Sun. Mar. 31, 2019 – cold and grey

Thermometer says 50F outside. House is 70F inside, which means it is chilly and windy outside. I switched the T-stat to “heat” so it should be nice in here soon.

I was tired, kids are tired, wife is tired, so I got to sleep in. Hooray.

Cleaning and unpacking, finishing the little things that didn’t make it into my abbreviated work week, and getting ready for next week should occupy my day.

Given all the high wind, I bet there are some limbs and even maybe trees down in the ‘hood and maybe the yard. I guess I better get busy.


Author: Nick Flandrey

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

25 thoughts on “Sun. Mar. 31, 2019 – cold and grey”

  1. Shopping for a new mower. Mine still works but it is 10 years old. Last repairs I put in cost me about $150.00 in parts. Coaster wheel bushings, mower deck front edge deflector, discharge chute and new mulching plate.

    I am torn between the ExMark zero turn which is quite nice with a comfortable seat. Manual blade lift with the right foot with really easy settings for height. Adjustable seat for weight and forward and back. Turns within it’s own radius like all ZTR mowers but if you not careful will scrub the grass. Usual problem that on slopes (I have couple of small ones) there is no turning going downhill. I have dealt with that for 10 years so not a big issue. Fast mower as it is used by commercial mowers. It has mulching capability but that requires a $200.00 kit and is installed in the mower deck and thus not easy to change without some effort.

    I am also looking at this John Deere mower. It has the same size deck as above. Four wheel steering for 19″ turning radius. Not as tight as a ZTR but will do for my needs. Hydrostatic drive by foot operation. It also has power steering which makes it really easy to operate. One of my biggest complaints about lawn tractors was the hard steering compared to a ZTR. This mower has no such issues. It has power blade lift and lower with hydraulics. Mulching is built into the deck and can be changed with the flip of a lever or optional electric activation. This mower will also be easier to use to tow a yard trailer around the property. Steering wheel is adjustable along with the seat. A full gauge cluster with fuel level, hours, voltage, tachometer, etc. so it provides more information than the ExMark.

    With either mower I am looking at spending about $7,500.00 out the door with some options and tax. Yeh, a lot of money. But these mowers are big step up from the consumer models you find at Home Depot and Lowes. Better seats, better built, longer warranty, tougher components, welded instead of stamped frame, etc. Both units have upgraded hydraulic drive pumps and motors that must be serviced every 300 hours. Consumer units are sealed and must be replaced (expensive).

  2. I’m glad I have been lawn free for 40 years. Instead, I have interestingly beautiful natural shrubs and wildflowers. Not for everyone.

  3. I’m glad I have been lawn free for 40 years. Instead, I have interestingly beautiful natural shrubs and wildflowers. Not for everyone.

    After experiencing death threats from neighbors over sod in FL, I decided that I wouldn’t do anything to the yard in Texas beyond mowing (mulching the clippings) and the occasional watering during the Summer.

    The yard looks great.

    I did finally concede to *some* fertilizer this year, the first in five years, because we really didn’t have a sustained hard freeze in Austin to kill the weeds off in the areas away from the trees.

    The section of Florida around Tampa has a nasty “potato” vine which is probably invasive and a constant nuisance. A zeriscaped yard still requires regular work to keep the landscape from turning into a jungle.

  4. I’ve been told I need to get a zero turn mower. I look at prices and well, no. They cost more than any car I have ever bought. Ok, the brand new ’85 Cavalier cost more but not by much.

    I’ll stay with my $1000-ish rider. The area I mow is pretty lumpy so I can’t go very fast. I suspect I would be moving just as slow with a zero turn. One one hand, I’ve had the current rider for 10 years or so.

    My first rider ran 13 years before it turned into a mosquito fogger (and two quarts of oil to mow the yard) and it mowed all over this place and hauled rocks and bags of concrete mix in a trailer…. before I got an actual tractor.

    The current rider has OHV and an oil filter. It does not use oil.

    But still, I’d like to have a zero turn. Just because they look like a lot of fun. 🙂

  5. I’ll stay with my $1000-ish rider

    I said that at one time. Not any more. The maneuvering ability is amazing, and quick. It is effectively power steering and much easier on the arms. A ZTR cut my mowing time in half. My new one will have a suspension seat to reduce the bumps. Borrow a ZTR and see how much easier it is to mow. I was amazed when I did my trial.

    I just sold my Sears riding mower. Paid $800.00 for a 46” 18HP Kohler engine, riding tractor 20 years ago. Got $200.00 for the mower. Next is to get the ExMark mower and deliver my old ZTR to my son.

    I expect the difference between consumer and professional to be a step up. At least my trial at the dealer indicated a smoother ride, smoother controls, a much nicer seat.

