Monthly Archives: August 2013

Largebeat Art and Music Benefit fundraiser for James “Largebeat” Gertz who is fighting lymphoma. Weds. September 4, 2013, Arbor Brewing Company, 8:00 p.m.

The Largebeat Art and Music Benefit is a fundraiser to cover the medical expenses of James Largebeat Gertz who is fighting lymphoma. Wednesday September 4, 2013 at Arbor Brewing Company, doors open at 8:00 p.m. The poster is below!



early review: MedHelper for Android, a pill tracker application


I’m starting to use MedHelper for Android as a tool to keep track of my medicine. As you get older, it’s more and more likely that you’ll be on some medication, and since I’ve had side effects from previous meds I’m happy to find something that helps me track things.

It’s a relatively complicated program compared to some simple pill reminder apps on the market, but my use is relatively simple. There’s a reminder function to alert you when it’s time to take your medicine, a log that tracks when you actually did take your meds, and a simple comment log that lets you add notes about how it’s going or any side effects you noticed. If you’re doing detailed logging of weight, blood pressure, or a number of other vital signs there’s a place for that.

At the moment there’s no web-based version of it, but the site hints at a “cloud” version, which I suppose I’d welcome.

The test of any software like this is twofold. First, does it help you actually follow your prescription better than a simple alarm or a pillbox. Second, does it help you when you are at the doctor’s office talking about your health. I haven’t tested either, but I’m looking forward to updating this review when I get a few months of actual use in place.

The Detroit “Metro Times” is up for sale

Originally seen on Deadline Detroit, my go-to place for quick hits on Detroit news – the Metro Times is up for sale. If you ever wanted to be in journalism now’s your chance.

From the article

The company that owns the Metro Times told its Detroit staff this morning (August 26, 2013) the paper is for sale, throwing the future of the 33-year-old alternative weekly into doubt at a time of great uncertainty for print publications.

Few details were available; employees were told not to speak to the media.

It was noted (and I can’t recall where, sorry) that there is no independent library that has a full run of the Metro Times archived, and there’s a reasonable concern that if the Metro Times morgue is sold along with the paper that a big piece of Detroit music history could be lost.

11th Kerrytown Bookfest, September 8, 2013, Ann Arbor Farmers Market

From the official Kerrytown Bookfest web site:

The 11th Kerrytown BookFest will celebrate Detroit and its writers with three panel discussions featuring celebrated auto executive Bob Lutz (“Icons and Idiots”), rock ‘n’ roll writers Steve Miller (“Detroit Rock City”) and Peter Benjaminson (“Mary Wells”) and urban observers Edward McClelland (“Nothin’ But Blue Skies: The Heydey”), Gordon Young (“Teardown”), June Thomas (“Redevelopment and Race”) and John Gallagher (“Revolution Detroit”) of the Detroit Free Press. The BookFest is set for 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday September 8 at the Farmers Market in downtown Ann Arbor. The BookFest is free. Parking is free.

See the full list of illustrious speakers and plan your trip to the event!

Need: A login and registration system for a free WiFi network

A note from Steve Pierce regarding a request for ideas and code to help people log into a free WiFi mesh network. Contact him for details at bottom. and volunteers have deployed a free WiFi network in SE Michigan over the last 5 years. With over 1,000 access points deployed and 650,000 unique devices connected, Wireless Ypsi and companion networks such as Detroit Enabled are averaging over 2,500 users per day, making it one of the largest free WiFi networks in the country.

The equipment and connections are paid for by local community groups like Focus Hope and Public Housing along with business owners and community champions. No money is charged to use the WiFi service, nor is there any advertising revenue.

The free network, called Wireless Ypsi and Detroit Enabled is’s way of giving back to the community. We help secure Internet bandwidth and donate time and equipment to support the free network.

The struggle we face is making sure we comply with Internet Service providers terms of service agreements. One recent requirement is to not have anonymous access to the network. While we would love to have open and free Internet for everyone, the reality is Internet service costs money and the major carriers like Comcast and AT&T don’t provide the service for free. So while Wireless Ypsi and Detroit Enabled offer free WiFi for residents, business and visitors, someone still needs to pay for the connections.

To continue to use these paid connections we need a system that will allow people to sign up for free accounts to use the service. We want something akin to Facebook or Twitter that will allow for instant sign up and use of the free WiFi network.

Users would provide their name, address, phone and email address and chose a secure password. They would immediately be granted access to the network for one day. A confirmation email link is sent to the email address and it must be confirmed to continue to use the service beyond the first day.

Authentication would use a RADIUS server or similar service which would need to be selected, as well. We must insure proper data security and programming techniques are used to protect the data.

Not having a login and registration system is the single largest barrier we face today to continued large scale deployments of free WiFi. We have proven with our 5 year success story that the network is reliable and sustainable. Yet not having a login and registration system has virtually stopped us from expanding services into new areas until we can address this need.

Contact: Steve Pierce, or 734-274-4602

Listening to the Yosemite “Rim Fire”

I’m listening to the Tuolumne County Sheriff, Fire, and Police scanner feed via Broadcastify. The scanner chatter includes the usual traffic reports but also the distinctive cadence of firefighting operations – calls for “Charlies” (?), water tenders, and other fire equipment, and a fire coordinator asking a crew leader what additional resources they need.

This webcam photo from within Yosemite shows the intense smoke that characterizes this fire.


Screen shot 2013-08-25 at 11.03.37 PM

Much more information about the Rim Fire, including maps, is available through InciWeb system. The August 25 update reads as follows:

> The Rim Fire continues to burn on the Stanislaus National Forest, Yosemite National Park, Bureau of Land Management and State responsibility land. The fire is exhibiting continued growth to the northeast and east. On the western side of the fire, crews successfully conducted firing operations to bring the fire line down to the Tuolumne River in efforts to keep the fire from spreading to the west toward the Highway 108 corridor. Aerial resources continue to be effective in reducing the spread of fire toward the Highway 108 corridor. Crews continue to construct line construction where accessibility and safety allows. In addition, structure defense and contingency planning continues in the Mather area.

On Friday, August 23, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for San Francisco, noting that the fire threatens both power and water resources for the city.

> WHEREAS the wildfires that started in Tuolumne County have caused damage to electrical infrastructure serving the City and County of San Francisco, and now threaten damage to property, equipment, and resources of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department; and

> WHEREAS the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has been forced to shut down transmission lines with the result that the City and County is affected by the wildfires in the County of Tuolumne and is likely to be further affected should the fire cause additional damage to the City and County of San Francisco’s water and electrical assets in Tuolumne County, including the possible temporary interruption of electricity and/or water delivery;

A view from space:

My thoughts go out to all of the firefighters who are fighting this fire – and all of the 100+ fires burning across the west.

Related articles

Yosemite, Hetch Hetchy reservoir still in path of unchecked Rim Fire
San Francisco Power Supply Threatened By Fire Spreading In Yosemite
Yosemite fire now the size of Chicago
Rim Fire Threatening San Francisco’s Power, Water Supply