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Showing posts from May, 2009

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:

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…

A modest proposal to Amazon re: the Kindle

The Kindle is a beautiful thing. The e-ink display is gorgeous, the book selection is great, the built in 3G network provides an extremely convenient way to get content, and more... Clearly Amazon got a lot right with this device, and the new model is even better than the original, now fitting more comfortably among current gadget families.

People I know who have a Kindle report that the device quickly dissappears and they're left with the book they're reading, exactly as you would ask of an e-book reader.

And much like the iPod in its time, devices like the Kindle seem inevitable for the future. Books are beautiful objects that we rightly cherish in our culture, but it's hard to argue with the convenience of having your library with you wherever you go.

Now, I'm a typical (pathological?) early adopter. I love new technology and trust my instincts to pick winning trends and ideas. So, how have I been able to resist the Kindle so far?

First of all, there's the small mat…