  6. @Greg, perhaps apple has decided they don’t need the baggage of buying Tesla, or the hand built warranty issues either.

    The EV War Is Officially On: Apple Hires Tesla’s Head Of Electric Powertrains

    Sun, 03/31/2019 – 18:40

    Rumors and questions about Apple’s secretive automotive project have been swirling for years. Does the company intend to build its own EV, or is it just focusing on autonomous driving software? Has “Project Titan” been killed off or is it still actively being pursued behind the scenes? Today, we have more clarity on the issue – as a result of yet another Tesla executive departure… and reapparance.

    Tesla’s former head of electric powertrains, Michael Schwekutsch, who was reported to have left the company earlier this month, has re-surfaced at Apple.”

  7. I don’t have xeriscaping. That was “discovered” some time in the 90s around here, but it never really caught on. Tucson has some beautiful examples, but we don’t. No, I guess what I have might be called zero-scaping, because my five acre yard is just natural desert,except for the buildings. No watering except for the rain, which seems to have been about normal this season, and no real maintenance, except for occasional cleaning up. That is strictly as necessary. Let’s see, I think it has been about twenty years, but I don’t really remember. I do have to keep my wood pile clean, and still have some construction waste from the new garage, but I am gradually burning that.

    I find it interesting that Texas has HOAs. We don’t have them here, except in the one small “planned” development in town. Some friends there like it, and some are not pleased. All of them knew when they decided to live there. I thought California was supposed to be friendly toward such nonsense. But then, we are on the inland side of the coastal mountain range, and our politics lean right-ish. Some of us are just a tad right of Attila the Hun 🙂

    My neighborhood is zoned for light agriculture, whatever that means. Minimum lot size is 2.5 acres. Residents can have small numbers of traditional farm animals, but there really aren’t many. Most people know just about everybody. OFD would probably like it except for the climate.

    Our county seat is 120 miles west, on the other side of the mountains, and they mostly ignore us. Most of us prefer that, except for occasional meddling. A few years ago, the county revised their rules to permit only one unregistered vehicle visible from the “street.” That’s in quotes, because we don’t have formal streets, but anyhow… So, some residents threatened to put up really ugly fences, which are legal and would obscure their yards. Some threatened to put one car on each lot owned; many of us own several pieces of property. And, some threatened to just register our stored cars, which used to be pretty inexpensive. After the dust settled, enforcement went to being lax as usual. I really don’t like lax enforcement: it gives the enforcers leverage they shouldn’t have. We should simply repeal stupid rules and laws. Right.

  8. Alright, changed the batteries in the weather station, and raised it up a couple of feet for good measure. It was right by the roof, tucked into a corner. This made the temps probably read high, and the wind direction was iffy at best.

    I also got my UHF eggbeater antenna mounted. I didn’t get to run the cable yet though. I had to clean the eaves and siding before I could mount the antenna. That part of the house was just out of reach of the pressure washer, and it was green with mildew. The HOA issued a reminder that they would be looking for and citing mildew and mold issues so I finally got to it. The eggbeater is an omni directional antenna with a ground plane. It will be able to see the entire sky (in theory) and I intended to try D/Ling weather maps and other satellite imagery with it and an SDR dongle.

    I’ve got some tree trimming to do right by the house too. The list never ends.


  9. 10-4, JimB, I’ve been north on 395 through Red Mountain and then right on Trona Road and into Death Valley. Once saw the rocket frame structures for filming a sequence to the ape movie at the Trona Pinnacles.

  10. I’ve been trying to get Microsoft’s Onedrive to work on my Lenovo laptop (which has Windows 10) for several months.
    One drive seems to work on my home built desktop which has Windows 10. I wanted to share some files between the two computers without having to use a thumb drive.
    Today the Onedrive application on the lap top won’t even start so I uninstalled it. It wouldn’t reinstall using the setup file in c:/windows/WinSxS. The version was out of date so I went to the App store and downloaded and install Onedrive that way. The installation was easy and found my files out on the cloud as I was able to get a list of them on my laptop (finally).
    But the first file I tried to open (38 KB in size) took several minutes to down load and it did not open in Excel like I expected but it some kind text format that almost looked printable. I close it.
    I then attempted to get the file list in Onedrive to show the file extensions and details. Neither of these seems possible. This makes opening my file difficult as I have many files that have the same name but with different extensions like bob.doc and bob.xls, etc.
    I next tried to download a 700 KB Excel spread sheet. I started it a few minutes after 7 pm EDT and it is still downloading. It’s now 9:30.

    I think I’ll stop the download and see I file manager and see the Onedrive files.

  11. File manger does not see Onedrive. I’m now trying to download the “Getting started with Onedrive” file but I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for it to download.

    I have a possibly related issue. My name on the laptop is misspelled. I tried various fixes for this but I’ve not been able to correct it. (Stupid arthritis popped when I was not expecting it.) I wonder if the name difference between my IDs on the computers is causing some weird problem.


  12. @bob, seems like you’re probably one step away from chicken blood and black candles.

    I’ve never been able to use onedrive on anything. I just can’t seem to get the setup to finish. Since I never needed it, I never kept poking at it. A coworker would send me links to his onedrive and they never worked right for me either.

    Can you just set up ad hoc networking over wifi to move the files?


  13. @Greg, perhaps apple has decided they don’t need the baggage of buying Tesla, or the hand built warranty issues either.

    I have no idea as to whether Tim Cook actually wants to build cars, but it doesn’t cost $100 billion to keep the powertrain guy busy and avoids the shareholder class action lawsuits.

    If Apple gets into the car business, they’ll handle the design and let Toyota fix Fremont after picking up whats left of Tesla from bankruptcy.

    Lots of antics this weekend because Tesla’s Q1 numbers are due in the next few days.

  14. I use ethernet. The desktop system has does not have wifi. I probalby could do networking but I’m sort of writing a book. I work on various chapters when the opportunity is available to me.

    When I’m traveling having the latest files without having to think about what I’ve worked on last or where appealed to me. Should have expected it was smoke and mirrors. Oh well.

  15. Bob, I started using One Drive a few years ago, when some people I share photo files with complained that they could no longer select and download groups of files on Google Drive. I immediately found that One Drive works better than Google Drive, especially on my Android phone, because it seems to cache the files and thumbnails for instant viewing while GD is always much slower. Remember I am the one challenged with slow Internet access, so that might be different for others. I also like OD on Linux. Sorry, no production Windows system right now, so untested, although I have viewed my files on a friend’s W7 notebook, and everything seemed to work fine.

    I find it interesting that OD works better than GD on Android. Think about who owns them. I also ran into that trying to do some Googly things on Linux. It seems that the company that once proudly claimed they ran on Linux supports their Windows users better than their Linux users. We Linuxers face these things regularly. Don’t even mention calendar syncing.

    Isn’t it just wonderful that computers are so complex that two people can have completely different experiences under similar conditions? Black candles indeed.

    I Would bet someone here has a better suggestion. I think you need some sort of file syncing, but I don’t know how to do that unless you use something like Google Docs, which I can’t recommend. I am really old school on some of these things. Not that I wouldn’t want to learn something!

  16. I used to have the time to focus on something like this and solve it. When my wife got Alzheimer’s several years ago I had stop and things change so fast (and I’ve aged enough) that I can’t dig in and work through these any longer.

    As I said earlier: Oh well. I asked because I didn’t want to beat my head against a wall the wouldn’t come down.


  17. I Would bet someone here has a better suggestion. I think you need some sort of file syncing, but I don’t know how to do that unless you use something like Google Docs, which I can’t recommend. I am really old school on some of these things. Not that I wouldn’t want to learn something!

    Backblaze has a new Cloud storage service in addition to their existing backup service:

    Please note that I have not used Backblaze. I just know about the service from their most excellent hard drive failure analysis.

  18. I used Dropbox for many years. It’s pretty easy, but last year they reduced their support for Linux, which is why I changed. If you’re not on Linux, give it a try…

  19. I use OneDrive regularly. I sync files across my home PC, 5 laptops, 2 phones, a couple of tablets, and my PC at work.

    I had trouble getting it to work on one of the laptops. As I recall, the two things that are sensitive are installation (version?) and account. “Not” downloading files would be if you’re on a metered network (if you set your network as metered, it won’t download the file until you tell it to.)

    Mis-spelled name should be no problem. My laptops are all ebay specials. One has me in as “owner”, another as “CF_52”. I forget the others – they don’t matter. Onedrive settings is where it’s at. Don’t get your Microsoft account wrong there.

    One thing that may crop is is metered networks. I have my MiFi hotspots set as metered networks – so they won’t synchronize automatically when I start to use them (Windows Updates are the reason I set them as metered.) Then you have to tell OneDrive it’s okay to update.

    I’m sorry I can’t troubleshoot the whole thing. I had trouble with one account & fought with it for a couple of days. Now it just works.

  20. I also use OneDrive without any issue. I sync between an iPad, iPhone, desktop and a laptop without any issues. I really like using OneNote with OneDrive as I can make changes on any device are reflected on other devices within a couple of minutes.

    I also store some critical files on OneDrive as a fourth location for backup of the files.

    What is critical is that you have to use a Microsoft account and the credentials must match on all the devices that you use OneDrive.

    If I want to get files to others I use my website or DropBox. No one but myself has access to OneDrive.

  21. Ditto JimL and Ray. I use OD primarily with Apple iron and my one SP. No problems.

    I also love OneNote. I wish they would revert to “tabs across the top”.

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