Thursday, August 20, 2020


I hate trying to get work (computer work, I mean) done while traveling. Hate it. Mostly because I need two monitors to accommodate my work style, and until recently portable/travel monitors seemed awfully expensive. But now ...

Less than $85 at Amazon to approximately double my work speed and cut my work discomfort by much more than half. I could probably even fit it in my "carry-on item" with my Chromebook when traveling by air if I needed to, although this time I put it in a checked bag.

Monday, August 17, 2020

I'm Coming to Springfield, Missouri ...

 ... for a couple of days, for the worst of reasons.

My mother's funeral is Friday morning in Lebanon, Missouri.

I'll be arriving in Springfield on Thursday afternoon and leaving either Saturday or Sunday.

That leaves pretty limited time for getting together with friends, and of course the current lockdown culture discourages that anyway but I figured I'd get the word out anyway.

I plan to visit American Legion Post #639 either Thursday evening or Friday evening, not sure which one yet, so that might be a plausible getting-together spot.

Friday, August 14, 2020

So, a new thing ...

 I used to really, really, really, love Purse. A lot. I could use real Bitcoin (BCH, aka Bitcoin Cash) or old/wrecked Bitcoin (BTC, aka Bitcoin) to make purchases at Amazon, with an automatic 5% discount, or a larger discount if I was willing to wait a little while for a buyer to accept less crypto for more cash.

Then Purse kinda went to shit. I hate to say that, but things just ain't right over there any more.

An order with the automatic 5% discount used to get placed at Amazon within minutes after being accepted at Purse. Now the time to Amazon order placement usually ends up being measured in days, not minutes.

So, I went looking for an alternative, and found Bitrefill (yes, that is an affiliate link, and if you spend more than $50 after signing up through it, I get five bucks).

They only accept BTC, not BCH, but they do accept BTC via both on-chain and Lightning Network, if you're into that kind of thing.

After depositing crypto, you can use it to buy gift cards for a crap ton of places, including Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, etc. (I stopped counting at 30, and I think I was still in the "B"s by alphabetical listing).

One cool thing is that you can maintain your balance in crypto OR in fiat. If you prefer non-volatility, you can know that the $50 worth of BTC you deposited yesterday will be usable as $50 tomorrow, next week, etc. regardless of what the price of BTC does. Or if you expect crypto prices in USD to go up, keep your balance in BTC.

I just bought, and successfully redeemed, an Amazon gift card, so I'm confident that Bitrefill does deliver the goods. Pick your gift card, choose the amount, pay for it, get a code instantly.

OK, well, there are two exceptions to the "instantly." One is the obvious: When you send BTC on-chain, it won't show up in your balance until the transaction has some confirmations. The other is that if you choose to have deposits immediately converted to dollar balances, that seems to take a few minutes in addition to the crypto transaction process. But once you have a dollar balance showing, yes, pretty much instant.

Thursday, August 06, 2020

How Common IS COVID-19?

I've had two close relatives test positive for it in the last couple of months, and a third who had symptoms and was tentatively diagnosed with it at a point in time when there was a test shortage.

That's two known and one likely cases out of a grand total of 15 living people composing three linear generations of my family (my parents, me and my siblings and our spouses, our children). One case per generation -- 100% of one generation, 20% of the second generation, and 11% of the third generation.

That I know of.

Saturday, August 01, 2020

Ted Cruz is a Gulf Coast Multi-Millionaire ...

... but today I had a fundraising email from him complaining about the Democratic base consisting of "coastal elites."

Per Google, "coastal elites" seems to be one of Ted "Coastal Elite" Cruz's go-to attack phrases.