Sat. May 18, 2019 – stuff to do…

Already 79F and 90%RH. Yesterday was another beautiful spring day, may we have many more.

Almost all my work and activity is outside today. Looks a bit threatening out though. NOAA has us on the edge of a system, with T storms and high winds. Openweathermap has misty drizzle during the day with partial inch overnight. We’ll see who’s right in the morning.

I think daughter 1 wraps up volleyball today. School PTA talent show was last night. Some of the kids really do have talent. I saw some of my science kids in a totally different light too. All schools have volunteer programs. Get out and do something, you’ll learn a lot about your community and might help someone.

Bought another chainsaw yesterday. That means I’ve got 3 that need work to run… couldn’t pass up a Stihl for $10 no matter what the condition. I really need a half day spent on small engine maintenance sometime soon.

14 days to the start of hurricane season. Start going thru your stuff.

n

21 thoughts on “Sat. May 18, 2019 – stuff to do…”

  1. Wind was nasty this morning in Austin but calmed down. Now it is just humid, cloudy, and just wet enough outside to prevent serious yard work for another weekend.

    Next weekend will be work stuff again. The State of Virginia is serious about cashing in on Amazon HQ2 with tolls, much like Seattle has with the $6 toll on the floating bridge from Redmond to near Amazon’s existing HQ. I’m counting 30,000 cars per day in VA running through the single system we have running — ca ching!.

  2. “SpaceX Delays Starlink Launch Again to Update Satellite Software”
    https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/291570-spacex-delays-starlink-launch-again-to-update-satellite-software?

    “SpaceX hoped to have 60 custom communication satellites in orbit today, but instead, it has zero. The private spaceflight company scrubbed the first attempted launch of its Starlink internet satellites on Wednesday this week, and now a second launch has been aborted. It’s not mother nature’s fault, though. SpaceX says the satellites need a software update.”

    Interesting.

  3. I’m currently in LA. MrsAtoz has a gig downtown. She’s been in San Bernadoo for a week and I flew into LAX yesterday as a friend/consultant flew out. What a zoo! After today we go back to San Bernadoo for four days of gig work. MrsAtoz drove her battlewagon to Kali. Drive back to Vegas on Thursday morning.

    I signed MrsAtoz up for Medicare (she turns 65 in August). We just got a letter all is good to go and she should get her card in a week or so. That and her milspec ID should have most bases covered. I’ll let all know how finding a Medicare doctor goes. Also getting drugs and such through the VA system.

  4. volleyball is done for the year, first place!

    Getting patchy misty rain across Houston, so it’s open weather map ahead so far….

    now off to do more stuff.

    n

  5. _Ariel_ by Steven R. Boyett
    https://www.amazon.com/Ariel-Steven-R-Boyett/dp/0441017940/?tag=ttgnet-20

    Book number one of a two book fantasy series. I read the well printed and bound MMPB that was first published in 1983. This is my 3rd or 5th reading of this book, my first reading was maybe 20 years ago. I doubt that there will be a third book in the series but, who knows ?

    I dislike fantasy books. They are typically fluffy and pretty. Well, _Ariel_ is neither. The book starts five years after the *change*. A young man, a virgin, is bathing in a small lake. A unicorn walks up and starts pawing through his clothing on the shoreline. The young man leaves the water and approaches the unicorn, a beautiful creature. But, there is pain on her face and the young man notes that her front right leg is broken and swollen. “Oh, you poor thing” he says to the unicorn, “I want to help you”. “Bwoke,” it says in a little girl voice.

    This is a dark and gritty book. It is awesome ! The universe is dangerous and not pleasant. There are many other magical animals such as manticores, griffins, and dragons with ferocious appetites that love eating humans and other large animals.

    This is my favorite fantasy book. Sadly, the sequel is not as good but I am reading it again anyway.

    There is a website for the book at:
    https://www.arielbook.com/

    The author has a website at:
    https://www.steveboy.com/

    I must also note that the *change* in _Dies the Fire_ by S. M. Stirling is very similar to the *change* in this book.

    My rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    Amazon rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars (137 reviews)

  6. I am still using my 4 ? 5 ? year old Galaxy 5S on Verizon. As JEP used to say, it is good enough.

    I was happy with the hand-me-down iPhone 4 I inherited from my wife, but Apple decided that it was obsolete a few years ago and forced me into an SE upgrade. Despite being a “Verizon” iPhone, once unlocked, the 4 had excellent GSM service with T-Mobile, possibly better than the SE I have now.

