Wed. May 13, 2020 – Friday the 13th falls on a Wednesday this month

Rainy and wet. [so wrong, 76F and sun is out]

Yesterday was nice, but humid. Really humid compared to the last couple of days. We got actual rain too, after dinner and sporadically all night.

I did get some stuff done, but no where near what I would have liked. I’ll keep chipping away at it though.

I did receive checks from my auction of the full face PAPR respirators. Made decent money on them. They went at slightly more than my low estimate. Also got paid for some items I couldn’t ebay. It wasn’t a ton of money, but it was money.

Dinner was elk roast. Details in last night’s comments. The central part of the roast was very similar to an eye round beef roast. The cooking, texture, and taste were very similar. Sides were the heat and eat shelf stable bread, and the root veg from the roasting pan. Dessert was Easter candy. I found a half bag of chocolate candy left over from Easter. Hooray!

I mention it in comments yesterday, but I’ll repeat it here. Wound care uses a LOT of supplies… even something as simple as a badly scraped knee. I restocked my medicine cabinet with wound wash, and kerlix from the deeper stores, but then went online to buy more. Some of what I wanted was out of stock everywhere but the arbitrageurs on ebay, and they were short. There were substitutes, but I’m taking it as a sign that things are tight. Supply chains are still disrupted, and demand might be higher than normal.

Check your stock of normal things that aren’t food. Do you have bandaids? Razor blades? Cosmetics and soaps? Gauze, nonstick pads, wrap, tape? Wound cleaning liquids? How about sewing supplies? Got needles and thread? Fusible liner? You might need to repair your high speed low drag web gear if the zombies beat you up. Is there something you usually just order when you need it? Time to check and see if it’s available.

Do you have some repair supplies in general? Crazy glue in different viscosities? Shoe Goo? 5 minute epoxy? Wood glue? Duct tape? Cellotape? Electrical tape? If we really are headed into a big downturn, repair and reuse is going to be important. How about expendables for your vehicles/mowers/garden tools like wipers, belts, air/oil/gas filters, a replacement pull rope? Oil, additives, Sta-bil?

Flints for lighters, butane, lighter fluid? Baling wire? Twine?

Further down the list but important, this home isolation looks like it will be continuing for a while yet, even if things don’t go to sh!t. Do you have playing cards, board games, dice? How about a Hoyle’s book of card games? Pens, pencils, paper? Art supplies? Software to replace something you play online? (My dad loved to play spyder solitaire on the pc, but win10 made it online only. I had to figure out how to install the games pack from win7 so he could play what he was familiar with.) Wife got out the watercolors and did some painting with the girls today for ‘art class”. We love puzzles, so I buy them at Goodwill if they are unopened. The mom’s club in the neighborhood has a puzzle swap going on for those who were not prepared. I find puzzles to be very soothing.

There’s a million things our grandparents or even parents would have kept on hand, just to save a trip to the store, if for no other reason. Think about your tool box or junk drawer, or anything you’d like to do if you had some extra time on your hands. Might want to get that stuff now, if you have the time and funds, and your “sustain life” stuff is all in order.

I’ve got to stop slacken and get back to stackin’…

nick

Author: Nick Flandrey

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

86 thoughts on “Wed. May 13, 2020 – Friday the 13th falls on a Wednesday this month”

  1. Concerning precious metals, if I were to start buying, who would I, or my heirs, sell to when I or they decide that it is time to sell? Nowhere on any of the precious metal sales sites have any advice on who will purchase it, or for how much, when you are ready to sell. I am sure the local pawn shop will offer me half of it’s value thinking anyone desperate enough to walk into a pawn shop will take whatever they offer. Driving down the street, I see signs proclaiming, “We Buy Gold!” but I am sure they are not going to pay anything close to its real value. I am not a good negotiator, so if anyone has any experience or advice, I would appreciate it.

  2. Selling precious metals (PM):

    The online dealers at APMEX, JMBullion, etc. will indeed offer a fair price. You will have to look at their site carefully to find the “buy” pages. There will probably be a minimum amount of weight for them to bother. They will pay the agreed price when the PM have arrived and been inventoried. The process is a bit ponderous and takes a bit of time but reasonably secure and fair for both parties.

    However, PM’s real use is for private exchange, the ultimate “cash”. Tiny transactions with commercial institutions, not so much. Unless as a bribe to a front man. Middling to large transactions with a private party will require you to don some big boy pants and do some careful negotiations to complete.

    The other virtue of PM is to own a valuable, negotiable commodity outside the banking system. An off the books savings account. OPSEC is paramount. OTOH, your heirs won’t have to deal with any courts or corporate “policies” to take possession.

  3. Hmm. Take into account upwards of 50% of COVID deaths were in nursing homes, and this definition, does it change the value of “lock down” orders:

    Dr. Ezike, Illinois Department of Public Health, explains who is counted as a COVID death:

    “If you were in hospice and had already been given a few weeks to live, and then you also were found to have COVID, that would be counted as a COVID death. It means technically even if you died of a clear alternate cause, but you had COVID at the same time, it’s still listed as a COVID death. So, everyone who’s listed as a COVID death doesn’t mean that that was the cause of the death, but they had COVID at the time of the death.” Dr. Ezike outlined.

  4. Geez. The DM reports LA County is extending their lockdown for THREE MONTHS. I’m glad I don’t live in Kali.

  5. @lynn
    If you need new lenses for your eyes, consider going for one of the expensive coatings. I love Crizal Allize: it is not only anti glare, but the hydrophobic coating works freakishly well to keep not only water but oil (I have really oily skin) off the lenses. And it is anti-scratch as well.

