Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Weekend

DVD Player, Part 1

Friday night (or was it Thursday night? I really don't remember and it doesn't make much difference anyway) the remote control for my DVD player quit, or at least I thought it was the remote. Changed the batteries, no help. So Saturday morning I start looking into the problem. Maybe it has fixed itself (remote controls are notoriously flaky in my house), but no, and the new batteries check out. So I look on the Internet, and Philips has replacement remote control that goes for $10. The also have a remote control that goes for $400. The blurb I read about them claims they have sold hundreds of thousands of them. I was stunned and amazed.

http://www.remotecentral.com/tsu3000/index.html

Eventually I realized that the remote controls for both the TV and DVD could be programmed to run the other one. So I tried it. I tried a dozen different codes in the TV remote but none of them enabled it to control the DVD player. Then I tried programming the DVD remote and got instant control of the TV. So it wasn't the remote after all.


Books

Saturday afternoon Johnny and I walked to downtown Hillsboro. He was very angry with his brother. He steamed and stewed and fussed most of the way. But then we went to the used book store and he forgot about his troubles. He found five or six "Star Wars" paperbacks. I found a mystery by Sue Grafton ("L is for Lawless"). You've probably seen her books in the supermarket. She has a whole series. They are not great, but they are entertaining. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was finished by Sunday evening.


Fund Raiser

Saturday evening a friend of mine (Bob Coussens) invited Anne and I to join him and his wife at a fund raiser for the Hillsboro Schools Foundation. They fund educational enrichment programs for the Hillsboro Public Schools. It was held at the "Tiger Woods Center" on the Nike campus in Beaverton. A very bizarre experience for me. There were some real heavy-weights there. Three former Intel employees: Keith Thompson, Luis Machuca and Steve Packer.

I didn't get to speak to Keith. He and Luis were VP's at Intel. I actually couldn't remember his name till several hours later when it finally popped into my head. The only time I talked to him was 15 or 20 years ago when I was working at Intel's Deer Valley facility in Phoenix, Arizona. There was a big meeting with all employees and Keith was the speaker. Something about Intel making CPU chips for PC's and selling them to people who were making motherboards, and not wanting to be in the motherboard business because we would be competing with our customers. I stood up said it sounded like Intel was afraid. What's the difference if we sell chips on our own motherboards, or we sell chips to other people to put in PC's? Every PC is going to have an Intel chip, it doesn't matter who makes the motherboard. Anyway, before that, Intel didn't make or sell motherboards, and after that they did, and it was all because of my conversation with Keith (ho, ho, ho).

I had never met Luis before. He asked whether I was with "the labs" and I said I couldn't tell, we were being reorganized every two weeks when I was there. He said that was his doing. He is now running Kryptiq:

http://www.kryptiq.com/

Steve Packer was a manager in PCEO (Personal Computer Enhancement Operation) when I was working with the "SatisFAXtion" faxmodem there. He has forsaken computers and gone into politics as a liberal and I believe he is fervent about his cause. Time for men of good will to step up the plate and squash these neo-conservative fascists.

http://www.washcodems.org/



DVD Player, Part 2

Sunday we went to Costco to pick up a new DVD player. I wanted to get a DVR (digital video recorder), but the only one they had was a Tivo and it comes with a subscription requirement, and I continue to be opposed to monthly payments if I can avoid it. We picked up a Toshiba unit for $50. It is much smaller than our four year old Philips model (also purchased from Costco for $190). The old one barely fit in the new box with all the foam packing material removed. The TV and DVD player both support three kinds of video signals:
  • Composite
  • S-Video
  • Component or Chrominance/Luminance
Composite uses a single cable with "RCA" phone plugs, similar to an audio cable. S-Video uses a special cable. Component uses three cables, similar to the composite or audio cables. I had hooked up the old DVD player using the component connections, as it promised the best picture. While I was fooling around with the old DVD player I must have plugged some cables in wrong
because component video no longer works. When I tried it with the new DVD player I get a picture, but it is completely red. Must have blown something on the blue input circuit. Hard to imagine, these are just low level signals, no current to speak of, but something bad happened. So now I'm stuck with composite video, not that I can tell the difference.


Coffee

While we were at Costco we also picked up a "Senseo" coffee maker. It uses little premeasured packets of coffee and it only makes one cup at a time. It says it will make two cups, but the cup size they are talking about is four ounces, so two of their cups only makes one of my cups. Anyway, I thought it might be a good idea. Quick, easy, good cup of coffee. Turns out it's not that much quicker or easier, you still have to fill the reservoir. It's made by Philips, one of my least favorite companies. While I was hemming and hawing about whether we should get it or not, Anne picked it up and put in the cart and walked off down the aisle. I made a cup of coffee with it when I got home, and it was pretty good. But the unit leaked a little bit. I could have lived with that, but it was horribly noisy. It has some kind of pump inside it makes a horrible racket. Anne couldn't abide with the leak, so we packed it up and she took it back. I'm glad to be rid of it, but I still need to find a new coffee maker.

