Do you really think free college, wage/price controls, a green new deal, open borders and socialism will fix America’s problems?

Posted By on March 24, 2019

Maybe it is my age … or just the latest swing to the radical left by Democrats staging themselves for a presidential primary to challenge President Trump in 2020 … but this whole anti-free market socialist tilt has me concerned for the direction of our country. It is no longer the political quarrel over the size of government, how much politicians spend on different programs or even how to fairly tax citizens and corporations … but whether we even want private industry, competitive capitalism OR want a takeover of business by a central government who dictates it all – in other words, socialism.

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It is not like the crowd advocating for bigger government, dictating business decision-making and a flat-out takeover of private industry has any evidence that socialism works … but to the contrary, there is plenty of evidence showing just how risky going down this path can be. Even a little commonsense should remind the average American that removing the profit incentive stymies innovation and much of the motivation that comes from the risk and reward of investing, paying for your own choices … including higher education (paying for it ourselves generally makes us take it a bit more serious). The same applies to working hard, if there is a payoff in the end, we tend to be motivated to make better choices. If we all pay for whoever wants to go to college (ie. sleep late, skip class, party, study abroad, etc. for a 4, 5 or 6 year undergrad degree – or even eventually drop out), richard_vedder-for-webwhat’s the incentive for someone who knows they are not the right fit for college and instead goes to work in a trade, pays taxes and starts a family out of high school? Wanting government to provide more than a “safety net” does not make economic sense … so think twice before advocating for such a radical shift?

This past weekend, I found a new Libertarianism “Free Thoughts” podcast channel (at least new to me) and listened to an excellent interview from a couple years ago with Ohio University’s Professor of Economics Richard Vedder discussing College: Too Costly, Too Little Learning, Too Much Underemployment. Personally, I thought it was a great question and answer on how government involvement, even with the “best of intentions,” has negative consequences (or as the cynical side of me would say, it always does). If you are at all interested in the cost and outcome of a college education (or believing FREE college is a good idea) … at least listen to the first 30 minutes of this MP3 podcast. Great stuff from an interesting “thinker.”

  College: Too Costly, Too Little Learning, Too Much Underemployment
        (Free Thoughts Podcast mp3) | 11/25/2016

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Is Amazon is getting lax in their vendor quality control?

Posted By on March 23, 2019

AmazonPrimeLogoAlthough I’m fond of shopping online for convenience, selection and to compare prices … I’m becoming increasingly frustrated with accuracy in fulfillment of merchandise being shipped by “prime” but from an third party vendor. In a recent order, I not only received the wrong product, but also an obvious opened and returned product (the correct item but with plumber’s putty all over it).

I’m already skeptical with Ebay listed products and private store pages, but increasingly have been finding that Amazon and Walmart (Jet.com) are unreliable when it comes to getting what I’m expecting. Am I the only one seeing this trend?

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AmazonsChoiceCurrent issue and hassle:  I ordered 2 Oiled Rubbed Bronze Pop UP Drains (Amazon’s Choice) for the phase2 master bathroom update later this spring … but the Amazon Seller Allwin-Houseware either supplied the shipping warehouse with used and wrong products or Amazon screwed up. Not only do I not have the expected drains to put into the new vanities and sinks, but now have to hassle with a return to the UPS Store and “try” to reorder the correct drains again. Frustrating … and no wonder I’m still partial to a locally owned Ace Hardware or big box retail store like Home Depot or Lowes.

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The new 2019 iPad Air or the 11 inch iPad Pro?

Posted By on March 22, 2019

iPadAirORiPadPro

This is project for work as I wanted to demonstrate to a customer what I was referring to when I encouraged them to add a simple “read a script” podcast channel or simple YouTube video component to their marketing. It is a way to capture audiences who have moved away from reading articles and blogs … and instead gravitate to podcasts and YouTube. Just ignore this if it does not pertain to you … or send me a message if it is something you want to consider.

Tech Friday: Planning on an iPad Pro upgrade in 2019, but …

Posted By on March 22, 2019

iPadProiPadAir1903

iPadiPadMini1903There is isn’t anything wrong with my current 2014 Apple iPad, it is just getting older as far as technology goes, and is a little sluggish (or so it seems). It is still the single most used tech device that I have … and the reason I’ll likely replace it with another when the time is right.

I enjoyed using my wife’s Samsung Chromebook Pro and while it is an excellent laptop replacement for those needing only cloud-based apps and near zero updating headaches, it is not the laptop or tablet replacement for me. My Lenovo laptop is a fine back up and travel computer, but like all Microsoft Windows OS devices, it requires continual scanning, backups, updates and fidgeting. Compared to previous computers, it is far quicker to boot, has a reasonably good screen, is lightweight and with the touchscreen and fully folding keyboard is also “kind of” a big tablet … but definitely not an iPad when it comes to relaxed reading or battery life.

