Author: The Timedok

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

A brighter idea?

A brighter idea?

Being the responsible human that I am, I purchased some LED bulbs to cut my carbon footprint.

Not only have I removed much of my ‘footprint due to COVID and hardly ever leaving the house but, I am responsible with my use of resources.

The question is, how much Green can we afford?

After the incandescent bulb stopped, I replaced it with this beautiful LED bulb from LEDMEDTRICS.

Before the twenty-minute mark was up, the bulb ceased to function.

The bulb was in a standard non-dimmable lamp socket in a desk lamp.  Many are unaware that you must purchase ‘dimmable’ LED bulbs for circuits with dimmers.  I am.

If you follow me, you are aware that my curiosity knows few boundaries.

My first instinct was to contact the manufacturer.  Ooops, cannot find them.

On eBay, I can find their product but as far as the company, no dice.  Now I must tell you that twist pointed my mind in a different direction.

Removing the defective bulb (infant mortality), I noticed it was hot as any incandescent bulb ever was.

These things are assembled in such a way there is no disassembling them with the idea you are going to put them back together and use them again.

Saving a long drawn out discussion on what failed, it was a cold solder joint from the mainboard to the LED panel.  As it heated up, the contact let loose.

“Is it worth $12?”

The circuit is pretty straightforward.  We don’t know what the semiconductor is on the aluminum led substrate.

I would guess that the high tin content of the solder is most probably the reason for the cold solder joint.

For your amusement, I have taken some pictures of what is inside one of these bulbs. 

There appears to be aluminum bonded to the PVC at the base of the bulb.

-Best

Customer Service 101

Customer Service 101

Your response should be crafted.

‘Recently, I took my car in for normal maintenance.  Driving away from the shop, leaving from a red light, the engine stalled or hesitated.  Calling the shop, their response was, “Those cars have Gremlins.”’

Even though they were obligated under warranty to fix it, I lost confidence in them immediately.

Finding another shop, I elected to pay them to fix whatever was wrong.  Citing a potential catalytic converter issue, I reminded them of when the problem first occurred and then let them do their diagnostics.

The fault did not generate a check engine light.  The lack of a ‘fault’ made the problem tougher to troubleshoot.  If you have ever tinkered with old cars, the issue resembled a vacuum leak. 

Finding a tear in a hose leading to the Mass Airflow Sensor cured the problem.

The ‘gremlin’ was the mechanic who did the original work and did not check to make sure his ‘cure’ did not introduce more problems.

While I am out a few hundred more dollars to another shop, finding an honest mechanic is worth it.

From plumbers to electricians and yes, computer professionals, it is OK to say ‘I don’t know.’

Customers would much rather hear you say ‘allow me to figure it out,’ vs. your (insert issue) has gremlins.

The original shop has lost me as a customer because the mechanic did not check their work and Gremlins.

No matter who you work for or what you do, you have customers.  Identify them and treat them as you would want to be treated. Watch what you say.

-Best

What you don’t know can kill you

What you don’t know can kill you

Facebook garners little of my attention.  The social noise from so many uninformed individuals spouting opinions as facts drive me to distraction.  While social media is an adequate way to keep up with the goings-on of some people, it is hardly a substitute for a phone call or Zoom visit during these rather inauspicious times.

Other uses for the site are finding like-minded folks.   Ham (amateur) radio has been a rather large part of my life since the early 70’s when I taught myself electronics at the ripe old age of eight.

Earning my first ticket in 1973 opened a whole new world for me.  Geography soon became essential. I was talking with people in countries I did not know existed.  Interestingly enough, some of the countries I ‘worked’ are no longer countries today.  I spoke with a King of a country that is no more, how many can say that?

One of the groups on Facebook is a ham radio group.  Seldom do I comment.  Those people in that group are from a different time.  The hobby is a leftover from earlier when we knew a language that few speak.  The communication was megacycles and micro henrys.  From Zeps to long wires and grid dip meters, we were something else.

More and more of my friends of this age are dying off from natural causes, and yes, COVID.

Amateur radio operators created much of the technology we enjoy today out of need.  Necessity is the mother of invention.

For instance, yesterday was Navajo Code Talker Day.  If you don’t know the history, please, inform yourself, it is fascinating.  They helped us win the war. These people tearing down statues are clueless bastards.

If they are successful, there will be generations of clueless bastards that have no comprehension of why kneeling when the anthem is played is so distressing to those of us who know history.

