Fri. Feb. 28, 2020 – and the hits just keep on coming …

Cold and clear today.

Cold yesterday. Clear and sunny but cold. Started at 37F with frost on the car windows. That’s pretty cold no matter where you are (Jenny laughs!)

Kids are home today. Water main broke and gave the ISD a reason to cancel classes. I’ve got a ton of running around to do and it will all go slower with the kids in tow. It is what it is, I guess.

WuFlu keeps on keeping on. China says it’s dying out, but I don’t think anyone believes that. Everywhere else, it is doing great. Cali has a case that looks like community transmission, although possibly a link to the flight crew or quarantine exists. Certainly casual contact if the patient can’t recall anything significant.

Iranians seem to be hit harder than others. Their death rate is pretty high. Italians too. Or at least people living in Italy.

For anyone who hasn’t internalized the numbers, Aesop breaks it down. If the lethality is 3% (which doesn’t SOUND that bad) and most people get it, one kid in every classroom will die. One or more people in most small businesses will die. 2 or more people in your family will die. 2 or more people in your circle of friends will die. 1 in every 33… That sounds a bit more ominous than “3%”. So no, NOT the FLU.

Pray it’s not really gonna spread, because just asserting that doesn’t seem like a winning strategy given the way it’s spreading. Pray that the big brains will come up with a vaccine that works on a virus that even when you have it and survive, you don’t get immunity. Pray that it’s not true that the second time you get it, your heart stops and you just fall down dead.

I’m not really much for praying, but that looks like a pretty good backup plan to me.

nick

Author: Nick Flandrey

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

66 thoughts on “Fri. Feb. 28, 2020 – and the hits just keep on coming …”

  1. Cali has a case that looks like community transmission, although possibly a link to the flight crew or quarantine exists. Certainly casual contact if the patient can’t recall anything significant.

    That part of CA isn’t as isolated as the press makes it out to be.

    Napa is one of those You-Ain’t-Got-No-Ice-Cream destinations, especially if the Number One Son gets a table at The French Laundry with that bizarre reservation process that seems designed for the demographic.

    Sonomoa is full of the Hipper-than-thou crowd streaming out to Frog’s Leap proclaiming that Napa has become “too touristy”, and I80 has the chain stores vanquished from Napa and Sonomoa.

    Heck, IIRC, American Canyon has *two* Target stores right across the freeway from each other to meet demand … or did when we went 20 years ago.

    To say Northern California is an obsession with Mainland Chinese is an understatement. I used to see the real estate brochures at HMart and Uwajimaya in Portland and Seattle. The dream is a ghost house 2/1 $3 million bungalo in Palo Alto and kids attending Stanford.

  2. Hyundai closed a plant due to a positive worker as did chipmaker Hynix.

    Just more supply chain issues… I’m sure it won’t impact us. /sarc

    Just an observation but Costco was packed with asians yesterday. And Greg, I now evaluate everything with the “you ain’t got no icecream” firmly in mind. Pretty sure that was why the guy had two of the big flat carts full of bottled water…. or hey, maybe prudence since they’ve extended the boil notice here.

    Aesop should be on your daily reads anyway, but especially when there is a health emergency going on. https://raconteurreport.blogspot.com/ read the comments too. The article he’s poking at has one good line, “An upgrading of the status from epidemic to pandemic means a change in tactics from “keep it over there” to “minimize its impact here.” “ –Japan has already made this move. Everyone else is next, no matter what W.H.O. says.

    CDC has promoted “non-pharmaceutical interventions” to its own page.* This is what’s coming here. Get ready. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/preparing-individuals-communities.html

    Decide which spouse stays home with the kids. Which income you can afford to lose. Which person is LESS likely to bring wuflu home.

    no idea what the markets will do today. Will there be massive dip buying? Central bank intervention? Will it be enough, or will the slide continue? We’ll see.

    n

    *Nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) are public health actions that can slow the spread of emerging respiratory diseases like COVID-19 for which vaccines and drug treatments are not yet available.1

  3. Ummm, how you guys feeling about the stock market now?

    I still feel OK, not happy, but OK. I survived 2008 where I lost almost a quarter million dollars. It all came back. I am in for the long term. I gained back more than I lost by a significant amount, beating inflation and any money in interest bearing accounts. I would have lost money in gold and other precious metals. Historically the markets have always come back, this will be no different. Currently the markets are down a little over 10% putting them in correction territory, something that has been long overdue. A correction is healthy for the market.


  4. If the lethality is 3%

    Higher than 9%, from what I saw based on “completed” cases earlier this week. The completed cases there didn’t address the symptoms coming back after apparent cure or worse-than-the-first-time reinfection. On the flip side, the mortality numbers included the elderly (more likely to die soon anyway), smokers, those living in heavily polluted area (ie, almost any Chinese city), and those already sick. Also, if there is a racial bias to the disease, the mortality rate will be biased high because the vast majority of the reported cases a week ago were Oriental. All that said, the majority of both numerator and denominator of those cases were in the PRC, and the only thing we really know about Sweet and Sour Sicken is that the Chinese government is lying out of both of their faces.

    It all came back.

    After indexing for inflation? (Using whatever cooked inflation number you prefer.) After indexing to the price of gold?

