Thur. Feb. 21, 2019 – another week is speeding by

Station says 54F but I’ll bet it’s colder based on the heat running….[huh, it is right around 54F]

I’ve got some maintenance and upgrades to do for one of my clients today. That will take me out of the house a bit later. Some money coming in will be nice as my sales are still flat.

Kids are supposed to be at school early this week to get ready for a show and tell about reading. Since they’re still in bed that seems unlikely.

It occurred to me the other day that because they don’t have homework, and because they don’t bring books home, I have no way to review or monitor what they are being taught. I bet this is by design….

I spent some time yesterday doing a bit of a dive into local crime and crime reporting. I need to spend some time on this, but what I see initially using online tools doesn’t match first hand accounts. This is bad.

But for now, kids and wife need to eat….

n

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58 Responses to Thur. Feb. 21, 2019 – another week is speeding by

  1. Ray Thompson says:

    I have no way to review or monitor what they are being taught. I bet this is by design….

    It is. As a substitute I see some of the assignments that are given to the students. It really is a dumbing down of America. There are a few bright students who are succeeding because of their own efforts. The teachers support their efforts. But the general population is not better off than prison GED classes. Basic math skills lacking, English skills lacking, history just a blank.

    My wife’s friend, who was teaching chemistry, failed a student who was a football player, by a couple of points. The student begged to have the grade increased, the teacher said no. The football coach begged to have the grade increased because the failing grade barred the student from playing football. The teacher said no, the student did not complete the work and thus would not get a better grade. The teacher was even threatened by the father of the student. It did not turn out well for the father as he received a visit by the police and was barred from campus, including football games, for two years.

    High school students who do not know the difference between their, they’re, and there; between your and you’re, between than and then; between accept and except; between sale and sell; between know and no; the list is long.

    The push in high school is to graduate everyone as that graduation rate affects the funding received from the government. Better to get the money and dump an idiot out into the world. The push to send everyone to college as that is another metric used by the state for funding. Sending everyone to college is a waste for probably half or more of the student population. It will just waste four years of their life and put them in debt.

    The colleges and universities are encouraging this behavior. It keeps a lot of otherwise unemployable people working (think liberal arts course instructors), especially in administration positions. Lots of students benefits the university, but not necessarily the students. I saw a lot of ignorant students when I worked at the University of TN for Tau Beta Pi.

    Another thing that amazed me was how lazy the students were. There was one elevator for a six story building, a slow freight elevator. The main entrance was on the fourth floor because the building was built on the side of a hill. I worked on the fifth floor which also contained classrooms. I always took the stairs. But the students would get out of class, stand and wait two or three minutes for the elevator, and go down one flight of stairs. They were too lazy to walk down one flight of stairs. Amazing.

  2. Nick Flandrey says:

    This is either the future of interfaces or completely self focused masturbation-

    from my alma mater-

    “Jessica Rajko, assistant professor in the ASU School of Film, Dance and Theatre, will share her current research implementing somatic approaches to data haptification and context-specific haptic interface design. Her current research aims to make data palpable, tangible and tactile by integrating somatically informed dance practices with interface design.

    So she dances? and could there be dance without the soma?

    n

  3. Nick Flandrey says:

    “Sending everyone to college is a waste for probably half or more of the student population. ”

    –absolutely. Our district has as an official goal, T,2,4 which is that every student will be able to attend Trade school/military, 2 year community college for AA degree, or a traditional 4 year college/university. Give our demographic makeup, and the realities of the working world, I think it’s a practical approach. They manage to mess it up with ideology by insisting that EVERY child will do so, when they KNOW that some will drop out, some will get pregnant, some will be incarcerated, some will die, so NO, not every child will be ready for T,2, 4.

    “It will just waste four years of their life and put them in debt.”

    –more likely 5 of 6 years. Half *of college starts will not graduate in 6 years but will have the non-dischargable debt to remind them….

    n

    *iirc

  4. Ray Thompson says:

    from my alma mater-

    That seems to be a big block of obfuscating doublespeak using words that no one uses in order to confuse the real issue. Such issue being: They don’t know what the hell they are talking about.

