USB type-C to Milwaukee M12 adapter

In figuring out a portable light wand, I discovered some very small USB type-C power boards, one specifically locked at 12V. And I’ve used them in testing to power a light strip and I’ve got other ideas in mind for using them.

Well one idea I had is using them to power a Milwaukee M12 device. So how to do that? The simplest solution is soldering a couple spade connectors to the power board and just plugging it up that way. And while that would work, it’s obviously far from ideal. Ideal is having an M12 battery shell with some kind of 12V input on the bottom. Or USB type-C, which supports 12V.

So that’s what I’m discussing here.

Bill of materials

Limitations

The USB type-C power boards will do 3A (36W) without issue with any USB type-C charging cable, but needs an “active” USB type-C cable for up 5A (60W). 18650 cells can do 10A typically without issue, making Milwaukee’s M12 capable of over 100W of power delivery. So this adapter is best suited for the lighter M12 devices. It works fine with my borescope, which draws only a couple watts of power. But it definitely should NOT be used with anything with a motor, since they have a surge current when powering on. And absolutely do not use this with the AXIS jacket. Keep to light power devices like lights and the aforementioned borescope and you should be fine.

Preparing the shell

The panel mount plug I linked is keystone size, so you’re going to be drilling a pretty sizeable hole in the bottom of the battery shell. You’ll need a step bit that has a 1″ step. I do not recommend using a 1″ hole saw. Just drill out the bottom through the center divot (see below), though I’d recommend using a 1/4″ drill bit to start the hole. And I highly recommend using a drill press if you have one. Without the lid, the battery shell should sit flat on your drill press platform.

That divot!

Once the hole is drilled out and cleaned, the panel mount plug should fit, though it’ll be a loose fit. I followed up with a drill and M3 tap for using M3x6mm screws.

Now for the wiring.

Wiring it up

This is pretty straightforward. Positive to battery positive, negative to battery negative. The 4V and 8V connectors are used only with charging the batteries to balance them, so don’t worry about those.

Once you have it wired up, push the battery board into the shell’s lid. Then connect the power board to the USB plug in the shell body – you may need to use a tool to fully seat the plug. Then snap the lid into place and you’re golden.

The portable charger is a 65W portable charger from Baseus. It works reasonably well, though it seems to inexplicably lose its charge. And the USB type-C cable is, obviously, from Anker.

Conclusions

While I built this partly as a curiosity, I can definitely see a use case for this. Since a lot of us have USB type-C portable chargers anymore, and even the Milwaukee Top-Off becomes an option for powering M12 items from an M18 battery.

Though that brings up another idea for which parts are already on the way as I write this: an M18 to M12 battery adapter. I’m surprised Milwaukee doesn’t already already make one, though it does mean selling a lot fewer M12 batteries if they did. But it would mean selling a lot more M18 batteries, though, since they have higher capacities and can handle higher wattage draws.

So how easy is it to build one? You’ll see when I publish the article on it.

But with the limitations listed above about how you should use this only with the lower-power devices, why did I build this? In part as a curiosity, but also in part as an alternate means of powering devices I build using Milwaukee M12 battery adapters. But if you’re wanting a light-power Milwaukee M12 device but don’t want to buy into another battery system, this at least gives you a viable alternative.

Misunderstanding how insurance works

It’s pretty bad when a practicing attorney is far, far off the mark in how insurance works. So time to revisit firearm liability “insurance”, something this attorney has apparently been advocating for over 20 years.

Article: https://www.yahoo.com/news/gun-safety-mandatory-arms-insurance-193610382.html

So first of all, here’s one thing to get out of the way: insurance will not cover an insured where intentional acts are involved. It will only cover you where there is negligence or it results from someone else’s actions. Intentionally burn down your own house, for example, and your homeowner’s insurance will basically tell you that you’re on your own. Intentionally crash your own car and your auto insurance will say the same.

Intentionally take your own life and your life insurance policy is void. (Except in physician-assisted suicide, in States where that is allowed.)

And since the vast majority of firearms injuries and deaths result from the intentional actions of the person pulling the trigger, that makes that whole discussion entirely moot. Which makes it utterly baffling that a practicing attorney, of all people, would be advocating for an insurance policy that covers someone’s intentional actions.

Insurance has never worked that way!

So this leaves unintentional actions. And generally where someone’s unintentional actions lead to the death or injury of another person, it is the result of either negligence or ignorance of the person taking the actions, or a malfunction or failure of whatever they are using that led to such.

And injuries and deaths caused by a firearm are strict liability torts and crimes under the law in pretty much every State. This means intent is largely immaterial unless there was an unforeseeable malfunction of the firearm. And even that might not save you since a malfunction of a firearm leading to the death or injury of someone else violates the cardinal rules of handling firearms.

One other detail that’ll be very relevant later: virtually all instances where a firearm discharge results in injury, let alone death, are felonies. And, to reiterate, they are strict liability crimes as well, meaning being unintentional won’t save you from criminal charges. And that is true in every State. And convicted felons are prohibited persons with regard to firearm ownership under the laws of every State and the Federal government.

Okay, so let’s get into his article.

Mandatory insurance makes people be responsible for choices that impose risks on others. We must require gun owners at any instant (maker, seller or buyer) have liability insurance to cover any harms that weapon causes.

Liability insurance pays out only when someone is liable for a loss. As such, including the “maker” and “seller” in the list means they, and probably everyone else along the chain of ownership, should be held liable for every firearm homicide and suicide. Yeah… no. That’s like holding Fiat and State Line Jeep here in Kansas City liable if I get into a car accident that kills the other driver.

But, again, liability insurance doesn’t cover the intentional actions of the person carrying the insurance. So this would only pay out in a very small minority of all firearm-related injuries and deaths.

The insurance will be from a private firm, not the government. Each insurer will seek to earn more premiums with fewer claims.

Apparently he’s never heard of the insurance loss ratio. That is the ratio of money that is paid on claims versus revenue from premiums. And that loss ratio is dictated by government regulation.

So if the government mandates a loss ratio of, for example, 80%, that means for every $5 in premiums, $4 must be paid to claims. If an insurer finds themselves lax on claims and awash in cash with a topped-up reserve, then they must refund money back to their customers (either directly or as credits against future premiums) in order to maintain their loss ratio. They can’t just keep that money.

It’s why auto insurers were issuing refunds or credits in 2020. And dental insurers as well, and probably vision insurers, too.

As such, insurance companies actually do NOT have an incentive to “earn more premiums with fewer claims” since they won’t be able to keep that money. Their profit margins are effectively capped by government regulation. The only way they can increase their profit is reducing their operating costs. Contrary to popular belief, health insurance companies in the US aren’t making money hand over fist.

Insurance payouts would go to the crime victims’ compensation fund, whenever a crime involving guns is committed or a gun mishap occurs.

Why not pay the victims directly? Why put the money into a fund where there is a statutory cap on how much crime victims can get? Here in Kansas, that cap is $25,000, $5,000 for funeral expenses. And that amount is reduced if you receive compensation from other sources. Such as insurance!

So you’re requiring insurance presumably for payouts to crime victims, many of whom will likely not be able to benefit from it due to having other forms of insurance that will cover the losses and other expenses. So this isn’t about helping crime victims, but putting another financial barrier in front of gun owners.

Or, rather, white gun owners. More on that later.

Rates will vary according to the gun we want to insure, our expertise, and claims history.

So ban “assault weapons” and require a certain level of training without actually going through the legislative process. Gotcha!

In a way, this could actually end up backfiring on gun control advocates calling for “liability insurance”. Because it’ll show what is already readily apparent from the FBI statistics: so-called “assault weapons” aren’t the problem they make them out to be. Any “claims history” would show this.

Instead pistols are the firearm of choice for gun crimes and suicides. But police also carry pistols, but I’m sure we’ll exempt them from this whole thing per usual.

But the “claims history” is basically about making “insured” gun owners pay for the actions of the uninsured. Since we all know that the gangs, mafias, and cartels aren’t going to go along with buying this “insurance”.

And it also puts another legal and financial barrier in the way of the lower class and minorities from exercising a CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT. It’s another example of a white person in their ivory tower mistakenly thinking that white gun owners are the problem, and so coming up with a policy proposal that will disproportionately affect Latinos and blacks, making it – say it with me! – RACIST.

