Raleigh gets Google Fiber

January 27th, 2015

Google Fiber is coming to Raleigh

Google Fiber is coming to Raleigh

Last week, word leaked out that Google was hosting two events this week: one in Raleigh and one in Durham. Of course, it doesn’t take a genius to guess that Google Fiber is on its way to the Triangle. Word now is that Charlotte will also get the gigabit-speed Internet service.

I hope to attend the upcoming meetings to learn more about this service, after having fought a long battle to bring truly high-speed Internet to the state. I have no special inside track on the goings on, though, so I’ll likely learn about it like everyone else: through the media. It would’ve been great to receive an invitation, though, but in the bigger picture I’m just glad that a cause I’ve supported for many years will finally become reality.

The Goog and The Gov will hold a 1 PM press conference today to announce the news.

Larry Stogner and ALS

January 26th, 2015

I was saddened to hear local WTVD anchor Larry Stogner has ALS, also known as Lou Gherig’s Disease. He has been the face and voice of the Raleigh-Durham area for decades and to see him doing battle with this devastating disease is heartbreaking.

I’ve been thinking of my own recent health issues. For a while it seemed that the twitching that popped up last summer had subsided but recently it has come back just as strong as before. I can’t sit at my desk during the day without feeling some muscle somewhere just twitching away. I had to reschedule my follow-up visit with a neurologist due to a PTA conflict but I see him again next week. I hope we can figure this out.

Goodbye, CR-V

January 26th, 2015

2001 Honda CR-V EX

2001 Honda CR-V EX

This past Friday we said goodbye to our 2001 Honda CR-V, sold to a very happy young woman who answered our Craigslist ad. The CR-V had been in our family for over nine years and was a very good, reliable car. It was also a bit boxy for my taste and the 2.0l engine was underpowered for the car’s size. And it’s not electric, like our new Ford Focus.
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How does he know?

January 19th, 2015

I witnessed very interesting behavior from our dog, Rocket, this evening. He was napping on the floor next to me while I read in the recliner and Hallie surfed the Internet from the other room. Kelly had been at work all day and was bringing Travis home from his piano lesson.

Everything was quiet in the house so I was wondering where our dog was going as he suddenly hopped up from his nap and walked over to the door leading to the garage. Seconds later, the garage door went up and Kelly and Travis walked in with Rocket greeting them.

I sat there astonished. Could it be the dog had somehow known they were coming home? How? He clearly hopped up from his nap and went directly to the door as if he knew they would arrive. I can’t say for sure what his intentions were but to my eyes it certainly seemed like he was ready to greet someone at the door.
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The fine line of classroom discipline

January 19th, 2015

Today is Martin Luther King Day, honoring a great man who pushed America to honor its commitments to everyone. It’s got me in a contemplative mood.

A well-meaning liberal friend forwarded this article from the NEA about the “school-to-prison” pipeline. It portends to raise alarms about how a kid who gets suspended often winds up taking a path towards crime. This is indeed a serious issue with troubling implications. I was disappointed, though, to see the article missing an important point. For example:

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, which last year ordered school districts to respond to student misbehavior in “fair, non-discriminatory, and effective” ways, Black students are suspended and expelled at a rate three times greater than White students, while Black and Latino students account for 70 percent of police referrals.
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Who built this country?

January 18th, 2015

My friend and new Wake County Commissioner John Burns was at the N.C. Association of County Commissioners where the state’s commissioners were given a presentation of the state’s changing demographics. Demographic trends show that white people will soon no longer be the majority.

One commissioner took issue with this and, according to John, announced “so we’re just going to take what built America for 200 years and throw it in the trash can, I guess.”

Of course, it was the immigrants who built America. Blacks, Chinese, Irish, Mexicans, and many others. The people who did the jobs that no one else wanted to do (and in the case of slavery, that they didn’t want to do, either).

Fortunately, everyone around this guy rolled their eyes. And it makes me glad that idiots like him are getting left behind.

Impossible odds

January 12th, 2015

See this gentleman? He was arrested last month for a string of burglaries around East Raleigh. Before was busted in December he had been arrested six times since September. This photo was taken today at the county jail, when he was charged again with possession of a stolen firearm and possession of stolen goods.

Now here’s the mugshot of his mother, taken the same day her son was arrested. Note the shiner. Mom was charged with marijuana possession and possession of a stolen firearm. She has a rap sheet stretching back to 1995 with a few larcenies, license revocation charges, and minor drug charges. In each case her sentences were suspended and you know what? She managed to largely stay out of trouble since 2003.
Though I’ve been quite willing to send kids like this one on his way to jail whenever one’s been caught stealing in my neighborhood, it has made me wonder how a kid can wind up in such a situation. It’s a damn shame to have to send a kid to jail.

As a PTA president, I hear a lot of stories of sad cases, absolutely heartbreaking cases of completely dysfunctional families. I heard one today that will haunt me into my dreams tonight, a story of a child whose parents are apparently no longer interested in being parents and want the child gone.

What kind of world is that for a child to grow up in? When you have no advocate at all? And no love? What kind of future does that child have?
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Busy busy weekend

January 11th, 2015

Been pretty busy around Chez Turner. First off, right around Christmas I caught some sort of cold which sapped much of my energy for a few days. Then my stuffy nose kept me from sleeping well for several nights. But that wasn’t enough to keep me from trying to do way too much as is my habit.

The changing calendar brought about the urge to knock out plenty of tasks that have been nagging us for a while. We cleaned out our attic of a ton of unneeded stuff. Then we did the same to the garage. Then we did the same to the utility room. Then we painted our dining room (after, what, six years?). Then we shifted our living room furniture around. Then we hung pictures on the wall (after, what, six years?). Oh, and I put in a charging station for our electric car.

In-between, we found time to go ice skating with our friends, go on a run or two, host our kids’ friends for playdates, go see the excellent movie The Imitation Game, and even get in some music practice. I’ve also spent some time building a spreadsheet to decipher our Time of Use – Demand (TOUD) electricity rate from Duke Energy Progress. I fixed up our CR-V to sell (Armor-All, car wax, engine cleaning, photography, create an ad) and used a smartphone app and a $15 OBD2 adapter to get the car like new. I also toyed with my new RTL-SDR tuners I bought from China, capable of tuning from about 50 MHz to 2200 MHz. And somewhere in there I made time to cook a very tasty meal tonight, after I watched the second half of the N.C. State win over Duke.

Life sure is busy but it’s also good.

If there’s an economy in your sharing then it’s not really sharing

January 7th, 2015


You can say I know a thing or two about sharing. I was open source long before it was cool. I support Wikipedia with not only my money but my photography, which I freely donate to the public domain. Even this blog is licensed under Creative Commons, allowing anyone to take what I’ve made and use it practically any way they choose. So the brouhaha over the “sharing economy” in Raleigh has me puzzled.

I attended what was billed as a “public hearing” on Airbnb Monday night. Fans organized the meeting to make a case for why Raleigh should consider legalizing use of the home-hosting service. Like other cities, Raleigh, they say, needs to embrace the “sharing economy.” I’m friends with many of these folks but I have a different take on this issue.
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Tablets and E-readers May Disrupt Your Sleep

December 23rd, 2014

Screen time before bedtime disrupts your sleep, a new study says. I love the science of sleep.

People who receive a tablet or e-book reader for the holidays might wind up spending some sleepless nights because of their new gadget.

That’s because the light emitted by a tablet like an iPad can disrupt sleep if the device is used in the hours before bedtime, according to a new Harvard study.

People who read before bed using an iPad or similar "e-reader" device felt less sleepy and took longer to fall asleep than when they read a regular printed book, researchers found.

via Tablets and E-readers May Disrupt Your Sleep.