Author: The Timedok

Retirement or just the next phase?

Retirement or just the next phase?

I hit that magic age where no employer wants to commit to a real honest-to-goodness job. That’s ok; I knew it was coming, most of my friends are older, and I have watched this phenomenon play out year after year.

There have been unexpected occurrences starting in 2020.

Before Covid was a thing, I managed to catch it from a masseuse. She was from China and spoke little to no English, not that it mattered. This was not my first time in this business. While there was a language barrier, she managed to know where it hurt and was able to manipulate the fascia or what have you in such a way to stop the muscle spasms.

It was 68 degrees in the room, and she was sweating profusely. I remember thinking, she must be working hard. I better tip her extra.

Three days later, I was in my doctor’s office with a sore throat, breathing issues, and a fever. At this stage of the game, the virus was not transmissible from humans to humans. It was not airborne and was only in Wuhan near the wet market.

We were assured by the CDC and the WHO not to worry. Pelosi was taking photo ops in China town along with its population, and the head of the health department in NYC was among the Chinese folks in NY, telling the world it was safe to go amongst them and…enjoy Chinese New Year’s Celebrations.

Words Matter and they all lied to us. While they might have given a get out of jail free card to Big Pharma, those that lied to us should be held accountable. They knew they were lying.

Backing up in history, about 30 years, I was in a head-on collision with an 84-year-old man who was drunk. I wrote the story as a memoir for the Anthology my writer’s group put together.

I wrote it as a cautionary tale. I will put a link to the Anthology for those of you interested in such stories. My story is the very last one in the book. The Roads We Take

That fateful day changed my life. I was forced to re-invent myself. The impact had a combined velocity of 110 mph.

There is a reason football players make the big bucks. The abuse they put their bodies through has a cumulative effect, and they will pay for it later in life. Much like every injury, broken arm, or leg you might have had will cause a twinge of pain during a weather change, imagine your entire skeleton as if it were on fire.

No, there were no grand settlements. One of my lawyer friends told me he could make me a rich man. The persons who were culpable had the same insurance company. They would not have paid the price for what she enabled, and he did. He was obviously well known in that town, the cop protected him, only wrote him up for left of center.

I heard the argument between him and his wife. There was only a thin curtain that separated the two of us. “You promised me that you would not drink and drive if I got you that new car!”

“Well, we were out of beer and it was halftime. I was just going to Kroger.”

Pffft! Every day, over thirty years later I pay for his lack of judgment and her enabling him. I am certainly not alone.

Life goes on; you do the best you can. Hence the massages and chiropractors and the occasional doctor who remarks while looking at the x-rays…’I would hate to be in your body.’

It could be worse; I know it, so I press on. Hence retirement.

Many, too many, in fact, have given up. They have taken the government up on whatever entitlements they can get and just survive.

It is always a red flag to me when I speak with a friend, and they ask have I seen this or that on TV?

I don’t watch TV. I know how that sounds, but to me, it is noise. Those that you see on the screen cannot relate to you or me for the most part.

If it were not for writers, many would be as vapid as the force that makes balloons rise, hot air. Don’t believe me, find some on Twitter and read the garbage that they spew. From their ivory towers and gated communities, they scream, “let them eat cake.” ‘Cake was a metaphor for the scraps that fell off the table that the dogs got.’   

With few exceptions, there are not many I would like to meet. Introduce me to the writers; those are the geniuses.

You might have guessed by now that I had to re-invent myself once again.

I went from an engineer to computer support to the management of teams of folks working in the IT field. Back when I started, it was Data Processing, that tells you a little.

Today I am winding down my company www.timedok.com. The company serves many but mainly takes care of municipalities. All good things must end. The machines I sell and service are used less and less. The pandemic has expedited the process. The supply chain failure by this administration have not helped.

Currently, I am in the middle of writing a science fiction novel which you will hear more about if you follow me.

Why not just retire, you might ask?

