New CEO For Electra Meccanica

“Electra Meccanica Vehicles Corp. (NASDAQ: SOLO) (“Electra Meccanica” or the “Company”), a designer and manufacturer of electric vehicles, today announced the appointment of automotive and advanced propulsion systems expert, Paul Rivera, as the company’s new Chief Executive Officer.”
See Electra Meccanica Appoints Auto Industry Executive Paul Rivera as New Chief Executive Officer
This is a surprise. I didn’t exactly love the performance of the previous CEO, Jerry Kroll, but a change just before the AGM is a surprise. No reason was given but I hope we, the auto-buying public, are in for a better presentation of news and information about EMV and Solo. I’m tired of hearing that production is just around the corner. I’m tired of hearing how much fun the CEO is having. I want to be there now.

Posted in technology | Tagged , | Comments Off on New CEO For Electra Meccanica

The Democratic Writing On The Wall

“1 Joe Biden Former Vice President 38%
2 Bernie Sanders U.S. Senator 19%
3 Elizabeth Warren U.S. Senator 11%
4 Pete Buttigieg Mayor 7%
5 Kamala Harris U.S. Senator 7%
6 Beto O’Rourke Former U.S. Representative 4%
7 Cory Booker U.S. Senator 3%
8 Julian Castro Former Secretary, HUD 1%
9 John Delaney Former U.S. Representative 1%”
See The State of the Democratic Primary 
On the right (left, politically) are today’s results posted by Morning Consult. It shows the “old white men” with 57% of the likely primary voters’ support. I think it would be unfortunate if that pattern persisted. To break the political log-jam in USA, it’s time for a woman at the helm, one with modern ideas.

I’m hoping Warren will eat into Bernie’s share and gather up the other left-leaners. It’s time for the old white men to step aside. On May 19, they showed Biden with 39% and Bernie with 19% so the share of the old white men has declined a little. May that decline continue. Further, many polls show the Ds could offer a ham sandwich and beat Trump. YAY!

Posted in politics | Tagged , , | Comments Off on The Democratic Writing On The Wall

Finally, My ARMed Box Is In Sight

“SolidRun opened $550 pre-sales on a “HoneyComb LX2K” Mini-ITX board with a “CEx7 LX2160A” COM Express module that runs Linux on NXP’s 2.0GHz, 16-core -A72 LX2160A with up to 64GB DDR4 and dual 10GbE SFP+ ports.
SolidRun announced pre-sales of $550 for a developer-oriented “early access” version of a high-end networking board that showcases NXP’s 16-core, Cortex-A72 LX2160A. The beta-stage HoneyComb LX2K early access board ships in September and the final, $750 model with a few extra features will go on sale in October. “
See Networking board runs Linux on 16-core, -A72 LX2160A

For years I’ve been lusting over my move to an ARMed box. So far, what’s available has been obsolete on emergence, too whimpy or too expensive. Today, I read that something very close to my needs is available: a fantastic server board with all the RAM, SATA and networking I could ever want. Oh, yes, and with a gazillion CPU-cores.
16 X A-72 is good enough. Two DDR4 RAM sockets is good enough. Two SFP+ ports is good enough. 8MB cache is good enough. The price is OK too, a small fee to be rid of Wintel forever.

Posted in technology | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Finally, My ARMed Box Is In Sight

Slaughter In San Diego

I was watching a Miami @ San Diego game of baseball when a swarm of honey bees visited. The queen landed on a microphone behind home plate and the swarm gathered around her. They were just being bees, going about the business of finding a new home to start a colony. They weren’t aggressive. They were just in the way.

I’ve seen this several times before when a bee-keeper was called in to capture the swarm. It’s a fairly simple process: put them in a bag or box and move them to a bee-hive somewhere.

Instead San Diego called in an exterminator who killed the bees with insecticide in front of thousands of fans in the stadium and perhaps millions in TV-land. It was mass-murder of a valuable species endangered by insecticides, diseases, loss of habitat etc. They are pollinators, for Goodness sake. Why kill them?

I turned off the TV and wrote this post. I guess I will send a link to the San Diego Padres. I was rooting for them but no more.

