photos

Saturday, August 19th, 2017 03:53 am
darkoshi: (Default)
Three vultures and a crow in a dead tree. The crow seemed to be cawing at the vultures.


Impressive power lines.


I call this the "yellow brick road". Yellow flowers grow in this gravel path, and only in the path, not in the surrounding fields of grass.

solar power

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017 11:05 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
Our electric company has a program where you can either buy or rent solar panels which are set up out in the countryside (rather than on your roof). They take care of all the setup and maintenance. As I want to support clean renewable energy, it sounds like a great thing for me to do. But after reading the details about the program, I have a nagging feeling that it sounds too good to be true.

Especially the part in the FAQ about renting panels, which says "Monthly credits are expected to be greater than monthly fees providing for instant saving."
I wonder if the panels provide more power when they are new, so that to begin with, the credits might exceed the fees, but in later years the reverse would be true?

Do any of you have experience, or know someone with experience, in these type of programs?

The electric company also has a rooftop solar program. Each customer can only participate in one of the programs, not both. I've seen several houses with solar panels on their roofs. My house would likely be a good candidate for that too, as it gets a good amount of sunshine. But the idea of putting solar panels on my roof worries me in that
- the panels would interfere with getting the shingles replaced, whenever the shingles eventually need to be replaced (although maybe they lengthen the life of the shingles underneath them, as the shingles would be less exposed?)
- if someone needs to walk on my roof for something (cleaning gutters, fixing leaks, trimming tree branches), the panels would be in the way
- if not installed well, they might cause roof leaks?
darkoshi: (Default)
My last AT&T landline phone bill amounts to $32.81, of which $19.40 is for the residential line. Everything else is taxes, fees, and surcharges. The highest of those is $8.17 for a "Federal Subscriber Line Charge".

This FCC page says:
The Subscriber Line Charge is a fee that you pay to your local phone company that connects you to the telephone network. Local telephone companies recover some of the costs of telephone lines connected to your home or business through this monthly charge on your local telephone bill. Sometimes called the federal subscriber line charge, this fee is regulated and capped by the FCC, not by state Public Utility Commissions. It is not a tax or a fee charged by the government. The money received from the subscriber line charge goes directly to local telephone companies. To ensure that all Americans can afford at least a minimal level of basic telephone service, the FCC will not allow phone companies to charge more than $6.50 for a single line.


I have only a single line. So I'm wondering why my charge is more than $6.50. Does anyone else out there have a landline phone bill for a single line, with a monthly Subscriber Line Charge of higher than $6.50? I'm thinking maybe they increased the cap, but didn't update the web page... But even back in January 2014, I was being billed $6.78 for it. Only as far back as June 2012 was it under $6.50.

The main reason I still have a landline is for work. I haven't had many dial-in meetings lately, but there's always the possibility they can come up again. Cell phones aren't ideal for them.

Update:
This page mentions that there was talk in 2008 of increasing the cap to $8.50.

This page mentions that some companies are allowed to charge higher amounts, but it sounds to me that wouldn't apply to AT&T. A prior post in the thread indicates that this this part of the Federal Code of Regulations controls the cap. But I'm not sure if that data is up to date.

Many other people have posted about being charged more than $6.50, so it doesn't seem to be an unusual thing.


Update - 2017/05/20:
I corrected a typo above; my residential line charge is $19.40, not $17.40.

I also found the following information which explains why my Federal Subscriber Line Charge (FSLC) is higher than the $6.50 cap, even though that cap hasn't changed. The amount on my bill must be a combination of 2 charges - the FSLC and an "Access Recovery Charge".

Understanding Your Telephone Bill and Charges:
Beginning July 1, 2012, the FCC will allow Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (LECs) to assess a new Access Recovery Charge (ARC). The FCC will allow Incumbent LECs to bill the ARC separately, or to combine the ARC with the SLC for purposes of billing the two charges. The FCC will allow Incumbent LECs to assess a monthly charge of up to $0.50 per line on residential end users, single-line business customers, and non-primary residential lines. The $0.50 ARC may increase an additional $0.50 annually through 2016 or 2017...


I also found the following blurb on my old bill from July 2012, which was the first month that the amount went over $6.50:
Effective 7/3/2012, the Federal Subscriber Line Charge, regulated by the Federal Communications Commission, will increase. Your current bill reflects the change.
darkoshi: (Default)
This is the 2nd night in a row my internet has gone down. Yesterday it was from about 12:30am to 1:07am. Today it was from 12:20am to 1:30am.

You might think that would be a good nudge to get me to go to bed a bit earlier than otherwise. But no, it leaves me too distraught to want to go to bed. I end up staying up even later than I might otherwise. I was in the middle of looking stuff up! How can I just drop everything and go to bed? Why isn't it working? Trying to see if rebooting the modem will fix it, etc. I hadn't even gotten to the point where I could relax by reading some LJ pages, before it went down.

