Monthly Archives: August 2017

Honoring our Past

Sometimes both sides are wrong – people do things for the wrong reasons, yet those who protest the action miss the point and oppose it for the wrong reasons.

I find this to be the case in the recent kerfuffle about removing the statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville. Lee is an important figure in our country’s history. We can honor him and the role he played as leader of the Confederacy military, without honoring, indeed while rejecting, the shameful practice of slavery.

We are all human, every person has flaws. Thomas Jefferson owned slaves. But nobody protests the Jefferson Memorial claiming it honors slavery. It honors Jefferson’s achievements and his role in our history. If perfection is the standard, if we judge people by their mistakes rather than their achievements, we’ll have to tear down all the monuments. Also, it is better to openly acknowledge our past and honor those who played a major role in it, even when difficult or uncomfortable, than to whitewash it with political correctness. Those who don’t understand and acknowledge history are doomed to repeat it.

In short, in removing the statue the city did the wrong thing for the right reasons.

However, many of the people protesting the removal of the Lee statue are racists (I’m not casting aspersions, many openly self-acknowledge this) for whom the Lee statue represented not his important role in our history, but the legacy of slavery. These misguided people want to unwind decades of social progress, hard-earned over the backs and blood of brave people who stood up and changed things for the better. It is difficult to take the same side as these racists. But taking the same side does not mean agreeing with them. Indeed, I reject their views as backward and hateful. They took the right side of the issue completely accidentally, for the wrong reasons. But that makes it hard to defend the position since it has been tainted by their association.

In short, in protesting the statue removal they they do the right thing for the wrong reasons.

T-Mobile and Princess Cruises

During our recent cruise to Alaska we were vigilant about not using the ship’s expensive WiFi and mobile cellular. But not vigilant enough! I learned a lesson, luckily not too expensive.

Our TMobile plan includes international roaming at no extra charge. Outside the US you simply enable roaming on your phone. The phone warns you about charges but you can ignore that, TMobile covers it.

However, this doesn’t include cruise ships. While on the ship we didn’t make any calls or use the ship Wi-Fi. But it turns out that some incoming calls arrived to our phones while we were on the ship. We didn’t pick up; the calls went straight to VM. We didn’t even know our phones “rang”. Yet just being called, even if you don’t pick up, was enough to trigger the ship to bill us for each call. The ship bills $6 per minute and the minimum is 2 minutes just to connect. So that’s $12 every time someone calls you, even if you don’t pick it up.

Fortunately we only got 3 calls so our lesson only cost $36.

The lesson: while on a cruise ship, put your phone into airplane mode all the time. If you have international roaming, as we do with TMobile, don’t take your phone out of airplane mode until you’re off the ship.

Seattle Lime Bike: Test Ride

Seeing their bikes all over the place got me curious about Seattle’s bike services, Spin and Lime bike. I installed both apps on my phone and they both worked just fine, popping up a map showing where the bikes are. In both apps, the first ride is free. Neither app asked me for credit card info, though presumably they would later if I continued riding. They both have plenty of bikes downtown, though Lime seems to have more bikes in outer areas like Magnolia and Ballard.

Walking home from the Magnolia center district today, Lime said there was a bike nearby. I followed the map a couple of blocks and the bike was exactly where the app said it would be. I used the app to scan the QR code, a few seconds later it unlocked. The bike was mine!

I rode it a few blocks home. My impressions:

  • It’s a tank – weighs 49 lbs!
  • Has a basket in front, whose bottom is a solar cell.
  • The front wheel has a built-in generator that powers a front & rear light that are always on when the wheels spin.
  • It has fenders and a full chain guard.
  • It has an 8-speed Shimano Nexus internally geared hub. It works smoothly, though it was slightly out of adjustment due to a bit of cable stretch, skipping some gears (like 3rd). A couple of cable adjuster twists fixed that, then it shifted perfectly.
  • It’s geared low, which is a nice touch you really want around hilly Seattle, especially for this 49 lb. tank of a bike.
  • The brakes are Shimano drums.
  • The tires are not pneumatic and can’t flat. But they’re not rock-hard either. Seem to be foam-filled.
  • The seat is easily adjustable with a hand quick release. But it doesn’t go quite high enough for my average length legs (32″ inseam).

Overall, it’s a comfy bike to ride around town. At $1 per 30 mins it’s cheap too, with bulk monthly rates for unlimited rides.

Next, I want to try a Spin bike.