Archive for November 2012

New Laptop

November 30, 2012

The time has come to consider replacing my aging HP Laptop. It’s going on 4.5 years old now. I probably would have replaced it sooner if it were not for my purchase of my iPad.

So here are my decision points. I seriously considered getting a Mac book but rejected the idea based on the price. Well configured Mac books were running over $1500. Ouch!

So considering that I am an HP retiree, I have access to HP’s Employee Purchase Plan. Not a huge discount, but i’d save a couple of hundred dollars.

Prices start around $400 and go up as one adds options like additional memory or larger disk, etc. I can get a fairly well configured laptop for about $800. Also, this time of year HP is heavily discounting stuff.

So here’s where all of friends can help. Most of the new laptops come with Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro. Does anyone have any experience with Win 8? Is it worth the extra $25 to upgrade to Win 8 Pro? Considering what I’ve read, Win 8 Pro mostly has features that I don’t really need, like access to corporate domains.

I am particularly interested in the <4lb laptops. One way they cut down on weight is to eliminate the DVD drive. DVD drive is external option. I only need a DVD drive once or twice a year. Most of the time I can do without. To me this seems a reasonable tradeoff.

For a disk drive i will probably go for the largest capacity and fasted drive. Nuff said.

Memory. Most laptops come with default of 2GB and options for 4, 6, or 8Gb. Is it worth it to add the additional memory? I think so bot not sure.

Other options are software packages like MS Office, Norton AV, etc, I believe that their are decent Anti Virus packages for free available. I will probably get the MS Office. Price is not outrageous.

Any other issues I’ve missed?

Heritage Square

November 28, 2012

On Tuesday we joined a group from the San Pedro Historical Society to visit Heritage Square in downtown Los Angeles. It felt a little bit strange to be the youngest two people on the tour. We dragged Mary K. along. By the time that we got back to San Pedro we were all tuckered out.

The Historical Society had chartered a bus for the occasion and we had a group tour arranged with the folks at Heritage Square. We had about thirty people for the tour divided into three groups for the tour. The tour was led by a volunteer docent. The docent was knowledgable about the various homes. I managed to stump him when I asked about the provenance of the piano in the Hale mansion.

In the 1880’s a piano was definitely a luxury item, especially on the West Coast. Cost was generally more than twice the cost of a pump organ. To see both a piano and pump organ in the same house was ostentatious indeed.

The site consists of about five houses, a church, drugstore and railroad station that were built sometime between 1880 and 1900. All of the buildings had been relocated from their original site.

The cost to build the various homes varied from about $10,000 to $1500. You could really see the differences in both size and attention to detail. Some of the houses are still in need of additional restoration. They seem to be always short of cash for restoration projects. Go to the website (link is in the first paragraph) for additional pictures and details.

After we were done with the tour, we headed off to Olvera Street for lunch and shopping. Olvera Street is in the oldest section of Los Angeles. Here is the Wikipedia entry on Olvera Street. We ate a little Mexican restaurant and sat outside. Lots of small birds eager to get some lunch from us.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Los Angeles, CA

Random Political comments

November 8, 2012

I should have written this yesterday, but I didn’t so sue me.

Tuesday was a busy day for us. Luckily there was no line at our polling place in San Pedro. In and out in about 10 minutes.

Watching poll results in California is lots easier than back east. I didn’t have to stay up until the wee hours to know the results. We started watching the results at about 5pm west coast time. Polls had pretty much closed back east. We surfed the TV from ABC, NBC and CBS. I had my iPad for following my twitter feed, Facebook and a few blogs that I usually follow. Didn’t need my iPhone. I tried to listen to DailyKOS radio on the iPhone but the stream wasn’t that reliable.

Don’t know how i managed to follow all the news before having an iPad four years ago.

Needless to say Paula and I were very pleased with the results. Mary K not so much. Mary K went to bed early. We were very much interested in results in MA. We regretted not being able to vote for Elizabeth Warren.

So why did President Obama win? Turnout, turnout, turnout. I read that Latino voted 75/25% for Obama. In a state like California, Latino vote is huge. Obama won CA by 55%. In MA, Mayor Tom Menino got his political machine working for Elizabeth Warren. Voter turnouts in Boston were huge. Interesting article in today’s Boston Globe about the Menino machine. Women voters weren’t too happy with Republicans. Saw quote from Alec Baldwin. “When you ask how the rape candidate did? And you answer, which one? Things not going so good.

So why did Romney lose. My guess is the people didn’t believe him. There were never any details on his programs or the math just didn’t add up. I think that his refusal to release his tax returns for the last ten years hurt him. People thought he had something to hide. Especially with accounts in tax havens like the Caymans and Switzerland. Bottom line people didn’t believe that the middle class would get a fair shot under Romney. Romney’s lies were worse than Obama lies.

When Romney made the claim that Jeep jobs were going to China, and the head of Chrysler rebuts it with giving employees the day off to vote.

Hurricane Sandy didn’t help Romney either. Obama was busy looking presidential. Romney campaign wasn’t too happy with Governor Christie of NJ. Christie was doing his job seeing that his people got what they needed from the government.

I should have switched to Fox News to see the Carl Rove meltdown. I’ve heard it was something to watch.

So Romney couldn’t win any of his home states (MA, CA and Mich). Paul Ryan didn’t win his home state either (WS). A lot of sad faces in Boston at Romney HQ. Nice concession speech.

A couple more points then I’ll shut up. Didn’t hear anyone talk about the US Supreme Court. There will certainly be some retirements over the next four years that will be filled by President Obama. Big deal.

So I went to bed at about midnight Pacific time. I was a happy camper.

I think that Obama will have a lot more clout with Congress. I expect to see a lot more getting done.

Autumn in LA

November 3, 2012

Autumn has finally arrived. Temperatures are going down. Night time averages in the low 60’s. This morning at 11AM it is 64F. Time to put away the shorts and flip-flops.

You might ask, what about leaves turning color? Not so much. The maple trees outside our condo are turning an ugly shade of brown. Pine trees and palm trees just stay the same. Here’s what I see.

Nothing like the foliage in New England. Not even close. I can still sit outside and enjoy breeze and listen to our artificial stream that runs through the common areas. Just means I need to put on a long sleeve shirt.

So this morning, i have the place all to myself. Paula is off to Zumba class and Mary K is off to the YMCA. I sit, blog and read my Kindle books. Life is good.

Tonight turn your clocks back. I get an extra hour of sleep before we go off to church.

No football this weekend. Patriots are on their bye week.


– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:San Pedro, CA


November 1, 2012

How did get to be November already? Seems just like yesterday when we arrived in San Pedro. But the calendar says November 1.

In some ways the time goes quickly other times so slowly. We can’t wait for the election to be over with. Getting so tired of the political ads, not just for the presidential election, but also for the Cal ballot questions. Seeing as CA is not a battle ground state (like Ohio, Florida, and the like) we don’t see much of the candidates in CA.

Well enough of that. This past week we celebrated Jonathan’s first birthday. Mike and Theresa reserved a picnic at a local park for the occasion. They provided food from a place called “Maui Chicken“. Everyone had a great time. Kids got to play on the swings and slides. Adults sat, ate and talked.

Here’s a picture of Jonathan getting into his birthday cake.

Here’s a picture of Jonathan in one of his new toys.

So this past week, we read about hurricane Sandy on the east coast. First time ever that we were out of harm’s way for big storms. We were happy to just read about it on FB, Twitter and newspapers.

Jonathan is getting big. He had his 1 yr checkup at the Pediatrician’s office. He is 32″ and 24 lb.

Tuesday is Jonathan day here. Generally, every Tuesday Jonathan and family join us for dinner. This past Tuesday we had Grampa’s special lasagna and a bottle of chianti. Jonathan now knows where the box of toys is in the condo.

This past Thurday, our piano tuner came by to do the first tuning of the new piano. Sounds real good. Jonathan now knows that if you push the keys down it makes a sound. Here’s a picture of Frank from Steinway doing the tuning.

One final bit of info. The weather. It’s beginning to cool off a bit. I think it might be time to put away the shorts. It was 65 this afternoon and a bit cloudy.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:San Pedro