Posted in horticulture | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Slaughter In San Diego

The Good, The Bad, And The Not So Bad

I’ve learned a lot this week. The bad news is that my Nanking Cherries are DEAD, all of them… They looked so good with beautiful buds but there is no life above the soil. It’s all brown inside. I’m so disappointed. They are supposed to be very winter-hardy, but we had a very wet fall and an on-again/off-again winter. I think the Nanking Cherries just could not cope with all the changes. They like to go dormant in the fall and wake up in Spring. I think they never got to sleep or were awakened in one of the mild spells during the winter.

That was the bad news. The not so bad news is more plentiful. My oaks which I set out too early lost most of their leaves but the stems are still alive and they are growing new buds. Further, I found my Prunus avium seedlings were thriving once the cold spells and high winds subsided. Even the chokecherries lost their leaves but the Prunus avium were in a cold frame with more protection and survived unscathed. I transplanted them to larger pots this morning and the mass of root is larger than the tops. The good times are going to roll if they survive their first winter…

Then, there is positively great news. I noticed near an apple that had been eaten to the ground by mice that a small tree was growing. It looked like a cherry… It turns out that it’s a “sucker” from an Evans cherry which survived a near death-by-rodent experience last year and is now thriving. Further examination of the neighbourhood reveals that there was a sucker last year near a cherry that has died. So, I lost one cherry and gained two more. Perhaps I can keep ahead of the rodents. To top it off, I managed to pick a raised bed of rhubarb clean of weeds. Pretty soon the rhubarb will be mature enough to drown the weeds in shade. It’s all good news from here on, baby.

PS – Upon reflection and study, I feel another trial of Nanking Cherry is worthwhile. The City of Winnipeg has dozens in their database of tree inventory. Perhaps another source of seed or seedlings will do. Perhaps waiting for year 2 to plant them out would help. Perhaps more protection the first winter would help.

Prunus avium is more problematic. They are grown in Manitoba but mostly in sheltered spots, unlike my yard. Perhaps I can grow them in containers and move them out of the wind for winter.

The Evans sour cherry looks like a great option. Obviously, it’s hardy enough for my yard even with rodents. It’s not patented so I can propagate from seed or cuttings as I wish. The other sour cherry may produce seed but there’s no guarantee of the qualities of seedlings but it is another source of cherry-DNA.

I’m going to deploy chicken-wire around my existing cherries to avoid future setbacks.

Posted in horticulture | Tagged , , | Comments Off on The Good, The Bad, And The Not So Bad

The Battery

I love batteries. They give us backup of electricity, storage, portability, all good things. Last week one gave me a severe headache. It was the battery for the Ariens mower/garden tractor. Last month it was weak and I charged it and drove the mower around the driveway for 15 minutes to check things out. All systems were “GO”. Then this month happened and I needed the tractor to drag things around the yard and yes, actually to mow some grass/weeds. It wouldn’t start. Not even a click. I hooked up the charger and then gave it a try the next day. Nothing.

My logic told me something in the tractor had failed. I checked out the seat safety. It had been mangled by someone (me) sitting in the seat while a wrench had been left under it. I suspected it had been jammed up. Some digging on the Web told me that pulling its plug would do if a jumper were removed. Nothing. Finally, I RTFM. It said that in these circumstances, the fuse must be checked and that the fuse was behind the dash. Looking showed nothing, so I disassembled the dash. That meant five screws, a couple of electrical connectors and the steering column. No fuse… AHHHGGGHHH!

Digging on YouTube revealed that mowers like mine with a gear-shift lever had the fuse under the battery… This means to check the fuse one had to remove the battery, remove the battery compartment and look. I could see nothing until I illuminated the scene with a trouble-light. The fuse was not rigidly mounted but on a connector hanging out in space. Fuse was good.

At this point I was totally baffled. Research found several wiring diagrams for Ariens mowers all with some common features but all with some feature clearly different than my machine like having PTO clutches… Finally, I found one that seemed to describe my machine. The logic showed that the seat switch did not affect the starting sequence. That was controlled by the ignition switch, the brake switch and the lever for driving the blades. I positioned the battery outside the mower and rerouted the cables to reach it. I then brought out a trusty voltmeter and tested the live terminal on the starting relay. With the starting key turned to “start” there was a voltage but only about half the nominal battery voltage. A quick check of the battery itself revealed a dead battery, below the nominal 8V indicating dead!!!