  6. @alan, my local coin dealer buys gold from anyone who walks in. He pays a discount off “spot” price, or he pays a set rate on coins like Canadian Maple Leafs. He’s seen and handled every form of normal gold coin, round, or bullion that anyone is likely to bring in. He’s got a gun that uses xrays to determine makeup of the metal.

    I haven’t tried selling him any gold recovered from electronic scrap, because there is so little and gold got cheap, that I stopped trying to recover any. That would be about the worst/hardest to value as it’s mixed random carat, without any stamps or provenance.

    I like recognizable coins from the US, Canada, and the Austrian mint makes gorgeous coins. In my travel bag, I have about an ounce in Canadian Maple leafs, at least a half, quarter, and 3 10ths. It’s a very compact way to carry a grand….

    n

    added- the “we buy gold” guys are mostly buying jewelry. What the industry calls “broken gold” or jewelry with no artistic value, just gold weight value. I recommend buying some yourself, to do what Farfel suggested in tough times, sell bracelet or necklace “by the inch”. I’ll admit that I didn’t buy an ounce when I could have. The dealer had just sent all his broken gold on, and I didn’t get back in, then I had no extra money, and then lately the price went up dramatically.

  7. From FEMA————

    Lifelines Impacts:
    Other Domestic Lifelines
    Safety & Security:
    • CA: Lack of medical checks at border entry points or mandated quarantine may
    cause surge of COVID-19 cases in southern CA; current border travel restrictions do
    not apply to international trade, U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents, and those
    with work visas
    Food, Water, & Shelter:
    • 14 major meat packing facilities in the U.S. have resumed or plan to resume
    operations after implementing the CDC and Dept. of Labor’s Occupational Safety and
    Health Administration guidelines
    • Analysts suggest that meat supply chain disruptions could see 20% higher prices
    than last year and potential spot shortages of meat in certain markets by the end of
    May
    • WA: Kittitas County is conducting mass testing for all employees of a frozen
    vegetable plan in Ellensburg in response to 34 new COVID-19 cases of a particular
    company; roughly 20% of the employees have tested positive
    • VA: 3,100 poultry plant workers were tested; 280 (9%) of workers tested positive

    — consider that FEMA almost always downplays any issue

    n

  8. And we’ve got our first disturbance in the Atlantic, with 70% chance of formation in the next 5 days. Oh joy.

    n

  9. Thanks Nick and Nightracker for the info. I am leaning toward silver. I have a soft spot for the US vintage silver dollars. My grandpa used to bring them when he visited us from Wyoming. He said that (in the ’60s,) businesses still gave them out in change. I ordered a minimum order form JM Bullion and an identical order five minutes later from APMEX. I’ll let the group know who has the better delivery and service. Then if all works out, I will make some larger purchases of 10 oz bars and maybe some 1 oz gold coins.

  10. I like recognizable coins from the US, Canada, and the Austrian mint makes gorgeous coins. In my travel bag, I have about an ounce in Canadian Maple leafs, at least a half, quarter, and 3 10ths. It’s a very compact way to carry a grand….

    American Eagles are not 99.9% pure gold which makes them a separate category from “currency” when going through customs in other countries.

    I travel with a couple of “Chumlee” — 1 oz 99.9% silver — coins from the “Pawn Stars” shop in the bottom of my laptop bag, but I only take the gold coins fishing. Darned coins keep falling out of the boat, but I like to admire the way the gold shines in the sunlight.


  11. I ordered a minimum order form JM Bullion and an identical order five minutes later from APMEX.

    I’ve ordered from APMEX a lot. They have/had good service. My only “investment” PM is collector coins. The rest is APMEX bullion, mainly, I like their silver bars and 1/10 ounce and 10 gram gold.

  12. For silver, I like the ‘junk’ silver coins. They are very recognizable.

    The little bars, and ‘snap off’ gram cards, or mint rounds are a bit harder to authenticate. They are pretty popular at my estate auctions though, as they always go for a bigger premium over spot there than the dealers.

    n

  13. My concern with junk silver coins is getting the other party to believe it’s worth something. Sure, we know that, but convincing Joe Schmoe that the old coins you’re trying to hand him contain silver and are worth more than the fiat currency they represent…

    Then there’s the whole SHTF aspect of precious metals having no real utility in a survivalist situation. I think barter and trading would become the primary means of exchanging goods and services. For example, clean bandages or a can of beans may mean more to me than your gold or silver.

  14. You guys know I get a lot of different trade magazines. I often learn something completely new reading them. For example…

    Grill marks on meat are lasered on! So are all the fancy wear patterns, rips, and abrasions on blue jeans…..

    https://www.photonics.com/Articles/From_Textiles_to_Meat_COsub2_sub_Lasers/a64655

    Meat industry laser marking

    Many meat products that appear to be served fresh from the grill are actually not grilled at all; such products include chicken, fish, and burgers. Grill cooking would not be practical on a production scale. Instead, meat is usually oven baked and later branded with a crisscross pattern of lines. This creates the impression that the meat has been seared over a hot grill, presenting an attractive product to the consumer.

    Grill lines are applied using a system that incorporates a laser and galvo scanner. A 100-W laser is typical and usually sufficient to achieve a high throughput of products. The laser process is cleaner and more efficient than conventional branding techniques. As a noncontact method, the need for frequent cleaning and maintenance of tools is eliminated. As the product is not pressed, moisture is retained in the meat so the product is not only tastier, but more visually appealing.

