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Friday, April 3, 2015

Buying new or used car.

Do some research first


Don't be 'Barefoot Pilgrim' 


That’s  slang term for an unsophisticated buyer. A barefoot pilgrim is someone who has taken on more risk than necessary or entered into the purchase carelessly, without doing the proper research

Have been buying new and late model used cars for nearly half a century.  First thing you need to do is research the car. I started using the ConsumerReports Auto Buying Guide in the 1990s. if you go online, you can even get a price for the car of your dreams.

You can buy a month subscription to ConsumerReports Online for about $7. Once you drill down to the engines and features of the car, you will get a cost coupon you can take to the dealer,

Of interest, if you have USAA insurance, you can log in to your account and use the USAA Auto Buying service. There is no cost and once you have identified, the engine, drive type and options you will be able to print out a coupon you can take to a dealer. The ConsumerReports and USAA bottom line prices are identical!

Suggest you talk to two or three dealers. If a dealer refuses to talk price on the phone, email  or by fax, find another dealer. Tell the dealer if you are a ConsumerReports/USAA member or use another auto buying service like Costco.

Can you beat the online ConsumerReports or USAA prices?

The short answer is yes. The different auto manufacturers have promotions and my car was purchased in a promotion month.

Be aware that auto dealers receive hold backs. A the end of each year, the dealers get 10s of thousands of dollars back from the auto manufactures, depending on their annual volume.

Finance considerations

Have suggested in the past that large banks be avoided,  Credit unions and smaller local community banks are a better option for an auto loan.

If you want to expedite the purchase of the car, go to your credit union and get pre-authorized. The bank will pull your credit and and if everything is satisfactory, issue you a draft somewhat over the amount of the purchase.  Essentially,the bank is issuing you a line of credit.

Once you are finished with the dealer sales person, you will be turned over to finance. When you present the draft, the finance officer will generate a purchase order that will be faxed to the bank.

You can now drive away with the car.

Watch out for dealer financing

Years ago I wanted to purchase a Mercury Cougar for my spouse. The dealer was offering 0 per cent financing and asked if I would finance the car through their corporation. I told them I would call my credit union and compare loan costs. Whoever had the better deal would get the finance the loan. As I recall, the credit union had a 4 per cent interest rate. Even with the higher interest rate, the monthly car payments were less through the credit union.

How can that be?

Dealers may tell you they are not making money on the deal and will want you to finance through them so they can get a finder's fee of $500 from your credit union or bank. My credit union offers no auto dealers finder's fee, so such a comment was bogus.

Dealers can also add charges for documentary stamps (doc stamps) which may add $20 to the monthly cost of the loan. The finance officer explained the credit union had computed the loan payment incorrectly. Actually,he was trying to hide the monthly cost of the doc stamps.

The credit union does not require doc stamps Of course, why would you want to finance doc stamps? When you purchase a home, this a one time charge.

The auto dealer may also try to sell you a warranty. Now think about that for a minute. Most new cars have a full 36 month or 36,000 mile warranty, whatever comes first. Why would you need another warranty on a new car?

A used car is a different story. Most banks or credit unions will offer used car warranties as part of the monthly finance charge.

The credit union advised us to buy an additional warranty one month before the new car warranty expired. This made more sense to my spouse and I.

Some auto dealers will also try to pad the finance charges with loan insurance. That might sound like a good idea, but essentially you are buying insurance for the dealer, If you were to default on the loan, the dealer  get the loan insurance payout. The dealer should be paying for this insurance, not the auto buyer.

However, he credit union offered life insurance for the auto. If either my wife or I died during the term of the loan, the auto would be paid off. You may be able to get this insurance up to the age of 72.

Recommend auto buyers get pre-qualified at a bank or credit union. The dealer has a different view of finance charges than the bank. From the writer's perspective, the banks approach to the auto warranty, doc stamps and auto insurance is more beneficial to the buyer,.

Likewise, after the dealer has accepted your offer for the car, do you really want to set in the finance office for another two hours getting additional sales spiels.

The draft from the credit union or bank will save time and you should be able to drive away in your new vehicle in another 15 minutes after giving finance the bank draft.

An automobile is the second most expensive purchase you will make in your life. Do some research before your purchase a vehicle. It can save you thousands.

source: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/barefootpilgrim.asp

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Herbicide test and storage areas in FL during Vietnam.

