January 15, 2020

January 14, 2020

Computer Basics

I've been asked more times than I care to count "What should I look for in a computer?" and I decided to make a post about it.  Forewarning: I am talking only about Microsoft Windows capable computers.  The uber-Geeks among you will pontificate about running Linux, and the Apple Fanbois are always gonna fanboi, and those are both fine.  But since Windows is the dominant OS for end users, that's what I'll be discussing.

First and foremost, much as it applies to quality firearms, "Buy Once, Cry Once" applies to computers as well.  Yes, you can find cheaper computers at Wal Mart or Best Buy or similar, but if you want a _quality_ machine that will last you a while*, be ready to cough up $600 or more.

* By "a while", I mean 3-4 years.  If you take the cost of a computer at, say, $600, and you get 3 years out of it, that's $200/year.  Or roughly 55 cents a day. 

Brand:  I am not a brand dedicated computer guy.  I've used a Dell Latitude laptop for the past 4 years, and last week I got a new Lenovo Thinkpad laptop.  But look for a reputable brand.  Dell, Lenovo, HP, Acer... They all make decent enough computers.  I would not recommend a local PC shop selling you a "Custom Built" computer unless you are savvy enough to be able to talk components with them: How many cores does the CPU have, did you set it up for hyper-threading, what are the L2 and L3 numbers, etc. 

CPU: For this, you need to think about how you're going to use the computer.  If it is just for basic web surfing, checking your Facebook, and maybe sending email now and then, you can get by with a lesser CPU.  If you're doing higher end stuff like graphics processing (i.e., Photoshop) or gaming, you'll need a faster CPU.  Get on Wikipedia, and take a look at the information for the CPU of the computer.  In general, if it is more than 2 years old, keep looking.  Intel and AMD are the two biggest fish in the CPU pond.  I'd avoid anything older/weaker than an Intel i7. 

Hard Drive: Get an SSD (Solid State Drive).  Just trust me here.  If the computer you're looking at does not have an SSD, buy one and get the internal drive cloned to the SSD.  Amazon has Samsung 500GB Solid State Drives for roughly $80.  And Samsung has a migration utility that works great.  All you'll need is a USB/SATA adapter.  Install the software, connect the SATA adapter to the SSD, plug it into the USB slot, and run the migration utility.  When done, shut down the computer, open her up, remove the spinning hard drive, connect the SSD, and turn it on. 

RAM: There is, perhaps, no cheaper way to get a fast, smooth, functional computer than to increase RAM.  When it comes to RAM, more is better.  I would suggest 8 GB as a bare minimum, and 16 GB if you can fit it into your budget.  I won't dive into the differences between DDR3 and DDR4, because that's boring stuff.  Just get as much as you can.

Here is a decent desktop computer for just under 8 bills.  (Remember... spread the cost over the life of the computer.  $790 over 4 years is our old friend $0.55/day.)

Here is another.

Here's a rather nice laptop, just over $700.

Here's another decent laptop, this one just under $700.

There's a host of things to do once you have the new computer, but I'll save that for another post.

January 10, 2020

"We're From the Government. You Can Trust Us."

Just.... wow.

An Android phone subsidized by the US government for low-income users comes preinstalled with malware that can't be removed without making the device cease to work, researchers reported on Thursday.

Just... Wow.

January 8, 2020

Damn, They Don't Mess Around

So, a few days ago, a friend of mine, who works for a fairly significant computer/Information Technology company, sent me an email to let me know his company was looking to fill a spot, and thought I might be interested.

The skill set is in my ballpark, and I'm certainly not opposed to the idea of exploring it.  I generally like to work for a given employer for a sufficient time, in a way of giving back to them for taking a chance on me.  As it stands now, I've been in my current position for over 3 years, and I think I've repaid them in spades with the improvements I've pushed through. 

At any rate, I decided "What the heck, drop my resume, see what happens".  That was Monday evening. 

Today I wake up to an email, wanting to set up a time for an introductory phone interview.

That they want to do on Friday.

These guys move quick.  Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing, or just a thing.  But what the heck, I'll talk to them.

January 7, 2020

Teach Women Not to Rape

A former Arapahoe High School teacher who pleaded guilty to attempted sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust was sentenced to 90 days in jail on Monday.


It's Good To Have Connections

Seems totally above-board.

