Friday, September 23, 2016

Salesforce to bid on Twitter?

Salesforce to bid on Twitter?  That's like Ace Hardware bidding on Chipotles!  What the hell are they thinking!

You just can't make this stuff up...

Product endorsement...

Product endorsement...  Most burglars won't enter a home that they believe is occupied.  Of course there are exceptions, but the vast majority of burglars would rather avoid the risks associated with breaking in and entering an occupied home.  That's the reason people buy those gadgets to turn lights on and off at random: it makes a potential burglar think someone must be at home.  The trouble with the light switching gadgets is that real people don't actually turn lights on and off at random – and they actually don't turn them on and off very often, either.  What real people do do, though, is watch TV.  Lots and lots of TV.

Now we don't have a burglary problem around here – house burglaries are very rare, and most people here don't even bother locking their doors.  I suspect that's partly because any burglars would know that everyone here is armed to the teeth, and also of a mindset that says one less burglar in the world makes for a better world. :)  It's probably also partly because everyone here watches out for each other, and because there aren't a lot of people with interesting possessions to burgle.  So we generally don't worry about it at all.

But I saw this gadget for sale and thought it was so clever that I just had to see how well it actually worked.  It's a small device, about two inches square, that contains an array of multi-colored LEDs.  Starting at dusk and continuing for a settable amount of time, it blinks the LEDs to simulate what it looks like when someone is watching TV.  I've got mine aimed at the ceiling in our second floor TV room, and when I'm outside after dark it really does look just like someone is watching TV there.  If you drive down any street at night, you'll see lots of windows that look just like this.  The simulation is good enough that even with careful inspection I couldn't tell it was fake.  The price is quite low, and the power consumption is also quite low – this would cost only a few pennies per night to operate.  I'd be willing to bet that it's effective at deterring the type of burglar – the most common type – that will avoid entering a home that appears to be occupied.

Well done, whoever dreamed this up.  Very clever!

Paradise ponders...

Paradise ponders...  This Wednesday afternoon I had the opportunity to lend a hand to one of our neighbors, Nick and Maria S.  Normally these folks are quite self-sufficient: they have six kids, the oldest of whom are adults still living at home.  That's enough muscle-power to handle just about any job, but this week they got one that was beyond them. :)  They took delivery of twelve bales of hay, but not the old-fashioned bales that weigh 60 to 70 pounds – they got the medium-sized 800 to 1,000 pound bales.  The truck that delivered them had no fork lift or tractor, so the family got themselves all together and pushed the bales off his truck.  That made a random pile of bales scattered about their yard.  Maria called to ask if I could come over with my tractor and pile them up neatly, so they could cover them before the rains hit.  So I ran over and did that, which turned out to be more challenging than you might think, as there was little room to maneuver between the bales.  I ended up moving most of the bales off to one side, just to make some space – then I stared piling them up in a neat stack.  After I finished with that, the whole family went to work putting up a tarp to cover them, anticipating the rain storm in the forecast.  It felt good to help these good neighbors out, even if it was such a little thing...

Speaking of the rain, we've been getting quite a rainstorm the past couple of days.  The current radar picture is at right, and for the moment the storm is in decline.  The forecast says we should expect heavy rain tonight, though.  It looks like the storm total will be close to 3", and that means it's a goopy mess outside right now: mud season has arrived!  With all the construction work around our house, the grass is gone from large swaths of our yard – it's been replaced by a gluey mud after the rain.  That means we have to be very careful exactly where we walk the dogs, because the field spaniels with their hairy paws will pick up several pounds of mud apiece.  We try to stick to pavement or wet grass; that way we just bring in water. :)

Yesterday morning I finished cleaning up the mess in Debbie's office, and Michelle (our friend and cleaning lady) made it all beautiful.  The photo at right is what it looks like if you walk in.  Also in there is a 24 port Cisco switch, a MikroTek router, a cable modem, and a Chamberlain modem for the garage doors – not to mention a bazillion power cords, network wires, audio cables, etc., etc.  All of that stuff is mounted up under the table at left in the photo, on the left side of the desk, and behind the desk.  If you get down on the floor you can see all this stuff, as in the photos below.  The nice part of all this from my point of view is that with very little effort I can see all the lights (especially on the cable modem, which is the most frequent source of problems) and get to all the cables.  Win!

Yesterday afternoon we had a nice lunch at Angie's (their pot roast special – delicious!), to Aggie's for a nice ice cream cone (also delicious!), and then out for a drive up to Hardware Ranch with Miki and Race along for the ride.  The fall color on the drive up to Hardware Ranch was just gorgeous – the oranges of oaks and the reds of maples were all around us, and the yellow of box elders and quaking aspen were starting to appear as well.  We have friends coming in for a visit on Sunday; I'm hoping the color is still good for them to enjoy.  We didn't see much wildlife, especially not birds, in the rain – but Debbie got a good view of a northern Harrier, and we both got to watch a meadowlark she spotted sitting in a bush just six feet or so from the truck.  We also saw two groups of deer, and a gorgeous rainbow (it was raining lightly on most of the trip).  Some photos from the trip below: