Archive for October, 2008

Radar gun inaccuracies

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

The innacuracies are in the new guns and their “pop” mode. Basically it is an ultrafast start and shutdown mode for the gun. The reason is, of course, RADAR detectors. They’ve gotten quite good. They don’t necessarily need the gun to be on and transmitting to pick it up. When the gun is in standby (with it’s electronics operating but not transmitting a beam) they can still be picked up. Same sort of way RADAR counterdetectors work. Even though the detector itself isn’t trying to emit anything, it does anyhow (as does any superheterodyne device).

Ok, great, however you might pause to wonder about the ability to electronics operating in the 30GHz range to quickly come on and stabilise and, well, you’d be right. Guns in “pop” mode aren’t accurate. In part due to the fast start, in part due to less data points, they can produce unreliable readings. The gun manufacturers say that pop mode isn’t to be used as a final speed measurement, but that doesn’t stop police forces from doing so anyhow.

Or it could be even more simple: The gun wasn’t calibrated. Like any precision device, they need periodic recalibration. Had this been allowed to happen, it is entirely possible the gun was producing inaccurate readings.

It is a good idea for all drivers to take a little time to educate themselves about various speed measurement technologies and such. While I’d say the majority of police departments use their equipment right and the tickets are legit, they aren’t always. If you get nailed with a bogus ticket, you don’t necessarily need GPS to fight it. Tell the department you want the calibration records for the gun in question, find out if it was in pop mode, etc, etc. If they screwed up, let the judge know and they’ll most likely drop the ticket.

Flaws with the Federal Do Not Call list

Monday, October 20th, 2008

Why is this limited to just telemarketers? Debt collectors, campaigners, and non-profits need included.

I kept getting hammered by an automated call only leaving a number to call back.. A Google search turned up the number belonged to a collection agency in Chicago. They were hammering stale cases and my new number from a move just happend to be one of the numbers they had. I even had it happen after I moved since my number was associated with the address of the house I USED to live in two years ago. The call was for the owner who lived there before me!

I called them and told them to put me on their DNC list. They informed me that they were exempt as they were not telemarketers. I have had the same thing happen to me many times and to friends and family as well. Here is the 411 for you:

1) They ARE exempt from all telemarketing laws. Everyone likes to bring that up on the phone, but they are actually right.

2) So what now? They are still not exempt from basic laws governing harassment. You could deal with your phone company or talk to a supervisor of the debt collection agency and threaten a lawsuit if they keep calling you, or you could just go to….

3) Deal with them under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. They MUST inform of you their mailing address and the appropriate department. Send them a typed letter explaining that you are not the person they keep asking for, you have no knowledge of this person any debts this person has. Demand that all communications to that number cease immediately or you will seek remedies under the FDCPA.

Believe it or not, this works every time under the FDCPA. The reason why is that 99.9% of the people complain on the phone where the debt collection agency is not liable. Hardly anyone ever writes a letter. Write the letter, it will stop. If it does not.. you have a $5,000 dollar insta-claim in a small claims court of your choice.

People are absolutely wrong about somebody deserving to be harassed by debt collectors. Nobody EVER deserves to be harassed under any circumstances. That is why there are large awards in civil court cases for collection agencies with too much “zeal”.

I had clearly indicated I was not the party they were looking for (does my name even sound like “Susan”?). Any calls that occur after this are, by definition, harassment. Now this harassment is not necessarily fully written out under the aforementioned FDCPA, but it does not have to be. This is no different than any other person or company repeatedly calling a random person after being asked to stop.

As you can see from the FDCPA, even IF the debt collection agency is calling the right person there are still rules governing their ability to call them after being asked to stop. You might want to look at:

Causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number.

Except as provided in section 804, the placement of telephone calls without meaningful disclosure of the caller's identity

Furthermore, at any time a person may send a letter to the collection agency asking that all telephone communications cease. Afterwards, the collection agency may only send letters to the person updating them on any actions being taken towards the debt.

CEASING COMMUNICATION. If a consumer notifies a debt collector in writing that the consumer refuses to pay a debt or that the consumer wishes the debt collector to cease further communication with the consumer, the debt collector shall not communicate further with the consumer with respect to such debt, except-- (1) to advise the consumer that the debt collector's further efforts are being terminated; (2) to notify the consumer that the debt collector or creditor may invoke specified remedies which are ordinarily invoked by such debt collector or creditor; or (3) where applicable, to notify the consumer that the debt collector or creditor intends to invoke a specified remedy.

If all else fails, fix it yourself with Asterisk. Numbers not on the white list are dumped into recorded phone tree maze with endless loops of meaningless choices and no way out except to hang up. It would be even better with a plugin that could try and string them on for a while without actually divulging any meaningful information by responding at pauses with phrases like “that sounds interesting”, “uh-huh”, and “I’m not sure” the goal being to waste as much of the telemarketer’s time as possible on a dead end call (i.e. no sale) before they hang up in frustration.

Democrat vs. Republican – pick the lesser of two evils?

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

That’s why I prefer the terms statist and non-statist. You either want a big government intervention or you don’t.

Democrats want the government to redistribute the wealth from the rich to the poor.
Republicans want the government to redistribute the wealth from the poor to the rich.
Democrats want the government to censor the politically incorrect.
Republicans want the government to censor anything ‘immoral’ or ‘indecent’.
Democrats want a mommy state.
Republicans want a theocracy.

Take your pick. Or vote in a 3rd party candidate.

Vote NO for the 850 billion bailout – alternate solution

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

Here’s another idea to throw around to fix some of the financial problems this nation is running into. If you divide 850 billion by 301 million citizens in the U.S. (man, woman, child), you end up with $2,823.92 per person. How about giving that money to each family and let THEM decide whether or not to “donate” it to the banks? Honestly, the banks will end up with most of it anyways. If you have a family of 4 in a household, that household would get $11,295.68. Chances are, they’d pay off quite a bit of debt with that money as they did with the “stimulus” package handed out a few months ago. So, the banks get those bad debts paid for as well as a boost in their finances. Consumers win because they get some debt paid off and the banks win because they’ll be getting their billions, but in a more LEGITIMATE way. Taxpayers win because then they’ll feel a LOT better by getting THEIR money back to pay off their debt rather than hand the money to the banks…and still have their debt. See? Everyone wins – ESPECIALLY the taxpayer who contributed the money to begin with.