Scam order email – 2022-09-12

Along with the various blackmail emails I’ve received, I feel it just as important to start posting the other scam emails I’ve received. These ones are a bit more insidious and are designed to get you to call into a phone number where you’ll end up following an all-too-familiar script that is designed to actually separate you from your money.

|| AMA_ZON ||

Thank’s for 0rdering !!
0rder No. #56156-614-45984165
Your ” PS 5 & 1 more Item ” has been dispatched, below are the detail related to the Invoice .
If you want to make any change. Immediately caII us on +1 (818) 570-5751
0rder Details
X-BOXSeries S Gaming Console
LG 86-Inch Class NANO75 Series
Subtotal: $2087.55
Shipping: $0.00
Tax: $10.00
Total: $2097.55
Arriving: Today
Monday, 12 September , 2022
Shipping address:
Matteo Foster
4503 Del Dew Drive
Mount Airy, Maryland(MD), 21771
If you Didn’t 0rder this . Immediately Contact Fraud Department on
+1 (818) 570-5751
|| We hope to see you again soon ||
This email was sent from an email address that can’t receive emails. Please don’t reply to this email.

Revisiting “Gadgets you can keep”

Back over 10 years ago, I wrote a couple articles responding to various technology “predictions” wherein authors made an attempt to predict what technology would be gone… pretty much by now.

Back in 2011 I wrote the first such response called “Gadgets you can keep” wherein I responded to Sam Grobart of the New York Times. So let’s revisit that one first and whether my recommendations still hold up today given how much things have changed over the last 11 years.

1. Desktop computer

I said then: Wait a second…

I say now: Wait a second…

This really depends on your requirements. Most can work fine off a laptop, possibly even a tablet.

Laptops have really come along in terms of performance and power requirements over the last 10 years. Laptops can even power 4K displays without breaking a sweat. But they still cannot keep pace with desktops merely because desktops offer a LOT more flexibility in terms of parts and the performance that can offer.

So the question really comes down to what you need.

Many gamers will probably be fine as well with a laptop, depending on what games you are playing. eSports titles are also developed in a way to allow as many people as possible to play them, so they target much looser hardware requirements compared to trying to play a triple-A title at moderate settings, let alone at 4K 60Hz at maxed out settings.

So if eSports titles is all you play – Rocket League, Valorant, League of Legends, etc. – a laptop should easily meet your requirements. Your peripherals will matter more here.

But you cannot ignore the limitations laptops have. Photographers (such as yours truly) and videographers will be much better served with a dedicated desktop over a laptop. That isn’t to say a laptop isn’t capable of handling photo editing and video editing. But you’ll fast run into a ceiling of what a laptop can handle compared to the upgrade and expansion options you get with a dedicated desktop system.

And tablets and cell phones have significant limitations on top of that. And I know over the last decade a lot of people expected tablets to eventually replace desktops and laptops, and that just will never happen.

2. High speed Internet at home

I said then: Keep it

I say now: Keep it

While wireless and cellular Internet service for home has certainly become much more available and capable over the last 10 years, it will never match what a dedicated, wired home Internet connection can bring.

At the time of the original article, I was on Time Warner (now Spectrum) with, I think, 20Mb service. In 2015 I would be one of Google Fiber’s early adopters with their Gigabit home Internet, never looking back. And today I have Google Fiber’s 2Gb service (it’s 2Gb down, 1Gb up). Wireless isn’t even close to that, and likely will never be able to match it.

And with video streaming and video conferencing happening a lot more now than it did 10 years ago and the bandwidth requirements that go with it, again, wired home Internet service is the way to go if you have the option.

3. Cable TV

I said then: Depends

I say now: Lose it

Just don’t bother with cable home TV anymore. Virtually everything is available for streaming anymore, even to mobile devices, at a much better value compared to cable. For years being able to select channels a la carte was the most demanded feature for cable TV. And they never gave it to us. I fully understand why it never happened. But if we had that option, on-demand streaming services probably wouldn’t have gained the dominance they did when they did.

Sure on-demand streaming will still eventually replaced cable TV and DVR set-top boxes the way it is today. And they’d probably still have the dominance they enjoy today. But it likely would not have come about nearly as soon as it did.

Unless you live in an area where your Internet connection does not allow for video streaming, don’t bother with cable or satellite TV service.

4. Point-and-shoot cameras

I said then: Wait a sec…

I say now: Wait a sec…

The point and shoot market has virtually disappeared. Photographers are the only ones buying them because they make great cameras for scouting locations and for quick photos when taking photos on the go. And they’re indispensable when it comes to street photography.

I can’t ignore how good cell phones have become. But a cell phone still has two significant limitations: tiny sensors compared to even the cheapest point and shoots, and they’re entirely software controlled. Sure dedicated cameras are still firmware controlled, but it’s a dedicated firmware instead of an app running on top of a general-purpose mobile operating system.

The question really comes down to how much you care about your photos. Note: if you’re taking photos for Instagram or social media with the intent to build a following, you’ll get much better results with a dedicated point and shoot compared to your cell phone.

5. Camcorder

I said then: Not so fast…

I say now: Don’t bother

Dedicated camcorders like what existed 10 years ago are no longer around. Point and shoots cameras, DSLRs, and mirrorless cameras have pretty much taken over here and allow generally for a lot more flexibility compared to what home camcorders could ever give.

6. USB thumb drive

I said then: Keep plenty of them

I say now: Keep plenty of them

As I write this, 512GB thumb drives are available for around $50 or less, depending on brand and where you buy them. Meaning 256GB and smaller drives are going for much less. Need I say more? They’re great options for backing up files from your desktop or laptop. And with a compatible cable, they can be plugged into your cell phone for dumping photos or viewing files.

7. Digital music player

I said then: Lose it

I say now: Lose it

My entire FLAC-encoded music library will fit onto a 128GB storage medium without a problem. This means having a dedicated music player, even one with expandable storage, is largely not necessary. And I can stream my music from my NAS over the Plex app on my cell phone using a VPN connection.

And for those times where I won’t have a cell or WiFi connection to tap into my home VPN, I can plan ahead by dumping the music library to a USB drive and connecting it to my phone using an OTG cable.

8. Alarm clock

I said then: Keep it

I say now: Don’t bother

Unless you’re always getting rid of your old cell phones, this one is a tough sell anymore. Since your old cell phone can still double as an alarm clock with your current cell phone being used as a backup. And the travelers who actually use the dedicated alarm clocks in hotel rooms are likely very few in number anymore.

9. GPS Unit

I said then: Not so fast

I say now: It depends

This really depends on where you’re going. Dedicated GPS units have the benefit of not needing a constant Internet connection. But even Google Maps caches your most frequently-used maps to your phone in case you lose your Internet connection. And you can cache maps ahead of time based on where you’re going.

10. Books

I said then: Keep them (no exceptions)

I say now: Keep them (no exceptions)

My wife has a Kindle Unlimited subscription, but even she’ll tell you that nothing beats a physical book. For the simple fact that physical books don’t need batteries or an Internet connection.

And with cookbooks, I still stand by this sentiment:

Plus would you rather walk into a kitchen with shelves lined with cookbooks and other assorted recipe books, or one with an iPad or e-reader and few, if any, cookbooks? The cookbooks tell you you’re walking into the kitchen of someone who loves to cook, and that’s the kind of kitchen I’d like to walk into.

Conclusions and verdict

So a few of my my conclusions have changed over the years. Technology has improved significantly over the last 11 years since I wrote the original response article, no doubt.

But technology will never get to the point that desktop computers, dedicated cameras, and wired Internet connections become obsolete. And physical storage media like USB thumb drives and optical media can never go away either since it’s never a good idea to put full reliance in your Internet connection for… anything mission critical.

On Don Bluth (and Gary Goldman)

Okay I’m just going to come out and say it, since I still see a lot of people praising him: Don Bluth was a horrible film maker. He was a great animator. But when it came to making movies, he just couldn’t cut it. Same with Gary Goldman, who was Bluth’s co-director on most of his films.

I grew up with Don Bluth and Disney. I watched An American Tail when I was in 7th grade as part of my history class. I watched Land Before Time with my friends. I’ve yet to see All Dogs Go To Heaven. And I still count Anastasia as one of my favorites, and the soundtrack for it is still my favorite.

I haven’t seen any of his other films.

But I don’t need to.

So how can I say Bluth was a horrible film maker without seeing all of his films? The numbers speak for themselves.

Starting with this: he made only 10 major motion pictures between Secret of NIHM and Titan A.E. Just 10 within 18 years. (Bartok the Magnificent was a direct-to-video release, so not counted here.) He hasn’t made a major motion picture since 2000.

An American Tail was easily his biggest success. Released in 1986, it made nearly 10x its budget at the box office. But that was mostly because of Stephen Spielberg. I wonder how many of you reading this remember the movie poster for it? Don Bluth’s name wasn’t prominent on the poster. The movie was advertised as “Stephen Spielberg Presents“.

The Land Before Time was advertised as “Lucas/Spielberg Present”, referring to George Lucas (yes, that George Lucas):

Bluth severed ties with Spielberg before making All Dogs Go to Heaven. The box office results speak for themselves:

BudgetBox office
An American Tail$9 Million$84 million (9.3x)
The Land Before Time$12.3 Million$84.5 million (6.8x)
All Dogs Go To Heaven$13 Million$27.1 million (2.1x)

From there, Bluth would go on to have a string of 4. Flops. In A. Row. Let me repeat that. Bluth would have FOUR. FLOPS. IN. A. ROW after All Dogs Go To Heaven. How he was even able to make Anastasia after that is beyond me. But it would be his last success. And while it would surpass All Dogs Go To Heaven on the Box Office/Budget ratio, making back nearly 3x its budget, it wouldn’t come close to Land Before Time or An American Tail.

Don Bluth just could not cut it as a filmmaker. And Titan A.E., which ended his career, showed he couldn’t be trusted to make a profitable film.

And anyone who says Don Bluth is a great filmmaker, or even just a “good” filmmaker, is engaging in cherry-picking.

The “Respect for Marriage Act” does NOT “codify” gay marriage

Rcently the House of Representatives passed the “Respect for Marriage Act” – H.R.8404. And the bill was moved through under fears the Supreme Court could revisit and overturn Obergefelle.

This fear comes from Justice Thomas’s concurrence where he wants to revisit the entire concept of substantive due process and determine whether any cases decided on that could instead be upheld under the Privileges and Immunities Clause. The late Justice Scalia was also no friend to substantive due process and the incorporation doctrine.

But we’re not going to get into that here.

Instead let’s get into the bill itself since it does NOT do what proponents think. Instead it’s nothing more than a repeal and replace for the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996.

Repeal and replace the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996

The Defense of Marriage Act was part of what was ruled unconstitutional in the Obergefelle decision. So if it was ruled unconstitutional, why is Congress moving to repeal it? Because ruling a law unconstitutional doesn’t remove it from the books. So if Obergefelle is overturned in full, the Defense of Marriage Act is again enforceable unless repealed.

The Defense of Marriage Act made it so gay marriages enacted in one State were not automatically recognized in another. The statute in question is 28 USC § 1738C:

No State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship.

It also created the Federal definition of “marriage” and “spouse” at 1 USC § 7:

In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word “marriage” means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word “spouse” refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.

So while rendered unenforceable by Obergefelle, they are still on the books. Overturn Obergefelle and they become the law of the land again. So the Democrats in Congress are wanting solidify the Obergefelle decision as best they can.

The Act does this by replacing §1738C:

(a) IN GENERAL.—No person acting under color of State law may deny—

(1) full faith and credit to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State pertaining to a marriage between 2 individuals, on the basis of the sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin of those individuals; or

(2) a right or claim arising from such a marriage on the basis that such marriage would not be recognized under the law of that State on the basis of the sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin of those individuals.

(b) ENFORCEMENT BY ATTORNEY GENERAL.—The Attorney General may bring a civil action in the appropriate United States district court against any person who violates subsection (a) for declaratory and injunctive relief.

(c) PRIVATE RIGHT OF ACTION.—Any person who is harmed by a violation of subsection (a) may bring a civil action in the appropriate United States district court against the person who violated such subsection for declaratory and injunctive relief.

(d) STATE DEFINED.—In this section, the term ‘State’ has the meaning given such term under section 7 of title 1.

Given the language of this bill, it makes me wonder if they fear the Supreme Court will revisit and overrule Loving v. Virginia. Anyway… the bill also replaces 1 USC §7 – though the bill says it amends it. Hopefully someone in the Senate will catch that.

(a) For the purposes of any Federal law, rule, or regulation in which marital status is a factor, an individual shall be considered married if that individual’s marriage is valid in the State where the marriage was entered into or, in the case of a marriage entered into outside any State, if the marriage is valid in the place where entered into and the marriage could have been entered into in a State.

(b) In this section, the term ‘State’ means a State, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any other territory or possession of the United States.

(c) For purposes of subsection (a), in determining whether a marriage is valid in a State or the place where entered into, if outside of any State, only the law of the jurisdiction applicable at the time the marriage was entered into may be considered.

And all of this is fully within Congress’s powers under the Full Faith and Credit Clause in Article IV of the Constitution.

What’s missing?

Pretty straightforward bill. I really wish most of what Congress passed is this short and to the point. But there’s one significant omission from this bill, and it’s missing because Congress doesn’t have any power over this: making gay marriage universal.

As such this bill doesn’t “codify” gay marriage in any way. Congress cannot force States to allow gay marriage by statute. Doing so would violate State sovereignty. Congress has no power over the actual solemnization of marriages in the United States. To grant that power, the Constitution must be amended.

But it’s not necessary. Since interstate recognition of gay marriages is enough.

What if Obergefelle is overruled?

So the big question is what would happen if Obergefelle is overruled. Do all gay marriages suddenly become invalid overnight? No. In his concurrence in Dobbs, Kavanaugh pointed out how the ex post facto provision of the Constitution works in mentioning that overturning Roe doesn’t mean every woman who has ever had an abortion and every physician who has ever performed one is now exposed to risk of prosecution.

The same would be with Obergefelle. Even if they overruled it tomorrow, all existing gay marriages would still be valid in the State in which they were solemnized. It’s future attempts to obtain licenses for a gay marriage that would be in jeopardy.

But if the “Respect for Marriage Act” is successfully enacted, that would mean all States must recognize any gay marriage lawfully performed in the United States. This would mean that any homosexual couples who want to get married can go to States where they can be lawfully performed and they’ll be recognized across the board.

The only way for that to not be the case would be if the Federal Courts ruled that marriages are not “public Acts” under the Constitution. But I don’t see that happening.

Over-selling hand-to-hand combat

Article: I Carry a Gun. I Don’t Need That H2H Crap!

Setting aside for a moment that directly hand-to-hand engaging an assailant is beyond stupid, hand-to-hand combat trainers seem to rely on fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) to sell their training.

“You may not have your gun”. “You may not be able to access your gun.”

Missing from the discussion? Risk.

Starting just with the probability you’d actually need to defend yourself, whether using hand-to-hand or deadly force, along with the risk of injury or death from doing so. Doing so in any fashion means you invite the risk of a criminal prosecution, but one should never let that dissuade them from actually defending themselves.

And, more importantly, there are some situations where the legal standard for deadly force may be met, but you will still suffer consequences of your actions that may be worse than a legal punishment.

And the same would be true even in a hand-to-hand situation. You cannot use more force than necessary to neutralize a threat. Indeed, you may face greater liability attempting to engage someone hand-to-hand, especially if you go so far as to gravely injure or kill the other person because you “couldn’t stop yourself” from doing so. Don’t pretend that hand-to-hand means you won’t kill someone. Remember that more people are killed each year from kicks and punches than rifles.

And don’t pretend that a pistol means you always will. Contrary to popular belief, successful use of deadly force with a pistol – meaning the intended target is killed – is uncommon. Stories abound of someone taking several shots from a pistol and acting like nothing happened. Shot placement is what matters. And under stress, you’re actually quite unlikely to put rounds within any of the critical zones, even if you’re well trained.

Hand to hand requires a bit more awareness and control over your actions to avoid going too far.

Also missing from the discussion? Whether it’s in a person’s best interest to actually train for hand-to-hand, let alone use it. “Of course it’s always in a person’s best interest” I can hear someone already saying. And… no, no it isn’t. To think such is myopic and asinine.

I’m approaching 42 years old. I’m 6’2″ tall (188cm). I’ve had various problems with my musculoskeletal system since I was in middle school. (Read: nearly 30 years.) Trying to learn any kind of martial art or hand-to-hand combat would likely lead to injury. Meaning trying to use it in real life is more likely to lead to injury.

And that is something I really want to avoid. There have been numerous days since the start of my 30s where I’ve been pretty-well incapacitated due to pain in my back, shoulder, and/or hip. Unconnected to any kind of strenuous activity, I might add. I remember one particularly bad day several years ago while at my previous job where I left work early due to back pain, even saying in my email to my managers that I should never have come in to begin with.

I also can’t run or sprint worth a damn, haven’t been able to since college, so my ability to put worthwhile distance between me and an assailant in quick time is, in practicality, nonexistent.

That’s why I carry a firearm. My only other option is pepper spray or a melee weapon. Both of which have a maximum effective range far closer to your person than a firearm can reach. And with pepper spray you have to be mindful of the wind to avoid droplets flying back at you. Meaning if you personally are allergic to capsaicin, the active ingredient in pepper spray, the risk of a reaction should any of it fly back at you eliminates it as an option.

But even for someone who is reasonably fit, engaging in hand-to-hand combat with any assailant is unwise, in the kindest terms. Okay, I’ll stop being kind: it’s downright stupid. It’s in your best interest to keep distance from an assailant as best as possible. And the best way is with a ranged weapon – e.g., a firearm.

Let me put it this way: if your assailant closes distance to you enough to grapple, whether they do or not, you’ve already lost. As the saying goes, there are no winners in a street fight.

