Saturday, July 25, 2015

Car Toys III

Update (7/27).-- Well, the problem with the radio and the van is the radio and the van. An explanation please.

The radio has a removeable face plate, but it’s a constant drain on the battery even with the radio turned off. The tech showed me both the constant and on/off power to the radio are from the backup battery with no wires from the radio to the ignition or fuse box.

The problem is if you turn the ignition off before you turn the radio off, it doesn’t trip the relay to switch to the backup battery meaning the primary battery is still supplying power to everything, including the radio. With the radio off you can turn off the ignition and trip the relay to switch to the backup battery, and then turn the radio back on because it’s now on the backup battery.

The real solution is remove the face plate which shuts the radio off except the minimum power for the clock. No face plate, no drain. So that’s the method now, always turn the radio off first, then the ignition, and if the van is going to sit for a few days, remove the face plate. No face plate, no drain on either battery. It’s simple to put on or take off.

The problem is the VW's twin battery system is not made for new radios.

Original Post.-- The primary battery has died twice since the VW service guy removed the fuse, supposedly solving hte problem. It didn't, and twice I've had to jumper the twin batteries to start the van and leave it running or drive around awhile to recharge the primary battery.

I finally stopped by Car Toys to schedule the work to remove the wire harnes between the radio, ignition and primary battery. The work is scheduled for Monday afternoon. I'll keep you posted on the work, but so far the representative at Car Toys understands the problem and the necessary work.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

It is time

Update July 24th.-- There is no excuse for the Mariner's pitching staff with today's game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Happ gave up 3 runs in the first inning, but the offense came back to score 6 runs going into the 8th inning, but then Rodney gave up a two run homer to tie the game and Smith gave up two more runs to lose the game.

Can anyone tell me why the team still has Fernando Rodney? He's blown more games recently than he did all of last year. All he had to do is hold the Blue Jays in the 6-4 lead the Mariners had and he threw a fast ball right down the center of the plate for a 2-run homer.

It's a WTF about McClendon. What is he doing or not doing to manage the team? There are no more excuses for this team. As one baseball analysist said, "If you're not over .500 August 1st, you're out of the playoffs. They can't get back to .500 by then with games like this, let alone in the playoffs.

This team has a lot on paper, but the fans are tired of all the "What if's", the talk about opportunities, almost always blown,  and the talk being positive about losing. There's no positive side of losing in baseball. This game showed it as the Blue Jays came back and won against an inept pitching staff.

All the offense and defense can't overcome bad pitching. They're in the bottom 3 in hitting but they have their games, just inconsistently. But their pitching, one of the best last year, is abysmal this year. All the early season talk is gone and reality is here.

So it's time Mariners decide. And it's time for the owner decide about the coaches. They're fighting for last place in the West and worst record in the American league. That's not a team the fans pay for, no matter how much the sports announcers spin it. You can't hide losing with words.

July 19th Post.-- I just watched the Mariners lose 2-1 in a game with the New York Yankees, losing when Fernando Rodney threw a fast ball right in the place the Yankee hitter parked it in the right field stands in the bottom of the eighth, and then two of the three batters in the top of the ninth struck out.

It's time the Mariners take a hard look at themselves and decide if they want to win or not, because they're not showing it to the fans. They're fighting for last place in hitting, they're in the middle of the stats for pitching and only the defense is worth talking about, being in the top ten.

It's time management of the Mariners took a hard look at Loyld McClendon as manager as he was lucky last year with a team that overachieved and now has a team that's vastly underachieving, fighting with Oakland for last place in the Western Division. And he's the one in charge.

It's time the whole team decided what kind of season they want and how they want to end it because they're now 8 games under .500 and losing more than they're winning since losing 7 straight games to go from .500 to one of the worst teams in the American league.

It's time they decided to play baseball and win, and if that takes change, then so be it. We didn't build Safeco Field for a consistently losing team, which is what they've been all season. It's time they got their act together for themselves if for nothing else than pride.

Or else they're looking at doing the same thing we'll be doing, watching the playoffs on TV. But they'll know they had their chance and blew it.

Accepting Reality

After reading the newstories about the subversive attack interview of a Planned Parenthood of America (PPA) administrator about fetuses and the use of fetal tissue by researchers, and especially today's column by Kathleen Parker, which seems to try to balance the two sides and fails, I was struck with the obvious.

The obvious is that abortion are a part of the choices women have with their reproductive healthcare. Despite all the recently enacted laws restricting access to abortions, which are decreasing not surprisingly as the reproductive information and contraceptives are increasing, does not change the reality of the choice to have an abortion. It only changes the costs and logistics.

