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Alas, Alack, It’s On Its Back

My trusty HP Deskjet K80 died tonight. I think it’s a motor because nothing moves It was a real pain getting the postcard sized photo paper out of the innards as all of the driver rollers have seized up.

It was a reliable beast [printer, scanner, copier, fax] for about 5 years, but I think the salt air and lousy voltage did it in. It was protected against surges, but it wasn’t on the UPS, so it was subjected to the low voltage that has been a problem for a while.

I have replaced it with a HP Deskjet J4540, which is smaller, lighter, faster, and about 80% cheaper, but it is still change, and who wants change. They asked if I wanted some sort of extended warranty, and I told them to forget it. It has gotten to point that it is almost cheaper to buy a new printer than ink cartridges for an old one, when you can find ink cartridges for an older printer.

September 23, 2009   9 Comments

Guiberson Fire [Ventura County] 9-23

FireThe fire has burned 16,100 acres of mostly grassland and is 40% contained. The windy, high temperature, low humidity weather conditions continue.

Campus Canyon Elementary, Walnut Canyon Elementary and Moorpark College are closed because of poor air quality from the smoke.

In additional to farms and ranches, the fire is threatening oil production fields, five 220-kilovolt power lines, and a 36-foot above-ground gas line.

The fire started at approximately 10:33 AM PDT on 22 September south of Guiberson Road in Ventura County. Probable cause is suspected spontaneous combustion of manure at a ranch.

There have been 4 reported injuries among firefighters.

Currently there are 84 engines, 18 hand crews, 9 bulldozers, 4 water tenders, 12 helicopters, 8 air tankers, and 864 personnel assigned to the fire. To date cost $1.1 million.

Links: Cal Fire Guiberson Fire page, the Enplan Wildfire Viewer, the LA Times Wildfires Page, and their Guiberson Fire Map.

[For more information go to the CATEGORIES drop-down box below the CALENDAR and select “Fires” for all of the posts related to wildfires on this site.]

September 23, 2009   2 Comments

NSF Or Uncollected?

The Miami Herald notes that a Bounced check disqualifies Miami Beach candidate Joshua LaRose

LaRose submitted the $1,360 check to the city on Sept. 10, one day before the qualifying deadline. But the city learned Sept. 18 that SunTrust Bank had returned the check because the 28-year-old candidate did not have sufficient funds in his account.

LaRose says he opened the account with $500 in cash and then deposited $2000 in checks, but the bank put a hold on the checks. That means the check came back “uncollected funds”, not “not sufficient funds”.

The banks charge both sides for returned checks, so it is in their interest to increase the frequency of this happening. Putting a hold on deposited checks is one way of doing it, but they have made other changes.

Two decades ago, when I was involved with banking software, the reconciliation code added deposits to accounts first, and then deducted checks. These days the jobs are reversed. That means if you deposit your paycheck in the morning, and your landlord deposits your rent check in the afternoon, the rent check is deducted before the paycheck is credited.

The other thing that happens is that more and more businesses are using checks like debit cards and electronically withdrawing funds from your account immediately, while your direct deposits will credited at some time during the day.

Every bank has their own strategy, and you had better know what it is, or you will end up paying fees that you really shouldn’t have to pay, just like Mr. LaRose. Oh, these incidents also affect your credit rating.

September 23, 2009   2 Comments

What A Surprise

The Pensacola News Journal is carrying a report on our former Senator, Mel Martinez. I know you are going to be shocked, but he has managed to get a job with DLA Piper as a lobbyist. Two weeks from the Senate to a lobbyist, that was so unsuspected… 😈

Meanwhile, his replacement, George LeMieux, has been given assignments to the Armed Services Committee, the Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee, and the Special Committee on Aging.

Given that he has no actual expertise in any of those areas, I’m sure the helpful people at DLA Piper will be more that happy to give him some guidance.

Those committees are important to Florida, which is why it would be nice to send someone to the Senate who actually knows something about the subject matter.

September 23, 2009   Comments Off on What A Surprise

Oh, Yeah, That Will Work

The Washington Post reports on The Deadly Silence of the Electric Car

After years of trying to make cars sound as if they were riding on air, engineers are considering how they might bring back some noise. They’re trying to make some of them — those silent hybrids — more audible.

But how?

Apparently Japanese auto makers are looking at chimes, ringtones, and the whirring noise made by vehicles in Blade Runner.

So, they think they are going to be alerting blind people that a car is coming when it sounds like a cellphone or a berserk hair dryer.

I already covered this, and my solution was to make cars – sound like cars. There, that wasn’t so hard, was it.

September 23, 2009   6 Comments