The Useful Duck!

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Saturday ramble

I'm a Mac person. I have been a Mac person since the day I gave up on the old Commodore portable. This could be the first time in my life I have purposely and under no duress sat down with a PC and written something just for the fun of it. Strangely I feel no shame.

And since this blog tends to be a bit stream of consciousness I'll digress... Steve Jobs is toast. Pancreatic cancer does not go away. You have it you are are dead. My Mother died of it.The statistics are pretty grim. The average is two years. Should you have treatment, chemo, or the infamous Whipple surgery, the average is still two years. Once fellow lived 10 years. This ruined the curve. Mom lived three months.

That has nothing to do with me using a Fujitsu 3400 tablet PC.

The 3400 is my tractor GPS system.

I am cheap and a bit misguided.

I just downloaded OpenOffice. ( I can now do everything that I could do with Microsoft Office. For free.

I am using that ability to avoid work. I just took the Christmas tree down to the river. Have had a hard time getting rid of Christmas trees since I read the Hans Christian Anderson story about the little Christmas tree. I know that they really have no consciousness, but still... So I am setting in my pickup trying out the word processing feature of OpenOffice. It is a beautiful day. The ground was covered with frost when I woke up this morning.

I do wish Apple would have made a tablet computer. Of course I could not afford it.

I am running my GPS guidance system with this Fujistu 3400, (ebay $60), FarmerGPS (program cost $350, see, and a Raven Invicta 210 receiver and antenna (ebay $350).

There have been addition costs. My first 3400 had a hard drive failure. ($60 ebay) Then it melted. I was driving along spreading slugbait with my free Ford ranger, using my gps at 20 mph with a heater as opposed to freezing my bottom off using a four wheeler. I smelled electric smoke, then the screen went blank. I saw smoke coming out of the vent on the 3400. I actually melted the motherboard where the USB connector mates in. I just got another 3400 on ebay, which seems to work much better than the first one I bought.

Farmer GPS is just a program that runs on the tablet PC, or any PC for that matter. It doesn't take a lot of processing power. Has a birds eye view, and there is a light bar at the bottom of the screen that will tell you which direction to turn. Will do last pass, circles, AB lines, and you can get an interface box to shut it off when the implement is raised. You can also export shapefiles and I think you an import Google maps. I don't know how to do that but it sounds pretty cool.

I like it as I have a lot of problems when I'm no-till planting after dark. When I plant back and forth I get lost when turning around at the end of the fields. The drill doesn't make enough of a mark to see as you make a wide turn. The other feature is that you can drive around a field and tell the acres, or if you are nearly done, you can also drive in a circle and see how much you have left.

Plus, I can use the PC for iTunes, which lets me listen to music, or if I get really bored, watch cartoons or South Park episodes which I have previously downloaded.

So I am hiding down here at the river. Listening to the hunters blasting away at ducks and not really worrying about all the crap I have to do.

Yesterday I delivered my weeks effort of ground feed. Got $550 out of the deal. Had to take a check.On the way back I stopped by the neighbors place. His truck driver is interested in 50lb bags. They made fun of my truck. Neighbor is a good friend. He has a 1967 red Ford F700 are well. His is in perfect shape. He just waxed it and it looks new.

Mine is not so nice. I bought it somewhere around 10 years ago at an auction. Paid, $2500 for it with side racks and an automatic endgate. Since then it has hauled quite a few loads of silage and hay. Three years ago my cousins son crashed his little Dodge Dakota into it at 50 mph. He was heading down to the river on our farm with his friends. The friends were going ahead and he was following in the dust. Driving pretty much blind on a one lane gravel road. The truck driver headed for the ditch with the first car. Next car didn't see the truck and hit the bed just behind the cab. Since the truck was turning the pickup slid down the side of the bed till it hit the rear duals. It his so hard it bent the truck axle and knocked the rear end completely out from under the truck. Sixteen foot bed loaded with 7 ton of silage. Totaled the pickup. One kid left by ambulance, one by helicopter.

No lasting injuries, other than pride.

I got $3500 out of the truck. Then fixed it up again. It is not the same... There are some wiring problems, lights quit, two speed motor doesn't work. Now the transmission pops out of two gears. At some point in time my larger than life employee stood on the roof, so now if you stop suddenly after a heavy rain, water runs down throught the window which won't roll up completely. Truck drives nice.

Just another thing that needs to be fixed.

I guess with that reminder I had better go back to work...


  1. Here's a link to another Mac person sitting in the truck by the river postponing his day. Sort of. Blog is The Monthly Pimp...any working relationship to the Daily Strumpet?
    Happened on it this morning when researching Quicksilver beta app which I think I will try. Merlin Mann does a daily stream of consciousness video, one week project.
    Ramble/rant on Macworld conference, hookers, zen etc.

    Fooling with NeoOffice on Mac, useful for opening Windows files, otherwise find it kind of cumbersome.

    Every Ford truck I've had seemed to have been possessed by some degree of junkyard wish, with the exception of Dad's '41 one ton dump truck. Current '90 F250 lost windshield wipers and brakes just sitting there decorating the yard all winter.

    Going out to see if I need to trap another possum out of the banjo shop...

  2. So it you play the banjos does it attract or repel possums?
    Tried the Monthly Pimp. Unfortunately I do not have the attention span for video blogs.
    Speaking of Daily Strumpet, Dave Barry stole it. Someone sent him a couple issues some years ago. I think he ripped me off.
    Really need to do another one...
    Speaking of Fords. My latest one a 1967 pickup I got for free, has electrical problems. Headlights keep cutting out. Kind of an exciting drive home in the evenings!

  3. Depends on what kind of skin you've got stretched across the head. Most possums aren't real fond of hearing "Boys, My Money's All Gone" plunked out on a dead relative.

    Yeah, I'd come across the Dave Barry thing when I was looking for your work during the dark time of hiatus. All professional comics riff off other people, but this does look like straight up theft if he doesn't acknowledge source. Maybe next time you run a hard copy you could send him one with headline Famous Rich Person Rips Off Hard Working Farmer. "Daily Strumpet title was the only title to anything around here that the bank wouldn't want, and this guy swipes it." Maybe invite him to a session of wry farmer humor/Strumpet off at morning coffee. His lawyers have to stay out in the yard.


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