Studio711

Geek

Does Bacon Make You Rich?

A lunch question ended up posing the question in the title. We were talking about which countries ate bacon and which ones didn’t. Then we had a hunch that the US and European countries near the top of the list so you could probably make a clickbait news story about how countries that eat more bacon make more money.

When we got back to our desks, Durmus had actually run the numbers. Unfortunately there’s only a 0.43 coefficient of correlation between per capita bacon consumption and per capita GDP. It was worth a shot though. And I had no idea that the Chinese ate more bacon than Americans! Step up your game people!

Country Weight per Capita (lbs) GDP per Capita
China 90.1 $15,400
Montenegro 88.6 $17,000
Taiwan 87.5 $47,800
Korea, South 81.4 $37,900
Serbia 81.4 $14,200
Belarus 73.8 $17,500
United States 64.3 $57,300
Vietnam 56.3 $6,400
Norway 55.4 $69,300
Canada 55 $46,200
Australia 54.4 $48,800
Singapore 50.5 $87,100
Chile 49.5 $24,000
New Zealand 49.2 $37,100
Russia 46.7 $26,100
Japan 44.6 $38,900
Bahamas, The 40.7 $24,600
Uruguay 40.2 $21,600
Mexico 39.4 $18,900
Ukraine 34.7 $8,200
Philippines 33.7 $7,700
Panama 32.5 $22,800
Ecuador 31.5 $11,000
Brazil 31.2 $15,200
Cuba 26.6 $11,600
Macedonia 26.3 $14,500
Argentina 24.9 $20,200
Dominican Republic 21 $15,900
Angola 18.3 $6,800
Colombia 17.2 $14,200
Croatia 16.8 $22,400
Bosnia and Herzegovina 13.7 $11,000
Kazakhstan 12 $25,700
Guatemala 11.5 $7,900
South Africa 10.8 $13,200
Armenia 10.8 $8,900
Honduras 10.1 $5,300
Venezuela 9.8 $15,100
Haiti 9.2 $1,800

Safeway Monopoly Recap

A year ago, I wrote a post detailing the terrible odds of the Safeway Monopoly game. And yet I still played it this year.

I had a pretty good setup for processing the tickets. Now that I have an Android phone, I loaded the app that lets you scan the second chance tickets automatically instead of typing them all in. I also created an Excel spreadsheet to help me keep track of which game pieces I had received and figure out if I had any winners.

Here’s what I won:

  • About 6 free donut coupons
  • ~$30 worth of free or discount coupons for products that I actually use
  • $5 cash
  • $5 Safeway gift card
  • ~9 free movie rentals from Fandango Now

The last one was the most common one. Many of the second chance game pieces went towards free rentals on the Fandango Now service. It’s not a service that I use otherwise, but hey, free is good. We’ve used three of those free rentals while my parents were visiting and I don’t have any complaints about the service.

So was it worth my time? Definitely not. But I still had fun and won a little more than last year so I guess that’s probably enough to keep me going next year.

The only difference is that I saved a few of the game pieces and I want to write an app that will automatically detect which board game pieces I have. Those could all go into a database along with the pieces from any friends who want to play with me. It will save us all the time of typing them in and we can pool our resources.

Android Emulator

There are millions of apps for Android, and some of them are so useful that I think they’d even be nice to have on my desktop. It turns out, that’s not an impossible task. There are a number of Android emulators.

I searched around for a while and settled on BlueStacks because it was free and generally rated well. Once you get it installed, it basically launches a tablet in a window. You can connect to the Google Play Store (or Amazon Underground) and install apps just like you would on your device.

There are a few drawbacks though:

  1. It feels weird to use a mouse instead of a finger. Most apps are ok, but forget about it if you require two fingers at a time.
  2. It’s an older version of Android so more modern stuff might not work.
  3. This is probably burying the lead, but I fired it up when I wrote this post and it immediately blue screened my machine. I had been using it fine about a month ago so I don’t know what happened.

The bottom line is that if you’re doing reviews of apps or have some very specific need for running an Android app on your computer then yes, it’s possible. But otherwise, it’s probably more frustration than you want to deal with.

Classic Mac Games

One of my earliest experiences with a computer was the Macintosh Classic (or Classic II?) that Dad would bring home from work. I spent a lot of hours on that machine and one of our favorite games was Airborne. Gameplay was pretty simple. You had two different times of guns to shoot from the lower left of the screen. Planes and helicopters flew in from the right and sometimes they would drop parachuting infantry. Once there were enough troops on the ground, you would lose.

It turns out that archive.org not only has some of the old Mac games, but there’s a built-in emulator so you can easily play them from your browser! Airborne is on the list and you can play it right now.

Now if only I could find a few other favorites from that computer. I remember an air traffic control game, a “3D” maze game with monsters, and an elevator/frogger game. I wasn’t able to find any of those on the archive.org list but maybe they’ll show up eventually.

 

Stop Renting Cable Modems

When you get internet service from Comcast, they rent you a cable modem. This costs around $10/month. The nice thing is that if you ever have trouble with the modem, you just replace it at no additional cost. But if you’re willing to put in a little extra effort, you can ditch that monthly fee.

Start at the official Comcast help page. They walk you through the steps of figuring out what kind of modem you should get. There are a lot of options and your specific choice depends on whether you have your telephone through Comcast too or whether you want to have your modem and router all in one device or in two separate devices.

When I buy a modem, I try to get one with the latest tech so that I don’t need to upgrade it very soon to get faster service. Currently, the top of the line units have DOCSIS 3.1. That supports some pretty crazy speeds, but as long as you get DOCSIS 3.0 you should be fine. Being a huge nerd, I like to have a separate modem and a separate router. I don’t have Comcast telephone service. I bought our current modem back in 2012 for $89.99 from Newegg and it is a Linksys DPC3008-CC R. It looks like it’s only $37 now.

I don’t remember the details of how you actually do the replacement once you have the new unit in hand. I think you just plug in the new model and then call Comcast support. They’ll ask you for the “MAC Address” of your new unit which is printed on the device somewhere. After that you can ask them how to return your old modem.

In my case, I broke even on the cost of the modem in 9 months and ever since then I’ve been saving $10/month. If you’re willing to get a little nerdy, it’s an easy way to save some money.