Quoting an article on the idea of liability insurance I wrote back in 2015:

Gun owners are not just white people living in well-off areas. Yet many of the policy ideas seem to think this is their assumption. When you make it more expensive to exercise a right, those who are lesser-off will be less likely to exercise their right. That’s exactly how poll taxes used to work, yet because we’re talking about guns, no one is seeing it the same way.

Yeah I went there again. It’s impossible to not whenever someone proposes a financial barrier of any kind to the exercise of a right.

Since, again, much of the policy ideas that white gun control advocates conjure seem to think that all gun owners are just well-off white people, benefiting from white privilege and so having a comfortable enough existence that they can afford to give up some more money to own their guns. When in actuality gun owners are a very diverse group of people, and only became more so in 2020 and 2021.

The whole idea of “firearm liability insurance” is pushing the cost of gun crimes onto all gun owners rather than onto the people committing those crimes. And while the push-back might be “we push the cost of all car accidents onto all car owners through insurance”, you’re again missing the intent factor if you present such an argument. Since the vast majority of vehicle collisions are unintentional whereas the vast majority of firearm injuries and deaths are clearly intentional.

Now that’s not to say there isn’t any role for insurance with regard to firearm crimes. But it’s a role they already take: covering the victims. Property and business insurance, for example, covers the victims of crimes. Health insurance (or property or business insurance, where applicable) covers any injuries requiring medical attention. Then the insurance companies may try to go after the perpetrators for whatever they can get to make up that loss, to the extent they’re allowed by law.

And as already noted, those already covered by other forms of insurance will see reduced or eliminated liability for reimbursements from their State’s crime victim compensation fund.

I understand the push for this kind of thing as well: it’s to make victims of crime (or their survivors) as whole as possible. But the main flaw in any call for “liability insurance” is simply that you’re talking about an insurance payout for someone’s intentional actions. And regulations in most (if not all) States – e.g. California – specifically preclude the ability for insurers to cover intentional actions.

But even if the regulations or statutes were updated to eliminate that preclusion, you’re still talking about a financial barrier to the exercise of a constitutional right. The equivalent of a “poll tax”, so to speak. And once you start including intentional actions under the umbrella of insurable events, the cost of such insurance will skyrocket. Since, again, those who are actually committing gun crimes aren’t going to buy the insurance, leaving the cost of those crimes on those who are willing and able to.

And that’s the point.

It’s similar to all the calls for per-round taxes on ammunition and additional taxes on firearms: make it financially infeasible to exercise a constitutional right.

DIY audio input switch

Courtesy of the pandemic, I’ve been a full-time work from home (WHF) software engineer for coming up on 2 years. I previously wrote that I have a pair of 4K televisions I use for desktop monitors. And for my work laptop, I have a universal docking station that supports 4K output. To allow me to use my peripherals between both, I have an audio switch for my headphones and a USB switch for the keyboard, mouse, and microphone.

The USB switch works great! But the audio switch started getting… flaky.

The physical switch is the audio switch’s weakness. It got to the point where getting it to fully actuate onto one of the two inputs with full audio was a bit of a chore. So… what to do? Well as the title suggests, I went DIY.

Sure it’s more expensive than just replacing what I have – the original switch was only 14 USD. But it comes with some exploration! And employing a double throw toggle switch that should give a solid connect or cut-off to either audio input that won’t wear out in the same fashion as what it’s replacing.

Bill of materials

For this I used:

The three-pole switch is what’s important here as a stereo audio jack has three connections: ring, sleeve, and tip. And it’s important to be able to cut off all of them to avoid audio interference. There are versions of this switch with screw terminals. Don’t use them. Get the one with spade terminals since you can also use those terminals as solder lugs, giving you a solid connection.

I used 1/4″ stereo phone jacks instead of the typical 1/8″ (3.5mm) as it seemed finding one of the latter that would latch onto a standard 15mm male plug was going to come down to trial and error. Yes it means I need to use adapters, but it’s more flexible if I decide to repurpose it for something else later. Plus it requires adapting from the smaller to larger connector, not the other way around.

And I went with the open-body connectors as they were most capable of supporting 14ga wire. Larger wire will provide for a better audio connection. And the terminals on the switch and the size of the open connectors could probably allow for even 10ga if you wanted to go absolute overkill. I used stranded core, but solid core would work just as well here.

