About Author: LessGrossman

Posts by LessGrossman

0

Obama Says “No more locked phones!”

Every now and again we are all tempted by the dark side, and if there was ever a temptation for me this would be it. I am a tech guy through and through, and I work in the mobile industry. So I can’t say I would mind if every mobile carrier allowed us to both unlock and use unlocked devices on their networks, or even better so do it for us. After all, these devices are ours, we pay for them … over and over again.

But I am torn, as much as I’d like to believe that this is a “good idea”, I’m not convinced that this falls within the powers we have granted the government. While the device I am using is mine, the network is still owned by the carrier, and what they say goes … for now. But I have a hard time seeing this as anything other than further intrusion into private industry.

As nerds rejoice all over the interwebz, I have to point out that if you are currently with a provider that does not allow for unlocked phones on their network YOU CAN LEAVE! There are alternative providers out there that already allow for this, T-Mobile’s “Straight Talk” allows you to BYOD (bring your own device). As does Net10, Metro PCS, and many others. If people were really that upset, and wanted this option they would move to a carrier that allowed it. That’s kinda how the free market is supposed to work.

-LG

 

Phone unlocking to be ‘expeditious and transparent,’ while not affecting service contracts

The Obama administration, by way of the NTIA (National Telecommunications and Information Administration), today officially petitioned the FCC to voice its opinion that carriers should be required unlock customer’s phones. The petition cuts right to the point, stating that US consumers should be able to request that their phone, tablet or other device be unlocked — and have it done free of charge and with no strings attached.

“Americans should be able to use their mobile devices on whatever networks they choose and have their devices unlocked without hassle.”

Said NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling, going further to say that the burden of handling unlocking should be put on the carrier, not the users, and that the process should be “expeditious and transparent.” A Library of Congress decision regarding the DMCA took the ability for consumers to legally unlock their phones last year, and this petition hopes to secure these rights outside of that act.

The NTIA claims that carriers have plenty of mechanisms for keeping customers on their networks and following their rules, regardless of ability to unlock a handset and take it to a competitor. And we can likely all agree that this is the case, as unlocking a phone doesn’t change the fact that you may still be in a service contract with that carrier.

Although this is a great step in the direction of consumers having control over their devices, it’s up to the FCC to create the framework for this to happen. The NTIA is hoping to get the ball rolling though, stating:

“The petition requests that the FCC immediately initiate the process of setting rules that protect Americans’ investments in mobile devices by allowing them to use their equipment with any compatible network.”

The Obama administration has seemed to stay on the side of consumers with previous statements on this matter, but we have to hope that the FCC can set a strong framework to make sure carriers not only are required to unlock phones but are also held accountable for following the laws. As we all know,carriers don’t always follow through on FCC requirements to be open with devices.

Source: Washington PostNTIA

Original Story Here

1

The journey to Uncle Val

Past experience has taught me to avoid clear liquors at all costs. Being able to consume mass amounts of something and blacking out is not my idea of an enjoyable night out … anymore. But being that I am a paleo eater, and subscribe to the Robb Wolf version of the diet (His book the Paleo Solution can be found here), he suggest sticking with clear liquors if you must drink. Note I said suggests, he does not endorse drinking, he simply answers the question most would ask anyway, how do I have a cocktail in the least unhealthy way. That answer revolves around clear liquors. So here is how I broke it down.

Vodka, even so called “good” vodkas taste like rubbing alcohol to me, even when you mix them with anything and everything you can find. Not to mention anything that will mask the taste is littered with refined sugar, and god knows what else really defeats the purpose of enjoying a finely crafted liquor. Considering what some people call top shelf vodka like Grey Goose can cost upwards of $30 a bottle, why would anyone want to mix it with anything? And don’t get me started on the plethora of ridiculously flavored vodkas now available, cotton candy? whipped cream? bubble gum? Seriously who comes up with this crap? What jackass designs and markets shit that only high school girls would want to drink? If nothing else, remember that 15 will get you 20, I’m looking at you Pinnacle.

