Sat. Feb. 27, 2021 – sleeping in, still worn out….

Maybe the rain will finally get here.  It missed us yesterday.   The tree guys finished just as the wind shifted and the horizon turned black and ugly, but we didn’t actually get the storm that looked like it was headed right for us.

I did manage to get a few things done during the day.  I worked on the raised beds a tiny bit, pruned some trees, and organized and put a few things away.   Mostly just little tiny things, but trying to keep some momentum going.  One little thing, the brass caps for the 1 pound propane bottles came in, and I’ve been putting them on bottles and putting the bottles back in storage.   I bought a bunch of them, like 32?, and I’ll be refilling a bunch of small bottles now that I have a good way to reseal them.

The tree guys left some decent stacks of cut logs.   I’ve got nothing like enough wood to heat the house, but WAY more than needed for the backyard fire pit, so  I’ll share with one or more of the neighbors.  Pecan makes for good smoke in the smoker, and nice hot fires in the firepit.  One of the neighbors makes great sausage from deer and pig.   I’m hoping for reciprocity.  Meatspace!

I used instacart to get my HEB groceries and Costco order delivered.   There are many reasons to shop myself, but the main reason to use instacart is that it saves time and allows me to be home while waiting.    I was a bit surprised by how much of the stuff on my “buy it again” lists was out of stock.  The supply chain here is clearly still messed up from last week.   Costco was particularly short on meat.  HEB was short on bread and baked goods.

This is the first Saturday in a while that I don’t have any auction pickups, no appointments, and nothing that is critical to get done.   It’s not that I don’t have things to do or that I got caught up, but nothing HAS to be done today.  Since I’m still not feeling 100% I’m sleeping in.  Then I’ll get back to it.

Whatever you’re short of, keep stacking it.  And keep thinking about what you might need.

n

 

Author: Nick Flandrey

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

94 thoughts on “Sat. Feb. 27, 2021 – sleeping in, still worn out….”

  1. Got a spam email with a twist. A twist that someone to which someone will obviously fall. The email indicated that they had millions of dollars that would be put on my credit cards. Normal scam stuff. But the interesting part is that they wanted me to send all available credit cards to them via DHL and after the money was transferred to the cards the cards would be sent back to me via DHL.

    I have a difficult believing that these scam people believe someone would send their cards. What is even more difficult to believe is that someone will probably actually send the cards. Then the victim will be on the local news crying about how they thought it was real and trusted the people.

    I see such stories about once a month. Someone gets scammed. Even though the notices about the scams, what not to do, how to avoid have been on the news programs, printed publications, etc. for years. Someone is always allowing their greed to manifest their stupidity.

    I used to make fun of the news reporters, especially the weather clods, telling people to slow down during snow. Now I realize there are idiots, the same class of people that get scammed, that will not realize that snow is slippery. Generally low on the IQ tower, probably on welfare, living in public housing, complaining life is not fair, looking for someone else to take responsibility for their own stupidity.

  2. @greg, got my NVR linux mint box to boot. Booted from the usb stick, deleted the massive /var/log/cups/errors.txt files and on reboot everything came back up.

    IIRC, the error messages concerned permissions on one of the CUPS directories.

    I’d suggest a crontab or logrotate process to zap the log files manually once a day, but writing all of those log messages must keep the system busy and prevent the CPU from throttling down. Do you even use a printer with that machine?

    I stashed an install of 19.3 on my kids revamped gaming PC if you want me to take another look at the permissions on a clean system. That install isn’t going anywhere.


  3. Now I realize there are idiots, the same class of people that get scammed, that will not realize that snow is slippery. Generally low on the IQ tower, probably on welfare, living in public housing, complaining life is not fair, looking for someone else to take responsibility for their own stupidity.

    But…but…my car has AWD…and the salesman told me driving in snow would be fine…

  4. And now in the center ring is Ringmaster Nancy with the just passed by the House Covid stimulus bill. Just a slim 592 pages folks, but no need to read them all, it’s time to all rise as Nancy leads us in singing God Bless America.

    Just another day for our circus of a gooberment.

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  5. Ah, trying the solve the question of how to get power to deployed troops. And not frying them.

    The initial application may be for long duration drones. It’s been kicked around in the open press for a while. There have already been experiments with power beaming via laser to overhead drones – useful to give continuous overhead recon to deployed ground troops.

  6. Just another day for our circus of a gooberment.

    The House version of the stimulus bill has a minimum wage hike which the Senate cannot pass under reconciliation. If the Senate breaks their own rules and puts the bill on Plugs’ desk with the minimum wage hike intact, the filibuster is effectively dead.

    A minimum wage hike is always a disguised SS tax increase, but the politicians will now make everything a budget issue. Certainly, the argument could be made that DC statehood falls into that category.

  7. Up and moving. No rain. Bright sun and 74F in fact. Looks quite nice out.

    n


  8. Additionally, wind energy is stored in batteries, and those batteries lost 60% of their energy in the cold.

    There are times when there is more wind power than the grid can use. At times, the price has gone negative (i.e. we will pay you to take it). If you own the batteries and the windmills, you can use the subsidy on wind power to pay to charge the batteries at night, sell the power during the day at higher rates than you would have gotten at night.

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  9. If the Senate breaks their own rules and puts the bill on Plugs’ desk with the minimum wage hike intact, the filibuster is effectively dead.

    Government By the people For the people is already dead. It’s been replaced by an ignorant oligarchy.

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  10. Costco was particularly short on meat. HEB was short on bread and baked goods.

    On Wednesday, all the chilled and frozen items at Sam’s were in short supply. There were quantity limits on buying meat and poultry, eggs, milk.

    On Thursday, HEB was short on dairy; meat looked full, but the variety was down; bread was in short supply for both brand name and house brands. HEB’s disaster plans for their bread plant is to only produce white and wheat sandwich, white plain burger buns, and white hot dog buns. That eliminates some of the down time to change over the lines, something they had done after hurricanes. All had buy limits. Produce was full supply, canned goods had some spot shortages, frozen was low stock on most items. (Plenty of Blue Bell ice cream, though.)

