Sunday, July 31, 2005

Clearwire, a follow-up

The Tracy Press, reports that Clearwire plans to use the smaller of the old water towers. The coverage map does not quite match, but perhaps it's just not up to date.

Also, I have a report that Clearwire's modem is a transparent bridge, like a cable modem. So, Mac and Linux users do not have to dedicate a Windows system just to driving of the modem. Joy!

In not so rosy news, I just came across a report that Clearwire does the same trick as Verizon, that is, establishes a restrictive TOS which makes the service useless. The particular case is VoIP, but I have grave concerns about BitTorrent.

San Jose Grand Prix

I went to the CHAMPCAR race at San Jose. It was fun, but now I started to appreciate ovals. Letting fans to see the whole track is something that ovals have in advantage over a street course. Perhaps I should investigate our own Altamont Speedway. By the way, one of the supporting formulas was Trans-Am, which, I seem to recall, is compatible with the Altamont Speedway.

TRASH @West: Garden Waste

Rotating post.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Clearwire, a fixed-wireless provider

I have received a glossy junk mail from Clearwire ( A little research shows that Clearwire is a fixed-wireless provider with an unusual twist. Instead of competing with your home phone, 802.11b, CCTV camera, and huge number of other users of 2.4GHz band, they found little used piece of spectrum in 2.5GHz band.

The 2.5GHz band is already allocated, of course. There is no unallocated spectrum left. However, it is given largely to public TV broadcasters with community bend. In many locales, it is owned by churches, for example. Ownership of Clearwire quietly acquired spectrum across the country for a while, so now they are ready to start the data service.

The advantage of using 2.5GHz band is a larger coverage area from the single tower. However, even then, the are is not all that expansive. This is how their Tracy coverage area looks like (according to

The green circle is the current coverage (it seems that they got space at the tower in the Tracy Unified School District), the bunch of blue circles is the planned coverage. As we can see, the spot size is way larger than that of a typical 802.11 hotspot. It is, however, nothing like what WAC and CalDSL offer, using their directional antennas. The advantage is, of course, in the ease of installation. One of my neighbours had WAC service, with the station based at the bank building across the Tracy Bulevuard from ACE Hardware. This was quite a bit farther away than the radius of the Clearwire's hotspot. The solution was to have a directional anthenna at the chimney, which was in a line of sight with the top of the bank building. The Clearwire's kit, however, is supposed to work even in one-story houses like mine. In many cases it will even work from inside of the house. This is certain to reduce their installation costs.

All in all, Clearwire is great news for Tracy residents, even if I am outside of the present coverage. Comcast and SBC can stand a little competition, the bastards. On the downside, my friends at are bound to feel some squeeze. But such is life.

TRASH @West: Recycling

Sorry for the delay. Various computer trouble.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Yesterday, skies over Tracy were thick with smoke from the massive grass fires in the hills south of the Altamont Pass. I saw a couple of C-130 tankers circling the area.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Tracy Press

Tracy Press runs a great website. Its layout uses atrociously small fonts, but it's simple and fast loading. But most importantly, they deliver stories every day. This includes stories about corruption in the county and hometown, which this blog will never be able to break to readers.

BTW, I wish they added a few more photos to this:

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Tanks are full

I noticed that over the years, used oil tanks in Kragen became full more and more, and now they are permanently full. It's very possible that the incentive in this program is constructed in such a way which encourages to advertise the theoretical capability, while not actually accepting any oil. I wish I knew which government agency is running the program. Today, tanks were full in both Kragens, and in Auto Zone as well.

TRASH @West: Garden Waste

Garden Waste week.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Birds (blue ones)

Large blue birds peck on my gazebo every morning very loudly. They start somewhere around 6:30.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

DHL me like an animal

Est. Delivery Date: 7/13/2005
7/11/2005 7:11 am Arrived at DHL facility. Stockton, CA
7/10/2005 7:41 pm Transit through sort facility. Fresno, CA
7/8/2005 12:37 am Transit through sort facility. South Bend, IN

Why is my package sitting in Stockton for 2 days? It's because Airborne's execs received great cash-out from their options when they sold out to DHL (Dropped Hidden Lost - the second biggest losers in parcel delivery business after ParcelFarce of U.K.).


Went to Zakhary's in Berkeley tonight. Amazingly, they were not even signing people up, just walk in and get a table in a few minutes.

Berkeley is a little too far to visit every day from Tracy. When Uno was open in Fremont, it was marginally closer, but not by much. I cannot beleive that Tracy has no decent pizza place yet, but I suppose that's life.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Power outage in the block

There was a short power outage in our block while PG&E crews worked on local distribution pedestal.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

TRASH @West: Recycling

Rotating post.

Friday, July 08, 2005

IKEA run

As usual with IKEA, the bed was far from the end of it. This time we ended with two bedside tables and a three-segment 33.1/2 piece of office furniture Effektiv. That's $800 just like that. The bed itself was by far the biggest piece of furniture ever loaded into the Neon. The swing was long and narrow, so I just let it protrude out of the window. But the bed was too wide. In the end I left my wife at the store, drove the bed home, unloaded and returned to pick her up. Good thing Neon runs about 32 miles per gallon on a freeway with load. The whole double-trip costed me $12 in gas.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


I am setting out to raid IKEA in Emerville for the third time in so many days (never liked the Palo Alto one). Darn Livermore, refusing IKEA for being off color. Such little self-important people in the government.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The 4th

I heard a few nice booms yesterday, but had no broken windows.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

TRASH @West: Garden Waste

Usually after a holiday, the Delta people pick up a day later. So, if your pick-up day is Friday, they come on Saturday. However, you never know.

B&N today

Today, Barnes and Noble worked until 10 p.m., which was quite nice of them. But the mall closed before 8 (7? 6?).

Friday, July 01, 2005

Invasion of Other Buffets

Yesterday the Golden Corral opened near Staples, at Grant Line right off the 205.

It is a direct competitor to Hometown Buffet and it started very strong. The selection is much better. They have very good pot roast, while Hometown Buffet pretty much turned into "all chicken all the time (and not cooked too well either)". We stopped visiting that place about 18 months ago, when the Invasion of Chinese Buffets provided a viable alternative.

I do not wish to make predictions, because all new places experience a subsequent dropoff in quality while they explore ways to cut costs. It appears that the Golden Corral is way bigger than Tracy market can carry. They also have enormous numbers of employees swarming all over the place. In fact, more employees than customers. This is just asking for layoffs. So we shall see. Good luck to them.

By the way, I think I went to a Golden Corral in Virginia. It was quite decent.