  5. Nick Flandrey says:

    But the money keeps rolling in…..

    n

  6. Ray Thompson says:

    will not graduate in 6 years but will have the non-dischargable debt to remind them

    An acquaintance of mine, who was a devout liberal and worshiper of The Bernie, wanted all college educations to be free. Regardless of the degree path. Everyone should have a right to a college education at taxpayers expense. No matter how long it took that degree was a right that everyone should have. Even liberal arts which in my opinion contribute nothing to society and could be argued are part of the problem with society.

    He was pursuing a medical degree. My last contact was about five years ago. Last I heard he was now selling life insurance policies. This after spending eight years in college taking non-sense courses. I guess the realities of economics and living in the real world burst his bubble.

    I have zero respect for anyone with a psychology degree and consider that a voodoo degree. Freud was a Fraud (notice the similarity in the spelling) in my opinion. Modern psychology has done more to turn the current generation into a bunch disrespectful little self absorbed, welfare mindset, inconsiderate, me-first, brats.

  7. Ray Thompson says:

    But the money keeps rolling in…..

    As we were fond of saying in the military. “If you can’t impress them with knowledge, wow them with bullshit.” Which is applicable to any liberal arts degree.

    And I am in a bad mood today. I need to get out and get busy claying and waxing the vehicles. It will be a long and tiring day. You don’t realize the size of a full size dual cab pickup truck until you clay and wax the entire vehicle.

  8. Nick Flandrey says:

    When guns are banned, humans still kill each other. As they have for millennia before the invention of firearms….

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6728739/Funeral-held-NYPD-detective-killed-friendly-fire-fake-Queens-armed-robbery.html

    “The attack is the latest in a string of mass stabbings around the country blamed on people with mental illnesses or bearing grudges against individuals or society.

    Firearms are tightly controlled in China, with private ownership illegal, while knives are mostly unregulated.

    In December, an attacker with a knife who tried to hijack a bus killed five people and wounded 21 other.

    In March, nine were killed in an attack outside a middle school allegedly carried out by a former pupil seeking revenge for having been bullied.

    Homemade explosives and flammable liquids have also been used in mass attacks.”

    n

  9. JimL says:

    Re: vasectomies: No. Kiss my fanny. Not going to happen.

    Don’t want a pregnancy? Don’t have sex. Yes, it’s that simple. I managed for nearly 40 years and now have 3 wonderful children. It works. Don’t like that? Don’t have sex with guys who won’t cut up their wee-wees. That woman is an idiot. The best that can be said with her is that she won’t breed.

    Re: education: I will not put my children into debt getting them through college. I won’t be able to afford it when the time comes. I don’t feel bad about that. Anyone that works hard can get ahead, just as I did. Work for it. It’s not terribly hard to shine when you’re the only one around willing to get out the Kiwi.

    (Side note – the Kiwi I used to buy overseas for my black boots wouldn’t be permitted here. It had a bad word printed on the side.)

  10. Jenny says:

    Re college education and debt
    I’ve mentioned it before. Take a look at University of the People. It is not without flaws however permits one to check the all important “Yes I have a 4 year degree” on job applications and perhaps fleshes out areas of knowledge making self employment more enjoyable.

    They offer an Associates or Bachelors.
    They offer three degrees:
    Computer Science
    Business Admnistration
    Health Science

    They have a Masters program but I have not researched that. Don’t care.
    Classes are a flat $100 each, pay as you go. All online, assigned work due Wednesday each week keeps you humping.
    Figure about $2,000 for an AS, twice that for BS. And that’s probably what those are worth.

    It is not a diploma mill. You have to do the work. They are nationally accredited by the DEAC (Distance Education Accreditation something). Not the more desirable regional accreditation which could leave out some employers (State of Alaska DBA jobs specifically require a regionally accredited college education).

    I’ve been taking classes one and two at a time and am into the CS courses (second half of Java section using David Ecks coursework) now. The foundation coursework was a slog – I was able to truncate that for $17 per course accepted as a transfer.

    You get out what you put in.
    http://www.uopeople.edu
    For $100 per course it is satisfactory.

  11. JimL says:

    @Jenny – many thanks. Eldest is about to enter Junior High (honors classes) in the fall. We’ll be looking at college education soon enough.

