Steel Rising (Part Six)

Eight weeks ago we started raising steel for our new hangars at the CAF SoCal location in Camarillo. Six weeks ago the longitudinal beams were up, four weeks ago the roof was on and concrete was ready to pour, three weeks ago the exterior walls were being installed, and two weeks ago interior walls were going up.

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By last Thursday, October 1st,  all of the old ramp asphalt had been ripped up and grading begun for the new asphalt.

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(Click for full-sized image.) Our two existing hangars on the left, 2/3 of the new hangars on the right. (The other third abuts the right-hand, old hangar.)

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By Tuesday, October 6th, the final prep had begun for the area to be re-paved. It was a bit of a pain to have this unpaved for several days – any planes we needed to fly over that period had to be taken out before the asphalt was ripped up and then parked elsewhere on the airport for the duration.

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The last big chunks of the hangar exteriors were going up – the huge, folding doors.

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On Tuesday they only got the top half sections hung.

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Today, the frames for these hangar doors were done and they were working on the third door, which is on the other side off to the left, leading off from the EAA’s portion of the hangar onto the ramp out on the back side of this hangar.

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The first huge swaths of new asphalt were going in, which should allow us to move our planes in and out normally again tomorrow.

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For the record, it was 91°F in Camarillo today, and that asphalt was a lot hotter than that as it was being laid down. You could feel the heat radiating from it twenty feet away. I do not envy this guy that job.

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Here’s a detail of the new folding doors – for scale, look at the two workers inside on the left. We have some big airplanes, we need some big doors on big hangars!

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Hats Off To The Dropbox Marketing Team!

Dropbox is a wonderful service that not only provides “cloud” based computer storage, but does so in a way that I like a lot. I’m a bit distrusting of letting other folks take 100% control of my data and its backup and storage and accessibility. There have already been a couple of cloud-based places that either went out of business for financial reasons, had legal issues which resulted in their servers being shut down, or had some massive technical screw up that lost data. Either way, everyone who had their data on those servers lost that data, and if that was the only place they had that data (i.e., no offsite backup, such as on a memory stick, external hard drive, or their home or office computer), they were simply screwed.

Dropbox works by keeping your data on its cloud-based servers, but also keeping a copy on every computer that you have linked to your account. So, in my case, when I have my Dropbox account linked to two desktop systems and four laptops, all six of those computers have identical copies of those files. Those files which in turn are identical to the online files that I can access anywhere, any time, from my iPhone, iPad, or any computer on the planet with a web browser and an internet connection using the website.

If I change a file or add a new file or make any changes at all, within a minute or so (huge files can take a couple of minutes to sync across all devices) all of those computer have the updated version.

If Dropbox goes off line or out of business or has a flood and a hurricane and an earthquake and lightning and a comet strike that wipes out their servers, I don’t lose a thing because I’ve got copies of everything on every one of those linked computers. Plus, of course, copies in those backups I’m doing regularly at my home or office. Right?

Great idea, and it works well. Since I signed up a couple of years ago I’ve gotten to the point where about 90% of the files I use day in and day out are on my Dropbox account. About the only things that routinely aren’t on Dropbox are my music library and my photos library. Those libraries have a ton of files and take up terabytes of space. But if I’m working on some much smaller subset of those files, I’ll keep the working files on Dropbox.

Now, for free Dropbox will give you 2GB of storage. If you’re storing monstrously big files for video or something, that will get filled up pretty quickly. But if you’re like me and you’re just storing Word files, Excel files, PDFs, and so on, that’s a ton of space. It’s free, take it!

Then I bought a new HP laptop back in March. As part of that purchase, Dropbox upped my storage limit with an extra 25GB…for six months.

No big deal, I’ll never use it anyway, right? Duh! I barely use the 2GB of storage that I get for free, what would I possibly use 27GB for?

As a side note, do you remember when you could get a 10MB hard disk for your computer but you couldn’t imagine why you would need it? Hell, you already had two eight-inch, double-sided, double-density floppy disk drives, and those suckers held 1.2MB each!!

Then when you had the 10MB hard disk you couldn’t think of any possible way you might want a drive with 100MB? Then 250MB? Then 1GB? 10GB? 100GB? 1TB?

Do you see the pattern here?

So, of course, when the little warning popped up yesterday, six months after I bought the new laptop, I was more than a little shocked (for at least thirty seconds) to see how much of that 27GB of Dropbox storage space I was using, and using hundreds of time every day.

With the trial period expiring I was being knocked back down to my normal, free, 2GB storage allocation – unless I wanted to upgrade to a paid Dropbox account? Say, one terabyte? It’s only about $10 a month, but we’ll give you a discount if you pay for a full year in advance, then give you another 20% off if you get it now as an extension of the 25GB of storage from the laptop purchase…

This is why heroin dealers give out free samples, isn’t it?

