A little more information

The two main activities in my life: Helping the hungry in the late hours of the night and helping guitar players sound better one amp at a time.

I always try to remember that in order to do good one has to take action and actually do something.

I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I have watched the city and Southern California change for well over half a century.

I can be found on facebook at www.facebook.com/mylesr or on twitter at www.twitter.com/myles111us or on my own Guitar Amplifier Blueprinting website at www.mylesrose.com

Los Angeles Architectural History

Los Angeles Architectural History
1935 Art Deco at some of its finest: No. 168 - Griffith Observatory- (click on the photo for information)

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Leaf Springs, Coil Springs. Fine firearms.

A bit of explanation on leaf springs compared to coil springs utilized in fine firearms.

Is there an advantage or disadvantage to one type over the other?  Not really, as long as good materials are used, proper workmanship is employed, proper maintenance is implemented.  But, you should understand some basic fundamentals as there are differences and there is some misinformation out there.

First, a bit of history.  Leaf spring use in firearms goes back centuries.  In the past, the technology was available to produce leaf springs.  This was not the case with coil springs.  Some people like their fine firearm that may have a historical tie to fine pieces of the past.

Leaf springs were used, and are still used, in some of the finest firearms such as Holland & Holland, Westley Richards, and James Purdey and Sons to single out a few.  The trigger groups above are from another fine firearms maker, Perazzi.

Lets take a moment to look at a few points worth thought.

Some people state that a leaf spring will maintain the same tension until it breaks, this being it's advantage over coil springs.  Simply stated, this is not true.  We can dive into metallurgy to show this is not true but we can also set up a simple example which you can do at home to disprove this yourself.  Take a simple steel paperclip and bend it partially, back and forth, as you sit in front of television. You may find it breaks before the show is over.

Coil springs are utilized in many modern firearm designs.  They are also used in automotive engines and internal combustion engines in general.

Imagine a cheap car, using the cheapest steels, and imagine driving down the road as your tachometer reads 1,500 RPM.  In a four cycle engine, the intake valve(s) are being opened and closed 750 times per minute, in a four cycle gasoline engine.  That is 45,000 times per hour.  The cheapest Yugo using the cheapest steels available will generally run for more than an hour.  Let's imagine that we drive that car for one hour a day for a year.  That would be over 16 million cycles of the coil spring.  How many cars have you seen on the side of the road non-operational due to a broken valve spring?  Fine flintlock and percussion lock guns were not generally fired 45,000 times in their lifetime (remember the Yogo above that drove for one hour).  I believe, but may be incorrect, that Perazzi expects the life of their leaf springs to be about 40,000 rounds.

Drop lock and side lock guns that utilize leaf springs which are expected to break.  This is the primary reason which why the locks in many cases are hand detachable.  The springs can be quickly and easily replaced.

Leaf springs work great.  They feel great as do many coil spring powered hammer actions.  In both cases metal fatigues over time and use but leaf springs concentrate the force into one small stress spot while coil springs do not have a focused stress spot.  This is not good or bad, this is just simple design and metallurgy science.  The belief that leaf springs maintain the same force and lock time over their entire lifespan until they fail is false as well.  You prove this yourself with the paperclip, or you can ask a metallurgist or physicist.

As a side note, some fine gun makers such as Perazzi give you a choice as they offer both leaf and coil spring models.   If you love history and removable locks float your proverbial boat you can go one route.  If you want a more modern and technological approach you have that option as well.

Happy shooting.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Fidelity Investments vs TD Ameritrade

Why have I stayed with Fidelity Investments rather than switch to TD Ameritrade even though TD is more flexible on negotiating lower trading commissions?

Fidelity had terrific tax reporting to the customer and great customer service.

TD had been a temptation.  Their technical support was better.  They always gave an answer rather than refer you up their organizational chain where at times you never received a proper answer. Fidelity support was generally quite friendly but over time had fewer immediate answers.  Certain types of trading, such as option trading are available from TD and not offered by Fidelity.

Let's examine my point about customer service, which is actually directed at the tax reporting advantage.

Yesterday, February 6, 2017, I was told my 1099 would not be available until March 4.  The reason I was given is that certain securities that I held were holding up their data to Fidelity as some things might be reclassified over the next weeks and Fidelity would not receive the data until this was done. This turned out to be a flat out lie as I investigated further.