On the other end, my iPhone 7 plus has been a great phone and now after 2 years of ownership has a new battery. The great LTE Virgin Mobile plan (had to negotiate or leave) and excellent camera, that has me leaving my Lumix GX8 DSLR at home most of the time, can almost replace an iPad … but typing and text entry still can’t match the Brydgekeyboard I use with the iPad. So … I still need the iPadbesides reading or watching a video on an iPad is way better than even a large phone.

BrydgeKeyboardiPadPro2018

The final kicker is that my current Bryddgetech keyboard has a faulty USB socket … and charging it has become difficult. Currently I can spend a few minutes twisting andBrydgeKeyboardChargingIssue propping up the cord in order to make a connection … but it is just a matter of time.

So … the current plan WAS to wait until the 2019 Brydge keyboards are available (May 2019) and then start looking at new the new iPad Pro (photo above) … that was until Apple announce a couple more iPads. The new devices are the iPad mini and iPad Air … updated version with faster processors, better 10.5” display and Apple Gen1 Pencil support (and the optional Apple smart keyboard protector). The advantage of the newer iPad Air is that it is the same familiar iPad I am used to … 3.5mm audio jack, lightning charging plug and “Home” button/fingerprint reader on the display … AND it would save me a few hundred dollars. Hm … a true “first world problem” if there ever was one.

Good times and memories with a great friend for #TBT

Posted By on March 21, 2019

My friend Jeff Pitts has been my closest friend ever since our college years at Ohio Northern University (also the only guest blogger so far). Besides college, he was on my bachelor party trip, years and years of hiking and camping … including a great trip Jeff-on-Boatto the Canadian Rockies with my son Taylor, who has become the real backpacker. There is likely little we do not know or talk to each other about … and tease each other about. Although we took different paths, we’ve both followed interests in computers, technology and communication, although he has excelled using IT it to his career advantage (now in cyber security), where I tinker with computers and use technology as a business tool. Thankfully we’ve both share what we learn with each other and assist where we can, whether it helping with jobs,  climbing a career ladder or getting a foot in the door to sell my business services (thanks Jeff). 

As both of us inch towards 60 (me first, I’m afraid), the physical aspect of aging is no longer the joke that it once was. He reminded me of this when he asked, “do you remember when you would Photoshop hair loss?”  Yup … unfortunately I do and it is no longer as humorous as “I thought” it once was! (ok, so with this linked photo I’m still immature) 

Without being cruel or posting openly a “then” and “now” #TBT photo of either of us … I thought it better to include a couple Throwback Thursday photos.  The black and white (above) was from December of 1979 (Christmas college break – fishing trip visit on the St. Johns River)ARRLLogoand then the others from almost a decade later attending an Orlando Hamfest, an amateur radio and computer convention (semi-sore subject since it took me until 2013 to catch up to Jeff when it comes to amateur radio licensing). Nevertheless, we had a great time in Florida as we always did and DO no matter where we are – the photos below were from a road trip from his home in Winter Park to Cape Canaveral in his uncomfortable and seemingly unsafe Suzuki Samurai. I can still remember my teeth chattering and the ride being so unbelievably rough; I’m amazed that a decade later that I would have even considered a Toyota Rav-4 (although vastly better than the Samurai). The RAV4 ended up being Brenda’s most reliable and incredibly functional vehicle … and went on to help someone else after 265,000 miles. We sure have had some good times and made some great memories.

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Official MLB Opening Day this year is March 28, 2019

Posted By on March 20, 2019

Are you looking forward to Major League Baseball for 2019?

At this point, even the Cincinnati Reds look like they have a shot … although first pitch for opening day is scheduled for 4:10PM against the Pittsburgh Pirates and who knows where we’ll go from here?

Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to the season and hope to enjoy a few games at Great American Ballpark and on the home theater. By the way, did you know that officially the MLB starts before opening day on March 20th? The Mariners and Athletics begin a two-game set in Japan today … even though the “national holiday” for fans isn’t until March 28th, 2019, the official opening day.

Who will you be babysitting on opening day? Smile

Wasting time fixing a cheap quartz clock to put back on Encore

Posted By on March 19, 2019

QuartzClockRepair190317Nothing like getting bogged down in wasting a weekend trying to repair a quartz clock that should just be replaced!

I had the best of intentions on Saturday morning as I was up early and had my weekend project list ready to start. Initially I started to organize my workbench after ordering new bearings and seals for the Volvo diesel water pump and for a “keep away the birds” project that I’ll share later … but instead caught myself trying to fix a “cheap” quartz clock off Encore for a second time. Initially, I suspected salt air and high humidity corrosion, but after cleaning the battery terminals it still would not tick. So instead of sticking to the project list, I cracked open the case and dumped all the tiny gears all over the bench. At that point I knew I should just throw the old $10 battery clock away … but curiosity got the best of me and I needed to figure out “what makes it tick.” quartzclockin_aniEventually quartzclock_aniI cleaned the corrosion off the contacts and was able to get the mechanism to jiggle the initial gear (left). Of course I could not stop there so with a magnifying glass proceeded to put the tiny gears back together over and over again by trial and error.

Success! I now have a working clock again.

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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