Friday, December 30, 2011

Missing Brake Pads On GM Sonic – & Long Rant

GM is recalling 4,296 Chevrolet Sonic’s because they “may be missing brake pads”. These missing brake pads may cause an increase in stopping distance… I had to hold back my coffee so it wouldn’t spew all over the computer. Increase stopping distance?!?! Ya think?!?!? How the heck does this get past QC? How does 4,296 of them make it past QC and how do they know it’s that specific number?

Funnier yet, why are they waiting until January 14th to notify customers?!?!? Does this sound patently insane to you or am I alone here? Of course GM states no accidents have happened because of this, no of course there hasn’t been after all you have three other wheels that “should” have brakes on them and will do the job no problem. Disappointed smile

Some of these wonder cars have been on the road for 6 months!Yet another reason why I will never own GM, this one takes the all time cake. Somebody needs to have a talk with GM, the UAW and GM suppliers because all failed here. The sad fact it took 6 months to figure this out and issue a service bulletin and then finally a recall is beyond belief.

On to the rant… if I lose you from here, I understand, just need to vent.

I don’t believe in bailouts, back when Fischer, the company that made horse carriages went bankrupt horses were still used to pull carriages. From the rubble of the bankrupt Fischer came GM. What’s the point of my story? Too many people believe that if GM failed too many jobs would have been lost, the same thought’s were spoken back when Fischer failed only back then, there were no bailouts. They went bankrupt and life went on, new companies were born. Hey that was over 100 years ago, it’s different now right? Last time I checked, the law and our Constitution give companies ample opportunity to get help in various legal ways, nowhere do I see “bailout stupid companies” listed.

Failed companies failed for a reason and from the ashes new companies arise and new jobs are created and lessons are learned and at times an entire industry is formed. Creating many more jobs than were lost. What happens when you bail companies out? Lessons are not learned, they are rewarded and the same type of bozo’s that were a part of the problem are still there to create the same problems all over again. Hello Fannie & Freddie… they are once again an issue, are you shocked that they need help, again? Have you seen the pay packages they still get? Where are the OWS protestors to scream about that?

We live in a society today where mediocrity is rewarded, participation awards given, no score kept, all so everybody is “equal”. Funny, at work if I don’t do a good job I don’t get rewarded or given the same pay as somebody else because it wasn’t earned. Life isn’t fair and doing the least to get by shouldn’t be rewarded. Sometimes we aren’t “equal” to another person doing the same kind of task, forcing equality in everything helps who exactly? I really want to know because if somebody who does next to nothing is getting the same benefit as I do while working my butt off what reason do I have to continue working so hard for? Anybody?

We are losing our position of world leader in practically everything because of this mentality. The Occupy Wall Street Movement exists because of this mentality. Yes, there are corrupt people in Wall Street and guess what, much of that corruption came at the heals of Government regulations that left the door open for it. Dodd and Frank get a pass for the legislation they help write that made it possible for people to get loans and not be qualified for them, do some leg work and see if I’m wrong, let me know what you find. Wall Street doesn’t write the law, the mental midgets we put into office do and I see no OWS protestors at any door step of anybody in Congress, do you?

Our debt is 100% of GDP and we are quickly trying to catch up to Greece which is 150% of GDP, in 3 years we have incurred 6 TRILLION more in debt and we think that incurring more by way of socializing health care is the way to go? Really? That’s the answer? Think I liked Bush? He created 4 Trillion in 8 years, but Obama is making him look like a spend thrift! I had a lot of issues with Bush but as a President you knew what he said is what he meant, even if he was wrong. All I have seen from Obama in 3 years is blame and apologies to foreign countries for any slight the US may have perpetrated to them.

I have never seen a President so keen on blaming others, so lets put him back in office for 4 more years of the blame game, great idea. 6 trillion in 3 years, how much more can he spend in 5 more? How much before even the left says enough, wait, the left will never say enough, they don’t know how. Heck neither party says enough is enough, they talk about it but that does nothing.

We now live in a country where a Union and the Government can try to dictate where planes are built. Surely this is Russia right? Nope Boeing may not be my cup of tea but they should be allowed to build where ever they want, free from union demands and Government dictates. 

Back to GM, GM is proving why bailouts don’t work, UAW pay offs, 350 million dollars in new battery plants for cars that don’t sell, forcing out a car 6 months early and not meeting sales goals… all brought to you by the Government, more proof that we need them out of our lives, not further encroached into our lives. Building a car that in the end costs so much more than they can sell it for they have to subsidize the car further by giving incentives to buy it, again paid for by the tax payer. The utter gall of it, where is the outcry? The media sits quiet. Solyndra and other multi billion dollar losses by Government hand outs, no problem, just tax payer money never to be seen again.

I predict GM won’t ever fully repay the tax payer, the Government may cook the books so it looks like they did but if you follow the money and see how much is still being poured into GM you would see how it’s impossible to get out of the debt. I don’t see the battery plants or the Government incentive programs being listed as part of the debt incurred by GM and yet, those are tax dollars at work.

Anyway I digress, too many people think Government is the answer, the very same Government that pays $500.00 for a toilet seat, creates a healthcare plan that Congress doesn’t have to use because they have 200 private plans to choose from and a fully funded tax payer paid for pension plan. Take a look at the list of companies that fought for the new healthcare law that have now gotten waivers from having to be part of it.

