Bizarre Bluetooth data corruption

Here’s a bizarre example of Bluetooth data corruption that I came across when downloading a picture from my phone last week. It looks like a few packets must have been dropped or had undetected errors, causing misalignment of the rest of the data.

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Here’s a close‐up of the beginning of the corrupted area.

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My second attempt to copy the picture from the phone was successful. I just found it surprising that the error was undetected, and that the JPEG still was decodable.

I found a couple of resources on Bluetooth data transport that might be interesting. I’d like to find some sort of characterization on the error rates in Bluetooth communication.

National Marathon — 2009 Official Results

Congratulations to Aunt Sara for completing another half marathon this weekend, this time in just 1:50! She just keeps going — what happened to “one and done?”

via National Marathon — 2009 Official Results.

Gardens at the White House and our house

As we begin to plan our own garden, we’re pleased to see that the White House will have a garden of its own this season. All the lobbying by the likes of Michael Pollan and Alice Waters has paid off — we hope this is a sign of a growing trend in this country of increased awareness of the importance of real food.

Obamas Prepare to Plant White House Vegetable Garden — NYTimes.com

As for our own garden, we’re planning more of our usual suspects: a few varieties of tomatoes, zucchini and yellow squash, okra, strawberries, beets, lettuce, spinach, chard, and a few kinds of chiles. If we get started soon enough, we’ll aim to get some broccoli in there, too. The sun makes gardens grow and families happy.

Family bike & skate

Another beautiful Sunday spent biking and skating just over 14 miles on the Monon Trail. Nearly complete, the northern extension in Westfield brings the trail almost all the way to 161st street, 15 miles north of the downtown end. Further, Westfield has published plans to make additional extensions by the end of 2009. Carmel has made some improvements over the last season, as well, making more reasons why this is such a nice trail.


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First family bike ride of 2009

We took our first official family bike ride of 2009 on Sunday, a 14 mile trip up and down 116th Street in Fishers. We made a slight detour on the way home to stop by a construction site so David could check out the diggers. David definitely grew heavier over the winter! It was wonderful to enjoy the sun for a day. Emerging from hibernation is one of the best events of the year.


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American Express won one for us

American Express has had some up and down news lately. First, they got in trouble because they were lowering people’s credit limits without warning, which wound up lowering people’s credit ratings. A little while later, they were offering to buy out their lesser customers and get them to leave. This week, we learned that the CEO was paid upwards of $27 million last year.

All I know is that I’m pretty happy with them so far: we’re earning a respectable cash back reward, and they are honoring our dispute with a retailer who went bankrupt before delivering furniture that we had ordered with a deposit charged on our Amex card. We were concerned that we were going to be unable to recover our deposit, so here’s to one less thing to worry about!

Now, if only we could convince Kinder Care and our mortgage lender to take American Express, we could earn some serious rewards!

Magic of fermentation

img_1395The magic of fermentation is underway again at our brewery (the downstairs closet). We will have a nice light wheat beer flavored with peaches ready in time for summer. Can’t wait!

Brewing started after David went to bed Sunday night, so that meant a late night for me. It appeared that the yeast started more quickly than normal, as they were well underway by the time I woke up the next morning, a great sign.

Emily prepared 3 ½ pounds of peaches by peeling and pitting them Sunday afternoon, and then we threw them into the freezer to break down the cell structure, helping to release more juice during fermentation.

While boiling this batch, I spaced out and added the irish moss earlier than the recipe called for. I hope this does not cause the finished beer to be too much hazier than normal. Irish moss is a natural clarifying agent that is helpful in making beer because it binds with the proteins that make beer cloudy. The typical haze in wheat‐based beers are caused by these proteins.

Because of the vigorous initial fermentation and the presence of extra sugars from the peaches, I am preparing for a mess when I return home today, because there was not a lot of head space in the bucket for the krausen, the thick head that forms on top of the fermenting brew. The krausen sometimes can bubble up through the airlock (pictured at right, the airlock allows carbon dioxide out but prevents contaminants from getting in), down the bucket, and onto the floor. People joke about home brewers having explosions, but they are referring to over‐primed bottles, not the initial fermentation bucket. The airlock allows the bucket to “breathe” out. That is, unless the krausen has clogged the airlock. Then the airlock will get blown out the top of the bucket. That happened to me once, I think on my second batch.

Mini‐Marathon Training Series 10k

Another good race today, despite a sinus infection. We had beautiful weather: perfect temperature and sunny, just a little humidity and southerly breeze.


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Date 2009‐03‐07
Distance 10 km
Time 43:10
Pace 6:57/mi
Results 19 in age group; 67/1745 overall (official results)
Conditions 60°F, sunny, light breeze

Indianapolis Star FTW?

The Star reported yesterday on this issue of idled train boxcars clogging up the nearby town of Greencastle. It’s a crummy situation, and it’s a shame that the townsfolk have to deal with this manifestation of bad economic times.

The other thing that is shameful about this story is that it was front page news in the Wall Street Journal nine days earlier. How did it happen that the national paper scooped the local paper by over a week, with a story twice as long? Why did the Star bother to try at this point?

I’ll chime in on the recent discussion about the hole that the news media is in. Lately, Colorado’s Rocky Mountain News closing has been a pretty big story. Lots of other papers are bankrupt or for sale. People on the internet are latching onto anecdotes of how the traditional news media industry is not adapting well to changing times.

One thing that quality news outfits have going for them that they need to figure out how to leverage better is editing, as eluded to by Dan Schorr of NPR. Maybe this explains the explosion of talk and opinion out there, because people crave commentary and analysis as much as they want facts, which have been commoditized by technology.

Lessons from tire shopping

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In other car‐repair news, I learned a couple things about tire shopping recently. Two weeks ago, I ordered a set of new tires for the Volkswagen. I did my research and placed an order online at Sam’s Club for a set of Michelin MXV4 S8 tires at $112 each. Curiously, the same tire model — dimensions, ratings, and all — was available under two different SKU numbers. One SKU was $112 and the other one was $143 — 28% higher! Naturally, I ordered the less expensive ones.

When the tires arrived and I had them installed five days later, they charged the $143 price. Checking online, the exact tires, down to the SKU number, that I had ordered were indeed now available only at the higher price. I provided proof of my original order, and they adjusted the price without a fight.

Lesson 1: There are a zillion combinations of tire models and ratings, and it’s probably a nightmare for retailers to keep their databases current. If you are ordering tires, check thoroughly for similar models, because you may find an unexpectedly good deal.

Lesson 2: Tire prices apparently can fluctuate wildly in a short amount of time. So, if you know you’re going to need new tires soon, select a tire model, and then monitor the price for a little while. If you see the price go down, jump on it!