The first person to qualify for an Inglewood, California, program that subsidizes the purchase of a first home just happened to be a city employee. In fact, Jazmine Covington just happened to work for the city's Housing Authority when the guidelines for the program were being developed, though she left to work in another department late last year. Oh, and her mother is the acting city budget manager.

January 3, 2020

What the Hell

Remember when President Obama had bin Laden killed without getting Congressional authorization?

Pepperidge Farms remembers.

December 30, 2019

The Return Trip

After a fun week with the family back in Indiana, it was time to head back to Colorado.

I cut out early on Saturday morning, hitting the road shortly after 6:00 am.  I'd topped off the tank on Friday, and had most of my things already packed up.  Filled my travel mug with some coffee, gave mom and pop a hug, grabbed the dog, and I was rolling wheels.

The trip isn't terribly difficult, really: From my folks' house, take Interstate 69 south, swing around I-465 to the southwest side of Indianapolis, and hang a right onto Interstate 70.  

Then just keep going.

And going.  

And going.

1,100 miles later, turn right onto Interstate 25, take the first exit for Fort Collins, hang a left, and I'm done.

But man, that 1,100 miles sure does numb the rump. 

I stopped in Bonner Springs, Kansas, just west of the KC Metro area, and grabbed a hotel room for the night.  A good bit of stretching was needed, and Praline really wanted to walk, but the area was facing a pretty significant rainfall, so we made do with a short lap around the hotel so she could pee.  I pulled a couple beers out of the cooler, watched some football, and turned in early.  

Sunday I was back on the road early, and made really good time going across Kansas until I was just west of Hays or so.  That's when things got a bit sporty on the weather.  Winds started blowing from the northwest, with gusts in the 40+ mph range, and some drifting snow was a nice bonus touch.  

I had to stop near Colby to fuel up, and fought that same wind all the way past Limon, CO, until it settled down when I got to the Denver metro area.  

At any rate, I made it home safe, if an hour behind my plan.  Such is winter driving, and you learn to accept that.

Christmas was a nice event, and I got a couple nice gifts.  Sister picked up a bottle of Scotch for me when she was in Scotland this past summer.  It's not exported, so you can't buy a bottle at the local package store.  Mom and Pop gave me a matching set of a carving knife and a carving fork.  I mentioned this to Mom a few weeks ago when, after roasting a turkey I got on the cheap after Thanksgiving, I found I don't have a carving fork.  I do now, though.  Nice one, too.

All in all, a nice trip.  Next time, I will fly.  That drive is too much.  

December 24, 2019

The Long Road Home

As is my tradition since moving to Colorado in 2016, this is my year to go back home to Indiana for the Christmas holiday.  I usually alternate every other year: Even numbered years I stay in Fort Collins and work during the Christmas week, giving other folks a chance to take time off and spend with family.  On odd years, I head back East. 

Friday evening, I filled the gas tank, loaded up gifts, a cooler with some grub, my bag, and so forth.  Hitting the road early on Saturday, I was pointed south on I-25 to I-70, then it was straight east... Across Colorado to Kansas, then across Kansas.  And more Kansas. 

Couple hours later? Still in Kansas.


Oh, I've driving almost 350 miles?  Well, that's nice, I'm still in Kansas.

And on and on and on.

Praline, for the most part, did fine during the drive.  She whined and whimpered a bit for the first 90 minutes or so, but finally settled down and slept in her crate in the back seat.  At each gas/rest stop I made -- generally every 2.5 hours or so -- I'd let her out to pee, walk a bit, etc. 

Finally, 665.8 miles later, I stopped at the home of two dear friends from Blogorado, who graciously offered me a bed for the night.  In exchange for their hospitality, I brought along some beer from my local brewery - An oatmeal stout and an Extra Pale Ale.  Along with this, I had a stick of my homemade venison summer sausage, a brick of smoked cheddar, and a brick of habanero jack cheese.  We snacked, then ordered a pizza, enjoyed our beers, and watched that classic Christmas movie "Die Hard 2" (anyone who says that Die Hard 1 or 2 isn't a Christmas movie is welcome to show themselves out the door.)

I also got Praline some exercise, as my friends have a rather sizable back yard, so I got out the ball and we played fetch a bit until she was good and tired. 

