Fri. Dec. 4, 2020 – ayup, FLEW by.

Cold again, still damp. Maybe some sun though.

I was cold enough yesterday to get my jacket out.  Of course by the time I got to my later appointment, I was sweating and took it off until sundown.

I got some bins of stuff dropped off a my newest local auctioneer.  He was surprised by the amount and actually expected more.  I had the impression he didn’t want a truckload so I didn’t bring one.   I’ll be bringing another load down to him on Monday.   He also took a look at my Pokemon cards and we figured out that I DON’T have a $10K card.   The version I have is $45.  The version with the printed difference (a missing drop shadow) is the one that brings the big money.   It’s likely that it’s the same error that is NOT on my other big money cards too, so no $1200 cards either.  Probably.  I still have to go back through them looking to see if I have any with the missing drop shadow.    Not a lottery winner anymore, but still worth about 40x what I paid.  Funny how that feels disappointing.

I picked up a small but important defensive training item too.   I paid less than online prices, but 50%  more than I would have in January.  I think it will be another 50-100% higher come this January.   It’s very clean and fills a gap in the progression from BB to airsoft to Cricket (gap) to black scary gub.  The store where I picked it up had inventory.  Expensive inventory, slightly more than online sellers, but he had stuff on the shelves and in the display cases.  He said his purchasing manager has been scrambling to find stock.  Much of it is used or consigned too.  Friendly guys and right down the street from one of my auction sellers.

Today I’ll be loading bins, sorting, doing a pickup, and hopefully getting some Christmas lights up.  I used to be the only one on the street with lights, now there are a dozen houses that are already decorated.  I’m the slacker!  I love seeing the change.  BE the change you want in the world.  It’s not just for hippies.

Now I need to get to it.  I’ll leave the politics and conspiracy to everyone else today.  Unless it rains.  Then I’m gonna drive this keyboard like a rental.

Keep stacking.

nick

Author: Nick Flandrey

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

100 thoughts on “Fri. Dec. 4, 2020 – ayup, FLEW by.”

  1. Obamacare was a failure because it tried to use the health insurance companies to fix things (a distributed payment system). Obamacare should have set up Medicare For All which would have become Medicaid For All (a centralized payment system). And even then the whole mess would have gone bankrupt as the doctors bailed out of the system right, left, and sideways.

    There are fixed costs associated with a medical education/license, the most notable of which are the student loans required in many cases. Obamacare nationalized the student loan program but did nothing to address the debt load of the providers.

    We paid off $200k over 15 years, and my wife did not live extravagantly during the classroom phase. *No one* helped. My in-laws certainly didn’t. Though, everyone in the family seems to think they’re entitled to free care, particularly the Number One Son cousins living on the West Coast … who turn around and vote for the Dems!

    A few years ago, one media outlet tried to generate a stink about a dental school grad in LA living high on $1 million in student loans, making it seem like he was an extreme outlier. Navient (Sallie May) responded that they had over 200 individuals paying through their system with similar balances, and high six figures aren’t unexpected, especially for a place like UCLA dental, where the student with the million dollar loan package studied.


  2. It is the only way that they can control the growth of the healthcare system in the USA

    I know of a couple of families who find some excuse to visit the ER at least once a week. A simple cough, a running nose, off they go to the ER. Not for drugs, just because they can. Their healthcare is paid for by the state as they are on welfare. They don’t pay so why do they care? Leaches on society.

    The demand for free goods is infinite.

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  3. There are fixed costs associated with a medical education/license, the most notable of which are the student loans required in many cases. Obamacare nationalized the student loan program but did nothing to address the debt load of the providers.

    This is an area of social medicine rarely talked about. How much does it cost to become and stay a doctor. You get $200,000+ plus in debt and then are worked to death for years to pay it off. I think we discussed, years ago, free clinics where anybody could go. You just couldn’t sue for anything that happened (excluding outright murder and such). If you have the money or insurance for the Mayo Clinic, so be it. Your choice.

    Throw in the number of doctors needed to support 300 million people and you end up with rationing/death panels.

    I’m sure Shot Girl ™ would like the Soylent Green option for all but her. And I doubt Dr. Zeke “Death” Emanuel will walk into the disintegration chamber when he hits 75. No matter what he says.

    LET THE HEELING AND DISINTEGRATION CHAMBERS BEGIN!

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  4. I know of a couple of families who find some excuse to visit the ER at least once a week. A simple cough, a running nose, off they go to the ER. Not for drugs, just because they can.

    There is also the other side of the coin with medical stuff. I’ve gone for sometime 5 or 10 years without ever needing a doctor. 3 years ago, my thyroid went haywire, so now I have to take a pill every day. I figured I could get my prescription with a once a year checkup but nope. First it was every 3 months, then, after the first year, my FNP had me come every 6 months. That lasted one time before the MD who ‘supervises’ him reverted it to every 3 months “just because”. Just because she & the practice owners want the fees, which I pay out of my own pocket. I don’t fault them for having costs or making a profit, but I would rather they double the fee than waste my time.

  5. Though, everyone in the family seems to think they’re entitled to free care

    My FIL is an MD. Anytime we’re at a large gathering with him it’s one person after another asking him questions about some ache/pain/ailment they’re experiencing. I’ve gotten to the point that I go out of my way to NOT talk medicine with him just so I’m not contributing to it. It does seem to vary by mood. At times he very obviously enjoys being the center of attention and impressing everyone with his knowledge and experience as he answers medical questions one after another. Other times he’s obviously annoyed and I’m waiting for him to snap.

    My wife is a JD and every time someone in the family tree has a legal question our phone rings. Me being the programmer in the family I get called with everyone’s computer problems. My brother used to be a professional handyman and functions as the family plumber, electrician, and auto mechanic. I’ve heard horror stories from professional chefs where they’re tired of it just being assumed that they’re cooking at every family holiday. I suppose anytime you have a useful skill that everyone expects the “family and friends” freebie on consults.

    I know of a couple of families who find some excuse to visit the ER at least once a week. A simple cough, a running nose, off they go to the ER. Not for drugs, just because they can. Their healthcare is paid for by the state as they are on welfare. They don’t pay so why do they care? Leaches on society.

    Meanwhile, I think my ER copay is up to $150 now.

  6. So was it the smallpox innoculation or the TB test I had as a kid which left a scar on my my left shoulder?

    Had sebaceous cyst excised from my back a couple weeks ago. Doc scheduled an appointment Friday 27 to remove stitches. Of course he wasn’t there. I blame all you computer programmers! 🙂

    (had a friend take them out. Always handy to have scalpel blades kicking about)

  7. I suppose anytime you have a useful skill that everyone expects the “family and friends” freebie on consults.

    A medical license takes the phenomenon to a whole other level. I find that friends/family often don’t tell my wife the truth about anything out of fear that they would offend and be cut off from a favor in a SHTF situation. People have been scared silly by the media over the last 30 years regarding healthcare, and I find a lot of otherwise sane individuals harbor fears of their final days being scenes out of a Michael Moore film.

    Of course, once the roving cannibal gangs hit town, we’ll all be “Pets or Meat”. 🙂


  8. So was it the smallpox innoculation or the TB test I had as a kid which left a scar on my my left shoulder?

    I think it was smallpox. I remember that on the shoulder. Some kids got big scabby results. Mine faded within a month.

    I remember the TB test. They used a long flat needle and injected enough juice under the skin of my forearm. That hurt. Checked for pustules a week later.

  9. Had sebaceous cyst excised from my back a couple weeks ago. Doc scheduled an appointment Friday 27 to remove stitches. Of course he wasn’t there. I blame all you computer programmers!

    (had a friend take them out. Always handy to have scalpel blades kicking about)

    The one person I semi-know who works at Epic (the dominant player in healthcare CRM) was a special case in my CS Masters program in the Northwest. The guy graduated with a MechE Masters but found his job prospects limited in 2010 so, fearing his Visa would end, he cut a deal with the department to be slave labor TA, continuing to grade two MechE classes as well as another two in CS.

    Needless to say, he was really inept at the CS work, to the point that the faculty had to coddle him through his thesis, essentially writing an iOS app — not exactly “research” — and found him the job at Epic in Wisconsin, where he’s been ever since.

    I was the only CS Masters student in my class not on a “deal” beyond being the contingency admission due to my undergraduate GPA from (then) 20 years prior. Various undergrads also had deals, including the girl who the faculty made sure graduated Suma Cum Laude and spoke at graduation — an escapee from the local radical Lutheran cult.

    Yup, WA State really is “Twin Peaks”. 🙂


  10. I think it was smallpox. I remember that on the shoulder. Some kids got big scabby results. Mine faded within a month.

    Thanks. You don’t see them on anyone younger than 60 or so, even in India. I guess the scientific consensus is that it’s been eliminated so there’s no need to worry. And I have a bridge I’d like to sell you…

  11. Smallpox vac was moved to the inside of the arm so the scars became less visible. My younger sister had hers done there. I seem to recall my daughter did too and this was 30 years ago.

  12. Um, I’m telling you guys, the increase in news coverage, the leaks, the official statements– they’re doing battlespace prep (or ‘laying the groundwork, if you prefer).

    Leaked photo from Pentagon UFO task force shows ‘silver cube’ hovering over the Atlantic at 35,000ft – as classified reports reveal concerns ‘aliens’ could be operating beneath the world’s seas

    New report reveals activities of DoD’s Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force
    Two ‘position reports’ circulated in intelligence community in 2018 and this year
    Both included photos taken from the cockpits of U.S. military fighter jets
    One leaked photo shows an unidentified ‘cube-shaped’ object hovering
    Another is described as showing a triangular craft with lights on its corners
    Pilots say the triangular object emerged from the open ocean and shot into air
    It adds to speculation that unidentified craft are operating underwater
    Officially, Pentagon refuses to comment on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena

    n

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  13. @nick:

    you hate foreigners who just want a better life

    Those who want that better life at my expense, yes.

    I hate the criminal gangs that thrive because of it

    That, too.

    G.

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  14. Aldi puts a lot of thought and research into every store location, and they target a lower demo than their second-cousin-twice-removed chain Trader Joes.

    Most of the Aldis in Houston are in suburban areas, middle class to upscale. I go to the one by us for bread (their low net carb bread is $1 loaf cheaper than the Sara Lee version), eggs, half and half, and occasional German foods they stock. Their house brands are hit and miss, but prices are generally good. They are keeping the price of a lot of staples lower at the nearby HEB.

    HEB price shops at Walmart. That is their do or die price matching.

    Walmart swings the entire grocery industry. Walmart is 10 % ??? 20 % ??? 30% ??? of the grocery store shopping in the USA now ?

  15. Sigh. I had hoped to release version 16.07 of our software today. Did not happen. I reviewed a bunch of our benchmarks last night before I went home at 11pm. My QA guy missed two important problem areas that must be fixed. Sigh.

    Now I have to decide if the QA guy is going to have a job soon. He has worked for me for 25 years. But he does primary customer support, QA, and training. And he helps push the software capabilities forward. His mix is almost unreplacable.

    Sigh.

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  16. Of course, once the roving cannibal gangs hit town, we’ll all be “Pets or Meat”.

    They are already there. Those are the “campers” under the bridges and on underused properties.

    Anyone want a leg ?

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  17. It is the only way that they can control the growth of the healthcare system in the USA

    I know of a couple of families who find some excuse to visit the ER at least once a week. A simple cough, a running nose, off they go to the ER. Not for drugs, just because they can. Their healthcare is paid for by the state as they are on welfare. They don’t pay so why do they care? Leaches on society.

    The demand for free goods is infinite.

    Most hospitals use the ERs for their patient load in the hospital. Maybe as much as half of the patients come in through the ER. There is a magic number on ER payments though. When the number of non-paying patients hits 60% to 70%, the ER is converted into an urgent care which does not have the requirement to serve.

    Many counties in Texas have designated an ER as their county ER and it will stay open no matter what as they subsidize up to 50% of the ER costs. Holding the Sugar Land Methodist ER open costs Fort Bend County over $20 million/year and that was a decade ago. I suspect it way more now.

  18. Walmart swings the entire grocery industry. Walmart is 10 % ??? 20 % ??? 30% ??? of the grocery store shopping in the USA now ?

    I thought I saw that they were 25% of the grocery industry now.

    In most places around Florida, the grocery business is Publix or Walmart/Target. Everyone else either retreated from the market or went out of business. The dominance of Publix was kinda spooky the last time we went to Fort Myers.