Somebody explain to me why the ARRP, SEIU, too many Unions to list are on the waiver list after they fought so hard for this new law?? 12% of the total US workforce is waived because of who they work for or are protected by in Unions. I guess Unions really do work then, put untold millions into Democratic coffers to get the law passed, then be put on the waiver list so you don’t have to be part of it and get backing by the Government during contract disputes.

I see the GOP side running for President and I see Obama with a different face, nothing will change until we decide it needs to. Until then we get more of the same and if this debt and bail out mentality continues and we Govern by feelings instead of by what really works, it’s going to end badly for this country.

We have gotten the Government we deserve due to complacency and ignorance while the people we elect fill their pockets through legal insider trading, pork barrel spending and whatever they can squeeze from corporate hand outs and out right bribes. I could point out the millions made by Nanci Pelosi in insider trading, there are names from both sides of the isle on insider trading but you know what, insider trading is legal for members of Congress etc.. what puts you or I in jail, they do on a daily basis and profit from, how insane is that??

Obama says the free market has failed, he also says that individuals can’t make it without him in office so to vote for him again or we are lost and people call him a genius. Disappointed smile I say to you using the words of Winston Churchill “Socialism is a dream, sooner or later you wake up to reality”. Or “A nation trying to Tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle”. Here is a few more “Socialism works until you run out of other peoples money”.

The very best quote yet “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”

We are at 14 trillion pushing hard to get to 15 trillion in debt, we are literally proving why doing things with Government running the show and taking more from us doesn’t work. Congress approved of the new healthcare law forcing us to pay for it but hey, they need a few years to fill the fund first, remind you of Social Security? Yeah, the very fund they robbed from for decades and is now in serious trouble, so the money I have paid into it since 1977 will likely never see my pocket when I retire. Imagine seriously what a Government run program like healthcare will be like. If that doesn’t scare you, nothing will.

They rob from these tax payer funds and we re-elect them and they tax us more to re-fill them so they can rob them some more. But hey, we’ll just do as Obama does and blame the GOP for everything… yeah that works… both sides are to blame pure and simple, change needs to come from both… but the blame game is fine for the most powerful man on the planet. Disappointed smile 

I have to stop now, I have droned on and on and this started out being about brake pads missing and turned into a full out political vent. If you’re one of those that thinks everything is great and going as it should, have a great time during the next great depression because at the rate of Government spending, it’s coming and if you think we can survive as a country at plus 100% GDP, you failed economics class in school.

On this last note have a great night everybody… sorry for the lengthy post, it’s how I feel and sometimes you need to let it out or burst. Smile with tongue out

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Diabetes's Doctor Visit

Last week I went in for my blood test and doctor visit, today she gave me the results, which weren’t very good. Not that there wasn’t good news, there was. BP of 110 over 70, lost 10lbs, no protein in the urine test which means kidneys are still working fine. The bad news, A1C was 10, up from 7.8 to 10, not good but at least it’s not 14.9 which I have been at before. Cholesterol was 250, up from 170, LDL was 138, up from 100, Triglycerides are 238, up from 126 and pretty much everything else was high as well. This was depressing news to say the least.

I explained to the doctor I’m still having lower leg pain issues including my right foot so in 6 weeks I get to go through various tests again since taking me off of Lipitor didn’t solve it. I walk a lot which is good, but walking in pain stinks, I’m taking up the treadmill again to add to the 3 miles I currently walk to see if that helps but who wants to walk more when it hurts so much. There has been times that I have to stop on the bridge going over I-90 by my work to let my legs get some feeling back before going the last block to work. My diet has been bad the past 3 months so I’m going to work on that as well.

I was doing pretty good for 2 months after my previous A1C but the Victoza has been an issue since. So the Doc has me on some new meds, including one to help me sleep because that alone can be hurting my numbers and when I told her I haven’t woken up refreshed in the past 15 years ever, she was shocked, I could have sworn we discussed this before but apparently not. If anybody reading this actually wakes up feeling refreshed let me know what that’s like because I haven’t a clue, I wake up feeling like warmed over crap. Thank God for hot showers or I wouldn’t function in the morning at all.

Confession time, I haven’t done my best the past 3 months to care for myself and after reading this you’re thinking to yourself no duh dufus! It’s hard work trying to keep your numbers down, I guess with everything that’s been going on I took the easy way and that has to end. My goal is to be back in the 7’s in 3 months. They are going to do more tests in 6 weeks because my white cell count is still too high and a few other things that came up from the test last week.

They want to verify things before going further and they want to find out what's causing the muscle pain in my calf's and right foot. Trying to explain the pain isn’t easy but it gets bad at times, thankfully the Doppler shows blood flow is fine but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some kind of nerve issue or something else going on. We’ll hopefully find out more after the next test.

Not much else going on to report, still working on getting that last PowerMac sorted out, finalizing plans for New Years Eve and beginning the new year with my act sorted out, I hope.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Powermac Update

I received 2 of the Dual 2.0GHz last Friday. I replaced the hard drives with Western Digital 10,000rpm Raptors and upgraded the OS to OS X Leopard which just happens to be the newest OS that can be installed. No Snow Leopard or Lion for the G5 folks, not exactly backward compatible friendly considering how much grief people are giving Microsoft from discontinuing product support for 10 year old OS’s but you can still install Windows 2000 on current hardware.

