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Chrysler Dealer Arbitration

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:17 AM

Neil Roland writes:

Sox and other lawyers have said the letters' requirements — including those for facility upgrades — go beyond those conditions laid down for existing dealerships that were not closed during the company's bankruptcy.

You have to wonder what the car companies have to gain by such antics.

Love the Ads

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:13 AM

Seen in an iTunes Store customer review of the Weather Channel app for iPad, which was a pretty good app at first, but has become extremely slow — brew-a-pot-of-coffee-while-it-loads slow — since the company went crazy plastering ads all over it:

Love the ads!
by sfiske

Is there a way that you can put even more ads into this app? As of now, I can still manage to get a little weather information around all of the ads…

Bye-Bye Bing Cashback

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 4:58 AM

Bing Cashback (previously “Windows Live Cashback”) has been one of my consistent favorite things Microsoft puts out. It actually worked simply and well. Basically, you found the product you were looking for via Bing's shopping site (or at least found the merchant you wanted there) and Bing paid you a portion of the cut they got from the merchant.

Sadly, Cashback is coming to an end:

We are writing to notify you that the Bing cashback program will be discontinued, and the last day to earn cash back on your Bing Shopping purchases will be July 30, 2010.

Meramec Lake

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:51 AM

A facinating look into the ill-fated plan to convert the Meramec River basin into a lake:

In the 1960's-1970’s, 31 dams of varying sizes were planned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in the Meramec River Basin. The largest of these, Meramec Dam, was to impound 42 miles of the Meramec River, 9 miles of the Courtois Creek, and 12 miles of the Huzzah Creek to form Meramec Park Lake. This 180 foot tall structure was to consist of earth fill and impound a 23,000 acre lake, or about 40% the size of the Lake of The Ozarks (U.S. EPA, 2000). It would have flooded the upstream portion of present day Meramec State Park near Sullivan to Onondaga Cave near Leasburg, MO.


By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 4:55 AM

I love fireworks and I love fireworks tents. Ever since I was a little boy, I'd venture out with my parents and we would explore the different tents, find out about the different fireworks and — of course! — get some really great ones to shoot off. Over the years, I've acquired a list of particular fireworks I really want to see each year and favorite places to get them. Regular asisaid readers will recall I've posted fireworks reviews many years highlighting some of my favorites.

Sure you can just go to the first tent you run into and get plenty of beautifully explosive things to light on the Fourth of July. But, if you are shopping for fireworks for this Independence Day and you live in St. Charles County, let me mention my two favorite stands: Powder Monkey Fireworks and Red Dragon Fireworks.

I was at both of them tonight and it was like seeing old friends again. Both have wonderful personal touches and enthusiasm for the fireworks. You can tell these people actually love shooting off fireworks, not necessarily a given at every tent, and have seen the fireworks they are selling. They also both carry a very good selection of fountains and other affordable yet satisfying choices.

Powder Monkey is the newer (to me, at least) of my two favorites. I first ran across them two years ago. Virtually every item in the tent has a detailed description of what it does and they have lots of really affordable choices that they recommend highly. The owner, Chris, his family and friends are always extremely knowledgable. You can tell that the tent is filled with people who love fireworks. I cannot help but appreciate that even the prices are fitting, such as 17.76 for some of the patriotic sounding ones or 7.77 for a Vegas themed one. As an added bonus, this year they are shooting off some of their favorite fireworks every night at 9:11 p.m. It was helpful getting to see a few of their recommendations tonight. You can find them right off of Hwy. 94, near Hwy. 40/I-64.

Red Dragon has been a regular stop of mine for quite a few years now — I cannot remember quite how long, but probably close to a decade. Besides having a great name, Tim, the stand's owner, is also a really nice guy and has always been helpful. Their selection is helpfully organized with fun, festive signs such as “Wall of Doom” for the artillery shells. One of my perennial favorites, Just 2 Cool, is always available at this stand (and it is often hard to find elsewhere). The tent is located just off of Mid Rivers Mall Dr., as you can see on this Google Map.

Both tents are relatively close together, so you may want to check out both of them. Both will do an excellent job of guiding you to excellent choices for your holiday display, whether you are looking to spend just a few dollars or you want to give the municipal shows a run for their money. I have visited most of the tents in St. Charles over the years and really believe Red Dragon and Powder Monkey are unbeatable.

Need some recommendations on fireworks? My posts on my favorite fireworks from years past are at your finger tips: 2003, 2005, 2007 (my first mention of Red Dragon shows up in the last one). Surprisingly, I have not written much on fireworks in the last couple of years. I may need to provide an updated list of my favorites.

Highest Fuel Efficiency

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:39 AM

A surprising list.

Cashing Checks with a Smartphone

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:17 AM

If BankSimple gets off the ground, it could be rather interesting. This is especially intriguing, I think:

How do I deposit checks?

Take a photo of the check with your smart phone and send it to us with our app. Pretty simple, right?

Baking Soda Made from Pollution

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 8:23 PM

A fascinated blurb over at Switched:

The company's SkyMine project, in San Antonio, Texas, uses a three-step process that pumps the fumes from burning coal into water that is heated and fed through a filter that isolates hydrogen, chlorine and sodium hydroxide. That sodium hydroxide, also known as caustic soda, is then combined with the carbon dioxide also produced by the burning coal. When this new mixture is filtered, it produces sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda.

SpiderOak vs. Dropbox

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:48 AM

I'm testing SpiderOak and Dropbox as possible ways to keep my documents in sync between home and when away with my laptop. Anyone have any thoughts on which might be the better choice? Right now, I'm leaning towards SpiderOak, since it includes a built in utility for choosing which folders are synchronized with different computers and twice as much space as its similarly priced competitor. On the other hand, actually using the service is more helpful than comparing the basic gist.

Incidentally, if anyone wants to join either service, below are links to get a referral. The referral links with give you additional space in your account (and, as a bonus, in mine, too!).

Certified Pre-Owned Cats

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 3:40 AM

Ingenious marketing. The only question: since when are cats “owned” and not “owners”?

Hat tip: Autoblog

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