Friday, April 15, 2005

April 15

We still have lunch at the Panda most every Thursday. Yesterday, Don, Dennis, Elliot and I were there. Topic at lunch was 13 year old girls. Dennis brought a friend from work. He has a 13 year old daughter. She had 3 friends over for a sleepover a couple of weeks ago. They snuck out of the house about 3 in the morning to "go pick some flowers". Mom found out and rousted Dad and daughter was grounded for two weeks: no phone, no TV, no computer, no going anywhere.

Don has a 13 year old niece who is a meth addict, she ran away from home and hasn't been seen for I don't know how long. Her mother, Don's sister, lives somewhere in Southern Washington. She recently got a divorce from her marijuana dealer husband. The whole town, including the mayor and the sheriff, are in on the dope business.

My son John (12) has gone out for track, but his ankles hurt when he runs, so I don't know if he will continue. Kathryn (14) is still dancing and hating school. Her dance team came in 5th at the state competition about a month ago. Very disappointing after coming in 1st for the last three years. Ross participated in a mock trial a few weeks ago. Grumbled all the way, but I think he actually enjoyed it. He finally got his driving permit this week.

My mother-in-law wants to give us her old car. All we have to do is figure out how to go get it. She and it are in Iowa. Do we drive out and drive two cars back? Or do we pay round-trip prices for a one way ticket? Decisions, decisions.

Finally got my taxes done this week. Never again. Every year I say I am going to get started early and finish early, and I hardly ever do. Problem is that I just hate it. I don't want to do it, I have no interest in it, and if it weren't for the death penalty, I would probably blow it off completely. So I've decided I'm going to hire an accountant to do it. We are going to meet and get her all the information she needs, and we are going to get a list of what she will need from us next January and that will be the end of it. No more digging through old records, no more reading pages of instructions (did you buy a hog this year? did you get stuck in a bog? did you form a partnership for getting hogs stuck in bogs? did you dissolve a partnership for .... gawd, it's just endless).

I've been saying I need a new job for years, but what I really needed was a new boss, and I finally did, almost. They announced a new guy would be running the company and concentrating on sales, which is what we REALLY need. He moves up here from Texas (ride up North, coast back South), is here for a few days, and then he ends up in the hospital with a burst appendix. He got out a couple of days later and is now recuperating at the old boss's house. So the old boss is still around, hopefully for not too much longer.

Sunday, April 3, 2005

Melvin Paisley

The boys and I went to Fred Meyers (local big box retailer) yesterday and Johnny found a DVD for $8 that had a bunch of WWII era movies. I suspect the movies aren't any good, but they might be interesting. I showed it to Dad when he came over today to deliver his "Advance Directive". While he was here he told me a couple of things.
Dad's Uncle Stanley was in both wars: WWI and WWII. He was in the Army in the first war and signed up with the Navy for the second. He was working in the shipyard. One of his jobs was unloading bodies from ships.
When Dad was at Boeing (that was when we lived in Seattle) he met a guy by the name of Melvin Paisley. Melvin had been a P-47 pilot in Europe in WWII. After his first encounter with the enemy in the air, his ear had developed a tick. Dad put his ear up to Melvin's and he could hear it: tick, tick, tick. No explanation for it.
Melvin bought a P-47 when he was at Boeing. He had a friend who became secretary of the Navy, who then asked Melvin to be his assitant. Later Melvin was convicted of taking bribes from military contractors and was sent to prison.
It took some digging on Google, but I eventually found this:
In some cases, Pentagon officials were thought to have agreed to rigging the bidding process to favor certain companies, in exchange for a position after they left government service or even personal favors; indeed, Assistant Secretary Paisley, who left the Department of the Navy in March 1987, later plead guilty to providing classified and proprietary data to free-lance military consultants, many of whom were later convicted or plead guilty. (Among the "personal favors": a major defense contractor bought Paisley’s vacation condominium in Sun Valley at an above-market price, reselling it in a year for a loss.)
on this web page:
and this:
1991 Melvyn R. Paisley (d.2001 at 77), a former assistant Navy Secretary, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and bribery as part of "Operation Ill Wind," a 7 ½ year operation which investigated corporate executives, defense consultants and government officials.
(SFC, 12/27/01, p.A19)

on this page:
Regarding the noises in the ear, I found this:

Can Other People Hear the Noise in My Ears?

Not usually, but sometimes they are able to hear a certain type of tinnitus. This is called "objective tinnitus," and it caused either by abnormalities in blood vessels around the outside of the ear or by muscle spasms, which may sound like clicks or crackling inside the middle ear.

on this page:
All this searching turned up some weird stuff, like this: