Mon. Nov. 4, 2019 – only two months left in the year. Yikes.

Cold and damp. [53F and 99%RH]

I hope no one got tripped up by the “fall back” end of DST in the US yesterday. It’s traditionally a time to check/change the batteries in your smoke detectors, and I’d add any ready flashlights too. Also a good time to check your vehicle kit has your winter items in it.

I did manage to get all the Halloween decor in and put away yesterday. The indoor stuff is my wife and kids’ responsibility. NOT putting up Christmas stuff yet. Fall first, then winter- according to my wife. I”ll get some ‘fall’ and ‘Thanksgiving’ stuff out next week.

We are definitely skidding toward the end of the year now. Three more holidays and that’s another one for the record books. I REALLY need to get stuff to auction this week and next as no one buys between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I still have to get the new seedlings into the ground too, if I want them to do anything. So much to do.

I might as well get started.

n

49 thoughts on “Mon. Nov. 4, 2019 – only two months left in the year. Yikes.”

  1. Well, I guessed wrong. The VA sent me 120 batteries, supposed to last six month, thus 20 batteries a month, 5 batteries a week. Since indicated usage so far is about 12-14 batteries a month I should be good for awhile. However, they VA did not send any wax filters. I guess I have to specifically order those along with batteries.

    Not name brand batteries, some type I which I have never heard. Packaging sucks compared to retail. Retail you just open a flap, rotate the disc, and the battery falls out. The packaging from the VA requires that each battery be pushed out through it’s own flap. Not a fan of that type of packaging. I suppose the VA contracts with some company, pays 20% of retail, orders in the millions at a time. It may even be from a name brand manufacturer, just reskinned.

  2. @ray, who’s the manf? Maybe they’re a watch battery company?

    n

    my dad’s batteries were on little tabs that gave you something to hold on to. You put the battery in place, then held it in with a finger, while pulling the little plastic tab away. Worked pretty well.

  3. who’s the manf?

    OK, I looked on the back of the tear off top of the package. Made in Germany by Varta Microbattery, product is called “Power One”. I have no idea who they are and have never heard of them. I would think the VA would use a US company.


  4. pulling the little plastic tab away

    All the batteries have a plastic tab over the batteries. They are zinc-air batteries and the tab covers the holes. Once the tab is removed the battery is activated. I am supposed to wait 10 minutes after removing the tab before using the batteries.

  5. Varta is a major battery manufacturer in Europe. I believe them to be good to very good quality. Perhaps on of our EU readers will chime in?

    n


  6. I have no idea who they are and have never heard of them. I would think the VA would use a US company.

    WRT combat aircraft, must be made in the USA.

  7. I have no idea who they are and have never heard of them. I would think the VA would use a US company.

    A US company probably wasn’t available. The alternative was most likely Chinese with iffy quality control long term.

  8. From yesterday:

    “If it saves just one life, isn’t it worth it?”

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7647139/Heavily-pregnant-mother-uses-AR-15-kill-home-intruder-two-men-burst-Florida-home.html

    Self defense is legal in Florida.

    Yes.

    And self defense is legal by the USA Constitution which trumps all state constitutions and federal or state laws. Including imaginary laws via so called “Wise Latinas”.

    ADD: I do not know where this legal concept of having to retreat before defending yourself came from. I am fairly sure that it does not pass a SCOTUS smell test. At least the SCOTUS of today.


  9. Varta is a major battery manufacturer in Europe. I believe them to be good to very good quality. Perhaps on of our EU readers will chime in?

    Varta is a German-made brand of batteries. Top notch. I order them in bulk for my FiL’s hearing aids. Recommended.

  10. And self defense is legal by the USA Constitution which trumps all state constitutions and federal or state laws. Including imaginary laws via so called “Wise Latinas”.

    Before I fell asleep in front of “For All Mankind” last night, I picked up that a Wise Latina will be involved with the alternative history’s space program in the future … past … who knows. Ronald D. Moore himself wrote the episode so it is probably ensconced in the writer’s guidelines for the program.

    First footstep on Mars?

  11. Something is wrong with this.

    I don’t know exactly how the Tampa daily fishwrapper is structured, but The Times stock is wholly owned by the Poynter Institute, a media think tank which operates as a non-profit.

    The Times bought out the other daily paper in town with traditional corporate ownership, The Tampa Tribune, and shut the operation down a couple of years ago.

  12. Ok, taking a pickup load of mixed AV gear and lab equipment to the auction… then pickup some other stuff, then kids from school. And you can’t even see a difference in the garage unless you know where to look.

    n


  13. A US company probably wasn’t available

    Duracell, Rayovac, Everready all make such batteries. Perhaps a contract could not be worked out with those companies. It would seem to be a lucrative contract as the VA is the number 1 provider of hearing aids in the US.

  14. From @Alan yesterday:

    BTW, am I the only one that orders stuff from Amazon and gets it the next day ? Everything that I ordered in the last week or two showed up the next day at my house.

    https://www.theverge.com/2019/10/24/20931055/amazon-prime-one-day-delivery-shipping-q3-2019-earnings-spending

    Thanks for that ! I should have known it was about the money. It is always about the money.

    I must admit that I like getting stuff the next day. Even it is only a stenographers book for my truck (I log all events in my vehicles: gas, maintenance, etc).

    And I see this also, “Walmart appears to be gaining ground against Amazon”
    https://www.cnbc.com/2019/11/04/walmart-appears-to-be-gaining-ground-against-amazon.html

    “The frequency of people buying items on Amazon six times or more per month has dropped to 40% this year from 80% in 2017, according to data pulled by First Insight.
    It says Walmart appears to be winning more customers.”

    Is Walmart a tortoise in this race ? And in fact, this is not a race, it is a war. Bezos wants to take out Walmart.

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

  15. Is Walmart a tortoise in this race ? And in fact, this is not a race, it is a war. Bezos wants to take out Walmart.

    I’ve written before that Walmart’s e-commerce is run by the people who created the Diapers.com concept and were bullied into selling out to Bezos for pennies on the dollar. It is a personal to those people.

    I avoid Amazon.com unless I just can’t get it elsewhere or the price is too good to ignore.

  16. My spending at Amazon has also decreased. You really have to shop on price, but that is true anywhere.

  17. Amazon, like Google, has been giving off a creepy stalker vibe for more than a bit.

    I’ve a Walmart account, and use it occasionally, but it’s hard to break the Prime habit… I am slowly getting in the habit of checking prices there.

    —-

    Someone whacked the new Ram 1500’s drivers side window during the fire evacuation ruckus I was caught up in a couple of weeks ago. The truck was parked on the street and I came out to find bits of mirror strewn fifty feet down the road (mixed in pieces of someone else’s right side mirror and cover). Sigh.

    The Ram dealer finally has the assembly (I was initially hoping for just a broken mirror but the entire motor bracket was broken off inside the cover) and I’ll hopefully get that fixed this week, or early next. They say $200, which sounds way too low, so we’ll see.

  18. The Ram dealer finally has the assembly (I was initially hoping for just a broken mirror but the entire motor bracket was broken off inside the cover) and I’ll hopefully get that fixed this week, or early next. They say $200, which sounds way too low, so we’ll see.

    I broke the passenger side mirror off the Ford Expedition several years ago. Amazon had a replacement unit for $184. Much cheaper than the dealer replacement unit which was $400 or $500 at the time.

  19. Hi Lynn.

    Yes, I tried online (hence the delay in the fix), but the very few 2019 Ram Classic mirror assemblies on Ebay and Craiglist just didn’t look quite right. Most were obviously wrong in fact.

    That said I strongly suspect the inner mirror/motor/bracket is common to all the recent marques, but for $200 I decided just to let the dealer handle it.

    It occurred to me that if I had a “maker” set up I could mirror image the*right* side, and use that…

  20. The Ram dealer finally has the assembly (I was initially hoping for just a broken mirror but the entire motor bracket was broken off inside the cover) and I’ll hopefully get that fixed this week, or early next. They say $200, which sounds way too low, so we’ll see.

    When I broke the mirror on my Solara, the bare part with motor was $180, but that didn’t include the paint matching and body shop expertise involved with reinstalling the part with full functionality. The final bill ended up being nearly $500.

  21. Greg, yes, that’s my personal estimate from what people in the Ram forums said. If it goes much north of $500 I’ll probably balk.

    On the bright side, my new-car-itis is cured…

  22. Greg, yes, that’s my personal estimate from what people in the Ram forums said. If it goes much north of $500 I’ll probably balk.

    On the bright side, my new-car-itis is cured…

    New paint systems are excellent when it comes to looking decent for at least a decade with minimal maintenance if not outright neglect. The big downside is that a trip into the paint booth drives the cost of body work into the stratosphere.

  23. I change batteries on New Year’s & Independence Day (July 4 for those outside the US). Six months apart, and the festivities are a good reminder.

  24. …and for those in older homes, remember that smoke/CO2 detectors are only good for 10 years. And that pressing the test button only tests if the alarm will sound; it doesn’t test for the actual sensing of smoke (or CO2). A ‘smoke stick’ (or burning the pizza in the oven) is how you test for full operation.

