Mon. Dec. 30, 2019 – 2020 foresight is drawing near…

Warm and damp, probably.

After yesterday’s tire troubles, I’m hoping to finish with the whole thing today. It has caused me to consider a couple of prep things though. I’ve got one mounted spare for my Expy, and another bare tire. I’ve also got a bare tire for my wife’s minivan. Both should be mounted spares.

I’ve also learned that my vehicle repair preps are a bit underwhelming. I need to keep my eyes open for a compressor that can fill tires, and a floor jack that won’t buckle. I’ve got ordinary maintenance items and tools but thought I had the tires covered. Not so much as it turns out.

Some days I feel like I’m falling farther and farther behind. And what sucks is I KNOW I am in several areas I think are important. It’s gonna be tricky to catch up, and there might have to be some triage involved.

Fortunately, the new year is right around the corner, and that is a traditional time to regroup, rethink, and resolve to make changes. I know you can make them any time, but it helps to have some social weight attached.

There are a couple of other anniversaries coming up too. More on those as appropriate later.

Now, once more into the breach….

n

Author: Nick Flandrey

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

56 thoughts on “Mon. Dec. 30, 2019 – 2020 foresight is drawing near…”

  1. I have a 3 ton floor jack that has served me very well. I also have an air compressor with a large tank and several air tools including impact wrenches, nailers (finish and rough), ratchet drivers and a drill. I still shun the battery types for these tools as air is much lighter and I don’t use them everyday. Along with 50 feet of air hose. Removing tires has never been an issue.

    As for tire fails I am well prepared. I have full size tires on all the vehicles for spares. None of those little doughnuts. The tires on my truck were just replaced at 85K miles. Still had tread left for another 4-5K miles. But tires were 5.5 years old, winter is coming (which for us is a lot of rain), and I just don’t want to take chances.

    Batteries get replaced every 5 years regardless of life left. I get top of the line batteries, which will not guarantee against failure, just makes it less likely. When I owned a boat the limit was every three years as a dead battery in a boat is really inconvenient.

    Keeping vehicles running well is largely about maintenance. Service is done on time and any items needed attention are resolved. I learned at an early age while running machinery on the farm that maintenance is key and downtime can be costly.

    I used to do all my own maintenance when possible including rotating the tires. It was much easier 20 years ago than now. Too much electronic stuff and parts which require special (costly) tools. Thus maintenance is now left to paying someone else to accomplish the task.

  2. Batteries get replaced every 5 years regardless of life left. I get top of the line batteries, which will not guarantee against failure, just makes it less likely. When I owned a boat the limit was every three years as a dead battery in a boat is really inconvenient.

    I’ve never seen a battery last more than three years in TX and FL, driving under normal conditions.

    Factory batteries are like clockwork. A quality replacement will go for a little longer and give some warning like difficult starts before giving up completely.

  3. +1 on keeping up with vehicle maintenance, though a flat can just be a pain. I check tire pressures regularly. I don’t check the spare on the wife’s car as often, but it does get checked several times a year, and before a long trip.

    My car has no spare, as it originally came with run flats. I ditched those for regular tires. I can buy a doughnut spare for it, it it would have to sit in the trunk – no space dedicated for one. I do keep a plug kit and electric compressor in the trunk. That car is really only used locally, so not a huge deal if I get a flat. Even with the trade offs with run flats, I might put them back on next time.

    I do all my own car maintenance, at least the stuff I *want* to do. My only recent job I had a shop do was replace the front wheel bearings on our now gone 2009 Camry. It does help to have a lift in the garage and all the tools. I just recently bought a two stage 60 gallon compressor. I out it in the main garage in the closet under the stairs. It’s out of the way and noise isn’t too bad. I plumed air lines i to the main garage and the other garage, which is the main work space. I mounted 50 ft air hose reels in each location, so I have good air access anywhere. I sold my old craftsman oil free compressor, but I kept the little Kobalt 1 gallon portable.

    Oh, I did have the dealer replace the seals on the rear diff of the ATS, but that was a warranty job.

  4. We people watched at the anime show this weekend in Austin. Dunno if any of the furries (always furries at a con in Texas) running around were Robert Francis, but he was probably there en furr. 🙂

    Quite a few women doing David Tennant in “Good Omens” cosplay. No new Doctor outfits. The BBC must be aware by now and simply don’t care if what I’ve heard about the new “Doctor Who” season is even remotely true.

