Sat. Nov. 3, 2018 – something to think about

Posting Fri. night… weather is supposed to be hot and rainy.

I read 2 very interesting articles in the Wall Street Journal on the plane.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/on-hold-for-45-minutes-it-might-be-your-secret-customer-score-1541084656

This will only get worse.

And this article that reveals some of the stuff your apps are gathering and how it is being used.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/your-smartphones-location-data-is-worth-big-money-to-wall-street-1541131260

Think about these two things in the context of our previous discussion of people living in two different worlds…you every interaction governed by ratings you can’t see and taylored by data you didn’t even know you were giving up. Add chinese style social score and you have a very different experience than your neighbor.

Well, I’ve got wizarding to do….

n

Author: Nick Flandrey

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

50 thoughts on “Sat. Nov. 3, 2018 – something to think about”

  1. 40º and cloudy in the land where snow is normal. A little rain today.
    Rain Rain go Away
    Come back another way.
    Some of my friends don’t like that saying…

    WSJ articles are behind a paywall. I’ll rely on comments to tell me the contents. I pay for enough sites.

    Stay safe, Mr. Nick.

  2. Last day of daylight savings time. Prop 7 on Tuesday’s ballot would allow the state legislature to change DST with a 2/3 vote. It does nothing in itself. Idiots!

  3. From yesterday’s comments: [snip] It sounds like the best prep in most situations is solid finances. This idea is hitting home with several other prepping bloggers at the moment too. [snip]

    Very much so, and that’s exactly my problem. Now if one of you kind folks will loan me a time machine, so that I don’t wind up with a $5E5 sized hole in my pocket from trying to save my family I’d be set.

  4. Some pictures from a local high school game. Told my GPS I needed to go to Sneedville, the GPS responded “Why?”.

    The pictures.

    Something to waste your time.

  5. Nice work, Ray. In a former life, I did some sports photography. Daytime only, because tintypes were too slow for lower light. Aren’t these newfangled digital cameras just wunnerful?!

  6. Sorry about the links, they worked for me. Maybe because I was coming from google. to read them google the specific keywords and follow the article link from the google search results page. This works for most paywalled sites.

    secret scores shape customer service

    alternative data is valued on wall street

    They really are food for thought.

    n

    added- typing on this tablet is no fun

  7. Some neat combinations of phsically moving and projection here at Universal. Park is empty, which is nice. 70-ish and sunny, with 80s and rain forecast for tomorrow. Anyone who thinks Disney is too expensive hasn’t been here…..

    nap time

    n


  8. Aren’t these newfangled digital cameras just wunnerful?!

    It is still not easy. The lighting is terrible and they flicker. One picture fine, next is orange, next is too dim, etc. Need a lot of correction and denoising because of the high ISO necessary. At least I no longer have to use flash powder.

  9. Why would an .MKV file, the single one of among many, play on my computer but NOT my TV?

    I have copied it to the flash drive multiple times, I’ve reduced the file name and path to something short, I’ve removed accent marks etc. from the title and path…

    Damn good movie, too. Post-Apocalytic. Cinematography is beautiful and the plot is great. I give it a solid 8/10.

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1935914/

    My list of movies for my friend in India has been culled to 9, with one more to go. It’s a very interesting project trying to combine good storytelling and cinema with Americana.

  10. I jumped in the truck and ran down to mom and dad’s in Port Lavaca last night. Dad and I fixed his Samsung plasma TV with a new power supply board that he got from a used parts site for $55. The board is huge, about 9 inches by 15 inches. We saw that a power transformer on the old power board was discolored.

  11. ~jim, .mkv is a wrapper, not a codec. The one file’s codec is presumably something the TV doesn’t understand.

    Ray, the pictures were ok, I guess, but if I’m looking at pictures of a high school or college football game, all I’m really interested in are epic fails, like 540 backflips ending in the spine bending the wrong way, and teenage cheerleaders in skimpy outfits. No, wait, the first makes me sound like a ghoul getting enjoyment from others’ misfortune and the second makes me sound like a dirty old man, and in either case that would make me a bad person. … Meh, I can live with it.

  12. @lynn, that is awesome. I am assuming it worked?

    I think one way the tv manfs keep cost down is by using the cheap off the shelf power boards. Brown, single side, and stuffed with cheap thru hole components. It is no wonder they fail.

    Not a lot of diversite’ at Universal. Lot of South Americans with serious money though, judging by clothes and the experience packages they bought.

    Bag search metal detector and wanding on entrance to Citywalk.

    n

  13. Ray, the pictures were ok, I guess

    Not sure if you just thought the pictures were so-so or just did not have preferred material.

    I did one game and took some pictures of cheerleaders in the air doing flips, tosses, legs split, etc. Wow did I get blasted for being a voyeur by some people. Accused me of doing upskirts, a sexual deviat, a pervert etc. that should be charged with sex crimes. It was brutal. Next time I will just tell them I am doing work commissioned by SteveF.

  14. @SteveF

    ~jim, .mkv is a wrapper, not a codec. The one file’s codec is presumably something the TV doesn’t understand.

    That answers the question, but not the solution. Got any ideas?

  15. Wow did I get blasted for being a voyeur

    Geez, that’s stupid. If the football players and their parents want to see pics of them on the field – well, the same goes for the cheerleaders.

    Snowflakes everywhere…


  16. Geez, that’s stupid

    One lady demanded I take the pictures down or she was going to file a complaint with the DA. Not even a parent. I told her no, the pictures were taken in a public location and were not offensive. She then complained to the site hosting the images and they also told her to pound sand. I never heard from the DA so I don’t know if she tried to file a complaint. She still called me a sexual perverted child molestor on the message board of the site. I responded to her post that if she accused me again I was filing slander charges with the DA and would use her posts as proof. The photo site then banned her so I don’t know what happened. I don’t even know if she lived in the area.

  17. Ray, it was just a joke. I have no opinion on the quality of the photos, only on the human subjects and/or actions of the human subjects in the photos. As for unintended, potentially embarrassing or awkward photos, been there, and I doubt I’ve taken a hundredth as many photos as you have. eg, a picture of my daughter clowning around in a restaurant accidentally included a pair of “large” individuals blooping over their chairs. The large individuals were upset with me for taking pictures of them. I informed them that it was unintentional — Really! Truly! — and if I could get the two-year-old to clown around in the same way without the bloompos in the background I’d be delighted.

    jim~, see if you’re able to upgrade the OS/drivers/whatever on the TV. Failing that, you can reencode the failing video into a format the TV understands. There are a number of utilities for the “major” PC operating systems which can do the conversion, including several with good GUIs and lots of features, but I’m not familiar with any except ffmpeg/avconv, a command line tool for Linux. (My needs are simple and limited and the ability to run the conversion in a script is more important than oodles of features and ease of use.) I’m sure someone here can make a recommendation, or see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_video_converters


  18. I responded to her post that if she accused me again I was filing slander charges with the DA

    You should have informed her that she’d impugned your honor and therefore you were challenging her to a duel. And then killed her in front of witnesses. That would have put a stop to that kind of crap, you betcha!

  19. @lynn, that is awesome. I am assuming it worked?

    I think one way the tv manfs keep cost down is by using the cheap off the shelf power boards. Brown, single side, and stuffed with cheap thru hole components. It is no wonder they fail.

    Yup, the new old board worked great in his 2011 samsung plasma 65 inch. Either the replacement power board was good or else somebody replaced the power transformers on a bad power board since they were handwritten on.

    And yes, cheap single plane power board. But, easy to fix if you know what you are doing (I don’t). And the first power board lasted 7 years.


  20. she’d impugned your honor and therefore you were challenging her to a duel

    Oh heII no. She might have been a 400 pound heifer with three teeth, spits tobacco 20 yards, and so ugly she scares raccoons. When she stand in front of mirror the reflective layer buckles.

  21. Good point, but you can prepare for it by having Jim-Bob as your second. If your opponent looks like he/she/zir/it stepped out of a Lovecraft story, fall down and have Jim-Bob deal with her. The only way this plan could fail is if she turns out to be Jim-Bob’s sister-wife and he takes her side against the outsider.

  22. Nice pictures Ray.

    I have to tinker on the truck tomorrow or the next day. I went to the hardware store and the wind grabbed the door. I don’t see anything bent, no new wind noise, but the door is hitting the strike. A nice little pain in the backside project with a wrench and a floor jack to adjust the top hinge.
    I also need to locate the purge valve for the charcoal canisters. “Near the fuse box” is vague. The trouble code says the valve is sticking. I’ll try a whack with a screwdrive handle along with a squirt of carb cleaner.

    The van is giving an error code about the EGR system. There is supposedly a valve that controls that mess… so check the wires and hoses before replacing the EGR valve. I just have to find it.

    The mud flap babes do seem to face each other. Thanks Steve! I’ll install them someday when I feel like crawling in gravel. Maybe.


  23. The only way this plan could fail is if she turns out to be Jim-Bob’s sister-wife

    In TN? Surely you jest.

  24. Last day of daylight savings time. Prop 7 on Tuesday’s ballot would allow the state legislature to change DST with a 2/3 vote. It does nothing in itself. Idiots!

    I would love for us to get rid of DST. It’s time is passed, way passed.