But what has angered me the most is the tone people have taken about the video and the fact the adminstrator was lied to and ambushed while doing what she has done more than enough times, have a straight-forward talk about fetal tissue, where and how it comes from and where and how it's handled.

I hate that so few people seem outraged by the lies and ambush by the anti-abortion group who met with the administrator and lied to her about their interests for the purposes of recording it and then make it public with a lies about what was discussed but wasn't (watch the video).

The administrator didn't lie, the interviewers lied and then the group lied. Where's the anger about them? The truth is PPA has been doing this work within the laws for decades. They haven't done anything wrong. They haven't lied about it. And they helped many women with the choices and helped research in to various diseases.

There is nothing in what PPA has done and the administrator said that warrants outrage from the republicans and conservatives, nor from anyone for that matter. People should be outraged at the group and their tactics used to get the video.

But they won't be because they want to accept the lies and make false and wrong charges and demands for political posturing. And they won't accept the reality that abortions happen and the removed fetuses have to be handled within medical standards and legal requirements. PPA does that as they have said.

In then end there's nothing in the story or the video worth outrage. That should be with the group who took it.

Friday, July 17, 2015


As long as I've been a Seattle Mariner fan and as much as I want to watch and support the team, it's hard when after losing 7 straight games in early June, they've played just .500 baseball. You can't be in the playoffs with that record.

You can't get out of the fight for last place in the Western Division of the American League with that record. You're fighting to stay out of last place ahead of Oakland. You have to play better, but more so you have to win games, as some of you have said the team is capable of winning, even a 10 game streak.

How about it Mariners? You want fans to support you? Then win. Otherwise, the table setting is out on the table with the fans ready to pickup the forks. You don't have much time or games now to get above .500 and be in the chase for the Wildcard game and even the lead in the Western Division.

So, what's it going to be? Playing like last year and get in the playoffs or just another losing season we've all come to know?

Thursday, July 16, 2015


A blank roll of film, or snsor for the digital version, and a blank canvas are the same and yet they are different creative modes requiring different creative skills. Maybe a statement of the obvious, but sometimes artists and art critics dismiss photography and photographers as a creative art form.

A painter creates a painting from images in their mind, which is what artist often describe as original art, but the ideas of the artist comes from somewhere in their mind based on their experience, and often something they see or know.

A photographer starts with a similar blank canvas, being film or sensor, and captures an images they want to create later with the presentation of the image. They too create from their experience, and that's the same creativity as a painter.

The difference is simply in the medium, via canvas and paint, or via film or sensor. In many respects of art, that's the only difference as a painter captures a landscape with paint and a photographer captures with a camera.

Both the painter and photographer have to see the image in their mind and see how they want to the final version to look. The only difference is the painter starts with a blank canvas and the photographer starts with something real, but not always in either case.

A painter can see some thing or scene, such as a still life, a portrait, a landscape, etc. and translate it to canvas, much the same way a photographer sees the same thing or scene and captures it on film or with the digital sensor. The only difference are their tools.

Art critics say painters can create a painting from scratch, whether it's a modern painting or an artistic variation of some thing or scene, which differentiates them from photographers, but with the tools in digitial image editors, a photographer can create an image or a variation of an image on a digital canvas similar to a painting.

And with the digital art applications, an artist can "paint" from something from scratch just like an artist uses paint, or import an image and create a artistic variation of it with all the paint tools in the application. The only difference is one paint is physical, the other digital.

Ok, something long known and written and spoken about. Nothing new. It's just a thought I had and expressed because I was thinking about my photography which with the thought I capture images to portray them realistically, where the person sees in the final image what I saw in my mind standing there.

Not necessarily very creative, just me and my images, because when given a blank canvas I can't see what I want to create. I have to see it in real life and then translate that into what I want to create for the final image.

And why an artist I'll never be, but a photographer I can strive to be.

Car Toys Sequel

The local representative from Car Toys called about the situation with the installation of the new radio. In all fairness to him, I wasn't exactly nice and polite during the conversation as I don't like having spent $223 to find their work was the problem which caused the primary battery in the VW Syncro to die.

Anyway, the rep. explained why their technician installed the wire harness to the fuse box and the igntion to the radio. It's the standard setup with new radio on older cars. But, and a really big but, that assumes the car has only one battery.

The rep. explained the new radios require wriring through the ignition to control when the radio is on and off, to prevent the radio, namely the face, from being on all the time (like they can't be on for how long before it's damaged?).

