Patches & Fixes for Intel, AMD & ARM Apple & Microsoft Devices

January 5, 2018
Computer security teams have discovered two separate vulnerabilities in Intel, AMD & ARM brand chips that exploit weaknesses in an essential CPU chip process when pretty much all modern computers try to anticipate what functions the user will need next.    The two vulnerabilities have been named “Spectre” and “Meltdown”.  There weaknesses affect basically all Intel , AMD & ARM brand chipsets.   That includes all Google devices, all Google cloud storage, and all  Apple devices,  including even Apple watches. … Sadly,  the current patches all slow down our computers, which particularly affects Apple~Mac devices & tablets, as they already run slower than PC computers.

If we do not download the latest security updates from Microsoft and Apple et al,  then hackers might be able to access our computer’s or tablets etc memory to steal our passwords & user IDs – using hacking methods that cannot be detected via traditional means.

Currently, there are no reports yet of hackers actually figuring out how to exploit the two flaws.

What else to do?

  • Firefox Browser Users: Run ONLY the latest version (above 57) as per their advisory.
  • Internet Explorer & Edge Browser Users:  Install the latest versions.
  • Chrome Browser Users: Go to ”  chrome://flags/#enable-site-per-process ” in your browser and ENABLE   “Strict Site Isolation” .  (See example below)

    We’ll continue to follow the problem, and report on updated solutions as the manufacturers work to fix the problems.


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The Christmas Story … revisited.

Tis the Season …

For people who enjoy scratching the surface of traditional stories,
there are some interesting (yet traditional) translations & understandings of the Jesus-Mary-Joseph birth narrative that don’t necessarily fit our nostalgic memories of “The Christmas Story” … of Inns … and Inn-keepers yelling “Go Away!”  …. “No room at the Inn” … and desperate conditions of dirty common stables.

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:1-7 RSV)

Consider that Luke 2:7 in the earliest Christian text says there was no room in the καταλυμα “kataluma”.  “Kataluma” can mean inn,  but more frequently translates as the guest room in a family~personal home … because there were not Holiday Inns nor Hampton Inns in the tiny hamlet of “Bethlehem Ephrata”.

Next: Where is “Bethlehem”? …. Is it the “Bethlehem”, near Nazareth? … Consider that “The City of David” (as is written in the earliest Christian texts),  Joseph’s ancestral family home, was not the City of Bethlehem, but instead:   “Bethlehem Eprata”.

Joseph Mary & Jesus

Early Christian texts clearly describe Jesus birthplace as the “City of David” or sometimes “Bethlehem Ephrata” … is not the (modern … or ancient) City of Bethlehem.   From both modern archaeology and the earliest Greek & Aramaic/Syriac sources: “Bethlehem Ephrata” is different than the “City of Bethlehem”.  The City of Bethlehem was a walled city where the wealthy people lived.

In contrast, the first century village of Bethlehem Ephrata was a very rural (but special) farm community that grew food, raised sheep & goats for the City of Bethlehem and … sacrificial lambs for the Temple. … As such, the people of the village of Bethlehem Ephrata were primarily shepherds, and the main structure in the village of Bethlehem Ephrata was known as … the  “Tower of the Flock”. which identifies Bethlehem Ephrata as the “Migdal Edar” (“Tower of the Flock”)  described in Micah 4:8. for watching over the specially born,   pens of protected unblemished lambs destined for the Temple … Bethlehem Ephrata. which is also a reference to the birthplace of the (unblemished) messiah …

Tower of the Flock

Migdal Edar – Watchtower over the sheep pens of Bethlehem Ephrata

Then note: David’s father and brothers lived in the City of Bethlehem … but David was born and grew up in the village of Bethlehem Ephrata … hence,  “The City of David”

Does it now make sense that the crowds of David’s ancestors coming to be counted in the ancestral yet tiny “City of David” … went to a small hamlet … with no “inns” nor inn-keepers  … and that the καταλυμα (kataluma)   upstairs  family-home guest room was already full of other visiting family members, when Mary & Joseph arrived?

Why upstairs vs downstairs?
The καταλυμα (kataluma) guest-room was typically upstairs (see Luke 22:11).

Doubt this? Jesus used this same Greek word καταλυμα (kataluma) in Luke 22:11’s Last Supper story to refer to an upstairs guest room. That room (from Luke 22) is now known as the Upper Room … for the Last Supper meal that Jesus ate with His disciples before His Crucifixion. … Do we really think that Jesus & the Disciples had the Last Supper in a public inn (pandocheion, πανδοχειον), paying some “innkeeper” (pandochei, πανδοχει)? or … Did they use a καταλυμα (kataluma) private home Upper Room ?

Next? … Yes, as some readers have already guessed, the room at the lowest level of a Judean hill country home at that time has been crudely translated in English as: “stable” creating images of a dirty barn … vs. the better translation as a special “stall” set aside for birthing sacrificial ~unblemished~ lambs – separate from the stable.  The manger Yatnh phat-ne  in the Septuagint, (see Proverbs 14:4) translates as either manger or …  a crib.

Fun Stuff?
If we choose science, facts & good-quality translations of early Christian texts … It was NOT a stable in American terms. … Archaeologists excavating contemporary first century Judean hill country homes discover that while the upper level served as a guest chamber,  the middle level served as the living and dining rooms, and the lowest level served as special night-time rooms … specifically stalls for our highly valued animals.

Modern archaeologists have found that these lowest rooms were often the earliest occupied part of a typical Judean hill country home = > a cave.   This lowest room was also often where the more vulnerable animals would be brought in at night to protect them from the cold, harm & theft. This lowest room was not the dirty manure filled stable we think of today – and these lowest rooms often had a special stall set aside for birthing of sacrificial lambs, to protect & keep them unblemished.

Farmhouse-Stable Sanstedt-Ehe Germany

Modern Context: While Americans & Canadians wouldn’t even think of bringing cattle into the house at night, notice instead that  clean  Germans & Austrians still have night-time animal quarters as rooms of their home.

Is the Christmas story starting to make sense now ?

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For doubters, who still want to insist that the rural hamlet of Bethlehem Ephrata, must have had an “inn”, consider that first century Palestine inns were more commonly called pandocheion, πανδοχειον… as is used in Luke 10:34’s story of the Good Samaritan who took the beaten man to the “inn” (pandocheion, πανδοχειον) and paid the “innkeeper” (pandochei, πανδοχει, v. 35) to care for the man.

Sure … People are welcome to cling to their nostalgic stories of “Inns” … and Inn Keepers saying “Go AWAY” … “No room at the Inn” … but that ignores the earliest Christian Greek & Syriac~Aramaic texts … and ignores modern archaeological results.   

Instead, we can choose archaeological results & good translations of those earliest Gospel texts … as they do make sense.

Merry Christmas !

What Santa really wants

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Dec. 19 Merida-INM’s Last Open Day for 2017 … Plan Ahead

December 5, 2017

It’s that time of year again !
Our INM visa-issuing offices close every year for the weeks spanning Christmas & New Years:
A supervisor at our Merida INM office confirmed that December 19, 2017 is INM’s last day in 2017 for accepting visa applications, processing applications, or even issuing letters allowing one to leave Mexico while your visa application is pending.

Be sure to complete everything you need by the morning of Dec. 19 – especially if you have a visa in the approval process.  Note that INM often requests at least 3 business days to prepare the document needed for people who are waiting for their visas, but need the INM document giving permission to exit Mexico, and return, while your visa application is being processed.

The supervisor continued to say the Merida INM office re-opens to the public on Jan 8, 2018.

As in the past: The annual INM office closing is just for their regional & local INM offices who process visa applications etc.   Border crossings, ports of entry (seaports & airports) continue to work normally throughout the holiday seasons.

Full details on Immigration issues at our main article:
~ Current Rules and Procedures for Immigration, Visiting, and Staying in Mexico

Happy Holidays,

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© Steven M. Fry

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Merida’s Next Mosquito Control “Junk Day”

November 22, 2017

Descacharrización !

