Category: electonics

Time to #die #computer #PC

Time to #die #computer #PC

Time to Die

Before you think this is some macabre blog about life and death hold on! I am talking about time to let your trusted computer retire.

“Why the hell is my computer so slow!”  I substituted “hell” for the F word!  You get the point.  People are frustrated and just pissed off by the time I get a call.

The average life span of a PC is about 5 years, give or take.  The issues I have with that are many, and most of that revolve around the EULA. (End User License Agreement)

6a00d83451fb6769e200e54f64c4268833-800wi Does anyone read these?  I did a couple of times and boy oh boy, you need a lawyer to figure it out!

If you purchase a computer with an operating system that dies than the OS dies when the computer does.  Unlike the old days of DOS and or early Windows.

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When it gets right down to it the expensive part of the computer is not the hardware, but the software.  The OS is about $150 or so… Ok I can stomach that.

Office full blown is $500! Does it die with the computer?

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The Adobe suite is off the charts expensive, does it die with the computer?

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Why is it that a computer running an OS runs just fine and as time goes by it slows down?  Does the computer just get tired?

Resmon screen shot showing CPU busy calculationsThree finger solute brings this up…

It has a lot to do with the patches and ad-ons that we do to them.  A computer is much like a baby.  Everything that you do to it, or with it from its “birth,” has some effect on it.

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Herbie Pulling a trailer and from the 1954 movie the long long trailer Ricky and Lucy pulling a trailer full of rocks.

I equate it to a car.  Let’s say your car is a Volkswagen beetle that new, gets you down the road and does what you want it to do.  After a few months it is not quite as Zippy as it was earlier and after a year it starts showing its age.  You take it in for a tune-up, start using a higher grade of gasoline and for a while it works fair.  Then after a while going up hills are a struggle.  After downshifting to 2cnd you make it up the hills but you remember earlier in its life when maybe you only had to downshift to 3rd but for the most part; not at all.

After much head scratching you start looking at every little detail of your poor car.  Suddenly you find out that your partner in crime has secretly had a fascination with collecting rocks.  Your poor car is hauling tons of rocks in the “bonnet” under the back seat, and even the glove box!

Some of the rocks have been there so long that they have become part of the car!  After removing all of the rocks that you can; the car once again makes it up the hills but not as fast as it did when it was new.

Your computer when new; was the fastest thing around, if you are like me, you over buy!

After months and maybe years the computer much like the car has the occasional issue with web sites, or e-mail or loading a picture file to edit.

Time to look for rocks.

062912_0041_CCleanerthe1 CRAPCLEANER-CIPHER27

You buy a product like Crap Cleaner and you let it work its magic.  Not before too long, your computer is running “ok” so you push on.

After a few years Crap Cleaner no longer does it.  You enlist the help of someone like myself.  I hunt and kill malware and other viruses. I check for the latest drivers and work my magic and manage to get your computer running as it should, but it is not as good as it was new.

SWT Yep, that is me….

Why?

I can tell you that it is most probably not the hardware.  I can prove it to you by installing another hard drive and installing the virgin OS that your machine came with.  The machine will behave just like it did out of the box, until you put your “stuff” back on it, most of the time.

Uninstall Crap

One of the things that I find the most, is people install all of this “stuff.”  It all looks cool until you see that your computer is full of trial-ware, and other “stuff” that you don’t use.  Delete it or “uninstall it.”

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Startup

A quick look at the startup software will usually tell you that you have too much crap starting up.

A CTRL ALT DELETE or three finger solute will bring up a menu which you can then bring up task manager.  Look at the processes utilization and so forth and see where it is.  Frequently I see machines that have used all of the allotted memory and are now into virtual memory.  Virtual memory is orders of magnitude slower than “real memory” as it is swapping to your hard drive.  Troubleshoot the issues and remove programs or processes that are starting up that you really don’t need.  The goal is to keep the machine using only real memory and not have to deal with a bunch of “Rocks!”