These are the diseases associated with AO exposure and the locations where these herbicides were tested or stored in FL. . if you are vet and were at one of the locations in this article during your service, you can file a Veteran Affairs claim for disability if any of the following medical conditions have developed.
If are a civilian or vet who lives near one of the locations in this article, you may have the basis for a federal tort that could be filed in the nearest federal district court. You can represent yourself in a federal court or try to find an attorney who has represented clients in federal court.
Avoid ambulance chaser attorneys who have never presented a case in a federal court. Federal court procedures are more rigorous than state or municipal courts.
  • AL Amyloidosis
    A rare disease caused when an abnormal protein, amyloid, enters tissues or organs
  • Chronic B-cell Leukemias
    A type of cancer which affects white blood cells
  • Chloracne (or similar acneform disease)
    A skin condition that occurs soon after exposure to chemicals and looks like common forms of acne seen in teenagers. Under VA's rating regulations, it must be at least 10 percent disabling within one year of exposure to herbicides.
  • Diabetes Mellitus Type 2
    A disease characterized by high blood sugar levels resulting from the body’s inability to respond properly to the hormone insulin
  • Hodgkin’s Disease
    A malignant lymphoma (cancer) characterized by progressive enlargement of the lymph nodes, liver, and spleen, and by progressive anemia
  • Ischemic Heart Disease
    A disease characterized by a reduced supply of blood to the heart, that leads to chest pain
  • Multiple Myeloma
    A cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell in bone marrow
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
    A group of cancers that affect the lymph glands and other lymphatic tissue
  • Parkinson’s Disease
    A progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects muscle movement
  • Peripheral Neuropathy, Early-Onset
    A nervous system condition that causes numbness, tingling, and motor weakness. Under VA's rating regulations, it must be at least 10 percent disabling within one year of herbicide exposure.
  • Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
    A disorder characterized by liver dysfunction and by thinning and blistering of the skin in sun-exposed areas. Under VA's rating regulations, it must be at least 10 percent disabling within one year of exposure to herbicides.
  • Prostate Cancer
    Cancer of the prostate; one of the most common cancers among men
  • Respiratory Cancers (includes lung cancer)
    Cancers of the lung, larynx, trachea, and bronchus
  • Soft Tissue Sarcomas (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, or mesothelioma)
    A group of different types of cancers in body tissues such as muscle, fat, blood and lymph vessels, and connective tissues


Orlando, Fla., at Army Grove Air Force’s Tactical Center
March 14, 1944, April 12, 1944
Ammonium thiocynate, zinc chloride, sodium nitrate, sodium arsenate, sodium fluoride.
The purpose was to determine means of accomplishing defoliation of tropical forest vegetation by application of a chemical agent.
Yes
Marathon, Fla.
March 21-23, 1944
Zinc chloride, ammonium sulphamate, ammonium thiocynate.
The purpose was to determine means of accomplishing defoliation of tropical forest vegetation by application of a chemical agent. Spraying was done here.
Yes
Near Lake George, Fla.
Spring 1944
Zinc chloride
The purpose was to determine means of accomplishing defoliation of tropical forest vegetation by application of a chemical agent. Spraying here.
Yes
Orlando, Fla., and Cocoa, Fla.
1944
Ammonium thiocyanate and zinc chloride
Tests were conducted in 1944 by the Army in Orlando and Cocoa areas of Florida to determine the value of ammonium thiocyanate and chloride as marking and defoliation agents.. They were conducted initially at ground level and later from aircraft.
Yes
Bushnell Army Air Field, Fla.
February 1945
LN *phenoxy
Small plot experiments were commenced to test the effectiveness of LN agents. Various trials were done under contract with the USDA, aided by personnel at Camp Detrick, Md. Here, it was aerial spray experiments on potted plants.
Yes
Bushnell Army Air Field, Fla.
February-April 1945
2,4-D and its ammonium salt
Trials, performed by Chemical Warfare Service personnel from Camp Detrick, Md., tested the practicability of severely injuring or destroying crop plants sprayed from smoke tanks mounted on tactical aircraft.
Yes
Avon Air Force Base, Fla.
February-April 1951
butyl 2,4 D
Trials were conducted at Avon Air Force Base by U.S. Army Chemical Corps with personnel of the Air Force and Navy to determine the practical effectiveness of spraying pure anticrop agents from at low volume from aircraft. C-47 and Navy XBT2D-1 aircraft with various nozzles were used.
Yes
Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.
November-December 1952
2,4-D, 2,4,5-T: 143 and 974, respectively
Two trials. Chemical Corps: Concerned with basic fundamental work, using 2,4-D, Air Force: Concerned with evaluating prototype large capacity spray system for aircraft installation using 2,4,5-T, primarily. Used 3 atomizing nozzles: Bete Fog Nozzles, Whirljet Spray Nozzles, and Fogjet 1.5F50.
Yes
Avon Park Air Force Base, Fla.
Spring 1954
butyl 2,4-D, butyl 2,4,5-T, Isopropyl 2,4-D
Series of tests were conducted to study the behavior of chemical anticrop aerial sprays when released from high-speed jet aircraft. The Navy F3D jet fighter was used with Aero 14A Airborne Spray Tanks to disperse the anticrop agents.
Yes
Jacksonville, Fla.
July 18-21, 1962
Agent Purple, Fuel Oil, Mix
The HIDAL was used successfully on an H-34 helicopter to spray herbicidal materials. Therefore, it had not been calibrated previously. Spray tests were performed to do so. This was done under order by OSD/ARPA.
Yes
Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., C-52A test area
1962-70
Agent Orange (1962-68), Agent Purple (1962-68), Agent White (1967-70), Agent Blue (1968-70)
Capt. John Hunter discussed vegetation changes and ecological studies of the two-square mile test area which had been sprayed with herbicides over the period 1962-70.
Yes
Apalachicola National Forest near Sophoppy, Fla.
May 3-8, 1967
Basic desiccants and Agent Orange, Agent Blue
During the period of December 1966 through October 1967, a comprehensive short-term evaluation was conducted by personnel from Fort Detrick’s Plant Science Lab in coordination with contract research on formulations by chemical industry and field tests by USDA and the University of Hawaii.
Yes
Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.
June 11, 1968-Sept. 12, 1968
Agent Orange, Bifluid #1, Bifluid#2, Stull Bifluid
A spread factor study was performed by the Army to correlate the spherical drop sizes of Agent Orange and Stull Bifluid defoliants. It involved development of new techniques to determine spread factors over an extended range of drop sizes. A spinning cup drop generator was used.
Yes
Two areas in Florida and Georgia, one in Tennessee
1968
Bromacil, Tandex, monuron, diuron, and fenuron
In 1968, emphasis was given to soil-applied herbicides for grass control. Applications were made by a jeep-mounted sprayer on small plots or by helicopter on larger plots.



sources:
https://www.vetshq.com/herbicide-tests-usage-storage-outside-vietnam/

http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/conditions/index.asp

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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Republicans are vicious in their presidential attacks


Recall the Bush presidency quite vividly. GW's public speaking skills were marginal and he often made comedic misstatements called Bushisms. Her are some examples:

''I'm the commander — see, I don't need to explain — I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being president.'' George W. Bush, as quoted in Bob Woodward's Bush at War
"I'm telling you there's an enemy that would like to attack America, Americans, again. There just is. That's the reality of the world. And I wish him all the very best." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Jan. 12, 2009
"Anyone engaging in illegal financial transactions will be caught and persecuted." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Sept. 19, 2008
"And they have no disregard for human life." --George W. Bush, on the brutality of Afghan fighters, Washington, D.C., July 15, 2008

Bush was a boob that led the US into two unnecessary wars. His Ownership Society polices caused the sub-prime mortgage crises and the Great Recession. According to Wikipedia, he is ranked in the bottom 25 per cent of US presidents.

According to a US News and Ward Report article by Kenneth t. Walsh, Bush received an overall ranking of 36 out of 42 former presidents—in the bottom 10 from US historians.

Democrats and comedians had a field day with the inarticulate president. However, I don't recall the same viciousness, slander or libel that is occurring today during the Obama presidency. 

Republicans, on the other hand, strarted attacks the minute the president took office.

Jim Demint on pending health car legislation in July 2009:  

If we're able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.

“Break him” is a term plantation owners used in the antebellum south about misbehaving salves.

After that the president was attacked on his religion and left a black Christian church whose pastor was too controversial for the GOP. He was then accused of being Muslim who was born in Kenya. GOP operatives even forged an Obama Kenyan birth birth certificate. Apparently the forgers were not too bright and didn't realize that Kenya didn't exist as a country on Obama's birth date. 


Anther wing nutz, Orly Taitz, ran around in feral court system filing groundless law suits it didn't stop until a federal judge fined her for wasting the court's time.

Doandl Trump is still espousing Taitz' birther movement. Obama to even cracked a joke saying "no one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than The Donald" during the 2011 White House Correspondents' Dinner.


Racism has also been a big part of the GOP program to embarrass the president. Racist propaganda is still common today.

With all of the mud balls thrown at the president, little has stuck to him. It's like the president has an impenetrable force field around him. 

Think the GOP is seeing some payback. Keystone XL went down in flames after an extensive multi-year lobbying effort. Had the Republicans worked with the Democrats on an a bipartisan infrastructure bill, Keystone XL might have had a chance

Speaker John Boehner tried to close the Department of Homeland Security down and that backfired into his face. One Senate Republican is already whining about the filibuster, something Senate Democrats had to endure for the last six years.

At this point, much of the Republican bickering has degraded into petty insults such as “I despise the president.” Why does Joe Blow despise the president?

Who knows and who cares!


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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Buying a modern laptop



There are a lot of  bargain laptops for sale,  but many use old technology that you should avoid. Watch out for laptops with:

1. less than 4 GB of RAM, a trick Apple Computer uses to cut costs.

2.  Celeron Processors

3. Parallel ATA hard dives.

4. other 32-bit processors

Modern laptops and PCs use 64-bit processors such as the AMD x86 64 bit processor. These processors can address up to 8 MB or RAM while 32-bit processors can only address 4 GB.

The Celeron technology works with all 32-bit processors, but not with all 64-bit.

Celeron processors can run all IA-32 computer programs, but their performance is often significantly lower when compared to similar CPUs with higher-priced Intel CPU brands. For example, the Celeron brand will often have less (L2) cache memory, or have advanced features purposely disabled. These missing features can have a variable impact on performance, but is often very substantial.


It gets worse because the older laptops use the parallel ATA hard drives that are slow. Modern hard drives are Serial ATA hard drives that run at 7200 RPM instead of the older PATA speeds which run at 5400 RPM. The newer SATA controllers also improve HD performance 

The new SATA drives do not use a ribbon cable to connect to a laptop or a PC. Both the power supply and data cables are different on the newer HDs, 




 Old school PATA connectors are on the top and the new school SATA HD connectors are at the bottom. 


The newest hard drives are not mechanical, but sold state dives (SSD). The larger SSD's require a serial ATA connection. Some of these drives are hybrid and have both a solid state and mechanical sdies. Unfortunately, the largest SSD drives with a PATA interface is 128 GB. Anything larger uses the newer SATA interface. The minimum HD space to install Windows 7 and 8 is 20 GB for the 64-bit operating system. Linux requires far less space. 
 
SD cards


Realistically Windows need about 30-60 GB of HD space. Linux can run on a 128 GB SSD drive because it is a meaner and leaner OS.The writer is using about 150 GB on a Linux laptop, A 128 SSD drive It would work but I would have to place most of my data files on a USB thumb drive or a secure digital  (SD) card. 

If you purchase a laptop, buy one with a 64-bt CPU and operating system, at least 4 MB of RAM and a SATA HD.  

This will allow you to upgrade RAM up to 8 MB and also install a a large SSD or hybrid drive at a later date. This will extend the life of your laptop. 

Most of the earlier generation laptops have few upgrade options.

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celeron


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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Veteran Affairs Dependent Indemnity Compensation


The Veteran Affairs Dependent Indemnity Compensation (DIC) program works like this. If a veteran has service-connected disability and dies from that particular disability, he widow, widower or parents may be eligible for DIC compensation.

There are many ifs, and and buts. For example, if the surviving spouse receives compensation under the Department of Defense Survivor Benefit Program (SBP), the DIC benefits usually become a tax offset. You cannot normally get both SPB entitlements and DIC benefits.

If the surviving spouse remarries, DIC benefits may be terminated at the date of that marriage. In addition, parents of a decreased veteran my be able to receive DIC benefits,but there are income restrictions.