One of the most repeated failures by retirees is they don’t plan for what they will do after the job. I cannot speak for women, but as a man, I can tell you that most of us identify with what we do for a living. Most of us take pride in what we do, and we do the best we can.

Suddenly you find your pay has reached some magical number that a bean counter has decided is too much. Around your company’s fiscal year end, your boss is given his budget. He or she is forced to let someone go to raise your salary or find someone less expensive than you, and keep as many employees as he or she can.

Usually, that happens long before you reach retirement age. Then what?

I started this blog at a certain age nobody wants you. It is not because of age discrimination per se but they know you were probably making a salary that would exceed what they could or are willing to afford. The application, which is a legal document, most of the time asked what your salary was.

If you didn’t plan for retirement both financially and with an idea of how you will occupy your time, what do you do?

The house you paid for undoubtedly you will find yourself taxed out of.

Thanks to the failures of the government of California, my taxes have exceeded what the original house payment was, and there are no signs of the taxes going down. In fact, if I were attempting to live off social security, the taxes would take most of it.

Why California? There seems to be a mass exodus from the west, because of the cost of living and taxes. Those from the West who voted for the policies which have destroyed their state are heading East. They most probably will not have figured out that their ideology, and the way they vote is why they are having to find jobs back East.

Government is good at taking what’s not theirs. It becomes easy to understand why there are those who learn how to take advantage of the system and live on whatever handouts they can get, including housing.

It is a form of socialism but shhh, the right is not aware of it yet. They still think if Bernie is not in office, we are fine.

The re-invention of myself is nothing unique. I see retired people in the hardware store earning whatever the government will allow them to earn without subtracting that amount from their (entitlements.) I was offered such a job not long ago. I chuckled at that offer and left with my purchases to play plumber at my home.

With this book I am working on, do I expect it to make me millions? No, I am, in fact, a realist. One of the largest issues with getting published today is that everyone thinks they can write.

These people range from school-age kids to retired people who have a story to tell. Once they create their tomb, they send it off to agents, where it sits in what is known as a slush pile.

The slush pile of want to be authors sits for days, weeks, or months until either they have time to sift through it or they hire their teenage child to sift through the thousands of entries, while he or she plays games on their phone.

No, I don’t expect the weeks to months I have invested in this project to make me rich. This project, much like learning to 3d print, or teaching myself python, is simply a transitionary device from working to retirement. Everyone needs a reason to get out of bed in the morning, or they die.

You can be old and have a terminal illness, and still have a quality of life while you are sucking in air. Don’t waste it.

If you want to understand why writing isn’t a get-rich scheme, look no further than Kindle Unlimited. Ten dollars a month to Jeff Bezos and read all you want. That book that you might have spent a year of your life creating is basically free to anyone that subscribes to KU.

Unlike those books in Barns and Noble that sell for real dollars, e-books are worthless. Services like his and others have programmed the reading public to believe that your efforts should be free to them.

I know of an author who spent 35 years creating one novel. No, I don’t think writing a book is a get-rich scheme unless you are a tv personality and can hype your book multiple times a day.

Writing the perfect novel, is only a small part of the puzzle. In the future we will be examining what those other parts might be, and how to pull them off without an agent.

Make sure you hit that follow button.

-Best

The Next Domestic Crises

The Next Domestic Crises

The only thing more predatory than a politician are the credit card companies.

Carrying a balance on a credit card is by far worse than establishing a loan thru your financial institution. Those who can least afford it are frequently the target of predatory lending. PayDay loans and alike are one step away from borrowing from the mafia. Those who specialize in payday loans are not the financial institution you should deal with. They are the mob who will cash your check and attempt to solve all your problems by selling you magic beans for the cash, in the form of lottery tickets.

The root cause of the problem, however, is not those who seek to ‘assist’ those in need. The root cause is the need itself and a lack of intelligence when it comes to managing your finances.

If we glance at the past as in history, and then we look forward, we can see where this will end.

Having lived thru the lies of Carter, gas lines, odd and even days, and no more than ten gallons at any given time, we were happy just to get Gas, not really caring what it cost.

There is a price that is going to be the next crisis we must deal with.

I have not used a gas card in years. I used to have one that I did use to keep up with my expenses but that was a long time ago before frequent flyer miles.

The other day, unexpectedly, I received a new gas card. Why?

They know that there is about to be a boon to those who extend credit. We are used to budgeting X dollars a month for Gas. That expense has doubled. Depending upon how much you drive and what you drive, undoubtedly, you will feel it at the end of the month.

Not only is Gas twice the price, but food is also much more expensive. Heating and cooling costs have risen exceedingly fast.

Energy drives the prices for many things.

Where you might not have carried a balance in the past, you might now. Much like Sisyphus, pushing that rock uphill will break many.

Not to worry. A late fee is only $30, and your remaining balance might go up to 30%, but other than that, they have you covered.

If the current administration can blame all your pain on Putin, they stand a good chance to distract you from reality come election time.

It is imperative that you only listen to the very liberal media, which includes NPR.

Like Don Quixote, they truly believe that windmills will save the day. Tilting at tried-and-true methods of energy production, they seek to push this country back to the depression era. Little wooden shacks for the sharecroppers will dot the land in the middle of nowhere. They will need no amenities and will be totally dependent on their masters. Look no further than North Korea for a role model.

The poor management of your credit cards will be your undoing. Much like losing at Monopoly, you will mortgage your belongings to the very institutions that loaned you the money in the first place.

There are no do-overs. When you find yourself wishing for a solid cardboard box to keep the rain off your head, or fighting for a dry spot under a bridge, only then will you truly understand that this has never been about race, but a struggle between the have and the have nots.

Knowledge is power and that privilege that so many ignorant fools scream about. History is the source of that knowledge. It makes little difference if you like the history or hate it; it is there to learn from. Erasing history is just as foolish as thinking skin color is the solution or the problem.

If I were a gambling man, I would buy stock in companies that made loans. I would find companies that buy foreclosed homes and rent them out to invest in.

Most young people are stupid when it comes to money. They find renting is the quickest way to live the lifestyle they were accustomed to when mom and dad foot the bills. The attitude seems to be live for today, and tomorrow will take care of itself. If you look at their social media, you will discover what I mean. They are the market for the next breed of a predatory lender, those that buy foreclosed or ugly homes, spend as little as possible to restore or update them, and rent rent rent.

As prices continue to rise because of this administration’s piss poor policies, they will be among the first to suffer. Mom and Dad will be among the second to agonize as they end up opening their homes to their boomerang progeny along with their fur babies and maybe grandkids.

Mom and Dad, who saved for retirement, will end up using that retirement money to bail out their kids, who still think that playing video games all night is the equivalent of work.

Domestic disturbances will be over such things, and the entitled brats will be the spark that sets the next set of events into motion. The divorce, custody battles, and more money wasted on lawyers and court costs. Who could know this would happen??? Hello…

If you’re not putting money in the bank for a rainy day, you are screwing up. I would think that one should have at least three months of expenses saved in an account that you don’t touch. The wolf is at the door, and he is knocking.

When companies demand you return to the office, gas, tolls, and normal wear and tear costs return too. There will also be new clothes required. Are you ready?

-Best

Should we stick with incandescent bulbs?

Should we stick with incandescent bulbs?

I had written before on those fluorescent curly Q bulbs that were the next end-all-be-all to saving the planet. We talked about the fact that they contain mercury and, if something goes wrong, there might be a fire.

LED bulbs seemed much more promising.

Well, not so fast. First off, there is the issue of different types of LED bulbs for circuits with dimmers vs. without. How many ‘users’ of these things truly understand the difference and, how many care?

To that end, all LED bulbs entering the US market should be designed to work in either situation.

I feel a little like Ralph Nader when I mention this fact, as it seems obvious but, they should at the very least be clearly labeled.

The last batch of ‘dimmable’ LED bulbs I purchased clearly was marked ‘dimmable’ on the box, but no place on the bulb itself did it distinguish itself as dimmable.

