since I have been burned by so many bad decisions. Or uninformed decisions. So I go off task to avoid making decisions. Like hanging out here.

    ADD: And I am writing character handling code in Fortran today. Which is like changing spark plugs 7 and 8 on my old 1978 F-350 with the 460 V8. You had to lay on top of the air cleaner with a triple action ratchet and feel the top of the plug. Difficult at best. Lots of skinned knuckles. So is character handling in Fortran.

  53. I couldn’t pass a single one of those tests today. Don’t want to, either. I gave up coding as being too tedious. I give up nearly everything after 5-10 years as being too tedious. Nothing stays challenging.

    After being embarrassed in an interview at Intel over C++11 knowledge, I set a goal to learn the language well. The challenge is still there for now. When it stops being fun, I’d like a Python job.

    I also reset the clock on my career after spending four years mostly unemployed in the Northwest. It was partially age-related, but I stayed at the Death Star way too long, paying for two promotions for my partner and getting seriously niched into VPN in the process.

  54. Ten years ago I’d have argued, with good justification, that coding tests are about worthless in identifying who will be a worthwhile programmer.

    These days, they can serve a useful purpose in filtering out the complete fakers. There are a lot of complete fakers in the programming biz. Not the guys who exaggerate their experience but those who make it up entirely. Note that I’m not even mentioning what (high) fraction of “trained, experienced, professional” programmers from India fall into the complete fakers category.

    So long as the employer uses a programming test solely to filter out the fakers, I have no problem with it. From what I see, this covers less than a quarter of employers.

  55. Musk is probably running what will be regarded as one of the biggest if not the biggest case of securities fraud in history.

    I have got to disagree. People know that he is bleeding money and may never make a profit. But he is making 3,000+ cars per month now. Whether or not he can get to his goal of 10,000+ cars per month, who knows. And, is there a market for 10,000+ Tesla cars per month ???

    The stock market is a huge risk pool. Anyone who does not understand this really needs to stay in investments like bonds and such. There is truly no safe company to invest in my opinion. That said, there have been some awesome long shots over the last 20 years such as Google and Amazon. But what about Exxon and Caterpillar ? And MinuteMaid and Walmart ? Shoot, Walmart may be gone in 20 years. I call that high risk.

  56. These days, they can serve a useful purpose in filtering out the complete fakers. There are a lot of complete fakers in the programming biz. Not the guys who exaggerate their experience but those who make it up entirely. Note that I’m not even mentioning what (high) fraction of “trained, experienced, professional” programmers from India fall into the complete fakers category.

    You guys are starting to scare me about hiring another user interface programmer.

  57. After being embarrassed in an interview at Intel over C++11 knowledge, I set a goal to learn the language well. The challenge is still there for now. When it stops being fun, I’d like a Python job.

    Wow, I had forgotten, or had no idea, how much C++11 changed C++. I thought C++11 was just actual working versions of the STL (Standard Template Library) and a few minor items.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C%2B%2B11

    You might be interested in this note that I posted on comp.lang.c++, “The C++ committee has taken off its ball and chain”
    http://shape-of-code.coding-guidelines.com/2018/04/14/the-c-committee-has-taken-off-its-ball-and-chain/

    “The Committee should be willing to consider the design / quality of proposals even if they may cause a change in behavior or failure to compile for existing code.”

    Interesting to me only if C++ can generate faster code.

    Hat tip to:
    https://www.codeproject.com/script/Mailouts/View.aspx?mlid=13562&_z=1988477

  58. Good prepping is like ‘all hazards’ insurance. What works for most scenarios is basically the same.

    There’s a post in there somewhere showing the tree and the requirements at each branch. Starts with Stay or Go? Go where? if ANYWHERE is better than here, then what? Got portable assets? Yes, no. Got good friends? Got high demand skills? If stay, then secretly or rally the troops? If secret, where, with what? If rally, with who? With what? [here’s the warlord strategy, who is criminal scumbags and muscle, what is promise of spoils, liquor, women, men, power, etc.] Have you been building tribe? (as another site puts it?) Etc etc etc….

    Resources, you need them whether stacked, learned, well met, or charismatic…

    n

  59. Re: elementary school
    This morning we took a tour of the elementary school our granddaughter will start kindergarten at in the fall. It’s a fairly new school and has very nice facilities. One thing I noticed was the lack of any men in the school. When I asked our tour guide, the school counselor, if there were any males on the staff. She replied proudly the they had no men at all in the school. So for four years, kindergarten through 3rd grade, boys will have no male authority figure. During these formative years, they will only see women in authority. Reverse the genders and there would be outrage.

  60. ‘Note that I’m not even mentioning what (high) fraction of “trained, experienced, professional” programmers from India fall into the complete fakers category.’

    You guys are starting to scare me about hiring another user interface programmer.

    If you interview from the Subcontinent, state in advance that you will want to see photo ID at the site visit. I learned that from my manager friend at AC Nielsen.

  61. Interesting to me only if C++ can generate faster code.

    Smart pointers were needed. Maybe closures and iteration of containers with “for(… : …)”. The “auto” variable makes life easier even if it is still hotly debated. As for the rest, it just ends up being syntactic sugar.

    The problem with the fancy languages such as Go and Rust is that they’re just 50 lb sacks of syntactic sugar if they feed an LLVM back end. That said, I’m taking a Rust book and laptop to Florida for the week of July 4th.

  62. So long as the employer uses a programming test solely to filter out the fakers, I have no problem with it. From what I see, this covers less than a quarter of employers.

    Our in-person programming test has two purposes:

    (1) Weed out the fakers who hired ringers to take their online tests for them.

    (2) Determine how well the programmer will fare when faced with a development environment similar to what they will see in the field at a customer installation — SSH terminal connected to the server, command line compiler, reference materials available via web browser.

  63. I have got to disagree. People know that he is bleeding money and may never make a profit. But he is making 3,000+ cars per month now. Whether or not he can get to his goal of 10,000+ cars per month, who knows. And, is there a market for 10,000+ Tesla cars per month ???

    He’s playing games with VIN numbers IMHO.

    I’m in the camp that thinks the government punishing Theranos was a warning to Musk to get his act together and actually produce cars. A few years ago, Elizabeth Holmes was similarly untouchable in the press and had many powerful people protecting her in Sacramento and Washington DC.

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