  25. don’t forget the time change tonight, dang goverment is stealing our lives….

    n

  26. Better VA than Austin.

    https://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/ct-amazon-hq2-northern-virginia-20181103-story.html

    A project integrating hardware destined for the DC/Alexandria area with an extremely inflexible schedule is the reason I am peeing in a porta-potty at work for a third month in a row. Now I’m starting to understand why. The buzz is that management set what they thought was an “absurd” price and the customer went for it.

    I’m on a deep dive into code this weekend to solve problems next week. I openly tell the project manager that I’m interviewing while soaking him with internal billing on my time sheet. What’s he gonna do? Fire me? I’m not that lucky.

  27. @SteveF

    Failing that, you can reencode the failing video into a format the TV understands

    Thanks, I’m trying that with my Windows softwares: .MKV –> .MP4

  28. I also need to locate the purge valve for the charcoal canisters. “Near the fuse box” is vague. The trouble code says the valve is sticking. I’ll try a whack with a screwdrive handle along with a squirt of carb cleaner.

    I have read that this problem can also be caused by a charcoal canister full of gasoline. Of course, an older vehicle can have many problems as you and I well know.

    BTW, my Expedition will be hitting 199K miles soon. I have my camera ready when it hits 200,000 miles. This will be a first for me. The most that I previously took a vehicle was 145K miles, a 1987 vw jetta that I bought used.

  29. I’m on a deep dive into code this weekend to solve problems next week. I openly tell the project manager that I’m interviewing while soaking him with internal billing on my time sheet. What’s he gonna do? Fire me? I’m not that lucky.

    I stopped doing death marches after my first heart attack in 2009.


  30. Better VA than Austin.

    I don’t want Amazon here. NOVA’s already liberal enough. I’d be happy to give from Fredericksburg on north to Maryland. That would change Virginia politics from purple back to red. Maryland’s been lost for years, so no big changes for them. Although the NRA would have to move their headquarters out of Fairfax.

    Northern Virginia’s more than crowded enough too. I think moving another 50,000 jobs into that area is insane, but I don’t suppose it was insanity that got Bezos to where he is today.

  31. Ok, the new used power supply in dad’s 2011 samsung plasma failed tonight. Sigh. We will be taking it out to the curb before I leave tomorrow afternoon.

  32. Northern Virginia’s more than crowded enough too. I think moving another 50,000 jobs into that area is insane, but I don’t suppose it was insanity that got Bezos to where he is today.

    I’ve long believed that Bezos goal is to get Prime/Fresh fees covered under the Food Stamp program. That’s the only way to grow retail to the scale which justifies the capital expenditures for the infrastructure. As is, retail is a ward of AWS.

    Project management has a theory that the 395 express lane expansion will eventually go much deeper into VA, and they hope to be part of that work regardless of the havoc they generate in the short term.


  33. power supply in dad’s 2011 samsung plasma failed

    At the price for some of this stuff repairs are generally not worth the time. I repair some stuff because I enjoy the challenge. But long term the success rate has been mixed.

    will be taking it out to the curb

    Trash people may not take it and you will have to find an electronics recycler. I am facing that problem at the church. Disposing of the old SD equipment is proving to be a challenge.

  34. @lynn that sucks, but you tried. I recommend whatever is the right size and on sale at costco. Even TCL brand. Get costco extended coverage, esp. if it is less than 50$.

    @ray, in Houston the trash miners will get it off the curb in a day or less.

    n

  35. @Nick, I am having to get rid of studio cameras, studio monitors, studio tape decks (big VHS style tapes), sync generator, SDI amplifiers, and a couple old switchers (one Sony with the magic smoke let out). No one will take them.


  36. Anyone who thinks Disney is too expensive hasn’t been here…..

    Preach!

    We are Disney people. My wife and I met there, and we go on average every 18 months or so. I don’t really like crowds any more, but Disney doesn’t bother me at all.

    The wife wanted to do Universal…. mainly for the Harry Potter stuff. She and I had been in 99, before it was added. My son has never been. We stayed onsite at the Portofino hotel. Nice experience, but wow, everything is very expensive. Food is definitely more than Disney. The hotel had NO options for cheaper meals. Family of 3 was always at least $60 to eat. At Disney, you can get an occasional meal for $45 or so. Not a huge difference but it adds up.

    We had the front of the line passes since we were staying onsite. Highly recommended. We had 3 days there. We spent a half day at Volcano Bay, which is the water park. We really liked it – much better than either of Disney’s water parks.

