Month: June 2015

USPS is failing

So in a prior post I’d related how a 3 days package took close to 7 days.

Now I haven’t had a problem with things being delivered per se. Items I’ve ordered on Amazon have arrived ahead of Amazon’s predicted date.

However one issue – I ordered a Rigol carrying case for my DS1054z/DS1104z (Split personality, the outside says it’s a DS1054z, but I’ applied the keys to make it a DS1104z). The tracking number for USPS says nothing found, but I received the bag yesterday. I let the vendor know I’d received it. But if I were a little less ethical I wouldn’t have said that it never arrived – and the USPS track is gone.

So USPS is falling down on the job. I blame congress, since those in congress are the assholes that forced USPS to front end fund the retirement and benefits for workers. So as a result USPS is using more temporary employees. And they just don’t give a shit.

Even to how they deliver. The carrying case was in a big box left on the front porch. Other items get left by the back door. No rhyme or reason to it.

Currently Reading: Engineers of Victory: The Problem Solvers Who Turned the Tide In the Second World War

The books is by Paul Kennedy. It walks through the technological changes but not just that but changes in bureaucracy too. For example the inter-service rivalries in the U.S. had to be managed and even a concept like having a headquarters ship had to be developed.

But one thing emerges – the Nazi’s were really sons of bitches, Hitler prime among them. From the U-boats that were dispatched by the allies by using aircraft to the whole Blitzkrieg concept. Germany has a fairly up to snuff military in the 1930’s – and the military units they faced like that of France, Poland and even Russia to a degree all hadn’t progressed sufficiently enough from the technology of World War I. And Germany took advantage of that fact. And the Nazi Germans used some rather devious field maneuvers.

A great example – the Russian T-34 tank. The Russians had actually sent one to the Aberdeen proving grounds in the U.S. for testing. What came back were recommendations to rectify stiff controls, better gun turret, etc. The Aberdeen folks did like the sloped design of the T-34 though. (All images – click to embigen)

That shown above is a T-34-85. The Russians took the recommendations seriously – but it took some time to change over to building the T-34-85 when need for tanks was so high.

Consider – tanks prior looked like these:

And of course today tanks look more like this, An Abrams M1A1 – that baby has a turbine for an engine.


One interesting thing to note. In the U.S. Army – the three man crew of an M1A1 – they rotate duties. Today you might be the commander of the mission, tomorrow you might be gunner, or driver. Keeps everyone sharp. I like that. Hell if I’d had to join the Army I definitely would have gravitated toward tanks.

RIPTA needs to clean and align the magnetic card readers on buses

I’ve run into this problem several times and seen other people experience the same thing. It affects both the pass slot and card slot on the what I believe are SPX E-fare boxes.

Having dealt with computers, electronics and software over the years I can tell you that magnetic card read heads get worn down, dirty, and out of alignment fairly often.

So RIPTA needs to put preventative maintenance programs in place – to clean and align and/or replace magnetic reader/writer heads on the alleged SPX E-Fare boxes.

So I note

WP-InsightsThat WordPress has brought back Insights. As I said, maybe I’ll have some fun with it. Maybe I won’t. I just thought it would interest them to know about what one could do with a matrix.

I must be in the mood to gripe today

First I heard about the fact that Mayor Elorza of Providence, RI wants to put 700 more parking meters in the city – but not Atwells Avenue – oh no, they’ll put them on Broadway and Westminster St. I shot an email to my city councilor, state representative and senator that basically said get the school budget under control and start tagging for quality of life issues like boorish driving. Boorish includes blowing through crosswalks with people in said crosswalk, failure to signal, things like that.

And then I this evening I swiped my 15 ride pass on a RIPTA e-fare box and it worked. Then after I’d sat down I noticed person after person swipe their passes multiple times before the forces aligned and the e-fare box could finally read the card.

So I shot an email to RIPTA telling them they have to maintain the e-fare boxes. Clean and align the read heads for example.

I guess that old saw about the squeaky wheel holds true. If anything it can sometimes stop stupid ideas from getting out of the gate.