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The first entry

This is the very first entry. This blog is nothing more than a semi random, stream of consciousness set of notes as ideas, rants, comments, or crazy opinions occur to me during the course of living this exciting life... or not.

Why put out all this stuff? Why not? There's a possibility that some of this might be useful to someone, somewhere. Who knows... It certainly will be useful to me to be able to rant about issues that outrage me, like the level of funding for public schools in California, for example. More on this later.

And it's raining, and I'm bored. The dog needs to be walked, but who wants to go out on a day like this? I wanted to write a note about the California Use Tax, but I could not even start without an initial entry in this blog. So there. Now I can write about something interesting.

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The Best Online Traffic School?

After paying my red light ticket, the epic story described in a previous post, the San Mateo County Southern Branch Court provided me with a list of about 80 approved online schools. Which one to choose? I expected the Internet in all its collective wisdom to provide the answer with a comprehensive site of traffic school reviews including all sorts of evaluation criteria (price, time to complete, use of animations, etc) and user rankings. To my disappointment, no such site seems to exist. I was faced with scanning a large list of URLs to pick a traffic school.

The first approach was to start entering URLs in the browser and try to deduce, from the home page, whether the traffic school would be right. Here's the list of schools approved by San Mateo County:

http://www.ctsi-courtnetwork.org/home_studies/san_mateo_county/index.html

An ideal traffic school for me would be:

Responsive. Pages load fast. No stupid artificial delays like I experienced many years ago when I tried an online tra…

My red light ticket story

Where I recount my true experience with a red light ticket and the San Mateo Country traffic court system...

The Infraction

About a month ago I received in the mail a notice of a red light violation. The notice included four photographs: one of me from the front, one of my license plate and two from the back showing the traffic light (already in Red) and my car about to enter the intersection and then half way across the intersection. The pictures  contain timing information highly relevant to the case. The first picture:

Location: El Camino Real and Glenwood Ave., Menlo Park, CA
Date: Friday, 13th March 2009
Speed Limit: 35MPH
Lane: 2
Vehicle Speed: 36MPH
Elapsed time: 0.00

The next picture shows my car half way into the intersection, and the data shows:

RED: 0.86
Elapsed Time: 0.75

The notice does not explain any of this, but we can interpret it as follows: when the light went red I had not entered the intersection yet. This is clearly shown in picture 1. The second picture shows that 0.75 seco…

High Def, Low Def and Now Ultra Low Def TV

High Definition TV is great, amazing, a must have for sports. How did we ever manage to watch soccer games without it? Unfortunately, I'm forced to remember the horror every weekend, where I move from Barcelona's glorious HDTV courtesy of GolTV HD to Boca's horrific, ultra low def, courtesy of TyC Sports.

I claim that the video quality we get from TyC for these Argentinean soccer games is lower than Low Definition. Games look, really, really bad, much worse than low definition games you see on ESPN or even Univision. I don't know why, but here's the evidence.

What follows is snapshots of my LCD TV, with signal from DirecTV, comparing High Definition to whatever this other thing is. I used my digital camera, taking pictures at max resolution.

First, a snapshot of this weekend's Barcelona Vs. Osasuna game.



Very pretty. Now here's the capture of today's glorious Boca Juniors victory over Huracán.



To highlight the differences even further, I took a picture …