Misc blog postings

Misc Postings

Earliest: July 28, 2003Latest: May 13, 2018Total: 109

August 5, 2017

Netcom California

Netcom Logo

In California, Back in the mid-1990's, the way most people would access the internet was through Netcom. They had horrible service and consumers complained about the poor quality.

Netcom changed over the years, today it's now part of the Viatel group and was renamed Viatel.

There were many good parodies created around the problems that users faced with Netcom. While search my CD collection, I found this parody created by created by wotan@netcom.com on March 1996. (To the tune of "Hotel California")

Netcom California

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Burnt smell of cruisers rising up in the air
Up ahead in the distance I saw a bright neon light
My head grew heavy and my eyes grew dim
I had to stop for a byte

There she stood in the doorway, but it wasn't The Well
I was thinking to myself, this could be heaven but it looks like hell
Then she gave me an account, and she told me to go that way
There were shellers behind the counter
Saying "We wish the losers would go away."

Welcome to the Netcom, California.
What a lovely place, what a lovely face
Plenty of Bananas at the Netcom, California
Here's your bill, would you like an account with that?

So I called support, told them please fix the mail
They never responded, and now I want to bail
And still those voices are calling from far away
We drive through in the middle of the night just to hear them say...

Welcome to the Netcom California
What a lovely place, what a lovely face
Livin it up at the Netcom California
What a nice surprise, Sales Rep told you some lies

Mirrors on the ceiling, being able to log on is nice
We are all just prisoners here of our own device
Out the back in support, they gather round the beast
They stab it with their bagel knives but they just can't kill the beast

Last thing I remember I was running for the zoo
I had to find a plastic bag to throw my guts into
Stop there said the auto-biller, we are programmed to receive
We expect you to put up with all this sh*t but never to leave.

June 24, 2017

How to Report and Seek Change for Dangerous Road Conditions

The Interstate System throughout the U.S. is over 46,000 miles long. With millions of cars traveling our roadways each day, through all types of weather, it?s no surprise that our roads need upkeep from time to time.

The Interstate System is not the only collection of roads that need work, look around your community, and there are probably many neighborhood streets with potholes and even bridges that need repair.

Problematic Road

Car Hubcap

Every year, drivers hit giant potholes on the road, despite trying to avoid them. In some cases, when trying to swerve away from a pothole, a collision may occur with another motorist. Potholes and other issues in the road are not only an eyesore but cost drivers money every year. U.S. drivers, on average, spend a total of $3 billion on car repairs due to potholes and poor road conditions.

In addition to potholes, many roads have cracks, no clear lane and shoulder markings, and inadequate guardrails on overpasses and curves in the road. All of these things are potential contributors to fatal accidents.

Reporting Bad Roads

During your daily commute, it?s easy to forget about every bump you hit along the way and over time you probably pay less attention to the condition of the road. Think of our roadways as a community. If there were something wrong going on in your neighborhood, you?d report it, right?

A pothole, a visual obstruction, and even debris left on the road are worth reporting, not only for your safety but for fellow motorists. If you come across some damage, make a mental note or pull over safely to write down information or make a phone call. Don?t call anyone about the damage as you?re driving.

If you?re in an area with little to no traffic, take a picture if you can do so without interrupting traffic or compromising your safety. Take note of where the damage is, the date and time, and any other helpful details. If it?s on a city street, contact your city offices. If you?re on a highway, contact your state?s Department of Transportation (DOT).

Seek Change

Even if you report a road that?s in poor condition, it may take awhile to see any changes. Don?t be afraid to be persistent, especially after a few months have passed. It?s important to note that when you come across some road damage, don?t be silent. Don?t assume that another driver reported the issue already.

So, why are the roads in such bad shape and why does it seem to take forever to see change? Budget is a big factor. Some states, like Rhode Island, have set aside billions of dollars for a budget to fix roads and bridges. Other states don?t have the same kind of funding.

Unfortunately, lack of funding is an all too common problem across the U.S. Regardless of which state you live in, voice your concerns about road conditions. Talk and write to your state legislators. Attend meetings and events that talk about expansion and road construction in your area.

Get involved as much as you can. Even if you can?t foot the multi-million dollar bill for fixing the roads, your concerns can spark action.

June 18, 2017

Sacagawea dollar

In 2000, the United States Mint came out with a new one dollar coin called the Sacagawea dollar. This coin was unique because it was in a different color and size of the previous version. In addition, for the first time, an American coin featured a native Indian.

