Wed. May 26, 2021 – more stuff to do, more rain forecast

Same weather forecast as yesterday. Rain for parts of Houston, hot and humid. Although, for us mid 80s really isn’t “hot”. Yesterday as I drove all over the Houston metro area and even some rural areas north of town, I could see the storm cells in the distance all around, and I drove through enough to know that almost everyone got some rain. Today should be the same and that’s a bit of an issue because the ground is saturated. The bayous are filling up, and we’re going to see flooding soon.

One of my errands yesterday was a Costco run. Picked up the usual things, but also some extensions to my stores. Grabbed another 50# of rice, at 32c/pound. Didn’t get much meat. They were completely out of spiral sliced ham. No lamb at all. Usually they have roasts, chops, and ribs. I got one package of chicken thighs for the freezer and one package of their “master carved” ham. Beef was all more expensive than I was ready to pay. I can still get it on sale, but if we go a couple of weeks without a sale, I might have to ratchet my ‘base’ ‘willing to buy’ price up another notch. Pork wasn’t cheap, and I decided that Costco pork was just too lean for me so I don’t usually buy it there anyway.

All of the canned veg that I noticed was national brands. Our Costco had substituted the Kirkland brand for all veg pre-wuflu, but it was all back to the big brands yesterday. Don’t know if that is indicative of anything bigger, or just what they could get into the store.

They did have Mountain House Freeze Dried in the “Adventure Pack” boxes. I picked up another. They are heavy on breakfast and lunch, so not a great deal, but very convenient and light and FDs should have a place in everyone’s preps.

During one of my pickups I chatted with the auctioneer about prices and buyers. He agrees with me that more people are taking advantage of the resale auctions to save money on everyday purchases. He worries too that they will eventually run out of money for anything other than daily necessities, and his sale item mix is heavily weighted toward discretionary items. Prices in general are a bit lower this week than last on discretionary items. Could be falling demand showing up. (Buyers new to the auctions are generally excited by the low prices and buy a bunch of stuff. That tapers off over time. We’re seeing a bunch of new buyers which might be propping up prices.) Food for thought.

Today I’m supposed to finally be dropping off some small amount of stuff with one of the local auctions. I might still get a chance to drop off more later. The auctioneers are all crazy busy and are mixing estate sales in with resale items, or mixing resale in with estates. In other words, they are all jumping at every dollar they can, and they are scrambling to keep up with demand, and trying different things to find stuff that will sell well.

My un-paid-for pokemon cards will get relisted in a new sale, and I’m adding vintage hot wheels and some other smalls while I have the chance. She doesn’t want another 10 bins of stuff from me yet despite telling me initially that she’d take as much as I could bring. Any is better than none though.

It feels like the window to sell off unwanted stuff is closing. And that’s bad.

If you haven’t figured out an inflation hedge, you should take another look at that. Everyone is noticing that prices are up. Physical gold in large amounts? If you can swing it, you might want to… just saying. Half a year’s expenses in gold might make all the difference in getting through whatever is coming. I am not so sure about half a year in cash, and even less sure about money in ‘investments’. I remember my money market account being locked up for two years when it ‘broke the buck’ in 2008, until they decided what to do. Very few people can call the top of a market successfully, but we all know that history hasn’t been eliminated, and what can’t go on forever, won’t. I’ve been ringing that bell for a while, but … I’ve lived the conviction too. Caution should be your watchword, greed should be your nemesis.

And stacks will help, no matter what.

nick

64 Comments and discussion on "Wed. May 26, 2021 – more stuff to do, more rain forecast"

  1. Nick Flandrey says:

    71F and 95%RH but not actually raining at 630am.

    Lower back is KILLING me. Jeez.

    n

  2. Greg Norton says:

    Now I am wondering if Windows is going to jump to the ARM chips like Apple. They will do it for speed and power (eco looks really good nowadays).

    Never bet against Chipzilla. At work, we have a new i9 under evaluation that is unbelievably fast, to the point that our hardcore AMD/ARM fan admitted Intel has the advantage in our latest round of testing.

    My guess is the motivation of Microsoft and the PC makers with ARM is to have a closed ecosystem similar to the iPad Pro. Redmond in particular is not going to want to repeat the mistake of providing the reference design which allowed Linux to eat the world everywhere except the desktop.

  3. Nick Flandrey says:

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9620551/Portland-flames-BLM-rioters-hurl-frozen-bottles-launch-fireworks-torch-dumpsters.html

    — now they are using the crucial word “frozen” in front of “bottle”, and suddenly it’s “race riots”…

    to be fair, DM was most likely to provide 90% of the truth in their reporting last year.
    n

  4. Greg Norton says:

    added- and if you don’t have a high end gaming graphics card, 90% of the fluff and flash of the new gui won’t work, but file operations will still be single thread 16 bit routines running in three layers of emulation and take 8 minutes just to list the files in a directory….

    Microsoft has been moving to “flatten” the Windows desktop GUI since the Aero peak in Windows 7.

    The browser developers are the guilty culprits introducing instability into the desktop trying to harness high end graphics cards for “fluff and flash” such as video playback without plugins.

  5. Nick Flandrey says:

    The win Vista machine I prepped the other day had the active desktop widgets on it. I actually liked those quite a bit and thought they were a nice evolution of the UI. To bad it couldn’t be done safely.

    I liked the clock, weather, and calendar especially.

    n

  6. Greg Norton says:

    — now they are using the crucial word “frozen” in front of “bottle”, and suddenly it’s “race riots”…

    It looks like the Portland riots are still confined to the section of town where containing the mess is easy.

    Fleet Week and various other Rose Festival-related events start in that area in a couple of weeks. Skulls will get cracked then. Maybe sooner since the Trailblazers are in the playoffs with a big game planned Thursday.

    1
  7. Greg Norton says:

    The win Vista machine I prepped the other day had the active desktop widgets on it. I actually liked those quite a bit and thought they were a nice evolution of the UI. To bad it couldn’t be done safely.

    I liked the clock, weather, and calendar especially.

    Go back about 15 years, and the widgets on both Mac and Windows were a response to something Yahoo tried to do via a startup the company acquired when their stock still meant something.

    Mac did widgets safely, but Snow Leopard was the last version which had them IIRC. Dropping the feature was more about Apple politics and the “purity” of Jony Ive’s “vision” than any technical issue.

  8. Chad says:

    I did see that some websites are mining e-currency using your browser. So, if you’re “surfin’ the web” and you hear your temp-activated cooling fans kick on for some odd reason it may be because one of the sites in your browser tabs is using your CPU or GPU to mine bitcoin (or an equivalent).

  9. nick flandrey says:

    Alaska Volcano Eruption Sparks “Red Alert”

    by Tyler Durden

    Wednesday, May 26, 2021 – 10:28 AM

    Alaska’s Great Sitkin volcano erupted on Wednesday, prompting the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to issue a “red alert” for the surrounding area as a column of ash spewed thousands of feet into the atmosphere. ”

  10. nick flandrey says:

    Ring of fire.

    n

  11. nick flandrey says:

    Sitting here with cold pack on lower back…

    having completed this am,

    zoom call to witness 4th grader get a certificate for her outstanding-ness-itude.  Or something.  Still it was nice, although the call experience was horrible.
    annual review with paid financial advisor.
    reschedule for auction drop off.

    Now to do some cleanup so my wife sees a change in the piles of stuff when she gets home, then later, chiropractic and pickup the kid.

    n

  12. nick flandrey says:

    oh yeah, currently 86F in the sun with 64%RH and sunny blue skies with fluffy clouds.

    n

  13. lynn says:

    Now I am wondering if Windows is going to jump to the ARM chips like Apple. They will do it for speed and power (eco looks really good nowadays).

    Reminds me of RISC. Another great thingTM that never caught on. Oh, sure, Sun…

    I know some people need more power, but as has been said here, most of us can get by with five year old hardware, as long as it was good stuff to begin with. I would welcome something shiny, but not at the cost of planned obsolescence or lack of modularity. Unless it is really inexpensive. Remember thin clients?