    We also saw “Zombieland 2” at the dollar theater. Yeah, it was a typical sequel, but the flick had some wry social commentary, particularly concerning Progs, guns, and Uber, along with a return visit from Bill Murray.

    (Yes, he was bumped off in the first film, but the writers indulged themselves.)


  5. She may be ready for “Secondhand Lions” to see what Texas was like 60 years ago.

    I love that movie, on several levels. Good story, great acting, just plain fun with a moral.

    60 years?! Right. How time flies when you’re having fun.

  6. A monetary prep I have is tire/gas/tow on my USAA insurance plan. I got it mainly for the wife and kids, but has paid for itself over the years. Used twice last year on MrsAtoz’s Battlewagon for tows and flats ( in NV and CA). A peace of mind thing for me.

  7. LOL! Plugs is managing to axe himself out of the running:

    Plugs: “I won’t respond to a subpoena from the Senate.”
    All Dumbo candidates: “Plugs is breaking the law…”
    Plugs: “Oh, I will respond to a subpoena, but only if it’s *legal*…”

    Plugs: “When I’m President, I’d nominate Obama to the SCOTUS. *wipes chin on handkerchief*

    Does he really think that ingratiates himself to a guy making $500K for a 30 minute speech? Obola is never giving up that gig to sit on a bench in a black dress.


  8. No new Doctor outfits. The BBC must be aware by now and simply don’t care if what I’ve heard about the new “Doctor Who” season is even remotely true.

    I’m really hoping the new season is better than last. Matt Smith’s first season wasn’t good and he improved in later years.

    No Jodie Whitaker costumes? I’m surprised, especially in Austin. That doesn’t say good things about her portrayal and the scripts.

  9. Re vehicle prep: My ‘lizard company’ insurance has emergency roadside service included. Used them last month when the Highlander battery failed suddenly in a parking lot. Had to wait 45 minutes for the guy to arrive, but a quick jump started the car. A quick run to WalMart for a new battery – the old one was about 6 years old. They were too busy to install, so restarted the car on the old battery and went home and replaced it myself. Not difficult.

    As for tires, I buy all my tires from Discount Tire. Stores everywhere, and they have free flat repair. In fact, was in UT last week, and was driving daughter’s car and it had the tire light on. So went to the local Discount Tire for an air check and they saw a small piece of metal in one tire. Since the tire was bought there, they did a free flat repair. They were a bit busy, so I had to wait 1 1/2 hours, but there was plenty of people working there. They patched the tire, and I was on my way with only the cost of time – free repair.

    They also do free air pressure checks, even if the tire is not theirs. Have used them for years, always good service and fair prices, and the tires have lasted well. They also do free rotations on tires bought there. Recommended.

  10. @rick, I used to use Discount Tire too. Always had good service and results. Used the tread wear warranty a couple of times, iirc.

    I recommend everyone have AAA membership. You probably don’t need the Premium plan with extended towing, but if you live in a less dense area it might make sense. They have a host of other benefits that will save the cost of the membership too. I used to use the hotel discount to save $10-20 per night. I probably saved my company a few thousand over the years. Lots of businesses also offer AAA discounts. I’ve used their fuel deliver, battery service, towing, and lockout service. SoCal has the best club, they do most of what the DMV does, without the hassle.

    n

  11. BTW, I encourage everyone to watch the video from the church shooting.

    Note the reaction of most of the people before, during, and after.

    Note how quickly it happens, yet there is warning.

    The medical response isn’t shown, but do you have bleeding control handy? You don’t have to carry it if it is hanging on the wall. Fire extinguisher, AED, bleeding control.

    Have a plan. Make sure your dependents or comrades know what to do. In this case, duck and cover, then move to safety promptly. Be aware that in Europe actual terrorists are keeping one attacker outside to kill those fleeing. Watch for secondary attacks.

    n

  12. This site is ridiculously slow in responding today. It even timed out on me once. I’m suspecting some sort or conspiracy….

    A couple of days ago (I’m just catching up on old posts) Nick mentioned carrying a Gerber multitool. About 4 years ago I started wearing a Gerber Suspension on my belt daily, almost everywhere. I wore it to my nephew’s wedding and on job interviews over the Summer. The only time I didn’t have it on me was during a professional sporting event and when I had to go into a government building, both with metal detectors and strict rules.

