Tues. Feb. 12, 2019 – got alarm clocks?

59F and still wet. I think we got about one half inch of rain overnight.

Realized this morning that I’ve been using my cell phone as an alarm clock for about 9 years. Before that I still used a bedside alarm (clock radio). Wife has been using her phone exclusively for years, but not as long. My daughters have asked for clock radios as alarms to help them get up in the morning, which is what got me thinking about it in the first place.

The cell phone is a MUCH better alarm. Choose your tune, set multiples, use a tune that starts low and eases you awake, D/L your own choice of musical ring tone, etc. Given how cheap electronics are when you make them in the hundred million quantities, why has no one upgraded the alarm clock?

As a prepping thing, do you have any clocks that don’t require electricity? Wind up “kitchen” clocks are cheap. Ships clocks are a bit more. Wind up travel alarms are very cheap used. Battery operated clocks are widely available and cheap (but don’t keep great time.)

There are many reasons you might want to keep time, even if SHTF, changing watch cycles, meeting others, communicating at particular times, are all good reasons. Like other preps, having a variety of devices, fueled in different ways, is probably prudent.

And they are cheap and small, so why not?

n

(a good watch is another subject)

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55 Responses to Tues. Feb. 12, 2019 – got alarm clocks?

  1. Nick Flandrey says:

    Keeping in mind my belief that the MSM will tell the truth, without any explanation or context, and then move on, so that later they can say “See, we reported that” if they have to….

    https://dcdirtylaundry.com/american-media-blackout-woman-found-dead-days-after-accusing-bill-clinton-associate-of-running-a-sex-slave-farm-death-ruled-suicide/

    I saw the original article, and thought “jeez that’s creepy”. Again, without context of who exactly the guy was. Remember the Haiti scandal with the clinton friend being accused of selling orphan Haitian kids? And the doctor that was going to testify found dead in his hotel room? The doc’s suicide was reported, without any mention of his upcoming testimony.

    This stuff sounds so crazy that it’s easy to dismiss, because who the hell would be doing something like that in this day and age? And then we have something like Jeff Epstein and his rape island… which no one even disputes, they just report it in the most mundane way possible and move on. On consideration, maybe not so crazy.

    Add Karl Denninger’s contention that you never rise to those levels without being blackmail-able, and in practice probably actively blackmailed, and some parts of the picture become clearer. (He was specifically talking about how quickly the VA governor was tossed under the bus following his public and honest comments on infanticide- it seems incredible, literally “not believable”, that NO ONE in the previous 35 years was aware of the potential leverage against him.

    Now it’s not just pedos all the way down, but slavers as well.

    n

  2. JimL says:

    34º and raining today. And icing. But the ice scrapes off VERY easily.

    Clocks are funny – I almost never pay much attention to them, but they’re a part of daily life. I only started wearing a watch again when I found one I could use in place of my phone. That it tracks exercise, sleep, stillness, and other things is a real boon. But a wind-up clock is a good idea. I’ll be watching for them.

    In other nooz – Gaah. Making decisions based on experience is NOTHING compared to the opinions of a self-proclaimed expert. I don’t even argue anymore. But I have walked out of the room. We’ll see how it goes. Still not putting desktop SSDs in a server.

  3. dkreck says:

    Still not putting desktop SSDs in a server.

    There are some mid-level units. Kingston calls them ‘Business Class’.
    Several times more costly than consumer class but well below enterprise.

    (I don’t claim to be an expert – just 40 years in the trenches)

  4. JimL says:

    There are some mid-level units. Kingston calls them ‘Business Class’.
    Several times more costly than consumer class but well below enterprise.

    So they’re good enough for my desktop at home. Still not good enough for the servers at work. I do not take chances with that stuff.

    Thanks for the info & experience. Much appreciated. But if I give in on this in any way, I’m sunk. It’s a camel’s nose around here, and I don’t have a very big tent.

  5. JimL says:

    RE: Home automation.

    Imagine getting hacked and your (not so) friendly neighbor being the culprit. Turning up the heat when you’re away. Turning on the lights while you’re asleep. Turning them OFF (or ON) when you’re headed to the toilet in the middle of the night. No, thanks.