My complaint was handled via social media online via twitter direct messages, phone calls to their support (where the initial complaint was reported and the initial lie was told), and to my own personal representative in my local Fidelity office.  My local representative was no help.  He said he could do nothing other than refer the issue to his boss, the office manager.  The office manager and I then conversed.  She said she could do nothing other than refer the issue to her manager who would not get back to her until tomorrow at best, after repeating the same lie.  I informed her that I had investigated and found other Fidelity clients with the same security holdings that I had, and even more extensive trading portfolios, had received their 1099s already.  Friends at TD Ameritrade had also received their 1099s on time.  This was later confirmed by a Fidelity employee, in writing.

The above two images are what I find on my account on Fidelity.  The "pending" statement has been verified to be untrue.  As I have reported, many other Fidelity clients with the same security holdings have received their 1099s.  Many others, such as myself, have received excuses rather than our 1099s.  This is a matter of Fidelity not running their accounting early enough or having resources to allow these documents to be delivered to their customers on time.

Fidelity said they are filing an extension with the IRS.  Heads up Fidelity, I am your customer, not the IRS. My tax accountant firm is very busy and I made my appointment last year as I always do.  I figured that since you are obligated to have tax forms in the hands of your clients by the end of January 2017 for the 2016 tax year, it is safe to schedule my appointment for mid February.  I do not want an extension.  I want my 1099.

The Fidelity end of year advantage was over. I should have seen this coming as each year my tax forms arrived later each year.  The service advantage was over too.  Last year my representative was promoted within the Fidelity organization.  It was warranted.  He was a great rep for many years.  He always got my issues addressed without me having to repeat the incident time and time again as things are referred to others.  He was gone and a new rep was assigned to me who sent this issue to his manager, and so on.

TD Ameritrade .... now with better tax reporting, more competent customer service, lower commissions, more investment trading options, and better trading software.  If even one of those points hit home with you it seems you now have the same issue facing you that I have .... when do I switch to TD Amertrade?

Update Feb 7, 2017 2:30pm pst
I just learned that Fidelity is not under the same laws as employers.  They are allowed to extend delivery of 1099s until Mid February via an extension.  They can also exercise a second extension until mid March of 2017.  So ... legally, they are within their rights.  But .... they lied to me about why things are late, they do not have the resources to deliver tax documents in a timely manner, they never explained this to me and gave me a false excuse instead, they do not mention this on the tax area of their website.  I intend to keep riding this every day until my 1099 arrives.  I have requested daily updates from my Fidelity representative in my local office. He just assured me that I will hear from him every day with a status update.  I am currently in full ISO9000 documentation mode.

Feb 8, 2017
I have learned that two of my positions I held in 2016 were limited partnerships and receiving documents for them is allowed to be later.  I was also in error regarding a TD Ameritrade customer who had already received their 1099 who shared similar positions.  It seems that they did not hold the actual securities as I did, they had options on those securities.  I then called the Burbank office to try to ask them if they would be supplying the K1 forms necessary for filing as this was not explained.  I was on hold a long time, then my call was sent to some office on the east coast, I told them I wanted to speak to Burbank, the original number I called, they would not transfer me back until I supplied a bunch of information.  So .... the bigger issue remains .... poor service and no single point of contact.

Side note .... this is not the first Fidelity blunder.  This issue was added to my original Fidelity complaints in another blog piece that can be seen at http://la-economy.blogspot.com/2013/03/asshat-of-day-award-fidelity-investments.html

Feb 23, 2017
I just received an email from Fidelity which told me that my complete 1099 would not be available until March 10.  This keeps slipping.  I contacted by Fidelity financial representative and instructed him to escalate this issue again and send me daily status updates.  I instructed him to contact the entity that is holding up this process and supply me with specific information which I can use to focus accountability.  I told him that if he runs into any sort of wall in his investigation that he is to escalate with somebody above him and give me their direct contact information.

Legally, Fidelity may be on legal ground but from a customer service aspect, to inform me with a date that my forms will be ready and to have this date slip three times at this point is irresponsible customer service at best and is a very poor reflection on Fidelity Investments.  They may be fine all during the year when it is not near the end of the game but at the end of the game, tax season, they fail miserably and lose the game in a dramatic way.

I was told I'd be contacted today.  To be continued.

0931pst - I just received a call from my Fidelity representative.  He told me he contacted the party who is holding things up and will check and get back to my rep.  I asked my rep to send me the information at the end of today in writing.

Feb. 24, 2017
I talked to my personal Fidelity representative this morning.  He is being quite helpful.  I think we are on a track to resolution.

March 6, 2017

The following was received from Fidelity today: