Friday, September 19, 2008

Driving While Texting: A Dangerous Mix

The engineer of last week's deadly rail crash in California was text messaging while operating the commuter train that crashed and killed 25 people. Even if you manage to escape a tragic incident, the truth is -- text messaging while driving is dangerous.

I've talked about this service before, but it seemed an appropriate reminder to mention the now vital speech-to-text service that will read and transcribe messages: While talking on the phone while driving is dangerous, some would argue even with a hands-free device, the website sets out to make communicating behind the wheel just a bit safer.

The best advice? Hang up and drive.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Friday, September 5, 2008

Help Save ORBlogs!

It began, as many such projects do, as a hobby by one blogger. Now, after five years as a defacto resource on Oregon's blogging community, a guide, directory and inspiration ORBlogs is closing its doors. Site founder Paul Bausch writes:
I'm shutting ORblogs down now because the site continues to grow and the job of maintaining the site at the level I feel is necessary to keep it valuable has grown with it, putting it out of the bounds of a hobby. I wasn't able to make ORblogs self-sustaining financially (let alone turn it into a job), and I can no longer devote the time to the site that it needs to grow.

This, obviously, doesn't sit well with bloggers such as Rick Turozcy over at Silicon Florist. He writes, "I mean, I was always taught the whole 'if you love something, let it go' thing. But, quite frankly, I’m not willing to let this one go."

I strongly encourage you to hop on over and read this comprehensive post by Rick describing what's at stake here.

The conversation continues this morning on Twitter and in this FriendFeed room created by J-P Voilleque.

Earlier this morning my friends at gave the fight to save ORBlogs some extra visibility.

I, for my small part, join Rick and the dozens of others rallying in support of ORBlogs (I've also put a bug in the ear of some key execs who may be able to pitch in)... won't you join us?

Rick has even created a web banner to help spread the word... feel free to post on your own site:

UPDATE 1 (10:30): Mettadore weighed in lengthy analysis of what is needed to save the site (and how you can help), and proposed next steps. Great work! The Oregonian has a write-up on their site as well.

UPDATE 2 (11:30): We ran a story today on KXL-AM about the campaign to save ORBlogs -- take a listen to the story from KXL's Lacey Evans and myself (MP3)

If you'd like to join the campaign, drop me an email (tech AT brianwestbrook DOT com), or leave a comment and I'll pass your details on to the appropriate contacts... This includes, especially, potential future sponsors from across the great State of Oregon!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Upgrading for DTV? Recycle your old TV!

On February 17th 2009, as my regular listeners know, television stations across the country will convert their analog broadcast signals to a new higher-capacity digital spectrum. What this means to television viewers varies depending on how you receive programming, but for many, the conversion could leave you with a live view of what resembles a 24/7 snowstorm.

For many who watch over-the-air television, this means a new television. (Most, like one KXL staffer I spoke with yesterday, see it as a good excuse to upgrade even while a converter box might suffice.)

What do you do with your old set?

Most people don’t need to get rid of their existing television due to the switch to digital-only broadcasting, says Kathy Kiwala, manager of DEQ’s “Oregon E-Cycles” electronics waste program. For persons who choose to purchase a new digital TV and have an existing TV in working condition, there are several options:
  • Keep the old TV as a second TV for games, videos or DVDs
  • Give the old TV to a friend or donate it to a second-hand store.

According to the Department of Enviornmental Quality's press release, consumers who do choose to buy a new television set should visit the DEQ E-waste Web page at

For more ways to recycle electronics -- including unwanted computers -- check out my Earth Day Gadget Special that aired on KATU's AM Northwest: