Monthly Archives: December 2014

Happy New Year 2015 To YOU. It Is New Year In Sri Lanka Already ….

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by Anura Guruge


For other related posts:
>>
My Hogmanay 2015 greeting to YOU.

++++ Check category ‘Holidays’ on sidebar >>>>
++++ Search on ‘Hogmanay’ & ‘New Year’ for MANY other related posts over the years covering January 1, Chinese New Year and April 14 Sinhalese New Year >>>>


Happy New Year 2015.

It was January 1, 2015 in Colombo, Sri Lanka at 1:30 PM (Wednesday)
Eastern U.S. time.

That is good enough for me.

If it is New Year in Colombo, given that I was born there,
I can start the revelries.

And yes, of course, I have a glass of red
to toast YOU.

It has already been New Year in Australia for 5 hours (or more).
But my associations with Australia are tenuous.


New-Year-Table-Haritha-Wasanthaya-Jayewardenepura-University

Very traditional New Year fare in Sri Lanka — whether it be January 1 or April 14.

This picture from “Trip To Sri Lanka“. There have lots of other pictures. Check them out … here.

What you have to have is the ‘Milk Rice’ — center left. What is in the middle is betel leaves (on a brass oil lamp ready to be lit — hence the match box).

The ‘wagon wheels’ in the forefront are ‘Kokis’, fried dough. Devanee, after Thanksgiving, has cultivated a taste for them.

This, as you can see, is all low-carb, low-fat food. Traditional ‘Keum’, in the characteristic ‘mammary gland’ shape is missing. I think what is right up top, next to the bananas (that grow wild) might be the modern equivalent.

I haven’t eaten, let alone seen, many of these foods in 3 decades!


‘Flutterbye Flying Fairy’ Makers “Spin Master” Impresses By Offering FREE Parts Or Replacements For Damaged Flutterbyes,

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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
1. Flutterby for Christmas was a success.

++++ Search on ‘Teischan’ for other related posts >>>>


As I had waxed lyrical, even though it broke eventually, the “Flutterbye Flying Fairy” was a great success. I was very impressed.

That is why I immediately ordered another one, without even exploring part options, on Christmas day itself, when a wing broke.

The new one arrived today and it worked. It is still intact. Teischan is happy though she is now also into flying her drone, by herself, again with great success.

This afternoon, a good 4 hours after the replacement arrived, Deanna tried calling the 1-800 number on the instructions.

She was amazed that somebody answered the phone within minutes. Moreover, it appears that the lady who answered, Nancy, was very helpful and said, after Deanna gave her a serial number, that she would mail us a new wing, for FREE. I was pretty happy. But being who I am I had a look at the broken fairy to see how I would have to replace the wing. I then realized that it wasn’t the wing per se that was broken. It was the pivoting, “D”-shaped mount that held the wing. So a new wing would not have helped.

So I called the 1-800 number. It was, again, answered in minutes. It was definitely a gentleman from India. He was GOOD. Very good. He knew at once what I was talking about. He said that the mount can’t be fixed. So they would send us, for FREE, a complete new fairy. I was stunned. Wow.

I explained that my wife and called earlier. No problem. He found the record in seconds just using my name.

What a difference from the treatment I got from TDS’ ‘what a joke’ Jamaica Call Center.

He took care of everything. I had to send in some pictures and the invoice by e-mail.

I asked him where the call center was located. Toronto, Canada. WOW. I am impressed.

Moreover it was ‘Spin Master’ call center. I am impressed.

Well, I will keep you posted. The English on the e-mail was Chinese, but that is OK.

IF they do send FREE replacement units I am not sure how they manage their margins. That has to get expensive. But, lets wait and see.

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Click to ENLARGE. The English got slightly more ‘spicer’ towards the bottom.

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Bubbly, New Year’s Eve 2014 Google Doodle, Around The World, On December 31.

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by Anura Guruge


2014nythmbhhasLast Google Doodle:
>> ‘Tis the Season’ III. 
>>
Music for 2014 “Day of the Dead”.

∋∋ “Skydive with Santa” Google Footnote — Dec. 12, 2014.

≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ Check CATEGORY ‘Google Doodle’ for other posts 
—>>> (sidebar)


 

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Note the ‘Moments of 2014’ Google footnote.

Click here to access Google Doodle.

Permanent access, independent of date,
provided via the Google Doodle Archive.

 


BJBHX (Aberdeen (Artio) Global High Income Fund) Distributes $0.07 Monthly Dividend In December 2014 — After Cap. Gains.

