Month: December 2014

Time & #2014

Time & #2014

Time & 2014

As we near the end of another year I thought it prudent to talk about time.

We humans take time for granted, “there is always tomorrow,” “I can’t wait for Friday,” Why is this day going so slow?”  Sound familiar?

When we are working for someone we are “selling our time.”  One man said once that “we are all whores,”  “We will do most anything for money!”

That statement was not lost on me and he was right!  While the traditional whore sells her time and body we sell our talents and time.  There is little difference except her talents are not acceptable in polite society; while ours might be.

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Simply stated, we have no idea when the bell will toll.  We have no idea when we will draw our last breath or have that final heart beat.  Will we live to the ripe old age of 100 plus or will we kick off today?

Some of us take this to the extreme and create a bucket list.  Before we kick the proverbial bucket we want to accomplish X, Y and Z and probably many more letters than there are in the alphabet.

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So, as we prepare for 2015 what should we be thinking about?  What should we do?

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Sadly I have known way too many folks that never did things that they wanted to do.  Simple things like go to Alaska or Hawaii.  These folks had the means, they just did not set aside the time.

Time management is something that should be taught in school as I truly think that is a key element to success.  If you set aside 8 hours of every day for sleep, that leaves you 16 for other things.  40 hours of every week should be for work that leaves you 40 for other things.  Realistically we can take 10 of those 40 for commuting leaving 30 for eating, playing or other things.  That of course does not include the 32 hours on the weekends.

For arguments sake, let’s say we will live until the age of 80, give or take.

Taking care of your body and mind should be a priority. Getting to 80 would only be good if you can still do things at 80.  Many folks still live a productive active life at that age and instead of shunning the idea you should embrace it and plan for it.

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Life is about change, and adapting to that change.  As we age we find that there are things that we can no longer do or do easily.

After my head on collision with the drunk, my life took a turn that was unexpected.  There are things that I can no longer do as the pain regulates that activity.  Should I relegate myself to that fact and just stop trying, or should I look for other things that I can still do?

Successful people don’t give up.  They keep trying.  They look for other ways to re-invent themselves.  Wounded Warriors are people that I look up to.  While I live in constant pain, I still have my extremities and even though it hurts, I can still use them.  Many of them do not have them any longer and yet, they find new ways to “live life!”

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The death of Robyn Williams took me by surprise.  That has been a very sad event in 2014.  I wish I had known him because maybe, just maybe I could have made a difference.  That to me is one great way to “spend” ones time and that is in the service of others.  I am not suggesting that you make a career out of it but, I always feel better when I am helping someone else.  Robyn was a life worth investing in.  He made countless people laugh and have better days through his talents.  His death made many cry and I suspect; still does.

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The longer you live the more “death” you will experience and it is important that you deal with it in such a way that it does not bring you down. None of us are getting out of this alive and that brings me back to time management.

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One of the other “celebrities” that meant a lot to me was Steve Irwin.  Please don’t get me wrong, there are tons of people who have meant something to me that I have genuine pain for their loss, Bing Crosby, John Wayne, Bob Ross, Ronald Reagan, and Carl Sagan to name a scant few. The list could go on all day so let me get back to Steve Irwin.

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Why Steve?  Steve made me laugh.  Steve captured my interests and in doing so made me see his love of life and all of the world’s creatures in a new light.  Before Steve, the only good snake was a dead snake, the same held true for spiders! Now I have been known to take a spider out of the house and put it back outside.  I actually chased a coral snake down and took its picture! I can guarantee before Steve, that is not something that I would have done!  While chasing the snake I remember thinking in his voice, “I hope its not grumpy!”

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Although his zeal for life often put him over the top of the bell curve of “living on the edge,” He lived his life more in his 42 years then most of us will in those 80 years that we may have.  Steve brought the camera in and shared many moments of his life “some rather intement” involving he and Terry’s first child being born.  I was amazed that he lived past that day!  That show, had me put a visit to down under, on my bucket list.

Living in the moment

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There was a star trek movie where Picard was taught to “live in the moment.”  What were the writers getting at?  I thought about that for sometime and finally concluded that we fail to take time to smell the roses.  We see them in passing but seldom stop and go over to them and “smell them.”

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We go through our lives one Starbucks at a time, punctuated by meetings, phone calls and long commutes to and from the office where we once again survive hectic schedules of soccer, ballet, ball practice, dentist visits, and maybe a trip to grandmother’s house for the holidays.

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We live our lives on screens.  We exchanged the TV for the computer, and now we have tablets that can be utilized during the commercials for things that you simply must have as you disserve them!  We stalk our friends and family through Facebook or other social media and we get our news from snippets doled out in 140 characters or less.

We allow the masses to let us know what is important by what is trending, often times to discover it has something to do with someone’s butt!

Porch Time

When I visit family in other parts of the country I look forward to the visits where the internet does not work and the cell phone gets crappy signals.  I have been known to get some coffee and watch the sunrise on their porch and I have also been known to sit on the porch with a good book if no one was around or, engage in “social intercourse” with those that made the time to do so.

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Those are moments where I either invested in myself or in others through a just about lost art of “talking.”  Carrying on a conversation without LOL or OMG and in more than 140 characters!

Goals

Set yourself some short term goals and long term goals whether it be financial or life goals and track your progress.

Much like project managers track the progress of a project through milestones, task and such, you too should manage your life in such a way that by the time you retire you have the funding to do so, and you have a plan for what you will do during that time of your life.  Both are equally important!

Some will tell you that life just happens but, those are folks analogous to ships at sea, without a rudder!
You must have a rudder if you don’t want to capsize or end up on the rocks!

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Manage your money and manage your time!

If you are called home before you get to retirement, than God has something more important for you to do.

While you are working, try to enjoy what you are doing.  A third of your life you spend working, you should do your best to find something to do that you are passionate about.

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A third of your life you spend sleeping, get a comfortable bed as this is an investment in you.

The commute is just what it is and your options may be different.  Car pools allow you the opportunity to visit with others.  Public transportation would allow you to nap or read and then there are books on tape..  I have been known to use it as “me time” and sing while other drivers looked on, thinking that I had lost it!

Make the most out of the time that you have here and spend your time wisely!

As Marvin Zindler used to say, Good Golf, Good tennis or whatever makes you happy!

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Copyright 2014 All rights reserved.

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Attention #CEO, is your #network #Secure? #Sony thought so!

Attention #CEO, is your #network #Secure? #Sony thought so!

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I received an email from someone asking me about the internet outage in North Korea.

Firstly, if we, (America) had anything to do with it, I think it analogous to punishing a pugnacious brat, by taking away their computer. This kid really needs a good spanking!  For you who think that corporal punishment belongs in the dark ages, well you’re wrong, unless of course you consider North Korea is still in the Dark Ages!

This country, as stated in another blog; keeps its people in the dark.  Looking at a picture from space one can tell that electricity is not even well distributed much less the internet or the free exchange of information and thoughts.

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Contained inside the Red Outline is North Korea. 

If you want to control a people, take away weapons, power, their ability to communicate with others, and feed them a constant feed of Bullshit daily!  Prevarication is called for if you want a submissive people who will do what you say without question.

The people of this country are brainwashed into “loving their dear leader” and believe anything that they are told.  Any type of truculence on their part is met with swift, brutal retaliation.  

If the evidence indeed points to North Korea in the attack of Sony, (the only people with motive,) Most assuredly, there was someone on the inside at Sony. Sony should be looking real hard with forensic experts to determine what happened!

As a security geek, I would love to be part of that team!

The sad truth today is that there could be a spook!   Money talks, with our lack of morality on the rise, it could be anyone.

Most firewalls today are pretty good at keeping bad people out so, planting a spook or a Trojan or worm of some kind on the inside of the firewall, enabling communication from the outside through some spoofed port that is normally open like 80, would have to be employed.

Many of the remote control desktop software out there today which some people use, violate all security protocols.  The problem is that a lot of companies don’t hire a security officer or have a limited IT staff who are too busy resetting passwords and posting on Facebook to be bothered with doing nothing more than putting out fires.

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If you look at the OSI model (which I dare say few are familiar with, consist of 7 layers.  The OSI model (open system interconnection model) is a packet-based structure of layers, or protocol stack.

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  • Starting at layer one, we have the physical layer which is basically your cable and associated hardware which allows your computer to communicate with the host.  This layer is responsible for the “frame bit.”
  • Layer two is the layer that established the protocol used to communicate whether it is frame relay or Ethernet or what have you. This layer is called the data link layer.
  • Layer three is known as the network layer and is responsible for transmitting data from node to node. This layer provides switching and routing information.
  • Layer four or transport layer is responsible for such things as error recovery and end to end flow control.
  • Layer five or session layer sets up, coordinates, and terminates conversations, exchanges, and dialogues between the applications.
  • Layer six or presentation layer works to transform data into the form that the application layer can accept.
  • Layer  seven or application layer is just that  Everything at this layer is application-specific. This layer provides application services for file transfers, e-mail, browser, Google, and other network software services, and yes, Facebook.  This is the layer that the end user has the most to do with in that applications exist solely at this level.

Now that you have a small idea of how one communicates over the internet, looking at this model, how would you interrupt traffic between them and us?

Keep in mind that North Korea gets internet from China and most probably through a Russian satellite. Neither of these do we have control over, so pulling the plug leaves out the physical layer.

Again, I could not use layer two; as again I don’t have control over that either. 