The Powermac ceased production in August of 2006, the last OS that supported it came out a year later in October of 2007. Snow Leopard came out less than 2 years later and left G5 users with no upgrade. So Apple left people out to hang after spending over $3,800 for a computer that can’t even run Netflix… ugh. Disappointed smile I’m the idjit that just found this out. Disappointed smile The part about Netflix not running on non-Intel Mac’s anyway, the rest I knew about but just ticks me off a bit. When I sell them I’ll be adding this as a note so people buy knowing full well what they’re getting.

Thankfully the Dual 2GHz Powermac I refurbished works perfectly now with parts I already had on hand. The box used to ship it to me is perfect for re-using it as there is no way it will get damaged when I find a buyer for it. For general computing this will work perfectly for a student or parent.


Anyway, I just received the Dual 2.7GHz Powermac that was the most powerful G5 released, I paid 72 bucks for it. It needed work but the case was good and worth the 72 bucks by itself, until I opened the box anyway and found this. Now, it’s worth nothing but what little I can get from what might still work inside and I have no way of testing it.



I of course contacted the seller to ask them why they would use so little bubble wrap. They are closed until 1/2/12, of course. I have seen many like this on eBay after they received poorly shipped Powermac’s like this. I have to cross my fingers that this seller does the right thing, we’ll see. I photographed everything so tonight I’m going to see if I’m as good as people say I am, maybe I can get this turd working. If so I’m going to ask the seller to send me a case at his cost, if not I expect a full refund and he pays shipping back. Only difference will be I’ll ship it properly where they apparently don’t know how. Steaming mad

I’ll post back tomorrow after I determine if this thing is salvageable or not.

RV Update – No Mice

No mice! Everything fired up normally and looks to be doing fine. I’ll be going back in 2 weeks to check it out and the weather should be much colder by then so if the mice are going to be a problem the next few weeks will show it I think.

I hope everybody had a great Christmas and you all have a very happy new year!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

People Flip Houses, I Flip Computers…. Sometimes

Back in the 1980’s and ‘90’s a person could make decent money building and selling computers. I could easily make a profit of over $1,500 on each computer. I would build them and sell them to the local computer repair shop or to people directly, the more I could build the more were bought. I miss the ‘90’s!!!

Flash forward to 2011, I’ve built one computer this year, the profit margin, nearly zilch, simply not worth the effort. You can’t make a profit on new computers anymore, not even the high end custom ones. Heck, they practically give them away at Best Buy and the other box stores, nobody seems to care that they’re junk, price is all that matters, at first anyway. When they call me to complain it doesn’t play games like the guy at Best Buy says it should I have to resist saying what did you expect from the $450.00 computer you bought? My video card costs more than their entire computer, I tell them if you want a gaming computer don’t go to Best Buy or any other typical computer company, you get what you pay for, don’t expect Mustang GT performance from your Focus!

There is a reason why cheap computers/laptops are cheap, they cut corners. I never get calls to build a computer anymore, not in this economy and I refuse to build cheap junk. The one computer I built this year was a replacement for one I built my customer 8 years ago. When you build them so good they run 8 years with no down time, you wait a long time for repeat business! It will likely be another 8 before I hear from him again. But I digress.

I figure I can make some money on refurbishing old Apple’s so I’m trying my luck out on two that I just got my hands on.  Apple fans are still buying the old Power PC G5’s from 5 years ago. Are they better or faster than anything today? No, heck they were just even with what was out at the time but the faithful are still buying so why not sell to them? They certainly aren’t bad machines and since I don’t sell junk these are good machines to sell. I bought 2 Apple Powermacs for a ridiculously cheap amount. The first one is a no brainer, a dual processor 2ghz G5 that just needs to be refurbished and sold, should make a few hundred in profit easily.

The second one, well, that one is the risky one. I got it for the price of shipping, it powers up and that’s all the previous owner knows about it. It’s the most powerful G5 ever made, the dual 2.7ghz liquid cooled Power PC. The risks are they were known to leak, if not caught, the leak will destroy the motherboard making the computer a big door stop.

I’m hoping that the G5 2.7 is in running order so I’ll order new O rings for the cooler and install a new hard drive, video card and 8 gigs of memory. If this thing goes well it should net a $400 plus profit. Hopefully by this Spring I’ll have enough to buy new tires and get the front and rear caps painted after taxes are paid of course. I can’t afford to keep doing the liquid cooled machines because of the risk involved but they do offer the most return so we’ll see.

I know this isn’t RV related but there isn’t anything RV related going on right now so I’m just posting life in general…

Until later!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Picture Of The Day

My nephew Tyler is in the Navy and snapped this picture back in October while aboard the ship he is assigned to.

Unreal isn’t it? Open-mouthed smile


Last Man Standing Is A HAM!

How cool is that? As some of you may know, I sold my Icom 746Pro to pay some bills. Here is an article from the AARL about how the show is going to integrate Amateur Radio into the TV show. He is using the radio I hope to get some day, the ICOM IC-9100 all mode transceiver. A bit, no, way out of my reach for quite a few years I’m sure, but it’s fun to see others enjoying the hobby.



Saturday, December 17, 2011

13 House Christmas Light Display Set To Music

Check out this awesome 13 house Christmas light display set to the “Little Drummer Boy” music. Simply awesome!

13 House Christmas Light Display Set To Music

Here is a LINK to the YouTube video. Here is what they had to say about the project.

