Don Quixote rides again

Only this time, he’s tilting at bus shelters

An acquaintance of mine noticed that utility boxes at the side of the road are often protected by bollards.  For anyone who doesn’t know what a bollard is (in this context), bollards are those concrete or steel posts that stop idiots from driving into things when they drive where they are not supposed to.

He also noticed (well it’s hard to miss – no pun intended) that bus shelters just sit out there at the side of the road with nothing to stop vehicles from running into them.  And since bus shelters often contain people, he wondered why protecting a little utility box was more important than protecting a place where people stand and wait.

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Harbingers of Doom

The ‘Internet of Things  – a network of ‘smart’ digital devices – represents the future. In the context of the IoT, a thing can be a person with a heart monitor implant, a farm animal with a biochip transponder, an automobile that has built-in sensors to alert the driver when tire pressure is low – or any other natural or man-made object that can be assigned an IP address and provided with the ability to transfer data over a network.

If you feel the need for more detail on the IoT, then Dr. John Barrett’s presentation at TEDxCIT on YouTube is a great place to start.

Experts estimate that by 2020, the IOT will consist of almost 50,000,000,000 smart things.

So, the future is bright. Right? Not so fast …

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Hello world. Again.

If only my database had been more secure and/or I had been more diligent, there would have been just a single instance of my ‘blog’.  Even then there would have been serious discontinuities in my blogging for many reasons – mostly categorized as ‘reality’ intruding into life.

My earliest attempts at a blog used a very home-brewed piece of software running on an HTML personal web site which has disappeared. Fortunately or unfortunately – depending on your point of view – not all was lost. I had a series of what I called rainy day stories – a collection of short, this-is-what-real-life-is-like, accounts of what was happening at the time. So, old news is it. And Now & Then is where to find it.

Welcome to ‘Hello world version 3 or 4 or whatever’. I’ll try harder this time.

Water, water, everywhere – Part 2

Paraphrasing Madam Pompadour – Après le déluge, moi

Predictably, after the flood we need to deal with the damage.

First call is to our home insurers to get that going. Yes, we’re covered. They will send an inspector and we’ll go from there. By the time the inspector arrives a few days later, edges of our beautiful new floor tiles are curling. The inspector says, OK you can remove the damaged tiles and replace them. Wait a minute, I’m not going to remove them. I expect a professional installation – I mean if my car had a dent, do you expect me to beat it out and get recompensed for the hammer rental?

The inspector agrees. get three quotes and send them to us. Once the work is done, we will re-inspect and if the work is finished, we’ll send you a cheque for the cost less the $250 deductible. I get one contractor – who is acceptable to the insurer – to visit.  He pulls up a couple of the swollen-edged tiles and say “These are done for”. I point out that there are more curled-edged tiles now than the day after the flood and that the underlay is damp. “Yes” says the contractor. “I’ll quote on replacing all the tiles and any underlay that’s visibly damp.” I disagree. Let’s do all the underlay since it’s inexpensive and easier than working around the ‘damp’ areas. And, since the tiles were on special (end of run), you need to forget about replacing some – they all have to go and be replaced with like quality. “OK”, says contractor. He will inform the claims adjustor and they will be in touch. I tell the insurance company if they want more quotes, then they need to find qualified installers willing to come and do the work. They concede and accept the one-and-only estimate.

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Water, water, everywhere – Part 1

A very wet week or so

Part 1
Mrs. B tells me that an upstairs bathroom tap is leaking and leaves for work. By way of background information, I’ve never actually observed this leak. Anyway, the search for tools reveals everything I need including washers of all shapes and sizes. So off I go to fix the leaky tap – except it’s one of those wonderful ‘washer-less’ taps that simply takes a cartridge with two O-rings. Off to the hardware store and finally track down a replacement cartridge which costs $14.95. That strikes me as a really bad deal because once upon a time you could fix a leaky tap with a 10-cent washer. After whining at the hardware ‘help’ desk, they reveal that although they do sell replacement O-rings they’ll just give me a replacement cartridge complete since the brand I bought has a lifetime warranty. I take my free replacement home and install it.

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Ecology & Economy

Technology fails, the ecology takes a hit, and my wallet gets lighter

When I got home the other night, I failed to notice that the pump in the fish pond wasn’t working. Hardly surprising, since I didn’t go out into the back yard.

Mrs B. however is much more observant. No sooner had she gone out to feed the fish when she noticed that the pump had stopped. Even though I’m “busy” with an urgent case of Freecell, she insists I look. Yes, I say, it looks as though the pump isn’t running.

After checking the pump filter and all the electrics, I reluctantly come to the conclusion that the problem is the pump. Since it’s almost dark, I assume that that’s enough yard work for one day and go back to Freecell. Mrs B. disappears in her new car.

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