Avatar Issues

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yogi
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Re: Avatar Issues

Post by yogi »

I've had a lot of experience delivering newspapers, but I never was attracted to reading more than the comics section. With all the competition from television and the Internet, I'm surprised that there are as many newspapers as there are. The newspapers weren't always a reliable source, but the crap people pick up now from the mass media and social networks is nothing less than misleading.

I've seen those paper tubes to which you refer while I lived up north. They were optional apparently because not everyone had them. I can't recall seeing any such things here in O'Fallon, but then I don't get around much. The coupons are what those sales papers live for, but there are web sites that specialize in only coupons. You don't need to subscribe to a lot of them, but then they may not have what you are looking for.

On Friday we get a free paper that is like the ones I used to deliver once a week. This one is delivered by a mom and pop driving around town in a Road Ranger. The paper is plopped down at the end of my driveway and frequently ends up in the street before I retrieve it. If those folks are getting 3-cents a paper, I'm guessing that would pay for the gas and have enough left over for a Wendy's Burger.

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Kellemora
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Re: Avatar Issues

Post by Kellemora »

Three of our small newspapers have closed down. But one has taken over the content two of them had. You can pick them up at most restaurants in town, or for 25 cents you can get them delivered via USPS.
Every so often, like only a couple of times a year, they will hire kids to go out and toss the papers one into each yard. They are only folded in half and slid into a plastic 9x12 envelope, probably by those delivering them. Not sure how they pay the boys to do this though. I'm thinking one of them is the annual Christmas Coupons edition, and the other is paid for by all the furniture stores around mid-year.

I know how much it cost for the flower shop to maintain a fleet of delivery trucks and drivers to deliver flowers.
I also knew how much it cost for Woodlawn Dairy to deliver milk to private homes as well as smaller businesses.
And of course, I knew our Pepsi driver Horace personally. Lots of tales to tell about that guy, hi hi.
Then there is the USPS, who has tons of stops on the route, all fairly close together, except RFD of course.

I'm brought that up only to make a point about cost of deliveries.
One shot deliveries like made by a florist or pharmacy are the most expensive and time consuming type of deliveries to make.
Those made by the milkman were the next lowest in cost because he had a route, and a fair amount of customers along the route.
The Pepsi driver also had a route, but stops were fairly close together, even though each stop took up a lot of time, the profits were much higher.
About the cheapest route any delivery company can make is when all of their stops are close together, with little to no time spent at each stop. Such as the USPS who deliver to each home one right after the other, skipping very few.

I had a lot of time to kill when I was sitting taking care of Debi's mom. I don't know what possessed me to do it, but each day when I went to the mailbox, I jotted down the different postage amounts on each piece of mail we received.
I guess I did this for about 15 months before I decided to sit down and add up the postage by types and amounts.
Then I looked up what the actual postage was for those that do not show the amount, aka CarRT pre-sort, etc.

Once I had a numerical figure for all the mail we received, divided by 15 so I had a monthly figure for just us.
I had to take into consideration the mailman who picked up the mail, the sorting of the mail, the delivery of the mail, and another amount for main station to main station delivery.

I asked several different mailmen how many were on their delivery route, and how many actually had mail each day. Due to sales flyers, the number was fairly close to the same. But to be safe, I left off an entire day of deliveries.
Even after all of that, I could not believe the amount of money going to the post office.
Even if you deducted more than double of what estimates I came up with, they were still making money hand over fist.

Just going by the postage alone, only 1-1/2 months of mail covered my mailman's salary for a year. So if that same amount covered the driver who picked up the mail, and the same amount for transportation between hubs, and the same amount for the sorters, and the same amount for a share of the building cost and maintenance on all the trucks. I don't see how it is possible for them to claim they are losing money.

My cousin was a private courier, all he did was drive back and forth between banks and title companies, bringing paperwork for the closing of houses. It was rare that he had to leave Clayton for a bank that did not not have an office in Clayton. He made right at 100 grand per year after expenses, and this was back in the '70s to '90s.

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yogi
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Re: Avatar Issues

Post by yogi »

The story I heard is that the USPS loses money on the regular mail but makes a good profit on packages. When the Internet became a supermarket, places like FedEx and UPS took business away from the USPS and increased their losses dramatically. Now they have deals with those same companies and got some of the business back. I just paid UPS $12 to deliver 20 lbs of fruit juice to me which I thought was outrageous. Like everybody else I'm willing to pay for the convenience, but that driver has around 125 packages to deliver from his truck, or a minimum of $1500 in delivery charges. Really? Is that what it costs to run one of those trucks? When the USPS does the delivery for FedEx, the price is closer to $7.00 per package, but the wait time is extended considerably.

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Kellemora
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Re: Avatar Issues

Post by Kellemora »

Many of our deliveries sent via UPS are transferred over to USPS by UPS for residential delivery.
Except if the order is through Amazon, they often deliver to us on Sunday sometimes in a USPS truck, sometimes in an Amazon Van driven by a postal service driver. You can see 4 to 6 Amazon vans parked in the USPS parking lot on weekdays, but none there on Sundays, hi hi.

The average route for a populated county aka suburban fringe counties is around 1250 mailboxes, of which 500 to 700 require stopping at each day. The USPS handles over 180 million pieces of first-class mail per day.
Rural Routes may have as few as 350 to 500 mailboxes with 200 to 300 stops per day.

The price of bulk mail is determined by the USPS actual cost to deliver mail, so it does not become a loss to them.

FWIW: We have TWO USPS buildings with drivers who deliver to our zip code. The driver who delivers to our house is not from the post office a few blocks away, their routes are all on the east side of Chapman highway. Our driver comes in from the southernmost post office in our zip code, and they handle the west side of Chapman highway.
There is enough mail to deliver in our zip code that they need two separate post offices to handle it all.

Based only on the first-class deliveries on our mailcarriers route, not the rest of what he delivers, this alone accounts for 350 dollars per day in postage. As I said earlier, they consider bulk mail a wash, but he also delivers parcels at the same time. Assuming our driver makes about 130 bucks per day, and the driver who picked up the letters also makes 130 dollars per day, that leaves 90 dollars for the other expenses at the post office and sorting houses, per driver.
Or the post office is taking in after salaries over 20,000 dollars per year per driver. Now if you figure our local post office has 14 routes they run each day, that one building is taking in 280,000 dollars a year and even if they have to send half to the main post office for distribution elsewhere, 150 grand a year for a non-profit isn't so bad.

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yogi
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Re: Avatar Issues

Post by yogi »

UPS has a service called "Sure Post" and FedEx has "SmartPost" or something close to that. Packages using one of those two services are delivered by the USPS. It's possible that Amazon also has a USPS contract but I don't recall ever seeing our mail carrier deliver an Amazon package. Usually it's the Amazon van, or even an unmarked rented van. My guess is that Amazon's "Prime" is the equivalent to what UPS and FedEx are doing but at a higher price instead of a discount. I have received things I ordered from Amazon and shipped by some indie seller via USPS. Those packages often end up being "free" shipping.

All I know is that I can get a letter delivered by the USPS for half a dollar. That same letter via FedEx is something like $14. I"m guessing it's because it literally takes an act of congress to raise postal rates. LOL

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Kellemora
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Re: Avatar Issues

Post by Kellemora »

Before I forget, I ran down to the house to check a notebook we keep about places we've been.
The two recycler's with the big equipment and towers are Royal Oak Recyclers and Emerald Environmental Company.
I did look at both of their websites on-line, but they don't show their separation and recovery equipment.
With Royal Oak, nothing ends up in a landfill. With Emerald, some does.

Parcel Services were not really designed to efficiently handle the equivalent of mail, so their prices are based on their primary service. Also Parcel Services are not running a house to house route like the post office does.
FedEx charges 8.10 for an envelope, and they provide the envelope.
UPS charges 6.19 for an envelope, and they provide the envelope.
HOWEVER, once you cross the 2 pound mark, then the USPS has the higher rates over both UPS and FedEx.

I ship anywhere from 5 to 10; 22 pound boxes; every couple of months.
UPS has always been the cheapest. FedEx is slightly higher. But USPS is considerably higher, over double the price of FedEx. USPS doesn't really want large box shipments like that either, because they are designed for handling mail, and some small parcels.

Honestly, if the USPS was privatized, it would be more efficient than it is now.
In a way, the USPS is already partly privatized. And now that they are being supported in other ways by Amazon, who knows what will happen in the near future.

Down here in Tennessee, when you get out of Knox County, you will see a lot of RCA's (Rural Carrier Associates) out delivering mail in their own cars or trucks.
They get paid $17.00 per hour and up or have tighter routes as they build seniority.
They get a one time check to have their vehicle conversion system installed, plus mileage and maintenance pay.
The conversion kit is fairly cheap, but it depends on the type of car too.
Some cars have a physical bar that adds the brake pedal to the right side, which is connected to the existing brake pedal.
The gas pedal is usually just a cable driven second pedal which is installed so doesn't easily get removed like the crossover brake pedal. In some cars they have a separate brake and gas pedal with all the connections made under the hood so no bars inside the car from left to right.
It is up to the owner of the car if he wants a right mounted steering wheel or not.
The cheapest version is simply a small steering wheel with a U-shaped belt that goes over both wheels, which most don't like. Next up is a gear and chain second wheel, which requires modification of the cars steering column.
The best system is an entire second steering wheel, which requires a steering gear and special under-car components, which very few opt to get.
Most of the drivers I've seen do not have a second steering wheel at all, and use small vehicles so the reach to the steering wheel is small.
Several of the rural drivers have purchased those little used mail trucks, some of them three-wheel jobbies no longer used by the USPS. I've not seen one of the small USPS trucks now in use by any USPS service, other than ones rural drivers bought and still use.
Grumman makes most of the current day mail trucks.
I guess Cushman fell out of favor with the USPS, but you still see a few from time to time out and about in rural areas.

Import companies like KIA you can order a car set up for right hand instead of left, and possibly others as well.

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yogi
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Re: Avatar Issues

Post by yogi »

I don't know if I've seen any converted mail carrying cars. If I did, they didn't make an impression on me. LOL What you describe sounds reasonable. Then again, instead of modifying the existing brake and steering system in my car, I might want to opt into something like the trash collectors have. They use a robotic arm on the side of their truck to pick up and unload the trash containers; then placed them back on the curb very gently. That and a camera would be all a car would need for rural deliveries, and I'm not so sure about the camera.

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Kellemora
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Re: Avatar Issues

Post by Kellemora »

You know those little wands you use to pick up things with. Basically just a claw.
This is what one of the rural drivers who delivers to Debi's cousin uses.
He gets them for about 2 to 5 bucks each and adds a hook to the back of one of the claws to pull the mailbox door open.
They type he uses only has two claw arms with a suction cup at the end of each claw on the inside edge.
He just picks the mail out of the box, holds it up and grabs it with the claw and pushes out the window to the mailbox.
She said sometimes he drops the mail and has to get out and pick it up by hand and stick it in the box, hi hi.

I think most of them I've seen myself just have the metal bar that hooks to their brake pedal so they have a pedal on the passenger side. And an even simpler small bar under their dash that can press down the existing gas pedal they control with their left knee. I guess whatever they can get done the cheapest, hi hi.

From what I understand, rural carriers do not do mail sorting at the post office. Someone else sorts the mail into trays and then a normal carrier drops them off at a location for the rural drivers to pick them up. I guess each area may do things differently too though.

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yogi
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Re: Avatar Issues

Post by yogi »

I'd agree that any modifications to use a normal car for mail delivery would probably be done the most economical way possible. I just would not feel comfortable with anything messing with my brakes or steering. I use those things to keep myself alive.

As you must know people like Amazon and UPS are experimenting with drones to deliver packages. Amazon is also using robots. I'm guessing at some point it would be practical to convert mail delivery to some such thing as the package delivery people are using. In fact I can visualize self driving vehicles to deliver rural mail quite easily. It would be cheaper in the long run because it would eliminate the manual labor involved, plus those vehicles could literally deliver mail 24 hours a day. I doubt that the unions would approve of such things, so it may be a long time coming.

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Kellemora
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Re: Avatar Issues

Post by Kellemora »

I've seen all kinds of drone deliver options in various video's on Farcebook.
Some of them look quite promising, while others, well, personally, I don't think they would work very well in practice.
The USPS version that opened and closed a mailbox like a normal truck wasn't all that great of and idea.
But the one that used a special mailbox with a back slot seemed to have the most merit.

I think it will be a long time before we see autonomous vehicles on smaller roadways. So many roads are mismarked as it is and traffic handling is so poor, I don't see how they could get anywhere other than on clearly defined roads that are properly marked for the most part.

On another note, who will be held liable when one of these driverless cars has an accident or kills someone?
As easy as it is to hack into a cars computerized control system, I don't see them becoming a reality any time soon.

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yogi
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Re: Avatar Issues

Post by yogi »

The legalities of autonomous vehicles are all but worked out. I don't know who ends up being responsible, probably the owner, but the idea behind those vehicles is to avoid collisions. There is some very sophisticated equipment in those robotic cars and that includes GPS. If there is a traffic jam in the vehicle's future, they would be able to see it via GPS and take an alternate route. Artificial Intelligence, you know? We are at the beginning of a new way to travel and that means a lot of trial and error. It's just a matter of tweaking software and firmware; it's not like the technology must be developed from the ground up.

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Kellemora
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Re: Avatar Issues

Post by Kellemora »

GPS still has a long way to go also. It's the Mapmakers who use the GPS to sync with their maps, and the maps are always out of date. Plus the maps do not always show the erroneous lane markings.
Even Debi's newest GPS still tells her to change lanes at a certain intersection, but that lane will take you onto the highway, not going straight ahead which is what she needs to do.
It is things like this that I think will mess up the robotic cars.

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yogi
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Re: Avatar Issues

Post by yogi »

GPS maps are notoriously out of date. Given all the road work going on constantly it would be difficult for the average GPS system to stay current. The navigation systems you will see in autonomous vehicles will not be of the same caliber. They can't be. As you noted before it is critically important for those cars to get it right all the time. I have no idea about how navigation systems work, but they seem to do well for air traffic. Something of that caliber would be needed to keep 264 million cars from crashing into each other. Of course, the automobile navigation system would be slightly more expensive than a Garmin unit. :mrgreen:

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Kellemora
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Re: Avatar Issues

Post by Kellemora »

I'm still using the GPS my son bought for me many years ago.
What irked me more than anything was after a few years, and getting warning my maps was out of date.
I finally broke down and bought a new map, only to find the roads in our area here were unchanged.
I called them about it too after spending that money. They said they only update cities like Knoxville only once every ten years or so, and the next update for my area was still 3 more years from then. They wouldn't give me my money back for the upgraded map either.
Debi bought a GPS for her car, and it has much more information on it than mine does, like what lane to get in and things like that, but even it still has outdated maps of our area.

Now the GPS's made for vehicle use are geared to the roadway maps.
But hers she can switch to rivers, or registered park trails, and a few other things.
You have to pay extra to get other maps like for inside of public buildings or colleges, etc.
But in an attempt to make a sale, they show you an example when you switch to that mode.
In her case, the UT Campus. Then it shows where to park to get to room 386, and which door to use and which hallway to turn down. I thought that was interesting. But not worth paying extra for since we have no reason to be on the college campus to find a room, hi hi. The regular street map shows where to go to get to the theater or campus offices, including the campus bookstore.
The last time we were in the Smoky Mountain park, she switched to trails just to see.
There are more trails in that park than we knew about from the signs, hi hi.

My brother has a boating GPS on his boat, and that thing shows a lot of things I guess larger boats need to know.
Somehow it knows the current stage of the river, so tells you the clearance of the upcoming bridge.
Shows the channels and even where the buoys are located.
If you punch in a location to go to, it will tell you there is no way to get there from here, hi hi.
Or it will give the complex route to get their with the estimated number of days to make such a journey.
I never though about it much, but it is actually possible for him to sail from St. Charles all the way down here to Ft. Lauden Lake which is part of the Tennessee River. But he can't get to most of the other lakes because there are no lock n dams to get there, hi hi.

Car GPS units are only accurate to about 5 to 10 feet if you have a good one. They look more accurate than that because they sync the map to known positive coordinates. So apparently GPS uses much more information than just the signals they pick up, must have other data included in those signals.

The survey company that checked our property lines said their GPS, when calibrated against the closest recorded benchmark is accurate to within a half-inch at 1/4 mile from the benchmark. If they don't calibrate it to a benchmark, it could be off by as much as an inch or two.

And that too is how the farmers get theirs to be so accurate, they are calibrated to a fixed location and work from that.

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yogi
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Re: Avatar Issues

Post by yogi »

There are quite a few extra services you can subscribe to with GPS equipment. The last trip we took up north was done via my wife's smartphone and Google Maps. We don't have anything extra and the direct route is foolproof, but there have been times when we varied from the main road and needed some help from the heavens. Going up I-55 Google informed us two or three times about state troopers sitting along side the highway. They didn't say what the troopers were doing, but the implication is they were a speed trap of some sort. That was correct in one case but one of the other encounters he was off to the side probably issuing a ticket. We were warned about it a mile or two in advance. I'm not sure how Google knows where the cops are, but apparently they do.

I doubt that the autonomous cars will have any of the glitz you see from TomTom or Garmin or any of the rest. Their purpose is different and for al lI know they don't use satellite triangulation. They are looking for moving targets.

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Kellemora
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Re: Avatar Issues

Post by Kellemora »

Debi's car GPS tells her when there is a car stopped alongside the road, where the cops are, and if a lane is closed for some reason. I have no idea how they know a car stopped along the road, but they do. I guess this means they also know how fast we are driving too, hi hi.
The GPS in her cell phone gives some other information the one in her car does not, but then the one in her car gives information the one in her phone does not. So with both of them turned on, she gets all the info, hi hi.
I still like my old one the best though. Large screen, nice voice, and loves to get you lost, hi hi.

Well, we now know of one problem with the accident prevention auto-braking system.
Debi's niece has a new car that will stop the car so she don't crash.
It also forces you to stay so many cars behind the car in front of you.
So far so good.
Then someone passed her and cut back in front of her and her brakes went on fairly heavy and the loosened back up again. She was afraid the car behind her was going to smash right into them. She went from like 60 mph down to 40 mph before the brakes stopped slowing the car. I guess it figured the car in front got moving fast enough.
She did say it scared the bejesus out of her.
These new cars need to come with a few changes of underwear, hi hi.

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yogi
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Re: Avatar Issues

Post by yogi »

My wife's brother-in-law just bought a new car. He said the sales person was a pretty nice guy and he didn't have to haggle with him a whole lot. Part of the sale, however, was instructions on how to use the new systems in the car, such as anti-collision. He said it took nearly an hour for the sales person to explain what should be expected when driving this new vehicle. He got it home all right, but then did some detailed reading of the manual and shut off every automatic gizmo he could. LOL Unfortunately, he still had to pay for those things even though he refuses to use them.

The only thing I would like that I don't have now is a rear view camera. Apparently the Saturn I have was made before such things were invented.

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Kellemora
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Re: Avatar Issues

Post by Kellemora »

From what I understand, you can buy the rear view backup cams and systems for 25 bucks and up. I've not looked into them so don't know if that means if you have a display already, or if you will still need a display.

I wonder why your wife's bro-in-law turned everything off?

OH, before I forget, here is a Car Eater where you don't have to remove anything from the car for it to be recycled.
This is just the little video of the car eater, not the tall separation towers used to extract the individual pieces.
Like I said earlier, it works like a humongous paper shredder!
https://thumbs.gfycat.com/SecretHarmles ... mobile.mp4

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Kellemora
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Re: Avatar Issues

Post by Kellemora »

Should have added, this is only the first grinder or chewer up it goes through.
All those chopped up pieces go through another grinder that makes them even smaller pieces.
And who knows, maybe even another grinder after that.
Just though you would like to see a whole car getting eaten, hi hi.

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yogi
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Re: Avatar Issues

Post by yogi »

The wife's BIL has some strange ideas about cars; strange to me anyway. One of his pet peeves is the location of the gas filler door. He was buying some model of Chevy (I think) where you would fill the tank from the driver's side. They moved it to the passenger side and he hasn't bought one of those since. He probably had a good reason, but I don't recall what it was.

I love that video clip you sent. I knew they did such things but never saw such a grinder in action. I have seen wood shredders that can take a tree trunk and grind it up. I thought that was impressive. But grinding up and old car is even better. I don't know why it would be easier to sort out the components when the car is shredded, but apparently it is. I guess you don't have to hire a crew to strip down the car if you are going to grind it up.

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