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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Nascar style drafting on the highway? It's possible

Truck Platooning System Offers Fuel Savings Potential

May 13, 2014  Article thanks to Jim Beach and Links provided:

Peloton Technology, Menlo Park, Calif., demonstrated its two-truck platooning system to representatives from three of Nevada’s primary transportation agencies May 8 along a stretch of I-80 just east of Reno.
The technology makes use of a forward collision avoidance system and vehicle-to-vehicle communication to allow two trucks to travel closer together than would normally be safe.

Josh Switkes, Peloton CEO, said the system combines forward-looking radar, intelligent braking and the V2V link to allow the trucks to travel close together, reducing drag and saving fuel in the process. Switkes said that in a test with C.R. England last year, they achieved a 10% improvement in fuel efficiency for the following truck and a 4.5% increase for the front truck.
Trucks can only be paired in a platoon if conditions warrant and then only through Peloton’s cloud-based platooning operations center.
Once the system is engaged, the active safety systems from both trucks are linked, extending their effectiveness. A display panel in the front truck can show what the following truck's forward-facing camera sees, while the following truck can see what the front truck's camera sees.
The key to the system is the response time of the forward collision avoidance system, which controls braking and acceleration. A truck driver needs 1 to 2 seconds to react when a vehicle in front of him slows. The Peloton system, on the other hand, reacts in a fraction of a second.
That detail was enough to convince Nevada Highway Patrol chief Dennis Osborne, who said that he had some concerns about the technology when he first heard about it.
"Now I feel comfortable," Osborne said. "There is a fraction of a second from when the lead vehicle starts to brake to when the rear vehicle starts to brake." He added that the NHP "is excited about the project."
Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles director Troy Dillard said that a team from the DMV had observed the technology and that "technology that makes our roadways safer is worth exploring" and that he believed "industry and government should work closely together" to enhance safety.
The technology combines wireless DSRC and cellular communications, sensors and active safety devices with the core function being to synchronize acceleration and braking between pairs of tractor/trailer combinations. During platooning, the drivers retain control of the system and the vehicle's steering.
When not platooning, the trucks still reap the benefits of the system, which includes collision avoidance, brake and tire diagnostics and video displays of blind spots.
Photo: Jim Beach
Switkes said the company's network operations center is being developed on a nationwide basis and will coordinate trucks seeking a platooning partner on the road — even trucks from different fleets. The center uses geo-fencing to limit platooning only to safe roads and under safe conditions and with safe drivers. The center also collects diagnostic and analytical data from the vehicles within the system.
The company said it is currently in talks with more than a dozen fleets for pilot deployments of the platooning and data/analytics functionality, with a deployment planned with Nashville-based TCW at the end of May.
Nevada Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki noted that the technology was innovative and different and that Nevada was a great place to test and develop such technologies.

Jim Beach

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fast Drain Oil Pan Valve

Cool product. Article thanks to Bruce Smith and Links provided:

EZ Oil Drain Valve Speeds Up Service

Global Sales Group’s EZ Oil Drain Valve replaces the standard drain plug on all engines for clean and easy oil changes.
Just turn the lever to drain oil, and the lever locks closed to prevent accidental openings.
It comes with optional Hose Ends that allow easy hose connections to drain oil away from the engine.
The Hose Ends can be easily screwed into the valve for hose connection and can be removed at any time as needed.
EZ Oil Drain Valve Features
  • Ball Valve Mechanism for leak-proof operation.
  • Nickel Plated for extra protection
  • O-ring seal for improved sealing ability
  • Reinforced plastic handle cover for easy open/close
  • Easy Hose Connection
  • Perfect for oil sampling
CONTACT: 999-1200

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Saturday, June 21, 2014

New York’s “Joe Bananas” meets Milwaukee’s “Mad Bomber” Balistrieri

joe bonanno
Article thanks to Mary Zahn and William Janz of the Milwaukee Sentinel and Google News archives. I believe the meeting occurred at the home of Angelo Alioto, Franks brother-in-law, who was the son of John Alioto. John retired as head of the Milwaukee mob and turned over the reigns to Frank in 1961. Links Provided:

Nov, 5, 1988  One of the top mobsters in America had problems that included Frank P. Balistrieri, and their dispute caused such bad feelings that the two men finally met in Milwaukee to discuss it.

Balistrieri’s attitude was: “I’ll run my town as I see fit.”

In the 1960’s, the sensational difficulties of crime boss Joseph Bonanno were on the front pages of newspapers across the country. Bonanno, known as ‘Joe Bannanas’, was a rugged-looking, handsome New Yorker who picked up his suntans in Arizona and had an empire that reportedly had interests on several continents.

