I knew the metro interface was going to suck on Windows 8 machines, but I hadn't realized that you can't effectively turn it off and use the computer as though it were not a cell phone or table.
Today I got a new laptop for a contracting project and the laptop is Windows 8. I have discovered that it is absolutely unusable. While trying to navigate to something on the desktop, other applications will just randomly come up and take over the screen. There is some stupid widget that comes up and says "slide to switch apps", which will not go away and hides items behind it. If you try to reboot the computer, it just says "Getting Windows ready Don't turn off your computer" and doesn't actually restart for about 20 minutes.
It is pretty obvious to me that this OS is completely unusable except as a tablet or phone OS and probably not even then.
I knew the metro interface was going to suck on Windows 8 machines, but I hadn't realized that you can't effectively turn it off and use the computer as though it were not a cell phone or table.
Holy mother of GOD!! Why did my insurance premium go up by a multiple of 3.5 in only one month? I have private major medical insurance and it has already jumped up by over 300% in the previous two years, but now it has gone up another 450% for a total change of over 800%. That's right, my premium is 9 times what it was just 3 years ago. I have had no major claims. And, of course, it being major medical, they didn't pay a dime out of pocket. I paid it all. I didn't get anywhere near the deductible. Yet my premium has skyrocketed. Coincidentally, this is right after Obamacare is enacted. i wonder if there is any correlation? What do all of those Pro Obama people think now? I hope they can afford to pay for me to go to the emergency room on their dime because I am dropping insurance and paying the fine. I can't afford to pay the Obamacare Premium.
My premiums alone on this plan are 1.5 times the maximum outlay for premiums and deductible that Obama says we would ever possibly have to say. If I include the deductible, it will be over 300% of the maximum out-of-pocket that Obama says I would ever have to pay.
Once again, I have shown myself for a sucker when it comes to online paying of bills. Every time I think I will learn my lesson, but I don't. Everybody says how much more convenient it is to do online bills, and how writing checks is a thing of the past. But every time I go to do a bill online it takes far longer than it would have to just write a check and drop it in the mailbox.
I fell for the trick again today. I noticed that my utility company said I could pay the water bill online. So I went to the web site, navigated around for a minute or two until I found the right place and then clicked "Pay Bill". Oh, well first I have to set up an online account. OK, so spend a few minutes doing that. Now, let's pay the bill. Oh no, I have to wait for my e-mail with the link I have to click on in order to open the account. OK, so wait a few minutes for that. Click the link, log in. Oh, wait, they don't have my utility bill account associated with my online account. I have to associate them myself. Oh, and what is this? They need my last paid amount. OK, spend a few minutes hunting that down. Now, finally, we are ready to pay the bill. Hmm, the only option is by credit card, no checking account debits. All right, let's use American Express. Oh, wait, they don't take American Express. Okay, I guess I will use my Checking Account Debit card. Spend a few minutes filling out that information, and click "Pay Bill". Okay, another payment summary screen pops up. I have to click "Pay Bill" again. Oh, crap, but wait, I didn't linger long enough to see that they are charging me $1.50 paying online fee! Crap, can't back out now. They've already done the transaction.
So, after you have spent half an hour navigating their website, setting up accounts, linking accounts, figuring out your last paid amount, entering info for a card you don't want to use, THEN is when they are going to tell you that there is an extra fee for using this service which is cheaper for them to maintain then somebody handling the mail?
Well, they can look forward to my check next month. It'll be in the mail.
My postal carrier is incredibly lazy. We are the last house on the route, and whatever he has left over gets put in our mailbox, whether it is addressed to us or not. Today, he put one in that was for one block further south. I guess he didn't want to turn around and go back. Earlier this week we got one for a different house number AND a different street, several blocks over.
This is on top of the fact that whenever we get a package, he sticks a "sorry we missed you" card in the mailbox which directs us to a delivery center 7 miles away. It doesn't matter if we are home, he doesn't come to the door to check, just puts the note in the mailbox.
I have a real hard time justifying their constantly increasing stamp prices for the downward spiraling service that they are providing.
Today I got an e-mail from Cox communication saying that I had exceeded my bandwidth cap of 250 GB on my internet plan. Well, this is a complete shock to me. I am not aware of any bandwidth limit on my internet plan. It's not like it's a phone where bandwidth is expensive (and unlimited on my plan).
So, I am only about halfway through the billing period, which I guess means that I have used 250 GB in about 11 days. That is pretty heavy, I must admit. Especially since I am only a casual user of internet at home. We don't do hulu, or netflicks or anything like that. My girls are home from school for the summer, and they play minecraft and watch youtube and play flash games, but I would think it would be hard to use that much bandwidth on those.