Golden Money

Lots of Hype

When the coin was announced, there was a lot of hype. Coin collectors went crazy grabbing the first editions.

Money Chart
Sacagawea dollar Mintage figures in Millions

Cost Per Mint

According to the Federal Reserve, it cost 5.4 cents to produce one paper dollar bill that lasts about 18 months.

It cost the US Mint 12 cents to make the Sacagawea dollar coin that last approximately 30 years.

In 2008, Congress required by law that all vending machines must accept the $1 Sacagawea dollar coin.

Vending Machines Usage by Law

48 CFR 52.237-11 - Accepting and Dispensing of $1 Coin.

This clause applies to service contracts that involve business operations conducted in U.S. coin and currency, including vending machines, on any premises owned by the United States or under the control of any agency or instrumentality of the United States. All such business operations must be compliant with the requirements in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this clause on and after January 1, 2008.

(b) All business operations conducted under this contract that involve coins or currency, including vending machines, shall be fully capable of -

(1) Accepting $1 coins in connection with such operations; and

(2) Dispensing $1 coins in connection with such operations, unless the vending machine does not receive currency denominations greater than $1.

(c) The Contractor shall ensure that signs and notices are displayed denoting the capability of accepting and dispensing $1 coins with business operations on all premises where coins or currency are accepted or dispensed, including on each vending machine.

Interesting to note that there is no specific penalty if the contractor doesn't comply with the rules.

What's your experience with the Sacagawea dollar? Have you gotten it from any purchases recently?

May 28, 2017

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Whenever we have a family gathering we usually serve an awesome Buffalo Chicken Dip. This has been very popular at my company annual Thanksgiving potluck.

Awesome Buffalo Dip


  • 8 chicken tenders or 2 -3 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese salad dressing
  • 1/2 cup ranch salad dressing
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup cut shredded cheese
  • 1 block cream cheese

Simple Instructions

We cook the chicken on the grill or oven. (Whatever works for you.)

We then put in chicken in the food processor and chop up the chicken to a very fine mix.

After that we just mix everything together! We sometimes will top the mix with some extra Ranch Cheese.

Bake or microwave until heated through.


Lessions Learned

If you plan on serving this at a potluck, cook this ahead of time and then warm in the microwave for about 10 minutes.

If you double the recipe you'll make enough to fill up a 9 x 13 pan.

Tostitos Scoops are the perfect chips to serve with this dish. Make sure you have at least 2 10oz bags!

May 13, 2017

Flag Position on the House

In 2009, when we repainted the house, we researched if it mattered what side of the door the flag should be on the house. We were surprised to find out that it does matter.

In 1942, the federal government established the federal Flag Code detailing how to properly display and use the U.S. flag.

According to §175. Position and manner of display, section (i):

When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left. When displayed in a window, the flag should be displayed in the same way, with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street.

This means that the flag should be positioned to the left side of the front door, not the right.

Flag Door

March 25, 2017

IJMC - The Final From Hell

I J M C Mockup

The International Junk Mail Clearinghouse (IJMC) was a popular humor mailing list. Just about every day you would get a funny story in your mailbox.

It started on March 13, 1995, and the last issue was on August 26, 2001. I subscribed on July 6, 1995.

This is a sample entry from April 9, 1997:

IJMC - The Final From Hell

I am almost certain that this is a rerun for the IJMC. But I can't find it anywhere in the archives so I'm sending it anyway. Hopefully most of you haven't seen it yet. Also, if anyone passes it, see me for a job. I don't know how I'll pay you but I know I couldn't afford not to! -dave


Biology: Create life. Estimate the difference in subsequent human culture if this form of life had developed 500 million years prior with special attention to its probable effect on the English parliamentary system. Prove your thesis.

Health: You have been provided with a razor blade, a piece of gauze, and a bottle of scotch. Remove your appendix. Do not suture until your work has been inspected.

Languages: 2,500 riot-crazed aborigines are storming the classroom. Calm them. You may use any ancient language except Latin or Greek.

Psychology: Based on your knowledge of their works, evaluate the emotional stability, degree of adjustment and represented frustrations of each of the following: Alexander of Apfrodisias, Parnses II, Gregory of Micea and Hammurabi. Support your evaluation with quotes from each man's work. Translation is not necessary.

Sociology: Estimate the sociological problems which might accompany the end of the world. Construct an experiment to test your theory.