    I won’t say it has saved my life or done anything major, but it has been darn useful hundreds of times. I would rather leave the cell phone at home than leave without the multitool. In fact I have done that several times.

  13. No Jodie Whitaker costumes? I’m surprised, especially in Austin. That doesn’t say good things about her portrayal and the scripts.

    No Whitaker Who outfits. Granted it was an anime convention, but “Good Omens” isn’t in that genre.

    I even saw a “Good Omens” Michael Sheen as Aziraphale crossplay. Ironic since, if the regeneration rumors are true for the end of this season, he’s the actor slated to replace Whitaker.

    Since the show returned in 2005, the only Doctor who had a strong “male” presence was Peter Capaldi. The last minute substitution of Jodie Whitaker for Kris Marshall (guessing, based on London bookies refusal to take bets on him late in the casting decision) was a reaction to #MeToo controversy which was never associated with “Doctor Who” before the last year.

  14. @jlp, sorry, I didn’t get back with the Gerber info…

    I have one of the full size pliers type multitool, the ones that you pinch and the plier jaws slide out the end. It is black and has the metal file in place of one blade. It’s modern enough that it has a locking mechanism for the blades. I don’t know if I ever knew the model name, or if they even had names back in the day 🙂

    It lives in my ‘checked bag’ dopp kit, and I only carry it when I’m not carrying an extra mag for my Shield, as I use its sheath/pouch as a mag carrier. People see the pouch and assume it’s just a multitool. I even had a guy ask me about the tool in a gun store when he saw the pouch.

    When I was working as a stagehand, I carried the original Gerber multitool every day. The two disadvantages were that it would bite your hand if the jaws slipped in use, and there wasn’t a lock on the blades. They couldn’t fold enough to chop off your fingers, but they could move suddenly. Despite the drawbacks, I prefer the one hand open style of the Gerber to the leatherman. My wife likes the leatherman. She also carries an apple phone and tablet, vs my samsung and notetab…..

    There are bins full of multitools at the Austin State Surplus store, and I encourage anyone on the south east side of town to check it out….. or find out if there is something similar near you. Maybe your airport sells seizures at auction or directly?

    All of my car bags have quality multitools in them.

    n

  15. Iv’e gotten some slow reloads today, and one 500 error so far.

    Some were only a few seconds long though.

    n

  16. Batteries. I have had a love-hate relationship with them most of my life. I would have thought that newer cars, with lots of electronics, would be more forgiving on battery “function,” similar to other devices, such as cell phones. But, NO! A weak car battery can cause lots of strange problems… or not. Blame the designers.

    That policy of changing a battery on a schedule is pretty good, Ray. I sorta do that, but I also move weaker batteries to less critical cars. My wife gets the best of the lot. Still, she has experienced two unexpected failures due to weak batteries in 48 years. I was embarrassed, but we are still married. Fortunately, I am also her rescuer, and jumped them both times to get home. She knows that calling AAA for a battery is only to be done in a dire emergency.

    The only accurate way to test a modern lead acid car battery is to use an impedance tester. These used to cost $1k or more, but have come down. A good one still can cost more than a new battery, defeating the purpose and driving the economic equation toward scheduled replacement. I had a fairly new battery seem weak by my usual load tests, so I bought an impedance tester, figuring it would be a fun toy, and maybe might reduce sudden failures. It has exceeded my expectations, but it will take years to prove it can prevent unexpected failures. That’s because batteries lose capacity at unpredictable rates. Another way to get an impedance test is to go to a service shop or parts store and have them use theirs. My issue with that is having someone who sells batteries test a battery has predictable results. Also, just the resistance between the car’s clamps and the battery posts can make the test look bad. These things measure milliohms using AC current, and a good battery can have a DC resistance of as little as 0.003 ohms. Putting such a tester in the hands of a clueless user is a sure way to sell batteries.

    A battery can fail unpredictably, even with good care. I have had them last from less than a month to over 17 years. The battery design changes made in the 1970s to accommodate higher underhood temperatures took away the most reliable indication of a battery reaching end of life. It also had the good effect of allowing batteries to last longer.

    Now, most batteries fail because of sulfation. The only way to prevent this is beyond most peoples’ willingness. A good compromise is to avoid undercharge in hot weather by using a good temperature compensated maintainer, but this is a pain, because the battery must be hooked up any time the battery is below 100%, which with modern cars is almost all the time the engine is not running. Next time you walk through a parking lot, watch someone leave their car. If it is a newer model, and the controls are left in default settings, you will see the headlights and various other lights ON for several seconds as a “safety” convenience, even in the daytime. It’s a small thing, but does detract from battery life. Then there are other parasitic draws. My newest car hopefully is worse than newer ones, but no guarantee. It needs a maintainer for battery health if not driven for just a couple days.

    For people who live in warm climates, buy a battery made for such. Some manufacturers make models for hot and cold climates. The difference is important. I would think the stores would carry the right kind, but I would be wrong sometimes.

    As for what kind and brand of battery to buy, that is a whole ‘nother subject. It varies, as labels are bought and sold like companies. Good luck. Some day, we will ditch the humble lead acid battery and go to a newer chemical system. We will then have a whole new set of interesting problems. 😉

  17. From @Greg yesterday:

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

    Hey, I liked “Captain Ron”.

    “A diesel needs its oil like a sailor needs his rum !”

    Man, the site is slow today !

  18. BTW, I encourage everyone to watch the video from the church shooting.

    Note the reaction of most of the people before, during, and after.

    https://www.chron.com/news/texas/article/Armed-congregants-kill-gunman-who-shot-2-at-Texas-14938869.php#photo-18816838

    I think I know people at this church. They were not there since the husband has been undergoing cancer treatments and not doing very well.

    According to the newspaper article, the men killed were a deacon and a security guard.

    We live in evil times. My church has several uniformed police and many armed churchgoers.

    Some of the video is here:
    https://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2019/12/30/church-of-christ-shooting-white-settlement-texas-update-vpx.cnn

  19. Is there something different about USA lead batteries compared to the UK? Up to about 20 years ago I had company supplied cars up to four years old, and never had a battery problem. I then had a personal Ford Focus for 12 years and 120K miles, with no battery problem. My last Honda Jazz (Fit) was 7 years old when I exchanged it – with no battery problems. Is there something I am unaware of?

  20. Now, most batteries fail because of sulfation. The only way to prevent this is beyond most peoples’ willingness. A good compromise is to avoid undercharge in hot weather by using a good temperature compensated maintainer, but this is a pain, because the battery must be hooked up any time the battery is below 100%, which with modern cars is almost all the time the engine is not running. Next time you walk through a parking lot, watch someone leave their car. If it is a newer model, and the controls are left in default settings, you will see the headlights and various other lights ON for several seconds as a “safety” convenience, even in the daytime. It’s a small thing, but does detract from battery life. Then there are other parasitic draws. My newest car hopefully is worse than newer ones, but no guarantee. It needs a maintainer for battery health if not driven for just a couple days.

    My new 2019 F-150 has an AGM battery in it for the start-stop system. It also has a supersized starter motor for the ten+ starts a day. Once it stops the motor while in drive, it will run off the battery for 30 seconds to five minutes. If you take your foot off the brake, turn the steering wheel, or the air conditioning needs more refrigerant, it will restart the motor. I am getting 16 to 18 mpg while driving in city conditions which, I like. The constant restarts drive my dad nuts. I just hope that the battery lasts longer than the normal four to five years that I get here in south Texas since they start at $200.
    https://www.autobatteries.com/en-us/battery-technology-types/absorbent-glass-mat-agm-battery

    BTW, I read an SAE paper on the F-150 starter motor. Ford tested it up to 240,000 starts then gave up for dissection. The starter was still in excellent condition and probably good for another 240,000 starts.

  21. From BH at the Fort Bend Herald:

    “Novel Idea”

    “No politician who supports gun control should get armed protection paid for by those he’s trying to disarm”.

  22. Car batteries: I only replace them, when they start acting weak (usually in winter). Yes, I’ve been stranded by sudden failures twice – but two events in more than 40 years of driving is acceptable to me. Anyway, I usually get 7-8 years out of a battery. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten less than 5.

    I’d love to vent about our lovely future neighbors, but I’m now pretty convinced that we’re going to land in court. What do you call someone who is convinced that the way they want things to be must in fact be reality? Is that “narcissism? Whatever it is, that’s what we’re dealing with.

