Thursday, December 10, 2009


It is so cold today, Kiki does not want out. If you knew Kiki, this fact would be startling.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Nokia N900 is not a cell phone!

I have been reading many reviews on the N900, comparing it to the iPhone, or Android based cell phones, and I am amazed that most of these reviewers just don't get it. The N900 IS NOT a cell phone in the traditional sense. Like I said in my last post, if you want to compare a Nokia product to an iPhone, then go get an N97. Want my honest opinion on a showdown between the N97 and the iPhone? OK, the iPhone wins. Just because the N900 is of similar size, and can access a cellular network does not make it a cell phone.

Now that we are finished with this cell phone comparison, lets look at what the N900 really is. The N900 is a "Window to the digital world".

Look at the picture above. See the little phone icon in the lower right corner? That is the shortcut to the phone app. It is no more or less important to the N900 experience than any of the other icons. When you open a contact, you get a REAL choice on how you want to communicate with them. And actually "choice" is what the N900 is really about. Choice is what differentiates the N900 from the iPhone or Android.

It may be easiest to describe the difference between Maemo, the iPhone, and Android this way. Lets start with the iPhone. Apple has complete control of the user experience. They want to make sure there are no surprises and want a total lock on how the look and feel of all applications will be. Lets say this is analogous to going to Disneyland. There is only one way in and out. You have to pay just for the privilege of paying again when you get in. Nothing is out of place. Every employee has a haircut, and there have been great pains taken to make sure that you only see, feel or taste what Disney wants you to. It is very safe, you wont be offended, and all you have to give up to get this is money and freedom of choice. After a few hours here, you will have "It's a small, small world" drilled into your mind, and even if you visit another amusement park, the song returns over and over.

Android is similar. But not quite as refined, and different handset makers can fool with it a little. Lets call Android Six Flags. Not the perfect Disneyland experience but they still have rides and concessions. It is however still a little rough around the edges. Fairly well controlled, but some one will still sneak up and try to sell you a gold chain, or some knock off perfume. The lady in front of you weighs 300 LBS, has on sweat pants, a thong sticking up, and 4 or 5 children of obviously different parentage. Still an amusement park, but not the perfect Disney controlled experience where nary a gum wrapper is to be found, and you only get to see and hear what Disney wants you to.

Now lets compare these to Maemo and the N900. Maemo isn't just an amusement park, not some where that everything has been decided for you. Lets call Maemo California. You get to see the awesome beauty of Yosemite. You can also cruise down South Figueroa past hookers and dope dealers, and even stop an be shot.

It is your "CHOICE". Choice always has danger. There are those that want everything decided for them, to be led like cattle as long as nothing bad happens to them (except that last walk up the ramp).

Some people want the freedom to make their own decisions on what they want to do, how they want something to work and are happy that Nokia and Maemo give them a wonderful framework to build their digital life in. The way they want, risks and all.

I still say the N900 will be a milestone in computer history along with the likes of the PDP-11, the Altair, and the SORD IS-11.

Do not be confused with comparisons to other "phones". It is Apples, and oranges.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Nokia N900, first impressions.

DHL delivered my N900 on Friday night at about 8:45PM. Needless to say, I was up with it most of the night. I have had many Nokia smartphones, all using Symbian, and I have also bought the N770, and N800 internet tablets that run early versions of Maemo Linux, like the N900.

WOW! What a difference. The previous internet tablets were geek linux, but Nokia really pulled out the stops in making the N900 "consumer ready".

Most people that buy the N900's will not even know or care what is under the hood, although is supercharged, injected, cammed, and rumbling with power. What they will see is an integrated theme of communication. The N900 is really a window to the digital world. Unlike the previous internet tablets, everything about the N900 is seamlessly woven together to bring many forms of interaction with the outside world together. You can make a call using the cell carrier, or with SIP (like Gizmo), or Skype, or Google Talk, and they all work the same. In "Conversations" your SMS, Google Talk, Jabber, MSN , Yahoo contacts are all aggregated into one seamless page.

The conglomeration theme continues with 4 desktops that let you arrange links and widgets to area's that suit your needs. The hardware is fast, and scrolling through the desktops has no hesitation whatsoever.

The whole "Window to the digital world" theme is so well integrated that the N900 is hard to describe as one thing. It's not a phone with computer functions. It's not a computer with phone functions. It is what the future of digital comunications will be.

I have been involved with the computer industry since the early 1980's when I worked for a small Japanese computer company called SORD Computer. SORD was years ahead of it's time, but was overshadowed by the big companies of the time. Nokia is a big company, and the N900 is a true milestone in digital comunication.

The N900 will end up in the history books with things like the DEC PDP-11, Morrow S-100's, Kaypro Portables. The N900 WILL change the direction of digital communications.

I am truly impressed.

For those that wonder if I actually have one, here is the DHL tracking:

Click to see!

Short video I took with the N900 outside the Chicago Nokia Store

Another thought. The iPhone crowd keep whining about capacitive touch screens. The resistive touch screen on the N900 is not only very responsive to the fingers, but it lets you use a stylus for exact work. Try drawing something on an iPhone, try writing kanji. The iPhone capacitive touch screen is great for smudging big buttons and things around with big fingers, but I am GLAD Nokia went with a high quality resistive screen on the N900. I think it is better!

One more thing. Do not compare an N900 to an iPhone. If you want a comparable Nokia product, that would be the N97.

The N900, as I said before is a totally new concept in digital communication. It is not strictly a phone.

I changed the picture. I installed an app called "x11vnc" on the N900, and then with a VNC client on my Mac, I can have control of the N900 through my laptop. Answer calls, change settings. How kewl is this!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

JLUG ( Joliet Linux Users Group ) Lives!

Courtney on Facebook, just re-started the Joliet Linux Users Group as a FaceBook group.

Link to JLUG

In the past, we had an active membership, meetings once per month, we learned a lot and had fun.

I hope to see this again.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Aurora's Track Day

My daughter Aurora at Gingerman Raceway in South Haven MI August 2009. The track day was sponsored by Motoworks Chicago.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Concealed Carry in Illinois.

The Illinois Supreme court ruled on October 8th on the definition of a "case" as it relates to the definition of a gun case under Illinois Law. The court ruled that a "case" is basically anything you put a gun in. I wrote a post over at that I thought I would share here.

OK, what I have learned here in the last few days. Reading about the recent law change signed by Governor Quin on where you can have a firearm, reading the diggins case, reading the wildlife code section about cases, and reading the ISP PDF file on transporting a firearm, I have come to the following conclusion.

Remember, this is just my opinion, and I am not a lawyer, so if you follow my assumptions, the only thing you will be able to tell the arresting offices is that "Kurt thinks this is what these laws mean".

I have come to the conclusion that Illinois needs a CCW statute that has the requirements necessary to have reciprocity with the majority of other CCW states. In lieu of that happening I think one can carry in Illinois subject to the following:

1: You have a valid FOID card.
2: The weapon is unloaded and completely sealed in a case. (Ammo in the same case is OK)
3: The case is designed to contain a firearm (Wildlife code)
4: You are not withing the boundaries of any home rule community that has their own firearms ordinance.
5: If on private property, you have permission to be there with a weapon. (Rep John Brady, Marion Bill to clarify property/firearm possession)
(Example: Don't go into Best Buy or the like that have signs saying they can search your bags.)
6: You are not in any "restricted" areas such as an airport, school, courthouse, etc.
7: You do not open the "case".

If I am missing anything please feel free to let me know. So , I think "fanny pack" carry is now legal as long as you adhere to the above rules.

(Example: You can legally carry in a "fanny pack" that was designed as a gun case meeting all of the above from your car, into a shooting range/gun store.)

This is crazy. Time to have a proper CCW law in Illinois.

Link to view the Supreme Court decision


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Helping Windows users.

I posted this in a thread on Slashdot, and I thought some who read my blog would find this interesting as well.

"I don't help friends with computer problems on Windows machines any more, and it has strained some of my friendships. I get calls that their computer is lousy with trojans and viruses and my NEW answer it to switch to Ubuntu, and I'll help. Helping a Windows user is like giving a crack head $10 bux. The same problem is only going to happen again. It is a waste of both of our time. I have found that it is actually a good test of friendship. They call me because they think I know "something about computers". When I tell them what I would do, they decide if they actually trust my judgment and load Linux, or they don't and just wanted some one to enable their mistake for free".


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Why Obama is having trouble with his health care bill.

A little reading of "The Prince" by Machiavelli before he started this would have helped. The quote that comes to mind is:

"And it ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. This coolness arises partly from fear of the opponents, who have the laws on their side, and partly from the incredulity of men, who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long experience of them. Thus it happens that whenever those who are hostile have the opportunity to attack they do it like partisans, whilst the others defend lukewarmly, in such wise that the prince is endangered along with them. "


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Secret Code.

John has a long mustache. John has a long mustache. The chair is against the wall. The chair is against the wall.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My thoughts on "Tea Party" rallies.