  5. After indexing for inflation?

    Yes. After 2008, 10 years later it was all back plus about 60% in the accounts that I had investments. A little less than 6% per year with inflation averaging a little over 2% per year (some years higher, some years lower). So yes, I did beat inflation. That does not factor in the dividends I received over that time.

    All the smart advisors, state the stock market, specifically mutual funds, will beat inflation. I have an advisor that I use who has thus far served me well. I am following his advice and thus am on track for my goals.

  6. @ray, at what point WON’T you feel ok?

    And do you have 10 years to wait for the market to recover this time? Or were you counting on having that money next year, or the year after.

    That’s my issue. Yeah my 401k recovered after 2008 but it took the better part of a decade.

    n

  7. Just an observation but Costco was packed with asians yesterday. And Greg, I now evaluate everything with the “you ain’t got no icecream” firmly in mind. Pretty sure that was why the guy had two of the big flat carts full of bottled water…. or hey, maybe prudence since they’ve extended the boil notice here.

    That was a big water main that burst in Houston — 96 inches. The boil water alert could last a long time even if the tap is safe for bathing/laundry.

    Or it could be a small business owner stocking up. Stop at the Sam’s on I35 in Round Rock on a weekday morning sometime.

    Bottled water is a really common commodity, and it is a perishable item. If water flowing from the tap is safe for drinking, the “ice cream” appeal is limited, leaving the bag holder open to ridicule. We had a boil water alert in City of Austin for a month, and it was lifted as soon as the daily tests met the drinking water standards. The suburbs were fine, trucks still rolled, and HEB restocked to full shelves in a couple of days.

    The Chinese family next door to us suddenly has a house full of relatives, parking cars up and down the street. I’m not a big deed restrictions guy, but I’m checking mine tonight.


  8. And do you have 10 years to wait for the market to recover this time?

    I can, and will. I have significant money that is sitting in cash, certificates basically. I was not really counting on using the stock market money until the 2020’s, at which time I will be entirely out of the markets and strictly in cash. Chasing or beating inflation at that point is not something I will be doing.

    at what point WON’T you feel ok?

    I don’t know. At this point I don’t feel good, but I am not panicking and feel OK. But the day is young. Learned a valuable lesson in 2008 when I panicked and did something that cost me a lot of money.


  9. That was a big water main that burst in Houston — 96 inches

    Huge pipe, 9 feet tall, enough to almost drive a car through (curvature is a problem). Hard to fathom how much water is moving through that pipe per hour.

    How did a contractor damage the pipe? It would seem that would be one of those main pipes where the location is clearly known, down to the inch. It is stated on the news “When soil was moved from the line, the 96-inch water line burst”. That would seem the pipe was close to failing and losing support caused it to burst. Why was a contractor even close to the pipe?

    Who pays for the flood damage? The flooded vehicles? Will the city of Houston, or the contractor pay? Probably pennies on the dollar if the contractor did not have enough insurance. What if a flooded home had no flood insurance? City problem or home owner problem? There will be a lot of legal battles over the coming months, maybe years.

  10. How did a contractor damage the pipe? It would seem that would be one of those main pipes where the location is clearly known, down to the inch. It is stated on the news “When soil was moved from the line, the 96-inch water line burst”. That would seem the pipe was close to failing and losing support caused it to burst. Why was a contractor even close to the pipe?

    Reading between the lines, my guess is that the crew did something stupid. If the machinery operator was questionably legal, a sure bet if it was a contractor and not a city crew, you’ll never find out the truth.


  11. machinery operator was questionably legal

    In Houston? Surely you jest.

    my guess is that the crew did something stupid

    Undoubtedly. One would think that working around such a pipe, as in really huge, as in really vital, there would have been significant safety measures. I would even think there would be an employee from the Houston water department on hand to protect the asset.

    you’ll never find out the truth

    There will be a lot of finger pointing. Lot of squabbling between insurance companies. Lawyers lined up on all sides of the issues, city attempting damage control by possibly faking or destroying documents.

  12. Remember that we don’t in general interact with the left hand side of the bell curve. Our perception of our fellow countrymen is skewed.

    THIS is what we’re going to be dealing with….

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8056489/Coronavirus-fear-sparks-boycott-Corona-BEER-survey-finds-38-say-wont-drink-lager.html

    38% are too dumb to understand the difference, and those are the ones cleaning your restaurant, cooking your food, and doing all the things that you interact with without thinking about it.

    n

    (i’m headed out for a couple hours)

  13. Looks like a vaccine is on the horizon, with one at CDC for testing, one nearly ready in Israel.
    https://time.com/5790545/first-covid-19-vaccine/?fbclid=IwAR2HPfQQ_NiUG_3y8VtaCOPspUuekTwORdYnI-8WFqiU8WJ-EGZUiyyiZNs

    https://www.jpost.com/HEALTH-SCIENCE/Israeli-scientists-In-three-weeks-we-will-have-coronavirus-vaccine-619101?fbclid=IwAR2ja8TulVFVpUZc9sCu-B38LnWGeFiGGdnKcXsLpF3eaORrN_tVpIIgo8s

    The articles are non-technical, but they may have used the same technique to develop it.


  14. Historically the markets have always come back,

    I agree. That’s why I put everything in cash 2 weeks ago and will “buy the dip” when things start looking up. I’m not rich enough or young enough to take a 20% loss and wait for recovery. I want to keep my value and use it to reinvest for the recovery.

  15. Heard this morning that highest mortality rates are elderly with diabetes. This puts a big target on my wife and myself. We are meeting with an attorney next week to put together a trust to make things easier for the kids when we go. This had been scheduled for a month so good timing. I’m not too worried of infection because of our location. However, if we do get infected we have to be ready for the worst case.
    That leads me to wonder how Life Insurance companies are dealing with this. I just picked up a policy for my retirement.

    On the good news side, the wife was approved for COBRA giving her the same CIGNA health care we had when I was working. Her $645 / mo payments are covered by the American Kidney Association. So we don’t have to pay $1000 / mo for her prescriptions now.

  16. 37F with frost on the car windows. That’s pretty cold no matter where you are

    Shorts weather in the spring. Light coat weather in the fall.

    Pandemic and working from home were brought up in a meeting at work yesterday. Folks are taking this seriously and kind of ignoring the “it won’t be so bad” narrative.

    Stock market. I’m not happy but after discussion with spouse we’re riding it out. We don’t have much out there and what we have is all from splits – we got back our initial investment years ago. We can ride out a 10 year dip. 20 would be harder. Ah well. I always wanted to be a wage slave when I grew up (eyeroll)

    Week 5 of my nearly last term. Discrete Mathematics, Data Structures and Algorithms, Web Programming 2 (PHP and MySQL). Love it. Java programming is hard from a scripting foundation. My code isn’t elegant but it’s getting me thru the course. I’ve got a logical brain however there’s an abstract thing to object oriented I don’t think I possess. Database? Got that, love it. I can “see it” in my head. Programming? Fun and satisfying and maddening but not my strength. I think I’ve got one or two more classes where programming will happen at some small level then done.

    I’m enjoying the PHP stuff a lot and find it significantly easier to do than Java.


  17. Java programming is hard from a scripting foundation.

    When I mentor people who want to be programmers, I start them on a simple scripting language which gives immediate feedback — Python, VisualBasic, even Logo. Then, as soon as they have a grasp of the basics I have them start on a more rigid language, generally Java, and have them learn the concepts of looping and recursion and control structures and exception handling. It’s much easier to go from a rigid language to a looser scripting language than vice versa.

    If they don’t want to be programmers and just need to make their life easier as systems administrators or whatever, then the scripting languages are all they need.

    Database? Got that, love it.

    Database experts are frequently more in demand and get more money than programmers. I don’t know what’s needed in terms of certifications or specific experience.

  18. Week 5 of my nearly last term. Discrete Mathematics, Data Structures and Algorithms, Web Programming 2 (PHP and MySQL).

    Tough load. Hopefully, Algorithms is based on the MIT Press book academics call “CLRS” — the initials of the last names of the authors — relatively cheap and something you’ll want to keep for reference. Most of the pseudo code runs in Python with minimal effort.

    YouTube has MIT lectures from the ‘L’ in “CLRS”, Charles Leiserson. Smart, but what a tool of a human being.

    If you get stuck, aduni.org has Algorithms lectures from Shai Simonson. His lectures are how I survived “Sipser” book classes (Computation Theory) and Algorithms based on “CLRS”.

    Is the Discrete Math book by Rosen? That guy is DMTS at AT&T Labs which means they keep him on the payroll to just write the book and lend the prestige. Lately, however, he’s been subject to assignment for strike duty, so a new edition of the book appears every “CP” year, when he might actually be sent to climb telephone poles. Rosen has his exit plan.

  19. @SteveF
    Don’t see myself becoming a programmer, fortunately. Certainly not at my age. And not with the Anyone can Code (poorly) nonsense. I have a loose not quite plan to see if I can work myself back into databases after I wrap up my Bachelor’s. My actual years innIT (1993) and breadth of experience are more valuable in a job hunt than the degree will be. But the degree is satisfying and will tick a box on applications to help me get past the HR filters.

    Going from rigid to looser… a musical analogy would be going from a chorded instrument to melody, ie piano or guitar to flute or clarinet. I started on flute and while I can play and read chords on guitar / mandolin / piano, it’s never become second nature the way my melody instruments have. I can sight read like crazy with flute / whistle / chanter within my skill level. Sight reading even basic music with chords is very difficult for me. I attribute this to my brain getting wired to think horizontal/ linearly in music instead of vertically by the flute at 10. I could be full of kaka but that’s my layman explanation for why I’m a sucky guitarist but good flautist.

    I like working in Python, PowerShell, and even old school windows cmd line / bat files. I think I have a handle on recursion at least at a simple level. Looping and Control Structures are awesome fun. And methods make sense. Classes screw with my brain big time. I love working with Oracle in the CLI and using RMAN. But that’s a perishable skill and it’s been years. I’d like to renew my Oracle cert – 2021 goals. We will see if my brain can still do it.

  20. I loved writing batch files. Very enabling for a non programmer. Never got the hang of Linux scripting. Probably more proof I am not a programmer. Also love spreadsheet math. Wanted to do some databases, but never had the need. Some of us need motivation.

  21. @Greg
    Thank you – this is going to be hugely helpful. Especially long term references.