"A surviving spouse who remarries on or after December 16, 2003, and on or after attaining age 57, is entitled to continue to receive DIC."


Social Security has no offsets for compensation or pensions received from the VA. One person who contacted the writer is saying that the VA has a means test for DIC, but the writer  was not able to find any information on means tests except for parent's applying for DIC.

As mentioned earlier, there are DIC offsets for spouses  who receive entitlements from SBP as the spouses of deceased retired vets from the armed services.

Likewise, if a spouse receives DIC and remarries, the DIC benefits will terminate in certain circumstances.

Now that gay couples can marry in the majority of US states, these couple need to aware that a gay marriage could result in the termination of DIC.

This is a complex area and survivors are encourage to contact counselors in VA veteran centers, veteran service officers or attorneys for assistance. To see more:

http://benefits.va.gov/COMPENSATION/types-dependency_and_indemnity.asp

http://www.military.com/benefits/survivor-benefits/dependency-and-indemnity-compensation.html

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Friday, January 9, 2015

Printing a GMail message from Linux

I send messages to and receive messages from the Veterans Administration using the IRIS Inquiry System.


Have found that suggestions and complaints work better using IRIS than opening an Congressional inquiry which can slow down a claim.The link to IRIS follows.

see https://iris.custhelp.com/app/ask/session/L3RpbWUvMTQyMDg0Mjk3OS9zaWQvZ25RVm8yY20%3D

However, printing the IRIS inquires and responses has been a problem in GMail and many other email systems like Outlook Express in Windows. Even researched this on the Internet and did not find any solutions. Tried fixing the problem with some GMail FireFox add-on extensions, but that didn't work either.

Thought perhaps I had a printer problem, so I opened my Administrative Settings | Printers and clicked on my laser printer, the Canon MF4700.



Under Print Option i changed the Special Print Adjustment to OFF after trying the other modes of 1,2, 3 and 4. Mode 2 is the default.


Finally, my margins on the right were not cut off when printing. The printed message even had a GMail logo on top and the thread included the full date time groups.

Would imagine there is a corresponding option that can be changed in Windows.

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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Watch out for this VPN hack!

Have been using Virtual Private Network (VPN) on and off for a couple of years. Until recently, had major problems getting a VPN to work on Linux. Inclined to believe that Brighthouse was blocking the well known Open DNS ports.  Astrill VPN changed all of that.

Open VPN is more secure than the ancient Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) and the Cisco Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) which is aged, too.

One way to check the integrity of a VPN is to use the DNS leak test at https://www.dnsleaktest.com/


Astrill VPN appeared to have some issues with the DNS leak test. Suspect someone. probably the federal government, has developed a technique, to track or hack VPN activity.
.
After installing the Astrill VPN, I noticed both Yahoo and Google DNS servers were aware of the VPN. After attempting to block these servers in my firewall, I used http://www.whatsmyip.org/whois-dns-lookup/,  which identified a CIDR address for the Yahoo network.

Unless you have an WAN networking background, you are unlikely to know what a CIDR address is. The CIDR address allowed me to block the entire offending networks from the VPN. 

I used the Astrill Settings | Site Filter | Exclude These Sites option and added these addresses: 98.136.0.0/14, 38.0.0.0/8 and 74.125.0.0/16

After making the change, the DNS leak test indicated the VPN was functioning normally.

Of interest, this solution worked on both Windows Mint 17.1 and Windows 7 laptops.

BTW the 38.0.0.0/8 belongs to PSI Net, an old Darpanet contractor that has worked with NSA for many years. PSI net developed Dropbox,a a program that Ed Snowden suggests Internet users should avoid.

While writing this article another VPN interloper popped up, Google.com with the 174.125.00/16 network address. The first CIDR address (198.36.0.0/14) keeps Yahoo.com out of my VPN.

Think of the VPN network as all of the connections between your PC and VPN server.  Blocking Yahoo and Google addresses in the VPN connection will not prevent you from getting to the Yahoo web site or from receiving Gmail.


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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

UBEE DVW3201B is an excellent and inexpensive cable modem.

The Motorola/ARRIS cable modems are often unreliable

Had been using a Motorola SBG6580 SURFboard Wireless Cable Modem which always seem to run slow. I have Brighthouse Lightening service that is supposed to run at 60 mbs, but the Motorola modem ran at about half that speed. 

One of the Brighthouse call center techs indicated the SGB6580 has an upgrade. The newer units have a metal plate on the back suggesting the 6580G may have some sort of radio frequency (RF) leakage problem. 

Bought one of these modems because I wanted to be able to configure it and to disable wireless on the unit. 

When you buy a cable modem, you can set the firewall to high, disable the wireless and password protect the unit. When a cable company installs its unit, you are at its mercy. 

Of interest, most cable modems have a user password and an administrative (admin) password that only the cable companies know. Try this for the admin login and password: The admin login is the last 8 characters of your MAC address (no colons) with c0nf1gur3m3 as the password

Also tried the MOTOROLA SB6121 SURFboard Cable Modem. This unit is less expensive and only has one Ethernet port while the 6580 has four. The Internet frequently stopped working after installing this unit.  The transmit and receive lights would blink orange on the 6121 and then the Internet would stop. So the unit was returned for a refund. 

The UBEE DVW3201B has none of these problems. It has four Ethernet ports and two voice (RJ-11) ports. Need two Voice over IP (VOIP) lines: one for a landline and the other for faxing. 


 This UBEE unit is large: 9 x 9 x 2  inches

In the past Brighthouse would have to install a second voice modem on a coax splitter if you needed a second voice line.  "A multimedia terminal adapter (MTA), or Home Phone modem, operates much the same as a cable modem, but an MTA can deliver home phone service in addition to high speed Internet."

Four Ethernet and two voice ports on the UBEE DVW3201B

The UBEE  DVW3201B provides both Internet data and two voice ports. Called BrightHouse technical support who referred the call  to the Road Runner help desk. It took about one hour to provision the unit for both voice and data. 

Now no longer need the splitter for two modems. This UBEE does it all and my Internet is running above 60 mbs. 

Best of all, you can purchase one of these UBEE cable modems for about $16 on Amazon.com. The 'used" unit I purchased appeared to be brand new. Although this is a DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem, UBEE has newer models out today, so perhaps the company is trying to liquidate the older units. 

Buy one before they are gone.

source: 
http://support.brighthouse.com/Article/Difference-Between-Cable-Modem-MTA-4212/


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Friday, December 5, 2014

A home entertainment system for about $1000

The new 4K LCD/LED TVs are popular and coupled with a 4K DVD player and a 5:1 soundbar, you can  have a very capable home entrainment system.

The 4K TVS are ahead of their time, so finding 4k media can be a challenge, Have found less than 50 4K DVDS for sale on Amazon.com and Ebay. Found two 4k streaming videos on Amazon Prime and about 25 on Netflix.

The best media broadcasts in the US are 1080P and likely to stay that way for many years. In Korea, 4K broadcasts have been compressed and broadcast over conventional HD (1080P) . However, you would need a special setup box or TV tuner for this to work. The broadcast would have to be compressed and decompressed, causing latency in the video stream.

You don't need a Smart TV unless they are a better deal than a dumb TV.  Why,? Because smart TVS are inferior  in many ways to media on a a Roku appliance that features Netflix, Amazon prime and many other apps and news media.

A 4K Samsung Smart TV has the same functionality as a Smart DVD player such as the Samsung BD-F7500 4K Upscaling 3D Wi-Fi Blu-ray Disc Player. The DVD player costs far less than the cost of the TV. So if you want Roku functionality without buying a Roku unit, buy the 4K upscaling DVD player

Watched Ghostbusters I tonight on one of these upscaling  DVD players and it was amazing. The point is if you want to get much out of a UHDTV, you will need streaming 4k media from the Internet  or some 4k mastered DVDs. You will need a 4k Blu ray DVD player for 4k DVDs.

Be aware too that 4K TVs are really Ultra High Definition (UHDTVs). UHDTV is is 3840 pixels wide by 2160 pixels tall (8.29 megapixels). There is even a higher resolution 8K Super Hi-vison TV in Japan.

To finish off you home entertainment system,  check out a 5:1 soundbar. The VIZIO S4251w-B4 5.1 Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer and Satellite Speakers is an excellent system that has a fiber optic TOS interface to a UHD or HDTV. It connects using Bluetooth to a remote subwoofer that has wired connections to two rear speakers. 

Once I got the subwoofer powered up, the subwoofer and the two remotes started to work. Be aware that both your home router and Bluetooth enabled PC can interfere with the Bluetooth connection between the soundbar and the subwoofer. 