After a great night of sleep, it was up and early on Sunday to finish the drive.  I kept the truck pointed east, and eventually made it to Indianapolis, where I stopped to meet up with yet another friend, Tam from "View From the Porch."  I'd purchased a 1917 Kar98 from her a few months ago, and rather than deal with shipping expenses and whatnot, I told her to hold on to it until Christmas, and I'd just pick it up then.  We had a nice late lunch at 20 Tap (the fish Po Boy was a fine meal, but take my word for it, you'll need a fork and knife to eat this "sandwich"), then I gave her a ride home, collected my rifle, and made the final push to my parent's house. 

The southern (I-70) route is longer than the northern (I-80) route by 150 miles or so, but it was nice to see my friends, and I certainly don't mind adding 2 hours to my drive if it means I get to spend time with my tribe.

At any rate, I'm "back home again, in Indiana" for the week.  Yesterday, Mom and I did some cooking prep work for Christmas dinner (Swedish meatballs, a couple cheese balls, and cheesy potatoes), and then Pop and I went to the local watering hole for a meeting of The Council Of Jeffs. 

My stepdad (i.e., "Pops") is named Jeff, as am I.  His nephew, my cousin, is named Jeff.  Mom and Pops have a neighbor couple Kari and her husband Jeff.  They have a son, Jeff.  Two good friends of cousin Jeff are Jeff and Jeff.  A friend of Pops is named Jeff. 

We had nine people named Jeff at the table. 

Yes, nine. 

One of the waitresses mentioned to another one "Is this some sort of joke?  They're not all named Jeff, are they?" to which the other replied "No, no joke.  They're all named Jeff."

We had food and drink, and in Blogorado-fashion, I picked up the check for the food and drink and told the other eight Jeffs "Make damn sure you leave a 'Christmas' tip.... leave what you'd have spent on your tab, let's get this girl's rent covered for next month."

So, well, they did.  Safe to say she walked out with $200 tip on a $190 bar tab.

Merry Christmas, right? 

Today is a slow day.  I'll make a run for beer, since one cannot purchase carryout alcohol in Indiana on Christmas Day, and I think I might catch the new Star Wars movie at the theater.  The unwrapping of gifts is tomorrow, Thursday is up for grabs, and Friday will be a "wash laundry, repack the truck, and turn in early" sort of day.  Hitting the road back to Colorado early on Saturday, hoping to make it west of Omaha the first night. 

To you and yours, I wish you the best of holiday seasons, however it is you celebrate. 

Peace On Earth.  Good Will Towards Men and Women.

December 20, 2019

You Coward

Pelosi is a coward.

Bring the Articles to the Senate, or admit it was all theatrics.

If the House does not communicate its impeachment to the Senate, it hasn’t actually impeached the president. If the articles are not transmitted, Trump could legitimately say that he wasn’t truly impeached at all. 
That’s because “impeachment” under the Constitution means the House sending its approved articles of to the Senate, with House managers standing up in the Senate and saying the president is impeached.

From here.

December 19, 2019

Local Medical Case

"She was left unobserved. No one watched her for about 15 minutes," said Woodruff before adding, "A nurse comes into the room and finds her blue."There's so much wrong in this story...

Emmalyn Nguyen wanted to travel the world. Instead, the 18-year-old is confined to her bed in a nursing home -- unaware of her surroundings -- after a breast enhancement surgery went tragically wrong on Aug. 1.
(Emphasis mine...)

OK, I get it, she's a legal adult and all that, but hold up a second.  Who thought this was a good idea?

She's 18 years old.  Her body hasn't completely finished growing.  Why the hell is she getting breast augmentation surgery?

Their lawsuit claims Emmalyn went into cardiac arrest and stopped breathing on the surgical table before the procedure ever began. ... 
"She was left unobserved. No one watched her for about 15 minutes," said Woodruff before adding, "A nurse comes into the room and finds her blue."
If that is indeed the case, the doctor and the practice are royally screwed.  And none of them should ever be allowed to practice or work in the medical field ever again.

A DORA spokesperson confirmed the Board of Nursing has never taken any disciplinary action against him. Meeker's nursing license is currently in good standing with the state of Colorado.

Not for long.


Oh, my sides...

After ramrodding through the tissue-thin impeachment articles in the House of Representatives, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is now threatening to withhold the Democrats' case unless she can dictate the terms of the Senate trial.

That's not how it works, Nan.  You're a Congresswoman.  That's the House of Representatives. 

You don't get one damn word to say in how the Senate runs.