Hardware dust bunnies

dirty-computer-fan I have seen worse! IMG_0228

They are overclocking some computer so they have taken to using water cooling systems much like they did back in the days of the Amdahl MainFrame’s.

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There is a special breed of animal that I liken to gremlins.  They live inside your computer and other electronic “stuff.”  They plug up the vents, restrict air flow and clog up fans and get inside your CD Rom drive stopping it from working, even inside your floppy drive if you still have one.  These are the ever present Dust Bunnies that once only lived under beds and furniture.  Now they have found a new occupation destroying electronic stuff and they are not even cute!

dustbunnies-by-suzanne-proulx Someone had way too much time on their hands…

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Just like Gremlins, don’t get water anywhere near them!

One thing that I never overlook is cleanliness of the machine.  These things are ecological disasters when it comes to dust!  If Hoover was smart they would build a combo PC / Air Cleaner as these things really do look like the inside of the vacuum cleaner bag.   If you have pets or maybe are in a warehouse etc. the problem is exacerbated.  While I really want to title this BJ, I decided that might be too crass.  You get the idea, take it outside and blow the crap out of it, “literally,” with an air compressor if you have it, or that expensive canned air. I clean mine out every 6 months and that goes double for laptops as people use those things in strange places, even on their bed where the machine can’t breathe correctly! Laptops should be used on a hard surface, not carpet, couches or beds!

These machine generate heat and must be adequately cooled.  If your machine is still running warm after the BJ, consider buying and installing a better CPU cooler and even more fans for the case.

While I am talking about hardware, make certain that your power supply is up to the task at hand.  It needs to be able to produce more wattage than you need and it should have a large fan in it that moves lots of air.  Today they have power supplies that have plug in cables that give you the ability to only use that which you need in the way of cables and not have a lot of extra wire floating around inside the box!  Anything in there that you don’t need can obstruct air flow.

While I am talking about cables, dress them properly.  They should be neatly tied together and routed where they do not obstruct a fan from turning and if possible away from air paths so cool air can make its way through the case.

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Antivirus

Antivirus is Key to computer users today and more critical than ever before.  While my tin foil hat side of me thinks that the creators of this software are all out to be better than the next guy by actually producing and passing the thousands of viruses out there; I don’t have the smoking gun.  I see that this is a huge industry and where there is money there is greed / motive.  I cannot fathom why anyone would sit around in their mother’s basement in their underwear writing destructive viruses if they cannot see the effect of their work and are not being paid.

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Eww, I just about feel bad putting this here….

My current favorites are Eset Node 32 and Trend Micro.  I also have Norton running on a PC that I use infrequently and do not depend upon or even allow anything “free” other than defender on my network / lab computers / home computers.  Free is not worth what you pay for it!  Defender is not the end all be all product and I would never depend upon it as my sole protection.  That would be like people practicing the “rhythm method” for birth control, you know what they call those folks right?  Parents!

trend_micro_antivirus download

Get the latest updates

Allow the stinking updates from Microsoft as they have a vested interest in your machine working properly.  Like the antivirus folks who work tirelessly to constantly put out new updates, so does Microsoft.  It may be a simple tweak and yes, they frequently allow stuff out that should be tested more thoroughly so you may want to wait for a few days before you actually install it yourself but, most of the time they are the thing to do.

Turn off indexing

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By default Windows has indexing turned on.  As your computer ages and you fill up those massive terabyte hard drives with stuff, the computer uses valuable horse power to index all of your stuff.  That can slow your machine down to a crawl!  Unless you search for files constantly turn off indexing! If you still want to have faster access to certain files you can selectively index.

Defrag

After all else, run check-disk and then defrag your hard drive.  If during the checkdsk process you find bad sectors don’t wait, stop right there and back up everything and replace the hard drive!  Most all electronic equipment is rated in MTBF or (mean time between failure.)  It is not a matter of “if” but when it will fail.

Let it Die

XP is dead, get over it.  End of life software keeps those that write the stuff in business.  Software is an incredibly dynamic industry.  Linux is more static if you want to learn something totally new but even it changes.

