Archive for June, 2006

Anaheim Launches Wi-Fi

Today is the official launch of the Earthlink Wi-Fi Network in Anaheim. I would have liked to have said the Anaheim Wi-Fi network, but Earthlink is in charge of this one and I’m not too wild about that (It’s like saying the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, but with the way they are playing call them Los Angeles, Anaheim doesn’t need to be dragged down with them).

In a couple recent articles about municipal Wi-Fi there have been problems. In Taipei, the city teamed up with a company called WiFly, but very few use the service or very few can access it. In fact, most choose to access the free hot spots that are available on most of the street corners in the downtown area. Taipei is an example of paid v. free (an argument that I have had before on this same subject). When its free people will use it, when you have to pay for it then it remains stagnant. The WiFly network has 4,100 hotspots and covers 90% of the city, but only 40,000 of 2.6 million residents are paying for the service.

While the model for Municipal Wi-Fi is still in an experimental stage, I have the following proposal. If you are a resident, you pay your taxes, and you live within the city limits, the city should send you a WAP key for the municipal network. Since your taxes are already going to city services why not execute the program in this way. Anaheim already has its own Water and Power Department; maybe you could throw in the Wi-Fi as part of your public utilities. Why should I have to pay Earthlink for service?

Anaheim has plans for the Wi-Fi, such as providing Internet access to Anaheim Police squad cars and fire trucks, extending city services, and maybe parking meters.

With Earthlink in charge of the service, will I have to pay them for my home network? Earthlink is my ISP (in the effort of full disclosure) and I have my own home network (I am the IT guy in the house, when your a geek it comes with the territory). According to The Gadgetress, some homes may require a booster to spread the signal throughout their home, but she did add that most people will probably pick up the signal without the booster. So will that be $21.95 per month for each computer in your home or is each one allowed under the same account?

BTW: The Earthlink Wi-Fi does not extend out to the AH, so we’re stuck paying high prices for DSL.

A ride through Pirates


Despite the debacle last weekend and the lines down Mainstreet the past two days, I ventured to Disneyland with the express purpose of riding the revamped Pirates of the Caribbean. For those of you that don’t want to know anything about the ride before you get a chance to see it for yourself, please stop reading now.

Even though the lines have been very long the past two days, the lines this evening were short, just 20 minutes. They were short enough that after riding it once I turned around and hopped back in line. I have no doubt that in my two rides I missed a number of additions and changes, but here is the most notable items that I noticed:

  • The voices of all of the characters in the ride were much more clear and understandable
  • The music throughout the ride has changed, they have removed the singing just after the drops, so you no longer hear, “We pillage, we plunder, we rifle, and loot,” although the music is still playing.
  • Davy Jones (from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Mans Chest) is projected onto a screen made of fog that the boats go through in one of the tunnels.
  • Captain Jack Sparrow shows up in three places in the ride: near the Mayor as he gets dunked in the well, in a barrel just after the scene where brides are being sold, and at the very end (this is what the picture is of.) He is also painted on the wall just inside the door next to the line off to the left.
  • There is also a new voice as you climb up at the end of the ride that just doesn’t fit.

Overall, the additions weren’t extreme and fit in quite well. In no way did Disney destroy the ride as they could have with these additions. However, there are a few things that should have been changed but weren’t:

  • The food needs to be removed in the area where the women are being chased by Pirates. This is a ridiculous move that Disney did when they tried to make the ride more politically correct, and needs to be undone.
  • The hidden Mickey that use to show up in the shadow of the ship’s captain in the fort scene needs to be returned. This was one of the few hidden Mickeys that a lot of people knew about and made them feel like part of the ‘in’ crowd.
  • Many of the boats that take guests through the ride need to be removed, there are just too many of them. There is constantly a backlog of boats stacked up all the way back to the jail scene. Every time another boat comes they run into the boat in front of them and jerk everybody around a bit. It’s like having somebody start hitting you in the back of the head in the third act of a movie and not stopping until the credits start to roll. It was my biggest complaint about the ride before and it would be easy for Disneyland to fix it, they just refuse to.

While I thought these additions were alright, there are rumors that there will be more changes made to the ride, with the addition of both Kira Knightly’s and Orlando Bloom’s characters to the ride. Hopefully this won’t be a precedent for Disneyland, changing classic rides to fit their recent movies spawned from the ride. Disney is currently working on a Jungle Cruise movie based on the ride, and I would hate to see them change the ride to reflect the movie.

