Friday, May 30, 2008

End of May Roundup

In the past, I used this as a collection point for things I had not gotten to in the month, but that isn't quite right. In the future, I will use it to rehash some recent (maybe more than a month) discussions, and maybe to add something to them. This hasn't been a real productive month, and I will blame it on the weather. (There has been a bumper crop of twisters in the Midwest, but what has really slowed me down is the heat and humidity here in Central Texas.) In addition, my old printer died and I had to get a new one. Kind of a daunting task. There are many models to choose from, and they all expect you to print a lot more than I do.

Blaming the weather is
kind of a cop-out,
but it beats blaming
the real problem - me.

At the end of April, I linked to a couple essays: one on Moral Bankruptcy (mostly in the system that corporations exist under) and another on The Insanity of Black Liberation Theology. Both are links to blog called Crunchy Conservatives. He gets right to the point in both essays, and shows the hypocrisy of one group and the beliefs of the other group that has them squarely at odds with real Christians.

Late last fall, I did an update on gas prices from my last summer's forecast. Even with the update (compensating for the ever weakening dollar), I came in a little low. In addition, gas prices don't seem to be slacking off any. I can say with confidence we will not see $3 a gallon gasoline again, and I expect right now to see $5 a gallon gas next May. (see update at bottom)

I finally got around to putting together a copyright and license page for this blog, but haven't put the finishing touches on it. (It is pretty good as is) Any time copyright is brought up, there seems to be some discussions of those who abuse it. And make no mistake, the government is right in the pocket of those who abuse the copyright system of law. What can we do. Not much. And if we do much, we had best keep our mouth shut about it. In the mean time, we can each make a promise to ourselves to not be one of the abusers. Like Google used to say "don't be evil" (I don't know what they say nowadays). For those of you who haven't gotten around to dealing with the copyrights on your own works, you might have a look at the Creative Commons license. (See links at right hand side of page)

UPDATE (7 June): Oil and gas prices have continued to climb almost daily. I am not sure what is happening here, but it means either consumption is still way up, or speculators are pumping money into the market. Who is consuming more fuel and/or where the speculators are getting the money to pump into the market is the question. Currently, oil is above $135 a barrel, and using my formula for finding gas prices, that would mean gas will go to $5.80 a gallon in a few months if the price of oil does not fall soon.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Monthly Heroes and Slimeballs

For the HERO of the month this month, I select Janepsy Cindy Mesa of Miami. (Sorry I couldn't find a Texan on short notice :-)

While there were some shady circumstances surrounding their lives in the months leading up to the incident, the bottom line is that someone who was very likely a drug dealer and also quite likely a murderer is Dead. And Dead is Good.

Snipped from the article (and slightly rearranged
to make a little more sense):

Ilan Nissim, 27, was fatally shot after he appeared unexpectedly Tuesday afternoon inside Mesa's home, 13365 NW 12th Ave., police said.
Mesa, 31, had been moving furniture of her Spanish-tiled house when Nissim appeared in the hallway. The front door was open.
Nissim, a ''business associate'' of her husband, attacked her after the pair exchanged some angry words, she told police. She then retrieved a black .38-caliber revolver from another room, returned and shot Nissim dead.
The man shot and killed in self-defense by Janepsy Cindy Mesa was a suspect in
her husband's murder, North Miami police said Wednesday.
For now, detectives call the killing self-defense, said North Miami Lt. Neal Cuevas.

Article in Miami Herald
Similar coverage on Local TV (just in case)

And now for our monthly Slimeball award.

The National Arbitration Forum (NAF)
(also here here here and here )
( I suppose they think by sheer numbers of names and web sites, they can try to hide their shady dealings and put on an air of respectability)

This organization, it seems to me, is intent on taking a slimy part of the law and lowering it to the lowest and slimiest possible. Arbitration is supposed to be a simple and economical way for two parties to resolve a conflict, but it is rarely used that way. In most cases, it is used as a hammer for corporations to beat down the common citizen. The NAF commonly represents debt collections organizations, and is used as a bypass for the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (note that the link is a PDF of a legal document).

The non-profit consumer advocacy group Public Citizen recently conducted an eight-month examination into the credit card industry's use of pre-dispute binding mandatory arbitration based on all available data from the National Arbitration Forum. The found over 94% of the cases were resolved in favor of the business. This is probably being kind, or even hamstrung, since they used the NAF's own data to find this. Others have found worse stats.

Links of interest:
Almost all of the following links can be found here but are listed in case they scroll off of the index page.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Ephesus on hold

In the past couple of weeks I have had quite a few things happen, and so the Ephesus project is somewhat on hold. In the mean time, someone pointed out to me that much of the Bible is layed out in stories, and that provides a basis for study. It also occurs to me that the Bible says we are to come to Him as little children. Hence, one more aid to understanding the Bible would be a Bible story book. Most of these are written for children, and many are good. I do reccommend anything by Zondervan, and most anything from Family Christian Bookstore, but I am certain there are more out there.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

death of a printer

After only about 28 months of use, my printer has died. As a user I am not in the "low usage" category. Actually, I print so seldom, and so little, they don't seem to HAVE a category for me.

A couple years ago, when I got this printer, I wrote a short product review on it. At the time, I didn't know anything about the problems, other than there was such a thing as ink drying in the jets. I had no idea at all how big of a problem it could be.

The from what I have read, the manufacture intended this printer to have a life expectancy over 47000 pages. I guess they expected it to be printing about 24 pages a day, which would mean a life expectancy of about 6 years. Ink for that printing, however, would be quite expensive. Using the Epson ink, that would be over $100 a month. Even using the G&G ink from a discount supplier, it would be over $50 a month. Since the printer cost just over $100 originally, I don't think their view of economics is useful.

Because I use it so infrequently, every time I used it, I had to clean it. And I had to run the cleaning cycle twice each time. It would always warn me that this used extra ink. What it did not warn me about was filling the waste ink reservoir. After only about 2000 to 3000 pages, it gave me an indication that the waste ink reservoir was getting full. And then it just died. Not sure if it died from the reservoir overfilling or something else, but I just assume it was the reservoir. The local shop told me it is not worth fixing.

I plan to replace it with a color laser. I am currently looking at the HP 1600. Of course, the color laser costs about 3 times as much, but it doesn't have the problems with the ink drying out that the inkjet has.

In summery, I have to conclude that unless they can overcome the problems with ink dryout (perhaps putting it in an artificial environment, where the ink solvent is in the air?), there is actually NO reason to buy an injet.