May 2022 energy rates – Duke Energy – Orlando Florida

Residential Service rates for Duke Energy (Florida):

$12.45 per month Customer Charge *

13.082 cents per kWh (first 1000 kWh)
15.039 cents per kWh (all kWh above 1000)

* – Duke also imposes a 30$ minimum bill adjustment, so if you use less than 134 kWh of power ($17.55 of electricity usage + 12.45 customer connection charge = $30) they will add a Minimum Bill Adjustment so that your total charges are $30 (+3.37 of taxes in Orange County Florida) for a total minimum bill of $33.37


Battery Tray / Door discoloration on First Alert Smoke Detector (2018, SA511)

When changing smoke detector batteries on my First Alert SA511 smoke detectors, I noticed that ONE (of the six) has a discolored battery tray/door. It appears that the plastic used to make the battery tray was of a different composition from the rest of the shell, as it has turned yellow with age, while the rest of the smoke detector has not. (Also, my other five smoke detectors all have pure white battery trays that match the body as well…) Continue reading

It’s March 2022, how is Orange County (FL) doing with Covid-19?

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Orange County last week was 2,018, as low as in mid-December of 2021. The Omicron surge is mostly over, and the new case positivity rate has dropped to 6.9% (close to the < 5% threshold that indicates community spread is under control).

While the total number of cases in the Omicron surge was significantly higher than in the Delta surge, the number of hospitalizations (orange line) was slightly lower, and the number of deaths (blue area) is significantly lower. This is partially due to a larger percentage of the population being vaccinated, partially due to the nature of Omicron (infecting the upper respiratory tract more than the lungs), and partially due to survivor bias from prior waves.

According to the CDC, a total of  3,089 covid-19 related deaths have occurred in orange county , or 212 deaths per 100,000 residents.  The total number of confirmed cases is at 371,647, with more than 1 in 4 residents having been infected over the course of the pandemic.

I am hopeful that by next week the test positivity rate will fall below 5%. The CDC community status tracker just recently changed from orange to yellow:

Generic WiFi Adapter (SDHC) using the WIFI@SDCF app [Dxingtek/Keytech]

I purchased this (very) generic “WiFi adapter”. (Model AD_wifi_SD) It accepts a Micro SD card, and when powered by a host, generates a wifi network (Default SSID: WiFi@SD, default password: 99999999 [eight nines] ).  I was hopeful that it would expose a webserver that I could access from my linux desktop to download files from the camera’s SD card, but no such luck.

The server resides at, and assigns IP addresses starting at, however it uses a proprietary (UDP packet) protocol that only works with the provided android or iOS app (Called WiFi@SDCF on the Google Play Store com.keytech.wifisd).

Although it may be technically possible to run this app in an emulated android environment on Linux, I didn’t want to put in that much effort. Especially as it appears that the android app (and likely the SD card server) are buggy, and the protocol does not support error detection or correction.  See the class project paper here in the wifi-sdcf repo by David Buchanan for more details.

In short, unless you only want to transfer files to a phone/tablet and are willing to run the provided app (which is of questionable quality) on your device, probably steer clear of this device. [For Sale: One at the cost of shipping….comment if interested.]

How to paint Mouths, Maws, and Teeth

HOWTO Quickly Paint Mouths, Maws, & Teeth

Here is the quick technique I’ve developed for painting mouths and teeth at the tabletop miniature level of detail. First, mouths are very pink. I like this “baby pink” color, but you can pick any shade of pink that looks good to you. Paint the entire inside of the mouth, possibly even getting a small line around the outside depending upon the type of monster or mouth you are painting. I sometimes do this BEFORE laying down the base color of the rest of the face or body, as mouth interiors are usually one of the deepest parts of the model.

Then, water down some bright red paint (I like this “cherry cobbler” color)
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It’s February 2022, how is Orange County Florida doing with Covid-19?

The Omicron surge is now on a downward trend in Orange County Florida. However, the number of cases per week is still close to the peak of the delta surge.   Our case positivity rate is “only” 18.2%   (after a peak of 36.2% the week of Jan 7th). That same week there were 27,941 confirmed cases out of a population of 1,457,445, or two people out of every hundred were infectious that week.

The CDC data from Florida in general show that the total deaths from the omicron surge is significantly lower than that of the delta surge.   This is partially due to the fact that more people have been vaccinated (or previously infected with an earlier variant, or already dead), and mostly due to the fact that the omicron variant is generally less deadly than prior variants of the virus.

According to the CDC since the beginning of the pandemic, Orange County has had a total of 2,933 deaths where COVID-19 was involved (11.8% of 24,786 total deaths from all causes in the same time period).   This is a covid-19 death rate of 201 individuals per 100,000 population.

Needless to say, the orange county public schools had a significant number of their students and staff catch COVID-19 as they returned from winter break. However, the total number of cases in the schools has been falling in line with the above county level graph.

Data from the Florida Hospital Association shows that the peak of hospitalizations occurred in mid January. Although almost 20% of ICU beds are occupied by covid-19 positive individuals, there are ICU beds still available and the number of hospitalizations are going down. The total number of hospitalizations for COVID-19 is trending gradually downwards, but the percentage of ICU patients with COVID-19 has slightly increased from this time last month.   Luckily, the majority of patients hospitalized with the Omicron variant do not need to be moved to the ICU.

Adding an orange line showing total hospitalizations in Florida to the number of deaths chart shown above clearly shows that while a significant number of people are being hospitalized, the number is smaller than with the Delta surge, and the proportional number of deaths (when compared to hospitalizations) is also lower.


It’s January 2022, how is Orange County Florida doing with Covid-19?

Over the last three weeks the Omicron variant has proven to be highly contagious. The number of cases and speed of their growth has far surpassed the delta surge. In the last week, almost 1 out of every 50 individuals in Orange County has tested positive for COVID-19.   According to the latest FDOH report, Orange County Florida has had 27,941 new cases in the last week, with a test positivity rate of 36.2%.

This number would be completely terrifying except for the fact that many of the infections are breakthrough infections of vaccinated individuals, who for the most part are protected from serious disease.   However, many vaccinated individuals are also having asymptomatic infections, so the number of infected is certainly higher than the number of positive tests, and the virus is endemic to the population.

The case numbers and test positivity rate tell you that it will be very difficult to avoid exposure to the virus, but the case numbers may not directly correlate to deaths. Currently data from the CDC for the state of Florida indicates that with the omicron surge, so far deaths have not been directly related to cases. This may be due to delays in reporting (or delays in deaths, as the omicron surge really only started a month ago), but it does appear that the omicron variant is less deadly than earlier variants of the virus.

Hospitalization and ICU bed usage numbers are likely to be more directly correlated to future deaths than straight case numbers. According to the Florida Hospital Association, as of Jan 7th, COVID-19 patients made up 16.2% of ICU bed usage.   This is almost double the number (8.7%) a week ago. Adult hospitalizations with covid-19 has gone up from 4,484 on Dec 31st to 7,305 today, again, an almost doubling over the last week.   At the peak of the delta surge, Florida COVID-19 hospitalizations were at 17,121, so it is possible the omicron surge will kill fewer individuals than the delta surge.



It’s December 2021, how is Orange County Florida doing with Covid-19?

The number of detected COVID-19 cases has been flat or going up for the last five weeks. The latest week had a 50% increase (from 1002 cases to 1503 cases), up from a low of 673 cases in the second week of November.
Orange County FL’s new case positivity rate is 4.5% (below the Florida State average of 5.4% in the same time period), but is almost certainly going to go above 5% next week.     This increase can be attributed partially to the new Omicron variant, and partially to the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

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