Advice: Compare price vs shipping times when ordering online

Posted By on January 20, 2019

A quick piece of advice for those who are in the habit of shopping online … especially if you are used to using Amazon and their Prime shipping. I’ve habitually price products since Amazon isn’t always competitively price with other online vendors, BUT my advice is to remember just how dependable and reliable shipping from Amazon is before selecting the less expensive vendor.

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Case in point, I wanted to use a better “oil” with my new tap and dies rather than the same old 30 weight oil I’ve used my whole life. The “Tap Magic marketing” suggests that bits and tools could last longer if using something like Tap Magic instead of ordinary oils. So in order to save a few dollars, I switch to a different online reseller expecting it would arrive before last weekend – it did not. Frustrated I placed the order after seeing the estimated deliver, disappointed in the actually delivery and for the couple dollars savings would have gladly purchased from Amazon KNOWING it would arrive within a day or two – Amazon deliveries are now that dependable, but they really need some competition!

Irresistible! “Hi Bompa … I see you” from my granddaughter

Posted By on January 19, 2019

iPhoneCharger190117Brenda and I often reminisce with later-in-life retrospection as to our life vs work balance and decisions we made when having careers and a family. We have concluded, in hindsight of course, that it could not have been more perfect for us. Couples of every generation have their own struggles with finding that balance; we “want it all” and often struggle to find the ideal balance between having enough money, developing a rewarding career, being a good husband or wife, yet still enjoying our individual personal wants … and all the while being great parents. That last part is for me was the biggest hurdle and likely requires the most sacrifice if it is high on your priority list – it was for us (see below break).

DrewsEchoSpot190117I see the challenge for my own kids now that they are grown. The memories for me hauntingly come back as they did this past week in seeing Katelyn and Drew jump through hoops to figure out what they were going to do when their babysitter called to say she was sick. Katelyn started texting late on Wednesday evening in a struggle to either cancel patients for the next day (never a good thing) or figure out which parent or friend to ask to be inconvenienced. I’m not sure exactly what we did back in the day with both sets of parents hours away, but I know it is a stressful moment for a couple.  Thankfully I was able to easily cancel a morning breakfast meeting with a client and make the 3 hour drive to Perrysburg, Ohio in order to help out. Absolutely no regrets … as you can tell by my granddaughter Annalyn’s reaction to me being with her (also fun to play with Drew and Katelyn’s tech gadgets – photos above. The ThingCharger and Amazon Echo Spot … even Brenda wants one after I talked about it when I came home). 

We all have our daily lives and schedules and some of us are fortunate that we can be more flexible than others. At first glance, one could assume that it is by luck … but the reality is that it usually happens by “choice.”  (be warned, longwinded advice below)

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Tech Friday: Options to subscriptions services raising prices

Posted By on January 18, 2019

Cfnan8Nf_400x400The recent price increases rumbling through the economy are starting to be felt in the products we all use and have learned to appreciate. One of the services I’ll likely eliminate before the monthly price increase is the streaming service Netflix. We did this once before, but with all the new added content and lack of competition years ago, we decided to continue to pay for the lower level subscription – we’ll still have Amazon Prime and we (well “I”) really don’t watch movies or stream much TV anymore (Brenda may veto my cutting Netflix, we’ll see?).

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Gimp 2.10 on the iMac as an Adobe Photoshop replacement

AdobeCreativeCloudAllApps2019Other items seeing price increases have been my yearly Parallels subscription which enables my iMacMicrosoft365Subscription2019 to run a full screen Windows 10 install on my Apple computer as well as Mojave. The other subscriptions that might see the chopping block are Microsoft Office 365 and Adobe’s Acrobat, Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign (CreativeCloud). Currently I’m giving the opensource tools such as GIMP (already run on Linux) and Scribus (very limited) a try “once again.” We’ll see?

While on the subject of subscriptions, I’m probably going to give up my magazine subscriptions this year (gulp, my Cruising World???), will be giving serious thought to my 30 year old email address that was once provided free by American Express Small Business services (now $60+ annually) and the biggest expense, my UPS mailbox that continues to raise prices … although I’m paid thru 2021 so probably not (they were once a very affordable option to having a USPS box).

So will see how my cost cutting progresses as 2019 rolls along … and perhaps I’ll get in the mood to sell a few things too? Although really that’s just an excuse to post the photo of a sign I made 30+ years ago from a canvas “door” to my barn in Hudson. It has been used to contain the dust from my radial arm saw that is being swapped out for my new-ish Hitachi Miter Saw. A good memory, but archiving a memory before sending it to the trash (posting shortly on my workshop modifications).

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BMW water injection and how it works to make +50 hp

Posted By on January 17, 2019

One of my favorite YouTube channels is Engineering Explained and in this video car guru and mechanical engineer Jason Fenske explains just how BMW used water injection to increase power at full throttle and high manifold pressures. Great stuff.

And if this kind of "automotive engineering stuff" interests you and you like aviation like me, check out this explanation as to while the WW2 German ME 109G was slower than the U.S. P51 — the differences and decisions made in producing and modifying the Daimler Benz DB 605 and Merlin 1650 below (think FUEL quality).
Winking smile

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Electrical grid shortcomings in a cyber war or EMP event

Posted By on January 16, 2019

Although we hear (or at least I read) about cyber attacks to the U.S. electrical grid and utilities on a regular basis … but I’m not sure we take these events seriously enough?

I’ve blogged on this ever since reading One Second After, a detailed factual-fiction story about just how devastating, vulnerable and dependent we are to our connected devices that control infrastructure. One only needs to look at how citizens who are overly dependent on “services of all kinds” function with a “forecasted” storm or short power outage to realize what could happen IF we were to be devastatingly attacked or naturally impacted by an Electromagnetic Pulse. Obviously those involved in our national defense or cyberwarfare understand the threat and impact such a disruption. Personally I’m more fearful of my fellow citizen and how they will behave without fresh water, food deliveries, heat, electricity and medical care than I am of the day to day difficulty in taking care of my family and neighbors.

Food for thought when asked to support our government in planning for and hardening our grid and emergency preparations. Also, perhaps a simple family plan for short term disruptions or long term preppingand self-defense (CCW reminder).

What actions should you take following an EMP strike? 

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So what actions should you take immediately following an EMP strike?  Remember that time will be critical, the first few hours (days at most) will enable you to get a jump on everyone else and set the stage for your success.  You will immediately know that an EMP, be it from a nuclear weapon or massive solar flare, will have struck your area.  Your car will no longer work, your cell phone won’t work, the power will be out everywhere, planes will have fallen from the sky.  You will know it was an EMP but the vast majority of the public will not, they will be quite literally sitting around waiting for someone to tell them what to do.  You won’t know how large the scope of the strike is but you will have to assume the worst, which would be a nationwide outage.

First things first…

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Appreciating a heated garage after the first big winter snow

Posted By on January 15, 2019

TaylorWorkingOnBMW528i190112With a “heavy snowfall” that amounted to about 10 inches before melting a bit, I was thankful to have put the snow blower on the tractor last week.  It was about the wettest snow Snow8-9inches190112I’ve ever tried to blow and that’s saying something since I’ve been removing snow with the John Deere 330 since the mid-1980s when we lived in Hudson, OH. It was good to have put a heavy duty belt on last year as there were times the chute plugged and belt slipped (probably stopped to dig out the chute a dozen times). WinterIsHere190112

This weekend also saw a little service on my son’s BMW 528i AWD sedan. He puts a lot more miles on his car that I do nowadays and is glad to have a warm garage and a helping hand to do a little work. We replace his faulty plugs and did another oil change which seems to happy way too often now that he’s driving to Columbus on a regular basislike father, like son – a reference to my dating Brenda back in 1981.

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New Bosch pre-gapped spark plugs vs older well seasoned NGK. Seems to be a miss,
so we will be replacing coil packs. Still wondering about the plugs? (
chart)

As for the heavy snow, I’m concerned we may lose the pool cover this year; there is so much weigh that I’m sure the aging straps and material are going to fail.

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Music Monday: And for something totally different from Annalyn

Posted By on January 14, 2019

If there is one thing that will keep me blogging and archiving, it will be my granddaughter Annalyn; I can’t help myself in smiling and grinning when receiving a video of her singing “Baby Shark doo doo doo doo doo” to Bompa (below). Hard to not want to give her a big hug, although our FaceTime videos will have to do for now. (warning, don’t listen if you’ve never heard it as it is one of those songs you can’t get out of your head).

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Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
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