So cox directed me to a site where I could monitor the bandwidth usage. I went there and it asked for my login. I don't have a login to my knowledge, so I tried to register. It told me I already had a login, so I asked it to look up my login. After verifying all of my information, it asked me to call customer service. Well, screw that. It sounds like they have assigned me a userID and didn't tell me what it was, so I am not going to waste my time waiting on hold for them.
Well, after all my defending Sony throughout the Playstation Network debacle, they are now trying to make an enemy of me. They offered me two free games from a list of about 10 as recompense for the inconvenience. However, when I go to try to collect on the offer, they say it is no longer a valid offer.
Researchers have discovered a new microbe that is eating the gulf oil spill fairly readily, with the added bonus of not depleting the dissolved oxygen supply too much. (abstract only, article is paywalled)
Certainly a piece of good news out of that mess.
Here's an odd thought I had some years ago..what would happen if these sorts of bacteria got established deep down in the big pools of oil? As in, one day we find out we are a few months away from no oil because it is being eaten up....wouldn't that be interesting.
Due to excessive greed and stupidity in the higher levels of repackaged mortgages, you might have the opportunity to own your property a bit earlier than you might have thought. Worth a look Mortgage jubilee
If by any odd chance people don't get the jubille reference, it is an old "all debts are cancelled" deal, plus pardons and whatnot. Basically, wiping the slates clean, start over.
A nice article that hits a lot of the high points that I have been outlining in a lot of my previous economic journal entries. Economic blowout, accident or on purpose?
Many more people are choosing to go "off the grid", untethering from traditional utility connections like electricity, natural gas, even municipal water and sewer, in whole or in part. Reducing demand while increasing your personal production of power can lead to energy independence, plus more security, and in a lot of cases, just plain more comfort.
Most off the grid people approach this situation from both ends, going to eliminate demand by wise construction techniques, using a lot more insulation, better windows, planned air in and out,etc. This drops the normal high level demand that most homes have and is the number 1 utility bill, for heating and cooling. Following similar steps, it is quite possible to enjoy all the niceties of modern life, without being part of the problem of massive fossil fuel use, along with eventually eliminating that monthly bill you can never pay off the traditional way of staying tethered. Another advantage is that these systems work-when the main centralized system doesn't.
They also mention in the article the concept of buyers clubs, getting together with other folks and negotiating bulk buy discounts for such things as solar PV panels, etc. The food co-op model taken to energy, which I have advocated in the past as one good way to reduce upfront costs. Another way to go there is the step by step method, just replace one circuit at a time, starting with your most critical "needs to work all the time" circuit.
note: cross posted at my site as well:
Long time readers will know my big four survivalist needs, what to get independent on, are, in order of importance:
water, food, shelter, security
Now look at this BBC article about floods in Pakistan and what they determined to be the basic needs for all these displaced people
"The government said the most pressing needs would be for clean drinking water, food, shelter and healthcare."
Pretty dang close!
And that is why I picked those out years and years ago, because I have "been there, done that" in emergency and "you are completely on your own" type situations. This is *my* tech expertise, threat analysis and mitigation.
People who "invest" in $1,000 TVs or the rigged crooked "stock" market, etc and such like and don't even have a good gravity water filter..eventually, this chronic dumbness is gonna bite them hard. EVERYONE will go through at least one-if not several- serious emergency situations in their lives, and it might last for a long time, weeks or months, who knows. If you ain't prepared..you are gonna lose it, bad. And you can NOT rely on government or "why don't *they* do something"?, you know this "they" guy over there someplace people always refer to when they mean anyone other then themselves. And this can be beyond some natural disaster, look at the economic situation, you could lose your job tomorrow, or the dingbats could decide we need a much larger war in the middle east and the price of crude could jump to 300 bucks a barrel..whatever, black swan events outside your control.
Sorry, reality doesn't work that way with this "they" guy "saving you" or "doing something"!!
Any medium to large scale emergency, there ain't a government out there, including all the rich nations, that has enough resources to do this. We don't have entire backup cities and regions just sitting around with all the infrastructure intact in warehouses or whatever, which is what it would take to come up with a huge numbers of refugees in need of aid situation, a large scale one. It is not possible, it doesn't exist, it isn't going to happen, so you will be on your own, so you need to get it in gear BEFORE any bad stuff happens, well before, that is acquire gear/supplies plus the needed skills to use that gear and supplies.
Just like with computer data, if you have no backups, and if something weird happens, you got nothing and will be in a world of hurt.
Another example of how china is taking the west's surplus cash it ships there, and turns around and invests heavily in places to get access to their natural resources, then they turn around and sell to them, developing new markets.
The developed world is going to be the late not so great de-developing world pretty soon now. China invests in Brazil
All these western economists go on and on how we don't need "protectionism"..well, why is it then with china being so protectionist, they are advancing at a record pace? Could it be that some protectionism is necessary to keep from going bankrupt?
"Chinese firms have bought stakes in Brazil's electrical grid; they are building steel mills, car plants and a telecommunications infrastructure in that country. Chinese grain companies are negotiating to buy huge tracts -- some larger than 600,000 acres -- of Brazilian outback to plant soybeans. Chinese firms have the inside track on landing a huge high-speed-rail contract. They want to help realize Brazil's gargantuan plans -- estimated at more than $250 billion -- to tap its offshore oil reserves. "
And they have all this investment money because our glorious leaders said we didn't need old fashioned manufacturing, oh noes, that is passe', that we would be some sort of combo financial services (90% high stakes casino games), IP (ideas=dime a dozen), service (we'll mow each other's yards and get rich!) and governmental workers (in a shrinking economy, by all means, quadruple the size of government as the first step, raise taxes on those still barely producing any real wealth, plus add a few trillion in debt!) economy.
Well, that mastermind theory sure has worked out just swell....and we still keep electing these people who let those pirates keep selling off what is left of the national seed corn for a fast buck. Corporate raiders, nation sized. Our political and economic "leaders"... When does this get to shift from just "sucky" to "treasonous" anyway? Oh, I guess that is passe' now as well, to be loyal to one's nation first.
And I can't blame China, they would have been stone idjits to not take the golden egg laying goose when it was offered. They are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing as a nation, looking out for themselves FIRST. After that, sure, get generous, but if you can't take care of affairs at home first, you won't have any "extra" to be generous with. You have to make wealth before you spend it, that's the real economic bottom line, and manufacturing is the top way to make wealth today, closely followed by agriculture and mining/natural resource extraction.
The big kahuna though, is the factory. Destroy your factories, you lose, end of story. You aren't replacing them with *anything*, that's the fairy tale they get people to believe in. Destroy your ag, you lose + starve, end of story. Sell off your natural resources cheap, fat city for some years..then you lose. You gain a few warlords who own a lot of yachts and limos and tanks and jet fighters eventually, that's about it for selling off natural resources cheap, that's the end game there.
A pretty good read about the republishing of a book detailing what happened socially when the banksters and their political puppets lose control of their printing presses, back in the Weimar Republic. What follows, in the historical record, would be classed in the US as a red versus blue civil war (note, red state and blue state are overly simplified, look closer at the records and this red blue schism is urban versus "other than urban", in just about any state you want to look at. Then it turned into a general large war as we all know when they weren't able to repair all the damage, and those "elites" created internal and external patsies to blame all their troubles on.
It can happen again, too...
The collapse of fiat currency systems lead to the collapse of the blue urban areas *really quickly*..as they have no actual human needed product, none of the necessities I mean. The currency system must be sound, not overly inflated or manipulated excessively for it to keep working. If they screw it up, "bad stuff" happens and the system breaks down.
In the record, they flee the cities and go on looting rampages, that's the real bottom line, the cities become untenable for the most part. The "blue" areas are completely dependent on imports and exploitation of the red areas, despite claims they "support" the red areas. This "support" is a false notion, it is merely modern day imperialism backed up by the controllers "trickle down" economic theory of credit and currency creation at the top, in the mega blue urban areas, then lending it into existence-complete with charging interest on this newly poof created currency- at lower levels, until eventually a pittance makes it to the red areas, even though they really produce all the needed "stuff".
Of course there are variables, government checks now go to a lot of places, but once you subtract that, and a bout of fiat currency panic, such as loss of the FRN and the world's reserve currency would bring, would certainly subtract that as those checks go worthless for getting much real goods, because look at real wealth production..the red areas start the whole thing rolling, because that's where the food/water/energy/materials come from. All the stuff necessary for modern life. And the manufactured goods today..the stuff that keeps all the retailers busy..increasingly comes from places that might just cease taking fiat currency A as they deem it worth-less and less.
Anyway, a decent little read from Ambrose: Paper money
This is something that is really disturbing to me and I hope to more people, food security and prices. We have a food commodities market now that is skewed way out of proportion, it results in higher than necessary prices for consumers, really doesn't address farmers security, forces people to pay tribute to-once again-that nest of global thieves in Manhattan.