    And I’ll probably look into the coursework as well. There are (w)holes in my educations as well.

  12. Nick Flandrey says:

    and Khan for skill building and interest.

    As long as you don’t need the ticket, there are lots of online materials, MIT open coursework is a good start.

    The funniest thing is that by sending EVERYONE to college, they destroyed what made a college degree (simply and by itself) valuable. When only the motivated, wealthy, or supported by others went to college, it was a good sorting tool. When everyone goes, regardless of talent, training, skill, or prospects, it’s no longer a good sort.

    One more thing the progs ruined by piling on….

    n

  13. Nick Flandrey says:

    Yuck, drizzle and rain. Grey and nasty.

    n

  14. brad says:

    “The push in high school is to graduate everyone as that graduation rate affects the funding received from the government. Better to get the money and dump an idiot out into the world.”

    As Jerry P. used to say: subsidize something, and you’ll get more of it. I have much the same view of the massive amounts of money thrown into special ed. Schools need to have their incentives aligned with what society needs from them. That means: a solid foundation of basic skills for everyone. Talented kids educated to the limits of their abilities.

    Kids who will not or cannot learn? I don’t know what you do with them, but you don’t let them disrupt school for everyone else. Get them out of normal schools, teach them basic work skills – hands-on vocational training, apprenticeships, whatever. If even that won’t take, heck-if-I-know, but I’m sure SteveF has some suggestions…

    “The football coach begged to have the grade increased because the failing grade barred the student from playing football.”

    Sports are not the point of school. They’re fine for certain social skills, and for burning off steam, but they should not be any sort of priority. I have family in West Texas that lives for sports – I’ve seen what that does to kids, and it’s not pretty.

    For college educations: They aren’t free here, but they are cheap – a few hundred per semester. It’s not unlike what state colleges used to be in the US: supported by tax dollars, charging a symbolic amount to local students. Sure, it’s tax dollars, but consider: You don’t have rapacious private schools putting kids into debt for worthless degrees. Degree programs are mostly driven by what the job market seems to want, so there are no “Gender Studies” or “Ethnic Studies” or whatever. And, since schools are not really profit-oriented, we have no problem failing unqualified or unmotivated students.

    As Jenny points out: there are still inexpensive opportunities in the US.

    @Ray: “You don’t realize the size of a full size dual cab pickup truck until you clay and wax the entire vehicle.”

    Um…why?

    Our car is 8 years old, and I have never washed it, much less waxed it. It gets washed once a year at it’s annual service, whether it needs it or not. If the windshield gets dirty, I’ll wash that. Otherwise, it is what it is. Why do I care if it’s mud splattered – heck, some people pay good money for splatters that we get for free!

    Seriously, why do this to yourself?

  15. Greg Norton says:

    As long as you don’t need the ticket, there are lots of online materials, MIT open coursework is a good start.

    Stanford has an excellent series on iOS development that they keep fairly up to date. I’d recommend going back a few years to when the course focused on Objective C, but YMMV.

    Julie Zelenski’s “Programming Abstractions” videos from Stanford are also worth watching as an intro and/or refresher on C++. They’re a bit out of date now, but that doesn’t really matter. The course reader floats around online.

    I’ve mentioned ADuni.org here before. The video formats are the biggest challenge, but the material offered is a recorded attempt of a circa-2001 project whose goal was to teach the undergraduate CS cirriculum to a group of students in a year. I think you would be hard pressed to find a better lecture presentation of “Theory of Computation” using the Sipser text than that provided by ADuni.org.

  16. nick flandrey says:

    Hmmm, couldn’t find the article, but one of our local school districts is in trouble over cost overruns on their new stadium and ballfield. Seems no one was minding the store, and they gold plated the project. So when there was a shortfall, the Board robbed Peter to pay Paul, shifting their fiscal year, and using funds from a NEW bond issue to complete the projects. This left a one month gap in funding for…………… salaries. Which is when the whole thing seems to have come apart. We’re talking millions of dollars.

    The superintendent says “I never lied, I just did a really bad job.”

    I bet he’s drawing a pension…
    n

  17. Ray Thompson says:

    Um…why?