    I’ve met face to face with some of Apple’s crypto/VPN people, and based on my impressions from those meetings, I know better than to trust any version of iOS not actively supported by the company.

    I’m not sure what I will do when the SE is declared “obsolete”, probably within the next year or so. The alternatives I already own are a mainstream Android (Moto E4) and my corporate-free phone (Moto G4 Play with LineageOS).

    The corporate-free experience leaves a *lot* to be desired, but it works well enough to get by. Maps are the big issue. I also have to compile the OS myself lately to keep current with security patches to Android, but that has a lot of geek appeal.

    The mainstream Android is a non-stop ad machine, and there is something to be said for Apple’s “walled garden” of binaries only being available through the App Store. OTOH, I can install *real* Firefox on Android and minimize the privacy invasion at least with regard to browsing.

    I’ll stick with the SE as long as I can. Now that Apple is no longer trying to be Burberry, maybe they’ll risk the unwashed masses crowding the stores again and reintroduce reasonably-priced phones or *gasp* extend the support time. Now that all of the hardware supported by the company is 64 bit, they really have no excuse, and their (my guess) planned binary unification can proceed.

  7. “Friends and Family”
    https://accordingtohoyt.com/2019/05/18/friends-and-family/

    “The last time I saw Jerry Pournelle, at Liberty con, we were standing outside the ChooChoo building and Jerry told me about the first Liberty con (at least I think it was the first) at which he was guest of honor and how uncle Timmy had made a go of it, even though the building had been a mess and the whole thing — like most beginning cons — of doubtful wisdom. He told me that most importantly he’d had fun that first Liberty con. And he figured the fans did too. Which is why he — and they — kept coming back: to have fun and share our enthusiasm for the genre we all loved.”


  8. Also getting drugs and such through the VA system.

    Actually the VA is fairly good with prescriptions. Takes about 5 days to get the medicine by mail. VA does not give out medicine at the clinics. You can refill online. You eventually get a bill in the mail that you pay online. Co-pays are anywhere from $15.00 to $35.00 (at least for me and my needs). You do need to check local providers as they may be cheaper. My Metformin for a 90 day supply is $25.00 through the VA, $20.00 through Walmart.

    I’ll stick with the SE as long as I can.

    Wife has an SE purchased about two years ago from Verizon. Switched to xfinity wireless a year ago and phone bill dropped from $90.00 to less than $18.00 a month for both our phones. My phone is a 6S. I like the SE form factor and hope Apple upgrades the line. Or at least keeps support three years or more.

    When it is time to upgrade I will stick with IOS devices. I don’t like Android and there have been too many security issues. I also don’t trust google as their product is data, my data, which they abuse and apologize later.

    And I have a lot invested in IOS devices. Three tablets, two phones, Apple TV and Apple Watch. It all works together nicely. I don’t want to fuss or compile binaries to make it work. My geeky days are over.

  9. Partial cord cutting today — the cable box for the family room went back to Spectrum.

    $5.99/mo plus $2 per month for the “additional outlet” charge.

    The tradeoff was that the $10 discount for TV service offsetting the box rental went away, but that service isn’t long for our house. Only the TiVo has the cable feed right now.

  10. The mainstream Android is a non-stop ad machine, and there is something to be said for Apple’s “walled garden” of binaries only being available through the App Store. OTOH, I can install *real* Firefox on Android and minimize the privacy invasion at least with regard to browsing.

    But that walled garden of binaries is a monopoly. Apple will be forced to allow other walled gardens of binaries.

  11. Wife has an SE purchased about two years ago from Verizon. Switched to xfinity wireless a year ago and phone bill dropped from $90.00 to less than $18.00 a month for both our phones. My phone is a 6S. I like the SE form factor and hope Apple upgrades the line. Or at least keeps support three years or more.

    Apple discontinued manufacturing on the SE last year. Figure two more years at best before they drop support.

    Strangely, new stock keeps appearing for sale from time to time, online only, “found” in a warehouse. I don’t think Apple was 100% sure about setting the entry level price at $700. Tim Cook does not leave product in the pipeline on accident — prior to fixing Apple, he established Lenovo’s supply chain, ironically part of the reason ThinkPads have supplanted MacBooks in airport waiting areas as of late.

