Sun. Dec. 29, 2019 – time is getting short for 2019

Warm and wet.

Got home last night. Long day. Kids opened one present each. We’ll open the rest of the presents we left at home this morning. I remember most years growing up having multiple “Christmas days” with various family members (or branches of the family) who couldn’t all be in the same place at the same time. It does prolong the season….

House was a bit stuffy, but otherwise fine. It’s a mess from the rush to get on the road. We’ll fix that later.

Hopefully the drizzle from last night won’t stick around all day.

And I hope I am still sleeping in!

n

Author: Nick Flandrey

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

31 thoughts on “Sun. Dec. 29, 2019 – time is getting short for 2019”

  1. Yup, slept in. Daughter #1 woke me by cooking breakfast. She just needed a couple of tweaks and we were ready. #prouddaddy

    Currently 54F and drizzling. Off and on showers. Grey and dreary.

    Getting some cleanup done while we have the carrot of some presents left to open. #sneakydaddy

    Mmmm, coffee.

    n

  2. Presents opened, achievement unlocked.

    10yo got a hoverboard, and is zooming around the house already. I wonder what a code audit would reveal about the source of the smarts that make the thing work…. hmmm.

    8yo is happily playing with her horses and a new barn/stable. No code involved in that toy (other than all the CNC cutting of the wood it’s made out of.)

    in catching up, this is worth a whole post, but I’ll preview it here. I’ve been having this argument with a lot of people lately, nice to have a chart to back up gut feel.

    https://thesilicongraybeard.blogspot.com/2019/12/the-war-on-men-in-one-chart.html

    n

    Various other small gifts were ohhhed and ahhhed over.

  3. Bad day on the broadcast. Live feed was all messed up, almost to the point of being unwatchable. Scrambling to find issue. Feed from distribution amp was fine as shown on the SD monitor. Problem is in the analog going to the modulator. Changed cable. No dice. There are three cables on the back of the modulator that connect internal parts to other internal parts, external jumpers so to speak.

    Removed and reset the six connections. Then everything went black, nothing from the switcher which controls everything. Needed to power cycle the switcher. Everything came back but also requires restoring the settings from a computer to get graphics and PIP settings back. That crashed the broadcast until the operator can reset the feeds. Signal to the sanctuary is now good and the broadcast looks as good as it will get (normal since it is SD).

    My hunch is that the jumper cables (coax) on the back of the modulator are going bad. Thus I have made three new cables, RG6, and will install them next Sunday. Hopefully that will solve the problem. For now.

    The modulator is probably 25 years old, no longer made, no parts, and only spares are with the local cable channel owner/operator. Even Comcast techs have no idea about the box. When I call Comcast because of cable problems the first thing out of the techs mouth is we are not allowed to transmit on Comcast cable. I have to explain that we are indeed allowed to transmit. Then the tech threatens to put a trap on the line. I explain that would affect the internet and we are indeed allowed to transmit as a sub unit of the owner of the local cable channel.

    I really need to find a way to get a signal to his location using the internet. The box he leases for sporting events which works over the internet is about $8K, a little too much to spend. As the crow flies his office is only 3/4 of a mile, by road about 1 mile, so not far. Running our own cables is out of the question because of permit and pole regulations. No line of sight either and since he leases the space in a multi-tenant building putting anything on his roof is not allowed.

    I wish I knew what I was doing and understood this crap. So far I have been lucky. Better to be lucky than good I guess. But when you get into RF frequencies and having to share a cable that goes way over my head.

  4. From @Greg yesterday:

    Just imagine a developer coming in and buying a block in your neighborhood, knocking all the houses down, and putting up a 20 story complex for the homeless XXXXXXXX money challenged XXXXXX XXXXX mentally ill. All funded by HUD dollars.

    20 stories? Nah.

    Four stories of high density residential (350 sq ft apartment), ground floor retail, and basement parking (until they outlaw private cars). I saw it in Seattle and am starting to see it in Austin.

    Come to Houston. There are 30 or 40 of these 20+ story residential buildings already built in and lived in. But, they are all high end residential.

    The next phase is to build 20+ story residential buildings for the homeless.

  5. “they are all high end residential.”

    –until they’re not, and then they become slums.

    We are surrounded by apartments that started out fine. The development model for apartments only makes money if they don’t spend a lot on them. As they gradually decay, the owners suck all the money they can out of each step down the ladder. Often they sell them to someone who plans to extract even more money while spending little. Change the residents to section 8, or cater to illegals, and pretty soon you have a violent, crime ridden ‘instaslum’.

