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Archive for January, 2012

Washington State Traffic Radio Stations

January 28, 2012 Leave a comment

When driving along the interstate it is not uncommon to see a blue sign with yellow lights on top, which says to tune into a certain radio station, should the yellow lights be flashing. Their purpose is to alert drivers to weather and traffic situations. The other day I emailed the Washington State Department of Transportation for a list of all of the radio stations they use, so that I can preset them on my car radio. Ron Vessy emailed me back a document called HAR locations, which is a map showing the WSDOT Highway Advisory Radio locations. Since I normally drive along I-405 and my longer drives generally include the Western half of I-90 and I-82 the two radio stations I need to be concerned about are 530 AM and 1610 AM. Sure, I could have programmed them while on the road, but officially asking should be safer.

Categories: Organizations, Travel

Getting some of the bandwagon out of politics

January 25, 2012 Leave a comment

I like living in a democratically elected republic, it does give one a sense of living in a place where the most possible amount of people feel like they’re getting a fair deal. The elementary idea behind elections are simple, a voter looks at the possible choices of candidates and selects the one that they like the most. I heard a story on NPR the other day which disheartened my faith in our system. In the story a random Iowan named Sharon Layman mentioned how she wasn’t going to vote for Michelle Bachman because she wasn’t doing better in the polls. To me, that’s a horrible reason to not vote for someone, it defeats the idea of picking who you want. But so many people rely on the polls “informing” them as to who the good pick is.

It made me think back to my proposal on how to change elections and I think that if we did change our elections to this model, it would reduce this bandwagon effect. Many people don’t want to vote for the loser; or at least they want to vote for someone who is going to get a large percentage of the vote, because they don’t want to feel like they threw their vote away. Part of the reason for this feeling is that many of the elections in the US are winner takes all. So if there are three candidates all a candidate needs is 34% of the vote to win. They pretty much just need a rounding error. This is why the American political system evolved into a two-party system. Most people would rather go with the person they kind of like, rather than risking voting the person they really like, if it means that the person they really don’t like will then win.

My proposal for voting for what we want doesn’t work for picking candidates within the party. For that, I think that there needs to be two major changes to the current system. First, the vote for each state should be changed to Preferential voting. The results will still be interesting because you can figure out an actual winner, and pundints can figure out how the different candidates looked from the initial cast. Second, the order in which the different states vote should be random for each election cycle. Many people want all of the states to vote at once, but the idea behind why it’s not that way is that a not-well-funded candidate has a chance of competing if they only have to focus on one state at a time, and can build a grass-roots effort. Plus you would get more people feeling like they might have thrown their vote away. I like the possiblity of a politian building up a grass-roots effort, so a handful of states get to vote first, but it should stop being Iowa and New Hampshire every time. I can’t think of a reason to not make the order of the states chosen random.

So there we go, my initial proposal had an additional benefit of watering down the bandwagon affect, and will still result in our representatives representing closer to what we the people want. Sadly many people wouldn’t know what to do without having poll numbers to tell them what to think. It’s like how you look at a tabloid cover and wonder who that “celebrity” is; and it turns out to be someone who’s a celebrity because they’re famous and they became famous for being a celebrity. It makes no sense, but it does sell tabloids. Please, let’s stop this current madness.

Standing in the cold for a hot lunch

January 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Yesterday my work cafeteria began a remodeling project. So to provide food the company brings in some food trucks. It is kind of nice to have the novelty of the food trucks, but I’m sure the novelty is going to wear off. It’s January right now, and standing outside in the cold, waiting for an order, isn’t much fun. Can’t eat in the cold either, so no more big group discussions at lunch.

Categories: Health and wellness

Use Alt+D instead of F6 in IE10

January 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Something which I noticed in the Internet Explorer 10 Developer Preview (IE10), is that F6 didn’t bring up the address bar. My normal browsing workflow involves pressing F6 to highlight the contents of the address bar, and begin typing my new desired address to navigate to a new web page. This doesn’t work in the Metro chrome-less IE10. The reason why it doesn’t work is because the purpose of F6 is to cycle through the chrome which is displayed (and I am just getting lucky with the address bar being the first item in the list of things to cycle through), and now that IE10 doesn’t show any chrome by default, there was no address bar to cycle through. So I looked up the different IE short cuts and found that the shortcut for selecting the address bar is Alt+D. Here, I had been using the wrong keyboard shortcut this whole time. I didn’t know what the purpose of F6 was, I thought it was all about the address bar, and it wasn’t.

I’m glad that the Alt+D short cut is there, I would have been quite annoyed if I couldn’t be as effective with the keyboard in Windows 8 (which is where IE 10 is introduced) as I am now. I still have time to practice using Alt+D instead of F6 before Windows 8 becomes the default OS I use at both home and work. Just thought I’d post this as a heads up to anyone else who uses F6 to highlight the address bar like I did/do.