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Re: The End is Near

Posted: 05 Feb 2019, 12:16
by Kellemora
Can I give an analogy here, just something to think about is all.

Let's assume you had a spare 10k in a low interest savings account, and decided to invest it.
Would you:
a) Place all 10k in a single investment opportunity, like stocks? Or
b) Spread your 10k around in perhaps ten or more different sources of income generation?

I'm sure you would go with Option B because Option A is too risky, all your eggs in one basket as they say.

It is good to have a JOB to cover your bills, and know it is a steady job for the most part.
Unfortunately JOB stands for Just Over Broke, for the majority of people who work for a living.

You already know my personal circumstances and how I ended up flat broke, but not entirely.
Technically, I retired at age 55, after I discovered the county I moved to would not reciprocate on my trades licenses.

Nevertheless, for most of my life, besides my normal day job, I always had my hands in at least four to five other things, each producing a small income. Not much, and most did not take up much time at all. Some did to get them going to the point they made enough to warrant hiring an employee to do the work. And in most cases, when I tired of the business, I sold it to my best employee in that business for a price and payment plan they couldn't refuse.

Most often, the original outlay to get a small tabletop business started was not all that much.
Only two cost me a lot more than I expected, and that was a Saw and Tool sharpening business, and a Hot Foil Stamping business. The equipment cost was enormous for both of those.
The Hot Foil Stamping business (gold stamping) was a lot of phun. I made the wise choice to buy a more expensive machine I could quickly change to do different types of products. But my main product was printing on ribbon. Everything from funeral arrangement ribbons (Dear Aunt), to award ribbons (First Place), I also did school yearbook covers and hymnbooks for churches, etc.
Sales were not many, I only got an order about once a week, but it was usually a fairly large order, more than enough to cover the cost of the equipment and supplies.
OK, that leaves 6 more days during the week to add something else to make or do.

I think you see where I'm going with this. I was young and energetic, and needed the extra income to raise seven kids.

There was one major problem with all of the little jobs I took on to do. They all required advertising, and getting out there making those sales. Drumming up new accounts whenever I found the time to do so. Plus, I was always dealing directly with either the public or individual retailers. In other words, more headaches than what I wanted to deal with.

Do you know why my AZ-NO3 aquarium product became my favorite business of all?
Mainly because I only had to get the ball rolling, and it took off like a snowball downhill after the initial push.
But even more than that. Even with our once high sales volume, I never had to deal with customers or retail stores.

I was not joking when I said this is the ideal company because I only had to work 6 days a year (after it became stable).
Technically, I did work more than 6 days a year. But I only had to do the physical work of manufacturing and packaging the product 6 days a year, and let everyone else do all the work of warehousing, handling distribution, and getting the product to the stores. All I had to do was make the product and get it to the mfgr. rep. so I had one customer to deal with, and he was easy going, hi hi.
The downside of being a manufacturer is you are the first link in the chain, and as such have the lowest price markup.
You rely on volume sales to earn your keep. While each person along the chain of distribution adds their markup to earn their keep, until it reaches the retailer who doubles the price and sets the product on his shelves.

When I first started, I sold my product to the wholesalers for 9 bucks.
Later, instead of selling to the several wholesalers, I sold my product to the distributors they bought from for 7 bucks.
In other words, I went from dealing with about 70 wholesalers down to dealing with only 25 distributions.
Then I found a mfgr. rep. who agreed to buy in a bulk size fixed order amount, and warehouse the product, handle taking the orders and shipping to the distributors. I dropped my price all the way down to 5 bucks.
He would only order 624 bottles at a time, which got him the UPS 500 pound shipping rate, he paid inbound shipping to his warehouse. In other words, I was actually making more money selling to him for 5 bucks than I was when I was selling to the distributors for 7 bucks.
Now the only thing I had to warehouse were the empty bottles and caps, plus the packaging materials, and the ingredients of course, which I usually bought fresh when I got an order.
I also got bulk pricing on the ingredients I purchased, lower price on the bottles by buying more, etc.
But the biggie was, I only had to set up my equipment to make the product on average 6 times a year, sometimes 7 times a year. Make the product, bottle it, box it, and call UPS to pick it up the next day. No moving to a warehouse and sending out a few cases at a time to distributors and paying the higher freight cost.

This little business is how I was able to keep my head above water after losing everything to medical bills and 9/11, which pulled my landlocked businesses out from under my feet.

It was only one of the many businesses I had going, that when the fit hit the shan, and my nest of eggs hit the floor, this is the only egg that couldn't break. And was able to pull me back up by my bootstraps, and is still going on today, 25 years after I started it, but as I've said before, sales are dropping due to technology increasing.

Yes, I could add another product to my line-up. But at 71 years old, and with my health in decline, I don't think I would survive the work of another start-up business. I just hope my last egg don't break right now.

I sorta got off-track of what I was trying to say.
It never hurts to get a small sideline business going. It doesn't have to be the latest new fad that dies right away.
Something small that can be kept ongoing using little time and money. And when it is flowing smoothly, start on another small little thing that can earn a little, again without taking too much time or money.
Once you have about four or five of these, each one taking perhaps a couple of days a month, you'll see how quickly they add together to make a tidy little combined profit for you.

Have a great day Yogi!

Re: The End is Near

Posted: 05 Feb 2019, 13:27
by yogi
That's an interesting analogy because at one time I actually had $10k in a low interest bank account and reinvested it. I chose stocks. :crazy: :lol: Today, some 30-35 years later that investment has tripled in value. It looked like I was going to lose it all a few times, but at the moment things are going well. Now that I think about it, it sounds a lot like the course your businesses have taken over the same period of time.

I could have used that money to start a table top business. Doing that, however, would have required a lot more research and knowledge on my part. The stocks investment only required the ability to look up historical performance data and to understand brokerage to some degree. That actually took several weeks of investigation and talking to an accounting buddy of mine. The time I put into the investment after the purchase was negligible. It's hard to beat a job that only requires 6 days a year of actual work, but I doubt that keeping track of that fund takes more than an hour during an entire year. The beauty of it all is that the profits from that investment depended on the work of other people. If their businesses did well, so did I. I had no customers, suppliers, or retailers to contend with. The down side, of course, is that I was out of the control loop. I could do nothing to improve or degrade the performance of my investment. My only option was to sell if I thought the timing was right.

Also, I tripled the value of my investment over three decades. Actually I did better than that because there was a small withdrawal or two on that fund over the years. I would take a guess that your table top business did better than that. You put a lot more effort into your project and thus the return in satisfaction and success had to be greater. I can only sit here and smirk that the dumbnuts politicians running this place are making my investment perform well. The regime will change and probably so will my investment returns. Fortunately, this particular fund is just something a little extra and not the thing I depend on to feed myself and my wife. I suppose if worse came to worst, I'd have to liquidate and pay off the creditors with the proceeds. As it stands now my two girls might be able to buy a new car from it when I pass it onto them. OK, maybe only one car judging by the way things are going.

Re: The End is Near

Posted: 06 Feb 2019, 13:29
by Kellemora
In the infancy of the motion picture industry, my grandfather invested in something like 22 start-up movie production companies. He knew it was going to take off big, and soon.
The problem was, he unfortunately picked the wrong ones. He lost out completely on 20 of the 22, and the two he did recoup some of his money from, also failed when the talkies came out.
After he passed away, my dad found at least 10 stocks for Mayer and Mayer, then spent several months trying to find out if it was one of the Mayer's who became part of Metro Goldwyn Mayer. Unfortunately no.

I played with penny stocks, or small product offering stock from larger companies for a short time.
I thought I found a good one when Kool Aid was planning on introducing their brand of soda.
The stock they offered was only for the Kool Aid soda product. I invested 80% of what I had in savings, which really wasn't a whole lot of money, but it was to me back then, I had enough to buy a new car.
All the investors got samples of the soda and did flavor tests, of which they did some tweaking before making their debut.
It didn't go over very well in the public market, and the product was withdrawn. There went my money, poof.

My wife had an investment portfolio, and it went down more often than up. What she rolled into an IRA ended up costing us more than we ever made in it, so we finally closed it out. Loopholes in the law burned us really bad. You were supposed to be able to pull funds from an IRA to pay for her sons college tuition. We learned the hard way, it has to be done in a special way, which takes many months to do. I wrote a person check to pay for his tuition, figuring I would get it back from the IRA when all that paperwork was finally done. Nope, it don't work that way. The funds must go directly to the college, and not used as a replacement for what I already paid on his behalf. Oh, we got the money alright, but as a withdrawal, which carried a huge 900 dollar penalty. Plus I had to pay taxes on it as income, since they disallowed the withdrawal as a tuition payment. Grrr.

Oh, almost forgot. I did find an interesting form of investment that did work out really well for me.
I invested in different companies inventory. A tangible product of which I held a lien as security.
My first experience at doing this was when a new shoe store was opening up in our new massive mall.
They had a meeting at our new bank, which opened up in a trailer at first, while building the bank building.
The offer was called "Purchase Order Financing" but was not loan per se, because this would bring in securities laws.
We were not giving them a Microloan, what we were doing was buying the inventory ourselves, but on their purchase order. As such, we technically owned the portion of the inventory we paid for. A lien is placed on their entire inventory in the amount equal to what we paid. This was a safety feature of the offering and probably saved them a lot of management headaches.
I'm probably trying to explain that the hard way above.
They had a Purchase Order for like $10k worth of shoes, over and above the $10k worth of shoes they paid for.
The bank would collect the funds offered by each investor until they hit the $10k of the purchase order.
We would then find out what our percentage of ownership of the purchase order was, based on our investment amount.
My investment was 5% of the $10k, because I had invested 500 bucks.
The offering was for us to get back our investment plus 10% if we invested less than 1k, 12% if 1k or over.
I forget the number of pairs of shoes listed on the inventory, but it was something like 3 or 4 thousand pairs.
When do we get paid back? When they have sold the number of shoes listed on the purchase order, whether it came from our purchase order or from their existing inventory. The key here was, when they made 3 or 4 thousand sales.
We all had our money back, plus the promised interest, in around 1-1/2 months is all.
At the end of the year we each got a 1099 too, hi hi.
I had the money put into a saving account at the bank, so I had it when another like kind offering came along.
A few did right away, however the minimum investment was more than I had, and didn't have enough to get in.
But then about six month down the road, they had another deal for a company who would be selling seating stools.
I went to the presentation, but did not invest. Mainly because they did not have a matching inventory they were paying for. About a month after that, the bank called about another one, it was from an existing well known store who wanted to expand into the space next to it. They had several different purchase orders to chose from, each from different vendors. I joined with two other folks and took the purchase order for slacks, don't remember the brand name anymore.
They only offered an 8% return, but had the same whole inventory protection as the last one I joined. But the difference was, sales had to be items of that vendor only, including inventory they already had on hand from them. Heck, they only had to sell 60 pairs of slacks of that vendor for us to get paid back. Never realized it would take them over 4 months to sell only 60 pairs. But then they did have slacks from several vendors. We got our money and I put it in the bank for the next time. Only a next time never came, at least not through dealing with the bank.

I think only once or twice after that, and after I was remarried and living up north, did I do a like kind investment but privately with one of the home builders I worked with. He more or less just borrowed the money from me to buy a certain pile of materials, and agreed to pay me as soon as he got paid when the job was done. He did and our paperwork agreement was torn up.

Re: The End is Near

Posted: 07 Feb 2019, 09:16
by yogi
When I was young and broke I had looked into many kinds of investments. I think I was more interested in the economics of it all than in making a profit. I had next to nothing to invest at that time. Penny stocks and commodities were the most thrilling because they seemed to involve the highest risk. A buddy of mine at Motorola ended up with a freight car full of eggs because he didn't dispose of his contract soon enough. LOL He had a hella time finding people to take them off his hands not to mention the cash he had to come up with upon delivery. Those high risk investments can bring in high returns but 90% of the time they bring nothing.

As I grew older and richer I became more conservative minded with my spare cash. Eventually I decided I wasn't smart enough to trade stocks and bonds profitably but that money could still be made if I hired some experts to do the investing for me. That's when I took some serious looks into mutual funds. I found a few that appealed to me and that's where my fortunes were made. LOL I barely kept ahead of inflation which is what that 300% gain 30 year investment I cited earlier did. So I more or less played the averages. Since our economy did well over the time I was in the market, I too did well. I'm at a point now where I'm drawing down more than I'm gaining. That was part of the plan. I will have to croak before I reach age 90 however, or I may end up mortgaging the house to buy groceries at that time.

IRA's are great investments for what they were intended to be, i.e., retirement income. In Illinois there was some kind of similar fund one could set up explicitly for college education. It had many of the same rules as an IRA and as you pointed out can only be spent writing checks to a school of higher education. Thus, the money you put into an IRA has to be something you don't intend to need until the time comes. When wife retired she took her 401k money and rolled it over into an IRA. That was brilliant given that we didn't have to pay taxes at that time. However, back then we were in a much lower tax bracket and the taxes on the 401k withdrawal would have been less than what we must now pay via forced withdrawals from the IRA because we reached a certain age. Not only that, the income we are forced to take affects our Social Security benefits. So, I'm inclined to say it's not worth sheltering your hoard from taxes because in the end you end up paying more.

Re: The End is Near

Posted: 07 Feb 2019, 12:21
by Kellemora
I never could afford blue chip stocks, so messed around with OTC stocks for a short time. Although most of the stocks went up a little, by the time you pay the service fees, you come out about even is all.

I worked my tail of buying and renovating homes for resale. I did 90% of the work, so was making a good income, while it lasted. 9/11 killed this industry by drying up B-Paper mortgages, which is how most renovated homes are resold.

I probably made my highest income while renovating historical homes owned by others. I didn't have an investment in the properties to come up with, other than the materials I used which were not normally provided on many of the jobs I did.

Now I'm too darn old, and it too poor of health to try to do anything, except keep breathing, hi hi.

Re: The End is Near

Posted: 07 Feb 2019, 13:24
by yogi
I didn't appreciate enough the history teacher I had in high school. She was different than most of her peers in that she gave us some insights into the practical world that most teenagers do not care about. Early on in the semester she gave us all $10,000 in pretend cash. We were to look up stocks and make imaginary investments with the money she gave us. We had to bring the "yellow sheet" for the company(s) we invested in, which could only be obtained from brokers at the time. Now you can get the same information off the Internet. Her reasoning was to be sure we actually did the assignment and not make up something.

None of us knew anything about stocks so I just picked a name, Beckman Instruments. They were involved with instrumentation, some of which ended up in aircraft. Well, I liked airplanes so that was the company for me. LOL As luck would have it during the course of the 13 week investment I ended up with a net gain. It was a very small gain, but positive nonetheless. We learned something about how this country operates from that teacher and she is the one who inspired my adventures later in life. I guess that's all she wanted to do.

Moving forward sixty years we are not only in a new world, but a brand new universe. I don't know if there are any individual investors on the NYSE anymore. You used to be able to go downtown Chicago and sit in the spectators room of Merrill Lynch‎ and watch the live ticker tape for free. There was a counter at the back of the room where you could buy or sell if you had an account with them. As I remember there were always a lot of spectators in that room. Today, there is no room and the office turned into a web site. Individuals have been overrun by computers and artificial intelligence doing the trading. The small investor has no power any more and can only ride the waves. They claim it's all legal, but the markets are being manipulated by computer programmers. Who knows who is manipulating them. Low grade investments such as OTC stocks are still dominated by individuals. In fact that is where I made my biggest killings. But, alas, it all got too complicated and I turned it over to fund managers. The nice part about that is I buy direct from the company now and there is no brokerage fee for that.

Re: The End is Near

Posted: 08 Feb 2019, 10:25
by Kellemora
I never got too interested in the stock market. I piddled with it a few times, but that was about it.

But speaking of teachers. I did have one fabulous teacher who taught us all things not necessarily associated with his class.
Nobody can say for sure what he was involved in outside of school. But we could surmise he had a lot of irons in many different fires on the hush hush.
He taught us how to find products not readily available in the marketplace, and how to find a company who did make them, or who would be willing to make them. But the key to his teaching revolved around how to get your foot into the marketplace for your product. Unfortunately, nearly everything he taught us back then is no longer valid today.
Most stores don't buy from individuals or even from stand-alone businesses. They all buy through full-line warehouses or distributors. So, if you can't get your product into a major distribution center who caters to the retailers, it's like hitting your head against a brick wall.

