Wed. Jan. 8, 2020 – for me, every day is “wear whatever Wednesday”

Cool and damp, but hopefully no rain. [41F and light frost on some roofs]

Yesterday started at 56F and ended for me at 56F last night. Cold enough that my joints all hurt. With the dampness, it cuts right through me.

I got my pickups done. One disappointment, the EOTech red dot I scored for $135 was counterfeit. They had a dozen, mixed in with a lot of legit brands of tactical accessories and some poser brand knock off shite. The auction caught the bad pennies, and there was no charge or fuss. I had a feeling something didn’t look right. I think the packaging tickled my subconscious. I was not surprised when the auctioneer told me they were junk.

In the worldwide mess, I hope we settle with Iran pretty quickly. I can’t take much more of the NPR commentary and speculation. Twice in an hour different people on the show mentioned the japanese internment during WWII, in regards to iranians in the US. No mention that it was a Democrat that started that…

More work for me today, starting closer to home. Girl Scout cookie sales are only a couple of weeks away, which puts a hard limit on when I have to have some of my “inventory” out of the entry hall (and preferably sold.) Swim team director sent out a “heads up” email too. January is barely started and they’re skipping ahead…

Better get nose to grindstone,

n

Author: Nick Flandrey

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

49 thoughts on “Wed. Jan. 8, 2020 – for me, every day is “wear whatever Wednesday””

  1. Those of you who are subscribed to JerryP’s chaos manor will have seen the announcement of a new website and new Facebook page. The clear intent is to continue to monetize Jerry’s name and past writings.

    I have mixed feeling about this.

    Allow me to digress. Most of my household stuff is currently in storage, since we are between houses. I had a craving to read some Heinlein, but those books are also in storage. So I bought the eBooks. Which led to the question: just exactly who is getting this money? Heinlein died more than 30 years ago? Whoever is getting the money has not written one word of those stories. Heinlein’s works should long since have entered the public domain.

    So now I see the same thing happening with Jerry. All sympathies to his widow, but I am certain he did not leave her destitute. His writings should now also be in the public domain. Running these websites strikes me as poor taste. Let the man rest in peace.

    What are your thoughts on the matter?

  2. @brad, Col. Sanders is long dead but KFC still makes money… McD’s too, and the heirs of Kellog, Proctor and Gamble, etc.

    We get extensions of the copyright every time Mickey Mouse would enter the public domain. I don’t want to see Mickey messed with, but I also acknowledge that like patents, there is a public good to copyright expiring, I just think it’s probably minimal compared to the heirs and assigns continuing to benefit from the lasting good that the original author created. I certainly don’t see any reason people unrelated to the creator in any way should benefit- that seems like stealing.

    n

  3. @Nick: Yep, KFC still makes money. But they are frying new chickens. It’s a running business, producing product. Heinlein, Asimov, Tolkein, and now (sadly) Pournelle – it’s “estates” and hangers on reselling products long since produced.

  4. No mention that it was a Democrat that started that…

    Thou shalt not disparage Saint Franklin.

    Maybe NPR hopes that the gold confiscation starts rolling again too. Attempt to pack the Supreme Court if we really want to relive the glory days.

    I’ve always wondered why the Dems and Obama didn’t try for six more seats on the Court while they had the House and a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate until Uncle Ted assumed room temperature.

  5. We get extensions of the copyright every time Mickey Mouse would enter the public domain. I don’t want to see Mickey messed with, but I also acknowledge that like patents, there is a public good to copyright expiring, I just think it’s probably minimal compared to the heirs and assigns continuing to benefit from the lasting good that the original author created. I certainly don’t see any reason people unrelated to the creator in any way should benefit- that seems like stealing.

    I can kinda-sorta understand Mickey since that is a lot of cash flow into the US and, indirectly, the 401(k)s and pension plans which hold Disney stock. Lift the copyright and bored South American tourists will stay home to ride an imitation of “Mickey’s Runaway Railway” instead of flocking to Orlando this Spring and spending money.

    Before he died, Hef got an extension for the special protection covering the Bunny waitress uniform too. I live that one since landing on a watch list with Playboy legal about 15 years ago over a costume I bought my wife which the company considers to be “too real”.

    Hef registered the costume with the Patent Office … after stealing the basic concept from the Gaslight Club in Chicago.

  6. I think you could make an argument that copyright protection ending has very little ‘public’ good in today’s world, unlike patent expiration. What is locked up and protected by copyright past some ‘reasonable’ term is no longer arcane or hidden. LIMITING our exposure to created works is more of a problem than not.

    There might need to be a new, third protection for copyright of technical or non-fictional information. That does have a public benefit when freed for use. I don’t see any real public benefit to allowing strangers to profit from someone else’s creative hard work, no matter the time gone by.

    n

  7. Well, after teasing about anniversaries earlier, I totally forgot when I wrote today’s post.

    Today marks 11 years since I quit drinking alcohol. I didn’t know I was quitting forever, and who knows, I might not have, but it’s been the right decision for over a decade. That’s a pretty long time.

    I know it’s cliche’d but I do still have to make the decision pretty much every day. It’s a lot easier to make the decision now than back then.

    I think it’s probably the single biggest prep for the future, after getting married, that you could make.

    n

  8. 7 plus 7, or even 28 plus 28, are fine.

    The intention is to offer the creator a limited monopoly to benefit from his creation in exchange for public access after copyright expires.

    House of Mouse got enough benefit. It should fall to public domain, as should all creative works.

    All.

  9. @JimL,

    but you got the benefit of living in your house while you were alive, why should your kids continue to benefit? Why isn’t property ownership limited to life +7? I’m sure your local municipality can find a good use for your home… someone’s brother in law needs a place to live, and think of all the poor substance addled souls who sleep on the street.

    I don’t see any public value to putting Mickey Mouse or Tom Swift or Betty Boop in the public domain. People do not NEED access to those properties. They only benefit from them if they build off them and the accumulated value in them, otherwise there wouldn’t be demand.

    On the other hand, I do see a public interest in chemical processes, accumulations of facts, or other creative but non-fictional works passing to the public.

    n

  10. We haven’t much mentioned it, but Puerto Rico had a couple of earthquakes….

    Earthquake (M6.4) – Puerto Rico
    Situation:
    At 3:24 a.m. EST Jan 7 an earthquake (M6.4) occurred approximately 8.4 miles west-southwest of
    Ponce, Puerto Rico at a depth of 6 miles; numerous aftershocks reported. An MMI of VII (very
    strong shaking) has been issued affecting 2k. ORANGE SHAKEMAP was issued for economic
    losses; YELLOW PAGER for fatalities has been issued
    Lifeline Impacts: (Source: SLB, as of 6:00 p.m. EST, Jan 7)
    Safety & Security:
    • One fatality reported in Ponce due to collapsed structure
    • Commonwealth and Public Services are closed
    • All JRO Branch staff have been directed to work from alternate locations
    • Preliminary assessments indicated no damages to priority dams: Cerrillo Dam (Ponce) and
    Patillas Dam (Branch IV)
    • Public schools/private/public universities are closed
    Food, Water & Sheltering
    • 5.8M meals and 5.1M liters of water in FEMA warehouse (DC Caribbean); Supply Chain
    Analysis Network (SCAN) activated
    • 300k people without water (25% of customers) due to lack of power; if outage extends past
    evening Jan 8, and support is requested, tanker trucks on standby to transport water from FEMA
    warehouse (RII Spot Rep, as of 7:00 p.m., Jan 7)
    • 17 (+15) shelters open with 813 (+770) occupants (FEMA ESF 6, as of 6:00 a.m. EST, Jan 8)
    Health & Medical:
    • 3 dialysis units in Ponce, one in Yauco and in Lares remain closed (staff currently evacuated)
    • Region Hospitals: Arecibo, Caguas, Fajardo, Mayaguez and Ponce on generator power
    • Preventative evacuations: Hospital Damas (Ponce), Hospital Pavia (Yauco)
    • Hospitals that have evacuated patients: Hospital Damas (Ponce)-183 beds; Hospital
    Metropollitano Dr. Pila (Ponce)-107 beds; Hospital Pavia (Yauco)-84 beds
    • Center of Disease Control (CDC) personnel on the ground with local partners to assess the


  11. I can’t take much more of the NPR commentary and speculation.

    Ah, simple. Just don’t listen. Over the years, I have experimented with ignoring various sources. My conclusion was that I felt better and had more time and energy for productive activities. As for what to pay attention to… Paul Harvey is dead, so IDK what to wash out my ears out with.

  12. Nick, congratulations. I know of what you speak. Two weeks ago I passed my 14th year of sobriety. It is not something I talk about much. A low point in my life. I needed to do if for myself and for those who cared about me. It was not easy at first, but eventually it became my new normal.

  13. @JimL, yeah, I only listen to NPR in the truck while driving, and only occasionally. Usually if I’m in the truck for more than an hour, I’ll get the XM radio out and set up. An hour of commercial radio is about my limit, even skipping around the dial. I consider it OPFOR research, but only have the stomach for it in small doses. There’s an awful lot of smug in their programming.

    @JLP, thanks and right back at you. It’s funny how my attitudes have changed over time. There are things that I no longer have any interest in, or desire for, and despite my best efforts, find myself disliking in other people. I made my choices for my reasons, and I recognize that other people are doing the same exact thing, and that their choices are not mine. I try hard not to have the zealotry of the convert…

    n

  14. So now I see the same thing happening with Jerry. All sympathies to his widow, but I am certain he did not leave her destitute. His writings should now also be in the public domain. Running these websites strikes me as poor taste. Let the man rest in peace.

    I won’t hold it against the Pournelle family if they stir the marketing pot a bit for Roberta’s benefit. Chaos Manor seemed to have a lot of surprise maintenance issues over the last decade.

    I’ve seen families do worse (Cough …. Carl Sagan … cough). IIRC, all of the Pournelle children have substantial careers of their own.

    Jerry’s writings on NASA, SSTO and the rocket equation should remain freely available to inspire others as they obviously did Musk and Bezos IMHO, but I don’t make those decisions.


  15. Thou shalt not disparage Saint Franklin.

    The usual claim is that the 24-hour armed guard around his grave is to keep the sonofabitch from coming back up. Nonsense. The EPA requires the guard, to prevent the ecological disaster of a million people pissing on his grave.

    Today marks 11 years since I quit drinking alcohol.

    Congratulations, if that’s the appropriate sentiment, and to JLP as well.
    But note that in a few years you will have a teenage girl in the house. Your willpower will be tested.

    re Puerto Rico: fuck them. Their corruption, institutional sloth, widespread incompetence, and aggressively-expressed sense of entitlement shows that they do not deserve to live in a modern, technological society. Let them live in the society they can sustain. That includes making prudent preparations for their frequently occurring natural disasters.

    re copyright and patents: I pretty much come down the same as RBT did on copyright: 14+14, certainly for fiction. Patents I’m less sure, but that’s largely because the USPTO does such a garbage job of rejecting applications for prior art and other reasons.

  16. The usual claim is that the 24-hour armed guard around his grave is to keep the sonofabitch from coming back up. Nonsense. The EPA requires the guard, to prevent the ecological disaster of a million people pissing on his grave.

    The WWII generation was as weird about FDR as Boomers are about the Kennedy family.

    Enough time has passed, however, that no one tries to run as “The Mexican FDR” here in Texas like Robert Francis did trying to simultaneously race pimp and cash in on Boomer memories of Camelot.

    Which reminds me — Robert Francis seems to be staying quiet, perhaps waiting for the brokered convention?

  17. Re yesterdays speadsheets, in Google Sheets and Excel 2013:

    0: GS=12/30/1899, Excel=1/0/1900!
    1: GS=12/31/1899, Excel=1/1/1900
    60: GS=2/28/1900, Excel=2/29/1900
    61: GS=3/1/1900, Excel=3/1/1900

    The zeroth of January!