The government was after Bonanno, and so were other mobsters. Bonanno was reported kidnapped and murdered, but he showed up mysteriously after being gone for 18 months.
He came to Milwaukee in 1964 to talk to Balistrieri about a dispute between members of the two families during the turmoil before his disappearance.

But prior to that meeting, Balistrieri, head of organized crime in Milwaukee, met with a man identified as Pete, a soldier in the Bonanno family.
frank balistrieri

Balistrieri was upset with a relative of Pete, a member of the Bonanno family who had been causing Balistrieri problems. The dispute had gone on for nearly two years, which Balistrieri felt was disrespectful to him.

The FBI secretly taped the meeting. The dispute was the first order of business.

Balistrieri: “First, we’ll take up Mr. Bonanno’s matter. Last time we were here, I was called to Chicago and told to do something with Mr. Bonanno.
“Well, I’m both disturbed and disappointed. ... See, I represent the family here, and there’s a certain dissatisfaction with your brother-in-law, and naturally in Milwaukee the family comes first and everybody else is secondary. he could be my own brother, and if he doesn’t go along with the rules, if he doesn’t follow what the family dictates, then I can’t help him either...
    “But your brother-in-law hasn’t respected nobody ever since he has been in Milwaukee. He’s done very well for himself. He has completely disregarded everybody, (and) anybody....pertaining to the family, he has been aloof from. So, naturally, we ... I granted permission to give this man a warning, and Mr Bonanno interceded...
    “And, at that time, I most courteously granted Mr. Bonanno the favor of, er, forgetting what had been started with the understanding that I would be available to Mr. Bonanno at any place to talk again.
    “Because, I mean, I never fight with Tucson, with New York...”

Bonanno had homes in New York and Tucson.

Balistrieri continued: “In your brother-in-law’s case, I think that maybe since he got a clearance, his attitude, er, his demeanor is even worse than it was before. He completely disregarded everybody.
    ‘I’d be here all night telling things that he had done, and I got quite disturbed about it. so I called Mr. DiBella. As a matter of fact, we had two or three conversations with Mr. Dibella.”

[According to the FBI transcript of the meeting, Balistrieri was referring to John DiBella, who was in charge of the Grande Cheese Co. in Fond du lac, WI. Dibella was said to be “a very close friend” of Bonanno.]

[Bonanno’s wife, Faye, held 150 shares of stock in Grande Cheese at the time, but there was no indication if the cheese firm was at issue in the dispute.]

[In a conversation taped after the meeting with Pete, Balistrieri said “That cheese company in Fond du Lac ... belongs to Milwaukee, and it’s under my jurisdiction.”]

[Officials said there was no indication that the current management of Grande Cheese was involved in organized crime.]

Balistrieri continued his talk with Pete: “I’m sure that Mr. Bonanno doesn’t want our family mistreated here in Milwaukee ... First of all, I mean, being a family matter, I’m sure mr. Bonanno has got enough intestinal fortitude to take the message.
“He said that if Mr. Bonanno can’t handle the situation, that either he or his caporegime (a boss) - it’s my understanding that Bill (Bonanno’s son) is his caporegime - would take the matter into consideration and that they would give me some satisfaction.”

As a result of Balistrieri's contacts with members of the Bonanno family concerning the dispute, he told Pete, “I marvel that you come here without any knowledge of what is going on. I am completely disturbed. and I don’t think that this family deserves such treatment.
“Now, I think I was very courteous; I think I was very generous in waiting this time ... and I think that the time is getting short on people’s part.”

Pete thanked Balistrieri for his courtesy. He said that Bonanno had numerous problems recently. pete also apologized for being unable to go into details involving Pete’s brother-in-law and “give you the satisfaction that you deserve.”
Balistrieri: “ Well, I want you to understand this now. I really am disturbed. i think I deserve better treatment than that ... I run my family as I see fit. we made that friendship with you and I.”
Pete: “It was in your father-in-law’s place. I said to you that everything was straightened out and don’t worry ... and we thank you. I told my brother-in-law what I had to tell him. To go in a straight line.
“That’s all the details I can tell you because ... (someone) would say to me, ‘You’re not a caporegime, you’re not a consigliere (counselor), you’re not a boss. Because I’m a soldier, you know that.”
Balistrieri: “Nobody is going to tell me how to run my family. I mean the reason that I might have done something and then a guy could say, “Well, Jesus Christ!” You know what I mean? ... That’s awful dangerous.
“I think it’s not right to send, er, when I make a statement and then they misbehave. Then suppose I would have  taken action?”
Pete: “If I had a title I could take the responsibility. But as I am, I can’t settle anything.”

Balistrieri: “The family comes first Pete ... I mean since he left here the last time he just don’t give a good god damn or nobody. He conducts himself even worse than what he has done before. His attitude hasn’t changed. He’s not bigger than us. We’re not going to permit that. I’m sure Mr. Bonanno doesn’t want that to happen in my town.
“I was willing to go meet him (Bonanno). I was willing to abide my time. I’m sorry now, I did waste this much time. I think it’s a sign of disrespect that when I give a message, that I have no answer. Now I’m sure if there was one of us that wasn’t looking for friendship then I would have taken different action.
“As far as I’m concerned, this is the end ... I run my town as I see fit. That’s it. I don’t mean to be stern. I don’t mean to give any ultimatums. But this thing has been going on too long without any satisfaction. I bent over backwards to be nice, and I think I have been disrespected.”
Pete: “Frank, for me I can’t take this sort of thing up because it’s not up to me, you know what I mean?”

Balistrieri and Pete argued over who was in charge, who was the caporegime, the captain, the “head pants”, as Pete called him.
Balistrieri : “As far as me hanging and waiting for Mr. Joe Bonanno to get ready to talk to me, I don’t think I’m too receptive to that.

Another man in the room said; “I think you should wait for Mr. Bonanno, Frank.”

Balistrieri: “I got troubles. Nobody has more troubles than I have. I feel very disturbed ... I’ll tell you something Pete. Your brother-in-law is in trouble over here!
“These messages aren’t carried out the way they’re supposed to do. I mean, that’s pretty dangerous.”
Pete: “I’m 61 years old. If I’d worry about these dangers I’d go and drown myself. I got my superiors. I can’t go over their heads ... .”

After Pete left the meeting, Balistrieri said that if Bonanno came to talk to him he would refer him to a meeting with Chicago mobsters. however at a later meeting that was also tape recorded, Balistrieri reported that Bonanno had stopped in Milwaukee to see him.

Mentioning that Bonanno was at “Angelo’s house,” Balistrieri said “he made no gesture to talk to me. He just kept on talking and then it got late.

“We went in like a little room and Mr. Bonanno talked for at least 20 minutes, Mr. Bonanno said ‘I never use the word tired, but I’m tired from speaking so long.’
“I said, “You’ve been speaking for 4 hours and now that I wanted to say something, you’re tired” ... I said “I’m not satisfied.”
“‘Well’, he says “I’m tired.I’d like to postpone this thing until another time.’ ... he don’t want to talk about it. I gotta go back to Chicago and tell them what happened, see? When I go back and tell chicago what happened, they don’t like it too much.”

[Bonanno eventually was removed from the national commission of the Mafia as a result of his independent attitude, according to federal officials. Sam Giancana, who was on the commission, was the mob boss in chicago and Balistrieri’s boss.]

Referring to Bonanno, Balistrieri said, “Under the circumstances he didn’t fool me, nor was I impressed by him. However the respect that you pay a boss and the courtesy, I gave it to him ... .”

“He showed me power, and I showed him respect.”

"Mr. Fancy Pants" Balistrieri - Tracking Milwaulee's most dangerous mobster
Benjamin "Lefty Guns" Ruggerio-The real story of the "wise guy"
The Beef That Didn't Moo - Wisconsin Ties to the Mob
Tales of the Milwaukee Mob and Two Cigarette Men!
Married to the Daughter of a Milwaukee Mob Boss-Our Pediatrician!
The Milwaukee Queen Bee of Organized Crime
Tale of a Failed Milwaukee Mob Hit!
Lieutenant Uhura (of the Starship "Enterprise") - close encounters with the Chicago and Milwaukee Mob!
Part Two: The Milwaukee Mob and Lieutenant Uhura (Star Trek)
The New York Mob and Iowa Beef - Part 1
The New York Mob and Iowa Beef Processors - Part II
Sally Papia - A life lived on the edge
The Milwakee Mob Hit on Anthony Biernat
The Milwaukee Mob Hit on August Palimisano

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

10 things you didn't know about Las Vegas
Thanks to and written by Lissa Townsend Rodgers, Special to CNN Links provided:

April 20, 2014  Las Vegas (CNN) -- Not many cities evoke as many instant associations as Las Vegas.

Maybe you think of the Rat Pack, showgirls and mobsters sipping martinis. Or perhaps it's bachelorettes and bros on a bender that everyone hopes won't end up on Facebook.

It's a town whose story has been told thousands of times, in books such as "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," movies such as "Casino" and televisions shows from "Vegaquot; to "Vegas."