    Eventually gentrification comes and the hellholes get razed. Then the cycle starts again.

    n

  6. BTW, Chicago learned the lesson (well, maybe not actually) about concentrating poor and violent losers in high rise buildings… google “Robert Taylor Homes”, or “Caprini Green.”

    n

  7. BIM and all the virtual modeling means lots of net is needed on the modern construction site. Knaak, the legendary jobsite storage box maker, has a special box for your onsite workstation, with 42″ monitor so everyone can see….

    given that 1/4 of US adults in construction are functional illiterates (which matches my years on jobsites) BIM and the paperless jobsite are doomed. Or you get a jockey just to run it in parallel with the actual work.

    That 1/4 number correlates well with the 30% of the population that do not have driver’s licenses or vehicle insurance. I know that number well, one of them ran a red light in 1999 and I tboned her in my 1996 Ford Explorer. My uninsured motorist insurance paid off my $7,000 of damage.

  8. given that 1/4 of US adults in construction are functional illiterates (which matches my years on jobsites) BIM and the paperless jobsite are doomed. Or you get a jockey just to run it in parallel with the actual work.

    High bandwidth inside the structure is still valuable to save rework costs by allowing voice and/or video communication without making the supervisors leave to find a cell signal.

    Nextel PTT was a more optimal solution, but Sprint shut that down and repurposed the bandwidth. The disappearance of that protocol was a huge loss for the construction industry. Progress.

  9. That 1/4 number correlates well with the 30% of the population that do not have driver’s licenses or vehicle insurance. I know that number well, one of them ran a red light in 1999 and I tboned her in my 1996 Ford Explorer. My uninsured motorist insurance paid off my $7,000 of damage.

    30% seems a bit low. I’m paying more now in TX for a “no forgiveness” policy with The Lizard than I did for their normal coverage in Florida. The widely-cited but unofficial figure in FL was 50% uninsured for whatever reason.

  10. Why would you ever need a weapon in church?

    Compare and contrast.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7834877/Black-man-arraigned-stabbing-five-people-Hanukkah-party-machete.html

    Thomas stormed into the home of Rabbi Chaim Leibush Rottenberg in Monsey at around 10pm and began wildly swinging a machete at dozens of worshippers gathered for a candle-lighting ceremony on the seventh night of Hanukkah.

    He stabbed multiple people as onlookers threw a coat rack, table and chair in his path and chased him out of the home”

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7834977/Two-dead-one-wounded-shooting-church-Texas.html

    another deacon ‘who is a concealed carry instruction, and retired law enforcement officer, shot the guy before he could fire a third time!’

    That deacon has not been identified but according to CBS 11, he is actually a former FBI agent and part of the church’s security.

    While the shots were being fired, people ducked under church pews and at least five others rushed towards the shooter with handguns.

  11. WTF is wrong with people?

    “Transgender man, 39, and his non-binary partner welcome a baby thanks to a sperm donor who was also transgender (and so was the doctor)

    Reuben Sharpe, 39, from Brighton transitioned to a man 12 years ago
    Six years ago he decided that he wished to become pregnant and have a child
    He and his non-binary partner Jay, 28, sought a transgender sperm donor online
    The couple welcomed the birth of their baby Jamie three months ago

    A transgender man has given birth to a baby after being impregnated by a transgender doctor using the sperm of a transgender woman. “

    –why is this something to celebrate? So much mental illness on display, that kid is gonna be a basket case.

    n

  12. Speaking of vehicular difficulties–

    When I moved my Expy to the driveway before we left on our trip, I discovered the right rear tire was completely flat. No time to do anything but park, I did remember backing up and scraping the curb when I parked it. I was hoping I just ‘broke the bead’ and that the tire was still intact.

    Fast forward to this afternoon, when my tale of woe begins.

    My Expy is FULL of stuff. Tools and supplies for installing network and cams, ebay and estate sale stuff I haven’t processed yet, etc. I didn’t want to empty the back to get to the jack and tire tools.

    So, first thing, dig out the little emergency air pump and let it run…. until it broke without inflating the tire.

    I’ve got plenty of jacks, I’ll use one of them. One bottle jack with no oil inside, one long handled jack that raised the truck but then started to fail, collapsing slowly to the side, another jack that needed oil, but then worked, however, the handle got trapped so I couldn’t jack any further.

    When the small compressor failed, I thought, well, I’ve got a small compressor in the garage. But I took the hose somewhere else. Much plumbing and searching for adapters/ new hose ends, and I gave up. I put the air chuck directly in the compressor and held the whole thing up to the tire. But the pipe on the chuck had a crack and leaked air, so I found another…. and tried again. Now this compressor is bigger than an airbrush compressor, but not big enough to fill my huge truck tire.

    At this point, my wife says, “why don’t you just take it to Joseph and get it fixed before he closes?” So I reconsider, and empty most of the back of the truck, thinking I’ll have to take the tire in to get inspected anyway… dig out the jack and grunt that thing until the truck is up enough. Remember to break the nuts loose before the tire leaves the ground…. except I have to stand, and bounce, on each nut to break it free. Fukcing air gun jockeys.

    Finally get the tire and wheel off, into the wife’s van, and off to the tire guy, who is of course CLOSED, it being 5:30 on a Sunday night. Off to the service station (NON-service station) to pay $1.75 to at least air up the tire.

    Back home, crank the jack some more, fit the tire and wheel, snug the bolts, reload the cr@p in the back, and pick up all the tools. Now waiting to see if it holds air.

    All afternoon, one fail after another, and all because I never tested the things, or knew they were NFG but didn’t fix them… and because I’m lazy and didn’t want to empty the truck. What a wanker.

    So tomorrow, if the tire holds air, I’ll drive to the tire guy, have him pull it and check for damage from the 30 feet I drove when I moved to the driveway. If it doesn’t hold air, I’ll pull it again, and take it to him in my wife’s van.

    Not how I wanted to spend the afternoon, but once I started chasing down the rabbit hole, I kept going long past the point where I should have stopped. Thankfully, I have a wife to pull me back.

    Prepper fail!

    n

  13. Nick, sorry to hear about your “tire adventure.” You are forgiven for letting tools decay, and not frequently testing scenarios.

    Some suggestions: if you don’t have shop air, buy a brand new Harbor Freight 61615 oilless pancake air compressor, $40 with a coupon. It is about the same weight as an air tank, and holds enough air to mostly inflate one flat tire. Yes, it is slow and wimpy, but mine has a DC motor that only draws 2.5 amps from 120 VAC. This means it can happily run from hundreds of feet of extension cord or a modest inverter on a car battery. It is waaay better than those tiny emergency compressors, but you should still carry one (or two!) of them because they are compact. It will last a long time if not used much.

    Buy a decent new full size floor jack. Unless you rdally need to carry it, get a steel one rather than aluminum. Pay about $100 on sale. Consider a low profile model if you have small cars. If you really need to transport it away from home, consider a small “trolley” jack. Their best feature is very low price, so they can be abused if necessary and discarded. Bottle jacks are useful, but very limited, and not very versatile. Scissor jacks are versatile, but sensitive to uneven ground. I bought mine decades ago, so no recommendations. Many are flimsy.

    Any tire run flat for even a few feet is possibly suffering from latent carcass damage. It will seem OK, but will fail at the worst time, usually within a few months. Don’t drive on it except to get home. I use them on stored cars.

    Of course, a nicety is to have a “spare spare,” a complete tire-wheel assembly tested and ready to go, stored in your garage or taken on trips. Especially important if you have one of the new cars that has a limited use spare… or none. CAFE rules!

  14. I’m sure there’s nothing to worry about here….

    Secret mapping project?

    I was figuring experimental mapping project.

  15. A beam style torque wrench is accurate and consistent. In addition to the usual uses, I use mine to check and calibrate click type torque wrenches.

  16. Good advice JimB. I actually have a mounted spare at my secondary location. I have the full size spare under the Expy too, but was trying to avoid lowering it down and all the messing with the scissor jack. That scissor, lifting the land barge, is not for the faint of heart or arm. Fortunately it’s in the driveway. Unfortunately, it’s blocking my Ranger pickup.

    I’ll have my tire guy dismount the tire and look carefully at the sidewalls (assuming it holds air thru the night). It would suck to have to replace it, as they are a set I bought new, and have lots of life left, but are worn the same amount. I don’t like any issues with the heavy Expy though. Also, it’s a brand my tire guy doesn’t carry, so I’d have to get one elsewhere.

    I think the spare is the same brand, but has more wear and age. Not ideal. The backup mounted spare is a different brand and tread pattern.

    WRT the compressor, I’ve been thinking about getting a little pancake for the home garage. The little one I have was part of an HVAC system, has a 2 gallon tank and only pumps to 40 psig. It’s great for what I used it for, but not really for running tools or filling truck tires. I’ve halfway planned to use it for bench air in my office, just for dusting. I’ve got a big portable compressor stored elsewhere to run my air tools, when I use them. Last time was doing the trim out in my master bedroom, 8 years ago. It has not been a priority to get good compressed air here at home.

    the biggest issue for me was that I thought I had stuff covered, and it would be easy and quick, but then the rabbit hole happened, and I just kept going. The smartest thing to do would have been to jack, pull, and fill right away, then proceed based on whatever happened next. Maybe I’d even have had time to do other things in the daylight!

    On the other hand, the kids spent all day playing with their new gifts, and clearly love them, so I got that right…..

    n

  17. On the other hand, the kids spent all day playing with their new gifts, and clearly love them, so I got that right…..

    Cool !

    It gets harder when they get in their 30s. Cash usually works though. And Dilbert books.