Ham Radio has been dumbed down over the years. On this site, there was a young man who was studying for his test.  He had the book open, took a picture of the page, and asked the group the question, ‘do I really need to know this stuff?’

The answer should have been an emphatic ‘YES.’

The responses were down hearting.  They ranged from ’just learn the formulas’ to pointing him to a place where they teach to the test.  The latter is why we are in the fix we are in today. We have taught to the test.

I pointed out that when the hobby began, we designed and built our equipment.  There were no radio’s selling for thousands of dollars made in China, ready for you to plug in and talk.

Today on Amazon, there is a dual-band five-watt handy talkie for $20.00. Those were $600 until the Chinese got into the mix.  This thing is full of whistles and bells, I have a few of them, just because.

While the CB craze in the ’70s set the stage for such radios, it took another twenty years before the FCC changed the rules, first removing the requirement for Morse code.   The questions went from an essay type question or fill in the blank, to multiple guess.

Testing went from traveling downtown to the federal building to volunteers like me who can administer the test.

While we have smartphones that can facetime people anywhere in the world where there is cell service, I am asked, why the need for ham radio?

The answer is we provide communication when there is any disaster where commercial methods of communication are down.  From hurricanes to earthquakes, we are there.

I responded to the person asking the question, telling him as much and relating to him that inside the transmitters and amplifiers are lethal voltages.  If you use a screwdriver and have any curiosity about your equipment, what you don’t know can kill you.  That is why multiple guess tests are not a good thing.  They are great for the people who manufacture and sell radios, but not suitable for the hobby or the people who are responsible for the signal the radio emits.

If they don’t have to work for it, they don’t respect it.  Just about any given night, you can find ‘operators’ most probably drunk, swearing like a sailor.  Very much illegal and could land you in jail.

Case in point and this is a simple thing.  I ordered an inrush current limiting device to keep the filaments of the tubes in my amplifier from getting all that current at an instant.  How many times have you flipped on a light to have the bulb flash and go out?

The same could happen to the filaments in the tubes, which are considerably more expensive than a bulb.

The case of the device was not put on correctly.  Because I know electronics and I know where this stuff is being made and by whom, I decided to open it up and peek at it before fixing the case properly.

crappy job

The pictures are what I found.  If those that learn to the test take that knowledge no further, they would not know what they are looking for.  Also, they might not understand what is wrong with it.

If you are an Amateur Radio Operator and you are savvy with electronics, I would encourage you to remove the covers and peek inside before you plug it in.  From cold solder joints to plugs not seated correctly, nothing surprises me.

This device you see is $90 plus tax and shipping.

Two MOV’s, one capacitor, one 10 ohm wire wound resistor, and a relay.  Add two fuses and a case and outlet you have an inrush current protector.   I would have liked an LED telling me that I have it on, or have power but nope.

IMG_6198
Correctly installed

If you look at the wire on the outlet, only a tad bit of the wire is connected to the outlet.  The green or ground wire has a part of the wire super close to the hot lead of the 110.  While the ground was wrapped backward, I left it as it was tight.

ground1
This is what you don’t want to see.

Whoever built this either did not care, was in a hurry, or child labor.  Yes, they could have been tired or hungover or a host of other excuses.  My point is this is not the first time I have had shoddy quality on ‘turn-key’ devices.  Had I learned to the test, I would never know the difference unless it failed, and I had to get it repaired under warranty.

The good news is the design is robust and there are two fuses.  The bad news is that outlet on the device might have been a source of heat, and intermittent connection through arcing and what have you.  It also might have been a source for electrical noise in the receiver, if indeed it began to arc.

If you are going to get into the hobby of Ham Radio, step up and learn it.  What you don’t know could kill you.

A friend of mine years ago was working on his amplifier late in the afternoon.  He was tired but used to tinkering as many of us do.  The high voltage in his amplifier was not where it belonged.  Taking the high voltage leads lose from the rectifier assembly, he went to measure the voltage from the transformer without a load.

Again, like many of us do with low voltage, we grab the end of the wires and hold to the leads of the meter.  Bad habit.

He did it with 3000 volts at an amp.  That mistake blew both of his arms off and exploded his kidneys.  The electricity shot out the bottoms of his feet, through his shoes while finding ground.

He lived for three days like that.

What you don’t know can kill you! 

Working on things when you are tired can kill you.  Bad habits can kill you.  I keep one hand in my pocket whenever I am working on high voltage.  I remove all jewelry when I am working on electronics, period.

I never re-load bullets when I am tired.  I never drink and get on the radio, or send an e-mail to someone whom I have a disagreement with. 🙂  Words to live by.