My next nit to pick is quality control.

Out of six regular LED non-dimmable bulbs, I had a 50% failure rate.

The bulbs would either flicker or just not work.

My curiosity got the best of me.

If you notice those two blobs of solder, they are situated by the plus and the minus terminals for the LEDs. That blob of solder in the middle does not belong. In my business, we call that a solder bridge. This is incredibly shoddy work, and while the bridge is not zero ohms, it is close enough to render the bulb useless.

I have not opened the other two failed bulbs but, I can guess what I might find.

Are these a fire hazard?

I would like to believe that because these circuits are housed in plastic-coated aluminized housing that a circuit breaker might blow before the thing catches on fire.

The companies that create and sell these things need to tighten up quality control and, all of them should be made to fit into either a dimmable socket or a regular socket.

Since Underwriters Laboratories turned into a for-profit company, one must wonder who is watching out for the American public. Someone should be testing this stuff independently of company sponsors. Currently, the FTC takes complaints and tips but, to my knowledge, does zero pro-active research on something as basic as substandard or hazardous products.

While I loath bloated government, there is a need for an Underwriters Laboratories to test, check the quality, and so forth of products imported into this country.

Are they safe?

Is there lead paint?

Are they going to catch on fire?

Are they labeled correctly?

If I take the time to open the other two failed products, what will I find?

I would think that the Chinese companies would be overly careful of this type of quality. Just possibly, they know they are the only game ‘in town’ and that people will just accept the lack of value for the dollar and lower their expectations.

Maybe the Chinese should offer repair kits for their poorly constructed bulbs so those of us with the skills and know-how can fix them.

Is it worth it? Knowing these bulbs should last years, would it be worth your time to ‘fix them?’

Stay safe until we meet again.

If there is nothing new, maybe I will tell you all how to make Banana Bread.

-Cheers

Open Letter to Zoom

Open Letter to Zoom

As one host’s meetings over this medium frequently, the speaker might freeze.

The problem is, we don’t know if the speaker froze, we froze, and so on.

Solution… For the meeting host, we need a quick way to ascertain where the packet loss is occurring.  I would suggest a simple meter placed by each member’s name in the participant’s list.

The meter could be faux lights (red, yellow, and green.) Make the thing large enough to give us some resolution as to the quality of the signals.

It might also be nice to have the ability to run a report of the same information. If one of the members is constantly having issues, we have some quantitative feedback we can give them.

With this information out there on the WWW, your competition might see it and run with it, claiming this brainstorm of an idea as their own. PFFT.

-Best

Open Letter to Oil Change Business’s

Open Letter to Oil Change Business’s

We have a crisis on our hands with a simple solution. To Date, I have not seen anyone offering this service.

It is illegal for scrap metal places to purchase stolen catalytic converters. HB 4110 in Texas makes the crime of selling or buying stolen catalytic convertors a 3rd-degree felony which means time in jail.

That law went into effect on September 1, and yet the problem continues.

Here is the million-dollar idea…..

On your sign in front of your business, advertise ‘Free Engraving of your Catalytic Converter with Oil Change.’

The idea is to mark your property with your driver’s license, which will make the convertor even less attractive to the scrap metal dealer.

Since the threat of jail time doesn’t seem to stop the thief, just possibly the threat of time to the dealer would carry more weight.

If you had a little more on the ball than the other guy, you would have created stickers that would go on the person’s car window. These stickers would alert the would-be thief that the convertor is marked. The stickers would also be a reminder and advertisement of your place of business.

Even if you are not in Texas, businesses in other states can use this same technique to slow down the theft of convertors and increase business to your establishment.

I look forward to seeing how many companies follow through with this idea.

-Best

Check Your Ego

Check Your Ego

I admit that I spend entirely too much time on ‘groups’ that profess an interest in one topic or another.

We tend to search for our tribe, whether that be people interested in equine activities or perhaps restoring vintage electronic devices.

Today it was a group dedicated to Heathkit.

