Thursday, December 3, 2015

Time To Check What Condition One's Condition Is In; Ford Has Quietly Activated Siri's Eyes Free On Five Million Vehicles Dating Back To 2011 -- December 3, 2015

On a day like today, one might want to drop in to see what condition one's condition might be in:  
  • the market plunges 300 points based on talk of maybe, just possibly, a very, very small rate increase because the economy is getting too "hot" and needs to be slowed down a bit;
  • 14 people are killed and scores injured by a Saudi mom-and-pop team in full-body battle armor, armed to the teeth with thousands of rounds of ammunition with a small IED arsenal, and the FBI is hesitant to call it an act of terrorism (at least we know why there's a shortage of ammunition; California Saudis have bought it all);
  • we have a meteorological ideologue for president, who no longer wants to be briefed on terrorism; because a) he gets it; and b) there is no credible evidence of imminent danger;
  • people get excited about saving a buck a month on their utility bills by locking in a 25-year solar energy contract in a state that has six months of darkness (some call it winter); based on rates going up 4% a year for the next 25 years; and, 
  • Saudi thinks it's great to see Venezuela implode. 

Just Dropped In, Kenny Rogers

FBI: Terrorism = Fanatic Islam And Nothing Else?
Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik — the couple who stormed a county social services office in San Bernardino, CA yesterday morning killing 14 at an office gathering, before dying hours later in a shootout with police — had an ample arsenal of high-power weapons, ammo and explosive devices, in addition to running an 'IED factory' out of their home. The FBI still is not ready to call them terrorists, as it examines computer and cell phone equipment taken from the couple's home.
Correct me if I'm wrong (that's rhetorical; please don't comment) but it appears that to be labeled "terrorism" in this country, it has to be radicalized Islam. If not, then it's not going to be labeled "terrorism." Workplace violence? Hate crime? PTSD? A bad day at the office?

On another note, California has some of the strongest gun-control laws on the books. If all those high-power weapons were legally purchased and bought by the same person, wouldn't that warrant a second or third or fourth look? And then the purchaser travels to Saudi Arabia? Something tells me the government is doing a lousy job of integrating databases. Maybe "they" need to integrate computer data identifying folks returning from overseas with high-power weapon purchases. I'm beginning to wonder what customs/passport control really accomplish at US points of entry.

Solar Will (Maybe) Save You $1/Month Over 25 Years
But If Solar Works In Minnesota, It Can Work Anywhere

I can't remember if I posted this before. I think I did, but if not, from Midwest Energy News:
After speaking to several solar developers earlier this year, a Minnesota town decided last month to subscribe to a community solar garden that will be operated by Sunshare.
Jordan, a community of 6,148 residents southwest of Minneapolis, became the largest and one of the first cities in Minnesota to announce it would be offsetting its electric use through community solar.
That short but growing list of cities subscribing to gardens includes, for now, just the nearby community of Cologne, which signed a contract with Sunshare earlier this year.
Jordan's power would come from a 5 megawatt community garden proposed for Blakely Township in Scott County. The garden could also serve nearby Savage, where city council members in October heard about the benefits of community solar from a Sunshare representative.
Under the 25-year contract Jordan could save as much as $1.6 million by 2040, according to Tom Nikunen, city administrator. That is based on the assumption that Xcel Energy, which serves Jordan, will increase costs on average of four percent a year over the length of the contract.
Disclaimer: I often make simple arithmetic errors. $1.6 million savings / 25 years = $64,000 / year divided by 6,000 residents = $10 saving / year or less than a dollar a month. Just to have a huge solar farm in your backyard, land that can no longer be used for anything else. 

At Her Own Peril

Ms Yellen knows that she may end up putting the country into recession. Today, "just" the talk of a paltry rate hike causes the market to plunge 300 points -- at least that's what folks smarter than I are blaming the market's reaction on today.

The Apple Page

Yesterday I mentioned that every car in the universe coming out in 2016 will have Apple's CarPlay installed (okay, that's not quite accurate, but it's close), today we learn that Ford is taking it a step further. Ford will activate Apple's Siri on five million automobiles dating back to 2011. Macrumors is reporting:
While many carmakers are starting to roll out support for Apple's CarPlay in-vehicle functionality, an older Siri Eyes Free feature is also designed to help minimize driver distraction by using Siri voice recognition and spoken responses to allow drivers to interact with an iPhone without needing to look at the screen.

Siri Eyes Free is generally activated through a hardware button on the vehicle's steering wheel and is available in a number of makes and models, and Ford today is officially announcing the launch of Eyes Free support for over five million vehicles dating back to the 2011 model year via a software update to Ford's second-generation SYNC infotainment system.
If you go to the linked article at Macrumors, be sure to read the comments. Readers confirm this is actually accurate and Ford "pushed" the update to their older model Fords. One reader noted that this is virtually unheard of in the automotive world, getting something like this for free. Updating other mapping systems will cost you upwards of $200 according to one reader. 

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