    Discrete Math is Oscar Levin
    Data Structures is Clifford Shaffer
    Web2 is a disorganized mish mosh of articles with a common thread of the PHPManual from PHP.net and SoloLearn with W3Schools. This week we build a e-commerce site from a kit, then Drupal in last two weeks. The Web2 class is not rigorous, otherwise I don’t think I could pull off this load.

    The Discrete Math I suspect they broke into two terms from what would otherwise be a single term course. I’m glad because I can spend more time understanding the work instead of brute force memorizing to pass. The Levin book has many many examples and exercises in every section which is a great boon. My high school calculus and physics are slowly coming back, lo these many years past.

    All three will have proctored exams which is good.

    Rosen is clearly a smart AND intelligent individual. With a sound exit plan.

    @JimB
    Writing batch files is sheer fun. Like being paid to go play.


  22. Writing batch files is sheer fun. Like being paid to go play.

    Yes! My background was electronics hardware design. I did RF and later digital logic. The logic was control of motors and mechanical stuff, done in the 1960s before programmable controllers became available. I enjoyed pressing a button and watching things whir. Kinda like toys!

    I later did some logic design for a mainframe computer, both the computer and test equipment to test the computer hardware in production. We faced nondeterministic test problems for the first time. Lots of pressure and long hours, but satisfying.

    My place was always close to production, where the action is. There is no greater fun than having a hundred or more people making complex things seen from concept to finished product, especially when the things work 🙂

  23. Ummm, how you guys feeling about the stock market now?

    Still overvalued. AMZN at 81 times earnings is a correction?

    The correction which is necessary would include Toyota taking Fremont back, having bought the building and contents from the Bankruptcy Court. I’m not holding my breath for Musk in an orange suit, but that image would be cathartic for the market and signal a serious change.

    Here in Austin, it is still “all systems go” for the SXSW expansion of the bacchanalia in two weeks. Lyft is frantically trying to complete a new driver depot in the old Volvo dealership I drive past every morning.

    The stock market is still the best casino in town. Remember, the house always wins.

    This is a good opportunity to buy Amazon again before the forthcoming split between AWS and the retail side. Or not, what do I know ?
    https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/AMZN?p=AMZN&.tsrc=fin-srch

    My Netflix is still riding high. I guess they figure that everyone is goign to stay home and binge “Stranger Things” over and over again.
    https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/NFLX?p=NFLX&.tsrc=fin-srch

    What goes up will go down. Or is that what goes down will go up ? Or something like that.

    BTW, any investments in the stock market should be long term money. Don’t put your kids college money in the stock market, my middle brother found that out the hard way in a freaking growth fund in 2008.

  24. Rosen is clearly a smart AND intelligent individual. With a sound exit plan.

    The big problem I have with his plan is that Rosen’s text costs $200+ new the last time I checked, and the frequency of editions means that most students will end up having to buy new copies.

    Discrete Math doesn’t change that much, and, from feedback I heard from students, Rosen doesn’t put a lot of effort into fixing errors.

  25. Just an observation but Costco was packed with asians yesterday. And Greg, I now evaluate everything with the “you ain’t got no icecream” firmly in mind. Pretty sure that was why the guy had two of the big flat carts full of bottled water…. or hey, maybe prudence since they’ve extended the boil notice here.

    If you ain’t got 20 cases of bottled water, a few 12 packs of Charmin and Bounty, 30 days of canned food, a propane grill and a few one gallon propane tanks, at your house already, you ain’t prepping. And if you have all that times ten, then you better be able to protect it because on day 30 of the disaster, somebody is going to try to take it away from you.

    I’ve wondered over the last decade or so, am I willing to shoot the local community organizer who wants to gather up all the food and water for redistribution ? You know that they will show up sooner or later during the disaster.

  26. RE: Paid to play …
    I started out as a programmer in the mainframe days then migrated to network design in the 80s. I was engaged as a sub contractor on LA Gear shoes warehouse expansion project in the late 80s. I designed the networking layout for their warehouses in Riverside CA. These were highly automated warehouses for the time. Fully automated conveyor systems and bar code scanners at every step. When the company paid to build the conveyor control software failed to deliver, I stepped up and created a temporary control system using a 4GL language (I forget which now). In 2 weeks I had the conveyors delivering boxes all over the huge warehouse. This WAS FUN! Like a huge automated train set where my code routed the box based on it’s barcode identity to correct inventory shelving or to the loading dock for packing. Automated conveyor systems are FUN. LA Gear was still running this “temporary” software two years later when I left them. This led to a whole sub-career in Automated Warehousing that led me from warehouses in San Francisco and Reno to Main. Fun times.

  27. I’ve wondered over the last decade or so, am I willing to shoot the local community organizer who wants to gather up all the food and water for redistribution ?

    Didn’t ACORN prove that “community organizer” is just another way of saying “thug”?

    Shoot the thug.

  28. I’ve wondered over the last decade or so, am I willing to shoot the local community organizer who wants to gather up all the food and water for redistribution ?

    Didn’t ACORN prove that “community organizer” is just another way of saying “thug”?

    Shoot the thug.

    That is my thought lately. Even if the “community organizer” is the HOA (home owner’s association) leader.

