Sunday, April 24, 2016

Bosch on Amazon

Thoroughly enjoyable.

Some thoughts:

1) Deputy Chief Irving is a much more sympathetic character in the TV show than he was in the books.

2) Not sure because it's been a while since I read the books, but it would appear that the shows were made from Echo Park and Trunk Music.  What I don't know is if they rolled other books in as sideline stories.

So figure I got 1,000 minutes of entertainment out of the deal, that makes a decent start at cutting into the $99 Amazon Prime price that I paid.  I don't care about the free two day shipping since I almost always wait until I have $50 worth of stuff to order and get free shipping anyway so that doesn't figure in.

Wow! Birding update

For the first time ever, saw American goldfinches on my feeder.  Had thistle feeders there for several years and never saw one, gave up a couple years ago, but hit paydirt with this one.






And then a couple minutes later his girlfriend showed up.  Along with something else that I haven't been able to find in my Golden Field Guide.  Lots of red.  Not much of a picture here, but the next one is a bit better.


If anyone has any ideas ...


Cleanup time. Toaster update

With a little chrome polish and some orange solvent.






Oh, and it works perfectly.  Selling on ebay for two to three hundred.  Not that this one is for sale, but nice to know that if things get tight...

Too early?

To refer to him as "the artist formerly known as Prince"?

Hey, I wasn't a fan in the sense of "waiting in line to buy his next album", or even in the sense of "has any of his music", but I did grow up during his heyday and he had some good stuff.  The man was definitely talented, even if it wasn't really a style that I liked much.  Of what I remember, the ones I enjoyed would have to have been When Doves Cry, Purple Reign, and Raspberry Beret.  There were probably others although they all got overplayed so much (Top 40 radio hasn't changed) that I eventually (after about two weeks) got sick of them and stopped listening.

I also remember laboriously re-winding a cassette of Darling Nikki while in college, so that we could listen backwards.  It did, in fact, have an old-timey gospel sounding song dubbed in.  So there was that.

Rooting a Nook for Android

Thought it might be nice to be able to use the Kindle app on my Nook with fewer and fewer books being released on Barnes and Noble (Amazon has a really great self publishing program).  Did some research and discovered that you could use Touchnooter, which would allow you to boot either the original Nook OS or an Android OS.  Easy instructions found here.

Except when they aren't.  I followed the instructions and the Nook wouldn't start up at all.  Froze on the startup screen.  So I did a bit of digging and found these instructions to restore to the original OS.  That was easy although it took a lot of waiting and restarting.  Now it's back.

Except where it isn't.  I don't have my Shelves anymore since I had to reset everything.  If you aren't familiar with the Nook system, the one terrible feature is the organization of your books.  You create a shelf, then you scroll through every book on your Nook, selecting the ones you want to add.  Fine if keep twenty or thirty books for reading and then archive or delete them when you are done, not so fine if you have 1070 books and want them to be organized.  There were complaints galore when they created the system but they ignored the complaints and never did release a new version of the OS.  Shortly thereafter they released the Color Nook and the classic Soft Touch was forgotten.

Now I have to decide.  Option 1, try to root it again and maybe it works, and maybe I like it.  Option 2, rebuild the shelves.  Option 3, buy a tablet.  During my explorations I have read that Option 3 is not a great option, that reading on a tablet isn't nearly as easy on the eyes as eInk, although it would appear that there are some new e-reader tablets available so that might be an option.

Well, either way, I have my Nook back so no harm, no foul.  I'll let you know if I decide to try the root process again and how it comes out.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Bread goes in, toast comes out

First of all, my utmost thanks to Jitterbuzz.  Why do I need to thank him?  Well, I was at a flea market today and I picked up a Toast-o-lator for $10.  "What is a Toast-o-lator?" you might ask.  Good question.  I didn't know either.  All I knew is that it was a toaster, it had a big slot at either end, a  switch for turning it on or off, a lever for adjusting it, and no indication of how the bread went in or the toast came out.  It was, however, really cool, old looking, and, as mentioned before, only $10.  I bought it.

Enter Jitterbuzz.  He (or she, I don't honestly know) has a web page devoted to the Toast-o-lator toaster.  Apparently, bread goes in and toast comes out through the undulations of a serrated bar that drags the bread in, drags the toast out, and drags the whatever-you-call-bread-that-has-started-to-toast-but-isn't-actually-toasted-enough-to-call-it-toast through the center portion.  Here's their advert (also from the Jitterbuzz site):


And here's mine (from my kitchen counter, not Jitterbuzz):


I don't know if it works.  It needs a lot of cleaning.  It is my intention to clean it and, if humanly possible, fix it if it doesn't work.  This should go nicely with my waffle irons.  If that sentence doesn't make sense to  you, search for "waffle" in the search bar at the top of my blog.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Felon is not the default position in this country

A few years ago I was pulled over on the way home from a hockey game.  I had only had one drink but hadn't used a restroom in several hours so stopped on the side of an on-ramp to relieve myself.  Looking back, a tactical error, but at the time it seemed reasonable.  I was very tired and still twenty minutes from home.  A quick stop and I'd be on my way.  Unfortunately a sheriff happened to be nearby and decided that I might be DUI.  I don't blame him for that.

As he pulled up I notified him that I had my .45 on my hip and a permit in my wallet.  He disarmed me, cuffed me in the back of his cruiser, and checked my ID.  None of this was, in my opinion, unreasonable, given the late night circumstances and the possibility that I had been drinking.  However, there is one part to this story that really bothered me.  He ran the serial number of my gun through dispatch.  I verbally objected and he told me that he had to make sure it wasn't stolen.

What?  Given the requirement that an officer have what is called "reasonable, articulable suspicion" that a crime has been committed prior to detaining or searching an individual (other than what is necessary for "officer safety", a problematic term in and of itself), what possible suspicion could the officer have had that an individual in a legally registered car with no wants or warrants on his license and a valid concealed carry permit would be carrying a stolen firearm?

Which brings us to The United States of America Vs Nathanial Black.  Black was hanging out with some friends in the parking lot of their apartment complex in North Carolina.  Police officers decided that hanging out in a parking lot was suspicious and seven officers stopped to investigate.  One of the men notified the officers that he had a firearm openly carried on his hip, an action that is legal in North Carolina, as in Washington state.  The officers then disarmed that man and started frisking the rest and asking for identification.  Black attempted to leave and it was then discovered that he was illegally in possession of a firearm as he had prior criminal record.

The police  justification at trial for the search was that they had no way to know whether the first man, who was openly carrying his firearm, was legally allowed to own a firearm unless they checked his record by obtaining his identification and running a check.

In other words, the police presumption in this case, as in mine, was that a man carrying a gun was a criminal unless it could be proved that he was not.  Anyone see anything wrong with that presumption?

Fortunately the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals recognized that this goes against everything our legal system is designed to accomplish.  They made the following statement in their decision:

Troupe’s gun was legally possessed and displayed. The Government contends that because other laws prevent convicted felons  from  possessing  guns,  the  officers  could  not  know whether  Troupe  was  lawfully  in  possession  of  the  gun  until they  performed  a  records  check.  Additionally,  the  Government  avers  it  would  be  "foolhardy"  for  the  officers  to  "go about their business while allowing a stranger in their midst
to possess a firearm." We are not persuaded.

Being a felon in possession of a firearm is not the default status. More importantly, where a state permits individuals to openly carry firearms, the exercise of this right, without more, cannot  justify  an  investigatory  detention.

Emphasis mine.  This is the exact argument that has been made about friends of mine here in Washington when they were stopped for carrying a firearm.  The police cannot assume that just because you are carrying that you might be committing a crime.  Carrying alone does not rise to the level of reasonable articulable suspicion of a crime.  Good news even though only applicable to the Fourth Circuit, these cases can and are often used to create case law in other districts.

Someone will probably come along and make the argument that you shouldn't open carry, and that you are just asking to be harassed by the police if you do so I will address it pre facto.  That is irrelevant.  The law allows  you to open carry in my state, as in North Carolina, as in many other states.  In fact open carry is the norm when it comes to law.  Only six states prohibit open carry of a firearm although some do require that you have a carry permit in order to openly carry.  Since the law allows it, the presumption is therefore that if you are openly carrying, or if you are carrying concealed but the firearm becomes visible due to any one of a number of circumstances (printing on your shirt, the wind lifting your jacket, changing from a heavy jacket to a light one, reaching for your wallet, etc) the police still do not have probably cause to stop you and determine if you are "legally carrying" unless they see some evidence of another crime.

Good news for those of us interested in a freer state, one where the government is less intrusive and the police don't routinely violate our right of free passage through the use of pretextual stops.

You can read the opinion here.  It does date back to 2013 so is a couple years old, but worth having in your repertoire of useful case law.