Machines that run DOS have been re-cycled and are polluting third world countries where some send old boards and parts to allow low budget workers to re-claim precious metals at risk to the person and their ecology.  If old Al really wanted to something of value, he would tackle this issue as those people are seriously polluting their environment as our garbage is a job for them.  Bottom line, re-cycle your old hardware in a responsible manner.  PC’s are not an investment in hardware but rather for what they do!  They have a finite life and when they start sucking the life out of you by you having to baby them, wait on them and spend your hard earned money to “fix them” get a new one!

 trs80ii DSC06133 os2warp4xp_boot2000px-StartingMsdos2 If I had a nickle for every time the phone rang asking me what do I do now with this C thing….!

If you decide to re-cycle any old computer and you are worried about your “information, as you should be” remove the hard drive and hang on to it.  When you are certain that you no longer will need anything that possibly could be on it, take your drill and drill a hole, straight through it, hit it with a hammer multiple times, after dropping it on a cement surface, and then put the remains into the recycle bin. Wear your safety glasses just in case….

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I am experienced in forensic computing so trust me, if you do any of the above, or some combination, nobody will get anything off of it, ever!

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Crap Cleaner as part of its program has something called Drive Wiper.  That may very well do it, without all of the destructive energy being spent.  Once you run it everything is gone to the great bit bucket in the sky, or basement..

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Who am I?

I am just a guy who has been working with computers since before Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were anyone, period!  The internet was not around and Al Gore was still inventing the calculator to determine how much to charge for green-house gas emissions, from the basement in his mansion!

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Al, what can be said?  

download (1) Al+Bore+Chicken+Little

Actually a lot, can you say “MEME,” I bet you can…

There was no e-mail, no internet; and porn was not digital anywhere!  There was still Greg Shorthand and Secretaries were a hot commodity, as executives could not construct a proper sentence without them.

005184115 First picture of something racy that was found on the internet I think using “gopher.”

gopher2 Early Internet usage… This is actually advanced as there is a browser!

I lecture, consult, and when time permits, give back to the community with things like this “free advice or entertainment.”

Re-post this if you think that it will help your folks, or readers, or some family member that wonders why their computer is “so slow!” just don’t edit it and make sure proper credit is given.  Thanks!

STL1150

Just in case: There are no warranties expressed or implied with this “free advice” for the legal record, let’s call this “entertainment” as I know that there are those out there that will do something to their computer and try to claim that this blog was in some way responsible and they might even be the ambulance chaser attorney type, that sees a lawsuit in a free lunch!

So, anything that you read here is “entertainment” and if you should try this at home, you do so at your own peril, if something goes awry!  “Plain language…if you stuff it up” I am not responsible.

Stuffed Up!
Stuffed up!

-Best to you and those that you care about!

Copyright 2015 TimeDok, All rights reserved

Www.Guard-Protect.com

Www.TimeDok.com

#Drones or #UAV & right to #privacy!  @johnmccaa @thewellsreport Look at the blog… follow the link.

#Drones or #UAV & right to #privacy! @johnmccaa @thewellsreport Look at the blog… follow the link.

Drones or UAV & Right to Privacy!

This is a story that needs telling, so kids with expensive toys do not get into trouble.

After arriving home, getting out of my car I heard a sound that I could not identify.  At first, I thought it some sort of gas leak until the sound changed pitch abruptly, causing me to search the sky.

multirotor

Hovering over my fenced back yard at about 20 to 30 feet was some sort of UAV, not a quad copter, more propellers.

As a Geek, I appreciate technology so my first thought was “wow,” that is somewhat cool!  As I watched, the craft made a turn to another’s backyard, and than another, and then it took off to the north.

What was the operator doing hovering this thing over peoples back yards?

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Posting about this on social media, one of my close friends noted that she had one over her back yard that day!