    We were searching for things to do att he 2 parks. Many of the rides we didn’t care about. And others, like Spider Man, we only rode once. We rode that the year it opened, and were wowed…it was new and innovative. Now? Just and average ride. The same could be said about all of their simulation rides. The Hulk roller coaster is still a blast, and the new coaster at Universal if great (forget the name – you start off going straight up.)

    The standout experience is Diagon Alley. Enter theming than anything Disney has (haven’t seen Avatar land or Toy Story Land yet.) we walked in and I let out a WOW. It really was like stepping into the world.

    Still for the price…not worth it overall. We won’t be back.

    We won’t be handing back to Disney for a little bit though. We are waiting for Star Wars land to open. Plus, not that our son is a 14, there are lots of other places we want to go on vacation. Planning a Southwest trip for next year. Disney will be 2020.

  37. I stopped doing death marches after my first heart attack in 2009.

    I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have enough experience with this product to be in the situation in Taylor. The expectations of me seem to have ramped up significantly since my interview process in February, when management made a big noisy show of telling me that I was only being considered for a *Junior* position, take it or leave it.

    Management won’t fire me as long as I keep showing effort. I can make my car payment working a cash register at IKEA (with more career growth potential), and their only alternative is embittering one of the other Junior developers with much less industry and Unix development experience than I possess.

    OTOH, I saw a 2019 convertible Mustang GT with the “California” package at Six Flags yesterday. Wow. The 10 speed automatic is reputed to be more fun than a manual.


  38. Disposing of the old SD equipment is proving to be a challenge.

    SD = Standard Definition? Sound Device? Stinky Diapers?

    No, SD probably means Socialist Democrat. Getting rid of them is very troublesome, as no one else wants them, either, and you can’t even mulch them because they leave nothing but wasteland wherever they go.

  39. Disposing of the old SD equipment is proving to be a challenge.

    I had to dispose of a large piece of glass recently. Just glass, no toxic components. The only place willing to take it was also the only place in the vicinity that took the big screen TVs.


  40. Anyone who thinks Disney is too expensive hasn’t been here…..

    If it’s more than $100 for a family of 5 to get in, it’s too expensive.

    Yes, I’m a cheap son-of-a-gun. We went to LegoLand on coupons and spent more than $500, not including the cheap hotel. Never again. I can get discount coupons for regional parks for $20 that are just as good, so that’s what we’re doing from here on out.

    On the upside – my kids got a regional pokemon while in Floridia. That was a plus.


  41. I had to dispose of a large piece of glass recently.

    For reasons known unto only God or the state of California, when you break a window it has to be replaced with new glass. You’d think if they want to encourage recycling I could use, well, something recycled?


  42. SD = Standard Definition

    Yes. The stuff has no value except for scrap. There is a place in Atlanta that will take, keeps 15% of what they sell it for overseas. I don’t want to make the drive to Atlanta.

    There is a guy that runs a local cable channel that is still using SD as that is all the bandwidth he can get from the cable franchise. He may be interested in some of the stuff.

    Old stuff that requires genlock on the switcher, cameras and all the monitors. The new stuff I am getting requires no genlock and will sync itself to the signal. With the full digital syncing is no longer an issue although the devices will allow genlock. Our stuff is not that critical.

  43. There is a guy that runs a local cable channel that is still using SD as that is all the bandwidth he can get from the cable franchise. He may be interested in some of the stuff.

    Driving around Taylor at lunch time, looking for a place to do phone interviews (cough), I came across the local video store. The signs indicate that they do VCR service and tape transfers.

    I imagine that similar places exist in small towns all over the US.

  44. The tape machines I have are big broadcast machines using large size VHS style tapes, not the consumer stuff. Cameras require special cables for power and connection to camera controllers. Cables are $10 a foot. Lenses require zoom and focus controls on the tripod. Not consumer grade thus no one wants the stuff.

  45. No, Sony. Big BetaMax cartridges. Professional machines with elaborate jog, shuttle and sync capability. Worthless now.

  46. Hmm. It’s been a few years. But I think the U-matics were by Sony. 3/4 inch tape, I think.

    Basic threading was in a U. Maybe a bit closed in at the top of the U. Beta wraps almost around the head, close to a C. VHS is similar. Beta or VHS, I forget, but one machine I’ve messed with had a little wave in the tape path to the audio heads.

    Yeah, I took the cover off of one of the u-matics to clean the tape path and of course I loaded a tape.

    Fascinating to me to watch it all work.

    The fun machine was the portable video recorder. Half inch tape and you had to thread it like a reel-to-reel deck. Black and white. It had a pretty chunky battery and toting it around on a shoulder strap plus the camera was work. Somehow I was elected to use it to record the home football games so the coach could show the players what they did. I guess I did a decent job as camera man, I don’t remember any complaints.

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