    High yields are possible by integrating laser workstations into an existing production line and locating them downstream from the actual cooking process. Various grill patterns can be implemented with ease, and even text, logos, and graphics can be applied to a wide range of foods. All of this is achieved through simple programming and with no associated tooling costs. Grill marking is extensively used in the fast-food and prepared-food markets worldwide, with laser technology being established as an attractive alternative to mechanical means.

    Textile industry

    Lasers are increasing in prevalence within the textile industry, where they are often used to apply patterns onto fabric. Clothing manufacturers use lasers to finish jeans with special effects — such as fading, tearing, and patterning — that are fashionable on denim today.

    Once again, lasers present an environmentally friendly solution, allowing manufacturers to drastically reduce the use of harsh chemicals and water required by the traditional finishing process. Furthermore, a pair of jeans can be finished every 90 seconds instead of every 20 minutes — a significant advantage for an industry faced with increasing competition and a fast fashion cycle.

    By comparison, other surface-altering techniques — stonewashing and bleaching among them — pose problems such as nonreproducible designs, an inability to apply the design to different fabrics, and reduced fabric quality after processing, not to mention the toxic nature of the numerous chemicals used.

    CO2 laser finishing systems transfer a grayscale design to the jeans by varying the intensity of the focused laser beam as it scans rapidly across the garment. The laser beam selectively removes pigment from the denim, creating shading without damaging the texture or compromising the strength of the fabric. The same laser can be used to introduce rips, abrasions, and other effects according to the latest fashion.

    Compared to traditional solutions, CO2 lasers offer a wide range of benefits. Laser systems enable flexibility and functionality, combined with low maintenance and operational simplicity, and can yield significant improvements in process speed, product quality, running costs, and environmental impact.

    n

  15. @chad,

    the issue of silver coins being used as a medium of exchange post SHTF has been extensively explored in the forums and in fiction. In a true SHTF, eventually some sort of economy and trade re-emerges. Since preppers have all the stuff, and preppers generally believe in junk silver, and it’s here and widely available, I’d say “why not”. You aren’t gonna get your family wealth thru a collapse with junk silver, that’s what the gold is for.

    To my mind, gold is to get PAST the trouble and then convert into whatever has value. Certainly we have plenty of examples of what happens to fiat currency once the .gov starts messing around. *cough* Venezuela*cough* It only took two years for them to wipe out everyone’s savings. Those with gold seem to always be able to trade it for whatever has value at the moment. Humans won’t change that much, and for whatever reason, humans value gold.

    PMs come down to you either believe there are situations where they’ll have utility, or you don’t.

    As for portable, light, cheap, but potentially VERY valuable? Other than antibiotics or other drugs? Seed packets. Probably too late for that now, given the news reports, but for the future?

    n


  16. As for portable, light, cheap, but potentially VERY valuable? Other than antibiotics or other drugs? Seed packets. Probably too late for that now, given the news reports, but for the future?

    I’ve read a couple of novels involving those frozen seed banks around the Arctic Circle. I wonder how many varieties of potatoes they have.

  17. Anyone else notice a change in how they order from amazon?

    I realized that I used to build up an order in my cart, and get everything all at once.

    Now though, I might order a single item, many times throughout the day, as I think of it. It seems that they are all coming from different places anyway, so there isn’t any need or interest in combining the shipments into the same box.

    Funny to notice the change.

    n

  18. To my mind, gold is to get PAST the trouble and then convert into whatever has value. Certainly we have plenty of examples of what happens to fiat currency once the .gov starts messing around. *cough* Venezuela*cough* It only took two years for them to wipe out everyone’s savings. Those with gold seem to always be able to trade it for whatever has value at the moment. Humans won’t change that much, and for whatever reason, humans value gold.

    A big problem with holding a lot of gold in the US is that a mild SHTF situation like The Depression could very well see the return of the ban on private ownership of negotiable forms (coins, bullion) with the associated confiscation compensated at the government’s official dollar-ounce conversion rate. Ford vacated Roosevelt’s 1933 ban (based on interpreting trade law) with a signature but Congress never enshrined it in statute. Another signature could bring back the ban.

    I thought I read somewhere that the Feds dollar gold conversion rate on an official basis is still $32/ounce. Wouldn’t the fallout from that that be fun.

  19. How is facial recognition going to work if we all have to wear masks? Or on those that voluntarily wear masks if optional?

  20. For silver, I prefer the national mint 1 oz coins instead of bars. Harder to counterfeit, easily recognizable and fungible. Canadian Maple Leafs have a smaller premium than US Eagles to buy and an extra 9 in purity.

    The 90% pre-’64 junk coins make excellent change for the 1 oz pieces should silver’s value reach orbital velocity. The visible copper edge on post-’64 slugs is an easy way to authenticate. To my mind, silver Dollars have too much numismatic, collectible premium. YMMV. I also suspect that should silver become *very* valuable and therefore popular most folks will pick up such factors as common knowledge.

    There is the thought that with the Gold/Silver ratio at historically ballistic levels and an as yet future adjustment to much lower numbers, a trade from silver to gold would be a successful arbitrage. Less weight and volume, too.

    Short of comets and nukes scenarios, precious metals have the virtue of preserving wealth privately in a “printing press gone wild” world. As a prepper, however, PMs are the last prep after the more obvious and important water, food and lead.