Business Policy: Define business. Define policy. How are they related and why?

Management: Create a generalized algorithm to optimize all managerial decisions. Assuming an 1130 CPU supporting 50 terminals each terminal to activate your algorithm; design the communciations interface and control programs.

Engineering: The disassembled parts of a high-powered rifle have been placed on your desk, the instruction manual printed in Swahili. In 10 minutes, a hungry Bengal tiger will be admitted to the room. Take whatever action you feel appropriate.

Poli Sci: There is a red telephone on your desk. Start World War III. Report at length on it's socio-political effects, if any.

Economics: Develop a realistic plan for refinancing the national debt. Trace possible effects to the following areas: Cubism, the Donati controversy, the wave theory of light. Devise a method for preventing these effects. Criticize from all possible points of view.

Logic: Take a stand for or against the truth. Prove validity of your position.

Philosophy: Sketch the development of human thought. Estimate significance. Compare with development of any other kind of thought.

General Knowledge: Describe all you know in detail. Be both objective and specific.

Yet Another E-Mail Sent By The International Junk Mail Clearinghouse (IJMC).
Unless otherwise specified, distribute freely. All questions, comments,
submissions and requests should be directed to Dave at eatheror@netcom.com

   IJMC Mailings - email majordomo@netcom.com with "info ijmc-l" in body
                   IJMC WebPage - http://www.ijmc.com

This is Mac.                                            \\|////
He wants to travel the world.                           ( O   O )
Please add him to your .sig and help him.          ---oOOo--U--oOOo---

March 19, 2017

Irish Music Playlist

This past week I was put in charge of background music for a Saint Patrick's Day dinner and dance.

I was surprised on how difficult it was to come up with a good selection of Irish music. After some searching through Itunes and Amazon, I came up with the following playlist:

Days of Elijah Robin Mark Revival in Belfast
Ireland's Call Celtic Thunder The Very Best of Celtic Thunder
Galway Bay (Single) Bing Crosby Top O' The Morning / His Irish Collection
The Irish Rover The Irish Rovers The Best of the Irish Rovers (Remastered)
When Irish Eyes Are Smiling Bing Crosby Top O' the Morning: His Irish Collection
Orinoco Flow Celtic Woman Celtic Woman
Whiskey In the Jar The Dubliners The Best of the Dubliners
Molly Malone (feat. Ronnie Drew) The Dubliners 50 Years
A Nation Once Again The Wolfe Tones The Wolfe Tones: The Greatest Hits
The Galway Girl Celtic Thunder The Very Best of Celtic Thunder
Whiskey In the Jar The Dubliners The Best of the Dubliners
The Irish Rover The Irish Rovers The Best of the Irish Rovers (Remastered)
When Irish Eyes Are Smiling Bing Crosby Top O' the Morning: His Irish Collection
Riverdance Celtic Roots Riverdance & Lord of the Dance

Total playlist time is one hour, which is perfect for my needs. This playlist has a nice blend of classic and POP songs.

Last Year I put together some other playlists for different events:

March 12, 2017

Usenet Oracle

The Internet/Usenet Oracle was a way to collect humor by answering what seems to be a simple question. People would send questions in to get an answer. However, to get a response you must answer someone else's question.

This is a classic exchange that I found in my internet collection, this is from October 23, 1996.

The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply.
Your question was:

Oh supremest Oracle whose supremacity cannot possibly be suprimized --

My horoscope says 'Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it'.

Now, what insignificant deed should I do?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

Do you recall the old story about the man walking in the woods who tripped on a tree root? The tree shook, dislodging an acorn, which fell to the ground and was carried off by a squirrel. When the squirrel sat down to eat the acorn, it startled a butterfly which flew up into the air. The tiny gust of air caused by the butterfly's wings interacted minutely with a passing low pressure front, turning what would have been a minor squall into a violent thunderstorm. The lightning from this thunderstorm struck a kite being flown by an elderly gentleman who was experimenting with electricity, thus touching off the entire sequence of events that eventually resulted in the creation of Microsoft.

The Oracle does, of course, know about the insignificant deed that your horoscope mentions, but in the interests of averting a similar historical disaster, has no intention of telling you what it is. I will give you a hint, though: stay away from cars, bananas, and strange dogs.

You owe the Oracle some silk thread and a key...

March 4, 2017

Dealing with Peer Pressure as an Adult

Meeting new people is part of everyday life and is important not only for our "grown up" socialization but also for making connections in the professional world. Sometimes, making friends as an adult can be just as challenging as it was as a teen.

