Saturday, December 31, 2016

NAS Pensacola Aviation Preflight Indoctrination: the mile swim

You have to swim a mile in a flight suit, or at least you did in, ahem 'the day'.

It's going to be too big because it's not yours and it's for pool use.

It's not the one that fits you because other people rushed the rack and got those.

So it's like a big, wet, draggy bag draped around you that you're going to carry for however many minutes it takes to swim a mile.

At least they don't make you wear boots. For this. Other stuff, you wear boots and gear etc.

Longer story short: I cried out to the Lord, or more accurately Jesus, at one point but I finished THE FIRST TIME.

People don't.

So maybe after 30-40 minutes, they're back next week to try again.

Some never do, and otherwise good candidates are washed out for fears of water, not passing this gut check, etc.

I had a hip injury, so instead of using my legs as much, I had to use my arms more.

They had to lift me out of the pool at the end.

The instructor said he'd never seen someone so far off the pace as I was at one point come back and complete it.

Oh, did I mention there was a maximum time?

80 minutes.

I did it in 78.5

True story.

Monday, September 26, 2016

First Acting Gig

I just finished early Sunday morning (25 Sep 2016) after being there since 4pm Saturday.

About 14 hours on set. Super tired. But I think I should get seen a few times in different scenes,!

I'll post more soon, but the title was 'The Vast of Night' which I'm thinking is a working or 'secret' title for when the film really comes out.

It was an indie movie, but has some people who are established actors in it.

The location was in and outside of Whitney, TX Intermediate School shown here.

I'll post some more later, especially after the film comes out. It's not on IMDB yet. :)

Don't want to reveal movie details ahead of time, of course.

What I can say is that the gym there, shown above, was an old hangar from a nearby Air Force field that was supposedly donated by the military and the townspeople numbered it, took it down, and re-assembled it by using the numbers.

Very period. 

There were some cool old cars used as well.

If you're around Whitney, the cars and some other pieces are probably going to be there a bit longer. :)

More details soon. Will update with my selfie from on set. 

Friday, September 02, 2016

Printer Keeps Trying Wrong Paper size. A4 instead of Letter for example.

I made you something. :P

Type localhost:631 into another browser window then watch this video for how to fix it.

Please visit and bookmark and use that for your Amazon purchases. I get a commission.

More info on the issue:

When I was trying to print from other computers on the network, via Google Cloud Printing or whatever, my Oki C5200n would try to print on A4 size paper instead of 8.5x11 Letter size.

As you can see, it's not something that a print dialog setting can fix. Trust me, I tried.

Here's a simple fix done in minutes. Hope it helps.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Do those car ionic breeze and ozone generators work?

Short answer, yes, but with some caveats. Some DO NOT WORK and are 100% junk with no functional parts.

Read on to see how you can tell if yours really works, and get a link to the one that I have that DOES work.

I ordered one from Daily Steals and got it. Above, the outer part. Below, the guts.

As you can see, there are only two pieces of electronics there not counting the LED. Those two just run the LED, basically. 

The springs are just power contacts so it's powered by the cigarette lighter.

They did refund my money without making me send it back.

So, how do you tell if yours really works? It's pretty easy. Plug it in and let it run for a couple of minutes. 

Wrap your hand around it so the air is sealed into your hand and then pull it out of the lighter socket.

Smell it. If it smells sort of like after a rain, or like that funny photocopier/laser printer smell from your office, that's ozone.

So at least it's generating that which means high voltage things are going on. Some ozone is ok, and it is a very effective deodorizer as well so that's good.

One thing to consider is that these take a while to work. The best solution is a thorough cleaning but over time these WILL help.

Here's the only one I could find of the two types I've had that actually worked:

A great air sanitizer that I've used for years is Ozium. I'd recommend one of these in the ORIGINAL SCENT. The 'New Car' scent was not good IMHO. Spray some around the air conditioner intake under your dash down by your feet from time to time. 

Please bookmark and use the search box there for Amazon purchases. It supports theroblog when you do.

Long story short: if it costs a fair amount and it's from a reputable seller it's probably OK, but if it's a cheapie shipped from China it's probably junk.

Additional tip to reduce odor in your car's A/C:
Turn off the A/C in your car usually by just pushing the A/C button when you are about 1 minute from your house and turn the fan on HIGH.

This warms up your A/C core which will keep water from condensing on it and allowing yucky things to grow there inside your dash.

The ozium will help to kill anything that might be there. 

