Wood Pellets Wrapped in Natural Gas

Or, how about, Not?

Each year I get about two tons of pellets to heat my house. Sustainably Harvested Douglas Fir Pellets from here in Oregon. And each year these pellets come in “Plastic Bags” which of course are made from Natural Gas. And of course, these bags are not really Recyclable. Interesting Lie that we’ve been told for years by the Plastic Industry. Of course it is way cheaper to make new plastic than recycle it.

Up until this year, my pellet supplier was at least willing to take the bags away with the Pallets and Weather Wrap covers [ which are even heavier plastic]. But this year, they are not willing to “Take my garbage” and so I have saved all the bags and now have to throw them away with the Trash. I have always distinguished between “Organic” refuse as “Garbage” and “non-Organic” refuse as Trash, but never mind.

But the obvious, sustainable alternative for packaging is not available here in Oregon for wood home heating pellets. Obviously “Paper Bags” would be better.

Wood Pellets Industry Group Apparently Get the Problem

The wood pellets industry group at woodpellets.com apparently understand there is a problem, but don’t yet get the solution.

The Pellet Grill cooking folks and the backyard firepit pellet folks get that paper bags are a good idea. But as far as Google Knows, only the Italian company Concetti gets that heating pellets should be shipped in paper bags. They don’t make pellets themselves, but make the baggers for pellets that use Paper Freaking Bags.

Pellet Packaging in Paper is Available

One can only hope that the pellet manufacturers here in the US will eventually get that Wood Pellets should be shipped in Sustainable Wood / Paper bags.
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Dress up for Role Play

I just found some outfits from a vendor in Rata Sum. There are other vendors like this around I’m sure, but I tripped across this one and was looking through his wares. Outfits. And they cost “Endless Tonics”. Endless Tonics are “dress up” novelties that last only a limited time and not in combat. But this vendor will upgrade those Tonics to “Outfits” which work all the time, in combat or not. Here is the vendor and the outfit. And outfits are account wide so here it is on one of my girls. Not fancy. But more “Comfortable” than the armor.

Here’s the skinny on these items. Check out the trivia section at the bottom for the history of these items.

The thing is that most of these “Endless Tonics” are very expensive on the market board. But one of them is very cheap. 10 SILVER. Search for “Endless Common” on the market board. It’s only 10 silver as I’m looking. Others are very expensive as you can see. Then swap the “Endless Tonic” at the vendor for the “Outfit”, which you can wear on all your characters all the time if you like.

Enjoy,
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Another Trucking / Tracking Example

I am continually amazed by shipping by truck. Here’s the current example of a shipment from Newegg to my home [anonymized]. Of course, read the route from the bottom up.

UPS Trucked the box to Portland and then back to me via Roseburg, which is next to the highway that the truck passed on the way to Portland. So that is an extra “Round Trip” between Roseburg and Portland or 356 miles and about 6 hours farther than required to avoid the stop in Roseburg.

Fascinating.
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Amazon Movie Prices are Strange

So I recall seeing this movie, and I thought it was pretty good. Maybe it was on Netflix briefly, or somewhere on Dish when it came out. I’ve long since cancelled dish, as mentioned earlier. Oh. Look there. I just checked and I rented the DVD from Netflix a while ago, but it’s not streaming on Netflix. So, I’d like to see this movie again, and oddly it’s not streaming on Netflix or Prime – for no additional cost. Odd based on the BluRay price don’t we think?

So, Amazon “Prime Video” wants $15 to stream it, but the BluRay disk costs about 1/2 that? And shipping is free with my Prime membership of course.

So here it comes.
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Using T-Mobile Cellspot Safely

The T-Mobile Cellspot is a miniature Cell Tower for your home. If your cell service is bad at your home or other location and you are a T-Moble customer, they will “Give” you a Cellspot to use with a “Return Fee” in case you don’t eventually return it to them.

I don’t know for sure, but I think it uses the same protocols as the “Real” cell towers employed by T-Moble. The reason that I am guessing this is because the device requires “Open Ports”, which is a problem for most modern routers. Modern Routers do not “Open Ports” but rather use “Port Forwarding”. Here is the support page for the CellSpot. Notice the list of UDP ports that are required to be open.

“Open Ports:” mean that the firewall does nothing with traffic on those ports. The traffic passes directly onto the LAN – local area network. Modern routers do not support “Opening Ports”. Instead they support “Port Forwarding”.

“Port Forwarding” which modern routers provide, establishes a relationship between one or more LAN addresses and arriving packets with certain port numbers. This allows the router to know that the incoming packets are to be “forwarded” to the desired devices. This is not necessarily secure. And certainly “Open Ports” is not secure, since it allows attackers on the WAN – wide area network – to get up to any kind of mischief in attacking your home network.

And at this point your eyes are probably glazing over. Rather than showing your how to set up Port Forwarding on your router, or struggling with your ISP to do that, which they will probably refuse to do. Xfinity has no way to “Open Ports” in their router for you, apparently. This article provides another way to use the Cellspot.

In the following discussion I’m using Xfinity as an example of an ISP. The same discussion and requirements will apply regardless of your “Broadband” provider, whether it’s Cable, DSL or Fiber. Click on images below for a larger view and click on the X at the top right to close the image.

Continue reading “Using T-Mobile Cellspot Safely”

Buy or Build New Computer?

So, what if you need to purchase a new computer today?

Let’s assume you are of modest means and modest needs. Not a gaming system. Just something to use the web, and documents.

Requirements:

Modern CPU – Intel or AMD. Core i-5 or better. Released in last two years.

  • 32GB Memory – More than minimum since we want this system to last a few years.
  • 1TB of Storage. Solid State Disk for system. Only an SSD of 1TB, or a smaller SSD and a HD if necessary to bring total to 1 TB.
  • No graphics Card. Use a processor with Graphics built in since we are saving money and are not “Gaming”.
  • DVD not required but nice. DVD media have been replaced by “Thumb Drives” these days.
  • Modern connection for a monitor. Display Port or HDMI.
  • Hard Wired Ethernet cable. Adding WiFi is ok, but Hard Cable is a requirement.
  • A Real Power Supply. Not a Brick like a Laptop.
  • Expandable if that does not cause too much in higher prices.

Let’s see what we can find.

Continue reading “Buy or Build New Computer?”

Griffon and Marid Mounts

These mounts are quite easy to get. Just about 3 weeks doing Ananta Beast Tribe Quests after finishing Stormblood. These quests take about 10-15 minutes each day, except for the special quests when you Rank up. Only one of the quests is at all challenging. There is a solo duty along the way that requires some care in the battle. The first mount available is the Marid Elephant.

And then at Bloodsworn you can get the Griffon.

Of course there are other Bird mounts in the game, but personally, I like the griffon. The Lanner [Falcon] mounts are nice and usually have glowing effects, but they are “birds” and so run on two legs, which is a little jarring on the ground. The griffon runs on four legs and so has a smoother ride on the ground.

I suggest you complete Stormblood and get flight in Gyr Abania before starting these quests, then just leave your character at the Peering Stones crystal to do the quests each day. The terrain is much easier to traverse on flying mounts, so waiting until you can fly in this zone will save a lot of time.

May you walk in the light of the Crystal.
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Some Recent Hints

Here are some recent hints for Final Fantasy XIV.

Get a Cheap Mount on the Market Board

Recently some mounts have shown up on the Market Board. The Stag Antelope and the Doe Antelope.

The Doe mount is pretty cheap. Maybe this is a limited time event. So maybe you should hurry. The Ishgard event that rewards scrip has been going on for a long time. So maybe you need to get your Doe mount soon.

Check your market board, I’ve seen prices as low as 1000 gil, but other worlds show prices in the 17K gil range. So check and maybe use Wandering to get a better price. Anything at 2000 gil or less sounds like a bargain to me.

Mount Quickly Using Hot Keys

Maybe this is obvious. But you might want to use a Hot Bar to allow you to quickly use the mount of your choice. I have several mounts that I sometimes choose. For speed of mounting I typically bind the middle mouse [M3] button to a tool bar, like the Right Most button of the second Tool Bar. But I wanted a system so I could easily choose a water, land, flying, or a mount for more than one person. In Guild Wars 2 where choosing the right mount is more important, the hot keys are on the num pad. So I set that up in FFXIV too.

I use some Tool Bars to the right of the screen. Notice Tool Bars 10, 9, 8 at the bottom right. I bind the Num Pad to these keys. You cannot bind Enter on the Num Pad, because that’s the same key as the normal Enter key, and you need that to open the Chat Window. Notice the little symbols in the tool bar that indicate they are bound to the keypad. So I can choose among the Multi-player Whale mounts, the Ray mount for use under water and the Lanner mounts for flying. Where I can’t fly yet I can easily use a land mount. While all the mounts can fly, of course, I like a Terrestrial mount when I’m not flying and a Ray when I’m swimming.

I ran into an issue with an error message when I tried to bind Enter on the numpad. The issue is that the game requires binding three of the keys. You can find the ones that are required in the System section. But if you unset the Num Lock setting for the keypad, then you’ll be able to bind the keys to the tool bars.

You might like to do this. I first used a similar scheme in Guild Wars 2 where the different mounts behave differently and the choice of mounts is really more important, but I’m liking it here in FFXIV too.

May you walk in the light of the Crystal.
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Protect Your Eyes From the Sand

While doing some events in a Sand Storm in Dry Top, I was opening some Buried Lost Chests, I found an Adventurer’s Spectacles. When I looked them up I found that they can be used to craft a better looking Adventurer’s Mantle. I was afraid I would have to grind more chests in Sand Storms or pay a lot of gold to get them, but nope. They are cheap on the Market Board.

As you can see, a set of 3 Specs, and Scarfs doesn’t really cost that much. I guess the drop rate is pretty high from the chests. Also there are the pictures of the Light and Heavy versions. They all look the same actually. These parts are all dye-able.

So you can craft the mantles if you have Tailor, Leatherworker, or Armorsmith at about level 400. Follow the links in the Wiki for crafting instructions and use Discovery for the Recipes.

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