What's davintosh? Mostly just the random ramblings of a hopelessly distractible… Hey, what's that?

A Little Enforcement Please?

Filed under: Just Stuff — Tags: , , , — dave @ 10:54 pm 2010/01/31

I just got back from a walk tonight, and am really disgusted with how poorly people cleared their sidewalks. A walk that normally takes me about a half hour instead took 40 minutes, and I feel like I’ve been walking a tightrope the whole time.

We’ve had some weird weather lately — lots of snow followed by above-freezing temps followed by freezing rain followed by more cold, cold temps followed by snow blown around by high winds — and people have just done a crappy job of keeping up with things. Ice, snow that melted to slush, got walked on then refroze, leaving a slippery lumpy mess that’s almost impossible to walk on. Other places look as if only feeble attempts (if any) have been made at clearing the snow that blew in.

We live in the central part of Sioux Falls, and I’m sure many homes are no longer owner-occupied, which makes things worse as renters just don’t tend to things as well as an owner. But a little ice can make things dangerous; I know all too well how easily bones can be broken with a simple fall

The city has pretty specific ordinances regarding the need for keeping the sidewalks cleared…

Sec. 38-76. Duty to remove.

(a) The owner or person in possession of any property abutting on any sidewalk shall keep such sidewalk free from snow and ice and shall remove any snow or ice from the sidewalk within 48 hours after the termination of any snow fall, snow or ice accumulation.

(b) The owner or person in possession of any property abutting upon any sidewalk which ends at an intersection or crosswalk shall maintain the sidewalk free from snow and ice to the edge of the street. Snow and ice deposited on the sidewalk in the street removal process shall be removed within 48 hours of being deposited.

And if the ordinance isn’t followed, the city retains the right to step in and take care of things for the property owner…

Sec. 38-78.1. City may remove.

If the owner or person in possession of property fails to remove the snow or ice from the sidewalks within the time specified, the city may have the snow or ice removed and charge the cost thereof against the abutting property each time the snow or ice is removed.

The trouble is that there is no provision in the ordinances for enforcement. From what I understand, the city only steps in when a complaint is lodged, either by way of a phone call or a message sent through the city’s online complaint form. The trouble is, the form asks for addresses of the properties in violation; I’d be plugging in every other address along the route of my walk.

Ok; I’m done complaining for now. I feel a little better. Just a little.

Perspective Is Everything

Filed under: Cars!,Fun! — dave @ 12:53 am

Believe it or not, the images in this slideshow by Michael Paul Smith are just models in dioramas. Some of the dioramas have real backgrounds, but… Wow, are these shots realistic! And the artist says he used no Photoshop at all, just the camera and perspective. Enjoy!

I Want Me An iPad

Filed under: Computers,Cool Technology,Gadgets,Geek,Mac Stuff — dave @ 4:50 pm 2010/01/27

Apple just introduced the iPad, and I want one. You can read about all the details and watch the demo movie in lots of places, so I won’t spend any time on that…

I just want one.


Apple’s Magical Mouse

Filed under: Computers,Cool Technology,Gadgets,Geek — dave @ 12:59 am

I helped a friend set up her new 27″ iMac last weekend, and it came with the coolest new mouse… The Apple Magic Mouse.


The mouse is the button, plus it has no scroll wheel, but you can use it to scroll up, down, diagonally and sideways. Comes in one color, wireless Bluetooth, but right now is only supported for use on a Mac (Windows support is coming!) The way it works is similar to the MacBook trackpads with multiple-finger functions, but that is a couple of steps above the trackpad on my getting-older-by-the-day PowerBook G4! I want one!

Actually, these would be great for use at work; seems like I’m replacing a mouse somewhere in the building at least once a week. The failures are usually with the scroll wheels, and the Apple Mighty Mouse with its tiny little scroll ball is the worst offender. The Magic Mouse with no external moving parts should be nothing but great! And as great as this mouse is, the tablet computer that Apple is expected to announce should be nothing less than amazing.

State Of The Union Bingo

Filed under: Fun!,Politics — Tags: , , , — dave @ 6:05 pm 2010/01/25

Five year update: Wow, how things have advanced since the 2010 SOTU show. Now we don’t just make a list and keep count; go to presidentbingo.com for your own customized bingo card!

The tiles are randomized every time the page is opened, so nobody should have the same card. Send the link around to friends before the show, and stay in touch while President Obama is speaking to keep score. You can even print up multiple cards so the whole family can play; print one, click the Create a new card button, and print again, as many times as you need. It’ll shake up the tiles so no two are alike.

I still think it’d be great if someone in the chamber jumped up at a serious moment in the speech and yelled, “Bingo!” I can totally see Joe Biden doing that!

Here’s a fun way to make President Obama’s State Of The Union address, coming up on January 27, fun for the whole family, and perk things up a bit;

… it would be fun and also a good exercise for those of us who are going to listen to Mr. Obama’s State of The Union Address on January 27th to print off this list and keep count of how many times he says the following phrases, which I lifted from Mark Alexander’s essay, State of Disunion:

  • “let me be clear”
  • “make no mistake”
  • “back from the brink”
  • “signs of recovery”
  • “restored our reputation”
  • “fiscal restraint”
  • “greed on Wall Street”
  • “affordable health care”
  • “relief for working families”
  • “job creation”
  • “inherited” as in “I inherited this mess”

And some I’d be interested hearing him say:

  • “Constitution”
  • “Founding Fathers”
  • “Individual liberty”

I might have to come up with a set of Bingo cards that would follow the same theme, kinda like the Buzzword Bingo made famous by Wally & Dilbert. Would it not be hilarious if in the middle of his speech someone in the gallery (a Senator?) shouted out, “BINGO!”?

Actually, I won’t need to have the speech ‘perked up'; my challenge, if I listen to it, will be keeping my blood pressure down, as Obama will surely say plenty that will get under my skin.

Edit: Just a quick search reveals that I’m definitely not the first one to come up with State Of The Union Bingo. Lots of options are already out there, like this multipage pdf that you can print out and share with your friends, an online version that will allow you to generate a different version with the click of a button, or this interactive online version that you can play in your web browser (no printing required!) And in case anyone sees this as an unfair slam on our illustrious President, let me point out that the Democrats did it first.

The Pathological Narcissist

Filed under: Politics — dave @ 11:28 pm 2010/01/22

Saw this in today’s Patriot Post Digest; classic.

This Week’s ‘Alpha Jackass’ Award

“That I do think is a mistake of mine — I think the assumption was if I just focus on policy, if I just focus on this provision or that law or if we’re making a good rational decision here, then people will get it.”
— Barack Obama on his proposed health care takeover.

Got that, folks? Even when he’s admitting a “mistake of mine,” he’s throwing the blame onto others. His failures are your fault because you just don’t get it. That’s called pathological narcissism.

Next week’s State of the Union address ought to be interesting… Interesting to see how often the blame for the country’s problems will be cast on Bush, the Republican obstructionists, the populace who just doesn’t get it, the Tea Partyers, etc… But I doubt he’ll blame the true culprit; his teleprompter.

I Want To Live On The Ocean

Filed under: Cool Technology,Fun! — Tags: , , , — dave @ 12:30 am

We were watching Scientific American Frontiers on PBS tonight; the episode was Mysteries Of The Deep covered several topics dealing with underwater exploration, and the last part featured Bob Ballard, an undersea explorer best known for finding the wreck of the Titanic. He had some fascinating stories to tell about deep-sea submersibles he’s designed & built, sea-bottom discoveries he’s made, finding the wreck of the Titanic… But the program closed with something that was almost an afterthought, but really caught my attention.

ALAN ALDA Now he’s off and running with a new crazy idea. If 70% of the globe is covered in water, it’s time we started living out there, he says. Here’s a marine habitation you tow into place, then tip up and anchor.

BOB BALLARD There’s no budget in America, zero, zip, for colonizing the world’s oceans. Nothing. They’re not even thinking about it.

ALAN ALDA You’re actively at work on this? I mean, you’ve designed..

BOB BALLARD Yeah, we’re designing it. See, also you can use heat exchangers, so that you can take advantage of the thermocline to have nice air conditioning. You can have this solar panels, where this thing…

ALAN ALDA You’re just moving cold air up, or you’re creating electricity or what?

BOB BALLARD Yeah, no. It’s cold! It’s freezing down there! Circulating air. You’ve got vanes that you can control so your solar panel follows the sun throughout the day. You can helo out to it. I want to put it in a marine sanctuary, and have rangers living on it.

ALAN ALDA (NARRATOR) I have to admit I was skeptical about the ocean colonization idea, but when I said so, Bob Ballard answered with the confidence of experience.

BOB BALLARD All my life, I’ve had these ideas, and people say, “you’re nuts.” ‘Til I do them. Then you know what they say? “You know, actually, that wasn’t a bad idea, but it’s the new one you have that’s nuts.” And then I go on with the new one and I do it, and then they go, “Well, actually it wasn’t such a bad idea but it’s the next one.” This is the one they think I’m nuts on right now.

Think of it… Living on the water, with all the ocean breezes you could want, fishing from your front porch, the constant but gentle swell of the sea under your feet… sure, there would be downsides, but the upsides would definitely outweigh them. Kinda like living in South Dakota. There was about a 30 second computer-generated video blip of the marine habitation Ballard has been working on — screenshots from it are shown below. Very cool concept. Not sure if it will go anywhere, but cool idea.

While looking for more/better images of Ballard’s work, I stumbled across this site for The Seasteading Institute. TSI seeks to create “permanent dwellings on the ocean – homesteading the high seas.” Another interesting concept, but why live on a tiny little man-made island in the middle of the ocean? “Because the world needs a new frontier, a place where those who wish to experiment with building new societies can go to test out their ideas. By opening the ocean as a new frontier, we hope to revolutionize the quality of government and social systems worldwide by enabling experimentation, innovation, and competition.” That set of goals sounds a little too utopian for my taste, but if something like this caught on it might be a good elsewhere for the likes of Alec Baldwin to go when elections don’t go their way!