For those of you who don’t know, Heathkit, out of Benton Harbor, created and sold well-designed devices in kit form.

If you followed the instructions, when finished, you would have not only a working device, but you would have the pride of knowing that you built it and, you would also know how to repair it should the need arise.

This person purchased an old oscilloscope from the ’60s that, by today’s standards, is worthless. This same person opened it up, showing the repair job someone did back in the 70’s ‘as depicted by the age of the components’ and complained.

When he brought it up on his variac, it still worked. After opening it, he complained about the ‘mess’ inside.  He then went about requesting assistance from everyone in the group for information on the piece and so on.

Since the internet was not around when the previous person repaired it, and it was still working today, just possibly he should re-think his assessment of the repair.

I am from the age group who taught myself electronics, built kits, and designed and built my first transmitter from TV parts.  There were no online resources as there are today.

The FCC test was in person and not multiple guess.  

This behavior is not just in ham radio groups but many others.

If you read the online comments, it would seem that narcissism is as rampant as covid.

I am amazed at how quickly the comments turn into personal attacks. Is this the new normal where keyboard warriors use speech that they would not use around their grandparents, to feel better about themselves while attacking another?

The three weeks to flatten the curve has tested my patience to the absolute limits of my medications.

Turn off the computer, the screens, and the TV when you reach that point.

Reading opinions by other keyboard warriors that incite violence on a class of people with who they don’t agree is demented, and it needs to stop.

We forget that the technology we have today is because of those that came before us. We are standing on the shoulders of giants, and yet we have narcissists like this person daring to complain about a fifty-year-old repair, that still works.  

-Best

Is it wise to purchase the latest greatest technology?

Is it wise to purchase the latest greatest technology?

When considering an investment in technology, the first thing to know is that you buy the Sizzle, Not the Steak.

What does that mean?

If you drive past a steak house, you will undoubtedly smell mesquite smoke or some other aroma to stir the juices accompanying that reward center of your brain. A wise entrepreneur will attempt to use all the senses as bait. The sizzle is the bait. Regarding steak, the payoff is delivering it to you exactly as you expect.

Theatres use popcorn. The fragrance will trigger memories. Possibly you are at the mall to look for clothes but, the scent, along with signs and lines of patrons, will trigger a diversion in many who are not on a tight schedule. The sizzle is reliving the memory even if the movie and company are different.  The first time you enjoy a movie with popcorn and friends is precious and becomes part of who you are.

Technology is loaded with promise. Unfortunately, it is also packed with inexpensive microcomputers and software with a finite lifetime.

Case in point and the reason for this article.

I collect and restore vintage radios. As long as the case is in good shape, I will consider the rest of the process of laying out cash for something that has little practical value in this world today. Why does only the case matter?

The components in that radio are still available.

My original entry into this hobby was Amateur Radio. The sizzle for me is to restore a radio and have it functional. The memory of when that radio was new transports me to an earlier time.  Many purchase things on eBay for the same reason.  The sizzle is that connection to a time when you sat on Grandma’s lap as she read to you. Perhaps it was that first easy bake oven or set of Legos.

With me, it was listening to a baseball game with my grandfather. The old floor model Zenith with that prominent speaker transported him and me to the game.  This event was a magical time and a fond memory.

Without beleaguering the point, my first expensive transceiver (A Swan 350D) still works. Yes, I have had to replace parts along the way but, I can still get them. That radio was the first hybrid to incorporate tubes, transistors, and some digital technology.

From HeathKit to Collins, even today, if you buy one at a swap meet, the odds are great; you will be able to find what you need to get it back on the air.

While technology marches on and offers us more whistles and bells, conversely, it takes longevity away.

In my closet is a costly modern radio. Built-in the 1990’s, this radio performed well, until one day it didn’t.  Not only was the radio a solid performer, but it also looked nice. Some would argue that the FT 990 was one of the best radio’s Yaesu ever built.

Once I narrowed it down, I knew what I needed; there was a catch.  The manufacturer no longer has the parts. Purchasing parts on eBay and other online sources is a crapshoot, as I found out.

