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Detailed News on the Defense of Ukraine

I find the mainstream news sources a little vague and a little slow on updates from Ukraine and the defense against blatant Russian aggression… So I have been following and watching updates from three excellent YouTube news providers and a mapper for very detailed updates that are pretty reliable.

I’ll share them here in case others want to view the same sources:

Author and philosopher Jonathan MS Pearce has the best updates so far at ATP Geopolitics
I confess I speed up the playback speed to about 1.5 to quickly digest his excellent updates

Andrew Perpetua has fantastic front line map updates he talks about at andrewperpetua and makes available at (be sure to zoom into the region you are interested in)

Juzzie at Ukraine News TV has shorter updates with some humor embedded in them, usually at Russia or Putin’s expense, which is richly deserved.

Of course I still scan The Guardian, Washington Post, and New York Times; as well as sporadic France24 and Deutsche Welle scanning to complete the roundup.

Twitter replacements

My news feed is full of Twitter replacements, like Bluesky, Threads, and Mastodon…

Comment 1: Musk really ruined a popular thing…

Comment 2: Threads is brought to you from Facebook (aka: “Meta”) via Instagram… but does no one recall that Meta used to be called Facebook and Facebook itself is already, in part, the same as Twitter? Similar, but even more screwed up than Twitter post-Musk ownership? I have not tried Threads… but I am not excited as I suspect the who-can-be-more-evil competition between Musk and Zuck is an ugly and very competitive thing…. I want no part of either. No thanks.

So… I am off to research Bluesky (invitation only) and Mastodon (federated and decentralized).

I quit Facebook in 2018 and do not regret it. I quit Twitter late last year (2022) and do not regret it, though I miss a few good reporters updates.

iPhone 6s battery refurb is only $49 until the end of June

If you are still enjoying an iPhone 6s, be advised…. it becomes a “vintage” product on June 30th, 2022; so get it in for repairs/refurbishment before then if you want to keep using this fabulous model.

Oh joy, a more sophisticated spam/extortion racket

My spam filters caught an interesting message recently, an email from myself (from field forged) claiming that my account was hacked and correctly naming my email address (account name) and a legit past password… hmm, I am paying more attention now…

The would be extortionist is asking for bitcoin worth about $837 presently, and threatens to expose my alleged naughty site visits to my entire contact list. At this point I am chuckling, as I don’t care (threats of embarrassing websites are not embarrassing to me) and I realize it s all a bluff; the password the extortionist claims to have used to access my computer was never the password to my computer, though it was my old Yahoo! account password until all those millions of Yahoo! accounts were exposed in about October of 2014…

Then it occurred to me; if a user was not as scrupulous about unique passwords for each account, they might be exploitable through this method… Heads up, if your account at Yahoo!, Target, Home Depot, Equifax, Experion, PlayStation Network or any other site is exposed, it is NOT proof that crackers actually have access to anything other than that one account… ask for proof.

The quest for lower cost internet service

In my ongoing quest for lower cost internet service to the house I switched from Comcast/Xfinity to Verizon/FIOS today.

It turned out to be relatively quick install of FIOS internet-only service, which works fine with my own router (you only need a Verizon router if you don’t already have a router or if you need TV and phone services as well as internet).

It also turns out to be relatively painless to cancel Comcast – about 28 minutes internet chat… not at all what I had feared after reading stories on the internet; Comcast did want to make me a better deal – but they could not go below $49.99/month.

Basic internet service should be commodity priced – but it is not yet… so we will continue to play this game until it is.

Cable Modem problems resolved, I hope

I have been having a problem with my cable modem losing signal strength and then either regaining it, or being unable to establish connection and rebooting automatically for a while now. It has been very frustrating.

I could see errors like these in the Cable Modem’s logs at (most Cable Modems have a local-only web-status page at that address):

Ranging Request Retries exhausted;CM-MAC=b8:16:19:2e:7a:ee;CMTS-MAC=00:01:5c:96:de:64;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;
Unicast Maintenance Ranging attempted - No response - Retries exhausted;CM-MAC=b8:16:19:2e:7a:ee;CMTS-MAC=00:01:5c:96:de:64;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0; Cable Modem Reboot due to T4 timeout ;CM-MAC=b8:16:19:2e:7a:ee;CMTS-MAC=00:00:00:00:00:00;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;

When things are working – I’d typically see downstream power levels in the 0 dBmV (-1 or 1, sometimes -2) range across all 8 channels. A few times a week that would drop entirely and the modem would reboot and recover.


Opened and Xfinity Support Chat – was assigned “RAM” who ran through a checklist… mostly more frustrating and boring, except…

one item was to check or replace the coax from wall to cable modem…
when checking it – I discovered a no longer used old T-Splitter inline between – probably from when I had Cable TV as well as Internet only (cancelled that in 2011). An unterminated coax is an antenna if I recall, and that would cause problems.

I removed that from the loop (connected Coax feed directly to the modem , bypassing the old T-Splitter)…

Result: Presto – immediately got 3 dBmV on all 8 channels (much stronger signal) – the un-terminated splitter was the problem I think.

Only time will tell – but I suspect that fixes my issue.

Leave Facebook Now

Facebook (specifically Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg) knew that Russians were manipulating American voters in June of 2016, and not only did they abstain from trying to stop the blatant manipulation, they denied it was happening at all. They lied. The entire platform is designed for exactly this sort of manipulation. Leave now.


Update: Deleted the account on March 23rd; because:
1) I want more in exchange for the incredible value Facebook derives from data about me
2) I want Facebook to do more to prevent the spread of misinformation and fake news

Since there is no incentive for Facebook to ever do either of the above, I am done.

Outer Banks

Apologies to those of you whom I scoffed at when you told me you could surf North Carolina’s outer banks. I was wrong, you most certainly can!

I recently visited Kill Devil Hills, NC with some buddies from high school and enjoyed some damned good food and good beaches and wind and waves. I watched a young man get up on some pretty small waves with a very small board and do some fun stunts from the shore and talked with him briefly after he finished. It brought back some pleasant memories of being in the USAF in Hawaii, in 1985-1986.

I am now kicking myself for not checking out the Outer Banks as soon as I came to the Washington DC area; it’s only about 5 hours drive (ok, 6 hours if you stop at Pierce’s Pit BBQ in Williamsburg, VA about half way along the route).

Still happy with my 2006 Prius

My trusty 2006 Prius is still going strong. On a back from North Carolina’s Outer Banks I managed to average 54.2MPG over 336 miles (admittedly mostly highway miles and it was nice enough to need neither AC nor heat). Changing the HID Zenon D4R bulbs was much easier than I expected as well. $28 for the pair of bulbs; and about 90 minutes of work in very cramped space – beautifully bright head lamps.

I am about to roll over 200,000 miles on the car.

Veterans get some military exchange benefits

Nice news for veterans: DoD will allow all honorably discharged veterans to shop at the online military exchange stores starting this Veterans’ Day… PX/BX/NEX pricing may have a tough time comparing to online internet pricing these days – but the tax-free aspect may appeal in some states.

Coast Guard Exchange:
MarineCorps Exchange:

Veteran’s Status Verification at

I was happy when USAA insurance opened up to all veterans in November 2009.