Tech Friday: Amazon’s AI notifications needs improvement

Posted By on July 3, 2020

As often as I gripe about ordering from Amazon or more to the point, complain about their delivery and updating, one would AmazonPrimeLogo2019think I would opt for another online ecommerce portal? Unfortunately there aren’t better options or more dependable deliveries.

This past week a small order came a day early, yet the app notification that should update the shipping information doesn’t seem to be in-sync with the artificial intelligence bot on the Amazon Echo. One would think once the shipping database is updated that the website, iPhone app, Echo and Chat-Bot would all pull that same data and information? How is a consumer expected to trust the information? Just as with telling me for several days that a shipment is running late… when in reality it will never be coming. How are we to know when to believe the notifications?

In this week’s case, which one was correct … the phone app, the website or Alexa on Amazon’s proprietary Echo? (Answer– the app was correct, this time)

With June 2020 behind us, how is Ohio handling COVID19?

Posted By on July 2, 2020


It sure would be nice to report all is well in Ohio, but unfortunately our returning to semi-normal routines  and statewide reopening has hit a snag … at least according to those elected and paid to monitor our health. See

ALERT LEVELS: (all include “Follow all current health orders”)

  1. Active exposure and spread.
  2. Increased exposure and spread. Exercise high degree of caution.
  3. Very high exposure and spread. Limit activities as much as possible.
  4. Severe exposure and spread. Only leave home for supplies and services.

GovMikeDeWineTwitterOhio’s Gov Mike DeWine sent our a series of tweets today and the map above reads like a school grade card  – a few counties are not getting an acceptable grade, including ours. I’m sure there will be those for a variety of reasons who will debate the numbers (more testing, younger people infected, protests, etc) and fear the data is not being interpreted correctly. Reading the data is above my pay grade, as it has been for most of the so-called experts  … so I’ll continue to do my part to limit my trips and public interaction, wear a face mask when going to the stores and social distance. Numbers aside, I doubt Ohioans or the nation will tolerate another lockdown.


  1. New Cases per Capita (When the data show that a county has had an average of 50 cases per 100,000 people over a 2-week period, that triggers a flag for an increasing case rate. Using this data means we are taking into account population of a county when monitoring case increases)
  2. Sustained Increase in New Cases (If the number of new cases in a county continually increases, that’s another indicator of virus spread. A county will be flagged for meeting this indicator if the data show at least a five-day period of sustained new case growth.)
  3. Proportion of Cases Not Congregate Cases (Data showing more than 50% of new cases originating from non-congregate settings during at least one of the past three weeks will trigger a flag on this indicator.)
  4. Sustained Increase in Emergency Room Visits (ER data will show us the trend in the number of people who visit an emergency department with COVID19 symptoms or a COVID diagnosis as a result of the visit. A county is flagged when there is an increase in such ER visits over a five-day period.)
  5. Sustained Increase in Outpatient Visits (This data set looks at the number of people visiting outpatient settings, including telehealth appointments, with suspected or confirmed COVID19 symptoms. A county is flagged when there is an increase over a five-day period.)
  6. Sustained Increase in Hew COVID-19 Hospital Admissions (When the numbers show at least a five-day period of sustained growth in the number of county residents with COVID-19 who are admitted to a hospital, the county will be flagged for meeting this indicator.)
  7. Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Bed Occupancy (A county is flagged for this indicator when the regional ICU occupancy goes above 80% for at least three of the last seven days.)

Idea: Using eggshells as planters to grow seedlings

Posted By on July 2, 2020


Every once in a while an idea triggers me into thinking … “I’m going to try this!”

Last week I stumbled across a Lifehacker post that was worth archiving. Using biodegradable eggshells to start seedlings … and after losing half the $60 in flower flats we purchased this year, I may give this one a try for next year.

  1. Save a few eggshells and cartons
  2. Wash out the eggshells (I’m not sure how critical that is?)
  3. Add a little potting mix to each shell
  4. Premoisten a seed and top off with a little more potting mix
  5. Water and sit in a warm sunny window in early spring
  6. Plant the entire shell in a bed or garden after frost threat
  7. Crush shell as you plant and firm up soil around the new seedling


It was on my mind, so made a better Featherboard Hold-Down

Posted By on July 1, 2020

StarKnob_AmazonAs mentioned a couple days ago, I saw a fellow woodworker using a better featherboard hold-down clamp … and after over 30 years of using my “temporary” pine featherboard … with a makeshift wedge style clamp, I finally hodgepodged a new one together.

The new “hold down clamp” works just fine, but after using an old grill handle and wooden knob with a press fit and epoxied nut, I decided to buy a bag of 1/4”-20 Star Knobs instead for this hold down clamp … and to used on a few other jigs. Perhaps next on the jig list is to make a new featherboard … if I can get over being sentimental?

FeatherboadHolddown200630 FeatherboardWoodKnobs200628

EDIT: The new knobs came in .. so I’m adding the photo below.

Winding down June 2020 with a couple granddaughter photos

Posted By on June 30, 2020

FathersDayFacetime200621Time to add a couple photos to close out June  2020 and mark the 4 month pediatrician appointment for Ellerie. She is doing great and weighed in at 13 lbs 6 oz and 25 inches. Not to be left out, Annalyn is growing too, although 33 lbs is exactly where she was  when she jumped on our antique scale.Annalyn33lbs200626


Music Monday: Bread – Baby I’m-a Want You plus concert video

Posted By on June 29, 2020

BreadBabyImAWantYouCoverAfter mentioning and listening to my friend’s “vinyl” version of Bread’s album Baby I’m-a Want You last week when visiting, I thought why not a sampling for Music Monday? So here’s the cover song from the 1972 album and a sampling of just how mellow SOME music in the 1970s could be.

Brenda and I both enjoyed both David Gates (mentioned before a time or two) and Bread … and at one time had a couple of their albums. Sad to say, all of mine were lost in the basement flooding, but I probably should have at least kept the cover art as warped as it was for Taylor’s hallway art. He seems to appreciate the old album covers and suspect he would even enjoy having a record player like Mark recently bought.

  Bread – Baby I’m A Want You | recorded 1971

Also while digging up a little Bread info, spotted a recorded concert from 1978 and figured I might as well include below.


Archive: Flying down and driving back from hurricane prep

Posted By on June 28, 2020


Flew on the airlines for the first time since COVID19 to Florida via Baltimore (photo BWI terminal above) last week and thankfully the flights and negotiating the airport was uneventful. Besides a computer glitch which backed up lines on check in, everything else went smoothly. It is yet to be seen if the rise in cases and hospitalizations in Florida (Texas and other states) is going to change the return to a somewhat normal pattern for traveling, CondoCleanWeekend200621but at least as of June 2020 the trip down and drive back went well (Oddity: only one flight attendant working on my Southwest flight from BWI to FLL seemed to be resisting the “wear a mask” policy .. strange?)


NewShowerHandle200623Besides the condo cleaning (ugh, really needed Brenda) the closing up for hurricane season and repairing was “as expected.”  NewDoorSensor200623When things are old, they degrade .. and I really wasn’t overly shocked at the rust behind the chrome bathtub fitting; there must have had a lot of water dripping behind it? I replaced the cheaper fixture with stainless steel screwed “sturdier handle” that should last longer than the previous one.

One of the security sensor continues to fall off the 3M foam tape so along with replacing the batteries, I added a couple small screws to prevent the glues from letting go again (photo left). I definitely do not like false “door opening” warnings on my phone!

The old Office Depot corporate campus building in Delray Beach is coming down and according to the preliminary plans, a new walk-able 49 acre shopping area may take its place in the Germantown Road/Congress Road intersection. I’m sure it will not happen overnight, but it was good to see the demolition taking place as I’d love having this within walking distance (current demolition and 2018 architectural concept below).


CondoKitchenCleaning200622After a few days closing up the condo, I headed to the boat with the full intention of meeting an engine repair guy. While I touched-base a few times, I sensed that he was having second thoughts and making up excuses. Sure enough, after I picked up the parts I had ordered for the heat exchanger and cooling system (ordered the previously), he canceled on me. So I pondered tackling it in the 90 degree heat by myself and decided instead to just do the hurricane preparation for Encore. Thankfully all went well, but I definitely am not used to the high summer Florida heat and humidity … it wasn’t a relaxing time on the boat. Who knows what he future holds?


I headed back to the aging Honda Odyssey minvan (dead battery .. another pain but thankfully I had my tools and jump starter with me). After installing a new battery, I checked in with the Bed and Breakfast (an inside joke) outside of Savannah GA. As always, they welcomed my stopping and it gave use time to catch up on things. Mark has been busy around their new house with a lot improvements. He never stops doing things – probably why we get along so well? Besides the house and his garage workshop projects, he has also been paying attention to his health. I was shocked how great he looked (minus 30 lbs!!!) He is an inspiration for me to be sure!

As usual, Dar and he fixed a great dinner pork on the grill dinner and always make it special adding “green beans” to the meal (my favorite veggie – I don’t get them at home). Mark showed off his “old is new again” Crosley record player (turntable) and re-collection of old albums. Definitely enjoyable to listen to the old pops and crackles of vinyl – who would have thunk it? (Taylor would love it) The conversation never stopped and carried us past midnight .. I slept like a rock.


With all that is going on in the country, it is sure nice to have friends who are caring and reflective of what Americans “can be” if they chose. We need more Jones! Thanks Mark and Dar.

Heading towards home – South to North Carolina boarder

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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