The Twitter Crusade.
We recently traded in two cars and bought a Volvo. Fancy car. Nicest car we've ever owned. Plus, it's a computer on wheels. Everything's automatic. Except the clock. Bizarre. And annoying. So I started tweeting at the company:
1) @volvocars Can your software engineers solve the Arizona clock issue? The only way I can get the correct time in my XC40 is by setting it manually. Your team is aware of this malfunction:
"Note: Automatic time may not display the correct time in Arizona."
1r) Replying to @acbaird Hi Alan, unfortunately since Arizona does not have daylight saving time the clock must be adjusted manually.
>>Bzzzzt. Wrong answer, Volvo. Your patronizing condescension has simply pissed me off:
2) @volvocars has 3 dealers in Phoenix, plus 1 more in Tucson, so I assume you sell at least a few cars here in Arizona. And every other company in the world has learned how to adjust for AZ time. Aren't you ashamed to admit your software geeks can't figure out this simple problem?
>>After a couple of hours, I decided that wasn't vicious enough. So my latest tweet includes screengrabs. ;-)
3) @volvocars L: Windows, R: iPhone. Google Maps and Waze are able to display Arizona time, based on GPS data. My Mazda, VW and Toyota could all figure out the correct time from GPS. But my Volvo clock loses THREE MINUTES EVERY MONTH because it must be set manually. Embarrassed yet?
>>You can see that I'm on a holy crusade for oppressed Volvo owners everywhere. ;-)
Setting the Volvo Clock in the Good Ol' Arizona Summertime.
Swipe down on the Home screen, tap "Settings" at the top left, tap "System" at the bottom, tap "Date and Time" near the top, tap "Location", tap "U.S. Mountain Time" after scrolling way down near the bottom, tap "Back", uncheck "Auto Daylight Saving Time", uncheck "Auto Time", manually set the Time, tap "Back" and push the "Home" button.
The manual Time setting needs to be updated weekly, in order to keep the clock reasonably accurate. There's a video about this, on Facebook:
NOTE: NONE OF THIS MANUAL WORKAROUND IS NECESSARY. CHEAPER CARS SET THEIR CLOCKS AUTOMATICALLY. A LUXURY CAR LIKE VOLVO SHOULD DO THIS, TOO, BUT THE VOLVO CORPORATION FEELS NO SHAME. The company is treating its Arizona customers like crap. Volvo now has three dealerships in Phoenix and one in Tucson, so they're selling a sh*tload of cars here. But unless every Volvo owner in Arizona complains to his/her dealership, and every AZ dealership complains to company headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden, the malfunction won't get fixed. The irony is this: Volvo would need to invest only TEN MINUTES of programming time to make things right. Instead, the company forces its AZ customers to perform this useless Hokey-Pokey for nearly eight months every year.
Paying it forward... exponentially!
I volunteered at the local vaccinatorium (is that a word?) on April 8, and copied that posting onto our community's Google Group.
Today, I received an email from a neighbor I've never met: "[your posting] motivated me to get about 25 pickleball players plus myself to sign up together to volunteer at the Dexcom POD."
I'm so happy right now, I could sh*t rainbows. ;-)
LATER: the pickleballers!
I have raised a small budget to produce a short animated film based on this Hungarian-themed script:
Synopsis: Even though this European nation has existed for more than a thousand years, over 70% of the country "vanished" after World War I. Today, the exiles' great-great-great-grandkids still think in Magyar.
The final goal is to qualify for Academy Award consideration, after showing the finished film at various festivals. I believe this project needs a simple, line-drawing "wiggle" style (animation boiling or Squigglevision), but with no "cartoonish" characters. In other words, the people and animals must project dignity, even when they're doing funny things. Picasso's line drawings are good examples. Interested parties should submit one or two sample video links to: HotTip [at] Gmail.com (Animators with connections to Hungary will be given preference.)
Alan C. Baird
Vaccine: a volunteer's perspective.
The college kids who volunteered to staff the Phoenix Municipal Stadium POD where I was vaccinated were all motivated by the chance to get an early shot (one shift = two Pfizer doses), but they were also very helpful. You might say their enthusiasm and goodwill were infectious. ;-)
So I wanted to pay it forward, when I became fully vaccinated, two weeks after my final shot. The Dexcom warehouse POD is Arizona's first indoor drive-thru facility, and it's less than 8 miles away.
Long story short, I volunteered for a shift today. It was somehow very uplifting, to feel like I was part of the massive effort to haul us out of this pandemic. Highly recommended.
PS: I worked in the Observation area, where people wait for 15 minutes after they get immunized. I have plantar fasciitis and fallen arches from one-too-many-marathons in my wasted youth, so my feet felt like stumps by mid-afternoon, but it was well worth it. There's nothing like the contact high you get from those who have just received their second shot. (That's my lane, to the right of the big orange thingie.)
I started blogging on 4/4/1996 - 25 years ago.
I first went online in late February 1996, then spent more than a month converting my screenplay formatting software from the DOS version of WordPerfect to Windows.
So March was hairy. But in April, after I put up a website to sell the software, I thought it might be fun to start an online diary. I designed a cute little "Top|Up|Down|End" link-navigation system and started writing.
Blogs didn't exist back then. Nobody was really keeping an online diary, because you had to know HTML. And code geeks generally avoid writing. They like to code.
In December of 1997, 20 months later, the term "weblog" was coined. It was subsequently shortened to "blog."
In July of 1999, the first automated blogging software finally appeared.
By September of 2001, I figured everyone and his dog had jumped onto the blogging bandwagon, so it was no longer cool to be a blogger. Plus, I was burned out. I had to quit.
But in February of 2004, I signed up for Blogger and never looked back.
Until now. ;-)
PS: I taught a Blogging 101 course for the University of California in 2005, and Palm Springs Life magazine hired me as their online-editor-slash-in-house-blogger soon after. That lasted for only a year, but it was fun.
PPS: My screenplay formatting software eventually evolved into this family of 10 free downloads that won a $3,333 prize.
The first ZoomFest among four members of our Westfield [MA] High School track team. We've kept in touch over the years, but this pandemic brought us a lot closer together, in a series of Zoom meetings. The group quickly expanded to six regulars, and often included special guests, like our wives, girlfriends, kids, pets, and even our old coach. The next get-together is this coming Friday, with participants Zooming in from Lakewood Colorado, Mesa Arizona, Philomath Oregon, Suffield Connecticut, Niwot Colorado, and Fougères France. Special thanks to Jim Gusek, who sparked the whole idea, and to COVID-19, for creating this unexpectedly welcome side benefit. ;-)
--With Jim Gusek, moi, Patrick Kamins, Michael Rood, Bert Cashman, and Robert Grace.