    In fact, if the HOA leader comes around to gather your food and water, definitely shoot him. I guess that I am trying to decide how much of a verbal warning to give. Five words “get off my property now” or maybe a complete paragraph. Ditto for his buddies, especially if they show up carrying.

  29. Well, home early. My comment didn’t post I guess.

    Truck motor blew a chunk out the side. Dead on side of road…. with the kids.

    Tow and dropoff at my mechanic cost me $120. The work is going to cost more than that.

    I can see one of the timing chains and all the oil came out…. there is an inch wide gap in the cover where the chain lives. It might be that the chain guide or tensioner failed and the chain whipped against the cover, blowing a hole in the side and letting all the slippery out….

    I really need to do more errands today. NOT tomorrow. Today. Can’t fit the kids in the other truck unless I get a bunch of stuff out. So I guess I’ll be doing that next.

    It never ends.

    n

  30. Well, home early. My comment didn’t post I guess.

    Truck motor blew a chunk out the side. Dead on side of road…. with the kids.

    Tow and dropoff at my mechanic cost me $120. The work is going to cost more than that.

    I can see one of the timing chains and all the oil came out…. there is an inch wide gap in the cover where the chain lives. It might be that the chain guide or tensioner failed and the chain whipped against the cover, blowing a hole in the side and letting all the slippery out….

    Well, that sucks. One of my timing chains failed at 209,650 ??? miles on my 2005 Expedition with the 5.4L three valve V8 last fall which is why I have the 2019 F-150 now. The F-150 gets the job done of carting my wide ass around from here to there. But, it is definitely not as comfortable as the old Expedition. I am sore today after driving 500 miles yesterday. And still have 10 gallons of gas in the 36 gallon tank that I need to refill today.

    You can probably get it rebuilt for $4K plus a new timing cover at Thunderbolt Motors (if nothing else blew up):
    https://www.tbolt.net/

  31. That sucks, Nick. And of course it had to happen when the kids were with you, not when they were in school and you were two miles from home. I’m not certain that the universe is sapient and malevolent, but that’s the way to bet.

  32. Tow and dropoff at my mechanic cost me $120. The work is going to cost more than that.

    The work is going to cost WAY more than that.

    Fixed that for ya.

  33. motor swap is less than 4000USD because they don’t have to do the fiddly bits… n

    Got the pickup emptied to the point where I can hit the store…

    n

  34. My order from WalMart is mostly ready. The Cream of Mushroom soup will delivered Monday. Hopefully with some packing material as FedEx are morons too stupid or lazy to push a button to open the gate and come to the house. So, drop the box over the fence.

    And why is the stuff only shipped and not able to be picked up?

    The missing parts of the Pick Up portion are the Great Value Colombian coffee pods and the Planters Mixed Nuts 56 oz. Which are often out of stock at the local store.

  35. motor swap is less than 4000USD because they don’t have to do the fiddly bits… n

    Used motor ???

    Mine was burning about a quart of oil every 1,500 miles so it would have needed rebuilding.


  36. In 2 weeks I had the conveyors delivering boxes all over the huge warehouse

    I guess the best mainframe project that users actually used was the interface I wrote for National Bancshares Corporation interface into the PULSE shared ATM system. Rather than serial processing the system had to be event driven. The company owned 46 ATM’s and at any one time the ATM could be in a different process of a transaction. The transaction state had to be maintained. Add in the complexity of routing transaction, ONUS or PULSE, brought it to another level. Transactions sent to PULSE had to be tracked and if a response was not received in time the ATM must be responded to with a rejection. Transactions from PULSE must also be handled by being validated, PIN decoded, amounts verified, and respond to PULSE. It was also necessary to store transactions when PULSE was down so the denied transactions could be sent when PULSE was operational in order to get paid by PULSE. Such sending of transactions throttled to avoid overwhelming PULSE (which my software did more than once) bring the system down again.

    This all required software that was always running on the mainframe looking for something to accomplish. Respond to ONUS ATM’s, respond to PULSE, check for transactions that had timed out, check the store-and-forward file for transactions to pulse, check for “heart beat” transactions to and from PULSE. All without putting the program into a loop. Lots of tricks involved to put the program to sleep for no longer than 3 seconds. Lots of state tables to keep track of everything.

    When I went to work for the holding company not one line of code had been written. The holding company had advertisement, bus benches and buses, radio, print, TV, billboards already committed to a date three months from the date I was hired. I spent a lot of time getting the code written and tested. Made it by the deadline with only a couple of issues.

    It might be that the chain guide or tensioner failed and the chain whipped against the cover, blowing a hole in the side and letting all the slippery out

    That may be the only issue and no internal damage was done to the engine. Hopefully not running interference valves which generally destroys an engine when the timing chain/belt fails.

    how much of a verbal warning to give

    A single shot in the air followed by a recocking of the 12 gauge should be adequate.

    Which reminds me. Who left here has been on this board the longest? I started in 1994 when it was just Bob’s journal and communication was by email. Bob would choose to post, or not post, comments.

    I miss the words of wisdom/sarcasm of some of the others that have since departed. Some for known reasons, other just disappearing.

  37. It might be that the chain guide or tensioner failed and the chain whipped against the cover, blowing a hole in the side and letting all the slippery out

    That may be the only issue and no internal damage was done to the engine. Hopefully not running interference valves which generally destroys an engine when the timing chain/belt fails.