Some people buy radios like mine, cannibalize them, much like the junkyards of old did with cars, and sell it one piece at a time. The part I ordered was butchered in the process and was worthless when it got to me.

As radio enthusiasts, I say all that to say this: we might need to shift our mindset, including how we spend our money.

In the 80’s I began the process of learning about computers. As an engineer, I saw the transition in progress.  Electronic devices were becoming something one used and trashed when they malfunctioned. Televisions are a perfect example

When asked about a contract on that new TV, ‘just in case,’ my response was ‘hell no.”  Firstly, it is wasted money, and secondly, when the thing dies, it will be time for something newer.

In the early days of home computers, a device with less power than your smartwatch costs a bundle.  Five hundred dollars for sixteen meg of ram was the going price. That ram was soon outdated, as was the entire computer.

Even back in the day, we should have realized we had purchased the sizzle. What could we do with that PC then? Word processors were indeed a novelty, as were spreadsheets.

Today, we have redesigned the radio to resemble a radio of old, but that ends with its appearance.

Menus instead of knobs and displays instead of an S meter which can be daunting to the older ham. There are also multiple ways to integrate your radio with your computer.  All of this ‘sizzle’ depends upon how long there are parts available, and your level of interest.

When you purchase a used radio, that mindset shift needs to include it’s age.

Much like an old car, it can only go so many miles. The radio is only viable as long as the replacement parts are available. The clock starts ticking the day it leaves the factory.

My Yaesu FT 990 is worthless as a radio; what about the other vendors?  My Kenwood TS 520S, along with the 830 S, still works perfectly. They are both much older than the FT 990. What if I purchased a used, but newer Kenwood of the same age as the FT 990? I suspect that parts for it might also be an issue.

My Alinco DX 70 went silent one day.  Alinco no longer carries that little speaker it uses.  My point is not to bash the vendors. If you are like me and enjoy the soft glow of a dial light along with watching an S-meter lazily sway with the QSB, consider only buying a new radio, not used.

Either stick with the vintage equipment you know you can get parts for or spend the dollars on a radio with warranty and longevity.

Research part availability before you invest your money and time in a new old radio.

The Chinese have sent a message to the world via products like the Baofeng.

I realize that many speak poorly of that radio but, I have several expensive handhelds that the replacement battery will cost more than a new radio with a battery.

Perhaps the cost of this radio is about what we should be paying for software-defined products with little longevity.

My name-brand handheld radios perform no better than the thirty-dollar version. Again, the only difference that I can see is the interface to program the radio.

If the Chinese radio stops working, I am not going to worry about finding parts. If my radio’s that cost a small fortune falter, I will invest the time and energy to repair them. Either the name brand manufacturers need to acquire the mindset that Hams value the radio as more than just a commodity, or the off-brand manufacturers can continue to design and sell radio’s that we can all agree are disposable once they die. 

The message is clear. If you want to sell a handheld or other product for hundreds of dollars more than the Chinese counterpart, the vendor’s mindset also needs to change.

We keep our radios and value them not as a commodity but as something we could pass on to our kids. Stocking replacement parts for expensive radios would benefit the community, and it would be a selling point.

While radios are not the only technology to suffer the fate of progress, we also see how the automobile industry is suffering because of the lack of computer chips.

If I were Ford, I would offer a ‘back to basics’ automobile. You would genuinely need to sell it and have people interested, but in truth, I would love to have a (new old car) with three on the tree, roll-up windows, and an AM radio with half a dozen presets. We don’t need chips to run the damned thing; we need a spark, gas, compression and air mixed and timed with points that need adjusting every so often.

Can you tell me what the sizzle might be? 

-Best

HB 196

HB 196

Open letter to Terry Meza

Dear Terry, your bill HB 196 would seek to limit the homeowner’s rights to defend himself or his or her property. Your bill would also create a doubt in the would-be victim’s mind as to whether they are within their legal rights to defend themselves. A second of hesitation could get the victim killed.  You are confusing the issue, conflating garden gnome’s with tangible property and or life.

In a life-or-death situation, the last thing the victim needs is doubt.  If they are reasonably afraid for their lives, they should defend themselves to the fullest extent of the law…period.

Not long ago, this same type of thinking was pervasive in our now President Biden, who said at the time, ‘If a woman is going to get raped, she should pee herself.’

Your bill would make it easier for some attorney to go after the victim, and you and I both know this is not about ‘lawn ornaments.’ That is lawyer-speak to play to the emotions of the feeble-minded.

We all have choices to make. They can choose to steal and take their chances or decide not to steal.  They can choose to rape or home invade or decide not to.  We, the law-abiding, have our rights under assault by this Congress, currently attacking the second amendment, while we on a parallel front have lunatics calling for defunding the police.

If the police act in a way that contradicts the way they should, then more training and better hiring practices are what we should be advocating.

Adding to this problem, we have a massive influx of aliens who we know by their actions don’t respect our laws. 

There is currently a rash of catalytic converters stolen from vehicles. The cost to repair starts at $1000.00 and could go as high as $4,000 if they don’t do any other damage while hacking it off your car.  That is hardly a garden gnome. 

Why don’t you create a bill that would fine the crap out of those that buy stolen catalytic convertors?

Removing the reward for theft of ‘garden gnomes’ seems like where we should be spending our energy.

I would require that all catalytic convertors be serialized. Those that bring them in for ‘recycle’ must provide identification, including utility bills, to prove that the identity was not fake. A log book should be created and maintained to insure that the ‘recycler’ is on the up and up. The former would take a Congressional act, and the latter could be implemented with an executive order.

-Best

Open Letter to Greg Abbot

Open Letter to Greg Abbot

With the latest power issues in Texas, one would think that we wouldn’t have these issues in a country like this.

“But it is cold.”

And, in the summer it is hot.  The last time I mentioned to the city where I live, we had not enough water, trash pickup, and now electricity to add more businesses and apartments I was told to sit down and shut up.  (in so many words)

It is all about taxable revenue.  When I mentioned that to the city, they told me, “We have more churches than other cities, and they don’t pay taxes! We have to stay competitive.”

We have lost sight of the ball.  When we can’t take care of what we have, we don’t need to add more.

Government is over-bloated and is more concerned about ways to keep their jobs and bring in more revenue than taking care of their constituents.  Many of those are elected, and trust me, that can be remedied.

One cold snap and millions are without power.  This incident was not even ice-related. It was supply and demand.

Maybe some child who knows nothing of economics or how the government works and thinks, might buy that. It is a crap argument. It is all about supply and demand.

In my line of work, we do something called a root cause analysis.

Why did it happen, and what can we do to better prepare for the next time.

We have not invested in the infrastructure or planned worth a damned for there to be power outages to the tune of millions of people because there is not enough supply.

Mr. Abbot, heads need to roll.

February and March are the cold months in Texas; the rest are hot and hotter.

We see California going through this because they have not invested in their infrastructure.  I thought we were better than the Golden State.

You owe it to the people of Texas to do this root cause analysis and then tell us how you are going to fix the problem.

Platitudes, and turn off your heat or air and don’t run anything that uses electricity is not the answer.  Controlled power outages are not the answer.

ERCOT needs to be held to account for this.

I have lived in Texas since 1962.  This cold snap is not our first, and it will not be our last.  Next Summer will not be our first days over 100.

If you want to attract more revenue in the form of a tax base, prove to the tax base that you have that you are worthy of it.

Pelosi wants a 911 commission to distract the country from its bumbling of issues.  Maybe we should have a 911 commission to see how this happened. My guess is that you all already know, and knew it was a possibility.  If that is the case, that makes you all negligent.

-Best

3 D Printing, Why?

3 D Printing, Why?

Like many of you, I suspect you might find you have more time on your hands these days.  Yes, there is still work but, virtual work?

Human interaction distinguishes us from furry friends who now have more freedom than we do.