So with Vodka out, 100% pure agave tequila is next on the list. Unfortunately too many bad nights, and subsequently following mornings preclude me from ingesting this horrid substance. Just the smell turns my stomach, and while I can still enjoy a margarita every now and then, that unearths the same issue that all mixers do, extra calories most notably from refined sugars. And honestly once you’ve made a few and have a good solid buzz going, its too much work to keep making them, especially if they are frozen.

So left with limited options, I went with something I’ve actually never even tried before, Gin. I’ve always thought of gin as an old man drink (or as my wife’s grand mother calls them “young foggies”). But I decided to give it a go none the less. I began my journey with a bottle of Tagueray Rangpur, which is a non-dry gin with hints of citrus. While it wasn’t bad as an introduction to gin, which I mixed with tonic and a slice of lime, I set out to find something more refined. I tried the usual names, regular Tangueray, Bombay Saphire, and so on. But one day while on a random trip to the liquor store I came across Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin, which was oddly placed on an upper shelf and nearly completely covered by some hanging crap like bottle openers and beer coozies. It’s simplistic and dare I say “old school” bottle and labeling caught my eye even though I’m not really one for packaging, I perform substance over form. I was officially sold when I read the first line of the lower label “Uncle Val has no patients, for those that have no patients” … clearly a man cut from the same cloth as I. Given the price is roughly the same as a bottle of Grey Goose, I decided to give it a go.

UncleValLabel

The difference was immediately obvious that this was in another league, I won’t claim to be an expert on gin, or any liquor for that matter ,even after 20 plus years of consuming them. But I know quality and craftsmanship when I taste it. The more I drink Uncle Val’s, the less tonic I need to mix with it, which is either a sign of a great liquor, or alcoholism. I prefer the former, especially because I have roughly 2 – 3 drinks a week tops.

So after that long ass ridiculous story, go get some Uncle Val’s and drink it. I guess I could have led off with that, but shit what fun would that be?

4

War Sales 101

If you’ve read any of my posts you will know I try to keep things on the funny side, it helps to keep the doom and gloom from bringing me and those who read my posts down, as well as provide some entertainment. Unfortunately I see nothing funny about our current situation regarding Syria. I’ll leave the funny stuff to the professionals at the Daily Show this time, and instead provide my thoughts, however superficial, on this ridiculous debate.

 

War Sales 101:

As anyone who has ever done sales will tell you, it is always best to have a product that “sells itself”. Of course this is a relative term, depending on your demographic some products are more self selling than others. Products that save people money or time tend to be easier to push on customers, necessities like food and clothing (within reason) are easier to sell than a big screen tv.

I’ve done a small amount of sales in the past, and I can tell you it is no easy task. Cold calling is a nightmare in my opinion, as I was not able to easily convey my own trust and belief in the product, or convince the potential client that speaking with me was even worth their time. Face to face sales was a little easier, and I was moderately successful when I was able to visually assert my confidence in the product, and it is much easier to get someone to invest time in a conversation when you are right in front of them, and they can’t just hang up.

So the question of the day is, how do you sell WAR to people who neither want it, nor will benefit from it? This is no easy task, but our president and congressmen have many more tools than your average salesperson. Firstly, they always have our attention, if the president is being interviewed it must be for a damn good reason, right? Social media outlets and “trusted” news sources explode at the mere mention of WAR. Nearly everyone pays attention, we are captivated by it, and we absolutely should be. WAR is not a word to be used lightly, neither are DRONE STRIKES, MOBILIZING TROOPS (boots on the ground), or WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. These are powerful tricks of the political salesmans trade if you will.

There is no question the situation has captured our attention, and the authorities have used that attention to begin their sales pitches. The issue for them now is that the pitch is simply not widely accepted, we have heard and seen this before. We have been burned (both literally and figuratively) by the promises of a safer future for Americans if aggressive action is taken, by the fear of being seen as weak by the international community if we do not. And by the most deplorable of sales pitches, appealing to our morality to allow our armies to go forth and murder. Please understand, and I hope there are no illusions here, what they are selling is murder, and I have heard no argument in all my time on this earth other than self defense that morally allows one person to end another’s life.

So have we actually learned from the past, or will the constant reiteration of the same old sales techniques wear us down, soften our resolve, and rock us to sleep with dreams of a better tomorrow through murderous coercion? Only time will tell, but I am left with one honest, albeit philosophical question, the question which sparked the idea to begin typing this in the first place.

