A Strange Day In Paradise

The opportunity clock woke me up at 7:30 this morning to a gloriously sunny day. Just seeing the brightness of a morning sun makes me jubilant. Temperature wise it was at freezing. Not bad as temperature goes because the wind was gentle. I had planned to accomplish two things: One was to buy a new Christmas tree and the second to do some Christmas shopping with my house mate. Of course the house mate was first in line. We toured Bed Bath and Beyond for bed sheets. I thought that the BBB would be the mecca of bed sheets, and to a degree it was. But their on shelf inventory is paltry compared to that of the internet. After wandering around feeling materials, reading labels, and rejecting colors we opted for the online option as a more favorable experience.

From the BBB I turned the Death Star toward the American Sales show room. Ever since I sold my old Christmas trees during the garage sales I have been thinking that someday I will be buying another tree. Even though I have brainwashed myself into believing that downsizing is the right thing to do. The urge to celebrate Christmas with festive colorful lights and poinsettias continues to grow within me.

American Sales specializes in selling decorative artificial Christmas trees. This year is no different except for one thing, they must have at least two hundred pre-lit artificial trees on display. As with all things product development over the years has improved the designs with myriads of new features to make the trees more desirable. Walking through the showroom was like walking through a forest where every tree is filled with tiny specs of light, white or multi colored, a veritable fairy land. I walked quickly through the tall trees since my goal was to find short small stature trees. At the very end of the showroom was a string of short trees sitting on a high shelf to make them appear taller and to better compete with their taller cousins around them. Seven of them stretched the length of this one aisle, and in the center was the one we chose. It was four and a half feet tall, forty-two inches in diameter, with LED lights that change colors ever so gently and discreetly. In years past the changing lights feature was a rather abrupt and sharp blink on and off, and somewhat aggravating to the viewer. This new feature had mesmerized me within a few seconds and I said yes, this is the one I want. To hell with down sizing, I’ll take this tree to the nursing home with me.

It was five minutes from the time of entry into the showroom to the point of deciding on a tree. I informed the sales agent of our decision and we waited, and waited, and waited for what seemed like an hour. The agent continued to call the stockroom and discuss progress. Evidently, this tree was a popular model and was selling off the floor quickly. The people in the stockroom were having trouble keeping up. After forty-five minutes the sales agent asked if we would like to go the warehouse in a an adjacent town to get it, it would be quicker. Since the warehouse was on the way home I agreed to do so. I paid for the tree before I left and off we drove to Tinley Park.

The building we arrived at was clearly three hundred feet long by three hundred feet wide, and filled to the ceiling with artificial trees all from China. Inside there was a window in a plain white wall behind which sat a young lady waiting for a customer to arrive. I showed her my ticket and she went off to have an assistant fetch the tree. When she returned she informed me to move my car up to the loading dock so the warehouseman could load the box into my car. I did. That is when time time stopped again, and we waited, and waited, and waited. Finally, I went back into the building and asked politely if they were ever going to bring me my tree. In the meantime dozens of other customers had been coming and going with their pickups.

Time marched on, and again I inquired. This time the chief warehouseman himself came to give me a progress report. He had looked at all the obvious places this number of product was normally stored but could not find any in stock, but he had three more locations to search. What else could I do but agree and sit down?

As I sat in the cubicle staring at the plain white wall my mind began to wander. I couldn’t believe so many people were out and about on a beautiful day like this and not be paying much attention to COVID-19, myself included. Of course everyone wore a mask and we distanced to the degree possible but it seemed like nobody really gave a crap about getting the virus. The day before when I checked the status of COVID in our county we had recorded over a thousand confirmed cases. Just a week earlier we were at under fifty cases. Boy it shot up fast. That is when the idea light went on above my brain and a new conspiracy theory came into mind. The entire country is suddenly finding itself peaking in cases after having dropped off to nearly nothing over the summer. Why would that happen? It didn’t take but a nano-second for me to conjure up a plausible theory.

China is still reeling from the Trump imposed tariffs on China made goods. What if in retaliation the Chinese decided to unleash another round of COVID within our country? What if the new strain was airborne and easily transported in the air? It could explain why the sudden surge of new cases has crippled our society and cause our governors to panic into a higher level of protection like closing restaurants, bars, non-essential businesses, and limiting the number of people in stores everywhere. If the new strain was airborne it could easily be spread using aircraft, and or people who opened canisters of virus in major population centers.

