Category: computing

Sat. May 20, 2023 – finally a day without obligations… so I get to do my own

Cooler but warming later.  Some chance of rain.   Maybe clear later.   Yesterday was nice and hot, sunny too.   D1 had a good time at the beach.

I was looking for a safety monitor to watch out for me in the attic at my client’s place.   It was REALLY hot in the attic.   Fortunately I did all the hard and sweaty crawling around last time.  All I had to do was enter, and connect cabling.  Still, last time I measured the attic temps in summer, I got 142F iirc.   I might take a thermometer back with me on Monday or Tues. just to see.   In any case it was dangerously hot.

I didn’t get any one thing done over there either.   Got the camera rebooted.   Tried adding the new cam, but firmware and OS on the NVR were too old.   I’m replacing it all next week anyway so I didn’t update anything.   Did some maintenance on the ubiquiti Cloud Key appliance that works as a manager and dashboard for the system.   Didn’t update any firmware in the system either, as I didn’t have time to recover if anything broke.  Did get new hardware added.

Got the NanoStation 5AC loco added, and configured as an access point.  I confirmed there is signal at the gate opener and keypad.   If I have to, I can add the other one, a switch at the gate, and config it all as a wire replacement.   More gear, more time, more effort, so I’m hoping that I’ve done enough with wifi coverage.  I couldn’t quite finish, as I needed to locate a PoE injector in the attic, and I didn’t have what I needed with me to plug everything in.  I’ll bring that back next week and finish that.

And I got the control gear installed, the piece I had to wait most of a year to find on ebay as normal channels are dry.   It’s configured but not complete as the controls programmer hasn’t done his part yet.  He wants me there when he connects and sets it up.  I’ll need to test it in any case.

So a lot got done, but nothing got done.

Today I should be doing more cleaning, and taking stuff out of the house and to storage.  It’s piling up while waiting for an auctioneer, but it needs to be out of the foyer and living room.  I’ve been doing other stuff, and making the piles higher as I organized.   If it isn’t raining, today is the day that organizing will bear fruit as the stuff goes away.

Oh, all the normal weekly domestic bliss needs to happen too.   Joy.

It’s a great life, if you don’t falter.

Stack something, even if it’s a small stack.


Sun. Apr. 2, 2023 – hoping the weather holds…

It might be warm and damp.  Might not, but I’m betting on warm and damp.   Yesterday cleared to a beautiful afternoon and early evening, but got overcast and cooled a bit later.   There were even some spotty drops from the sky depending on where you were in town.   Nothing real at my house though.

I’ll have to move fixing the sprinklers up the list if it stays dry much longer.

Spent yesterday afternoon doing auction things.   Picked up at two houses, mostly stuff for the BOL and home.  One item was a needful thing that has been in short supply for a while.  Price was reasonable too.  Went by the GW outlet, and picked up a couple of handy things and a couple of things for resale.

Came home and looked as some of the stuff I got at the hobby estate.   I’ve still got some books and some more tools to go through, but I’m happy so far.

I also sorted some auction stuff.   I’ll do more of that today.

It would be nice to get a freezer delivered to make room in  my storage unit…   but I’ll settle for sorting more auction stuff, and maybe doing home maintenance.   I’ve got to stick close to home to get the child from her GS trip.  I should break down and vac seal some meat too.  Just my normal domestic bliss…

For the first time in a couple of years I was able to add to the stack of one certain thing in a meaningful way.   Look around, supply might be opening up a tad.

Stack whatever you can find.


Fri. Feb. 24, 2023 – in which our hero discovers another week has flown by…

Warm and humid.  No rain in the forecast but maybe some more overcast.   Yesterday was mostly overcast, but we didn’t get any rain in the places I visited.   I’ve got stuff in the back of my truck that I don’t really want to get wet before I can get it put away…

Did get pickups done.   Last pickup for the one auctioneer, who is calling it quits.   We may be at the same stage of returns and overstock reselling as house flipping was just before that collapsed.   New players with no experience are paying too much to buy in, thinking it’s easy money, while more experienced players are finding it hard to stay in the game, or no longer profitable.   A crash and consolidation seem to be headed this way for this nascent but quite large market activity.

It is actually a new version of an old business.   There have been resellers, wholesalers, surplus outlets, auctions, and fire sales for a long time.  Probably since the first failed product in the market.  But the old business model of insiders and somewhat disguised markets (Ross Dress for Less did pretty well selling the stock other retailers couldn’t move, ditto for Marshalls and the “outlet store” fiction) expanded and shifted and combined with online auctions, cottage industry, and the idea of the side hustle to spawn a whole new crop of reseller businesses.   There has been a huge increase in the size and scope of the market, as new sellers pop up and buyers become aware of what’s available.

Shakeout and consolidation is probably inevitable.

One consideration is that it has broken the traditional retail model, and opened people up to the idea that goods don’t have to come from a store (or a big company  — I mean selling platform– like Amazon).   As the general economy worsens, there will be an increase in bargain hunters, of necessity.  That means more person to person selling, more non-traditional venues (like swapmeets, black and grey markets, permanent yard sales, etc.)   If it happens it means I was right to advocate learning about this way to shop before it became a necessity 😛

Anyway, consider your own habits and routines for getting the stuff you need and use.   What if those options are not available, or not available at a price you can afford?   It’s always easier to learn a new skill while you still have the backup option of doing things the old way.

Get out there and start learning about the secondary economy, or the “informal” economy.   Use the practice to increase your stacks, and kill two birds with one stone.



Thurs. Feb. 23, 2023 – 02232023 – wouldn’t be prudent…

Warm.  Damp.   Warm and damp.   Felt like we missed Spring and went right into Summer yesterday.   Once the rain stopped anyway.  Today is supposed to be similar but clear.   I hope so.

I’ve got stuff to pickup today and rain won’t help that.   It’s stuff I couldn’t pick up yesterday because of the morning ‘moisture from the sky.’

I was able to drop off a small bin of mostly Pokemon stuff at my auctioneer, and pick up a check for my profit on the last several auctions.    My big score was an antique book that brought $400.  The most I paid for it was 50c…  that’s good return on investment.  If I bought it on a day with more books, it might have been 33c…    There were some other good sellers too, with high multiples for ROI.    I need to focus on those type of items.    FWIW, they tend to be vintage, and unusual or even unique.

Books that have some local interest, a Texas subject, and are at least 75-100 years old do well for me at the local auction.  “Smalls” or small collectible items did very well in the last auction as well.   Bigger items, sports cards, and household things didn’t do well.   Old toys, even in bad condition, usually do well, and sometimes do VERY well.   It’s always  a crapshoot, and sometimes things I thought were a slam dunk barely sell at all.  The trick is to be there every time with a variety of stuff.  And don’t pay very much for your stock.

I’ve got some other running around to do today, and some maintenance stuff at home.   The wifi needs attention, as signal levels are very low in places.  My wife has moved dealing with that to the top of my list.  I’m going to add  two Asus nighthawk access points at opposite ends of the house.   That will probably be overkill, but we have a lot more wifi devices now than we did when I set everything up originally.   Getting the wifi off the att fiber router will allow me to specify my own DNS and use openDNS initially,  and set up a pi-hole later.   I’ve got a stack of wifi routers from the goodwill, some from client sites, and some from estates or yardsales.   I’ll use the asus at home for now, and save the ubiquiti for the BOL.   That’s the current plan…   Or I could just add a couple of ubiquiti UAC access points here and be done with it… I haven’t made a choice yet, which is why it hasn’t been DONE yet.

SWMBO has spoken though so I will be making a choice today.

External deadlines.  I needs ’em.

Other than DVDs ripped to my server, I haven’t done much stacking this week.   We’ll see what I can do later to improve my situation.

I will say that stacking food and money  probably isn’t a bad idea.  You should give it a try.



Thur. Nov. 3, 2022 – amateur dramatics, family fun night!

Cool and wet again, or maybe better described as ‘very damp’.  Hopefully staying dry all day.  I’ve got things to do.   Which didn’t get done yesterday.

I mostly ended up cleaning house and doing some auction stuff.  Which is really nothing to write home about.  But I do anyway!

And more of that is on the agenda for today too.  I’ll take down a few more decorations.   I’ll move a few more things around in the stacks.  And I’ll bait the danged possum trap again.  SOMETHING knocked a bunch of stuff off my shelves again.  I don’t know if it is the same possum, or if I’m on the Grand Tour somehow.   At least they are greedy or dumb enough to keep going into the trap.  Rats wouldn’t be fooled twice.  Rats are too smart.

It is time to re-bait the poison boxes for the rats though.  And to spray the outside of the house with bug spray.  It’s always time for something.

I’ve got bait and extra bait boxes.   Ordered them from amazon, and won some in an auction.  That’s a prep, for sure.  The collapse of the economy will be accompanied by a rise in vermin.  2, 4, 6 and 8 legged vermin.   Get some stuff stacked to deal with them.  Otherwise, when you need it, it might not be there.

That is the nature of prepping in a nutshell, to have what you need when you need it, no matter what is going on around you.

Stack it up, so you have it when you need it.



(D1 and D2 have their school play tonight, so that will occupy my evening.   I won’t forget my earplugs this time.)

