Wed. Feb. 19, 2020 – volunteer day, and ham lunch

Cooler and rainy.

The rain held off all day yesterday, but I still didn’t get anything done outside. I did get some prep stuff, shipping, and some ebay stuff done during the day.

Today I have my 4th grade volunteer day. We’ll be doing centripetal and centrifugal forces, why the moon doesn’t crash to earth or fly away, and why the earth isn’t round…. I hope my activities work out. We’ll see.

My weekly ham radio lunch is local to me today so I’ll be able to get there even with my morning class. Meatspace baby.

Then afternoon stuff, auction pickups mainly. I know I wasn’t going to buy more, but they had a bunch of PPEs. Tyvek, gloves, booties, AB soaps and cleaners, all good and welcome stuff. Some masks but I passed when the prices got too high.

I fully expect to see lots of new infections in Japan since they’ve started to disperse the plague ship passengers even though some tested positive just yesterday. I expect them wherever home is for those poor folks too. And hey, way to go State, now we’ve got double the patients, and we’re putting the BL-4 treatment center to use. Good show.

Stack it high. Meet some locals. Start planning to pull in your shell.

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. Feb. 19, 2020 – volunteer day, and ham lunch”

  1. Gotta get into our new house, before we can stack anything. Looks like it’s going to be a bit late – we’ll see.

    We’ve passed our crazy neighbors on to our general contractor. That’s where they’re now making nuisances of themselves. The guy they’re corresponding with isn’t the type to take any shit – we should have done this sooner.

    For whatever reason, they haven’t taken us to court yet. Maybe, deep down, they realize how ridiculous they are being. Of course, that could change – they may just be waiting until construction is finished.

    Regardless, they’ve already caused us a lot of expense, not least of will be 50 meters of fence that we will be erecting along the boundary. With normal neighbors, we wouldn’t want a fence. With these fruitcakes, definitely. But precisely because they are fruitcakes, we will need to bring in a surveyor to ensure that it follows the boundary with absolute precision. We’ll put it 2cm on our side of the boundary, just to be safe…

  2. Brad, instead of a fence, how about a motion sensor and a megawatt laser? Or a cageful of rabid wolverines with the cage release sprung if someone steps over the boundary line?

  3. Brad, here it is customary to set a fence one US foot inside the property line. Two centimetres seems a bit close. Maybe Swiss surveyors are more precise than US?

    Oh, and I don’t convert units. Ask the Mars lander team why. BTW, in my career I used to be conversant in several of the metric systems. What a mess. In the unlikely words of Rodney King, “Why can’t we all just get along?”

  4. Lasers, schmasers. Ask Barbara if you can borrow Bob’s anti-Santa arsenal for 364 days a year.

  5. Maybe she should have just called a Lyft

    That’s the future the politicians and US car companies envision for most of us. The call center was probably staffed by Freshers overseas.

    It doesn’t help that most of the population is gadget obsessed and wants to believe that Tony Stark is real. One snowflake where I work tries to run his plugin hybrid C-MAX totally off battery power, no gasoline, and wonders why his battery pack has died prematurely — a $4000 repair for that particular model with the plug, apparently.

    I didn’t even know a plugin C-MAX existed, but Ford has been busy testing concepts in California, including an EV Focus.


  6. Oh, and I don’t convert units.

    Roger that, JimB.

    Half-wits, or less, used to argue with me over here.
    https://forums.geocaching.com/GC/index.php?/forum/11-gps/
    Then, they would get personal about my avoidance of MKS. My response was that I would switch when I became smarter than the bicycle mechanics who used the traditional USA system at Kitty Hawk.

    Well, if the GPS receiver in your truck works OK, I didn’t make any fatal mistakes.

    CowboySlim
    Former Propulsion System Engineer: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta_II

  7. Well some news:

    We bought a house in San Antonio near our daughter for our migration back to Tejas. I’ll probably return this year while the Twins finish their degrees at UNLV.

  8. We bought a house in San Antonio near our daughter for our migration back to Tejas. I’ll probably return this year while the Twins finish their degrees at UNLV.