  6. Greg Norton says:

    As a prepping thing, do you have any clocks that don’t require electricity? Wind up “kitchen” clocks are cheap. Ships clocks are a bit more. Wind up travel alarms are very cheap used. Battery operated clocks are widely available and cheap (but don’t keep great time.)

    I have a Kit Cat clock which keeps awesome time at nearly 18 years old. The trick is to buy the real thing, however, and not a knock off.

    http://kit-cat.com/

    Battery powered, but I change the battery maybe once a year, whenever the tail stops swinging. The clock mechanism continues running for months even if the battery is no longer up to running the animation. The classic Kit Cat is a lot more sophisticated than it appears.

    We also have a cuckoo clock from Germany (not China) which keeps decent time once adjusted properly, but the mechanism requires constant winding.

  7. Nick Flandrey says:

    “Regulator” style pendulum clocks are common and inexpensive. Once a week winding should be fine. “Anniversary” or “400 day” clocks are too delicate and finicky to be considered a prep. I’ve got a well-made 8 day ship’s clock that keeps great time. It’s noisy though.

    I’ve also picked up a book on sundial making, locating, and using that I hope to get into at some point, preferably with the kids as part of some science-y stuff….

    n

  8. Ray Thompson says:

    Imagine getting hacked and your (not so) friendly neighbor being the culprit.

    Strong passwords will avoid that issue. Also consider, is your neighbor that intelligent?

    When I was visiting friends in San Antonio I found someone that had an open wireless printer, no password. So I attached to the printer. About every 20 minutes I would print something. Nothing malicious but it was tempting. I wonder what they thought. I printed a total of eight times.

  9. Nick Flandrey says:

    @paul, does this article ring true? I’ve noticed a bunch of empty shelves at our “big” HEB, but I put it down to the time of day and the store rearrangement going on constantly….

    https://dcdirtylaundry.com/why-are-we-seeing-so-many-bare-shelves-at-grocery-stores-across-the-country/

    n

  10. brad says:

    @JimL: Absolutely, security is critical, and I am pretty paranoide. That’s another reason for rolling my own home automation. OpenHAB doesn’t rely on an external cloud, so everything can be locked within the local network.

    That still won’t help with IoT devices that insist on calling home. Not much to be done about those, except have as few of them as possible. No Alexa for us, for example.

    I’ll know more about the practicability in a couple of months – I’m still reading articles, and haven’t installed anything as yet. I have some random hardware components on order as well.

  11. lynn says:

    Dilbert: “Co2 Scrubber Too Efficient”
    https://dilbert.com/strip/2019-02-12

    Oh yeah, there you go starving all the people.

  12. lynn says:

    xkcd: “Error Bars”
    https://www.xkcd.com/2110/

    He found the missing Climate Change error bars that are larger than the amount of change !

  13. lynn says:

    “Musk: Mars Trip Could Cost You Less Than $500K or Even $100K”
    https://www.pcmag.com/news/366472/musk-mars-trip-could-cost-you-less-than-500k-or-even-100k

    “Still, the final cost will be ‘very dependent’ on the volume of travelers, Musk said in a tweet on Sunday. But if all goes well, the prices will be ‘low enough that most people in advanced economies could sell their home on Earth and move to Mars if they want,’ he added.”

    I just want to visit for two weeks !

    Oh wait, the trip there and back is over a year without an active rocket power system.

  14. lynn says:

    RE: Home automation.

    Imagine getting hacked and your (not so) friendly neighbor being the culprit. Turning up the heat when you’re away. Turning on the lights while you’re asleep. Turning them OFF (or ON) when you’re headed to the toilet in the middle of the night. No, thanks.

    Or some guy in China wants 5 Bitcoin to stop messing with your system. See the “Reamde” book.
    https://www.amazon.com/Reamde-Novel-Neal-Stephenson/dp/0062191497/?tag=ttgnet-20

  15. lynn says:

    Imagine getting hacked and your (not so) friendly neighbor being the culprit.

    Strong passwords will avoid that issue. Also consider, is your neighbor that intelligent?

    I wish. The crackers in China and Russia cannot get around my 1,024 bit passwords now in our software. So now they debug the software and modify the Windows EXE file to replace our cryptographic public keys with their own public keys.

    If they can do this to my software, just imagine what they can do to software on a public server. And yes, they can get to it through backdoors that stupid programmers leave in or ports that are poorly guarded. I’ve got people probing my website hourly trying to get into it so they can steal the cryptographic private keys and other such items.

  16. Ray Thompson says:

    Or some guy in China wants 5 Bitcoin to stop messing with your system.

    I don’t see the issue. If one of the devices stops working I merely remove it from the system and go back to manual. Turning my lights on or off is not exactly a high value target.

    Of more concern should be the medical equipment that has a connection to the web. All are controlled by a computer. The software should be in a firmware chip that cannot have the programming changed unless a physical switch on the device is set. Otherwise all changes are ignored. Parameter settings should not be available to any outside connection. Any connection to the outside world should be via VPN. I would also hope that any medical facility would have a strong firewall allowing no inbound connections except on very specific ports. All desktop (laptop) systems should be locked down from any changes. But with hospital IT, who knows.

    As for my home, no big deal.

  17. brad says:

    Yeah, having a public server can be a pain. On the one I ran for years for my wife’s whisky business, I disallowed entire swaths of Asia, because we didn’t care about traffic from there. Cut the hacking attempts to a microscopic fraction of what they were before.

    It was probably worse because we were on AWS, which is itself a massive target. There are clearly bots just looking for a new AWS address to come up, and then they start hitting it. Also cured by disallowing large chunks of Asia.

    As for software keys – yeah, there’s not a lot you can do. They have the .exe, and they can by definition edit it. You can only obfuscate to a certain degree – a clever hacker will eventually find your checks. This is yet another motivation for SaaS. Likely part of the reason that Microsoft now explicitly tries to get people to *not* buy Office 2019, but rather subscribe to Office 365.

  18. lynn says:

    As for my home, no big deal.

    We are just at the beginning of home automation. There are much more invasive things coming.

  19. Ray Thompson says:

    The crackers in China and Russia cannot get around my 1,024 bit passwords

    Yeh, but those are not your average neighbors. Home automation is not exactly a high value target except for the script kiddies.

    modify the Windows EXE file

    That is difficult to stop entirely. I have, ahem, used a few modified EXEs to get some software to work in the past.

    And yes, they can get to it through backdoors that stupid programmers leave in or ports that are poorly guarded.

    But what is the value of blinking my lights? I can easily disable the systems and go back to manual. Hackers that are looking for money or high value items do not consider my kitchen light to be of any real value.

  20. lynn says:

    As for software keys – yeah, there’s not a lot you can do. They have the .exe, and they can by definition edit it. You can only obfuscate to a certain degree – a clever hacker will eventually find your checks. This is yet another motivation for SaaS. Likely part of the reason that Microsoft now explicitly tries to get people to *not* buy Office 2019, but rather subscribe to Office 365.

    There is obfuscation and then there is our obfuscation. Our latest effort has not been fully hacked. Yet.

  21. Ray Thompson says:

    We are just at the beginning of home automation. There are much more invasive things coming.

    I don’t know what beyond lights, environment, door locks, and perhaps an appliance or two. In many cases, in my opinion, some automation is there “just because we can” and is not real useful. I find the lights, garage, and climate useful. I don’t find the washing machine telling me the clothes are done or the milk supply is low in the refrigerator of any real value. I have a Roomba that is connected to the web, and one that is not. I find no difference in the operation and no real value in being web connected.

  22. lynn says:

    We are just at the beginning of home automation. There are much more invasive things coming.

    I don’t know what beyond lights, environment, door locks, and perhaps an appliance or two. In many cases, in my opinion, some automation is there “just because we can” and is not real useful. I find the lights, garage, and climate useful. I don’t find the washing machine telling me the clothes are done or the milk supply is low in the refrigerator of any real value. I have a Roomba that is connected to the web, and one that is not. I find no difference in the operation and no real value in being web connected.

    Banking. Automobile control. Lawn sprinklers. Swimming pool control. Garage door opener. Door locks. Window light throughput control (sun shading). Doggy door. Exterior lights. Safe access control.