Ah, now layer three I do have control over.  What if I change their known ip addresses to non internet routable or private, much like the 192,172 or 10 subnets?  Now they have to go to Russia or China and beg for another subnet and… as soon as they do, we kill that as well.

Why do we have private addresses you ask?  Most reading this far probably already know this however, there are simply not enough addresses to give every company that wants one, a block of private addresses.

If you look at RFC 1918 a private addresses scheme was created that are not assigned meaning, that they cannot route through the internet.  In this way business’s and homes and even North Korea can use them to their hearts content, on their private networks and then using something called NAT or network address translation can make your home computer look as though it is talking on a public address.

This BLOG’s intent is to underscore the need to have a good CIO and a good security officer.  Your company could be the next Sony and as you can see, if some rogue country like North Korea who has a very limited pool of talent can take down a giant like Sony, just think what a Russia or China or other country who does not stagnate its citizens, and keep them in the stone age could do.

-Best to you and those that you care about and if I don’t get to write again by ChristmasHave a Merry Christmas!

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#home #ownership fraught with #danger

#home #ownership fraught with #danger

Home Ownership, fraught with Danger

Plumbing

I would guess that one of the largest problems with home ownership is plumbing.

You have the simple things like flappers in toilets or valves that leak.  One of the most common is a plugged up drain or toilette.

What if all of the drains stop draining?

This happened in a starter home and the cost to “augur out the main drain” was $65.  A year later I moved to a home that was three times the value.  The main drain stopped draining and I called the same plumber.. Same procedure and the cleanout was even easier to get to.  Big company… $365…

The list is endless and the prices match between the old house and the new.  Re-seat a commode with a wax seal $60.  New house $250.  Lesson, “location matters!”

2 Cents for your $40

One rather expensive outfit came out to unclog a drain and while he was here I ask him about a commode that was rocking a little bit.  He told me for $40 cash, he would fix it.

I was paying for the other work by credit card and was put off by the “cash comment” but I agreed.  I handed him the $40 and this man took two pennies out of his pocket and placed one under each two front corners of the commode between it and the tile floor.

It worked, “for a while” and I felt like I had just been taken to the cleaners.

Home Warrantee’s

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This is probably one of the largest frauds perpetrated on a new home owner.

Purchased a house with a 5 ton air-conditioner, had the house and unit inspected prior to purchase.  One month after we moved in the compressor went out.  After calling the home warrantee folks they did not exactly “spring into action.”  Keep in mind this is Texas and we have two seasons, cool and hot!

During the first week of the outage a person showed up to examine the unit and determined that it was indeed dead.

Two weeks later it was determined that it would have to be replaced as they could not economically repair the unit.

The following week some guys come out to replace the compressor.  Their unit which collects the old Freon looked like it had been beat with a hammer and when I asked what happened to it, they said it had fallen off of the back of the truck!  It looked it.  While I stood there they tried for hours to evacuate the old Freon.  I left, only to go inside and watch from the window where they cut the lines which was followed by copious amounts of white cloudy gas leaving the pipes. Their Freon capture device was for show.

After the unit was replaced they vacuumed out the lines and released the new Freon and turned on the new unit.  Four weeks from start to finish.  Problem: during the day the unit could not bring the house down to anything below 80, it never shut off, and even during the night 76 was a milestone. Oh, you could hear this thing for several houses away in each direction!  It was horrible!

At this point I contacted an independent contractor who examined the installation and determined that they had replaced a 5 ton unit with a 4 ton.  The Carrier that I had when I bought the house was a now a Janitrol “builders special.”

The unit was doing all that it could do, he suggested I look into more insulation and better windows to assist the unit unless I wanted to replace it.

My electric bill was topping $600 a month and we were not even into the hot months yet.

The Janitrol was a 10 seer reciprocating compressor which is technical jargon for inefficient and bottom of the line.  Never mind that it was undersized for the home, and the coil.

Bite the bullet:

New Carrier 5 ton unit and matching heater $13K

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New insulated windows $10K

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More insulation $3K self-installed.

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Another nightmare about to unfold…

While the modifications worked, you could now cool the house and the unit would shut off during the day there were still issues with warm rooms and cold rooms and, we had a wall under the unit have the paint literally sag off of the wall.  It would seem that the primary drain was not working and the water from the condensing unit filled up the pan and ran down the wall.

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The company who came recommended to me had just changed hands.  I called them for warranty work and the first thing I heard is “we don’t sell Carrier.” My heart sank as now I am looking at paying someone else to fix whatever is wrong with this new unit, or so I thought.

Unlike most who would give up; I wrote a letter to them with a copy of the invoice and insisted that they send someone out.

The owner called me; he was sending a “comfort specialist out.”  True to his word, the next morning there was a knock at my door and a rather attractive lady, all of about 5 foot nothing was standing there.  I showed her the damage to the wall, the paperwork from her company and without too many more words she was up in my attic examining the work with one of her folks.

While she did not cuss, I expect that profanities might have been zinging around in her head.  Without any quibbling she said, the guy that did this moved on and this was one of the reasons why.  Nothing about this was installed correctly and if I would allow her; she would have her folks out to remove it, and re-install it perfectly.

It is difficult to find companies that stand behind their work and product and let me tell you, I don’t know how much money they spent on this but, that installation is a work of art.  I gladly pay the yearly contract and they come out and do what needs doing for a small price.

I have her personal cell number and I have had to use it twice, both times she was Johnny on the spot, and oh by the way, she is the owner of the company!

I can see clearly!

The windows were another project with mixed results.

As a homeowner, one tends to go to the hardware store and start asking questions.  That may not be the best advice I could give here.

Without thirteen pages of profanity, let’s just say that it took several visits from different contractors to get the windows installed and caulked correctly.  Hardware stores sub-contract to people who for the most part are looking to fatten their wallet, and not necessarily on the up and up.

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Dust dust and more dust.

When it came to the insulation, I decided to do it myself by renting the machine and buying the material.  While it was a mess, I have lowered my electric bill to around $200 a month, after the addition of a pool.

If I were going to do this again I would use something better than a dust mask.  Matter of fact, I don’t think I would ever do it again.  While I got the job I wanted I breathed out dust for weeks!

Roofs

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When purchasing a house make certain that you have a good inspector inspect everything, including the roof.  This home had cedar shake under composite which I did not think too much about.  In retrospect, I would have negotiated a new roof.

There was evidence of past leaks in closets ceilings, which I spotted, not the inspector.

When I was talking with the inspector in earshot of the homeowner regarding the roof, she went into a frenzy, and started yelling! What is all this talk about the roof, it is fine it is new!  She was beside herself and I guessed that was not the first time she had heard this.

Sure enough, I had to have the roof replaced as it leaked during heavy rainstorms, which was another $10K

 TIP: bring a UV flash lite with you and use it to look for mold and or mildew!  Anything organic will fluoresce giving you a clearer picture of past or present damage!

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Enough?  Naw, more plumbing woes…

During one rather hot summer about 5 years into the home ownership I noticed doors sticking, windows not working right, and cracks in the drywall.

I called one of my friends who happens to own a company that does civil engineering.  He put me in touch with a lady who came out with a line level.  She determined that parts of my home were sinking and others were rising up.

She suspected that there was a leak of some sort under the foundation.

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By this time I had found a plumber who I could trust and had him come out with a camera.  Long story short the drain pipes were rusted out and there was simply dirt for the bottom part of the drain.  The drain from the utility room also contained the drain for the air conditioning and that is where there was lift.

When the ground gets wet it swells and actually jacks the house up into the air doing all sorts of damage.

I called my agent who called the claims office who sent out a company that they hire to do leak detection.

When I asked the guy about the lifting of the house he told me that it was surely the shrubbery outside doing it and not the huge amounts of water under the house.  He was spouting the company line taught to them by the insurance company.

I called multiple foundation “experts” and that could be a book all unto itself!  These folks for the most part, are crooks! just about as bad as the roofers that follow the hail storms..

They send out “sales folk” who try to scare you into doing something with them and only them and you had best do it quickly as your home is fixing to break into multiple parts and then you would need more than a foundation, you may have to bulldoze and start from scratch.

Yes, I embellished the story a little but not much.  They were all over the map however they all did say one thing that was consistent; the parts of the home that were up in the air were caused by water under the foundation.

The insurance folks sent over their engineer to detect why I was having issues and this was interesting as well.  He had soil pulled to test for its “plasticity” well after the plumbing folks had been digging for sometime and had it pulled from areas where there were no water leaks, just tunnels that were made to get to the bad pipes.

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Even the lay person can see from this chart that if you pull the sample to test from a part of the “dig” that was not near the leak the results will of course be skewed in favor of the ….wait for it….the insurance company! 

I contacted the agency that regulates these folks. They reported that they had several complaints against this guy, he sides more with the insurance company in most of his cases. 

Why am I telling you all of this?

Get your own independent specialist,  these guys work for the insurance company and I suspect that in order to continue getting business from them, they must find for the insurance company most of the time or when they can cast a shadow of doubt.

Insurance is a necessary evil, and they are not your friends! They don’t care about you in the slightest.  They care about revenue and since they can’t come break your legs, or burn your business or house, if you don’t buy insurance; they simply screw you on the back end!  Like they might pay off, but then drop you.

My house was once hit by lightening. It did about ten thousand in damages.  They paid off less deductible, but then cancelled my fire insurance!  I had to purchase higher priced fire insurance through another carrier! There was no fire but since it is under the fire part of the policy guess what, they are not smart enough to differentiate between the two and Viola!  These folks are not cute lizards with English accents or plucky ladies with a name badge.  These folks are bean counters with attitude!