If you have to actively sell WAR to the people … shouldn’t you instinctively know its wrong?

0

Combat Data Collection with Childishness

NSA, CIA, CVS, FB, HULU, and a whole host of other acronyms are dead set on collecting and selling information about your life. If you’re thinking right now, “wwhhhhaaaaat, the government doesn’t sell our info”, I won’t insult you, your mind may be too frail to take the abuse anyway.

 

Many people such as myself take issue with this, but I don’t intend to discuss the merits as to why or why not this is actually a problem. Rather I’d like to offer a few suggestions to those like minded individuals who abhor this type of behavior. Before I delve into my bullet pointed list (things look official when you use bullet points), there is one behavioral aspect you will need to be comfortable with before implementing any of them and that is childishness.

 

My reasoning for this is simple, acting in a childish manner makes you unpredictable. Unpredictability is good, mix with a little misdirection and you have the F you recipe for those who want to profit by collecting your info. Here are some examples:

 

  • Hulu – I personally pay for this service, which makes the collection of my personal usage data even more infuriating (yes, I know I agreed to the terms of service). If this bothers you as well here are a few things I do to at least make me feel like I am fighting back a little.

    • If you’ve watched anything on Hulu lately you may have noticed they now give you a choice as to which advertisement you would like to watch. When presented with this option I make a point to pick the things I am least likely to purchase or use. I tend to lean toward feminine products, cleaning supplies, and credit cards, none of which do I have any use for.

    • Watch shows you hate … well not really, you don’t have to watch them just start a show that you can’t stand, put your computer on mute and shut off the screen. I let it run until it times out, yay Hulu now thinks I love Ally McBeal … mission accomplished.

    • Never rate, share, or comment on anything unless you do so sarcastically. Don’t worry, your real friends will know you were just being cheeky when you made Duck Dynasty one of your favorites … but Hulu won’t.

  • Amazon – I like shopping on Amazon, I honestly do, but it really grinds my gears when I log in and it suggests products for me, asks me for reviews, or to take surveys.

    • Obviously surveys are easy enough to give crap answers to, but you need to be consistent. They love to ask the same question in different ways, so pay a little attention and provide consistently crappy info.

    • Create ridiculous “Wish Lists”, pick things you would never in a million years want, and put them in your wish list. A fifty pound bag of coarse sand to rub in Woodhouse’s eyes … sure why not, a segway? hell yeah they rock, any Apple product ever made? throw it in the wish list. Amazon now believes you actually want these things, well played playa.

    • One thing I do not screw around on are product and store reviews. Here I am completely 100% honest and tell it like it is. This is for two reasons, first my review (good or bad) may actually help another customer like me. Second, leaving a shitty review for a store or product which is disingenuous only hurts that retailer and I’m not out to screw with the little guy.

 

  • NSA – clearly this is a dangerous one, but this list wouldn’t be complete without a few simple suggestions on how to deal with being constantly monitored.

      • Conversations – Since you are being listened to anyway, start out every other conversation with the phrase “The NSA is listening, lets use code 12b”. Then continue to have a normal conversation. It makes me smirk every time I think about some NSA goon trying to decypher a cryptic code in my conversations when there is none. Kind of like “A Beautiful Mind”, oh crap don’t do this, you may give NSA agents schizophrenia.

      • Texting – every now and then I send a “coded” text message to a random number I pick out of a hat. It all means nothing, but like the new HTC commercial with Tony Sta … I mean Robert Downy Jr., when I send “MMA TMNT TBD” it could mean anything or it could mean “Meet Me At The Mall Next To The Big Dumpster”.

    • Find other ways to communicate – Not a novel idea by any means, but something to consider. I used to love playing on the CB radio as a child, and there are a plethora of “walky talky” apps out there for smart phones like Voxer. Just remember to do your research, look through the permissions the app needs when installing it to your device, and note if your messages are being stored in the cloud. I will do more research into this and give some “safe” examples in a future post.

 

  • SuperMarkets/Drug Stores – if you were not aware that most if not all stores who offer a “discount” card, record your purchases and sell that info, well now you are. Some people argue that it is just the price of using the card and saving money. I am not in that camp, and while I don’t have many of these discount cards the ones I do have have the following characteristics.

    • None are in my real name, or bear my real address. Cody Fakertin, and Dominic Nonamebro are some of my favorite aliases.

    • They are used rarely, I avoid these things so much I usually forget I have them.

    • When they are used, I will often pick up a few items I do not need, just to return them a few days later. Why? Just to skew the numbers a bit more, I will admit I do not do this often, but it makes me smile when I do.

  • FaceBook – just stop using it, there is no punchline here, seriously grow up.

In conclusion, is what I would say here if I was using this as a speech, which I will actually be doing next week at my friends wedding as his best man. I was told not to embarrass him with awkward stories of times long past, so I will embarrass him by putting no effort in, and just reading what I wrote for this article, and yes his wedding gift is going to be a CVS discount card under the name “R. U. EmbarrassedBro”. Remember at the beginning I said this would be childish, challenge completed.

1

Still a long road ahead

My last post “2 big wins on Nov. 6th” outlined my very optimistic outlook for the legalization movement, and the shift in mindset of the people to a realization of true personal ownership. Then I see articles like this and I realize what a long road is still ahead.  I am doing my best to reserve judgement (as this is an op-ed piece in the NYT), but it does paint a fairly clear picture of a morally bankrupt system at each of the federal levels. I’ve bolded a few passages that I found to be extremely reprehensible, but please don’t let that sway your opinion. I did so more out of disbelief than anything else.


 

By REBECCA RICHMAN COHEN
Published: November 7, 2012

 

Our federal marijuana policy is increasingly out of step with both the values of American citizens and with state law. The result is a system of justice that is schizophrenic and at times appalling.

Though the federal government considers marijuana a Schedule I Controlled Substance and bans its use for medical purposes, a growing number of states feel differently. Today, 18 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized medical marijuana for people suffering from debilitating medical conditions like cancer, epilepsy, severe nausea, multiple sclerosis and chronic pain. And on Tuesday, Colorado and Washington State voted to legalize marijuana for adult use, regardless of medical condition. But these states cannot stop the federal government from enforcing its own laws.

And federal drug laws are unjustifiably extreme. Consider the case of Chris Williams, the subject of this Op-Doc video, who opened a marijuana grow house in Montana after the state legalized medical cannabis. Mr. Williams was eventually arrested by federal agents despite Montana’s medical marijuana law, and he may spend the rest of his life behind bars. While Jerry Sandusky got a 30-year minimum sentence for raping young boys, Mr. Williams is looking at a mandatory minimum of more than 80 years for marijuana charges and for possessing firearms during a drug-trafficking offense.

This outcome is sad, of course — Mr. Williams will not be free to raise his teenage son — but it is also morally repugnant. Even if you think that the benefits of legalized medical marijuana do not outweigh the costs — a crucial debate, but one we can table for the moment — a coherent system of justice must explain why one defendant is punished more harshly than the next. It must explain why a farmer who grows marijuana in compliance with state law should be punished much more harshly than some pedophiles and killers. If we cannot explain this disparity, we should fight to change it.

Leading up to Mr. Williams’s trial, federal prosecutors offered him various plea bargains, but he turned them all down. He believed, quixotically enough, that he deserved his day in court. He held this conviction even though prosecutors precluded him from presenting his compliance with state law as a defense to the federal charges. Without this essential context, the jury heard a deeply distorted version of Mr. Williams’s story.

After Mr. Williams’s conviction, the United States attorney general’s office came back with a new deal. If he waived his right to appeal, they would drop most of the charges so that he would face a minimum of 10 years in prison and pay a $288,000 judgment.

His response? “This is nothing more than slavery and completely disregards my rights as a citizen of the United States of America. I have declined the offer.”

When asked for comment, a Department of Justice press officer said the department, like the attorney general’s office, could not discuss the facts of a pending case.

Rebecca Richman Cohen is an Emmy Award-nominated filmmaker and a lecturer on law at Harvard Law School. Her latest documentary, “Code of the West,” follows the political process of medical marijuana reform. She is a Soros Justice Fellow.

 

Original Here

2

2 Big wins on November 6th

Ah yes, another blog post by a stoner excited about the momentum of the legalization movement … not exactly.

While I am extremely excited about the passing of historic legislation in Colorado and Washington yesterday, I won’t be moving to either state anytime soon, and I discontinued my use of the silly smoke a long time ago. My excitement stems from what I consider to be a shining ray of hope in an otherwise dismal election day defined by the sickening sound of the Status Quo Philharmonic.  I am under no illusions regarding the passage of these bills, they will be heavily contested, heatedly debated, and will spark controversy that will likely culminate in federal government intervention. However, even if the will of the people in these two states is crushed by the federal government, I will still find solace in what the people of Colorado and Washington have done, and here is why.

 

I am an unwavering believer in personal liberties, which includes the right to do as one wishes with their own body. This right has been egregiously attacked by the federal government since the early 20th century, as evidenced by the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914. If your not familiar, the act not only diluted personal rights, but reaped a profit for the government by controlling the use of cocaine and opiates through licensing and taxation. As an aside, I don’t limit my opinion on personal liberties to narcotics, I feel as inclined to defend a persons right not to wear a seat belt (which you are also taxed for), as I do to defend their right to smoke marijuana. So when I heard about the legislation passing, I couldn’t help but think “are people waking up and realizing that they actually OWN their own bodies”?. Sure, I am most likely being overly optimistic as to voter’s motivations here, but I can’t help myself I need a pick me up after the elections.

 

I am excited about the fiscal opportunities legalization would bring. Introducing a new industry to a states economy will obviously create opportunities for new revenue streams, new businesses, entrepreneurs,  and secondarily provide tax revenue to the state. Canibus is the definition of a cash crop, and as a budding industry (pun intended), I am positive it would contribute to an economic spike for any region (as medical marijuana has done in several states). The unfortunate part hit me when I read that Washington’s legislation included a 25% tax each time the product changed hands. While new jobs will still be created, those tax rates would severely limit the ability of small businesses to compete in the industry. But I suppose you take the good with the bad, just like when you vote for the POTUS (or at least that’s what you’re told to do).

 

In a similar fiscal vein, I am hopeful that voters are more readily realizing the futility of the war on drugs. It may be a stretch to infer this from yesterdays events, but again I am doing my best to be optimistic. It has been  more than 40 years, and over a trillion dollars have been spent, and hundreds of thousands of lives lost, yet the “War on Drugs” is a complete failure. Even “drug czar” Gil Kerlikowske admits the strategy has not worked (read more), yet the spending continues. Presidential promises have been made that the approach will change, but promises that two wars would end, and gitmo would be closed were made too, so I’m not holding my breath.

 

I am hopeful the prejudice (racial, social, economical) associated with drug use is losing its hold. This is one of those topics I could spend a week writing about, so I will keep it as concise as possible (I am too high to keep focusing on this anyway … j/k). I mentioned the Harrison Act previously, but even before it was enacted the government as well as private parties used fear mongering propaganda to shape public opinion regarding drugs and races. In the late 1800′s the Chinese were targeted for morally bankrupting people from “respectable families” with opium, and using it to seduce white women. Black’s were portrayed as cocaine crazed, and were blamed for raping and killing whites while under the influence. Mexican’s were labeled as degenerate marijuana smokers, all reported under the guise of being “news”. I would be naive to think that this is all behind us, but I am hopeful that the grip is loosening, even if it is only because the media has other agenda items. But the subtle (and not so subtle) hints are still there, note the image cnn money used for its article on the legalization story below. I am pretty offended its not a picture of a white millionaire in an bespoke suit smoking a foot long blunt.

Link to original

 

 

2

FBI issues Android malware warning, forgets how apps work

I frequent AndroidCentral.com, I am a tech nerd, and love my android devices, and the site is great. I saw this and had to share, coming from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, you would think they would know how the technology works, then again no one really accuses them of being thorough or intelligent very often. I don’t want to ruin it for you, but long story short, don’t click on shit you know you shouldn’t. No wealthy Japanese men want to meet you, and your long lost great grandfather twice removed didn’t leave you a butt load of cash that your just now getting an email about.