    Austin is getting to be similar: either HEB or Walmart/Target with a few token Randall’s (Safeway) locations.

    Our HEB is a remodeled Albertsons, shifting from one of the mid-market stores to high end.

    HEB cheaped out on the floors, however, deciding to go with the polished concrete look without first pulling up the Albertsons linoleum and seeing what was underneath.

  19. I used to price check the weekly fliers every week. Randalls, Kroger, HEB. Sometimes the hispanic market, or Fiesta too. Randalls was always higher prices, significantly higher in most cases. Couple of bucks a pound higher on meat for example. I don’t know how they stay in business or who shops there.

    n

  20. Now I have to decide if the QA guy is going to have a job soon. He has worked for me for 25 years. But he does primary customer support, QA, and training. And he helps push the software capabilities forward. His mix is almost unreplacable.

    QA and support people are in demand right now, and a lot of places consider remote work. He could park somewhere until your business picks up.

    If you need to fire someone, TWC is so backed up on appeals that I still don’t have a hearing date after filing on the 29th of October. I already passed the point on the new job where I’ve been paid enough to restore UI eligibility so at this point, I’m just trying to clear my name. There is a very good chance my previous management botched the paperwork for the termination under the same category Texas uses for violence and sexual harassment.

  21. I don’t know how they stay in business or who shops there.

    Welfare recipients. They care nothing about cost. They have no skin in the game. If they can get $20.00 back to buy their lottery tickets so much the better.

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  22. I don’t know how they stay in business or who shops there.

    Welfare recipients. They care nothing about cost. They have no skin in the game. If they can get $20.00 back to buy their lottery tickets so much the better.

    It swings the other way too. There’s a decent chunk of people willing to pay more for their groceries if it means they don’t have to shop next to customers who can’t afford to pay more for their groceries. Most metro areas have one or more competing chains that exists mostly to serve the “anywhere but Walmart” crowd.

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  23. Randalls was always higher prices, significantly higher in most cases. Couple of bucks a pound higher on meat for example. I don’t know how they stay in business or who shops there.

    Californians used to the Safeway model of grocery store. Prices more or less normalize with the club card.

    Our HEB is a perpetual remodel project so it always seems dirty. The convenience/location of the store is its key advantage and the reason the chain hasn’t replaced the building.


  24. Now I have to decide if the QA guy is going to have a job soon. He has worked for me for 25 years. But he does primary customer support, QA, and training. And he helps push the software capabilities forward. His mix is almost unreplacable.

    Have you talked to him about your concerns? Maybe over lunch, away from the office, if such a thing is possible where you are? Pardon if that question is insultingly obvious, but the obvious things are often overlooked.

    Has he been good for 24.5 years but has been slipping? Maybe he’s sick or depressed, or thinks the company is going to fold and there’s no point in putting in any effort. Maybe he’s tired of doing QA but would still be good in other tasks. Or maybe he’s just stopped caring and won’t get over it and needs to be replaced.

    Looking back at the people I’ve fired (only twice was my job, but I often ended up doing it because the company owner or branch manager was soft-hearted whereas I could do it and not miss any sleep), the people who were fired for not doing their jobs were usually fairly new and they just didn’t work out — they’d obviously misrepresented their skills, they didn’t produce (a sales guy), or they were jerks and didn’t get along (ie, bigger jerks than I, a high hurdle). Only one guy had been there longer than I but he’d been on thin ice for years and the VP finally had enough of the guy’s doing barely enough to not be fired. (I was pretty sick of him, too, after only a few months as his manager. The day after I fired him, he came close to running me down in the company parking lot. Fun!)

  25. Daughter is getting a new laptop and it has no optical drive. This will be my first personal venture with a PC with no optical drive. In the past, the first thing I did with a new system is wipe it and do a clean vanilla install of Windows to remove whatever preinstalled crap the manufacturers were bribed into including. How do I wipe and reinstall Win10 on a laptop with no optical drive?

  26. Looking back at the people I’ve fired (only twice was my job, but I often ended up doing it because the company owner or branch manager was soft-hearted whereas I could do it and not miss any sleep), the people who were fired for not doing their jobs were usually fairly new and they just didn’t work out — they’d obviously misrepresented their skills, they didn’t produce (a sales guy), or they were jerks and didn’t get along (ie, bigger jerks than I, a high hurdle).

    Texas has a really high bar for “just didn’t work out”. The tradeoff is that truly disruptive behavior makes the individual ineligible for UI until they get their heads straight and hold a job for a sufficient length of time that they earn six times their weekly unemployment benefit potential.

    Part of the problem which led to me being fired at the last job is that the Senior Developer in charge of the project demo got hired almost two years ago and promptly retired on the job, not even making an effort at the steep learning curve for our product. Management figured it was simpler just to bully the rest of us into covering rather than face a UI hearing they would probably lose in addition to a lawsuit for the same age discrimination issues I’m exploring.

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  27. you hate foreigners who just want a better life

    I was accused of that once “you hate all immigrants”. The irony that I am an immigrant didn’t seem to bother my accuser. You can guess which party/cult she identified with.

    Of course I have a degree and skillz and certs so to them I’m not an “immigrant”. I’ve been told that too, by a mostly sensible cult member who had a complete blind spot in his thinking wherein he associated “immigrant” with “non-white”, and wasn’t able to get past that.

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  28. Daughter is getting a new laptop and it has no optical drive. This will be my first personal venture with a PC with no optical drive. In the past, the first thing I did with a new system is wipe it and do a clean vanilla install of Windows to remove whatever preinstalled crap the manufacturers were bribed into including. How do I wipe and reinstall Win10 on a laptop with no optical drive?

    USB drive. The latest version of Win10 will not even fit on a DVD.

    I just bought six copies of Win 10 Pro x64 from http://www.microsoft.com at $199 each for converting half of our office PCs to Windows 10 Pro x64. They came on USB drives, the only other option was download. I wanted to have the physical media.

    I am building myself a new Windows 10 Pro x64 office pc. I am trying to decide if I am going to put an optical drive in it. I only bought 16 GB of ram, I am going to buy 16 GB more after reading my latest Maximum PC magazine.


  29. How do I wipe and reinstall Win10 on a laptop with no optical drive?

    You could try “Reset this PC” in Settings (search for it). But it might just bring back the bloatware fresher than before.

  30. I know of a couple of families who find some excuse to visit the ER at least once a week. A simple cough, a running nose, off they go to the ER. Not for drugs, just because they can.

    There is also the other side of the coin with medical stuff. I’ve gone for sometime 5 or 10 years without ever needing a doctor. 3 years ago, my thyroid went haywire, so now I have to take a pill every day. I figured I could get my prescription with a once a year checkup but nope. First it was every 3 months, then, after the first year, my FNP had me come every 6 months. That lasted one time before the MD who ‘supervises’ him reverted it to every 3 months “just because”. Just because she & the practice owners want the fees, which I pay out of my own pocket. I don’t fault them for having costs or making a profit, but I would rather they double the fee than waste my time.

    We had to have my daughter’s thyroid removed on her 18th birthday. She had three goiters the size of golf balls, they were interfering with her swallowing and breathing. Now she takes a mix of Synthroid and Armour. Very few docs will prescribe that mix anymore as Armour has been severely discredited as a precision medicine.
    http://www.armourthyroid.com/

    The goiters were our first clue that she had Lyme disease. Unfortunately, it was not known at that time that Lyme disease attacks the thyroid glands and destroys them. We did not test for the Lyme disease until she was 20. We think she had the Lyme since she was 15. So, five years of non treatments has give her Chronic Lyme disease.

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  31. Meanwhile, I think my ER copay is up to $150 now.

    My ER copay is $500. It is forgiven if you are admitted to the hospital.

    My Urgent Care copay is $40. I used it back in February when I got a flu test to see if my nasty cold with fever was the flu. It was not.

  32. Decrapify – not a hard thing to do manually. Just uninstall uneeded programs.

    Or you could use the various de-crapping utilities. One that’s been around for a long time is https://www.pcdecrapifier.com/ .

    The last notebook I got (earlier this year) was an HP Envy. There really wasn’t much excess stuff on there. I got rid of Norton’s/McAfee, of course (cpu hogs) and use the free Sophos Home for AV. Although the built-in Windows Defender is enough.

    Then I just uninstalled via the Program Manager. Didn’t take long.

    There are other ‘clean up your new PC’ articles around. One is here https://www.zdnet.com/article/how-to-get-rid-of-bloatware-and-clean-your-windows-10-start-menu-without-questionable-cleanup-tools/ .

    But the manual approach worked OK. Then I just had to install her favorite programs, and add printers.

  33. @greg

    QA and support people are in demand right now

    Got a nephew looking in Seattle area for QA type jobs. Lots of experience, working for MS and others (as contractor).

    Where’s a good place to start to search for those jobs? No relocation preferred, but telework is something that he has done a lot of.

  34. Daughter is getting a new laptop and it has no optical drive. This will be my first personal venture with a PC with no optical drive. In the past, the first thing I did with a new system is wipe it and do a clean vanilla install of Windows to remove whatever preinstalled crap the manufacturers were bribed into including. How do I wipe and reinstall Win10 on a laptop with no optical drive?

    Be sure to write down the Win10 Product Key before you do anything !

    And you can get the Win10 ISO from
    https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10

  35. Daughter is getting a new laptop and it has no optical drive. This will be my first personal venture with a PC with no optical drive. In the past, the first thing I did with a new system is wipe it and do a clean vanilla install of Windows to remove whatever preinstalled crap the manufacturers were bribed into including. How do I wipe and reinstall Win10 on a laptop with no optical drive?

    Download the ISO from Microsoft. That way, you are sure to get the latest version, and the bonus is that Microsoft’s install does not include the Lenovo/HP/Dell garbage bloatware.

    The only way I made my T470 ThinkPad usable was to get rid of the OEM install and replace it with what the Microsoft ISO loads.

  36. @Chad

    BTW, if you want to get a full new copy of Office 2019 (not the Office 365) version, I’ve bought it at discount from Cheapify. They have 2 copies for $69; single copy $39. It’s a download, but full license. Installed and worked fine. Valid versions.

    https://cheapify.online/products/ms2019proplus2pc . They have many other products. Like a Windows 10 Pro plus Office 2019 Pro Plus for $69 (single copy). Many other deals.

  37. Be sure to write down the Win10 Product Key before you do anything !

    I used to have a buddy that would go to the public library or college computer lab and write down the Windows product key from the sticker on the back of the case. Then, go home and use that to install Windows. When it failed activation he would call the provided 800# and tell them he bought a new motherboard for his PC or some other major hardware change. They would say okay and give him the activation code. He did something similar with Office. It seems Microsoft assumed that anyone that went to the effort (or was bold enough) to call them must be legit and would give them the activation code 100% of the time. That was the WinXP/Office 2003 days. I have no idea how that would work now.

  38. Got a nephew looking in Seattle area for QA type jobs. Lots of experience, working for MS and others (as contractor).

    Where’s a good place to start to search for those jobs? No relocation preferred, but telework is something that he has done a lot of.

    My current employment came through working Indeed.com on a regular basis. Everyone works remote right now, and I count six time zones in our morning calls.

    It is harder to get out of QA work than to find employment, especially over 40. My brief employment in Downtown Seattle was a bait-n-switch where I was hired for a nebulous coding assignment and pushed into QA as soon as management knew I had signed an apartment lease for my crash pad.

    I accumulated enough paychecks to pay off the lease and quit.

  39. That was the WinXP/Office 2003 days. I have no idea how that would work now.

    Microsoft is a lot more proactive now. They tend to look the other way for site licenses covering very large companies, but, even then, an admin at the company gets contacted every so many installs to verify the user is genuine.

    With newer (Core2 or newer) computers, however, once the CPU serial number is recorded with Microsoft as being a legitimately licensed PC, reinstall of Windows 10 is just a matter of finding the ISO. Microsoft even went as far as giving the bulk refurbishment companies free Windows 10 Pro licenses just to get Windows 7 and 8 off of machines still circulating.

  40. How do I wipe and reinstall Win10 on a laptop with no optical drive?

    Download the version of Windows that is on the laptop from Microsoft (media creation tool) allowing the download to create a USB drive. No need to write down the key, it does not exist. It is a digital key in the BIOS tied to the hardware. Boot from the USB and select new install.

  41. I am building myself a new Windows 10 Pro x64 office pc. I am trying to decide if I am going to put an optical drive in it. I only bought 16 GB of ram, I am going to buy 16 GB more after reading my latest Maximum PC magazine.

    Portable optical drives are cheap if you want to downsize on the case dimensions. Most modern motherboards will boot from a USB DVD/BluRay drive.

    Whether or not you max out the memory, try to get a motherboard with 32 (good) or 64 (better) GB RAM capacity. I run my home server with 8 GB, but the motherboard will accept 64 GB.

    I’m confliced about building another desktop. Recent USB-C docks have made decent laptops very usable as desktop computers. My ThinkPad and my wife’s Thunderbolt Mac both work extremely well with the Plugable Mini USB-C dock.

  42. The New Untouchables:

    In October, the Seattle City Council floated legislation to provide an exemption from prosecution for misdemeanor crimes for any citizen who suffers from poverty, homelessness, addiction, or mental illness.

    Under the proposed ordinance, courts would have to dismiss all so-called “crimes of poverty” — which, according to the city’s former public-safety advisor, would cover more than 90 percent of all misdemeanor cases citywide. In effect, the legislation would create a new class of “untouchables,” protected from consequences by the city’s powerbrokers.

    This is the latest and most brazen effort in the city’s campaign to establish what might be called a “reverse hierarchy of oppression.” The underlying theory is that society has condemned the lower class to a life of poverty and stigma, which leads to addiction, madness, and indigence.

    The poor, in the logic of Seattle’s progressive elites, are thus forced to commit crimes — including violent crimes — to secure their very existence. Therefore, as society is the perpetrator of this inequality, the crimes of the poor must be forgiven. The crimes are transformed into an expression of social justice.

    Methinks that soon you’ll be able to buy property in downtown Seattle for a song.

  43. Methinks that soon you’ll be able to buy property in downtown Seattle for a song.

    Amazon will fuss and the council will relent. Antifa antics like the CHAZ out in Capitol Hill are one thing, but lawlessness in other areas won’t be tolerated.

    The tunnel under the city replacing the viaduct will result in a new boom in Downtown Seattle real estate.


  44. I don’t know how they stay in business or who shops there.

    There was a market that used to be my go-to, it was overpriced – but on the other hand was clean, well lit, did not take EBT, and the manager had a thing for hiring cute blonde checkers.

    That changed, and it’s much the same demographic as Walmart now.


  45. refusing-to-wear-mask-is-act-of-domestic-terrorism

    Just last night I was graced with this bit of wisdom: “I am so over this disease! From now on, anyone who goes out without a mask, anyone near him is allowed to break one of his bones without consequence.” Two others agreed and suggested a vertebra or a femur as the bone of choice. Unfortunately, I was unable to to reply with the wisdom that anyone committing assault in public should brace himself for being shot.

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  46. Well, Parris is a bit of a nut.

    Technically he’s conservative – he’s one of the few California mayors that Trump met with during this last campaign, for example, but he’s famous for shooting off his mouth.

    Then again, he IS a trial lawyer, and any attention is GOOD attention for that breed.

    He has to be aware that the latest census will show Lancaster and the surrounds to be probably 75% Black and Hispanic, so his days are numbered politically unless he repositions himself. This may be part of that.

  47. Walmart swings the entire grocery industry. Walmart is 10 % ??? 20 % ??? 30% ??? of the grocery store shopping in the USA now ?

    I thought I saw that they were 25% of the grocery industry now.

    In most places around Florida, the grocery business is Publix or Walmart/Target. Everyone else either retreated from the market or went out of business. The dominance of Publix was kinda spooky the last time we went to Fort Myers.

    Austin is getting to be similar: either HEB or Walmart/Target with a few token Randall’s (Safeway) locations.

    Our HEB is a remodeled Albertsons, shifting from one of the mid-market stores to high end.

    HEB cheaped out on the floors, however, deciding to go with the polished concrete look without first pulling up the Albertsons linoleum and seeing what was underneath.

    Walmart is just about the only place that you can go in, buy $150 in groceries, and pay with (I watched the lady in front of me do this several years ago, it was amazing):
    1. $65 on your Texas Lone Star EBT card
    2. $20 on credit card #1
    3. $15 on credit card #2
    4. $50 in cash

    HEB has finished concrete floors in all of their stores across Texas and Mexico (340 of them). It is their corporate look.
    https://www.heb.com/static-page/article-template/Our-Story

    Wow, HEB has 100,000 employees and $21 billion in annual sales.

  48. RE: Grocers

    We have a pretty decent selection around here. We have the same Target and Walmart as everyone else as well as the warehouse stores Sam’s Club and Costco. We also have Baker’s (the local branding for Dillons/Kroger), Hy-Vee (regional chain), and Family Fare (another regional chain). I prefer Hy-Vee.

    In my semi-rural suburban small(ish) town we still have an independent grocery. Though, their days are probably numbered as one of the big boys has optioned land nearby and the larger metro area inches closer every year.

    I also occasionally drive onto the nearby AFB to shop at the Commissary.

  49. Wow, HEB has 100,000 employees and $21 billion in annual sales.

    More important is that they are privately held, like Publix and Wegmans.

    Sooner or later, Publix and Wegmans are going to have a grudge match. I’m guessing the DC suburbs in Virginia.

  50. Now I have to decide if the QA guy is going to have a job soon. He has worked for me for 25 years. But he does primary customer support, QA, and training. And he helps push the software capabilities forward. His mix is almost unreplacable.

    QA and support people are in demand right now, and a lot of places consider remote work. He could park somewhere until your business picks up.

    He also helps with the documentation. And he has a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Alabama. Very unique individual.

  51. “Michigan witness Carone: ‘Democrats like to ruin your lives'”
    https://freepressers.com/articles/michigan-witness-carone-democrats-like-to-ruin-your-lives

    “Melissa Carone, a Dominion Voting Systems contractor who worked at Detroit’s TCF Center on Election Day, testified before the Michigan House Oversight Committee on Dec. 2 that she witnessed thousands of ballots being counted numerous times in Dominion machines.”

    ““I observed numerous employees, city workers, running batches of ballots through the tabulators countless times, without discarding them first,” Carone said on Wednesday.”