  18. We now have a Roku Ultra on each TV in the house. They work extremely well and are very reliable. Easy to setup also. I cannot believe that my wife paid $69 each for the last two we bought.
    https://www.amazon.com/Roku-Streaming-Player-Premium-Headphones/dp/B07WVF9SL5/?tag=ttgnet-20

    We have Disney+, Hulu, and Netflix in addition to DirecTV. The DirecTV is going away when we move to the new used house in a few weeks. Maybe a month. Hopefully not more.

    The wife can get General Hospital from Hulu as they keep the last two weeks. We can get The Rookie (Nathan Fillion !) and Grey’s Anatomy from Hulu also. I may get Sling to get The Walking Dead and Fear The Walking Dead on AMC.

  19. BTW, I do have a gripe about Disney+. It does not have personalization yet like Netflix and Hulu. Both Netflix and Hulu ask whose personalization that you are using and remembers everything that you watched fully or partially. Of course, they charge another couple of bucks per month each for this service.

    The three of us are using the same Disney+ account. Disney+ has not complained yet and I have heard that they will not do so until 2021 or so. But, Disney+ resets itself anytime one of us uses it.

  20. @lynn, I got a note from netflix that someone far away tried to login and change my password, which failed as they couldn’t confirm it. That was about a week before my trip. Everything about the email was legit, but I logged in separately and checked on the site. It showed some attempts, so I changed my password and ‘reset’ all devices, requiring new login, with the new password.

    That’s the first and only problem I’ve had with netflix or hackers.

    WRT the personalization, the kids have been watching stuff on my personalizing, and so my recommendeds are full of brightly colored cartoons… they have their own restricted personalization, so the views must have been from before my wife set up their account…. I don’t think I’ve ever actually watched netflix on my own.

    With tivo, you can go thru the recommendeds and thumbs up or down each one, and/or delete them to help shape their algorithm. Not sure if netflix offers anything similar but they should.

    We are the target audience for disney+ but I doubt we’ll sign up anytime soon. I buy DVDs cheaper than that and we don’t watch that much. Watched “Escape to Witch Mountain” with my kids this holiday (not the remake with The Rock.) 1975 California, wide open spaces, no people around, only one woman in the whole movie and not a single black or hispanic. Great character actors. Effects that were pretty state of the art for the day, and way more than you’d expect from a typical ‘studio’ movie. I still liked it, and my kids did too. But it was a time capsule of what we’ve lost.

    n

  21. ” And Dilbert books.”

    — my 10 yo has discovered Calvin and Hobbes, and found my stash of them….

    🙂

    n

  22. We are the target audience for disney+ but I doubt we’ll sign up anytime soon. I buy DVDs cheaper than that and we don’t watch that much. Watched “Escape to Witch Mountain” with my kids this holiday (not the remake with The Rock.) 1975 California, wide open spaces, no people around, only one woman in the whole movie and not a single black or hispanic. Great character actors. Effects that were pretty state of the art for the day, and way more than you’d expect from a typical ‘studio’ movie. I still liked it, and my kids did too. But it was a time capsule of what we’ve lost.

    Eddie Albert at his peak too also to give the movie a solid acting base.

  23. WTF is wrong with people?

    “Transgender man, 39, and his non-binary partner welcome a baby thanks to a sperm donor who was also transgender (and so was the doctor)

    Reuben Sharpe, 39, from Brighton transitioned to a man 12 years ago
    Six years ago he decided that he wished to become pregnant and have a child
    He and his non-binary partner Jay, 28, sought a transgender sperm donor online
    The couple welcomed the birth of their baby Jamie three months ago

    A transgender man has given birth to a baby after being impregnated by a transgender doctor using the sperm of a transgender woman. “

    –why is this something to celebrate? So much mental illness on display, that kid is gonna be a basket case.

    J. K. Rowling said it best. “The author tweeted: “Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Live your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real?” followed by the hashtag #IStandWithMaya.”
    https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/20/uk/jk-rowling-transgender-explainer-intl-gbr/index.html

  24. BTW, I do have a gripe about Disney+. It does not have personalization yet like Netflix and Hulu. Both Netflix and Hulu ask whose personalization that you are using and remembers everything that you watched fully or partially. Of course, they charge another couple of bucks per month each for this service.

    The barrier to entry to create a Roku service is extremely low, but a quality streaming experience like Netflix is difficult to accomplish. And a quality service is not going to come from outsourcing to the Subcontinent as Disney is fond of doing for their IT.

  25. Eddie Albert at his peak too also to give the movie a solid acting base.

    Ike Eisenmann was everywhere in the late 70s. I remember him on “Wonder Woman” and I think he was yet another child actor whose character was blinded on “Little House on the Prairie”.

    IIRC, like a lot of their kids, Disney has taken care of Eisenmann with behind the scenes work in return for not embarrassing them and ruining the value of their back catalog. Kurt Russell is the poster child for this exchange.

    Before anyone says “Captain Ron”, that was Touchstone/Disney.

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