“This video shows more of the street and how the sequence moves up and down the entire block. Hope you enjoy it. During this Holiday season, the street of Bainbridge Cir, Murrieta CA thought we would do something to put a smile on peoples faces. The entire neighborhood had so much fun doing this last year, we made it better this year.

We have now synchronized 13 houses in the block to music, and have added 4 more songs. This is a must see as the video does not do it justice. This was a team effort with the entire neighborhood getting involved. It has really brought the entire neighborhood together, and now is bringing the entire community together. You have to see it to believe it. Check out the YouTube Video”

Friday, December 9, 2011

Hitch Itch – Yep…

We got it… 5 months of the RV in storage….. Crying face


Blah…. Smile with tongue out

Computer Talk – Upgrade Time

I know I know… I talk about being broke and here I am talking about upgrading. Before you slap the screen or hunt me down to slap me, the computer I’m talking about I have had since Feb of ‘07 and I’m not going to replace it. It is the famous (in the tech world) HP HDX Dragon 20” laptop. The thing is, I doubt anybody uses this on their lap, why you ask, because it weighs in at about 16lbs! It’s a 20” BEAST that is really a mobile desktop than laptop. Where am I going with this, keep reading! Smile with tongue out

Dragon2 Dragon4


Compared to a 16” HP laptop, almost laughable the size difference.


It makes this women look like a child! It really is that huge!


When I first got it I actually brought it back and forth between work and home. That quickly ended, this thing is simply too massive for that. However as a desktop it has been the best computer I have ever owned. Stability is better than any of my other laptops and desktops, including my Mac’s. Acer, Dell, Toshiba all have tried 20” laptops, the only company to build a truly excellent one is HP so this is worth keeping.

Here is the problem though, it IS GOING ON 5 YEARS OLD! It has a Core 2 Duo 2.4ghz, 4gigs of memory (maxed out) the best screen I have ever used on a laptop with a 1980x1200 resolution that is drop dead gorgeous. You see, almost all high end laptops today use a maximum of 1080p for their laptop screens. While this is fine for a TV, us tech guys prefer higher resolutions. I would really like to meet the people who decided what was good for TV is good for laptops. I know why they did it, but I don’t agree with them, I digress.

I have to give Apple  kudos for using their excellent 1920x1200 LED screens for the 17” MacBook Pro’s. My 17” MacBook Pro has this LED backlit screen and it’s excellent. Back to the point, the Dragon has 7200rpm hard drives which were fine for 2007, for 2012 they are slow and the system has slowed down considerably. In fact it drives me crazy sometimes. I could format and start fresh, this would definitely increase the performance but the thing that will boost performance more than anything aside from buying a new machine, would be upgrading to a new SSD based hard drive. SSD is an electronic drive uses flash memory, I won’t get into the technical side of it but lets just say it compares to going from a Chevette to a ZR1 Corvette, the performance difference is that drastic.

Since I can’t change out the CPU or add more memory and I don’t want a new computer, I ordered a new Intel 320 120gig SSD drive. I am going to use the 320gig hard drive for storing data and the SSD will be used strictly for OS and applications. I have upgraded several people this way and they all swear their computers are incredibly faster. The response times for SSD' drives are so fast.

For the technical folk out there I didn’t buy a SATA 6Gbps drive because the interface in the laptop doesn’t support it. Also, because of the cost, way too high!

This is what the drive looks like, the bottom picture is of the NAND memory chips. I’ll take some before and after benchmarks and post them next week.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pearl Harbor Day – Mom’s Birthday



My Mother was born on December 7th, she was a year old when the US was attacked in 1941. Norway’s reaction was pretty much the same then as it was in 2001, 60 years later. Horror and an outcry of support, as much as they could while being overridden with Nazis at the time.

So I’m honoring two important events today, my Mothers birthday and Pearl Harbor day. Take a moment to remember Pearl Harbor and the men and women who died that day. Their memory lives on.

Mom has been dead 2 years as of November 29th, we miss her and mourn her passing, it’s still hard to believe she is gone and I still pick up the phone to call her and catch myself. She was the one person you knew you could count on no matter what, I miss her very much.


We are going out tonight, like last year to celebrate her birthday and (Skål) toast a very special woman and Mother.


Skål Mom!

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Barter System

Yesterday I picked up my Meade ETX 125 UHTC telescope. In 2006 I sold it to my previous boss with expectations his kids would get a lot of use out of it. 4 years later the wife and I buy an RV and find so many perfect skies for using a telescope but give up the idea of ever buying one again because the cost for a good one, let alone a $1,200.00 plus ETX 125 set up is now beyond our reach since we are avoiding credit cards like the plague.

He contacted me and asked me if I was interested in buying back the telescope because it never got touched after he bought it. I told him I couldn’t afford it. He told me he had several laptops that needed work and I asked if we, wait, maybe he asked, can’t really remember but a deal was struck to trade. My skill/time for the telescope and all accessories that came with it. This included the series 4000 eye pieces, 2x-Barlow, moon filter(s), upgraded controller, computer connector cable, software, books, dew shield and upgraded deluxe field tri-pod. 

master_MEAD133 etx125petelescope

Series4000 DeluxeTripod

I think the wife is as happy about this as I am, she knows how much I missed having the telescope. Even if I only looked at the Moon, Saturn and Jupiter.

My dream was a home based observatory but I never felt smart enough to be able to build one let alone afford one. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m no dummy but running one of these properly requires patients and smarts of a different level that I don’t have. Which doesn’t matter because I could never hope to afford my dream telescope, the Meade MAX 20 ACF. A truly monstrous  $35,000 20 inch telescope that has to be seen to understand the size, it’s unreal.