The rep. explained new radio require two power sources, one for the constant power when the ignition is off and one for the radio when it's on, hence requiring the wire harness from the radio to the ignition and fuse box which the old radio didn't have.

That's because the VW Syncro has twin batteries, one primary when the igntion is one and one backup when it's off. The Syncro has a relay triggered by the ignition to switch batteries, but both are charged from the alternator when the engine is running.

And that's what their technician didn't know and screwed up, and why their technician who did have the knowledge and experience, and was there, didn't help or better do the work on the Syncro. It's why the primary battery died.

When the radio is off the backup battery runs the radio, both constant and when the ignition is on or off, it doesn't matter. VW wired the radio from the fuse box from the backup battery, the radio is not in the primary battery circuit.

When their technician wired the harness he connected the constant power to the backup battery (existing power source to the old radio) and the radio control to the primary battery so when the ignition is on, both batteries are powering the radio. Not smart.

When the ignition is off though, somehow the wire harness maintains the connection between the batteries through the radio, which was the drain the VW service technician found when he did the diagnostics on the Syncro, and removing the fuse broke that connection.

Now the radio's constant power and on/off power are through the backup battery as they were supposed to wire it in the first place. The rep. offered to fix the wire harness if I want, but since it's in the system between the fuse box, ignition and radio, I'm not sure if it's worth it for them to have their shot to screw it up again.

Anyway, that's the story to date. If you like Car Toys, fine, but for me, I'm not happy with their work. I like the radio, just not their service and not sure I'll go back for them to fix what they broke and cost me real money to solve.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Car Toys Redux

I wrote about buying a new radio at Car Toys and how they didn't know to follow the instructions to install it, and ended up having to change something in the wiring I didn't want or ask for. Well, they really screwed up the wiring in my VW Vanagon Syncro.

They initially wired the radio through the ignition, even when it's not wired through the ignition. All they had to do was used the existing power wires from the backup battery (Syncro's have twin batteries, one when the ignition is on and one when it's off) to the old radio.

Well, it turned out they wired it hot through the ignition all the time where it was drawing power all the time, and over the weeks, it's been draining the primary battery so that the battery was completely dead this morning.

Not even a turn of the starter, just a mush of sounds and nothing. Well, I got it towed (flatbed tow truck) to the dealer and they hooked up the diagnostics to the system to discover the radio was drawing the power from the primary battery, not the secondary one, all the time.

The removed the fuse to the radio and the drain stopped. The radio still works through the backup battery which is charged when the engine is running. VW radios aren't wired through the ignition, something they knew, or at least one technician knew who was there, but not the one who worked on the van.

I still don't know why the technician who had worked on several Vanagons and Syncros, who knew the wiring setup, and was there at the store, didn't work on it but another technician who had never worked on Vanagons/Syncro did the work. And that is what went wrong.

Their technician didn't wire it right and I'm out $223 because of their bad work, and now I have to find someone or myself to rewire the radio correctly, but I'll be damned if I'll let Car Toys near the van to do the work. I have no interest to pay for them to screw up again, even if all they have to do is undo their work and redo right. I can't trust them to do that.

So that's the followup with Car Toys. Don't go there. They might be good and do good work, but they haven't shown that with me and I'm left with bad wiring in my Vanagon Syncro, and $223 less in the checkbook.

Sunday, July 12, 2015


I'm a very straight-forward writer, and I write the way an English professor taught me in my freshman English class in college in 1967.  After reading my first paper she called me to her office to show me the paper, which was really bad to say it positively.

She asked me what I was trying to say in the paper, and I explained it. After hearing my explanation, she said I should write the way I speak, meaning write a paper as if I'm giving a speech. Write it, organize it, and rewrite it.

She asked where I learned English composition in school and I had to admit I never had the class as we (family, dad in the military) moved so often I attended 13 schools in my 12 years of school including 3 schools in one year. I also missed the year they required English composition.

It worked as I passed with decent grades and have followed that advice ever since, including graduate school and my thesis. It's a good hour's read and you're done and bored. Graduate papers do that. But that's not the point here but a comparison.

I was reading the print version of the New York Times, like I do every Sunday with two other newspapers (Seattle Times and Tacoma News Tribune, and occasionally the weekend version of the Wall Street Journal), and read this sentence.

"If I don't have zero e-mails in both my personal and work inboxes, I can't sleep."

That's one of those double negative writers like to use to either confuse the reader, or at least readers like me, or try to impress you with the literary style. Or it's just their style, but why not write,

"I can't sleep if I have any e-mail in my personal and work inboxes."

