What I Believe and Why

After 70+ years, I’ve developed a lot of ways of sorting out what I believe from what I don’t. Long before social media and mobile phones there was the scientific method, which I adhere to. Concepts like “Preponderance of the Evidence” and Avoid Conspiracy Theories and Trust Multiple Sources and Trust Experience and Peer Review come to mind.

Some would say that the world is a horrible state and would blame it on certain key actors or concepts. I am reminded that through out my entire life the world has been in a horrible state. Many of the Actors and Concepts have not really changed. For example, Capitalism has always been very unfair and while one can argue that it is “more unfair” recently and increasingly so, I fail to see a clear alternative. While it is also clear that Regulation does not work because the powerful are adept at either preventing or mitigating it to their own ends. I would put this in the column of a Continuing Struggle not a sign of a looming disaster. This would seem to have been looming for the past 200 years or so.

But there have been some successes. I am reminded of a few decades at the beginning of the 20th century when “Gangsters” were a thing and they no longer are a thing. And when “Robber Barons” were a thing, and they no longer are. And when Communism was a thing, and it no longer is. While Fascism continues to be a thing, I see a long chain of over coming bad political ideas, and so I am hopeful.

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Discord Helps Find Which Breaker

Need to replace this switch

Breaker Breaker, Where is the Breaker?

None of this is a problem for those of you with someone else in the house. Just make a mobile phone call and have the other person stand near the circuit you are testing. Sure Sure. But I live alone.

A switch in the back bedroom / Computer room was bad. It was not making a positive connection so the light would flicker when the switch was thrown or wiggled. So, how to find the breaker? How about the Breaker Finder Tool I purchased a while ago?

This tool makes a beeping noise when the probe is brought near the breaker where the other end is plugged in, or screwed into a socket. Nice theory at least. And it has worked before for me. But in this case the tool made a horrible screeching sound when the probe was anywhere near the panel, so it’s not working at all in this case. No clue why.

Enter Discord.

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Corner Cabinet Lights

After fixing the problem in the Corner cabinet with the baking sheets, I decided that I needed a light in the cabinet since I couldn’t see easily what I needed in there.

So I got some LED light strips, from the auto section, a cabinet switch and a magnetic cabinet closure. The lights are designed to be mounted under cars. Six strips, each a foot long, running on 12 volts for $10. I have a bunch of little power supplies lying around. After running for 1/2 an hour, this supply is barely warm running three light strips.

Now I needed a board to mount the lights on to put them at the top of the cabinet.

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Baking Sheets All Snarled Up

My baking sheets were all snarled up and falling over in the cabinet. So I made a stand to hold them up. I thought I was going to have to screw it down in the cabinet, but it is so heavy – 5/8″ plywood – that it sits there just fine.

There is still quite a bit of this left over Siding plywood left, so there will be more Crude projects down the pike. This is the first project using the new Belt Sander. Works great. Less dust around since it’s hooked up to the shop vac.

Stand works great. After a few days when the glue is completely dry, I’ll get around to giving it a coat of poly.
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New Bench Sander Mount

Old Sander Wearing Out

I use a hand belt sander that I’ve mounted to used it as a fixed sander. This sander has been working for many years, but the last time I used it, it was making some alarming sounds. Not sure what is wrong, but I’m guessing that a bearing or gear has worn out.

The sander has a flat “Top” so it has been easy to lash it down to a board and use it as a fixed sander. A couple of cable ties and it’s lashed down securely.

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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.

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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.
:ww

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.
:ww

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.

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