Wiring it up

The middle set of terminals on the switch is connected to the output while the outer terminals are connected to each of the inputs. While they are made for spade terminals, I used solder to make sure there would not be any connection issues or a connection that could get just slightly loose and cause problems, such as completely losing one side.

On the jacks, you’re connecting point-to-point: ring to ring, tip to tip, sleeve to sleeve. Basically just make sure all the jacks are wired the same to their specific set of terminals on the switch and you should be golden.

And with the open-body jacks, again they’re capable of supporting 14ga wire. (As already mentioned, they can handle larger without issue.) And I didn’t rely on the solder lugs for the tip and ring connectors. Instead I soldered wire to the connectors directly, which I feel gave a much more solid connection – which is important with the larger-gauge wire. The solder lug was the only option for the sleeve connector.

And with the shallowness of the junction box – it’s less than 1-1/2″ internal depth – get the wires as flat as possible.

I chose the simplest wiring route. This means the center connector is the headphone output while the left and right are the inputs. The downside with the switch as well is the toggle will not point to the active input. But you can wire yours up however you choose. For example in the first image below, the leftward audio connection will be the active input, not the rightward connection.

Yeah my soldering and wiring could’ve been a little cleaner… Solder connections give you the most solid connection, though, compared to the aforementioned screw terminal version of this switch. (Yes, I tried using that switch and it was nothing but issues and I could not get solid, reliable audio switching no matter how much I tried.)

Testing and Troubleshooting

When testing this, make sure to test with different types of music and audio. And of course test everything before closing it into the box.

While the audio is playing, I’d recommend tapping the box on your table or desk along with flipping the switch back and forth so the audio goes in and out. If audio channels come in and out doing either, or parts of the audio drop out, check the connections on your switch.

If you lose audio or it drops out plugging and unplugging any of the audio connections, check your solder joints.

It isn’t a right if it’s compulsory

In the United States there are several rights codified in our Constitution. And one concept about rights many seem to forget is they are entirely voluntary. You have the choice of whether to exercise those rights. Once you take away the choice, it is no longer a right.

Yet such is the topic of a recent “Letter to the Editor” in the Los Angeles Times:

Columnist Jonah Goldberg’s fear of mandatory voting can be summed up in the belief that it would be “coerced speech” and therefore something contrary to America’s basic values.

That seems to ignore other coerced activities that the majority believes “promote the general welfare,” in the words of the preamble to the Constitution.

Does Goldberg hold that education should be voluntary? Does he oppose licensing drivers? Would he make jury duty a totally voluntary undertaking? Does he think all Americans would freely send in their taxes because they believe, as Oliver Wendell Holmes stated, they are the “price we pay for civilized society.”

Mandatory voting should be a requirement of citizenship like so many other duties we willingly perform for the greater good of our family, our neighbors and our compatriots. If voters don’t like the ballot choices, they can leave the boxes blank rather than stay home in a righteous funk.

Godfrey Harris, Encino

This also shows much the same logic I’ve seen out of a lot of people: a lot of other things are compulsory, so [insert thing I want compulsory] should be as well.

I also wonder if Mr Harris would also use the word “right” to describe education, despite pointing out herein that education is compulsory in the United States – up till you turn 16 or 17, depending on the State.

Let’s take the right of free speech. In an earlier article – okay, a much earlier article on this blog, I said the right includes “the right to express, [and the] right to withhold expressing”. And that you have the right to not speak is so sacred that police are required to inform you of it before interrogating you. And the government cannot compel you to say anything. (A lot of people try to counter with “oaths of office” here, but those are conditions on taking a job or appointment with the government, not something you are punished for not doing.)

I’ve said the same about the Second Amendment as well: that the right to keep and bear arms includes the right to choose whether you will do so. The government cannot compel you to own firearms, or any particular firearms or any particular quantities of ammunition. Nor can they restrict what firearms you can own (that they currently do does not mean it’s a legitimate exercise of power) or what quantities of ammunition.

The same with the right to vote. If you don’t have a choice in whether to vote, it isn’t a right. Doesn’t matter what justifications you can make to support your assertion. It stops being a right when it starts being mandatory.

