Short Bits

Short Bits 2020

Updated on 2021-08-12

Short Bits is my method of sharing information that would be too short for a separate blog post.


1 – Shoutout to the Keter Company for Great Customer Service (2020-01-17)

My wife gave me a nice Christmas gift of cash in December. I had been wanting to purchase a plastic storage shelving unit for use in my study. I borrowed two shelves and four posts from a unit in our basement to store distilled water in 1-gal jugs, but I also wanted to store some small kitchen appliances that I had been placing on the dining room table. Now that I had some extra money, I decided to purchase a new plastic storage shelving unit from Home Depot.

I like the plastic storage shelving units offered by Home Depot because they come in a beige color. Lowes also has plastic storage shelving units but they are dark gray or black in color, which easily shows any dust buildup. I prefer the units that have 36-in wide by 18-in deep shelves because they don’t take up as much space as the units with 36-in wide by 24-in deep shelves.

I went to a local Home Depot on Friday night of the week before Christmas and purchased one of the last few remaining units with 36-in wide x 18-in deep shelves. I began assembling the unit on Saturday night. While installing the fourth shelf, I noticed that one of the slats was broken.

I was disappointed, but was willing to live with the damage because I wasn’t planning to place anything heavy on the top two shelves; there are five shelves in total. However, I began inspecting the other shelves and noticed that the face on the bottom shelf was cracked, caused by what looked like something striking the shelf face.

Needless to say, I was pretty upset. I loathed the idea of having to pack up all of the parts and returning the unit to Home Depot. I then found a contact page in the shelving package that requested customers not to return the unit due to missing, damaged, or deficient parts but to contact the Keter Company for replacement. I attempted to request replacements for the two damaged shelves on the replacement parts site referenced in the contact page, but received a message instructing me to contact the company via their toll-free phone number. That meant having to wait until Monday. I also prefer using e-mail because then I have documentation of what I said and when communication took place.

The contact page also provided an e-mail address, so I sent an e-mail requesting replacement for the two damaged shelves, including photos of the damage and a copy of the Home Depot receipt. I received a response from a company customer service representative stating that the shelves would be replaced and that a shipment notification would be sent when the shelves were shipped. I soon received the shipment notification and the shelves were delivered by Saturday.

The shelves were packed very well in a nice box. The finish of the replacement shelves was also noticeably better than the finish of the shelves of the unit purchased from Home Depot. The shelves from the Home Depot unit had a bit of plastic residue remaining from the molds used during the injection process. I used a box cutter to remove the plastic residue. Yeah, I’m a bit of a neat freak.

I installed the replacement shelves and I was very happy with the overall experience. Thank you Keter Company for a wonderful customer service experience!

2 – Woman Lives in Tesla Model 3 While Taking Extended Trips (2020-02-24)

I viewed three interesting videos recently on the CheapRVLiving YouTube channel about a woman who lives in a Tesla Model 3 while taking extended trips traveling the U.S. I was very impressed with Tesla after watching the videos. I think you’ll be impressed too after viewing the videos. The Tesla Model 3 is comparable in price to the Acura TLX, BMW 3 Series, and other similar models.

Me, if I had the money and wanted to buy a Tesla, I’d buy the Model X, or maybe the Model Y since it’s much cheaper than the Model X. I’ve always preferred smaller vehicles (lower cost, easier to manueuver), but after driving my wife’s SUV, I’ve taken a liking to SUVs. Like the Mazda commercials used to say, “Zoom, zoom.”

  1. Information about the woman and her Tesla Model 3
  2. Tour of how the woman lives in her Tesla Model 3
  3. Tesla Model 3 test ride; Bob Wells experiences the Tesla giggle.
  4. Woman’s Recreational Tesla site (a work-in-progress as of this post)

3 – pCloud Drive App – Phantom Drive Space Use (2020-03-08)

Recently I noticed that the drive space for the Solus install on my desktop computer seemed quite high. I wondered why, so I ran Baobab to check drive space useage. I discovered that the /home/[username].pcloud/Cache folder, used by the pCloud Drive app, was over 5GB in size; 5GB for app cache?! You can use the pCloud Drive app to delete the cache, but you have to be logged in. If you use the pCloud Drive app under Linux, I think the following two methods are better for reclaiming drive space.

Method 1: Use your favored file manager or the command line and delete everything in the /home/[username]/.pcloud/Cache folder.

Method 2: If you use Bleachbit (should be available in your Linux distribution repository), add the /home/[username]/.pcloud/Cache folder as a custom location and then enable the System – Custom cleaning option. Then when you run Bleachbit, the contents of the pCloud Drive app cache folder will be emptied.

To create and enable cleaning of a custom location for the /home/[username]/.pcloud/Cache folder in Bleachbit:

1. Open Bleachbit.

2. Select Preferences by clicking the Options button in the Bleachbit window.

3. Click the Custom tab in the Preferences window.

4. Click the Add folder button at the bottom of the Custom tab window.

5. Locate and select the /home/[username]/.pcloud/Cache folder in the Choose a folder window.

6. Click the Add button in the lower right corner of the Choose a folder window.

7. Click the Close button in the Preferences window.

8. Scroll down to System in the cleaning options navigator on the left in the Bleachbit window.

9. Click the Custom checkbox.

10. Close Bleachbit.

I’ve noticed no negative side effects from deleting the pCloud Drive app cache.

Image courtesy of Vektor Kunst at Pixabay
4 – Coronavirus Hysteria (2020-03-17)

At the time I began writing this post, according to the Coronavirus dashboard at the World Health Organization there were 173,344 confirmed cases of Coronavirus and out of those cases 7,019 deaths have occurred. Do the math and that’s just over 4 percent. I’m just not understanding what all the hysteria is about.

According to the World Population Clock, there are over 7 billion people on this planet. So about 0.002248 percent (less than 1 percent) of the population have Coronavirus. Again, why so much hysteria? Why are some local governments in the U.S. declaring a state of emergency when they get their first confirmed case? The hysteria is uncalled for and absolutely ridiculous in my opinion.

Most of the deaths currently are people in their 60’s or older. Most people who contract the virus get over it. I read one link yesterday that compared the Coronavirus to a bad influenza season. Senior citizens die every year from influenza and pneumonia. I don’t mean to be cold-hearted, but that’s just a fact of life.

Closing schools for weeks on end; closing bars, restaurants, and movie theaters; having people stay at home to work; countries implementing mandatory shelter-in-place; it’s all bizarre. There is no epidemic. Those in the government need to exhibit leadership and stop fanning the flames of hysteria.

I also don’t understand the mass buying hysteria in stores. Buying weeks or months worth of toilet paper, baby wipes, or cleaning supplies isn’t going to prevent you from contracting the Coronavirus. Come on people, use some common sense.

Update: Well, someone else agrees with me. I don’t agree with everything said in the article, but I do agree with the main message.

Image courtesy of Gerd Altmann at Pixabay
5 – Big Brother: States Hiring Thousands of “Tracers” (2020-05-10)

I recently read about California hiring “tracers” (I’ll call them informants for the remainder of this post) and today came across a post on The Penny Hoarder site about multiple states hiring informants.

Post excerpts:

Comprehensive, nationwide contact tracing is “a vital part of safely reopening the economy,” a cadre of health officials wrote in an open letter to Congressional leadership.

Tracers interview people who have tested positive for COVID-19, typically over the phone. They gather contact information of all their acquaintances in a given area, likely state-wide but possibly county-wide. Then they call all of those people to establish who may have been infected and refer them for testing or self-isolation for 14 days.

No, a vital part of reopening the country period is to bridle the government. This is an invasion of privacy and yet another attack on civil liberties.

Who’s going to verify what someone tells these informants? Who is going to verify the informants themselves? Just because someone says they were near you doesn’t mean they actually were. If someone that supposedly tests positive for COVID-19 and says they were near you, will that possibly mean a mandatory 14-day period of self-isolation?

I don’t trust the COVID-19 tests; quote from a post on Vox:

Because the FDA approval process takes such a long time, coronavirus tests are instead given an Emergency Use Authorization. As of April 24, 59 molecular and 4 serological tests have received this authorization. There are also nearly 100 tests that do not yet have that authorization but which the agency is allowing to be used in order to get more tests out there sooner. In addition, the FDA has given some state health departments the right to approve tests without waiting for or needing FDA authorization.

Even if the FDA approves a test(s), I will not trust them and will not have one performed on me.

One suggestion: turn off your cellphone or enable airplane mode while out and about. You can be traced when your cellphone is on or when airplane mode is disabled. Of course, that’s assuming they can’t turn on your cellphone remotely without your knowledge. You also have to assume that your cellphone is really off when you turn it off or that airplane mode actually disables communication with your cellphone.

Image courtesy of Pete Linforth at Pixabay
6 – The COVID-19 Vaccine Propaganda Has Begun (2020-09-23)

I follow the Fellowship Bible Chapel channel on YouTube, specifically the prophecy updates by John Haller. In Sunday’s (09/20/2020) video, John stated that Fellowship Bible Chapel pastor Steve Mitchell had taken a turn for the worse in the hospital. John also stated that pastor Steve Mitchell had double pneumonia. I wondered what double pneumonia was, thinking it might be pneumonia in both lungs, and decided to research the medical condition.

I came across a post on the Healthline site and there learned that indeed, double pneumonia is pneumonia in both lungs. Also on the site to the right of the post was a link to another post on the Healthline site about a 24 year-old COVID-19 Phase 4 vaccine trial participant with the title, COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Participant Tells Healthline: ‘It’s the Right Thing to Do’.

I know one thing, I will not be getting any COVID-19 vaccine. I stopped getting the flu vaccine years ago after doing some research online. The flu vaccine is developed from a best guess about which influenza strains will be prevalent for the coming flu season. Therefore, you can still get the flu even if you have received the flu vaccine. Additionally, there are simple, natural measures that can be taken to lessen your chances of getting the flu; e.g. hand washing, avoiding large crowds as much as possible, getting enough sleep, and eating a healthy diet.

I find it absolutely surreal that there’s such a mad rush to develop a vaccine for a virus that will more than likely mutate, negating any supposed effectiveness of any vaccine that is developed.

Image courtesy of Jack Moreh at Freerange Stock
7 – Added Two Web Browsers for My Daily Browser Usage (2020-09-26)

I decided to search the Internet yesterday to see if there were any new web browsers available for the Linux platform. I discovered two new (to me) web browsers for Linux and I was reminded of one that I have used in the past. The two new discoveries were Dissenter and LibreWolf. The web browser I’ve used in the past is Opera.

Dissenter is based on the Brave browser and comes available for Linux in DEB and RPM packages. I downloaded and installed the DEB package and the browser works great. I really like the wallpapers used for the New Tab page, especially when used with the Dark color option.

Dissenter also blocks Big Tech ads and trackers by default. Additionally, you don’t need to set a kernel setting to get Dissenter to work under Debian like you do with Brave.

LibreWolf currently only comes available for Linux ready to install via an Arch Linux package or ready to run via an AppImage or Flatpak package. I downloaded the AppImage package, but I couldn’t get it to work. A search through the app’s GitLab Issues list brought up an issue with the AppImage package not working about six months ago, but that issue was resolved. I don’t know if I’m doing something wrong or if there is a new issue, but I gave up trying to get the AppImage file to work.

Opera was also among the list of browsers in the posts I came across about browsers for Linux. I have used it in the past and I stopped using it for reasons I can’t remember. I thought a Chinese company had acquired the company behind Opera which may have been the reason I stopped using it, but the company site states that the company is based in Norway. Therefore, I decided to install the available DEB package and I opted to check for updates by allowing the install process to create an apt repository configuration file for the Opera DEB repository.

Under my Debian installs, I’m now currently running 10 browsers: Chromium, Dissenter, Falkon, Firefox, Min, Opera, Palemoon, Slimjet, Tor, and Vivaldi.

Update: I recently discovered that the Opera web browser is Chinese owned. Therefore, I don’t recommend it and I have uninstalled it from all of my devices.

Post header image courtesy of Dawid Zawila at Unsplash.


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