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About utilitus

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  1. I occasionally like to handle the Truth, so let me add that one reason Tico ladies are regarded as more European in appearance relative to most Latin American countries involves the low density of native inhabitants in that region when it was settled, plus probably tragic epidemics. A favorite vegan dish is simply 'pinto', white rice with black beans with Worcestershire sauce and fresh black pepper and perhaps some salsa. Great coffee in CR, and dirt cheap Ticos are in my experience extremely nice, as are many Thais, but TL's economy is something like 30% tourism and that shapes the space. And Thai ladies wouldn't win any contests in San Jose.
  2. Walmart vs Costco

    May I ask, how does one join Costco in Mexico? They provide an online information entry and subscription form, but how is the Cosco ID Card produced, presented to the new member and activated, given the situation with the Mexican mail system? (My scheme is to sign up and be 'carded' during a single visit to the store...) BIG THANKS
  3. Peso Rate Alert

    That's why anyone who wants to flexibly take a larger position in pesos (MXN) might consider an online foreign exchange account. Spread is typically .6% or so for each trade, and you also earn decent 'rollover' interest when long the peso. I'm building a house eventually, so I am 'saving' in pesos, but want the ability to sell or buy it opportunistically until I need the funds for real. NB - Current rate is 19.57/USD
  4. Peso Rate Alert

    True, tho Gob. Diaz (somewhere in this interview yesterday) claims the CPI inflation rate will revert to target @ 3%+/- 1. within a year. If L-O actually wins, I plan a peso fiesta... See https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2017-12-20/banxico-s-diaz-de-leon-on-policy-inflation-target-video
  5. Peso Rate Alert

    As of 1:20p.m. Thursday (19:20 UTC), the Peso (MXN) is trading about 19.50/USD, due to an unfolding political scandal which is thought by forex traders to possibly favor Lopez Obredor. See: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-21/fresh-scandal-shakes-mexico-s-ruling-party-before-election
  6. Stomach flu

    "...the salmon mousse..." See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzejK4-qZ2E
  7. Stomach flu

    'The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History' See https://www.amazon.com/Great-Influenza-Deadliest-Pandemic-History/dp/0143036491
  8. Cost to Build

    dboisclair asks a key question and appears to have an answer. The next logical question might regard recommendations for engineers, architects, contractors, etc, again, perhaps just for general background and to consider options. As someone who is planning to build a small house on a steep hill Lakeside, I have searched this webboard and similar sources for over a year, going back into archives and using whatever relevant information was found to frame tangential searches of all manner of online sources. All this is a kind of preliminary orientation alerting me to hidden 'gotchas', which I despise. I have come across and saved reports of incompetent surveyors, which, in conjunction with no use of 'metes and bounds' on deeds, could conceivably contribute to profound 'original sin', along with claims about prominent architects who are said to "cut corners", tales of contractors creating conditions where salitre would result, or seismic stupidity, plus other problems with design, materials and methods which could have been avoided thought informed vigilance. Add to these issues questions about the neighborhood, local building codes protecting the viewshed, designing out the possibility of burglary, determining dependable internet access, barking dogs, having only minimal Spanish, hedging the Peso during the twilight of the USD, and the knowledge that I will not be able to truly control all such externalities, along with a thousand design decisions which I take upon myself as someone who almost became an architect, and what you have is an ultra complex decision system fraught with uncertainty. So identifying the right local professionals is key, but the whole Rubio Goldbergo scenario ultimately is on little old me. My ability to take my time, visit and live in the area in advance of the decision, know what to look for at each critical phase, be on site constantly and visually document construction, as I have during visits for the foundation systems of neighboring homes under construction, provide better odds of an ideal outcome, which is impossible, but which for me justifies the effort because I'm learning something, growing my brain just for the exercise and may end up living in a sculpture of my own design in a setting reminiscent of the SF bay and Mt. Tam views I grew up with in the Berkeley hills , at just the cost of the artists' materials. Or I could forget the whole thing and buy an existing place in SMA, where I've spent a lot more time over the years. The only way I can decide is to look into everything, figure out what the appropriate checklist would be, and then tick each item off. By the way, there is some intimation in posts on this webboard over recent years that there is some sort of scam (my term) involving the recommendation of contractors, and the local labor economy seems very highly networked.
  9. Hot tub with solar panels?

