Thursday, November 30, 2017

Top post for Category Links

blogging   cycling   transport   Portland   Sports   Politics   DIY   Maker   Music   Philosophy   Writing   Tech   Op-ed   Corvallis   Pacific Northwest WTF 

(On my mobile the layout doesn't include my categories widget so I would like to put that in a top post (edit: you can top post in blogger by setting the published on time in the future) so people viewing my site from their mobile can easily find the links. Funny, I thought assigning category numbers then linking the search number to the category was clever, but noticing the iphone tries to recognize the category numbers as phone numbers.. will consider changing to just keyword search links. )

Categories/Tags: 99823 99836

Sunday, June 25, 2017

DIY planter boxes

had a bunch of wood i wasn't using for anything so I thought I'm make some planter boxes. Used minwax to treat the wood. Old rope to hold them up. Notice how the rope goes under the boxes for good support, the soil and water will be heavy and I didn't want the bottom dropping out. This took a couple hours all told, a bit of hand sawing, drilling, nailing, etc... will try and post better pics when I actually get something planted.

Categories/Tags: 99829 99830 DIY Gardening

DIY upcycled messenger bag

Used darning needles and nylon thread to upcycle an old leather jacket into an awesome messenger bag.

The leather jacket was pretty useless because it had a huge hole/tear in one elbow and one pocket had a bad zipper. Still, most of it was in good shape so I decided to tear it all down and sew  it into a bag.

I got the seat belt from a pick-n-pull scrap yard, probably spent about 10 dollars on that. The darning needles and nylon thread cost maybe 5 bucks.

I cut an old pillowcase up to make pockets, sewing them into the inside of the bag so you can access those without unzipping the whole bag, which is cool to quickly stow your iphone or whatever. 

This took a ton of work maybe like 8 hours total, it was basically done without any kind of template, just eyeballing and guess work, I was very happy with how it turned out. I put a flap on top to cover the zipper and make the bag water resistant. The flap even snaps down.

Also I sewed rings into the bag for the strap to hook onto so the strap could be swapped out for whatever strap you want. Could hold a few textbooks pretty easily, a decent size for a kind of all purpose bag.


Categories/Tags: DIY cycling Maker 99824 99825 99827 99829 99830 

Friday, June 9, 2017

Autonomous cars, self driving 'smart' cars' (implementation)

edit: update: this video backs up my belief that self-driving cars and people shouldn't mix.. this warehouse has self-driving bots to move stuff around and they even do it in a 'human exclusion zone' bots and humans aren't going to really mix well.

First of all, can we stop with the autonomous vehicles and the self-driving car? It's too hard to say, too many syllables etc...

If a phone with a computer is a smartphone then a car with a computer is a 'smart' car. Henceforth in this blog I will refer to these cars as such.

This is how I believe smart cars should be phased into our lives, and I will explain why.

Most people are not really ready for smart cars, and the streets and traffic systems we have are not really ready for them either.

The biggest problem is mixing the smart cars into regular traffic with human drivers. Smart cars cannot make eye contact or otherwise communicate with other drivers, other drivers can't always tell a smart car when they see one. A car being driven by a computer should be easily recognized as such.

So, mixing them into regular traffic. This might sound odd, but LET'S NOT DO IT. Bear with me a moment and I'll explain.

The smart cars could be phased in with limited trials in limited zones during limited times. During these times and in these zones, regular human driven cars would be prohibited. Smart cars would be limited to low speeds in pedestrian zones to familiarize people with the technology and insure safety. THE SMART CARS WOULD GIVE FREE RIDES TO PEOPLE IN THESE ZONES/ DURING THESE TIMES. This would further ingratiate people to the smart car.

After trial periods and safety/familiarity is established, the zones and times could be expanded. Also the speed limits could be increased.

The final implementation would be to allow the smart cars onto freeways IN LANES SIMILAR TO CARPOOL LANES SEPARATE FROM OTHER HUMAN DRIVERS. The ROAD WOULD BE A SMART ROAD, able to communicate with vehicles on it and ensure they are operating under computer control and operating safely. If a human driver had a compatible car, they could push a button and use these lanes... similar to toll lanes. These lanes would work wonderfully because all the cars would be going the same speed, they could be coordinated by computer to maximize speed and space, eliminating gridlock and stop and go driving that currently plagues our freeways.