You also can’t know whether the person is armed with… anything they haven’t already presented. Grappling with an assailant leaves you open to all kinds of ways you can be attacked. And the amount of energy needed to defend yourself via hand-to-hand is far greater than that needed with a firearm.

Especially since, in most situations, all you have to do is brandish. And brandishing a firearm is not the same as using it. I’ve said that time and again to the anti-gun crowd, so I’m surprised I’m having to say it here.

And the standard for brandishing a firearm is a bit more lenient than using it. But I know the ready retort from hand-to-hand advocates and instructors about brandishing a firearm, since it’s the same one that comes from anti-gun advocates and was seen during the Kyle Rittenhouse trial: “escalation”. That brandishing a firearm in response to someone you perceive as a threat – even if not immediately perceptible and articulable as one of great bodily harm or death – is escalation under the law and immediately puts you in the wrong. Except it doesn’t.

But rather than brandishing your firearm… engage in hand-to-hand combat instead?

Another consideration as well: training environment versus wherever you end up engaging in hand-to-hand. Unless your training environment includes the kind of hazards you’ll find in alleys and other common urban or suburban areas, your training is inadequate.

Your environment can be used to your advantage and it can be used against you. Remember that.

Speaking of… This part of the article is rather telling:

Does anyone want to trade places with George Zimmerman? He was eventually found not guilty, but how much money did he have to spend to defend himself, and how much of an emotional toll did he endure? There was absolutely a valid and functional H2H solution for his problem that could have easily avoided the need to employ deadly force

Wow… How arrogant can you get?

Remember how I said your environment can be used against you? Yeah, the George Zimmerman incident is evidence of that.

Since, last I checked, it’s pretty well established that Trayvon Martin surprised Zimmerman, sucker-punching him in the nose and forcing him to the ground, where he then proceeded to bash Zimmerman’s skull into the concrete. There is no “valid and functional H2H solution” in that situation.

Plus engaging someone hand-to-hand doesn’t mean escaping interaction with the criminal justice system, so stop pretending that’s the case.

Instead there’s another possibility: hospitalization or death from knife wounds. Since, again, you can’t know if the person you’re grappling has another weapon they haven’t yet presented.

And being ambushed in the same fashion as Zimmerman is a possibility one must account for. Again, your environment can be used against you. And that’s the case whether you’re carrying a firearm or simply going to try standing your ground and fighting hand-to-hand.

In all seriousness, train for hand-to-hand if you desire. But situational awareness along with competent risk assessment so you avoid the need to defend yourself will take you much further.

Imposing fines based on income

I’ve seen this idea crop up every now and again. And a lot of people are wanting this because 1. it sticks it to the rich and 2. it’s from Europe, so obviously it not only a. must be a good idea, but b. is going to be easy to implement in the 3rd largest country… Ugh. And there’s one thing in the US that makes this a no-go from the outset that I’ll get to at the end since… no on seems to bring it up.

So what’s the idea? Fines imposed by a Court should be based on your income:

fines (sic) should hurt people equally. $50 to a person living paycheck to paycheck is a huge setback; to someone earning six figures, it’s almost nothing. to people earning more than that, a drop in the ocean. a lot of rich people just park in disabled spots because the fine is nothing and it makes their life more convenient. Finland has done this with speeding tickets, and a Nokia executive paid around 100k for going 15 above the speed limit. i think this is the most fair and best way to enforce the law. if we decided fines on percentages, people would suffer proportionately equal to everyone else who broke said law. making fines dependent on income would make crime a financial risk for EVERYONE.

Now a lot of people brought up a lot of good points, so I’m only going to add a couple others to the discussion.

Income vs Cash Flow

Before getting into this, let’s address the idea that $50 “to someone making six figures, it’s almost nothing”. And I’ll use this specific point to clarify a couple terms many people either get confused in their mind, use interchangeably, or never knew were separate ideas to begin with.

And those terms are “income” and “cash flow”.

What’s the difference? As I’ve pointed out before: income doesn’t include only cash. That is what makes imposing fines based on income as opposed to cash flow extremely difficult.

Forgiven debts are income. Market value increases in a person’s retirement or investment accounts are, technically, income. (I have an account in my accounting system called “Change in Market Value” to account for this.) The same with the annual appraisals of my home’s value. Gifts, whether cash or otherwise, are income.

There is so much that is considered “income”, both in accounting and the tax code, that this idea becomes difficult from the outset. It’s one hell of a sliding scale. And if the person in question owns a small business, things become even more complicated. Since a lot of small business owners merely look rich on paper.

But again, there’s also the confusion between income and cash flow. A person’s income isn’t the whole story.

And if you impose fines based purely on income, you’ll essentially give a free pass to nearly half the country to just do what they want without any kind of penalty because they don’t have an income under IRS rules. Basing it on cash flow would, at least, capture those receiving government benefits such as welfare.

Policing for profit

One person in the Reddit thread I quoted above said this:

What stops high income people from being constantly pulled over and harassed by police to get the department gigantic paydays? I mean, I know people don’t exactly have a whole lot of pity for people who make a ton of money, but I don’t think it’s fair to let police go on fishing expeditions against them.

And it’s a valid point.

Now there are a lot of wealthy individuals who don’t drive fancy cars. They’ll drive a Toyota Corolla or another mid-range sedan or SUV – like my Honda CR-V – and hang onto it for years, getting as much utility out of it before getting something new.

A lot of people try to look wealthier than they actually are. Hands up if you know someone who is a middle-income earner (so NOT 6-figures) who drives a Camaro or other sports car.

And along with “policing for profit” comes civil asset forfeiture and the can of worms that creates that is only now starting to be rolled back by the Courts. Since fines are revenue to the government, and police do get rewarded based on tickets and arrests, this would end up shifting police attention away from the more serious crimes because they don’t pad the government’s bottom line and won’t be nearly as rewarding to the police departments.

Eighth Amendment

One last point no one brings up in these discussions with regard to the United States: the Eighth Amendment’s protection against “excessive fines”.

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted

And plenty of States have similar or the exact same language mirrored in their own constitutions. In the Kansas Constitution it is in our Bill of Rights at Section 9 (though it says “cruel and unusual punishment”, not the plural “punishments” in the Eighth Amendment.)

As much as you might like to see fines imposed based on income, wealth, cash flow, or what have you, the first attempt at such in the United States would be quashed as violating the Eighth Amendment or the State Constitution. Imposing a fine of tens of thousands of dollars for a speeding ticket would be excessive under most everyone’s definition – except perhaps the “stick it to the rich” types.

The rich may not only have the money to pay the fine, but they also have the money to fight it. And it wouldn’t take much to get not just the fine declared unconstitutional, but the law that imposed it.

And in my instance, if Kansas law declared that I should pay $1000 for going 10 over the limit merely because of my AGI last year, I’d plead not guilty on the ticket to file a motion to have the law quashed under the Kansas Bill of Rights.

Regarding Dobbs

I’ll preface with this… I’ve made my stance on abortion clear several times over. I don’t favor the procedure, prefer it did not exist, and would rather women select an option other than abortion when they have an unplanned pregnancy. And the option must be preserved when the pregnancy presents a credible danger to the woman’s health or survival.

But I don’t like it being struck down with the legislative pen. I believe it to be a symptom of underlying fundamental problems in our society rather than a problem unto itself. History has already shown that correcting those underlying issues leads to fewer unwanted pregnancies, leading to fewer abortions. The near uninterrupted downward trend since the early 90s in the number of abortions sought per year shows this.

So now comes the big question: now that Roe is overturned, where will the pro-life organizations go next? A nationwide ban on abortion isn’t feasible. And Planned Parenthood isn’t going away either.

States like California and Illinois are likely to actually have *greater* abortion allowance than the limitations placed on the entire discussion by Roe and Casey, while States like Kansas will outright ban the procedure. (We don’t actually have a law on the books doing so, but it’s been put up for referendum with a vote on August 2nd.)

I know a lot of people are going to compare and contrast Roe with Obergefelle. That if Roe was overturned, then Obergefelle and, possibly, Griswold are next. And the one thing to note with Obergefelle is where in the advance on gay rights it occurred as opposed to Roe and the push for legal abortion. The former was rather late to the party.

Roe, though, was a very early effort.

And the pro-choice groups at the time even urged the lawyers bringing Roe in Texas to drop the case. That they wanted to continue the legislative wins that had already begun rather than going right for the Supreme Court since they felt doing so would more undermine their efforts. And they weren’t wrong.

Griswold, however, isn’t going anywhere either. As much as the hardcore pro-life right like to paint hormonal contraceptives as “abortion pills” due to how they function, they aren’t going to succeed in getting contraceptives banned. Anywhere.

The timing of Griswold is also noteworthy. At the time of its ruling, Massachusetts and Connecticut were the only two States that still had a ban on contraceptives.

Roe and Casey were on much shakier ground. From the outset. It was the quintessential example of the Supreme Court attempting to install a “one size fits all” solution to questions it should’ve jettisoned. Calling the Court in Roe “activist” would be an understatement. And calling the Court in Casey “orderly” would be giving them too much credit.