Says the same thing and doesn't stop the reader trying to figure out the double negative. But it's why the writer has a column and I don't, to make simple points complex and literary.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


After using iTunes under OS-X 10.10.4, it's nice to see the folks at Apple have done a few things right, even with the changes, some new quirks and other stuff. And that's all I want to say here, what they did right this time.

This time Apple finally does three good things. First, they load all the album artwork when you open the application and scrolling through "My Music" will display all of it. Second they now share the same album artwork with My Music and Playlists so loading one loads both.

And third they keep the album artwork in active memory where it's always there. You don't have to rescroll to restore the artwork because they moved all but what's in the immediate window into file cache and has to be reloaded into active memory.

That's the great thing, no more restoring the album artwork, it's always there in both places. Sure, this takes memory, about 1 GigaBytes in my case (1380 complete albums), but it's worth it to have it always therre to scroll without waiting for it to restore.

As for other changes. They moved the download progress from the top bar to an icon in the upper right corner which shows when you download anything. You click the icon and the dropdown window displays the information and controls.

This took me awhile to find and get used to but it's proven more useful than the old progress bar. It's something you have to keep in mind. Downloads still don't always download all the updates and sometimes you have to click the "Update All" button twice.

The minibar is smaller when you start it, which is you can stretch outward, but it will always restore the smaller size if you close it and reuse it. Again, something to get used to since Apple rarely announces these changes, you have to discover them after you update.

Anyway, I'll take it and say, "Thanks Apple. It's better."

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Any Ideas II

In March I wrote about tissue masses I have been expelling which I updated to say the lab would only identify them as aggregate bacteria, and when in March the unidentifiable bacteria, whatever it is since it's not a known bacteria infection or overgrowth (negative test results), took over my digestive system.

Well this spring the gastroenterologist has been going through the standard litany of test, commonly know as going down the list from the obvious to the less obvious, and we're out of tests save one which he didn't do recently for medical reasons. Yes, it would be the third colonoscopy in ten years.

Anyway, as anyone knows who had a colonoscopy there's a digestive system cleansing preparation which thoroughly clears and cleans your digestive tract. He didn't do the proceedure, only the upper GI tract endoscope which baffles me why but found some problems there I've lived with most of my life.

Anyway, this not so small (that's a standard tongue depresser to judge the size of it) bacteria mass came out a day along with smaller ones after one of those March pill-like masses came out the day before the day after the non-proceedure, meaning the preparation loosened and exited these little masses.

A week later the system exited a larger one (about 50% larger), and it turns out this is the source of the problem I've been having since November of last year, and especially since January. I know this because of the sudden changes to the body (a big, "Whew!") and everything is normal again.

The tentacles on the top appear to be where it's attached to the lining of my colon, but where it is in the colon is the question. A colonoscopy would have found it, but wasn't performed, yet anyway as they still want to do it but with a different preparation.

If a lab can't or won't identify what specific type (of the millions which live in your digestive tract or invades it as a alien or abnormal bacteria), then they can't prescribe a treatment for specific antibiotics, since specific ones are for specific bacteria and univeral ones destroy all bacteria.

So I'm left with the obvious one gastroenterologist (not the one I have now) said, "Patient heal thyself." I haven't decided when to have the colonoscopy but they want it soon or forget about it, and that's the conundrum.

The preparation isn't the easiest thing to live through for 2 days and then the proceedure itself. I've tentatively agreed to it but not yet. I want them to determine what these masses are (save one for lab analysis) beyond the normal "unidentifiable bacteria" mass, which I also know won't happen.

So I'm waiting to see if the body heals itself or gets worse again. Any ideas or suggestions appreciated.

iTunes & Music

When I updated IOS and OS-X to 8.4 and 10.4, respectively, I turned off Apple Music streaming and library services, iCloud music backup (has been off all along) and iTunes Match for my music library, and now I'm more satisfied it was and will be the right decision not to subscribe to the service.

This if from an article on Apple Insider which describes how the trio of functions work, the cost, and the pros and cons of the services. Clearly if you share your music with Apple, including whatever albums and songs you have and they don't, which they copy, you lose if and when you drop their service.

The last thing anyone needs is to have to reimport all the music you didn't buy from iTunes should you lose the music - meaning Apple accidently or intentionally deletes from your backup - because Apple inserted DRM protections in the songs you had they didn't have but now have because you gave them the files.

Anyway, that's my view, Apple will never see my subscription to their music streaming, library, or backup services. I don't trust them and don't want to pay (again) for my own music. I don't stream music from services when I can listen to almost everything I want in my library or from on-line sources.