Month: February 2015

Enough with the snow and ice

So Friday morning on my way to get the train into Boston I slipped on ice at Broadway and SR7. Landed on my right side – sprained the hell out of the hand and wrist.

So I’m about ready to go see a doc, and then file suit against the city of Providence, RI. Because the spot I slipped on was the CITY’S responsibility to clear, not a private or commercial entity.

And I’ve posted earlier there’s one property near me that never bothered to shovel. That’s 311 Broadway. I even emailed my city councilor, state rep and state senator about it. No response as yet. We’ll see next week.

FCC votes 3 to 2 in favor of net neutrality

They pretty much had to do this. The public outcry was immense. In fact from what I read it was the largest amount of comments in favor that the FCC had ever gotten in any notice of proposed rule making.

The two most important things – the carriers like Comcast, Cox, Verizon et al will no longer be able to give paid prioritization to content providers on broadband networks. Nor will they be able to block providers.

Of course you know the broadband carriers are going to fight this all the way. It’ll be tied up in court for a while but I’ll tell you what their point of contention is going to be and it’s that they believe regulation will stifle innovation.

Let me dispel this myth – it’s not true. When Ma Bell was regulated to the hilt she still a) made a hell of a profit and b) innovated like crazy. Need I remind you that the transistor was invented by Bell Labs scientists, in addition to doing things like improving microwave systems due to the invention of the MASER and perfecting the LASER. Not to mention that just ahead the breakup of Ma Bell she had been on a rapid replacement cycle for Class 5 central offices and the long distance network switches. To the point of where the cost to carry a long distance call was in the hundredths of a cent per minute. Which is sort of why on your cell you don’t pay extra for long distance calls these days.

The City of Providence DPW needs to be more proactive.

What I mean is that the drains must all be mucked out annually. Not the spotty cycle. And it’s not just Providence DPW but the State of Rhode Island that has to chip in.

Providence needs to become a more proactive city in general. I’d like to setup a sit down with Mayo Jorge Elorza and explain to him the value in having public schools, a fire department, police department and so on but that true quality of city life requires drains be unobstructed by plant matter, etc.

It also means stop chasing pie in the sky dreams of public broadband – it’s never going to happen. But do what you can to make life better for the residents of the city.

For example – the snow statutes were updated but the city doesn’t track what fines were issued? That needs to be fixed post haste. And I know a public education phase was supposed to be included in the updates to the snow removal statutes. We need to tell people that not only do they need to clear snow, but also ice.

And I’m still miffed that 311 Broadway – the sidewalks there STILL haven’t been cleared. Instead we now have compacted snow and ice. For example it took me less than 30 seconds to find out that the property is owned by:

Address 1177 GREENWICH AVE

The registered agent is:


So that’s who should be served notice.

Here’s Mr. DeAngelis’ phone number: (401) 737-6877

Go get em’.

Astronomy: When clouds are the enemy

So this evening a dusk there’s supposed to be a nice conjunction of Mars and Venus just under the crescent moon.

And of course it’s cloudy where I am. So it’ll be completely invisible to me. That’s life when you love astronomy and live in the northeast.

That would be one nice thing about living in an arid region – clear skies. There have been a very few times in my life where I’ve been able to see some awe inspiring stuff in the sky. When I was a kid living in Providence before the advent of High Pressure Sodium lighting you could clearly lay in your back yard and look up. You’d see the big and little dippers, Orion, pretty much the whole sky.

But over time those view went away. Too much light pollution.

And there was one time a few years back I was traveling on U.S. 17 between Elizabeth City and Edenton North Carolina. Now driving around in the dense northeast you always have headlights in your rear view. But I noticed on this trip the mirrors were pitch black. So I pulled over on the side of the road and got out of the car.

And then I looked up – and of course no camera to record the event! What I saw was the band of the Milky Way – almost to the point where it felt like you could reach out and touch it.

And I’ve never seen it since as clouds have been the enemy. I’m reminded of the lorry driver in one of Douglas Adam’s works who had rain everywhere he went because the clouds loved him. I think I may have the same.

Drive: 2015 Volkswagen Golf TSi

So as you well know I’m a big Zipcar user. One of the things I like about it is I get to drive the latest versions of all sorts of makes and models.

Today it was a brand new 2015 Volkswagen Golf Tsi. Let me put forth that I love German engineering. I’ve driven Volkswagens and BMW vehicles and have to say, they have that OOMPH on the highways.

The Golf I drove today was bright red. Looked good on the car. And it’s actually a small car so handling is lively.

The TSi is a feature pack I think. Power everything and in the middle of the dash was a big screen for the media. The bluetooth implementation met with my approval too. Intuitive too.

Now one thing that baffled us for a short time was how to get the hatch open. Most cars there’s a lever or button near the drivers side that will pop open a trunk lid or hatch. No such on this Volkswagen.

I go to the rear of the car – search around for the ubiquitous button found under the trunk of hatch lid on other cars. No dice.

Then I noticed the VW emblem on the back seemed loose – so I pushed in at the top and wonder of wonders it hinged inward. Then grab the bottom edge and pull the hatch up. So simple even an idiot could figure it. Me with oodles of I.T. experience had to probe it and figure it out. Ah well.

Fun car to drive – very lively on the road. There was one part that had me doing 90MPH in the left lane and it barely moved the tachometer above 2K revs per second. Nice!

If my heart weren’t so set on a BMW X3 of my own I’d definitely consider a Golf.

Ok Cox – another price hike?

This time the video service is going bananas. My bill has now gown from about $150 a month to $200 a month. I’m about ready to tell Cox to take a hike. What I’ll do is just do what I don’t want – go with Verizon for two years and then flip back to Cox for their two year discount, then back to Verizon, and so on.

But I suspect this is all in anticipation of the FCC reclassifying broadband as common carrier or Title II. Because here’s a little secret about ALL the services of Cox, Verizon, Comcast et al. Everything that comes in you house be it phone or video – it all goes over Internet Protocol or IP or more formally as TCP/IP.

So movement of the broadband pipe into that will impact both voice and video too. And the price for the data connection will fall a bit too. I mean Susan Crawford in her book “Captive Audience” said that the cost to provide high speed data is more like $2 or $3 per month. And the thing is the cable companies KNOW this.

So right now the cable providers are just going to rape their customers until such time as the regulatory clamps come down on them. Fuckers.

Today’s MBTA What the Fuck Moments

So as has been the usual the commuter from Providence to Boston has been consistently 15 to 20 minutes late coming into Boston. Granted – sometimes they left Providence late but the past two days they switched it up. The commuter was there and parked in Providence Station at 6:15AM, and departed on time at 6:33AM. But still 15 minutes late into Boston.

And then there’s the Red Line subway. I get to the platform in South Station and I note the minutes to next train aren’t decrementing as the time on the clock to the upper right. It takes approximately 11 minutes to decrement the train time by 1 minute. After 20 minutes the train shows up. It’s packed. But as we get to Kendall Station an announcement is made.

Yes, from Kendall to Alewife they decided to make the train I was on an EXPRESS train, meaning they skip Central, Harvard, Porter etc. My stop is Central. So I get off the train at Kendall and wait for the NEXT Red Line. That one delivers me to the Central stop.

I once thought that only RIPTA could be a total cluster fuck – but no the MBTA takes the cake.

RIPTA and their Clock Problem

So today – I get to Bus Stop V at 5:48PM. And the #27 bus is taking off. I give it the old open palm gesture – I know the driver could see me but he kept going.

I figured I’d wait for the 6:00PM #28 as it goes down Broadway too. But it never came. By 6:10PM I gave up and walked home.

But then it struck me – all RIPTA’s clocks are two minutes fast.

But then MBTA today was fun – the 4:08PM didn’t leave until 4:15PM because, and I kid you not, they couldn’t find the engineer.

I just can’t help myself

So on Disqus I chime in on how the God Christians worship is, well, a creation of mankind.

So I had said:

Marriage pre-dates religion by at least 1000 years or more. However if you look at pre-columbian cultures – it’s the twisted European worldview that created the bigots like you guys.

    • wrong. God created it. you have no right to change it. calling us bigots is not going to work.

      To which I replied:

      Oh and your god – is just one of the later conceptions of a god. And the passage in the Bible that the devil has many names – well so does your god. Yahweh, Elohim, El, Jehovah.. need I go on?

      And Stephanie Wilson replied:
      your arrogance is amazing.

      To which I replied:

      Thanks for the compliment! Much appreciated. I’m not arrogant – but I do know my stuff.

      And Stephanie said:


      My reply:

      Logical fallacy! For example – have you ever read the entirety of the KJV? I have. So I know what’s contained within and not only that but who wrote what and it’s original purpose.

    The New Toy finally works Uwatch U8

    So a few weeks back I picked up a Uwatch U8 for $34. Pretty decent price for a smart watch. I don’t wear it much as my winter gear interferes with it to some degree.

    But I finally got around to getting it to work with my phone. It’s pretty simple – you just go to the Google Play store and search for Bluetooth Notifier, the first app in the list is the one you install.

    Then turn on Bluetooth on the U8, and then turn on Bluetooth on your phone.

    I will say the dialer is non intuitive in that you can enter a phone number but there is no send or talk button.

    But contacts sync, it can manipulate the phone cameras, contacts, texts, etc. Really interesting.