    My 2005 Expedition 5.4L V8 still ran on four cylinders when one of the timing chains broke. Even started too. Sounded like somebody was beating a iron block with a two pound hammer though. And hydraulic brakes only, no vacuum boost.

  38. Nick, sorry to hear that. I really dislike chains, especially if they are hard or expensive to change periodically. Gear drives are impractical in today’s engines, but they rarely fail. Just curious, was there any warning? Usually not.

  39. how much of a verbal warning to give

    A single shot in the air followed by a recocking of the 12 gauge should be adequate.

    I don’t like warning shots. That is the waste of a round that you might need.

  40. @Ray
    I’ve been lurking since 2000 but it was a long time before I had anything to say.

    I’m doing a small amount of mainframe stuff but my knowledge and skill level are entry level. I’d love to learn more but there are enough challenges to that I’m prioritizing other learning currently.

    Warning shots. Pretty sure that’s a bad plan for numerous reasons. If it comes to that point a prudent individual will have long since established their shoot / don’t shoot criteria and what verbal if any they’re going to execute prior to going bang.


  41. Which reminds me. Who left here has been on this board the longest? I started in 1994 when it was just Bob’s journal and communication was by email. Bob would choose to post, or not post, comments.

    Much longer than me. I’d guess I got here around 2002 (maybe). The current incarnation here (WordPress) started in June 2011.

    The Internet Archive WayBack Machine has links to the very beginning: https://web.archive.org/web/19990221191215/http://www.ttgnet.com/0615RTDN.html , dated 15 Jun 1998. Part of the old “Daynotes Gang”. Before my browsing time…

  42. @Ray
    Wow, doing real time processing with an IBM mainframe (MVS?) is magic. These dinosaurs were designed for batch processing not transactions.
    Most fun mainframe code for me was early in my career in the late 70s. I was working for a big city newspaper and some bright spark came up with the idea of using our IBM 370 to automate page layouts. Page layout is the placing of ads and articles on the pages so there’s no wasted space. To make things more interesting, there’s lots of rules on what may be placed where in a paper AND the ads each have rules as part of their contract that specifies where in the paper they must be placed and what they can not be placed next to. In the 70s we had an old guy with 50 years experience who knew the ad contracts backwards and forward and would paste up a page layout with his eyes closed. Then he announced retirement. So I worked with him to pick his brain for a month writing the program requirement doc. The only language we had to use was COBOL. (Yeah, tell me about it) So I represented each page as a matrix of columns and column inches. First the mandatory items were placed, editorial space and full page or double page (double truck) adds. Then the software went through each section and would try best fit algorithms to fill a page. Amazingly enough, after about 5 months of tweaking I got it to 95% accuracy. There was always a little manual tweaking needed but it amazed me how well it worked. We displayed each page on 3270 green screens with the content represented by repeated codes (1aa, 2dd, etc). One of my best achievements.

  43. @Harold: In the late 1970’s, worked for a company called System Integrators, whose main product was a publishing system for newspapers that did what you mentioned. Ran on IBM 3270’s (?). Started there as a repair tech for their terminals and others.

    Stayed there for 8 years. They had transitioned to systems running on Tandem mainframes. By that time was a regional manager for Field Engineering department. Did a lot of work around the country; including installation of a system at the Houston Chronicle.

    Left there to open up a computer store in Auburn CA – an ill-advised venture with a company that didn’t last.

    Went from there to local government in CA as computer support for the Public Works department. Progressed from standalone systems running WordStar, to WordPerfect, simple networking, then to Novell networks. Stayed with them for 23 years, ending up in Information Security for the entire City. Took an early retirement buyout.

  44. @Greg, @SteveF
    This is the reading for my last classes to complete my BS in CS. I’m trying to substitute something else I’ve already done for the BUS1101 class.

    I had though to see if they’d permit overlapping the 4407 class with its prerequisite, however just noticed the R component. That might be more pain than I want. Motivation would be to have degree in hand for my 50th birthday. Not a good enough reason to risk failing or do a crap job of the work.

    Here we go
    Term 3 (01/30/2020 – 03/29/2020)
    MATH1302 Discrete Mathematics, Oscar Levin
    CS 3305 WEB Programming 2

    CS 3303 DATA STRUCTURES
    Prerequisites: CS 1103 Programming 2
    A Practical Introduction to Data Structures and Algorithms Analysis, Edition 3.1 By Clifford A. Shaffer
    Data Structures and Algorithms: Annotated Reference with Examples By Granville Barnett and Luca Del Tongo

    Term 4 (04/09/2020 – 06/07/2020)
    CS 3304 Analysis of Algorithms
    Prerequisites: None.
    This course builds on knowledge of elementary algorithm analysis gained in CS 3303: Data Structures
    A Practical Introduction to Data Structures and Algorithms Analysis By Clifford A. Shaffer
    Algorithms by Dasgupta, S., Papadimitriou, C.H., & Vazirani, U.V.

    CS 4402 Comparitive Programming Languages
    Prerequisites: CS 1103: Programming 2
    Understanding Programming Languages. by M. Ben-Ari

    CS 4407 Attempt to enroll in Term 4.