For an idea on how truly massive it is here is the previous version 20 RCX. Can you imagine the photography possibilities? Simply unreal. Click either picture to read about this spectacular telescope the size of a garbage can and weighing in without the mount at over 200lbs!



Since our ultimate goal is to down size, telescopes like this are out of the question unless we become very wealthy and establish a home base some place with excellent night skies. We can dream right? Smile with tongue out  Until then reality is the thing we have to live in so I think the ETX 125 UHTC will do. I can’t wait until we get a clear night so I can dial it in! I know I haven’t talked about telescopes before but after I sold mine I had no reason to, now that I have it back I have to keep the urge to accessorize in check. For instance, in order to take photographs using the ETX and Canon T3i I’d have to get a T mount and camera adapter, about $60.00, oh want to take pictures of real bright objects like the moon? Need filters for that, the filters I have are for the eye piece, not for the camera…

Help….  Disappointed smile

Saturday, December 3, 2011

No Mice!! :)~

I went up to the RV today and everything was fine, no mice and everything started and ran smooth for the 10 mile trip. It’s only been a month but it seems like much longer! The end of March won’t come soon enough.

I still put down mouse traps and more dryer sheets. Hopefully we’ll get lucky and not have any rodent visitations this winter.


Crossing my fingers!

Have a great weekend everybody.

Apple/Steve Job’s Comment(s) Response


Big Matt – Many people would agree, not so sure about the last part but I can see where you could think that.

DeanO – Thanks, I enjoy your blog as well!

Michael Ultra – Bill Gates loaned them 170 million, of course part of it had to do with the whole monopoly thing going on with the Feds. It was in his best interest to keep Apple going, plus he got them to make IE the default browser on the Mac which really pissed off the faithful.

Lou – Apple has gotten mostly good press,even when so many bad things were happening in China. Steve would say they are dealing with it and that would be it, the truth is he did nothing but toss them an extra $.30 which was 30% but 30% of almost nothing doesn’t amount to much. Had that been Michael Dell, you can lay odds the press would have hung him out to dry.

Rae – Agreed, 100%, well said.

Doyle and Terri – Many Windows PC’s are made in China, but not all of them, you’ve heard of Dell right? They have lots of manufacturing right here in the USA. The blog post was about Apple and Steve Jobs who held themselves as innovators and LEADERS in the computer, mp3 and cell phone field. I am being real, Apple makes claims of being green and above the fray and the truth is they are leaders in how to use people for as little pay possible. Name one American computer company with as many violations and deaths as Apple, can you even find one?

The only manufactured computer I own is a Mac which was built in China. My American made PC was built by me, sure it was built with many parts from China but I have zero control over that, Apple has 100% control of where their gear is made. Except for my Mac’s I have built every single computer before and since. In fact I built clone Mac’s while they were allowed to be built, Apple squashed that as well. Apple is dropping the Mac Pro and I don’t really do any support work for Mac’s anymore so I can sell off their gear with a smile on my face.

As for Steve Jobs holding out longer than anybody else please cite your source. Apple pulled up anchor in 1992, this was actually sooner than most other computer companies. Steve Jobs wasn’t even involved with Apple at the time so he couldn’t have held out, so I have to assume you just made that up.

When he took over in 1997 he could have done something then, he could have done something every single time a person died while making Apple gear, but he didn’t, he covered it up, made excuses and EXPANDED production. So if I seem a bit focused on Apple and Mr. Jobs it’s for very good reason.

Apple had many chances to do the right thing, that’s what leaders in an industry do, instead they chose and continue to choose to expand and expand at such a rate people are stressed even further to keep up. If you can show me any other American computer company with as many violations, deaths and conditions that Apple condones in China, please tell me, I’m all ears.

I support networks in Chicago, Naperville, Washington DC and in California. 90% of the computers in all four locations are Dell’s built right here in the USA, if you’d like, I’ll sit at one and take a picture.

For all of the products I have bought that were made in China, only one is associated with suicides, unpaid overtime, abuse and forced public humiliation for not performing to unreal expectations that would get huge headlines in the USA, and that is Apple.

If this isn’t getting real enough I can post articles for the past 16 years of Apple covering up problems in China, no other US based computer company can hold a candle to the violations Apple has so I am being real…

First Winter Check

Heading up to the rig shortly to drive it for 10 miles, fill up the tank, run the genny, put a load on it and check for mice. I think I found where they got in last year, the dealer removed a panel in one of the bays so I replaced it and hopefully that helps.

Bringing mouse traps, already put down dryer sheets everywhere but have heard that doesn’t help but it can’t hurt the smell of the rig so I’m leaving them.

Wish me luck, knock on wood everything is fine.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Pictures Of The Day

I love the rising sun, makes for such nice pictures.


These are some of the servers I manage. 16 of them I designed and built by hand up to 9 years ago and they’re still running. Knock on wood!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Why I wasn’t an Apple or Steve Jobs Fan

I held off on my opinion of Steve Jobs because I felt it would be rude to post what I’m about to say about both him and his company at the time of his death. I don’t wish anybody dead and I was NOT happy about his death, I didn’t hate the man. His death saddened me, plus he died of the same cancer my Mom died of 2 years ago, 11/29/09. But his death didn’t fill me with feelings of there goes a man the likes of Edison or Einstein or even Bill Gates. I don’t feel he compares to any of these three favorably and here’s why.