  21. “Therefore, those individuals that refuse to cooperate with contact tracers and/or refuse testing, those individuals will not be allowed to leave their homes to purchase basic necessities such as groceries and/or prescriptions. Those persons will need to make arrangements through friends, family, or a state provided ‘family support personnel.'”

    I don’t miss WA State. Leaving was a unilateral decision on my part. After four years of unemployment and all my personal life savings gone, I told my wife I was done with the place and that she could either go or stay. If the job for her in Texas hadn’t come up, I probably would have gone back to FL and lived in my car if necessary. Last year’s Measles pandemic in the state and now the Wuxu Flu have given me a “Get Out Of Jail For Free For Life” card concerning the move that no amount of friends/family second guessing can invalidate.

    What about my decision? Did someone say “pandemics”?

    https://lynnwoodtimes.com/2020/05/12/governor-inslee-lays-out-statewide-contact-tracing-plan-for-covid-19/

  22. @rick, my security trade mags and enewletters are already offering plug ins that do face recognition with masks on…

    The high end systems use IR and are not hindered by facial hair or masks.

    n

  23. Of course, the Costco snack bar is exempt.

    https://seattle.eater.com/2020/5/12/21255614/washington-state-requiring-contact-tracing-at-restaurants-logging-phones-emails

    That looks fairly unconstitutional to me. After all, I do have a constitutional right to privacy, the Roe vs. Wade decision said so.

    And Sam’s Club snack bar has been closed all this time. I have not checked out our local Costco since I do not renew unless I want more chewable vitamin C candies XXXXXX medicine.

  24. @lynn
    If you need new lenses for your eyes, consider going for one of the expensive coatings. I love Crizal Allize: it is not only anti glare, but the hydrophobic coating works freakishly well to keep not only water but oil (I have really oily skin) off the lenses. And it is anti-scratch as well.

    I’ve been using the Crizal lenses in my glasses for years, they are awesome. For a computer programmer, they are totally necessary.

    However, I need need internal lenses for my eyes, my cataracts are getting way worse. My wife is a year away according to her doc.

  25. And Sam’s Club snack bar has been closed all this time. I have not checked out our local Costco since I do not renew unless I want more chewable vitamin C candies XXXXXX medicine.

    Costco’s snack bar is still open at the store near our house, but they serve a limited menu.

    At the flagship Costco and many older stores, the snack bar counter is actually outside.

  26. Get ready to be vaccinated with or without your permission.

    Bill Gates needs a legacy he can truly call his own. Even the landmark deal with IBM that made Microsoft was arranged by his mother according to legend.

  27. @rick, my security trade mags and enewletters are already offering plug ins that do face recognition with masks on…

    The high end systems use IR and are not hindered by facial hair or masks.

    All straight from NSA funded research. Their stuff works and works well. After all, they are the number one purchaser of hard drives in the world. The word on the streets is that they have all the new 20 TB hard drives being made for the next year or so.

  28. Get ready to be vaccinated with or without your permission.

    Bill Gates needs a legacy he can truly call his own. Even the landmark deal with IBM that made Microsoft was arranged by his mother according to legend.

    Bill Gates has nothing to be ashamed about. He made DOS work and then he made Windows work. And then he made Office work. Cheap operating systems and business software that were “good enough”.

    I know that one should never look in the rear view mirror but I really regret my decision not to go to Microsoft in 1987. I could have retired five years ago with ten million dollars in shares in my back pocket. My brother now has 41 branches for his bank across Texas and is showing me up big time. I will give out the URL for his latest 8-K if there is interest here.


  29. The high end systems use IR and are not hindered by facial hair or masks.

    So all I need is a face mask with a breathable IR ‘blocker’ fabric. Wonder if there is such a thing….

  30. I buy 1 oz Silver Standing Liberty new coinage from AMPEX every year with the child support money we get for the months we get custody of little Addie. I put these aside for her and she likes to play with them too. I had many ounces of gold till a home robbery in 2014. Learned my lesson about keeping valuables in a home safe. It’s the first place the bad guys look. The police recovered a few ounces at the motel room where one of the burglars over dosed on the drugs she bought with my stuff. Now I only invest in the precious metals lead and brass.

  31. I do not understand why The Drudge Report has turned negative on Trump. Nobody in their right mind wants plugs in the oval office. The Drudge Report is running “HOWARD STERN CALLS ON TRUMP TO RESIGN” right now.
    http://drudgereport.com/

  32. Bill Gates has nothing to be ashamed about. He made DOS work and then he made Windows work. And then he made Office work. Cheap operating systems and business software that were “good enough”.

    Other people actually did the heavy lifting at Microsoft while Gates provided the moral flexibility mixed with technical understanding to see products through multiple unsuccessful iterations while the competition got their throats slit.

    Even Ballmer had a solo technical achievement at his previous job — a cake mix box — which proved successful in the marketplace. It grates on BillG big time.

    Microsoft accomplished their goal of their software on every desktop. Meanwhile, Linux runs the cloud servers, even Microsoft’s, and BSD Unix is at the heart of every iPhone.

    Gates will get his singular accomplishment even if it kills us.

  33. I do not understand why The Drudge Report has turned negative on Trump. Nobody in their right mind wants plugs in the oval office. The Drudge Report is running “HOWARD STERN CALLS ON TRUMP TO RESIGN” right now.

    According to legend, Andrew Breitbart actually edited The Drudge Report until he died, and, from what I understand, Drudge is working on a new TV deal.

    The cabal behind Plugs wants Plugs in the White House. That’s all that matters. The VP choice will speak volumes about who is really running Uncle Joe.

    The DS9 rerun on H&I the other night had a riff on “Weekend At Bernies” which made me laugh because similar technology will probably keep Biden upright in a year or two. Have your wife call you in when she hits the episode featuring Iggy Pop as the hour’s antagonist.


  34. Gibson or possibly Cory Doctorow

    It was Gibson in the third Blue Ant novel, Zero History. In fact, his version was so close I wonder if he hadn’t been tuned in to some esoteric research back then.


  35. I do not understand why The Drudge Report has turned negative on Trump

    Rumor Warning – I heard somewhere that the Drudge Report was sold off to another entity over a year ago and at that point turned full on TRUMP HATE. I used to go there first thing in the morning now I visit maybe once a week.


  36. Bill Gates has nothing to be ashamed about. He made DOS work and then he made Windows work.

    Gates did NOTHING to make MS DOS except buy an exclusive distribution agreement from the Seattle company that wrote it and slap the Microsoft name on it. His contribution to Windows was simply funding development. I will give him stars for vision and being a savage and “morally flexible” businessman who saw how to make billions from microcomputer software.

  37. All straight from NSA funded research. Their stuff works and works well. After all, they are the number one purchaser of hard drives in the world. The word on the streets is that they have all the new 20 TB hard drives being made for the next year or so.

    The NSA has a new facility outside Orem, UT, supposedly where all the AES 256 traffic fom the Internet they encounter goes for storage until such time that they can decrypt the data. In the mean time, when the military collects hard drives from bad guys overseas, the agency makes attempt to correlate the drive contents with the network traffic to provide information useful to the analysts.

    About 10 years ago, I made the mistake of staying in Orem overnight on one cross country drive, and the construction traffic out to the NSA job site was so bad that it took me the better part of the morning just to get to the other side of Salt Lake City.

  38. I’ve been following the Flynn case. What a sh*t show. The DOJ drops the case, but the judge, Klinton appointee, says “Not so fast bucko.” He should be impeached right there. I guess he thinks with enough amicus briefs, he can try Flynn himself. The Obola Admin is scurry like roaches when the light comes on. Nothing will happen to them, but Plugs is dead now. Nobody linked to Obola is viable.

  39. So all I need is a face mask with a breathable IR ‘blocker’ fabric. Wonder if there is such a thing….

    Krazy Glue Mercury dimes to a bandana. It’s a floor wax AND a dessert topping!

  40. Nobody linked to Obola is viable.

    Biden-Moochelle 2020, but I don’t think Cuomo will let it happen.

    Newsom is only a year older than I am. He can afford to wait until 2032 and get sworn in at 65, but Cuomo the younger doesn’t want to run at 73 or, worse, 77.

    Of course, 77 is still younger than Plugs is now.


  41. Biden-Moochelle 2020, but I don’t think Cuomo will let it happen.

    No way Mooch is giving up that sweet, sweet Netflix, etc., cash. Get paid $$$ millions for shooting your mouth off.

  42. I know that one should never look in the rear view mirror but I really regret my decision not to go to Microsoft in 1987. I could have retired five years ago with ten million dollars in shares in my back pocket.

    Microsoft wasn’t a slam dunk at the time.

    Windows 1.0 was a rank piece of garbage in 1987, and the Office products were also rans compared to Word Perfect, Lotus 123, and DBase III/Clipper. Even Borland had a superior spreadsheet with a revolutionary calculating engine in Quattro. Microsoft made money from the DOS deal and the MSX standard in Japan but not much else.

    Of course, Gates kept at it, and, with the help of the Egghead Software ponzi, enough copies of Office got out into the hands of the public until Windows 3.0 with its undocumented APIs gave the competitive advantage to Microsoft.

    Word and Excel are now standards. Access less so since its only real mission in life was to kill the third party Clipper cottage industry, but every database, PC or server, has to provide an ODBC driver.

    Yeah, ponzi. I worked there in the late 80s. I can’t tell you how many times I re-shrinkwrapped the Office bundle box after a return. I was a pro at making it look new. Every Egghead store carried one Office bundle on the books, $795, despite not making a dime selling that package; one box sold over and over and over and …

  43. @Greg: All of us in tech could think of similar missed opportunities. Don’t let it eat at you – really, a lot of it was lottery – there was no way to know at the time.

  44. I participated in an interview of a Lab126 employee yesterday. Interesting.

    For those of you unfamiliar, Lab 1 (A to) 26 (Z) is Amazon’s cutthroat research division. They develop the Fire tablets and other privacy invading devices like the Echo.

    If you are a “Star Trek” fan, the place reminds me of Section 31. Among other antics, when Steve Jobs died, Lab126 set up shop in a building down the street from Apple in Cupertino and lured half or more of the CoreOS developers away from One Infinite Loop.

    If Lab126 people are looking at us, something is wrong at Amazon.

  45. Again, thank you all! I have learned more about precious metal buying and selling today than I have in weeks of researching on line.

  46. @Greg: All of us in tech could think of similar missed opportunities. Don’t let it eat at you – really, a lot of it was lottery – there was no way to know at the time.

    You mean @Lynn. I had two interview opportunities at Microsoft in 1992, one of which I took, but, by the time I walked into their offices, I had a year of professional experience going, and I was probably not impressionable enough for them.

    No regrets. My wife’s cousin is married to a guy who started in Redmond about that time, rising almost to the VP level before leaving for Qualcomm in the late 90s, but their financial situation has always been so tenuous that my wife’s uncle covers their lifestyle with proceeds from his rackets.