All this work to discover a dead battery. I had never before seen the battery so dead that the starting solenoid would not at least click. But it was true. I was the faulty component in all this. I could have checked the battery first thing instead of last. Somehow I failed to do what I’ve been doing for over six decades, charge a damned battery. Clearly both the battery and I are beyond our prime. The battery is five years old and I am nearly seven (decades old…). My best guess is that the battery is not taking anywhere near a full charge and may be internally draining itself. Will mow the lawn a few times and keep a lookout for a decent replacement at a good price.

Posted in horticulture, technology | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on The Battery

How The War (or, at least the latest battle…) Of The Birdhouse Was Won

The poor tree swallows put up a valiant fight. I drove off the sparrow several times in an hour and the swallows watched from afar. Then they took over bothering the sparrow until it took flight and then with their superior speed and agility they drove it to the ground several times and off the plantation. That was yesterday. Today the sparrow held close to the house using the branches of the nearby Green Ash to block the swallows.

I was mad as Hell and wouldn’t take it any longer. I will build more birdhouses to meet demand but in the short term I decided to move the damned birdhouse. I chose a location out in the open where the swallows would have the high ground and 50% further distance from the house where house sparrows find food and shelter. I used a crowbar to punch a hole in a cleared strip of land in summerfallow and wiggled the steel pole on which was affixed the birdhouse until it could be lifted. I then transplanted the pole to the new location with birdhouse attached.

This caused much consternation. My swallows flew in circles, lost. They checked out the wren houses which are much too small and then roosted, sullen that their champion had taken away their house. The sparrow returned to “claim” the Green Ash… In about five minutes one swallow went on a tour of the yard and spotted the beloved birdhouse. He checked it out and flew back to inform his mate. They both shot over to reclaim the birdhouse in its new location. Shortly, another pair of swallows made a passing attempt to move in. They were driven off but are further proof that I should put the rainy day forecast to good use putting up another birdhouse. I have some scrap plywood. I have a power nailer and a saw. I can do this…

Well, it remains to be seen whether the sparrow is more attached to the tree or the birdhouse and whether the swallows can convince him it’s not worth getting dive-bombed by fighter jets. We will see. On another note, I did check whether sparrows are a protected species. It seems some of them are… Killing the bad ones may not be legal here. The problem is that sparrows are both native and introduced but no sparrow is classified as exotic/kill on sight in my province. I suppose I could live trap them and take them for a ride but under the wildlife act, that’s also a no-no because they do migrate, a little, and it’s quite possible mine did fly across the 49th parallel.

To be continued…

UPDATE I did make another birdhouse. This one has a larger box and a slightly smaller opening. I installed it on a pole slightly closer to the ground than the first. I hope to have two swallow families settle in for a productive summer. A day of rain arrived so I have not seen much bird activity so far.

UPDATE Ha! The sparrow is out of the picture… However, the new smaller opening proved too small. I went out this morning to hack it out to about 1.25 inch diameter. It’s ugly because I could not get the hole-saw working but a hacksaw blade in gloved hand did the trick. Now we need a warm summer day to get the swallows and the bugs active again. Won’t it be grand to have two families of swallows guzzling flying insects? Surely Goodness and Mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.

Posted in horticulture, weather | Tagged , , | Comments Off on How The War (or, at least the latest battle…) Of The Birdhouse Was Won

Finally, Summer Has Arrived

It’s been a strange spring season. That’s become the norm with global warming. I planted cold weather seeds and none but the radishes and wheat are up. Leaves were either killed or ripped right off seedlings in pots by strong cold northern winds. Nature has finally become serious about summer. The poplars and willows are in leaf. Various cherries and columbine seeds have sprouted. The Nanking Cherries still have not opened but the buds continue to swell. A pair of tree swallows are vigorously defending the birdhouse in the green ash. This morning when I went out to check on pots one was poking her head out the box to catch the morning rays of Sun. Her mate was sitting on a steel frame above some seedlings within a couple of metres of me. He never flew. I guess we’re becoming familiar or he figures a guy who moves this slowly is not dangerous. It’s all good. I’m running out of pots and garden spaces. Some of these seedlings will go directly into the ground.

Speaking of ground, the weeds are awake and I spot-sprayed dandelions with 2,4-D yesterday. This year, I will win!