I hope this story is helpful in some way to those of you who tinker with electronics.

-Best

Scott

The Case of the Bloated Apple

The Case of the Bloated Apple

Ok, it’s technically not an apple in the most real sense of the word.  God or Eve or even the devil had little influence on this fruit.  We are talking about an iPhone.

Let my experience with this device be a cost-saving measure for you.

With the lockdowns and subsequent lack of leaving the house, the phone, which usually lives on my person, hardly ever left the desk.

Since it never left the desk, it also never or hardly ever left the charger.

The physics that goes along with these batteries is somewhat elusive, but batteries are designed to be used.  Said another way, unlike car batteries, these batteries in your laptop, cell phone, and tablets are designed to cycle on a larger scale than your car.

They are rated in how many times they can be ‘cycled.’

On my desk laid the iPhone plugged up to a constant source of energy.  Monitoring the current from the power supply to the phone, I noticed no appreciable current draw but, something was happening.

Simultaneous events occurred during February and March.  The phone seemed to split apart.  Something inside the phone was expanding.  It could only be the battery.  Knowing that these batteries can be volatile, a new phone seemed to be in order.  Repairing an old phone makes little sense by the time you find a place to take it and so on.

Another thousand dollar phone later seemed to be the right approach.  Trying to leave the house presented a whole new challenge.  The car battery was dead.

With all the electronic ‘stuff’ in cars today, there is about a 250 ma constant draw on the battery.  If you don’t drive it weekly, put a trickle charger on the battery.

Here we juxtapose the two different technologies.  Lead Acid batteries are designed to give you that current with a small amount of discharge in the process of starting the engine.  Once started, the alternator puts the energy consumed, back into the battery.  Hence one cycle is complete.

In Texas, anything over three years is considered a win. Heat is detrimental to lead-acid batteries.

Switch gears to the phone.  The Lithium Polymer battery will provide the correct voltage and current until depleted.  Translated, if you puncture a phone battery while trying to remove it while still charged, it very well might combust into flames.

Battery 1

The battery in my older iPhone expanded much like a balloon while living on my desk. Not having taken one of these phones apart before, I felt the proper thing to do would be to recycle it and forget it.  (but It still worked.)

The longer it sat there with its screen popping off, and the more time I had to think about it, google became the go-to source of information.

$22 later, I had a new battery and the tools to change it on the way to my home.

While the procedure is not for the faint of heart, if you were to follow the directions to the letter, the odds are, you too could save your phone.

The older phone still provides a platform for Zoom, music, and yes videos.  The newer phone now lives on an inductive charger, which, according to the manufacturer, will not overcharge your battery.

Since the older phone is repaired and looks great, I unplug it from the charger as I use it like one usually would.  Even without actual ATT service, with wifi, there are many ways to use the phone as a phone still.

The trickiest part of the procedure is removing the old battery. It is glued to the phone.  This is where you could create an explosive situation if you are not super careful.  One tip I would offer is, drain the battery completely before you attempt a procedure like this.

How? Turn the phone on and listen to music until it is dead.

Regarding your car, make sure the trickle charger is rated at least an amp.  The trickle charger I bought from one of those box stores used a little wall wart as the supply.  It did not provide sufficient current to keep the battery charged and run whatever stand-by devices were drawing minuscule amounts of energy.

I now use a zero-point charger that shuts off when the power drain falls below a few milliamps.  As the devices draw enough current to trigger the charger, a cycle is developed, keeping the car ready for when you need to escape from quarantine.

I hope you find this information of some value and that you stay safe during these trying times.

-Best

Watch Out For Crap Like This.

Watch Out For Crap Like This.

From the early 70’s I was tinkering with electronics.  While my peers were playing ball or getting their hearts broken, I was getting shocked and talking to people all over the world.

Peering through the back of a radio or perhaps the TV, one would see all these glowing amber lights.  Soon after my fascination with the front of the radiant dial on the old floor model radio piqued, I wanted to know how it worked.

Garage sales and discarded appliances became a source of amusement for me.  Boxes of small parts from different devices soon lived in the closet, under my bed, and soon I had to pare down the collection.  A borrowed receiver, some junk box parts, and a crystal as were the rules back then, I was on the air as a newly minted Novice Amateur Radio Operator.  The glowing 6AQ5 tube was the final for a whopping 7 watts unmodulated Carrier wave controlled by the steady fist of what they used to call ‘brass pounders.’

Today, 47 years after the date, I still remember Morse code, but I must confess I have not pounded a key in eons.