    Term 5 (06/18/2020 – 08/16/2020)
    Possibly Bus1101 – may be able to waive

    CS 4407 Data Mining and Machine Learning
    Prerequisites: CS3304: Analysis of Algorithms.
    Recommended – CS4402: Comparative Programming Languages.
    An Introduction to Statistical Learning with Applications in R. by James, G., Witten, D., Hastie, T., & Tibshirani, R.

  45. @Rick
    Left there to open up a computer store in Auburn CA – an ill-advised venture with a company that didn’t last.

    My uncle Don owned an ran a computer shop (his last name was shops name) in Grass Valley and Auburn with his wife and boys for years. They sold and it tanked shortly after, I think. In the 90’s? I don’t recall.

  46. Talking to a nurse about WuFlu. (SARS was a big and bad deal in Toronto, so she is watching quite closely). From what she can read (and it is mostly public access), it is quite lethal (15% or better) if you are over 80, or have a serious health condition (like diabetes or something that would compromise your immune system), and more lethal if both cases apply. Lethality drops quickly by age and there are no known (to her knowledge) deaths to children from this, and few reports of children being infected, which is unusual. Since it may present as no more than a cold, many kids may have had it with no reporting, since kids get the sniffles all the time.

    That lethality is bad news for those who frequent this site that are older, and especially bad for your parents or grandparents if you are fortunate enough to still enjoy their company. If you or a loved one are in a high-risk group, be careful and maybe don’t go out as much for the next little while.


  47. @Rick
    Left there to open up a computer store in Auburn CA – an ill-advised venture with a company that didn’t last.

    In 1976 I was at the West Coast Computer Fair in San Francisco. I was preparing for a move to the midwest. I stopped at the APPLE booth showing the new Apple II computer and chatted with a young bearded man about using the Apple II as a mainframe terminal and other topics. When I mentioned that I was moving to the midwest Steve Jobs offered me an exclusive distributorship for Apple products in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. But I saw myself as a programmer not a retailer so I declined. I have kicked myself ever since.

  48. I had though to see if they’d permit overlapping the 4407 class with its prerequisite, however just noticed the R component. That might be more pain than I want. Motivation would be to have degree in hand for my 50th birthday. Not a good enough reason to risk failing or do a crap job of the work.

    Usually, Data Mining and Analysis of Algorithms are both 4000 level classes with Data Structures as the prereq, but they must have a good reason for the sequence with Algorithms as the prerequisite. R makes me think they get heavy into statistics. Maybe Markov Chains in Data Mining.

    I have no experience with R. My semester project in Data Mining involved the Lucene port to PHP. Lots of fun.

  49. @Greg
    I liked the Statistics class I did with this school. It was all R. It was difficult. Often the most enjoyable things, are, though. Difficult I mean.

    @Harold
    Talk about hind sight. What a hoot that would have been.

    Age and WuFlu. I’m concerned for my in laws. They’re here in Ak with active social and volunteering lives. They are upper 70’s and generous to others with their time and presence. I don’t see that behavior changing.

  50. In the later part of 1981 the bank I worked for acquired an Eason MX-80 printer with the Graftrax chip. No way to easily access the features of the printer in MS-Basic unless one used escape sequences. Such sequences being difficult to remember. So I wrote a program that patched itself into MS-Basic that activated those features with Basic commands. Commands such as BPrint, WPrint, DPrint, etc. to generate the proper escape codes. Sold several copies of the program but most people stole it to use.

    I got a call a few months later from a company asking if I wanted a job. I think, but am not certain, it was Microsoft. MS-DOS was in it’s infancy and competing with a Digital Research, IBM, DEC and several other companies. The pay offered, no benefits, sucked compared to what the bank was paying. No way those little machines were going to replace the mainframe for anything useful. I turned the job down. To this day I have no regrets. And the company could have been one of the others whose name ended in “soft”, such companies no longer in existence. My memory is vague.


  51. No way those little machines were going to replace the mainframe for anything useful.

    Yup. We were blessed/cursed with DEC stuff. Had a big hardware in the loop simulation in the works. Our DEC hardware was solid. We did a lot with it.

    HP and others came around with small personal systems, which were in their infancy. Remember the HP touchscreen? None of this hardware could compare to big minis, which cost impossible $$. The DEC stuff also took a small army of support personnel to maintain. A few years later, everybody used small systems. They were sooo cheap!

    Last laugh, some of that DEC hardware was still doing productive work years later. Until DEC folded. Everything comes to an end.

  52. Got back from my grocery run.

    HEB grocery, big regional chain in TX, big flagship store—

    –water available, mostly ravaged by our current plumbing issue, but several pallets at normal or even on sale prices.

    –NO unscented bleach after I grabbed the last gallon.

    –No bleach based surface cleaners after I grabbed the last quart bottle.

    –No isopropal alcohol

    –No gloves

    –didn’t see any hand sanitizer but wasn’t looking because I’m well covered there.

    –plenty of tampons and pads, but J&J has said that a lot of the products they sell won’t be resupplied, and tampons and pads are made in the USA but with chinese materials, so if you have females you should get that taken care of right away.

    –got 4 bags of potatoes and 2 bags of onions, also some hard squashes.

