Monday, January 21, 2019

Home Upgrades: The Impressive Orbi

I had setup our home wifi about 7years ago. It has been running rather slowly, especially now that the kids have discovered Netflix on their devices, and coverage has always been rather lackluster. I had a router and then a wireless repeater to get coverage to the side of the house opposite where the Modem was and to provide coverage into the basement. Basement coverage was less than great, typically at most 2 bars and Netflix on the TV downstairs could be slow and coverage at the other side of the house was often not great either.

She who must be obeyed requested I fix this problem as it was becoming rather annoying, especially when she needed a strong connection for work while the kids would play.

So this weekend, I picked up a Netgear Orbi RBK to replace my prior system.

Setup was very easy.

I unplugged the old router and had the router plugged into the cable modem and the satellite setup where the old repeater had been. Withing a few minutes I was fully up and had all the devices around the house (printer, computers, everyone's idevice), reconnected to the Orbi and the Orbi network ID renamed to something the kids chose which was to them rather whimsical and clever but suitably edgy, and the default username and passwords changed.

Testing it out, the performance was impressively improved.

There was full reception in the basement and in the far reaches of the house, and the speed and smoothness was markedly increased throughout the house.

Two Netflix movies playing and computers could still connect and do work without issue.

Seven years worth of improvements in home wireless technology certainly has paid off in this device.

A definite recommendation if you're finding your home internet wifi slow and in need of an upgrade.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Snow Day

Well, the weather forecast was correct as far as its prediction of snow.

Snow we have had pretty much constantly coming down since this morning. Probably around 4 inches so far, far less than the 8 anticipated.

By 9:00 I had to clear the driveway to get out and drove without too much difficulty to my Saturday morning Jiu-Jitsu workout, save for being delayed by people who couldn't figure out how to drive in what was a relatively light but constant snow.

By 12:00 however it was coming down far more steadily, visibility sucked, and it was pretty clear that no one had plowed the roads in any way, which made the way home rather slow and slippy. Time to get off the road, especially considering the accidents witnessed on the way.

Thence I arrived at the newly re-snow-covered Driveway of Doom™, I made it up with only some slight slippage and hesitation at one point, but I kept the power to the wheels going and it made it up and into the garage, hesitate for even a moment and ease off the gas and you're stuck.

I then plowed the driveway yet again in much more slippery conditions, sliding down the driveway as I went, so Tash could make it up when she returned from her errands of the morning. The job was done and she got up no problem.

Snow is still coming down and I'm going to have to do it again and I must say the day has been quite a workout already.

This is the first serious snow day of the season. We've been rather lucky so far with only light dustings and nothing too serious. Winter hath definitely cometh.

Now time to relax around the house and having a hot beverage is in order.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Feeling Old By Comparison

The right speaker on my Macbook Pro has started to crackle and be all static-ky. This is likely due to the speaker being deformed by heat over time, and is a pretty well known Macbook problem.

Otherwise, it's trucking right along nicely, and the recent update to Mojave improved the speed on quite a few things and fixed the startup from sleeping reliability issue I was having under Sierra.

Since its been a trusty and good machine and has been holding up well and humming right along, so a repair rather than replacement makes sense, right?

So I contacted Apple support to see what a replacement would cost.

Well, it turns out my 2013 Macbook Pro is now considered to be vintage by Apple.

Vintage.

Yep, 2013 is considered Vintage, I'm a flippin' antique by comparison then, eh?

Vintage means Apple no longer supports it but they referred me to some third-party repair companies to figure out what the replacement will cost.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Day Of The Streak Eagle - 44 Years Ago

January 16, 1975 marked the end of the MIG-25 Foxbat dominating the skies with world records for Time to Climb to various altitudes.

These records were smashed by this aircraft:

The Mighty F-15 Eagle.

With a thrust to weight ratio of greater than one, it had power to spare. Strip it down of all non-essential equipment and the Streak Eagle was ready to set some new records.

On the first day, January 16, 1975 five of the eight records held by the MIG-25 and by the F-4 Phantom were broken:

More than 60 flights were flown leading up to and including the record attempt. Record flights were flown, in ascending order at meter intervals of 3,000/6,000/9,000/12,000/15,000/20,000/25,000 and 30,000.

January 16, 1975, was historic, as records for the first five altitudes fell in the space of six hours, with the three in the middle all occurring on the same flight. On the first record flight, the "Streak Eagle" was flown to the 3,000 meter height in 27.57 seconds, eclipsing the old mark by a margin of 6.9 seconds.

The 6,000 meter record of 39.33 seconds (by a margin of 9.5 seconds); 9,000 meters in 48.86 seconds (by a margin of 12.8 seconds); and 12,000 meters in 59.38 seconds (by a margin of 17.7 seconds), were all set on the same flight. Maj. MacFarlane flew this record flight. "He lifted off in the blink of an eye, level accelerated just a few feet off the ground, pulled up into a vertical climb and accelerated through the speed of sound easily while in the vertical climb," Enos said. "The airplane and engines operated perfectly."

For the record attempts at 15,000 meters and above, pilots wore high-altitude pressure suits. At these higher altitudes, the Streak Eagle was 10 seconds faster to altitude than the Apollo Saturn Rocket moon shots. The 15,000 meter record of 77.02 seconds (by a margin of 37.5 seconds) was flown on a profile similar to the lower record flights. The last three record flights had similar profiles – a level acceleration at just above ground level, followed by a constant G pull up to a vertical climb, and then an "Immelmann turn," an aerobatic maneuver that results in level flight in the opposite direction at a higher altitude, followed by an acceleration to the target Mach number, then a constant G pull up to the optimum climb angle. Incredibly, on the 30,000 meter record attempt, at the time of the Immelmann, the aircraft was about 21 miles down-range and through Mach 2 speed - only two minutes after take-off. On that flight, a promotional U.S. Air Force video reported that the "Streak Eagle" was on a "nearly ballistic flight path."