Bring out your junk !
For newbies, this means you can put out your junk, crockery, plastic trash on your Merida street corner for FREE disposal … Put out your trash for pickup before Saturday Nov. 25 ~for locations south of C59 or south of Av. Jacinto Canek~
Put out your trash for pickup before Sunday Nov. 26 ~for locations NORTH of C59 or North of Av. Jacinto Canek~

Do not include organic-vegetable~vegetation yard waste.

The City of Merida offers this periodically to encourage people to clean-up ~ eliminate likely mosquito breeding sites in and around their homes … especially our yards.

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Feel free to copy while giving proper attribution: YucaLandia/Surviving Yucatan.
© Steven M. Fry

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Mexico City Minimum Wages ~ Salario Minimo ~ Going Up Dec. 1, 2017

November 22, 2017
Despite last month’s early higher ‘predictions’ (aka rumors), the Mexican minimum wage for Mexico is increasing to only $88.36 pesos diarios.

Effective Dec. 1, 2017,  the daily salario minimo for Mexico increases just 3.9%, while inflation has been officially pegged at 6% for the previous year => Mexican workers pay is losing ground.

Next:  Note that this Mexico rate is the official value used for calculating INM Resident visa income requirements etc.

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Financial Independence (Savings or Income or Property) Requirements for Permanent Residency / Residente Permanente Applicants

Average Monthly Balance of about $94,000 USD (exactly $1,767,200 pesos) at $19:1 MXN:USD for Residente Permanente … per 10/10/14 DOF Lineamientos for Mexican Consulates.

Using Method of Regular Deposits of Income or Pension Receipts: (Residente Permanente)
~ Have minimum monthly (investment account or work?) income deposits or pension deposits that are the equivalent of five hundred days worth of the current minimum wage ($88.36 for 2018) in the Federal District, for each of the previous six months – with original and copies of original bank statement. This translates to:
about $2,100 USD (exactly $44,180 pesos  for 2018) a month of regular deposits for one Residente Permanente.

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Using Method of Monthly  Deposits of Income or Pension Receipts: (Resident Temporal)
~ Have minimum pension or salary deposits/income that is the equivalent of  Monthly income of 300 days minimum wage of the current minimum wage in the Federal District ($88.36 pesos per day for 2018) …  $26,508 pesos or about $1,400 US a month in deposits,  reported for each of the previous six months – with original and copies of original bank statement for one Residente Temporal.

Current 2018 DF general minimum wages of $88.36 MXN pesos per day, converted at the current exchange rate of 19:1 pesos to US dollars, for 300 days of wages:
~ About $1,400 USD (exactly $26,508 pesos) per month ~ in 2018 of regular Deposits ~ to qualify for Residente Temporal … per the 10/10/2014 Lineamientos for Mexican Consulates.


Residente Temporal Income or Deposits or Bank Balance Requirements for Family Members of a Mexican Citizen:
Using average minimum required monthly Account balance for 6 months: 300 days x $88.36 MW = $26,508 pesos for Residente Temporal applicants.

Using minimum required monthly pension or income: 100 days x $88.36 MW = $8,836 pesos of 2018 monthly pension income (or generic income deposits at some INM offices) for Residente Temporal applicants, documented by 6 months of Bank statements (about $470 USD @ 19:1).

Using Method of Owning Real Estate Property in Mexico: (Residente Temporal)
~ Own/have real property trustee rights, with a value equivalent to forty thousand days of general minimum wage in the Federal District, with original and copy of written proof from a Notario.   At the current $19:1 MXN:USD exchange rate, this translates to:
About $187,000 USD (exactly $3,534,400 pesos) worth of property for one Residente Temporal.

Full Details can be found at:

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© Steven M. Fry

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2017 Holiday Season Pay Rules for Mexican Workers ~ Aguinaldos !

Nov. 21, 2017
As all the Christmas holiday chatzkies are appearing on store shelves, and as we make our holiday plans … It’s time to remember our beloved household help and employees (including muchachas y mozos).

