Month: August 2015

Parks, what in this puzzle does not belong?

Parks, what in this puzzle does not belong?

A friend took her dog to the doggie park, which had been created for those with dogs who happen to be apartment dwellers, or for those with dogs who had small back yards.


As would be the case, it was a nice day, temperatures in the 80’s and a light breeze, just enough to cause the tops of the trees to sway in the wind as if waiting for the right song to play so they could break out into a full waltz.

Parks such as this are a great place to go as people all relate to one another around their four legged companions.  Even the pooches are made to look like they are dressed for the occasion with a coiffure and painted nails and even some with diamond studded collars resembling a fancy necklace.  We certainly know how to anthropomorphize our furry friends.  While they too have their own distinct way of greeting one another which inevitably end up with noses meeting rear ends as if to say hello to each other through an all too personal method.

less people

While distracted with the other patrons and their dogs, and the occasional barking from other four legged exuberant creatures, a few folks on motorcycle came by.

The pleasant day was about to take a darker turn.

Every now and then one of them would rev their engine and sometimes they would in unison, until all the barking and ambient noise was cancelled out by the cacophony of combustion engines, which caused ones senses to be impaired!. This although obnoxious sound seems normal to those with motorcycles, as they often prefer the sounds of their engine to, well most any other sound.  Certainly to the sounds of barking dogs.


A distraction from the otherwise harmony of nature and people that pervades such places to be sure but, we are taught to be tolerant of all, even those who would come to a doggie park and rev their engines on motorcycles to break the tranquility of the moment.

Soon enough, the interlopers left the park, and quiet once again returned to the park other than the rogue sound of a an errant alarm from a car which stubbornly cried out to the owners.  As the visitors of the park returned to their cars, with their furrever friends in tow, they discovered that windows had been broken out, and their belongings were missing.

Much like the Grinch in Whoville tried to destroy Christmas for a rather meek and mild peoples, these folks looked upon them as sheep to be sheered or, privileged to be plundered.  What makes this act even more dastardly is these people in the park were mostly women and purses left in error were the target.

Cindy Lou Who then and now
Cindy Lou Who then and now
Yep, Cindy Lou all grown up.
Yep, Cindy Lou all grown up.


Taylor Momsen...what a change...
Taylor Momsen…what a change…

As they surveyed where the motorcycle folks had congregated, they noticed that indeed, most of the windows facing the street had indeed been damaged.   The showy revving of engines were to camouflage the sounds of breaking glass and car alarms.


The dress and the manner in which the perpetrators of the crime was such that everyone stayed away from them as they were not the type of people who would normally come to a place such as this.

In fact, that should have been a red flag to the folks in the park, which like the old puzzles of grade school that we all liked to solve would ask, “What does not belong in this picture.”

Purses and other things left in plain sight were what was taken.  The cars that had nothing in plain sight were left un-violated.  While the cost and trouble to replace a window is sufficient enough to incent someone enough to take and or hide their valuables, replacing such valuables and or cancelling and ordering new things such as credit cards, phones, keys to houses and or other things, along with your personal information now in the hands of people who have no boundaries, much like the pirates of the oceans had no boundaries, you have no idea what vulnerabilities that now lie ahead or how they will be exploited.

Lock It or Lose It 02_Edit

This is a true story and it really did happen just as I depicted.

I cannot imagine that this story would be unique to this area.  I am uncertain what it is about people who ride motorcycles; and while I certainly would not indict them all, or lump them into the same category, it does seem rather amazing to me that folks who ride these things seem more likely to skirt the law.

All too often we are passed on the freeway by several of these who blast by us as if we are standing still when we are indeed traveling the speed limit.


While the former is blatantly criminal, with a complete disregard for not only the law but, their fellow man (or women), I think the latter is more an addiction to adrenaline, which impairs good judgment in order to obtain a fix.


(c) All Rights Reserved 2015

The digital Era

The digital Era

The digital Era

One of my neighbors was talking via a group regarding cable and internet and what have you.  Since I took the time to write this to them I thought that I would also share this with you my “virtual” neighbors. 

Shopping Saves Money

I had Time Warner for years.  The bill had eventually reached $300 a month, the picture was hardly HD and often pixelated and too often went out.  The service technicians had been over too many times to fix it and I was over paying that kind of money for interference and snowy pictures. The Internet was slow 6mgb I think and, the two phone lines of course went down when the cable went down.

Truth be told, we don’t recognize the up time, we only really recognize and pay attention to the down time!  So when it went off or they had issues, it was an issue.  As things are “bundled” it is a real problem!

Howdy Neighbor!

Because the e-mail is also through Time Warner, now all of the communication other than the cellular is dead, if it dies for whatever reason.

While I would argue that this is a good time to pick up a book, or go sit on the porch with a glass of tea and say howdy to the neighbors, as we hardly ever meet our neighbors anymore.  We are too happy with our gadgets, and our air conditioning, another story.


The old adage about not putting all of your eggs in one basket is salient advice, and germane when it comes to communication.

Some of the easiest things to do is get another e-mail account that is not tied to your provider. Gmail, or some other freebie is a good start.  Yes there are security issues with this so don’t broadcast your banking information through un-encrypted e-mail.  I would argue not to put anything on there that you would not put on social media, but that too is another topic.

Next, as someone pointed out, who needs a land line.  POTS lines or ‘plain old telephone lines” are a thing of the past, much like pay phones.  If you really want a phone line that looks like a regular line, there are options.

First and the cheapest I have found is “Magic Jack.”  Yep, looks cheesy but for $100 for 5 years, pick your number and exchange, which is an easy choice.  Phone lines through your cable provider have all sorts of taxes and fees including *“universal fees” , which are fees tacked onto your phone line to pay for someone else’s phone.

I personally like to choose who I donate to and I don’t like to have it extracted from me, so that too was an easy choice.  No fees or other hidden theft of money with Magic Jack.

There are devices that you can get that utilize the Cell phone service and hook up to your home wiring that actually use a cell phone number as a home phone thus not doing business with the cable company in that regard.  More expensive and fees and other hidden charges will be there.  It still might be less expensive than the cable company.

There are other options for entertainment as more and more services are streaming online as someone else pointed out.  I still like the TV services offered by Verizon but, if that price gets too high, I will switch again.

Broadband is changing constantly and some say that you should get the fastest around including the company that sells it via some upgrade by some carriers on some channel.

Since most companies are using something called QoS (Quality of Service) they can actually throttle certain types of packets so, streaming video may be fast but other types of files may crawl.  This is what the whole net neutrality argument is all about.

Should NETFLIX for instance be able to pay the FCC or some other government entity to have priority traffic over some other streaming service?  Those that have a business like this lobby for it as it would make them more successful and those that think the internet should be unencumbered from government regulations lobby for neutrality.  Your online game packets should have the same priority as VOIP.  (Voice over IP)  I would argue that some companies are already doing it to some degree with or without regulations but proving it would be difficult.  Verizon has in its “fine print” an option to slow the traffic to your MAC address of your router, if you violate any of the rules on the internet such as downloading copyrighted stuff so trust me when I say this, they can do it easily.

My point to this is that I would not pay extra for faster or more bandwidth in that your “cable speed checker” may say that you are blazing but, in fact the traffic that you are interested in may be throttled back for something else.  There are other issues that could also slow down the traffic to your particular site that you are interested in so, before you buy a racecar, make certain you can use it.

Should your Internet be sold to you like water, or electricity?

There are, and have been arguments by greedy politicians and others who believe that you should pay for what you use or cause to move or transverse the internet.  Not only should you pay for your connection to, and the speed thereof, but you should also pay for the amount of data downloaded or uploaded much like cellular providers already do.  Even if the price was negligible, once they got the camel’s nose inside the tent, you would quickly find the whole camel inside the tent.  I would fight this at every turn of the road.

Network cable is not wire

Start with the basic and see if it is acceptable. Ramp up slowly and this is a biggie, make sure that the slowness that you are experiencing is not on your own home network.  Often I see companies that have paid big bucks for superfast internet access and have placed their network cables on top of fluorescent lights, or other em emitting sources.   Another huge mistake that I see often is the use of zip ties to keep them all neatly bundled.  Like building a home, make certain that your networks foundation (physical layer) is solid and installed per specifications.

Too many companies hire some handyman to install network cable thinking it is like any other kind of wire.  IT IS NOT.  There is a reason that there are so many different standards of cable and it has to do with shielding and something called TPI or (twist per inch.) Along with all of that, there is a spacer inside the cable that actually holds the different pairs at certain distances from one another as to not adversely affect the impedance of the cable.  Hire a cable specialist to do this for you; as not only does it need to be routed correctly, but it must be terminated correctly.

Threaten to Fire them

When the cable company gets too pricey call and tell them that you are going to “cancel” and change providers.  They will most probably send you to a “retention specialist” who is authorized to cut your bill, or offer you some free something or other for some amount of time.

Be prepared to cut the cable.

If you are just un-happy with the service and the retention specialist tries to low ball you, simply tell them no; and come get the stuff, or write the letter as some require etc.  I see many people bringing cable boxes and Satellite boxes and what have you to the UPS store or to the FED EX store as those folks have a contract with the provider to wrap the stuff up, and ship it for them.  Read and understand your contract before you engage the company and certainly before you terminate services.  The fine print in some of these contracts is ambiguous at best.  If I need a lawyer to look it over that is a red flag for me.  If I cannot within a few moments read the contract, and understand it completely; I am uninterested in the product.  That is sage advice that 40 years of dealing with vendors has taught me.

Important Information

A note about Magic Jack and or other VOIP services.  911 may not be a function that you have with it so remember if there is an emergency, use your cell phone.  911 is an emergency number (obviously) and when there is an emergency people often forget things like (that phone does not have 911!) when seconds count, you don’t have time to call 911 on a line that will not do you any good!

With Magic Jack they sell it with a network cable that plugs right into your router.  The problem is the cable is “flat.”  A flat cable picks up EM “electromagnetic” interference too easily and effects the performance and quality of the device.  Toss it and use a regular cat 5 or cat 6 jumper cable.

Alarm systems can be dicey with VOIP and certainly with some cable providers.  There are companies that offer cellular connected alarms and while I would not want that exclusively, I would want that as an option.  Crooks can be smart so one must be a step ahead of and smarter than them.  A good alarm company should have specialist that can make certain that if there is an issue that the police or fire or other emergency services will indeed get the call.  One other small pearl of wisdom I would pass on regarding this is simply to test your alarm once a month at least.  When you pay the bill, go test the alarm.  Make it a habit.  You don’t want to find out that it does not work, when or if you need it.


(c) All Rights Reserved 2015

GOP Debate, my take

GOP Debate, my take

First Look

We saw them, for the most part out of their element and some in their place.  The candidates that were in their element did not interest me as much the people who were not.

The first group to succumb to the debate process clearly showed why they were at the “kids table” or not ready for prime time, with the exception of Carly Fiorina.   If the DNC still feels compelled to run Hillary as their pick, Carly would be a formidable candidate for the GOP.


From the adults table which admittedly Carly should have been at, there were a few front runners and some that fell flat.

From stage left to right…


  • Chris Christie made an ok showing and I expect his numbers will get a bump from the debate.  His answers were fairly clear and his rhetoric was loud as expected.  His response to  Rand Paul regarding the “hug” was on point and clearly hit a cord with people who took offence with MR Paul’s  attack.


  • Marco Rubio did not hurt himself and I think his numbers too will get a bump.   I think that he appeals to the Millennials and the libertarians and could be a draw from the Democratic voters as he is not a “stogy old white guy.”
Image #: 21630241    Dr. Benjamin Carson, director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, speaks to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, March 16, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS HEALTH)       REUTERS /JONATHAN ERNST /LANDOV
Image #: 21630241 Dr. Benjamin Carson, director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, speaks to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, March 16, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS HEALTH) REUTERS /JONATHAN ERNST /LANDOV
  • Ben Carson while soft spoken was one of the adults that was in the room last night.  Clearly an educated man, a thinker and strategist also showed a sense of humor that I think will bode well with voters of all walks of life.  Dr. Carson is not a politician and I think needs to watch carefully what balls that he decides to swing at as he has already swung at too many which were in the dirt.  His performance during the debate was good and he was clearly not a target of the moderators. If he progresses he will be, and the next moderators will not be near as friendly.


  • Scott Walker made some good points but clearly not a front runner in the campaign.  I do not expect his numbers to move much.  His record is impressive and he is a scrapper.  Some of what he said will resonate with the working class “the middle class” I think he will have to amp it up a little if he wants to stay the course.
THE CELEBRITY APPRENTICE -- Episode 912 -- Pictured: Donald Trump -- Photo by: Ali Goldstein/NBC
THE CELEBRITY APPRENTICE — Episode 912 — Pictured: Donald Trump — Photo by: Ali Goldstein/NBC
  • Donald Trump.  Donald is an unknown in the political arena and is carrying his numbers because of his celebrity status.  People are genuinely sick of politicians in general, so his message resonates with the masses. His tone with Megyn Kelly was stupid, and showed his arrogance which as a politician, you cannot do.  Megyn Kelly and indeed Fox news is on the side of the republicans and to alienate them is a mistake.  Further; his remarks about women in general did not go over well, and the DNC will use that to their advantage should he become the candidate.  Mr. Trump; if he is serious should hire one of the best PR firms in the country to do damage control.  He should also hire someone that knows something about politicians and how to make Donald more of a statesmen, while maintaining his moxie, which resonates with the folks.  I think he could do well and indeed become the next president.  Last night should serve as a wake-up call for Mr. Trump. He is out of his sandbox and needs to adapt.  The DNC has enough material on him now that it will be tough to overcome even to the likes of Hillary.  The War on women will resonate with enough women voters to throw the election to Hillary, if Donald is not careful.


  • Jeb Bush.  When people look at Jeb they see George W.  There simply is no way around it.  Jeb can either work with his last name as an advantage and stop trying to disassociate himself from it, or he should stop wasting his money and time.  Jeb is a Bush and he needs to deal with it.  Whoever is advising him currently needs to re-think their strategy. Common Core is a mistake and he needs to get away from it.  The federal government should step back from this issue entirely and leave it to the states.  Focus on keeping Americans Safe, the economy and jobs.  “Immigration” which was the “elephant” in the room; needs to be dealt with in a manner that does not screw over the people who have come here legally or Americans.  There is no amnesty.  We are a country of laws, and without that we are nothing.
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 29:  Former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark., addresses the Republican National Convention in the Tampa Bay Times Forum on the night Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., republican vice-presidential nominee, delivered a speech to the crowd.  (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES – AUGUST 29: Former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark., addresses the Republican National Convention in the Tampa Bay Times Forum on the night Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., republican vice-presidential nominee, delivered a speech to the crowd. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
  • Huckabee’s numbers should improve after the debate.  His answers were clear and concise and should resonate with many.  “The purpose of the military is to kill and to break things!”  While that is a great sound bite one could take away from his comment that all we need is a bunch of two year old’s.I am not certain if the military will receive that comment well or not, they are clearly more than that.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) speaks during the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, on Aug. 10.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) speaks during the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, on Aug. 10.
  • Ted Cruz was probably the winner of the debate but, I cannot help but think that he is too slick and is looking forward to being the “most powerful man in the world” and that bothers me.  What motivates anyone to want to take this job should be center of the conversation. Narcissism is certainly not out of the realm of possibility and we already have a president who claims that title.

rand paul

  • Rand Paul’s numbers I suspect will not move one way or the other by much after his showing at this debate.  I suspect if they do move they will put him at the kids table and elevate Carly and or Perry. He came off as angry and bitter and somewhat whiney.
Ohio Governor John Kasich speaks during the CERAWEEK global energy conference in Houston March 7, 2012. REUTERS/Donna W. Carson
Ohio Governor John Kasich speaks during the CERAWEEK global energy conference in Houston March 7, 2012. REUTERS/Donna W. Carson
  • John Kasich was hardly memorable in his performance last night.  He came off as likeable but like Bush, I have to look at notes to remember what he said.  My opinion of him is that he is too established as a politician and will be four more years of status quo.


Trump resonates because Americans are really sick of what we have in DC.  Back door deals for 20% of our Uranium to Russia is one such example that if it were put to a vote would be a resounding hell no; except for the percentage of delusionary voters out there who think Obama is the Messiah, and Hillary the next Noah.

Politicians have at their disposal, not only technology, but incredible databases “provided by Facebook and Google and others” to allow the targeting of advertisements to certain groups, for maximum effectiveness in order to manipulate the voters.   They are also amassing millions of dollars to spend on their campaigns.

Viewership of this debate was high because of Mr. Trump.  That inclusiveness of more viewers will make those methods of manipulation more difficult, as lots of democrats got a look at the candidates without the lens of MSNBC putting their very biased slant on it.   Thinking people may actually begin to question the talking heads of the progressive agenda by seeing things without slant.  These same folks also saw that FOX news did not play favorites as they are accused of by MSNBC and other outlets.  Indeed they asked the tough questions which Donald Trump and others should have expected and been prepped for.  Donald in his obvious hubris, was not prepared.  I doubt that he will make that mistake again.  To Donald’s credit, his answers were honest and truthful and for that I suspect many Americans will respect that he is who he is, and what you see is what you get.  If he were elected, I have no doubt that our foreign affairs would be different and that Putin would not be as aggressive as he currently is.

Trump needs to reign in whoever is doing his twitter, and other social media.

trump megyn kelly

meygn“Bimbo” = 

  1. an attractive but empty-headed young woman, especially one perceived as a willing sex object.

While she was not easy on him during this debate, she is certainly not a Bimbo.  If Trump stays the course he will face a lot tougher moderators from the liberal media and he should have been prepared for this. Anything that you have ever done is fair game in a presidential debate.  Hiring someone to prep him for such things would be a very wise investment!  If he already has such a person, the meeting with them today should include the words “your fired!”


© All rights Reserved 2015

CFL, LED Revisited

CFL, LED Revisited

CFL, LED Revisited

Dimmable_LED_and_CFLBig corporations really suck when they go the extra mile forcing one to buy expensive stuff.

Under the guise of “saving the planet” we have lost it!

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First off let me just rant a little about the planet. The Earth has been around 4.5 billion years.  Man has been around for about 6 million of those years but, we only have we been a “threat” to the planet the last 150 years or so.

When I say threat, not really.  One lucky strike from a meteor and we are done!  Toast, the next life form to take hold will hopefully be more evolved than some of our peers who think money is the answer to everything no matter who they screw!

Industrialization is claimed to be the largest threat to the planet along with the ever increasing population.  I agree that millions of people all creating waste emissions from gasses to solids, probably are not doing the earth any good but, do you really for just one minute think that one Volcano, or large fire does not do as much if not more damage to the eco-system than man?


There is a super volcano that is due to erupt any moment in Yellow stone park.  When that bad boy goes off it will be a life changer!

download (46) images (18)

Then tell me about coal power plants or Gas guzzling SUv’s.

Despite High Emissions, New Coal Power Plants Planned in Germany...AACHEN, GERMANY - MAY 15:  Behind the open-pit coal mine Gartzweiler exhaust rises from cooling towers at the lignit coal-fired power stations Frimmersdorf, Neurath and Niederaussem May 15, 2007 near Aachen, Germany. The four German major energy providers Vattenfall, RWE, E.on and EnBW plan to invest more than 30 billion euros in construction and infrastructure of cole conducted power plants in Germany.  (Photo by Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images)
Despite High Emissions, New Coal Power Plants Planned in Germany…AACHEN, GERMANY – MAY 15: Behind the open-pit coal mine Gartzweiler exhaust rises from cooling towers at the lignit coal-fired power stations Frimmersdorf, Neurath and Niederaussem May 15, 2007 near Aachen, Germany. The four German major energy providers Vattenfall, RWE, E.on and EnBW plan to invest more than 30 billion euros in construction and infrastructure of cole conducted power plants in Germany. (Photo by Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images)

Yes, we are burning fossil fuels “dinosaurs” to heat and cool our homes and to drive our gas burning vehicles to and from the job and what have you.


If you really want to solve global warming first you really need to get truthful with the numbers, and facts, as what has been published thus far is to push a “carbon credit agenda” to make the rich richer and in the end is simply another tax!


Now, back to bulbs.


Edison through trial and error “brute force” came up with an incandescent light bulb.

The typical light in your home burns 60 watts of electricity.

About us main picture

It took me a few minutes to do the math for you, so here it is in a spreadsheet.

kw used for lighting

You can do any further multiplication you like, as in how many of these bulbs do you have and how long do you really leave them on.

The 100 and the 60 are representing incandescent “old school” bulbs.


The 12 is representing a CFL bulb and the 3 watt is representing the LED variety.


Basing the cost per kilowatt hour at 8.5 cents, this is what it would look like to run one bulb for a year never turning it off.

So, if you want to save the earth…or money, lets look at how and where you would put what kind of bulb.

defective GE bulb
Here is the bulb that failed prematurely. Notice the black around the inside of the plastic. This thing got hot before it stopped working and the important part of this is that the fuse did not blow!

I also think that we were pushed into using them by congress via some backroom deal with GE or some other maker of these things through the good folks at AVE K, you know lobbyist.  Like republicans or not, this was a GW Bush thing and I think it smells.


CFL or any fluorescent bulb must stay on for a minimum of 15 minutes or you shorten the life of the bulb.  That means, don’t put them in places that you turn the light on for a few moments and then off again.  CFL or fluorescent tubes should go into places that you energize them, and then leave them on for hours, like a kitchen, family room or porch light.

This bulb died because the capacitor died.  If you look at it you will see that it has bubbled up on the top.  Checking the capacitor it is non functional.


GE must have purchased a plethora of bad capacitors from China!


If you look at the actual glass you will notice that there is no black around the base, this bulb died way too young…


LED bulbs don’t just quit “usually” unlike an incandescent of fluorescent.  They grow dim over time as they age and one day you will notice that it is not very bright, and replace it.  I like them in bathrooms and closets, desk lights and lights in areas where I don’t want a lot of heat generated.

LED bulb replacing CFL bulb which replaced an incandescent bulb.
LED bulb replacing CFL bulb which replaced an incandescent bulb.

The average cost of a CFL or LED bulb however is much higher than its incandescent counterpart.

While they have come down in price, they are still no where as inexpensive as an incandescent.

A box of 4 or even 6 on sale, was around $1.  The CFL is around $2 each but that is now.  When they first came out they were about $4 each.  As other manufacturers entered into the arena the price came down.  

The same is true of LED bulbs.  These bulbs can get downright pricey!

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As far as function goes we have the incandescent with fewest complications.  A filament across the two electrodes sealed into a vacuum.  Apply the right voltage and suitable current that the filament will light and there will be light, and heat!


Fluorescent is much more complex in that there is two filaments and high voltage applied which ionizes the gas inside.  This gas reacts to the phosphorescent coating inside the bulb making light,  And oh yes, they have mercury in them.


The CFL takes in 110 or 220 depending upon your location and converts it into the voltages and currents needed to start the process as well as maintain the process while voltage is applied.  If you look inside the base of a CFL bulb you will see a host of associated circuitry to accomplish this task.


LED Bulbs are less complex in that they use minimal components to convert the voltages into the needed voltages to run the LED’s.



IMG_0389 There is not much heat and the circuitry is not complex.  LED bulbs should really be less expensive than CFL and I look for that to be the case as time marches on.  Currently you are still paying for the novelty much like the early adopters of flat screen TV’s.

Pay attention to these bulbs when you buy them as they must be set up for “dimmable” circuits if you intend to use them in a legacy lighting system that had incandescent lighting in it. 

A plug for these guys..
A plug for these guys..

It is up to you, do the math!


(c) All rights reserved 2015