Three Air Force pilots Maj. William "Mac" MacFarlane, Maj. Roger Smith, and Maj. Dave Peterson flew the Eagle, busting the records previously held by the F4 Phantom and MIG-25. This is what happens when you combine hot pilots with a hot aircraft. The Streak Eagle flew faster than the Saturn 5 moon mission rockets.

There is video taken at the time of these record breaking attempts, complete with 70's music:

Now That's an aircraft.

The Streak Eagle now nests at the National Museum of The US Air Force in Dayton Ohio.

Monday, January 14, 2019

The Government Shutdown Of Fun - IRS Edition

Well, even as the government is supposedly shut down the IRS had no problems cashing my quarterly withholding check. That's highly appreciated, really.

On the other hand, the IRS turned off its fax line for filing S-Corp elections. It's not like a fax line costs money or anything and assuming they're up to date technology wise that fax should go right to electronic storage so its not like anyone even needs to be there to refill the fax machine's paper tray or anything like that.

As a result, quite a few of my clients are left hanging wondering if their election to be an S-Corp will be approved or not. Also I can't send the elections cheaply by fax but now have to be mailing them by certified mail so we have a proof of mailing as there are deadlines as to when you can make that election and missing the the election cutoff date has serious tax consequences. Hopefully the IRS will count the election date as the date of mailing, not the date when they finally reopen.

So, the shutdown doesn't affect them processing check and taking in your money, but it does affect you making a filing that has a tight deadline that can save you money. A real nice shutdown we got here.

End this clown show - allocate the money to build the wall which is a drop in the bucket as far as federal government overall spending goes, make a real budget, and pass it already so we don't have these continuing resolution games.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Flying: Regaining Currency

It had been months since I last had flown - every time I had booked in October, November and December I had to cancel due to weather. Basically we had lousy weather the past few months for flying - low, low clouds and other lousy conditions for flying. Over 90 days without flying - yuck.

If you haven't made 3 takeoffs and landings within 90 days you're no longer current to carry passengers. Not flying for that long was making me antsy about how rusty I would be when I got in the cockpit again.

I just got my medical renewed last week so it was time to fly if the opportunity presented itself.

I did some necessary chores around the house and then headed to the airport. I had a short window between tasks that needed to be done and I intended to make the most of it. The Archer was available so I jumped on it and my friend Peter would be flying it right after me so I told him I'd warm it up for him.

Today was forecast to be marginal VFR but the weather gods of aviation decided to smile and it became a nice sunny VFR by the time I got to the airport. Could not ask for nicer weather for a refresher flight.

I got to the airport and did a careful by-the-checklist preflight making sure I didn't miss anything after not flying for so long. The winter blanket and oil heater cord came off the plane, and I turned off the interior electric heater as well and unplugged it as part of the preflight and all was well.

The winter blankets and heaters did their thing - I had a good and easy start up, and a good run-up and then a taxi to Runway 9L.

It was time to do some pattern and make sure I could land the plane after all this time.

The wind started at 40 degrees but then tended to be out of 10-20 degrees at 10-12 knots, so some crosswind landing practice was in order.

A nice takeoff as if I hadn't ceased flying. The aircraft performance in cold, crisp, air was outstanding. She wanted to climb like a homesick angel. Up to pattern altitude in no time flat. A nice pattern and a good line up for landing number 1.

Landing number one was rather solid and aircraft-carrier like, juvat's F-4 Navy IP would have approved, so there was room for improvement.

Number 2 was much better, even as I had to fly a longer downwind due to a Cessna 172 doing a B-52 pattern.

Number 3 took place after a Cirrus and it was a sublime landing indeed. By then the wind had shifted to a consistent 010 at 11-12 knots and I had the landing nailed - good crosswind control in, excellent line up, and as smooth and sweet a landing as you could ask for from the plane and pilot.

Number 4 was more of the same but was nice and precise and used very little runway, as did landing 5. Then 6 was a thing of beauty - flying to rolling with no issues. I then terminated and tower let me roll down to the exit by the row where the plane is hangered.

I then parked it outside the hanger and called for fuel so it would be nice and full when Peter got there. He showed up with his son and we chatted for a bit, and then I headed off for home to get some more chores, to be begun and done right after I finish this post.

Currency for carrying passengers during the day is now restored and I'm feeling really good about my flying again.

That's 1.1 and 6 landings.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

So. Much. Hair.

Today at the House was plumbing drain cleaning day.

Yes, the kids' bathroom sink and shower had a slow drain as did our shower.

There had been much complaining of slow drains and something had to be done. Time for something.

It went kinda like this.

We bought a Drain Rooter Drain Snake and went to work on the drains.

So. Much. Hair.

Let me tell you, that drain snake stick works.

Lots of hair was retrieved from the drains. I mean lots, and lots more. The smell accompanying the retrieval of the hair was rather less than enjoyable to say the least.

We then put a sink mushroom in the kids bathroom drain to try to prevent future hair intrusion. We'll see how long that lasts.

I followed this up with chemical warfare in our shower drain to get the excess that could not be retrieved with the stick.

The drains all work so much better now. Home and plumbing maintenance, while necessary, can be rather gross.