Please plan ahead to pay them their end of the year Aguinaldos by December 20’th. (and to also pay them for their vacation days – which is paid time off) … The Aguinaldo is NOT a optional bonus. Our Mexican workers and their families count-on and depend on these critical annual payments owed to them.

Basically the Aguinaldo is 15 days of pay. (calculated on a 7 day work wk)

The annual aguinaldo is the equivalent of 15 days of “Daily Rate” pay.

It is not a Christmas bonus.   It is a mandatory wage payment that is due by the 20’th of December.   The aguinaldo is equivalent to at least “15 days wages”, and may be pro-rated if the employee has been working for you for less than a full year.

Simplified Version to Determine Aguinaldo in $ Pesos $:
# Days Worked per Week   x   # Weeks Worked   x    Rate per Day   x   15 Days / 365 Days =

Note.  The “Daily Rate” is based on a full week.  For example, if your maid only works two days per week,  and gets paid $700 pesos per week ($350 pesos per day of work).  You take the weeks salary of $700 divided by 7
=>  $100 pesos is the Daily Rate.

Aguinaldo in $ Pesos $
** If a worker is hired to work by the week, the “Daily Rate” equals their weekly pay … divided by 7.   If he / she  is hired by the month, the “Daily Rate” is the monthly amount divided by 30. 

**Daily Rate Simplest Example…  If you have an employee who works two days a week ~ for the entire year ~ for $350 pesos each day = $700 pesos a week:

$700 pesos / 7 days = $100 pesos per day at their “Daily Rate”
$100 pesos “Daily Rate” x 15 days of Aguinaldo pay = $1500 pesos

Note that if they work only a part year:
An alternate way of calculating the aguinaldo is determined by multiplying the total days they worked in current year by 15, then divide by 365 days, and then multiply by the daily rate:

For a part-year worker coming in for 2 days a month for 9 months =>
18 days … x  … 15 days of Aguinaldo = 270
270 / 365 = 0.7392 …    0.74 x   $Daily Rate ($100 pesos?)   = $ _____

Note.  The “Daily Rate” is based on a full week.  For example, if your maid only works two days per week,  and gets paid $700 pesos per week ($350 pesos per day of work).  You take the weeks salary of $700 divided by 7  =  $100 pesos is the Daily Rate.


Vacation Pay
Vacation pay for current year worked. … Remember that this is the official Mexican Labor Law’s “Daily Rate” ** (see below) … and remember they should also receive this pay for all past years worked.

1st year – 6 days salary
2 years – 8 days
3 years – 10 days
4 years – 12 days
5 to 9 years – 14 days
10 to 14 years – 16 days
15 to 19 years – 18 days
20 to 24 years – 20 days
25 to 29 years – 22 days
30 to 34 years – 24 days
35 to 39 years – 26 days

Happy Holidays !

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See more details at our Full Articles:

… and

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Feel free to copy while giving proper attribution: YucaLandia/Surviving Yucatan.
© Steven M. Fry

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Significant Problems with Egg-Based Flu Vaccine Shots

October 27, 2017

Public Service Announcement:
We now know why some flu vaccinations have not been working at all, against the important H3N2 Flu virus. **

By using eggs, the H3N2 subtype mutates a key viral protein to bind to egg-bird cells.
This egg-specific mutation disrupts the critical region on the flu virus protein that is normally  targeted by our immune system.

This means egg-based flu vaccines containing the mutated protein DOES NOT TRIGGER an effective immune response. … This leaves our body without protection against the circulating strains of H3N2 flu viruses.

Solution:   ASK your flu virus vaccine provider if their vaccine is egg-based.

Sadly, most US-created flu vaccines are egg-based => likely not worth getting

Instead, choose the less-common non-egg based flu vaccines, like Flublok.
Flublok is a recombinant protein-based vaccine for influenza immunization in adults over age 17 …

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Feel free to copy while giving proper attribution: YucaLandia/Surviving Yucatan.
Steven M. Fry

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