Thankfully, the warehouse man came to report that he could not locate a single box of the tree I bought. I had the sorry job to now report that the past hour we spent waiting for the tree was for naught. My partner was livid. The sweet thing that she is became a raging ogre of a Hulk like Darth Vader screaming and commanding justice. We drove back to the store. I for one just wanted to get a refund and go to lunch. She however wanted to come home with a trophy, the sample on display. She was ready to fight.

We took the elevator up to the artificial forest and as the door opened there stood our sales agent facing us waiting to get on. She never made it. I calmly explained the situation and asked for the display sample. She told me that while we were gone she had located some more inventory in the in-store stockroom. She walked us over to the display area where lo and behold there were six boxes all with the item number we were seeking. “I’ll have an agent bring this down and load it into your car,” she said. “Thank you” was my reply. Ten minutes later we were on our way to have lunch, but I’m sure China is still leaking virus into our air.

Some of the Adjectives

Condescending, arrogant, elitist, are some of the adjectives I will use to describe yesterday’s VP debate participant Kamala Harris. She reminded me of Obama at his most arrogant peak of power just after winning the presidency. The way he treated John McCain was atrocious. His reminding comment that elections have consequences rings in my mind with contempt. Yes they do, but why rub it in? In this case the election is not yet been held and the candidate is showing off her tendencies to be a bitch. Kamala Harris is not one whom I want running this country, or any country for that matter.

Somehow I can’t picture her standing up to Vladimir Putin with her attitude that she is better than he. I truly believe Putin would put her in place accordingly. Her comment that she will not be lectured by the Vice President of the United States about her pissy poor record as Attorney General of a district that made her position only one notch lower than that of the Attorney General of the United States is a powerful chest expansion that is only exceeded by the expansion of her head on the matter of her importance. Like I said, she is as arrogant as Obama was maybe even worse. I would not want her to become president only because I don’t want Obama to lose his title of the worst president we ever had.

My guess is that if we allow this travesty to occur that the United States will become the United Socialist States of America in her first month in office. How anyone can call themselves a person of faith, and allow innocent babies to be slaughtered in lawful abortions is clueless to the meaning of a person of faith. How anyone can accuse us of being racist when her record of prosecuting blacks was much higher in percentage than her prosecution of whites for the same crimes? Her support for Joe Biden’s plan to eliminate COVID-19 is merely a repeat of what Trump and Pence have already done, What makes their plan better than the one that was followed? Her proposal to implement the Green New Deal is based on taking away the people’s liberty. There have been multiple global warming cycles throughout the ages and still our scientists make their most educated guesses that we the people are causing this one to occur. Why? Because they learned that CO2 causes air to become warmer. How long will it take for all the CO2 being generated by our fossil fuel burning is a matter of pulling the answer out of the crystal ball. Does it really matter if we speed up the process and make it happen a hundred years sooner when the cycle is a half million years? Does she and her scientist friends really believe that if the USA converted all of our energy needs to wind, solar, and democrat gastric out put in one day that we would not be impacted by China, India, Europe, and every other continent of this world? Does she think that by China building all electric cars only that the Chinese would then magically develop electric charging stations that will be powered by the sun? Even if they did, the pollution caused by making the batteries would be more damaging than that of conventional cars. Politicians should never get into arguments involving science because the scientists also have political leanings. Scientists can be just as stupid as politicians when it comes to defending their livelihood and fortunes.

Taxing the hell out of Americans to reduce their carbon footprint is merely a political scheme to control the masses. As I have stated before my vote won’t make one bit of difference in a state whose population has been politically manipulated and brainwashed to believe that voting democrat is the best thing they can do for themselves. Just ask them what they will do with the money they keep by defunding the police?

WordPress Sucks

I’ve been with WordPress and this BLOG for over twelve years, but I have to proclaim that WordPress can use some help. Two days ago I wrote what I believed was a pretty eloquent post covering a number of issues blended into a movie review. I was in the process of adding images and media to enhance the words. I hit the publish button and nothing happened. I realized that the post was frozen. Nothing I did would make it move in any direction. I saw a proclamation that read something to the effect that I had a more current back up. Without thinking about it, my bad, I hit the button for the backup. I got about in fourth of the piece from the backup.WTF? That is not my idea of a back up. A back up means you get your most recent post back in its entirety. I tried multiple ways to recover, but realized too late that I was fucked. I lost a great post. I’ve been stewing about for two days, but it won’t change a thing. WordPress is continuously trying to improve the experience but only succeeds in messing things up. I would be very happy using the original program of ten years ago. After all it’ s only a bit of trying and repetition that makes it happen.

I have never tried any other blogging program, but now I am open to exploring what else is out in the world. Every time WP tries something new it is to please the younger crowd that thinks from their seat. Of course the younger crowd has been kept from the world of logic and common sense. They all think like their phones, and therefore, so must the rest of us cater to the whims of Apple and Samsung. The result is a bunch of change that fails often, and causes an old guy like me to have apoplexy about it.

I have patiently endured the many changes WP has made and have tried their new editors, but I find that I like the old systems best. Once learned they make sense and when something makes sense it become easy to use. God forbid the younger set learn anything about making sense.

WP has made some things easier and more intuitive to use, such as the method for adding media into a blog post. Their latest systems are immensely easier to use, and I like them. What I don’t like is the tendency of the post to freeze and require shutting down in the middle of things to get things rolling again. That is not a normal thing, and it is a bug that must be corrected. Every time I been trouble shooting a problem like this I learn that I am not the only one having the issue. That is a problem for Word
Press.

Recently, I detected a problem with my video streaming service (Comcast) and lost hours trying to make the damned program work. All the time thinking is was me in my old age not understanding how to do these new fangled things. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred it is not me it is the vendor of the service. That pisses me off. I spent a good part of my life fixing products that were expected to work but didn’t. I know how frustrating that can be for the developer, but dam it, that is not an excuse. Get off you asses and fix the problem. I finally extracted a fix-it commitment from Comcast on the issue of their lousy streaming service. They have passed the date they predicted, and I am still having issues. Less than before, but the problem is still lurking in their software and comes up often. My fix is to pull the plug and do a hard reset. Usually that fixes the problem for awhile. Funny, I never read that in the owners manual that I should pull the plug and reboot to fix a problem three times a night.

The problem with all of these companies providing all these wonderful services is that they are so successful that they write off the few customers who have problems. If my boss had ever caught me writing off a problem because it was too small to worry about, I would have been applying for unemployment. Eventually, companies will begin losing money to their competition and wake up to the fact that it is their fault that it is happening. In the meantime, poor Joe the customer wastes his precious minutes of remaining life trying to resolve an issue that cannot be resolved. Joe has to learn how to click the “off” button to fix the problem and substitute reading books instead.

Reading Books, the Same as Streaming

My New Worst Enemy

I love technical things and TV has become very technical, and I am quickly learning to despise TV. In this world of user names and passwords it becomes mind boggling to keep track of it all. My iPhone is a perfect example of stupidity. It seems that every ten seconds I am pumping in the pass code before I can do anything phone. Why? Apple does it to protect me from guess who? Me. I know I’ll be the first one crying if my phone gets hacked but I think we have gone a bit too far to make this a secure world. The TV service emulates Apple in regard to pass codes, pass words, and all things Apple.

I sit in front of a computer, to use it I must enter a password. Then I want to use a program like Adobe, and I have to enter a password. If I want to access my online banking I must enter my account number followed by a password, then by one of those scrambled letter things which disappear if you take too long to figure out what the distorted letters are. Finally, I make it past the four digit squirrely-thingy and I face answering security questions, “Where was your honeymoon?” Which one I say? in all of this, if you miss three or four times in a row the program shuts you out.

My latest enemy is Amazon Prime a fringe service of Amazon. At first I used it for faster shipping, then I expanded the usage to watching the free video content. I’ve stated several times before that I am hooked on a series titled Heartland. Each season has eighteen episodes and I am at the tail end of season nine( 156/162 episodes). All along I was a happy camper, I love watching the beautiful scenery in high definition color on a big screen. A couple of weeks ago, I began having problems getting a specific episode to work. Why? Only God knows. I have been into all the help screens on my TV, on Xfinity my streaming service, and now on Amazon the competing service to Xfinity. There are user names, passcodes, passwords, and security id’s on all of them. Reading computerese on the help screens easily takes an hour just to find a sentence that will point at some trick they use to get around a problem. I don’t have enough hours left in my life to be spending them on technology that fails.

Last night I resorted to using Chat on Xfinity. When I hear the word chat I expect to speak with a real live human being. Instead I get to type my questions and a computer interprets my question to give me a stupid answer(artificial intelligence means no intelligence, and even less common sense). I’m positive that if I eventually connect with a human it will be a British-english speaking high pitched voice coming at me from India. Nine times out of ten, I apologize to them and ask them to speak more slowly and to enunciate their words because they are speaking to a deaf man. The the fast talking voice will begin interrogating me to determine if I know my name and address, phone number, last four digits of my Social Security number and where I spent my honeymoon before he asks me what my problem is.

This afternoon, I was prepared to spend two hours with my laptop on my lap, and the TV remote in my hand to finally figure something out. I went through the process to connect to my favorite series and everything worked beautifully. Why? Only God knows. The real test will come tonight when I turn on my nightly episode of Heartland. The real question is will I watch on the big TV, or will I be forced to watch on my laptop which by the way operates flawlessly in very few button pushes to get me to my program. Why? Only God knows.

Trending

In nineteen-eighty-two I read a book titled Megatends by John Naisbitt. It fascinated me. It read like a list of Nostradamus prophesies, but none of the predictions were created by a seer getting messages from God they were documented trends. I can truthfully report that all of the trends predicted in that book have become mainstream. A friend recently sent me a new list of trends that read like prophecies, except we already see some of these things happening.

WELCOME TO TOMORROW……!

1- The basic auto repair shops will disappear. Read on to know why.

2- A gasoline engine has 20,000 individual parts. An electrical motor has 20. Electric cars are sold with lifetime guarantees and are repaired only by dealers. It takes only 10 minutes to remove and replace an electric motor.

3- Faulty electric motors are not repaired in the dealership but are sent to a regional repair shop that repairs them with robots

4- Your electric motor malfunction light goes on, so you drive up to what looks like a car wash, and your car is towed through while you have a cup of coffee and out comes your car with a new electric motor!

5- Gas pumps will go away.

6- Street corners will have meters that dispense electricity. Companies will install electrical recharging stations; in fact, they’ve already started in the developed world.

7- Smart major auto manufacturers have already designated money to start building new plants that build only electric cars.

8-Coal industries will go away. Gasoline/oil companies will go away. Drilling for oil will stop. So say goodbye to OPEC! The middle-east is in trouble

9- Homes will produce and store more electrical energy during the day and then what they don’t use, they will sell it back to the grid. The grid stores it and dispenses it to industries that are high electricity users. Has anybody seen the Tesla roof?

10- A baby of today will see personal cars only in museums. The FUTURE is approaching faster than most of us can handle.

11- In 1998, Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85% of all photo paper worldwide. Within just a few years, their business model disappeared and they went bankrupt. Who would have thought of that ever happening?

12- What happened to Kodak and Polaroid will happen in a lot of industries in the next 5-10 years … and most people don’t see it coming.

13- Did you think in 1998 that 3 years later, you would never take pictures on film again? With today’s smart phones, who even has a camera these days?

14- Yet digital cameras were invented in 1975. The first ones only had 10,000 pixels, but followed Moore’s law. So as with all exponential technologies, it was a disappointment for a time, before it became way superior and became mainstream in only a few short years.

15- It will now happen again (but much faster) with Artificial Intelligence, health, autonomous and electric cars, education, 3D printing, agriculture and jobs.

16- Forget the book, “Future Shock”, welcome to the 4th Industrial Revolution.

17- Software has disrupted and will continue to disrupt most traditional industries in the next 5-10 years.

18- UBER is just a software tool, they don’t own any cars, and are now the biggest taxi company in the world! Ask any taxi driver if they saw that coming.

19- Airbnb is now the biggest hotel company in the world, although they don’t own any properties. Ask Hilton Hotels if they saw that coming.

20- Artificial Intelligence: Computers become exponentially better in understanding the world. This year, a computer beat the best Go-player in the world, 10 years earlier than expected.

