View 834 Tuesday, July 22, 2014
“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”
President Barack Obama, January 31, 2009
It has been a long day, utterly devoured by locusts. I have mislaid the controller for my Costco Hearing Aids, and I need one; after fruitless searching of everything I can remember wearing since I got back from Hilton Head Island – I know I have had and used it here since then, but I don’t remember just when – I decided I’d better buy a second one, even if it only becomes a spare.
Alas they have to order it, and it costs $150 plus $13.50 in various taxes; it’s not a medical item, so it’s taxable as any consumer product. That seems unfair, but then the laws are designed to extract as much out of people who can afford things like this as they can squeeze us – squeeze those rich people until the pips squeak, the poor will get them free – and perhaps I am being overly bitter about $13.50. Anyway I’ll get it in a week or two, and have to go back out to have it coupled to my hearing aids.
For those who don’t know, I have COSTCO Kirkland Hearing aids. They have changed my life. I wrote about them not long after I got them .https://www.jerrypournelle.com/chaosmanor/kirkland-cosco-hearing-aids-change-the-world-for-me/
They were great for a month then I had Sudden Hearing Loss in my left ear. https://www.jerrypournelle.com/chaosmanor/log-sudden-hearing-loss-steroids-and-blood-sugar-and-a-few-other-matters/ That got drastic treatment and it worked sort of, and over time my left hear continues to improve. I noticed that when I pushed the ear bud in harder I could hear better with the ear I did that with, told Kelly the cheerful technician at Burbank Costco, and she did things to the ear pieces today that have improved things about 10%. But all that took some time. I wandered through Costco, wishing I had brought either a log book or Precious, my new Surface Pro 3, so I could take notes. There’s a lot of new stuff out there. My old internal telephone system is obsolete, and I note there are some wireless systems that might work: what I need is a wireless system with about 5 extensions that I can use as an internal intercom so Roberta can call me from downstairs without having to use a cell phone to call me on the house phone. My old system did that but was wired, and it’s pretty well dead (after 25 years), and I see 5 station portable phone systems that will allow you to connect to cell phones all wireless but I wasn’t able to determine if I could use one of those as an intercom. Something to investigate.
Anyway I wandered around Costco, then stopped at Fry’s on the way home. I bought a USB Cable, standard plug on one end, microplug on the other; Micro is what fits into the Kindle Fire HD. But when I connected the Kindle Fire HD to my Windows 7 desktop the computer reported that the driver installation failed. It’s late and I’ll worry about that in the morning. I remember connecting my first Kindle to my PC without trouble; surely the Kindle Fire can interface with a PC? But not tonight it won’t.
I still don’t have a lot of experience with Precious, but what little I have remains pleasant. She isn’t getting a lot of use from me yet, but the flirtation continues. I made some notes about Fry’s and how a lot has changed out there. The computer section is smaller and there are far fewer sections on programs and games, and lots of signs saying “We meet Internet Prices” — and a lot of sales people with nothing to do. That latter situation can’t last.
Then to PETCO, the one at Burbank and Hollywood Way where the old Orbach’s – a quality outlet that was once one of my favorite stores – used to be. It’s much bigger than the Studio City PETCO, but it has a much smaller staff: there was only one cashier in operation and while she was nice she wasn’t very experienced, and buying my bird seeds took about half an hour. I needed bird seed because I was running out, and I particularly needed unsalted peanuts because that’s what my Blue Jays demand. I’ve had the same family of Blue Jays come to my house since I bought it in 1968. This must be ten generations of Jays that come here demanding peanuts and fighting the squirrels for cracked corn. But eventually I got songbird seed, sunflower seeds, and peanuts, enough to last a couple of months, and off to – well other errands. Lots of errands. Got home and decided to cook dinner because I wasn’t much use for anything else by then. And now it’s bed time.
Now it appears that the BUK Surface to Air Missile we saw going to Russia with a missing missile or two was not a Russian missile but a Ukrainian SAM captured by Russia’s allies in the Ukraine.
Is this the BUK missile system back home in Russia after shooting down flight MH17?
A driver followed this military truck on a main road for two kilometres in a ‘border area’ of Russia before uploading the footage, filmed with a dashboard camera, on the internet.
The cargo had no escort and Ukrainian sources have seized on it, captioning the footage: ‘A Russian blogger filmed the BUK M1 in Russia, the one that shot the Boeing.’
One has to follow breaking news, but if you do, you have to be prepared for the facts to change like dreams. The speculation by the US seems to have been that the Russians provided their separatists friends with lethal SAM BUK model missiles, and that must mean that they trained the separatists to use them, and thus the Russians are directly responsible for downing the plane and killing all those Dutch citizens, and —
And now no one’s so sure. If this missile system was captured by the separatist rebels from the Ukrainian regulars, it’s quite possible that it was operated by defectors from the Ukrainian regulars, and where’ the Russian responsibility in that? But of course nothing in this is certain. One thing I have noticed is that the pundits are certain these birds are difficult to operate. I doubt that. I would imagine that any high school graduate fluent in the language in which the field manuals for the missiles is written could figure out how to use it to shoot down an airplane – and yet mistake a scheduled airliner for a Ukrainian military aircraft. Which makes a certain amount of sense. Certainly Russia has no interest in shooting down Malaysian passenger planes, nor do the separatists. Of course there remain a few other hypotheses. Don’t forget the Cossacks.
Millions of Americans installing ‘perfect spying device’ in their own living rooms: Amazon Fire TV monitors and records your conversations
(NaturalNews) Amazon.com is building the CIA’s new $600 million data center, reports the Financial Times. (1) At the same time Amazon.com is building this massive cloud computing infrastructure for the CIA, the company is also shipping millions of Fire TV set-top devices to customers who are placing them in their private homes. I have one myself, and it’s a terrific piece of hardware for delivering Prime video content. In fact, in terms of its usability and specs, it’s far superior to Roku or Netflix-capable devices. Fire TV is, hands down, the best set-top video delivery device on the market today.
But there’s something about it that always struck me as odd: it has no power button. There’s no power button on the remote, and there’s no power button on the box. It turns out there’s no way to power the device off except for unplugging it.
This is highly unusual and apparently done by design. "It is not necessary to turn off Amazon Fire TV when you are finished using it," says the Amazon.com website. (2) "Your Amazon Fire TV is designed to go into sleep mode after 30 minutes, while continuing to automatically receive important software updates."
Note carefully that this does not say your Fire TV device WILL go into sleep mode after 30 minutes; only that it is "designed" to go into sleep mode after 30 minutes. As lawyers well know, this is a huge difference.
I have this from a number of readers, including long time friend JoAnne Dow. I have no conclusions. On the other hand I don’t have one of those devices.
: Blowing my own horn…
Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Retired.; Former Governor of Wasit Province, Iraq; Righter of Wrongs; Wrong most of the time; Distinguished Expert, TV remote control; Chef de Hot Dog Excellance; Avoider of Yard Work
8 Things I Learned as an American Governor in Occupied Iraq
Imagine you were suddenly dragged out of your day job and told you had to travel to another country and rule over it for an indeterminate amount of time. Most folks would curl up in a little ball and try to cry out the responsibility; others would cackle maniacally and buy a white cat to stroke during monologues. Lt. Col. David Couvillon did neither of those things. He was a Reserve Marine officer, activated for Operation Iraqi Freedom and eventually tasked with governing the Wasit Province of Iraq immediately after that country’s government retired to a spider hole at the behest of a whole bunch of men with real big guns. Thrown straight into the deep end while holding an anvil, Couvillon quickly discovered …
Confucius say Man who does not blow own horn, same will not be tooted….
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.