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Messages - bluefoxicy

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The Pub / Re: Computer - XP
« on: April 16, 2014, 03:40:47 PM »
I know there are plenty of tech savvy folks on the forum, so I'd like to hear your thoughts. I'm not going to change to Linux just to keep an ailing machine, but I can't see replacing a machine which still functions properly.

Honestly, why not?

Mint or Ubuntu.  The issue of OS replacement is a difficult one--it's like if you re-installed with Windows 7.  Windows has the upgrade path advantage, but you've waived that.

But I use Linux because Windows poses too many challenges with finding software, installing software, keeping software working, keeping it up to date, and then the software is just inferior.  If you have apps that are specialized (you said Chrome and Thunderbird, I don't know if that's a restriction or if that's just "these are my browser and mail app" statement and you use a bunch of other stuff), you obviously need the OS they run on.

Beyond that, switching to Linux won't keep an aging machine alive.  It eats resources too.  Put some more RAM in or swap in an SSD as your root drive sure, $50-$100 and it's a big return on investment.  You're back to installing Windows over with the SSD (which brings you to the "Maybe Linux" fork, implications above--it's not likely to lower your resource usage significantly), but it's a huge upgrade.

The Pub / Re: Dammit Florida!
« on: April 16, 2014, 03:35:04 PM »
This is all a result of a sick combination of moral guardians (alcohol is bad, yo) and revenuers.  I've never understand how the US got so uptight that everything must be regulated out of existence.  You know haggis was illegal until a few years ago?

The Pub / Bad habits that are just too awesome
« on: April 16, 2014, 03:31:48 PM »
Who has bad habits that are just too damn awesome?

I flossed a while back, and uh.  Yeah.  Turns out if you use high-end tooth brushes, but no floss for a year, when you floss you get to inhale the fumes of a toxic waste dump.  It's a little like huffing Round-Up.

So now I have a water jet flosser.

Which means, of course, I can floss using a 90PSI stream of Cool Mint Listerine!  (Or, for that matter, Irish whiskey...)

Which I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to do.

The Pub / Re: Whiskey
« on: February 09, 2014, 02:44:43 PM »
Has nobody mentioned Tullamore Dew yet?  Under $20 and it's the best Irish whiskey available at any price anywhere.  $20 will get you a bottle and two whiskey glasses.

The Pub / Re: Interesting post on hops by Stan Hieronymus
« on: February 05, 2014, 09:23:58 PM »
Interesting. Not surprising though. All you've gotta do is taste a craft beer. Most BMC beers are below the threshold of noticing any hop presence IMO.

The other side of this is Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a strongly-hopped beer compared to most styles of the world, and they ignited a firestorm of hopping beers far too much.  It's sort of a badge of honor:  once you get past 100IBU, you have a huge range of 120IBU, 160IBU, 210IBU, and so on... and of course humans cannot taste more than 100IBU, so the numbers are all theoretical.

Hop fanaticism is rampant in American craft brewery.  Do you see a wide market of British-style pub ales, doppelbock and lagers, or beer innovation across America?  The only innovation you see is using a pound of hops, then dry hopping on two pounds, then running through Sam Calingione's hop machine he shoves in-line with the beer tap.  And sometimes fruit.  America's favorite clone style is the IPA, and the IIPA if we can get enough hops in there.

I love british bitters.

The Pub / Re: Tailoring... serger or sewing machine?
« on: February 05, 2014, 08:14:24 PM »
You lost me at "decisional optimizer."   ???

Satisfisers try to do what's "good enough".  For example:  Extract brewing produces excellent beer.  Additional work is not required.

Optimizers spend more time making (and more often regret) their decisions, attempting to produce the best result.  For example:  all-grain brewing with a mash tun (not a modified cooler) allows for the greatest level of control and the best beer; the investment is about 2-2.5 the initial cost compared to extract brewing, and the cost of materials (grain) is lower going out.

Of course, full decisional optimization requires a lot of additional consideration.  The above assumes that cost between extract and all-grain is important--additional equipment, additional work, and so on.  If the cost is extremely high for all-grain, an optimizer may avoid that route because spending more on your brew kit than you do on your car is non-optimal; whereas if the initial cost is twice as high, the effort is roughly the same, and the results are similar, a satisfiser may skip the extra work and stick with extract brewing, while an optimizer puts in the larger initial investment to achieve ultimately better results.