    Inside or outside the city limits?

    San Antonio and Austin city governments are Prog Heaven, with everything incorporated in between on I35 trending in that direction.

  9. Just N of the airport, between 410 and 1604 by 281. We looked outside 1604, but nothing met our needs. I can live anywhere and make the best of it. Quiet neighborhood, single story with a well kept grass backyard with sprinkler. New roof (but the cheapest) and a new heat pump. Both done in 2019. Older house, but very well kept. Even has a water softener plumbed in.


  10. Oh, and I don’t convert units.

    Slight correction. Once upon a time, we had a big problem with heat degrading a small rear facing antenna cover on a rocket. The aerothermal guys worked in Rankine units, as was customary with their analysis software in the day. Knowing that I had to present some results to people in several disciplines, and not wanting any distractions with conversion trivia, I carefully converted into the other three major temperature scales. The result was a slide that showed the same temperature in Rankine, Kelvin, Fahrenheit, and Celsius. I didn’t call attention to it, and very few people even noticed.

    Afterwards, someone I really respected paid me one of the highest compliments I have ever received. He said it was a good idea to show those four numbers so everyone could read the answer in units they were used to using, without the distraction of mentally trying to do their own conversions.

    I am still uncomfortable with conversions.

  11. CowboySlim, now THAT’S a real rocket! All our stuff was powered by small solid propellant motors. One friend had worked on a liquid fuel motor before he came here. It was only about three cubic feet, and was used on orbiting spacecraft. He was proud of the fact that it had one of the largest throttle ranges of its time. IIRC, it could go from under 20% to of course full. He said they worked hard on combustion chamber stability. I don’t remember what it was called.

    My area was electronics, but we always appreciated things that had lots of energy.

  12. The urban outdoorsmen and -women of Austin are making their presence felt:

    Yes, I encountered a strung out female (equal opportunity!) squeegee bum about a month ago. They are hard to avoid going SB I35 to SB US183, one of the busiest intersections in Austin since the road change requires an exit from one freeway, a stoplight (where the squeegee bums work), and an onramp.

    The city has been buying and converting older hotels near the airport into homeless shelters, but that doesn’t do much for downtown. However, it is hard to feel sorry for the business owners and residents in the area because they keep voting to keep Mayor Adler and the other pinheads on city council in office.

  13. Afterwards, someone I really respected paid me one of the highest compliments I have ever received. He said it was a good idea to show those four numbers so everyone could read the answer in units they were used to using, without the distraction of mentally trying to do their own conversions.

    One of the features of our CAD front end is to show piping temperatures in multiple dimensional units in a table. One of our customers would put a row of F for their British ex-pats and a row of C for their Danish employees. Multiple pressures too, psig and kg/cm2g.

  14. Gates drives a Taycan? I’m shocked! Shocked!

    Show of hands — Who wouldn’t want a Taycan in the garage? I thought so.

    Tyler Durden byline piece. Again, I wonder who really wrote this. The automotive press are craven cowards when it comes to The Real Life Tony Stark (TM), but the cracks in the wall are starting to grow.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/technology/elon-musk-calls-bill-gates-underwhelming-after-gates-admits-he-drives-porsche-taycan

    Given current tech limits, EVs are toys for the well off, not transportation for the masses. The sooner we get a grip on reality about that, the better.

  15. He said they worked hard on combustion chamber stability. I don’t remember what it was called.

    Maybe the “flame front” stability. And being stable at 20% of full capability is amazing for any motor, much less an open orifice like a rocket motor.

  16. Well some news:

    We bought a house in San Antonio near our daughter for our migration back to Tejas. I’ll probably return this year while the Twins finish their degrees at UNLV.

    Welcome back to God’s country.

    Is the airport in San Antonio any good nowadays ? It used to be fairly podunk, not many flights outside the state.

  17. Just N of the airport, between 410 and 1604 by 281. We looked outside 1604, but nothing met our needs. I can live anywhere and make the best of it. Quiet neighborhood, single story with a well kept grass backyard with sprinkler. New roof (but the cheapest) and a new heat pump. Both done in 2019. Older house, but very well kept. Even has a water softener plumbed in.