I have been in the computer industry professionally for over 20 years. I started toying with them back in 1978 when I worked for a stereo store. I have A LOT of experience with both PC and Apple products, to be fair calling a post 2006 Mac a Mac isn’t fair, it’s a PC pure and simple. Apple, no, correction, Steve Jobs realized that saying a computer is faster isn’t the same thing as actually being faster, the Byte mark was a joke but millions bought because of the commercials where Jeff Goldblum would brag about how much faster a Mac was. Well, using the Byte mark, which was compiled to run optimally on Apple’s G series CPU’s, when run on an x86 (Intel and AMD) computer they lagged behind, much to the joy of Apple fanboys everywhere.

As an honest computer nerd it ticked me off that Apple would knowingly run a rigged game and then brag about the outcome. I was about 50/50 into Mac’s at the time (even though I hated that they were built in China) but this turned me off enough where I stopped working on them completely, one could say I had my priorities backwards and they would likely be right.

Reality set in for Apple when they realized even cooked numbers weren’t going to continue working and they couldn’t shoe horn a molten hot G5 or the never to be built G6 into a laptop, enter Intel (I could write about their tactics as well, maybe someday) with a big shit eating grin on their face to save the day, literally. Apple development on the G6 stalled because it couldn’t do the job.

The crow Apple had to eat was mighty indeed and Apple fanboys will tell a different story I’m sure, hey whatever floats yer boat boys but the truth is the truth. Intel put an ass whuppin on Apple (at the time AMD put a whuppin on both Intel and Apple) and they knew it and they knew they had to make the switch or not have anything to put into their laptops. Try and imagine the backdoor meetings for that eh?

Getting back to Steve Jobs, there was a reason why he was ousted at Apple in ‘85. He couldn’t be managed period, the company was suffering and while John Scully says things a bit differently now, the way Jobs did things back then simply didn’t work. After he was gone for 11 years the environment for Steve to come back was right, the company was again suffering but now Steve was older and much wiser and he had a relationship with Bill Gates that he put to good use and between Gates money and Jobs taking full control Apple was saved.

So, that being the case why am I not an Apple fan? Because in 1992 Apple, after building facilities and hiring thousands pulled up stakes and moved almost all production to China. A country known to be euthanizing baby girls and working people in sweat shops for next to nothing. This had the needed result of huge profit margins for Apple which today is more than Exxon Mobile. You would think that production could be brought back to the States when Steve Jobs heard the reports of conditions at the major plants in China right? Nope!! Apple did nothing without the approval of Steve Jobs who pushed for more production capacity which in turn caused the operators of the plants to push workers even harder for longer. Would YOU make that choice?

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for profit but there is a point when you must look at HOW you’re making that profit and who it affects. This has become a problem all over the country, to the point where people are saying Capitalism is bad, no, it isn’t. The problem is people, no matter what system is in place, people will subvert it, pollute it and twist it to their agenda. Capitalism provides a way for ALL PEOPLE to become wealthy should they choose to do so but of course there are no guarantees and is a post for another time. Apple, under the leadership of Steve Jobs made a pile of money on the backs of people they hurt and instead of taking the reports coming from China and stepping back and saying enough is enough, they tried to cover it up, they had about as much success as the virus cover up but people don’t care and that says something about people.

Steve Jobs will go into the history books being compared to Einstein, Edison and many others. In my view he doesn’t belong there. I didn’t come to this conclusion based on bias, I wanted to like him and Apple, but both kept giving me reasons not to. Apple will continue to make hardware in China, as many companies do but I believe in karma and what has happened to the thousands upon thousands who suffered to work insane hours in conditions American’s would never put up with will probably come back to haunt them.

My opinion on this is the unpopular one, people look at Apple and especially Steve Jobs with loving eyes, everything they have done makes these people smile and brag about how the world was changed by them. Two countries were changed for sure, can you say for the better? Do better toys really make for a better life? The fact that Apple moved some manufacturing 1,000 miles away to another part of remote China where it’s difficult to check on how employees or iSlaves are doing is very telling also.

Hearing Steve Jobs defend conditions at the factories should disgust you because he ignored the conditions completely. He stated “We’re all over this”, really… lying about what you’re doing isn’t being all over it, talking about the restaurants and other things Foxconn had to put on premises because of the sheer size of the compound may make him happy but the promised 30% raise from $1.00 per hour to $1.30 per hour making him happy, disgusting.

Quote from Steve Jobs "We hope the hike in wages will help improve the living standards of the workers and allow them to have more leisure time, which is good for their health." Quote "You go in this place and it's a factory but, my gosh, they've got restaurants and movie theatres and hospitals and swimming pools. For a factory, it's pretty nice.” Amazing, what did he think they would show him when staff went to check it out? Come on, really?

The 12+ hour work shifts, the abuse and having to ask for permission to use the bathroom are just part of the benefit package right? Steve Jobs completely ignored what was going on in China, deluded himself into believing Foxconn treated their employees the same way American employees are treated only they have theater, swimming pools and restaurants in the compound. Hey, so does Google but I’ll lay odds they aren’t abused, forced to work without overtime pay and forced to confess poor job performance in front of their co-workers.