UPDATE Winning may not be as easy as I hoped… A sparrow took over the swallows’ box. The sparrows are an invasive species which is much stronger and more aggressive than the swallows. I may try a tip given here to discourage the damned sparrow…

Posted in food, horticulture, weather | Tagged , | Comments Off on Finally, Summer Has Arrived

The Last Last Last Late Frost

Twice we’ve had what I thought was the last late frost of the winter. Well, we’re having another one tonight. Temperature is just above freezing, the sky is clear, the wind is light and there are hours to go before sunrise. Temperature is falling 2°C each hour…

I went out and hosed down all my potted plants that are fragile, put 20L pails over some new Amelanchier alnifolia seedlings that have flower buds, and threw a blanket over some chokecherries. I brought in all the pots on the veranda. Now, I’m going to bed. I may hose things down again in a few hours… Sigh…

Posted in food, horticulture, weather | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on The Last Last Last Late Frost

Conservative? Conserving What?

It’s hard to believe the leadership of the so-called conservative party of Canada would push the idea that EVs produce more CO2 than gas-guzzlers. Obviously, they can’t do the maths, like weighing the mass of gasoline that goes into the fuel tanks of gas-guzzlers. My last gas-guzzler eats its weight in gasoline every four years. It’s 13 years old… Some of that ends up as CO2… None of what my Solo EV will eat comes from hydrocarbons. My Solo also weighs a fraction of what my gas-guzzler weighs so the energy/carbon cost of its manufacture will be tiny.

Another reason not to vote PC next election… I just don’t want stupid people running my government. Oh, “Conservative”, means trying to conserve something. Are they trying to conserve the oil-industry which is trying to undo millions of years of carbon sequestration in a century? Are they trying to maintain levels of pollution in cities? Are they trying to waste energy? That’s not very conservative. The PCs are liars.

Then there are the Lieberals. They lie about lots of stuff too. They were years late bringing forth the carbon-tax and promoting EVs. They certainly are not leading the charge to save my planet’s ecosystem. The NDP want my banks and my firearms. They used to be looking out for the little guy but now they just want the power to control my life. That leaves (you know, the green things on trees that are actually doing the work of saving the planet…) the Greens. While I disagree with them about firearms. I think they give higher priority to keeping Earth livable for my descendants and other humans than the other parties.

Posted in politics, technology | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Conservative? Conserving What?

It Just Got A Whole Lot Easier To Buy A GNU/Linux Notebook…

“In case you’ve missed it, last year, Google started making it possible to run desktop Linux on Chrome OS. Since then, more Chromebook devices are able to run Linux. Going forward, all of them will be able to do so, too. Yes. All of them. ARM and Intel-based. …Now? It’s as simple as simple can be. Just open the Chrome OS app switcher by pressing the Search/Launcher key and then type “Terminal”. This launches the Termina VM, which will start running a Debian 9.0 Stretch Linux container.”
See All Chromebooks will also be Linux laptops going forward
I’ve checked out what’s on and there are a bunch of ChromeBooks offered but it’s a bit of a challenge to sort out the ARMed from the Intel. I hate Intel because they are part of the Wintel monopoly and I hate AMD because it’s the same bloated instruction-set. Unfortunately, all the ARMed models I could find were very pricey and/or using very old CPUs like the year before last year. Still they are ARMed notebooks in every price-range and some are 28nm with 4 to 6 cores and 4GB RAM. They make a decent desktop computer for one. They should leave my old smartphone in the dust. Lightweight and portable they are too. Most of all, they are widely available. Is anyone in the retail sector not selling them?

I still have to find such a system that can replace my old Beast with all its drives and interfaces. Such systems are available for the price of an old used car…

Posted in technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on It Just Got A Whole Lot Easier To Buy A GNU/Linux Notebook…

Getting Over The Hump Of EV-mindshare

Apparently, we are there. Clean Energy Canada reports that the majority of Canadians welcome the future with a majority of electric vehicles. They want more economical transportation and fewer emissions. Amen.

There are some holdouts though, the “Progressive” Conservatives… Just about every region and citizen wants to embrace the future except those guys. So, let’s see democracy in action as even the stodgy adapt to change.

See Planning For A Plan

Posted in politics, technology | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Getting Over The Hump Of EV-mindshare