    Ok, older in San Antonio means 1950s. We upgraded a 1998 new used house, I cannot imagine upgrading a 1950s house. Maybe all of your kids have left the nest now though. Having a kid living with us until the end of her days or our days makes for some unique issues.


  18. Maybe the “flame front” stability. And being stable at 20% of full capability is amazing for any motor, much less an open orifice like a rocket motor.

    Yes. We were at a museum near White Sands, and there was a cutaway in a glass case. He pointed out the orifice plate(s) in the combustion chamber (sorry, I don’t understand or remember the details) and said they had tried many hole patterns or something like that. It sure looked more complicated than the big 100% only motors I had seen in drawings. This motor needed to be started and stopped for maneuvering, as well as have thrust control. I remember it looked beautiful, in the way old Swiss watches looked beautiful. He is long deceased.


  19. Is the airport in San Antonio any good nowadays ? It used to be fairly podunk, not many flights outside the state.

    Still lots of hub flights: Love Field, Hobby, ATL etc, and definitely more directs than in the past. I’ve flown direct to FLL, BWI, LAS, PHX, MDW, and more, just on Southwest in the last few years. The population of the metro area is around 2M now.

    The circular terminal 2 was replaced a few years ago.

  20. The city has been buying and converting older hotels near the airport into homeless shelters, but that doesn’t do much for downtown. However, it is hard to feel sorry for the business owners and residents in the area because they keep voting to keep Mayor Adler and the other pinheads on city council in office.

    I thought Austin was broke ?

  21. I’ve used the SA airport and it was not bad. Mueller in Austin was a rat’s nest. I’ve yet to go to Bergstrom…. and do not intend to.

    From here, the SA airport is about 100 miles, straight shot down 281 and boom! Park your car. Yeah, stretches of two lane road. A couple of little “wide spot” towns. Nice drive, though. Bulverde was no fun for a few years but that road project seems done.

    The extinct Mueller? About 65 miles but ya gotta eff with Austin traffic. After you get through Bertram speed trapping folks, Liberty Hill, Cedar Park, and then North Austin and all all all !!! of the joy of 183 and Lamar and Airport Blvd, and IH35. Cluster o’ Fun. Now with Toll Roads for an extra Piss Me Off factor.
    Bergstrom? No real clue other than it’s out there by Creedmore. Which is half way to Victoria. Or Brenam. Or whatever town that is that is supposed to have such great sausage. Elgin. Some where out and almost into the pine tree wilderness on the way to Houston.

    I remember when some friends moved to SA. We took 35 down from Braker Lane to 1604. A freaking Ranch Road being upgraded to 28 lanes or whatever from 35 to 281. That was fun. They lived in a looked to be nice neighborhood a couple of miles south of 1604. A Zero lot? One side of the house was the neighbor’s fence. All sort of strange to me.

  22. “The city has been buying and converting older hotels near the airport into homeless shelters, but that doesn’t do much for downtown. However, it is hard to feel sorry for the business owners and residents in the area because they keep voting to keep Mayor Adler and the other pinheads on city council in office.”

    I thought Austin was broke ?

    Plenty of money for homeless services. Just don’t enroll your kids in AISD schools.

    Keep in mind that Mayor Adler was reelected in the midst of an embarrassing “boil water” alert for the municipal water supply which went on for *weeks*.


  23. Ok, older in San Antonio means 1950s. We upgraded a 1998 new used house, I cannot imagine upgrading a 1950s house.

    LOL! It was built in 1999. That is *old* to me. Three BR so kids can visit. The Twins are Millennials, so may move in for the rest of our lives. The older Sister that lives in SA is trying to get them to look for microbiology jobs in SA. Going to visit and set up innertube access tomorrow. Water and power are on. All electric. Wood burning fireplace for when the Barackalypse hits.

  24. Bergstrom? No real clue other than it’s out there by Creedmore. Which is half way to Victoria. Or Brenam. Or whatever town that is that is supposed to have such great sausage. Elgin. Some where out and almost into the pine tree wilderness on the way to Houston.