  11. The Simple Homespun Wisdom of Warren Buffett (Formerly Ghostwritten by Carol Loomis of Forutne) TM is a bit thin this year. Of course the Gecko gloats about BNSF volume as a share of all US goods transport by any means, including pipeines (cough), but there is a bit that seems hastily prepared talking about BH Energy (that includes Oncor) heavily investing in a Western grid overhaul, most likely CYA for what will inevitably come out of the Texas Legislature hearings next week.

    https://berkshirehathaway.com/letters/2020ltr.pdf

    According to a letter dated late December on the website, the Simple Homespun Wisdom is not late dropping today, but I’m not so sure.

    Again, no “Woodstock for Capitalists” this year in Omaha so the ever important successon topic gets a sentence.

    Berkshire’s stake in Apple is up to 5.4%, and the company’s ownership of Pilot Travel Centers is heading to 80% in two years — Buc-ee’s take note.

    Driving cross country, I always chose Pilot centers over Love’s, but both are kinda creepy.


  12. The House version of the stimulus bill has a minimum wage hike which the Senate cannot pass under reconciliation. If the Senate breaks their own rules and puts the bill on Plugs’ desk with the minimum wage hike intact, the filibuster is effectively dead.

    Kabala can overrule the Parlimentarian …if the handlers tell her to do so.

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  13. The House version of the stimulus bill has a minimum wage hike which the Senate cannot pass under reconciliation. If the Senate breaks their own rules and puts the bill on Plugs’ desk with the minimum wage hike intact, the filibuster is effectively dead.

    Kabala can overrule the Parlimentarian …if the handlers tell her to do so.

    Enough RINOs will probably give in to get the bill passed if the Dumb0s happen to kill the parliamentarian somehow. Another precedent will be set (“Dirty” Harry Reid nuked the filibuster on judges). plugs’ EOs are an attempt to erase anything tRump. I hope all this shoots the Dumbos in the ass.

    A quick read on the bill puts us another $2 trillion in debt for very little going to citizens. Pork all the way for more goobermint bureaucracy

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  14. Actually getting outside, the sky looks like heavy rain isn’t quite off the menu for the day.

    Digging up a GPS unit for the wife to practice her geocaching skills in the woods today. She’s got a session with the Girl Scouts next week and wants to know what she’s doing beforehand. I married up, clearly 🙂

    n

  15. At first glance, Handbrake does a terrible job of ripping discs that contain multiple episodes. No naming convention, etc. I’ve been going thru manually for a couple of discs and there must be something better or a setting I’m not seeing. So far, I haven’t been bothered enough to do more looking, I just skip the season discs for now, and continue with whole movies.

    the ripping project proceeds. The key was GETTING STARTED.

    n

  16. A quick read on the bill puts us another $2 trillion in debt for very little going to citizens. Pork all the way for more goobermint bureaucracy

    Most of the $2 Trillion is about bailing out the Dem states’ problems from gross mismanagement of their finances. The big one is Illinois with pension obligations, but most of the “blue” states … along with many “red” … are in trouble with few exceptions.

    Absent a bailout, 2022 will be a bloodbath for Dems. I’m on the Terry McAuliffe mailing list — don’t ask me how/why — and the messages from his campaign to retake the Governor’s Mansion in VA are frantic right now.

    No, the KKKlansman cannot run for another term immediately under Virignia state law. The tradeoff is that the Governor cannot be recalled easily … like in California. In Virginia, the courts have to order the election.


  17. Digging up a GPS unit for the wife to practice her geocaching skills in the woods today. She’s got a session with the Girl Scouts next week and wants to know what she’s doing beforehand. I married up, clearly

    @Nick: I do that also. Check me out here: https://www.geocaching.com/my/default.aspx
    I’m ” Team Cowboy PaPa”.

  18. Driving in snow isn’t so bad, it’s ice that’ll get you in trouble.
    Studded tires are common in my area. They won’t stop your vehicle more quickly, laws of physics still apply after all, however they help you retain the ability to point your vehicle in the direction you intend.

    Anchorage winters in the 1990’s stayed in the 20’s mostly, few if any thaw cycles. This translated to little ice and pretty good driving conditions. More recently we’ve got winters on a continuous freeze / thaw cycle. Driving is more challenging due to the frequently icy conditions that result.

    Studded tires are your friend on ice. Steel studs are better than aluminum because they retain their gription for a longer period of wear.

    My laptop survived its water bath from a couple weeks ago. I need to pull it apart again as I didn’t fully seat the battery cable (I assume that’s why the battery isn’t available).

    Packing is slow as I’m encouraging purging. Purging is HARD. I’m ready to unceremoniously toss half our crap precious treasures in the roll-off parked in our driveway. This proposal has been met with protests. I really enjoy reading and the occasional DVD but we’ve got more than we can read or watch in a lifetime. How much stuff is ‘enough’? Not trying to be a jerk but succeeding masterfully. It’s my current super power.

    Our 13 year old girl dog has had several seizures since Christmas. She had two within a couple hours of each other earlier this week. Fine the next day. After consulting with vet we’re doing nothing. The medications that would control have worse side effects than the seizures. She’s getting extra love these days.

    The national breed club for Cardigans is working on a genetic diversity study. I saw a post asking people to manually look up their tail sire / tail dam on Cardiped.net. A tail sire is when you ask “who’s your daddy” repeatedly until you reach the last daddy.

    Cardiped.net is our community built database with about 40,000 entries. MySQL with PHP. The admin provided me with a csv of the data. Because it’s fast and easy for my brain, not for its efficiency or quality of tools, I used my local copy of Access and cobbled together a recursive function to walk back each dog to its tail sire and tail dam. I counted the generations. Another function inserted the root dog, root dog unique id, tail sire id, iterations to reach tail sire, tail dam id, iterations to reach tail dam into a table. All that is kicked off by a function that feeds each unique id in the dog table to the recursive function and walks thru a record at a time. Child’s play for you real programmers but satisfying for me – I dabble in programming however recognize I don’t quite have the right kind of abstract thinking to ever be an excellent programmer. Much better at thinking in databases and relationships than objects.