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I could continue on but you get the point.  Shop your insurance and get a deductible that you can live with, should you need it.  Shop your insurance often as these guys buy business every now and then; so why not take advantage of lower rates.

There is no cheese in this maze!

A housing development company purchased some land that has been a field for years recently.  After clearing the land of trees, brush and all of the other vegetation the lands inhabitants came into our neighborhood.  We have been run over with rabbits, coyotes, bobcats, snakes, rats not to mention mice, raccoon’s and opossum’s.

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While sitting in my office I heard the unmistakable sound of something in the attic.  Making a note to contact the pest control folks I thought little more about it.  A few days later opening up my closet door I was met with what looked like a cat toy at first until I realized that it was a dead rat!  Well, mostly dead; the rat found the cat or the cat the rat and its neck was broken pretty efficiently.  Not bad work for a nine month old kitten.  There was no blood, no fuss no muss, just a dustpan and broom and out to the trash.

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Later that night there was another one that was discovered just outside the closet, this would be the female of the two, also with a broken neck.  This one was dead.

I made certain that all of the places that any creatures could make it into the attic were closed off and the sounds stopped.  A few days later there was the unmistakable smell of dead critter in the attic.  The two had made babies and moved into the attic right before a cold snap, and made a nest, and discovered the cats.

Google “pest control” and people come up that lead you to believe that they will find and remove dead critters in your attic!  I called and spoke with them regarding same.  I made sure to tell them what I needed, and an appointment was set up.

Two days later the guy shows up, heads up to the attic and in seconds informs me that I have an “infestation!”  He tells me that it would do no good to put out traps as he would only get a few dozen before they would become smart and know that it was not a safe food source and leave them alone!

Did you remember me saying that the noise had stopped?

I let him give his spiel as I was now interested at how much this “removal of some dead baby rats / mice” would cost.  They don’t believe in poison because the animal will just die somewhere and the smell will be there.  He tells me that the poison is cyanide and these rats can live through it.  The truth of it is that the “poison” is Warfarin or other anticoagulant that taken in large quantities causes the animal to seek water where it hemorrhages and dies. Yep, that is the same blood thinner that they give us!

RAT 101

I am then confronted with a “free” class on rats.  It would seem that they emit a pheromone that can be detected for miles.  Once they inhabit your attic it is like a neon sign posted in rat for “VACANCY!”  When you get an infestation it has a really bad smell that these trained “salesmen” can detect with their “good sniffers.”

He further went on to say that they make babies often and in a few days you have hundreds of them living in your attic and they carry all sorts of diseases including the Hantavirus!

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These guys “the rats” are smart and they bore holes in your air ducts and use them as “super highways” defecating and pissing in them which as it dries gets blown by the air and heat into your house and you in turn breath it in and become sick!  You might even die!  There is no way that you can take a chance on breathing rat shit!

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Bottom line, they would need to come out and suck out and take out all of the insulation from the attic down to the ceiling.   They suck up the rats and their offspring at this time and “it is kind of gross to hear the rats being sucked up!” Then they spray some disinfectant.  They remove all of the insulation on your air ducts and repair any damage to the air duct itself caused by the rats and re-insulate them.  Then they re-install up to 4 inches of cellulose insulation treated with Boric Acid as this burns the skin of any rodent that they miss.  Oh, I forgot that they kick you and your pets out of the house for a few hours while they use some sort of machine that puts a mist inside the house that kills all bacteria and or viruses.

So, the two rats / large mice that had babies somewhere in the attic that died of starvation which was supposed to cost $65 to remove them; was now going to cost $12,000.00 with a lifetime warrantee or $11,000.00 without the warrantee, and since I have an AARP card, I get another 10% off which brought it down just under Ten Grand before taxes!  “When can we get started?”

Now, he said all of this with a straight face…

Please he said, look us up on the BBB or Angie’s list, people think we are great!  “Think” being the operative word.  Since I have heard no more noises in the attic I decided to put him off just a little while “so I could laugh without insulting him.”  Truthfully I have been in the attic and seen nothing that would lead me to believe that there was anything to think about other than those two that met the cat!  But, I went to the hardware store and purchased some mouse traps and  rat traps.

Rat-trap

Loaded them up with premium peanut butter, and put them in an area where there was some mouse / rat dropping.  Nothing to date has tripped either trap!  Now one would think that if I had a $12,000.00 infestation, that one of them would have been stupid enough to not recognize the trap, and go for the peanut butter, yes?

Get more than one opinion!  As I get older I swear there must be a target on me somewhere that says, here is an old guy and they are stupid!

Reverse it!

I am dubious about reverse mortgages…

If you listen to the commercial carefully, as he tells you that there is no hidden traps, etc he says that you can get “your equity” out of your home in the form of a reverse mortgage.

I am no math wiz but lets say you purchased your home for $150,000.00  .  You paid about half a million for it with interests and such, and it is now worth $750.000.00.

If I understand him correctly, and correct me if I am wrong, you can only get your original $150K paid monthly and the “loan” is paid back once the last person who took out the loan leaves the home. When you or your spouse “last one living, dies!”

So, do they get your $750K house for whatever fraction of the original equity that they paid you back, or do the heir’s get the rest of the $150K or, do they get to sell the home for whatever it is worth, and pay back the reverse mortgage folks?

Sounds too good to be true to me and maybe you don’t give a damned about your heir’s and maybe getting pennies back on the dollar is ok with you but, if it were I, I would look into this very carefully.  Fred Thompson was a politician after all!

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It would make sense to me to sell the home for whatever the market will bear and go live with the kids! Make sure that they have all of the cable channels, really good food and don’t mind waiting on you hand and foot, you know, the way that you did for them!   Of course, having some money in a bank account looking like a carrot dangling from a stick would not be a bad plan either.

I might add to this as I think of more.  There is plenty more I am sure but those are the highlights that come to mind.

If you know anything about this reverse mortgage stuff, I am interested in your take!  I have only listened to the commercial, about a thousand times, and it does seem fishy!

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Add me to your follow list and tell others about me!  This is good stuff here and all for free!

-Best

#fracking #earthquake Is it really worth it? @thewellsreport

#fracking #earthquake Is it really worth it? @thewellsreport

Fracking…Food for thought

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Denton County in North Texas made it illegal to “frack” in the city limits.

Certain radio commentators “who do not live there” are calling “Dentonites” Stupid!

http://www.660amtheanswer.com/local-personalities/the-wells-report/

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Having lived in Texas (and in Denton County) since 1962 the only earthquakes I have ever felt prior to recently, have been while traveling; non here in Texas until last year… after Fracking started.

When earthquakes started occurring in places where fracking was taking place the gas companies produced studies and other scientific data that conclusively proved it had nothing to do with what they are doing, simply a coincidence.  Hmmmm Bullshit!

My problem is not with lower energy cost, or even the small earthquakes from time to time, my problem is A: the sons of bitches lied about it, and continue to do so.  B: they are putting toxic substances in the ground that could and most probably will end up in the water that you drink and C: We are getting nothing for assuming the risk.

Lets take them in order, shall we?  Fracking turns solid rock formations into gravel.  What was once a stable solid “billions year old” rock formation is now gravel.  The solid rock that was keeping any movements of the plates from happening is now no longer solid thus, the plate is moving.

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Knowing something about this, I doubt that there will be anything like in California but, it could happen.  There are major faults not too far from here and turning things in to gravel could relieve enough tension in the plates to allow the fault to move in a large way, affecting millions.  And where will they be if this happens?  Again they will prevaricate their way out of it, provide scientific proof from “the global warming scientist” that it was inevitable, and they had nothing to do with it, while they just fade into the background while the people bury their dead, pick up the pieces, and so forth.

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 I don’t trust them, and neither do the good Folks of Denton Mr. Wells!

B: We need civilian oversight that has nothing to gain by lying. We have so many people who will sell their sole for the buck that we need a Ralph Nader type organization to watch these folks to make certain that everything that they do is above board.  If people get cancer or die of other contamination due to fracking their message will be “not us, we were never there!”

C: I would like to see them purchase earthquake insurance for the citizens in the areas that they are fracking.  If they buy it by the boatloads it should be cheap enough as here in Texas, unless the insurance companies have changed, one cannot even purchase it, as until recently the ground has never moved, even a little.

Summary:

Civilian oversight

Ground water test, streams, lakes, wells etc.

The introduction of a marker in the chemicals that they use to inject, that would make their contamination easily traced back to them.  Gasoline companies have used something like this for years, the technology is there, make a law.

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Total transparency; so we don’t have to worry about them saying things like they were never there If something screws up they need to be held accountable.

Purchase insurance that pays for the repair of anything damaged as a direct or indirect result of fracking from the start of the project; until 50 years past the end of the project.  

If they have a problem with this, than I would move to outlaw it.  Not just here, but everywhere!

Fracking in Texas

#speed…#Limits….#Cops…..and …#You

#speed…#Limits….#Cops…..and …#You

Speed….Limits….Cops and You

Road speed limit signs from fifteen to seventy-five. Vector illustration.

Traveling in 49 of the 50 states, I have seen many different types of roads and situations that need some more thought.

There are roads that are labeled 75 that should clearly not be over 60.  There are roads labeled 55 that should be 70.

In fact, I was wondering who decides what the speed limits on these roads should be and what criteria are they using to decide?

Reasonable and Prudent

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The consensus among drivers and those that enforce the law was “reasonable and prudent.”   That is entirely too subjective as clearly what one person thinks is reasonable and prudent another may not agree with.

States with the slowest speed limit that I have seen state wide is by far, hands down Hawaii.  Some roads are 15mph and the fastest I found was 50mph.  While it is reported that it is 60mph somewhere on an island, I never found it.  Renting a Mustang Convertible while in Hawaii was a waste. I truthfully had to keep it in first or second most of the time, to avoid speeding.

In questioning several of the locals I was told that each time that there was an accident they lowered the speed limit.  The problem with that method however was that the impairment of the driver was not figured into the algorithm.

I doubt that you will find that officially written anywhere however; I am fairly certain that being legally intoxicated, I could manage those speed limits and get from point A to B safely.

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Please don’t take that as a proclamation to drink and drive as I am very much against that behavior.  Twenty Five (25) years ago I was in a head on at 60mph with a drunk driver.  He did not even have a seat belt on and was released from the hospital that day.  I on the other hand barely lived through it was in the hospital for weeks, and live in pain to this day because he drank and drove.

It is a well known fact that 1 out of 3 drivers are impaired in some way.  Add to this statistic that several of these folks have to surf the web, post on Facebook, text and or try to make a call while driving!  This is all bad folks, you can kill yourself, and others too!

The fastest speed limit I have found in my travels is in Texas.  Recently they have raised the speed limit to 85 on a road between San Antonio and Austin.  There is indeed a 40 mile stretch of road that is 85 and I am guessing that many push 90, without trepidation of getting a ticket.

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So why speed limits?

The obvious answer is that people don’t always exercise prudent and reasonable so we have to “tell people” what that is by way of signs.  Of course there are penalties for deviating from those standards.

Insurance-Policy

The insurance company has an interest in keeping speeds down as the faster that someone is going is directly proportional to the amount of injury and or damage caused by an accident.  Traveling faster in and of itself statistically renders more accidents, thus more expense. The lizard or the good hands folks don’t give a tinkers damn about you, they care about the bottom line and slowing you down, making you wear a seat belt and a helmet if on motorcycle saves them money. Yes they have lobbyist on Ave. K and yes they contribute to whatever politician will give them favorable laws to help their bottom line.

My issue with speed limits is that there is no consistency.  They are arbitrary and assigned by local municipalities and yes, some are known speed traps.

I give you example A: Waldo Florida was an infamous speed trap.  Their officers had ticket quotas, and after a state investigation the chief resigned and the entire police force were disbanded.

There are several other towns in Florida which are just as notorious but my personal experience comes from a visit to the Keys.  I flew into Miami, rented a mustang convertible and headed to the Keys.

Every time I looked into the mirror there was a cop.  As soon as they ran the plate and it came back to the rental company, they were gone.  Once getting on the stretch of road that is the Keys, that was another story.

The Overseas Highway is 127 miles of 55-45-35 and 30 and if you’re in a sport car you had best be doing 50-40-30-25.  Each and every little town along the way has plenty of cops in newer cars, all looking for someone with out of state money to add to their coffers.  The entire 127 miles is under construction but, I never saw anyone doing anything however; there are signs that are flashing “active construction.”

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My advice to you is rent an old truck.  Rent something from one of those “rent a clunker companies” that won’t do 55 going off a cliff!  Firstly, it would be cheaper and secondly the cops won’t look too hard at you.

While I enjoyed my visit to the Keys and did not enrich the local’s coffers, I was amazed that truly, driving that red mustang around garnered more attention from the local cops than if I had been Ernest Hemmingway himself!  I would love to cruse through there in a Lotus, and see what that does. Of course I would need an attorney on retainer as I would bet I would get stopped for something.

I drove under the speed limit my entire time in Florida.  I averaged 39 mpg in a Mustang!  On my way back to the airport I was looking for a gas station that was not $5 something a gallon, which the gas stations around the airport are, when once again a cop in the left hand lane saw me and swooped over three lanes to get behind me to yes, run my plates and then he was gone!

Profile!  No, surely not!

Florida is not the only state to have speed traps.

Louisiana has some of the worst speed traps around.  The local folks are so snake bit that the locals go 50 in a 55, not old folks in old pick up trucks but young people in sporty cars travel under the speed limit.  That to me is kind of a clue that speeding is an industry or revenue source; and it should not be.

Most of the little towns in Louisiana have the local cop, sheriff or trooper hidden in the trees just behind the sign lowering the speed limit from 55 to 45; so by the time you see it, you had best be standing on your brakes!

This actually inspired me to purchase a radar detector as I was traveling in Oklahoma.  Without advanced notice there is a sign lowering your speed limit from 55 to 45 and the local sits out of view waiting for you to cross that line of demarcation between 55-45 and the lights go on and you are ticketed for “SPEEDING!”

Escourt & Valantine

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I am not a sales person for these companies.  I do not have stock in these companies and I will not make a nickel off of this plug.  If you are tempted to fight the fight against entrapment, “which is what this is” get an Escourt or Valentine radar detector.  Both of these are the top of line, and will trigger at least a half mile away, unless of course they are using LIDAR or instant on.  Most of them are too lazy to hold the gun, so most of the time it will be just sitting there giving you ample notice.  Do not waste your money on any of the other brands, I have tried them all, these two are the only two that work. Yes, they are expensive, about the cost of a ticket! Do your own research however; there are plenty of reviews on line.

Please don’t mis-understand my advocating radar detectors, as some means to break the law.  I advocate them to level the playing field! Sitting behind a bush “hunting” someone like an animal for not standing on their brakes when they see the 45 mph sign is disingenuous at best, and to my way of thinking complete and utter Bullshit!

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If you are driving in a manner that is unsafe you should be ticketed. 

Not standing on your brakes however; to get your car down from 55 to 45 by the time you cross some imaginary line is BullShit!  If you are slowing you car either by taking your foot off of the gas, or making any other attempt to abide by the lower speed limit, that shows intent to obey the law, and therefore should be fine and not incur a fine!  Towns without warning signs saying slower speeds ahead are sadly speed traps in the making, if not active; and should be called out.

Destruction Zones

I rail against this form of totalitarian abuse! To put up signs warning of construction to double the fines, without so much as a spade of dirt disturbed, is extortion, and needs to be overturned in congress.  This practice needs to be outlawed and anyone who has been ticketed in this form should have some sort of class action suit against those that perpetrate such BullShit. Active construction zones means that the workers are present and actually doing something that warrants the slower speed.  A sign saying “active construction zone” without anybody doing anything is wrong, and should be criminal!

Here are the problems which make this what it is:

Ticketing folks is lucrative. Some police departments get a source of revenue from tickets.  This is wrong and needs to change.  Make no mistake, I want them out doing their job, I don’t want them to make a “fucking” game out of it!  Giving a ticket to someone messes up their insurance, adds points to their license, and messes up their day.  If you are going to give someone a ticket it should be for willful disobedience to the law, not an innocent mistake, or certainly not some crappy speed trap.

There are over 80,000 known speed traps in this country.  That is 80,000 places where the cops either make a game out of giving tickets or….it is a source of revenue.

States, find another way to pay your cops.  Any revenue from tickets should go into education or some fund that will not promote illegal activity like speed traps!

Police folk, if you pull someone over for an infraction and you know what I mean by infraction, not slowing down quick enough comes to mind and…. They don’t have any kind of record etc, give them a warning, shake their hand and let them know that you are there for them, and not the assholes that see this as a revenue source.

You folks who see this as revenue, you need to be voted out of office, or kicked out or what have you.  You and your ilk are the reason that half this country hates Cops!  Speedtraps and other bullshit that you guys have done for eons needs to stop and it needs to stop now!

Police folk all over the country need to hire a PR firm, figure out how to get back on the side of the folks that you “protect and serve,” and not be some cog in some arbitrary revenue stream for municipalities.  You are better than this!

I have a lot of friends who happen to also be cops.  Thank God I know of noone that has some quota to fill or likes giving tickets!  What the hell has happened to us!?

It is not us against them, and I hate to see that kind of talk in social media.  You guys, and I am talking to the man in blue, need to step it up and change how folks perceive you.  If you can’t afford a PR firm, I used to work for one, write me and I will give you some free tips, although this blog contains much info.

Consistency

The roads in this state alone defy logic how they are regulated.  If one thought as I do, one would think that once again they are regulated in such a way to make some revenue off of speeders.  I would call on the state to regulate how these roads are rated.  One example comes to mind with no obvious answers.  Highway 20 coming into Dallas is 75mph until about 20 miles out or so and it drops to 65.  I traveled this road the other night and I saw no sign warning me to slow down.  My Garmin is set to make a noise if I am speeding, and it started beeping after I crossed some imaginary line.  Shortly after that line, true to form, there was a trooper giving someone a ticket!

Why does the road slow down to 65mph.  One could make the argument that you are now in the city limit of Dallas???  So the hell what! It is the same road, same amount of lanes so I am at a loss.  One might retort that in the city limit, one does not need to be going above 65.  So when I jump on the GBT and the speed limit is 70MPH and it is all in the city limit what is that?  It should stay 75 until it hits 635.  By then you are in enough traffic that 75 may not be possible but, every time that I have traveled this road, every time, 75 mph would have been easy!

The citizens of this country disserve consistency, and responsible thoughtful planning.

I am thinking that the state should control the freeways, and the cities control the “non highway surface streets” as the state does not need to micro manage those. If that is already the case, damn; we need to fire some folks!

Revenue

One would no doubt make the argument that this is all about public safety and not about revenue.  If that is the case why are you installing red light cameras, and cameras that take your picture if you are speeding?

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Public safety and red lights I get.  Drones on some lonely stretch of nowhere taking your picture and sending you a ticket for speeding, I am sorry, that is a revenue generator, and disingenuous at the very least, and should be illegal.

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Why illegal??  When an officer is going to stop you for speeding the officer is supposed to judge “by his eye,” that you are speeding and driving in an unsafe manner and then confirm with radar, not the other way around.  If you watch traffic for any time at all, you too can tell when someone is speeding, without radar.  You have been on the road when some asshole is swerving in and out of traffic, which is when we want the man in blue to turn on the lights and go stop them!  This same night I was passed by several people swerving in and out of traffic racing!  They must have been pushing 90 on 635!  I want them out there to protect and to serve.  I want them out there getting the drunks off the streets!  I want them to stop me if I am one of the assholes driving in an unsafe manner.  I want them to get the folks off the road that drive 40 in a 65!

Their primary reason for stopping someone should be to protect and serve, not to make money for the city, county or new equipment or bonuses or raises or anything pecuniary!  You cannot do your job correctly if your motive is not to protect and serve!

It is time to stop.  Secondly, and more importantly we need to repair the relationships between the man-in-blue and the ordinary citizen.  We do that in many ways but firstly we stop harassing them for allowing their car to drift a couple miles over the speed limit, on a place in the road that goes downhill.  This is not a god damned game!

It is past time that this type of revenue generation is curtailed, and we need to have legislation introduced at the federal level, as well as the state level to stop it.

We have several spots where I live that the cops like to hang out and ticket people for really minor infractions.  I listen to them on the scanner and let me tell you, some of these guys are pretty childish!  And they have guns!

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To sit at the bottom of a hill and stop someone for a minor infraction is “BULLSHIT!”

If you think that is a great game to play while you wait for the next adrenaline filled chase, than you qualify as a rectal sphincter!  You really mess up people’s days, nights and some people a lot longer than for a few moments of entertainment for yourselves, and your buddies, and $220 for the city!

This needs to stop!

I mentioned in a previous blog that our men in blue need to have active body cameras streaming video up to the cloud while they are on duty.  This video and sound would be visible and audible in a NOC type display that their boss and dispatcher have access to and there would be active oversight.  If the cop has a problem with that, he needs to find another line of work.  These guys have the power to kill; and that needs active oversight!

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If the cop on the street is the rectal sphincter, he needs to go find something else to do.

After you finish reading my blog and forwarding it and all of that fun stuff, go read about some of the speed traps.  Is your city on here?

http://www.speedtrap.org/

Don’t leave yet!

What can you do?

Citizen, firstly let me tell you that I feel your pain.  I should be able to have a red sport car and not be followed, stopped, and harassed because I am a guy in a red sport car! I am too old for this shit, and damned tired of it!

Radar Detector:

Unless it is illegal in your state, and I think that there are only one or two that it is, get one and use it.  Don’t use it to speed but, if your town is on one of those speed trap towns, get it.  They have them now with built in GPS that has a data base of red light cameras as well.  I don’t want you ever running a light, ever!  But, I do want you to know where they are so you will make certain that you don’t try and make the light on a yellow if you can stop without getting rear ended.  The big issue with lights is that they too are inconsistent in the amount of time that they are yellow.  That is why robotic law enforcement is flawed!  You are guilty until proven innocent, with this technology, which is …..BullShit!

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They even make a Radar Detector that is built in so it is not obvious that you have it, if your locals have attitude about such things that may be a way to go.  Escourt has one that is a GPS unit and also a radar detector so it would not stand out like a red flag to a bull!

Remember, you are buying this and using it as a way to stay within the confines of the law, not to break it.  So Mr. Cop with a hard on for people who have these, not all of us are the kinds of folks who get them so we can break the law! We just want to know where you are, if you are one of those who want to hide behind a tree and wait for us to not slow down enough before we cross your imaginary line.

Lights Camera Action!

Which brings up a question; why is it illegal for me or you to flash your lights to warn others that there is a cop around?  Folks that is Bullshit!  If I flash my lights warning others that there is a cop around, I am doing a public service as I am slowing folks down.  It is no different than the cop himself being visible driving up and down the freeway.  This law too needs to change and maybe this is a change.org thing! By the creation of that law you are abridging my freedom of speech!  Flashing my lights is a code, which is a form of speech!

If someone happens to be a lawyer and wants to do something for the little people, either get a ticket for this, or solicit to do some pro-bono work for someone who gets a ticket for this, and let’s take it to court!  Bullshit laws need to be challenged!  This case would make a name for the attorney who challenged it and won!

Dash Camera

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Dash Cameras are cheaper than ever before and many have built in GPS as well as a G sensor.  If you are stopped, you have enough information to go to court and I recommend that you do!  It is interesting how polite people become, when they are being recorded.  The officer cannot legally touch your camera, phone or search your car without a warrant.   Don’t let him!

If you are stopped, turn on the dome light; put your hands in plain view.  I don’t think that any of them go out today and think, “I wonder if I will get to shoot anyone today” but, when they stop you, their adrenaline is pumping. I can hear it in their voice, and if you get a scanner, you will too.  You do not want to give them a reason to touch their gun, or Tazer, or club, pepper spray or anything else.   You do not want to be an accident!

M-Lighting

The time and place to be confrontational is court, not on the side of the road with them who hold all the cards!  You really have no idea what possessed them to become a cop in the first place.  Are they control freaks, or do they really care about people, and want to protect them, the answer is “yes” but which one is which?

This should have been Protested
This happened right here in Irving Texas

Garmin / GPS

My GPS has a data base of the roads and associated speeds and notifies me if I am going over the speed limit.  It is annoying as it beeps at one mile over.  If Garmin can make this adjustable or perhaps your brand does this, and it can be adjusted to 3 or 4 mph tolerance vs. 1, this is a good tool, and I would use it.  I actually do, even though it is bothersome.

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Scanner

This device if used the way I recommend, will accomplish a few things.  Firstly you will get a feel for the folks that work for the local police force.  While they also communicate by phone and encrypted text via a laptop “talk about distracted driving;” they do a fair bit on the regular old two-way and car to car.

Where I live most of them are very professional and they have a hard job.  I would not want it.  They have a certain amount of hubris that comes out in their voice, mannerisms and when in person you can certainly tell it by some of their glibness. They are not SGT Friday on the old FBI show of the 60’s

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Recently our town had one of those “collect old drug” events.  This is a great way to get all of the old prescription stuff out of your house and not have to toss it in such a way that is not recommended, as it will taint the water supply and or dump site.  As I asked the officer what they did with it, his answer was “we take it and sell it for top dollar!” About the time I snapped my head looking up at him to try and figure out his trite response and attitude, the guy next to him answered in the respectful manner that I was looking for.  Quickly I noticed that the guy beside him happened to be a friend of mine and when the sarcastic cop realized that I was somebody, he too became serious and to the point.

My reason for asking was that all of these contained information labels that I wanted them to have so they knew what they had but, I did not necessarily want just anyone knowing who I was and what I was taking.  The point to this is that is one of the childish behaviors that cops cannot have when they are on the job.

I use the scanner to know what is going on in my town and the surrounding towns.  They have scanners now that not only auto program themselves but, they also have built in GPS that will program them accordingly for your location.  That would be handy on a road trip.

Friends

Assume that these guys are the good guys, and they are there to protect and serve.  If you are pulled over, record everything, be polite, and if you feel that you were mistreated; go down to the police station and talk with the Sergeant.  If that does not prove fruitful, and you still think that they were wrong, take it to court!

Court

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Why do we have courts? Today we live in such a litigious society that everyone wants to sue everyone for anything.  The courts are clogged up with petty bullshit among other things.  The lawyers are the benefactors, and truth be told probably the real villains in this whole story.

We sue to right a wrong.  If you were wronged by someone, say the police, you take it to court and sue, not to get money but to stop it from happening to someone else.  To me that is the only real reason to take anyone or anything to court, “to leave the world a little better place than when you found it.”

Thus ends my epistle on speed, cops, you and the meaning of life..  Ok, maybe not the meaning of life but, another blog for another day…

-Best to you and those that you care about…And that is especially true for my friends wearing Blue…  I know what you guys do, and while this blog is critical of some, I know that is the minority. 

#Airtraffic

#Airtraffic

Air Traffic

I live in an area that at any given time has aircraft overhead.  It you sit in the backyard and just look up you can see aircraft going in all directions.

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On multiple occasions I have seen aircraft that could not be a half mile apart.  Today, two aircraft at the same altitude were intersecting when the westbound aircraft made a maneuver taking him abruptly north of his path.  The horizontal separation was staggeringly close.

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I realize that they have changed to a GPS system but as someone who lives under this “point on the map,” I would appreciate a little more separation as I really don’t want to become a statistic of those who had a plan crash on them.

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Southwest is one of the biggest perpetrators of flying below the radar.  Those folks fly so low at times I swear I can see the people looking out the windows!

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Only a few times have any of the larger jets, 747’s come over the house.  Those things are unmistakable with the sound that they make.

One time this summer there was a southbound 727 which all of the sudden veered to the left while pouring the coals to it to gain altitude, seconds later a 747 came over the house from the south.  Those things rarely if ever fly over this area so where he came from and where he was going is a mystery.  He was low, under 2000 and at the same approximate altitude that Southwest uses to land at Love Field.