    ARM chips are RISC. So is just about every new chip after the Intel Itanium or whatever that junk was. So are the PowerPC chips that IBM and Ford designed and Ford installs ten million a year into their vehicles. Huh, ARM stands for Advanced RISC Machines, I did not remember that.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARM_architecture

  14. Greg Norton says:

    Reminds me of RISC. Another great thingTM that never caught on. Oh, sure, Sun…

    Sun got distracted by Java in the late 90s, and their C/C++ compiler was always complete junk.

     

  15. Greg Norton says:

    ARM chips are RISC. So is just about every new chip after the Intel Itanium or whatever that junk was. So are the PowerPC chips that IBM and Ford designed and Ford installs ten million a year into their vehicles. Huh, ARM stands for Advanced RISC Machines, I did not remember that.

    Itanium was an evolution of HP PA-RISC. GTE was a big user of PA-RISC throughout the 90s.

  16. Brad says:

    Did Texas really just pass a law restricting abortions to the first four weeks? Are TX politicians really that dumb? Or this just pandering to the religious right?

    Separation of church and state is a concept that also applies to Christianity. Also, federal courts will stomp on this when the first case is filed. Surely the politicos have better things to do…

    2
    1
  17. SteveF says:

    Did Texas really just pass a law restricting abortions to the first four weeks? Are TX politicians really that dumb? Or this just pandering to the religious right?

    In order,

    a) I saw six weeks, not four, but otherwise it appears to be correct.

    b) Need you ask?

    c) Yes.

  18. lynn says:

    Pearls Before Swine: Conversational Disagreements
    https://www.gocomics.com/pearlsbeforeswine/2021/05/25

    Oh yeah, this matches every conversation that I have nowadays.

    1
  19. Alan says:

    Mass shooting in San Jose, eight dead plus the shooter, no info yet on the shooter.
    Talking heads galore on your favorite MSM channel.

    3
  20. lynn says:

    “Stacey Abrams will stop in Texas this fall for nationwide speaking tour”
    https://www.chron.com/politics/article/Stacey-Abrams-texas-book-tour-speaking-16204181.php?IPID=Chron-HP-Trending

    “The woman credited with turning Georgia blue for the 2020 presidential election, Stacey Abrams, is traveling across the nation for a 12-city speaking tour this fall titled “A Conversation with Stacey Abrams.””

    “Presented by Tobin Entertainment, Abrams’ speaking tour will kick off in San Antonio in September, and she will also be making a stop in Grand Prairie. The tour also includes stops in Milwaukee, Denver, Detroit and Brooklyn.”

    Sorry, I will be busy at those times.

  21. lynn says:

    “Texas will tighten its laws on protest marches. What does that mean in Houston?”
    https://www.chron.com/social-justice/article/Texas-protest-law-emergency-vehicle-block-road-16201553.php

    “A bill expected to soon be signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott will allow police to charge protesters with a felony if they are accused of obstructing emergency vehicles when blocking the street.”

    “House Bill 9, which passed in both bodies of the Texas Legislature on Monday, would make blocking an emergency vehicle a state-jail felony punishable by up to two years in jail. It also requires anyone who receives probation for blocking a roadway to serve at least 10 days in jail.”

    “Current law states no one “without legal privilege or authority” can block a highway, street or sidewalk (among other places) used by the public or a substantial group of people. The charge is a Class B misdemeanor.”

    I am betting the Plano will continue to not enforce this law.

  22. lynn says:

    Did Texas really just pass a law restricting abortions to the first four weeks? Are TX politicians really that dumb? Or this just pandering to the religious right?

    In order,

    a) I saw six weeks, not four, but otherwise it appears to be correct.

    b) Need you ask?

    c) Yes.

    40% (SWAG) of the voting populace in Texas is single issue. Abortion.

  23. Greg Norton says:

    Surely the politicos have better things to do… 

    Yes, but the Republicans in Texas are still chasing Ann Richards ghost. “Ma” Richards daughter ran Planned Parenthood up until a few years ago.

    Plus, the Legislators don’t want hard questions asked/answered about what happened in February.

    The first that springs to mind is: How many water utility districts carry budget items for backup generator capability which wasn’t available when it really counted?

    or

    How many state government and ERCOT employees clocked time for the Friday before the storm but weren’t actually on the job, either in the office or “working” from home, when even the most conservative weather forecasts were predicting teens for lows on Monday across most of the state?

  24. Alan says:

    Pearls Before Swine: Conversational Disagreements
    https://www.gocomics.com/pearlsbeforeswine/2021/05/25

    Uh oh, I leave my teabag in…

  25. lynn says:

    The first that springs to mind is: How many water utility districts carry budget items for backup generator capability which wasn’t available when it really counted?

    Our water provider had a generator on our two water well facility. They had summer diesel in the generator which promptly froze up and caused the generator to die due to lack of fuel. And both wells did not have their outlet pressure sensors insulated and they were in the open air so they promptly froze up also, causing the well pumps to trip. The same problem happened with our third water well.

    It is not good enough to have the equipment. You must winterize it also. Lots of man time and expense.

  26. lynn says:

    ARM chips are RISC. So is just about every new chip after the Intel Itanium or whatever that junk was. So are the PowerPC chips that IBM and Ford designed and Ford installs ten million a year into their vehicles. Huh, ARM stands for Advanced RISC Machines, I did not remember that.

    Itanium was an evolution of HP PA-RISC. GTE was a big user of PA-RISC throughout the 90s.

    We had an Apollo DN-10000 with two of the predecessors to the Itanium chip. And the custom Fortran compiler to get up to three instructions processed per cycle (VCISC or something like that). They were fast as blue blazes. We bought two more of the Apollo DN-10000 refrigerators for our customers. Then Intel came out with their 1 Ghz Pentium that blew away those Itanium chips.

  27. Alan says:

    Wife has a sinus infection, went to the local urgent care to get officially diagnosed and get a scrip. Pharmacy (CVS) called and informed that there is no amoxicillin available to fill her Rx – seems there is a nationwide shortage.

  28. lynn says:

    Wife has a sinus infection, went to the local urgent care to get officially diagnosed and get a scrip. Pharmacy (CVS) called and informed that there is no amoxicillin available to fill her Rx – seems there is a nationwide shortage.

    I am guessing that most of the USA amoxicillin comes out of India. And India is having covid problems right now. Doxycycline ?

  29. lynn says:

    “Royal Dutch Shell ordered to reduce CO2 emissions”
    https://www.ogj.com/general-interest/government/article/14204106/royal-dutch-shell-ordered-to-reduce-co2-emissions

    “Royal Dutch Shell must reduce CO2 emissions of the Shell group, its suppliers, and customers through group policy by end 2030 to 45% net compared to the 2019 level, the district court of The Hague ordered May 26”

    Why not ?

    And this is why Shell just sold their Deer Park Refinery in Houston to Pemex. I would guess that many more changes will be forthcoming.

  30. lynn says:

    I also want the federal income tax to be 10% of gross income. No deductions, no itemizations. If I made $100 today, I send in $10.

    I agree with your sentiment – our tax returns here are also insanely complicated. The thing is: People have a right to privacy – the government is supposed to need a warrant to get at your personal papers. Yet government claims a right to know everything about your finances. How else , in order to ensure you don’t cheat on your taxes.

    That indicates that we have the wrong tax system. If income tax cannot be collected without violating people’s rights, then it needs to be replaced with something else.

    Of course, governments could also spend less money. That would help.

    Yes, I have always thought that voluntarily filing an income tax return in the USA is a violation of our fifth amendment rights. And our privacy.

    The 10% flat tax will maintain some of our privacy but not all of it.

    The beast known as the USA government will never voluntarily cut back. Never.

    1
  31. Greg Norton says:

    We had an Apollo DN-10000 with two of the predecessors to the Itanium chip. And the custom Fortran compiler to get up to three instructions processed per cycle (VCISC or something like that). They were fast as blue blazes. We bought two more of the Apollo DN-10000 refrigerators for our customers. Then Intel came out with their 1 Ghz Pentium that blew away those Itanium chips. 

