Monthly Archives: August 2013

SSA Letter Received

Back in June, I posted the process I had gone through to notify the US Social Security Administration of my Panama address.

Today, I went by my P.O. Box in the David Post Office and had a letter from the SSA.

The SSA letter stated that it had received my change of address and that it would continue depositing my SS check in my financial institution in the United States. They also included a pamphlet called “Your Payments While You Are Outside the United States”.

It is good to have a positive notification that the process worked. My Proof of Life has been taken care of for another two years.

Any cooks out there? How long am I supposed to age food in the fridge before I throw it out?

Heather Returns To Panama

You may remember that Lilliam, Natalie and I had the pleasure of hosting Heather last April while she was here in Chiriquí gathering information for her doctoral thesis on the Danza de Moros y Cristianos.

While that wasn’t that long ago, much as transpired. First, Heather was in a terrible car accident and from looking at photos of the accident, she is lucky to be alive. She had already presented her findings from her trip to Panama and had received a grant for three more visits to support her thesis.

Then the accident hit and her next trip was postponed. I am pleased to tell you that, following intense physical therapy and medical care, she has recuperated to the point that she is making the first of the three trips on her grant.

She arrives today in David and we are excited to see her again.

It is one of my greatest pleasures to play a small role in her gathering information on some of Panama’s interesting past.

For the next ten days, our schedule will be whatever it needs to be to support Heather’s research project.

Would it still be considered interrupting if you weren’t listening in the first place?

OK, Here’s the Deal

Lilliam hates moping and cleaning the floor. You know what? So do I. In fact I will do almost anything to get out of doing that task, and unfortunately for Lilliam, I usually succeed.

A couple years ago I started a research project to make life a little easier. I have looked at the iRobot models at PanaFoto and Do It Center for over two years now.

This week I found a new model robot cleaner in PanaFoto. It was an LG 2.0 Hom-Bot. Its technology beat the iRobot models hands down in my estimation.

Lilliam, however, wanted the iRobot Scooba because it did moping as well as vacuuming. I have read about and watched enough YouTube demos on the iRobot Scooba that I was convinced that it neither vacuumed nor mopped well.

This is as close to an impasse as we ever get, because Lilliam always gets 2 votes to my 1/2 vote.

I decided that since it had been a year since I had really researched floor cleaning products, I would take another look. Today I think I found a better product for the types of floors in Panama.

It is called the iRobot Braava 380t Floor Mopping Robot. I am ready to buy it, but there is one problem. It is not in Panama.

Now if I can find some kind soul, that is coming to the David area in the next three weeks, and felt that they could handle bringing it down to me I would be ecstatic. I have a backup as Tom McCormack is coming back toward the end of October.

If this works as well as the reviews I have read, there may be others that will want to bring one for themselves. I plan on giving it a good test and review it under Panama conditions.

Now if you want to participate in this product evaluation and think you can carry this down to me, drop me an email to donraycc @ (remove the spaces).

HERE is the item as listed by Amazon.

Here is a YouTube video so you can see it in action.

After watching the demo, Lilliam even agreed that it is a better choice. She most likely noticed that the price was about 1/2 of the Scooba.

Mac Mini Back UP and Running

I mentioned, the other day, that I had a hard disk failure on my Mac Mini. I also mentioned that I had turned it over to Carlos Arauz, who works at PanaFoto, to replace the failed disk.

I am happy to report that he contacted me this afternoon and it was ready. To have it fixed in two days without having to send it to Panama City is fantastic.

It is good to know that there is someone in David that has worked on Apple hardware for Apple.

He returned it to me with the latest OS on it and all I had to do was use Time Machine to restore my data.

If time would have permitted, I would have ordered a 500 GB SSD from the US and had him install it, but that would have cost me at least two weeks and I wasn’t willing to wait that long. Next time will be the time for the SSD upgrade.

I give Carlos two thumbs up. If you stop into PanaFoto, and happen to be in the Apple area, tell Carlos you read about him on Chiriquí Chatter.

Vegas is an amazing place. I came to visit in a thirty thousand dollar car and left in a two hundred thousand dollar bus.

Current Security Project

I have a couple security projects going on. One of them has been the installation of a wired camera system, which can be accessed from the Internet.

I had Planet Telecom do the installation of the cabling because I wanted it done right and I would not trust just anyone in the house. I have talked with Dave Villeiux several times and know he delivers a quality product and is involved in all aspects of his business.

The system I installed required Ethernet cable to be run to the IP cameras and is known as a POE system because the cameras are Powered Over Ethernet. Using POE cameras means that you only have to run one cable to the camera and you do not have to run secondary cables to provide power.

The system is now operational and the quality of the pictures is very good. I am extremely impressed with the pictures I am getting with the cameras in total darkness. The cameras use inferred lighting when there is no other light available.

The system can record all the time or when triggered by motion in a specific area. A motion trigger can send a photo to an email address, which is good when one is away from the house.

Besides having cameras covering the periphery and inside of the house, I have a record of all traffic on the street in front of the house. I obviously have the entire system covered by uninterruptible power sources, so in the event of a power outage, the system is still running.

I went with a wired solution because there are too many problems associated with wireless cameras and systems. The system is expandable and after I have had time to become fully acquainted with the system, I have a couple more cameras planned.

This is just one phase, of a multiphase security system, that I have been implementing for some time. I have purposefully not included photos of the system because part of a security plan involves not revealing all aspects of the plan.