Guns, Wood, and Tripods

What do these three things have in common?  They were all in my car the other day as I set out to meet with various buyers for all three.  If you hadn’t heard I’m going to be leaving Charlotte soon and heading for Seattle.  After living in the south east for 25 years and here in Charlotte for about 13 of those it’s a pretty big deal.   There are good reasons for doing it though… beyond just a change of scenery.   I’ll be joining the Amazon Web Services team once I get moved.  At first it will be in an operations role to help keep things running smoothly on their gigantic cloud platform and later.. who knows.  They are fairly secretive about their internal goings-on.. and for good reason.  You can just about count on one hand the number of companies or groups operating on the scale of Amazon.  Most people who aren’t in the biz only associate Amazon with their web store but by current estimations the store (as big as it is) is only responsible for a small fraction of their revenue… much of the rest is coming from AWS which was first launched in 2002.  From the standpoint of my career… a self taught, self proclaimed ‘linuxguy’ in Charlotte an opportunity like this doesn’t get much better.

WBT Next Talker Pitch

The local news talk radio station is having a contest where the winner gets to host their own weekly show. It’s only two hours a week on sunday night.. but it sounded like something that might be fun. So this is my entry. It was recorded and mixed with the open source Ardour digital workstation and the Jack audio sub system under OSX.

A Streetcar Named Bankruptcy

So our illustrious Charlotte city council last night voted to take 25 million of federal money to start a new uptown street car boondoggle.. er I mean transit system.  To avoid confusion with the multitude of pet rail projects around here they decided to end service on the uptown trolley that has been in operation for the last two years.. and which we spent a whopping 40-60 million to create and operate.  The real numbers there are a little hard to come by but we know it was at least 40.. and 60 is more likely.  This “free” federal money for the new street car will be paired with at least 12 million of local money that is going to come not from the 12 cent transit sales tax.. but from the general fund.. aka property tax which they promised never to do by the way. A little more history… back in 2007 there was a voter referendum to repeal the 12 cent sales tax in order to de-fund the light rail and put an end to all this train madness.  One of the big reasons the repeal failed was because the powers-that-be made a promise to the black leadership that they would give them a transit project of their own.. aka the street car in exchange for supporting the funding for light rail… which will not run in the more ‘diverse’ parts of town.  A few months after that vote.. the city leadership pushed the street car project to the back burner with a best case delay of about 10 years.  Last night at the meeting this was referenced as being one of those ‘empty promises’ that the black leadership was none too happy about.

Charlotte Bin Watch – Day 62

It was 62 days ago that I ask the city of Charlotte to take back their RFID tagged recycling bin. I’m not going to play their game… which if you didn’t know involves tracking your participation in their money losing recycling program… and eventually fines.. and re-education about how to be eco friendly. No thanks little brother. Back when I first posted about this on May 6th (and scooped Taras army of research interns) I also filled out the form on the city web site to take the bin back.

Charlotte Giving Raises While Rome Burns

Ok.. so maybe Charlotte isn’t Rome.. and while it’s not exactly burning it’s certainly not good out there.  Locally we still have a 12% unemployment rate and according to Civitas NC state government has grown over 12% while private employment has contracted by 1.6% between 01 and 09. Ouch. Tara talked about this during drive time today.. and there was a lot of anger coming her way by people who work for the city. It seems some city employees think they are entitled to yearly raises regardless of what’s going on in the real world and how dare we lowly citizens question that.

RFID: The Next Big Thing in Retail and Municipal Surveillance

Continuing on yesterdays posting about RFID recycling bins. It seems our own city council wasn’t aware of the tags either until after the Tara Servatius show where she covered the story (after I scooped her army of research interns). Reading a little more about these.. it seems to be a world wide phenomenon as these chipped cans are showing up in cities and many countries around the world.. with much the same negative reception.

CharMeck is broke.. but has money to track our garbage!

A couple months ago the city left what I thought was a second garbage bin in front of my house. It took me a week or so to figure out it was actually supposed to be for me.. as I’d not heard about it or expected it. Turns out it’s a big ‘recycling cart’ which is the same size as the usual rolling garbage cans. I have absolutely no use for it.

Good game to end the season

I was able to take in the final Charlotte Checkers game tonight and while they didn’t win they made a good showing for the playoffs. Nice job.. looking forward to the new team next season.

Foraging for Gas

You might not know this if you live in a reasonable part of the country.. but the entire Charlotte metro area has been hurting for gas for about a week now. Since I work from home and now live near uptown I don’t do a lot of driving anyway but I was getting below 1⁄4 tank with no sign of things getting back to normal. Some estimates put availability at 20% of normal but during the day you can expect to wait in long 30 car lines to get it.
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