Yup. When folks exclaim over some of the monies I pay for equipment,
tools, etc. I just point out the "excesses" (IMO) that I see in
their purchases: dress shoes, vacations, dinners, hiring out for things
they can easily do themselves, etc. When they think about those and see
them as NOT excesses, I tell them "I see *my* purchases the same way!"
We don't plan on being a "burden" to anyone (including each other) in
our old age. OTOH, we've seen our share of friends dying before they
had a chance to enjoy "retirement" (or, whatever you call the
portion of your life when YOU call the shots).
Or, folks squander that time on activities that we consider "sad"
(i.e., work your whole life to reward yourself with days of sitting
in front of the TV??)
I've known a couple people over the years, long enough
to see how they spend money. I've come to the conclusion
that each person has some hard and fast rules. And some
strong rules. Often, the hard and fast rules make no
sense to me.
One former friend totally refused $10 gas money so
I could take him to a store out of town to save
$75 or so. Aparently, "RULE: NEVER GIVE FRIENDS
MONEY" was louder than "save $75".
One rule that stuck with me was "Never spend more than 33% of your gross
Stationed at Hickam AFB in Hawaii, working the swing shift, and
hitch-hiking into Waikiki every morning to go surfing on different
occasions I happened to get rides with two different old guys.
The first one was selling stainless steel cookware door-to-door and
driving a clapped out old car - because he needed the money to eat. His
story was that, when he was young, he always had a new car, was always
ready to throw his money around for a good time.... and now he was 65
and living hand-to-mouth.
The second guy had been a bartender all his life. He was a good 10
years older than the first guy - driving a new rental car, and staying
at one of the top hotels in Waikiki. His story was: "Every dollar I
ever earned, I divided into thirds: one third for Uncle Sugar (i.e.
taxes), one-third for me (to be spend), and one-third for the bank
(savings)..... I'm not what anybody would call rich, but the world is my
Needless-to-say, the second made an impression.
I never managed to fully live up to the 33% rule, but came pretty close
- and I have to say the guy was definitely on to something.
What people "value" seems to vary, greatly.
Also, those "values" typically change over time.
I tend not to "want much". OTOH, I've always been able to buy
whatever it is that I wanted (as long as I wasn't being unrealistic
in my desires).
One observation that hit home when I was younger was how much
"kids" (apparently) cost! A guy I worked with was excited to
be *finally* purchasing a new microwave oven (back when
microwave ovens were $500 appliances). I couldn't understand
his excitement: first, a microwave oven is just "functional"...
it's not a "toy" of any kind (to get excited over); second,
the fact that his comments suggested he had been PLANNING this
purchase, for some time. I.e., that he didn't just go out and
BUY one when he decided he needed/wanted it!
I knew he made roughly the same pay as me. And, their income
should have been roughly comparable to mine. So, why wouldn't
he be able to just buy what he wanted, when he wanted it?
(no, not a substance abuser so what could be soaking up all
of his income?)
Then, realized the key difference was that they had kids and
we didn't! ("Wow! Could kids make THAT big a difference in
[Of course, his wife might have been a clothes horse or
they may have had some unusual medical needs -- youth doesn't
guarantee freedom from health issues...]
When we had a tornado last year, cell phone service was unreliable
(probably overloaded and dropping calls), but was working OK in less
than an hour. Wired phone was out for 5 days.
In the previous major outage (hurricane Ike), wired phone was out for a
couple of days. Cell worked all that time.
On Saturday, May 14, 2016 at 2:11:22 PM UTC-4, Mark Lloyd wrote:
It was the same here in NJ after Sandy. I had cell service the whole
time. Landline in my specific area, I can't say, because I don't have
it, but given the extent of lines down all over and that many shore
towns the poles and everything were kaput, I think a lot of landline
service was out. In many of those badly damaged shore towns, Verizon
will not be putting copper back in, it's gone for good.