Without the internet, I can't even play Words With Friends, like I sometimes do while brushing my teeth.
Without the internet, I can't even look up what the weather will be tomorrow, to decide what clothes I'll wear. Though I could have brought it up on my phone.

Pondering whether I should buy an external phone modem to use when the cable modem goes down... do ISPs even still have back-up dial-up modem numbers?
Pondering whether I should open accounts with both TWC and AT&T, just so that if one of them goes down, hopefully the other one would still be up. Bah, no. Are there any other affordable options?

I suppose I could get a cell phone plan with more data, and use that for backup.

Now that the internet is working again, reading reports from other people that it must have been a fairly widespread outage, and that their internet went out yesterday too, is soothing. It's not just me. It will get fixed. Hopefully it won't happen again tomorrow.

I put that outage website link in my phone so that I can at least check it if the house internet goes down again.

boom boom boom

Monday, July 4th, 2016 11:58 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
Fireworks noise. At least one of my dogs has been acting like the world is coming to an end, and she doesn't know what to do. I had to put them both outside earlier because the small one's non-stop barking at the noise was starting to drive me batty, and I had to cook the vegetables. Otherwise I wouldn't have time to cook them til next weekend, and they'd go bad.

Interestingly, outside (probably in the garage), she stopped barking.

I went outside to check on them a little while ago, and to look at the fireworks which were getting louder. Going back inside, they forced their way in the door with me. Inside, the little one started barking again, in between running around. They both appear to have calmed down now.

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I succeed at many things, but I feel like a failure too.
The table's a non-stop mess of stuff.
I recorded mediocre audio of the cicadas and katydids (that is what the night-time tree critters are) on Thursday/Friday, but didn't have time to edit/post it.
I put up curtain rods for my mom. I put up a shelf in the kitchen.
I wanted to finally switch to the new laptop. Like the last times, I only managed to finish the "backup my data" step. Now it's almost 1am and by the time I'll have time for it again, I'll have updated a bunch of files again, so I'll have to start back over at the "backup my data" step.
I cooked the dang vegetables and made a salad with most of the cucumbers.
We went to the Santee again on Saturday. Road trips almost always leave me with headaches, and this was no exception.

I took a shower. I made lunches. I vacuumed. I washed some clothes. I swapped some light-bulbs. Oh. The boxes. I need to decide what to do with all the old incandescent bulbs. It's not like I'm going to start using them. So I might as well give them away. But should I keep some maybe, and if so how many, and which ones?
I cleaned out the cooler and washed the dog food bin.

My internet has a sporadic speed and connection problem but I don't have time to deal with it. Is there a way to determine/prove that it's a provider problem versus a modem problem? I'm afraid if I call TWC about it, they'll say that since I'm using my own modem instead of leasing one of theirs, that it must be due to my modem.

I need to sign up with a doctor but I don't have time to deal with it.

I need to start going to bed early enough to get enough sleep. but i don't but i don't
darkoshi: (Default)
In the last half year or so, I've increasingly been having trouble with numbers. This is new to me and disgruntling. I make a lot of mistakes when writing down digits and/or copying them from one place to another. Sometimes I'll read, hear, or say in my mind, "71" (for example), but end up writing "17". Then I compare what I wrote to what I meant to write, and wonder how I could have gotten something so simple wrong.

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I didn't want kids. Nor did I want pets. I didn't want the hassle. I didn't want the responsibility. I still don't want them.
But I didn't want a dog to die, so I ended up taking care of a dog. And I didn't want the dog to be lonely, so now I've practically got two dogs to take care of. They take up a lot of time. They're a lot of work. In a way, I'm a part-time slave, having to take care of them.
In return, I get wagging tails and hopeful eyes.

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It's always hard cutting up the jack'o'lanterns after Halloween. It took effort to design the faces and to carve them.... and then they were art and had their own personalities and were so pretty. But they can't stay stored in the refrigerator forever; they take up too much space. They would rot eventually. So one cuts them up and cooks them and makes cakes and pies and dinners from them. The whole process is a hassle, even though part of it is neat and pretty, and part of it is yummy. Like putting up and decorating a Christmas tree, I'm never quite sure if I want to go through the trouble again next year. Why do I keep doing it? Why can't I curl up into a ball and disappear?

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I read that green tea is good against allergies. So I tried drinking tea a few times when I was having allergy attacks. It actually did help, and rather quickly too. I suspect it may be the hot steaming liquid that somehow helps, more so than the type of tea. I'll have to experiment with it some more.

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From what I've been able to tell, it seems that heating the house with electric heaters may be cheaper than using the whole-house heater which runs on gas. But I'm against nuclear power, because of the long-lasting radioactive waste that it produces, and any electricity I use is likely to be from nuclear power plants. So, based on my ideals, would it be better to use gas? Hmmm....
"SCE&G operates 17 power plants throughout the state. Forty-three percent of the
company’s electrical capacity comes from coal plants, 12 percent from a single nuclear
plant, 30 percent from natural gas, four percent through a handful of hydro-electric
plants and one percent from biomass."

This page indicates that there are 7 active nuclear power stations at 4 sites in the state, not including the Savannah River Site.

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I feel like a non-entity in many ways. Sexually, socially, emotionally. No goals, no enthusiasm, no purpose, no dreams.

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I waste a lot of time on the internet due to curiosity.

(no subject)

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009 03:45 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
Bulk Rename Utility is a useful freeware tool for renaming multiple files at once. It has many options for how to rename the files - you can search and replace text, insert prefixes or suffixes, insert incremental numbers, and more. The GUI is somewhat intimidating at first, but it really is rather simple to use, and you can preview the new file names based on your selections to make sure you have them right, before doing the actual renaming.

GoldWave is a NON-freeware audio-editing utility. It has some neat features. The noise-removal option works well for removing hiss. The pop/click removal option does not seem to work very good - at least not when I tried using it to remove all popping noises from some tracks I had transferred from records. I purchased this program back in 2001 when I was doing some audio stuff, and did not think my license was good anymore, but according to their website, it may still be! I submitted a request with my old info, for a new license ID, and will see if I get it or not.

(no subject)

Friday, July 20th, 2007 11:18 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
Since people have been posting kitten pix, it made me want to post one of Juniper-kitty:



That was one of the very few I managed to take, where she wasn't a moving blur. She's still getting along well with the puppy-dog, last I heard.

I'm so tired and busy, that by the time I have time to write in my journal, it no longer seems important to do so.

I came home, wanting to mow (whack?) my grass. (I use a weed-wacker.) I was looking forward to cutting the grass, so that when it started raining, I was disappointed. Isn't that weird? It's not that I truly enjoy cutting grass, but I want to make my yard look good. I don't want to contribute to making the neighborhood look bad by having an unkempt-looking yard. Even though personally, I prefer wild-growing grass to short-shorn grass, it now bothers me, not having my grass short.

I got Forestfen a good deal on DSL, to replace the previous account I had at her house. It's only $10 a month, with a 12-month term agreement. It's the "lite" DSL, but I think it is fast enough for her purposes. Wish I could have gotten a deal like that at my new house (I'm paying 3 times as much, and it will go up to 4x as much later on), but it's not available here.

Yesterday and today at work, I wrote myself a webpage with javascript for converting byte-arrays of EBCDIC codes in signed-integer format to ASCII. The Eclipse debugger displays the byte-arrays as signed numbers, and since most EBCDIC tables only include unsigned-integer or hex codes, it was difficult to decipher them. Now I just have to copy & paste & click a button. If I had a lot of free time, I could try coding an Eclipse plugin to do it automatically within the debugger.

Maybe I should download Eclipse to my home computer. I was playing with one of my old audio programs yesterday, and it was having problems. I could re-code it in Java.... but that would take time and effort, which I need to spend on other things for now.

Like mowing grass. And figuring out how to get tile layed down in my washer-dryer area. And getting a washer & dryer. And getting electrical stuff done. And paint. And plumbing. And towel racks. I'm beginning to think I might not get some of this stuff done this year. Maybe I ought to just let things be and relax.

(no subject)

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007 08:53 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
I called the recycling office and verified that they are supposed to pick up the recyclables on Monday, each week. They said they will give my address to someone who will monitor the situation.

Discovered ants crawling over the bin, which I had left on the porch. So I bumped them off it and washed it today after all. I will glue and/or tape together some of the cracked parts, and then set it out again next Monday.

I looked up non-toxic remedies against ants. Instant grits or cornmeal is supposed to swell in their bellies and kill them. Repeatedly pouring boiling water over the hill may work. Or soapy water, or water with orange oil. But some of that sounds cruel. I also read that they don't like cinnamon. I don't have any pure cinnamon, but do have some pumpkin pie spice which contains cinnamon. So I sprinkled that over the ant hill by the water meter. I don't need to kill them, and I don't care much if they build their hill somewhere else by the curb. I just don't want them right there by the meter. The meter-reader person probably doosn't want them there either.

If there is a meter-reader person, that is. I noticed on my water bill that even though a monthly meter reading is listed, the amount of the bill is apparently constant regardless of usage. And I suspect they may have put down an estimated "reading".

I braved the attic space by myself, and put an extension on the light-pull, so that I can now reach it from the ladder without crawling all the way up there.

Doing these kind of things with the house... getting things accomplished, seems to make me feel excited/good/proud. And then tired and exhausted.

I think I'm ready now to set up an appointment for an electrician to come over. Although I still need to get a different light fixture for the front hall, so that they can install it.