Sun. Oct. 2, 2022 – 10022022 – really just more of the same…

Cool and crisp.  Warming later.   Sun.   Beautiful weather.

I didn’t get to the BOL on Saturday.   Too many things to do, some of which went long, and some of which just popped up…   Sold my forklift.   Lost about $400, after having it for 3+ years.   Like boats, unless it is earning you money, rent, don’t buy.  Getting it started after a couple months sitting, after 3 years not moving, took a bit longer than I had budgeted, and the guy was an hour later than I hoped.   Still, not only did he come by, he bought it. A  Craigslist transaction that didn’t suck, yahoo!

But the delays started to pressure my schedule to do a pickup on the way to the lake.   Heading home, I chanced upon a yard sale… and really scored.  Not preps, but stuff for my workshop.  20 large, heavy duty, mostly made in USA C clamps for $50 was like STEALING.  A live animal trap, some extension cords, hitch stuff, stapler and staples, and some long reach welding visegrips, brought the total to $100.   Score.  But, that ate some time too.   When I finally looked at the google map, my drive time was one hour, not 45 minutes!   And all my slack was gone.   The straw the broke the dromedary’s hump was an ebay sale just as I was getting ready to leave.   No way I could pack the sale, get my food and clothes together, and make the hard deadline for the pickup (two roll around AC units and some romex.)    I just jumped in the truck and sped on my way.  I made the pickup with less than a minute to spare.  The guy was pulling through the gate to lock it and leave.   He was not thrilled, but I was there before 6…

So today I’ll pack and head out at a more leisurely pace.  There was stuff I could have done Sunday morning, but it will wait until Sunday afternoon, or during the week while the foundation guys work.

There is always more to be done.  Like stacking, you just have to keep after it.


Thur. Sept. 8, 2022 – “I got the rockin’ pneumonia and the boogie woogie flu..”

Day starts nice and cool, but still gets up near 100F in the afternoon.   Maybe some spotty rain.  Maybe not.  We did get a few drops yesterday and the sky turned black for a couple minutes but it blew right past us.

We got a lot done yesterday.   Tanks are placed, inspected, and wiring and plumbing are underway.  Hopefully today we’ll get the stuff that was never properly connected to the system plumbed in, and the electrical done.   If we get lucky, drip line will go in too.   This guy is good, conscientious, but he works alone, so it does take a bit longer.   To be fair, the additional plumbing was a surprise, as was the giant root ball, and the crazy thickness of the concrete.   Just getting the hole dug, and the lines trenched in was more difficult than it should have been.  Still, progress is being made.   The pace has slowed a bit as we are both getting worn out by the additional effort required.

I did not get gas lines in, because I was prepping for the additional plumbing.   Lots of poor choices were made decades ago, and I’m paying for them now.

Spent some time spinning the dial on the shortwave, which is where today’s title came from.   WTWW on 5.085mhz plays a lot of good music at night, and it’s  a WIDE variety.   Lots of stuff I haven’t heard in years.  If you are looking to get familiar with shortwave listening, that’s one freq to check along with the national time signals.

Prepping involves testing gear and assumptions.  Get your radio out and see what you can hear, and if you can actually tune to anything.   Shortwave is an entertaining way to get a feel for propagation, without firing up your ham rig.

And as always, stack some things.


Tues. Sept. 6, 2022 – more digging, more work

Cool to start but warming up later.    Humid of course.  It was 89F when I knocked off working yesterday, and still 80F when I went to bed.  Even though it started cool, it ended pretty warm.

Spent the day breaking rocks in the hot sun.   Didn’t fight the law.  Details in yesterday’s comments.

Today should be more work by the septic guy, and I should do a lot less to help.   If it’s reasonably cool, I’ll be in the attic running gas pipe.  If not, I’ll do something else.   There is always something else to do.

Wife and kids made it home safe.  I had a nice fire, and the shortwave bands were pretty wide open up to about 9 mhz.   Nothing much after that.   Ham bands, 40m especially, were crowded.   Didn’t hear much, too many pileups.

Early to bed, because today will be early to rise.  Don’t think it’s gonna make me wealthy, or wise, but I’m sure to learn more about septic.

Stacking up the knowledge.

Stack something, ‘cuz you never know what you’ll need.


Mon. Apr. 25, 2022 – birthday and anniversary this week

National forecast says we might be getting some rain today and tomorrow… which I’m hoping against.  I’ve got stuff to do that needs dry weather.   It was 76F and 91%RH when I went to bed.

I did some stuff Sunday.  Mostly fled the house and the squealing of tiny proto females.   Did two pickups, both mainly for my non-prepping hobby.   Did daddy daughter stuff, then wasted time on the internet with my friends. Oh, and during that time the dog ate an unknown quantity of Easter chocolate and caused some concern and an attempt at making him vomit it up.  The little poop factory eats aluminum soda cans, a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide didn’t phase him.  He’s still alive so I guess he didn’t eat too much of the chocolate.

Today’s plan is to figure out what’s gone wrong with my pickup truck, get some bins of stuff ready for auction, and do a pickup or two of BOL stuff.  Rain complicates all of that tremendously so I’m hoping it misses us.

I’ve got so much going on this week, swim team practices start, D2 has a birthday, I have a wedding anniversary, and all the normal things too.  It’s crazy.

Some comments at the end of the day yesterday regarding supply chain, food, and corn.  If you haven’t caught up, take a minute and read them and consider how they’ll affect you if it happens that way.

Beyond local and national farm issues, the brutal lockdown in China is backing up shipping and supply chain like crazy.  The effects will start showing up in a couple of weeks and it will take months to un-flock this clustered mess.  Expect anything coming from or through China, and particularly Shanghai to be delayed or unavailable, possibly for months.

The situation is worsening folks, in just about any way you look at it.  I know, I know.   Sky is falling yet again.  Yep.  Look at the material and make your own conclusions.  If you decide it’s overblown, then at least you’ve considered it, and didn’t just keep running forward with your eyes closed.

If like me and others, you see all the signs pointing to things getting worse, not better, ACT on that.  Take actions that work for you and your family and for your financial situation.  I’m still in “don’t do anything irrevocable” mode, but we did turn a whole pile of cash into a whole pile of bricks and dirt because my wife agrees that inflation is eating our savings like a fat man at a buffet.

Interest rates are rising.  They’ve already risen.   If you are selling a house, do the deal.  If rates rise too much the housing bubble will pop again.  If you are buying a place to live, and it’s within your means, know that you might end up underwater on your loan for a while, and that might limit you for a few years or longer.  I wouldn’t be buying any place as an “investment” and I wouldn’t be entering into an adjustable rate mortgage at the moment either… nor would I ‘stretch’ to make a purchase that is outside what I can safely afford.  If I was renting, I’d be looking at long term leases to lock in monthly payments.  If I was the owner, I’d be looking at short term leases as much as possible.

Also consider what these changes and trends mean for fixed incomes and government assistance programs and the people dependent on them.   Food shortages almost always lead to riots.     In other words, I expect violence and lawlessness to increase.  It will be variable by area, but everyone will be affected.   And people will be fleeing to your safe semi-rural area when the cities get worse.  They’ve already started.

Time to really get busy getting ready.   Suck it up and stack it up.


Sun. Apr. 24, 2022 – sometimes, I just throw up my hands…

Possibility of rain today, with moderately warm temps.  Yesterday was fairly nice.   Sun, moderate temps, and not too humid.  Not many of those days left before summer really hits.

Slept in, didn’t get a whole lot done before I had to put my chef’s hat on.   Dinner was a success with the birthday girl, her friends were a  lot less enthusiastic about the lamb.  Which is a shame because it was pretty good.  I tried something different with the bread, and it worked out.  When I was in college, we’d sometimes eat at a steak restaurant attached to a wholesale butcher.  It was great food and cheap, and the meal came with “Roman Bread”.   I’ve been thinking of that bread for a while, and finally decided to try finding a recipe and making it.   The actual recipe from the restaurant was online, and it was straightforward.

It was as good as I remember, a hit with my wife, and the kids liked it.  The yeast I used wasn’t very vigorous (the packet was one year past best by date) but it’s a pretty flat bread anyway, and it rose enough.  The onions make it sweet, the rosemary makes it savory, and it has a great texture.  It’s not as simple as true flatbread or tortilla, and uses more energy and ingredients, but it’s about half way there between a loaf and flat…   I’ll be making it again, that’s for sure.   Variations might be great too, like grated cheese instead of onion, or chopped chives, or any number of other things.

The Roman Bread is a lot like fruit cobbler, in that little can go wrong, you can do variations, and prep time is minimal.


Someone mentioned it in comments, but I’ll repeat that the Texas preparedness tax holiday continues until Monday midnight.  As long as you order and pay before then, you get the tax back, or don’t pay it.   The list and limits are here.


The problem with my truck not starting may not have been the battery failing.   There was no juice, and the battery read 12.8v while connected, but a new battery failed to solve the problem.   Still no start, still not enough juice to run any accessories.   I will be troubleshooting that further today, I didn’t have time to look at it before, once I knew there was still an issue I just closed the hood and walked away.  Very weird though.

The rest of today will be me working the list.   And it gets bigger every day.

I encourage you, in the strongest possible way, to build up your food supplies.  Stack it high.


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