Archive for October, 2007

I’m going to go off subject a bit because the driver of the pictured vehicle just happened to pass me at the wrong time and did so in a way that could have caused a major accident.

If you know this driver, if it’s your son or daughterDeadHead (I couldn’t tell because of the speed) let me tell you they were doing at least 60MPH on Lewisville-Clemmons Rd passing an entire line of cars using the right hand lane coming into the school zone at West Forsyth HS. They then switched lanes, slammed on their brakes and turned into the High School on October 30, 2007, at 2:54:46 PM.

I know kids will be kids but if this is your “kid” you may just want to yank the keys away until they understand what happens when a car doing 60MPH comes into a school zone and hits a stopped car at a light, somebody probably isn’t going home that night.

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Dell is finally getting into the Tablet PC market after years of ignoring it. The Latitude XT will be a Convertible Tablet much like the Gateway CX line or Lenovo X61. The Intel based unit will have a 12.1 inch screen closer to the Lenovo line than Gateway and appears will shipped with either a single core or optional dual core CPU.

I had the opportunity to speak at length with a Dell VP while on a flight from NC to TX and I asked him about Dell’s lack of a Tablet back in the spring. His comment back then was that Dell had looked at the market multiple times but had not been able to find a price point at which they could bring a product to market that the customer would go for and would meet Dell’s needed profit margin. As more and more Tablets are showing up in both businesses and schools it’s obvious Dell has got the hint or found a source for building the unit at the price point they wanted.

Although Dell has been hush, hush about this product some news has leaked out along with some pictures:

image

12.1 inch screen, 1280800 resolution

ATI Radeon Xpress 1250

3 USB, Fingerprint Reader, 1394

Optional Bluetooth, 3G, Smart Card reader

Vista Business (No XP option, we shall see)

First glance at this unit it appears they took the best of Gateway and merged it with the size and specs of the Lenovo units. No news on who they are sourcing these from or a real ship imagedate but rumor is they will start taking orders as early as October 30th but more likely mid November with a shipping date of December 10th.

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WOW, what could anyone ask for after a week of much needed rain other than a perfect Carolina Saturday, Music, Food and all around good time?

This years Festival has to be the biggest yet from my experience with estimated numbers exceeding 175,000 showing up. It’s hard to verify those numbers since the festival is free, parking is provided by ‘any place you can find’ and no real way of counting heads. I suspect those numbers are a bit high however it was clear the attendance was well up from last year in my opinion. I can say that as we left Lexington around 2PM the line of cars coming into Lexington on Highway 8 was backed up almost to 52 which is around 2 miles. SandyPig

The Festival was much like last years with many of the same vendors in the same locations which can be a plus. The children’s area was a big hit as usual and could really be expand a bit with lines running 5 minutes or more for some rides and those of you with children know that waiting in line is not an easy task. As always the BBQ was great and the folks working the booths appeared to be having a good time and actually were more pleasant than many a wait staff I’ve seen lately (but that’s another blog).

In concert this year was was Trisha Yearwood among others and the regulars like Chairmen of the Board. Not knocking any of the other acts but getting Trisha Yearwood I would say had to be a huge draw as I saw folks staking out a claim to areas in front of the bandstand a good two hours or more before she went on. Trisha Yearwood said on stage that she “was not expecting this many people” as the crowd around the Grandstand came to a standstill during her show.

In general the Festival is a huge hit and they could probably expand it to multiple days drawing in thousands more. My only negative comments would be that Stage 4 needs to be moved back out of the intersection as it creates a huge people jam, the children’s area should be expanded and people if you smoke please don’t do it while walking in a mass of other people, find a corner out of the way and light up but not two steps in front of me.

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October 31, 2007
3:30 pmto6:30 pm

Description:

The Broyhill Office Suites will be hosting the second annual “ Eat, Drink and Be Scary” event on October 31, 2007. The event will be held in the Old Clemmons School located on 3540 Clemmons Road from 3:30-6:30pm. The event is open to the public. Children must be accompanied by their parent or guardian.

Children are able to participate in numerous activities including: a costume contest, a coloring contest, as well as play games and get a free professional picture. Prizes will be awarded to winners of the contests by age group. Costume and coloring contest winners will be announced at the end of the event and will be notified by mail.
All children will be able to safely trick-or-treat door to door to current tenants in the building. Participating tenants include: Allen Tate Realtors, Blue Moon Benefits Group, The Dorman Law Firm, Tripp Harrington Photography, Karen Barry MFT, Norman Sloan Attorney at Law, The Broyhill Group,
The Barrett Law Firm, and United Solutions.

Don’t miss the fun and excitement! For more information contact us at 336-793-1191 or visit the website at www.broyhillofficesuites.com.

Details:
Date: Oct 31, 2007
Time: 03:30 pm – 06:30 pm
Address: 3540 Clemmons Rd
(next door to the Clemmons Library)
Clemmons, NC 27012 
Cost: FREE

Contact:
Name: Jacqueline Roark
Phone: 336.793.1191

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I’ll start out by saying I love Panera Bread for a couple of reason with one of them actually being the food. The other however is Panera Bread like some other places in the Triad has elected to offer FREE Wifi to it’s customers. That means while you having that muffin you can hop in the Internet with your notebook and check the latest news, buy that lamp on eBay or check your email. Why more places have not opted for doing this is beyond me as it’s clearly a draw for Panera as you can go into any of their shops and see a good half dozen folks eating, drinking and computering 😉

Anyway one thing people should be more aware of is most Internet traffic is easily captured, watched, and tracked and when you do it in a public place that goes doubly so. In the case of a Panera Bread wifi setup I have noticed a large number of users just tooling around on the Internet typing in passwords here, logging into services there all oblivious to how easy it is for a “hacker” to see. I will write another post about exactly how this happens in the future but for now what I want to focus on is if it’s bad enough a hacker might be watching but did you know Panera Bread was?

While in a Panera Bread today I need to test an email server to make sure it was up and running. To do this I just need to open a direct connection to that server and see if it answers. Without getting into the Geek part of this I’ll leave it at that and proceed with what I saw when I tried to connect to say BITSofWS.com’s email server:

220 relay.wanderingwifi.com ESMTP (5e620e3a0f5115e2950db8d4c0cab4f1)

hmmm, that’s not BITSofWS.com.

Now from a business owner and tech point of view it’s clear to me any HotSpot should be doing some monitoring and filtering otherwise some Spammer would just sit in the parking lot spamming away however there are ways to stop Spamming without the need to actually read all the email going through the network. So is Panera Bread just filtering or are they listening in? Well if you go to www.wanderingwifi.com you will find this little tidbit which certainly sounds to me like they are listening and recording all traffic going through the network:

“We block outbound SPAM. We provide audit trails of usage. We can blacklist users or devices. We help you demonstrate proper due diligence and avoid frivolous lawsuits.”

I’m not surprised they would do this and other than general web browsing all my connections are secure by SSL, VPN, etc so if they want to know I went to Google to check a stock price then good for them. I wonder though how many users out there come into a HotSpot and launch Outlook Express checking their email, sending an email to somebody or even worse send an email with potential security and privacy issues in it? Come on I want to see a show of hands of how many of you have sent an email with a password, phone number, door access codes or worse in it. Yeah that’s what I thought so the next time your using a public wifi service just be aware that anything your typing that either isn’t secured by that little Lock in Internet Explorer or using some corporate secure connection you need to understand anyone and maybe everyone is watching.

For a pretty reference without all the Geek Speak you may want to check out this article: Coffee shop WiFi for dummies

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Winston-Salem City County Utilities announced on Tuesday that all customers should stop using sprinklers as part of Governor Easley’s request that residents of North Carolina reduce their water consumption by 50% in a week.

What I find interesting about this is just last Friday I emailed David Saunders, the Director of City/County Utilities, concerning businesses using sprinklers to the point the run-off was staining the parking lot and got ZERO response from him or the Department.

For the record here’s a few images of an UNOCCUPIED business building that daily runs it’s sprinklers to the point you could surf the parking lot. I know in these images the water is not raging however one can see by the stains on the pavement this is a daily event and when I first spotted this the water running across the parking lot was at least 2 inches deep.

The reason I bring this up is because as I drove around today, the same day they asked everyone to cut water use by 50% I drove by at least 6 businesses with similar or worse water waste. If the city is this concerned about water use they could cut water use by half just driving down Stratford or any other main business drag in Winston-Salem and seeing the streams of water running down the drain. I have an idea, why not add a way on the Utilities website for the public to report water waste?

Sorry guys but until I see some brown grass in front of the businesses in Winston-Salem I certainly am not going to let the last five years of grooming my yard go to waste by letting it die.

While I’m on the subject has anyone seen the Gov’s ride lately to see if it’s all dirty, “a bit of mud on the car must be a badge of honor.” Governor Easley, 10/16/2007

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Folks in and around Winston-Salem may have noticed something strange in the sky the past few days and I’ll admit I actually called somebody that was much closer to the object in the sky when I first saw it.

CavemanAbout an hour later I got a pretty good view of what it was and now I’m even more confused than I was before I figured out what it was I was seeing.

Now not that a plane flying a banner is something new, you see them at the beach all the time, but a plane flying a GEICO Caveman banner over Winston-Salem? First we have Washington, DC saying staffers need diphtheria shots before going to a NASCAR Race in Concord and now GEICO marketing their Caveman to Carolinians? Is GEICO trying to say something about Winston-Salem? (By The Way diphtheria has more or less been wiped out in developed countries with only 5 cases in the US since 2000.)

What actually got me was an insurance company flying a banner up and down a major Interstate, I-40, which was an obvious move to catch the eye of drivers on the road, you know those same drivers that are suppose to be ‘watching the road’!

So the next time you look up and see something in sky don’t worry it’s just a Caveman.

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As I mentioned the other day SkyBus was being courted by PTIA and several local Governments to expand it’s service to and from PTIA and just after I posted that information it appears it’s happening. Starting at 6AM on Tuesday tickets will go on sale for flights between Greensboro and St. Augustine, FL. Along with that news comes information that SkyBus will also increase it’s flights from PTIA to Columbus, OH to two flights a day starting in January 2008.

Probably he biggest news though is that SkyBus will make PTIA one of it’s new hubs which is huge news for anyone who is a regular patron of PTIA. As those of us that fly out of PTIA know the number of airlines and flights from PTIA have fallen over the years and you can rarely fly directly from PTIA to anywhere other than Atlanta or Charlotte. The news announced on Monday includes flights to Hartford, CT., Boston, Los Angeles, Jacksonville, FL., Fort Myers, FL., Fort Lauderdale, FL., and Gulfport, MS.

Other flight news or rumor is that SkyBus will run flights to the Bahamas possible from PTIA as early as March 2008.

This could be a huge benefit to all travelers from and to PTIA as one thing PTIA has needed is competition. Not only that but the news is this could bring in as many as 400 new jobs to the area with average salaries being in the mid 40’s.

Now if they will just add flights to Portland, OR, upstate NY and Reno, NV I could be a happy camper.

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