Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Cringley On The Facebook/Cambridge Analytics "Data Breach"

I don't always agree with Mr. Cringley, but he explains what's going on here.

In particular, his advice to never take any of those "quizzes" on Facebook, is spot-on.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Window Replacement Starts Today

The guys from "Renewal by Andersen" are here, and are "In Work" replacing the windows.

The windows were finished a few weeks ago, but the requested new installation date was the week my wife was back in SoCal, so we scheduled it for this week.

The new windows look great, are twice as thick as the "OEM" aluminum frame windows, and should help knock down our winter heating cost. The installers are telling us must people see a 20%~30% reduction in their heating cost depending on what their source of heat is.

Our first big electric bill was $550, a bit of a shocker, but we also didn't have a ~$150 gas bill, so all-in-all our energy cost for that month was about $100 more than in Long Beach, but we also had much colder weather, and a much bigger house to heat. The cost dropped about $100 the next month, achieved mostly by dialing back all the thermostats a notch, and slightly warmer weather.

Pix to follow later.....

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Easy Round Trip to DIA Monday Night

Drove back down to DIA ( or DEN, depending on who you talk to...) Monday night to pick up my wife, and man, what a difference.

Her flight arrived at 2210, so I left at 2030, filled up the car, grabbed a medium-sized Diet Coke, and hit the road.

Practically zero traffic headed South, and I was in the parking structure at 2145. I didn't check the maps of baggage claim vs parking spaces, so I wound up taking quite a hike from where I parked to where I needed to be. Since she always uses the same airline, I'll map out my parking spot ahead of time the next time.

139 miles round trip, averaged 18.6MPG, and took 3-1/2 hours round trip, including a brief wait while she deplaned and rode the little choo-choo from the gates to the baggage claim.

We were about 30 miles or so outside of Fort Collins when the overhead signs announced a "Crash 29 miles ahead expect delays"

Turns out the crash was just past our exit, so we were able to motor along without delay, and got home right about midnight.

On our way back she asked if Colorado had any other airports, meaning large commercial aviation airports, and I replied that Denver was the only "big" airport, which took her aback a bit. She then mentioned how close everything was in Long Beach, and the ready availability of air flights, and how small the Macy's is in Fort Collins, and........

Yup....another tinge of Culture Shock.....

But she had a great time hanging out with her friends and doing stuff, including a trip to The Getty, one of her favorite places, so I don't mind two round trips to DIA when she goes "home" to see her friends.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

GROAN.......Round Trip To DIA This Morning

And the I-25 South wasn't pretty due to a 7 or 8 car accident on the I-25 Northbound side just North of Johnson's Corner. At first I wanted to say that the lookie-loos on the Southbound side slowed everything down, but really, a seven car accident involving the center divider takes up a lot of room. They were using the frontage road for emergency vehicle access, something I haven't seen since I lived in Illinois, and we had frontage roads alongside the Interstates.

Anyway....got past that minor irritation and it was smooth sailing in and out of DIA at 0900 this morning. Everything was cleaned up, and the crews were repairing things in the center divider on my way home.

And the weather was gorgeous! Mid to low 30's, clear as a bell, and not much wind.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Antenna Pix, and Grandson's 1st Birthday Party

No party pix, but here's a few of the vertical in the backyard.

Yes, the installation is "Pebbles Approved".

Each one of the grey tote boxes has a 50lb bag of sand in it.  I have another tote that size with the SGC-230 autocoupler in it, and a smaller one with the line isolator in it that's also my junction box for power to the SGC-230. I still have to fabricate some radials from the YUUUGE spool of #10 THHN wire I bought years ago, and then install the coupler, radials, and cabling. Monday will be very interesting, as we're expecting sustained winds of 30~37MPH with gusts to 50MPH. I'm expecting it to do some scary gyrations, and I'm sure I'll be lengthening the legs.

As of 2022 local time, and I can hear the wind really blowing. Flipping on the yard lights, the whip is flexing about 30* in the gusts, and the base looks stable.

It's actually pretty "plumb". The apparent tilt to the whip part is caused by the whip being deflected by the wind.

And......up it goes! The "Tip 'O The Whip" is at 35' AGL.

This thing is FLEXIBLE! What looks like an "S" bend in the whip is the antenna reacting to the wind. I've seen photos of the antennas bend over at what looked like 90* in 100MPH winds.

And they survive......

And one last one from the far corner of the lot.

The "windmill" tower in the background is for my satellite antennas, seen here many times in the past. I haven't decided where I'll site that system for its permanent spot. The tree trunk will get carved a bit later this year. And peeking out from behind the tree trunk, is the 5' tripod with the Davis Instruments sensor suite on it for my "real" weather station.

The snow is 99% gone, except for some patches on the North sides of houses, and the yard has dried out enough to walk through it without getting 10 lbs of MUD on your shoes! It shouldn't be any where near this bad next year, as our landscaper/yard guy is going to start seeding and feeding at the proper time. He says he's seen yards here in worse shape than ours, and with some fertilizer, and the right type of grass seed, they bounce back in one summer. The snow here doesn't bother me, but the mud does!

And our grandson's first birthday party was a smashing success!

Besides the 16 family members, we had another 8~10 people drop by, including three of his neonatal nurses, and several work friends and their little ones.

The little guy made out like a bandit, and he now has "doubles" on some toys between here, his parent's place, and his other grandparents place! And he got real silver dollar from his Grandpa Jim to put away for a rainy day.

And the best part? After things wound down and it was only immediate family, everybody just pitched in, and we had the house clean and back in order in a very short time.

All in all, a VERY pleasant day spent with family and friends.


As of 1400 local time, the vertical is still standing, the base shows no signs of movement, but the Tip 'O The Whip is swinging back and forth through what looks like a 45* angle.

One minor casualty occurred during the night. One of the black lids wasn't fully snapped on to the tote box, and is now laying against the fence. I'll put it back on the tote, and put a couple of cable ties on it and it's mates to keep the lids on the boxes......

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Vertical Antenna Up

Pix tomorrow.

I think I'm going to have to lengthen the base legs. I'll get another 3 pieces of angle iron that size, overlap them, clamp them together, and then drill them. Right now they're only 6' long, and even with a 50lb bag of sand on each leg, it might not be enough to keep it from tipping over.

I still have to fabricate some ground radials, and then I can install the autocoupler and line isolator, along with the feedline and control cable for the autocoupler.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Dirt Bike Does Ski Jump

I'll bet he clanks when he walks.......