Coping: Computational Excellence

Some discussion this morning about UV protection for your eyes from your computer screen.

I’m not so sure the “wearing out” (displacement) of my first left eye’s intraocular implant wasn’t due to tons of UV light.  You know, when a cataract comes out, a huge yellow filter is removed and a ton more UV gets through the eye.

This is such a big deal that my buddy Gaye’s hubby’s recent cataract surgery resulted in him realizing that one of the walls in their home wasn’t really taupe after all!  It was a warm crème color.  Needless, he was shocked.

(Continues below)


Most people don’t think about “back of the eye” impacts of UV, but high resolution monitors in particular can blast out a lot of UV.

Now, in the past, I’ve mentioned a software product called f.lux which you can find on the web.

But recently, I paid the $10 bucks for the Pro version of a product called Iris.  You can find it at

More important, take some time to watch the TED-X talk its inventor Daniel Georgiev did a while back:

So my first “excellent computing” point this morning is simple:  There are tools out there that will let you go easy on your eyes and you might wish to consider using them.

Second point is to talk about updates to your home computer systems so they have backup power.

We have four backup systems, but let’s not count the big grid-interactive solar power system and batteries as one.  So three, then.

On the House network, there’s an APC for the router and NAS unit.  The important computers there stream onto the NAS (network attached storage if you’re over 60).

In my office, there’s a 825 VA older Rocketfish UPS that handles the satellite modem and its wifi.  Just replaced the battery in it.  Figure three years on them…four or five if you like to gamble.

The newest addition? A CyberPower CP1000AVRLCD Intelligent LCD UPS System, 1000VA/600W, 9 Outlets, AVR, Mini-Tower which was $110. (If you have Amazon Prime).  This one is powering the Big Box (i7/920, 12GB, 1TB SSD and two 1TB’s and the second 4T NAS), a sound system, and wifi modem.

I swear, sometimes, despite living in the woods, it’s like running an IT department out here.

Last, but not least, in our “The Devil Made Me Do It” department, I’m trying to figure out how to write some code to trigger the playing of .MP3’s of voice commands so that I can get Alexa talking back and forth with the Google Home Mini.

Which I can’t get working:  Google isn’t supporting PCs with it’s “Home mini” product, as far as we can tell.  Only Android and Mac products.  Which sucks – and it’s like telling the Amazon/Microsoft alliance “We give up that ecosystem.”

No, I’m not going to run Android on a Win 10 pro virtual machine to get Google home…duh.

I don’t know why, but getting crude AI’s to talk would be lots of fun, though.  Especially if they’d argue.

Reminds me of a time in my buddy “the major’s” youth.  He was at a certain second-largest university in a certain big city and had switchboard duty. Landline phones, remember ’em?

Since we’d already had lots of fun with cross-connecting of two phone lines, calling people who were not expecting it, he decided to have some fun one night with a call to two city departments.  Fire and police.

After a while, the fire and police department operators figured out it was a telephone prank.  Which is what kids did in those days – pranks.

Or, like the time we put dish soap in the fountain of the downtown library…

Oh, how times have changed.  That was a different country, back then.  Kids were brighter and pulled pranks.  Today it’s called “terrorism.”

I think it’s safe to say that raised in modern times, we would both have jail records by now.  That’s the difference between being kids in the 50’s and being kids today.  We only had two genders back then, yet America was the undisputed Super Power.

We have to ask the political brainwashes:  How could that have happened?  We all cowboy’ed-up and worked it out, was how.  Today, we lawyer-up, instead.

Damn shame we’ve lost it.  Built, uh…character and situational-awareness.  Of things like, oh, grown-ups, for example.  Manipulators and biased “fact checkers” to name a few.

Need more?  Sure…think of this as Nostalgia Monday.

Elaine Speaks Up

One of our readers, well a couple actually, were shocked that Elaine could remember the Mojave (Tehachapi) earthquake of 1952.  In fact, one woman asked if she could relate a little more about what she remembered…  Elaine’s been writing a book for her boys about what life was like growing up back then…so here’s the related part of here memoirs:

“I believe the first trip west was by car in a 1950  yellow Nash (4-door) with uncle Max and his wife Pearlene, we headed for Tehachapi, California.  Max was stationed at  (Muroc) Edwards AFB.  Later, the movie the actor James Stewart starred in a very popular movie “Strategic Air Command.”  However as famous as that movie was for the Air Force later, it was the earthquake made our national/world news.  Yes, in 1952, at 4:52 a.m. 21 July, your great-uncle Max, Pearlene and me and my new dog, Butchie,  rode the 7.7 quake out in our Quonset hut (base housing).  The largest quake in Southern California in the 20th century. I was four months into my 8th year of life….”

No, I was not kidding when I said most people take us to be in our mid 50’s  and they are way, way off…

She’s still working on her book – slowly.  But, when she gets to the part about washing diapers in the icy creek in the mountains of Utah in the winter, while she and a former were drilling water wells up in the Cedar Mountain, Utah area (which is where she learned welding), I’ll see if I can’t get permission to share that part, though that’s the gist of it.

Back to point? Exercise, moderation, stress reduction, and regular habit, you think?  No question about it, at least to us.

Selectric II Acquired

On writing:  There is nothing like a mechanical-action keyboard.  So Elaine – who’s not comfortable in the IT Department’s platform of Office 2016, may do the rest of her book on that when it arrives this week.

When comes time to publish, it’s a trivial matter to OCR into a Word .docx file and off you go.

But when writing for long periods, nothing is as nice as the Selectric II and its deeply-dished keys and the reassuring tactile feedback…

A Word About Urban Planning

People today forget that despite the hot and cold running videos, there was a time before this.  It was tougher’n a bear sometimes, too.  Maybe age dulls the painful parts, or the wetware just overwrites it;  we can’t say.

Though in this looking back moment (reading Elaine’s “back-then” notes) I remember the thundering majesty of steam-power locomotives pulling freight into Seattle over the Duwamish landfill areas as we walked from Beacon Hill, down through the hobo jungle, past the hide tannery (a smell you will never forget, BTW), past the Flying A truck stop then down Lander Street to the Sears building on South Utah Avenue.  That majestic old building is the Starbucks HQ now.

As you’re facing the Seattle SBUX HQ, the Lander Street side is the south side of the building.

When young, there was a long pedestrian overpass from there to the waterfront.  We’d carried our bikes up one side, rode on the elevated timber walkway about 800 feet to the other side, then carried our bikes back down what seemed like 10-million stairs.  There were several other footbridges in Seattle like Lander Street, including the Juneau St. footbridge documented here. That one was just down the hill from my alma mater overlooking Georgetown.

Back when I was chasing news around Seattle, that Lander Street footbridge was set afire several times…hobo’s, derelicts, and arson, mostly.  Cigarettes, too, as I recall.

We didn’t envy the fire crews:  Try to put out a fire that’s 25 feet up in the air, several blocks long, dodging trains and dicey water sources.  Gads.  Days before Scott Air-Pak‘s, too.

You never forget childhood impressions, and it saddens me that the youth of today miss so variety enjoyed from those marvelous sights, smells and the feel of the Age of Industry.  When you’ve been around them as long as we have, one icon is like any other these days: an app’s a frigging app, that’s all.   AppWorld versus a real steam-engine world?  Please….childish pseudo-innovation.  Get back to me when you teleport something.

In the meantime, kids are just steam-punks.

Maybe that’s why the old typewriter.  You know, typing speed hasn’t changed much since the IBM Selectric came out in when?  Summer of 1961, if you can believe it.  So all the fancy computer stuff and I still can’t type faster than my old newsroom Selectric  in 1970.

My voice recognition tools make so many mistakes as to not be trustworthy.  Fact is, I’ve named it “Clinton.”

Those Tyreman Kids

Grist above notwithstanding, we’re pleased to share another “proud poppa” note from Chris (The Chronicle Project) Tyreman…

Check out what 4.5 hours and my kids black pencil crayons can create. LOL

I told ’em don’t wait for Canada Day – we ordered one for right now.  One of their FB readers suggested they do a series – in which case this will be #1…so yeah…damn fine work and more than adequate reason to be proud.

As if the children opening their own rock and gem museum wasn’t an indication of something other than raising “just another brood…”

Maybe not all children today have lost sight of what excellence is all about?

But most, for sure.  These are exceptionals.

Speaking of Children

Son George II, as you may remember, is a communicable disease /HIVinvestigator up in Seattle at a major university.  Seems there was an open house last week.

The clinic director told George something to the effect:  “Kick it up a notch…something that will get people talking, but not Ure usual over-the-top…”

And so?

Only my son would find a place like and pass out temporary clinic tats.

I shake my head…Is the country nuts?  Or is it just full-to-the-brim monetizing everything possible?

The answer isn’t pleasing.

Write when you get rich,

author avatar
George Ure
Amazon Author Page: UrbanSurvival Bio:

17 thoughts on “Coping: Computational Excellence”

  1. The truck yard for where I work is 1 block from Lander. Lol we just grinded and paved 4th ave

    About note about Ms. PHD from MIT, I dropped her this morning. She is all about her achievements, which are many, and she should be proud of them.. But sadly no substance. I don’t give a crap about a house in italy. Power, money and prestige are great, as long as it doesn’t become your identity. She was a little miffed that I declined to persue it any further.

    I’m all about investing in others, empowering them, being part of the miracle.. not spa’s, luxury and crap like that. I’d rather have a Good woman, who is a good Mom, loves God and has a passion for success in life, not just the appearance of life. I get my hands dirty every day. I’m not a spray in tan, creamy lotion and pedicure kinda guy.

    She can’t even bait a hook! How can I ever be her fish. Lmao!

    So, not a match.

    How did you meet E, George.

    I’m not as old as you, but I do remember the little black and white Tv’s that were on school desks you could rent for 15 min for a quarter at seatac, to watch while waiting for your flight. Lol

    Off to grab 18 gears!

    Have a good day!

  2. For the record (and not that anyone cares), I argue with Siri on my iPhone and iPad ALL.THE.TIME. I have mine set to a “he” which might be the problem. Siri is an idiot. It gives Shelly a good laugh when he hears me try to make a point with Apple’s AI not-so-wonder person.


  3. Hey George,

    I think you just spilled classified info, Majestic plus! I hope you don’t get caught.

    There’s no reason that a Selectric look, sound and feel keyboard couldn’t be built with modern tech. It would certainly cut way down on errors from the stupid gapless flat keys we have today – especially on laptops.

    Just remember – it takes balls to use a Selectric!

    Congrats to good memories though. I’m glad to see them recorded.

    Food for thought: Can you imagine fighting those footbridge fires if the rail lines were electrified?

    • yee gads…bad enough that tankers with tetraeythl lead (a city killer) were still going through the yards until recently…

  4. Yes, George, the country is nuts. For the past seven years or so I have been calling it terminal madness in the end times, a term coined by Joseph Chiapalone in an article on Rense back in 1998. He very accurately predicted most of the “can you believe that” stuff you have been writing about over the years.

    I say only the past seven years or so because it took a couple of years continuously outside the USA to break the entrainment to the USA culture and the investment I had in it convincing myself that what I saw was not really as insane as it really is.

    Every month or so I come across something about the country that is so staggering that it shocks or scares the hell out of me so badly that I simply have to put down the iPad for a few days and let the awareness of what I saw fade away a little.

    It’s why I say as an American if you are not using a chemical to cope with the madness of the culture, you don’t have a clue of what is really happening in/to the country. My expatriation from the culture allows me to live in that feeling that so many Americans take a hit or a snort or a shot or a pill to feel for just a short while.

    • “It’s why I say as an American if you are not using a chemical to cope with the madness of the culture, you don’t have a clue of what is really happening in/to the country.”

      However, this problem is world wide and not just American. “THEY” missed the opportunity to have started selective breeding some 500 years ago, IMHO. Humanity missed its chance.

  5. Thank you, Elaine and George, for sharing some wonderful stories from your past. You both have led very interesting lives. Gratefully, these continue. Apps will never replace living those actual experiences in another time period, seeing with your own eyes how it all was back then and back when.

  6. I was still a baby and 1,000’s of miles away in Indiana for the Tehacapi quake in ’52, but I sure to remember its runner-up, the 7.3 Landers quake in ’92. As I recall I was upstairs when it hit and I thought the house was coming down! I was still in Radio then and it hit our studio so hard monitors were flying off desks, but then they built the office building in an area subject to soil liquefaction. Freaked the poor Girl deejay who was on-air totally out; she had never experienced a quake!

  7. Got an S-2 and an S-3, and my SCM electric, but I also have a ca.1930 Underwood and a Corona (and daughter has a Royal) which I purchased for pennies, to use as photo props. When the blurb hit the Intelligence channels a few years ago that the SVR (that’s the successor agency to the KGB), at Vlad Putin’s personal behest, was surreptitiously buying every manual typewriter they could get their hands on, I restored the old manuals and bought a case of ribbons (and a box of cassettes for each of the electrics.) Typewriter print is personally-identifiable, but manual typewriters can’t be hacked, and are EMP-proof. I dunno for which reason Putin initiated the program, but since I had the machines anyway, turning them into functional machines seemed a reasonable thing to do… Besides, I’ve always liked the sound of the typewriter — reminds me of newsrooms which actually “did” news.

    • As for dished keys and tactile feel, while I have a number of data-entry (computer) keyboards, from “chicklets” to glass/touchscreen to USB roll-up silicone, my all-time favorite computer keyboard is the series 139 (or 42h) IBM “clicky” keyboard from the 1980s. It’s big, heavy (7lbs!) and archaic. It is also completely bulletproof (I’ve an acquaintance who washes his, periodically, in a dishwasher), actually has user-serviceable parts inside, and because of the mechanical action of the keys, makes accidental double-taps, impossible. It is also the basis for the newest generation of $200-$1000 “gaming keyboards” which began to hit the market a couple years ago…

  8. “…nothing is as nice as the Selectric II and its deeply-dished keys and the reassuring tactile feedback…”

    Precisely, this reassuring tactile feedback ‘is gone forever,’ watching families in the park engaged with their smartphones. ;-)

  9. I wonder if Hawaii had one of those typewriters in the summer of 61′ when somebody was allegedly born there.

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