  23. @paul, there may be eco driven (political) differences in design, but it’s probably just the extreme temperatures.

    Chicago can be over 100F in the summer and hit actual -20F in winter. Houston goes from 110F to 20F in some years. Arizona would kill even top tier batteries in a couple of years. One year I was there we had 122F and 40F only a few months apart. Even Cali can go from freezing to over 100F in either a few thousand feet of elevation or a couple of months. Rural areas in the north, and the deep south are all similar, just whether the extremes are hot or cold is different 🙂

    I don’t think anywhere in the majority of UK has similar temperature swings, does it?

    There might also be differences in usage, as the ‘average’ driver in the US does 12000-15000 miles a year, while many commuters and “supercommuters” do multiples of that.

    n

  24. ” What do you call someone who is convinced that the way they want things to be must in fact be reality? ”

    -in the US political spectrum, they are “Progressives” or “liberals”. They have a powerful belief in the power of incantation…. and magic words.

    n


  25. Is there something different about USA lead batteries compared to the UK? Up to about 20 years ago I had company supplied cars up to four years old, and never had a battery problem. I then had a personal Ford Focus for 12 years and 120K miles, with no battery problem. My last Honda Jazz (Fit) was 7 years old when I exchanged it – with no battery problems. Is there something I am unaware of?

    Not the batteries, the weather. I suspect you live where it is cool weather most of the time, rarely getting over 30 C. That makes a huge difference in battery life. Most people think batteries don’t like cold weather, but that is only true in the extreme. If it rarely gets below freezing, batteries do just fine. Heat kills ’em.

  26. I’d love to vent about our lovely future neighbors, but I’m now pretty convinced that we’re going to land in court. What do you call someone who is convinced that the way they want things to be must in fact be reality? Is that “narcissism? Whatever it is, that’s what we’re dealing with.

    Not knowing Swiss law, hopefully you do have “Loser Pays”. And hopefully the town is dragged into it so the neighbors get to pay their legal bill also.

    And hopefully they have not stopped your construction.

    Please do not reply. We can wait for the legal determination.

  27. BTW, I read an SAE paper on the F-150 starter motor. Ford tested it up to 240,000 starts then gave up for dissection. The starter was still in excellent condition and probably good for another 240,000 starts.

    Mercedes has the right idea upping electrical systems to 24 V to support Automatic Start Stop, but that will be expensive and A.S.S. (perfect acronym) doesn’t really yield any improvements in actual driving conditions.

    Long term, the point is to take away cars or, failing that, make them unaffordable.

    Traditional mechanical components in cars were essentially perfected a decade ago. The starter motor durability doesn’t surprise me, but all the safety and fuel saving gadgetry … like the $1200 forward camera in my Camry or the DI engines in most new cars … will be the reason vehicles we buy new today will get junked in 15-20 years.

    Got another acceleration glitch today trying to avoid the squeegee bums at 183 and 35 in Austin. Ended up going through a solid red light.

  28. Catnip for Mittens, “Lookit me, Daddy” Murkowski, and Lindsay Graham-nesty, but the now inevitable brokered convention isn’t even going to look at Plugs for the top of the ticket.

    Plus, the calculus for running mate will have to include Robert Francis if they hope to pick off Texas.

    https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/30/politics/joe-biden-running-mate-republican/index.html

    Ok, Mittens’ daddy issues are worse than Murkowski’s, but Romney already has “Mittens” as the perfect nickname.

  29. Mercedes has the right idea upping electrical systems to 24 V to support Automatic Start Stop, but that will be expensive and A.S.S. (perfect acronym) doesn’t really yield any improvements in actual driving conditions.

    I wonder why they are not using the 36 volt system that GM pioneered ?

    I think all vehicles should be mild hybrids at minimum. I think all trucks (from 1/2 ton to 40+ ton) should be plug in electric drives with power generation capability for range greater than 100 miles. I do not know what the costs of implementing this is though but I do think that the cost of fuel can justify this over time. And, cut the cost of maintenance / exotic parts failure.

