Sunday, December 13, 2009

One week later, meter now worse off by 2 hours and 1 minute

The office of Jim Kraft (Baltimore city councilman, District 1) called the parking authority, who in turn called me.  They both insisted the problem would be fixed ASAP.  The problem is now worse.  As of December 12, 2009 2 dollars buys you negative 1 minute of parking in front of Whole Foods. The meter shows 4:42 and my phone shows 6:43.  If you bought a 2 hour pass it would expire 1 minute ago.  How much did the city spend on these meters?  A writer at the examiner also agreed with me this is ridiculous.

I sent a letter to Jim Kraft's office again.  I am not upset about this one meter, I am upset with the  disfunction of our system.

If we are trying to encourage folks to move to the city and increase the tax payer base, little things like this are terribly corrosive to that effort.

I am sure the city paid a fortune for these meters.   Can't someone enforce the warranty on these meter system purchases?  Being a computer guy, I can promise this is a very basic fix in the meter software.
The clocks should be automatically updated daily when the credit card transactions are processed.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Baltimore Parking Problems - Broken Meters

I hate to admit it, but I had to drive today. It was too cold for the bike and I had too much to carry.

Baltimore parking is terrible. Our meters made by Cale Parking systems (link) have been broken for at least a month in the Harbor East Area. I bought this 2 hour parking pass on the left at 3:31pm today. The ticket reports I bought it at 1:21pm giving me only 10 minutes to park for 2 dollars.

This is not a way for Baltimore to encourage tourism or the patronage of our local businesses.

Fox did a report on this November 5th, one month ago here(link) and the problem still hasn't been fixed. I sent this to our city councilman Jim Kraft. It will be interesting to see what happens with this.

There is also a recent interesting WBAL (11-2-09) report here(link) about the problems and city council concern with the current parking authority.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A quick review - Google Earth for the iPhone

Google LatLong: An update to Google Earth for the iPhone
I love the new POI Look ups and aggregated crowd sourced data from Zagat, Yelp, urbanspoon and others. The app is also substantially faster as google claims. Something really bothers me about how much battery this graphically intense app consumes. Only a week's worth of testing will tell how useful it will be.

Friday, October 16, 2009

CES Las Vegas

I dug up this picture from Las Vegas. One of the better shots of our mp3car demo car.

• Dual Zone Audio, Video & Internet entertainment
• 2 Intel Entertainment and Navigation computers
• Navigation, Traffic
• Internet Radio
• High Speed internet
• 6 monitors, 3 touch screens
• 5 cameras
• 1TB+ of media storage
• Front and rear seat USB ports

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Intel X25 in a Macbook Pro. Trouble In Paradise - Corrupt OSX Partition.

I love my Intel x25 SSD but yesterday the darn thing stopped working. I was having some USB problems so I decided to reboot to see if that fixed the problem. Upon Reboot I just got the dreaded folder with a question mark in it. I then booted with OSX S Snow leopard CD - Disk utility sees no partitions. Now what? My backup is a month old (yeah i know) no need to say more)

I Booted with UBCD for windows (because I had one handy) and used the testdisk open source tool. this is also available for the mac which I didn't know at the time.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Rob Trimming The Jib

Here I am trimming the white, yellow, and blue jib on a downwind leg. I am the guy on the left wearing the green shirt and brown shorts. This big sail is trimmed by the rope in my hands that goes through a pulley and a winch at the stern of the boat. For the best boat speed an adjustment is made every few seconds. In heavy winds I am assisted by a winch grinder to help me pull the sail back in after it has been eased.

Thanks for the Picture Carolyn.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

USVI & BVI Customs policies

Despite what the (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) tells you, for US citizens as of June 2009 a passport is required to go from the USVI (United State Virgin Islands) to the BVI (British Virgin Islands) and then return to the United States. After calling the CDP ahead to confirm it was ok, we planned our trip around using a certified birth certificate for exit and re-entry.

As of September 2009 there seems to be some games going on because the CDP offices in St Thomas will tell you it is fine to go to the BVI using a certified birth certificate and they even tell you to enjoy your trip. When you go to get on a ferry to the BVI, the operators won’t take you because the CDP fines ferry operators $3,000USD for taking non-passport carrying US citizens to the BVI even if they have a certified birth certificate.

Why does the CDP tell people to enjoy their trip yet fine the ferry operators? Are they afraid of retaliation or reciprocal policies from the British border patrol in the BVI?

The US CDP office in St. Thomas was very rude and even hung up on us when we asked why we were given mis information. This seems like poor policies left over from the Bush administration and 9/11 hysteria.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Why Rob leaves work early every Wednesday

Here is a picture of me trimming the Spinkaker on Wednesday night racing. Great friends and a wonderful diversion on hump day.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Motionx Not working well for short Sail Races

According to some developer forums, the Iphone refreshes apparently every 5 seconds. From reading around, it looks like the refresh rate is so bad, we can't even use the Hz measurement.

I have been testing the iphone app motionX GPS on my Wednesday night racing and comparing it to a 1Hz Garmin marine GPS. The knot meter fluctuates by 4 knots and our VMG and bearing aren't accurate either.

The average readings are accurate, but this isn't good enough to allow us to make tactical decision on a several mile long race course.

A refresh every 5 seconds might be perfect for highway driving, but this is going to be terrible for quick sequential turns.