Hootenanny ’06 This Weekend!

I can’t help but smile at the announcement: “Pabst Blue Ribbon presents Hootenanny.” That’s right, if you’ve never been to Hootenanny think Pabst Blue Ribbon. Leave your docksiders and button-down shirts at home! (In fact, if you were wondering which would be more appropriate — your Lacoste Polo or your Faconnable Madras — maybe you should leave your ass at home.) Think hot rods, jeans and punk-a-billy!

I’ll see you there this Saturday, 1 July 2006. Pictures to follow!

Faked Switched Voter Attorneys

What do you get when you take a person who claims they are an attorney and a voter in central Orange County who has had their registration switched?

A Republican

That’s right, this weekend brought a wealth of political news that shows just how backwards this county is when the Republicans are so corrupt they are already picking out their office furniture. Van Tran was featured in an article in the Los Angeles Times, which discussed his wife’s criminal record and her posing as an attorney (when she isn’t one, thus a really big offense). Tran’s wife has three misdemeanor convictions for concocting bogus medical bills at her paralegal office in Sacramento. Five others in Cyndi Nyguen’s office were also convicted of insurance fraud. In a rare instance, I have to thank the republican opponent for doing the opposition research, hopefully this will help Paul Lucas and the Democrats gain on Van Tran.

In other news, The Liberal OC is reporting that what seemed as a small isolated incident is quickly approaching 500+-switched registrations in central Orange County. According to some internal sources the number could well be above a thousand switch voters. Bruce McPherson, the Republican Secretary of State, may find himself having to punish members of his own party, but then again he did attend the Republican Flag Day Dinner and was present when Party Chairman Scott Baugh made a mockery of the voter registration process.

With all of this slime, I’m going to go get a shower…

Aftermath of a Disneyland Premiere

potcdmc6.jpgWhile The Disney Blog and the other Disney related websites have been talking about yesterday’s premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest at Disneyland I decided to go to Disneyland and see the aftermath of yesterday’s festivities. The premiere might have been great yesterday, but today’s mess made the park unbearable.

The movie was shown on a screen erected in front on the Ol’ Mill on Tom Sawyer’s Island with bleachers across the Rivers of America right next to the entrance to Pirates of the Caribbean. Today, both the scaffolding for the screen and the bleachers were still in place, blocking the walkways for guests and making it a crowd control nightmare. In fact, today was the worst display of crowd control I’ve ever seen at Disneyland.

The walkway along the Rivers of America that go between Frontierland and New Orleans Square was closed down, if you wanted to get from Frontierland to New Orleans Square or Adventureland you had to backtrack all the way to Main Street. The problem was that they were not stopping people from walking down that walkway, so people were hitting a dead end and either walking through River Belle Terrace or were jumping the barricades.

All in all, I must say that having the movie premiere in Disneyland was a terrible idea for Disney. If they wanted to do it, they should have had everything cleaned up and back to normal by the time the park opened this morning. This is no way to treat park guests on the first weekend of summer just because Disney wants to throw a big party for a few select people.

(There are more photos after the jump.)

PKD Still Missing

Phillip K. Dick (PKD for short) is still missing.

I’m not talking about the real life PKD, he passed a way a while ago, I’m talking about his android head that suddenly disappeared on a flight from Las Vegas to San Francisco.

PKD (the android, probably not that advanced) was traveling the country promoting the upcoming movie “A Scanner Darkly” when his head was detached by Mr. Hanson and placed in a bag as a carry on (I would hate to be the TSA screener on that one). When the airlines located PKD’s head they packed it up and mailed it. PKD’s head has never been seen since.

Makes you think if the android head was arrantly delivered to the wrong address in the middle of the desert ala the conclusion of the movie “Seven.”

Santa Ana Appears Closer To Missle Test

20060429_0027a.jpgCosta Mesa intelligence officials have confirmed that Santa Ana has deployed – and may have begun fueling – a long range missile believed capable of striking targets as far away as Los Angeles. It is unclear, however, whether Santa Ana’s move is a reaction to headline grabbing by other regional players (e.g., Irvine’s recent negotiations with China or Anaheim’s attempt to retain control over the (no longer Mighty) Ducks), or is a serious attempt to extort concessions in upcoming county budget talks.

Costa Mesa, Irvine and Newport Beach cautioned Santa Ana that any missile test would bring serious consequences, up to and including sanctions. “Every day busloads of our school children visit the Santa Ana Zoo, the Discovery Science Center and the Bowers Museum — pumping hundreds of dollars into their economy!” an unnamed source close to the Newport Beach mayor’s office said Tuesday. “This is probably just another attempt to shake down commuter traffic on the 5 freeway.”

Others, citing the simmering border conflicts between Santa Ana and Costa Mesa, point to darker motives. A senior member of Costa Mesa planning department noted that “Santa Ana is still smarting over Costa Mesa’s development north of the 405. They’ve long coveted the South Coast Plaza. Sure, they have the Main Place Mall — but the real high end traffic prefers the Nordstom at the South Coast Plaza, not to mention Bloomingdales and Saks Fifth Avenue.”

Santa Ana officials could not be reached for comment.

Quacking Along on The OC Metroblog

I just got home, after surviving the wild that is Los Angeles (when will the Rapid Bus Drivers figure out that only so many people can fit on a bus), and I wanted to make a few announcements regarding the Metroblog:

Our current captain, Grant, is stepping down from his post. Grant was the first to start up the metroblog here in the OC working with Sean Bonner to make sure the site was specific to Orange County and not grouped into Los Angeles as some other blogs have done.

Grant laid all the groundwork and a few of us fellow bloggers continue to keep this site plugging along. I will be taking over the Captain duties from Grant and I hope to continue his work in the OC Blogosphere. While I do tend to make post of a political nature (it’s the whole “Soap Box” concept) I would like to have more coverage of local events, music, food, sport, etc. Orange County has the culture and the nightlife such as the Proof Bar in Santa Ana or early morning coffee at the Diedrich’s in Laguna Beach, to local bands (No Doubt being one of them) that have gotten their start here in The OC.

Politics on this site will still stay, in fact I would like to have both sides (possibly a third side?) represented on the site. I’ll continue to discuss the issues that matter with my political preference with the inclusion of others who bring polite discourse to county politics.

If you’ll looking to contribute ideas to the OC Metroblog, please use the suggest a story feature. If you are also willing to write and contribute to the blog you can drop me a line using the e-mail link on my personal site Mike’s Daily Lockup.

As for the part about “Quacking up” the Anaheim Mighty Ducks introduced their new name, logo, and jersey today. While I still hold my nose at the new logo (the webbed foot “D” needs to be sharper, more prominent) the colors of the jerseys are pretty cool. Orange, Black, and Bronze (Because too many teams use Gold or Silver ala the Kings). I’ll probably buy a new jersey, but I’ll save my thirty-five bucks on a hat.

Irvine’s One China Policy

If you thought foreign policy was left to the federal government and Ms. Rice, you haven’t been paying attention to the ambitions of Irvine.The LA Times reports that, in a move reminiscent of Richard Nixon’s opening of China (and probably the results of some tough negotiating that would’ve made Henry Kissinger jealous), Irvine recently signed an agreement making the Xuhui District of Shanghai, China, their new sister city and promising that “Irvine leaders wouldn’t visit Taiwan in any official capacity or display the Taiwanese flag or play its national anthem.”

Sweeping the Poor, the Homeless, and the Disabled under the “Rug”

This was brought to my attention and it is something that completely appalls me as a citizen of Anaheim. The City had the opportunity to provide housing for those who have been diagnosed with mental illness, the poor, and the homeless. Some of the comments that were made by those in attendance were appalling. Even city council member Lorri Galloway, who has spent her life running a home for those who are down and out, voted to table the approval of the project. Where is the leadership?

What’s next, will the City of Anaheim just round every one of the “undesirables” load them onto a bus, and dump them on the streets of Los Angeles? Is this just the continuing problem of NIMBYism that constantly affects every major local and countywide project that we have faced over the past 10 years (El Toro, Centerline, Freeway Expansion, the proposed OC-Riverside Tunnel, etc…)

On the agenda at last night’s Anaheim City Council meeting there was an item to approve an apartment community for low-income homeless with diagnosed mental illness. During a three-hour public comment period nearly fifty local residents came out in opposition to the project. The people that spoke against the project said some horrific things about the mentally ill and the homeless. They said that this community would be a dumping ground for “undesirables” and generally made bigoted statements towards the project’s target population.

The City Council called the residents out on this point, telling them that they should be ashamed for what was said during the meeting. The Council then turned around and asked that the Housing Authority pull the proposal from the agenda so they wouldn’t have to vote it down. Not only was the Council hypocritical but spineless in their actions. It is the Anaheim City Council that should be ashamed for their actions last night.

(more after the jump)

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