    I paid a lot for that vehicle and I intend to keep it looking good as long as a I can. Claying removes a lot of dirt that washing does not get, dirt that is deep into the finish. Afterwards a good Carnuba paste wax to protect that finish. So slick when I get done even flies cannot stand on the surface. But it does take a lot of time. About 8 hours to do the cowboy cadillac.

  18. MrAtoz says:

    I made a couple of posts that apparently ended up in Purgatory.

    Could you check, Mr. Nick.

    One was, RIP Peter Tork…

  19. Greg Norton says:

    Hmmm, couldn’t find the article, but one of our local school districts is in trouble over cost overruns on their new stadium and ballfield.

    A high school football stadium in Texas? Cost overruns? I’m shocked. Shocked!

    Every high school wants an HOK football stadium and performing arts hall as nice as what the Eckerd family built for Clearwater, FL in the 80s.

  20. Greg Norton says:

    One was, RIP Peter Tork…

    That leaves Nez, and he wasn’t 100% when we saw him in September, fresh off of quadruple bypass surgery.

  21. Greg Norton says:

    For those of you not from Texas and/or already familiar with Buc-ee’s …

    https://www.texasmonthly.com/articles/buc-ees-the-path-to-world-domination/

    Going to the New Braunfels store and seeing 60 (now 120) gas pumps in continuous operation was the first thing I did in Texas when I got a break from house hunting.

  22. MrAtoz says:

    Dolenz still lives.

  23. Rick Hellewell says:

    @Mr Atoz:

    I made a couple of posts that apparently ended up in Purgatory.

    Could you check, Mr. Nick.

    One was, RIP Peter Tork…

    There is one comment from you at the end of yesterday’s comment list about Peter Tork. Here: https://www.ttgnet.com/journal/2019/02/20/wed-feb-20-2019-chilly-willy-out/#comment-160171

    I could find no comments from you that were in ‘purgatory’. Just the usual spam entries caught by the spam filter – and now deleted.

  24. CowboySlim says:

    WRT colleges and universities, we do acknowledge the areas of total fraud:
    1. Student athletes: What is their graduation rate with actual BS degrees?
    2. Football and basketball: Baseball has major leagues that own the minor league teams. College football and basketball are the minor league teams of the NFL and NBA.

  25. Greg Norton says:

    WRT colleges and universities, we do acknowledge the areas of total fraud:

    You forgot CS Masters programs at mediocre state schools which are diploma mills for OPT. Even the big state school here in Austin is getting into that game.

    Foreign tuition checks are too lucrative to ignore.

    Honestly, though, since student loans were nationalized under Doh-bamacare, what college/university isn’t part of a greater con designed to support the Healthcare racket.

  26. Harold Combs says:

    “The football coach begged to have the grade increased because the failing grade barred the student from playing football.”
    This same thing happened to my wife when she taught college English at Oklahoma State. A football player didn’t think he needed to bother with the classwork because he was a “star” on the field. My wife didn’t see things that way and refused to give a passing grade for work not done. She was called before the head of department and next the chancellor who threatened her with her job if she didn’t fake the grades. She said no. Nothing came of it immediately but I’m sure they would have made her life hell if we hadn’t moved to the UK next semester. She says there’s no way in Hades that she would ever teach in the US again.

  27. JimL says:

    When I taught at a diploma mill, I failed a young man who was incapable of doing the work. He should never have been there in the first place. “Retarded” in the traditional sense, though he was good-hearted.

    I quit not long after his graduation ceremony. He COULD NOT have graduated with the grades I knew he had earned.

  28. lynn says:

    “Media Hysteria: Climate Change ‘Heat Records’ Are a Huge Data Manipulation”
    https://www.westernjournal.com/media-hysteria-climate-change-heat-records-huge-data-manipulation/

    Yup, I do not trust any of the temperature graphs and reports from NOAA and NASA now. Too much politics from from people wanting to put a CO2 tax of $47 per gallon on gasoline and diesel. Yes, that is a 47, not even 4.7 or a 0.47.
    https://dailycaller.com/2018/10/08/a-240-per-gallon-gas-tax-to-fight-global-warming-new-un-report-suggests-carbon-pricing/

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

  29. Greg Norton says:

    Yup, I do not trust any of the temperature graphs and reports from NOAA and NASA now. Too much politics from from people wanting to put a CO2 tax of $47 per gallon on gasoline and diesel. Yes, that is a 47, not even 4.7 or a 0.47.

