Latest Blog Posts

The Ultimate Sporting Experience

May 29, 2009 at 7:07pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The 2009 summer league of the Lincoln Ultimate Disc Association is about to fire up. Games are played Thursday evenings at Woods Park. I am reeeally tempted to go out and play this year. And it just happens that I don’t have anything going on on Thursday evenings this summer. Hmm…

Memories of the Early Days

May 29, 2009 at 1:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

::sniff::

I can’t help but get a little sentimental when I read about AOL being kicked to the curb by Time Warner. Boy, I spent a lot of time on AOL back in the day. That’s where I got my start in web development, in fact. Those were the days.

My memory gets pretty fuzzy, though, when I try to remember all of Lincoln’s early online opportunities. I do remember that over the years I acquired about a dozen Lincnet e-mail accounts.

What else went on in Lincoln’s earliest days on the intertubes? I’m sure some of you have some great memories to share.

Summer is REALLY Here

May 29, 2009 at 11:30am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Sure, Memorial Day weekend is supposed to herald the start of summer. But I argue that this weekend is really summer 2009’s first hurrah.

The first thing on my list is the Friday Night Concert Series at Southpointe Pavillions. The Wilsons have attended the concerts for years now. Heck, Robbie had his first kiss at one of the concerts two years ago. Tonight’s performer (PDF) for the 6:30-8:30 concert is D’Funk.

Coming up on Tuesday is Jazz in June, another summer staple I love. As a bonus, there are five Tuesdays in June this year, which means five performances for us.

What other favorite activities of yours are coming up now that it’s summertime?

Is it Too Hot Yet?

May 28, 2009 at 12:05pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Somebody mentioned in a comment not long ago that he or she had not yet turned on the air conditioning at home. That made me wonder just how many of you have avoided the A/C so far this year. I don’t remember when we caved, but it was a while back. Since that time we’ve gone off and on. We usually keep ours set at 79.

How many of you have held strong? Is it more because you have a very cool house, or because you have a very high tolerance for heat?

An Entire Neighborhood Off the Grid

May 28, 2009 at 11:45am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I’m glad to see that LES‘s Sustainable Energy Program has successfully reserved its $1.1 million allotment. The funds are going to nearly 5,000 homes which, combined, will undertake projects that are the rough equivalent of taking 600 homes off the grid. Put another way, it’s like an entire neighborhood or two just vanished. Not bad.

I think it’s interesting how quickly the projects will pay for themselves, assuming the efficiencies estimates and costs are reasonably accurate. Let’s say the program didn’t exist and these homeowners spent their own money on these various projects. Taking into account LES’s rates and an estimate of 7 million kwh/year energy savings, the projects will pay for themselves in a hair over two years. That’s a very reasonable timeline to see a return on one’s investment. Energy-saving products and technologies, generally speaking, are pretty much at the point where it doesn’t make sense not to install them.

Did any of you participate in LES’s program?

Smooth Criminals

May 27, 2009 at 11:55am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I’m sure by now you’ve all heard of the block-headed robber:

The knot-headed burglar is even better:

It’s the Last Day of School!

May 27, 2009 at 11:30am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

... if it were 2011. The Board of Education finally approved a calendar that ends the school year before Memorial Day. That means May 27, 2011 will be the last day of school for my niece the first grader.

Still no progress on getting first semester to end before the new year, though. Some day. Some day.

Lazlo’s Gets it Right ... Twice

May 26, 2009 at 12:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I have picked on Lazlo’s a fair amount over the past couple years, both on this blog and “in real life”. Two experience in the past week may force me to reevaluate my position. That makes me very happy.

By accident, The Wilsons ate at Lazlo’s twice last week. The first was an outdoor experience at the Downtown Lazlo’s; the second was with my in-laws in the lounge at the South Lazlo’s. On both occasions service was back up to what I consider to be Lazlo’s standards, and the food was excellent. The two experiences were so positive that after many months of actively filtering Lazlo’s off my list of possible restaurant choices, they may be on their way to repairing their reputation. Maybe. No restaurant can betray my trust like Lazlo’s did and just get back into the rotation without a little hard work. Time will tell.

