On Driving

Never draw attention to your dash cam. And never make absurd feigned threats about “this is being recorded!”. Ignore it. Also, saying so only demonstrates that you’re an arsehole. And, as I’ve said before, your dash cam is as much a witness of you as it is of someone else.

Use the brakes. Seriously. There is no situation where adding more energy is going to be better or safer.

Never swerve. Also, see above on brakes. When you swerve, you actually take your focus off of where you’re going. You can absolutely swerve into another vehicle. Also, when you swerve, you take away traction from braking. I know what you’re saying, “but what about the car behind me?!? he’s not going to stop!” Uh-huh… it’s not your responsibility to control the vehicle behind you… that’s its driver’s responsibility. Because…

Remember, it’s a minimum of “two-second following distance”. It’s not “two car-lengths” nor “one car length for every ten miles an hour”. It’s not any length of cars — Smart car? Ford LTD? What length of car?

It’s two seconds.

Why? Because that’s how long it will take to recognize and react while maintaining control of your own vehicle.

On dry roads, not in a curve, it’s two seconds.

And if you’ve “better reflexes than everyone else” — you haven’t.

It’s still two seconds.

It takes about half a second (½) to recognize and react to something; then it takes another half to a full second for the application of the brakes. It’ll also require about another half to a full second for the vehicle mass to shift forward (yes, really) and for the suspension to compress to then apply maximum braking.

If you’re doing the math, that’s 1½ to 2½ seconds. Call it about two seconds. And that two seconds passes much faster than you think. The old adage about counting “One-thousand one, one-thousand two” Still pretty effective at judging following distance.

If you’re guesstimating the distance to the car ahead of you (which you’re guessing wrong) you will still need two full seconds to respond to the unexpected.

Wet roads? Add another second.

Poor visibility? Another second.

Snow? Add another two seconds.

The accelerator can never get you out of trouble. See above on the topic of brakes. More energy doesn’t equal more safer.

A roundabout is not a race track or a competition. Driver-Ed and the testing process badly needs to incorporate roundabouts into their methods and expose people to them. The first time many new drivers encounter them is in the real world only after they’ve earned a license.

The horn is to alert other drivers, it’s not to be used a signaling device or, worse, to blast every road user and pedestrian within 500ft for ten effing seconds after the real or perceived threat has passed.

Also, the throttle on a motorcycle is not a signaling device. Great, you can twist a throttle and bounce the motor off of its rev-limiter. Engine noise is ubiquitous and quite easily ignored — we hear it all the time. If only there was something that had a unique sound that could draw attention to a threat?

Oh! I know! We could use a horn! And make it readily accessible within hands reach to the vehicle operator!

Never pull over to the inside (left) shoulder. Work your way over to the outside (right) shoulder. Obviously, opposite in lefthand drive countries. Move to the outside lane.

If you’ve been hit or bumped, do not get out and immediately inspect the damage. Show some compassion. Check first on the driver and passengers of the other car to see if they’re injured.

Never run to an accident. I can’t stress this enough. Look around for risks. Yes, move with intent and purpose. But never run. While you’re busy running across a three-lane interstate, other vehicles who didn’t see the incident are most certainly not expecting to see a person darting into traffic.

If there’s snow or ice visible on the road, slow down.

Never chase down somebody who ran from a collision. You have a dash cam — yes, I know they’re not ideal for capturing license plates at night — but only follow enough to improve the odds that the camera is going to capture sufficient video of the incident. Put another way, unless you are a police officer, do not chase down an offender. You’ve captured the video on camera. Stop and notify law enforcement and your insurance company and give them a completely unedited copy of the video.


Why do I still wear a facemask or shemagh when I go out in public?

This is why:

I’m not going to contribute to the increased risk for the public.

Epidemiologic curve of the infections in Spokane County since about 17 March.

Sharp rise. That was predicted.

Slow decline. Expected.

And just when everybody assumes (quite wrongly) that everything’s fine or that it’s only a hoax, we see another sharp rise in cases within the last week. A number of people firmly in denial about realities of the world have decided to get together and have those early Summer parties and gatherings. I’d wager we’ll see an even sharper ascent.

Somebody can be contagious and asymptomatic for a week or two, so if I’m infected, I’m going to take every reasonable precaution to not put anyone else at risk.

Yep, I’ll be one of those strange people who insists on wearing a mask whenever I’m amongst the public… for months to come.


And there it is. 155% higher than the previous peak at the beginning of April. The numbers for the past week aren’t complete yet.

155% higher than the previous high two months ago.

The Voicemail Incident of 2012

Names have been changed to protect the identity of our protagonist.

Mary is a tech with our Internal Support department. IS has a great deal of power and responsibility to support the organization’s desktop users.

Lois is a member of our HR department. And, of course, HR also has a great deal of power and responsibility to support the company’s people assets.

I had worked with both Mary and Lois for several years. I had trained Mary back in 2005 or 2006 when she began at our customer-facing help desk.

Lois joined the company around the same time as I recall.

Mary would occasionally have need to contact HR to obtain some needed detail about a new-hire with the company. Rather expected in the course of business.

Mary rang Lois (with HR) to see if she could help.

Lois was busy at that particular moment, so the call went to voicemail.

Mary left a message. At the end of the message, while she was hanging up the phone, she made a, satto voce remark to the effect of: “…never mind, you’re an idiot. No idea why I’m…[click]”.

The mic is always hot.


The best thing to do would have been to simply not utter such an absurd remark to begin with. But, there it was. It was said.

The next best thing to do would be to promptly ring Lois back — leave another voicemail if needed — and apologize profusely for the gross lapse in judgement.

Didn’t happen, of course.

With great power comes great responsibility.

Instead, Mary decided to leverage her Internal Support powers…

Wrongly. She proceeded to…

  • connect to the voicemail server — to which she had access to create accounts for new/existing employees.
  • accessed Lois’ voicemail box — which was occasionally needed as our Shoretel system was still being rolled out to the organization.
  • deleted the recording — which IS occasionally needed to do, again, while we were in the early roll-out of the phone system.

By this time, Lois had, of course, listened to her voicemail. A bit put-off by the somewhat meaningless comment at the end, she was going to just have a chat with Mary. Perhaps she was having a bad day.

Then she wanted to get the particulars of the original purpose for the call and listened to it again and… but it was gone.

That escalated quickly.

A series of poor decisions over the past many years had led to the afternoon that Mary hastily boxed up her desk and was escorted out of the building by another HR team member.

Note: All of the voicemail system access had been locked down rather tightly since then. Because of this.


Taking an online test from home using Pearson VUE?

Is it possible? Perhaps.

Is it frustrating? Yep.

First, do not turn on Do Not Disturb before you do the preliminary test. Yes, I know, “but I don’t want to be disturbed!” You can’t even run the test itself unless you get the system notifications asking for changes to Accessibility and Notifications.



USB – Universal Serial Bus.

Why do they have the word “Universal” in there?

Because it most certainly isn’t. It’s perhaps better written nUSB and perhaps pronounced “new ess bea” rather than “yoo ess bea”… and we all know that n is short for “not”, as in, Not Universal Serial Bus.

Here’s the thing… for being “universal”, it has a bewildering combination of protocols, data delivery speeds, physical connector types, power usage and delivery. Thankfully (ha!) there are only two cable lengths.

How so?

Let’s see, there USB v1.0, v1.1, v2.0, v3.0, then v3.1

There’s low-speed, full-speed, hi-speed, SuperSpeed, and a version of SuperSpeed that’s available for v3.1.

You have USB-A connectors, which is reasonable, then there’s USB-B connectors along with mini-B and micro-B. Complicating things a bit further, you’ve 3.x B and 3.x micro-B. Let’s not forget USB-C

For power availability, thankfully, v1.0 and v1.1 didn’t provide any, but everything else can provide 500mA, 900mA, 1.5A, and even 3.0A (at 5V in all cases).

I know, I’m just being dramatic. It’s not really 875 different combinations. No, no, of course not. It has been narrowed-down — refined a bit.

But when you go out to buy a nUSB cable, choose carefully.

EDIT: See? I was probably overreacting. I stand corrected.

But I’m still gonna refer to it as nUSB.