You can have such a system for about $1000 depending on what you pay for the UHDTV or HDTV.  An upscaling 4K or UHD DVD player should cost about $200 or less. The 42 inch Vizio Soundbar was on sale for about $200 on Cyber Monday, it is now a $100 more, but watch for a price drop.

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultra-high-definition_television

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Once you receive a disability, don't let the VA Medical Center reopen the case.



After a 10 year ordeal,  I was given a disability rating  by the CW Bill Young Veterans Affairs Regional Office (VARO) about 10 months ago. The was after two Board of Veteran Appeals (BVA) hearings, four remands and a Decision Review Officer (DRO) Hearing. 

During the claims period I probably wrote more than 1000 pages of documentation, got 12 letters from board certified physicians and also filed several Disability Benefits Questionnaires. The BVA's Veteran Law Judge described my testimony as a highly credible. Even went through the Social Security disability process at the BVA's recommendation  and prevailed there, too.

Finally got the disability rating I deserved, Oh, what a relief it is!

The lifestyle of my spouse and I greatly improved in the past 10 months. We have been able to do lot more for out three children. Have been helping one of my son's start a salt water aquarium business. 

Thought the disability ordeal was over, but found out on my last appointment at Bay Pines that it was not. The old head of the department had transferred to another location and I was given an appointment with a new specialist.

The appointment was peculiar and conducted more like a compensation and pension (C&P) exam.  Had to provide a lot of background information that was in my claim file (c-file) to the doctor. My wife has a great memory for dates so we were able to provide the doctor a history of my medical conditions including dates. The appointment broke down when the physician wanted an additional MRI scan, another diagnostic blood test and another procedure, all of which had already been completed.

Had i agreed to the tests, it would probably have reopened the claim. Since my disabilities are permanent and total, I viewed additional testing as a fool's errand. Told the doctor he was trying to "reinvent the wheel." Said that wheel was already rolling. The appointment started to "go south" down at that point.

The physician had an epiphany and realized his patient was not a fool and then asked me what my last occupation was. Told him IT and intelligence while i was in the Air Force. At this point we had been in the office nearly 1.5 hours and he wanted to move on to another patient.

Game over! 

After the appointment, checked my medication list on MyHealthEVet. Two of my meds were gone, and one was life essential. It appeared the physicians was being vindictive and had canceled the medications. The next day I checked my medication history and found that the physician had actually deleted four of my medications.

I called CW Bill Young Patient Advocates office the next day and reported the bizarre appointment and the deletion of my meds, one of which is life sustaining. I was refereed to the Assistant Direct of Medical something, by a woman named Danielle. She said she would  file a report to the head of the department in question.

The day after the appointment,I was able get the physician’s progress notes of the meeting. Found a lot of things in the progress notes that were peculiar. Called Danielle again and told her about the four meds that had been deleted and some of the concerns in the progress notes. Danielle said she would add this info to the report that going to the head of the department. Danielle seemed to irritated during the second call.

Was getting ready to fire off a a complaint via the IRIS Inquiry system when the acting head of the clinic called. She was far more polished than the other physician and indicated doctors have their different styles and that my meds really weren’t deleted, the pharmacy  just hadn't "released" the medications yet. One of my meds is refrigerated and my spouse returned a call to the pharmacy about the meds today. The pharmacy indicated that many of my meds, indeed.  had been deleted.

So I opted out of care from that CW Bill Young clinic today. This is not an option that everyone has. Fortunately I have a alternative source for pharmacy meds so i don't need the annual clinic visit to recertify those particular meds.

I still have a primary care doctor at the Palm Harbor Outpatient clinic so I can get most generic meds reauthorized there.

For some vets who have specialists and a primary care provider, you will need an annual visit to both the specialist clinic and the primary care clinic to keep you medicine  current, 

If you are a vet, don't let a VA primary care physician, specialist or clinician talk you into tests that reinvent the wheel once you have been awarded a disability. This could result in you disability being downgraded or taken away altogether. Just politely say 'no."

According the the CW Bill Young VARO senior counselor, it was unlikely that the VA would ever try to change my disability. My disability has been rated permanent and total. Have no interest in enabling a redo nor should you.

Sometimes you just have to say, "No." 


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