Even when we feel self-assured and independent, we still want to fit in (who doesn't want to be accepted?). Peer pressure doesn't end in adolescence and even if you think you have the ability to say "no," it may be more difficult than you think.

According to a study published in Developmental Psychology, resistance to peer pressure decreases between the ages of 14 and 18 but remains unchanged until the age of 30. Therefore, it's safe to assume that many young adults continue to struggle with a bit of peer pressure.

Why Do We Care So Much About What Others Think?

As adults, aren't we supposed to feel comfortable in our own skins, stand strongly behind our opinions and decisions, and not care what others think? In a perfect world, yes, but there's the inherent need for approval and to feel part of a group. Unfortunately, negative peer pressure can steer us in a different direction.

Negative Peer Pressure

Experiencing negative peer pressure as an adult may be a little different than when you were a teen, but it can still be challenging. For instance, rather than being pressured to drink alcohol for the first time, you may be pressured to stay out late, have "just one more drink", drive while under the influence, and other risky behaviors.

You may be compelled to partake, particularly if a business contact is in the works or if you have a chance to catch the eye of someone you want to date. No prospective job or relationship should depend on whether or not you stray from your established, healthy routine.

Surrounding Yourself with "Good" People

If you spent a lot of your adolescence or early adulthood drinking heavily, smoking cigarettes, or even dabbling in drugs, you may be trying to steer clear now. Even if you are confident in saying "no," it can be exhausting when you feel the need to explain or defend yourself. Negative people will shame you, make you feel guilty, and not offer any support.

When you seek out or make connections with people who are supportive and respect you for who you are, it's easier to stick to your goals and be true to yourself.

Standing Your Ground

When you meet new people you want to make a good impression. You may find that you have a lot in common with someone who pressures you negatively. Does that mean you can't be friends? No, but you need to stand your ground. If the pressure is too toxic or too overwhelming, you'll need to recognize when to move on. Here are some tips to help you deal with negative peer pressure:

  • Be Assertive. Say what's on your mind and if your difference of opinion isn't valued, it's not worth the trouble.
  • Be Prepared to Have Critics. Do you hate criticism of any kind? You need to decide if you will allow criticism or avoid it; either way, you'll probably encounter some.
  • Celebrate Diversity. Having a diverse group of friends may help you through social challenges and feel less affected by peer pressure.

January 29, 2017

RavPower and Rav FileHub

The nice thing about the RavPower is moving Photo/Movies to/from your phone. In addition, it acts as an additional power source for your phone when you may need it.

Plus its really cool that you can access your USB devices.

Rav Power

RAV FileHub Limitations

There are some limitations to what your moving, for example, you can't move a music file from a USB Flash drive to your iPhone iTuned library. You can still play the music and video files on your phone. You have to do it within the RAV FileHub application.

Sharing DSLR Photos

The nice thing is that you can move photos into your photo library to share on your social network. So you can take pictures with your DSLR, and then use the RavPower to move the photos to your phone to share.

If you plan on moving a lot of files from an SD card, you might be better off using a Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader. This is because in order to use the RavPower you need to change your iPhone wireless network to access the card, which I can see can be annoying after a while.

Power Up Your Phone

I have the RavPower Model: RP-WD01 which has a battery with a capacity of 3000mAh. An iPhone 6s Plus has the capacity of 2915mAh, so the RavPower will basically just extend the life of the phone by a little bit. It's nice and light to have and could be useful for those time where I just need a quick charge.

My Joby power charger has a 6000mAh battery. This will charge up the iPhone 6s Plus at least a couple of times and perfect when I am taking a lot of pictures or video. (Like on a Field Trip or a day at the park in Disney World.)

RAV FileHub App

It takes a bit to learn how to navigate around the RAV FileHub. The top menus are in the background of the iPhone Plus menu bar. Because of that, I found its hard to click on the top navigation.

File Hum Screenshot

The App was last updated on January 30, 2015.

In Summary

The RavPower is a great tool to have when I want to share photos that I take with my bridge camera.

The device and application work fine together. I would recommend sitting down and playing with it for about 20 mins. Just so you get comfortable about how it all works.

Important Wireless Info

Default information on accessing the RavPower from your phone:

Wireless Access Point is: FileHub-2DFA
Wireless Password is: 11111111 (That's 8 ones)