    A lot more of things that I cannot think of. Some could be annoying and some could be security. For instance, I would much rather come into your garage and break through the door there instead of the front door of your house.

  23. Ray Thompson says:

    I would much rather come into your garage and break through the door there instead of the front door of your house.

    The things you mention I would not automate. I refuse to do door locks or exterior lights. A lot of that automation is just plain silly. Swimming pools have done quite well without being connected to the web. And to be honest so have thermostats and lights. I do the automation of the lights for security, not much different than a mechanical timer that I used in the past.

    The garage is guarded by security lights and video cameras. When I leave for more than a day I disengage the mechanism so the garage door cannot be opened with the opener and then latch the door.

    Did I mention how much quieter a belt drive is over a chain drive?

    I still maintain that a house automation system is a low value (or zero value) target for hackers looking for money. The zit faced hormonally challenged right hand best friend teenager next door may find it a thrill, but not a hacker. Sort of like me printing on that open networked printer I found. (And no, I was beyond the zit faced stage).

  24. Ray Thompson says:

    This company had a very bad disaster backup recovery plan. Not enough backups, redundant backups, in a secure offline location.

  25. lynn says:

    Did I mention how much quieter a belt drive is over a chain drive?

    My garage door opener that I put in last year is a Genie screw drive. My previous opener was a belt drive. I think that they are both around the same noise level. The screw drive does raise the door at 2X the speed of lowering the door.

    BTW, the previous belt drive opener failed after 15 ??? years of service with the belt coming apart due to wear. Probably accelerated here in Texas due to the heat. Plus used 4 to 10 times a day.

  26. lynn says:

    This company had a very bad disaster backup recovery plan. Not enough backups, redundant backups, in a secure offline location.

    Yeek !

  27. nightraker says:

    I had a X-10 automation system back in the late DOS era. It ran motion sensing lights, coffee and TV/Stereo with a box that had a nice scripting interface. As I remember the program got up to 1200 lines.

    The “unauthorized entry” part of the program activated a hidden Walkman with a looping tape threatening tear gas release on a 30 second countdown. Meanwhile a siren screamed and a collection of disco lights flashed. The fob that “authorized” entry had a battery good for only a few weeks and I was too cheap to replace it proactively. Took a bit of hoop jumping to calm it down when I triggered the loud but entertaining display.

  28. Ray Thompson says:

    15 ??? years of service with the belt coming apart due to wear

    The belt on mine is guaranteed forever. If it breaks the company will replace it for free. The motor on my drive is DC so the speed is variable. When the door starts motion it is slow then speeds up until close to the stopping point. There is also a battery in the opener that can be used during a power outage.

  29. Ray Thompson says:

    collection of disco lights flashed

    John Travolta would be proud.

  30. paul says:

    @nick
    Most of the shelving holes I noticed at the Burnet HEB were because of resetting the merchandise or the end of a big weekend (4th of July, etc) or an OMG we gonna dies of the snow!
    Or the truck just didn’t make it in time because the roads are covered with ice. Delivering at 9pm compared to 2am makes a difference. Then the stuff they didn’t have time to work sits on pallets in the back until the next night.

    And yeah, a couple of hurricanes ago the store was shorted to supply the Houston region. I heard no complaints about that.

    The GM aisle of garden hoses and Halloween candy varies from stuffed to barren. Depends on the season.

    Chips and beer/soda/bread tends to be wiped out on a Monday morning. Most vendors don’t work on the weekends. A few do a “fluff” on Sunday morning to re-stock from Saturday.
    Canned and frozen goods are stocked at night. Ditto diapers, paper towels, etc.

    Trash bags and the like tends to be skimpy when the packaging is changing. Or it’s a really good sale.

    Early Monday morning is the best time to take “horror pictures” of empty shelves.

    As for “please go check the back”, pointless for much more than beer and soda. If it’s not on the shelf, we don’t have it. I have been on the receiving end of that complaint. Working in the Business Center… just a perk of the job. I have taken folks on the 10 minute tour of the back room aka Receiving. They always left satisfied, though perhaps not happy. But they knew they were not being fed a lie by a lazy employee. 🙂

    And really, what else could I do?

