LCS Independence

Shawn Izenson, a friend of mine from highschool, works as a civilian contractor for the US Navy. His most recent project looks more like something from Starfleet than a US naval fleet.

It's called the LCS Independence, and the LCS stands for Littoral Combat Ship. It's not complete: the launch is not the same as delivery, and the propulsion, damage control, machinery & weapons control and automation remain to be tested. Aut the ship is around 70% complete.

Shawn says:
I am one of the specs in the picture of the ship being transferred to the dry dock. The most exciting part was actually the launch off of the dock, there was a lot of time pressure as the tide is very shallow in Mobile Bay, and Murphy's Law tried to rear its ugly head a few times during the evolution.
Most refer to it as the "Klingon Battle Cruiser", but I suppose it does look like a tank or a civil war era iron clad too. Its the first trimaran we will have have in the US Navy (there was one 2/3rds scale test ship, the TRIDENT, that was a joint project with the UK, but it was just a test ship; besides that, it did not look as cool, and could not make 40 knots).
This bad boy has several tens of megawatts coming at you. The gun on the bow is only one weapon system, there are also going to be 3 mission packages that sit in holes on the decks. Those currently under development or ready to go are 30 mm guns and NLOS (non line of sight missile system, vertical launch).

I'm not a fan of defense spending, but this ship does look pretty cool.


Stride = Superboy?

Speaking of product placement, is it coincidence or design that the Stride gum logo looks like Superboy/Superman's chest insignia?

HDTV is dead. Long live HDTV.

OK, the title is a bit over the top. But a friend brought to my attention this article about how the leadership at CW was surprised and alarmed by the number of people watching their show Gossip Girl online. And it wasn't just any people, but demographically the younger, more internet enabled group.
This is the first show that seems to have succeeded primarily on the internet. There's something about the combination of the show's premise, the viewers' age, and the available technology that has given Gossip Girl a life of its own online. Not only do fans watch the show on their computers, but they post sightings of the actors on gossip blogs and exchange rumors (about both the show and its stars) on fan sites. You can even play Gossip Girl's Upper East Side on Second Life. It's not appointment television; it's a 24-hour conversation.

Above all, this interactivity with the show provides hard evidence on the number of people the show reaches. This leads to many questions:

  • Are the Nielson and other ratings people obsolete?

  • Will AOL or some other ISP become the next Nielsons?

  • If you're watching online, are you skipping the ads?

  • If you're watching on broadcast will you see different ads than online?

  • Is there a market for direct Internet TV?

  • Is the 30 second ad spot obsolete?

I've been watching a few shows online. 30 Rock is one. I've also been watching Smallville with the kids on broadcast TV.

It's not Superboy at all. More like Beverly Hills 90210 with super powers.

My son pointed out how the ads in-between were for Stride gum, and then in the show one of the characters got super powers by chewing Kryptonite irradiated Stride gum. I asked him if he thought there was a link, and he explained that (at some other time) he'd seen an ad/blurb how Smallville was presented by Stride gum, and there was a special episode written for Stride gum. I guess I'd missed that link.

So I watched the show some more and was amazed at the number of places gum, or Stride gum, or ads on the walls showing stride gum, appeared in the show.

In a way, it's reverting back to advertising of the 30's on radio and 40's on TV. The sit-com, or variety show would include in the story a short break extolling the virtues of Lipton tea, or how Maxwell House coffee is good to the last drop.

So, as we go forward we also go backward.



Muxtape is a site that lets you make your own internet "mix tape." To create an account you only need to give up your email address, and that's about it. You get a URL in the form of .muxtape.com/. (I chose zans.muxtape.com, as in "A Zans for cans is very good. Have you a Zans for cans? You should.")

According to the terms on the website:
Muxtape is a service for creating mixtapes. Users may not upload multiple songs from the same album or artist, or songs they do not have permission to let Muxtape use. Individual users may not create multiple muxtapes. Accounts not meeting these restrictions are subject to termination without notice. Muxtape will never reveal your email address to a third party. Muxtape is alive.

You're limited to 12 songs per account, and they say they don't want you to create multiple accounts, so restraint is the keyword of the day. Put your all into your own mix tape. Of course, you can always tape over it...

So, here's my mix...


Sole red light?

Today I went to the Portland Business Alliance breakfast where they spoke about the Columbia River Crossing. It's a huge project to replace the existing I-5 bridge, which was build in 1907 - pre-internal combustion traffic, with a $4 billion project with up to 12 lanes, bike and pedestrian traffic, toll booths, and space for light rail.

The panelists were Metro Councilor (and former Pres. of the BTA) Rex Burkholder, Vancouver, WA's mayor Royce Pollard, and Monica Isbell of the Starboard Alliance Company, LLC. In all the talk seemed to be a soft-sell on the business leaders of Portland to endorse replacing the bridge. One audience member who said he worked with Audubon society and the 1,000 Friends of Oregon commented that building such a large bridge will just cause more traffic. I think that the only solution here, much as I dislike it, is to charge a toll on bridge traffic. That might encourage light rail usage.

One thing struck me, however. Mayor Pollard said that the I-5 bridge is the only place in the whole US interstate infrastructure that has a red light (It goes on when the bridge raises.) I thought: "That can't really be the only place in the US, can it?"

I searched google for "only red light" interstate highway but the only confirmation I found was referring to the CRC itself:
The bridge has the only red light on I-5 between Mexico and Canada, too.
So, is there another red light anywhere in the interstate system?


The end of an "air-a"

After February 17, 2009 we'll no longer have broadcast TV as it's been for the past 75 or so years. Right now, if your TV is connected to an antenna, then it receives the signal in an analog form. February next year everything will change to digital broadcasting.

You're OK if you purchased a new digital TV in the past couple of years. In fact, all TVs sold after May 2007 are required to have a digital tuner. If it doesn't it has to have the following warning:
This television receiver has only an analog broadcast tuner and will require a converter box after February 17, 2009, to receive over-the-air broadcasts with an antenna because of the Nation’s transition to digital broadcasting. Analog-only TVs should continue to work as before with cable and satellite TV services, gaming consoles, VCRs, DVD players, and similar products. For more information, call the Federal Communications Commission at 1-888-225-5322 (TTY: 1-888-835-5322) or visit the Commission’s digital television website at: www.dtv.gov.

But if you're like me you're cheap and are still on analog. I'd heard about the government program to give you up to two $40 credits toward purchasing converter boxes. But, the only way I knew to get the coupons was to call a phone number and *ugh* speak to a real person.

Then I found the website that lets you get the coupons off the internet. The website not only lets you request 1 or 2 coupons, but also tells a lot more about the conversion, and where you might go to purchase a digital converter box.

So, maybe I'll find out next week whether this is a phishing scam to get my address, or it's legit.

I wonder about all those old TV shows heading out into the cosmos in analog form. Will future alien life wonder about the sudden loss of signal that corresponds to our switchover from A to D? Sometime, in the far future an extra terrestrial civilization may be watching "Are you smarter than a fifth grader," only to discover the show disappears. And, will they shed a tear assuming we've destroyed our planet, when in reality we've only become a little bit more complicated in our entertainment?


Paul's Long run

This page is automatically updated with Paul Long's latest runs as recorded by his GPS running watch. Along with the standard Google Map interface, you can download the KML file to view each run in Google Earth.