Sat. Aug. 17, 2019 – half way through August…

81F and 98%RH at 8am. HOT humid and wet in various places and degrees yesterday. Because the rain was from T-storm cells, it was pretty localized. There were a lot of cells, and they were spread across most of Houston, so you could have rain on the south side of a bridge, and dry on the north. In several places I got pounded so hard you couldn’t see 20 ft, but it didn’t last long.

The news lately is full of stories about individual people. The stories about movements, trends, and actions by state agents are a bit lacking. Watch the other hand…

Lots of errands to run today, kids are doing some activities with friends, and I’ll be able to get out of the house. We’ll see how I do on the list.

Keep stacking, keep working to improve your capabilities and resilience.\

n

23 thoughts on “Sat. Aug. 17, 2019 – half way through August…”

  1. 90f and 80% humidity at 9am in the Bluff City.
    In other words, HOT and MISERABLE.
    Taking the wife out to our Anniversary dinner at Texas de Brazil. We have never been there, but everyone gives it high marks.

  2. Taking the wife out to our Anniversary dinner at Texas de Brazil. We have never been there, but everyone gives it high marks.

    My in-laws love that place in Orlando … especially if someone else is buying.

    Just make sure to keep that token face down when you’re not in need of more meat.

  3. The Texas consumer electric power market is being manipulated. “How electricity startup Griddy exposed flaws in wholesale power market”
    https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/energy/article/Reporter-s-Notebook-How-Griddy-exposed-flaws-14291863.php

    “Griddy, the California electricity seller that came to Texas to disrupt the retail power industry, is shaking up the market in more ways than one.”

    “The company, which sells electricity from the wholesale spot market to retail customers, unwittingly exposed data errors from power generators that make their way on to the Texas grid — mistakes that cost consumers millions of dollars. On a hot but not unusually so May afternoon, Griddy notified its customers something unusual was happening.”

    “Power prices on the afternoon of May 30 spiked to $9,000 a megawatt hour for no apparent reason and Griddy sent out an alert telling its customers not to worry. The cost worked out to less than $3 — which Griddy compared to buying a medium-sized cup of coffee —and Griddy expected the state’s grid manager to reprice the power. And if the Electric Reliability Council of Texas didn’t reprice, Griddy assured its customers it would refund the money itself.”

    ERCOT, a Texas state agency, needs to be fining companies that supply it with bad information. Instead, the state employees are doing nothing so people (shades of Enron !) are manipulating the electric generation market in Texas. Typical state agency.

  4. An alternate viewpoint on the mess in Texas. “Summer price spikes are a feature of Texas’ power market, not a bug”
    https://www.axios.com/summer-price-spikes-are-a-feature-of-texas-power-market-not-a-bug-29638cbc-524c-4ff0-8604-9414a22fe89b.html

    “Demand for air conditioning across Texas helped drive wholesale electricity prices to the market cap of $9,000/MWh earlier this week, testing both the grid’s capacity and the public’s response to price spikes under the state’s wholesale electricity market.”

    The wholesale electricity market in Texas only works if people are honest.

  5. ERCOT, a Texas state agency, needs to be fining companies that supply it with bad information. Instead, the state employees are doing nothing so people (shades of Enron !) are manipulating the electric generation market in Texas. Typical state agency.

    ERCOT isn’t a state agency but a non-profit supervised by the PUC and funded by the various industry players in Texas.

    It was one of the disappointing things I learned about the place in the interview last November — no state pension and cr*ppy 401(k) options/matching.

    In retrospect, I’m glad the manager passed on hiring me, but it took him a month, along with a second lunch interview, to make up his friggin’ mind. Old school IBM — I didn’t show enough enthusiasm, I guess … or order a beer at lunch.

    I rarely drink.

  6. ERCOT isn’t a state agency but a non-profit supervised by the PUC and funded by the various industry players in Texas.

    Sounds like the same old ERCOT that I distantly worked with in the 1980s. Effectively a state agency.

    I do have to give them a break. Texas does not have enough power generation for the rapidly growing state population. And they are having to deal with the Duck Curve which makes scheduling power generation a lot more complicated since the wind and solar are intermittent and variable.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duck_curve

    Another problem that ERCOT has to deal with is to balance reliability and efficiency. It is tough to serve both of these simultaneously. When I was with TU Electric, we leaned toward reliability, especially in times of bad weather.


  7. Demand for air conditioning across Texas helped drive wholesale electricity prices to the market cap of $9,000/MWh earlier this week, testing both the grid’s capacity and the public’s response to price spikes under the state’s wholesale electricity market.

    $9 a kWh! And I thought electricity prices in California were high.

    OK, I know it was only for a short duration, but it reminds me of when CA tried “deregulation”, which was intended to prove that the free market could not work. It was “successful”. That’s when our governor got the nickname Grayout Doofus. One of my favorites… the nickname, not the guvnuh!

  8. Butto at a gun show:

    Insulin costs $450 a month. An AR-15 costs $395 for a lifetime. It shouldn’t be more affordable to kill than to stay alive.

    WTF, over?

  9. OK, I know it was only for a short duration, but it reminds me of when CA tried “deregulation”, which was intended to prove that the free market could not work. It was “successful”. That’s when our governor got the nickname Grayout Doofus. One of my favorites… the nickname, not the guvnuh!

    Find a way to watch “Enron The Smartest Guys In The Room”.

    The documentary gets a little political at the end with some unspoken allegations about the Governator who succeeded Grayout, but it is worth the effort.

    I flew into a completely dark airport in San Jose the morning of the iPod introduction at the Apple campus. At the rental car counter, I had to wait for the clerk to find my name in the Alamo national reservations list printout for the day, flown into the airport at midnight.

  10. Greg, I am familiar with the story, so will not be watching the movie. Might read the book, though.

    I am always fascinated at the brilliance of swindlers, and sometimes wonder how well they would have done if they had stayed within the law. Guess I will keep wondering.

    And, BTW, my long gone uncle was an LAPD detective who worked many years in bunco and white collar crime. He could tell some stories that would curl my toes. I sometimes wished I had the guts to try some of the smaller schemes, but I also feared getting caught. Contrary to popular belief, some police are very good at detecting these. When I once asked him how he caught some of the really smart ones, he smiled and said they all make the same types of mistakes. He could small a scam a mile off. Later, I suspected that having been a detective might be a good background for a life of scams, but it was too late to ask him.

  11. Butto at a gun show:

    Insulin costs $450 a month. An AR-15 costs $395 for a lifetime. It shouldn’t be more affordable to kill than to stay alive.

    WTF, over?

    Robert Francis is done.

    Where is he buying an AR 15 for $395?

  12. Home from running my errands and doing pickups. Few yardsales, but did get some nice fishing poles and a couple of reels for $10. I also got a fiberglas pole saw for $5 to convert into an antenna stand for portable operation.

    Hit a bunch of Goodwill stores, got some resale and bargains.

    Hit 4 estate sales and didn’t buy anything but 2 CDs.

    Time to feed the kids.

    n

  13. Thank you gentlemen for your kind thoughts regarding my mom.

    I pulled my laptop apart last night and fixed the rattle. In my fatigue I packed it poorly in my checked bag. Two screws on the chassis at the DVD drive were loose and couldn’t ‘bite’ to be tightened. The laptop is only lightly weakened for their removal and the disturbing rattle is gone.

    I’ve been plugging away at classes with University of the People. Four more classes to my AS in CS, then another 30 – 60 credits (I’ll see if I can transfer in a few more Old college classes) to my BS.

    $100 per class, no tuition or weird fees. DEAC nationally accredited. Not fancy but I’ll be able to tick the “has bachelors degree” box when I’m done. I’ve greatly enjoyed the classes. They do require effort, they do provide useful information. Self motivation and self discipline is key. No hand holding and no mercy on the deadlines.

    I took my finals for Web Programming 1 and also for Databases 1 today. Web Programming 1 was a proctored exam, nothing but what was in your head permitted. I chose to pay for a digital proctor via Proctor U. Just easier to coordinate. I won’t know the results for a week but think I did well. A lot of detailed finicky questions where the multiple choice didn’t lend itself to guessing. You either knew or didn’t. I sailed thru them pretty quick then reviewed each question carefully to ensure I hadn’t misread any. Tired brain when I was done.

    I signed up for three classes next term. Not sure if that’s going to work with full time work, etc. I may not be able to keep up with the reading assignments. Each week I’ll also have a discussion question (set topic, 300-500 words), a programming type problem (typically 5-10 hours effort), a journal (500 words of fluff exhibiting an understanding of the material) a self quiz (10-20 multiple choice questions) and assess 3 students work from previous week (1-2 hours with detailed constructive feedback). Plus the reading. I’ll have to bust my chops taking three classes. I expect I’ll drop the software engineering class as it’s heaviest on reading materials and that’s my Achilles heel (post car crash my reading speed is in the toilet).

    Here is the reading material for next term.

    I thought folks would find it interesting as we’ve talked about the cost of college, crippling debt load, etc, for young adults. These classes are worth as much as you put into them. For me they work very well, in part because of my 25+ years in the IT field. I think a pragmatic and hard working young person with an IT brain would do well also.