I farm because I want a peaceful life, do an honest job, and just make a living, not a killing, and provide food for people..because all of that is a combined good idea. But see, we all are subject to the parasite tax now, we've become defacto put into economic bondage to these gents, and they try to hide it like saying biofuels drive up the prices of food, etc, which is hogwash, and will also kill off the only viable option we have to use instead of pumped crude for all the millions of existing vehicles out there. This is the same sort of thing they do in the metals markets, and the same guys doing it, game the system because they now pwn the system..and they shouldn't..no one elected these thieves, but they sure have seized control.
Here is a nice interview with an additional link to the original story on manipulations in the global food markets.
Oh, food security? We swapped actual stockpiled mass quantities of food, which is a good idea, for server entries in these investor banks and letting them skim off zillions. That's not security, it's stupidity.
"Ya, Mom, what's for dinner"?
"Here ya go Junior and Sis, nice heaping plate of news reports about some huge banks with their leveraged and hedged futures contracts..dee lish"!
"Wahhh..we wanted real food"!
"Sorry, our betters decided this was..better..it makes them more money, which we all know now is the most important thing in the world..we are lucky we all get to work for them"
This is an indication of the moves I have been saying that china will do as the economy changes around the world. Now that they have extracted the bulk of the necessary manufacturing knowledge they need from the west, they no longer absolutely "need" the western markets. It's not that they will abandon them, but they now have the wherewithal to not be fixated on them, a significant change. They had to export cheap and work really hard for a long time, just so they could get access to western currencies so they could turn around and get the high tech goodies from those nations. This is done, accomplished for the most part. They can build most anything, in mass quantities, at globally competitive prices, and will now just get better at it.
Now stage two, the big shift, where they emphasize their internal markets more, the thing I said was 'coming soon". It got here. Here is the reference, China and internal markets They move this way and institute polices to rapidly expand their middle classes, this makes them really much wealthier, and eliminates the potential for mass social unrest (while the western nations are killing off their middle classes and increasing the odds of mass social unrest...)
Stage three is then another expansionist move they will make into areas of the world where they source raw materials from. This will be an almost unprecedented diaspora type event, millions of people going to set up businesses in cooperation with the locals, on a much larger scale than they are doing now, which is impressive enough. they have to, they have to get millions to move someplace else, they have run out of water and arable land at home. They will develop way more of an interest exporting and trading with these raw resource areas than they have with just the fiat currency "consuming" nations (they want real stuff for their manufactured goods now, they have about had it exchanging IOUs for just relabeled other sorts of IOUs for all their expotts. This has gotten old for them. It's also why they started unpegging from the dollar). This big change will also include exporting just a ton of their population as a necessity move. They *have* to, they have no choice at all, all you had to do to see this was look at some simple data from years ago, demographics and so on, and extrapolate it. They have to lose tens of millions of their people out, or run dry, plus they have this hugemongous young male surplus, plus people with good college degrees and no domestic jobs for them. that means..they have to go expansionist.. They simply do not have the water and the space any more, and need to keep expanding, or their fatcats lose their cushy jobs and heads..so the orders will come down to go this way, because that is the only other option they have, internal collapse, or expand..
This will be part of the deals they arrange with a lot of foreign nations, offer them all kinds of manufacturing help and natural resource extraction help, and a ton of "engineers" and so on moving there will be part of the deal. That stage three move, when it begins in earnest, will be (IMO) the tipping point for the US to lose world's reserve currency status, right then, and to hit a really fast decline (barring some other real hard to predict wildcard). There will be "enough" indicators for that point to narrow the timing down better once it gets closer, that's when the major dollar rout will occur.
Much fun and games in the USA then.
(just a note: the past full month now my net connection has been more down than up, and even when up really flaky. I was more relying on my slow cell connection and "bent" the TOS a little-tethering- just to have any connection at all, so I didn't want to push it and lose that as well. I use a WISP and they got hammered with a huge batch of the radios we customers use that are all crapping out just a scosh past warranty, and they are proprietary and expensive. They've replaced mine twice now, but only a matter of time before it craps out again, and the speeds are really slow now. So it goes. Allegedly they might switch to a more "4g" technology and apparently I might be on the shortlist for the initial trials. Anyway, that's the reason I was mostly absent for several weeks, I could only skim the major stories and add the odd comment before losing connection, didn't have the luxury of my normal JE back and forths until just a coupla days ago.)