Unconscious Ludicrous Rambling

21 June 2016

Last night my unconscious mind decided to entertain me with what had to be the most ludicrous story. It had a title ‘a stitch in time’ about a bunch of hobgoblins and their leader who can slow time for everyone else while they rob. The protagonist was named Eli who repaired pottery for a living. It all took place in the early 19th century. Eli had invented a steam powered car and used steam power in his shop and somehow could sense the villains presence. He was able to tie the villain so they were stuck in real time at which point they exploded for no apparent reason. But at least it had title.

Then, as an encore, my mind gave me an episode of X-Files about a group of mutated hillbillies who live off sucking electricity and are only caught when the owner of the house they were syphoning from dies unexpectedly which results in the electricity being turned off and their frantic attempts to access new source or hilariously try to make their own.

And another one gone

15 June 2016

Our beloved feline Lucy had to make the trip over the rainbow bridge today, taking with her part of our heart. She goes to be with her best friend Julius who we have all missed for a couple years now. Our home is left that much more empty without them. I will cherish my memories as I hope you all do for your loved ones.

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But yeah, it is hard to not just keep crying.

Searching the Internet about WiFi Speed

2 April 2016

The cable internet service provider, of customer service infamy, offered faster internet at no additional charge. No additional charge seemed like a good enough deal so I signed up. It would be months later, with no noticeable improvement in WiFi speeds in the house, that I did the important test. One we should all do:

Check the speed of the modem wired directly to a computer.

Then I got 90 Mbps. But on WiFi, never better than 20 Mbps and sometimes so bad it seemed that I was back on dialup.

The router said it could do 300 Mbps so it can’t be the problem, right? What does the internet say? Interference, put in a repeater; or bad cable between the modem and router; or peak congestion, retest in the middle of the night; or wrong setting slowing down the router; or, my favorite, encryption is causing the slow down, remove the security and it will be faster.

Of course the best lies have just enough truth to be believed. Any of those could have been true, but nope. 300 Mbps was just the kind of false advertising that confuses and deceives those who don’t dig deep enough into the details. I’m the one who fell for it too. That whole ‘up to’ should have tipped me off. That and also the computer kept telling me it was a 75 Mbps connection to the router.

I just needed a new router. Once I replaced the router the WiFi speed was nearly as fast as being connected directly to the modem.

While normally the internet is really good about answering these kinds of questions, it really didn’t provide the simple answer in this case without a lot of searching. An old N router, even though it says it can do up to 300 Mbps, really won’t get you more than 20 Mbps on WiFi. Now 20 Mbps is more than what you need for almost anything – well one anything, you really don’t have as much as you think once you start splitting that pie up between all the WiFi connected crap we have these days.

So the answer is, if you have fast internet being anything over 20 Mbps, make sure your router is less than two years old first. Likely that is what is slowing down your WiFi.

Advice and Consent

16 March 2016

Advice and consent are active nouns. They require action to complete. Inaction, by not allowing hearings and not allowing votes, is not the same as withholding consent. Not having hearings and not having votes is failing to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of being a senator. That is very different from withholding consent.

Mr. McConnell, I, along with a majority of the citizens of this country, demand that you fulfil your oath of office and have the Senate properly review, with hearings and vote, the candidate nominated by your President. If you cannot fulfil your obligations then you need to resign from office.

Sad Day at the Polls

15 March 2016

Today could have been, nah should have been different. A woman before me at the polls, in a rush significantly caused by delays at check in, left without pressing the last (and third) accept button on her electronic ballot. This left her ballot on the screen when I was next, showing a vote for the same person who I was to vote for. A vote that would now be, sadly, void. Not sad that the candidate didn’t get a vote but sad that her vote was to be lost after trying to vote. Sad that the vote wasn’t for the very qualified person who will be the next President, who deserved my vote and my support and who happens to be a woman.

I am glad that I will get that chance later this year to vote that woman into the oval office. But today, today I voted for a dream. Someone called him a unicorn. Fictional in his chances of winning. Rare in his ways of approaching politics.

I know he won’t be President. The vote was merely a statement of desire, that I wish more candidates were as pure of intention as he is. So a sad day but also one of future hope. A woman will be President and the world will be a better place with maybe a small shift towards people rather than money controlling elections.

China, Housing, and Refugees

9 January 2016

I’m told China has a real estate bubble that might collapse and cause a world wide recession, if it hasn’t already. So it got me wondering, just how much over-supply is there? Turns out there is number for that on the internet, and it is that there is currently more than 1 billion square meters of available housing. Yes, billion, with a B. It works out to space for over 25 million average Europeans (or only 14 million average Americans). That would be enough to house every refugee in the world, so one way to end the refugee crisis in Europe. Sadly I somehow doubt China would be so generous with their unused housing.

As it pertains to China, islands, and climate change

19 December 2015

It may be cynical of me, but is it possible one reason China signed on to the latest climate agreement was to protect their investment in island building in the South China Sea? I mean, if any island was to be vulnerable to rising seas it would be man made ones – right?

I wonder how well those islands survive tsunamis. Do they abandon them in bad weather? If so, why doesn’t one of the closer nations go occupy them right after the storm passes? After all, it is just facts on the ground.

Regarding a Flag

5 July 2015

I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable 4th of July. July 4th is very much about a flag, as it was a sign of the very independence which we celebrated. But another flag is a trending topic right now. Some want it erased from existence in an attempt to banish the symbols it represented. But removing a flag doesn’t magically remove racism or bigotry nor will it suddenly make everyone love or respect their neighbor. A flag isn’t any more responsible for hate than a gun is. The problem is who is holding the flag or the gun.

The only major example I can think of is Germany banning swastikas. Is that really what is needed? Did it eliminate anti-semitism? Not that I want to see one flown across the street from me, but more so because of the kind of person who would fly it rather than a fear of the flag itself. As a kid I regularly played the Germans in WWII board games, I was not in fear of or offended by the historically relevant symbols.

The conversation really needs to be about how to eliminate racism so there is not the kind of person around anymore who wants to fly a flag out of hate.

Still, I applaud those who are voting or acting to remove offensive flags from being flown in prestigious locations. Those actions can be the start of the conversation. Just let us make sure it doesn’t stop with some symbolic votes.

Keep (city) Strong

29 March 2015

A local group calling themselves “Keep (insert city name) Strong” is campaigning to stack the school board with people who want to lower school taxes with the stated plan of lowering teacher pay and reducing school services. This same group fights to lower property taxes in other ways too. I gather they don’t think beyond the short term property tax relief. When you have worse schools and less services you get a weak housing market. Property values fall and those left in their McMansions will end up having to pay a greater share of the taxes while their mortgage goes underwater again. If you really want a strong city you have to double down on the investment in good teachers, nice parks, infrastructure, public health and safety, etc. Somehow greed and apathy clouds the obvious.

I Demand You Supply More Facts

22 January 2015

The big heads are talking the talk about supply side economics of the price of crude oil saying the US is producing more oil so there is more supply and that is why the price of crude fell.

But the US production level didn’t jump overnight, or to be fair it didn’t change much over the period that the price was falling in the 4th quarter last year. So no, US production is not the reason that the price fell, cannot be. World production didn’t change that much during that period either. It seems to me that demand dropped related to slower growth rate in Asia (China missing its growth target for the first time in decades) and weakness in the economy in Europe and elsewhere (Brazil and Russia). Now if the US hadn’t been producing more than the weakness elsewhere would have meant that it would have been easier for OPEC to control the price. But for OPEC to do that now, by themselves, would have been a much bigger problem for them.

Still it wasn’t as sudden a weakness as to cause as rapid a price fall. The answer there I think lies more in the darker side of the price of oil – those speculators in the energy market. Whose going to run up the price for a futures contract on a barrel of oil when there is less demand? I wonder how much less money is flowing around the trading floor and even more scary is where did that money go, because rich greedy people don’t stop trying to make more money just because one way to do it becomes less safe. Maybe more credit default swaps and we all know how good that is for the economy. We won’t really know till whatever it is goes wrong and the average Joe is the one to be burned. At least we are paying less at the pump now.