Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy -- meditate on these things.
The first blog post in a long time, I realize. And I won't make any promises about more frequent updates, etc.
I have found that I am writing on facebook more often, and reviewing products online (got a Kindle for Christmas, and so have been reading and reviewing on Amazon) and generally have less time for internet stuff anyway, so haven't been blogging anywhere near as much as we were before.
But, anyway... Today's topic: stuff food manufacturers put into food that wastes my time since I have to read the ingredient labels in the store.
I received a free "embedded" light from Microsoft a number of years ago. I put "embedded" in quotes, because I think it is funny that Microsoft considers a lightbulb connected to a USB power source an example of an embedded device. I guess I haven't looked that carefully, but I expect there to be two wires in the device, and so not all that exciting from an engineering perspective.
But, the other day I happened across the instructions for the unit (plug into a USB port, flick the switch) and noticed that there is a message on the back of the piece of paper, and I have no idea what it means. Anyone know?
I was going to have Jonathan read this article about the status and progression of fiction, as he sometimes questions why we don't let him read or watch certain things, but then I decided the article itself was more than he needs to know right now.
I came across yet another version of a distributed social network, this one with hardware. FreedomBox Foundation is working on figuring out how to make tons of tiny little web servers that take out the centralized model. The New York Times has a decent article on explaining why Mark Zuckerburg having all of your information is a bad thing.
The introduction video on FreedomBox's site was a good non-technical description, and with graphics, for all of you who don't like to read that much... :)
It mentions diaspora, friendica and buddycloud. I'd heard of diaspora, and I have an account, but it doesn't interact with me very well. I glanced through buddycloud this morning, and didn't see anything particularly interesting. friendica emphasizes being able to interact with other current social networks, which is a good thing, since it is a hard thing to get people to switch.
I guess I should spend some time in figuring out how to install one of them and see if it is worth using. I've not been clear on how much you can customize the installations, and how hard it is to add features, etc. And how open the development really is, in terms of them wanting features from outside people, etc.
Mostly, I think the problem is that I want it just to work, and so I don't want to spend lots of my own time developing a system. Maybe I could work on figuring out if I could add plugins into LifeType to make it do some interesting things with the new social networks. LifeType 2.0 (if it ever comes out) started a couple years ago adding some social networking features, and so it might fit in well; I don' t know.
But, as facebook and google are increasingly unfriendly (Facebook announced they would no longer import notes, such as this one, starting in a couple weeks) I suppose their theory is that people will manually double post, or move to facebook only, or something like that. But, that is a pain, so I'll probably just stop posting to facebook.
A good quote from Linux Journal:
There are 100000000000 stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number But it's only a hundred billion. It's less than the national deficit! We used to call them astronomical number, Now we should call them economical numbers. -- Richard Feynman
I don't think it has been said here, other than in small mentions here and there, that I joined our volunteer fire company in Middlesex Township a couple of months ago. I am not sure of the exact number of incidents that I've gone out on, but the number is probably around 8 or so, though most of them have been cancelled while enroute to the station, or after we got the truck out, etc. It is often that case that people report a "fire" or "possible fire" when it actually isn't, and the county dispatch systems often are setup to dispatch two stations whenever there is a fire, and so we'll get paged for a neighboring township, and then once a township chief gets to the location, sees that it isn't a big deal, and is either not anything, or can be handled without help, etc.
I bought 6 Seagate hard drives from Amazon and Newegg, and both companies sent me drives that already had half their warranty expired.
Amazon, after waiting for the customer support guy to handle 5 simultaneous chat sessions, and so was quite slow at responding, did send out a mailing label with no restocking fee.
Newegg took a half hour on hold before they answered, and initially said that there is a 3 year warranty. I pointed out that there was only two years left on the warranty, so even if it were true that Seagate only offered a three warranty (which they don't - they have 5 year warranties on their drives currently), this drive is still partially expired. She then said that she could not accept a return because, "Unfortunately, we are unable to make the changes since the warranty was provided by the manufacture directly." I asked if she was authorized to refuse a warranty claim and she said she would be sending an RMA form shortly. She did, after request, provide a return shipping label and removed the restocking fee.
While on hold with the online chat folks, I called Seagate on the phone, and after waiting maybe 5 minutes on hold, got an English speaking person who offered to send out an email where I can take a picture of my invoice, with the appropriate serial numbers, and said that "usually, not always" they would update the warranty date.
She said that often vendors keep the items on the shelf and sell them with expired warranties. So - now I know to always check the warranty right when I get it.
It's irritating that companies sell old devices without mentioning that on their product specifications page.
Heather asked me to give her the monthly time logs for invoices today, so I took the opportunity to run my brand new script that shows how I've spent my time over the entire year.
13.7 hours a week on directly billable work
7.6 hours a week on maintaining the company, phone systems, servers and any time spent at our rental house
1.1 hours a week on LifeType
8.1 hours a week checking facebook and blogs and also email (lots of which is work related, but I don't differentiate between work and personal email, and I don't get paid for anyway)
We bought a "new" minivan last year, and it had the lowest mileage, and highest cost of any car we've owned so far. It is a 1997 Oldsmobile Silhouette, and it had 107,000 miles on it. We did a lot of driving (I hit 135,000 today, after a year and a half). Heather and I both take one trip to Pittsburgh each week, and we took a lot of vacation trips this year.
Since we're now into the second year of using the woodstove, I thought I would post an update about it.
I bought five cords of wood this year, (we bought around four and a half last year, and used around three). I got around one cord of black locust each year, and that wood is really nice for long burn times. I think we've spent somewhere around $1300 on wood, and I expect (hoping at least, we've been using almost no gas heat so far, so we've been burning more wood than I originally estimated) that this wood will last into next year.
If Heather hasn't been writing recently, that means I'm not writing at all...
First, the basement - after all of the ongoing water problems, and finding out this year that only fixing the gutters was not going to fix the entire problem, and if one is going to get water a couple times a year, you still can't use the basement very easily, and so fixing it is worth looking into.
I haven't done one of those Facebook lists in a while, and a couple friends filled this one out, so I thought I'd join in. This list apparently comes from the BBC, who said that the average person has only read 6 of these. Seems like a small number to me, but since the average American reads less than one book a year (or something like that - I saw a statistic once) maybe it is accurate.
I came across a hot pepper that I hadn't heard of before, and since it had a warning on it being really hot, I figured I had to buy it. Now that I've learned it is the hottest known pepper in the world, I have to wonder -- what am I ever going to do with it?
The cashier mentioned that she had done some research on it, and found that it was being used for weapons in India.
Sounds like the perfect thing to eat...
Someone asked what timer we recently purchased, and I figured I should post it here, since it seems to work pretty well. We bought the "Meinor Aqua Flush", I chose this one because it was the only one available at Target while I was buying our third sprinkler (I should do reviews on the sprinklers, since most of them were junk - I don't think the manufacturer can claim 45' x 45' coverage area when it can't do that with a 55psi 10 gal/minute connection. Perhaps they need an * next to that which says, "when connected to a fire hydrant on full blast). (More)
We generally try to avoid corn syrup of all kinds (but we only "try", meaning it isn't banned or anything like that). But, when I'm looking for cereal or granola bars or whatever, I check the ingredients and particularly try to gauge if sugar (in whatever form) would be the first ingredient if they hadn't split it into different types to try to hide that fact.
Today I came across a research article that found that high fructose corn syrup is worse than other sugars in causing weight gain. I had figured it was the same as other sugars, but just that we all eat so much sugar now, (and all the tv watching) so that had more to do with the obese kids. Who knows if the research was true or funded by a competitor of corn syrup, or someone just against all the subsidies for corn, etc.