On Sat, 14 May 2016 12:39:52 -0700 (PDT), trader_4
What makes POTS so good here is when Sprint bought UTS, they replaced
just about everything with lots of fiber and virtually all of it is in
the ground. They put fiber in front of my house but Century Link never
used it and now it appears to be abandoned. A "locate" only comes up
with 2 services and there used to be 3. When Century Link replaced the
pedestals, the installer said he never heard anything about a fiber.
Unfortunately, we are rarely able to get a cell signal here at home. I'm
not sure why as I can see the cell tower on the hill above us. Must be the
topography or something. We've tried different phones and guests can't get
reception with their phones either.
Thankfully, phone service is the least of my concerns during a power
outage. I don't call anyone anyway.
Lewis Black, the comedian, does an entire bit on this. Talks about
how his cellphone vendor (AT&T?) is unavailable to him in downtown
NYC. He complained to his vendor and they offered to sell him a
"transmitter" to boost his cellphone signal. He then went on to
berate sed same vendor for charging the him $200 to complete the
Well, I thought it was so funny, I cancelled my cellphone service.
Damned if the thing doesn't work jes fine on my wifi modem. ;)
We have a similar problem with OTA DTV. I can *see* the towers on
the mountain a few miles (as the crow flies) from here. Yet, our
reception is spotty. Esp during rain/high winds (I suspect there is
a tree in the sightline to the antenna).
On 5/12/2016 4:56 PM, email@example.com wrote:
As I said upthread:
"That's only for the smaller, consumer-ish units -- 12V 7.2AHr batteries."
Over the years:
http://www.recycledgoods.com/media/extendware/ewimageopt/media/inline/e4/d/apc-bp500uc-500-va-pro-500-back-ups-0fd.jpgoriginally used to power my "24/7/365" box. Discarded as it didn't have
much capacity (peak power as well as runtime) and was too tall to be of
practical use (I wanted to wedge it under a dresser in the bedroom). It
has *one* 7.2AHr battery in its belly.
https://www.batteriesplus.com/content/images/product/large/439162.jpgalso discarded for similar reasons (though it was lower profile and
I could slide it under one of my dressers -- not possible with the
I had a similar shape unit (but with a METAL skin) that also got
discarded because it took a *different* battery (shorter and fatter)
and I didn't want to have to buy two different styles of similar
capacity batteries (I buy batteries in bulk -- 10 at a time). Also,
it only had four outlets on the back and two of them were "pigtails".
This was OK when the 24/7 box and switch were the only "local
loads" but I now have a tablet PC and mouse charger plugged into
the same UPS (immediately below).
Yet another similar version (different shape):
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41Bd9kNCU%2BL._SY355_.jpgis what currently powers the 24/7 box and the small 16port
switch adjacent. Again, one 12V 7.2Ahr battery underneath.
I have one of these powering the set of three monitors shared
by my two primary workstations:
http://excessups.com/images/products/BX1500LCD.jpgI have another that powers my "personal stereo" and "PROM programmer"
(doesn't like to lose power when it is programming an EPROM!). They
take two of the 12V 7.2AHr batteries arranged side by side.
I have eight of these:
http://www.upsforless.com/ProductImages/apcfrom20060601/br1500-FL.jpg(or the 1200VA variants thereof) powering individual computers around
the house. They also serve as handy "extension cords" and "outlet
multipliers" -- allowing me to plug any specific peripherals that are
associated with that particular computer into the same device so
everything goes on/off with one switch. They take two of the 7.2AHr
batteries but stacked one atop each other.
[You can buy the "12V 7.2AHr" battery in different claimed capacities;
some as high as 9AHr. But, they're all the same physical size]
http://emachinespk.com/upload/images/APC%20Smart-UPS%202200VA%20Usb%20&%20Serial%20230V.jpgtook a pass on a pair of these as they are really heavy (the bottom half
is "all battery") and too big to slide "under" anything. It has a *pair*
of these battery packs in it:
http://www.champion-battery-sales.com/media/catalog/product/r/b/rbc7.jpgeach "pack" is roughly the size of a car battery (though actually two
12V batteries glued together)
I currently have three of these to power my automation system:
http://thumbs3.picclick.com/d/l400/pict/291234523038_/APC-SUA1000-SMART-UPS-TOWER-BACKUP-1000VA-670W-120V.jpgthough mine are the 1500VA size and equipped with network interfaces
(so the automation system can query the state of the UPS's). They
take *one* of the above battery packs.
I'm looking to replace these with something like the 3000VA version of:
http://images10.newegg.com/NeweggImage/ProductImage/42-101-176-03.jpgmainly because it is powered by a 48V battery pack:
http://excessups.ca/media/catalog/product/cache/2/image/650x/040ec09b1e35df139433887a97daa66f/r/b/rbc43_3_2_1_1_1_1.jpgbut entirely different size/shape batteries therein.
The 48V DC supply would allow me to directly power the PoE PSE without
requiring a separate 3000VA 48V power supply! I.e., the AC capabilities
of the UPS are largely ignored and it is treated as a big 48V battery.
But, a friend is suggesting addressing these needs separately; a tiny
100VA UPS to power the database server "PC" and a separate 48V battery
with charger -- noting that the charger need not RUSH to recharge
the battery pack after an outage (as is the problem with many UPS's).
If so, using flooded cells for the battery could give me a much lower
maintenance cost (lower the specific gravity)
Exactly. Buying a UPS is almost silly, nowadays. If you can't find
someone EAGER to have you take theirs off their hands, you haven't
Unfortunately, the larger devices (2000VA+) tend to see use in data centers.
And, the folks there have budgets for battery replacements. So, discards
are harder to come by (and often rack mount forms)
I buy the "7.2AHr" batteries in lots of 10 or 12. This usually gives
me a 20% discount -- just for the quantity.
However, the larger UPS's need higher capacity batteries. So, this
means keeping two different types of batteries on hand. And, given
that batteries in THESE applications are intended NOT to be used/needed,
it's a huge bit of cash tied up "just in case".
So, I'm now looking for cheaper/lower capacity batteries with a goal
of just providing brownout protection and very short uptimes. The
individual computers talk to their specific UPS's so they can shut down
if the UPS tells them its failing. And, if I'm in the middle of something,
I can always save my work and come back to it at another time
(being able to "continue working" for long periods of time on any
of 8 or 10 computers "at random" is a hefty "support" requirement
for a UPS!). The *real* backup need is the automation system and
a single LONG TERM solution, there, can pay off handsomely -- WITH
the right UPS!
On 05/12/2016 11:39 AM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
This UPS is one of those APC units that look like a fat power strip. It
could be a bad battery, that drops the voltage too much with more than a
little load. It's something to consider when I need a new UPS for a
The 550-600 type? They have one battery and you don't even have to
take it apart to get the battery out, There is a door in the back.
Those are fairly cheap but be aware there are lots of model numbers
for essentially the same battery. Watch the size and amp hour rating.
No overhead lights in the bedrooms -- all on "bedside tables", etc.
Living room has overhead lights -- but also floor lamps (for reading).
If I need/want a light someplace that doesn't have one handy, I can grab
a table lamp from one of the bedrooms and carry it to <wherever>.
I don't like buying things for a specific (esp rare) event. E.g.,
our flashlights are not intended for use in the absence of power but,
rather, in teh absence of *light* (e.g., under the hood of the car,
under my workbenches, inside the furnace, etc.).
I have one large "flashlight" that runs off 8 D cells and has a CFL
http://images.drillspot.com/pimages/000/415/926/415926_300.jpgYou can tug on the front bezel to convert it to a "lantern":
But, it eats batteries. Someday, I'll make a wallwart adapter to
use it as a lantern for these occasions. (The idea of installing
rechargeable D cells is almost laughable)
We read a lot (in my case, ~500pp every week). We both consider it
a "guilty pleasure" as it is a "selfish" act -- totally exclusive of
All I need is a text editor to write code. I'm not the sort that writes
5 lines and then needs to see (if) it runs. I can write an entire module
before ever seeing a compiler or debugger.
