Chattanooga-on sale now!

Entertaining video from Fancy Rhino:

Move update- packing up crap

moving boxes stacking upMy last move was 17 years ago when we moved from Lynnwood to Arlington. Back then I rented a U-Haul truck and made a few runs up and down I-5 to move all our stuff into our new place. That’s not an option this time, we have a lot more household items now and the trip is about 2,600 miles.

I have found that trying to pick a long distance mover is harder than I expected. There’s a ton of different companies, and many of them are just brokers that in some cases switch your load between carriers on such a long haul. One quoted me 3-4 weeks for my items to make the trip from Arlington to Chattanooga. Anyhow I’ve settled on a major moving company and they plan on loading up all of our belongings, including our 2 cars and getting it down there in 5 days, just in time for us to move our stuff into our new home.

After spending the last couple weeks boxing up stuff I have to say it is unbelievable how much stuff one can accumulate in 17 years. I have donated and dumped off tons of stuff that was packed away in closets, under the house and in the garage.

I have a lot more to pack in the next couple weeks. Apparently ammunition and aerosol cans are a no-no on moving trucks so I will need to find a place for them.

Still need to cancel PUD, Waste Management, switch my ISP and forward my postal mail to my new address.

Oh and I found out that moving my cats to Chattanooga will cost $1,200 to haul them in a climate controlled van. (I just can’t do the cats on a plane)

Change

Photo of the Tennessee river in Chattanooga Bill Gillam 2015

I’ve been busy and not doing too much with my blog (or twitter for that matter) the last couple months. The reason is I’ve been dealing with a whole lot of change in my life. To sum it up quickly- I’m moving to Chattanooga Tennessee. I’ll be working for a construction company in Chattanooga, doing very similar work to what I’ve been doing in the Pacific Northwest over the last 25 years.

This all went down rather quickly over the last 2 months. I listed the house for sale, sold it within 2 weeks, purchased a home in Chattanooga and I’ll be moving by the end of April. It’s slightly overwhelming dealing with so much change in a short amount of time, I’m still sort of numb the way this has all come together.

I’ll miss Snohomish County, having lived here my entire life. Leaving my friends and family will be tough, but I’m ready for a big change in my life, and this is going to be that change. A new challenge in a new part of the country, lots of opportunity to explore and experience a new lifestyle.

I hope I can find a form of public service to participate in when I get down to Tennessee, I’ve been a Reserve Deputy Sheriff, part time Firefighter/EMT and finally a Fire Commissioner here in Snohomish County over the last 25 years. I have no idea what opportunities exist there but certainly plan on looking into it after I get settled in.

I’ll be more active on this blog during this move and will share my experience of what it’s like to move from the Pacific Northwest to Tennessee over the next few months.

Otterbox Defender case damaged my iPhone 6 screen

iphone screen damaged from otterboxTitle pretty much says it all. I bought an Otterbox Defender case to protect my phone when I am out at jobsites or working outdoors when I want extra protection for my phone. I’ve had the phone about three weeks and have used the Defender case a total of three days at the most- usually I have my iPhone in a slim leather case.

Monday I noticed some kind of smudge mark on my iPhone’s screen- I attempted to clean it off but it would not come off. I tried some car wax to try to polish it off- but it did nothing. I could not figure out what would cause the mark- until I looked at the Otterbox case. On the front piece of the Otterbox case is a thin membrane material that covers the home button- exactly the same size as the marks on my iPhone’s screen. This material is not flush with the case, so it rubs against the screen and apparently will damage the protective coating on the screen.otterbox case

I emailed Otterbox some photos and a summary of my issue but received no response. So I put up a video showing the issue- shared my frustration on twitter and got a few responses from folks that have had the same problem.

Otterbox has yet to respond to my email. I did get a response from @OtterboxCS on Tiwitter- “Unfortunately as we are not the device manufacture, we are unable to provide a warranty or replacement on the device itself.” Translation- “Buzz off”.

Needless to say I will never purchase anything from Otterbox in the future. The crappy design of this case made the damage to the screen inevitable. Otterbox not taking 2 minutes to respond to my email, only using a canned twitter reply to deal with my complaint is enough to tell me they could care less if I am happy.  The irony is I purchased their case to protect my iPhone- yet their case has managed to permanently damage my new iPhone’s screen in just a few days.

The customer service folks at Otterbox didn’t have time to respond to my email, however they did take time to look me up on linkedin:

linkedinSo if you want to protect your phone from damage- please avoid using the Otterbox line of cases.

Fallout from my WSP video

GMA

When I uploaded the video from WSP’s speed enforcement in Wenatchee earlier this week I had no idea it would blow up to become a national news story. I was hoping that others would share my frustration after hearing officers running late to a conference blowing through a speed trap 20+mph over the limit without being stopped.

Apparently this video struck a nerve with folks. It was first picked up by Komo here in Seattle, then KCPQ, then Kiro. I ended up getting phone calls from news agencies all over the country asking about the video.

video camera setup

I agreed to do on-camera interviews with ABC World News and Kiro to discuss my thoughts on the incident.  After seeing me on TV I received a lot of texts/phone calls from friends telling me that I’d better avoid driving for a while, basically implying that WSP will want to “get even” for making them look bad.

Friday I was contacted by an attorney in Wenatchee that kindly offered to represent any motorist that received a citation at that speed enforcement operation for free.  Attorney John Brangwin sounds like he’s very familiar with WSP and defending those who receive tickets in these types of situations. If you received a citation at this location and want to talk with John, his phone number is 509-663-3915, or visit his firm’s website for more contact info.

His services may not be needed however- Friday the news announced that WSP was “voiding” all the citations issued at that location for the two days that the conference attendees were allowed to pass through without receiving tickets.tickets voided

The incident was embarrassing to the State Patrol and they will be making changes to how they handle patrol cars that are speeding through their enforcement areas in the future.

Mark my words on this one- they will encrypt their air to ground communications sometime in the near future. They will cite “public-safety” or “privacy” as their reason, but the real reason is they don’t like having something like this being brought out to make them look bad.

scanner

 

 

Washington State Patrol aircraft catches several police cars speeding- and does nothing.

I had to make a run to Wenatchee today for work. It was an uneventful drive over highway 2, until I got a couple miles out of Wenatchee. I had been following a police car over the pass from Lynden, which was a little odd considering that’s up in Whatcom county. As we got close to Wenatchee a WSP patrol car came up on my bumper, both the Lynden car and I moved aside for him to pass. It passed me about the time we entered a speed emphasis area of highway 2. I had my scanner so I flipped over to WSP car to car frequency and picked up the aircraft chatter with the ground units.

As I continued on my way past the speed trap “emphasis” I could hear the pilot NOT calling out the speeds of the speeders- asking ground units to confirm if they were patrol cars or not. He said he tracked several patrol cars doing “over 80″ in the 60 mph zone, but they stopped none of them. It became clear that all these speeding police cars were on their way to a “drug recognition expert” conference at Lake Chelan. Apparently that’s good enough for WSP, they let them all through without stopping any of them. (They did stop a motorcyclist- but he also was heading to the conference and it sounded like he got a pass too- for 78 mph and cutting off a car).

Check out the video and see for yourself- classic case of “do as I say, not as I do”

Military Equipment Sent to Washington State Law Enforcement Agencies

hummveeAnyone watching the national news over the past week or so has probably seen some video of protestors facing off against heavily armed police in Ferguson, Missouri. Some were surprised that a relatively small police department had such military grade hardware.

Many of the smaller state and county law enforcement agencies received military equipment from under the 1033 Defense Department program from 2011 to 2013.

Here is a list of Washington state agencies that received military gear from 2011-13:

The total value of this equipment was $10,165,752.23. Most expensive item I could find was a “Helicopter, Utility” with a value of $922,704.  Also found several “Mine Resistant Vehicles” with a total value of $2,798,000 were sent to Washington state during that period. Handy for community policing.

convoy

Seattle area law enforcement ask people to “Tweet Smart” during emergencies

Just got this notice from WSP- asking folks to exercise a little self control when things go wrong.

Joint Media Release
Seattle-Area Law Enforcement Agencies

**For Immediate Release**
July 29, 2014
Contacts: See Below

Local police ask you to “Tweet Smart” during emergencies

(Seattle)—Social media has become the tool of choice for sharing life events, from mundane things like family dinners to major, life-changing, emergencies

Seattle-area law enforcement agencies are asking you to “Tweet Smart” during emergencies, to help public safety responders keep you safe.

“Please don’t tweet about the movements of responding police officers, or post pictures,” said Washington State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste. “Sooner or later we’ll have an emergency where the suspect is watching social media. That could allow an offender to escape, or possibly even cost an officer their life.”

The agencies’ concern began to grow after watching events in Moncton, New Brunswick and Portland, OR.

“We watched these incidents as they unfolded on social media. In both cases, there was real-time information posted by individuals that could have compromised officer safety,” said Chief Bret Farrar of the Lakewood Police Department.

Along with not posting information about police movements, posting pictures can also put officers at risk.

“If it’s safe to do so, go ahead and take pictures of our deputies in action,” said Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer. “We’re very proud of the work they do. We’d simply ask that you wait to post those pictures until the emergency is over.”

In fact, pictures posted after the emergency can help investigators determine what happened as the event unfolded.

Here are some suggested dos and don’ts for the use of social media in emergencies.
· Do get to a safe place and call 911 if possible. Live telephone calls to dispatchers are law enforcement’s best source of real-time information in an emergency.
· Do feel free to let family and friends know you’ve reached safety.
· Do feel free to warn friends if you have first-hand knowledge of a developing emergency.
· Don’t tweet or post about the movements of police, or post pictures of officers. Even what seems like vague information could be used by a criminal familiar with the area.
· Don’t endanger yourself to get a picture, no matter how compelling.
· Don’t spread rumors. If you’re not sure, don’t post, tweet or re-tweet.
· Do feel free to tweet about the response and post pictures after the emergency is over.

Although the term is “Tweet Smart,” the advice applies to whatever is your preferred social media platform.

Participating Agencies:
Bellevue Police Department
Des Moines Police Department
Federal Way Police Department
King County Sheriff’s Office
Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office
Lakewood Police Department
Seattle Police Department
Washington State Patrol

Sample footage from Vievu2


Here’s some sample footage from Vievu’s new wearable video camera, at this point this is as much of a review I can do- they have not finished the iOS app to allow streaming and control of the camera yet.

This short clip shows the quality of video this small camera can produce. Not as good as an iPhone, but considering it’s size it’s decent.

Vievu finally ships the Vievu2 wearable camera

vievu2 finally shipsAlmost a year ago I backed a project on indiegogo for a wearable camera from a Seattle company, Vievu. The camera was to ship about 9 months ago, but was delayed for various reasons. Anyhow the camera was delivered today via UPS and I’m planning on giving it a good rundown over the next couple days and doing a full review on here. Stay tuned.