Modern Technology Sighting

Tonight’s “I’ve Got a Secret” featured Garry Moore examining a unique, imaginative, high-tech device that was revolutionizing the way NASA astronauts did things in space.

The space-age device in question: Velcro.

Garry said he was familiar with the stuff because it was used in the world of television for “quick costume changes.” (Today, TV crews use it for much more than costumes.)

I love classic TV. ;)

Calling All Segways

Segway i Series

Recalling, actually…

Segway, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, is voluntarily recalling 6,000 of its human transporters. According to the Segway site, the devices, famous for their ability to balance on two wheels, could tip under low-battery conditions, injuring riders.

I’ve only had quick glimpses of one of these. They haven’t been too popular in Hawai’i, likely due to both the high cost and the fact that they were illegal until recently.

To be honest, I don’t understand the appeal of these gizmos. Sure, they go faster than pedestrians, but if you live in a commuter city – New York, for example – aren’t the sidewalks too crowded to maneuver reliably?

An interesting angle for me, however, is how they’re implementing the recall – all they have to do is patch the Segway’s software. I guess that says something about the hardware, after all. :)

Here’s the /. discussion, in case you’re interested.

TheStrike – Over at Last?

It could be. KITV and others are reporting that the Teamsters agreed to an OTS-proposed contract at 2 AM this morning. The contract was the company’s “final offer,” according to KHON2.

Details about the new contract are sketchy at this point. It’s believed that the new contract will last five years. Union negotiator Mel Kahele said that the new contract includes both pay hikes and pension increases. As quoted by KITV:

“I’m not going to go into detail, but it’s a hell of a lot more than what the company had three days ago,” Kahele said.

“It’s never enough money. Are we happy? Of course not. We’re not happy, but the people are going to make the decision. That’s where its at. They’re the people that kept it strong,” Teamster International Union Vice President Jim Santangelo said.

The union will hold a ratification vote on Saturday, from 9 to 5. If the vote succeeds, bus operations could resume by Monday or even Sunday. Until then, Teamsters will continue to walk the line.

Reactions to the possible settlement have been mixed. At TheBus’ Middle Street facility, passing motorists honked horns in support of the drivers. Others have pointed out that the Teamsters changed their minds about wage increases as the strike dragged on. Honolulu Weekly writer John Pritchett blames Mayor Jeremy Harris for expanding bus service without providing the necessary funds to do so.

So, what’s next? I don’t know. I probably will buy a pass for $40, despite the fact that it’s going to hurt my bottom line badly.

Out of all of this, there’s only one thing I really, really want: Santangelo to fly home. It’s clear to me that he doesn’t understand Hawai’i’s culture. (I’m not going to call it the Aloha Spirit for now, since it’s seen better days.)

Today is day 31.

TheStrike – Day 30

Yep, they’re still at it. Let me bring you up-to-date on some of the news since my last post (in no particular order):

  • Fare increases. The City Council approved a bill today that raises fares on October 1st – the second raise this year. Adult riders will pay $40 per month or $2 at the fare box (according to Mayor Harris, the highest single-ride fare in the country). Fares also increase for children, and senior riders are being hit especially hard – the new pass for seniors is $30 per year versus $25 for two years. (Transfers, which were often abused under the old system, remain free but will be limited to one bus change.)
  • Reinforcements. Teamsters International sent Vice President Jim Santangelo to Hawai’i last week – with a checkbook – to provide both financial and morale support to the striking bus drivers. He has spoken to the media in favor of the bus drivers, but some officials have accused him of not fully understanding the situation. KHON2 has reported that Santangelo has the authority to release as much as $700 per week to the striking employees.
  • Public Relations. Local union leader Mel Kahele and Santangelo joined local radio celebrities Perry & Price in KSSK’s studios last week in an attempt to gain public support for the drivers. The PR move went sour after union employees began to call in, criticizing Kahele for not listening to union members.
  • Court Battles. The Star-Bulletin is reporting that union bus driver Anson “Slim” Ilae will not be on eligible to run for President. The Teamsters say that he didn’t pay his dues on time, but Ilae’s attorney, Michael Green, claims that his disqualification was planned. Kahele is running for re-election unopposed.
  • Longer contracts. The Teamsters, who are meeting with OTS representatives as this goes live, have proposed a five-year contract, rather than the previous three-year contracts the parties had been working on. The current proposal calls for wage increases in the fourth and fifth year, and pension contribution increases the first, second, fourth, and fifth years.

Kahele told reporters earlier this evening that the union was confident that an agreement could be reached tonight. OTS declined to comment.


I’ve taken a lot of precautions to keep my e-mail spam-free, including no e-mail addresses posted anywhere on this site and all contact from strangers having to start via a comment or from my feedback form. I thought that would be enough. I was wrong. :(

I got three spams saying I could be in a web directory in minutes, just by clicking a link. (The guilty party will not be named.) I seriously thought about doing the reporting thing, but since the ISP is located in India, and their site looks disreputable, I’m not going to bother.

Apparently, the spammer took my domain name (which could have been found in a variety of ways) and appended a common mailbox name to it. Grr.

My web hosting provider, Ventures Online, is really good to me. They made a quick change to my cPanel theme and I had SpamAssassin up and running…all in less than 20 minutes.

I’m really, really happy with the VO people. This isn’t the first thing they’ve done right in my book. If you’re looking for a web host, I highly recommend them.