Archive for February, 2010

The hole that was Market Square

February 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Yup, this it it, the New Market Square.

Ok … it’s what your seeing right now (and you thought the potholes were bad on the streets).

Click Here if you want to see the new plan, and why this is the way it is. If you click on the picture, it will actually take you to the main Market Square site, where you can get more info, go the their blog, etc.

BTW, this pic was taken with our new high tech Vivitar Mini Digital Camera, and we are starting a new photo blog so you can see Pittsburgh in a high tech, low res, keychain hangin’ way.  Click Here to go to it.

Having been at numerous earlier gatherings in Market Square, personally I think the renovations are wonderful.  Making the square one solid area keeps me and others from getting picked off by cars passing through.  The designs are definitely more up to date, stylish, and compliment the new buildings and skyline seen from that area.  Going through that area during it’s transition from the 90s to now, your experiences became that of avoiding drug dealers, drunks, and general unwanteds.  When it’s complete, I see more people opening shops in the area, great living spaces, and an area that you would want to work around.

This is one of those situations where something has to be broken back down to nothing to make it beautiful again.  Check it out … this could now be considered Pittsburgh’s biggest pothole, but it’s a good one … it brings something new.


PS – Watch ur step, dude!


Back in business – Review: CDS Micro

February 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Thanks to CDS Micro Systems in the Pittsburgh area, our favorite laptop (less the Windows running on it part) is back in business.  We ordered our keyboard for the Acer Aspire One for $16 (much less than others … and the order included shipping).  CDS received our order at 4:20pm on the 23rd of Feb, and had it in the mail first thing in the morning on the 24th of Feb … now that’s service.

We found them on Ebay, and for that kind of service, if you have an Acer or Gateway, it’s worth checking them out. The keyboard was exactly what we ordered and needed, fit perfectly (which can be an issue with netbook replacement parts(, and worked perfectly.  Actually the replacement keyboard was better quality than the original.

You can find CDS Micro listed in SWB Recommends.

Now for those experiencing this issue. If you get liquids like coffee in your netbook keyboard, it’s cheap enough to order a new one, but the old one can be cleaned with some patience.  This is an old technique taught to me by some old time TV / Radio guys and mainframe technicians.  It’s based on the fact that purified water is your best cleaner (if you ever use this technique for cleaning anything else electronic and it has batteries, capacitors, etc in it or on it, you must remove or completely discharge them. If not, you could get electrocuted or they parts could explode).  If this is a little technical for you, don’t do it.  Ask your local tech head to do it for you.

The netbook keyboards are so thin, any liquids that can leave a residue (no matter how minute) will cause the keyboard to malfunction for quite a while. You need to carefully clean the old keyboard to see if you can get it to work again.

The trick is using very good purified water … not electronic cleaners, not windex, etc.  Simple purified water will do the trick.

Here are the steps:

  1. Find a plastic pan (preferably one that has not been used) that is about the side of the netbook keyboard and fill it with your purified water to a level that will fully cover the keyboard.
  2. Place the keyboard in the water … if you need to use something to keep it submersed, make sure it does not depress any of the keys.
  3. After five minutes lift the keyboard out and let the water drain, removing the residue within the keyboard.
  4. Go back to step 2 twice, on the third time change the water and do the procedure two more times.  More if the keyboard was heavily soiled.
  5. Tap out as much water as possible (remember tap means tap, not smack)
  6. Leave the keyboard out for about a week in a very dry area, near light airflow if possible (yes I did say a week).
  7. After your keyboard has dried out, it should work fine.

Like I said, this is not guaranteed to work, but gets you a backup keyboard for your netbook instead of just wasting it to the garbage.


PS – Small netbooks are great for gremlins, and usually come with them if you are running Windows 🙂

THE Olympic Popularity Contest

February 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Click Here for the latest Yahoo! article on the Vonn / Mancuso Olympic elementary school level popularity contest.

We all know competition or sport has rivalries, but this one is just getting ridiculous. Every time I hear about Vonn and Mancuso at this point, the only thing I can picture is those two in is Hollywood skimpy ski suits filming the newest movie “Mean Girls Take the Olympics”.

Do these two know This Is The Olympics??

You know, where countries are supposed to compete honorably for medals of recognition for their country’s best athletes?

Not where you are supposed to continue a high school or college rivalry.

The Olympics serve the purpose of uniting countries in ways no other events can do. Now the games have been made to look like a contest “of who gets liked best”.

This is a reflection of how shallow some of the people in our country have become … that is extremely sad.


PS – Oh well, The Olympic had to get tainted by a few of ours at some time.

The “Toyota Bomb”

February 25, 2010 Leave a comment

The most popular question of the day:

“Do you think Toyota is being treated unfairly by our government?” … YES.


Because what is happening is something we try to make sure never happens in the corporate world, and is setting a precedent that could have some serious ramifications later in all corporate businesses.

And that is? ….. Conflict of interests. Really, really, big conflict of interests.

The U.S. government, because of the bailouts now effectively owns part of the U.S. car manufacturers (or at least some of them). That puts them in a very dangerous place where doing any regulation on the car manufacturers they do not own sets precedents to allow that to happen on a regular basis in real business.

This could set the scenario where an exec sits on one company and also on an another company selling or manufacturing like products allowing for price fixing, and monopolizing of an industry or product.