  30. “This free Windows 10 upgrade offer still works. Here’s why — and how to get it”
    https://www.zdnet.com/article/this-free-windows-10-upgrade-offer-still-works-heres-why-and-how-to-get-it/

    “More than three years after Microsoft’s free upgrade offer officially ended, people are still reporting successful Windows 10 upgrades from older machines. Here’s the latest extremely unofficial report.”

    Surely nothing could go wrong upgrading the ten PCs at the office running Windows 7 x64 Pro.

  31. Didn’t want it when it was free back when, don’t want it now. Probably won’t have a choice soon. Or just keep the winxx machines behind the NAT.

    n

  32. I think all vehicles should be mild hybrids at minimum. I think all trucks (from 1/2 ton to 40+ ton) should be plug in electric drives with power generation capability for range greater than 100 miles. I do not know what the costs of implementing this is though but I do think that the cost of fuel can justify this over time. And, cut the cost of maintenance / exotic parts failure.

    The car companies have watched Musk burn the shorts, most recently with Chinese bankster cash. Mild hybrids like the Fusion don’t invite comparisons of the CEO to being a “real life Tony Stark”.

    Not that anyone is going to confuse either Mary “Count Them Beans” Barra (GM) or Steelcase Boy (current Ford CEO James Hackett) for Tony Stark. Sergio Marchionne was the last major car company CEO who could even come close even though he liked old school tech.

  33. Programmers have become the ditch-diggers of the 21st century.

    Dumbing down the job is a popular meme with management types. It allows, say, my superiors to pretend that the Music Ed major really can do my job instead of simply getting by on being a member of their cigarette smoking clique.

  34. “A Good Guy with a Gun Stopped a Bad Guy with a Gun in Texas…and the Anti-Gun Left Can’t Deal With It”
    https://townhall.com/tipsheet/mattvespa/2019/12/30/antigun-leader-uh-the-church-shooter-couldve-been-disarmed-without-shooting-him-n2558682

    “”In September, Democrat Joe Biden attacked TX Gov Greg Abbott for signing a law that let lawful gun owners carry guns into places of worship”

    “Biden: “it’s just absolutely irrational. It’s totally irrational””

    “Today, a good guy with a gun saved countless lives inside a Texas church””

  35. If this fossil is elected then we are all going to die.

    Where’s the story about Plugs putting Obama on the Supreme Court if elected?

    Talk about Payola Seat. At least Ginsberg was a subtle payola relationship whereas her predecessor, Byron White, was not. Still, 60 years later, most people couldn’t explain Byron White’s relationship to Kennedy, even if they were alive at the time.

    The only way Plugs Jr. avoids spending serious time in prison at this point is if Plugs Sr. (or someone politically indebted to him) gets the pardon power. If I had to guess, it is the reason Biden remains in the race.

  36. @Nick @JimB
    You are correct in your assumption on temperature. UK temperatures don’t go much below 0 degrees centigrade, or uncommonly over 25C. Interesting to note your extreme experiences. Thanks.

  37. @Paul , those extremes are pretty much everyday occurrences in the right places. Or at least not uncommon….

    I worked a full day in Phoenix in an unairconditioned shop on the ‘hottest day on record’ which hit 122F. We knew it was hot that day, but we didn’t know it was THAT hot! It was common to keep a styrofoam drinks cup upside down on your gear shift knob to keep from burning your hand, and convenience stores sold a little foam doodad to put over your ignition switch to keep from burning your fingers when you started your car.

    In college, we had a winter day in Indiana when they cancelled classes. You could freeze to death in the time it took to get from one building to another. Wind chill was -40F. Of course, we didn’t stay in the dorms but went out in that nastiness.

    The US is big in a way that few people really understand, even those living here. It takes driving across it, and spending 10 hours in a car at 70+ miles an hour to cross TEXAS to get it. Or to take a day or two crossing Kansas and the Great Plains.

    It takes me a solid 20+ hours of driving to get from Houston to Chicago, and there is still hours of US to go to get to the northern or southern borders from those end points.

    In other words, there can be a LOT of weather inside the US.

    n

  38. Well, my tire guy found the source of my leak- 3/4 inch of metal house key, poked thru the tread. He didn’t see any real damage to the sidewalls, so I’m good to go.

    Tire is back on the truck, jack is put away, and the back is reloaded with my stuff.

    =====================================

    I’m feeling a bit under the weather and may head to bed early.