Which is why I’ve said “parental rights” don’t exist:

[P]arent’s don’t actually have “rights”. Instead they have only responsibilities and duties to their children. They have some discretion in making decisions over how to care for their children, such as in determining meals and clothing styles, but only to the extent that it does not come into conflict with their duty to provide an adequate level of care for their children.

But let’s grant the proposal for a brief moment. That voting should be compulsory. What should be the penalty for noncompliance?

And Mr Harris’s idea of submitting a blank ballot is completely indistinguishable from abstaining in the end. So why waste the time submitting a blank ballot, which wastes time with processing as well (more so when talking about mail-in ballots), when outright abstaining is just more efficient all-around?

Blackmail variant – 2022-01-16

Like I said before, we need to start naming these variants like we name COVID-19 or influenza strains. Same scam as before, and again claiming they have access to my email when my mail server is sitting on a server behind my firewall.

Hi. How are you? 

I know, it's unpleasant to start the conversation with bad news, but I have no choice.
Few months ago, I have gained access to your devices that used by you for internet browsing.
Afterwards, I could track down all your internet activities.

Here is the history of how it could become possible: 
At first, I purchased from hackers the access to multiple email accounts (nowadays, it is a really simple thing to do online).
As result, I could easily log in to your email account ([REDACTED]).

One week later, I installed Trojan virus in Operating Systems of all devices of yours, which you use to open email.
Frankly speaking, it was rather straightforward (since you were opening the links from your inbox emails).
Everything ingenious is quite simple. (o_0)!

My software enables me with access to all controllers inside devices of yours, like microphone, keyboard and video camera.
I could easily download to my servers all your private info, including the history of web browsing and photos.
I can effortlessly gain access to all your messengers, social networks accounts, emails, contact list as well as chat history.
Virus of mine constantly keeps refreshing its signatures (because it is driver-based), and as result remains unnoticed by your antivirus.

Hence, you can already guess why I stayed undetected all this while.

As I was gathering information about you, I couldn't help but notice that you are also a true fan of adult-content websites.
You actually love visiting porn sites and browsing through kinky videos, while pleasuring yourself.
I could make a few dirty records with you in the main focus and montaged several videos showing the way you reach orgasm while masturbating with joy.

If you are still uncertain regarding the seriousness of my intentions, 
it only requires several mouse clicks for me to forward your videos to all your relatives, as well as friends and colleagues.
I can also make those vids become accessible by public.
I honestly think that you do not really want that to happen, considering the peculiarity of videos you like to watch, 
(you obviously know what I mean) all that kinky content can become a reason of serious troubles for you.

However, we can still resolve this situation in the following manner:
Everything you are required to do is a single transfer of $1390 USD to my account (or amount equivalent to bitcoin depending on exchange rate at the moment of transfer), 
and once the transaction is complete, I will straight away remove all the dirty content exposing you.
After that, you can even forget that you have come across me. Moreover, I swear that all the harmful software will be removed from all devices of yours as well. 
Make no doubt that I will fulfill my part.

This is really a great deal that comes at a reasonable price, given that I have used quite a lot of energy to check your profile as well as traffic over an extended period of time.
If you have no idea about bitcoin purchase process - it can be straightforwardly done by getting all the necessary information online.

Here is my bitcoin wallet provided below: 19Ya5oeV6zqsHa9TSyurpeF1LpYJqm84Yv

You should complete the abovementioned transfer within 48 hours (2 days) after opening this email.

The following list contains actions you should avoid attempting:
#Do not try replying my email (email in your inbox was generated by me alongside with return email address).
#Do not try calling police as well as other security forces. In addition, abstain from sharing this story with your friends. 
 After I find out (be sure, I can easily do that, given that I keep complete control of all your devices) - your kinky video will end up being available to public right away. 
#Do not try searching for me - there is absolutely no reason to do that. Moreover, all transactions in cryptocurrency are always anonymous.
#Do not try reinstalling the OS on your devices or throwing them away. It is pointless as well, since all your videos have already been uploaded to remote servers.

The following list contains things you should not be worried about:
#That your money won't reach my account.
- Rest assured, the transactions can be tracked, hence once the transaction is complete, 
 I will know about it, because I continuously observe all your activities (my trojan virus allows me to control remotely your devices, same as TeamViewer).
#That I still will share your kinky videos to public after you complete money transfer.
- Trust me, it's pointless for me to continue troubling your life. If I really wanted, I would make it happen already! 

Let's make this deal in a fair manner!

Owh, one more thing...in future it is best that you don't involve yourself in similar situations any longer!
One last advice from me - recurrently change all your passwords from all accounts.

Other Bitcoin wallets I’ve seen associated with this scam:

Simple wiring for a 3-way switch

As mentioned in a previous product review, the current ongoing project is attic insulation. Part of this project – and a significant source of delays – is rewiring.

First a little background. My home was built in 1951, making it older than my parents. And most of the insulation I’m removing is… original to the house. There was also a lot of wiring original to the house as well, meaning not grounded. According to what I could find, grounded wiring and outlets became required for new homes in 1974 when the updated electrical code went into effect.

So I’ve been replacing the non-grounded wiring as I found it. Along with splitting out the wiring so I don’t have… say, seven (yes, seven!) power lines coming to one junction box. (In all seriousness, if you think that’s a good idea, get some help.)

A lot of homes (most, I presume) have at least one 3-way switch pair. I have two, actually: the dining room and kitchen.

3-way switches need to be wired in series. And a lot of images and diagrams I’ve found show this. (Such as the one above, from The Family Handyman.) And I think it’s safe to say that most 3-way switches are wired like this. Which is all well and good, in theory. But the switches are typically on the opposite ends of a room, and wiring them directly in series means running two (2) power lines to each switch, one of them going between the switches, making things a bit… complicated.

And if you’re replacing older wiring (like me!), you probably want to avoid pulling two wires down through a wall. So is there a way to still connect the switches in series as needed that requires only one power line to each component?

Well you’re reading this, so the answer is obviously Yes.

Warning: I really shouldn’t have to say this, but I will anyway because people are stupid, and stupid people are litigious. Take any and all reasonable safety precautions when working with your house wiring. This means identifying and turning off the circuit breaker and using proper tools. These instructions are provided for informational purposes only, and you follow them at your own risk.

If you aren’t comfortable doing this on your own, why are you reading this article? Just call an electrician or a good friend who will do it for you in exchange for some beer.

Bill of materials

Note: If you’re rewiring, make sure the switches you have are actually 3-way and not 2-pole switches and that both have a ground connector. If you’re unsure, or unsure about how old they are, just buy new 3-way switches from your local hardware store so you know you have a matched pair.

I had to do that as one of the two switches in the pair was a 2-pole, not a 3-way. Plus I have no idea how old they were.

Sanely wiring a 3-way switch

Step 1. Set the junction box and bring power to it.

The power delivery will be divided at the junction box. The power main will be coming to it, and the power to the light will be going away from the junction box with both switches being wired here as well. This will make your life so much easier than working inside a lighting fixture box.

Step 2. The light fixture.

The light fixture should be pretty straightforward. You’ll first want to wire the ground to the box. Then wire the light fixture according to its instructions.

Step 3. Wiring the switches.

A grounded 3-way switch has four (4) contacts: two brass, one black, and ground. The brass terminals are called “traveler terminals” and are used to connect the two switches together. The switch position determines which terminal power travels through.

Per the diagram above, if you were using separate power lines between the switches, you’d be using the red and black wires to connect them while passing through the white and ground. But here there is only one power line to the switch. That means you’ll be hijacking the white and red conductors for the “traveler terminals”. So connect separate lines to each switch as such:

  • Ground to green
  • Black to black
  • Red and white to brass.

If you wire the brass terminals the same on both switches, they will need to be in the same position for the light to turn on. Wire them opposite each other, they will need to be in the opposite position for the light to turn on. Personal preference dictates what to do here. I personally have them wired the same just for the sake of simplicity.

Step 4. The junction box

Now to bring it all together.

  1. White from the power main to white on the light fixture
  2. Red to red, white to white on the power lines going to the 3-way switches
  3. Black from the power main to black to one switch
  4. Black to the light fixture to black to the other switch

And obviously the grounds get connected together as well. If you used a junction box with ground lugs, per the bill of materials above, connect all the grounds there. Though you are talking about 4 grounds, so things could be a little tight.

In the end it should be something like this diagram (from the aptly-named HowtoWireALightSwitch.com), only using a separate junction box instead of the light fixture box as the central point:

Step 5. Enjoy

Don’t forget to close up the junction box and secure the switches. Just be sure to turn the breaker back OFF before doing so. Just in case.

Blackmail variant – 2022-01-03

I’m starting to think we need to start naming variants of this scam email the same way we name variants of COVID-19.

Hi! 

Unfortunately, I have some bad news for you.
Several months ago, I got access to the device you are using to browse the internet.
Since that time, I have been monitoring your internet activity. 

Here is the proof I hacked this email. Your password at the time when I got access to your email: [REDACTED]

Being a regular visitor of adult websites, I can confirm that it is you who is responsible for this. 
To keep it simple, the websites you visited provided me with access to your data. 

I've uploaded a Trojan horse on the driver basis that updates its signature several times per day, to make it impossible for antivirus to detect it. Additionally, it gives me access to your camera and microphone.
Moreover, I have backed-up all the data, including photos, social media, chats and contacts. 

Just recently, I came up with an awesome idea to create the video where you cum in one part of the screen, while the video was simultaneously playing on another screen. That was fun! 

Rest assured that I can easily send this video to all your contacts with a few clicks, and I assume that you would like to prevent this scenario. 

With that in mind, here is my proposal: 
Transfer the amount equivalent to 1850 USD to my Bitcoin wallet, and I will forget about the entire thing. I will also delete all data and videos permanently. 

In my opinion, this is a somewhat modest price for my work. 
You can figure out how to purchase Bitcoins using search engines like Google or Bing, seeing that it's not very difficult.

My Bitcoin wallet (BTC): 1De13L9Z7auBh9W8QtsxxiYRLqV8vke9Lt

You have 48 hours to reply and you should also bear the following in mind: 

It makes no sense to reply me - the address has been generated automatically.
It makes no sense to complain either, since the letter along with my Bitcoin wallet cannot be tracked. 
Everything has been orchestrated precisely. 

If I ever detect that you mentioned anything about this letter to anyone - the video will be immediately shared, and your contacts will be the first to receive it. Following that, the video will be posted on the web!

P.S. The time will start once you open this letter. (This program has a built-in timer).

Good luck and take it easy! It was just bad luck, next time please be careful.

Blackmail variant – 2021-12-25 – Merry Christmas, I suppose?

Yes, I received this on Christmas Day from “Heather”. Imagine that!

Hello,

Hopefully you actually do not mind my language sentence structure, since i am from Indonesia. I contaminated your device with a virus and im in possession of all your private data from your computer system. 

It was established on a mature page and after that you've selected the online video and  it, my program immediately got into your os. 

After that, your camera documented you fapping, besides i documented a video that you have viewed. 

After some time in addition, it picked up your social contact info. If you ever wish me to wipe out your all that i currently have - send me 700 euros in bitcoin it is a cryptocurrency. 

This is my btc wallet number - 

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Same hallmarks as all the previous ones, but at least it’s a LOT shorter than all the previous ones, too. So whomever originally wrote this template deserves a commendation for that, at least.

Zenith Self-Prying Pro-Bar

Buy it now at Home Depot or Amazon.com.

This year’s major house project has been attic insulation. And getting all of the old out to put down the new has been a chore unto itself. But to get to all of the old and make sure I could lay down the new, I needed to pull up floor boards.

And the Zenith Self-Prying Pro-Bar made that task super easy.

The wide base and thin beveled edge made it very easy to get under the boards and pry them up. Far better than using a claw hammer or other pry tool. Just use a rubber mallet to push it under the board you’re lifting. The groove in the front made it easy to get far enough under the board with nails in the way to still use the joist for leverage.

The wide base also spreads the force out over a wider area compared to typical pry tools, so the board comes up with less effort. And if you’re trying to pull up old boards, such as what was in my attic, the boards are far less likely to splinter apart compared to a typical pry tool with a much smaller surface.

I used the tool to raise one edge of the board enough that I could then use a hammer or pry bar to get the nails out. Then when one row of nails was out of the way, the pry tool could get leverage under the board to lift up the other row of nails, allowing me to pry those out and get the board out of the way in tact. (Most of the time.)

Its short handle is my only complaint given its use cases. It’s 16″. So Zenith should consider a new version of this tool with a longer handle. I think 24″ would be ideal here, as the longer arm would allow for more leverage. That combined with the wide base would make short work of any floor boards with still less effort, which would be far better for the largest jobs. They should also consider just getting rid of the small pry head on the handle as well as it only gets in the way given the use cases this tool was obviously designed for.

Let’s be honest about who this tool is for, though. It’s is a niche product with a >40 USD price tag. Don’t get me wrong, though. It’s definitely well worth its price given the time and effort saved compared to typical pry tools.

But let’s be realistic. The typical DIY homeowner will only be using it for one or two projects. For me, once the attic floor boards are all out of the way, I don’t see anything else I could use this for. So I’ll most likely be selling it on rather than keeping it around.

If you’re a professional, though, this tool should absolutely be part of your arsenal.

Buy it now at Home Depot or Amazon.com.

Bernie doesn’t understand the drug market

I’ll say this up front: if you’re complaining about the cost of something today compared to several decades ago, and your explanation doesn’t include change in demand and the FDA, you’re out of touch with how things work.

Enter Senator Bernie Sanders.

So how can we explain this? Let’s start with inflation. Now inflation alone doesn’t account for a 14-fold increase in price. 21 USD in 1996 is equivalent to about 37 USD today. So that’s only about 16 USD of the nearly 300 USD increase. Hmm…

So what about change in demand? Across the last 25 years, how has the demand for insulin changed? A. Fucking. Lot. But enough to account for a 14-fold increase in price?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 10.5% of the population in 2018 has diabetes – about 34.2 million people – and about 1.5 million people are newly diagnosed each year. And the prevalence of diabetes has gone up significantly over the last 20 years among adults, from about 9.5% to 12%.

Now that alone also doesn’t account for a 14-fold increase. According to the United States Census Bureau, there were approximately 209 million adults in 2000, compared to 258 million in 2020. That means the total number of diabetics increased from shy of 20 million in 2000 to almost 31 million in 2020. A greater than 50% increase.

Okay so change in demand plus inflation should mean the price of insulin should be… about 55 USD, right? Not quite. Because there are a ton of other factors that determine the price of insulin.

First is the capability to meet that demand. Making insulin isn’t easy. Just like… really any drug that needs to be synthesized in mass. Drug makers, just like all manufacturers, have only so much manufacturing capacity. I mean it isn’t like we can just conjure it via a Star Trek replicator. (Boy wouldn’t that solve a lot of problems!) The price they charge to buyers acts as a valve on that demand. So it becomes a balancing act.

So if drug makers cannot meet demand, we just need more insulin makers, right? Well yes, that’s the easy answer. But reality isn’t so simple.

Enter the United States Food and Drug Administration – the FDA. They are the gatekeepers to the drug market in the United States and one of the primary gatekeepers to the health care market. Anyone who wants to make insulin or a vaccine or anything to be offered as a treatment for anything must go through them. First to be licensed as a drug maker (along with any State licensing) with periodic renewal fees, then the insulin you do make has to be licensed before it can be offered for sale.

Insurance definitely doesn’t help here either. And the effect insurance has on the price of everything in health care is pretty well established. (Hint: it’s one of the leading reasons health care costs so much.)

So why is insulin up 14-fold over 25 years ago? A combination of factors.

  1. Substantially increased demand
  2. FDA preventing new insulin makers from entering market
  3. Insurance hiding the cost of insulin allowing drug makers to inflate the price merely because they can

So greed is a factor, but it isn’t the ONLY factor. And I wouldn’t consider it a substantial factor either. Especially since the drug makers also have programs wherein they give away drugs to those who need them (with a proper prescription, of course) if they are low-income and meet other qualifications. And the cost of those programs is passed onto everyone else.

Then there’s the cost of what is needed to produce insulin. And not just the components, but the labor and machinery. I’ve already mentioned the FDA, but regulatory compliance is also another hidden cost. And all costs of business get passed onto the customers. Meaning the cost of the product goes up with the cost of production.

So there are a ton of factors going into why the cost of insulin – and really everything in health care – is higher compared to 25 years ago.