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This uav was just released for sale and talked about at the electronic convention in Las Vegas.  One wears it like a bracelet and if they want to take a selfie from the air; one removes it, activates it and tosses it into the air.  Control of it is with the phone and it has a camera that is good enough to take a quality picture or video.

Recently the news reported one of these things crashed on the Mexican Border loaded down with drugs.  Later we learned that they have been using them to get contraband into prisons.  If I were a bad guy, I can think of all sorts of things that could be done, looking through windows for unclothed people would be at the bottom of the list!

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View of New York From UAV

When I hear that the government had them that had the technology to peer into your open window from a mile away and count your freckles, I was concerned.  Floating in the pool last summer I saw one like in the picture below flying at altitude going from east to west; the silhouette was unmistakable.  There was no noise and had I not been looking up, I never would have noticed it.

uav-copy1

This flew over my house one summer day, going straight over DFW!  I was not aware that it was legal to fly these things in US air space.

What are the laws regarding Unmanned Aerial Vehicles?

Do we have the right to privacy?

BIGBROTHERWATCHINGOBAMACARTOON

A newly released document reports a type of radar that allows someone to stand outside your house and know if you are home and where in the house you are.  I think something like this in wartime might be ok but, for anyone who can plop down $6000 to buy and use; this is another story.

hidden-spy-cameras avc-systems-Home-Security-Systems

Above you see a camera in a fake smoke detector, to the right is just picture of different cameras that one might see.

For anyone to abridge your right to privacy without warrant should be illegal! That not only goes for electronic tapping of your communication but most certainly, for invading your private space with electronic surveillance techniques whether it be radar, covert eaves dropping measures and even a drone of any sort.  Too many good men and women died to give us freedom from many things and that includes an out of control government!  Technology is great but anything that violates someone; the user of such needs to be held accountable!

range-r

Regarding the drones over the backyards, I am guessing that kids got them for Christmas, and did the first thing that came into their head, look in their neighbors fenced in yards and windows.

Allow me to be the first to put you on notice, this is an illegal activity and should it happen to anyone else, I would imagine a well placed stream of water from a garden hose would not do it any good, and may even render it inoperable.  When the perpetrator comes to fuss and or collect their property, you can then take them to task.  I just wonder what the law would say if this person came home with a busted nose, or pair of blackened eyes.  

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/09/25/state-legislation-governing-private-drone-use/

I am not sure what agency controls such things; as these fly too low for the FAA to get involved.  I think the local police would be your best bet, as this is nothing more than being a peeping tom.   

 Video the offence and take em to court.

Attn: John and David! This story really needs to hit the media, as it is really a matter of not knowing what they are doing is illegal.  They need to take them out of the neighborhood to fly them.  Since they have a good quality camera, what they capture could be illegal as taking pictures or video of people without their permission is in itself a crime; especially if you are invading their privacy in the process.

I have no idea what people will do with this technology but we really need to be on top of it to protect your rights.

We sacrifice enough of our privacy every day just to go to work.  Think about this, every intersection that you traverse has cameras that have the capability to capture your image.  They can also contain bio metric software so your unique personage can be tracked, patterns established and documented.  Your phone that you love so much “can be used” as a tracking device; to know exactly where you are, down to within a few feet of resolution.  The hell of that is that you pay for it!

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How much privacy do we have to sacrifice? 

A trip through the airport and, well this is what you give up for the privilege of flying.  A recent TSA whistle blower talked about how everyone wanted the job of the room where they view such pictures.  While there they laughed at peoples private parts. Do you feel safe?  Why is it that technology always seems to end up being used for perverse task or a weapon of some kind.  I can just imagine some twisted mind when encountering a new technology, “how could I use this as a weapon?”  Christians would say it is because we are a fallen people.

In public areas, the odds are good that security cameras are watching you and recording you.  At work, the odds are good that cameras are watching you.  Can your webcam be remotely activated, how about your own cameras for your own security system.  Recently we heard of a Russian web site where thousands of cameras were hacked and their contents displayed for the Russians to laugh at, while watching whatever is going on in front of them.

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http://www.v3.co.uk/v3-uk/news/2382511/russians-hacking-into-webcams-showing-live-footage-from-uk-offices-shops-and-baby-monitors

If you buy these things, make certain that you change all of the default usernames and passwords!

While this guy saw the light, there will be others that do not…

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A few years ago a school gave out laptops for kids to take home.  Some whistle blower let it be known that the cameras in the computers were being remotely turned on and people were watching children in their bedrooms or wherever the laptops happen to be.  Are we inherently evil?

Cameras are now so small that they are in pens, clocks, other everyday devices and you simply have to act as if someone is either watching you or recording you when you are out in public.  But what about your home?

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It is not my purpose to instigate paranoia.  Most people are not interesting enough to be spied on in the first place but, Orwell was on to something.  Take steps to make sure that your gadgets are secure and if you own and fly UAV’s, know that I will take steps to keep my private life private.  This blog is one way that I am doing that by making this issue known to many who simply don’t pay attention to such things.  It is my hope that my media contacts will find this interesting enough to do a story about.

George Orwell and 1984 Quotation

-Best to you and those that you care about!

Please feel free to “re-blog” as you see fit.  The more people that know about this the better off we all are. 

Copyright Timedok All rights reserved 2015

http://www.TimeDok.com

Electric Cars, a Case for the Combustion Engine

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I went into an office the other day and noticed a small car parked up front, rather stylish but the name caught my eye, “Volt.”

As an electronic gadget loving guy, not to mention one who designs circuits for one thing or another, I was rather intrigued. Walking around the other side of the car there was this device sticking out of the fender with a long thick cord attaching it to some sort of box with another cord extending from the box to the outlet outside the building.

I really don’t want to rain on the electric car parade but, I think that this technology is too immature for prime time.

When an electric car is fully charged you are going to get a maximum of 100 miles (maybe.) That most likely is predicated on perfect road condition, traffic etc. The radio, air conditioner, windshield wipers and stop and start traffic all play a role.

100 miles to empty in most peoples cars is like somewhere between a quarter and an eight of a tank of gas till empty. Put another way, the little gas light is either on, or about to come on.

Now think about this, you go to work 15 miles each way. You go to lunch maybe 5 miles to lunch and 5 miles back. So far this is good, only 25 miles used. Add to this the trip to the school or the store and then home again, you might make it happen. After work and back home now you have errands to run, but you can’t because the car has to re-charge.

Add to this that each and every night you have to get this cable out of the trunk, drag it across the driveway or what have you and plug everything in or guess what, the next day you will be calling a cab to get to work.

As these cars make more of an impact on society, office buildings and possibly stores will provide a place to hook up your car for a little boost while you are working or visiting the doctor or even shopping.

We are not there yet.

Propane powered cars never took off as there are few places to get propane. It was a natural for cities as they can house the filling station for their fleet. Propane now cost more that gasoline however; and most probably because it can be used for transportation instead of only heating and cooking. Those using propane that live in the country, know exactly how much that has changed in the last few years.

I would imagine that if and when someone makes an electric car that will go further than 100 miles, and they become more ensconced in our way of life, the price of electricity will skyrocket as well as there will be more demand it.

One other thing that the dealers don’t talk about regarding the electric car is the replacement cost of the batteries.

There is a huge difference between the batteries that goes into the Prius (Hybrid) vs. a pure electric car or EV. The Prius battery has been known to go 200000 miles. That is mainly because the Prius battery assist a gasoline engine and is charged every time the vehicle brakes.

Not only are the chemical differences something to be considered, but lets say you “kill” your batteries. That is known as a deep discharge and will in fact damage the battery over time.

Secondly let’s say your drive is only 50 miles a day. When you charge your car every night the batteries will in fact loose some of their ability to hold a charge and before long you may not be able to make it even the full 50 miles.

While GM and Nissan both offer a warrantee on them, they do consider that the batteries diminished capacity is not a warranted item.

You laptop battery uses the same technology. Does it last as long as it did on battery the day that you bought it?

The lithium ion battery which the EV uses, needs “lithium” which this country does not have in abundance. The interesting part if this equation is that Afghanistan is loaded with it. Chile also has large deposits as well as Bolivia. If this country as well as others start driving EV’s in any quantity guess what the cost of lithium will do, not to mention its availability.

Since this is earth week, are EV’s “green friendly?”

Pure Ev’s are charged from the grid. That means that the same power plant that burns coal to create electricity is now putting energy into your car. Since there are no tailpips to allow exhaust to get out and pollute the planet, remember that the “juice” in your batteries came at a carbon cost.

If I were really concerned about getting better mileage and not adding to the carbon foot print I would purchase a hybrid of some sort. No limits on miles, charges from the vehicle braking and can be charged from the grid.

If my mileage was incredibly predictable I might consider an EV at some point. The battery technology and the eventual disposal of them is still to new and since I don’t have thousands of dollars to piss away, I will stick with what I know.

If, and this is a big if, you could get an EV, charge it from your solar array or wind farm, you might have something. Alternate forms of energy producing things are way too expensive for the normal guy, not to mention take up lots of real estate.

It is a free country “still,” and your mileage may vary.

-Best to you and those that you care about.

Electronic News

Many of you will not really have much knowledge of what I am going to talk about here as it relates to the electronic industry and your pocket book. By the time your done reading this, you will be enlightened somewhat.ImageImage

Not too long ago some Chinese company produced something known to me and anyone who knows technology as a capacitor.  These live in just about any electronic device that you might have.

The problem is that the formula for these was invented in Japan and it was liberated “Stolen” from the Japanese plant and sold to someone in China.  Industrial espionage happens all of the time and there are many famous cases that I could site; The TV and Radio are two off the top of my head.

The problem with this formula is that they did not get all of it.  They got the part for the dielectric, (the part that separates the internal plates from shorting) but they did not obtain the stabilizer for the dielectric; so after a few months to a few years the dielectric breaks down and fails.   These capacitors were sold to many different manufacturers including Dell and LG to name two.

Other computer board manufacturers are also loaded with these defective capacitors.  One of my LG monitors stopped working and for about $6 and change and about one hour worth of work, I replaced all of the capacitors on the power supply/ inverter board and, Viola; the monitor is as good as new.  The most difficult part of the procedure was taking the monitor apart without damaging it.

Last night one of my desktop crapped out.  The power supply went south.  I happen to keep new power supplies on hand so I simply upgraded the power supply from 300 watts to 600 watts which also sports a larger cooling fan.  It was a win win!

As the power supply houses some pretty cool parts for those of us who still build things, I took it apart and there it was, a capacitor that was bloated, standing out like a sore thumb.  The fix probably would have cost me $.50 but as it was a 300 watt power supply I elected to scrap it.  300 watts is really too small, and of course much cheaper than a 600watt.

A few weeks ago I was working on a dell for a gentleman and the onboard video card was working terribly.  There were lines in the picture and it was not syncing correctly.  Examining the board around the GPU I noticed, you got it, puffy capacitors.  I installed an inexpensive video card and turned off the internal one. Problem solved until some of the other capacitors in the box fail.

A friend of mine works for a City here in Texas and part of his job has him traveling to the Dump of all places.  There in some building at the dump are flat screen TV’s microwaves and so forth that have been discarded.  He picked up several flat screen TV’s that were discarded and for a few dollars repaired them.  While he is the ultimate recycler, it is a shame that we do not repair things any more.  One has to wonder if we are spending too much time with video games instead of tinkering. One night at dinner with some friends I was gob smacked to learn that one of the guys at the table had no idea how to change spark plugs.   These are the type of people who call on people to do things for them.  While it may make financial sense to do this I simply cannot pay someone to do something that I am perfectly capable of doing with a few exceptions.

This week being “earth week” I would encourage you to think about getting things repaired instead of trashing them when they break.  Electronics are known in the industry as Ejunk.  There are companies that specialize in recycling this type of thing but, they are becoming harder to come by.   I suspect that the EPA makes this type of business a tough one to run, and not be out of compliance in some small way.

Most of us have no reason to know this but, the dumps all over the country are filling up.  There is a dump not too far from me here in north Texas that at one time was low land covered in water; and is now reminding me of the foothills in NorthernCA.

A lot of this e-junk is shipped to third world countries where families hover over open fires, melting the solder with the fire, removing the parts off the circuit boards for the metals that they contain.  Since it is an open fire, the board is blackened and the people doing this breath in those toxins along with their children who are helping.  It does not even stop there as this residue litters the grounds, the water supply, the air, and what have you.  We here in this country do not have a clue; we simply think that we do our part by most of the time, throwing that soda can in the blue bin.  Once we toss stuff into the bin do we ever think about it?

I come from a time when there was not so much stuff trashed.  I bought a broken TV at a garage sale for $5 as a kid; and learned how TV’s worked and for about $3.50 for a new high voltage rectifier tube, I had a nice looking portable TV at the age of 10. At 13 I wanted money to buy a new CB and antenna.  Mowing lawns seemed like a good job. One could make $4 a yard…. Currently I pay $25 a week, and this is one thing that I will not give up.  As I put my plan in the early 70’s together, I would first need a lawnmower as my dad was dead set about me not using the family lawn mower on others peoples yards.  He was right to be concerned as I killed 3 lawnmowers on one person’s yard for $2. That is another story..

Again I went to garage sales and found a lawn mower that did not work.  I pulled it through to make sure that there was compression and nothing bent, and bought it for $15.  After a trip to the library checking out a book on small engines, I digested the book.  Lawn mowers have points and a condenser under the flywheel and those are known to be problematic.  I checked for spark and there was none.  The local grocery store sold parts such as these and for a few $$ back in the day, so I now had my own lawn mower.

I purchased three lawnmowers all together in similar fashion along with an edger.  Gas cost about a quarter to fill up my can and that would last me about a week.  I created my fist direct marketing campaign at the age of 13 with three sheets of paper, two pieces of carbon paper and my best penmanship that I could muster.

I mow yards

Please call 242-XXXX

For an estimate, ask for Scott.

I wrote this until I filled up a sheet of paper and then cut them out much like Avery labels would look today. Armed with a shirt pocket full of “flyers” and some scotch tape I went door to door canvassing my entire neighborhood.

The interesting thing about all of this is that those types of campaigns have about a 2% return or hit rate.  That was the figure 42 years ago and oddly enough, that is still the figure today! I still do direct marketing campaigns; just not to do yard work. J

I did this for several summers; it paid for my first car, and lots of photographic equipment, and oh yes a CB that quickly turned into Ham Radio equipment.

Where are those entrepreneurs today?

As you can tell, I still do this today.  Not that I go buy things at garage sales to repair but, I do restore antique radios that I have purchased either online or from individuals. Some just make their way too me as friends know that I do it, and they are tired of storing it.

So when your flat screen TV dies if you know anyone with any technical prowess, have them search the web to see if someone has posted a fix.  It may very have been me.  Have them try it.  The parts are available in the form of a kit from some people online for as little as $12.

There is a good feeling that comes from repairing something that otherwise would have been put into that growing mountain of pampers, kitchen waste, and of course defective electronic devices that needed about $6 to $10 in parts.

As a side note I did this with cars as well.  At one time I had 13 cars which I bought for next to nothing as they were broken. I picked up parts from a junk yard that the owner had an old TV, which always needed fixing.  I would fix them and sell them and I enjoyed the process.  That was back before the computer was installed into the car which controls everything relying on sensors for information.

Like the lawnmower, back then you needed spark, gas, air and compression.  Today you need an analyzer of some sort that can interrogate the onboard computer and find out what the failure is.  Usually some sort of sensor that you did not know that you had.

-Best to you and those that you care about!