 

he FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center has recently issued a warning about Android malware, citing two new malicious applications and how they can cause all sorts of havoc to the unsuspecting user. From the IC3 page:

Loozfon is an information-stealing piece of malware. Criminals use different variants to lure the victims. One version is a work-at-home opportunity that promises a profitable payday just for sending out e-mail. A link within these advertisements leads to a website that is designed to push Loozfon on the user’s device. The malicious application steals contact details from the user’s address book and the infected device’s phone number.

FinFisher is a spyware capable of taking over the components of a mobile device. When installed the mobile device can be remotely controlled and monitored no matter where the Target is located. FinFisher can be easily transmitted to a Smartphone when the user visits a specific web link or opens a text message masquerading as a system update.

Loozfon and FinFisher are just two examples of malware used by criminals to lure users into compromising their devices.

While we applaud the intent of the message — keeping users safe — the mechanics and facts are sorely lacking. Both the examples involve user “phishing,” or tricking someone into clicking something. These aren’t just flying around in space looking for your phone. And there’s a big difference there.

Case in point — one of the popular methods of propagation for the Loozfon malware that wasn’t mentioned involves a promise of meeting wealthy Japanese men. Presumably, you can meet these men by clicking a link in an unsolicited message or from a web page. Protip — you won’t. Don’t click them. The FinFisher malware gets even more tricky, as they mention the user is promised a system update if they click a link. In realty the user gets a variant of a corporate trojan written by professionals with ties to law enforcement.

The FBI also gives a lengthy list of precautions to take to keep your phone safe, and we have to agree with them. Common sense items like not clicking unknown links and password protecting your phone are a must. Yet they forgot the most important one:

Applications can not install themselves after they have been downloaded. 

Even if you’ve clicked and downloaded one of these malicious apps, you still have to ask to install it, agree to the permissions you’re given, then OK the entire process. Until that happens, it’s just a file that can do no harm. There’s two real pieces of advice we can give here — read what you’re installing, and pay attention to what you click.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE

2

Cardboard Bicycle

I bet this guy was the type to get an expensive toy as a child and only play with the box. I like it, but why does every inventor say “this could change the world”? Its a cool and innovative idea, but changing the world is a tall order.

Cardboard bicycle can change the world, says Israeli inventor

 

MOSHAV AHITUV, Israel (Reuters) – A bicycle made almost entirely of cardboard has the potential to change transportation habits from the world’s most congested cities to the poorest reaches of Africa, its Israeli inventor says.

Izhar Gafni, 50, is an expert in designing automated mass-production lines. He is an amateur cycling enthusiast who for years toyed with an idea of making a bicycle from cardboard.

He told Reuters during a recent demonstration that after much trial and error, his latest prototype has now proven itself and mass production will begin in a few months.

“I was always fascinated by applying unconventional technologies to materials and I did this on several occasions. But this was the culmination of a few things that came together. I worked for four years to cancel out the corrugated cardboard’s weak structural points,” Gafni said.

“Making a cardboard box is easy and it can be very strong and durable, but to make a bicycle was extremely difficult and I had to find the right way to fold the cardboard in several different directions. It took a year and a half, with lots of testing and failure until I got it right,” he said.

Cardboard, made of wood pulp, was invented in the 19th century as sturdy packaging for carrying other more valuable objects, it has rarely been considered as raw material for things usually made of much stronger materials, such as metal.

Once the shape has been formed and cut, the cardboard is treated with a secret concoction made of organic materials to give it its waterproof and fireproof qualities. In the final stage, it is coated with lacquer paint for appearance.

In testing the durability of the treated cardboard, Gafni said he immersed a cross-section in a water tank for several months and it retained all its hardened characteristics.

Once ready for production, the bicycle will include no metal parts, even the brake mechanism and the wheel and pedal bearings will be made of recycled substances, although Gafni said he could not yet reveal those details due to pending patent issues.

“I’m repeatedly surprised at just how strong this material is, it is amazing. Once we are ready to go to production, the bike will have no metal parts at all,” Gafni said.

Gafni’s workshop, a ramshackle garden shed, is typically the sort of place where legendary inventions are born. It is crammed with tools and bicycle parts and cardboard is strewn everywhere.

One of his first models was a push bike he made as a toy for his young daughter which she is still using months later.

Gafni owns several top-of-the-range bicycles which he said are worth thousands of dollars each, but when his own creation reaches mass production, it should cost no more than about $20 to buy. The cost of materials used are estimated at $9 per unit.

“When we started, a year and a half or two years ago, people laughed at us, but now we are getting at least a dozen e-mails every day asking where they can buy such a bicycle, so this really makes me hopeful that we will succeed,” he said.

A ride of the prototype was quite stiff, but generally no different to other ordinary basic bikes.

“GAME CHANGER”

Nimrod Elmish, Gafni’s business partner, said cardboard and other recycled materials could bring a major change in current production norms because grants and rebates would only be given for local production and there would be no financial benefits by making bicycles in cheap labor markets.

“This is a real game-changer. It changes … the way products are manufactured and shipped, it causes factories to be built everywhere instead of moving production to cheaper labor markets, everything that we have known in the production world can change,” he said.

Elmish said the cardboard bikes would be made on largely automated production lines and would be supplemented by a workforce comprising pensioners and the disabled.

He said that apart from the social benefits this would provide for all concerned, it would also garner government grants for the manufacturers.

Elmish said the business model they had created meant that rebates for using “green” materials would entirely cancel out production costs and this could allow for bicycles to be given away for free in poor countries.

Producers would reap financial rewards from advertisements such as from multinational companies who would pay for their logo to be part of the frame, he explained.

“Because you get a lot of government grants, it brings down the production costs to zero, so the bicycles can be given away for free. We are copying a business model from the high-tech world where software is distributed free because it includes embedded advertising,” Elmish explained.

“It could be sold for around $20, because (retailers) have to make a profit … and we think they should not cost any more than that. We will make our money from advertising,” he added.

Elmish said initial production was set to begin in Israel in months on three bicycle models and a wheelchair and they will be available to purchase within a year.

“In six months we will have completed planning the first production lines for an urban bike which will be assisted by an electric motor, a youth bike which will be a 2/3 size model for children in Africa, a balance bike for youngsters learning to ride, and a wheelchair that a non-profit organization wants to build with our technology for Africa,” he said.

CHEAP AND LIGHT

The bicycles are not only very cheap to make, they are very light and do not need to be adjusted or repaired, the solid tires that are made of reconstituted rubber from old car tires will never get a puncture, Elmish said.

“These bikes need no maintenance and no adjustment, a car timing belt is used instead of a chain, and the tires do not need inflating and can last for 10 years,” he said.

A full-size cardboard bicycle will weigh around 9 kg (about 20 lbs) compared to an average metal bicycle, which weight around 14 kg.

The urban bicycle, similar to London’s “Boris bikes” and others worldwide, will have a mounting for a personal electric motor. Commuters would buy one and use it for their journey and then take it home or to work where it could be recharged.

He said that as bicycles would be so cheap, it hardly mattered how long they lasted.

“So you buy one, use it for a year and then you can buy another one, and if it breaks, you can take it back to the factory and recycle it,” he said.

Gafni predicted that in the future, cardboard might even be used in cars and even aircraft “but that is still a way down the road.”

“We are just at the beginning and from here my vision is to see cardboard replacing metals … and countries that right now don’t have the money, will be able to benefit from so many uses for this material,” he said.

(Writing by Ori Lewis, editing by Paul Casciato)

3

Joyriding Ferris Bueller Style

Granted its no 1961 Ferrari GT California, but if someone went joyriding in my ’97 Chevy Cavalier Z24  (if I owned such a marvel of late 90′s engineering), I would be pissed to say the least. All I could think when I read this article was …

Vincent: It’a been worth him doing it just so I could’ve caught him doing it.
Lance: What a fucker!
Vincent: What’s more chicken shit than fucking with a man’s automobile? I mean, don’t fuck with another man’s vehicle.
Lance: You don’t do it.
Vincent: It’s just against the rules.
-Pulp Fiction

 

Camaro owner records mechanics abusing car, scheming to get damages paid for

 

When you own a sports car, you inevitably get a little paranoid about how it’s treated when in the care of strangers. One South Carolina man was worried enough that when he took his 2010 Chevrolet CamaroSS in for service at a Chevy dealer, he hid a voice recorder in the car. He was right to be worried: The recorder caught mechanics doing burnouts and discussing how to make the owner pay for a ruined clutch the car didn’t have before coming in. Now the Internet Justice League has taken the wheel.William Clark says he took his Camaro to Best Chevrolet-Kia in Easley, S.C. for a clunking noise in the car’s six-speed manual transmission. After a previous visit to a different dealer, his Camaro had died shortly after Clark retrieved it; while he suspected the staff at that dealership of joyriding, he had no proof at the time.

This time, the voice recorder hidden in the door pocket catches employees doing several burnouts and hard launches in the Camaro; Clark later says the techs drove it harder in 20 minutes than he had in three years. Once back in the shop, the mechanics realize the Camaro’s clutch has been fried, and come up with a plan to blame the damage on Clark, saying to “write it up as him buying a (expletive) clutch,” while saying another part failed under warranty so that General Motors would pay for its replacement.

Clark says he’s taken his evidence to the dealer and Chevrolet customer service; the dealer offered to reassess the damage or take the Camaro as a trade-in on another car, but refused Clark’s demand to buy the car back. Clark says Chevrolet customer service washed it hands of the problem, saying it was an issue between him and the dealer. As of the last update, the car’s smoked clutch remains untouched.

Unfortunately for Clark, there’s few other steps he can take that don’t end in court. Dealers are regulated by states; Clark can file a complaint with South Carolina officials, but even with an audio recording the assessment of damage isn’t so clear-cut as if the mechanics had wrecked it on a test drive. Instead, other Camaro owners have taken up the cause, posting Clark’s video to the dealership’s Facebook page and otherwise making noise about the problem.

You can hear the entire exchange, including the profanity, here. A lawyer for Best Chevrolet, in a request to Yahoo Autos to take down this story, told us in an email that the audio was “misleadingly edited.” Clark has said the dealership has threatened to sue him over the audio, but has also spoken with him about buying the Camaro back. The dealership may soon learn that in the Internet era, one burnt clutch can create quite the stink.

UPDATE: General Motors says in a statement that if the recording is valid it does not condone the behavior described, and that it is “actively working closely with the dealer to resolve this situation to the customer’s satisfaction.”

1

Rock Art Brewery

I have never been a huge fan of “micro-brews”, mainly because they all seem to try to make a name for themselves with either ridiculous flavor infusions, or insanely high alcohol content (the later bothers me less than the former). Honestly, who wants a strawberry logger? Or a “baseball bat upside the head” ale that you can only drink two of prior to hitting the floor? I am not 19 years old, or a woman, so neither hold any appeal for me (no offense ladies, I’m just being honest, I don’t like strawberry beer).

I was pleasantly surprised on a recent trip to Vermont when my girlfriend and I stopped off at Rock Art Brewery (Their site here) for a beer tasting. They had roughly 8 to 10 beers on tap, of which you could pick four 2oz samples for the $4 price tag. Not too bad considering you get to keep the pint glass. They had 3 different IPAs available for the tasting, I really enjoy a good IPA so I tried them all and settled on the Belvedere Big IPA as my favorite, and took a growler of it back to the hotel with me. My girlfriend really enjoyed one of their seasonal brews, the Farmers Brown Ale which we also grabbed a growler of. I was also impressed by the punkin ale, Rock Art does not use any punkin spices, so it really has little to no punkin pie taste at all. Had I not been told it contained punkin I mostly likely wouldn’t have known it was in there. On a side note, I used the word punkin 5 times in three sentences, that deserves some kind of dunce cap award of some kind.

Rock Art also makes a specialty beer for the Hourglass bar at the Stowe Mountain lodge where we stayed. Amply named “Stowe Mountain Lodge Hourglass Ale”, I enjoyed several of these at the bar as well, along with the beef pot roast, which was scrumptious. If your in the area check them out, Matt creates some great beers, and his wife Renee was extremely nice and even pointed us toward a great lunch spot after our tasting. Now if you will excuse me, I have a variety pack sampler of theirs to test out …

This site is protected by Comment SPAM Wiper.