I normally keep my blog a-political, but there was just one of these Fox News 'Tea Parties" held in New Lenox Illinois. The comment section in our local rag (paper) was so full of the most hateful comments, I found myself drawn into the argument. Here is what I wrote as a comment:

I feel sorry for these folks that follow this "Tea Bag" bus, rally, etc. Don't you know this is financed by Rupert Murdock, of Fox News? Any of you ever see 'Meet John Doe"? Well Murdock might as well be playing the part of D.B. Norton in that movie. I find it interesting that you all keep shouting "less government". Specifically what? to me you look like the same bunch that were giving away all our rights because you were frightened by fake "terrorists" made up by the Bush administration. Why do any of you defend the "rich" that control your lives? None of you are "rich". Why not reverse Reaganomics, tax the "rich" properly and shift some of this country's wealth back to you? Duh? That would be in your own interest. Nope, because you have just a tiny bit more money than those on welfare, all you can think of is keeping "them" from getting anything you make. While of course being ravaged by the "rich". It is sad to see TV and radio is so powerful to make the scared, and frightened come out to these 'Tea Parties" against your own interests. You don't need universal health care, because you haven't been devastated by the medical industrial complex yet. And, universal health care would mean less of a differentiation between you and the "poor". I really never though this many people were this gullible, and so easily used. Sad.

The link to the article is here:

Link to Herald News Article.

So there.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ride around the pond 2009

My ride around the pond August 2009

I will be uploading pictures as I go, check back often.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Trip to Colorado

I will be uploading pictures into this album from the road. Follow our adventure.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Spring Ride with the Kid

Nice crisp Spring day, so the Kid and I took a 186.3 mile ride along the Illinois River. I had my doughts if she could take the little Honda Dual Sport across the country, but after today I think no probs.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Friday, May 1, 2009

Road Food

Being an overcast morning, I was just reminiscing on some of my riding adventures. Because I have yet to have breakfast my mind has wandered to some of the outstanding #RoadFood locations I have found over the years. Here are a few of the outstanding places I have found. Not a complete list, just the ones worth riding a thousand miles to eat at.

1: Rips Tavern

Even though the Earth is a big place, there has to be somewhere that is the absolute best in any endeavor. Rip's has the best fried chicken on the planet. No where else is even close.

2: Mama Hamils

This place is a little hard to find, as you can't see it from the road, and there is no sign. If you want the best Southern Buffet, then you will just have to do what every one else does and ask some one. I found Hamils while riding down Hwy 51 and experiencing the smell of wonderfull cooking as I was riding past. Now Hamils is a stop every time I head South.

3: The Palace Grill

Breakfast? This is the place. I have been eating here since 1972. I don't live in Chicago, but every couple of weeks, I drive/ride the 50 miles to the Palace to have what I think is the best ham & cheese omelet there is.

4: Original Oyster House & Steamer

When I want shrimp dinner, I could try some where in Chicago, but I know there is nothing like this place. One time while eating here I heard some one say, "the best shrimp never make it more than 20 miles from the Gulf". There are plenty of sea food restaurants along the Gulf of Mexico, I have tried many, but this IS the place. My friends shake their heads when I get on my bike and say I am going for shrimp. I say, it's only 986 miles from my house.

5: Heidelberg Cafe

If you are ever withing 500 miles or so of Indianapolis, this is a must. I always go out of my way to stop here. It is unique, the food is the best German fare I have found, and they are nice people.

6: Rendezvous Memphis

Pullese don't tell me about KC ribs. These are better! I won't waste words on this one, just go there.

7: Nick Tavern Lemont, IL

The hamburger discussion could be long. I like In-and-Out as much as anyone, but again, there has to be a very best. For Hamburgers, Nick's in Lemont is right up there. Not the absolute worlds best like Rip's Chicken, but pretty darn good. There were stories about former Governor Jim Thompson taking the state helicopter to Lemont just to have a Nick's burger. Anyway, if you want to experience what a hamburger should be, this is it.

8: Superdawg

If the hamburger argument is a biter one, well hot dog places have an even bigger following. I will setle this argument. Superdawg is the best. (Period.)

9: Ted Drewes Frozen Custard

Do not give me this Culvers, or anyone else has good custard before you try Ted Drewes. Nope, not a word.

10: Norske Nook

Hard to describe, but do not pass one without stopping. Really!

11: Norb-Andy's 518 E Capitol Ave, Springfield, IL Tel: (217) 523-7777

Sorry no website, but Norb Andy's is the place to get a Horseshoe sandwich while in Springfield.

12: Rezza's

My favorite Middle-Eastern (Persian) resturant. 3 locations, all great. The Lamb is perfect, and you have to try the Dill Rice.

13: Yokohama Restaurant, Westmont, IL

I used to live in Japan, and there are very few Japanese restaurants that really have food that is the true flavor that I found there. Yokohama is one that is actually authentic. I can not say that is is the best in the country, however I can say it is the best Japanese food in Northern Illinois including Chicago.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"Let The Kids Ride."

I smell the stench of greedy evil insurance companies behind this so called "Lead" law. No child is going to gnawing on the frames or engines of motorcycles to injest lead. I think it is sick old men at insurance companies that care nothing about hopes and dreams of young riders and only wany kids kept in a bubble where there is no possibility of them skinning their knees.

Please take whatever action that you can to have this CPSC ruling reversed and let the kids ride.

Prince Spaghetti commercial - a classic

This hasn't played on TV since I was a kid, but I stil think of Wednesday as Prince Spaghetti Day.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Monty Python-Bring out your dead!

I am tired of the TV telling all of us to be worried about the H1N1 flu. So, I found this cheery video clip about the outcome predicted by CNN.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Winter Escape

For those of you not familiar with Winter in Joliet Illinois, we have two seasons. Riding season, and anxiously awaiting riding season.

I went to the bike show Saturday (big disappointment), and Sunday, I just couldn't take waiting any longer. So, I loaded up the Spyder, and I am off to the desert.

02/11/09 Update:

The pictures really say it all. I am becoming disappointed in the Locatik site. The tracking software is really crude. Google Latitude is far better, so if you really want to track my whereabouts, go to the Google Latitude Site and add kurt555gs as your friend once you have Latitude going on either your fone or puter.

More to come: (I will be adding pictures as I go )

Thursday, January 29, 2009

California Speeding Ticket

I found the following on a site I frequent. I do not know if it is true, however, it is funny.

Top this for a speeding ticket:

Two California Highway Patrol Officers were conducting speeding enforcement on I-15, North of MCAS Miramar. One of the officers was using a hand held radar device to check speeding vehicles approaching near the crest of a hill.

The officers were suddenly surprised when the radar gun began reading 300 miles per hour. The officer attempted to reset the radar gun, but it would not reset and turned off.

Just then a deafening roar over the treetops revealed that the radar had in fact locked onto a USMC F/A-18 Hornet which was engaged in a low flying exercise near the location.

Back at the CHP Headquarters the Patrol Captain fired off a complaint to the USMC Base Commander.

Back came a reply in true USMC style:

Thank you for the message, which allows us to complete the file on this incident. You may be interested to know that the tactical computer in the Hornet had detected the presence of, and subsequently locked onto your hostile radar equipment and automatically sent a jamming signal back to it. Furthermore, an air to ground missile aboard the fully armed aircraft had also automatically locked onto your equipment. Fortunately the Marine Pilot flying the Hornet recognized the situation for what it was, quickly responded to the missile system alert status and was able to override the automated defense system before the missile was launched and your hostile radar was destroyed.

Thank you for your concerns.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Random Winter Thoughts

1: I thought that I would be done having to be annoyed with the silly 'DTV converter box' commercials (on Comcast cable no less) by February 17th. No, alas it will now be the middle of June before the endless ad's telling the stupid that they will need a box or new tv. It has been a year of these endless 30 second spots, and it just makes me wonder how dumb the American public must be. Well, I was wrong, they are even dumber than I thought, so they need to be told 3500 more times before they get it. Oh well in another 6 months, I hope, it will be the end of the RCA Indian.


Good news, the bill to delay the digital transition until June has failed in the House. Unless some foolish attempt to resurrect it happens before 02/17/09, we will finally be analog free. *Jump Jump*

* UPDATE 2 *

In an exceedingly stupid move, the US Senate just extended the DTV cutoff date of useless analog NTSC tv signals until June 12. This will of course put on hold the use of those frequencies to do things like area wide wireless internet and other such business producing technologies at a time when we really need business stimulus. Looks like thousands of inane tv spots over a whole year didn't get through to the low brow knuckle draggers, so we need 6 months more of this junk, and put off Billions of dollars in new business so the few people left that have old junk tv sets can get cheap converter boxes.

Good job Congress.


If you look to the left, you will see a widget from a website I found that will track you via cell phone. You can turn it on and off, so if you are somewhere hinkey, no one needs to know. I put a link to the full website at the bottom of the widget so you can see not only where I am, but pictures I have taken that are geocoded to a location.

The software lets you set new locations manually, when moving, or at fixed intervals. The pictures taken are only 800x800 but when you click the yellow balloons on the full map, then the pics, they look pretty good. If you phone has a built in GPS, Locatic will use it to give an exact fix. This will be great on my motorcycle trips, so folks can see where I am at any time they want. When you go to , click on the '?' to see if your cell phone is supported and download the software. I think many a biker will find this invaluable.