How to make a stupid wasteful product

Take garlic, separate the cloves, peel them, put them each in tiny little individual plastic bags, put those in a larger plastic bag, ship them half way around the world, require refrigeration and then market them at price that's more than an order of magnitude higher than a dry head of garlic.

Don't bother proof reading the text on your packaging, your customers are just as incapable of spelling "vacuum" as you are.

Best Central Valley Ride Evar

I left my friend's place outside of Chico at about noon. My only commitment was to get to Mountain View by evening. I decided to ride the backroads of the Central Valley and see if I could avoid freeways.

I left Chico on CA32 westbound and then hitting CA45 south after crossing the Sacremento river. It was a tour through industrial farm country. Giant fields of tomatoes, corn, rice; endless orchards of olives and almonds. The highway was littered with tomatoes that fell from trucks, especially around curves. There were way more tomatoes than other traffic. It was like I had the highway to myself.

I rode through Colusa and then continued on 113 south through Woodside. That was one freeway that I failed to avoid. 113 south of I80 though is about as rural as you can get. From there I zigzagged through the delta all the way to Livermore. I eventually picked up I680 to I880 to whatever freeway it was that took me into Mountain View.

In all it was a great ride and the best evar through the central valley.

Jumpstarting the tattoo work

I didn't get to do the motorcycle trip that I wanted to do over the holiday weekend, but I did get a consolation prize. I'm finally moving forward with my left arm tattoo work. The outline of this pattern was done a year and a half ago. On Friday we added three new layers of color. There are two more layers to add (hopefully in October).



Oonaugh's final day

She was alone in her cage, the last of her litter to be adopted. She had a cold and looked lonely and miserable in the animal shelter. We brought her home and fell in love. We had hoped that she and our other black cat would become friends, but he wasn't having it. He never made her feel welcome. We did, however, welcome her and her dynamic personality soon bloomed.

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public statements

In a thread in another place on this vast Internet, there was discussion about people behaving badly in traffic. The discussion went on to motorcycles behaving badly. One poster said that he had no qualms about cutting off a motorcycle if, in his view, the motorcyclist was doing something wrong, rude or unlawful. He actually said that he would consciously choose to do so. I was disturbed by this statement that he'd be prosecutor, judge and jury and, on the spot, raise the probability of death for a motorcyclist.

I'm wondering about liability in making such a statement on a public forum. If that person were to be involved in a wreck where a motorcyclist was killed, could their public statements come back to haunt them? I could see some prosecutor digging up the statement after a quick search on the web. Could it be used to raise the charge from manslaughter to murder? The Internet can have an awfully long memory.

I wondered this a few years ago when a woman on a news program in answering the question on why they bought the large SUV, she blithely said that she wanted to make sure that the other people got killed rather than her family. I thought that was an amazingly callous thing to say.

This posting in no way is to construed into defending motorcyclists doing dumb bad things in traffic. It's more about the public statements thing.

Bicycles and cars

There is a problem in communication between bicyclists and cars. I've been a long time advocate of the rights of bicyclists in traffic. I've always thought that most problems are caused by inattentive drivers. Sometimes, though, the problem is with the bicyclists not doing what is expected in traffic. Today, I experienced the situation from the car perspective.

I stopped by the side of the road to grab mail from my mail box. After getting my mail, I glanced in my rearview mirror and saw a bicyclist stopped right behind me on near the left edge of the car. There is neither parking nor shoulder on this narrow rural street. There is, however, a bike lane and in order to access my mail box, I must block it. So I see this stopped bike and realize she's not going to pass and I should get out of her lane. I start to pull forward, only to see that she started to pass. Rather than pass widely, she's within the door width of my car. I stop. She stops.

Here's where I erred. I should have just sat and waited for her to start again and pass. Since she had stopped, however, I thought she was yielding to me. So I went. She yelled at me. I feel bad.

How could this have gone better? Well, I should have stayed stopped until she started up again and passed. What could she have done better? Had she passed with wide berth over in the traffic lane instead of stopping, I doubt this conflict would have happened at all. Her intent would have been clear to me.

AT&T 3G pricing plans

It's interesting watching the fervor over the new wireless data plans offered by AT&T. The old plan was unlimited downstream data for some thirty dollars a month. Now they've eliminated the "unlimited" adjective and offer two tiers of capped service: 200MB and 2GB.

A little annoyed that the cell companies play these games, I went online to figure out how much data do I actually use. After suffering the train wreck that AT&T calls their web site, I eventually figured out that I use a lot less data than I thought I did. My usage would fit well into the lower tier service.

That got me thinking about the higher tiers of service. What would I be doing online that would put me in the upper tier of service?

I have two devices that connect to the AT&T network: the iPhone 3G and the iPad 3G. My partner uses an iPhone 3GS. I use my devices in two places: at home in Oregon and in Silicon Valley in California. In neither place can I report that cruising the web is a smooth or snappy experience. Most web pages load so slowly that I give up before they finish. If I don't have access to WiFi connectivity, and my only option is 3G, that usually means I need to lower my expectations.

Spending the night in the hospital recently, I tried to watch a movie via the iPad NetFlix app using 3G. It was unwatchable: an eight second pause for each four seconds of video isn't worth it. Switching to watch the same film over WiFi on the iPad at home worked great.

Trying to use the Google maps application on the iPhone to look at traffic congestion in the Bay Area usually results in maps that won't load or load too late. I've wondered about the problem being my phone, but it turns out that every piece of Apple hardware in my hands has the same problem. It's got to be AT&T's network.

Honestly, I don't think its possible to consume 2GB of data off the AT&T network. I'd have to be trying to download stuff non-stop twenty-four hours a day before the AT&T network would begrudgingly give me that many bytes.

So why is there fervor over these new AT&T pricing plans? Are there actually customers that can get beyond the two gigabytes? How or where are they managing to even get the 3G network to give them that much data? Do they have an AT&T cell tower in their backyard?

Postscript: the AT&T network has been down entirely (No Service) for the last hour here at my home in Oregon. The iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS and the iPad 3G all report the same lack of connectivity. It's no wonder that I qualify for the lower tier of service...