In the mean time, I would love to hear your latest Lazlo’s reports. And what the heck, let’s toss sister Fireworks into the mix as well. How are they doing?

Coby Mach in the LJS

May 26, 2009 at 11:35am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

LIBA’s Coby Mach has a piece in this morning’s Journal Star in which he discusses several good reasons why the results of the city’s unscientific online Taking Charge Budget and Program Priorities Survey should be interpreted very carefully. He is correct. The survey should be considered little more than a conversation starter. Be extremely wary if local officials try to sell the results as representing anything more than that.

Not that stirring up conversations is a bad thing, of course. On the contrary, it’s very good to engage the public in this line of thinking. And even an unscientific online survey can help us determine which conversations are worth pursuing as we go forward, and which we shouldn’t spend much time on.

As Governor Heineman and the DMV have learned, relying on anonymous online surveys to make actual decisions can really make one look like an ass. I don’t want to see Mayor Beutler & Co. make the same mistakes. The City could earn a lot of respect by releasing as much of the raw data as possible. Likewise, the City should make explicit its criteria for any manipulation of the data: voiding results, for example, and IP whitelisting and blacklisting. The more transparent are the data, the better we will be able to support or refute Beutler’s budget decisions.

Do you have any concerns about the budget process that have not yet been addressed?

In the Dumps

May 26, 2009 at 11:30am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Local landfill use is down 10% thanks to the economy, recycling efforts, reduced packaging, and so on. That’s (mostly) good news for the landfill, although it does mean less revenue.

The Bluff Road Landfill supposedly has about 25 years worth of life remaining. That sounds like a long time, but is it really? Lincoln probably doesn’t have a specific plan at this point for what we’re going to do when the landfill fills up. Do we have a general idea of what we’re going to do? How far in advance does a community need to think about its next landfill?

Considering how poorly Lincoln has planned ahead for some of its biggest needs—south and east beltways, anyone?—I get nervous thinking about this sort of long-range planning effort. At the very least I hope we sock away a few bucks to help deal with startup costs when the time comes.

Where in Lincoln is this?

May 25, 2009 at 2:25pm By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

image

Edit: Good going Captain Kirk! You correctly identified where this photo was taken.

Read more...

DMV Gives Nebraska the Bird

May 22, 2009 at 4:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The bird wins! The bird wins! The bird wins!

... Which is odd, really. Because weren’t we assured by DMV Director Beverly Neth and the Governor’s office that there was no way the initial results were incorrect? It doesn’t bother me so much that they were wrong. What bothers me is they insisted they were right despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Sure it’s a tiny issue, but that makes their obstinate attitudes even more puzzling. Why couldn’t Governor Heineman step up and say, “You know what? This does look bad. My office will look at the numbers and consult some experts and we’ll get back to you.” Would that have been so difficult?

Raise Your Hand

May 22, 2009 at 1:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Raise your hand if you, like me, were shocked to see Pete Ricketts’ mug staring at you this morning when you loaded up Lincolnite.

Dammit, Mr. T, you’ve got to warn a guy about something like that!

Nebraska: The Drive-Thru State

May 22, 2009 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Nebraska is often known as a flyover state, but we can also be proud to call ourselves a good drive-through state now that the National Motorists Association has ranked us #4 on their rankings of states by a variety of motorist-friendly policies. That’s good news for those of us headed across the state to Fort Robinson later this summer, though I’m not sure Emiliano Gomez Gonzalez would agree.

Thursday Night TD Ameritrade Goodness

May 22, 2009 at 2:38am By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

image

I’m not normally one to gush about good consumer experiences on a usual basis, but I do believe that one should give kudos when it is due. Good customer service can make a big difference, especially when many options among competitors are available. Just ask the computer or mobile phone companies.

I contacted TD Ameritrade earlier this evening with a question about my investment account. After some fairly usual troubleshooting talk and polite chit-chatting about trading fees, the customer rep on the phone gave me 20 free trades to use over a 2 month period. At $9.99 a trade, that’s roughly $200 of free money. I took down the rep’s name, and sent over an email to his manager noting how pleasant the experience was.

I’ll never say a bad thing about Pete Ricketts again. The guy knows how to run a company’s customer service.

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