    That would certainly end farming. The fundamental economic equation is 1/10 ounce gold = 1 barrel of oil = 1 bushel of wheat. If the cost of any one of those things gets out of whack in relation to the others, bad things happen.

  30. Ray Thompson says:

    Truck is washed, clayed, waxed and interior cleaned. Leather seats so it takes a special cleaner but makes the seats slick. Rain-X on all the windows. That stuff is great in the rain. Highlander is washed. Interior cleaning, claying and waxing is tomorrow.

    The newest waxes are much easier to apply than in the past. Removal of the film is easier with the proper cloth. Still takes time to apply and remove. I use a bright LED light to inspect the finish looking for areas I missed. Rotating the cloth to a clean area often is necessary for easier removal. The new waxes are also really good at repelling rain. It is still an effort so I only do it once a year.

  31. lynn says:

    _Switched On: Book Six in The Borrowed World Series (Volume 6)_ by Franklin Horton
    https://www.amazon.com/Switched-Book-Six-Borrowed-World/dp/1721780807/?tag=ttgnet-20

    Book number six in a six book apocalyptic fantasy series. I read the well printed and bound POD (print on demand) trade paperback. There are several other books in the series universe also. I have not decided if I will purchase and read book seven in the series.

    It has been nine months system since the United States cascaded into a failed society due to several hundred terrorist attacks on the nation’s infrastructure. Resources are tight, the power grids are down, and there is no fuel available for cars, trucks, and homes. Life is cheap and growing cheaper by the day.

    Somebody is trying to bring a local coal power plant back on line. But who will the power be for ?

    I may let this be my last book in the series. The series has moved on from apocalyptic survival to determining political viewpoints.

    My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    Amazon rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars (126 reviews)

  32. lynn says:

    Yup, I do not trust any of the temperature graphs and reports from NOAA and NASA now. Too much politics from from people wanting to put a CO2 tax of $47 per gallon on gasoline and diesel. Yes, that is a 47, not even 4.7 or a 0.47.

    That would certainly end farming. The fundamental economic equation is 1/10 ounce gold = 1 barrel of oil = 1 bushel of wheat. If the cost of any one of those things gets out of whack in relation to the others, bad things happen.

    Oh, I am sure that farmers will get credit for converting CO2 into food. Or, the great corporate farms will get credit, I am not sure about the family farms.

    The whole CO2 tax system will be a bureaucratic nightmare. You will see graft, thievery, payoffs, etc on both a local and a federal level. The local CO2 tax collector will live in a huge house and drive a Mercedes-Benz (electric of course!). His kids will go to the best private schools and his wife will have ten indentured servants who could not pay their CO2 taxes.

  33. lynn says:

    “How Reliable are SSDs?”
    https://www.backblaze.com/blog/how-reliable-are-ssds/

    “What’s not to love about solid state drives (SSDs)? They are faster than conventional hard disk drives (HDDs), more compact, have no moving parts, are immune to magnetic fields, and can withstand more shocks and vibration than conventional magnetic platter disks. And, they are becoming available in larger and larger capacities while their cost comes down.”

    “We’re now seeing SSDs with capacities that used to be reserved for HDDs and at prices that no longer make our eyes water. 500 GB SSDs are now affordable (under $100), and 1 TB drives are reasonably priced ($100 to $150). Even 2 TB SSDs fall into a budget range for putting together a good performance desktop system ($300 to $400).”

    “The bottom line question is: do SSD drives fail? Of course they do, as do all drives eventually. The important questions we really need to be asking are 1) do they fail faster than HDDs, and 2) how long can we reasonably expect them to last?”

  34. JimL says:

    I love SSDs. For home & desktop, they’re tops.

    Would that the SSD prices be similar in the enterprise space.

    Spec’d a new server. 1.2 TB HDDs (SAS) are $350. 0.8 TB SSD (SAS) is $1700. 1.6 TB SSD (SAS) is $2200. The difference for the amount of space I need? $26k vs $40k. Big bosses decided to save the $14k.

    No, I’m not in any way, shape, or form interested in putting commodity drives in our servers. (Purchasing manager is apoplectic that I won’t consider putting cheap drives in the servers that our company depend on.) When everything works right, I have to go to the rack once/year to swap out a server and some HDDs (or SSDs when they’re ready to spend money). That is the BEST way to go, given that I never have enough time to do all the things that need to be done.

  35. lynn says:

    Spec’d a new server. 1.2 TB HDDs (SAS) are $350. 0.8 TB SSD (SAS) is $1700. 1.6 TB SSD (SAS) is $2200. The difference for the amount of space I need? $26k vs $40k. Big bosses decided to save the $14k.

    Those SAS HDDs are 15,000 rpm drives, right ? Not that much slower than regular SSD drives.

  36. JimL says:

    Those SAS HDDs are 15,000 rpm drives, right ? Not that much slower than regular SSD drives.

    10k, but that’s pretty darned fast. And that’s kind of the point. It’s going to be a Virtual Host with 512 GB of RAM. The longest we’ll wait is booting the 15 VMs. Once they’re running they just do their jobs. Disk IO is not where the waiting will be. Most ops will be in memory. The things that DO write to disk are going over to the SQL server, which has the 15k drives. (Tried getting the SSDs for that, but they’re big DBs. Hard to sell.)

  37. nick flandrey says:

    Home from my service call. Got the work done, fixed the network issues (port forwarding), and got a small bit of additional work for later.

    @ rick, thanks for looking at the spam. I forget to check it.

    drizzle and grey continued, and NOAA says two more days like this.

    Got my pickup smogged. Shop was slow, says every day is slow, business sucks.

    Talked to one of my auction sellers, looking to clear out some of my stuff. She says “the economy is terrible right now, no one is spending any money.”

    Wife’s business is looking to get bought up by a larger player to keep from getting starved out of the market.

    And WE’RE IN TEXAS, one of the stronger economies in the US.

    n

  38. lynn says:

    Wife’s business is looking to get bought up by a larger player to keep from getting starved out of the market.

    A lot of small businesses are hoping for that, us too. Funny how the staff of the smaller business gets cut in half after the M&A (merger and acquisition). Typically, the small business loads the sales pipeline with everything that it can before the sale to boost the sales price. Afterwards, there is a lot of promises to the customers but reduced new sales to pay for services so the acquiring business cuts headcount. Some people call it kind of a Ponzi scheme.

  39. Ray Thompson says:

    Funny how the staff of the smaller business gets cut in half after the M&A

    Happens with the big players.

    Lockheed Martin got the big contract at the local plants several years ago. Big bucks, huge contract. Part of the contract was the creation of many jobs which LM promised.

    About a year into the contract LM decided to outsource many of the functions. For example the plumbers were outsourced to a new company. LM counted that as jobs created. Even though all the plumbers at LM were laid off from LM and hired by the newly created company. Couple hundred workers and thus LM got credit for creating “new” jobs. There was nothing in the contract about LM losing jobs.

    Then about six months later LM determined they were losing money on the contract. They underbid, by a lot. So LM decides to cut funding to the sub-contractors to make up the shortfall. The fact the companies, such as the plumbing company, had to layoff workers was not LM’s problem.

    After two years the net result was there were 30% fewer workers working at the plants than when LM took over. The creation of jobs was simply funny accounting. But with the terms of the contract LM got a multi-million dollar bonus. Loss of jobs, people out of work, LM gets a bonus. How convenient.

  40. lynn says:

    After two years the net result was there were 30% fewer workers working at the plants than when LM took over. The creation of jobs was simply funny accounting. But with the terms of the contract LM got a multi-million dollar bonus. Loss of jobs, people out of work, LM gets a bonus. How convenient.

    Sales people are masters at driving through the loopholes in their employment contracts. Then they are great at applying those sales contracts for their employers.

  41. CowboySlim says:

    And WE’RE IN TEXAS, one of the stronger economies in the US.

    George Strait: “All my ex’s live in Texas, that’s why I’m in Tennessee.”