  31. lynn says:

    15 ??? years of service with the belt coming apart due to wear

    The belt on mine is guaranteed forever. If it breaks the company will replace it for free. The motor on my drive is DC so the speed is variable. When the door starts motion it is slow then speeds up until close to the stopping point. There is also a battery in the opener that can be used during a power outage.

    Hmm, I wonder if the belt on my previous opener was guaranteed forever as it was a Craftsman. As in Sears Craftsman.

  32. Greg Norton says:

    Most of the shelving holes I noticed at the Burnet HEB were because of resetting the merchandise or the end of a big weekend (4th of July, etc) or an OMG we gonna dies of the snow!

    Since Harvey, I’ve noticed a lot more panic buying in Austin in advance of any storm warning, hurricane or ice/snow.

    Of course, it didn’t help last June when the first storm formed in the Atlantic and the “professional” weather people put the track into Texas a week out. They know better.

  33. Greg Norton says:

    Most of the shelving holes I noticed at the Burnet HEB were because of resetting the merchandise or the end of a big weekend (4th of July, etc) or an OMG we gonna dies of the snow!

    I forgot to add that, to me, Austin seems to have a lot more California plates running around since the school year began. Lots of those people have probably never seen even the trace amounts of snow/ice we get in this part of Texas.

  34. lynn says:

    I forgot to add that, to me, Austin seems to have a lot more California plates running around since the school year began. Lots of those people have probably never seen even the trace amounts of snow/ice we get in this part of Texas.

    Lovely, more refugees from California. I wish that they would drop their liberalism at the state line.

  35. Greg Norton says:

    Lovely, more refugees from California. I wish that they would drop their liberalism at the state line.

    High end cars with CA plates get brought out here by services catering to wealthy visitors who abhor rentals or … gasp … IC engines, but most of the plates I see are on daily drivers for the middle class … or Jeff Bezos when he still pretended to be average — Accords or two door sporty looking Civics.

    Even if they no longer have the CA plates, the transplants always keep the Honda of Stevens Creek frame for the plate.

  36. Bob Sprowl says:

    Ray@When I leave for more than a day I disengage the mechanism so the garage door cannot be opened with the opener and then latch the door.

    I just turn off the circuit breaker for the garage door opener. (It’s the only thing on that breaker. I plan to installed manual lock when I get a round tuit.

  37. CowboySlim says:

    Lovely, more refugees from California. I wish that they would drop their liberalism at the state line.

    I don’t have any liberalism to drop at the state line; consequently, I’m staying here.

  38. Rick Hellewell says:

    Re: garage door openers…. it is possible to use a long stiff wire with a hook at the end to grab onto the release latch thingy from the outside. Perhaps not probable, but I’ve seen videos about it. One quick googles found this: https://www.corporatetravelsafety.com/safety-tips/how-thieves-break-into-homes-by-the-garage-door/ Shows a break-in in 6 seconds (had an advantage with the glass windows to see the release mechanism).

    So, a lock through the tracks just above a track roller is good to use for long absences. Although you have to remember about it when you get back.

  39. Ray Thompson says:

    lock through the tracks just above a track roller is good to use

    That is what I have. I release the opener mechanism and then latch the door. My best security is the motion lights, lots of them, bright. However if someone is really desperate to get my stuff that is what insurance provides. You can fully stop anyone, just make your house a less enticing target than somewhere else.

  40. nick flandrey says:

    @Bob,

    They can use a coat hanger to reach in and disconnect the lift mechanism. If you don’t have the manual locks set, they can then just raise the door manually. This is especially easy if you have windows in the door, so they can see what they’re doing.

    n

  41. nick flandrey says:

    I just clamp a big visegrip pliers to the track, right above a roller, where I can easily reach it. That stops the door from moving. And disconnect the mechanism…

    n

  42. Ray Thompson says:

    My door used to be a manual door before I had the opener installed (the original opener) thus the door has the locking mechanism through the tracks.