    One day left in 2019. Did anyone here think they’d be living in the year 2020 when you were younger? Space:1999 seemed far away…

    n

  39. I got waylaid….

    wife and 10yo made Baked Alaska for desert. OMG, where has this been all my life? How can I be 53yo and never have had this?????

    I’m definitely headed to bed with a sugar coma on the way.

    n

  40. The US is big in a way that few people really understand, even those living here. It takes driving across it, and spending 10 hours in a car at 70+ miles an hour to cross TEXAS to get it. Or to take a day or two crossing Kansas and the Great Plains.

    I never thought Nebraska would end. I-80 is pretty much it as far as freeway miles in the state.


  41. I never thought Nebraska would end. I-80 is pretty much it as far as freeway miles in the state.

    Tennessee and North Carolina take longer to cross east to west (or the reverse) than most people expect – commonly a full days drive.

    Bob


  42. Learn to Code!

    Programmers have become the ditch-diggers of the 21st century.

    Well to repharse a famous Capote line…
    That’s not coding, that’s just keyboarding.

  43. I’ve said it before, the “Learn to code” push isn’t for your benefit, it’s to provide more native talent, to push the price down, and reduce the cost and hassle of managing H1Bs or outsources….

    n

  44. Miami – Pensacola is a long stretch, too. I can’t imagine crossing Texas by car in only 10 hours. The time I did it, I noticed that when you cross the Sabine River on I-10 you’re at mile marker 880. I was in a moving truck that didn’t ride well and had no cruise control. It took a long hard day to drive from Beaumont to Fort Stockton. I will give the Texas DOT a brief applause, the roads were good and well marked, and I planned out my trip so as to avoid rush hour in Houston or San Antonio.

  45. I was poking around the admin area (still monitoring the processes that block comment spam), and noticed that @pcb_duffer just entered the 123,700-th comment on this site.

    You are a gabby bunch, aren’t you …. (but I enjoy almost all of them).

  46. Drive 18 hours east from Toronto and you’ll find yourself in Halifax. Drive 18 hours west to Manitoba and you’ll still be in Ontario. This place is big!

  47. @Lynn: Thanks for the positive wishes. No, they haven’t stopped construction on the house. The town did have to issue a “stop order”, but they specifically limited it to the road. Which can stay in its current, provisional state for years, if need be. House construction will continue after the holidays, depending only on Winter weather.

    Meanwhile, you’re right: I won’t post any details until matters are resolved. Unlikely that they would find this forum, but better safe than sorry…

    – – – – –

    “Learn to code”. Go ahead, teach the world to code. It really doesn’t make a difference, because most of the world is not capable of productive coding.

    Taking someone who cannot think abstractly and systematically and teaching them to code? Those are the people who put up web sites subject to injection attacks. Who really just create more work for capable programmers, who will get to undo the messes they make. Not useful.

  48. Surely nothing could go wrong upgrading the ten PCs at the office running Windows 7 x64 Pro.

    The upgrade tends to be easy, but then you’ll run into a motherboard component for which the driver is incorrect or missing when upgrading from 7 to 10. At that point, a maddening search begins because you never know if that one ‘!’ means an unstable system.

    Apple never released an updated Windows 10 driver set for the MacBook Pro Santa Rosa I used as a Windows 7 machine so it now runs Pop! OS 18.04 full time. I have to be careful with Linux kernel upgrades, but it works well enough to call the experiment a success. The alternative is throwing away the machine — Apple denies the machine still exists.

    The last full time Windows 7 machine I have in the house is my wife’s 2008 MacBook Pro, and it faces similar driver issues upgrading to Win 10. If Microsoft is serious about forcing the upgrade (I’m still not convinced), that machine will get Pop! OS 19.10 in January.

  49. I’ve said it before, the “Learn to code” push isn’t for your benefit, it’s to provide more native talent, to push the price down, and reduce the cost and hassle of managing H1Bs or outsources….

    The H1Bs are actually less hassle and keep their mouths shut out of fear of losing sponsorship. Also, as my wife has learned at the VA, the caste system remains in place within the US, even when citizenship is achieved, and the imported labor from the Subcontinent enforces discipline within their ranks, centered on religion, using any and all methods up to outright physical violence — including between professionals and women.

    “Learn to Code” is about developing future managers, preferably attractive women. It has nothing to do with encouraging productive talent.

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