Monthly Archives: December 2005

Christmas 2005


A poor orphan girl named Maria

Was walking to market one day

She stopped for a rest by the roadside

Where a bird with a broken wing lay

A few moments passed till she saw it

For its feathers were covered with sand

But soon clean and wrapped it was traveling

In the warmth of Maria’s small hand

She happily gave her last peso

On a cage made of rushes and twine

She fed it loose corn from the market

And watched it grow stronger with time

Now the gift giving service was coming

And the church shone with tinsel and light

And all of the townfolks brought presents

To lay by the manger that night

There were diamonds and incense and perfumes

In packages fit for a king

But for one ragged bird in a small cage

Maria had nothing to bring

She waited ’til just before midnight

So no one would see her go in

And crying she knelt by the manger

For her gift was unworthy of Him

Then a voice spoke to her through the darkness

“Maria, what brings you to me?

If the bird in the cage is your offering,

Open the door and let me see.”

Though she trembled, she did as He asked her

And out of the cage the bird flew

Soaring up into the rafters

On a wing that had healed good as new

Just then the midnight bells rang out

And the little bird started to sing

A song that no words could recapture

Whose beauty was fit for a king

Now Maria felt blessed just to listen

To that cascade of notes sweet and long

As her offerings was lifted to heaven

By the very first nightingale’s song

Merry Christmas, Everyone –


Move Along…

Sorry, no post today. Even though the year is winding down, things get busy around here because the Legislature opens next month. Hearings are already scheduled for our budget requests before the session even officially begins. So, move along. Nothing to see here.

Note: since Christmas falls on Sunday this year, I will probably do my Christmas post tomorrow (although that could change, depending on what happens between now and then).


Hidden Inflation

The local Republican controlled radio station is touting
the low rate of inflation and points to this as proof that
Republicans know how to run the economy efficiently. Once I
stopped laughing and got up from rolling on the floor I
thought about what I call hidden inflation.

Hidden inflation is when you get less of a product or
service but pay the same price as before. The cost, per unit
of product increases, but the price you pay stays relatively
level. Hence, the price increase is hidden.

I recently saw what may be an example of this when we went
shopping for dog food. Dog food you say? Yes, dog food. We
went to the Longs Drugs (a very popular store here in Hawaii
that sells everything from sushi to slippers) to buy some dog
food for our grand dog. It seems little “Chica”, a
terrier-mix breed may have an allergy to some types of dog
food. We don’t know yet what she is allergic to so we decided
to try different brands of dog food and see her reaction to
each. But in reading the ingredients on the back of the cans,
we found this had very little relation to what the front of
the can said it contained. For example, if it said “Hearty
Beef” (all names are fictitious to protect the guilty) on the
front, the back label ingredients would say water, poultry
products, barley, rice, wheat, etc., followed somewhere by
“beef byproducts.” So we took a look at a can saying, on the
front, that it was “Lively Liver.” But the back label said
water, poultry products, barley, rice, wheat, etc., followed
somewhere by “liver.” In fact, every single can of dog food
we looked at, regardless of the brand or what the front of
the can said it contained, had the same major ingredients:
water, poultry products, barley, rice, wheat, etc.

Another example, SWMBO recently made up some goody bags
for Christmas. Part of what she included were some small bags
of candy. These small bags were part of a larger bag that
held about 20 of these smaller bags. She noticed that while
the price had not gone up much since last Christmas, the
number of smaller packets contained in the larger bag had
decreased and the weight of each smaller bag had also gone

A last example, some products have made the change from
the English measurement system to metric. But instead of
doing the math and just labeling it with the correct metric
equivalent to what was there before, they gave you less and
then listed that metric equivalent. Since most people don’t
carry calculator with them and don’t know the conversion
tables even if they did, it was a sneaky way to cover a cost

While I certainly haven’t taken any kind of scientific
survey of products, I get the feeling that there are many
other examples of products or services that have been reduced
but without lowering the price. This literally increases the
price per unit but hides the cost increase (or at least
attempts to hide the increase).

But the net effect is you pay more if you purchase the
same amount you used to get.


War Declared on Winter Solstice?

In a way, they are right.

There is a war on the winter solstice

Cutting Stone

On a lighter note, a high tech ground penetrating radar
was used to scan the foundation of the Hawaii Supreme Court
building where I work. The radar was used to find a hollowed

time capsule cornerstone

that was set by King Kamehameha V,
, in 1872. Although accounts of the day noted the laying of
the capsule, and its contents, it was unclear exactly where
it was placed. But using the radar, a geologist found it in
about 10 minutes, surprising everyone as to how quickly it
was found. Plans are to lay a commemorative plaque to mark
the location of the capsule (which will be left sealed).

As an aside, King Kamehameha V died 10 months after laying
the stone capsule. He passed on his birthday at the age of
42. It is not clear as to what he died of but it may have
been heart or kidney disease. He was the last direct
descendant of King Kamehameha I, the first king to rule over
and unite all the Hawaiian Islands.

Getting Wood

Hmmm, the sweet smell of ceder fills the air as strong
hands shape the wood. Sand paper meets timber as it slowly
reveals the form within. Then, after two weeks of hard work,
the wood is sealed in six to eight coats of epoxy to keep the
water from ruining the board. The hollow core wooden surf
board, that is.

Although Hawaiians, who invented surfing, originally used
solid core wood surfboards, almost no one now uses wooden
for these guys.

A company in far off Maine called

is making wooden surfboards and charging people $1,500 USD
to buy one. Although cost is a disadvantage to using a wooden
surfboard, the surfers buying these board say the “wooden
boards handle like a dream, absorbing the jolts and bumps of
the waves to create a ride as smooth as silk.” YMMV. Use at
your own risk. Watch out for splinters.


Moto4Lin: Linux/Motorola V3 Connection

Yesterday I talked about the Motorola V3c I got for SWMBO.
If you want to access the phone, via Linux, you may or may
not be able to use the application called Moto4Lin
to the Moto4Lin site for info

the application from KDE-Apps here)


I say may be able to use Moto4Lin because, as with most
Linux applications that you have to compile yourself, you
have to have the correct libraries, compiler environment, and
in this instance, kernel module.

The libraries you need are libqt3, libusb-dev, and zlib. I
won’t go into the compiler environment because it varies so
much by distribution. You also, according to the
documentation, need a kernel module called the USB Abstract
Control Model (ACM). Where you get that and how you install
it I haven’t figure out yet. [UPDATE: See below]

In using Xandros Deluxe 3.01, I was able to install the
required libraries and then at the command line change into
the directory where I unzipped the downloaded file and, as
root, type in


[enter]. Then type in


[enter]. And finally type in

make install


The instructions also say to type in the following so that
you can run the program as yourself (as opposed to root):

chown root /usr/bin/moto4lin


chmod u+s /usr/bin/moto4lin


So, I now have the Moto4Lin application running but I
can’t connect to the phone.

When/if I can find this ACM module and get it working
maybe things will work. Or not. You never no with Linux. But
I’ll keep you updated as things go forward.

Speaking of updates, I tried viewing the internal display
screen of SWMBO’s Motorola V3c outdoors yesterday and it has
the same problem as my V3. Namely, the screen washes out and
you can’t see what is being displayed. Oh well, maybe in the
next version of the V3 they’ll get that solved.

UPDATE: Okay, apparently the module loads automajically
but it is in a location different from the default that
Moto4Lin looks for it. I will lay out two methods of how to
get things going on a Motorola V3 from Cingular Wireless.

  1. Plug in the phone to your mini-USB cable and then plug
    the cable into your PC’s USB port.

  2. At the command line, type:

    echo AT+MODE=8 > /dev/ttyACM0

    [enter][note: the ttyACM0 part has the number zero at
    the end, not the letter O.]

  3. Still at the command line, start Moto4Lin by typing:



  4. With Moto4Lin running, click on the
    “Connect/Disconnect” button.

  5. After a short wait, it should be connected. If
    successful, you then click on the “Update list”

  6. If that works, the Directory window should display
    “Phone”, an icon, and the plus sign “+” next to the
    letter “a” to indicate you can open that directory. Do

  7. This should lead to a “mobile” directory. Expand that
    directory and you will be viewing the root folders of
    your phone. Done.

Now, if at step four above you don’t get connected, you
may have to click on the “Preferences” button and edit the
default connection directory from /dev/usb/acm to


. I had to do this and maybe this is specific to Xandros
Deluxe 3.01 using the 2.6 kernel. I don’t know. All I know is
I had to do it otherwise I couldn’t get connected. YMMV. Use
at your own risk. Insert disclaimer here.

Screen shot of Moto4Lin.

Click on the image to see a larger version.