Monday, June 5, 2017

Classic STEM Content

I've kept a site called "Technical Tutoring" up for more than 20  years, as an homage to the years I spent tutoring individual people.  I think it is time to celebrate this site, as it has helped a lot of people "get" math, chemistry and computers, quickly.

Here is the basic map to the site.  There are some broken links that I am fixing as rapidly as I can.

Home page
     Algebra Index
     Calculus Index
     Chemistry Index
     Math Index
     Speed Arithmetic

Most of these pages are directed at college students, since those were the vast majority of people I worked with.  Gradually, I am working my way down to more basic levels of STEM education.

Enjoy.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Now, We are finally On-Line

The most ordinary of life challenges have made it very difficult to get the store online up to now; however, this weekend, the almost impossible was truly and finally accomplished.  Please see the On-Line Store, our Amazon Index, our Sam's Club Index, and our Walmart Index.  More vendors, and more product pages, will be set up on-line in the near future.

The entire site is being revamped to make it mobile-device friendly.  We expect that to be done by the end of summer 2017.  Please bear with us.

There are still a large number of broken links on the website, mostly due to moving from a Windows-based web server to a Linux-based web server, where case (upper vs lower case) matters.  Amazon also complicated matters a few years ago by changing the base URLs for almost all of their products.

If you have ever managed a website, broken links are the bane of any webmaster's existence - the Internet is ever-changing, and considerable effort is needed to keep up with them.  The links are what make the Internet useful, so it is a cost we all have to bear. We have fixed many (hundreds) links already, but there are hundreds more to fix.  Please bear with us as we slog through the maintenance nightmare.

By way of reminder, we are currently associates with the vendors we have chosen, and so complaints should go to them first. We want to know if you have difficulties beyond normal communications with any of our associates (as in, they took your money, but didn't deliver what you ordered, and refused to refund your money), if you do, please e-mail, here. I have had problems with very few vendors, and stopped doing business with those who were not straightforward in doing business. Just the facts.

At the current time, the most we can do is stop using a highly problematic vendor.  We are, of course loathe to do this, but since we are small and they are huge, we can understand that they might not be reasonable.  If a vendor commits enough validated sins, we might suspend or drop them.  Please understand, we are in business to make money, not to be virtue-signalers. Complain to us only when there is a significant and un-fixible problem.

We have chosen only vendors for which we have never had a serious problem.  At the current time, this is about what we can do.  We will continue to communicate with you, our customers, about what we find and what our customers see.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

The scarcest and most valuable of all values

That would have to be our time.  You should take the time to view this clip from the movie Network.

Suppose you lived to be 120 with current (2017) medical practice and success rates.  You might be OK up until age 70 or 75, depending on how much you managed to eat well, exercise and how well you avoided bad habits, bad luck and bad people. After that, life would start to suck.  You'll be old, ugly, sick, stressed, not really interested in sex, everything hurts, and your relatives are waiting for you to die so they don't have to pay attention to you anymore and they can inherit your stuff.  Your friends died long ago.  Your kids died long ago.

So, even though you are alive for 120 years, your life gets bad enough at the end to not be worth living.  Maybe this will improve in the future.  Maybe your kids and grandchildren will really love and cherish you.

Despite advances in medicine and technology, we're still looking at roughly 70-75 years of quality life.  Only a few very enlightened and independent youths think deeply about their upcoming old age, and plan well, try to be a true friend to their older selves; even fewer actually execute and deliver to their old selves a good old age.

To bust out of this rat maze, you really have to take your own life in your hands, and ruthlessly purge yourself of all things, all people, all politicians, all pundits, all websites, all anything that wastes your time.  You get to decide what is and what is not good use of your time.  You will have successes and failures.  If you are smart and self-interested, and ruthless with your calling yourself to account each day, you will get better with time.  This is not a one-size-fits-all type of thing, but an optimization problem.

When it comes to buying things, you really have to factor in your time, taxes, delivery costs, product risks and price to make a good decision.

Some approximations can help a lot.  For example, going to the local mega-store is worth it for large purchases.  You start a list, based on experience, for each of the big stores, and work on the list over time, before going to the store.  You know you can't do all of this in a day, because the ice cream will melt (add you own risk list here).  But you can make efficient use of the local Wal-mart, HEB, etc. and do better for your money and time than you can online.

The lists will tend to be big, and you will have to later execute correctly to not waste money.  For example, I can get pork cheaper at my local HEB than anywhere else, and it is good quality.  If it rots in the refrigerator because I got too busy, I lost out on the purchase.  Better not do it.

Conclusion:  First, learn to stop wasting your time.  Also, when you commit to the future (buying raw pork), make sure you get the value needed to make the purchase worth it (cook and eat the pork before it goes bad). Second, find the value of your time and start using that ruthlessly to make better decisions about purchases.  Who cares if you pay three times as much for something online if it saves you five times the time cost?

Hyper-Ad is dedicated to the principle of wasting as little of our customers time as possible.  We will get better at this as we go along.  We want you to come to our website and get it done! Please help us by both buying from our site and engaging us in intelligent complaint (so, for example, if you know we couldn't help a bad situation, let it go rather than blaming us.  OTOH, if you feel we could make something for you FASTER, tell us what you think.)

Searching for what you need, not finding it

If I had to comment about what I hate most about searching for things needed from big websites like Amazon, New Egg, TigerDirect, etc., it would be the massive number of irrelevant results I have to wade through to get to what I want.  There is almost nothing more irritating than typing in something real simple, like the exact name of the product, and getting 5000 results, 99% irrelevant.

What is worse, is that once you think you have "finally" found the page with the product you want, you have to read the entire page very carefully to be absolutely certain you are ordering what you think you are ordering. For example, I recently went looking for a movie DVD, and found a page that looked like it was selling the movie.  Something didn't quite add up, so I kept reading, looking for some clear indication of exactly what the page was selling.  After 20 minutes, I realized that the page was selling a movie poster, not a movie.  Bad, bad, very bad.

What are they thinking?  Maybe they have too much time on their hands, like prison inmates, and don't realize the rest of us are in a hurry.  Maybe they hire young, overpaid web developers who just don't care about my time or your time.

How much is your time worth?  Have you ever bothered to calculate it?  Ever noticed how many people and organizations just want to "borrow" a few minutes of your time for ... <insert totally meaningless (to you) purpose here>If that does not make you mad as Hell, you aren't paying attention yet. They are stealing your single most important value, your time, from you. The default answer should be: "no, you may not waste my time."  Hang up on them.

If I go to the big grocery store four blocks from my home, I can guarantee myself great, super-low prices.  No doubt about it.  But, I spend a minimum of 45 minutes driving, shopping (even with a pre-written list) and waiting in line to make my purchases. The parking lot is so clogged, I can depend on 15 minutes just to find a parking space, walk to the store, and walk back. Unless I do a lot of shopping at one time, it is usually better to make my purchases online, since I have to plan my purchases anyway.

Time is the fire in which we all burn.

We care about your time.  Suppose you can do as I do, and go to a local store and get a particular product for 1/3 the best possible web price, but it costs you $30 worth of your time to shop there, and you really hate going to the store (HEB and Wal-mart have totally great prices, totally horrible parking and checking out processes).  What is your best option?  Seriously! We have kids to raise, business to do, things to accomplish, and we never seem to have enough time.

We at Hyper-Ad are doing something about this.  For every line item product, we give you exactly three choices: good, better and best. Mostly, this is about price and quantity. We also read the page to be sure it is the right product (and that doesn't always work, either). In many cases, you can get a better deal at your local grocery store.  Is it worth it to do so?

We also have indexes and various tables of contents to help you narrow down on the things you need as fast as possible. Since there are no search engines available that just get you what you want, we work on browsing as the next best alternative.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The closest possible shave

Gentlemen!

Do you have one of those insane three-to-five blade razors to shave yourself every day?  I do.  The razor itself is fairly cheap, but the blades, over any period of time, are damned expensive.  I offer Harry's razors for those of you who have no time to do anything else but shave as fast as you can.  They are high-quality, and, of course, replacement blades cost money.  They'll do a good job, I guarantee.

There is another solution for those of you who are adventuresome: straight razors.  I have two of them.  Let me tell you, they are frighteningly sharp, so sharp, that stropping them with leather makes them more sharp (think about that).  They are not cheap, but are readily available.

There are plenty of guys who use them.  It's one of the best ways to maintain a pencil mustache, for example.  The main attraction is that, even for you guys that have incredibly thick, heavy facial hair, a straight razor is the very best way to shave so that your face is totally baby-butt smooth.  Ladies may like that.

Shaving with a straight razor is definitely not for everybody.  You have to pay close attention to what you are doing, or you will cut yourself (I have, several times).  You have to practice, and be patient while learning to use one.  You have to have good beard preparation.  I offer the best products to do that, and link to the best website on the planet for learning about straight razors.

Again, over time, using a straight razor is significantly cheaper than disposable razors.  The blades, if well-kept, will last several generations, they are so good.  You just have to take the time needed for a really good shave.  Worth it, when you need a baby-butt smooth face (hope she is worth the effort!).

The Best Toilet Bowl Cleaner Ever

Do you hate, hate, hate to clean your nasty, smelly toilet bowl?  I do.  What an unpleasant, never-ending, gross chore!  Sometimes, the crud, especially the ultra-gross black mildewy stuff, doesn't come off, even with Comet and repeated, hard scrubbing with a scrub brush.  Eccccchhhh!

Well folks, there is a solution to this horrid problem.  It's called The Works toilet bowl cleaner.  I get it at my local HEB, but if you like, you can buy it right here at Hyper-Ad.  I looked for a solution to my problem of gross toilet on the Internet, and discovered this stuff, went out and tried it, and it worked, spectacularly, the very first time!  All the crud was destroyed, and the once-menacing toilet bowl again became pearly white, and so clean and sanitary that even dainty, germ-phobic ladies wouldn't hesitate to ascend that throne.

This stuff is effective because it contains 9.5% HCl, also known as hydrochloric acid.  That is the same acid in your stomach, and used in swimming pools.  Be careful when you use it to not get it on your hands, and especially not in your eyes (you should wear gloves and use eye protection whenever using harsh chemicals). Rinse off any accidental spills with cold water.  It's not concentrated enough to hurt you, but you should never allow acids or bases to stay on you longer than it takes to rinse off.  Just common sense!

As a former chemist, I know what HCl is and how useful it is.  You don't have to worry about environmental impact, since most places have alkaline water (so the stuff is neutralized as soon as it hits the sewage system).  Even if you happen to live somewhere where the water is acidic (not common), you are merely lowering the pH of the sewage system by a tiny amount, making it a bit harder for some nasty bacteria to live.

This product is for the inside of the toilet bowl only, where all the yucky stuff goes. The outside of the toilet can be easily cleaned with Comet or Scrubbing Bubbles. I recommend using a lowly bar mop for the outside - it's so easy, and you just plop the bar mop into the next hot water wash to recycle it for the next go-round of cleaning.

I hate housework, too!

Update: Apparently, other companies have similar products. I included them.