    I’m hoping that Apple showing the Burberry exec the door is a sign that they are going to back off the drive to become a more exclusive brand. The stores got kinda crazy for a while, but I attribute that to the transition where the Genius Bar went away and support mixed with new sales on the floor.

    The Michigan Avenue store in Chicago had a lot of people browsing when we stopped there in March, but I noticed not a lot of shoppers actually buying.


  12. Actually the VA is fairly good with prescriptions.

    That was not the experience my Dad had with the VA in Iowa.

    After fighting the VA for a year (wrong prescriptions sent, prescriptions not sent, prescriptions never arrived in less than 10-days after their refill date) we cut the VA out entirely.

    My Sister monitored Dad as we had moved him to an excellent extended care facility near her in Webster City, IA. He wouldn’t complain when he ran out of a prescription, because “it was in the mail” or when it was wrong. There were too many times that her Doctor had to write a prescription because the VA f’d up.

    With much effort, we got Dad back on Medicare exclusively, and fortunately, my Sister’s Doctor took him in. We paid for what Medicare didn’t cover. There is no plan that covers everything and then there is the “Donut Hole” (that is more like a pit).

    I’m going to stop now as my rants regarding the VA’s treatment of my Dad, and I could go on for days. Sure some Vets get good care (they get all the publicity), but the reality is most do not, and there is silence on that.

    Since today is Armed Forces Day, my mind and thoughts drift off to Dave Hardy. Peace brother.

  13. But that walled garden of binaries is a monopoly. Apple will be forced to allow other walled gardens of binaries.

    I find it hilarious that Valve is making that monopoly argument. How much of the PC gaming market does Steam cover?

  14. people still game?

    n

    (my wife is hooked on something the kids brought home, some sort of farming/planning game. It’s the worst part of open world games (resource management and creation) pulled out to be the entire game. I consider it ‘grinding’ and wouldn’t do it for fun. wife likes and is good at it.)

  15. Mr. Atoz,
    Have your wife call the folks at Medicare (weekends & late nights are their slow times) and authorize you & anyone else she cares to to speak on her behalf. And if you want a quick Medicare primer from someone who used to do that, let me know.

  16. @pcb_duffer, I’m a decade away and I’m sure it will change, but if I were closer, I’d appreciate a one or two page explanation…

    I find the whole thing tedious in the extreme, and think it’s complexity is intentional.

    n

  17. I’m going to stop now as my rants regarding the VA’s treatment of my Dad, and I could go on for days. Sure some Vets get good care (they get all the publicity), but the reality is most do not, and there is silence on that.

    The VA take good care of my 86 year old father-in-law. They pay for about 60% of his nursing home cost. He is not in a VA home so they put money in his account each month. He has been a disabled vet since 1970 or so and totally disabled since 2014. We put him in “rehab” in March of 2014 after thee emergency surgeries in a month and he has never left, getting progressively worse by the month. They do supply his meds and they do see him every six months which is a big effort to get him to the VA hospital.

    There is a quality of life discussion in here somewhere. My FIL can not roll over or lift his legs anymore. He can barely lift his arms now. I’ve told my wife that she needs to have the DNR on the wall discussion with him but she cannot talk about that with her daddy. Neither can her older sister so when he has another event, they will probably drag him to the local ER so he can continue to crap and pee in his diaper and be miserable.

  18. people still game?

    PC gaming still has an audience, but the popularity has been eclipsed by consoles, two of which, the PS4 and XBox One, are essentially PCs.

  19. I’m going to stop now as my rants regarding the VA’s treatment of my Dad, and I could go on for days. Sure some Vets get good care (they get all the publicity), but the reality is most do not, and there is silence on that.

    My wife is going to get an inside look at the VA system when she starts work there in June. We’re under no delusions about bureaucracy and will see how long it lasts.

    For her, private practice in Austin has turned into being all about dispensing Adderal (men) and Wellbutrin (women) while getting pay cuts due to the amount of time she spends protecting her license, pushing back against the whining instead of just writing the scrip. Gotta be more to life.

    She has never written more Adderal in her career since she has in the last five years in Austin. From what we’ve heard, Dallas is worse and Houston is comparable. Really, Texas?

    And, no, it isn’t just transplants.

  20. Mr. Atoz,
    Have your wife call the folks at Medicare (weekends & late nights are their slow times) and authorize you & anyone else she cares to to speak on her behalf. And if you want a quick Medicare primer from someone who used to do that, let me know.

    Thank you, sir.

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