And complete decision making involves using a lot of the nervous system--firstly a full rationalization of the facts, exploration of fixed beliefs in the basal ganglia and how they affect your ability to use your prefrontal cortex to reason, and so on; then an accounting of internal emotional and biological factors, including hormones and stress signals from the 100,000 nerve endings in your heart (it does a lot in response to emotional factors) and from the completely independent neurological system in your digestive tract (the esophagus and intestine contain a fully autonomous neural network which responds to systemic issues).

Needless to say, decisions are hard to make.  You have to determine if you're rational, if you're rationalizing, if you're having an emotional or subconscious-systemic response ("gut feeling"), and if any of these additional factors are valid.

At this point I've muted some rationalization and pushed aside some emotional impulses to simply acquire new things to learn about--that's valid, and accounted for, but that impulse screams for more attention than it deserves--but also have taken account of the rationalization that the serger seems to reduce work (I don't have to cut with shears in a separate step) and (possibly) produces better results (overlock), along with a gut feeling that I think is accounting for the low tolerance for time-consuming excess processes (i.e. I might just sideline all of this because it takes too much time, so maybe I shouldn't buy moderately expensive equipment).

From my experience, sergers are complicated to use and overkill for a person who is just sewing for their own needs.  If you were running a garment shop, I'd encourage you to buy a serger.  Most hobbyists struggle to even get them threaded correctly.

Reasonable mental and physical effort are not major concerns for me.

There are four needles and four thread spools, with convoluted thread paths.  You do seem like a detail-oriented person though, so maybe you should go for it and buy the serger.  My main point was that a sewing machine is much more versatile.  A serger has pretty much one use. 

Everyone has eight thousand uses for a serger posted, but they're all for making frilly garbage and half of them are just decorative stitching.

I've found ones that you can use for garment repair--$450 five-spool with chain stitch, they'll do a straight chain stitch or go as far as a 3-thread overlock and then double-chain-stitch it so you don't need to go back and add one or two chain stitches with a basic sewing machine.  So cut/sew can become overlock/reenforce (two machines), or you buy a better machine and just run a 5 thread safety stitch in one step.

The basic sewing machine still handles basic repair better, since I can sew buttons and button holes.  You would not believe how often clips break and I need to remove them and install a button hole and button where none existed before.  Plus I can rig a twin needle on my 4411--there's no instructions other than "use the additional spool holder" (included with the machine)--although I imagine I could magic up (undocumented) settings on a 14T968DC to produce a double-chain stitch.

Of course, you could always take a trip to a sewing machine sales rep and have a look for yourself.  A good salesperson should even sit you down and take you through a free tutorial on using each kind of machine.  Heck, bring one of your shirts with you and use that for a sewing test.  See what you think! 

It's a dying art here; the dedicated fabric shops have a billion crafts sections for glue and wax and coloring books and kitsch toys and pens and paint and wooden hobby crafts, with a tiny little section for sewing.  Last time I went to Joann Fabric, I asked some random old woman how to match thread to my pants for repairs... that was enlightening.  Staff sure doesn't know, they just eye up the spool to see if it's close.

Even in high school, they showed us a sewing machine and had us sew a pillow mostly because they couldn't talk about sex for 9 months straight.  Home Economics was a filler.  They even explained to us what a laundry machine was, but we never used one--there were three in the classroom.

At this point I'm even more confused.

The Pub / Re: Tailoring... serger or sewing machine?
« on: February 02, 2014, 11:24:12 PM »
I learned to sew on an old singer when I was a kid, I remember them being able to do most things, especially simple hems and tailoring.  I also used an old foot powered one.

Treadle?  I've been thinking about getting a treadle table and a vintage sewing machine.  Just for the experience.  I recommended a foot pump for the OLPC charger ages back but they went with a hand pull string... those dunces don't know much about physiology; a pull string is probably the most difficult thing you could provide for manual power generation.  They probably looked around and noticed engines in boats and lawnmowers are started with a pull string.

I mean let's face it:  human legs.  Bunch of black people ran down a cheetah in Africa.  You can't compete with that.  Those animals run like 60mph, it's like chasing Usain Bolt.

Humans have leg endurance more than anything else.

The Pub / Re: Tailoring... serger or sewing machine?
« on: February 02, 2014, 08:38:30 PM »
Yeah, I have a sewing machine.  I'm more interested in if a serger is the objectively "correct" tool for the job--if it would produce the best results, would require not-incredibly-greater time investment to learn, would be what most people who have both and have the skill to use either would use, and so on.

I'm a decisionary optimizer.  The machine is not expensive; that leaves the primary question of if the machine is objectively better for this task.  If so, that leaves the secondary question of if it's going to require a significantly large amount of additional applied skill, or be about as hard to learn and use as a basic sewing machine.  I've been told that you can use a sewing machine by buying one, looking at the instruction manual, and sticking fabric in it; but that a serger is impossible to use without taking a few classes first, which would be potentially less-optimal since I could sink some $1000 of education and hundreds of dollars in material--not to mention time investment--into trying to do something relatively simple that I could accomplish nearly as good without all that effort.

However, you can accomplish much the same thing with a hem stitch, or even just sew a straight stitch once, then go back over the seam allowance with a zigzag stitch.

This is where I'm getting confused.  This statement sounds like "it's not really the best/right way, but it works".  Mind you we're dealing with verbal conversation:  93% of the communication is lost here, since I can't hear the tone of your voice or read your body language.  That part of the communication may be saying "this is just a flat technicality, I don't even know why I'm bothering to say it."

IMO, a sewing machine is much more useful than a serger, unless you plan to do a LOT of garment sewing and not much else.

No doubts there.  I can't sew buttons on or make menial repairs with a serger.

Though, why not homebrew my own clothes...

The Pub / Tailoring... serger or sewing machine?
« on: February 02, 2014, 05:32:11 PM »
I didn't buy a $900 sewing machine because they do some fancy stuff you're better off using an overlock stitcher for.

Thinking on tailoring my own clothes, but have no idea how to do it.  Wondering if this should be done with a basic sewing machine (someone says I should be using a serger, but a lot of stuff online just says sewing machine... because that's what people have) or if I should throw $200-$300 for a serger and learn to do it with that.  I've been told that hemming is vastly superior when done with a serger, but then there are hemming settings on my sewing machine that do a passable (but not necessarily perfect) job--I haven't evaluated the difference or even determined if there is any difference.

I could pay to have my clothes tailored, but I'll pay more for that than for the clothes themselves--I can sink over $1000 into that, repeatedly, and machines and classes and learning and mistakes won't even cost me that much... nearly, but not quite.  I wear "Small" men's clothes and have about 30%-40% of the fabric bunched up behind me; around here plenty of guys have resorted to wearing babydoll tee shirts as casual wear because they fit nicer (and get you chicks if you do a lot of push-ups all the time), but that seems sub-optimal to me.

Anyone do the tailoring thing?  Worth sinking my time into or wot?  I know Cap forges his own swords and armor over there, maybe he makes shirts too.

The Pub / Re: Anyone know where to discuss project/risk management?
« on: November 19, 2013, 04:57:17 PM »
It doesn't have a kitchen!  I took the kitchen apart to build a vastly superior design, but work on it stalled.

My design would have cost $384 more in materials and labor (at $50/hr) if used in the initial construction of the kitchen (rather than costly demolition and reconstruction).  It provides a more open floor plan with better appliance accessibility (oven and refrigerator open better); 40% more storage space (pantry); 35% more counter space; and 40% more appliance space.  It also eliminates the need for a dining room table.

Essentially, I moved a counter from a non-useful position to a useful position, with access to electricity and water (dishwasher!!!).

The Pub / Re: Anyone know where to discuss project/risk management?
« on: November 18, 2013, 09:09:17 PM »
Consider looking around some actuarial forums. The Society of Actuaries offers a Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst credential. I'm not sure what you know about actuaries, but you'll probably find that it's a bit more rigorous than "never, ... , defnitely" and "negligible, ... , catastrophic".

Ooh, that looks interesting.

The frequency (time) versus severity (cost) metric is extremely common.  It is the established operational risk management pattern used to plan military action, and is referenced in some form in most texts I've looked at for risk.  Kepner-Tregoe Potential Problem/Opportunity Analysis cites a format where you list risks with likelihood and severity; this is the same thing as an ORM chart, and I tend to implement it as such.  Risk management always comes down to mitigation (actions taken to reduce risk ahead of time--probability and/or severity) and contingency (actions taken when a risk event occurs--reduce severity).  These can create new risks (i.e. if a RAID drive fails, you have to replace a drive at a cost; if multiple fail, you have your original risk in greatly reduced probability).

My big problem is most texts on risk management are in one or more of three categories:

  • Light and fluffy:  Good, basic concepts.  The same stuff I've gleaned already, the same stuff you could get out of Google in five minutes.  You know the drill:  "Here's the most basic concepts, and let's talk a lot about them."  Think about if Kepner-Tregoe's "The Rational Manager" was just entire chapters devoted to each single one of the 11 specifying questions, no overall process to tie them together, and a lot of talk about the supposed virtues of each--still 300 pages, but no decision analysis, no risk management, no actual processes, and no final chapters tying it all together and discussing a solid overall strategy.
  • Unqualified dumpster bait.  Leadership is an important skill; there are volumes and volumes on leadership that read like Dilbert's PHB wrote them.  That is:  they deliver feel-good advice, but it's mostly wrong and teaches you to be a s***head.  There are books on Risk Management which, similarly, droll on about risk as some abstract thing, explaining how it's not well-handled and how it's all over the place and gets ignored, and talk about how you have to do something about it... without actually explaining how to look at a risk and qualify its importance in any meaningful way.
  • Specialized.  Insurance, financial, investment.  Books about how to be All-State or how to run a Bank or manage a Mutual Fund.

What I want is something technical in the operations risk management area... which CERA seems to fit.  Good catch.  I'll look into that.

The Pub / Anyone know where to discuss project/risk management?
« on: November 18, 2013, 06:14:26 PM »
I can find a number of project management forums online; but there's just nowhere that seems active and, to put it simply, helpful.  Compare Homebrew Talk and AHA, Badger And Blade and Straight Razor Forums, Gamefaqs, BikeForums, and so on with ... PMzilla or the Project Management Forums.  All of these places are active... except the PM forums, which have a handful of users and posts days out of date in the one or two forums that haven't been dead for weeks or months.

I'm trying to find some information on risk management.  A lot of RM stuff seems to be technical and mechanical--identify risks, rate them by probability versus severity, develop mitigation and contingency, estimate cost and risk tolerance, develop a risk management plan, risk breakdown structures, and so on.  There isn't really a lot of "how to estimate risk", though; and I happen to be very good at this.  So good that so far nobody can point me at anything that's ... enlightening.

I'm up to a point where I've been writing my own risk analysis theories, based on experience in things I've had to analyze.  For example, some places tell you that risk can be estimated in terms of probability versus severity:  Probability often starts as "Never, Unlikely, Likely, Definitely" and becomes "Infrequent, uncommon, common, frequent" and eventually just time spans like "Every 3 years" "Every 1 year" "Every 6 months" "Weekly" "Daily" "Multiple times per day".  Severity similarly goes from abstracts like "Negligible, Moderate, Severe, Catastrophic" to "Dollars, Thousands, Hundreds of Thousands, Millions, Billions".  That's not a progression so much as the refinement:  low-probability events WILL happen "eventually", and a situation is not severe unless it carries a cost (money in business).

My experience has lead me to more complex concepts such as lease terms:  when you have the choice to invest so much up front to reduce the cost of a certain ongoing operation, you're facing a lease.  It costs $500/mo to keep a Large Amazon EC2 server running, or $150/mo with an up-front pay-up of $3600 for 3 years.  This means $250/mo, and means you're saving $250/mo.  Okay, so the risk diminishes over the lease:  You're risking $3600 if you no longer have a need for this up-front; but every 1 month diminishes the risk by $250--10 months in, if you have to ditch this and move up, you're only behind by some $1100 (and had you gone big up-front, the difference in cost over 10 months would make this only a little cheaper... or more expensive).  Plotting this diminishing over time, versus probability, versus risk tolerance, you can do complex risk assessment ... with calculus and basic algebra.

It gets complex.  I can't find an appropriate forum or any books that go into the really crazy s*** I've gotten balls-deep into, and I can't imagine I'm factually better at understanding risk than every other person on this planet.  Somebody's written books about this.

The Pub / Re: Red worms
« on: October 01, 2013, 04:31:07 AM »
Ooh.  If I could get some oak or maple logs, I could use shiitake mushrooms for that.  In fact, I could use all kinds of mushrooms (oyster shrooms!) to compost cardboard and paper rapidly...

Good idea mate.

The Pub / Re: Rush - movie by Ron Howard.
« on: September 30, 2013, 02:53:19 PM »

The Pub / Red worms
« on: September 30, 2013, 02:51:22 PM »
I dumped a bunch of used coffee in the red wiggler bin.  They seem to have all disappeared... too wet I suppose.

Can't find the friggin' things!  They didn't escape the bin, but there's only 50 in the bottom and god knows where the rest are.  They're not digging through the coffee grounds.  I started with like 500!

I added more paper to balance the wetness.  Hopefully that helps.  Going to add more worms; I think I may have killed most of mine when some potato fermented and alcoholized the bin.  Worms dislike wodka.

Does anyone know wtf I'm doing?  Because I sure don't.  Five dollars I don't have says Weaze or Cap knows how all this crap works; lord knows they know everything else.

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