That happending could end up being a huge problem nobody in business wants, besides a few top controllers of the corporate world. It could also set the precedent of government control of businesses (and not in a good way).

What should be done with the Toyota issue?

There should have been a panel assembled of experts and representatives from the auto and safety industries from all countries where Toyota sells. They should have been the ones to review the Toyota recall issues and publish a decision and recommendations on those findings. All of the countries involved should have agreed to go by those published findings and decisions. This would have eliminated the conflict of interests legal issue our government has with handling this themselves.

The Toyota issue is not only hurting Toyota, it is hurting all auto sales from foreign companies, especially from Japan. Speaking to my father, who sells Honda, their sales are being hurt from this issue too. It’s helping the American companies, but way before they fix their own issues … and that’s another problem.

Think also, how many more people are employed in this country by companies like Toyota, Honda, etc. The good paying jobs and up being more numerous in those companies than in the American ones (I know this from how well Honda treats my father with bonuses, etc and how poorly I saw him treated when selling and working for the American car companies. I also have friends that worked for Chrysler, GM, etc and moved over to Toyota or Honda that are much happier now).

If the government messes up on this issue, it could end up hitting us even further in the economic groin … further rendering us useless as a financially powerful country.

We may want to think this one out a little further before putting a bullet in Toyota’s head, or we may end up dead from the ricochet. Issues like this are ones where you want to make sure you are thinking out how the resolutions you give will determine how that industry or business goes over the next five years, not just today or this month, etc.

Yes, Toyota needs to work on things like transparency …. but so do our companies. As they say “the one that has done no sin may throw the first stone.” I don’t think the U.S. is qualified to throw the first stone.

Well, since it is so deserving, SWB is handing out it’s frst never-ending clueless trophy. It’s good for as long as the U.S. Government is around, for as good as it is designed, the clueless will always be present within it.

The “Toyota Bomb” is ticking … will our government stop the show in time before it blows?


PS – Our government needs to get back to governing. The people are quite capable of not buying Toyota’s if they don’t like them or don’t trust them.

I finally got my car to inspection

February 24, 2010 Leave a comment

… and they told me it was going to be about $650 for me to be allowed to use my car after March.

Obviously these people haven’t seen cars from Ohio and West Virginia … they’d slap a sticker on mine pronto if they did.

Oh well, what else did I expect (after the new car got a tire damages, the old Honda got it’s windshield cracked, and air born coffee ended up in the keyboard of my laptop).

I figured I’d vent so the rest of yinz going through inspection this month could vent with me … enjoy the holiday, it only happens but once a year.


PS – I mean really … some of these other cars  running on the roads don’t even have doors …

BTW – I’ll have a bit more tomorrow, when I get a chance to do something other than sit in an auto hospital waiting room drinking bad coffee with no Wi-Fi.

Another exciting day

February 23, 2010 Leave a comment

… and this is probably what quite a few other people are saying, as they are waiting for the cable guy to arrive.

I got to wait for the windshield replacement guy.

One part of me wanted him to not show, so that I did have to cut the check.  The other part of me wanted him to show up ASAP, so that I could quickly get on with my day.

He was on time … and I had to cut the check (no magical free windshield appeared on my lawn … the Man In The Sky didn’t leave me one (if ur not hip, that’s a reference to the movie “The Invention Of Lying”)).

Sorry for the delay in getting the post finished, in addition to all the other fun activities today, a few drops of coffee arched right into my Acer Aspire One keyboard, rendering it temporarily (or possibly permanently) useless.

What are ya gonna do, right?

So  found one for $16 on Ebay and ordered it … ironically the place that sells them is actually in Pittsburgh.  I’m in shock that I’m not getting ripped off for the part, but then again, maybe miracles actually happen.


PS – Blah blah blah blah blah etc etc etc crap

This is it … life as you miss it

February 23, 2010 Leave a comment

We all dream of the day when we get to sit on our rocking chairs and watch everyone else stress out and live life … or miss life.

Did you ever take the chance to stop and see what you have missed out on your quest for the golden rocking chair?

Think about it … gotta run to  get the cool job, gotta run to get the kids the hot toys, gotta run to get my boss his dry cleaning.  If you stop for a second, maybe you would realize you are actually on a planet. No … really, that thing you are walking on filled with dirt (and lots of unmentionables) is a planet.  Go visit the Carnegie Science Center … they’ll confirm it.  Honest.

Recently I rented the movie “The Invention Of  Lying“.  It was an interesting movie, because it showed humans as typical self-centered, selfish idiots – even when they didn’t know how to lie. It also showed how clueless and shallow people can be.

OK, it pointed out the high gullibility factor to us too.

The biggest thing it showed though, was how people can go a whole lifetime walking right by anything that matters … simply because that is how it’s always been done.  How many times do you do that yourself?  How many people do you know that have pretty much turned that way of life into a new kind of religion?

Think about it … maybe if we weren’t so “human” there wouldn’t be hatred, greed.  There would be jobs due to no outsourcing to save a buck.  People would be treated fairly, and their skin color, sex, or religion actually would not make a difference to anyone.

But then again, we are human … which makes “The Invention Of Lying” seem more like a documentary than a fictional movie.


PS – I wish I were my dog.