Don’t Blame Martha

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — dave @ 12:58 pm 2010/01/20


The Massachusetts Senate seat vacated with the death of Senator Ted Kennedy should have been a slam dunk for the Democrats; it was theirs to lose. And lose it they did. But now, if DNC leaders are to be believed, it’s all Martha Coakley’s fault. Poor Martha isn’t taking this blame game sitting down though; days before the election she was pointing right back, saying she didn’t get the national support she needed to beat Scott Brown in yesterday’s election. While she also acknowledges that the mood of the voters played a part as well, her diagnosis of that anger is a bit off; she said that the people are, “… frustrated, concerned… They are angry about healthcare issues, and they are angry about our two wars, our inability to properly care for those who return home after fighting… “

True enough that people were angry about healthcare, but my take is that the anger is directed more at the designs of President Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress concerning our healthcare system. Yesterday’s vote was less a commentary on how each candidate ran their election, and more a referendum on how the President and Congress are doing. This election was nothing short of an angry middle finger thrust out at them. Obama ran on the mantra of “Hope and Change”, but the kind of change people had in mind seems to be a far cry from the fundamental changes he and the leftists running Congress are trying to implement, and yesterday’s vote in Mass. was just a sampling of how people across the country feel about that. And if blue-as-blue-can-be Massachusetts, on the tails of a decades-long Kennedy dynasty, can send a Republican to the Senate with a five-point margin, Just watch for what will happen in November.

Obama, Pelosi & Reid all promised that things would be done in the most open and transparent and ethical manner possible, but the last year has shown us nothing of the sort; if anything they’ve stepped up their shenanigans with all the back room deals and pork payoffs. But public anger doesn’t seem to faze these politicians; they are right (just ask them) and will do what they think is right in spite of the will of the people. As columnist Cal Thomas said in this morning’s radio commentary, “The voters don’t like arrogance from either party and this election again proved it.”

The DNC took Massachusetts for granted, assuming an easy win and a continuation of their 60-vote majority. Now the Republicans can at least put the brakes on, maybe putting truth to the Democrats’ lies about Republicans holding things up in Congress. Whether they’ll learn anything from yesterday’s defeat is anybody’s guess. My take? They are too arrogant to understand where things went wrong, and they’ll continue digging their own political graves.

Edit: Had to add the editorial cartoon above; just too good to omit. One good line that I wish I had come up with…

“Voters in the often wayward Cradle of Liberty looked danger in the eye, stood up, and said, ‘Enough.’ Tuesday’s takeaway is this: if Obama & Co. can’t sell their agenda there, it’s an epic fail everywhere.”
columnist Tom Blumer

And finally, one gem found at the site of a trainwreck of a blog, this interpretation of how Adolf Hitler would’ve reacted to the news of Brown’s win in Massachusetts… Simply, hilarious!

BMWotD — 1985 Euro 635CSi

Filed under: BMW Of The Day,Cars! — dave @ 11:31 am 2010/01/17

I saw this car first in the Cars For Sale forum at MyE28.com, then it showed up on BringATrailer.com. I’ve always liked the BMW e24’s, built from 1976 through 1989; they are cool, sexy machines, and the form factor has aged well.


The e24 is an oddity in the BMW lineup because there were major changes in 1982 that should have deserved a change in the designation, but it remained the e24. The earlier cars were based on the e12 and the later ones on the e28. The later cars were slightly lighter and had higher engine output. 25-plus years out, the later cars are generally better buys because they are newer, if only by a few years, and are generally in better shape. I think the sheet metal is the same, but much under the skin is different.


This one is located in Ridgecrest, California, looks to be extremely clean, and has been converted from the original autotragic to a 5-speed; sweet. The seller has a great reputation on MyE28.com (that counts for a lot!); very unlikely that there are any unsorted issues on this car. And given the location — high desert area of southern CA — very likely that the air conditioning works! Priced at only $4,800, it’s a wonder it hasn’t sold yet.


The Amazing Snowflake

Filed under: Favorite Things,Fun!,Just Stuff,The World — Tags: , — dave @ 9:30 pm 2010/01/16

Last Sunday our Adult Community class at church began a study of our church’s Statement of Faith. That document begins with the belief in the Word of God, so our study dealt with the ways that God reveals Himself to us; General Revelation and Special Revelation.

As part of the evidence of General Revelation, the teacher showed us some microphotographs of snowflakes, and I was amazed. Amazed that something so small and so commonplace (especially this year!) could be so beautiful and so complex. The photographs he used (and that I have linked below) came from SnowCrystals.com, which is part of CalTech’s website.

“How full of the creative genius is the air in which these are generated!
I should hardly admire more if real stars fell and lodged on my coat.”

— Henry David Thoreau, 1856

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