Cars I’ve Owned

I’ve owned quite a few cars (and motorcycles) in my time. Some, like the 911, were incredible machines. Others, like the Marina, were turds. I loved them all!

I’m sure I missed one or two here, and I don’t count cars that belonged to my wife

Click on a picture for a short commentary of each car

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Filed under Automobiles and motorcycles

Management F-Laws

Anyone that sees my Goodreads feed will see that I regularly post updates of books that I am reading / have read.

This year I’ve read 20 books so far, and yet one book has been on my “currently reading” list for several years.  This is all the more surprising when you consider that the book in question is only 162 pages of relatively large print.  

Am I that slow a reader?

Well…yes is the answer to that question.  But there’s more to it than that.

mflThe book is called Management F-Laws by Russell Ackoff and is described as “A full collection of more than 80 of Russell Ackoff’s management f-laws: the uncomfortable truths about how organizations really work, what’s wrong with the way we design and manage businesses, what makes managers tick… and how we can make things work better.” and therein lies the problem.

Every time I pick up this book I read just two pages and ideas pop into my head sending me off writing a new blog post, updating some piece of work or just discussing the idea with anyone who happens wander nearby…often my long suffering children.

So, after several years, I’m about half way through the book which, in a very strange way, is the about the best recommendation I can give for it!

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Filed under Career

Could Drone Registration Actually Increase Incidents?


Tiny hex

Register it?

This week the Department of Transportation announced the formation of a task force to create a drone registration process with registration to begin as soon as the holiday season.

Setting aside my skepticism that any government body can design and implement a robust registration system in just two months, it occurs to me that this registration system might actually increase the number of drone related incidents.


Up to now the legality of drones has been a bit of a fuzzy area with almost no regulations in place that cover this new field. This means that while they are not illegal, they have not really been approved by any official body either.

Under this setup enthusiasts (such as myself) are understandably wary when other people are about. I have literally set up to fly at a wide open space only to pack everything up before getting off the ground because a jogger showed up.

There are also quite a few people that want to buy a drone but have held back convinced that the Government was about to ban them outright.

By providing drone registration the government, at a stroke, legitimizes drones.  A situation similar to what six day-care centers discovered when they accidentally legitimized late pickups of kids by implementing fines.

Once my drones are registered I guarantee I won’t be packing things up when Mrs. Smith shows up to walk her dog.  I’ll still be safe and courteous but I will no longer be invisible, happy in the knowledge that if challenged I can whip out my registration card and show that I’m legit.  

Similarly people that have been waiting to see if drones will be banned will suddenly be given the green light just in time for Christmas.  DJI and 3DR may well be rubbing their hands in glee at the moment.

More people flying  +  less inhibition = more incidents

One would hope that the anticipated increased education that comes with registration would help keep incidents to a minimum but that, of course, assumes the buyers actually read the instructions.

You know what they say about unintended consequences…they are still consequences!


Filed under Building Multirotors, The Human Condition

Did I Hear That Right?

Mandatory training in America is usually there to protect the company rather than teach you something new.  But a number of years ago I attended a class that taught a life lesson I have tried to pay attention to every day since.

This particular class was entitled “Diversity Training” and I expected the usual loss of an hour of my life while someone explained things that were (or should be) patently obvious to anyone with an IQ above that of a hammer.

flipWe knew something was up when we arrived to find a room with no tables or chairs, just flip charts and some pens in each corner.

The instructor got down to business by dividing us into groups and giving each group a piece of paper.  Our instructions were simple: Read the paper, listen to the scenarios that she would read out and then write down our thoughts on the flip chart we had.  

After several scenarios were read and thoughts written we compared the results.

The first scenario she read was as follows:

“The person on your sheet has just brought in the biggest account the company has ever had.”

The flip charts were arranged such that the groups could not see each others answers so imagine our surprise when we found the following results:

Group 1

Group 2

  • Fantastic!
  • What a guy!
  • We should take him out for a drink to celebrate
  • Give him a big bonus!
  • Give him a promotion!
  • I’d like to shake his hand
  • He got lucky
  • Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while
  • Probably stole the account from someone else and didn’t give credit
  • If he can do it then anyone can

Huh?  Same question, read by the same person at the same time.  What happened?

The difference was what was on the piece of paper.  

Group 1 had a paper that read “The person you are about to hear about is well liked, hard working, intelligent and expected to go places.  Everyone expects that he is on the fast track to senior management.

Group 2, by contrast, had a paper that read “The person you are about to hear about is lazy, not particularly intelligent, never helps anyone out and is fully expected to be let go in the near future.

There were more scenarios such as the person losing the biggest account (Group 1 commiserated while Group 2 wanted him fired) but I think you get the picture.  The message was the same, but what people heard was completely altered by what they personally brought to the table.

This is human nature and it is very hard, if not impossible, to avoid infecting what you hear with your own biases, but I still try.  More importantly I try hard to keep my thoughts about someones faults to myself to avoid infecting others.  I can’t say I am always successful, but at least I try.

So the next time you hear something that you feel negative about take a moment to think about it.  Are you getting the real message, or the message you wanted to hear?  


Filed under Career, Education, The Human Condition

Where Did Empathy Go?

Coach_USA_ShortLine_50889A detour on the commuter bus into NYC clearly showed how little empathy people have for their fellow passengers.

Because of construction the bus was sent on a detour and ended up taking a wrong turn.  When the driver realized what he had done he asked if anyone knew how to get back to his route.

I provided directions to quickly and easily turn around and get back on track and was immediately shouted at by several other passengers who insisted that he should take the next right and go directly onto Rt. 208.  

When I pointed out he would then be unable to pick up the people still waiting along the regular route there was a collective (and loud) “So what!?

I’m assuming the people acting this way are the same ones that will be on the phone to the bus company if the bus is a minute late.

When did getting to work 5 minutes earlier become more important that making sure that other people are looked after and treated fairly?


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Filed under Life - or something like it, Travel

Mandatory Snopes Checks

falseThe Presidential election season is the perfect time for Facebook, Twitter and other social media to implement automatic Snopes checks.  

You know who these people are.  These are the ones that can’t help but instantly share stories about Obama being pro Muslim or removing the phrase “In God we trust” from currency.  Or ones about Donald Trump* saying black people should go back to Africa if they don’t like America.

Implementation would be pretty easy.  All posts would be immediately fact checked with Snopes (or other reputable sources).  To encourage people to think before they share the following tiered level of rebuke would be implemented:

  • First offence:  The post is not shared and you are reminded to check facts before sharing
  • Second offence: The post is not shared and you are blocked from the site for 5 minutes
  • Third offence: The post is not shared. You are blocked from the site for 20 minutes and a mild electric shock is introduced through the keyboard
  • Fourth offence:  Sterilization.  That might seem a little harsh but we really need to clean this one out of the gene pool

interlockThey have ignition lockouts for people that are DUI repeat offenders, so why not social media?

* There may have to be an exception for posts about Donald Trump.  It’s often hard to tell fact from fiction in these cases.


Filed under Life - or something like it

Simple trick to save money on car maintenance

What if I told you an easy to use $20 tool could save you hundreds or even thousands in car repair bills?  

It’s true!

This week my wife came back to a car with a dead battery after my son left the lights on.  Fortunately there was a friendly truck driver with some jump leads nearby and in just a few minutes the car was running and ready for the journey home.   Twenty years ago that would have been the end of it.  Not anymore.  Now the dashboard was covered in warning lights and scary messages telling her to “Have your vehicle checked by a dealer“.  These would not go away even after charging the battery.

Now she needs to book the car in to the service center, drive to the dealer and wait around while they “check the system”.

We know that the car was fine before the battery died, and it was only serviced a few weeks ago, so I think we can safely conclude that we know what the problem is.  But nooo…they have to run through a battery of standard tests that will rack up chargeable time before they use their tool to reset the computer and send her on her way with a bill for between $50 and $150.

Or you can do what I did.  

  • Spend $20 on a OBD II reader (I already had one)
  • Look up the code it provides on Google to make sure there isn’t anything seriously wrong
  • Use the tool to reset the warning codes

This is exactly what the dealer will do but without the cost and hassle of sitting in a service area waiting room.  These things are super easy to use if you can follow very basic directions and this thing will pay for itself over and over.


While I’m sure the auto manufacturer lawyers can make a good case for why fault codes should be checked out, it’s also a great way for the dealers to make extra money.

I can pretty much guarantee that if resetting the codes was performed at the dealer expense they would provide a button in the car to allow you to do it yourself.

Oh…and while you are there they will probably tell you that you need to replace your windshield wipers while you are there and they can do it for only $80.


Filed under Automobiles and motorcycles