    I wrote a couple queries to find bad data (male dogs set as dams, vice versa, duplicate names, parent birth year before offspring birth year), whacked about 250 records that were virtually null (dog name with no other data, worthless). Cleaned up a couple hundred dups. Sorted out birthdate issues. Used online resources like infodog to find missing parents (when you enter your dog in an event, you include dogs parentage in your entry, if your dog places that information is published by several organizations so searchable if you know how to look). Cardiped isn’t exhaustive, it is worldwide, and is a reasonable sampling of active breeders and influential ancestors. We have few enough ‘backyard breeders’ (don’t participate in organized shows, don’t health test or genetically screen, breeding what they have rather than to best match for the dam, no return policy, no long term relationships with their puppy owners, make a profit, virtually no contribution to improving the breed [none of which is true for a heritage breeder]) that we haven’t been hurt by their poor breeding practices. Yet.

    Most of the modern Cardigans go back 15 – 20 generations to a handful of sires and dams. One sire is the tail sire for 75% of the entries. Despite that we know from health testing (genetic testing for known issues, xrays for dysplasia, etc) that our breed is hearty and hale.

    Longer term I want to redo my quick n dirty tool to something elegant, efficient, and robust hosted with Cardiped.net written in PHP to directly interact with mySQL. Something that’ll calculate the COI (coefficient of inbreeding) for a proposed breeding would be cool but I don’t yet understand either of the common COI formulas currently in use.

    Meanwhile I have successfully procrastinated packing. Back at it.

  19. @CowboySlim
    Hmm. I should blow the dust off my GPS. My account is still accessible from when I joined 20 years ago. Yikes that’s a long time.

  20. @Jenny
    I don’t think that came up when we were having coffee a while back…..would have been interesting. Used to do more when grandkids were preteen, they loved it. Just once in a while nowadays,

  21. At first glance, Handbrake does a terrible job of ripping discs that contain multiple episodes. No naming convention, etc. I’ve been going thru manually for a couple of discs and there must be something better or a setting I’m not seeing. So far, I haven’t been bothered enough to do more looking, I just skip the season discs for now, and continue with whole movies.

    Try MakeMKV if Handbrake isn’t working out exactly the way you want for automated ripping.

    DVDs don’t have a lot of information in a machine readable format to work with beyond the volume label. What you see in menus and subtitles is rasterized text, part of an image.

  22. OK, I have now done my part; it will never freeze in San Antonio again. I’ve purchased two of the Little Buddy heaters and a “Buddy Flex” heater/stove combo. And to ENSURE it never freezes again, I purchased an electric heater for my birdbath.

    Take THAT, Winter!

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  23. Longer term I want to redo my quick n dirty tool to something elegant, efficient, and robust hosted with Cardiped.net written in PHP to directly interact with mySQL. Something that’ll calculate the COI (coefficient of inbreeding) for a proposed breeding would be cool but I don’t yet understand either of the common COI formulas currently in use.

    XAMPP is a decent route to play with “*AMP” (Apache, MySQL, PHP) in a Windows environment.

    I’m really lazy so even if I’m doing Linux work involving a DB, I’ll run the Linux in VirtualBox and have the application talk to MySQL in XAMPP running on the host machine. The pre-configured phpMyAdmin for MySQL makes setting up new databases a snap.

    For quick and dirty DB work, I use SQLite and the GUI editor available here:

    https://sqlitebrowser.org/

    Again, I’m lazy and I try to know as little about databases as possible. If I have to scale up, moving SQLite code and schemas to MySQL is really easy.

    Both MySQL and SQLite have drivers for ODBC and JDBC queries. I think Excel imports SQLite directly.

    The Apress book on SQLite is kinda pricey, but the tutorial about SQL queries involving food and character relationships from “Seinfeld” episodes is an awesome way to make the topic click.

  24. “Meanwhile I have successfully procrastinated packing. Back at it.”

    @Jenny, that comment was Master level ‘work avoidance mode’ as I call it. 🙂

    I couldn’t find the geocaching stuff I’ve been putting together for the last year or more. FOR MONTHS it was in the same place, and I tried to get my wife to take ownership of it several times. Cookies came in and disrupted where everything was, and now, after all that time, I can’t find it. To say I’m angry and frustrated would be a bit of an understatement. To add insult, I’ve got half a dozen other gps units, but I didn’t get them out, or clean them up for batteries, because I had the BOX OF STUFF ready to go.

    Grrrr.

    n

  25. And while looking for the stuff, I moved the bag of seeds I bought for spring planting. It was full of liquid………….

    I forgot that I bought 3 bags of seed potatoes. They did NOT freeze well. And the stink? Ho boy.

    n

  26. Re finding stuff, I wonder if there is a cheap passive RFID device currently available that could be attached to the myriad items we all store. A reader would need to detect its unique serial number from, say, ten feet. Ideas?

  27. Ken, and cc Nick: Murphy’s Law applies to attempts to outwit Murphy’s Law.

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  28. @Greg
    Thanks – something new to learn and play with. I appreciate it. I laughed outloud at your database comment. I learned databases on MS SQL 4.2, queries just made sense to me right from the start. I hated Access when it came out because it got between you and writing the queries. I don’t get to do database stuff at work these days so have to make my own fun.

    @Nick
    Procrastination – I have mad skills.
    Oh man I feel your pain. I hate when I’ve got something put together, ready to go, ready to hand off, then -boom- gone when the other party is ready to take ownership. Grr.

    @JimB

    cheap passive RFID device currently available

    Thanks – that gives me an idea. I don’t object to having thousands of books or DVDs. I object to caching them in boxes and stacking them and buying duplicates and triplicates because we can’t find them / forget we own them. I was poking around Library Thing (I’ve used it in the past, cool product) but still – we just don’t have shelf space for all we own.

    I could RFID the boxes and stack them, include the RFID tag information as I catalog them in Library Thing. Then who cares if they’re actually accessible. The important thing is nobody had to get rid of precious treasures!

    One of the hens was AWOL this morning. She stomped through 2′ deep snow about 30′, hopped a 4′ fence, and was scratching around in dead grass she dug down to. Child was much relieved. I was relieved she didn’t hop the fence in the other direction to become a schnack for the neighbors dog.