21- In the USA, young lawyers already don’t get jobs. Because of IBM’s, you can get legal advice (so far for right now, the basic stuff) within seconds, with 90% accuracy compared with 70% accuracy when done by humans. So, if you study law, stop immediately. There will be 90% fewer lawyers in the future , (what a thought!) only omniscient specialists will remain.

22- Watson already helps nurses diagnosing cancer, it’s 4 times more accurate than human nurses.

23- Facebook now has a pattern recognition software that can recognize faces better than humans. In 2030, computers will become more intelligent than humans.

24- Autonomous cars: In 2018 the first self-driving cars are already here. In the next 2 years, the entire industry will start to be disrupted. You won’t want to own a car any ’more as you will call a car with your phone, it will show up at your location and drive you to your destination.

25- You will not need to park it, you will pay only for the driven distance and you can be productive while driving. The very young children of today will never get a driver’s license and will never own a car.

26- This will change our cities, because we will need 90-95% fewer cars. We can transform former parking spaces into green parks.

27- About 1.2 million people die each year in car accidents worldwide including distracted or drunk driving. We now have one accident every 60,000 miles; with autonomous driving that will drop to 1 accident in 6 million miles That will save a million lives plus worldwide each year.

28- Most traditional car companies will doubtless become bankrupt. They will try the evolutionary approach and just build a better car, while tech companies (Tesla, Apple, Google) will do the revolutionary approach and build a computer on wheels.

29- Look at what Volvo is doing right now; no more internal combustion engines in their vehicles starting this year with the 2019 models, using all electric or hybrid only, with the intent of phasing out hybrid models.

30- Many engineers from Volkswagen and Audi are completely terrified of Tesla and they should be. Look at all the companies offering all electric vehicles. That was unheard of, only a few years ago.

31- Insurance companies will have massive trouble because, without accidents, the costs will become cheaper. Their car insurance business model will disappear.

32- Real estate will change. Because if you can work while you commute, people will abandon their towers to move far away to more beautiful affordable locations.

33- Electric cars will become mainstream about 2030. Cities will be less noisy because all new cars will run on electricity.

34- Cities will have much cleaner air as well.

35- Electricity will become incredibly cheap and clean.

36- Solar production has been on an exponential curve for 30 years, but you can now see the burgeoning impact. And it’s just getting ramped up.

37- Fossil energy companies are desperately trying to limit access to the grid to prevent competition from home solar installations, but that simply cannot continue – technology will take care of that strategy.

38- Health: The Tricorder X price will be announced this year. There are companies who will build a medical device (called the “Tricorder” from Star Trek) that works with your phone, which takes your retina scan, your blood sample and you breath into it. It then analyses 54 bio-markers that will identify nearly any Disease. There are dozens of phone apps out there right now for health

WELCOME TO TOMORROW – some of it actually arrived a few years ago.

https://www.technibble.com/forums/members/barcelona.117497/

What I have not seen in this article is a plausible explanation of where the electricity to run all these inventions will come from. The closest is that solar cells are getting better. They will have to be ten-thousand times more efficient to generate the amount of electricity used by electric vehicles in the amount of fossil fuel generated power today.

COVID-19 has caused many of these innovations to become reality in the time we are hiding from the virus. Many of the computer devices doing diagnosis and doctor-patient face to face video conferences are becoming more realistic because we are actually using these systems. I personally witnessed a video conference between a doctor and patient in a hospital that took place via face to face video. I went to pick up a lady in the emergency room at Chicago’s Cook County Hospital. She was being discharged but she needed instructions for how to take care of herself once she got home. She does not speak English very well. Not a problem, she spoke Polish, Russian, and Lithuanian fluently. A nurse wheels up a portable video screen and types in her needs, doctor, discharge instructions, Russian. A young man appears on the screen live, and begins asking questions in Russian; the patient returns answers. She understands everything he tells her. The whole conference takes less than fifteen minutes to arrange and complete. If this lady had to rely on the old system she would have spent at least another four hours in the emergency room taking up space as she waited for an interpreter to come .

We may see the list of predictions above come true within ten years or it may take another hundred to happen, but these things will happen because they are not just dreams they are trends based on actual science that is happening today.

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