Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Busy Day Ahead

Today, is a catch up, put together, restart, build and fix day.  I plan to put a battery in the 770 Oliver tractor.  The current one has been in the tractor for at least seven years and isn't strong anymore.  I have to get 2x4's for the garage trusses as will as hangers for the floor trusses.  Linda has asked me to pick up curtain material.  and the horse needs hay. 

I also want to give feedback to Microsoft on the terrible install software with this keyboard.  This digital media pro keyboard is low in cost, works well and has nice features.  The user cannot make choices to install the product reliably as it comes out of the new box.  It would be so easy to fix that.  On this product Microsoft is acting like GM did in the 70's, let the customer be damned.


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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dubai is the center of Architecture in the World Today

"Dubai is Nuts" Gallery
WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON OVER THERE? Dubai is said to currently have 15-25% of all the world's cranes.


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The Garage Frame is Going UP

Tomorrow, the material will be here for the garage. I'll have to take a picture. The trusses I have visualized for the last three months will be in the yard. This 6" x 24" by 32' beam that will be lifted to the ridge of this building will be here too. It's exciting and a wee bit scary. I'm glad Eric Hauger will be here to help. I need to take a picture of how this all looks one week from today.

I'm off to Metro Airport

I'm off to Metro Airport to drop off Sue and Mom.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I bought my Apple II in October of 1977-A Milestone in my Life.

April 16, 1977: Apple II heralds the age of the home computer


Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak had built the first Apple computer a year earlier, but the hand-built Apple I only ever sold in tiny numbers. Its successor, with a moulded plastic case, built-in keyboard and expansion slots, moved Apple into the computing mainstream. According to Paul E Ceruzzi in A History of Modern Computing:

Apple II

For my thirty-second birthday, in October of 1977, I drove with my friend, Ron Sprague, to the computer store on Northwestern Highway and Inkster Road in Detroit to buy my Apple II.  It cost $1190.  I made $1090 per month as a GM industrial engineer.  The check was damp with sweat when I wrote it.  I got a sixteen k Apple II.  Hard drives would not arrive for two more years on that model.  Take them out of the picture above.  Take the monitor out too.  I paid $300 for a color television to hook to mine.  A month later, I bought 16k more of memory for an additional $300.  I was set to go.

On the October day, I took my computer home, set it up and listened to that heroic song from the beginning of "Star Wars" , I knew a new age had begun.  It's been quite a ride.  I believe I had the first computer in my town of Vassar, Michigan.  I would like to hear of anyone before me. 

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And We Thought Pirates were only in Children's Stories

Blackwater has offered the services of the MV MacArthur pictured above to shipping companies around the world for protection in the Indian Ocean. The ship will have armed personnel and a helicopter to enforce the rules. Blackwater is taking over a naval role. The ship seems to be homeported in Norfolk, Virginia.

We pay billions for defense and the navies of the world can't stop pirates with RPG's speedboats and automatic weapons from seizing some of the largest ships in the world. Hummm. But We do have Blackwater to the rescue.  The Navy is recommending that ships get their own security.  That means the we pay for the security when we buy the products carried on the ships.  Sounds like a deal.  Pay taxes for a massive military and hire private security when some problem comes up.  

I hate the whole idea of private security firms bases in the US.  I don't see how they exist without the blessing of someone high up in government and I don't see how a voter like me can control their activities.   Their owners and the people paying the bills ultimately determine what they are up to.   Their major purpose is to give pure power to those privelaged individuals and companies that seem to be able to operate outside of US law.  That goes for automatic weapons in the hands of private citizens on US soil.  Private armies have a long history.  They exist when central authority is on the wane and law and order in decline.  We should be rid of them.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Liberals vs. Conservatives

Robert Moore, thank you for this review. I am old enough to remember the welfare situation of the seventies where every family I knew was getting government cheese from somewhere and more than one family had a convenient address for the father so they could be on the government dole. I remember the old war and its absolutely unpredicted conclusion. As an industrial engineer and computer specialist, I remember the massive changes in productivity and business practices that took place from 1975 to now. As a lower member of General Motors management, I remember a group of workers who had not been assigned a job for over two years walking down the aisle in the middle of the workday in a UAW represented plant. I remember asking a UAW committeeman "what will happen if GM fails?" only to be answered "Not in my time!"

The Reagan era was an answer to all of that. World competition was an answer to all of that. The Reagan-Thatcher-Gorbachev era of world politics was an answer to all of that. The answer is what it is and is far better than what might have happened. We are in an absolutely new era. The industrial age is past and a new age is being born. In the confusion of the birth of this new age, the lumbering stupidity of government institutions is amply demonstrated by the survival of a Osama bin Laden, by the existence of pirates on the world's oceans ,by the existence of drug cartels in spite of society's efforts to remove them and by the ability of criminal elements to take over the reins of government in many places including parts of the US system.

The U.S. government has grown massively during this era. When I drove to Washington D.C. in 1970 from my home in Norfolk, Virginia, federal government buildings rose from the country side far closer to the center of the city than they do now. Now, parts of Virginia and Maryland give the appearance of being government dominated states. You can see it from the roadside. Inside these new buildings are systems and communication links that increase the capacity of those using them by hundred to thousands of times from what was possible in 1970.

We are at the beginning of a tranformational era. Little or nothing about life will be the same. Open-mindedness to all ideas is the best approach. Belief that friends and enemies are defined by the conservative to liberal continuum is one of the most distracting positions in public discourse today. The power elites who control the world today will use such ideas to manipulate systems in ways they wish. The elites are very able and wise at their craft. They see, probably correctly, that their interests and the interests of the nation-state called the United States of America no longer match well. Their companies are headquartered in Dubai, their ships fly Liberian flags, their security comes from Blackwater, and they live anywhere from Miami to Hong Kong. Their family relations and friends come from every nation and have much more in common than the citizens of those nations. They define a new era and world.

New solutions and new systems that are global in reach will define this new age. New Deal liberalism and 1970 teachings of Milton Friedman have about as much to add to the discussion as Church debates from the High Middle Ages had to the needs of men of the Renaissance. I hope the book under discussion defines this new age and doesn't dwell on the recent but long-lost past.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Future Shock and Me

Well, it is true.  I am somewhat overwhelmed by my Palm Centro and the 3G network that is behind it.  I find out more things that it can do everyday.  I just found out how to access additional hot buttons yesterday.  Play podcasts was this morning.  and appreciate the difference having a device that is always with you and connects to the net is everyday. 

Now, it is possible to check facts within one minute.  That wasn't true before.  even the internet was only available in certain places and times. This device is almost always with me.  Its network is almost always there.  That is different and leads to much more communication and fact finding.

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Model 425 John Deere Lawn Tractor with pre 1998 Kawasaki Engine Failure

This is the cam shaft and water pump for my John Deere 425 garden tractor after 860 hours of work. It suddenly failed while I was backing it out of the barn. The machine had been running perfectly but when this happened I was all done. The engine sounded different when I rolled it. It rolled easily since it had no compression. I never thought of a completely broken engine so I checked for spark and for fuel. Of course, I had both. This repair cost $1028 in this area and tied up my mower for three weeks. I have been driving John Deere equipment since I was six, now I am sixty-two, and I have never had them fail this badly before.

This model has a Kawasaki engine that was as smooth as silk. It was so well balanced that when one of its' two cylinders was misfiring, you noticed no vibration in the engine. All you had was a lose of power. These broken, non-metalic gears might have helped make the engine smooth. Too bad, they regularly fail at low engine hours. This problem is reported all over the net. Too bad, I didn't check for it before I lost my water pump too.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It's a New World Coming

I am trying to get my Palm Centro cell phone and the email messages on the computer lined up. Right now I have Mobile Email on the Palm which  downloads everything on the email accounts that I have set up there.  The question is "does that download delete the message from the online source so that I never get it in my pc?"  The Palm is a near instantaneous device.  Emails come down real time but talking to my pc on my home network is not clear cut yet.  It will come to me.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Fun of Winter

Where would I be without the cold outside to do the yard work for me and let me have the time to catch up on all my blogs that have laid so dormat in the course of the last six months?  The blogging time of year is here.  Knowledge will swell and I will be less behind.  It can be a great time of year.