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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
1/ BJBHX $0.26 cap gains for 2014.
2/
BJBHX stopped hemorrhaging for a day.
3/
BJBHX depressing news.
4/
BJBHX: sticking it out till 2015.
5/
BJBHX has decent December 2013.
6/ 
Uncontrollable Infatuation With BJBHX.
7/
BJBHX: I Bailed With Regret.

++++ Search ‘BJBHX‘ for other related posts >>>>


Until I saw the distribution, in my Fidelity account, tonight, around 11:30 pm, I really wasn’t sure whether it would happen. BJBHX has had a chequered history with its December dividends. Sometimes they get lumped in with the middle-of-the-month cap. gains distributions and in other years it doesn’t. Maybe that now it is under Aberdeen they will make sure that the monthly December dividend is given out at month end, as are all the other monthlies.

Yes, for 2014 they sure did have two distribution dates for December and I called and double, triple checked on that. They kept on telling me, ‘yes, there will be a month end’. But excuse me for not believing them. It is not that I am not a skeptic, which I am, it is just that I have had inconsistent stories from BJBHX in the past.

So with this 0.06914 monthly, BJBHX doled out $0.32391 for the month. That is NOT shabby, though, of course, the NAV took a deep hit — as it must. But delivering dividends is what BJBHX is supposed to do. So I am cool. Yes, it will go some distance towards defraying my fairly hefty Christmas time expenses.

I am feeling much more charitable about BJBHX now than I did earlier in the month. I might, as has always been my downfall, persevere with them for a couple more months.

Heads up: If the December distributions were ‘rich’, BJBHX, historically, has skimped on the January monthly. So be prepared. It might be lower than average.


We Take The ’68 Green MGB For A Drive, Dec. 30, 2014, Topless: Temperature 18°F ( -7°C )

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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>>
MGB gets Steve Barlow treatment.
>>
Steve Barlow at Christmas
>> Tree lighting.

>>
MGB goes to Steve Barlow
>>Nov. 2014.

>>
Green MGB — Sep. 14, 2014.

++++ Search ‘MGB’, ‘MG’, ‘Stag’, ‘Jensen’ & ‘cars’ for many other posts >>>>


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Though it was rather cold today, 15° F (-9.4° C) when I went running this morning, it has been precipitation free since before Christmas. Quintessential NE bright blue winter skies, with no snow and as such no salt on the road. The roads are as dry, hard and dusty as they would be in August after a week on no rain.

1419971702089The battery, out of the car per Steve Barlow’s very precise instructions, had been on, full-time, on a Schumacher SEM-1562A-CA 1.5 Amp trickle charger (from Amazon), for three weeks in my toasty hot workroom (which houses the oil furnace). I have never really had a car in winter hibernation ever before. The MG Midget that I had, which was much, much newer and in good running order, would get used, occasionally in the winter. I had put ‘Star Tron’ gas additive in the tank, again per Steve, and wanted to make sure that it got into the system. Since Boxing Day I had been telling Devanee that we should put the battery in the car and take it for a spin. But all of my ‘spare time’, during the day time hours, got spent with Teischan and her Drone. I knew that time was running out.

So on Tuesday afternoon, around 3pm, with the temperature at 15° F (-7° C), I took a break. Devanee had already brought the battery up.

It took a fair amount of cranking for it to catch. The battery didn’t die on us. I was impressed. Once I got it started it took another 5 minutes before I could get it to idle without conking off. Eventually I got it going. I guess the engine was cold. Once it warmed up it was firing like a champ. Devanee jumped in, with her new phone (which, of course, has two cameras), and we took off. Not sure how far we were going to go. Didn’t want to push it too far home. But it did good. We got brave. Neither of us had gloves on. My hands were fine (though in my old age I now wear gloves, something I rarely did 10 years ago). The engine is running good. Sounds healthy and strong.

In the end I drove it for at least 30 minutes. Devanee got out after about 20 minutes. She was cold. It was fun. I am glad I took it out.

The horn, alas, doesn’t work on a constant basis. Steve will have to fix it again.

Not sure whether we will get another chance this winter to take it for a spin. Definitely not taking it if the roads are frozen. Today the dirt roads around here were dusty as heck. The Alton Town dump trucks were working on Prospect Mountain Road. They were kicking up Tsunamis of dust. They know me. They would stop, way back, when they saw me to let the dust settle. The drivers are very nice like that.

Well that was fun. Gave Devanee a kick. She still hasn’t driven it, though she now will move the van for me in the drive. Just a matter of time.

Happy New Year.

[All the pictures taken with Devanee’s POSH REVEL S500 GRN Android phone.]


Another AirAsia Accident Even As Bodies Being Recovered From AirAsia QZ8501? This Is NOT Right.

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by Anura Guruge


Just SOME of the Related posts:
>> AirAsia QZ8501 transponders.
>> AirAsia QZ8501 Java Circle.

>> Maldives & Sri Lanka – Mar. 15, 2014.
>>
4 hours in air, Sri Lanka, Cell phones … Mar. 13, 2014.
>>
Malaysia flight 370: My Thoughts — Mar. 10, 2014.
>> Could have landed … — Mar. 11, 2014.

>> 3 month anniversary               >> 4 month anniversary
>>
5 month anniversary               >> 6 month anniversary
>> 7 month anniversary               >> 8 month anniversary

++++ Search on ‘MH370’ and ‘transponders’ for MANY other related posts >>>>


2ndairasia

Click to access report from U.K. “Sky News”. Google “AirAsia runway”, in NEWS, for more.

 


This is NOT right.

Fourth Malaysian plane accident, that I know of, in 9 months.

Something very fishy is going on.

Don’t forget that there was, SUPPOSEDLY, a warning on a Chinese blog about AirAsia 13 days BEFORE QA8501.

I definitely think something is up and Malaysian planes are being used as unfortunate guinea pigs. I am not going to elaborate on that. Read between the lines.

We now have open warfare on the Internet following the Sony hack.

I have to think, BUT I could be wrong, that hacking into airline navigation systems is probably easier! WHY? Because nobody thought anybody would try to hack them when they were being designed ’10’ years ago! All systems on planes, by definition, are old — because nobody wants bleeding edge technology on planes. I suspect that ‘somebody’, a foreign nation, is monkeying around with ‘radio’ signals in the “Java Circle“. But, this is so that they can iron out the bugs. Not saying any more.

Hhhmmmm.

Also PLEASE note the difference between Malaysian Air MH370 and AirAsia QA8501.

They FOUND wreckage from QA8501 within 72 hours.

6,500 hours after it disappeared we have not found even one pillow from MH370.

Don’t be duped.


Ottawa (Canada), Thanks To Its ‘Scottish Society’, Is Having Hogmanay Celebrations With Pipes, Fireworks, Paddy Kelly & Whiskey.

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by Anura Guruge


For other ‘Hogmanay’ posts:
>> 2015 Hogmanay Greetings.

++++ Search on ‘Hogmanay and ‘auld lang syne’ for MANY other related posts over the years >>>>


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Click to access the ‘Scottish Society’ original.


This, with the pipe bands, Celtic Choir, Ceilidh, fireworks, ‘haggis’ & whiskey has it all. Moreover, my friend, music maestro (and all round ‘nice guy’) Paddy Kelly is playing between 9:00 to 9:50 as the ‘Stewarts Glen’. ‘Stewarts Glen’ consists of Paddy, his duo partner Pat Maher along with Ashley MacLeod. Paddy and Ashley also play with my perennial favorite group ‘The Brigadoons‘. This would be quite the night.

I like Ottawa. They celebrate “Remembrance Day” the way it should and they do Hogmanay. A slice of Scotland in Canada.

Given the amount of folks in the U.S. with Scottish ancestry I have never been able to work out why Hogmanay is an alien word in this country. When I wish folks a happy Hogmanay they just think it must be some obscure Sri Lankan holiday to some darkie deity. Yes, most never bother to Google it.

I wish ‘NH Scot‘, the folks that bring us the ‘Loon Highland Games‘, would consider organizing a NE Hogmanay. Yes, it can be at Loon, but it will have to be indoors. I will gladly volunteer my time to make that happen.

Well …

I wish you all a Very Happy Hogmanay.

Cheers.


stewartsglenn

“Stewarts Glen” with Paddy Kelly and Ashley MacLeod (and you should be able to work out who is who). The third member, Pat Maher, is there — but all you see is his left hand on his bass guitar, that alas, often the lot of bass players when it comes to group photos. Click to ENLARGE. Kindly supplied by Paddy.


TDS Telecom Claiming That They Will Be Providing 1 Gigabit Internet In Alton, N.H. In October 2015.

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by Anura Guruge


Other Related posts:
1.
TDS Jamaica Call Center a Joke — Dec. 26, 2014.
2.
It really is Jamaica — Oct. 29, 2014.
3.
TDS outsourcing Call Center — May 5, 2014.