Ah, my workstations are big power hogs. I spin 1T on each, have
each configured for 4 monitors (though I only use three), a pair of
SCSI HBA's in each, etc. I have a separate UPS just to power the
We could probably save a fair bit in our monthly electric bill if I
moved to a laptop for most of my work. But, getting all the various
I/O devices attached (tablet, motion controller, scanner, etc.)
makes that impractical. Also, I've not found a laptop keyboard that
I'm happy with...
As it says in the airport: "360 days of sunshine" I.e., we KNOW when
it is NOT sunny!
Sorry, I'll be busy. Maybe your wife can take care of that for you??
I tend to be awake at hours that most people are asleep. So,
the neighborhood will be dark -- save my office light. Also,
the way the power feeds this area is wonky. The folks a block
from here are on a different feed -- yet still very much part of
We keep the phone for contact our "providers" (doctors, dentists,
lawyers, etc.) and for the few random calls to other vendors
(e.g., I ordered replacement rollers for the refrigerator and
we'll get a call when they come in).
Shopping is one of our weekly rituals -- always done as a couple (unless
one of us is incapacitated). It lets us plan our menu for the coming week
based on what we encounter in the stores ("Hmmm, asparagus looks good!
We can do that meal Wednesday...")
Our outages tend to be infrequent -- I think in large part due to
below grade services. OTOH, we had a distribution transformer kick
the bucket in the neighborhood, once. Another time, a fire in a cable
vault. But, never "some drunk hit a light pole"...
On 5/11/2016 5:29 PM, email@example.com wrote:
"Old" phones (i.e., from Western Electric -- the sorts with real
BELLS in them) tend to be 1 REN -- the telco actually had to
deliver the power to move the clapper to strike the bell.
Newer phones tend to have much lower REN's -- they "sense"
the "ring voltage" (90 volts) and tell the little computer
(damn near everything has a computer of some type!) "Hey,
there's an incoming call!".
The little computer than figures out how to "ring A bell"
(cricket chirp, etc.) to alert the user. Often, using
"power" available from a battery pack or wall wart power
adapter (i.e., the phone company is not supplying the "ring
By contrast, our "cordless phone set" has a REN of 0.1 and
has to deal with four phones plus the answering machine
(all wrapped in that 0.1 REN).
The takeaway, here, is to consider the *types* of phones that
you have. Anything recent will have a "REN number" printed
on the device, somewhere.
Our land line is about $30 -- most of that being taxes and fees.
We have no fancy features. No long distance service (we use
calling cards or SWMBO's cell phone for that and sidestep those
additional fees). Her cell phone runs a bit less than $10/month.
And, our ISP is $20. No CATV. So, our "communications costs"
TPC is making a huge mistake, IMO. They've got all that copper
and CO equipment. They should be "GIVING AWAY" services to keep
eeking value out of it. E.g., instead of trying to ding people $60
for DSL, give it to them for $20 -- let them buy faster speeds
if they are shy on capacity (capacity that is not SOLD is WASTED!)
Here, they have been trying to replace wired land lines with
WIRELESS land lines. It gives them a way around the regulations
that apply to *wired* delivery.
(Why buy a wireless land line that you can't CARRY WITH YOU???)
I got it done this morning - thanks all.
1. disconnected Bell cable at the outside interface box
2. re-routed the internet cable to a better location
<modem, hub, router in a central location near a phone jack>
3. RJ-11 splitter into the phone jack
4. hub + 1 old phone into splitter
5. 1 other old timey phone in basement
6. 1 cordless pair for main floor and master bedroom
< 1 old timey phone relegated to spare-dom >
Everything seems to work OK - fingers crossed.
... just need to read-up on the cordless set - it wants to
call out the incoming calls !
... we never knew they could talk !
< never had call display before .. >
Nope - not on the hub. link below.
One of my 3 old phones had it 1.2 I think.
"load number" was specified on one, as 29.
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