    I replaced all my smoke detectors last year in my 23-year old house. Found the best deal in a multi-pack online (via Home Depot, as I recall). And replace the batteries in the AC-powered CO2 detectors (one on each floor) once a year. Less risk of CO2 in my house, as I have heat pump heat/cooling system, and electric stove.

  25. The new combined units are sealed with a 10 year battery, no changing ever. Also no robbing the battery for the kid’s game…

    I have hit things with my right side mirror on the Expy, but it just folds in and I continue on. I’ve hit other mirrors, my mailbox, and just a week ago, someone else’s mailbox. I tore the door off the box, so it was hanging open, which is why I hit it. In every case, my mirror was fine.

    For some reason I was just thinking about the mirror assembly. Some of them have heaters, puddle lights, internal turn signal lights, lights for blind spot awareness, possibly blind spot sensors, and the motors. Given all that, it’s not surprising that they cost a bunch of money. This is one reason cars keep getting more expensive.

    WRT amazon spending, the decrease COULD be a general decrease in spending. Or, it could be that many other companies are figuring out direct to consumer online sales, and when you use google to search for an item, they conveniently list a dozen places to buy the item online, with prices. People don’t fear online commerce anymore, so the trusted and curated experience isn’t the value add it once was.

    WRT walmart.com – their search sucks dead bunnies. RBT used to chronicle their shipping deficiencies regularly too. My biggest problem with walmart.com, after the horrible search results, is they are acting as a 3rd party marketplace while others handle the fulfillment. Search for DIN rail mounted power supply and walmart.com will have a result. NO WAY that they actually stock some of the stuff I’ve seen them return results for. Drilling down, it’s almost always a third party. Unlike amazons third parties (which I mostly despise too) your rights are limited by walmart. Amazon beats their third parties into submission, walmart doesn’t. Walmart’s in store pickup is pretty lame too.

    n

  26. Unlike amazons third parties (which I mostly despise too) your rights are limited by walmart. Amazon beats their third parties into submission, walmart doesn’t. Walmart’s in store pickup is pretty lame too.

    So that means that Walmart.com is taking the dregs of the the third party suppliers that Amazon is not ?

    I do not like buying from third parties on either site. The third parties usually exaggerate what their products do and don’t do.

  27. So another college self identifies as a lefty hell hole, and is off my list….

    “Racist ‘It’s Okay To Be White‘ flyers are posted across East Tennessee State University campus – including at a memorial for the school’s first black students

    The racist flyers cropped up on the campus in Johnson City over the weekend
    ETSU President Brian Noland denounced the white supremacist message
    He said the flyers were identical to others recently reported on college campuses across the country aimed at ‘sowing division and discord’
    Noland vowed to identify those responsible and bring them to justice
    The ‘It’s okay to be white’ campaign was created on popular internet forum 4chan, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL)”

    apparently, in Johnson City, it’s not OK to be white. This despite their vow “[of] carrying forward our work to support an inclusive and affirming campus. ” –unless you’re white and proud of it. I can’t wait until the “Islam is right about women” posters go up.

    n

  28. Ok, I have a local file server on the LAN that is giving me fits. It reboots itself every time I push it very hard (copying hundreds of files back and forth). It is:
    1. Antec silent case
    2. Gigabyte Z97X motherboard
    3. Intel i5 quad core
    4. 16 GB ram
    5. 250 GiB Intel SSD C: drive
    6. 4 TiB WD D: hard drive
    7. Windows 7 x64 Professional
    8. DVD / CD RW drive

    Any thoughts on how best to figure out what is going wrong with this pc ?

  29. Some of them have heaters, puddle lights, internal turn signal lights, lights for blind spot awareness, possibly blind spot sensors, and the motors. Given all that, it’s not surprising that they cost a bunch of money.

    Yeah, a bunch of that, so I don’t believe the $200, but time will tell.

    ———

    Walmart shipping….ah.

    I ordered something, it came in a box about 10x too big, with a just minuscule scrap of butcher paper as padding. The packer hadn’t even bothered to crumple the paper… you could almost sense the malevolence. But the purchase was fine, just a sata cable or something, so I didn’t complain.

  30. Any thoughts on how best to figure out what is going wrong with this pc ?

    It is either power supply or memory. I’m guessing power. Memory rarely fails these days, and some motherboards and CPUs are really particular about having 2.1 A on the +12 V line.

    The “torture test” from the Mersenne.org is what I use to rule out memory problems on Windows machines. Memtest.org has a good utility, but sometimes the odd way Windows uses RAM will trigger a failure that Memtest+ doesn’t catch.

    The intern didn’t leave you with a Linux box configured for file serving chores?

    I just upgraded my home server to Fedora 31. The upgrade is very painless anymore.

  31. It is either power supply or memory. I’m guessing power. Memory rarely fails these days, and some motherboards and CPUs are really particular about having 2.1 A on the +12 V line.

    The power supply is fairly old. I may just swap it out.

    I did have 32 GB of ram in it. I pulled 16 GB of the ram when I noticed it was rebooting all the time. I swapped the 16 GB back it and pulled the other 16 GB still rebooting.

    We have two Windows 7 x64 Pro file servers. One is for the Act! database and the other is for the source code, benchmarks, papers, etc, etc, etc.

  32. The power supply is fairly old. I may just swap it out.

    Antecs aren’t what they used to be. I deliberately run way too much power supply (400W) on my home server (~45-50W).

    Power supply replacement is always when I miss CompUSA the most. Even in San Francisco, I used to count on having access to their big store on Market when we needed something in a pinch at a conference.

    Fry’s in Austin has been on a downhill run for a while. I haven’t been in the local Altex yet.

    I don’t think we’ll see another CompUSA until the logistics of the Brown Truck Store become too expensive to compete with brick-n-mortar stores. Someone regional will once again rise. Then the management will have to re-learn that sector of retail on a national level. It will be painful.

    CompUSA replaced the Egghead Ponzi in the 90s, and that supplanted “management” deserved their fate. I don’t think it is a good thing that Amazon, NewEgg, and, to some extent, the Apple store supplanted CompUSA.

  33. Jeez, someone just dumped a mag, sounded like heavy rifle, AK maybe. Close too.

    Times like this I wish we had a citizen run “ShotSpotter” type system. Way too close for comfort. No sirens, no squealing tires, no odors on the breeze.

    Dog doesn’t get daylight saving. He pokes his nose into my office around 1030. Same time tonight, no matter what the clocks say.

    n

  34. Amazon’s strategy is reinventing consumer logistics to shorter and shorter delivery cycles in major markets. I predict there will be 4 hour and then 2 hour delivery for popular enough items, essentially putting the warehouse into the trucks. There will probably be “Amazon boxes” at every urban address like mailboxes today but with anti-porch theft features. Larger items will go to nearby drop centers at existing convenience or other retail locations.

    There is a price break on items you subscribe to now. At some point, the SF fan in me suspects there will be a knock at the door and a person sayin’ “You were going to order this tomorrow” with the box in hand. 🙂

    They are also crowdsourcing inventory, too. A YouTube community is producing videos on becoming an Amazon Affiliate, and getting rich, by buying merchandise from Chinese websites in quantity and having Amazon do the fulfillment here.

    The office at my employer needed a new microwave. The model selected at Walmart was chosen particularly for in store pickup on order day as specified on the web page. Walmart took 5 days to actually get it in-store and then the well padded manufacturer’s microwave box was placed in an overbox big enough to hold a 2 drawer file cabinet. The pickup process included a kiosk check-in, but still took an hour before staff could be bothered to move the item out of secure storage.

  35. I ordered some LED landscape lights from amazon and chose the specific units based on next day delivery, free with prime. I put two in my cart and the next day option went away. Took one out and it was back. So they had ONE unit close enough to deliver it in less than 24 hours (about 16) but not two. I bought it and it arrived in time for me to add it to my Halloween display.

    It was still cheaper than almost every other choice.

    n

    (to get it so cheap? Packaging was absolute minimum to enclose the light. One super thin plastic bag inside, instead of several. Plain cardboard box, no complicated graphics or two color printing.)

  36. @Lynn, heat or memory are definitely possibilities. Also, check event log for any clues.

    I’d suggest a replacement (hey, it’s not my money!) But seriously, get a synology nas (www.synology.com). Buy some good drives to put in it, and Bob’s your uncle. I use an inexpensive one at home, and we use them at work. Rock solid.

  37. To mostly echo what others have said: power supply or overheating. If you’ve had the case open to pop memory in and out, I’d think you’d have noticed dust bunnies over the air vents or other obvious problems. You might try leaving the case open and setting a desk fan to blowing on the CPU(s) while running a heavy load job. Or go straight to the probable cause and just replace the power supply.

  38. On the mirror whacking, that reminds me of something that happened to me back in the 70s. I had a motorcycle then, and had to park it on the street. One night I heard a smash and went out to see. A passing pickup had moved too far to the right, and his right-side mirror had hit my bike’s left-side mirror. My mirror stalk was rotated about 90 degrees to the right, but his entire mirror assembly was dangling from it! Just ripped right off of his truck. He didn’t stop, so I moved my mirror stalk back to where it should be (the mirror didn’t even break) and threw away the truck’s mirror. The next day I got some black paint and painted a pickup truck ‘kill’ marking on the gas tank.

  39. “and painted a pickup truck ‘kill’ marking on the gas tank.”

    –that’s awesome!

    n

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