Some of the overlooked ones

One of the services in WWII that is not known by many people is the Women Airforce Service Pilots. During WWII pilots were needed in Europe and the Pacific. And unlike the Soviet Union, women were not allowed in combat. Since every single male pilot was needed for the front lines, there was a real need for experienced pilots to ferry airplanes from place to place, both within the United States and abroad. In 1943 the WASPs were formed.

If you’ve never heard of them, don’t worry, you aren’t alone. During the war, they weren’t considered a part of the military, only an auxiliary, and received no military recognition or benefits. This is starting to change. There is now a WWII WASP museum located in Sweetwater, Texas. I plan on visiting it sometime.

One of the books that I read that helped to tell me about the WASPs and about the Mercury 13 is Amelia Earhart’s Daughters, The Wild and Glorious Story of American Women Aviators from World War II to the Dawn of the Space Age. This isn’t the most scholarly book, but it is a good place to start.

The day we fight back against mass surveillance

If you’ve been as disgusted with the overreaching and unconstitutional surveillance that the NSA is doing, then please see this website The day we fight back. There is a banner on that site that gives you an overview of some legislation that will help reign in some of the worst abuses and links to look up your senators and other legislators.


Winter weather is on its way again,

have you made any additional preparation for it?

Time to fill that car tank with gas if its anywhere close to low. Grab a cheap 5 pound bag of kitty litter. If your car is a rear wheel drive, get a bit more weight over those back wheels. Clothing layers are important, and covering all extremities can be vital. Socks can double as mittens, so throw a couple of pairs of socks in the car just in case. Protein or nutrition bars are good to have on hand. Monday night will be too late, so get it together now.

Prep for the next snowpocalypse

So, with so many people stranded in their cars on Tuesday night, people are realizing that bad stuff can happen and they need to be better prepared. The Alabama Emergency Management Agency has some good resources on its preparedness page, including a link to a basic list for a winter car kit.

My parents grew up in the midwest, and grew up driving on snow and in nasty wintry conditions. My dad remembers days with weather conditions going from a clear winter day to whiteout conditions with a 40F temperature drop in a time span of 2 to 3 hours. My husband was stationed in Germany for 3 years before we met. My parents and my husband have been insistent on making sure all the cars are ready for winter. I will say my car was pretty well prepared on Tuesday. Not perfectly prepared, but decently.

I keep a car maintenance kit with jumper cables in it at all times. In the winter I keep a reflective poncho liner in it as well. I also have a space blanket and several chemical hand warmers. I have several peanut butter crackers that rotate in the car. A 5pound bag of kitty litter is also a part of the winter kit. I have a car phone charger that stays in my car all the time. I have a water bottle in it too. I do have an ice scraper, and it stays in the car all the time.

Knowing that we were going into a multi-day stretch of below freezing weather, I chose to dress very warmly in layers. I also wore my good hiking boots that are waterproof.

In looking at the things that happened here, and the contents of my car, I need to add a couple of things to it. A number of people abandoned their cars to survive the cold. They had cell phones, but had no way to charge them after they left their cars. I need to get a travel charger that plugs into the wall for my phone to leave in the car. I also need to put some duct tape in the car, since I don’t think I have any in it. I need to add a bit more water. I probably need to get a change of clothes in the car as well. So it looks like I’m going to find a small bag here at the house to put those things in, as well as a travel toothbrush and toothpaste. I wear contact lenses, so a travel case and solution wouldn’t be a bad idea either.  What would you add?

Happy Snowmageddeon 2014

Welcome 2014, snowpocalyse style.

DH and I are safely home, and from what I’ve seen on twitter and facebook, most of my friends have made it home too; or are at least in a safe place, sheltered from the weather. Weather forecasting is an art, and the forecasters work very hard to get it right as much as possible. But ya gotta love it when a forecaster/multiple forecasters get it as wrong as they did on Tuesday. James Spann has apologized for missing the mark on this, as well as JP Dice. Honestly, as hard as forecasting the weather is, you expect there to be misses. And for all the folks casting aspersions on the forecasters, let the ones who’ve never been wrong in their predictions cast the first stone.

There’s plenty of blame to go around, and lots of local leaders share in it. And when the schools, businesses, and governments all chose to release people into the weather at the same time it tends to be a bit chaotic in the best situations. Add in the snow turning into ice on the roads very quickly and you get horribly snarled.

Here’s my relatively easy trip home for it. This is a novella, so let me put a cut in here.  Continue reading

Ideas for app developers

I started thisnpost early last year and saved it. It still applies, so I’m going to publish it now. 

I’ve had my smartphone for over 2 years now. I’ve gotten used to the idea and practice of holding a small computer in my pocket just to make calls and do stuff. I really like having the ability to do the various things it allows: access to travel plans, maps, pictures, and the larger world. There are apps on my phone that are invaluable to me.

But there are apps on my phone that I initially downloaded that were useful that are losing their utility for me. As the phone and battery age, and the battery life degrades, I’m having to pay closer and closer attention to performance issues that I was once able to overlook.

It seems that a growing trend in phone apps is to have them start up when the phone boots up. It isn’t enough to have access to them when you want it, you must have them on ALL THE TIME. And if you do try to turn them off? Well, its just too bad, so sad, you can’t. There is no way to turn the app off. You can back out of it, but it stays on and takes up memory space, as well as adds to the power drain on your battery. I don’t care that you the developer think that your app is the best thing since sliced bread, and should be able to go instantly. I use your app differently that you think I should. Give me the option to turn the damn thing off. If it doesn’t already start up at the phone booting up, DON’T ADD THAT TO ITS NEWLY UPGRADED FEATURES! You don’t add value to it by doing so, you make me re-evaluate its status as a valuable tool, and it becomes more likely to be uninstalled.