The Price of Petrol

Isn’t it so amazing that three weeks ago, AAA predicted that gas would be over three dollars a gallon by the end of the month. And, surprise! on August 31st my local is selling gas for $3.09 a gallon.

Oh, joy.

Name Popularity

I thought that this was a brilliant little java applet that allows you to examine the popularity of names over time. Not surprisingly, many of the biblical based names remain at a somewhat steady stream of popularity and that some names tend to come and go based upon television or movie characters having those names.

My name appears to have been most popular in the 30s and 40s and has been in decline since. Suits me.

It also demonstrates a frightening trend of late to have children named after product brands.

Elevator ‘Hacking’

This little tidbit seems to be making the rounds on the net:

The designers of some elevators include a hidden feature that is very handy if you’re in a hurry or it’s a busy time in the building (like check-out time in a hotel). While some elevators require a key, others can be put into “Express” mode by pressing the “Door Close” and “Floor” buttons at the same time. This sweeps the car to the floor of your choice and avoids stops at any other floor.

Elevators that have been tested and worked on:
Otis Elevators (All But The Ones Made In 1992),
Dover (Model Numbers: EL546 And ELOD862),
And Most Desert Elevators(All, But Model Numbers ELD5433 And ELF3655)

I might try this out the next time I am in a high rise building (which isn’t too often these days).

Via

Buying a Mobile Phone from Amazon

I had been mulling over a solution to carrying around both a Palm and a mobile phone to deal with my day to day. After returning from vaction, my phone was ripped off, so the pressure was on to try to find a converged replacement. After trying out the Treo 650 and Blackberry 7100, I decided against both of them and started to zero in on the Nokia 6682. Problem is, the 6682 isn’t readily available, but supposed to be released ‘any day now’ by Cingular.

After two weeks without a phone, I finally made up my mind to stop waiting for the Nokia 6682 to be available from Cingular and to just get the Nokia 6620 instead and ‘upgrade’ to the 6682 when and if it becomes available.

Searching high and low around the area quickly led to the conclusion that none of the Cingular stores around here have a very complete selection of phones and definately not the more feature rich units. I noticed on Amazon that they had the phone available and with the two rebates offered, I essentially made $25USD on the purchase of the phone. I ordered with Amazon and ponied up for the next day delivery as the item was listed on their site as ‘shipping within 24 hours’. The next day I get, not a delivery notice from Amazon, but an email telling me that there is a delay in processing my order. It turns out that it can take up to 48 hours for Amazon/Cingular to do the credit check — Amazon won’t ship until Cingular says your credit is good. So three days later my phone ships. The amazing thing was that it shipped at 3AM and I recieved it later that same day.

Activating the phone was another adventure which required no fewer than 8 phone calls to Amazon and Cingular to get the phone activated, the correct calling plan options established, voicemail initialized, etc. In spite of all of the calls required, Amazon and Cingular did an excellent job of quickly and politely dealing with each and every issue including staying on the phone with me as I went through the various activation steps. At one point, I was on the phone so long that my cordless phone’s battery died with no warning. About 30 minutes later the Cingular rep called me back to make sure that everything had been activated properly. Outstanding!

Since then I have been trying to find the time to familiarize myself with the phones features and software (and there are quite a few of them). More on that later.

Cellphones and Driving Don’t Mix

No surprises in this article on Wired. Driving while talking on a mobile phone is unsafe whether you are using a headset or not.

It is my firm belief that accidents caused while someone is talking on a cellphone should be treated as other driving impairments (DUI). Do it more that a few times and you lose your license.

In Case of Emergency

This is a simple but very effective way of helping yourself if you are in a bad state. The jist of the article is to add an entry (or entries) into your mobile phone contacts list under ICE (In Case of Emergency). That way a paramedic or hospital attendant would have a good chance of getting ahold of someone on your behalf if you were incapacitated. Multiple entries could be added for ICE2, ICE3, etc.

Senseless Acts

What a series of horrible and senseless events in London this morning. My thoughts go out to all those impacted by this barbarity.

And me scheduled for a business trip there in a few weeks…

On the pond

We have been planning a small pond in the front garden since shortly after we moved in 7+ years ago. Well, this was the weekend for it. The ground wasn’t too hard, so shifting all of the dirt wasn’t as challenging as it could be if we put it off until later in the summer when the soil is like concrete.

We got the dirt (and debris) out, the sand in, and the liner down. Then off to a nearby garden shop to buy some stone to edge with (and really to help keep the liner from shifting once the water went in). When it came time to fill, I was surprised that it took almost an hour to top it up. Nice start.

So all of that together was really ‘step one’. Next comes putting in the water plants, the waterfall, tidying up the edging and ultimately some goldfish. I’ll post some pictures as we are further along in the process.