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Between two major airports and several general aviation airports, air traffic in the area is robust.  You don’t have to go to an air show to see a lot of different types of aircraft.

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Several of these flew over one day heading to an air force base in the area.  They were following several big helicopters.

There is a large contingent of military aircraft that also fly around with the most notable being the old war birds.  Those too have a unique sound but nothing like the Osprey.  Those things when they fly by, have a sound all to themselves.  Sounds kind of like the big helicopters but different.

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One of the most unique aircraft that I see from time to time is a Beech craft. 

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Compound the tight traffic patterns and the idea that drones will be and are sharing that air space and one has to wonder how much room we have for error?

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There are multiple news reports of pilots seeing these things on landings.

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This is an idea of what air traffic looks like over the US in a given day!

Safe Travels!

#Gods and #Insects

Gods and Insect

 The text below contains some graphic language and situations that some might find offensive.

Seventy three years after one of the greatest tragedies to ever befall this country was perpetrated; we find ourselves in the midst of yet another struggle for mankind.

The word “Mankind,” has a hollow ring to it as I write it.  In light of recent events unfolding around the globe, I often wonder how it is that we have not managed to destroy ourselves.  We have enough nuclear material to kill all living things on this earth many times over.

More than the WMD, we have a never ended supply of hate.  We cherish the hatred, and feed off of it like it was some tonic that would cause destruction to our enemy’s.  We see heinous crimes committed against our fellow man, and feed off the anger.  We are taught to love our enemy but, that is a little tough when your heart is full of anger, isn’t it?

We see Americans who hate America and everything that it stands for.  We watch as innocent people loose their livelihoods because someone ran afoul of the law and paid the ultimate price.  We have lost trust in our governing bodies, and indeed don’t trust the man on the street, who we hire to protect us, from those that would harm us.

We have celebrities who for whatever reason think it necessary to foment racial tension using their celebrity status and while they are at it, desecrate the flag.  I wonder how many wounded warriors and vets saw that; and would love to have been there to visit with you about that.

Our government lies to us, and the media covers it up.  We have folks on either side of the isle that are either stupid, or ideologues, or just plain brainwashed into believing that communism will work “this time.”

Communism never has worked.  The people at the top enjoy living like a king, and everyone else is subjugated to supporting them and their reckless endeavors while surviving on what is not taken from them.

There was an analogy that I heard the other night that made sense.  If you think of the people as gods and insects, some are born gods, the rest insects.  The gods don’t worry about stepping on a few ants!

Every communistic country has gods and insects!  North Korea, a xenophobic country run by a 20 something year old god, or son of a god; keeps its people ignorant of the rest of the world and literally in the dark.  They are the worker bees in that bee hive and there is one queen, well leader.

Kim Jong iI was truly given god status.  His legacy includes the fact that he never defecated.    Gods don’t poop.  On his first ever game of golf he scored a 38 under par with no less than 11 holes in one! This God was enthralled with movies.  While he enjoyed King Kong movies it is reported that he owned somewhere in the vicinity of 20,000 DVD movies.  He enjoyed Pornography, and had a huge stash of same.

This God had a fear of flying, so he traveled everywhere by armored train car.  While millions of North Koreans were starving to death, this god had shipments of live lobsters shipped to his train as he traveled. Dignitaries that traveled with him from time to time noted that whatever kind of food you wanted, was delivered.

His list of accomplishments goes on to say that he composed 6 operas in 2 years

This god liked the spirits to the tune of $800,000.00 in one year. Cognac Hennessy and Burgundy red wines from France were also shipped to his train.

Officially, Kim was born in Siberia while is father Kim-iL Sung was in exile. The “official Korean story is” that He was born in a log cabin on North Koreas highest mountain, where the event was marked by a double rainbow and a bright star in the sky.

This particular God had a reverence for the King, Elvis Presley.  He had several jump suits and even had glasses that looked like the kind that Elvis wore.

After his death, his son took the rains and it is reported that his son went and had plastic surgery to look more like his father.

While they call it the “Democratic Peoples republic of Korea,” that is where democracy ends.

There are gods, and insects.

Some other not so nice gods were:

Talat Pasha. 

As the Grand Vizier of the Sultan in the Ottoman Empire circa 1917 – 1918 Talat declared an order to wipe out the Armenian Race.  They were forced into concentration camps, force to trudge naked with no food or water and when they could no longer continue they were killed.  The entire male population of Angora was exterminated.  The methods of their killing were bayonets, clubs, axes, hammers, spades, saws, and scythes.  Many were mutilated via their genitalia.  Tens of thousands were burned, drowned, poisoned, crucified, boiled and beaten to death.  Talat is accredited for killing over 1.5 million Armenians.

Josef Mengela

This physician was known as the Angel of Death in the Auschwits concentration camp.  His job was initially to choose which Jews were to be sent to the concentration camps to be killed.  He experimented on them like lab rats.  This “person” is accredited with killing over 400,000 Jews by various methods including torture.  Much like the Syrians he would torture children to see how long they could live while being tortured.  He would choose twins and see if there were any differences.  He escaped to South America where he died of a stroke in 1985.

 Does this new Universal health care have such things in it like death panels?  There is indeed a small group that will decide when they have spent enough on keeping you alive or when they should just let you die.  How far have we really gotten away from playing god?

Reinhard Heydrich

This person was the Chief of the Reich Main Security Office and second most powerful person in the SS. His actions caused the death of millions of people.  He was responsible for the mass murder of Soviet Officials and Russian Jews.

Saddam Hussein

This congenial fellow was responsible for the death of over 2 million people. He authorized chemical attacks killing over 5000 people.  His other campaigns killed between 50,000 and 100,000 Kurds. Torture included such things as the gouging out of eyes, sever beatings, and electric shocks.  This nice guy had 40 of his own relatives murdered.  He executed over 400,000 Iraqis.  Many were tortured and he had the sessions filmed so he could watch it later at his home.

Maximilien Robespierre

Here is a swell fellow who was the leader of the French Revolution. Originally he wanted the people of France to have freedom and rights but when he gained power all of that changed.  He became fascinated with cutting off peoples heads! From reading his history there were most probably mental issues “paranoid schizophrenic” as he saw everyone as his enemy and thus cut off their heads via the guillotine.  He had no favorites; from Aristocrats to ordinary folks he killed upwards of 40,000.  Under his orders his men attacked Vendee, killing well over 100,000 men women and children.  He believed that it was better to kill someone, than to forgive them.

Kim Il Sung

We have already referenced This “god” who killed over 3 million people as a result of the Korean war which he started.  After the war he brainwashed the people of North Korea into loving him.  Subsequently he killed all of his officers and rivals.  More than 200,000 people were forced into concentration camps for offenses as small as dropping a picture of Kim.  A crime committed by a father would not only cost him his life but that of his children and their children.  Of over 22 million people, up to 3.5 million died due to starvation.  His death was brought on by an argument with his son who has proven to be worse than his father.

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini

This person was a religious leader from 1979-1989  He was the leader of the Iranian Revolution which killed up to 60,000 people.  Shia law is a strict law which removes individual’s rights. Among strict dress codes there were harsh punishments for breaking any of them.  One could be imprisoned and tortured for listening to music.  People were lashed 100 times for kissing in public.  Failure to believe in Allah meant death.  Death could be met in a few different ways which included hanging, stoned, stabbed in the chest blinded, shot or burned alive to name a few.  If you steal something your hand is cut off.  Clubs cutters and acid were other methods they use for killing people.

Emperor Hirohito

Emperor of Japan from 1926-1989 This wonderful fellow and his army killed countless Chinese, Indonesians, Koreans, Filipinos and Indochinese.  It was he who committed the war crimes known as the Rape of Nan king which alone killed over 300,000 people.  200,000 Women were sexually assaulted.  Husbands were sometimes forced to rape their wife’s and or daughters.  Young girls were raped and if they were too young to be penetrated, a bayonet was used first.  A total of 10 million Chinese were forced into slavery. Many of these were tortured and some were eaten! Many of these were killed in various ways including beheading, burned, boiled, roasted, buried alive, and impaled.  Some were hung by their tongues on iron hooks while some were used for bayonet practice while still others were cut in half by a sword.

These were not nice people.  As the crimes piled up they outdid themselves by disemboweling, hacking, crucifying and dismembering men while similarly women were tortured by having a long stick of bamboo or sword through their vagina.  Thousands were frozen to death and still others died from chemical attacks.  4 million people in Indonesia died from famine and 2 million in Vietnam. 400.000 died of disease and another 580,000 died after being human experiments.  The Sook Ching Massacre killed up to 90,000 Chinese.  Another 100,000 civilians in the Philippines died from the Manila massacre.

In fact, his men had orders to kill burn and loot all Chinese.  Over 20 million Chinese and 10 million Asians in other countries were killed.

Nero

5th Emporer of Rome in AD54 to AD68

He is responsible for the ruin of the empire.  Not only did he kill his entire family the way that he did it was semi-unique in that some were killed in searing hot baths!  He often raped women and cut off their private parts as well as the genitalia of men.  Nero more than likely started the great fire that left its citizens destitute. He blamed the Christians which were then summarily starved to death, burned, torn apart by dogs, fed to the lions, crucified and even used as torches.  Did he fiddle while Rome Burned?

Caligula

Romes 3rd Emperor was a wild and crazy guy underscore Crazy! He liked sexual adventure.  He became ill and his mental facilities were impaired.  He believed that he was god.  Under him the law became an instrument of torture.  His belief was that all prisoners should have a painful death.  He began to brutally murder folks for fun.  He forced families to attend their children’s execution which often consisted of strangulation and decapitation.  This man was truly sick as he would have people sawed vertically from their crotch to their chest.  This man actually chewed on peoples testicles.  People often preferred to die of suicide, versus being one of his victims.

Genghis Khan

Here is another lovely fellow.  He conquered most of China.  He killed people by pouring molten metal in their eyes and ears.  Genghis and his army killed up to 60 million people or up to 30% of the world’s population.

Leopold II of Belgium

King of Belgium from 1865-1909  He ruled the Congo free state and he lied to the world telling them he was helping them. Nothing could be further from the truth.  His men tortured and slaughtered millions of Congolese.  Hundreds of thousands had their hands, feet, noses ears and heads cut off for not bringing enough rubber. Many villages were burned forcing them to flee into the jungle.  His men flogged, raped and ate the natives.  They slaughtered the children to the tune of hundreds of thousands. Leopold and his men are accredited for killing up to 10 million Congolese during his rain of terror.

Tomas de Torquemada

No paper on assholes would be complete without this man.  This was the Grand Inquisitor of Spain.  This man is responsible for the Spanish inquisition which many of you may reference in a time of rebuttal with someone but, I wonder how many really know what this was about.

This inquisition was to root out heretics, those who threatened the Roman Catholic Church.  Remember during this time the church was not only the spiritual guidance place but it was the school and it was also the government!  His first ploy was to get people to turn on one another.  His spies manage to sew enough discontent that friends turned on friends and sons and daughters turn in their parents. Countless people were tortured, whipped, and forced to surrender all of their personal property.   Children died of starvation.  People were often naked when they were tortured.  Foot roasting and suffocation were some of their favorite techniques.  Others were hanged, burned alive or grilled.

Among some of the methods the rack is most probably one of the worst in that the victim would be stretched, often to more than a foot or more of his or her original height. It was then that the inquisitioner would rip of the victim’s nipples, tongue, ears, nose, and genitals, while others were skinned from their neck to their waste.  You were tortured until you confessed to whatever heresy that you were accused of, and then they killed you.

Sounds a lot like the mob in Ferguson wanting a fair trial for Officer Wilson, and then a hanging!

Up to 10,000 Jews were burned at the stake, many died of starvation.  By one account he killed over 30,000 people.

Mao Zedong

Here is a dictator that had some ambitions.  His goal was to make China a superpower that could Rival Russia or even the US.  In the process he created the largest Famine and genocide in history.  Millions died of execution, starvation and or suicide. 5 million Chinese were executed.  Mao turned neighbor against neighbor and sons against daughters against teachers.  He used fear to root out every last hint of dissent.  A criticism issued privately could lead to your death.  The famine killed up to 45 million.  While people were expected to work until they dropped, being late or unable to function would get you beaten.  Mao killed 70 million of his own people.

I could go on..

If you want more, read about

  • Ivan the Terrible
  • Idi Amin
  • Pol Pot
  • Don’t Forget Adolf Hitler
  • Joseph Stalin

Ok, just one more… 

Vlad “Dracula” The Impaler

All of these people were monsters.  It wasn’t enough to kill someone; it was how horribly painful can I do it.  Vlad would have a pole with a semi sharp end oiled and pushed up the person butt or other orifice.  The person was tied in such a way that they could not get off and slowly the pole would work its way up through the body until it emerged out the persons mouth.  The person could live a couple of days in excruciating pain which Vlad loved!  He is said to have killed over 100,000 people.  History records him eating around naked tortured bodies, drinking blood and many more gruesome details.  Nice fellow!

History is rife with things that we have not bothered to learn.  Had we; we might have remembered some of this stuff and when certain people violated the constitution we might object a little more strenuously.  Instead of protesting the fact that a thug was killed by a cop, you may want to think about protesting a president which makes his own laws.

If you notice, most of these monsters, made their own laws; and they had their henchmen do their dirty work. 

“You are either born a God or an insect.  Gods should not spend time thinking about insects, because it is easier to do the things that gods must do if they don’t have to worry about stepping on some ants.”

I borrowed that last paraphrased paragraph from Hollywood.  It was used in a line on a program on TV and it hit home with me.

Who ever get’s into office should really come from humble beginnings.  I think they should have served in the military so they would think twice about sending them into harms way or at the very least, have the background to know what is feasible and what they are sending them into.

America does not have emperors or kings.  The constitution is as germane today as the day that it was crafted Ms. Ginsburg.  If you don’t think that, you should probably retire.

You see, I believe that all men are created equally.  I believe that we have inalienable rights that are endowed to us by our creator, not government. Respectfully; We are not Bugs Mr. President, and you are certainly no god.

-Best

Single point of #failure, #programming and why a #CIO is important.

Single point of #failure, #programming and why a #CIO is important.

A few weeks ago we talked about, single points of failure.  We talked about power lines and data lines having more than one place of ingress to the building.  We spoke of multiple power sources, as well as multiple data paths; much like the internet has multiple data paths. See that post for more information about hardware single points of failure.

vdi10

Today the subject closely relates to this but it is “software.”

Some companies use off-the-shelf solutions and some decide to “roll their own.”

Today we are going to look at the pros and cons of this practice.

Off the shelf:

PRO—

Ready to go with a company to back you up.

A “normal” IT guy or gal can install it and most probably support it as most of these types of software companies have classes on their software.  They offer such classes because they want their product to be successful and they most probably offer some sort of certification for it as IT folk seems to be “gaga” over certifications!

If there is a problem there is a support path.

Depending upon the complexity of the software there may be add-on-modules for your particular needs.  That translates to a cost savings of only buying what you need.

IT personnel are much less expensive than in house programmers and unlike in house software, there is an end to the expense.

Canned software is also easier to find IT people who can work with it vs some home grown software that no one has ever seen before.

Hiring your own in house programmers is like hiring a carpenter to do some project for you that charges by the hour and the project that you want him to do is ill defined.

murphy-brown-for-web

There was a show not too many years ago called Murphy Brown who had Eldon the painter in her house.  Eldon was always doing something and was in her house for the entire show doing something.  While Eldon was a bit player and supposed to be there for this part, the analogy is that she left everything up to him and he had a job for life.

You don’t want an Eldon working for you, unless you really like his company.

With off the shelf or canned software you work within its limitations.

resized_captain-kirk-meme-generator-scope-creep-fae41e

Scope Creep:

Having managed programmers in the past and reporting their progress to the president and or board, it never ceased to amaze me that someone would ask the question, what would it take to make the software do X.

The way that this works is the decision makers come up with a defined set of expectations, which allow a budget to be created.  Once that process is done, so is the definition of the project.  It is then up to the manager to manage the project and make sure that certain milestones are met and in budget.

The danger of developing things in house is that inevitably someone modifies the definition after the budget has been blessed.  If you have no “extra” built in for unforeseen events, than you have to go back to the board and beg.

You can explain it is because they wanted something else but you still come off looking bad.  You should have foreseen that they were going to ask for that and put it into the budget.  (There is a little truth to that last statement.)

With canned software, the project is much more manageable as the cost is pretty much set in stone.  Support contracts are easily budgeted for as is training of your people.

Designing in house software has more risk than payback.

Most probably you keep your staff small so if one person does this part of the project and another that part of the project and then something happens to them, well, you have a single point of failure.

Documentation of the software developed in house must be meticulously managed and like a DR plan, it must be tested! If it is not done in this manner the software becomes worthless when that developer is no longer there.

Around 10% of development time is or should be documentation time.  Documentation should contain a version number much like the rev level of the software.  Outdated documentation is worthless.

Unlike the mindset among some IT people that do not document anything, the programmer must document their software in such a way that a future programmer can pick it up and run with it.  This documentation might include things like UML diagrams and key design features. Comments in the code are nice, but are not enough.

As with any DR, there is a “living document” as it also is with code.  The documentation is a live process and must be updated as the code is developed.

Programmers certainly know the best practice techniques of this process but the CEO may not.  Some people develop self documenting code.

The old adage “Don’t expect what you don’t inspect.” Is salient, germane and just damned important!

There are no good surprises in business and if you keep with that as your mantra, you will be served well.

The Cons to off the shelf are that it is fixed.  Whatever you purchased is only as flexible as it was designed to be, “a one size fits all” solution.  For most companies this may be enough.

Most companies are generic enough that they can work with that.

Some projects are just foolish to try and roll your own as the cost will not justify the ends.

I know of one company who has someone in the upper echelon of the company that is a developer.  Instead of using canned software for such things as DNS, they wrote some scripts with pointers to a LMhost file.  Of course there was no documentation so as an engineer figuring out why there were duplicate IP addresses or why IP addresses did not match the device and so forth was a nightmare!  Wireshark to the rescue.

There are standards in the industry for a reason.

Canned software allows the CEO to get the best talent for the job and allows him a wider field to choose from.  If their set up is so unique that only a select few can manage it, he is paying way more for a system that dies when the creator of it dies or just gets upset and quits.  The golden handcuffs are than on the business owner as he must necessary play nice with his programmers.

Remember, no employee should be sacrosanct.  Everyone must necessarily be treated as expendable because of the “hit by a bus scenario.”

hit-by-bus

In house code must be tested to make certain that it is supportable by outside people.  If it is not, it should be fixed, scrapped or replaced with something that is, or is off the shelf.

Canned software?
Canned software?