    I have a 'pure passive solar' designed house around Napa, and the question and distinction jrm# makes is fundamental. My solar 'water' heating system is based on a black metal vessel housed in an insulated enclosure built into the roof elevation which is itself optimally oriented to the southern course of the winter sun which shines through the double insulated glass of the southern face of the enclosure. Works swell, though you'd have to verify every technical spec for Lakeside, and I'd guess such a system really could be based on an enclosed black tinaco or two. However, if this were feasible Lakeside, you'd think a lot of local folks would be doing it, which perhaps they are... Always a good idea to check one's work before inflicting it on innocent bystanders - just found this: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-793728
  10. So what's wrong with the existing telecom providers, under whatever 'public utility commission' operates Lakeside? I noted in this discussion thread on 1 November, "Comments posted to the ilox FaceBook page are 'mixed': See https://es-la.facebook.com/pg/iloxmx/reviews/?ref=page_internal One recurring remark: "Worse than MegaCable." I have no idea how utilities are legally regulated and such regulations enforced Lakeside (I'm in California), and the idea that proper 'service level agreements' could be negotiated is based on the claims that ilox makes about it's industrial clients, and the technical ease of implementing them. Apparently mini-wholesalers of ilox Lakeside service are signing up, so there is quantifiable aggregation afoot. It may well be, some random user commentaries aside, that the legal basis and technical performance of ilox is excellent, and any user apprehension about a reasonable user investment unjustified, and the legal construction of an organized user base entirely redundant. But what if uncertainties based on experience of local conditions deters enough users from finally committing funds?
  11. Tom, As others have said, major thanks for your ongoing efforts towards this important project. This now extended discussion thread illustrates that there is always noise attached to the signal, but as such dialog evolves, facts can be developed and documented. Mention has been made here of public meetings and perhaps other fora for formal discussion of the proposed fiber service, and it struck me that a proper web site for authoritative news and documentation, including video of meetings and general critical conversation could be justified. So I have just registered the Domain Name 'lakelux.org', just in case it might prove useful. (Most folks will get the 'lux', and 'ux' stands for 'user experience'.) This D-Name will gladly be donated to any principled organization that might form, though they will likely have a better idea of their own. Any such web site would of course require some local management and maintenance, and some expense, but could serve for various purposes promoting service quality control, perhaps even billing, as follows: On the outside chance that the practical and legal form for the funding for this fiber project, whatever it is, proves in any way problematic, perhaps some thought should be given in advance to the idea of forming a 'buyers club' which would, as a whole, contract with the provider, control escrow, negotiate and enforce service levels, etc. Anything to induce the highest standards of transparency and efficiency, so lacking in the existing telecom services. Modern networks can self--report an amazing amount of detail about their own performance in real time, for free.
  12. To familiarize yourself with the bus method cstone and others have described, use Google Maps in Map mode to identify the automobile exit ramp for traffic leaving the airport complex on Boulevard Aeropuert to connect to HW 23/44 heading north towards Guad. Just south of, and parallel to, that HW overpass, project the Google control panel little yellow person icon onto the HW going north and visualize the white metal pedestrian bridge where the bus will stop to allow you to cross over HW 23/44, and which will deliver you to the eastern end of Boulevard Aeropuerto, a path you can continue to visualize both from above and at ground level. The return trip involves catching a bus directly west across the HW from your original bus stop; this second bus stop can similarly be visualized for orientation. As others have observed, carrying luggage of any size on buses can be troublesome, especially since they are so often packed.
  13. Two Chapala restaurant gems

    Interesting fact that the gentleman who set the then-novel quality standard and did the roasting for then infant Starbucks, Mr. Peet, had his shop around the corner from Chez Panisse, These, along with the Cheese Board Collective, constituted Berkeley's very influential 'Gourmet Ghetto'. It's a classic Berkeley experience to stand in line at the tiny Cheese Board Pizza 'office' with two Nobelists (Literature and Chemistry, on one occasion) and have the one type of always vegetarian pizza on offer that day. See: http://cheeseboardcollective.coop/
  14. It's wonderful that someone like mtatl is interested in this opportunity. ilox's notes suggest that they might stage 'town meetings', which is fine, but the operation of this technology is of a different order altogether, and almost deterministic if managed properly, and supremely quantifiable. Assuming there is someone qualified to frame the key questions and evaluate the system components and service hierarchy, just as mtatl seems to be, iloxs' chief engineer should be able to rattle off the answers in a few minutes. But get it in writing. If translation is required, sober up the local bilingual EE. As demonstrated by XO and other companies, telecom firms are refracting photons off a razors' edge, and I guess it's a tough business, but ilox can only benefit from an informed public that precludes it's own disappointment and frustration through skillful means.