Tubes gave way to transistors, which soon turned into integrated circuits. Now we have software-defined radio that minimalizes the power usage and, of course, exaggerates the complications if you need to troubleshoot it.

Time marches on. 

A man once stipulated that we stand on the shoulders of giants, and the same is true of the law of accelerated return of advancement regarding technology.

Most teenagers today have more technology in their back pocket or on their wrist than we used to send a man to the moon.  What they do with it remains to be seen but, the possibility of great things is within their grasp.

Licensing for the Amateur Radio Service is nothing like it was.  One could argue that nobody builds anything anymore, so it does not need to be as difficult as it was back in 1973.

I still tinker, albeit minimally and mostly with antenna design and theory.  All that said to get to the point of this blog.

When I purchased this switch box online, I knew what to expect.  Never in a million years would I push any wattage through this thing.

When I wiggled the wires a number of them came lose of their own accord, cold solder joints.
Here is the inside of the box. Wow.

In my office resides a desk, with several different apparatuses on it.  From state of the art to antique, I still listen to and ‘mess’ with them on occasion.  You see I always appreciate the glow from the dial light of old shortwave radios.  I wanted a way to control the RF from my antenna to the different devices without messing with cables.

The name of this device is miss-leading, and I am confident if put to the test, they would call it a ‘name’ and say they never meant it to handle 1000 watts. With the wording CB in the advertisement, they could argue the illegality of using more than 12 watts PEP ergo ‘what were you doing with this thing?’

A smart person could take them to task, in that this thing would perform miserably at 27mhz.

Whoever designed it had a handle on DC but not AC.  The integrity of the 50 ohms impedance is violated, making this a horrible device even for switching between receivers.  Again I knew what to expect when I spent the $20.  Why then did I buy it?

IMG_5771

Real coaxial switches have the same essential components, they are just well thought out.   If you look at the contact on the switch, you can tell that any kind of wattage would burn the connections and or arc over to the next.  In its original construction, I would not even use it for low wattage use.

Below you can see how I modified it with coax and common grounds.  One last modification is to add a ground lug to it, so I can ground the box to earth ground.

IMG_5774

Enjoy your hobbies, and be very wary of crap from the Far East.  While it is all made there, ‘for the most part,’ some companies have a reputation at stake, while some just want to sell cheap junk.

In its original form, it was just that, junk.

-Best

Scott

 

Media Bias

Media Bias

 

Today in the new, the President’s legal team wrapped up their case.  By all accounts, they should move to acquit and get back to the business of the people.

What we are not hearing about in the media is a possible pandemic.  To date, 131 people have died from the coronavirus.  What they have not reported on is the coronavirus is and has been a problem in dogs, and the Chinese eat dogs.

Viruses mutate, so it is no surprise that ingesting dogs might have something to do with how it began.

If it indeed has mutated to now be transmitted human to human, the number of 131 deaths of 1-28-2020 will be higher by 1-29-2020.  Depending upon the veracity of the disease, the amount will increase logarithmically.

Why the US is still accepting flights from China is questionable, but here is the kicker, as we are a very mobile society, the virus could quickly become a worldwide pandemic in no time.

Of course, the mainstream media is focused on calling Trump supporters Credulous Rubes.

Since CNN pays to have all airports only have CNN on its televisions, one might think that they would fulfill the role of ‘actual news’ instead of meddling in the upcoming elections.

Another story that is very important is the Chinese spy ring that we have captured in the US.  No, you didn’t hear about it because it does not fit the hate trump narrative. From a Harvard professor to students sneaking technology and biochemical research out of the country to China, should have made the news.  It didn’t.’ But we know that John Bolton is writing a book and someone alleged that he leaked something to the New York Times.

You didn’t hear that the Democratic Party is falling apart, and they don’t have a good strategy nor a qualified candidate.  You don’t know that Joe Biden should not be running nor even driving, because of his mental state, they don’t like Warren and they certainly know that the Socialist Bernie Sanders cannot beat Trump, so they are pushing Bloomberg to the top using lots of money to purchase air time to attack Trump on made-up numbers and so forth.

You didn’t hear any of that because they are too busy on their campaign to destroy Trump by death with a thousand cuts.   By attacking his ‘Credulous Rubes or the Deplorable’s, which are too stupid to know that they should not be trusted with the vote. Those with money and power hope to keep 65 million of us silent, while they go after Trump on made-up facts.