So, for the price of one burger and fries or Starbucks coffee per month, not only do I get to keep my 25GB of storage that I’ve gotten so, so used to, I actually get forty times that!

I can’t imagine how I will ever use that much online storage…


Well played, Dropbox marketing team. Well played.

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Unintended Benefits

The iPhone, iPad, and Windows 10 OS upgrades are proceeding apace (“iPhone, iPad, and Windows 10” might be the worst law firm name in history) with just a couple of minor, only slightly panic inducing moments in the iPhone upgrade last night. This is why you do backups first (and often)!

iOS 9.0.2 is actually quite nice on the iPhone 6+ so far. I like the new default font a lot, the keyboard improvements make a huge difference (at least to me), the new format for flipping through open apps and closing them is cool, as are a number of other new upgrades, such as iTunes. (Do not, repeat *NOT* join Apple Music! I’ll rant some other time, but trust me on this one.)

With that done, I’m spending tonight upgrading the iPad. It’s an iPad 2 with 64 GB of RAM, which was state of the art and the biggest and baddest available in its time. Unfortunately, that time was about five years ago, which is several generations in the computer world. It’s now sluggish and almost painfully slow at times, especially compared to the new iPhone.

But I still like it and use it a lot, so let’s hope the iOS upgrade goes well, even if I can’t count on it going particularly quickly.

Meanwhile, this just popped up on my FaceBook timeline, shared by one of my Pepperdine MBA classmates:

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There have been a few of these over the last couple of years, usually with a found camera, phone, tablet, or some other electronic device. I have no doubt that a large percentage of electronic devices found by strangers, especially if they don’t require some sophisticated hacking to break into, are simply kept by the finder.

But increasingly we’re seeing people use the internet and social media to try to match the owners with their devices. This is no doubt because so many normal and decent people have figured out how much of their personal lives (data, pictures, video, and so on) are stored inside these magical devices. Folks are now thinking, “If I lost my [insert electronic device here], I would be totally screwed and pissed off!”

In the pre-internet age, the wallet or purse was the most likely receptacle of large amounts of personal information, but the amount of data held was minuscule compared to even the smallest and simplest of today’s “smart” devices. In addition, if one wanted to get the contents of the wallet or purse back to the owner, there wouldn’t be any huge problem in finding out who they belonged to. Real world river licenses and other forms of ID do not have passwords that include a capital letter, a lower-case letter, a symbol, a number, and the paw print of a rabid ferret.

So with so much more at stake in holding and guarding the details of our lives, of course we now have to be that much more careful about keeping those details private. In the event that one of our electronic devices are lost are stolen, we keep them protected, often with several layers of passwords, or even biometric verification schemes, such as the use of fingerprints. This is fantastic if your device is lost and you never see it again but someone, possibly someone without your welfare in mind, gets it and wants access to that data.

What is a good person to do in order to get this device back to those people when we have no clue about who those people are, where they live, or how to contact them. The police are too busy with crime and other problems, and to the average person this would seem to be a needle in a haystack task.

Until someone had the brilliant flash of insight to realize that if a funny cat video could get viewed by half of the people on the planet, so could a picture and the story of a lost camera or iPad.

None of this was why the internet was invented in developed. (Obviously it was built so that we could watch cat videos and get into horrific, stupid, abusive arguments about stupid crap that doesn’t mean squat!) But it’s a great unintended benefit, a way of letting each of us potentially contact millions of people if needed. Even if it’s just to get someone’s vacation pictures back to them.

Do you recognize these people?

And now the iPad upgrade has crashed and burned. What in hell is an “Error 4016”??


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Someone Was Eastbound At 39,000 Feet

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Wasn’t me. But I love the picture. I caught the twilight and the silhouettes just right.

I’m up to my ass in alligators, taking a couple of big leaps that only feel like they’re from 39,000 feet. Upgrading the iCritters from iOS 8.2 to iOS 9.02. Then I’m going to upgrade my two primary desktop systems and laptop to Windows 10. Of course, it’s not that simple since I’m paranoid experienced enough to be making full backups of everything first, and the Win desktop systems all have multiple hard drives with multiple terabytes each, so it’s a slow process.

Thank goodness that 6Tb drives are now down to $199!


Filed under Computers, Flying, Photography, Travel

New Growth

Not that I thought that anyone was lying awake nights worrying about my stressed and leaf-dropping ficus trees, but when I went out into the back yard with the mighty mighty dog beast today, I found all of the trees in question to be popping out with new leaves and sprouts!

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I know that this is a new development because I remember checking yesterday to see if anything was happening and I saw absolutely nothing new, which was disappointing.

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Today, however, probably a third of the barren branches have at least a handful of new leaves sprouting. Perhaps the trees noticed me checking yesterday and figured it was time to put it in gear.

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They also seem to be sprouting right out of the primary trunks as well, so I’m guessing new branches? I didn’t think these things could get bushier, but considering how little I know about them (and what I’m doing here), the odds are good that I’m wrong about that as well.

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Hooray, the trees aren’t dead!


I just hope they haven’t been talking to the philodendrons (pothos plants?) out on the front porch. (Which I still haven’t killed, despite my best efforts.)

On a day when my favorite baseball team comes up one game short in getting to the playoffs (pitchers and catchers report to Tempe Diablo when?) and my favorite NFL team, which had been a favorite to win their division, dropped to 1-4 and can’t do anything right to save their lives, having non-dead trees is a big deal!

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Filed under Castle Of The Willetts, KC Chiefs, LA Angels, Photography, Sports

Is It Moral? A Pop Quiz For October 3rd

I observed something today germane to pretty much nothing in the big scheme of things, but it did get me to wondering, so I figured I would throw it out there and see if anyone else had a comment.

The Post Office. A woman pulls into one of the handicapped parking spaces right in front of the door. She immediately hangs her handicapped parking placard on the rear-view mirror. No problem.

But she never gets out of the car. Her twenty-something passenger (assumed to be a daughter, maybe) gets out of the passenger side and runs into the post office to stand in line for whatever business there is.

The driver appears to be in her sixties, if not older. From what I can see she appears frail. The passenger looks like she runs marathons.

There are a number of assumptions here, I’ll admit right up front. Above all, I’m assuming that the handicapped placard is for the driver and that the passenger is perfectly healthy.

Given that, is it moral for this lady to park in the handicapped space when she’s not going to be the one getting out of the car?

I’m sure it’s legal. She has a placard. I’m assuming that she has it for a reason and she’s not one of the people (there are a LOT of them in Los Angeles) who has a fake placard or got a real one by buying it.

But the prime rationale for the existence of handicapped parking spaces is to make it easier for those with physical limitations to get into the building without having to walk a longer distance across the parking lot. Forget all of the legal and bureaucratic nonsense. They exist because society wants to help “even the playing field” for those with physical handicaps.

Considering why these parking spaces exist, plus the fact that in this case the person who actually was getting out of the car and going into the building was not the handicapped person, was parking here moral?

Your comments and observations are eagerly awaited. (Show your work.)

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Filed under Death Of Common Sense, Los Angeles

Juicy Chunks O’ Wisdom For Friday, October 2nd

‘Cause giving a damn is too much of a pain in the ass at the moment, that’s why.

  • Listening to “Jeopardy” by Greg Kihn Band as it comes up on the satellite feed reminds me again how many songs of the late 1980’s through the early 2000’s I now recognize more by the Weird Al Yankovic parody version.
  • Taking the trash out yesterday evening was an adventure. It was full dark, but we have one of those motion-activated flood lights out there, so no worries. I was just opening the gate from the front yard and it hadn’t yet triggered on, when something slammed into my left leg and another something slammed into the trash bag I was carrying in my right hand. No flood of insanely bad smell, so they weren’t skunks, and I don’t usually see the raccoons moving that fast, so my money’s on rabbits.
  • Observation made the other day – I would prefer that my life story be directed by Frank Capra, but instead I got Hitchcock. Or Kubrick.
  • Twenty-nine days until “NaNoWriMo” starts. Do I participate this year? Do I have an idea to use? Feeling a bit stretched thin and abandoned by my muse.
  • After the leporine hit-and-run, the light turned on and I looked behind me into the front yard. Jessie was there, oblivious to the (at least) two conejoes that had just scampered in front of her nose. We’ll cut her some slack, she’s getting really old and having some mobility issues. Back in the day, she would have chased those rabbits all the way down the block. Of course, I would have been trying to chase her all the way down the block, so maybe it’s just as well.
  • Maybe I need to learn to play the bagpipes. Yeah, that’s it!!
  • Even then, could I get the “2001: A Space Odyssey” Kubrick? No such luck. More and more days it’s feeling like the “Clockwork Orange” Kubrick. Or “Full Metal Jacket.” Or “The Shining.”
  • re: NaNoWriMo, it might be like the line about needing an hour of meditation a day, unless of course you can’t afford the time, in which case you need two hours.
  • No, I haven’t seen “The Martian” yet.
  • Wait, a decent set of bagpipes costs how much??!! And I thought it was the noise that kept more people from playing them.
  • Can we try for “Eyes Wide Shut?”

Remember, “You have to go to people’s funerals or they won’t come to yours.” Thanks, Yogi.

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Filed under Critters, Juicy Chunks, Movies, Music