Category Archives: General

Drivemode – A lifesaving app!

Hello.  I’m Duane, and I am a smartphone user who drives a car.

So far as I know, there is not a 12-step program for folks like us, but there is a great app!

feature1

I’ve been using Drivemode for Android, and it enforces good habits for me.   It is feature rich, and here’s how I use it:

1) My cars activate Drivemode via bluetooth when  I start the car.
2) I am appointment driven, and as soon as I start up,  a single tap will initiate navigation to my next appointment!  Marvelous!   Just what I’ve needed for a long time.
3) I’ve set incoming calls to go to voicemail immediately and the caller gets a text saying I’m driving.  Wonderful.   They know I’m operating safely, and I implicitly encourage them to do the same.
4) I’m never tempted to look at an incoming message from SMS or Messenger.   Drivemode just reads me the message.  Cool.

There are many more features.   Check it out:  Drivemode.com.  Be safe!

This is your brain

A theory on the learning of complex manual tasks suggests that we need 10,000 hours of practice to master a complex skill. For instance, playing tennis, flying an airplane, playing the piano, or driving a car. A theory of brain science suggests that the nervous system of homo sapiens did not develop primarily for thinking, but for appropriate reaction to learned stimuli. I think these two theories are closely related.

From 1974 to 1978, I spent approximately 7,000 hours mastering the skill of driving a transit bus (Metro Transit, Seattle) while meeting the needs of riders.

This afternoon, I was driving my Dodge RAM pickup while towing my piano hauling trailer. That’s the closest thing I own to a bus. As I was slowing for a right turn, I simultaneously approached a bus stop. I observed two girls there waiting, and as I approached, their subtle change of posture indicated they wanted to board my bus! AUTONOMOUS BRAIN! STOP IT! You are not driving a bus, and haven’t since 1978! My thinking brain quickly engaged, and caused me to look in the rear view mirror, where a UTA bus was approaching one block behind me.

Don’t you just love thinking about your brain? flxible

To the good motorists of Roy, UT

I would like to thank the good motorists of Roy, for a pleasant morning.   I rode the Denver and Rio Grand rail trail from Clinton to West Haven through Roy at the morning rush.  At each of the half-dozen road crossings in Roy, motorists readily stopped to allow me to cross safely!  I appreciate your good driving manners and safety attitude.

Perhaps you could train the drivers on 300 N in Clearfield at the Burton Street crossing.  They could use some of your good nature.

Where’s the worst air in the U.S. today?

Where’s the worst air?  Oh.  Right here.  In the little known State of Utah.  Also known, perhaps,  as the State of Denial.

This time of year brings temperature inversions to the valleys along the Wasatch Front Mountains of Utah, and pollutants from 1.7 million cars is trapped – it just cannot be dispersed to the surrounding desert!   This week cities in Utah have repetitively made the EPA’s chart of Top 5 Worst air in the United States.

Here’s today’s current conditions and forecast  (this just shows the top 5 in the nation):

US Current air quality January 25, 2013

From the EPA's website: airnow.gov

 

U.S. Air quality forecast for January 25, 2013

From the EPA's website: airnow.gov

 

Is this unusual?  No.  It’s January in Utah!

Earlier this week, a group of health care professionals delivered a letter to the Governor of Utah, requesting that the Governor take immediate action and declare a healthcare emergency.  The doctors stated, “We know from thousands of medical studies that people are dying in our community right now because of air pollution and its role in triggering strokes, heart attacks, congestive heart failure and infant mortality.”  Reference:  kuer.org

The governor’s office responded:

“Ally Isom is a spokeswoman for Governor Herbert. She says he would not characterize current air quality conditions as a health emergency, but acknowledges it is unhealthy for some groups. She says the governor encourages everyone to exercise individual responsibility to combat the pollution.”

The Governor does seem to be the Governor of the State of Denial.  “Unhealthy for some groups” is quite the understatement.  The red designation in the graphic above is an EPA Air Quality Index greater than 150.  The EPA defines this category as, “Everyone may begin to experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.”   This is a marked contrast in definition.  Maybe the good doctors are right and the Governor is wrong.

I take exception to the Governor’s solution. He “encourages everyone to exercise individual responsibility to combat the pollution.”  It wasn’t the individuals who built the twelve lane freeways along the Wasatch Front, enabling a lifestyle which is reliant on cars.  It was the elected government.  It’s time for the government to take action.  As the doctors say, this stuff isn’t just an irritant.  It’s costing lives.

Earlier today, I sent my proposals to my State Representatives.   They are harsh, but would be effective.   The “individual responsibility”  approach has not worked.   We need real plans now.   Here’s my proposals:

Representative Pray and Senator Stevenson:

It is time! It is time to stop wringing our hands about our filthy air. IT IS TIME TO TAKE ACTION! This week we have been ranked number one in the nation for filthy air by the EPA. Cars are the major problem. Lets attack it there on an economic basis!

Proposal 1: During periods where PM 2.5 emissions are above 30 ppm, charge a $10 toll for every vehicle entering I-15 in affected counties which have fewer than 2 passengers. Hmmm that’s logistically challenging. Probably would be troublesome to implement.

Proposal 2: During months where PM 2.5 emissions are above 30 ppm, increase the gas tax in affected counties. I’d say $3.00 a gallon would get enough cars off the road.

Radical proposals? Perhaps. Do we have a big problem and do we have our head stuck in the sand? Yes. From each of the above proposals, take the revenue to fund public transportation and public transportation awareness. Offer free public transit during these periods.

Why am I concerned? Well, I’m sick. Not terribly sick, just sick when I breathe the air. I dread January each year. If it were more than 6 weeks a year, I’d move! I’d leave the state. I’d leave the state? Hmmm. Maybe this pollution has a negative economic value to the state! Yesterday more than 100 medical professionals petitioned the Governor’s office, asking for a declaration of “healthcare emergency”. The governor’s response was lame. He said, “Nah, it’s not that bad”.

Big problems require bold solutions. We have a big problem.

Salt Lake City Parking – Month Decal Faded

Parking Enforcement Gone Beserk!

Alert: Avoid Salt Lake City

While enjoying some laughs at Wise Guys Comedy Club in Salt Lake,  more “humor” awaited me on the windshield of my car!  I was cited for “Month Decal Faded”.   What???

That’s right.  It seems that the Utah DMV has recently been issuing license plate decals that fade to the point they are unreadable.   And, Salt Lake City, seizing on the opportunity is issuing citations to car owners.  Oops! Come on folks, this is ridiculous. This does not pass the Ho Ho test.

No I’m not alone.  Have a look at this article in the Salt Lake Tribune.


Here’s my very calm email to the folks at Salt Lake City Parking Enforcement.  Do you think they’ll respond?

On Sat, Jul 14, 2012 at 11:07 PM, Duane McGuire <biz@duanemcguire.com> wrote:
Folks:

I received a citation while spending money in Salt Lake City this evening for “Month Decal Faded”.  Yes.  It is faded.  I didn’t know that was a problem.  The registration is valid, and the month of expiration is discernible.   I’ve attached a photo of the plate.

Please rescind this violation notice.  Really, it cannot pass a common sense test.

Citation: AA039766

Thank you.


Duane McGuire
801-830-5858

1077 N 1285 W
Clinton, UT 84015

Uncle Frank

Frank McGuire, my uncle, passed away last weekend at the age of 92. It was too soon, because he could still tell a good story.

Frank gave his children – my wonderful cousins – the gift of story, and the gift of can-do! As a very direct result, his memorial service resulted in many tears, and much laughter. Frank would be proud.

These are my simple word sketches of Frank’s life and spirit:

  • The young man of the depression is working a poor farm in Minnesota, and treks to Washington to work in the woods in the winter and treks back to Minnesota in the summer. Treks? Right – with a thumb in the air and hopping freights. That’s can-do.
  • The young man gets a letter from his sweetheart in Minnesota. He says, “I don’t like the sound of what’s going on there”, packs his bag, sticks out his thumb and heads to Minnesota to make things right. That’s can-do.
  • The father of six finds that the money doesn’t stretch as far as it needs to, so he decides that two jobs are better than one. That’s can-do.
  • The older man finds that the social security check doesn’t go as far as he’d like. He says, I like trips to the woods … so now he’s a woodcutter. That’s can-do.
  • I congratulate the old man on his first hole-in-one. He says, ‘Not much to it. If you spend 40 years trying, eventually it’s going to go in the hole”. That’s can-do.
  • The old man talks to his older brother, who complains that he can’t find anyone who can do a new cedar shingle roof. The old man says, “No problem. I can do that. It will be a nice visit”. That’s can-do.

Thank you Frank, for  your may stories, and your example of a life well-lived!

100@60 week 1

I declared I’ll ride 100 miles on my 60th birthday. I’ve got just 217 days to prepare!

Yesterday I rode 30 miles – a bit much – on the Denver & Rio Grande Rail Trail. The ride was from Clinton to Farmington and back. I rode more than I should have, because I was curious whether the trail had finally been extend to connect with the Legacy Parkway Trail. Indeed it has! I’m very fortunate to have such a trail just a half mile from the house. That makes about 30 miles of connected trail (and 60 miles round trip). I should get to the sixty mile ride before the snow flies!

Here’s yesterday’s 30 mile ride:

Route on Google Maps

Here’s today’s 17 mile ride:
Route on Google Maps


59.4

Whereas:
1) I’ve come to the certain knowledge that in just a few weeks I’ll reach the age of 59.5! No big deal except that it is an age canonized in IRS regs — somehow related to IRA and 401k distributions. I don’t need to get into that because my accounts amounted to little a few months ago and even less today!

2) Perhaps more auspicious is the signal event of 60.0 in a few short months.

3) A number of years ago, I read a health article which suggested that the decade of the 50’s was the last chance for people to “get in shape!” At least statistically, folks who are not in shape on their 60th birthday, are more prone to health declines in their 60’s and 70’s. I took that to heart. I took off 60 pounds. I rode the bike. Even rode 100 miles in the Salt Lake Century. That year, I rode the bike more than 3000 miles. But I haven’t been so kind to my body these past 3 years. 30 pounds are back and I’ve ridden less than 300 miles all year.

Therefore:
I proclaim that on April 1, 2012 — the 60th anniversary of my birth — I will ride the bicycle 100 miles.

Who wants to join me?

PS
I’d better get to training!

The Stroke Sander

I bought the stroke sander several months ago from an out-of-business cabinet shop. This weekend when my daughter Erin came to town, we worked on a first class coffee table for her. It is built of 6/4 hardwood panels that we glued up. The largest of the panels is 28″X22″. The stroke sander worked great for creating a smooth, flat surface. Also, I was pleased with the effectiveness of dust collection for this inherently messy machine! The videos shows Erin sanding one of the cherry panels.