>> Search ‘TDS’ and for other related posts >>>>


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Click to ENLARGE. What 1 Gigabit Internet would look like to me compared to the dedicated 15Mbps I have today. But, we have two Fiber lines, each 15Mbps. But I don’t ‘bond’ them. 15 Mbps dedicated just to this PC.


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Click to ENLARGE. 75Mbps is already available BUT it only becomes OFFICIAL on Jan. 1, 2015. Price has gone up. $71.99/month or thereabouts without the $5/month for the modem.


TDS, as I knew they would, restored my bandwidth to what it is supposed to be: at least 15Mpbs download & AT LEAST 3Mbps upload. I am happy. I notice degradation in my bandwidth. That is when I run speedtest.net. As I also knew would be the case our very talented local TDS Internet technician could fix the problem from his office rather than having to come here. So he did that to begin with this morning around 9:30. An hour later, given that he was on his way to Barnstead past our house he stopped by to see if I was happy. I was. Happier still to see him. Ex-marine. Very nice guy. Young enough to be my grandson. He has taken care of me, very well, for four years. So we know each other.

He knew, even before I asked, that I wanted to know when I could have more bandwidth. I am an unashamed bandwidth junkie. I don’t totally subscribe to the adage “You can’t be too thin or too rich”. I know for a fact, first hand, that you can be too thin. I once, on one of my rigorous diets, got down to 132 pounds. I went from 209 lbs to 132. You could clearly see each of my ribs. My stomach went way in. My waist was about 28″. That was too thin. People thought I was very ill. Everybody told me to put back some weight. I went up to 160 – 165. Which is funnily enough where I am now though me getting down to 132 was 30 years ago. I really can’t talk about the “too rich part”. I have never even been ‘moderately rich’. But I, through work, have associated with some very rich folks. Yes, maybe there is a point when you can have too much money. I would never know. But, I am sure of one thing. You can never have enough bandwidth. More bandwidth, provided you have devices that can keep up, means you can get things done quicker. I am all for that. I want more bandwidth.

He is adamant that we in Alton, N.H. will have 1Gbps Internet in October 2015. That maybe I might even be able to trial it by August. I know that TDS has 1 Gig in some parts of NH already, New London for one I think. I am told that the Chichester data facility is being upgraded right now.

October 2015. Can I wait?

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I can CONFIRM that MetroCast does support the new higher throughput ARRIS / Motorola SurfBoard SB6141 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem.

I have been talking with MetroCast and doing a ton of research the last week — ever since my bandwidth dropped. I got Internet from MetroCast for 12 years. Then I switched to TDS. MetroCast can now give me 75Mbps/5Mbps. With the two TDS lines we have 30Mbps. Rather than having a dedicated 15 Mbps to my PC I will share the 75Mbps across the house. I would still get more than 15Mbps.

It is a dilemma. TDS in the past has never lived up to their availability dates. They promised me 25Mbps 2 years ago. October is a long time. I could be dead.

The SurfBoard SB6141 is already in my Amazon shopping cart. Given that I have Prime I can have it here in 2 days.

I am going to sleep on it.

I was going to order MetroCast on January 4, 2015. I want 75Mbps to be OFFICIAL before I order it so that they can’t at some point turn around and tell me that I signed up for the 50Mbps rather than 75Mbps. I know MetroCast well. They were even a customer of mine!

I will, of course, keep you posted.

15Mpbs … 30Mbps …. 75Mbps …. 1,000MBps (1 Gig).


Samsung WB350F 16.3MP Point-And-Shoot Camera: LCD Display Went Haywire 2nd Day Of Use!

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by Anura Guruge


Other Related posts:
>>
Search ‘camera’, ‘Panasonic’, ‘Canon’ & ‘Samsung’ for other related posts >>>>


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Click to ENLARGE. See the lines across the LCD display


I got the Samsung WB350F 16.3MP, with its 21x optical zoom, for Deanna as a Christmas present after considerable research.

Deanna has a Panasonic Lumix ZS20 — the original of which I got her two Christmases ago. She loves it and it takes stunning pictures. But as I have faithfully chronicled in this blog we have had a LOT of TROUBLE with the lens on this camera particularly with it sticking. I really have lost count but I think we are on the 3rd replacement — and Amazon, as ever, has been wonderful. This Summer past it started having another problem, pictures taken in certain ‘modes’ would have unwanted, unpredictable black borders. You might have noticed them in some of the pictures I posted this Summer before I got my refurbished Canon.

So I wanted to get her a new camera. She loves taking pictures but is very fussy. I wanted to get her a fixed lens DSLR with 50(+)x zoom. She doesn’t want one of them. Too big. It has to be a flat point-and-shoot. It has to have at least 20x zoom and panorama mode is imperative. The latter rules out all Canons. So that is how I ended up with this Samsung. 21x zoom. 360° automated panorama. Wi-Fi etc. etc. I checked the reviews. They were mainly good. Also got a good deal from Amazon just as I did with the quadcopter drones. I could get it from Amazon for about $15 less than what everybody else was selling it — and I get free shipping from Amazon.

So I ordered one … way back in early December.

Deanna got it on Christmas day. She was skeptical at first. She insisted that she didn’t want a new camera. But then she started reading the specs and was blown over. Then when she powered it up and saw the touchscreen and Wi-Fi she was excited. It worked fine to begin with.

Then on Saturday, December 27, Teischan and I went down to the beach to fly Teischan’s drone. Deanna and Devanee decided to walk down, Deanna carrying her new camera. On the way she stopped to take some pictures and found that the LCD was all messed up. So when she made it to the beach she gave it to me hoping I would know how to fix it. The screen by then was totally haywire. Horizontal lines all over and it would start to swim. Tried cycling power. Took out the card and battery. Tried all the modes. Nothing.

I suspect it had something to do with the cold — THOUGH it wasn’t really that cold! Low 40s I think. This is crazy.

When we came home we tried again. The lines would never totally go away THOUGH it was better once it had warmed up inside the house than it was on the beach.

Of course we returned it. Deanna doesn’t want another one.

But here is the REALLY SCARY part. I bought Devanee, on eBay, from China, a ‘cheap’ ($60), SELFIE Samsung last Christmas. She loved it. She could take selfies at will using the front-facing LCD. In Spring the LCD started to develop a black hole. I had not brought it from Amazon. So returning it wasn’t a piece of cake. The black hole does NOT appear in the pictures. It is JUST the LCD corrupted and compromised. Deanna did some research. Appears this problem was COMMON with this camera.

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Click to ENLARGE. Notice the black hole towards top left. Those are burned pixels in the LCD. It started out quite small. Then started to expand rapidly. It has stabilized at this size. But Devanee rarely, if ever, uses it now because, quite understandably, the black hole annoys her. She now has an Android phone with a camera. So this will see even less use.

So two Samsung point-and-shoot cameras, in a year,
and they both had LCD issues!

What bothers me MOST is that I was really leaning towards Samsung mirrorless
technology for my next camera.

I was hoping to get a Samsung NX1 in the Spring.

Yes, given that I would have got it from Amazon
returning it would NOT be a problem —
but do I want to buy a $2,000 camera to find
that the LCD doesn’t work.

I am shocked and amazed.

I had expected better from Samsung.

I am so glad that I do 96% of my shopping on Amazon.

So I am not a happy camper when it comes to Samsung.

Right now I think Samsung sucks.


Alton Central School (ACS), N.H.: Interesting Rumor Doing The Rounds Over Christmas.

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by Anura Guruge


Other Related posts:
>>
Search ‘ACS’ for other related posts >>>>


No, I am not going to say what the rumor is about, because, as yet, it is but a rumor. Plus, from what I can see everybody in town who would care has already heard about it and passing it along. Those that haven’t heard about it probably wouldn’t care about it anyway.

My primary reason for doing this post is to document the timing of this rumor, just in case the timing proves to be interesting. As some of you have worked out this blog doubles as my very public, personal electronic journey. When I document something on this blog I know where to find it, have a powerful search capability to help me and it doesn’t get lost because WordPress, bless their hearts, backs it all up for automatically and for gratis to boot.

The rumor is said to have originated from within ACS. That surprises me. Yes, some of the details and specifics are ‘spot on’ BUT that alone doesn’t mean that the entire rumor is true.

loose-lips-sink-ships-2We received the first phone call about it on Saturday, December 20, 2014 around 4pm. I wasn’t home. I was with Teischan at her Nutcracker rehersals, at Anderson Hall, in Wolfeboro, N.H. Deanna answered the phone and got the whole story. She related it to me, breathlessly, as soon as I got home. The next day I e-mailed the person who had called and we established that there has to have been some ‘fire’ in order for this ‘smoke’.

At a Christmas Eve party in Alton, on Christmas Eve as it happened, I heard it again. Same story. Same details.

Then I heard it again, Sunday afternoon, December 28th, at the Alton dump. The story hasn’t changed.

Interesting.

If this rumor is true it should be the function of the local newspaper to report it. I will wait to see what comes out in the paper.

Happy New Year.