Re: The End is Near

Posted: 08 Feb 2019, 14:25
by yogi
Like the rest of the world, the business world is evolving constantly. I recall the days when businesses were very reluctant to get involved with the Internet. The expectation is that greater than 12% of all retail sales will be done online by 2020. That seems like pretty slow growth, but five years ago it was next to nothing. I don't have a feel for where it's all heading, but the infrastructure will change as the mobile market expands. The little guy has a chance to compete once again, although it still takes a lot of business savvy and substantial cash to be successful. The speed and the scope of the Internet makes the market place much more accessible than it used to be.

Re: The End is Near

Posted: 09 Feb 2019, 11:36
by Kellemora
Some things I buy on the Internet, but other things I don't trust buying from vendors I don't know.
And you really have to watch how they do things too. You can end up paying a lot for something cheap if you don't read all the fine print.

Re: The End is Near

Posted: 09 Feb 2019, 13:22
by yogi
I doubt that brick and mortar will be replaced entirely by pixels and data packets. But I see something similar to what happens at places like Best Buy taking over. You can go to the store to see, touch, and smell what you are looking for. But then you go home and order it off the Internet from a shop in Hoboken where the price is better and the delivery is free. I don't know if suppliers to business will take the same vector, but you as a businessman certainly must have additional opportunities for selling on the Internet. Look at all the virtual stores on E-Bay for example. It's the world's largest flea market. LOL

Re: The End is Near

Posted: 10 Feb 2019, 11:04
by Kellemora
I did eBay for about 2 years. I was selling a fairly large heavy item that required special packaging. A made a little money, but not enough for the work involved. This was not an eBay store, it was on their auction site, as I only had eaches of things to sell, like antique Emerson fans, and other collectibles.
What burned me out on eBay were the number of scam artists out there artificially pushing the price up on some items.
I followed over a dozen folks selling a similar item to mine, and in some cases the same items with much higher serial numbers. I suppose they were just playing a game between themselves hoping some sucker would come along.
I finally posted mine on eBay with a minimum first bid of about 1/3 less than theirs were supposedly going for.
I never did get anyone to bid that much, while at the same time, and often on the same page, the ones they offered were still climbing to ridiculously high numbers.
Same manufacturer, same product number, only my serial number was near the beginning of the run, not up near the end. So it should have brought even higher bids than theirs, not no bids at all.
I pulled mine off eBay, and just watched them. After about six months, I would see the same serial numbers come up again, only under different names of the same group. Since the seller has to pay a percentage of the sale price. I never did understand their purpose in doing this. Unless they were just waiting for some sucker to come along and see all the high bids and decide when they saw it lower it was a good deal and fell for the scam.

Several brick n mortar stores have a profit sharing plan with the manufacturers or vendors of product they carry to help offset on-line sales.
Yeti Coolers, LLC in Texas is one such company. Companies who have Yeti Products on display in their store, share in the profits of sales to companies who may warehouse the product, but do their sales on-line. It only gets a little sticky if a brick n mortar store also sells on-line also. The stores must keep track of in-store sales vs on-line sales and they only share in the percentage of in-store sales from the profits pool.
I only know this because my frau landed a part-time job at Ace Hardware, to help pay for her Insulin. Horrible she had to go back to work at 71 years old just to pay for her meds. But she is learning a lot there about how the back room dealings of businesses work. Well sorta, she's not privy to what HQ does, just how things must be tracked in the store itself.

Re: The End is Near

Posted: 11 Feb 2019, 09:08
by yogi
You are correct about E-Bay auctions. There are shills on E-Bay as well as in real life auctions. It's just the way the game is played. I've sold a few items at auction on E-Bay and knew in advance what they were selling for. Thus I always put a minimum to assure that I'd get a fair price and not have to pay a fee if it didn't sell. A couple times I just wanted to get rid of junk and didn't care what I got out of it. I got rid of some audio equipment worth several hundreds of dollars that way for the mere price of $20. That sale was for local buyers only because I didn't have a way to pack and ship the lot of equipment. I only got that one bid, which surprised me because it was virtually a come and get it offer. Anyway, auctions are fun but must be considered a game. Otherwise a shop of your own on E-Bay is the best way to deal with them.

A lot of stores are losing sales/profits to Internet merchants. I am not surprised in the least that the brick and mortar people are trying desperately to find ways to make up for the virtual sales losses. Several places will encourage you to buy on line and have you come to the store to pick it up. There frequently are price incentives for doing this which of course benefits the store. If nothing else they are getting people to come in and look around.

Re: The End is Near

Posted: 11 Feb 2019, 13:11
by Kellemora
We have a candy store here, plus they sell other things too of course.
When you get up to the register, if you have a Schmartz-Fone, you can pay the bill using your phone.
I've not paid enough attention to how it is done, but it could have something to do with the little square box of static that appears on the credit card machine window if you say yes I'll pay using my Schmartz-Fone.

On another note, similar to the above. This must be some feature of Schmartz-Fone's too.
This was up at the Kroger store! A lady was doing her shopping and scanning the products herself as she placed them into the reusable tote bags she brought with her.
We just happened to be near the self-checkout lane, and saw the attendant come up to her, hit a button on the machine, and she placed each of her tote bags on the scale, one at a time, then back in her cart. Her receipt came out of the machine, the attendant looked at it and handed it to her. I'm sure she must have to have an App from the store to be able to do that. The thing is, I never saw her do anything with her phone at the checkout counter, or if she did, I missed it.

Re: The End is Near

Posted: 12 Feb 2019, 09:16
by yogi
I keep saying my phone is clever and not smart. This bit about paying wirelessly is a case in point. The phone is just the vehicle. Electronic POS payments are offered by Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and probably a few others too. It's just software installed on the clever phone. The software will scan something on the terminal and the the transaction is completed. I think you witnessed that as I did a few times myself. I mentioned elsewhere that I'm not sure if a credit card company gets involved with this method or not. If not then I might be interested.

Those fuzzy little boxes that people point their camera/phones at are QR Codes. They are similar to the traditional bar codes but have the ability to execute software directly while scanning. I have an app that allows me to transfer data from my cleverphone to my desktop via a remote login function. This requires software on both devices, of course. Basically I call up the program on my desktop and it puts a QR Code box on the screen. I then point my smart camera at it and an executable is run on both devices to connect the phone directly to the desktop. They are not saying what it is, but obviously it's simply a remote access point. The potential problem with that method is that you can get into my desktop too if you had the same software on your cleverphone. Of course you would have to also have access to my desktop to generate the request.

Amazon decided to build a store without cashiers. You walk in, fill up your cart and walk out. I'm not sure if you have to scan anything while you are shopping, but it seems likely that you would. A debit is applied to your Amazon account the instant you scan the item so that you can walk out at any time. There is, of course, a way to put it back on the shelf and get a credit. What I don't know is how they keep people honest. Would it be possible for somebody to walk in, fill up their shopping carts, and leave without scanning anything? Apparently that possibility was taken into consideration in the store design and nobody gets away without paying.

Re: The End is Near

Posted: 12 Feb 2019, 12:31
by Kellemora
I saw what it was called in a Kroger ad "Scan and Go."
Both Walmart and Kroger had "Scan and Go" here for a short time before adding the verification scales.
I think Kroger still has theirs (since it is in the ad) but Walmart is only self-serve checkout now.

Some stores that sell more expensive larger items are relying on the RFID chips to verify the customer scanned everything with their cell phone. This may be how the cashierless Amazon stores are keeping folks honest.

As an aside: The product I make and sell to a mfgr. rep. who used to do everything from there for me, made a couple of changes. Mainly because he has grown much larger and can't do it all himself anymore.
To start with, he received my products without labels on the bottles. He would apply the labels in the language for what country they were distributed to. At that time, I was making three versions of the same product, due to the water differences in different countries. Asian countries got a special formula with extra ingredients, and Japan got the third formula which added even more ingredients.
When sales climbed high enough, I got some great deals on all the ingredients, which also put me in contact with a new lab who studied the reason why I had the different formulas. They came up with a universal formula that would work everywhere, although it was not needed here in the states, it was super cheap, so I cut back to only one formula, we called the 4th generation, and it was cold filtered too, which saved me one heck of a lot of extra work.
I now install the provided labels, one label for all destinations. However, in getting back to the reason I brought this up.
I used to packed 4 cartons of 1 dozen bottles each, in a case. This is how I did it for years. The individual bottles have a bar code for POS, and each carton had a bar code for inventory purposes, and each overwrap case had its bar code.
When I switched to putting only 2 cartons per case, due to expensive damages by UPS, I used up the provided bar code stickers for the overwrap cases. This really gummed up their inventory control, until they sent me new overwrap case labels to use, hi hi. The new overwrap label has two bar codes on it, plus a QR box (thanks for telling me what it is called) all on the same label. There is no QR code on the carton labels or on the bottle labels, only on the overwrap case. But it doesn't look exactly like those I've seen elsewhere. It doesn't have the three squares in the upper corners and lower left corner, only one square in the middle, plus it is dots not blocks. I'm sure it is for some inventory reader.

Re: The End is Near

Posted: 13 Feb 2019, 07:48
by yogi
I had to learn about barcodes when I worked for a living. Some of the software I wrote needed to get information from barcoding. It's a bunch of lines on a skinny label. How complicated can that be? It turns out that there are dozens of ways to make those bars and they all need different hardware. LOL QR codes were just being introduced when I had to leave the company so that I never got to learn the details of how they work. All I know is that they have a hella lot more information on them than just plain UPC numbers. They can be executable as well.

I don't know if there is a Kroger anywhere near O'Fallon. I've not seen it if it exists. I've been into the local Walmart maybe half a dozen times since I've lived here. Most of the time it was to buy Milorganite. It used to be a widely available fertilizer up north, but only a few places handle it here. WalMart is one of them. It's great stuff because I don't have to be careful about putting it down. I accidentally dumped about half a bag on the grass last year. I scooped up as much of it as I could but there was still a lot more than recommended where I spilled it. No problem. The grass there is as green as anywhere else. And, I don't want to sound like I'm bragging, but my grass is indeed greener than my neighbors. LOL Then again, I also have a lot more weeds than they do.

Re: The End is Near

Posted: 13 Feb 2019, 14:32
by Kellemora
On the grass OK, but I've always been leery of using Milorganite around edible crops.
I'm sure it is safe, but when you consider the source, what if they missed a few amoeba?
Wouldn't bother the Japanese, but it could do us in, hi hi.

I've seen all kinds of QR codes, some are quite decorative.
A couple of the restaurants here that provide free WiFi use those QR code blocks to access their WiFi from a cell phone, or notepad or laptop, whatever. Or you can type in the number on the bottom of the receipt.

I know a couple of folks who don't have to have an internet connection. They live in an apartment complex up the hill from one of the fast-food places with free WiFi. Apparently there is only one number they used all day each day, and someone would pass the number along or post it to the bulletin board in the apartment building each morning.
I guess too many folks started doing this, so now the number is changed every couple of hours, and/or has a two hour time limit before you are cut off and have to sign in with another number.

AT&T and Comcast provided modems have an always open Hot Spot but only accessible if you have an account with them already.
Still kills me how I can see about 6 WiFi signals here in the office, from all up and down the street, some quite strong too, but cannot see my own from my house. Not even when they put a repeater up in the attic by a gable vent, which means the aluminum foil the house is encased in shouldn't have any affect at the open vent area.

There is a WiFi card in the Silver Yogi, I check it every once in awhile to see what it can see.
It can see our DirecTV WiFi box in the living room, but that is only for the TV.
It can see about six other WiFi boxes, two with excellent signals, but I don't know the passwords.
And it can see MY WiFi now that we moved it, but only at one bar. I can connect, but it drops out almost right away.
No biggie, I prefer being hard wired via my CAT6 anyhow.

Re: The End is Near

Posted: 14 Feb 2019, 08:37
by yogi
I haven't read the warnings lately, but Milorganite did at one time say not to use it on anything edible because of the heavy metals it might contain. Given there is no vegetable garden at this house I feel pretty confident using the stuff. I've tried others and ended up with strips of green grass where the chemicals did not come into direct contact with the growth. Milorganite doesn't seem to work the same way and leaves lots of room for error.

I never counted all the networks I can see from my house but it's easily close to 100. Some of them are open, but I've never been able to connect. A lot of routers have guest logins with a standard password as a default setting. I think those open nets are people who didn't change the defaults. I have software that will allow me to scan these networks and try the well known passwords. The problem with that is if I should be successful it would essentially be illegal. LOL Knowing about this software prompted me to use a passphrase on my router that is 28 characters long. Good luck with guessing that one.

WiFi currently operates at 2.5 and 5.0 GHz which is pretty much line of sight signaling. You might be able to squeeze some signal through a cutout in your foil house wrapping but it will bounce around and lose strength even if it does leak into your office. The best location for the repeater is inside the shielded room, of course.

I think free WiFi from a neighboring McDonalds shop would be wonderful in an emergency. Using it as a primary connection is a security nightmare. If you can see the signal so can anybody else. Then, too, you have no idea what their router is connected to. Anything you do on that hotspot could be stored on somebody's server for future reference.

Re: The End is Near

Posted: 14 Feb 2019, 13:24
by Kellemora
Hmm, I have Comcast, so can use any Comcast provided Open Modem/Router if it accepts my WiFi password, not mine, but the one provided by Comcast for Open WiFi.
Never though using an Open Router, no matter who's it is, would be illegal, since it is Open.
But if you have to come up with a password, well then maybe.

Actually, one thing I worry about when taking computers in for servicing is they all come back with an access point named "Owner" and the password as "Password." So I first change the password, then delete the user Owner. Even so, I've always wondered if there was still a back door left open in there.
I still don't know how service shops set up an account on an otherwise protected computer?
The old shop I used to use, the owner always asked me to create a user named "Service" and their street address as the password, using an underscore between the number and street name. Even so, they always had to call me to find out what password I used because I always used the whole street name spelled out, not just the single name without the suffix.

I thought my WiFi was 2.4? Maybe I'm wrong? I do know 2.4 carries a further distance than a 5 Ghz WiFi signal.

My detached garage is behind the house about 30 feet. The gable in the house has a wood slat vent, well now it's a plastic slat vent since I got siding. The old wood slat vent did have a copper screen on the inside, but the new plastic vent only has a fiberglass screen inside, so it should not affect a WiFi signal at all.
The company that came out and made an attempt at installing a WiFi system failed to get one up and running.
At least they didn't charge me anything. The main reason is he didn't believe WiFi wouldn't work here.
So I made a deal with him. I would buy the repeaters and other hardware if he could get one up and running.
He said, you got a deal, because I know we will have a great system for you.
Ha Ha, he had to eat his words. He went away scratching his head. No way it cannot work, but it doesn't.
There is no metal in the garage, it is wood frame construction with slapboard and vinyl siding.
My scanner sitting on my desk picks up many signals with an indoor antenna, only a few more with an outdoor antenna.
So why WiFi don't work between my house and office is beyond even the pro-installer.
I'm thinking it was his equipment he wanted to sell me, because I've looked up WiFi repeaters a few times, and there are several different types, most of them are big bucks though.
Oh well, as long as my CAT6 holds out, I'm good to go, hi hi.

Re: The End is Near

Posted: 15 Feb 2019, 08:33
by yogi
I stand corrected. Your WiFi does operate at 2.4 GHz unless it is doing something illegal. My use of 2.5 was just a round up error. :mrgreen:

You never know what the service guy is doing to your computer. Wireless network access can easily be installed or removed. That's not the problem. I'd be concerned about any hidden software that is not network related, such as a Trojan. It's a matter of trust and most businesses are legitimate if they want to stay in business.

I have nothing to sell you, but my instinct says that you are doing something wrong and it can be fixed. In theory there is no reason for you to be unable to connect wireless from your house to your garage. Signal strength is the only issue. I think you can expect any router to be capable of working within a 300 ft radius of it's transceiver. But, as I said, we are talking microwaves and they are not happy when they have to propagate through anything but air. I'm thinking the right combination of switches and hubs/repeaters should do it. I certainly would have a tranceiver inside your garage office, but then, I don't know where the signal is being lost.

You are also right about the open (public) LAN connections. Anybody can use that kind of connection. A guest login is a network onto itself. Shared network resources are not available to guests. Thus public and guest networks are two different animals. Comcast does not want you to access their network and thus gives you a "guest" network all of your own. It's attached to their own, but separate (if that makes sense).

The idea of the password is to keep unwanted users out. Any type of network, public, private, guest, or open may have a password to access it. If I discovered what that password is, and logged into the network, I would be going to a place I presumably was not wanted. It's an invasion of privacy to say the least. I disabled the guest login here and don't really know the specifics. I think the password can be eliminated but out of the box it comes with one. It's well known by people who need to know, which I do not. I'd have to look it up.