This is a very important reason to have a “good CIO!”  Any good CIO has the companies’ best interests at heart and knows better to save a penny here and waste thousands there.  The CIO must be incredibly technology savvy as well as possess business acumen.

I have worked for many over the years that were one or the other or neither, but they did go to school with the president so they were buds.

Failure to plan is planning to fail!

Hire a CIO that knows his or her stuff.

If you are uncertain, hire a DR consultant to come do an audit.

The consultant, if met with truculence on the part of the IT staff, would be a good indicator that your staff know that they have bones buried.

Plan to look carefully at your software needs and if you decide to develop in-house, make sure that your CIO knows what his or her programmers are doing.

Programmers make lousy CIO’s, just like a surgeon makes a lousy GP.

If you have a belly ache and go to a surgeon for advice, what do they do?  They cut flesh.  Their first thought is to open you up and see why you hurt!

You go to a GP who takes your history and discovers that you had sushi some time back, has you checked for the helicobacter virus; a few antibiotics later you are fine and you don’t have some scar on your belly, not to mention a long recovery time.

Bad decisions in business cost money and bad decisions with your health also cost money and could cost you your life.

Programmers not only make bad CIO’s, they make bad managers. Most programmers are very myopic. They have to be to code.  When you take someone with that skill set and throw them into management, they do not have the breadth of experience necessary to handle a wide variety of issues.  I have seen too many over my career that started out as programmers and made convoluted programmatic solutions for an easy fix situation.

There was an old cartoon many years ago where there were two computers in a room.  The Secretary and the exec, both on their computer.  The IT guy played as Goofy, or a Goofy look-a-like was asked to find a way to get the file on a diskette from this computer to that one.  Goofy takes the disk, scratches his head for a second and then like a Frisbee, tossed the disk to the secretary.  K.I.S.S.

The CIO must know enough about all things IT, to know when smoke is being blown up his or her southern most orifice.  The CIO must also have enough business savvy to be able to negotiate with the CFO who has a different skill set, as well as deal the CEO and those on the board of directors.

What you don’t want is some sycophant working for you and you don’t want a control freak either.  The CIO must be very well rounded with lots of experience.

Management must not become your single point of failure.

-Best

Copyright 2014 Timedok All Rights Reserved

#Anonymous Syndrome Simplified A.S.S

Driving down the highway at posted speeds can lead to aggression on some folks parts, as they seem to think that just because the posted speed is “thus” that is only a suggested speed and those folks who follow that “suggested” speed should be on the feeder and not the highway.

Than you have those on the feeder who drive as if they are more important than you, speed around you in a reckless maneuver at double the posted speed to get one car length in front of you.

I could talk about this all day but you get the point, there are bad drivers out there and the question is, which are they?  Are they the people traveling above the posted speed or the folks driving along at the posted speed impeding some peoples progress.

I don’t know if they still have it but, California law would pull over someone who was impeding traffic by driving the speed limit and not the speeders so we need to sort this out.

Rendering an opinion on a web site where the news has been reported, you have the ability to post your thoughts without the stipulation of telling who you really are.

Since no one really knows who you are as you are “spider547” or “tummytucker29” those are alias’s which could belong to anyone in the world with an internet connection.

Because you are anonymous there is no accountability and you can basically say whatever goes through your head.

We have all read them, comments that are pro and con for some event that the media wants to talk about via social media.

So someone post a comment that is for and someone else post a comment against calling the person who posted the comment for, stupid and other ugly names because they can.  A firestorm quickly erupts, nobody is on topic anymore as they are too buys cussing one another.

Ignored behavior goes away.

When someone acts like an ASS don’t engage them.  If you engage them they have an audience.

Going to the bank the other day I noticed a car that had a particular sticker on it affixed in a certain way that made it unique from other cars with similar stickers.  This car “or the person driving” had cut me off not too many days before this day.  His move was reckless and gained him nothing.  This same person did not know that I knew who he was and got behind me in line.  I noticed that he did not cut in front of me in line, and I also noticed how polite that he was.

A huge part of me wanted to introduce myself and then tell him about his driving the other day but, why ruin a moment.

Your car has a unique id, your license plate which if someone wanted to, could find out who you are.  More and more drivers are buying and installing dash-cams so your reckless behavior could be used against you some day.

When you post to a forum or some site your unique ip address is logged.  With this information I can get your coordinates and tell exactly where you were when you posted.  If I can do it, someone else can too.

So, what is all this about?

Never mind Santa knowing if you are naughty or nice, or Jesus or pick your deity… If someone wanted to go through the trouble they could knock on your front door and exact revenge.  Am I encouraging this?  No, what I am encouraging is for you and everyone else out there who feels like they are Anonymous, to let you know that you are not.

Some guy posted on twitter not too long ago a threat on the president’s life.  Now he was supposedly anonymous but, he was visited and arrested soon afterwards, as he should have been.

Do the right thing.  Do the right thing even if no one is around to see you do the right thing.  Don’t brag about doing the right thing but, if you are a parent, make sure your kids see you do the right thing.  Lead by example.  If you do something stupid in front of your kids guess what, they will take that as their example.  Like little Ralph in the Christmas story, he learned that word not from his friend, but his father. If you screw up, man up and explain what the right thing should have been, admit that non of us are perfect and if what you did affected your kids negatively, apologize and ask them for forgiveness.  This too is leading by example.

Hate is a poison that you take, expecting it to affect someone else.

Anger is a close cousin of hate.

I don’t get excited when people act foolishly on the roads.  I back off and give them plenty of room to act idiotic, as I don’t want to be part of their drama.

Currently our leadership worldwide it so show our Ass.  Read any forum where someone has reported on something and you will find differing opinions met with vile rhetoric, that is fit for no where else but the political arena, and prisons.

Truthfully it is fit for nowhere!

As you take on the holiday shopping with other frustrated customers, and store clerks; keep in mind that their day may not be as good as yours.  Don’t be an A.S.S…

-Best

Copyright 2014 Timedok All Rights Reserved

The Time Dok explained

The Time Dok explained

Wow, I get a lot of questions about DOK.  Like I can’t spell or something!

DOC would be very presumptuous of me as I am no doctor. I don’t have a PHD so I can’t even claim it that way.  I do specialize in working on a type of clock that is very unique in the industry.  It is more mechanical than electric and the design has been around since, well, 1939 I think.

There are few around who really know how to work on them and do it right, and I happen to enjoy working with my hands so, I took on the challenge in 1995, when a friend ask me if I could fix it for him.

I have a reputation around church as the guy that can fix anything.  I have had more apparatuses brought to my home from toasters, lights, fans, VCR’s, DVD players, stereo’s, TV’s, laptops, computers of all sorts,  and well if it plugs in or takes batteries, chances are I have worked on them.

I have even repaired a number of regular clocks although that is an area that I try to stay away from as that is “very time consuming,” no pun intended.

It was no surprise when this clock came to me via that reputation, and it was no surprise to him when I asked him to get specific parts from the vendor and was able to repair it and put it back together for him.

As these things are sold around the world and the only animal that can survive the pounding that they get, the design has reached its zenith and will most probably stay that way until paper is outdated.

Since that day, I have repaired thousands of these clocks and am one of the few who do it correctly, with OEM parts, and get them back out there for another few years of service before they need to come back and be cleaned, and so forth.

As the hobby turned into a business I created a website www.timedok.com where it was, “That is Dok with a K!”  I was going to spell it correctly as Timedoc, however someone has that domain and I was not about to let someone profit for sitting on a name. There are those that have, but this guy was not, at least not from me.

I have been doing IT stuff since before the internet, when it was called Data Processing so my computer, network, all things IT acumen; is probably as good as anyone’s out there.  (Now that is an example of presumptuous!) On top of that, I possess copious amounts of business prowess; I am one of the few that get it!

I started with computers when CPM, Trisdos and finally DOS 1.0 were what you dealt with.  Cobal, basic and machine language were the languages around with Pascal.  Acoustical modems were in vogue and 300baud over the twisted pair was awesome!

As a brief aside, I also write science fiction, have a fascination with time, physics, particle physics, celestial mechanics, astronomy and electronics. I paint, study scripture, read way too much, and like photography and nature.  Philosophy interests me a lot, but it is often difficult to find someone to talk with about any or all of these things.

Because of that I have many friends who may have an interest in one or more of these things that I can talk with about them, but finding someone intellectual enough to keep up with me is not easy.  Snob you say!  No, not at all.

I have never met a stranger and talk with just about anyone.  Everyone has a story and just because their interest may not have the latitude of mine, that does not mean that they are any less interesting.  I value everyone.  I make a point to get to know the janitor, as he or she too has a story to tell..

Some folks lead a very simple life that focus around family, friends, horses or something like that, and I admire that.  I try and find time to quite my mind with things like painting, walks in the woods, or sitting by the ocean, just listening to the birds and waves and the screams and giggles of young children as they play in the sand, or get into the water with their parents in tow.

I restore old electronic equipment, as a hobby and get great joy out of bringing some 50 plus year old apparatus back to life after it has sat dormant in some closet or garage collecting dust.

I enjoy meeting people on this media or via ham radio and have for most of my life.  As I said, we all have a story to tell and some should be preserved in book form, others anecdotally noted, and referenced as fodder for possible stories in books, yet to be written.

I have been called Dok and I don’t mind it.  My name is Scott and I answer to both when the phone rings or an e-mail is crafted to pique my interest enough to open it, and not think it spam.

Now you know, (as Paul Harvey used to say,) the rest of the story.

-Best

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved.