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John Wayne Ate Here . . .

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Jan and I headed up to Baytown about 9:30, making the 1 hour trip going up Hwy 146 and crossing the Houston Ship Channel over Fred Hartman Bridge as we came into Baytown proper.

Fred_Hartman_Bridge_3_WP

Jan calls this the Sail Bridge, for good reason as you can see. A very beautiful bridge.

We got to our destination a little after 10:30, and while Jan went down to get together with Rudy’s wife, Caroline, Rudy Leggett  and I started looking at the problem.

The property owner has a remote-controlled gate, but he wanted to control it from further away, like anywhere in the world. So he purchased what he thought was a BFT cellular gate controller like this from a local fence company.

BFT WiFi Video Box

But after the owner had a friend install it, they could never get it to work right. It was supposed to have video from the gate with two-way audio, as well as remote gate control, all using a phone app. But the only that worked was the video, and only when standing right by the gate.

Rudy had texted me info on the whole layout last week and right off the bat I saw some problems, like this wasn’t actually a cellular connected unit, just WiFi. The cell phone versions are completely different  models.

Plus they wanted to hook it up to the router in their house about 600 feet away. They had trenched in conduit and pulled 3 CAT 5 Ethernet cables through it, one to use and two spares. Always a good idea.

However 600 feet of CAT 5 does not a good signal make. At an absolute maximum, a CAT 5 ()or CAT 6 for that matter) is good for 100 meters, or about 328 feet. And that’s under perfect circumstances.

If you want to be sure you’re to have a good signal, 200 feet is a better, more realistic goal. But that would mean digging down to the conduit, cutting into it, cutting and re-connectoring the cable, and then inserting two Ethernet switches as repeaters in the line every 200  feet.

And then you’ve got to get power to the switches. Now the obvious thing would be to use PoE (Power over Ethernet) switches, but the BFT manual says that’s a No-No.

They did all this because they didn’t think they could do a WiFi run, but it certainly looks doable to me . . . with the right equipment.




But all of this was moot since the gate controller didn’t work directly at the gate. And we spent several hours trying to get it set up, configured, and talking to the phone app. But nothing worked.

We even tried rebooting the box and starting over, but we were never able to even see the video. Nothing we did looked anything like what the manual said we should be seeing. So at this point I’m pretty sure there is a problem with the unit. So now the owner needs to decide how he wants to proceed. 

Giving up for now, we followed Rudy and Caroline into beautiful downtown Baytown to have lunch at a local landmark restaurant, Rooster’s Steakhouse & BBQ.

Rooster's Baytown

Besides the good food, Rooster’s was known as John Wayne’s favorite eatery when he was in the area filming Hellfighters in 1967-68,

R0oster’s even has ‘Wayne’s Wall’ commemorating Wayne’s visits.

Rooster's Baytown Wayne's Wall

Hellfighters was  loosely based on the life of Red Adair, Adair, ‘Boots’ Hansen and ‘Coots’ Mathews, all famous oil well firefighters, served as technical advisors on the film. And besides Wayne, the film also starred Jim Hutton and my former next-door neighbor, Katherine Ross.

Jan got the Grilled Chicken with Green Beans and Fried Okra, while I had the 2 Meat Combo BBQ Plate, with Brisket and Ribs, along with Green Beans and Fried Okra

Rooster's Baytown Plate

The ribs and the sides were all delicious, as was the sauce. But we’ll have to agree to disagree about the brisket. In fact the only times I’ve had brisket like this was up North. Down here in Texas it’s called ‘roast beef’.

Only about 1/8” thick, it was gray and kind of tasteless. Next time I will get the sausage. But we will go back.

After saying our goodbyes to Rudy and Caroline, Jan and I headed home with a stop-over at Krogers for a few things And that was it.

A very nice day.




Thought for the Day:
 

Sometimes I wish that more people were fluent in silence.

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The Texas City Disaster . . .

Not much new at work today,mostly just looking at some YouTube videos on different WordPress themes. When I finally move our two company websites from our in-house server up to Godaddy, I want to change the WP theme to something new, and a little easier to support.




I did get some use of my Duolingo Spanish lessons when we had a order from Zaragoza, Spain. We needed some clarification on the order so I gave it a shot. And I guess it worked because I got an answer back that I could also read.

I did have to be careful, because Spain Spanish is different from Mexican Spanish is different from South American Spanish. And South American Spanish is what I’m most familiar with.

Even the address can be strange. In Columbia, South America, where I lived, 3rd floor would be translated as ‘3er Piso’, or ‘Piso 3’. But in Spain, 3rd Floor is 3°.

Yes that’s a degree sign. It actually stands for the ‘o’ in ‘piso’ or ‘floor’. And since many apartment buildings don’t have number on the doors, you can also see an address like 3°, 5a. This means ‘3rd floor, 5th door’, with the ‘a’ coming from the word ‘puerta’, the Spanish word for ‘door’.

The other problem is getting the USPS online shipping software to take these strange addresses and print out a shipping label. But we finally got the package on its way.




When we moved to Texas and Houston in Dec. 1978, we very quickly heard about the 1947 Texas City Disaster.

On April 16th, 1947, 71 years ago today, the SS Grandcamp, tied up in the Texas City Harbor and loaded with 2,200 tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, caught fire and exploded, it sent a 15’ wave of water for 100 miles,  leveled over 1,000 buildings, destroyed the Monsanto Chemical Company plant, and 1000’s of cars.

Texas City Explosion 1

Then 15 hours later the nearby cargo ship High Flyer, also loaded with ammonium nitrate, exploded, killing many of the police, firefighters, medical personnel , and even sightseers, who had rushed in the area.

Officially 567 people were killed, with 63 never identified.

Texas City Explosion 2

Additionally 113 people were listed as missing, since no body parts were every found. And it is speculated that there might be 100’s of other dead, visiting seamen and their families, travelers, etc.

On a more personal note, 27 of the 28 members of the Texas City Volunteer Fire Department were killed.

So imagine how Jan felt when years later our son Chris announced that he had just been hired as a Texas City Fireman.

Tomorrow Jan and I are heading up to Baytown for a consulting gig. A friend of a friend has an access gate that is controlled by a WiFi/Internet phone app. But it doesn’t work. In fact it seems it’s never worked right.

I’ve done some research, including downloading the manual, and I’ve got some starting ideas on what the problem is, or at least one of them. I suspect that this might be one of those cases where it’s a two-part problem. So we’ll have to see.




Thought for the Day:
 

I’m always profoundly disappointed when a liar’s pants don’t actually catch on fire.

  ggfhgfh

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