    In the search for the missing hen I noticed a super highway of mouse tracks from the rabbits to a hidey hole. Pointed it out to kiddo, she’s been outside for the last couple hours building a better mouse trap, and just absconded with a Wyze cam so she could monitor her trap. I guess I’m installing the Wyze app on the iPad we let her use for DuoLingo…

  29. Hmm. Maybe I should cancel my 38 kW home generator order and buy a new F-150 Hybrid instead.

    The price difference between a conventional F-150 and the hybrid with that power package is about $35K. I’d be surprised if you couldn’t buy TWO big generators for that price.

    The 38 kW home generator is $25K installed with 170 ft natural gas line and sales tax ($1,000).

  30. Re finding stuff, I wonder if there is a cheap passive RFID device currently available that could be attached to the myriad items we all store. A reader would need to detect its unique serial number from, say, ten feet. Ideas?

    Apple was working on their Tags concept, but that has been “real soon now” for a couple of years.

    The Tags are battery powered and active, however. Passive RFID requires a *lot* of power from the reader to make the material radiate at a distance measured in multiple meters.


  31. Apple was working on their Tags concept, but that has been “real soon now” for a couple of years.

    The Tags are battery powered and active, however. Passive RFID requires a *lot* of power from the reader to make the material radiate at a distance measured in multiple meters.

    They are going to have to make a fantastic sales pitch to bump out Tile. Or some super cool feature. Maybe they think the Apple owner base will just dump Tile for Apple overpriced Tile clones. I have a Tile on my Subie keys and on each dog collar (for escapes during trips).

  32. They are going to have to make a fantastic sales pitch to bump out Tile. Or some super cool feature. Maybe they think the Apple owner base will just dump Tile for Apple overpriced Tile clones. I have a Tile on my Subie keys and on each dog collar (for escapes during trips).

    Apple’s concept will sell. Even if their version is overpriced, for a fanboy/girl a couple of hundred bucks of beer money isn’t like buying a house … or a car.

    Notice how any mention of an Apple Car lately gets the tech pundits salivating, even word that Apple is developing a vehicle with … *KIA*?

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  33. @jenny

    and just absconded with a Wyze cam so she could monitor her trap

    I’ve got one of the Wyze Outdoor cams, works well in my damp environment. Wonder how it would work in a hidey-hold in the snow at your place. The specs say it will work to -4F, but I bet it might work even colder. Starter bundle is $50 https://wyze.com/wyze-cam-outdoor.html . Additional outdoor cams are $40. I get great battery life on mine – a recharge lasts about 2 months.

    Got one of their doorbell cameras also. Works well, except for event playback is borked. A common problem; I’m hoping they are working on a firmware update for that. Nice video from it, though, even at night. Connects to an existing doorbell wiring (two-wire).


  34. I used to make fun of the news reporters

    It annoys me how they uncritically report things like that. Or whatever nonsense the mayor spouts. Don’t they have a conscience? They are killing their own profession. I can read the mayor’s press releases without having to sit through their ads.


  35. I have a Tile on my Subie keys and on each dog collar (for escapes during trips).

    I got a set of four for my wife a few years ago, on account of she’s always losing things. Helped a lot. And when she took my daughter and another preteen girl to Disney she put one on each kid and it helped to find one kid when she got separated. (Maybe. My wife’s recitations of events should not always be taken as literal or accurate. And should never be taken as complete.)

  36. Well the rain might be here after all. Currently getting a heavy misty drizzle which chased me indoors.

    I got the power washer out, cleaned up some gas cans (got no idea why the outside is so dirty, but they all are after a while), and started cleaning out the aquatainers. Decided to power wash the insides. Did two, and a 5 gallon coleman water jug. There was a bit of something on the bottom of the aquatainer, as previously mentioned they got air and water ingress over time. The water was still clear but smelled musty. Cleaner now. The coleman is a bit heavier plastic, and even though the air inlet nipple got broken off, there wasn’t any visible stuff in the bottom. Hooray for coleman…

    And I did a bit of power washing on the back patio, where stuff was sitting the last time I had the washer running.

    Wife and child one beat the rain home. They managed to get their gps stuff done with phones, so that’s ok, I guess. I’ll still be getting one or more of the garmin units going before their actual meeting next week. It points out how things change. The Garmin GPSIII+ used to ride in my bag with me everywhere, and I fired it up almost daily. Now I can’t remember when I had it out last, but the batteries had exploded and it needed serious cleaning. The Etrex I was going to give my wife I picked up somewhere for pennies, and it had been so long since it was on, it needed to see the sky for hours before it figured out where and when it was….

    I feel like I need to get the GPSs back in shape for the next few years.

    Checking my auctions, looks like I won some Motorola handhelds for 900mhz band. I’ve got a bunch of mobiles for 900 that I was going to sell, but now I might hold on to at least one or two… there’s not much action on 900 here in Houston. Or I might just sell them all.

    n

  37. The original Tiles (and, I think, the Tile Slim even now) have non-replaceable batteries, requiring you to buy new when the battery dies. Current tiles (other than the Slim) take a replaceable CR1632, and are shipped with one installed. I have a total of 8 Mates (although I lost one, so 7 active) all the replaceable-battery type, although I bought them before the upgrade. Plus the mobile app on 4 different Androids. And they Just Work. Just like fruity things are supposed to, so I see no need to spend over-the-odds for that.

    Mem: Must install the app on my Lenovo Android tablet.

    G.

  38. Something is wrong at Austin Energy that goes way beyond what happened last week.

    https://www.fox7austin.com/news/austin-energy-biomass-power-plant-remained-offline-during-outages

    Almost every single refinery and chemical plant in Texas has major damage. If you were not online during the snowpocalypse, you froze up because the refineries and chemical plants use steam tracing to keep their lines warm. Some of the lines have to be kept up to 600 F which is a tremendous energy load. If their procedures say to take things offline during a freeze event then that policy needs to be severely examined.

  39. Best guess is we’ve got about 650 DVDs and around 800 CDs. Yeah, we are NEVER watching all of those. I found a sleeve solution that’ll let me store all of them on the existing shelves, sleeves in open top boxes. Chatted with husband, he’s agreeable. Just ordered a starter set of a box, set of CD sleeves, set of DVD sleeves. RFID idea will take more research.

    It’s common up here to use the Tile’s attached to dog kennels when you are traveling with a dog in the belly of the airplane. The Tile has a strong enough output to sense from within the plane. Gives you a bit of comfort knowing when the dog crate (and presumably the dog) has been loaded. I put a tile in each checked bag. Helps us find them on the baggage carousel, helps us know when they’ve reached the belly of the plane.

    @Rick
    We’ve used the Wyze cams since they first came out. Good longevity, and even the non-outdoor ones function pretty well outside in the cold. Impressive devices. I intend to order one of their robot vacuums.

  40. “Something is wrong at Austin Energy that goes way beyond what happened last week.”

    Almost every single refinery and chemical plant in Texas has major damage. If you were not online during the snowpocalypse, you froze up because the refineries and chemical plants use steam tracing to keep their lines warm. Some of the lines have to be kept up to 600 F which is a tremendous energy load. If their procedures say to take things offline during a freeze event then that policy needs to be severely examined.

    The biomass plant was mothballed for some reason. The woman testifying in the video claims that it was because wet biomass doesn’t burn, but Austin has been very dry for the better part of the last year.

    Austin Energy had a lot of problems getting sections of the city back online when they started rolling blackouts.

    If I had to guess, too many people were “working” from home over the last year, and Austin Energy let some things slide that probably should have been checked. At the last job, we had some problems with techs in the field not getting things done since no one was allowed to travel to monitor them.

    Everyone is in CYA mode with the hearings rolling in the Legislature.

  41. Ah, trying the solve the question of how to get power to deployed troops. And not frying them.

    The initial application may be for long duration drones. It’s been kicked around in the open press for a while. There have already been experiments with power beaming via laser to overhead drones – useful to give continuous overhead recon to deployed ground troops.

    Could be. But deployed troops use an amazing amount of energy. On my son’s first deployment, his FOB (forward operating base) only had a 2 ? 3 ? kw generator. On his second deployment, he was based at the main base where they had a couple of one MW Caterpillar generators. Their JP4 fuel was brought to them in 8,000 liter fuel bladders. He was on guard duty one night when a Blackhawk managed to land ON one of the fuel bladder even though they were waving off the pilot. Made the biggest mess, he ruined a pair of boots.

  42. Additionally, wind energy is stored in batteries, and those batteries lost 60% of their energy in the cold.

    There are times when there is more wind power than the grid can use. At times, the price has gone negative (i.e. we will pay you to take it). If you own the batteries and the windmills, you can use the subsidy on wind power to pay to charge the batteries at night, sell the power during the day at higher rates than you would have gotten at night.

    Buy low, sell high is a good thing.

  43. “Biden Gun Control Plan Would “Criminalize” Up To 105 Million People: Gun-Rights Group”
    https://www.zerohedge.com/political/biden-gun-control-plan-would-criminalize-105-million-people-gun-rights-group

    “The FBI stated last month that it processed a record 39.7 million firearm background checks in 2020, which bested the previous high of 10 million. Reports said that as many as 8.5 million purchased their first firearm in 2020, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Meanwhile, a number of gun and ammunition manufacturers reported shortages amid the surge in demand.”

    Wow.

  44. Tiles, yikes!! I had never seen them. Not practical for me.

    I need something like 1000 RFID devices, so they need to cost a penny or two each. Batteries? Absolutely NOT. I was thinking of something like the RFID tags put on cars for tolling. Those are entirely passive, and have large antennas. They have a range of tens of feet. They probably cost pennies. Each one has a unique ID number. Now we are getting somewhere.

    For a sensor, I would accept something costing $100, or less of course. It needs to have a single axis angle readout, so I could walk down an aisle and have it detect a box behind some other boxes on a deep shelf. There could be a few LEDs, like a stud finder, that would indicate when the tag was straight ahead. Rotate 90 degrees to read elevation. Bingo! It could operate on signal strength, because the need for accuracy is low. I just want to find an embedded box.

    A while back, there was a teenager who had an idea to put a small tag in every product package, so there would be no store checkout. Just wheel your cart out to the car. When passing the door, the contents would be recorded and your account would be charged. A detailed email would be sent. I like that, but it was said there was resistance to putting everything in a package. Clever kid: he said if some big store started this it would catch on.

  45. “Something is wrong at Austin Energy that goes way beyond what happened last week.”

    Almost every single refinery and chemical plant in Texas has major damage. If you were not online during the snowpocalypse, you froze up because the refineries and chemical plants use steam tracing to keep their lines warm. Some of the lines have to be kept up to 600 F which is a tremendous energy load. If their procedures say to take things offline during a freeze event then that policy needs to be severely examined.

    The biomass plant was mothballed for some reason. The woman testifying in the video claims that it was because wet biomass doesn’t burn, but Austin has been very dry for the better part of the last year.

    Austin Energy had a lot of problems getting sections of the city back online when they started rolling blackouts.

    If wet coal will burn (all coal is wet to keep the explosions down from the coal gas) then wet biomass will burn fine. Somebody is telling a tall tail.

  46. @JimB

    I have seen some QR-code systems that associate a picture with a QR code. Take a picture of the inside of the box. Associate that picture with the QR code on a sticker. Put the QR code sticker on the box. Repeat.

    Scan a sticker on a box to see the picture associated with it. Picture shows the things in the box. Macro-level, so not individual things, but an interesting approach.

    The Zon has rolls of unique QR code stickers in various denominations.

    A quick look at RFID scanners show them to be around $500+. That’s to read a RFID. And there are passive RFID stickers on the Zon. Don’t know how useful they are. Maybe to alert you when a sticker goes past a sensor, but doesn’t tell you anything about the sticker.

  47. A while back, there was a teenager who had an idea to put a small tag in every product package, so there would be no store checkout. Just wheel your cart out to the car. When passing the door, the contents would be recorded and your account would be charged. A detailed email would be sent. I like that, but it was said there was resistance to putting everything in a package. Clever kid: he said if some big store started this it would catch on.