This summer, as I watched a squirrel eat the last of my peaches, it was not lost on me that I was on the inside looking out.

Sanity is not overrated.

I began the ‘two weeks to flatten the curve’ much like Tom T Hall did in his song ‘A Week in A County Jail.’

I scoffed at the toilette paper shortage reports and laughed at the nutcases who scrambled to buy masks; after we were told we didn’t need them.

After a month went by, and we were commanded to wear masks, I wasn’t so antagonistic toward the people in the store yelling at others who did not have a mask of some kind on.

Much like the Bologna and scrambled eggs fed to our singer, songwriter friend, single ply TP wasn’t that bad when you could find it. 

It became apparent that the TV had to go.

Systematically, the different news feeds on my phone were also turned off or deleted one at a time.

Nature abhors a vacuum.

If I were not going to get my social addictions met via my usual methods and I had turned off the TV, what was my strategy for keeping sane to be?

While I am book smart, I am also one of those who can do whatever I put my mind to—not bragging, just a fact.

After catching up on a myriad of things I wanted to get done and with no reprieve from the pandemic insight, the next logical thing was to give Jeff Bezos more money.

Purchasing a 3D printer, much like waiting on the secret decoder ring from Ovaltine, the day arrived when Alexa announced there was movement at my front door.

By this stage of the game, I eagerly answered the door, speaking with salespeople, making friends with every kind of delivery person, and even social distancing with the landscapers who were not wild about talking with a customer. Whatever happened with the Jehovah’s Witness?  I have time…

Opening the box was eerily reminiscent of my erector set from about the same time as the decoder ring.

Assembling this thing was not for the faint of heart.

Up to the challenge, I spent the next two hours watching videos, with each one telling the viewer something a little different. Armed with the basics and lots of ‘tinkering experience,’ the games began.

At this point in the story, I was reminded of the Internet back before graphical user interfaces.  The only people who took advantage of the Internet were geeks. It was command-line driven, and like PCs as a whole, it was the interface that made it possible for Greg Shorthand to be placed alongside typewriters and stone tablets in the dustbin of history.

3D printers have been out for a while, and I waited for multiple reasons.  Time to tinker with it, was one of the main reasons.

Like installing rev 0 or 1.0 of any software is an invitation for arrows, or at least scars on your back, the bleeding edge of any technology is usually fraught with disillusionment.

While there is no doubt in my mind that someone will create a 3D printer that anyone can pluck out of the box, turn it on, and print stuff, today is not that day.

I entertained this idea in the first place, as I restore old radios. Knobs, other hardware, and maybe even cases could be printed. Would they have the same value?  No, but it would still be entertaining.

As of today about the only thing I have found this useful for is eating up lots of time, and making tchotchkes, or as I call them, dustables.   

While this is a popular model printer, it is from 2018, which is ancient in dog years. We heard how they were looking for people with these things to make parts for face shields.  

I find it humorous that one of the places you can use to create things is a place called ‘Tinkercad.’

After attempting some of the ‘highbrow’ cad software, Tinkercad is easy to use. If you get one of these printers, you had best like to tinker.

The two weeks to flatten the curve are now ten months. The curve appears alive and well.  

With winter on our back doors and, of course, the holidays, I would encourage everyone to do something positive and not dwell on what you cannot control.  Every subject that I loathed in school I went back and visited. Why?  Why not. When I think of the information at our fingertips, and it is taken for granted, it boggles my mind.

Social media is rife with animus from people who I would never expect. Then you have the fact-checkers who blatantly post their obnoxious views on anything they don’t happen to like. 

Yes, Facebook does not get much of my attention these days.  I don’t need people telling me what to think; you don’t either.

I might look at resin printers next after I push the envelope with the filament variety.

I sincerely hope you have a Merry Christmas.   If you are a 3D enthusiast, drop me a note. One can connect with communities, but why not connect with people who at least read what I write? 

Yes, the Jailers wife got much prettier each day, and so it goes.  -Best