    “But it was Carone’s exchanges with the politicians on the committee who expressed doubt in her testimony which drew the most attention, with one clip on Twitter garnering 9 million views.”

    ““I know what I saw,” Carone told state Rep. Steven Johnson. “And I signed something saying if I’m wrong, I can go to prison. Did you?””

    “When questioned why more people haven’t come forward with allegations that they witnessed fraudulent actions at the Detroit ballot-count site, Carone responded: “I’ll tell you why. My life has been destroyed because of this. I’ve lost family, I’ve lost friends, I’ve been threatened, my kids have been threatened, I’ve had to move, I’ve had to change my phone number, I’ve had to get rid of social media — nobody wants to come forward. I can’t even get an actual job any more, because Democrats like to ruin your lives. That’s why.””

    That poor lady, she is really going through the ringer.

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  52. HEB has finished concrete floors in all of their stores across Texas and Mexico (340 of them). It is their corporate look.

    The local HEB is a remodeled Albertsons. The store’s linoleum hid a bunch of construction sins.

    Publix is terrazzo, but it is a maintenance nightmare. I lived floor maintenace at a Publix for a year — teenager crews doing an hour damp mop every night, two hours of machine scrubbing on Saturday nights, and a 4-5 hour overnight wax strip/replacement four times a year.

    I also scrubbed the bathrooms.

  53. Our HEB is a perpetual remodel project so it always seems dirty. The convenience/location of the store is its key advantage and the reason the chain hasn’t replaced the building.

    They have added SuperHEBs (125,000 ft2) to either side (four miles southwest, five miles northeast) of our 75,000 ft2 HEB with constant rumors of closing it down. The checkers were all out looking for jobs when they added the southwest HEB. But you still have trouble going to our HEB on Sunday afternoon (moms running out while dad is watching the kids and football and drinking beer) as 300+ parking spaces are not enough. And every night in our HEB looks like a war zone as they reload the shelves with up to ten trailers worth of stuff.

  54. He also helps with the documentation. And he has a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Alabama. Very unique individual.

    He could probably land a temporary job at my old place working remote. Just don’t use my name.

    (Rest assured that it will be temporary. They lost nearly 60 Million Euros on 257 Million in revenue in the first half of the fiscal year ended in November. I think I’ve once again dodged a bullet even though the firing sucked.)

    I honestly believe that, at some point, the electric car lotus-eater fantasy will get a slap of financial reality and the oil industry will recover some of what it has lost. Just don’t ask me when. The US probably won’t have car companies at that point .. at least, not recognizable as car companies.

    I’m amazed at the build quality people accept from the Tonymobiles. Even the output of GM’s truck plant in Arlington isn’t this bad. Sure, GM can’t make that 10 speed transmission work properly, but it doesn’t shed parts rolling down the road.

    https://nypost.com/2020/11/25/tesla-recalling-more-than-9000-model-x-cars/

  55. Now I have to decide if the QA guy is going to have a job soon. He has worked for me for 25 years. But he does primary customer support, QA, and training. And he helps push the software capabilities forward. His mix is almost unreplacable.

    Have you talked to him about your concerns? Maybe over lunch, away from the office, if such a thing is possible where you are? Pardon if that question is insultingly obvious, but the obvious things are often overlooked.

    Has he been good for 24.5 years but has been slipping? Maybe he’s sick or depressed, or thinks the company is going to fold and there’s no point in putting in any effort. Maybe he’s tired of doing QA but would still be good in other tasks. Or maybe he’s just stopped caring and won’t get over it and needs to be replaced.

    Yup, he is tired. Last year was tough because I gave him the option of reduced hours or layoff, he chose reduced hours. And he fell back in June and broke his clavicle clean off, had to have surgery and 11 hardware pieces to reattach it. I gave him the entire month of July off paid. He could barely move anyway and could not drive for three months.

    Yes he does customer support, QA, documentation, and training. And he has a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Alabama. And he is one of the elders at his temple, conducts weddings and funerals all the time.

    There is only eight of us. We all wear many hats …

  56. @greg

    QA and support people are in demand right now

    Got a nephew looking in Seattle area for QA type jobs. Lots of experience, working for MS and others (as contractor).

    Where’s a good place to start to search for those jobs? No relocation preferred, but telework is something that he has done a lot of.

    The last guy I hired two years ago was a sales guy with a MIS degree from U of Houston. He responded to an employment ad that I put in http://www.craigslist.com . And he lives only two miles away from my office. He was working at a warehouse before this taking orders over the phone. I pay him half base and half commission. Last year he made his first bonus plan. This year is a struggle but he is going for it.

    I’ve done everything through http://www.craigslist.com . Hired people, rented my warehouse (twice !), sold cars, etc.

  57. The New Untouchables:

    In October, the Seattle City Council floated legislation to provide an exemption from prosecution for misdemeanor crimes for any citizen who suffers from poverty, homelessness, addiction, or mental illness.

    Under the proposed ordinance, courts would have to dismiss all so-called “crimes of poverty” — which, according to the city’s former public-safety advisor, would cover more than 90 percent of all misdemeanor cases citywide. In effect, the legislation would create a new class of “untouchables,” protected from consequences by the city’s powerbrokers.

    This is the latest and most brazen effort in the city’s campaign to establish what might be called a “reverse hierarchy of oppression.” The underlying theory is that society has condemned the lower class to a life of poverty and stigma, which leads to addiction, madness, and indigence.

    The poor, in the logic of Seattle’s progressive elites, are thus forced to commit crimes — including violent crimes — to secure their very existence. Therefore, as society is the perpetrator of this inequality, the crimes of the poor must be forgiven. The crimes are transformed into an expression of social justice.

    Methinks that soon you’ll be able to buy property in downtown Seattle for a song.

    So this is how the Morlocks and Eloi get started. I wonder how long it will be before the street people (Morlocks) start eating the city dwellers (Eloi) ?


  58. I wonder who Kamala will choose as her VP

    I would place bets on Pelosi or Hillary. Both of whom I think were instrumental in getting Biden as the candidate as they know his days are numbered. Biden did not pick Harris, the DNC picked Harris.

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  59. I wonder who Kamala will choose as her VP ? AOC is too young to serve.

    Even if they prevail in both GA Senate races, the choice has to get through the Senate without the tie breaker so they’ll need a RINO defection. Two if Loeffler wins (probable). Three if Purdue retains his seat (toss up).

    Mittens isn’t an automatic. Someone dropped a dime on him in the Supreme Court vote.

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  60. I wonder who Kamala will choose as her VP ? AOC is too young to serve.

    Even if they prevail in both GA Senate races, the choice has to get through the Senate without the tie breaker so they’ll need a RINO defection. Two if Loeffler wins (probable). Three if Purdue retains his seat (toss up).

    Mittens isn’t an automatic. Someone dropped a dime on him in the Supreme Court vote.

    Did you really just say Stacey Abrams as Kamala’s VP pick ?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stacey_Abrams

    We are going to get it and get it good.

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  61. the street people (Morlocks) start eating the city dwellers (Eloi)

    My interpretation of Morlocks vs Eloi is different than that of anyone else I’ve seen mention it. The way I see it, the morlocks did all the work, kept things running, and provided all the resources. The eloi were either parasites who deserved what they got or else livestock.

    I’ve known or had to deal with a number of generations-deep so-called upper crust, whether “old money” or generals who were the sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons of generals. Never had much use for those I knew. (Though as a very junior Army officer I wasn’t in much of a position to judge whether a 2-star was worth a crap. That said, the fact that he brought up his ancestors early in every conversation is an indicator.)


  62. He also helps with the documentation. And he has a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Alabama. Very unique individual.

    … and is likely to be reading this blog as you type…

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  63. Lynn
    I have a friend owner of a software compañy who is facing similar issues,and, had faced also, he went thru the move form selling licenses to SAAS and moving off own developers and testers, that is, very low headcount, but, when similar things happens, crisis.
    There isnt easy solutions, but, regardless cost, maybe split functions is the solution, no one must be indispensable, unless he/she has shares.
    Is easy to say something from overseas, but, since we have meltdowns every 8/10 years, we developed very thick skin.

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  64. Did you really just say Stacey Abrams as Kamala’s VP pick ?

    Wouldn’t make it through the Senate.

    Kerry wouldn’t be a shock. Just until 2024, however, when he gets the ol’ heave ho in favor of a radical.

  65. Home from my pickups, etc. Got a couple of small checks. The two most recent auctions closed last night so they haven’t cut checks for those yet. I did much better on those.

    And I’m pretty close to covered on Christmas. Probably over-covered on the kids, and short on the wife, truth be told. I’m looking at sparkle right now…

    “write down the Windows product key from the sticker on the back of the case”– one of my corporate salvage auctions takes very clear pics of the sticker in every listing. Those pcs have had the harddrives and memory pulled. They are unlikely to be re-activated in the US. I’ve got a directory with winXP keys…. and a few random others.

    I picked up a Smartab window slate, supposed to have win10 on it. for $13 I thought I’d give it a try.

    n

  66. “Elon Musk Is Reportedly Moving To Texas”
    https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/elon-musk-reportedly-moving-texas

    Oh no. That will open the flood gates.

    My wife drove by the Tesla factory today. She said that construction seems to be moving fast.

    Criticize Musk all you want but he does not screw around. Time is money and he has several competitors in the electric vehicle market that want to displace him.

    And of course, there is the rumor today that Daimler (Mercedes Benz) wants to merge with Tesla.
    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/tesla-open-merger-daimler-fit-115836576.html

  67. Lynn
    I have a friend owner of a software compañy who is facing similar issues,and, had faced also, he went thru the move form selling licenses to SAAS and moving off own developers and testers, that is, very low headcount, but, when similar things happens, crisis.
    There isnt easy solutions, but, regardless cost, maybe split functions is the solution, no one must be indispensable, unless he/she has shares.
    Is easy to say something from overseas, but, since we have meltdowns every 8/10 years, we developed very thick skin.

    It is tough, especially this year. Without the PPP program I would have had to make some very difficult decisions.

    I have converted us from license sales to license leases (SAAS) over the last 20 years, it has kept us in business.

    I cannot offshore our software development. It takes me five years to train a user interface programmer. It takes me ten years to train a calculation engine programmer. We are a highly vertical niche software product that requires high technical engineering skills.

  68. Criticize Musk all you want but he does not screw around. Time is money and he has several competitors in the electric vehicle market that want to displace him.

    Volkswagen in TN, but I think his bigger concern is the Tundra making a serious move on the F150 while Ford screws around with electric trucks and the Hencho en Mexico E-Mustang.

    Austin doesn’t have a manufacturing workforce like Tesla inherited from Toytota in Fremont along with the NUMI factory.

    And of course, there is the rumor today that Daimler (Mercedes Benz) wants to merge with Tesla.

    Mercedes couldn’t make the stolen Chrysler pipeline competently, but they’re running out of merger partners from whom to steal -er- share technology.

  69. @Lynn
    “It takes me ten years to train a calculation engine programmer.”

    Curious. To do what?

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  70. @Lynn
    “It takes me ten years to train a calculation engine programmer.”

    Curious. To do what?

    To keep from screwing up our software.

    Today’s two showstoppers were from the same programmer, a PhD Chemical Engineer out of Clemson eleven years ago. He fixed them both but showstoppers suck time.


  71. My ER copay is $500. It is forgiven if you are admitted to the hospital.

    My son was admitted to the local ER one evening. They stabilized him and then transferred him to the hospital that was treating him for leukemia. He left before midnight, and arrived and was admitted after midnight. Our insurance company insisted that we had to pay the copay. My wife fought with them over this for years. Several times she convinced someone that she was obviously right (once they understood what happened), and they agreed to send a refund. No refund appeared, and the battle started anew. She is stubborn, though, and fought on as a matter of principle. She finally won, and received the refund. In another incident, she mistakenly paid the (primary) hospital for a procedure that they were later paid for by our insurance company. The hospital refused to refund the payment. She fought that doggedly for years, but was unable to win the battle. About a decade+ later, the hospital sent a note to my (now dead) son, informing him that that exact amount was on the books in his favor, and would be remitted to the state if he didn’t arrange for them to pay it to him. My wife contacted them, provided a death certificate, and convinced them that they should pay her the refund. At that point, they said OK, but you have to show us that we owe you that money! She pointed out that they were the ones who told her that they owed it. Again, there were about three rounds of various people assuring her that it was straightened out and a check would be issued forthwith, but no check showed up. Finally, they really did send the check, and it cleared. Then a few days ago my daughter discovered the state unclaimed property web site, and informed us that her late brother had a balance of exactly the amount that my wife finally extracted from them. Possibly they had sent the money to the state, but then relented and also paid my wife (it was less than $200). I’m not sure whether we should file with the state for the money, or not.

  72. Better you than the state, even if you just turn around and donate it to a good cause.

    n

  73. “Elon Musk Is Reportedly Moving To Texas”

    –No state income tax. Mic drop.

    n

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  74. “Elon Musk Is Reportedly Moving To Texas”

    –No state income tax. Mic drop.

    n

    And no riots like Seattle and Portland.

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  75. No state income tax in WA. Riots only in stupid parts (aka Seattle).

    Housing, labor, utilities, etc, probably lower in TX than WA. Certainly lower than in CA.

  76. @Lynn
    Ok, never mind.
    FYI, I bought the first four volumes of Knuth, but only sprang for the third ed of volume 2.
    And I still have Birdshirt and Twinkletoes on my bookshelf. 😉

  77. No state income tax in WA. Riots only in stupid parts (aka Seattle).

    Housing, labor, utilities, etc, probably lower in TX than WA. Certainly lower than in CA.

    I doubt that utilities are cheaper since most of WA electricity is hydro ???

    The Austin, TX area housing and labor are higher than average. But two counties away in any direction, the prices drop.

  78. @Lynn
    Ok, never mind.
    FYI, I bought the first four volumes of Knuth, but only sprang for the third ed of volume 2.
    And I still have Birdshirt and Twinkletoes on my bookshelf.

    I am not a real programmer, just a Mechanical Engineer who writes Chemical Engineering software.

    I have no idea what Birdshirt and Twinkletoes is.

  79. No state income tax in WA. Riots only in stupid parts (aka Seattle).

    Housing, labor, utilities, etc, probably lower in TX than WA. Certainly lower than in CA.

    Housing is less expensive, but not by much as of late close to Austin. Property taxes are much higher, easily double.

    Utilities vary. “Deregulated” electricity means that the power bill is a wash since Warren Buffett owns the grid. Nat. gas is cheaper (naturally). Water depends on where you live, whether you have a “MUD” (Metropolitan Utility District) and the age of the infrastructre — newer is more expensive.

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  80. Catching up…

    I think it has more to do with cheating. Many of the state required exams have specific requirements for student separation and in person proctoring. A student taking an online exam at home cares little about displaying their knowledge, only about the grade. With cheating being easy, the student will do so. It is not difficult to have an online exam on one screen (or computer) and google open on another screen (or computer). Students do this all the time for regular classroom tests while in the classroom. Being at home the cheating would be even easier.

    Seems remote proctoring is a thing…and of course so it getting around it…
    https://jakebinstein.com/blog/on-knuckle-scanners-and-cheating-how-to-bypass-proctortrack/

    Bring a quarter for the shopping cart deposit.

    Or put one of these on your keychain…
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Replacement-ALDI-Quarter-Coin-Key-Unlock-Shopping-Cart-Removable-Reusable/333348975554

    The vendors at the Florida State Fair invented deep fried twinkies. They even figured out a way to deep fry beer from what I understand.

    Don’t forget deep fried butter…
    https://g.co/kgs/cT1czZ

  81. I doubt that utilities are cheaper since most of WA electricity is hydro ???

    They keep blowing up the dams to save the fish.

  82. I have no idea what Birdshirt and Twinkletoes is.

    Probably OReilly books. 🙂

    I had the “Camel” (Perl) book out this week with the new job. Webmin modules. Ugh. People got way too clever with macros 20 years ago chasing Hot Skillz.

    The textbooks for the class videos at aduni.org are a pretty good cross section of the classic CS texts, but practical applications for that knowledge vary wildly.

  83. @Lynn
    I am not a real programmer, just a Mechanical Engineer who writes Chemical Engineering software.

    Several responses come to mind:
    1) neither am I, by your definition
    2) no programming is real

    BS&T is one of the two most popular mass transport texts of the last half-century.

  84. Those pcs have had the harddrives and memory pulled. They are unlikely to be re-activated in the US. I’ve got a directory with winXP keys…. and a few random others.

    If you need it, I have a site license key for Windows XP that is too important for Redmond to ever deactivate/void, but I don’t recommend new installs unless you are on Virtual Box behind the NAT. Experimental use only.

    At the Death Star in Tampa, we had an Internet node inherited from IBM on the roof of the building, and an unpatched XP install placed on that speed connection to the open net would be infected within minutes of plugging in the Ethernet connection.

  85. The only XP box I have running currently is the controller for my vinyl cutter. It only gets turned on when I’m cutting, which isn’t very often. And it’s behind my NAT, and I don’t actively use it online.

    I mainly grab the keys out of habit at this point. I pick up physical keys too. I’ve got a big ‘contractor ring’ for master locks, and one for cabinet type locks. One for quickset house keys too. Given the low tolerances, I can usually find a key that fits the lock I want to open…

    If old boy has a jar of old keys at an estate sale, I always look at buying it… I like keys.

    n

  86. yuppers
    beyond classic
    from the days when men were men and women were coeds

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  87. @Lynn
    I am not a real programmer, just a Mechanical Engineer who writes Chemical Engineering software.

    Several responses come to mind:
    1) neither am I, by your definition
    2) no programming is real

    BS&T is one of the two most popular mass transport texts of the last half-century.

    https://www.amazon.com/Transport-Phenomena-Revised-Byron-Bird/dp/0470115394/?tag=ttgnet-20

    I’ll bet that we have one or two of these in the office somewhere. Probably the first edition since the founders of the company were professors at OU in the 1960s.

  88. @lynn

    yup, it is though, I remember your hope to be bought eons ago I read here. I do not stated sending overseas anything, just only splitting, offshoring opens a can of worms on software, I live on a receiving side, and, believe me, the worst are the cultural differences. As example, when I said SAAS I said you must have the software running on your servers (I discussed this eons, again) not leasing licenses. But, If someone crack your software, surely could understand your algorithms.
    But my english is a valid sample of cultural differences

    Have luck

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