    “IBM RFID Commercial-The Future Supermarket”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzFhBGKU6HA


  48. A quick read on the bill puts us another $2 trillion in debt for very little going to citizens. Pork all the way for more goobermint bureaucracy

    It’s really sad that this has become acceptable as business as usual by the clowns in DC. What’s sadder is how many people have no idea that this goes on and no idea (hint hint) how this is all paid for…
    Since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s leadership team essentially wrote the bill, our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com found what House Democrats consider coronavirus-recovery “essential” spending:
    > $1.5 million earmarked for the Seaway International Bridge, which connects New York to Canada. Senate Leader Chuck Schumer hails from New York.
    > $50 million for “family planning” – going to non-profits, i.e. Planned Parenthood, or public entities, including for “services for adolescents[.]”
    > $852 million for AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps Vista, and the National Senior Service Corps – the Corporation for National and Community Service – civic volunteer agencies. This includes $9 million for the AmeriCorp inspector general to conduct oversight and audits of the largess.* AmeriCorps received a $1.1 billion FY2020 appropriation.
    People of goodwill can debate each of these goals, but is it truly emergency spending or funding related to Covid-19?

    * If there’s that much concern about their spending habits how about giving them $0?
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamandrzejewski/2021/02/22/is-there-waste-or-bloated-spending-in-the-19-trillion-coronavirus-stimulus-bill/?sh=75f8194c39db

    1
    1

  49. It’s common up here to use the Tile’s attached to dog kennels when you are traveling with a dog in the belly of the airplane. The Tile has a strong enough output to sense from within the plane. Gives you a bit of comfort knowing when the dog crate (and presumably the dog) has been loaded.

    I suppose people also attach them to dog collars to look for a lost dog?

  50. “Junk Grade Models: Even Short-Term Climate And Weather Modelers Get It All Wrong”
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/02/19/junk-grade-models-even-short-term-climate-and-weather-modelers-get-it-all-wrong/

    “It turns out most models are junk grade when it comes to forecast quality. For example, The Weather Channel here not long ago issued it’s winter outlook up through March:”

    “The area of the US now being hit by one of the most vicious cold waves in the last 100 years was indeed forecast to be “way above normal” or “much above normal”. So far the exact opposite has happened.”

    1
  51. @Lynn
    Be interesting to do a quick estimate of the dollar sales of power for one of the plants that shut down for lack of fuel.

    The Farmer’s Almanac probably has a better model.

  52. @lynn

    There are many weather models. According to the local UW weather guy – Cliff Mass – who seems very knowledgeable about weather – I read his blog daily – the US model is not very accurate past a couple-three days.

    The European model is more accurate. His blog about problems with the US model, etc, is here https://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2020/12/us-numerical-weather-prediction-is.html

    U.S. global weather prediction run by NOAA/National Weather Service is now in fourth place among national centers and FAR behind what one would expect from the world-leading U.S. weather research community.

    Why?

    The answer is clear: the vast U.S. weather community does not work together effectively in developing weather prediction models and transitioning research to operations.

    His latest blog entry has a discussion about why TX weather is so extreme: https://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2021/02/new-podcast-weekend-weather-and-why.html .


  53. most models are junk grade when it comes to forecast quality

    I would go one step further. Most models given the weather data from two days ago, cannot predict the weather of the following day or the weather of today. My area was predicted to get 5” of rain. So far we have had less than 0.25” of rain. Predictions of flooding have been wildly exaggerated.

  54. @Lynn
    Be interesting to do a quick estimate of the dollar sales of power for one of the plants that shut down for lack of fuel.

    The Farmer’s Almanac probably has a better model.

    Many of the 1980s gas turbines have licenses for both natural gas and diesel. I am not sure when the licenses got difficult to get for diesel for the newer gas turbines so many of them are just natural gas only.


  55. I have a Tile on my Subie keys and on each dog collar (for escapes during trips).

    Thinking about these for our dogs – how much location precision do these have?

  56. @Lynn

    “23 Best Fantasy Mystery Books” by Dan Livingston
    https://best-sci-fi-books.com/23-best-fantasy-mystery-books/

    I have read “Rosemary and Rue”, “The Good, the Bad, and the Undead”, and “Storm Front” of the 23 books listed here.

    Harris’ “Grave Sight” is first of four–recommended.
    Aaronovich, Fforde, Carriger, are similarly firsts in series, as are several others.

    But the total absence of Glenn Cook’s Garrett series makes it doubtful that Livingston is well-read enough to construct such a list.

    (Although the inclusion of a pre-Murderbot Martha Wells is intriguing)

  57. …and the Planetary Romance list omits the four book Weber & Ringo “March” series, the Lee & Miller “Liaden” series, and probably quite a few others.


  58. @Ray My area was predicted to get 5” of rain. So far we have had less than 0.25” of rain.

    Are you mentioning the rainfall at your house, or the range of rainfall in an area that is ‘metropolitian-size’?

    I don’t think any model can figure out rain amounts to a specific spot. I watch the rain radar at my place, and it is often ‘spotty’. Rain is not necessarily the same over a wide area. I will often see a few mile wide ‘green’ radar image (or multiple green spots) spread around the area. And maybe a darker grean or yellow area. If you look at an animation over time of radar images, you can see the colors pop up randomly.

    So I would be interested in the rainfall amounts at different spots in your area – what is the range of rainfall over a high area? Was it .25″ – 2.25″ or very different than that? Rainfall (or temps or snow or wind) predictions should not be meant to indicate specific amounts in a specific localized area. No model is able to do that.

    But some models are better at determining the likelihood of rain in a general area, with generalized amounts. Weather news (or weather-peoples) should be talking about a ‘range’, not specific amounts. And, the equivalent of the ‘butterfly effect’ can make rain wander off in a different direction than the forecast models.

    So, IMHO, a generalized statement similar to ‘the weather dweebs said 2″ of rain, but we only got 1/2 inch, so they are stupid and so are their forecast models’ is not helpful to a discussion. There are weather models (the European model) that are better at forecasting. But none has pinpoint accuracy.

  59. @Alan
    The Tiles are Bluetooth devices that need to connect to a receiver to be found. The most powerful has a claimed 200-ft range.

  60. If wet coal will burn (all coal is wet to keep the explosions down from the coal gas) then wet biomass will burn fine. Somebody is telling a tall tail.

    Austin has a special election in May to shift the city to a “Strong Mayor” form of government as well as a limited ban on the urban outdoorsmen campgrounds aka city streets. This isn’t a good time for Austin Energy’s dirty laundry to be aired in public.


  61. Are you mentioning the rainfall at your house, or the range of rainfall in an area that is ‘metropolitian-size’?

    The rural area I live. A fairly large area. Precipitation maps by the news showed a large area, including my area, that was supposed to get swamped. Even the metropolitan area is showing less than 0.10 of an inch.

    Even during the winter storm of a couple weeks ago it was predicted for 4” of snow. Closed the schools. Salted the roads. Milk and bread wiped from the shelves. The area got nothing.

    Weather forecasting by local stations is tabloid reporting, sensationalism, trying to outdo other stations, scrambling for advertising dollars. General worthless forecasting.

  62. Many of the 1980s gas turbines have licenses for both natural gas and diesel. I am not sure when the licenses got difficult to get for diesel for the newer gas turbines so many of them are just natural gas only.

    When the VW execs were frog marched into the courtrooms to answer for their crimes against humanity.

  63. That guy’s lists always have gaping holes, but they can be a good starting point.

    I’ve read the Harry Dresden novels, and while they start out with him in the role of detective, I never would have considered them ‘mysteries’.

    I’ve read the October Day series, and it’s grown HUGE. So big I can’t figure out if I missed a book or just don’t remember what happened in the last one. Also, it’s getting way too gay for my taste. (and I used to read all the new stuff, and all the cyberpunk in the 90s until the book with 5 genders). Gay itself doesn’t bother me if it fits the characters. It just doesn’t INTEREST me.

    Pratchett is Pratchett. If you like it, you can’t go wrong reading more of it.

    I read a lot of mystery when I was a kid. Older stuff like The Toff, and Agatha Christie. I got very bored with it, as, in the end the author will tell you who done it, so all the guessing and following along seemed like wasted effort.

    Also, not much new stuff on the list, like Altered Carbon… which is a series? Movie of the week? on one of the services, so timely and well enough regarded to get Hollyweird to open the pocket books…

    n

  64. Wet biomass won’t burn? Freaking TURKEY GUTS burn in biomass plants.

    Someone is wrong or lying.

    n

  65. Wet biomass won’t burn? Freaking TURKEY GUTS burn in biomass plants.

    Someone is wrong or lying.

    n

    A lot of biomass plants cofire up to 20% natural gas for flame stabilization.

  66. Re:RFID -In the late 90s i did a lot of warehouse automation design and development. Most was based on conveyor control using bar codes to identify items but some items couldn’t hold a barcode sticker like cold, damp packages of food and dairy goods. We used passive RFID tags, about the size of a grain of rice, for those. The passive tags would simply radiate an 8 digit code when swept with the right frequency. At the time reliable reading distance was about one meter. Disney wanted us to develop a guest tracking system using RFID but the technology wasn’t there yet. They wanted to be able to track VIP guests anywhere in the parks. I think they now use cell phones for tracking like the systems provided by FireEye.

  67. Weather forecasting Anything aired by local stations is tabloid reporting, sensationalism, trying to outdo other stations, scrambling for advertising dollars. General(ly) worthless forecasting.

    FIFY

  68. Did some more stuff outside. Couldn’t head out to the secondary because youngest stayed home while mom and oldest did their GPS thing.

    Raked half the front yard. Wanted to dethatch and pick up the leafs. Too much mulching and the ground is stifled.

    Never got any more rain. I looked at the national map again and saw that I mis-read it. Houston was on the edge of ‘rain’ and not ‘heavy rain and storms’. When we’re on the edge of the system we rarely get it. Tomorrow is supposed to be heavy rain and T-storms.

    Tenants texted that the A/C doesn’t run. I’m headed over there tomorrow I guess. It’s always something.

    n

  69. I’ve been reading up on SDR (Software Defined Radios). The dongles are inexpensive, around $30, and they look like an inexpensive alternative to dedicated receivers/scanners. Any thoughts from our radioheads?

  70. Tenants texted that the A/C doesn’t run.

    They need A/C? Last week they were freezing below zero.

    2
  71. I’ve been running the A/C all week. It’s been warm.

    WRT SDR radio dongles, absolutely get one, get the software installed (I was using SDR#) and play around. A good wide band antenna like a discone helps a lot with reception, but it’s a receiver, so any antenna will likely get you something.

    They make terrible scanners, even though there are modules you can add to the software to do scanning. The panadapter or waterfall display is really interesting and useful for signal hunting though.

    I have to say that I stopped using mine some time ago, preferring to let my Home Patrol II run in the office, as it has more of what I’m interested in hearing, very easily accessible.

    I want to get it set up again, and try it with other things, like the automatic position reporting that planes do, or that ships do, and receiving satellite downloads like weather maps.

    Anyway, it’s cheap to buy, and fun to poke at.

    n

  72. It’s baaaaacccckkkkkk…….

    White House orders enhanced airport screenings for Ebola ‘out of an abundance of caution’ for passengers from Guinea and Democratic Republic of Congo after nine die in new outbreaks in the African countries

    The Centers for Disease Control said Friday that travelers from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Guinea will face screenings for Ebola from next week
    Passengers will be funneled to six U.S. airports for health checks
    It said that it is introducing the screenings ‘out of an abundance of caution’
    At least five people died in the latest Ebola outbreak in Guinea
    Another four have died from another outbreak in DRC
    The CDC states the risk of Ebola to the United States is extremely low
    The Ebola outbreaks come as the world is still struggling the control the coronavirus pandemic

  73. The disc that was giving me fits with episode numbers actually has the problem solved right on it.

    It’s the season one of the original Flipper TV show. Every disc has one file that is ALL four episodes, and then 4 shorter files, one for each episode. I am happy just ripping the long file of all four playing straight thru.

    No way I’m manually messing with 38 individual eps for the ninja turtle disc though.

    n

  74. Tenants texted that the A/C doesn’t run.

    They need A/C? Last week they were freezing below zero.

    Welcome to Texas. It may be back in the 20s F next week again.

    We have been running both A/C units at the house since last Monday and both A/C units at the office since last Wednesday.

    You can tell everything is ok now. The wind turbines are making 19,000 MW right now and the solar made 3,600 MW this afternoon. All that renewables crap only works between 32 F and 95 F.
    http://www.ercot.com/

  75. Welcome to Texas. It may be back in the 20s F next week again.

    We have been running both A/C units at the house since last Monday and both A/C units at the office since last Wednesday.

    20s highs or lows? Who is predicting that?

    My downstairs AC hasn’t clicked on since before the storm. Upstairs is hard switched to run heat/AC, and I haven’t switched the system.

    I spent some time this morning cutting and sanding a drywall patch the right size for the hole behind the external spigot on my garage. I went to check the fit one last time, and I noticed some moisture inside the hole. I’m hoping that it was because of the weather this morning and the open garage door being a foot from the hole. Still, after last week, I’m paranoid.

    Fortunately, if it is a leak, it is teeny. Our usual plumber will just laugh if I call Monday.

  76. From Rick Hellewell:
    I have seen some QR-code systems that associate a picture with a QR code. Take a picture of the inside of the box. Associate that picture with the QR code on a sticker. Put the QR code sticker on the box.

    The problem with stickers is that I would need to see the box to find it. A lot of my boxes are on deep shelving and several deep. Besides, I don’t need what you describe. I started a simple system about 30 years ago, where I list every item as a separate line in a spreadsheet. There are three columns for description plus other columns for the number of the box it is in, a date, and others as needed. I have another sheet with each box number and its location. The location specifies the rack location by room, and finally the location on shelves in three dimensions. I had intended to convert all this to a data base, but never got around to it. Besides, the spreadsheet is very convenient to operate on the data directly, such as resolving slight differences that affect sorting. Works well for me. Also works well for my wife, who has no knowledge of data base maintenance. She likes direct manipulation, which is entirely practical for reasonable numbers of things.

    The problem comes when I move a box, and especially when it displaces other boxes. I used to have all boxes that were the same size, so they were easy to list by location. Now, I increasingly have odd sized boxes and other bulk items. I also have some shelving that is 4’ deep, meaning that some items are buried out of sight.

    It is tedious but necessary to update the box location with my current system. I have thought about replacing that with an RFID system that can just locate a box from a few feet away. This would not require a manual system that is prone to losing a box if it is moved and the records not updated.

    Until today, I had not bothered to look into such a system. It appears there might be something that would solve my problems, but it would be another project. Worthwhile, because over the next few years I plan to move a bunch of stuff into my new shop building. Besides, I need to sift through it and get rid of probably 50% of my holdings, a different problem.

  77. From the Governor’s weekly newsletter…

    –another over-reaching regulation that needs to be sunsetted, with prejudice.

    TDLR ISSUE TEMPORARY WAIVER TO INCREASE FUEL SUPPLY IN TEXAS

    The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) have issued a temporary waiver to increase the fuel supply in Texas.

    This waiver permits regulated refineries to make fuel in compliance with any seasonal specifications and authorizes parties downstream of the refinery, such as terminals and retail fuel stations, to distribute fuel of any seasonal specification until stocks are depleted.

    This allowance will expand gasoline production and distribution while ensuring that refiners, distributors, and retailers do not face administrative penalties for having fuel that does not meet set seasonal requirements.

    –and a lot of tough talk NOW, but where was that when those guys got hired?

    STATEMENT ON RESIGNATION OF ERCOT LEADERSHIP

    When Texans were in desperate need of electricity, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) failed to do its job and Texans were left shivering in their homes without power. ERCOT leadership made assurances that Texas’ power infrastructure was prepared for the winter storm, but those assurances proved to be devastatingly false.

    The lack of preparedness and transparency at ERCOT is unacceptable, and I welcome these resignations.

    The State of Texas will continue to investigate ERCOT and uncover the full picture of what went wrong, and we will ensure that the disastrous events of last week are never repeated.

    n

  78. –it just never ends, and this is in “business friendly” Texas….

    WAIVING CERTAIN REGULATIONS TO ALLOW TRUCKS FROM ALCOHOL INDUSTRY DELIVER GROCERY SUPPLIES

    This week I waived regulations to enable trucks from the alcohol industry to deliver non-alcoholic grocery supplies, including bottled water and other necessities, to grocery stores.

    These waivers will provide more trucks, drivers, and logistical support to retailers who are working to replenish their stock in the aftermath of the winter storm. We will continue to take action to ensure Texans have access to food as our state recovers.

    –who TF wrote and approved all these regs in the first place?

    n

  79. @Jenny, I looked up Library Thing. Interesting. Several years ago, I found but never used an app for Android phones that was developed to catalog books. It was actually two or three apps back then, but once it was installed all you had to do was scan the ISBN or UPC bar code and it populated a database with all the information from the title page. This info is of course available on line. The neat thing was that the resulting data could be exported and used however the user wanted. I just searched; I didn’t find that one, but did find scads of others, so this must be a ThingTM. Instead of doing this, I simply got rid of a lot of books I didn’t need. Problem solved.

    I had a friend who cataloged lots of stuff, but he used shareware. That was in the 1980s. Trouble was that most of the programs he used were not configurable, and could not be adapted without starting from scratch. I avoided them.

    Back then, I wanted something where I could just type in the unique album number (or UPC) from a music CD and get all the jacket data. That didn’t exist. It probably does now, but I don’t want another project. See a theme here: simplify!

    I sympathize with Nick ripping DVDs. If my experience with music was typical, there is no standard format for the data on anything created by Hollywierd. Oh, I know there are some exceptions, but nothing universal. Reminds me of the old joke: We like standards. That’s why we have so many of them.


  80. All that renewables crap only works between 32 F and 95 F.

    @lynn; what are the issues with wind and solar above 95F?

  81. @Jim; the producers of Hoarders would like to feature you on an upcoming episode 😉

  82. It’s not hoarding if it is good stuff!

    The CD ripping programs will go online and pull down all the track info, and even cover art. I think I might have had 2 disks in many hundreds that didn’t have online data available. Since I had the jewel cases I just typed that in.

    I remember trying to catalog my books with an app… it used amazon’s api to look up the UPC. The problem I had was older books without UPC codes, and that cheaper publishers often had ONE UPC code for all their books. It might be better now. Image search works much better than it used to.

    n

    n

  83. “IBM RFID Commercial-The Future Supermarket”

    I did see the kid on a business show a couple years ago, but that IBM video is from 2013. Suppose he learned plagairism from Joe?

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