Eventually, as people see the benefits of the technology and purchase new vehicles, the smart lanes/ smart freeways could be expanded. I believe in 10-20 years it may not be possible to use an interstate freeway without such a vehicle, much like airbags and seat belts are mandatory today.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Portland's mayor recently said he wanted to implement self-driving cars, so I thought it was time to put these ideas out there. I have driven in Portland as a cabbie for 10 years so this comes from a place of some knowledge.

Currently Portland has a policy that prohibits vehicles in Old Town on Friday and Saturday nights so pedestrians can safely club hop without worrying about getting run over.. this would be a perfect time and place to test these self driving cars. Google, Tesla, Apple, or Uber could test their vehicles if they are willing to limit their speed and give free rides in that limited zone.

Again, as the technology is proven safe and people become more used to the idea of the autonomous car, the zones and speeds could be increased/expanded.

Another great place to test these vehicles would be in gated communities and or senior living areas, Charbonneau in Wilsonville comes to mind. It's an area that allows golf carts to use the roads.. the autonomous cars, operating at low speeds, could easily mix into this kind of community and win over some of the people that are most dubious of this technology.

At first, these trials would be limited to certain times of day on certain days, until people accept the technology. When they do, and I believe they will when it's proven that computer driven cars are safer than human driven ones, the times and zones can be expanded.

I do NOT believe that people in general or our roads are ready for self driven smart cars to mix into regular traffic and use our freeways.

IF we want to put these cars on the freeway we should construct a 'smartcarpool' lane, physically separated by dividers, that allows these cars to use the freeway without mixing with other cars. A commuter could approach the smartcarpool lane (let's say in Portland), touch a button that would relinquish control of their vehicle, and regain control of the vehicle when they arrived in the suburb they are driving to (Vancouver, Hillsboro, Gresham, etc...)

Tags/Categories: 99824 99825 99826 99836 99840

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The best beer I ever had

Portland, Oregon

The year was 1992. I was attending MLC in NW Portland and one day me and a buddy took a tour of the Blitz Weinhard brewery on West Burnside. It was like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory for the adolescent male. The shining steel vats that held the malts dazzled our eyes. We savored the pungent aroma of the hops as it assailed our nostrils. All the secrets that went into the crafting of the delicious nectar we loved were revealed! And then! Then, a creaking sound like some mischievous yet benevolent banshee called out to us. We turned to see two large oaken doors swing wide to reveal an inner sanctum. Into the shadows we stared. Could it be? Yes it could! The friendly staff beckoned us into the tasting room! The dark stain of the polished fir bar adorned with brass rails hid the spoils of the room like a pirate's chest overflowing with gold, but the treasure it offered was golden hops tailored to a tasty perfection! We had our pick of brews to sample. Henry's classic? Henry's Dark? What'll it be? Asked the bartender. We answered in the manliest voices we could muster....... Blitz, please.

We may have entered the brewery that day as boys, but when the exit doors opened onto West Burnside Street to reveal a rare glimpse of pacific northwest sunshine, we did not squint. We did not shy away from the light. We proudly strolled out those doors with our heads held high. We emerged as men!

Categories/Tags: 99823 99826 99835 99843 99851 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

XL Banner

started messing with a bigger banner for sometimes when it gets cropped posting as facebook background or twitter/instagram I still want it legible. It started looking pretty cool but I might just be getting overly obsessed at this point.

Categories/Tags: 99823 99836

Corvallis cycling

The weather is improving and I've got a whole new area to explore. I'm starting to realize why people like Corvallis for cycling. In 5-10 minutes you can be out of town and riding up into the McDonald State forest. The prevailing winds are usually going north to south, so after riding northwest into the hills, the ride home should be mostly downhill with the wind behind you. Found a new stretch of MUP yesterday.

follow me on Strava if you want. The nicest part of the ride was going through the Arnold park woods. 8.8 miles, one hour. A good start

Categories/Tags: 99824 99850 99825