  42. lynn says:

    And former employee who quit last October has appealed their zero unemployment award with the TWC (Texas Workforce Commission) yet again. This is crazy.

    They added a bunch of emails where they say that they could work outside the office 100% of the time and still do their job. Hopefully the TWC will automatically deny their appeal on the account of rehashing the same thing over and over again but, I doubt it.

    I have an email where the former employee acknowledged in 2017 that they must work in the office a minimum of 20 hours per week. We will counter with that.

    Sigh. What a waste of my time to save $10,000 in unemployment costs.

  43. nick flandrey says:

    You’re not just doing it to save the money, you’re doing it so that abuse is not rewarded.

    n

  44. Greg Norton says:

    Sigh. What a waste of my time to save $10,000 in unemployment costs.

    Dunno about Texas, but in Florida, every successful claim results in higher rates for unemployment insurance, increasing at an exponential rate for each terminated worker.

    Your former employee must not have a job.

    I’ve never seen a 100% “work from home” employee be all that productive. Usually, in creating jobs like that, the company is catering to what I call the Work From Home Mommy Mafia.

    I was socially isolated across seven years of unemployment and grad school. I don’t like working from home.

  45. Rick Hellewell says:

    I note that the version 5.1 of WordPress is starting to roll out. This site gets that update automatically.

    I’ve looked at the release notes, and don’t see any potential issues. But we shall see.

    I’m not a big fan of the Gutenberg editor – still seems like a solution in search of a problem. In fact, most of my sites got the “Classic Editor” plugin installed to move the editor back to the pre-Gutenberg settings.

    Gutenberg doesn’t affect comment blocks.

    The new update doesn’t appear to do much to prevent comment spam. I don’t think that it has increased much lately, though. The Akismet plugin blocks most of it.

    Contact form spam is still an issue. I set up a new WP site (with a new domain) and got a spam via the Contact Form 7 contact form the first day.

    So I installed my FormSpammerTrap version of the contact form. That stopped that right away.

    I also notices some contact form spam on Jerry’s sites. I was getting 2-5 a day from each of the sites. It finally bugged me enough that I put the FormSpammerTrap contact form code on those two sites. I used the same page URL just to test repeat offenders. As soon as I changed the contact form to FormSpammerTrap, the contact form spam stopped.

    Huzzah for me! I’ve made lots of improvement in that code, which was originally for non-WP sites (all the code is PHP with some JavaScript). The latest version (version 6) now supports using the code on WP pages through a shortcode. It does require some minor coding skill – you need to create a copy of the ‘page’ template and add four lines of code (plus upload the files). But that takes about 5 minutes of work for a moderately-capable site admin.

    The happy result is no contact form spam. Not an issue here, since there isn’t a contact form. But it blocks all automated spam bots quite well. (And it’s free.)

    If you are interested in a geeky explanation of how automated spam bots work, and how to block them (and what doesn’t work), head over to my SecurityDawg place.

  46. nick flandrey says:

    Finished changing over from Vonage to OOMA today. Main number ported in a few days, once I pulled the trigger. Second number had to be cancelled and the Vonage service killed. They tried to save the account, but I cut them off and repeated- I was happy with the service when I had it, but my needs changed and I wanted a lower cost plan. My base plan with Vonage was $26/mo. My bill was $76/mo somehow. Now it’s $10/mo and prepaid to lock in for the year.

    I rarely use the home office line at all anymore. I did like using my teleconference system to make calls as it saved my neck and let me move around the office without a headset. Thing is, I really don’t make calls any more, and I use the speakerphone on my cell almost exclusively. My teleconference system was a very good/expensive speakerphone that I got cheap and it sounded great.

    It’s still the only phone in the office. If I post a workspace photo, maybe you can play ‘where’s waldo’ trying to find it in the pic 🙂

    n

  47. lynn says:

    “S.42: How a Freedom Becomes a Felony”
    https://survivalblog.com/s-42-freedom-becomes-felony/

    “The U.S. Congress is now on the cusp of passing a horribly unconstitutional law. It is designated H.R. 8 in the House and S.42 in the Senate. These bills would criminalize the American tradition of private party sales, trades, and gifts of firearms. It would become a felony crime to transfer any post-1898 firearm without first visiting a Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder to fill out an ATF Form 4473, paying a transfer fee, and having that FFL phone the FBI to conduct a background check on the transferee. Without a “Yes you may” response from the ‘Mother May I?” Nanny State, it will be illegal to buy a gun, even from your next door neighbor.”

    Hat tip to:
    http://www.woodpilereport.com/html/index-567.htm

  48. nick flandrey says:

    @rick, I don’t know if the pace of spam is increasing, but 2 have actually made it thru to the comments in the last month. I left one iirc, from vietnamese speaker, as I couldn’t see anything at all wrong with it (no links, no linky user name, so what was the point?)

    The ones that get thru seem to be on pages about a week old.

    I do laugh at the almost poetical cut and paste results… and occasionally post one here.

    n

  49. JimM says:

    >”As Jerry P. used to say: subsidize something, and you’ll get more of it. ”

    Also, subsidize something, and you will make it more expensive.

  50. lynn says:

    Finished changing over from Vonage to OOMA today. Main number ported in a few days, once I pulled the trigger. Second number had to be cancelled and the Vonage service killed. They tried to save the account, but I cut them off and repeated- I was happy with the service when I had it, but my needs changed and I wanted a lower cost plan. My base plan with Vonage was $26/mo. My bill was $76/mo somehow. Now it’s $10/mo and prepaid to lock in for the year.

    We have an emergency VOIP phone at home connected to the old wireless phone system. I use http://www.basictalk.com which I bought the “kit” from Walmart for $20 ???. The monthly cost is $10 plus $2 taxes.

  51. nick flandrey says:

    My main desire was to have a phone that the kids could just pick up and call 911 if needed. For that matter, the grandparents too. They can barely figure out how to turn our lights on and off… (it’s the only home automation we have and I’d recommend it to anyone. Hitting one button as you walk past to bed to turn everything off is cool.)

    n

  52. Greg Norton says:

    My main desire was to have a phone that the kids could just pick up and call 911 if needed. For that matter, the grandparents too.

    I have old school copper and pay dearly for the privilege.

    The stats for copper lines and the wealthy are bogus. Wealthy people get the phone service in the gardener or maid’s name and pay $12/mo instead of $50.

  53. Greg Norton says:

    “The bottom line question is: do SSD drives fail? Of course they do, as do all drives eventually. The important questions we really need to be asking are 1) do they fail faster than HDDs, and 2) how long can we reasonably expect them to last?”

    I have Crucial SSDs in two of my laptops, a 2017 ThinkPad and an old Dell I run “Linux only”. Neither system is “mission critical”.

    So far so good. Performance of the Dell improved dramatically.

  54. nightraker says:

    Made a late-ish snack and noticed the best by date on the jar of Jif peanut butter was 12/2011. Opened it some time back and about 25% used. No discernible difference from “fresh”.

  55. nick flandrey says:

    I opened two plastic “jars” of peanut butter that were several years past sell by, and stored under horrible conditions. Both had a slightly stale taste. Neither has any added sugar so that might make a difference. They make good cookies, where the flavor change is unnoticeable.

    Either would be edible and if you were hungry, probably delicious.

    In general though, high fat foods do change notably if you store them too long.

    Oh, and in the ‘bad cans’ column, add a can of pears from last week. Swollen up like a softball.

    ROTATE!

    n

  56. nick flandrey says:

    I’ve got several old machines that got random SSDs from ebay. They are name brand drives, but used. The machines don’t get hard use, but I haven’t had any problems. New ones are so cheap atm that I’d buy them in preference to used.

    It makes a HUGE difference in perceived speed of the machine.

    n

  57. nightraker says:

    ROTATE!

    🙂 Good advice. And I have pitched bad cans of fruits. I’ve been delving into the pantry more of late due to an unhappy delay in a long anticipated collection$. Use those preps! P’butter was stored at “room” temps all this time.

  58. Greg Norton says:

    In general though, high fat foods do change notably if you store them too long.

    I’ve seen high acid foods, notably pina colada mix, eat through the sides of a can, even when lined to prevent that sort of thing. Keep an eye on any canned fruit.

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