    I’m not impressed with Tutorials Point, the quality varies too much. I prefer codecademy or W3Schools. I assume Software Engineering is going to primarily use the Marsic book and have targeted reading from the other sources. I’m going to try to get as much reading done before classes resume the Thursday after Labor Day.

    Operating Systems 1
    http://pages.cs.wisc.edu/~remzi/OSTEP/

    Communications and Networking
    http://intronetworks.cs.luc.edu/current/html/index.html

    Software Engineering 1
    https://www.csee.umbc.edu/~mgrass2/cmsc345/paper%20-%20MythicalManMonth.pdf
    https://nptel.ac.in/courses/Webcourse-contents/IIT%20Kharagpur/Soft%20Engg/New_index1.html
    http://www.tutorialspoint.com/software_engineering
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/55/Introduction_to_Software_Engineering.pdf
    https://www.ece.rutgers.edu/~marsic/books/SE/book-SE_marsic.pdf

  14. I thought folks would find it interesting as we’ve talked about the cost of college, crippling debt load, etc, for young adults. These classes are worth as much as you put into them.

    Recently, we had to pass on a new grad from [*big* Texas school].

    My ‘no’ vote was based on a complete inability to tell me the difference between TCP and UDP. Despite a Visualization (video game programming) major and a CS minor, he never had any exposure to networking beyond canned APIs, and we do a lot of networking.

    Looks like you won’t have same problem after the Communications and Networking class. I was surprised that [*big* Texas school … give me an A … give me an M] let anyone out the door with a CS minor having zero knowledge of how networks function.

    (And I don’t want to hear that a great computer scientist isn’t necessarily a great coder or a network expert. I heard enough of that in grad school to justify my program becoming an OPT diploma mill at the Masters level.)

  15. Another day in the hot zone. Supposed to be 102 today. Ugh. Thank you Mr. Carrier for inventing A/C. Also the car makers for incorporating comfort into the cars. I don’t miss the 6-60* A/C of days gone by.

    *All the windows open, including the long forgotten vent wings, traveling at 60 MPH, and with two brothers the fight for the two window seats in the back.

  16. @Jenny: That course material looks really quite good! I agree, btw, with your opinions of both W3Schools and TutorialsPoint: W3Schools has a lot of solid material. TutorialsPoint is…variable. Sometimes a good example or two, but a lot of not-so-great stuff.

    Software Engineering – the Marsic book looks good – if that’s the main textbook, it’ll be a good course. I’m a bit surprised that they reference “Mythical Man Month” – while it was an excellent book in it’s day, it is now very old indeed. The lessons it taught aren’t wrong, but they have largely been superceded by the emphasis on agile development (which brings its own challenges).

    Just my 2 cents worth, as someone who teaches this stuff…

  17. Hey Jenny, thanks for the continuing info on alternatives to the indoctrination centers.

    Did you get yourself out of moderation or did Rick? I just saw the email from wordpress…

    n

  18. @nick
    I released my comment from moderation. I figured it would go to purgatory with so many urls.

    @Greg, @brad
    Thanks for taking a look at the materials and your thoughts. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the quality of the learning materials. Some of it obviously has been utter dreck, primarily in the general Ed requirements. The English class was great, the Ancient Rome class was deeply interesting. The statistics class was HARD and while I’ve retained the core concepts not so much on the actual how to do it….
    I’ve enrolled and dropped the business ethics class twice because it’s so painful. But it’s a core requirement and I’ll have to take it for the AS. I suspect the two Java classes were weak but I learned a lot and can do something that looks like real programming – better than what I could do before (that class used Ecks book).
    Like many college classes today you could pass the courses and graduate knowing and understanding little. I’ve been in the field long enough that I’ve already covered most of what UoP uses privately. It’s been a long time since I did real networking and I never had as good a handle on it as I wanted. Looking forward to digging my teeth in there.

    The first class they require you to take is for orientation and is an awful lowest common denominator waste of time. I suspect it drives off some students. Once you get thru that painful 8 weeks things improve greatly.

  19. My ‘no’ vote was based on a complete inability to tell me the difference between TCP and UDP. Despite a Visualization (video game programming) major and a CS minor, he never had any exposure to networking beyond canned APIs, and we do a lot of networking.

    Uh, oh. I would have flunked also.

  20. TCP = not time dependent packets, no loss allowed, resends packets if they don’t arrive.

    UDP = for time dependent but possibly lossy packets, like video, does not resend packets if lost.

    Other than that, \/(^.^)\/ meh

    n

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