    –got a couple dozen AB bars of soap, kid shampoo and conditioner, toothpaste, monkeybutt powder.

    –after that it was targets of opportunity.

    —oatmeal was almost sold out, only house brand left.

    —plenty of bread products and tortillas (not like in a hurricane)

    —food in general available with some other weird spot shortages and empty shelves that I’m not remembering the specifics.

    —plenty of soup, but I got the last 12 campbells chicken noodle, and I mix and matched to get to 24 cans

    —grabbed a bunch of tea, powdered tea, and koolaid mix.

    —grabbed some baby wipes

    I have been reminded about kitty litter. I’ve got one or two big tubs, but will add more tomorrow. It goes in the bag before you go in the bag if the plumbing goes down…. Same for baby wipes, I’ve been running my stock down, and that’s a mistake. I’ll get a case or two at Costco. I don’t expect a run on them although there SHOULD be, diapers too.

    Didn’t get to the pet food store, or the pool supply, because it took 4 hours to get the truck to the mechanic and get the other truck on the road. Tomorrow is another day.

    nick

  53. Ebay sent out a note warning people not to use coronavirus or covid in their listings, and warning about price gouging. One of the penalties is shadowbanning by deprecating your listing in search results. I KNEW they were able to do that.

    Of course this is a good way to make sure there are no masks available on ebay… but it won’t stop people charging what they want, it will just take place elsewhere. After all, no one is FORCING people to pay for masks and cleaners. It’s not like they have the only water faucet in the desert. There were still plenty when I checked, although they are now asking 20-30% more than I did last night….

    n

    (so far, I’ve spent about $750 on costco, mostly OTC meds and other non-perishable supplies. I dropped $450 at HEB today. This is mostly spending I’d have done at some point anyway, but not all. I have a lot of rat eaten stuff to replace, and a lot of my ebola purchases timed out.)

  54. @Jimb, I suppose there was some warning but I’m not sure it was comprehensible.

    I noticed this morning that there was a different sound from the engine compartment. Not bad, just different. I don’t have the knowledge to have turned that sound into a diagnostic though. My first indication that something was wrong was the “ting” as the piece flew away. I was due for an oil change, about a week overdue, but the idiot light needles were in the normal range for pressure and temp, I checked.

    Just bad luck at this point. And bad timing.

    n

  55. I noticed this morning that there was a different sound from the engine compartment. Not bad, just different.

    That was the cam phasers failing. I noticed it when my hp dropped from 300+ to 200+ and would hang longer in gear while accelerating. My engine continued to work for another 2,000 miles after that though before my timing chain totally failed. Sounded like yours failed destructively almost immediately.
    http://abautomotive.ca/2017/03/09/ford-5-4-phasers-noise/

  56. Wife needed me to help bring home some heavy stuff this afternoon. Stopped at local grocery store for some usual Friday sales. Totally normal. Didn’t see any low stock. In fact, stock was high, ready for usual weekend traffic. Bought some fresh fruit and other perishables. We have good stocks of LTS stuff on hand as usual.

    I need to work on water storage. Although we rarely drink bottled water, we have some on hand. Some has been so old that the plastic bottles are shrunken. I have been reading suggestions here, and need to act for the long term. Lots of ideas… need action.


  57. @Jimb, I suppose there was some warning but I’m not sure it was comprehensible.

    Not surprising. I once had a timing chain jump several teeth on a conventional V8, because the nylon on the cam sprocket failed. Only warning was lots of miles (over 200k.) Clattering noise as pistons hit the valves. We rolled to a safe stop. No cranking compression. Checked the distributor, and it was about a quarter turn out of time. Towed it home, pulled one valve cover, and all the pushrods were bent. Lesson learned.

    I have put new timing sets on several cars since. Only one showed significant wear before changing. Haven’t changed timing sets on front drivers, because of all the extra work to get at that area. It IS possible to check chain wear by removing the oil pan, which is easy. I have done that on two cars to change the gasket.

    For best chain life, use oil with highest extreme pressure additives. Unfortunately, these zinc additives are now all but banned, because they can make catalytic converters fail inside the govt mandated 100k warranty. Some day I will have an engine with overhead cams and long chains. I will look into additives. It is much easier and cheaper to change a converter than those #!$÷×+ chains, guides, and sprockets. Probably any additive containing zinc dithiophosphate will do. Figuring that out is tricky.

  58. I liked the Statistics class I did with this school. It was all R. It was difficult. Often the most enjoyable things, are, though. Difficult I mean.

    I have a love/hate relationship with the Comp Sci classes that use “Sipser” as a text. I’ve had three classes with the book across two grad programs.

    No real practical application for the material exists beyond being able to explain regular expressions and offer an opinion on P vs. NP (you may see that in Algorithms), but the theory material in Compilers was a breeze.

    That reminds me — if you think you’re up to it, Compilers does tie all of the important CS concepts together into one practical application, but a lot of schools have dropped teaching it at the undergrad level because of the difficulty. My last school put it back on the schedule this Spring after a few years away.

  59. Last laugh, some of that DEC hardware was still doing productive work years later. Until DEC folded. Everything comes to an end.

    VMS became modern Windows. Dave Cutler saw what was coming at DEC and went to Microsoft in the early 90s IIRC.

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