    To have made out on Microsoft options you had to be vested and holding the right price at the release of Windows 95 which I believe meant joining the company prior to 1990, certainly before I interviewed. Those were the people wearing the “FYIFV” (you can guess the meaning of the letters) at the event when Jay Leno took the stage in Redmond to introduce Gates with the Rolling Stones blaring in the background.

    I was at Jabil (Google if you are unfamiliar with the name) in 1992 when they did their IPO, and I was one of the core employees who asked for real options, not the Employee Purchase Price plan they initially offered. I left after six months due to stress. Someone once told me that my options would probably have been worth $10 million by the time I vested, but I responded that I would have been dead long before then from the non-stop cigarette smoke that filled the building all day.

    The *only* reason the employees weren’t allowed to smoke on the factory floor was the introduction of Sun’s surface mount SPARC chips with their tiny leads and spacing.

  47. The windows style guide has done as much to help users get their work done with different packages as it’s done to stagnate and kill UI development. They should have moved on long ago.

    Desktops? file cabinets? Windows that are essentially the same as in ’88 except now you can’t tell where one starts and the other ends? No wonder we use as much or more paper in offices, all the metaphors are paper based. And all rectangles.

    At a minimum I expected the main UI to go 3D a long time ago, like SGI’s Portalis, and move from a flat ‘desktop’ metaphor to a rooms/halls/buildings metaphor. I even seem to recall one based on the Quake or Doom game engine…

    How come I can’t sort my pix with flicks of the mouse, all of them in one pile and just flick the top one into different piles? Apply a tag to the pile, then reshuffle and sort again… No, I have to click about 30 times just to see them and even begin sorting. Add tags? No F’ing way I’m gonna click that many times.

    Click on tiny little boxes on the title bar? Why? Tabs FFS, like it’s a stack of folders.

    And the OS is a POS too. Freaking modern machine, 3.8GHZ processor with 8 threads, 16GB of ram, graphics card more powerful than a super computer– but I can still WATCH windows redraw all my desktop icons sometimes. Or when I plug in a FREAKING MOUSE and the OS trundles for 30 seconds loading drivers. IT’S A MOUSE. Stuttering when startup plays the startup sound? FFS, are they launching an emulator to run 4 bit code? And seriously, NO volume control until the WHOLE OS is booted? Maybe they could wait to play that sound then so it doesn’t wake the household at 2am when it reboots.

    Leave off how badly they F’d up file copy, so badly that Teracopy is a critical piece of software. Or how long it takes to even DISPLAY the contents of a directory. F’ing reading file names and listing them should be INSTANT.

    Gah, MS and Gates KILLED development and growth.

    n

  48. I worked a developer conference in San Diego, when win95 was still Chicago, and they had to go manually pc to pc with a DISK to update the machines (that were all networked) because they had a virus on them- on the demo OS directly from MS. The guy I asked about it laughed while explaining what he was doing.

    I worked another for IBM when they internally introduced OS/2 Warp. NUNS. WTF? Nuns in a commercial for an OS? Remember that?

    n

  49. I worked another for IBM when they internally introduced OS/2 Warp. NUNS. WTF? Nuns in a commercial for an OS? Remember that?

    Wanna know a dirty secret about Warp Connect? The dial connections all terminated in a room in Tampa, where a crew running 24/7 had to manually flip a switch for each incoming call for several weeks after the initial release of the package.

    I worked with some IBM alums who still had PTSD from those late nights.

    OS/2 was a good OS, but IBM made two key mistakes: (1) The development tools should have been free from Day One. (2) TCP should have been built into Warp, not an add-on disk, even if it was free.

    IBM had a six month window during which they had the opportunity to make the case for Warp. At the time, TCP/IP and commercial grade connections on the Internet using Windows required a $400 “shim” package, Netmanage Chameleon. Damn, did IBM ever blow that lead, but that wasn’t the worst wasted opportunity.

    #1 in my opinion — VLSI chip fab tech.

  50. The windows style guide has done as much to help users get their work done with different packages as it’s done to stagnate and kill UI development. They should have moved on long ago.

    I blame MFC more than the style guide. Raw Windows 32 API is a painful way to write a quality GUI.

    If you remember the NetClient circa early 2000s, all of the releases up until 6 had a hand coded raw Win32 GUI which required five people to maintain. The 6.0 version introduced a C++ GUI that dropped the headcount requirement to two — one maintenance/bug fixes and one new development.

    The lead GUI developer was very anti MFC so AT&T found a library that suited him from a small company in South Florida. I still don’t think that they guy could write object oriented code if his life depended on it, and he holds three patents.

  51. Anyone using (and have any opinions) on alternatives to their ISP’s DNS like OpenDNS, Quad9, Google, etc?

  52. TOR, Chad.

    I used OpenDNS a while ago. It was unsatisfactory, but I don’t think it had really taken off yet. … Checking, it appears that OpenDNS is 14-1/2 years old, so “a while ago” was likely longer ago than I thought and my experience may not be relevant.

  53. I use openDNS. It was bought out by Cisco a while ago, but it’s still free. They provide basic content filtering using categories. It’s works fairly well – mainly make use of it for blocking ad servers and such.

  54. I set my DNS servers to 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.8.7 manually. Seems faster than Comcast. I should probably look at it again, since I’ve got ATT fiber to the attic.

    n

  55. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8315479/LA-Mayor-attempts-play-lockdown-extension-August.html

    ‘LA will never be completely open until we have a cure’: Mayor Eric Garcetti sends terrifying warning to Angelinos one day after health director extended county lockdown by three months

    LA Mayor Eric Garcetti gave a rambling interview with GMA Wednesday
    He backpedaled on comments made by LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer on Tuesday
    Ferrer said stay-at-home orders would ‘with all certainty’ be extended for the next three months
    Garcetti said Ferrer simply meant ‘health orders telling us to cover our faces and physically distance’ would continue
    But he then said LA will ‘never be completely open until we have a cure’ – something medical experts have warned will take many months
    Garcetti’s backtracking sparked yet more confusion among LA residents with many taking to Twitter to voice their frustrations
    Anti-lockdown protesters marched on his residence Saturday calling for an end to stay-at-home orders
    LA announced another 961 cases and 45 deaths on Tuesday taking its death toll to 1,613 – making up more than half of the 2,882 deaths across California

    —-flee

    n

  56. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8315479/LA-Mayor-attempts-play-lockdown-extension-August.html

    ‘LA will never be completely open until we have a cure’: Mayor Eric Garcetti sends terrifying warning to Angelinos one day after health director extended county lockdown by three months

    —-flee

    They have been fleeing to Texas ! We are much more liberal than we were ten years ago. Look at all the liberal dumbocrat county judges and and such. Our county judge would shut down Fort Bend County if he could but he knows that the Governor would have him arrested.

  57. It gets even better with Flynn:

    Federal Judge Emmet G. Sullivan late Wednesday issued a stunning ruling in the prosecution of Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump‘s former National Security Advisor. The two-pronged order (1) appoints a former judge to argue against dismissing the case; and (2) considers holding Flynn in criminal contempt for perjury.

    The judge should just call Flynn in and shoot him. Judge, jury and executioner.

    And the judge apparently does not understand that Flynn was coerced to plead guilty as the Mueller’s attack dogs said that they were going to charge his son as an accessory also if Flynn did not plead guilty.

    If you ask me, the Mueller’s prosecutors need to be charged with coercion and bribery of a public official.

  58. They have been fleeing to Texas ! We are much more liberal than we were ten years ago. Look at all the liberal dumbocrat county judges and and such. Our county judge would shut down Fort Bend County if he could but he knows that the Governor would have him arrested.

    A group of political opponents exposed the gross hypocrisy of the Williamson County Judge not once but twice. No more orders or extensions. That’s the key. Notice all the politicians have decent haircuts.

  59. Notice all the politicians have decent haircuts.

    Both of our Senators went to the salon lady in Dallas who was arrested for opening her business and got haircuts from her. Good for them !

  60. Notice all the politicians have decent haircuts.

    Both of our Senators went to the salon lady in Dallas who was arrested for opening her business and got haircuts from her. Good for them !

    Not all of the politicians went to support the salon lady.

  61. I got my eyes checked today. My vision changed a little, not much. My cataracts are at stage 2 out of 4. He likes to replace the lenses at stage 3. Probably next year.

    It was a little strange with everyone, customers and personnel both, running around with masks on their faces. Felt like we were in the middle of a major crisis.

  62. Notice all the politicians have decent haircuts.

    Both of our Senators went to the salon lady in Dallas who was arrested for opening her business and got haircuts from her. Good for them !

    Not all of the politicians went to support the salon lady.

    Other than Bozo the El Paso Clown, who else was a jerk and a putz ?

  63. Picked up a new pair of glasses from my favorite optician today. Went for all the options, progressive, ultra thin, photochromic, UV, anti-oil coatings, etc. Then sat down with my new prescription and the Zenni Optical site and ordered 2 more pairs also heavily optioned for ~70% of the opticians’ price for the first set. Titanium memory frames all around.

    I like my optician, nice lady. So, she gets the business for the first pair. The spare pairs go in the sunglass cubby in the car and my day bag.

    I hear Teddy Roosevelt carried a dozen pairs as a Rough Rider in Cuba. Might be overkill but some spares can be a lifesaver. Nearly a quarter century ago I was rear ended by a semi truck, at night, during rush hour, in the center lane, in a rain storm. Tail lights smashed. My only glasses at the time left rearward somewhere in the impact, leaving me effectively blind. Fortunately I had a companion to guide the car to the shoulder across the right hand lane. Still…

    Oh! No masks in evidence at this optician’s office, although entry is by appointment only. The boss at my part time U-Store_It gig has gone full Covid, requiring employees and customers in full regalia, gloves and mask. Also, by appointment only. We finally opened to full shifts this week.

    Ay, Carona!
    https://youtu.be/uo7HB-slsm4

  64. Calling @CowboySlim to the white phone, calling @CowboySlim to the white phone:

    “Engineers Just Tested an ‘Impossible’ Detonation Engine For The First Time – And It Works”
    https://www.sciencealert.com/rocket-scientists-have-built-and-tested-an-impossible-engine

    “As this engine requires far less fuel than the combustion engines currently used to power rockets, it could eventually mean a more efficient and much lighter means of getting our ships into space.”

    “”The study presents, for the first time, experimental evidence of a safe and functioning hydrogen and oxygen propellant detonation in a rotating detonation rocket engine,” said aerospace engineer Kareem Ahmed of the University of Central Florida.”

    “If it can be scaled up, this technology could significantly lighten rocket payloads, and reduce the costs of rocket launches, but it has other potential applications, too. In 2012, the US Navy predicted that rotating detonation engines could result in a 25 percent reduction in fuel use in its ships, and shave 300-400 million of its annual US$2 billion fuel bill.”

    Are you buying this ?