Maybe developers can make the GPS readouts better by artificially simulating 1-10hz gps through the use of accelerometer data.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

VMG bearing, Iphone sailing App, MotionX

I think I might have found our new Wednesday racing VMG tool for those of us who are iphone users. If we use this heavily, it might be worth while to get a waterproof cover with wrist/pocket strap or something. It looks like it will be very easy for us to enter in the marker letter’s lat /lon and then track bearing, VMG, time average speed, distance.
Here are some other boats that are using this:
Transpac, Columbia River Oregon:
View Race path in google maps:

I hope to use this two Wednesdays from now and will post results, if successful. My biggest concern is loosing my iphone overboard. Maybe there is a retractable strap that could clip inside the bottom of my shirt pocket and then connect to a waterproof iphone case.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hacked Iphone & Beeline rockin' the USSR ...err Russia.

Heather and I recently took a trip to Russia in the early spring. I wanted to be able to have working GPS and internet while we were there. AT&T offered no roaming plan and it looked like rates were going to be around 5$USD per minute and unknown rate for data usage. So what did I do? I hacked my iphone and

installed yellow snow.

For about 20USD$ Heather, using her Russian skills, bought this Beeline sim card at a telecom shop. It was a prepaid card that allowed me to make 1 quick phone call and all the internet I could use on our 10 day trip. I didn't track KB usage, but I liberally used maps and checked e-mail. We even posted a few photos to facebook while we were walking around. We ran out of our prepaid allotment at the airport on the flight home, but refill stations were everywhere if you need more of an internet fix.

The documentation was unclear as to whether this would work, but this nice little hack saved us a couple hundred dollars of cell phone bills.

Moscow had great edge coverage. The sales reps in Moscow said there was no 3g coverage anywhere in the country but we found St. Petersburg had great 3g coverage. We even made a few voip calls over the 3g with siphone.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Laser Bike Lane

It looks like you can't buy one yet, but what a great idea:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bye Bye Hot Tub. I know being listed on Ebay was a draining end to a long life.

Bye Bye Hot Tub. I know being listed on Ebay was a draining end to a long life. Buy on Ebay, Download a PDF containiing orginal purchase documentation, Download a 110 MB 2 minute Demo Movie


Dishonest business practices - Automatic Hertz Fuel Surcharges - Renter beware

I rented a Hertz rental car in Detroit through hotwire. I returned the car full of gas, but there was no attendant there to process the return.

A random hertz bill showed up today. According to their agents, Hertz's computer system automatically charges customers for missing fuel if there is no agent there to process the car ($31.13 in my case). What a sham! Good thing I had a receipt from the gas station around the corner and a photo of the dash console when I dropped off the car. That is the last time I rent from Hertz. Hertz insisted on billing me $2.31 in tax which was supposed to be credited as part of the hotwire rental.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Garmin Connect Software Demo - Cycling through baltimore

The weather was so nice I couldn’t bring myself to sit on the treadmill for 2 hours so I got on my bike again trying to cram in 20 miles between 7 and 8:30 when it gets dark here. I also wanted to see if Gwynns Falls Trail still seemed safe as the twilight hours approached.

Gwynns Falls Trail seemed very safe. There were lots of police and a few other people using the trail.
The most dangerous part of the ride are the careless & crazy pedestrians between hard rock and the science center.
Historically I have been using the Gamin training center to track my rides. The graphics leave a lot to be desired. So today I downloaded Garmin Connect. Wow! This has really come a long way. Check out the movie of my ride last night.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Single Payer Healthcare

I am sitting on the pier reading about health care reform and "single payer" solutions. Currently ~70 cents on the dollar goes to actual care. If ~73% of our health dollars are consumed by ~10% of the people, how do you get a majority to care about change? I care because I see the bills, but most people don't.

Churchberry Court

Well, If all goes well, it looks like my old house at 3 Churchberry court has been sold. This is the former home of Mp3car and Innovatovative Technology. The oak trees, and chirping birds will be missed. Yard upkeep, homeowner duties and suburban boredom will not be missed.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

60 mile ride from papermill road

4 hours 30 minutes, 60 miles. Not bad. Here are some screen shots from the Garmin training center software I use.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

'Ridable' Train in Dickeyville, MD

While biking in the Gwynns Falls Trail system, Will Noel and I came across a usable steam train system run by the Chesapeake and Allegheny Steam Preservation Society. If you have kids. Take them there on a day this thing operates. Very cool. Next time I will hold the iphone in the right direction.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Raunchy Russian Roadways

How often do you see people putting prono on their cars? Live from the Streets of St. Petersburg Russia.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Overnight Trains in Russia

The overnight trains in Russia were great! It is really too bad these Sleeper trains were decommissioned in the United states. Train travel is so much greener and you don't have to deal with terrible security lines.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Heather and I sit in a jumbo jet flight simulator at MIT's research and engineering lab. Special thanks to our friend and adviser Tom Berry. Check out his blog about gliding in upstate New York "sink happens"

Saturday, March 7, 2009

March in Florida with Heather

Heather and I had a great weekend trip to Florida in March of 2009. What a great way to kick off the summer! There were no crowds and we spent most of our time under a palm tree.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Paris, New Years 2009

Heather and I had a great trip to Paris over the New Years Eve Holiday. For those of you who are thinking about a trip, e-mail me. I have found two owners in Paris who rent their flats in the center of the city for 50-100 euro per night.