    Bergstrom is at 71 and US183, on the road out to I10 and Houston.

    At some point, I believe that continuous express toll lanes will connect Houston to Austin via 71 and I-10, and the whole mess will be one big suburb of both cities. San Antonio-Austin is almost there.

  25. Home, home at last. Encountered rain in Jackson MS for about 100 miles until reaching Alabama. Lot of flooding in Jackson visible in many locations. All the rivers I crossed on the entire journey from Jackson to Oliver Springs had rivers to the top of the their level, several outside the banks. All the rivers were running brown indicating runoff from flooding.

    Traffic was OK except for the jerk truck drivers doing 70.02 trying to pass another truck doing 70.01. Same truckers get pissed when a car takes two miles to pass another vehicle. Yes, I did that. What’s good for the goose.

    Now need to scrum through the pile of mail.

  26. My ISP is by a couple of Bubbas. Local guys. They have had ups and downs and perhaps some sabotage by now ex-employees. The tornadoes last Spring didn’t help anything. They have hired some “pros” for stuff like bookkeeping. Anyway, basically a wISP and they do have some fiber connected to Level3 or some such. Not just reselling Borg Fiber.

    Well. Why not? What else is here? A sat dish? A cell hot spot? I’m too far out of town for DSL if that is still a thing. Rise Broadband bought up almost all of the local ISP folks out and turned into a mini Borg of the Deathstar variety. Yeah! Advertise 25/5 connections and then actually have only 5/1 connections that actually run at 2.5/.5 if the wind is right and the Sun isn’t too shiny at 6 AM. Because they didn’t expand the back end. So, $57 a month. And calling? It’s all my fault, every time.

    Bubba company gives me a 25/5 plan for $65 a month. It’s actually faster. I get bursts of 70 down that levels to about 30. Sure makes my e-mail POP. Pun intended.

    Anyway. They are working on TV over the network. It’s very alpha. He has four tuners, they are “pricey”. [shrug] I’ve learned enough that each tuner can stream one channel at a time. So, if I connect to 36.1 that’s all that tuner can deliver. It can’t do 36.1 plus the sub channels at the same time.

    The picture is great! Changing channels is about as fast as poking around in another PC’s file system across the LAN. Pretty much instant. My TV seems slower when changing channels.

    But. No Roku. VLC doesn’t run on Roku. I have a plan…. if the other laptop has an HDMI output, I can feed that to the side port on the TV. Clunky. But when the weather over Lake Travis says No TV For You, I can still watch Wheel of Fortune. Hey, don’t judge. 🙂


  27. I can still watch Wheel of Fortune

    I can still watch Vanna White.

    Fixed it for you.


  28. Bergstrom is at 71 and US183, on the road out to I10 and Houston.

    Ok, a bit of exaggeration.

    But I’ve never mapped 183 out in my head east of 1-35.
    I remember 183 and Burnet Road being a four way stop sign….

  29. But. No Roku. VLC doesn’t run on Roku. I have a plan…. if the other laptop has an HDMI output, I can feed that to the side port on the TV. Clunky. But when the weather over Lake Travis says No TV For You, I can still watch Wheel of Fortune. Hey, don’t judge.

    I’ve had a long-standing project at the house to create a private Roku channel to stream broacast shows from our TiVo to other TVs in the house. Roku gives you everything you need to get started … except free time. HandBrake even has a Roku preset these days.


  30. I’ve had a long-standing project at the house to create a private Roku channel to stream broacast shows from our TiVo to other TVs in the house.

    I think Roku has it. It finds my music folder on moa. I think it should find shared videos.

    I’m trying to connect to a stream from my ISP and that doesn’t seem to be an option.

  31. The picture is great! Changing channels is about as fast as poking around in another PC’s file system across the LAN. Pretty much instant. My TV seems slower when changing channels.

    But. No Roku. VLC doesn’t run on Roku. I have a plan…. if the other laptop has an HDMI output, I can feed that to the side port on the TV. Clunky.

    We have Comcast cable intertubes at the new used house for $39/month including taxes. I need to crank it from 25 Mbps to 175 Mbps for $70/month as the three Rokus are killing it. It appears to reset every hour when all three Rokus are running.

    And one of my Rokus still locks up, the den Roku that the wife generally uses. I swapped the master bedroom Roku and the den Roku. The new den Roku still locks up. Maybe it is the 2008 Sony 46 inch LCD tv in the den causing the Roku to lock up. Last nights lock up was a pull all three cables loose, count to ten, and reconnect. The second time was the charm. The wife says that I have the touch.

  32. And one of my Rokus still locks up, the den Roku that the wife generally uses. I swapped the master bedroom Roku and the den Roku. The new den Roku still locks up. Maybe it is the 2008 Sony 46 inch LCD tv in the den causing the Roku to lock up. Last nights lock up was a pull all three cables loose, count to ten, and reconnect. The second time was the charm. The wife says that I have the touch.

    Roku and/or Netflix has a setting to use lower quality streams. You might try that in the den.

    If you’re not hard wired to that point in the house, you can try Powerline adapters or MOCA. I get 30 Mbps to my home office over MOCA, and that would be sufficient for a Roku, even at HD resolution.

    25 Mbps might be adequate for one HD streaming user, but not all three simultaneously. I master my homebrew DVDs at 9000 kbps, and that is 720×480 minus blanking for weird anamorphic ratios such as 2.25:1.

  33. Home and waiting for dinner to arrive pre-cooked.

    Science class this am went well, considering that the woman who is in charge, and normally above and beyond good at getting things ready, wasn’t there. No idea what was up until after all the classes when she finally arrived. I had several volunteer parents so they made my “weight on a string” units and we proceeded to have a bunch of fun spinning them around. My centrifugal force activity ended up being a demo, but it worked perfectly and everything timed out just exactly right. All in all a good day.

    Then off to ham lunch and a nice chat with some smart and friendly folks, then over to pick up a bunch of safety equipment. Some respirator carts, some gloves, some industrial grade cleaners, some tyvek, some AB soap. Misc other stuff including bike tires and inner tubes in the size I needed for my bike. More preps!

    n

  34. But. No Roku. VLC doesn’t run on Roku. I have a plan…. if the other laptop has an HDMI output, I can feed that to the side port on the TV. Clunky. But when the weather over Lake Travis says No TV For You, I can still watch Wheel of Fortune. Hey, don’t judge.

    Have you considered Orby satellite TV for $40/month ?
    https://orbytv.com/

  35. If you’re not hard wired to that point in the house, you can try Powerline adapters or MOCA. I get 30 Mbps to my home office over MOCA, and that would be sufficient for a Roku, even at HD resolution.

    25 Mbps might be adequate for one HD streaming user, but not all three simultaneously. I master my homebrew DVDs at 9000 kbps, and that is 720×480 minus blanking for weird anamorphic ratios such as 2.25:1.

    That is HD on two Rokus and 4K on my Roku. Which, the Roku and my TV talk to each other at 4K. I have no idea what the Roku is downloading from the intertubes. I am mostly bingeing Stargate Atlantis at the moment which is barely HD. The wife is bingeing Archer and the daughter is bingeing some weird anime shows.

    The Den Roku is wired directly to the TP-Link AC1200 wifi router ethernet hub which is directly wired to the Comcast cable modem. I used Netgear Ethernet over Powerline adapters (85 Mbps, rev 1.0) for the other two Rokus.
    https://www.amazon.com/TP-Link-AC1200-Smart-WiFi-Router/dp/B07N1L5HX1/
    and
    https://www.amazon.com/Netgear-85Mbps-Powerline-Network-Adapter/dp/B001AZUTCS/

  36. That is HD on two Rokus and 4K on my Roku. Which, the Roku and my TV talk to each other at 4K. I have no idea what the Roku is downloading from the intertubes. I am mostly bingeing Stargate Atlantis at the moment which is barely HD. The wife is bingeing Archer and the daughter is bingeing some weird anime shows.