    It looks a variation on a perpetual motion machine to me.

  65. @NightRaker: regarding ‘full masks and gloves’ …. Gloves are only going to spread any ‘cooties’, unless they are properly changed on each interaction.

    If the gloved person is handling something other people have touched, then handles another object, that 2nd object gets the ‘cooties’ by transference. (Simplified a bit.)

    That’s why, pre-pandemic, proper use of gloves in a food-creation setting (think Subway) would require the employee to put on a pair of gloves, prepare the food, then remove gloves to handle payment, then repeat.

    Proper use of masks – similar. Unless the mask is properly fitted, and not touched at any time, and removed properly (without touching the mask surface), then washing hands with soap, there is a possibility of ‘cootie-transference’.

    That’s my understanding. Anyone that wears full masks and gloves in a ‘cootie-rich’ environment and does not follow proper procedures, is not being protected, and not protecting others.

  66. Proper PPE use takes practice and awareness. Put your mask on and leave it the hell alone until you remove it for the day.

    Put your clean gloves on in a clean area, touch your dirty stuff, take your gloves off properly. New gloves on in clean area, repeat.

    If I go out I put my gloves on in the truck, they’re clean when I touch the interior and exit. Do my shopping, etc, never touching anything that isn’t already dirty. Wear a watch. Ignore your phone. Put dirty stuff in back of truck. Remove one glove, then other. Fish out keys, open door, get butt in. Spray shoes. Get in. Don’t touch your dirty mask. Repeat.

    It’s very hard to break habits and most people will touch clean stuff with their dirty gloves.

    Working at my client’s house, I changed at least one glove a dozen times, as I moved from dirty to clean to dirty. Take off your glove to get out your keys or phone. Carry more gloves in a pocket. Pull one out with your clean hand. If you can’t put on one glove without touching yourself, change them BOTH.

    I use far more gloves than masks.

    n

  67. Did I mention that it did start raining in the late afternoon? Very light, and sporadic. I ended up watering the gardens anyway. Humidity was bad, and I was grateful the temps were down a bit.

    Kept working in the garage. It’s slow because I’m digging out layers. I found even more stuff I lost track of. Hooray me.

    The end will be worth it but it would have been easier to just let it be…

    n


  68. However, I need need internal lenses for my eyes, my cataracts are getting way worse. My wife is a year away according to her doc.

    The results are awesome. The procedure is trivial. No discomfort, no irritation, no stitches, no pain. Awesome technology. Don’t wait. Your vision will thank you. Get the vision correcting lenses as they can eliminate the need for glasses. You will still need reading or distance vision glasses depending on the correct for which you opt. I chose distance and use reading glasses. The colors were crisper, brighter, more vivid, just plain magical.

    People balk at having someone doing something to their eye. You do get to watch. I had had so much done before to my eyes that someone messing with them again was no big deal. Entertaining in a weird sort of way. Get a good ophthalmologist.

    Oh, and a word of warning, insurance does NOT cover the cost of corrective lenses, only regular lenses. Those lenses run about $800 an eye, at least when I had mine done. Get the best possible lenses you can buy as this is one place to not skimp on the cost.

  69. @Rick, @Nick: Your points are well taken and quite sensible.

    This, however, is Karona Kabuki. The facility is a vertical converted car dealership from 1919. A big brick covered concrete box. 6 floors of ~700 corrugated steel lockers and a 7th climate controlled wine cellar of wood framed lockers. The common stairwell doors and handrails are the major touch points other than cart handles and elevator controls. There is one bathroom for customers. Social distancing was the norm before Covid, as traffic is usually pretty low.

    Management is very Dilbert-esque but fortunately distant and focused on their own plates. I have it good, so my comments are in that vein.

  70. Funny but I don’t think I’ve ever read Drudge. Nor have I read slashdot or reddit.

    I read my doom pron, tabloid, and count on the commentariat here to point out anything I miss.

    Works for me.

    n

    (and I usually read thru almost everyone in SiGs blogroll daily)


  71. ”The study presents, for the first time, experimental evidence of a safe and functioning hydrogen and oxygen propellant detonation in a rotating detonation rocket engine,”

    Big deal, take off the rotating detonation and you end up with a Wankel. So, a Wankel on steriods for the Tool-man Taylor. 🙂

    Have the patents expired?

  72. I’m not Slim, but I do know that the rotating detonation engine stuff is BS. They get their promised efficiency gains by comparing two theoretical thermodynamic cycles (Brayton and Humphrey cycles), but the difference between those two cycles is in the compression phase, which is a part of the cycle that doesn’t actually exist in a rocket engine!

  73. DNS: I used to use OpenDNS, which was find. In the meantime, I think using any of the standard DNS resolvers is fine: 1.1.1.1, 8.8.8.8, 9.9.9.9, whatever. Really, even most ISPs are probably ok – I think only the big ones are dumb enough (and powerful enough) to play stupid games with your DNS queries.

    On the other hand, I must be missing something, because I really don’t see the advantages to encrypted DNS. Sure, it prevents spoofing, but how often is that really a problem? I’ve seen lots of articles touting the privacy of encrypted DNS, but it’s just not believable: in the end, all DNS does is hand you a numeric IP-address, which cannot be encrypted, which is fully visible to your ISP and everyone else along the connection path, and which can always be identified.

    The only way to really hide your traffic to use a VPN, which will protect you from casual snooping (untrusted networks, like public wifi) and from a nosy ISP. I use Private Internet Access (PIA), and am pretty happy with them.

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