I’m done, I wrote this because I am sick of people who know I am in the computer field saying how awesome Steve Jobs was. The last person who did that had to endure a 30 minute explanation about why Steve Jobs was NOT awesome, just a guy very good at marketing and figuring out what people would buy.

I’ll put on my fire suit now because I’m sure I’ll be taken to task for saying anything negative about Apple and burned in effigy for talking smack about the almighty Steve Jobs. If you doubt the things I have said here do a little research, what you find may actually shock you.

You may want to start HERE.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Carmina Burana ~ O Fortuna

There are some pieces of music that just hit you. Carmina Burana ~ O Fortuna is one of them.

When you have 1,600 watts, Klipsch RF-82 Reference speakers and 2 monster subwoofers you’d think I would include something with bass, so for that I use Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture which will bring the house down. But it does so clearly and while putting a very big grin on your face. You’d swear you were at the concert, when they pound the drum you feel it.



Playing house music on this system will actually cause the neighbors china to rattle. I only use house music to test the subwoofers about once or twice a year though, it’s all I can handle.

This system will be hard to get rid of when we’re ready to full time because I’m not going to build up the system in the coach. I’m plenty happy with the basics in there. I had nothing better to post today and when I ran across the video I figured why not post it? Smile with tongue out

Have a great Sunday everybody.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

It’s 1982

It’s High School graduation time, Ford released the 1982 Mustang GT H.O. (for high output) and magazines proclaimed “The Boss is back!!”. This GT had 160 horsepower which is laughable today but back then it was a sign that the era of decal performance was over. By decal performance what I mean is stickers applied to the Trans AM, Camaro and Mustang to give the impression of performance with nothing to back it up under the hood.

Fast forward to 2011 and Ford releases the most powerful naturally aspirated Mustang ever at 412 horsepower, no supercharger, no turbo, just one of the best engines ever produced in the United States. 5.0 liters of pure muscle. Is Ford happy with that? No, Government Motors (that would be GM) allows the Chevy division to build a king of the hill Camaro called the ZL1 making 550hp, Ford replies I’ll see your 550hp and raise you 100hp to 650hp!

This is insane, the Z06 Corvette has a top speed of 198mph, this new monster Mustang GT500 has a top speed of 200+ mph. Seriously, if somebody told me back in the day that you could buy a 650hp Mustang at the dealer I’d call you a liar, no way.

Many people think, where can you put all that power to use? That’s not the point, gearheads know what I’m talking about. Just knowing you have it is enough and besides, there are legal ways to use all that power and half the fun is figuring out how to get all that power to the ground. 0 – 60 for the GT500 hasn’t really changed even though power keeps going up, why? Well, tires really don’t have a way of gripping the road any better so most buyers of these monster buy aftermarket street legal drag radials to make it possible to launch the car properly.

By the time most cars are at 60mph these monsters are at 100mph, simply amazing. Not only that but a 160hp Mustang in 1982 got 16mpg, if it was lucky, a new Mustang GT is rated at 17mpg but I had one, I averaged over 23mpg with 550hp on tap. These new brutes are cleaner, get better mpg and are built infinitely better than they were in the past.

You can walk right into a Ford dealer and walk out with a car capable of blowing away full blown race cars from just 10 years ago… Amazing. A new 2012 Boss Mustang is the best Mustang ever produced, this isn’t me saying that, although I agree, the critics that always bad mouth Mustang’s are saying it. You see, they hate live axle cars, but they love this one!

The must have it side of me has been waiting for these cars my whole life, people who know me will be shocked when they learn I have no interest in buying one… my how far I have come.

Friday, November 18, 2011


I have been a history buff since I was a kid. Having immigrated here from Norway with my parents in 1964 I am also into Norwegian history. I’m very proud of my countries history, as violent as it was for many centuries. I am also proud of American history and wanted to know more about why my parents immigrated here with my brother and I. Our sister was born here so is first generation American. I read so many stories of American history/heroism and it brings tears to my eyes to read or watch documentaries of them. Even pushing 50 if I had to, I would fight for this country even if it meant my death. I don’t know what an overweight near 50 bad back bad knees and bad elbows guy could do but I’d do what I could. I love the USA, ask my wife I bleed Red White & Blue.

But, I didn’t know enough about the country I was born in so I read what I could while in school and in the library. The Internet sure would have come in handy back then!

WWII was devastating for so many countries but it never touched American shores after Pearl harbor. American’s didn’t have to deal with any Japanese or Nazis up close, thank God. The Nazis invaded Norway on April 8th, 1940, the operation was called “Operation Weserubung” using Blitzkrieg tactics. The Viking’s used complete surprise when they attacked, so did the Nazis, lack of preparedness for a large scale invasion gave the Nazis room for success.

A parachute battalion (a first for warfare) was used to take out the Oslo and Stavanger airfields. 800 aircraft overwhelmed them and resistance was overcome quickly. Neutrality means one thing, weakness, the enemy could care less, if they want a fight and you don’t, they’ll bring it to you and make you sorry for not being prepared, a lesson lost on too many today.

Nazis troops brazenly marched into Oslo behind a brass band, imagine what that must have been like to see. Makes me sick to even think about. Thankfully there was enough resistance to allow the royal family to escape. After the initial shock of the surprise attack they were also able to slow the Nazis advance but superior numbers caused them to retreat.

June 10th the Norwegian 6th division surrendered after the British moved their troops to the French front, without allied support any further defense against the Nazis invasion was impossible. For the rest of the war the Nazis kept 300,000 troops in Norway to keep Swedish iron ore safe and to use its resources.

Norway had traitors who helped the Nazis, the most famous of which was Vidkun Quisling who seized power in a Nazi backed coup and the collaborationist Government proceeded to participate in Germany’s “Final Solution”.  Disgusting.

After the war there was a purge of these people, Quisling was executed by firing squad 10/24/45, which in my mind, that was too good for him. Many fought the Nazis, one of the most famous resistance fighters was “Max Manus” who with other members of what became the “Oslogjengen” which translates to the Oslo Gang, drove the Nazis crazy with acts of sabotage preventing munitions, planes and troops from leaving Norway for the front.

They also saved the lives of thousands of Norwegian sons from serving in the Nazis “National Labour Duty” which was actually a Nazi scheme to send between 75,000 to 300,000 Norwegian men/boys to the German/Russian front. Factory workers would sabotage the munitions they made, tanks and everything else they could so failures of equipment and munitions was high coming from Norway. I’m sure it pissed the Nazis off but good when V2’s failed. Thumbs up What did the Nazis think, people would happily make them? Unfortunately many died when they were caught but they did what they thought was the right thing to do to keep the Nazis from winning the war.

After the war Norway had to rebuild its economy and this took time, when my brother was born my parents decided to move to the US. My mother had lived in the US during the 1950’s and went to school here and wanted to return permanently. A month after I was born we moved here, my father forced himself to learn English and both became productive American’s and taught us to be American’s and to love our adopted country.

What makes the United States great is people from every country on Earth has come here and with them the rich history of their heritage as well. No other country has it and when ever there is a fight people are shocked at how hard and consistent the US armed forces will fight. In WWI the Marines were called Devil Dog’s for their fierceness but along with that fierceness is the willingness to help other countries through tough times, help them fight for their freedom and help them rebuild after a tragedy.

Thanks for stopping by, have a great weekend! God Bless The USA.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

State Farm – No Longer Awesome

We have had State Farm for what seems like forever, my wife has had them since the '70’s and soon after we got married we consolidated everything into a State Farm package so everything was covered. Since we had no claims everything was great! We bought the RV and had 2 claims, both were handled in my view perfectly by State Farm.

Enter the house, last June we had a bad wind and hail storm, the roof was damaged as was the siding. The claim process was a nightmare, denied the first time even though the examiner saw damage, so we said fine, if State Farm says there isn’t enough damage then what can we do? I am not the kind of person who files a claim without having very good reason and they say everything is fine. They had done right by us for the RV, why would they be any different for the house?

I have found that how one division acts has nothing to do with another division, they’re like separate companies completely. I was ignorant of this fact. Disappointed smile

We had our door knocked on by every single storm damage construction company out there saying they would handle everything and we turned each and every one of them down. Enter March 2011, an even worse hail and wind storm and now there is more damage, you can actually see the roof tiles were cracked from the impact and we have dings all over the siding.

State Farm came out and said yes you clearly have enough damage to warrant roof and siding replacement. They sent us a check for several thousand dollars less than the damage and said we would need to revisit the claim if the repairs were more than the check. We decided to wait until Spring of 2012…. our mistake… last night we get a form letter from some underwriter at State Farm stating “This insurance coverage is no longer acceptable to State Farm Fire and Casualty Company because of your overall claim activity”. Number of claims on file? ONE!  Disappointed smile

He then states the overall claim activity was the hail damage which hasn’t even been cashed or repaired yet. I do some research and find out that for State Farm this has become typical practice and there are class action lawsuits against them for it, who woulda thunk it?

I wrote my State Farm agent and told him there is no longer any reason to have State Farm unless this could be rectified since we would lose the discount from having everything insured with them, at least $220.00 a year discount, gone. Lets say he gets State Farm to keep our house insured with them, no way in hell I’m staying with them for longer than it takes to switch. How is one claim in all the years we have done business with them too many claims? The check is for $12,000, the damage is over $18,500 so now we can’t even get everything fixed without going back to get the difference.

I’m calling USAA since they give Veterans a discount plus they also insure everything and if they pass muster we’re going to drop State Farm like they clearly want to be dropped and hopefully USAA works out. I started doing some research about this and have found there are websites dedicated to exposing State Farm for their tactics in the home insurance field.

We’ll see how this new drama unfolds after our Agent contacts the underwriter to see what can be done.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Picture Of The Day & Diabetes Update

This was Tuesday morning. I don’t know if you can see it, but there is a fog bank in the distance that goes from left to right over the tracks. Click the picture and you’ll see it. I wanted to pull over and take a picture of the valley with the fog bank hovering, it was a very cool sight but there was no place to pull over.


On the diabetes side of things my numbers have gone way up again. It’s almost like I’m not taking any drugs at all, or something has happened in my body to make them ineffective, again. For the past month or so I’m back in the mid to high 200’s. For the 4 months prior I was in the mid 100’s so it’s back to the doctor next week for more fun tests.

I’m still paying for the last round of what’s wrong with Erik tests, it’s getting old and too damned expensive. Ya have to do it though so I’ll report back when the results are in, I know my Triglycerides will be high because I stopped taking Lipitor, but it will be interesting to see what other numbers are like as well.

Have a great Wednesday everybody.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Our Rig Has Company

It’s another Endeavor, you think they’ll get along?


Sunset, the HTC Thunderbolt doesn’t capture all of the color but it’s still nice.