P.S. Using the MAX A/C or recirculate setting will keep outside air from being drawn in, and therefore reduce germs and allergy junk from coming in. It will recirculate the cooler air in your car and reduce fuel consumption since the compressor won't run as much.

Lastly, have you considered a cabin air filter with carbon in it? Those absorb odors that the cheap factory paper ones will not.

Click here to see if they have one for your car:

Thursday, August 18, 2016

How do they make those fake news websites look real?

I saw this posted by a friend of mine:

Don't visit it because it's fake and I'm not going to send them any traffic.

(Visit for me if you shop at Amazon. Shameless plug.)

The reason it LOOKS real is because .com and .co are legitimate commercial domains.

But there's a trick here.

The domain name is really and abcnews is what's called a machine name, which would direct you in the old early internet days to a specific computer at

Nowadays, that would probably just point to a virtual server or site hosted on such a setup but I digress.

abcnews.COM (without the .co) is redirected to so even THAT isn't used.

What's that you say?

You'll shop at for Amazon purchases and support so I have some income and time to write these articles?

Thank you!


Monday, July 04, 2016

James Doohan was in Another Fairly Long Running Sci Fi Show!

Ok Star Trek nerds, wayback time...

The show was 'Jason of Star Command' which ran for two season from 1978-1979.

He was in 16 episodes as 'Commander Canarvin'.

Not only that, but the first episode is free on Amazon:

I remember the little robot from when I was a kid, and also the main villain, but not until I saw the show on an obscure Roku channel.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Perfect Timing for a Perfect Joke

We were in an engineering class and the instructor was talking about a simple equation concept:

V=IR (or something similarly easy to compute)

For instance, we might use a change in R with a known voltage and current to find, say, the temperature inside a nuclear reactor that we could not directly measure.

Chiefly, because it's like a 50,000 degree reaction and of course you can't measure that with anything in contact with the reaction.

I piped up immediately and said:

"Yeah, but it's a dry heat."

Sunday, June 19, 2016

More Bad News From California

This just in.

There is a giant ongoing fusion explosion that the state of California is orbiting at roughly 93 million miles away that can cause cancer.

It is emitting large amounts of radiation on multiple wavelengths and is not expected to dissipate soon.

It causes massive global changes such as ocean tides and orbital disruption.

Officials expect to know more soon.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Crazy Happiest Chewbacca Lady

Somehow that title seems like the poor translation of something in Chinese.

But I digress, as one does.

Get one on Amazon here, before this meme sells every single one on the planet.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Sock Monkey Meme

Heh. I saw this somewhere and just had to title it.

Here's a blank one if you want to make one yourself.

Mac Pro (Desktop not Laptop) GUI Locks up, but cursor still moves, machine is not dead or hung

This is an ongoing problem, and IIRC it happened with my other video card under a different OS but the same Mac Pro.

Here's the messages in the console logs:

4/18/16 1:25:41.099 PM WindowServer[186]: Surface testing disallowed updates for 10 sequential attempts...

(Some people report changing the screensaver gets rid of these.)


4/18/16 1:25:49.000 PM kernel[0]: ** GPU ASIC Log Start **

At which point it starts dumping a bunch of this into the log file:

4/18/16 1:25:49.000 PM kernel[0]: : 0x0000679a : 0x000000e3 : 0x00000001 : 0x00000018 : 0x000090b0 : 0x00000001 : 0x00000001 : 0x0000679a 

I'm working on a couple of theories:

1. Corrupt JPEGs in my Photos that the screensaver was using. I know there are some in the library. I changed to a regular screensaver that doesn't use them.
2. Power Management problem with the video card/display/whatever so I set the displays to never sleep in the control panel.
3. I used smcFanControl to up the fan speed slightly so everything will run a bit cooler.

In the past, I had a similar problem with black screens and not sleeping the display fixed that. 

So, will update later. 

If this helped you, look on the right side of the blog and drop a dollar to me using the Paypal donate button.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Uber Drivers in Houston: List of frequently asked questions, and my experience

Help me help you. We both get a bonus if you use this link:

If you use it, leave a comment so we can help each other out. I plan on writing an ebook with the tips I learn. And there are a lot of them!

I added a section in my Amazon store of gear I have that I recommend:

I have some angles on this. Hopefully this will give you a few ideas. We have a good household income but I'm doing it for a few reasons:

  • It looks like it might be interesting. I don't plan on driving late at night or in bad neighborhoods. My wife works downtown so if I meet her I can pick up a fare afterwards. Her work pays for Uber trips all the time so guess who's going to do those and get paid to pick up and drop off their own wife? :)
  • I work at the airport, so if the mood strikes, I can pick up a fare there then go home. Since I live WAY across town, I have to go across Houston anyway.
  • I live in a good neighborhood with busy affluent people, so I can earn a little income here and there and get to know my neighbors.
  • I have an electric car I can charge for free in many places, and cheap at home. About 2-2.5 cents per mile. No real maintenance other than tires so far in almost 50K miles because the factory tires are JUNK on a Nissan Leaf


  • iDentogo where you get your fingerprints let me just walk in a couple hours before my appointment because I was already in the area for my FAA physical. (I'm an airline pilot.) About 1130AM in the Pearland location on a Tuesday. NOBODY was there. I saw maybe 2-3 other people and it takes 5 mins.
  • USA Mobile Drug Testing at the Chimney Rock location had 1-4 people maybe the whole time I was there. I called ahead and they said to walk in. They looked at my FAA physical and did a quick job. About 30-45 mins total for physical and drug test. I said if I can physically clear for a job flying jets, I ought to be ok to drive cars. There's a What-a-Burger practically across the street if you have a bit of a wait.
  • The Houston Uber office is down the street from the drug test place. I got my trade dress even though my background clearance wasn't in. I showed them my drug and physical paperwork (non-sealed copy) and they let me in since I'd already spent $50. It's their policy not to let you have it until you clear, I guess for safety since you could be a fake Uber driver but it's an easy to copy sign and no one know what they are supposed to look like anyway. I get it but kind of silly IMHO. 
  • You might want to pick up a fire extinguisher there (required for TNC in Houston) for $15. If not, the #1 seller on Amazon is only $20: Free shipping with Prime which has a free trial: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial
  • Wal-Mart has a fire extinguisher that meets the 5 B:C requirement for $9.96. It says 'Marine' but the 5 B:C is what matters and it has that.
  • My Background check took the longest. The one Uber does. It took 14 days.

  • I didn't see it anywhere else but the TNC gives you a sticker, so I guess you have to bring all the cars you might use downtown. Will report back on if they let you move the sticker. Update: Nope, they stuck it on the windshield, but the airport sticker they just handed me. Someone said they put theirs on a piece of plexiglas and stuck that in the windshield.
Want to see the secret video on how to use the driver app before you sign up?

As of 4/6/2016, my background check has been going on for 6 days, so I'll end here and update when there's more news.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Adding SSD to a Mac Pro, and a bug in the Crucial M500 SSD

I bought the Newertech Version to put an SSD in my Mac Pro:
The top is the Sabrent version and a few dollars cheaper.

$12-$14 shipped from Amazon here: (PLEASE use my Amazon links.)

It works as expected and is well made.

Benchmarks for the M500 SSD:

That's easily 3-4 times faster than a decent hard drive. An SSD will make your computer feel like new.

However, this is far less than it could be since the SSD will work at 6GBps but my 2008 Mac Pro only has 3Gbps SATA ports.

So, I got the OWC Accelsior S: which is a card that the SSD mounts on, then the card goes in a Mac PCI slot.

Preferably a 16x slot PCIe slot, which is the one above the graphics card in the bottom slot.

The SSD should hit at least 40% or so higher speeds on this card.

BUT there is a problem with MU05 firmware and the M500 and the Accelsior S: it only links at 3Gbps; no better than the onboard ports.

A PNY SSD I had around ( connected at 6Gbps no problem. I RMA'd drives and cards and Crucial is sending me an M550 to test.

Update: the M550 fared no better. Updated the firmware to MU02 with no change.

Tried a Crucial BX200 and that linked at 6Gbps. It has the Silicon Motion SM2256.

The M550 and M500 have the Marvell 88SS9189 and 88SS9187, respectively.

Hope this helps, please bookmark to start your Amazon purchases.

(See what I did there?) 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Fix for Spinrite Stuck on "Selecting Drive For Use" Screen

Couple things I did and it now works like a champ.

1. Go into your BIOS and select AHCI as the controller mode. You'll have to consult your manual for  how to do this because there are so many different ones.
2. Plug your SATA drive into SATA1. I had it on 3 or 4, I forget which. Spinrite would recognize and benchmark it but scans etc. failed to start. This may be more important than #1, but try both.

It will look at first like it's not working but give it a while, I'd say 30 secs at least. The drive light will go off and on a few times then it will start scanning.

I am using Spinrite 6 booted from a USB DVD drive but that probably doesn't make any difference.

Want to thank me if it works? Use the donate button on the right to drop me a dollar, or bookmark this site and use the search box to start your Amazon purchases:

(See what I did there? :)

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