    Guy in San Antonio many years ago when I lived there had his house broken into a few times. South San Antonio. Finally put double deadbolts, steel frame and steel doors, bars on the windows. Just about anything he could do to prevent entry. Next time he was hit they had used a saw of some kind, reciprocating or chain, and cut through the wall. Someone was out to get him. Thus you cannot stop someone getting in, just make someone else an easier target.

  43. nick flandrey says:

    Even safes are only rated for how long it would take to defeat them. You want to make them work for it…

    n

  44. nick flandrey says:

    well, I got a couple of pieces ready for ebay. I hope they sell. Got pickups tomorrow.

    n

  45. Ray Thompson says:

    Off to Atlanta today to put the spousal unit on plane. As RBT would say, wild women and parties for the next two weeks. Spousal unit is visiting her mother who is getting up in years, late 80’s I think. She still gets around on her own but the wife and I are starting to see more problems. MIL talks about moving into an adult facility. Has been for the last couple of years but no progress has been made. The lady is a hoarder, not as bad as some on TV, but she does hoard. Wife is going to see if they can get rid of some of the stuff but I don’t see it happening.

    MIL does not like being around people and does not want to spend any money even though she has the money. She also does not like having meals on someone else’s schedule all of which would be required in a facility.

    MIL had a problem with her car starting. She took it into the Ford dealership and they told her she needed a new battery. Her response was no way she was going to spend that money on a battery as the dealer was just trying to scam her. Three days later the car died due to the battery failing. Now she not only had to pay for the battery but a tow to the dealership.

    She had a faulty switch in the bathroom. There was no way she was going to pay an electrician $100 to fix the switch. She got a neighbor to it instead. He messed it up and blew the switch and gave up. Light stayed on for a year until I arrived and replaced the switch. Another problem with a ceiling fan switch that failed in the “on” position. No way she was going to pay an electrician their exorbitant rates. Had the neighbor come over to fix the fan. He just cut all the wires to the switch so the fan did not work at all. I had to replace the switch and figure out which wires from the switch controlled which speed.

    She cannot get insurance on her house because the wiring is old two wire system with fuses. She needs the wiring replaced. She also needs insulation in the walls. She could have it all done for about $10K. But no way she is going to spend that money when she thinks she will only be there for a few months. This started three years ago. She cannot sell the house unless it can be insured unless the buyer pays cash and there is no lender. A lender would require insurance to protect their collateral. She does not understand this.

    Every few weeks MIL will use her phone, cordless, and forget to push the off button. She is used to just hanging. Wife calls her everyday and cannot because the line is busy. Wife has to call the neighbor to go tell the MIL to hang up her phone.

    When I was there last year she complained her TV volume was too low and needed a new TV and could I help her. The volume on the TV was all the way and the sound was too low. But the volume on the cable box had been turned way down. I turned the volume up on the cable box and the sound down on the TV. All was good.

    MIL wants to be able to see pictures and wants to get a smart phone. Currently her cell phone is only $100.00 a year with $50.00 being subsidized by the wife and I. She would be shocked at the price of a smart phone, iPhone as that is what the wife has and would be able to help her. We would put her on our plan so there would be no yearly cost. Wife is taking my spare iPad with her and will try and get MIL to use the iPad. That will be necessary to see if MIL can use a smartphone. I don’t see it happening.

    Getting old sucks and having old family members is a significant challenge.

  46. nick flandrey says:

    They are most afraid of running out of money….

    n

  47. Ray Thompson says:

    They are most afraid of running out of money

    If she spent $50K a year she has enough to last 15 years with her other income. No way she is living beyond 100.

    I have some of that same fear. But I keep telling myself that I can live on SS money alone. She could do the same. My biggest issue is that I cannot touch any of my money until the wife is off obuttwadcare, next year at this time.

    Having to to go to Atlanta to get wife on a flight to San Antonio is $200 cheaper than flying out of the Knoxville. Going out west this summer we will fly out of Nashville. That is $600.00 cheaper between the two of us. Knoxville keeps wondering why they cannot attract passengers.

    Knoxville has DOE and Alcoa as major companies. DOE and their contractors really don’t care what they pay and McGhee Tyson airport along with the airlines know this. Thus their ticket prices are artificially higher than they should be for non-business trips.

    The cost difference is enough that is cheaper to use an alternative airport and have an UBER driver make the trip, twice.

