Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Importing a graffiti problem?

I was in Terrace Park today and saw a couple of pieces of graffiti; one was near the tennis court and one near home plate of the baseball diamond.

The one on the pole says "west side [something]" with a Dodgers-style "LA" on the other side.

The utility box appears to say "[somebody] Rios Los Angeles".

Looks like different taggers at work here, based on the overall look. Does this mean that we have some misbehaving Angelinos in our midst?

Reported both to COR's graffiti abatement program.

AT&T U-verse solicitors

... are pretty aggressive. I've had a half-dozen visits from these heroes in 2009. Usually they travel in pairs for additional obnoxiousness.

This one wasn't so bad; she ignored my No Solicitors sign but at least wasn't beligerent about it. She left promptly once I said "No thanks, and did you see my sign?" spiel. Half the time these ATT clowns will stand there are argue about how "they got all the paperwork" but somehow be unable to produce it and will continue the hard-sell while you're closing the door in their face. Those guys get the cops (at RPD's request).

Today's salesdroid drove away quickly instead of continuing to work the street so I didn't call it into the RPD.

Target parking lot rollover fatality

Story here.

Wife and I saw the helo hovering over the area but didn't know what it was about at the time.

It's a sad reminder to encourage our kids to drive safely.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

COR Radio system needs work?

DMN reports COR may have to update the radio system soon. I can confirm from scanner audio that dispatchers and patrol officers are struggling with dropouts and static issues. The audio of the system is also quite low, but that's probably not a directly related matter.

Makes me wonder what the options are in the$8-10mil range. Currently COR is running an analog EDACS trunked system in the rebanded 800mHz range.

Couldn't go fully APCO25 (digital, for our purposes) for that amount of $$$ I wouldn't think, if Plano is getting 30mil quotes for their (admittedly larger) system. And not in a year and a half timeframe.

Maybe some kind of federal grant money for (wink) interoperability purposes to build a digital infrastructure + a bridge to the existing analog radios, then replace the radios as more $$$ comes along? Maybe move PD/FD to digital first? Or maybe just buy some some new EDACS gear to replace the dying stuff? That might buy us a few more years before going APCO but the numbers above seem high for a scotch tape kind of deal.

Hmmm, maybe it involves running more towers in problem areas? I bet that would be get us in the right money ballpark.

Dunno. Hopefully someone who knows how this stuff works can chime in. I'm just guessing. I suspect the commentary in local scanning groups will be informative and someone will set me straight.

Thanks to Nathan for bringing this to my attention.

Monday, December 21, 2009

If you have to tell us...

Mr. Smith - saying that "we are not arrogant or condescending" is similar to saying "I'm classy" or "I'm cool"; it's evidence to the contrary.

It is not clear what the council thought they would gain by having Mr. Smith appear. I assume they wanted something productive, something that would help citizens understand the lawsuit. Instead they got a socially tone-deaf play-by-play of the case. I suspect this will not be well-received by the target audience as a good faith effort at reunification between the city and concerned citizens.

Boo, sir. Boo.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

PR Strategy

re: COR's upcoming PR Strategy

I've already expressed my opinions on actual and wannabe PR flacks but it looks like the situation is about to get weird. Or weirder.[0].

Here are the city's options:[1]

1. do nothing. An often-overlooked option.
2. If blogger concerns are real and valid, address them. Win/win.
3. If blogger concerns are invalid, provide sufficient evidence and transparency to make that case. Win/Win.
4. Hire a Minister of Propaganda to run the infowar. Win/lose in the short term, lose/lose in the long term.

Reality check: if the customer wants an improved product do you listen to customer suggestions to make a better product, or do you hire someone to manage your brand and spin the current product?[2]

Cluetrain puts it this way: "You have two choices. You can continue to lock yourself behind facile corporate words and happytalk brochures. Or you can join the conversation."

guerilla capitalist

[0] as HST would say.
[1] I have left out some really unpleasant/counterproductive/stupid ones to avoid giving TPTB any ideas
[2] Extra value will be assigned to opinions expressed by those that have run their own businesses (especially here in Richardson).

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Remembrance of Chernobyl

I saw this article today about Chernobyl-related radioactive decay taking longer than expected.

It reminded me that Bert, Mike, and I were on The Continent when that went down. As the cloud wafted across Europe all the news services advised:
  1. Don't go outside.
  2. If you have to go outside, try not to contact any dirt or breathe it in.
So of course we were out running PT in the countryside. Hoo-ah and all that.

At the tail end of the run my platoon was dropped for pushups in some of the fine local German dirt (probably because of my own smart@ss behavior). While pushing-up I informed our cadre of the proscription against playing in fallout. Maybe they thought we'd absorbed sufficient rads already and a few more wouldn't hurt. Dunno. I think I pulled my shirt up over my nose to keep the bigger particulate crap out.

I recently had a chest xray (TB screening for C-FB ISD) and there were no chernobyl-shaped spots in my lungs. That's always a plus.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

msteger blog - attempted to comment

but his comment function blows up with "too much time elapsed!" if you take more than a few minutes to compose, you know, a comment that is thoughtful and not all extremist-ish. See image to the right. Using the back button results in a blank form so your text is lost, which is generally not the case with most comment submissions.

This has happened to me several times before and I officially give up trying to leave comments on his blog.

I addressed a couple of issues in my lost comment; I will very briefly recap one here.

Mr. Steger's Dialog v. Pitchforks update article starts one paragraph with "The vitriol of the extremists continues" and finishes up with "even the city-produced Christmas parade (one blogger objects to it being described as a "grassroots effort").

I did not object to the Christmas parade being called a grassroots effort; there is nothing intrinsically objectionable about that phrase. I objected to the characterization of the parade being labeled a grassroots effort when it is demonstratably not:
Grassroots in what way? The manner of its founding "in 1972 by the Junior Chamber of Commerce" or its current incarnation led by Parks department staff and volunteers, with donations collected by/at Parks, using a COR email address and phones, hosted on the COR website, and with a set of rather Draconian rules (pdfs apparently produced by COR's H. McCrady) hosted there including the permitted number of Santas (one, in case you are wondering)? I know the definition of "grassroots" is rather fluid these days, but seriously folks.
That's an example of extremism? A civil objection offered up with specific reasons and supporting evidence gleaned from the COR website? I submit that Mr. Steger paints too broadly and energetically with the "extremist" brush, and it weakens his argument.

Monday, December 14, 2009

DMN Richardson blog comment removal

As noted over on DC's entry about DMN blog comment removal, I accidentally had an opportunity to see what comments were deleted on the COR Sales Tax / Asterisk article.

Here are all the ones I could recover.

[This comment violates Terms of Service and has been deleted.]

My guess is; they cooked the books.

[This comment violates Terms of Service and has been deleted.]

Why would someone write such a story in the firstplace with such a misleading headline and without all the facts, and then have to do a tail-between-the-legs correction? Looks like someone needs to spend less time texting, polishing his shoes, and swallowing what Keffler's Krew feeds him, and more time beating the streets and investigating the etch-a-sketch numbers being put out by the city. Must be using the Bernie Made-off Accounting Made Simple or Generally Assinine Accounting Principles (GAAP, yeh, a really big one) methods in putting these figures together.

[This comment violates Terms of Service and has been deleted.]

Note: there was an identical dupe at 2:48 that was also deleted, but that's reasonable.

Regardless of where you get the numbers, an investigative reporter needs to verify the information and data before publishing a story. To blame someone else for not doing this is unacceptable and a cop-out. Anyone who has any clue of what is really going on with the economy knows that double digit increases in sales tax collections is impossible. With the city's economic base being far smaller than many other larger cities, the percentage increases and decreases are going to be skewed one way or the other, and the main focus should be on absolute figures. Regarding the comments of Mr. Anonymous Sick of Crazy People (aka Mr. Happy Talk), sounds like he should be onboard with getting rid of the city council if he really feels that way. What he/she needs to understand is that city and their cohorts are the ones who initiated the malicious and false slander campaign attacks against reasonable and informed residents. This includes the "crazy" label which has been slapped on many reasonable residents who have met with city officials and attempted to effect positive change for the benefit of all citizens (and not for a select few of elitist kleptocracts) to no avail. Why, because they are not considered by those in control as having any right to do so (to paraphrase the city attorney's "dasturdly" view of the general public). This is what is killing the city, along with the root corruption, holding closed door meetings, and violating the City Charter, and a willful failure in many instances to adhere to and enforce the existing laws. It's about time that rocks started being overturned and the magnifying glass focused on the city - we neet to get rid of the crooks, hold those fully accountable and responsible for any misdeeds they may have committed, right the wrongs, and most importantly, elect officials that will put their sworn oath of office vows to uphold the City Charter, City Ordinances, and all other existing laws, and exercise their inherent legal and fiduciary responsibilities, above and beyond all else.

[This comment violates Terms of Service and has been deleted.]

Children! Children! For those of us who have been tuning in for the past few years, this looks to me like a repeat performance of the December annual event. What is disgusting about it is that the story line hasn't changed, and City officials have a pension for publishing half-truths to mislead the electorate, and like a gang of pathological hucksters, make a tidy living at it.

There were more comments/deletions but they happened after I left for work so I don't know what they were.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Gilbert == the new Tuttle?

Looks like Gilbert, AZ may be this year's Tuttle, OK.

I assume every tech dweeb on the planet has read that last article, but just in case...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sanity check: water system

Dear Wife's BFF emailed over the weekend to say that his city suddenly had an E. Coli problem in their water supply and it was not safe to drink untreated. He went on to say that his local shops were sold out of drinking water.

So... pretend for a few minutes how your household would handle lack of access to safe drinking water for, say, a week. If the fecal bacteria story above doesn't do it for you pretend we had an unexpected hard freeze[0] and your home's water pipes burst from freezing; your water is cut off at the water meter until the overworked plumber can get there.

Here are some resources that may help:

who has more questions than answers

[0] Impossible? How about today's sudden snowfall? How many weathercasters called that one for this morning?