You might not have heard that once again, the yapping heads on CNN think it would be improper for Trump to give the State of the Union Address as then the American people would hear his voice.  This whole Impeachment thing has been about destroying his credibility and swaying people in the electorate who think Socialism is a good thing.

Yes, the media is the enemy of the republic and is part of the left-wing crazies who ilk, like them, has destroyed country after country, while raping their people, resources, and wealth.  In short, these people are not your friends, on your side or have your back etc.  They are out for what they can get from you while promising you the world.

There are no free lunches and no free anything in this world.  Someone paid for it.

It is time we demand Term Limits be on the ballot for all officials.

It is time we create an accountability law for the media.  If they profess to be a journalist, they must damned well act like it.

Stalin said the sharpest tool in his weaponry was the written word.  With CNN and social media, we have no idea if the trolls from other countries or the MSM is a more significant threat to our democracy.

#silentnomore

#termlimits

 

The Old Gray Mare Ain’t What She Used to Be

The Old Gray Mare Ain’t What She Used to Be

This might seem like a blog about horses or livestock but we will be talking about technology, and how to breathe new life in to your old computers.

In 1946 they designed the ENIAC to be the end all be all in technology.  Twenty minutes of Computer time would replace over 240 man hours where calculations were concerned.  The economic model fell apart with the amount of man hours needed to maintain the computer, not to mention the parts, ‘tubes’ and the energy needed to power it.  

Today in this modern era of technology we have something known as Hardware Asset Management.  If your CIO gives you a blank stare if you talk with him or her about it, consider hiring a new one.

CFO’s hate surprises. Without asset management one quickly learns there are no good surprises in business.

The modern day desktop has a life cycle of five years and the laptop, three.  What if there was a way to extend that life cycle for a minimum investment?

They rate components in computers in something known as MTBF or Mean Time between Failures.  Notice that does not ‘if it fails, but when.’

Looking at the different components within a computer, one of the most fragile and arguable important is the hard drive.  Next would be the power supply, and any moving parts, which would be the fans, drives and cd-rom.

How do we mitigate this to an acceptable level of risk, and push the envelope out one to two or more years?

Normal physical maintenance should be at the top of every ‘engineers’ duties.
·         Visiting with the users looking for clues about what they are dealing with.
·         Visual inspections of how the machines are installed and cared for.
·         Regular dusting of the CPU and other fans looking or listening for bearings, etc.
·         Frayed cables or broken tabs on network cables.
·         Non-authorized software.

Managers of those individuals should be mindful of updates, security and so on.  License compliance is part of Software Asset management and not in the scope of this document.

Now what about extending the life cycle of a computer?

The secret is SSD drives.  As developers constantly up the requirements for applications to perform, we cast aside perfectly viable computers for newer hardware.

What if? 

What if we could solve some of those issues with a simple upgrade? SSD Drives are under $100 for a Terabyte drive.  A disk duplicator cost around $40 or certainly less than one hundred dollars.

Taking out the hard drive, placing it in the source compartment of the duplicator and the new SSD drive in the target; in 4 hours’ time you have a solid state drive that is no longer subject to accidental jars such as in laptops.  More importantly than this, is the speed issue.  You also have a perfect clone of the original meaning, you have a backup should something happen.

SSD drives are much faster than regular hard drives and there are no moving parts.

The laptop I am writing this on, was a retired HP with an I 3 processor and 6 gig of ram.  One $100 drive later this laptop performs like a new one.  Yes, the Office applications are still 2010 but, I have Windows 10 and it runs just fine.
Boot up time went from over three minutes, to under thirty seconds.

Application loading time is incredible and if Windows needs to swap, it is swapping to memory and not a slow hard drive.

Bottom line, I have a perfectly good laptop pulled from the retirement pile, for $100 and four hours of my time.

Since the copy process is automatic, you put the two drives into the machine, hit copy and go do something else until it is finished.  Actual human hours involved were less than 20 minutes.
The old Gray Mare now is running like a colt, and I can save the money I would spend on a laptop and new software for something else.

For an individual this is an easy decision to make.  Multiply this by ten or a thousand employees.  Could your P&L use the extra boost?

Like always, I am a consultant and would be happy to visit with you about how you are doing business, and if there are ways to improve upon them.

Bio:
I was working with computers before Bill Gates was a household name, and Steve Jobs was still a criminal working out of his garage, designing and building ways to scam the phone company.  I met him while supporting Next Step Computers during one of my jobs years ago.
From before ‘Al Gore’ invented the internet, to performing disaster recovery strategies for large and small companies, I stay active. Reach out to me on Linked In, or through this blog.
-Best