    PA-RISC was VLIW (Variable Length Instruction Word), and getting the most out of the hardware required instrumenting the code, running, and feeding the resulting telemetry back into the compiler so it could rearrange instructions to maximize CPU throughput. HP also had some dynamic runtime optimization in HPUX which was way ahead of its time.

  32. SteveF says:

    Doxycycline ?

    You don’t give doxycycline to wives, only to doxies.

    4
  33. lynn says:

    “I wish I was in the Senate today”
    https://gunfreezone.net/i-wish-i-was-in-the-senate-today/

    “Today is the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of David “Waco” Chipman to be the Director of the ATF.”

    “Senator J.Kb’s line of questions:”

    “Mr. Chipman, how many children and dogs have you killed in the line of duty?”
    “How many children and dogs have been killed by agents under your leadership?”
    “What is your favorite way of killing children in the line of duty, shooting them with a sniper rifle, burning them to death, or throwing a flashbang into their crib?”
    “If someone makes a receiver from an 80% lower kit, how many agents will you send to kill them in an early morning no-knock raid?”
    “If someone posts a picture of their arm brace of Facebook will you have your agents just kill them or their entire family?”
    “How many children do you think your agents will kill to confiscate assault rifles, high capacity magazines, and homemade relievers?”
    “What other civil rights do you want to take away and then use that abrogation to justify shooting children and pets?””

  34. lynn says:

    We had an Apollo DN-10000 with two of the predecessors to the Itanium chip. And the custom Fortran compiler to get up to three instructions processed per cycle (VCISC or something like that). They were fast as blue blazes. We bought two more of the Apollo DN-10000 refrigerators for our customers. Then Intel came out with their 1 Ghz Pentium that blew away those Itanium chips.

    PA-RISC was VLIW (Variable Length Instruction Word), and getting the most out of the hardware required instrumenting the code, running, and feeding the resulting telemetry back into the compiler so it could rearrange instructions to maximize CPU throughput. HP also had some dynamic runtime optimization in HPUX which was way ahead of its time.

    HP got all of that technology from their purchase of Apollo Computer in 1989.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_Computer
    and
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_PRISM

    The Apollo DN10000 was wicked fast. The Apollo DN3500s were not (we had five of the beasties).

  35. Geoff Powell says:

    @Lynn:

    Wasn’t “VLIW” “Very Ling Instruction Word”? I seem to remember that from my reading of Byte magazine (of blessed memory)

    G.

     

  36. lynn says:

    @Lynn:

    Wasn’t “VLIW” “Very Ling Instruction Word”? I seem to remember that from my reading of Byte magazine (of blessed memory)

    G.

    Wikipedia says VLIW is “Very long instruction word”.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Very_long_instruction_word

  37. MrAtoz says:

    The beast known as the USA government will never voluntarily cut back. Never.

    The “Iron Rule”.

    1
    1
  38. MrAtoz says:

    “Today is the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of David “Waco” Chipman to be the Director of the ATF.”

    I LOL’d reading the script of “Waco” trying to define “assault weapon” to a Senator. There is no way this guy can be confirmed.

    1
  39. Greg Norton says:

    Wikipedia says VLIW is “Very long instruction word”.

    My bad. I just remember the operation vs. data portion of the word could change sizes so it stuck in my head.

    No one has used the concept on a mass scale since PA-RISC since the compiler was so complex.

    GTE put an Apollo workstation at every customer service rep’s desk and had huge plans to move to client-server on the cheap using a development center in Mexico up until the telecom deregulation made the company’s Internet and long distance capacity an attractive target to Bell Atlantic.

    It was fun while it lasted.

  40. Alan says:

    @Lynn:

    Wasn’t “VLIW” “Very Ling Instruction Word”? I seem to remember that from my reading of Byte magazine (of blessed memory)

    G.

    Wikipedia says VLIW is “Very long instruction word”.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Very_long_instruction_word

    The internet is never wrong…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DZbSlkFoSU

    1
  41. Greg Norton says:

    I LOL’d reading the script of “Waco” trying to define “assault weapon” to a Senator. There is no way this guy can be confirmed. 

    Doesn’t President Harris break the tie for nominations?

  42. ech says:

    To my mind, licensing for any profession should be issued by your liability insurer, not some publicly funded bureaucracy.

    The Texas Board of Medical Examiners is funded by the license fees. In fact, the state spent $14 million on them in 2019 and got well over $40 million in license fees.

    Despite popular belief, the AMA has no role in medical licensing, nor do most doctors belong anymore. The group to belong to is your specialty organization, in part because they are the one that will go to bat with Medicare when the fee schedules are being drawn up. The AMA supported Obamacare, most of the specialty groups opposed it, for example.

  43. JimB says:

    We were looking at HP for a suite of HP UX systems around 1991. They had gobbled up competitors, and were having indigestion. They still had some of the slickest hardware and software in the industry. We wound up buying only one box, which got us going. Long story, but a year later we bought Compaq hardware with Windows, that did the suite job for a fraction of the cost. Sure, the HP stuff was elegant and rock solid, but the Compaq hardware was also solid, and Windows was good enough. We also had more control, which  we needed for some video experiments. That was a transitional time. We acomplished a lot for cheap.

    Just a few years earlier, in the late 1980s, I worked on a big simulation setup that used a dual DEC VAX system. Very expensive. Lots of labor to design all the interface hardware. Again, very solid performance. Did I mention expensive? Project canceled about halfway through for unrelated reasons. Lots of lessons learned. Expensive lessons.

    Comparing the two, the cheap little boxes did almost as much as their big cousins for a lot less money. They were red headed stepchildren at first, but we learned to love them. Sometimes the high horsepower stuff is passed up by the right stuff.

  44. nick flandrey says:

    Still getting this error

     
    Internal Server Error
    The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

    Please contact the server administrator at webmaster@ttgnet.com to inform them of the time this error occurred, and the actions you performed just before this error.

    More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

    too many times.  It’s always based on the text in the comment, and seems to be the visual tab comments more often than not.

    n

  45. nick flandrey says:

    My lost comment was in support of this

    the cheap little boxes did almost as much as their big cousins for a lot less money

    It killed the company I worked for.   There were other issues, but the shift from SGI big iron to linux clusters was a dominant factor.

    n

     

  46. lynn says:

    I LOL’d reading the script of “Waco” trying to define “assault weapon” to a Senator. There is no way this guy can be confirmed.

    Doesn’t President Harris break the tie for nominations?

    Romney will vote for the Waco Child Killer. Romney will vote for anything.

  47. nick flandrey says:

    Janet Reno went on to bigger things.   Lon Haruchi did too.  No reason this guy won’t.

    They hate us and want us dead.

    n

     

  48. lynn says:

    We were looking at HP for a suite of HP UX systems around 1991. They had gobbled up competitors, and were having indigestion. They still had some of the slickest hardware and software in the industry. We wound up buying only one box, which got us going. Long story, but a year later we bought Compaq hardware with Windows, that did the suite job for a fraction of the cost. Sure, the HP stuff was elegant and rock solid, but the Compaq hardware was also solid, and Windows was good enough. We also had more control, which we needed for some video experiments. That was a transitional time. We acomplished a lot for cheap.

    Just a few years earlier, in the late 1980s, I worked on a big simulation setup that used a dual DEC VAX system. Very expensive. Lots of labor to design all the interface hardware. Again, very solid performance. Did I mention expensive? Project canceled about halfway through for unrelated reasons. Lots of lessons learned. Expensive lessons.

    Comparing the two, the cheap little boxes did almost as much as their big cousins for a lot less money. They were red headed stepchildren at first, but we learned to love them. Sometimes the high horsepower stuff is passed up by the right stuff.

    We ported our CAD DB product from Vax VMS to Vax VaxWindows to Apollo Domain/Unix to Sun Workstation from 1989 to 1992. It killed the company. And we should have skipped the Sun Workstation and gone straight to Windows 3.11 on 386 PCs. We already had the 386 PCs

  49. Geoff Powell says:

    Very Ling Instruction Word

    AAArgh!!!!! Typo. I meant Long.

    G.

     

  50. Greg Norton says:

    It killed the company I worked for. There were other issues, but the shift from SGI big iron to linux clusters was a dominant factor.

    “Jurassic Park” sold Corporate America on SGI boxes. The hardware did amazing things for the time, but Irix was a terrible OS which doomed the platform.

    For about six months in the late 90s, I could trigger a reboot in Irix at will with application-level code running as non-admin user.

    About the best thing that happened to the software industry was SGI’s bankruptcy since it freed pieces of the C++ Standard Template Library from licensing fees after HP bought the rights from the court and turned the IP loose. The resulting C++ 03 influenced by STL made C++ usable.

    Plus the Computer History Museum ended up with a really nice building to house their collection — the former SGI HQ.

  51. JimB says:

    I’ll second the SGI hardware, and especially the graphics. A friend showed me something he was working on. By then, I had moved on to other things, but still remembered enough to be impressed.

    Going back further, I was involved with a big system that included a radar. It was designed circa 1975. It had a puny processor by any standards, but it was amazing. It had primitive but adequate graphics, but it could do amazing processing feats. It’s hard to describe. Gotta go.

  52. MrAtoz says:

    We used SillyG’s at my sooper-secret job at XXX. It was a pain in the butt shipping those things all over the world for war games (just the boxes not HDDs). I got to go in at 3:00am to our sooper-secret vault, check out the hard drives (wrapped in plain brown paper), get a letter signed by a Flag officer so I could walk it through security, board a flight to XXX departing at 8:00am (11-15 hour flight), rent a car and drive for 2.5 hours, and sleep with it under my pillow until the secure facility opened. I don’t miss that.

  53. nick flandrey says:

    I was the last uncleared person to step into the crypto vault at a new facility I was working on back in 2003.   Guy asked if I wanted to do something no one else could do, so I did.  Empty closet at the time, lots of power receptacles.  I stepped out and he locked the door.  After that, he said there were only 2 people on base that could go thru the door.

    Silly, but kinda cool.

    Better was being at Disneyland and going on the last ever ride of the “Mission to Mars” attraction before they shut it down for good.  There was a reception after for the Imagineers and others who’d worked on the attraction, and some cool displays.    Public wasn’t excluded, just not really invited.  I had asked a cast member if anything cool was happening while we were there, and they told me about it.   I didn’t get any pix.

    n

    3
  54. lynn says:

    New homes are being built in my son’s neighborhood on 2,000 ft2 lots (yes, 2,000) for $288K. All bedrooms up. Freaking amazing.

    He lives two miles outside I-610 in Houston, about eight miles from the Houston Medical Center. He has a 1,700 ft2 one story on a 5,000 ft2 lot that he bought new in 2009 for $123K. I have been telling him that it is worth $250K but he does not believe me.

  55. Greg Norton says:

    I was the last uncleared person to step into the crypto vault at a new facility I was working on back in 2003. Guy asked if I wanted to do something no one else could do, so I did. Empty closet at the time, lots of power receptacles. I stepped out and he locked the door. After that, he said there were only 2 people on base that could go thru the door.

    Silly, but kinda cool.

    I’ve been inside the Dell “dorm room” at UT and the main conference room in the famed Apple Bandley 3, where the first Mac booted.

    I would love a tour of Gates giant house but never thought I’d have a chance. Maybe I will after all. 🙂

  56. drwilliams says:

    I see some were offering congratulations yesterday on George Foyd being drug-free for one year.

    I note that none offered proof, but I haven’t seen Politico’s fact check.

    5
    5
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  57. drwilliams says:

    @Nick

    “Better was being at Disneyland and going on the last ever ride of the “Mission to Mars” attraction before they shut it down for good.”

    Nice.

    I was at JPL a few months after Viking 1 landed. Definitely a sense of history, but not much “whiz-bang” going on.

    Visited Mount Wilson that same trip, but cloudy. Just getting to see the Glass Giant of Palomar was a treat. Years later I was discussing application of some advanced ceramic materials that could be used to shorten the thermal equilibrium time required when opening observatory domes at one of the new multi-telescope observatories when the bean counters choked on the costs. I was going to make a case for being there at start-up with an appropriate executive who would be photographed for the annual shareholders report, alas. Yerkes is going to be my biggest “look” unless a black swan lays ruby eggs  for me.

  58. Alan says:

    Yes, I have always thought that voluntarily filing an income tax return in the USA is a violation of our fifth amendment rights. And our privacy.

    Want to be the next test case? From what I hear the IRS has a different opinion and will reserve a 6×9 room you will share with Bubba.

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  59. JimB says:

    And we should have skipped the Sun Workstation and gone straight to Windows 3.11 on 386 PCs.

    Oooh. My first home machine was an AMD 386-40, which I eventually upgraded to Win 3.11. Loved it. About the same time, I had a 486-33 at work, and it was not significantly faster for what I did. It did have an ATI graphics card and 21″ monitor, while mine only had a 14″ at 800×600. That 386-40 CPU was sweet. I even installed a matching math coprocesser. I still have that machine. Wonder if it would still run?

    Since I was a hardware guy, we had a smattering of leftover project parts at work. One day, I needed a lab computer, but couldn’t get approval for such a frivolity. I scrounged a mobo and the rest. We had a couple of AMD 386-40s new in box. Why not? I put it on the 33 MHz board, and it worked! I had an underclocked CPU in the days of overclocking. I’m nutz.

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  60. Nick Flandrey says:

    ” I even installed a matching math coprocesser.”:

    –I think I mentioned that I found one of those new in box at Goodwill, and sold it on ebay for ~$100 or more. I can’t remember exactly how much, but it was crazy for hardware that old.
    n

  61. Nick Flandrey says:

    He’s a lying gun grabbing sh!tweasel with one of the oddest looks I’ve seen ever, which is sure to have influenced his personality negatively. This guy shouldn’t be dog catcher.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9622321/GOP-tears-Bidens-ATF-pick-dodging-question-Hunter-comparing-gun-owners-Tiger-King.html

    n

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  62. lynn says:

    Yes, I have always thought that voluntarily filing an income tax return in the USA is a violation of our fifth amendment rights. And our privacy.

    Want to be the next test case? From what I hear the IRS has a different opinion and will reserve a 6×9 room you will share with Bubba.

    Me and the IRS have already gone around the Maypole once. I was given seven days to resolve the case or they would seize my house. We got it resolved in 3 ? 4 ? days with an admonition from them to never hack them off again. Of which, it was a documentation error on a third party, I had nothing to do with it.

    So no thanks, I will pass. They freaked my wife out to the max already.

  63. lynn says:

    Since I was a hardware guy, we had a smattering of leftover project parts at work. One day, I needed a lab computer, but couldn’t get approval for such a frivolity. I scrounged a mobo and the rest. We had a couple of AMD 386-40s new in box. Why not? I put it on the 33 MHz board, and it worked! I had an underclocked CPU in the days of overclocking. I’m nutz.

    We had a guy complaining that our software sucked on his PC so I had him bring the PC in around 1993 or so. He had a 386-25 PC. And a 387-16 math co-processor. The math co-processor was getting hot and throwing errors.

  64. JimB says:

    We had a guy complaining that our software sucked on his PC so I had him bring the PC in around 1993 or so. He had a 386-25 PC.

    Oops, that mobo I mentioned had to be 25 MHz. AFAIK, Intel topped out at 25 MHz for the 386. The first 486s I had hands on were also 25 MHz, but soon increased. Above 33? MHz, they used multipliers where the RAM ran at 25 or 33 MHz, and the CPU ran faster.

    I also had a 486-50, yup, all 50 MHz. It was supposed to be a barn burner, but I rescued it from retirement and used it for a second computer to make Powerpoint viewgraphs. My primary conputer was a Power PC Mac that choked on graphics heavy work. Before long, I moved that  486 to a spot where the whole office could use it. It saw daily use for over three years, and sometimes went weeks before someone remembered to shut it off.

    I also remember a 386 setup that put RAM in a four group array for greater performance. Never saw one, but would have liked to. Today, we have five year old boxes that never break a sweat in normal office use.

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