    Looks like Google removed some Excel weirdness.

  18. Mark W, thanks. My problem is easily solved or ignored, but you make a good point.

    Reminds me of the HP-35 calculation error:
    https://www.hpmuseum.org/hp35.htm
    Good story, and apparently some have sold original ones with the bug for quite a bit.

    There are many errors, and even more poor designs in the wild. Example: just try to export-import contacts from one contact list to another. Something always gets messed up.

    Yup, standards. Too many.:)

  19. Ideas get embodied into physical property though. Unless you want to start talking about the relatively recent move to “files” that only exist physically when encoded into memory. Almost all of them are physical at one time or at most times.

    Ideas can’t be copyrighted anyway.

    n


  20. Re. yesterday’s fun with spreadsheet dates. This has some history from the guy who added Visual Basic to Excel:
    https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2006/06/16/my-first-billg-review/
    Skip down to “In most modern programming environments” if you don’t find the background interesting.

    @JimM

    How coincidental. 20 years ago, still working, I was asked to automate preparation of our documents for our rocket launches. It included moving data between MS Word, Excel and Access; consequently, I had to self learn VS VBA as it was beyond the scope of macro functionality of those apps.

    Yuuup, if your GPS device works, looks like I didn’t screw anything up.

  21. @JimB, how nostalgic. Still using my Hp 15C informal retirement gift. Company loaned to me in 1984. Upon retirement in 2007, the office group that handled the loan outs of those units of company property had been disbanded. No way to turn it back in.

  22. @nick, can’t relate to GPS rollover. I have several, all work fine. Just used my Garmin GPSMAP 66i to send message to some friends. It communicates via Iridium satellites, I participated in those launches also.

  23. @Mark W, Astonishing, I never heard of Google Sheets until 20 minutes ago. Going to look into it.

    Also, have been thinking about checking out MS Office cloud versions, wonder if that involves fees, or is it free?

  24. I have an HP 15c somewhere. I saw it in a box a couple of years ago. Made sure there were no batteries in it to leak. Currently I am using an HP 50g. Got that after my 48gx suffered a catastrophic fall. My 50g is full of custom programs I wrote for my line of work. I would be lost without it.

    Once you go reverse polish it is hard to go back…

  25. I still use my 33-year-old 15c. It has batteries in it, because I use it from time to time. Buttons still work fine.

  26. I am getting so tired of the Indian body shops emailing and calling me each day:

    “Lynn,

    What makes the difference between “it works” and “it wows”? UX Lab can give you a data-driven answer to this question.

    Our nearshore designers follow Lean UX to craft user experiences that wow. This approach brought measurable value to brands like Bleacher Report and Funny Or Die and helped them 10x their in-app UX.

    We deliver impeccable quality at a flat rate of $75, and we’d love to assist you with any UI/UX project. Our work speaks for itself, so I’d really appreciate it if you could tell me what you think of our portfolio.

    Would you like to explore during a 10-minute call with our UI/UX lead if a larger conversation makes sense?

    Best,

    Sofia


    Sofia Barnes
    Senior Project Manager”

    I really hate to block email addresses (especially since they change theirs so often) but she has earned a permanent block today.

  27. Good story, and apparently some have sold original ones with the bug for quite a bit.

    Old school HP calculators (HP50 and older) generally go for decent money on EBay if they are in nice shape. The “Saturn” series are particularly desirable — HP 11C/15C/16C, expecially the 15C.

    My wife made me stop carrying my HP50 to work when new units still in the box started hitting $500 on Amazon. I’m not thrilled with the replacement, an HP Prime, but I can get a new one if I lose the calculator or it breaks under constant use. Now I just need to take the time to learn the thing.

    If you just want the old school RPN functionality without paying collector prices, I can vouch for Swiss Micros products. I have a DM42 and the 11C credit card-size equivalent.

    The DM42 is very accurate, and the marketing (what little exists) is not hype from what I’ve seen. The test @Lynn posts for the Pentium divide bug resulted in a very small error when I tried the text expression using the calculator.

  28. @JimM, thanks! That was an interesting read.

    I just verified that the online Office 365 web-based Excel behaves the same as Excel 2013. I have Excel 2018/19 here somewhere also, but I assume it behaves the same.

    It’s an interesting quirk. I wonder if any companies have bad historical data after migrating spreadsheets into Google Sheets?


  29. Which led to the question: just exactly who is getting this money?

    The Heinlein estate has a trust that owns the copyrights. They use the money for a series of prizes for commercialization of space flight and space travel.

    So now I see the same thing happening with Jerry. All sympathies to his widow, but I am certain he did not leave her destitute. His writings should now also be in the public domain. Running these websites strikes me as poor taste. Let the man rest in peace.

    I’m not opposed to copyrights outlasting a person’s death. The edge case is a book coming out the day of the author’s death. Should his heirs get nothing from it? I am in favor of reasonable terms of copyright – author’s life plus 19 or so. Just because their labor resulted in an intangible product is no reason it shouldn’t have a productive lifetime equivalent to a piece of capital equipment.

    I am concerned about the creeping extension for commercial works. I’d limit any work that is owned by a public corporation or done as a work for hire to 19 + renew for 19 years.

    Also, the site the Pournelle estate put up is, to my eye, outmoded, busy, and ugly. I hope that whomever is handling the queries on film/tv rights is a pro and not a member of the family. Otherwise, they might end up like David Weber, who sold the Honor Harrington rights to a company that was going to use a video game to get interest in a film/tv series. Right.

    (As an aside, Jerry’s family is interesting. Several in the military, including the daughter I never knew he had until she published a novel in the Mote universe.)

  30. I still use my 33-year-old 15c

    I have an HP-27S, one of the few, if not the only algebraic calculator produced by HP. No RPN on that sucker. Although I used an HP-45 for many years before that until the batteries (rechargeable) and destroyed the calculator. I envied over an Hp-65. I have owned the 27S since March 1988 and have the leather case. Both in excellent, almost new, condition. HP-27 you can input a formula and the calculator will solve for the unknown, sometimes taking several seconds.

    I remember a Burroughs technician getting one of the first HP-35s in 1972 and I was in total awe, as were many other people. I don’t know if his had the bug.

  31. re: the new Pournelle site.

    It’s being run (and designed) by the Pournelle family; Frank seems to be the catalyst. I’ve been working with him on getting the site in place. The design choices are his; I’ve just been doing the background tweaks. Not a big fan of the design; it’s ‘masonry’ inspired, but the font choices need some tweaking.

    The family seems to be interested in re-marketing Jerry’s books, along with publishing background info via the posts on the new Science Fiction site, plus a discussion area in the FaceBook group. They are also promoting the ‘subscriptions’ (donations) to help support Roberta. Haven’t heard about her health issues, but it appears that there is some extended/full-time care needed.

    The new posts need some editing; I may suggest doing so. I may be doing minor tweaks to the design of the site, but the site (like Jerry’s) is owned by the family, so any changes need to be done with their approval.

    The Facebook group is growing, slowly; there is some marketing to do with that to get it more interactive.

    Again, only involved in the back-end of the new site. The family is in charge of everything, including whatever marketing activities for film/TV rights.

    There is also the strong possibility that Roberta’s “Reading TLC” program will be re-launched. I had rewritten in to be web-based a couple of years ago, but the ‘publish’ of it was not done due to Jerry’s difficulties with concentration towards the end. Making that program available will provide some income to Roberta.

  32. Our nearshore designers follow Lean UX to craft user experiences that wow.

    Nearshore? Canada?

    I worked at the CGI “onshore” delivery center in Belton. The company made money at the center partially by skimping on salaries but mostly through the Federal/state/local tax breaks designed to “foster the sense of community” (no working from home in the Austin suburbs).

  33. I have an HP-27S, one of the few, if not the only algebraic calculator produced by HP.

    The new HP Prime flagship calculator is algebraic first, RPN second.

  34. My ~ 35 year old 41CV died last year. If I could figure out how to shed a tear in RPN I would have, even though I didn’t use it very often. One thing it was very good for was was confusing the hell out of people who weren’t initiates into the wonder that was an HP calculator.

  35. My 15C and 16C are still going strong. If I replace the batteries I can probably get my 25C going as well. There is a 15C emulator available for Windows and Linux.

    There is also a 15C emulator for Android. I use it on all my tablets. I would be lost without it.

  36. I’ve got several different models and maybe more than one 35 sitting in a drawer here somewhere. If the battery tabs are clean, I put them on ebay. One of them takes a weird battery though, A123?

    I can’t remember off the top of my head where they are at the moment…

    n

  37. The scanner has had a bunch of traffic on the surveillance talkgroups for the last couple of days. I wonder if the new budget kicked in and they have money for overtime again…

    n

  38. Calculated Industries makes special purpose calculators for the trades.

    The most general purpose one is the Construction Master. They make several others too, including one for machinists.

    I have several CMs and used them weekly when I was doing install work. I have the app for my phone but prefer the actual calculator with tactile buttons. The conversion buttons made it easy to move back and forth from metric to imperial, and from architectural FT-IN to engineering decimal feet, to fractional feet…. and the trig functions were very handy for design validation and layout of curved projection screens and triangular light paths.

    A special purpose calculator is money well spent.

    n

  39. @Nick,

    I have a Calculated Industries Time Master calculator, which does time arithmetic and conversions natively among all the many-and-various ways of counting time, particularly in broadcast television (even unto linear feet of 16mm or 35mm film – yes, those are recognised (and different) units – or the never-to-be-sufficiently-damned NTSC drop-frame timecode) and found it very useful. I didn’t need it often, but when I did, the need was bad.

    Note: if anyone doesn’t understand any of this, I will enlarge upon it on request, but be prepared for wall-of-text posts.

    Geoff

  40. or the never-to-be-sufficiently-damned NTSC drop-frame timecode

    –no kidding. so much easier to SAY “30 images per second” than the reality.

    n

    (active stereo 3D projection need to sync left and right eye projection with triggering shutter glassed, and you have to be frame perfect, while accounting for the lag of the glasses, frame delay between projectors, frame delay from digital warping, frame delay from any digital extenders….)

    (oh yeah, and consider that the light engine in the proj is running at 120 or 240hz, or some multiple as it cycles between red blue and green for each frame…..)

  41. (active stereo 3D projection need to sync left and right eye projection with triggering shutter glassed, and you have to be frame perfect, while accounting for the lag of the glasses, frame delay between projectors, frame delay from digital warping, frame delay from any digital extenders….)

    In the early days, running a Linux GUI required calculation of the vertical and horizontal sync times in terms of pixels on order to avoid burning out the inexpensive fixed sync monitors common in the mid 90s. If you didn’t keep that spec sheet for your monitor, you had to pray that someone in Usenet had done the calculations already. Fun!

    These days, the most complicated video-related calculation I run is anamorphic ratios for DVDs.


  42. The family seems to be interested in re-marketing Jerry’s books, along with publishing background info via the posts on the new Science Fiction site, plus a discussion area in the FaceBook group.

    Yeah, but the way to be flogging his works for TV and film is not via a website. It’s via an agent, preferably one at an agency that reps/packages to film and TV already. Otherwise you end up like Weber did, with a company that spent money on making a game and not a TV show. An A+ game costs more than a TV pilot and has about as much chance as failing, so you are adding a gateway that you have to hurdle to get to a pilot. I seem to recall he was repped by Spectrum, which handles a lot of top sf writers. They should be able to sell his stuff to studios.

    Charles Stross re-sold the Laundry Files series recently. The first option was to a US company that apparently didn’t really know what to do with it. The current company has a track record of doing series for the UK market and some successful films. I expect they will have a better chance.

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