    Every once in awhile a discount airline will arrive with daily flights to Orlando. Big news event here, discount airline. Whoopity-Doo. Not everyone wants to go to Orlando. The airlines rarely last longer than a year.

    Management at McGhee Tyson are fools. Southwest Airlines wanted to come in but were blocked by the management and the airlines. Specifically Delta and American convinced airport management that it would be a bad idea as Southwest would undercut those airlines. The airlines threatened to leave if Southwest arrived. That along with kickbacks to the airport by Delta and American keeps Southwest Airlines out of the airport.

  48. Greg Norton says:

    MIL wants to be able to see pictures and wants to get a smart phone. Currently her cell phone is only $100.00 a year with $50.00 being subsidized by the wife and I. She would be shocked at the price of a smart phone, iPhone as that is what the wife has and would be able to help her. We would put her on our plan so there would be no yearly cost. Wife is taking my spare iPad with her and will try and get MIL to use the iPad. That will be necessary to see if MIL can use a smartphone. I don’t see it happening.

    Apple keeps “finding” stocks of iPhone SE to sell, but only in their online store’s clearance section. The model I carry is $250 through the site when available.

    If that’s too pricey, my stock, unmodified Android phone is a Moto E series — really good value for the money and not a lot of cr*pware pre-installed.

  49. brad says:

    Dunno if it would help with Knoxville: the “hidden city” trick often airlines have a cheap rate between two particular cities; cheap because they route through some hub, and passengers have to put up with a plane change. But direct flights to the hub are expensive. So people wanting to fly to/from the hub city book the indirect flight, and just never take the second leg. The airlines hate this, but it’s their own fault for having stupid price structures.

    On the way home – we just signed the contract on our land in the Valais. Building permit application should be done by the end of February. After that, we have to sell our current house – it goes on the market next month. Anyone wanna buy a house?

  50. lynn says:

    MIL had a problem with her car starting. She took it into the Ford dealership and they told her she needed a new battery. Her response was no way she was going to spend that money on a battery as the dealer was just trying to scam her. Three days later the car died due to the battery failing. Now she not only had to pay for the battery but a tow to the dealership.

    I’m sorry but that is an early sign of dementia to me.

  51. lynn says:

    Knoxville has DOE and Alcoa as major companies. DOE and their contractors really don’t care what they pay and McGhee Tyson airport along with the airlines know this. Thus their ticket prices are artificially higher than they should be for non-business trips.

    Alcoa is dying. They have closed almost all of their Texas operations and laid off thousands of employees. Maybe ten thousand employees in Texas alone.

  52. Ray Thompson says:

    my stock, unmodified Android phone

    Android is not an option. Everything needs to mirror what the wife has so the wife can talk her through any issues. Thus iPhone.

    Apple keeps “finding” stocks of iPhone SE to sell

    I will check but it may be a problem getting Comcast xfinity wireless to accept the phone. They ported my Verizon phones as xfinity uses Verizon networks. I don’t know about bring your own that has not been assigned to a network.

  53. Ray Thompson says:

    I’m sorry but that is an early sign of dementia to me.

    Yes, I am very much aware having been through this with my aunt. My aunt was also hiding issues and I suspect MIL may be also. I could be wrong as she talks with my wife daily and my wife is her only friend. At any rate, wife and her brother are going to have some issues in the next couple of years. I will just be someone that gets asked a question and be told my answer is wrong. So I will attempt to stay out as much as possible.

  54. Nick Flandrey says:

    @brad, the US airlines put an end to that practice years ago. We used to do it occasionally, but now they will cancel your return, even if it is booked as two one way tickets. In fact, United will join the two one ways, and usually charge more for the round trip.

    I looked at doing this last year when my dad was sick. I was just going to get off the plane in ohare, and get on a one way, then eventually catch up with my family who already had itineraries. Since I’m the card holder, and the primary on the reservation (so we can get my perks) they told me they would cancel all the rest of the family’s segments too. They have caught wise to the tricks.

    I will say, looking for flights with google’s tool will sometimes get you unbelievable deals, like $40 ORD to IAH (shitcago to houston)

    n

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