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07 APR 2018 - Okay, lots of stuff happening both at work, home, and out in the ever crazy world out there.

At home I put together a sound system that I've been wanting for years. This is a dedicated audio system (no video or home entertainment aspirations) that's in my bedroom right now. Very nice system - more about it here.

At work, life is always busy. My skills in MES, SAP, and manufacturing processes continue to grow. This is a nice challenge, but let's just say it's nice to leave work at work. Maybe more about that later, but not now.

And in the crazy world we still have a number of hot topics that, while seeming so urgent and important, are yet always replaced by something else more urgent and more important. But here's a short take on what's happening now:

  • Trump is still president and people are still divided about that.
  • Stocks are going thru the wild gyrations only a day trader would love. This is primarily due to China trade negotiations, which are interesting because they hold so many IOUs from the US. What are we gonna do? This reminds me of something I read a while back - when you borrow $100,000 from a bank, they pretty much own you. But when you borrow $100,000,000 from a bank you kind of own them (in other words, who has the money?).
  • A porn star who was involved with Trump years ago is still trying to cash in on her moment of fame. I think that moment passed with her 60 Minutes interview when everyone yawned afterward. But porn stars are supposed to know how to work it, and that's what Stormy is doing.
  • California housing crisis continues to worsen, or get better, depending on whether you own a home. A huge side-effect is the growing homeless population, which if anecdotal observations are accurate, has surged in the past few years. It's not good and there doesn't appear to be an easy solution.
  • Facebook has been busted for doing the obvious. I have to ask, who did not know they were selling user information? But there appears to be a greater desire to somehow control Facebook now that some of that data may have helped Trump win the election. From the moment I realized they purposely designed their GUI to confuse users, I stopped trusting Facebook. I login once a year from a browser to see what's up (usually not much) and absolutely do not install any of their software on any device I own. Eff 'em.

I think that's about enough for now. Despite all the histrionics, time moves on and God is still good. Amen.

 

24 FEB 2018 - Yeah, it's been a few months since anything was added to the site. Guess I just ran out of motivation, along with a bad cold accompanied by a cough that lasted all thru December. January was a Caribbean cruise that had the bad luck of the coldest weather the region has ever had. Still enjoyed it, but was disappointed just the same. Birthdays happen in January (step-son) and February (step-daughter and wife) along with Valentines Day and Chinese New Year. It's been busy.

Most of all I'm trying to get back into a routine of working out. December with being sick was a wash, but January and now most of February have been hit and miss. I'd get motivated for a week then run out of steam when it comes to getting up extra early. Today was another attempt at getting started - it's Saturday so doing a quick workout wasn't too difficult. I'd expect the same tomorrow, with the real test happening on Monday before work.

 

Porch Camera12 NOV 2017 - I bought a security camera, the Reolink Argus, for the front porch. This is an image it captured of our cleaning service arriving yesterday. No, I'm not interested in spying on cleaning people - I just want to be notified when a package has been delivered. Here's my review of the camera on Amazon:

I bought this camera for a reason with a single purpose in mind.

The purpose was to notify us when a package was left on the porch - sometimes the person delivering would ring the doorbell and sometimes they would not. We've had a problem with package thieves, so I wanted something that would send us a message in case the delivery person just left one there. The camera works very well in this case - once setup properly we get immediate phone and email notifications along with a photo of the activity. A video clip is also available to review, but for the most part I'm happy with the notifications.

NOTE: If you have a lot of activity where the camera is setup, you will receive a lot of notifications and email messages. This could range from shrubbery blowing in the wind, or animals wandering by, or even normal foot traffic. You might be able to configure an email filter to manage this, but that also runs the risk of missing something important. It's a good/bad 2-edged sword kind of thing... we're lucky to have minimal activity on our front porch - most of the time we use the garage to come and go.

The camera attaches magnetically to a hemispheric ball, allowing you to rotate about a wide range of angles - this too can be used to isolate on what you want to view instead of capturing too much activity.Reolink Argus There's also a way to mount using screws instead of the magnet, since an outdoor setting will run the risk of a thief simply snatching the camera from the magnet base. But ours is mounted about 12' off the ground in a very inconspicuous place - minimal risk in my opinion.

The reason I bought this particular camera is because it could be setup without cables. No need for power or data cables since it runs on batteries and is wireless. It's connected to our wifi network and we can view activity on our phones - there's supposed to be a way to view on a PC also and I'm sure it can be done, but cell phones work best for us. Now that I think about it, it wouldn't be too hard to keep an old phone or tablet near the front door dedicated to viewing front door activity... gonna have to play with that idea.

Setup was a little tricky and it took a bit to figure out... if it doesn't work on the first few attempts, my best advice is to factory reset and start over using the things learned on your first try.

Batteries are not your standard sizes - it uses (qty 4) CR123A batteries, which are between an AA and C size battery. I was concerned about how long they would last. But it's been 2 weeks since installation with both warm (90 deg) and cool (40 deg) weather, and the battery indicator hasn't budged from 100%. And camera software has a utility that displays battery usage each day over the previous 4 weeks, along with tips for extending the life of the batteries. So far, the biggest drain happened during setup and testing of various functions. Other than that, it's been pretty minimal.

Amazon lists these batteries, both standard and rechargeable, for about $8 a set. Worst case, if I spend $30 a year on batteries it will be worthwhile considering I can mount the camera anywhere inside or outside, as long as my wifi signal will reach.

After dark images were pretty good. We don't have a need for that because the porch light is always on at night, but here's an image taken without the light on - like I said, not bad.

Overall I'm going to consider a few other places to use these. We live on a corner lot and there's quite a bit of street activity next to the house that is totally obscured from view. Until now.

 

11 NOV 2017 - I liked this one... explains why taxing the rich will only go so far. Eventually you need to take a look at what the money is being spent on.

 

04 NOV 2017 - This is for the geeks out there... I've been hearing for a long time that Adobe Flash should not be used, that it has major security flaws, and should be uninstalled from your computer.

But at the same time if you want to access content on major websites like mlb.com or nba.com, you're out of luck because they use Flash - what the heck? Here's the scoop... I found good explanations of not only why this is happening, but also how to manage the risks involved. Check out my Adobe Flash explanation.

 

 

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