Outright overturning them, however, is probably a step too far. They really should’ve been replaced. But the issue is how. Unfortunately there really isn’t a good solution to repair the issues Roe and Casey present in their language. They’re more examples of how to not write a Court decision.

But if you interpret today’s decision as eliminating access to abortion, or banning abortion, I’ll know immediately that you have no idea what you’re talking about.

Replace 9V batteries with USB type-C

With portable chargers everywhere, including ones that support USB type-C power delivery and USB type-A QC, I’ve been on a bit of a USB type-C kick lately. I wrote previously about a USB type-C adapter for Milwaukee M12 devices. I used another 12V USB type-C board to create a 12V fan adapter for powering fans from a portable charger so I don’t need to keep any kind of power supply nearby.

And recently I decided to replace the 9V battery connector on my multimeter with a 9V USB type-C power board.

I also drilled out a channel on the side of the battery compartment to allow a type-C cable to pass through so I can still close the battery compartment.

Simple little upgrade that means I can use my multimeter without having to worry about batteries.

And it’s a simple upgrade I can make to anything that uses a 9V battery. And since these power boards are typically sold in packs of 5 or more, it’s easier to just replace the battery terminal as opposed to making an adapter to a 9V battery terminal.

And obviously this goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway because people are stupid and stupid people are litigious: DO NOT DO THIS TO A SMOKE DETECTOR, CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR, OR POISON GAS DETECTOR!

Blackmail variant – 2022-06-20

“I’m going to make you an offer you can’t refuse!” Seriously?


I'm going to make you an offer you can't refuse. If reputation means anything to you.
I am a programmer who likes to dig into other people's dirty laundry and I hack into cell phones, laptops, computers, tablets of users like you in order to extract from them "interesting" photos, videos, recordings of conversations or correspondence.

I infected your device with a virus and have been watching you for over 2 months now. 
During these months, I have accumulated a lot of interesting information about you.
Not only do I have access to your phone book, correspondence, audio, but I also have information about the sites you visit. Can you guess what I'm talking about?

I collect a selection of photos and videos, audio recordings, correspondence from the devices of users like you with the help of viruses and copy them to my own server.
I've got some bad news for you. I can leak all of this online for general access, send it to your friends, relatives, acquaintances, send it to social networks and messengers. 
Trust me. This is something that can destroy your reputation once and for all!
The effect will be fantastic! They will see what you do in all its glory. It only takes one click for me to leak the information.
You have the power to stop it. 
What do you have to do to stop it? I'll tell you about that next.

You need to make a $1400 (US dollars) transfer to my bitcoin wallet. If you do not know how such transfers are made, just type in Google query: "Buy Bitcoin".
My bitcoin wallet (BTC Wallet): bc1q9t00zwx6p2ns3 lkztqg080ndhath440xneejyv (without space in wallet)
Nothing complicated, right? 
After receiving the specified amount, I will immediately delete all the information and leave you alone forever!
But you need to hurry up. I don't like to wait long!
I'll give you 48 hours.
Don't think you can ignore me. After you read this message, I automatically get a notification about it. 
From then on, you have two days to pay!
Yes. You don't need to try to apply for help to resolve this situation. Bitcoin wallet is untraceable, and the sender address is automatically created.
But if I happen to know that you share this email with someone else (and I will), I'll do a newsletter right away!
I hope you make the right choice!

Bharat Fritz Werner Ltd, Bangalore, India

Upgrading the chassis

I realize this will sound hypocritical in the wake of what I said with the latest update on Amethyst. But I did say to only swap out the chassis and power supply if it no longer meets your needs.

I bought the NZXT H440 back in 2016 to have better room for HDDs compared to the Zalman Z12 Plus. The Z12 had better support for external water cooling, but at least the H440 had grommets. And, again, better support for HDDs.

And I’m upgrading to have room for more HDDs.

I considered using or building an external enclosure for the HDDs, but upgrading the chassis was actually the lesser-expensive option overall, both for cost and space. Taking in mind that I do have an LSI controller card for the HDDs as well, so would want to retain that rather than falling back to USB for the HDD connection.

Sadly, I actually bought the new chassis over 18 months ago and only recently just moved everything into it. Laziness being the reason it took so long. But two things spurred me into doing this. First was finally getting ahold of an RTX 3070 after sitting in EVGA’s reservation queue for over a year. And the second was… needing to swap out the power supply to support the that graphics card.

be quiet! Dark Base 900 (BG011)

The be quiet! Dark Base 900 is what I went with. It’s since been surpassed by the Dark Base Pro rev 2.0, which comes with the tinted window side panel by default. The Dark Base 900 comes with closed side panels, and the tinted window was available separately.

I prefer clear window side panels, personally. I didn’t like the smoked acrylic window with the H440 and replaced it with a clear acrylic replacement from MNPCTech. And I’ll likely have something custom made for this. A 2-part panel, actually: aluminum (painted black) to cover the HDDs and clear acrylic to show off the rest. Similar to the H440’s partial panel that hides the HDD cages.

Its modularity attracted me. It has a LOT of customization options, even though I went with, more or less, a standard setup not much different from before. You can also rework it into an inverted setup if you want. But its HDD support is what drew my attention. That the chassis is also designed and built for silence definitely helps.

That it comes with seven (7) HDD mounts was my only gripe with the chassis. And that the NZXT H440 had five (5) mounts was a little aggravating as well. And finding an additional one was… tedious for some reason at the time I went looking for it. But I was able to find one, thankfully. Since though I currently have only 4 HDDs in the system, my plan is to fill it out to a full 8 x 1TB setup.

If I didn’t have all the HDDs, this chassis would be great for water cooling. It’s bigger than my wife’s Corsair Obsidian 750D with room for 420mm radiators and a lot of options for mounting pumps and reservoirs.

But it doesn’t have pass-through grommets for external water cooling. So I had to rely on a pass-through bracket – Koolance BKT-PCI-G specifically. (I tried the AlphaCool PCI bracket, but I could not get it to not leak. I think one of the O-rings was faulty or just too thin.)

EVGA SuperNOVA 1000 G6

Back… nearly 10 years ago, I bought the Corsair CX750M in preparation for a full platform upgrade to something a lot more capable and power hungry than I had at the time. That power supply is actually still working very well in Nasira despite it being long out of warranty. (The uninterruptible power supply no doubt has something to do with that.)

And it quickly demonstrated to be inadequate for lack of power connections. It had two (2) PCI-E connectors and four (4) peripheral connectors. (The latest revision has three PCI-E/CPU and three peripheral.) Which became a problem when I went from a GTX 660 to a GTX 770, then to two (2) of them in SLI.

My first step up was the Corsair AX860. And after I mistakenly believed the unit was faulty (it was actually extension cables that were faulty), I bought the EVGA SuperNOVA 1050 GS. I looked at both as I had my system in the Zalman Z12 Plus at the time, so needed a short power supply.

Recall from above that I managed to get an RTX 3070. (Finally!) The XC3 version from EVGA has two 8-pin PCI-E connectors. This presented a bit of a problem with the 1050 GS. Since 1. I couldn’t find my cable kit and 2. no one made custom cables for it, so I couldn’t exactly order a replacement. The latter is due to the GS’s pinouts differing from the rest of the SuperNOVA lineup.

So out with the EVGA GS and in with the EVGA G6. Which uses the same pinouts as the G2, G3, and G5, meaning custom cables were a click away. Specifically the custom 8-pin PCI-E cable from CableMod.

This is better in two ways: 1. each 8-pin connector on the card has a straight line to the power supply rather than going through a pigtail, which allows for better for current draw (read: more stable overclock), and 2. it’s a true 8-pin connector, not a “6+2”-pin connector like on the GS. The PRO series from CableMod is better still since it uses thicker wire, meaning better current draw. (Most power cables in a PC are 18ga, which is more than enough for the vast majority of configurations, and the PRO series is likely 16ga, which is better for longer cable runs.)

Plus, again, it uses the same pinouts as the G5 and earlier, meaning custom and replacement cables are readily available. So to amend what I said in the update for Amethyst… picking a quality power supply is important. But if you’re buying one that is modular or semi-modular, pick one for which replacement cables are readily available, either direct from the manufacturer or from a third party. And on that, EVGA and Corsair are easily the two best brands.

Which brings me to my only gripe about the power supply: why are the SATA power connectors… inverted? They would work great for a top-mounted power supply, but not for floor-mounted. Hopefully the custom length cables I’ll be buying from CableMod won’t have that.

And needing to replace the power supply and install a new graphics card gave me the push I needed to finally migrate Mira into a new chassis.

Next steps…

So there are a few things on the todo list here:

  • Custom SATA power cables from CableMod (2 x quad connectors)
  • Replace SATA data cables with right-angle connectors
  • Install other 1TB HDDs
  • Water block for RTX 3070
  • Split side panel for chassis: part aluminum and part clear acrylic

For now I have just the CPU on the 9x120mm radiator capacity on the radiator box. I’ll take benchmarks and attempt to overclock the GPU after I get the water block.