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Alaskan Farms

Jul 12 2016

As I was shopping for a new house, I saw some amazing photos of ‘open-air’ homes. Homes that have giant doors the size of walls that can be opened up and create an amazing open space feeling. I thought about cooling a space that size, and wondering if the right airflow design could keep an ‘open-air’ home cool, even on the hottest days.

Open-air Server Farms - DaveTavres.comAlaskan Farms - DaveTavres.com

Being the geek that I am, I suddenly flashed over to server farms, and thought – ‘What if you had an ‘open-air’ server farm in an always-cold climate like some parts of Alaska?’

Rose and flower farmers have giant tents with roll-up flaps that they hurriedly roll up and down depending on the wind, temperature, sun, and other environmental variables – so why not computer controlled doors that partially (or fully) open and close based on the inside and outside temperatures?

Yes, there are other issues, like wild animals, dust and debris, etc. but there must be simple solutions for those issues as well, like large screens and air-filtration systems – which should cost less to run than the tremendous cost of massive air-conditioning units that currently power server farms around world (and sometimes in places like Las Vegas, where power isn’t cheap, and the heat can be 100+ degrees in the summer!)

Plus, for places like Alaska and Canada where some parts have year-round snow and cold temps, these server farms could be a tremendous source of new business.

Oh, and I wasn’t actually looking for a new house – a nice picture of a huge mansion just scrolled through on Facebook :)

 

USE A PASSWORD VAULT!

Jun 05 2016

Over the years, I’ve done a lot of technical consulting for individuals and lots of small businesses. The one thing that is almost universal with all of those people is – they don’t use a password vault. But they REALLY need to use one.

Why? Because, if someone gets access to their computer, or steals their computer, or hacks it, those people can either lose all of their passwords, or worse, someone can login to many website and do malicious things. (Ya know, log into your bank, transfer money, send dirty or scam emails to hundreds of thousands of people, lock you out of your bill pay, etc.)

So – the best solution I’ve come across (and I LIVE WITH EVERY DAY) is LastPass. Right now – GO CREATE A LASTPASS ACCOUNT! – www.bit.ly/LastPassVault

Create a LastPass accont! - DaveTavres.com

Seriously. Right now. Go do it. Get started.

Even the basic free account will do more for your online security than you currently have with that Word or Excel file, or that book in the desk with all the family’s passwords in it.

Once you’re comfortable signing into the site and adding your accounts, you can move on to the really useful features like auto-login and shared folders.

What is auto-login? You install the Chrome or Firefox extension to your web browser, and when you go to a website that is listed in your LastPass Vault, LastPass can do an auto-login, or can let you choose the username and password to login to that site with. Not only is this a huge time saver, it’s far more secure than typing it out each time, or pulling up that file or book to find the password (when I’m standing at your desk and see the file or the book, now *I* know where to find ALL your passwords. If I’m not a good person, I effectively have access to ALL of your websites!)

Now you might ask, ‘What are shared folders?’ Good question!

If you upgrade for $12 A YEAR, you can have a single folder that is shared with your spouse, partner, friend, family, etc., and everyone can use that one folder for the commonly shared sites. The upgrade also lets you install the app on your mobile device to auto-login there too!

There are few things that I insist people do with their technology. This is one of those things. If you’re still using papers, sticky notes, books and a ‘clear-text’ file on your computer for passwords, it’s just a matter of time before someone steals your logins.

Create a LastPass accont! - DaveTavres.com

 

DMC California PhotoSpheres

May 25 2016

This is DMC California – the shop where many Southern California DeLoreans (and beyond) go for maintenance – including DMC #10515.

 

Non-lethal take-down tool

May 03 2016

Over the years we’ve seen dozens of videos of crazy, and dangerous people refusing to obey police orders. I remember when I lived in Seattle, a man with a samurai sword stopped traffic for hours in downtown Seattle as dozens and dozens of law enforcement tried many ways to subdue him. Today, we hear more and more about people who want ‘death by cop’ and refuse to put down whatever weapon they have in hand, and ignore police instructions. I’d like to make package an existing product that cops can wear on their belt, or at least keep their vehicles, for these rare occasions. Super-sticky foam.

Non-lethal take-down tool... expanding foam - DaveTavres.comWhile it isn’t useful is situations where the threat has a gun (because they could still fire the weapon), it could be useful for pretty much all other weapons – knives, bats, swords, rocks… anything that can’t fire a projective with the squeeze of a finger. For all the non-gun-wielding nutjobs out there, they get a shot of super-sticky foam from a pepper-spray sized can that’s just enough to slow them down or stop them. Then, once it hardens, cops can move in and get control of the assailant.

What about getting this chemical in the bad guy’s eyes or mouth? Yeah, that’s a danger. But, so is a bullet. Just like with other weapons, cops would be trained on how to use this tool. And, should the nutcase get it in his eyes or mouth, he still has a better chance then the damage a bullet, or high-pressure water, or long-term affects of what pepper spray could do.

 

Seattle Waterfront Handcar

Feb 21 2016

Seattle Waterfront Streetcar, 2001 - DaveTavres.comWith the very sad demise of Seattle’s Waterfront Streetcar, and the extremely unlikely chance that it will ever come back, as the removal of the Alaskan Way Viaduct will cause waterfront condo prices to skyrocket, I have an alternate idea to bring a bit of Seattle’s railroad history back to the waterfront. This idea is part history, part touristy. Manually operated handcars along the remaining track along Alaskan Way.

Seattle’s Railroad Ave. (Alaskan Way) around 1903 - DaveTavres.comMost people don’t know that Alaskan Way use to be the domain of the railroads – in fact, it use to be called “Railroad Avenue.” And other people don’t know that the Seattle Waterfront Streetcar use to run passengers along the entire length of the waterfront, from Pioneer Square to what is now the Olympic Sculpture Park.

Walt on the Kalamazoo handcar - DaveTavres.comSo, why not develop a fun, unique attraction that the tens-of-thousands of cruise ship passengers each year would love, as well as regular Seattleites? Rather than using the powered streetcars, build several handcars, capable of carrying up to seven passengers (six paying customers and a ride operator), where four passengers take turns pumping the crank to move along the track.

The proposed route uses the existing streetcar rails, and is just over half a mile long from about Pier 63 (click for street view) to The Old Spaghetti Factory (click for street view). Hey, Disneyland does it with Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes! Walt Disney even had his own handcar for Disneyland.. That’s plenty long enough for people to enjoy a ride, see the Seattle waterfront in a fun way, and even get from one end to the other quicker than walking – heck, this could even be called “kinetic art”.

Proposed Seattle Waterfront Handcar route - DaveTavres.com
Google aerial view: https://goo.gl/maps/3BGRh34YR9k

I say there should be several handcars, because they could be ‘launched’ a few hundred feet apart, allowing more than eight passengers at a time to make their way along the waterfront. There could be up to four going at once, one right after another. When all four handcars get to the end of the line, all of the passengers disembark, and the next set of passenger get on, ready for their adventure.

Handcar diagram - DaveTavres.comHaving a ride operator on board each car would insure that people don’t try breaking any land-speed handcar records, they make sure people on the ground don’t get run over, and they can help rotate the passengers along the way.

Yes, this would be monetized. Just like Disneyland, people would have to pay for the privilege of locomoting themselves. The ticket price goes to cover the cost of building the handcars, covering the cost of operating insurance, paying the employees, maintenance of the cars and some simple advertising – although word-of-mouth and getting listed on the cruise-ship port itinerary would likely mean very low advertising costs. Plus, if this was built and operated by the Northwest Railway Museum, this could be a way of reaching the community at a great distance from the actual museum (as well as bring in extra funds!)

What about storage of the handcars you say? I suppose they could be stored at the old Bell Street Streetcar Station, locked up and covered with heavy-duty canvas, to keep people from climbing on them during the operating season. Then during off-season, they would be light enough to pull up onto a rented flatbed truck and stored at the NRM.

So there you have it. Railroad history, non-profit fundraising, tourist attraction, Seattle.

Seattle Waterfront Handcar - DaveTavres.comSeattle Tourist Attractions - DaveTavres.com