Sunday, January 30, 2011

Driving Safety

My wife's employer recently required her to take an advanced driving class.  From what I hear, it was great, but most of the information was really just good common sense.  But I think it should be required, since no one anymore seems to have any sense - common or otherwise.

So I thought I'd post a couple of things I've been thinking should be in cars.

  1. When you put the car in reverse, there should be an audible warning outside the car.  The stats on kids getting run over is larger than you'd expect, but not only that, it would stop the random idiot from backing into you when he, for whatever reason, puts his car into reverse at the stoplight and doesn't return it to forward drive.
  2.  When you blow the horn, the high beams should come on and flash.  With the stereos, phones, DVD players and such in today's cars, who can hear your horn?
  3. Distracted driving is the major cause of accidents. So simply limit the controls and "appliances" that are in a car's dashboard. For example, take the "car information center." Do we really need to know our car's mileage at 70 MPH on the freeway?
  4. GPS: Not only often complicated for the average driver to operate, but they tend to be a visual distraction. I'm thinking make them audio-only while the vehicle is in motion.
  5. DVDs in cars.  A pox on them. Outlaw them.  By any measure, it's a hallmark of bad parenting to want to slip in a DVD for the kids while driving; spend some time with your kids, or don't have them in the first place. But bad on adults: I've seen people actually watching porn on their car DVDs as they drive. Not that I'm down on porn, but it backs up traffic because everyone around wants to watch, too.
  6. Instruct cops to actually take distracted driving seriously. If I see one more woman doing her makeup, doing her nails, or talking on the phone while passing like she's at NASCAR, I might give up driving altogether. Men: you're not immune: I often see guys reading the newspaper, or reports, or using electric razors while driving. The workmen driving pickups: You are not race-car drivers. You are in an ill-handling pickup truck.  Slow the hell down! And those who do no-handed driving - that's just beyond the pale, but I saw a woman doing it yesterday. A month ago I saw a guy driving while holding a soup bowl in one hand, and feeding himself with the other.  It's unknown what he was steering with.
  7. Since we can't do away with lazy people, we have to legislate our safety when we venture near them.  In snowy areas, such as it is here in Maryland, people need to be forced to clean off their cars. In particular, SUV drivers don't clean off the roofs of their cars, because there's a lot to clean off, and it's hard to reach.  But that snow will come off sooner or later, probably on the highway after it turns to ice, blasting right onto another car.  Windscreens are often broken when these large chunks of ice hit them.  Boy, is that dangerous, but beyond that most insurance companies don't cover glass replacement.  Windshields very often cost well over $1000, and if you carry a high deductible, that amounts to serious money.  All because the fool in front of you was too lazy to spend 30 seconds and clean the snow off her roof (It breaks my nails!)
  8. While on the snow issue, I saw a,n absolute moron the other day driving with a car covered in snow, and  - I kid you not - only cleaned off a patch of her windshield directly in fron of her about 1 foot square. You could clearly see (pun intended) that she could not. Unbelieveable.
So there's just a couple of ideas.  Man, It's getting worser and worser out there.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Speeding Up FIOS Internet

I got FIOS a few months ago in response to Comcast's internet dropping out incessantly.  FIOS has been like a rock, but unfortunately also like a stone in terms of speed.  I mean in some cases, as slow as dial-up.  The answer is to optimize the internet registry settings.

FIOS knows this, and has a speed optimizer tool to do it for you.  Unfortunately, it doesn't always work.  Being on Windows 7, it didn't for me. But I found the problem.

You can go to the FIOS speed Optimizer page, and it will tell you to run Internet Explorer in Administrator mode.  No problem.  But when you try to click on the critical "optimize" link, nothing. It just stares at you.

The trick is to run the 32-bit version of Internet Explorer.  I had been using the 64-bit version, which is the default IE for Win7 64-bit.  So, run IE 32-bit in Admin mode, go to the Optimizer page, follow the directions, and it should go. Whee!

Sheesh, you'd think the FIOS guys would tell you this.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The tooth fairy

The tooth fairy teaches children that they can sell body parts for money.
  - David Richerby

Zebron and James