    “Backstreet Girls”/”Goku Dolls”?

    Google if you dare.

    I’m not a big fan even though the anime conferences are awesome people watching. I believe the English dubs as very manipulative psychologically, and, once Funimation gets done with them, the programs aren’t quite the same as watching the Japanese translation. Does all entertainment need to have an agenda?

    “Stargate Atlantis” is probably 480p at best, similar to “Deep Space Nine” from the same era.

  37. “Backstreet Girls”/”Goku Dolls”?

    Google if you dare.

    I dare not. I just know it giggles a lot.

    “Stargate Atlantis” is probably 480p at best, similar to “Deep Space Nine” from the same era.

    Stargate Atlantis is wide screen so it is probably 720p. The big transition from SD to HD happened in the third year of Buffy IIRC.

  38. “Wash your Trash! Is recycling working?”
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/02/18/wash-your-trash-is-recycling-working/

    “The recycling movement started in the 1970s and it has been very popular in Western countries. Participation varies with location, but in our small community of The Woodlands, Texas, over 90% participate in our curbside recycling program. However, the value of recycled materials has fallen dramatically in recent years because far too much unrecyclable material is put in the bins by the public and much of what is recyclable is contaminated with water, food, or other contaminates that make the “good” stuff unusable. Waste disposal companies often charge “contamination fees.” In addition to the contamination problem, the value of recyclables is going down and cost to process them into a usable form is going up. Processing, that is cleaning and sorting a load of recyclable material, has gone from earning a community $25/ton to costing the community $70/ton or more in many areas. In 2015 recycling was a revenue generator for Houston and other cities in the area. Bellaire, for example, generated $12,000 in 2015 from curbside recycling, but in 2017, they lost over $80,000 for the same program.”

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

  39. Knew this was coming ….

    US coronavirus cases rise to 16 as Diamond Princess cruise ship evacuee tests positive at California hospital where a second patient is in isolation with symptoms

    Two people evacuated to the US from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan are in isolation at Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa Valley, California
    One tested positive for coronavirus at the hospital, though the CDC has not yet confirmed the results
    A second person tested negative for the virus but later developed symptoms and is now in isolation at the same hospital
    They are among more than 300 American passengers that were evacuated and placed in quarantines
    Both had been held at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California
    Other evacuees are quarantined in Texas and 13 ‘high risk’ evacuees are being held in Omaha, Nebraska, including one who is in a biocontainment chamber
    The remaining 100 or so American passengers on the ship have been barred from reentry into the US until the do another 14-day quarantine in Japan “

    n

  40. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    Portland was setting up for mandatory composting when we left Vantucky. Place any compostable food waste into your regular garbage and you would be fined.

    Vantucky is probably looking at it by now. I view the Portland Metro as a glimpse at the future everywhere else in about 10 years.

  41. Portland was setting up for mandatory composting when we left Vantucky. Place any compostable food waste into your regular garbage and you would be fined.

    Vantucky is probably looking at it by now. I view the Portland Metro as a glimpse at the future everywhere else in about 10 years.

    The last time I was in Tokyo, they had six trash cans: paper, metal, food, etc, etc, etc. They also had the trash can police.

  42. Right now all the recycle is diverted to landfill anyway as china is not buying. India sent the last load back, and isn’t buying more.

    Like having to pump water into the sewers to clear them after the low flow flushing doesn’t, recycling is a failed implementation.

    n

    When my neighborhood in cali was ‘single stream’ it was easier for them to just dump it all into landfill than to sort and extract.


  43. Right now all the recycle is diverted to landfill

    Yep.

    pump water into the sewers to clear them

    Yep.

    You know how to piss off a green? Well, other than by breathing, of course. You tell them about all the failures of their Save the Planet™ ideas. And you point out that maybe they ought to learn some math and science and economics and then they’d be able to predict why their Next Big Idea™ will also be an expensive failure. But no, they don’t want to hear that. They have good intentions and that’s all that matters and if naysayers like me would just get out of the way everything would be great.

    See also: Socialism and Communism.

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