But there's much more to the city than just sin.

More than half a million people live here -- about 800,000 if you include the adjacent suburb of Henderson. Plenty of slots and cocktails still abound, but the arts and cultural scene is blossoming and a tech boom is building.

There's a lot about Vegas you might not know -- and we don't just mean magic tricks, personal secrets or those holes in the desert you see in gangster movies:

1. Down with the old, up with the new

No town turns over real estate like Las Vegas. The Wynn inhabits the site of the storied Desert Inn; the Bellagio has totally obliterated the Dunes. Planet Hollywood still has some of the Aladdin buried inside, while the Sahara is being gutted and repurposed as the SLS.

There's still a Flamingo, but Bugsy Siegel didn't run rampant there -- the final remnant of the original hotel was torn down in 1993.

A small plaque in the garden indicates the location of Siegel's personal suite, which had bulletproof glass, earthquake-proof walls and a trapdoor in the closet leading to escape tunnels.

2. City of culture

Las Vegas is a big museum town -- in its own way.

We have the Neon Museum, a dazzling pile of obsolete signage, from vast casinos such as the Stardust and Moulin Rouge to roadside motel dice or the smiling shirt advertising a dry cleaner.

At the Mob Museum, you can see Kefauver's courtroom, where mafiosos testified before senators, as well as the bullet-riddled brick wall from the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

The National Atomic Testing Museum has history, science and bombs. At the Pinball Hall of Fame, you can admire (and play) hundreds of games.

Dream of driving the 1932 Rolls-Royce Phantom II at the Auto Collections or check out Gypsy Rose Lee's g-string at the Burlesque Hall of Fame or visit the brand new Polaroid Museum, which is set to open Thursday.

3. Downtown

When people think of Vegas, they think of the Strip, but recently, the older Downtown area has been pulling focus.

Online retailer Zappos moved in, and CEO Tony Hsieh started theDowntown Project, aimed at revitalizing the neighborhood through investing in real estate and small businesses (and a huge music festival).

A number of the older casinos are getting facelifts, while new bars and restaurants open at an ever-accelerating rate.

For entertainment, the Smith Center has high-end offerings -- ballet, Broadway shows, the recent world premiere of Shakespeare's "The Tempest," redone by Teller (of Penn & Teller) and Tom Waits.

Conversely, the Fremont Street Experience offers classic rock-themed light shows, concerts of cover bands (or the occasional original artist) and plenty of frozen drinks in souvenir cups.

Somewhere in between is the Inspire Theater's edgy variety shows and bar-with-a-view, as well as touring band venues like Beauty Barand Backstage Bar & Billiards.

4. Conventioneers!

There are thousands of conventions in Vegas every year, from 150 people for the Nevada Court Reporters Association to almost 150,000 for the Auto Expo.

There are the well-known ones such as CES (premiering the newest technology, from smartphones to spoons that post your calorie count on the Internet) and the AVN (the porn convention).

We welcome the movie stars of Cinemacon and the messengers of Interbike, the Bar & Nightclub Expo and the National Hardware Show, the Renfaire fans and the Trekkies.

Even if you're not here on business, be aware that a major gathering can affect hotel availability, restaurant reservations and the security line at the airport.

5. Skeletons in our midst

The Las Vegas Strip runs glitter and overkill all the way through town, but at its center stand two enormous, unfinished structures, incongruous in rust and darkness.

There's the Fontainebleau, kin to the famous Miami hotel: 68 stories high, 70% completed, $3 billion spent, five years vacant and rotting in the sun.

Across the street was the legendary Stardust, busy until the day it was closed in 2006. Local casino corporation Boyd Gaming bought it up and tore it down, intending to build an ultraluxurious megaresort with Mondrian and Delano hotels, shopping, convention space, multiple theaters ...

They got as far as the girders before the recession hit in 2008. Eventually another gaming group purchased the property and plans to finally turn it into a megaresort.

6. The famous casino that isn't

The Tangiers was the setting of "Casino," perhaps the best movie made about Las Vegas; the Tangiers is also a recurring plot point/location on "CSI."

However, the Tangiers doesn't exist.

"Casino" was inspired by events at the Stardust but, for legal reasons, the name was changed in the film, a name that was then picked up for the TV show. Some folks assume it was torn down, when actually it never existed to begin with.

7. Everyone plays Vegas now

The Vegas headliner is no longer a crooner in a toupee and pinky ring, as an increasing number of more contemporary artists give Sin City the long run.

The pediment of Caesars Palace is adorned not with the visages of Jupiter, Apollo and Venus but Elton John, Rod Stewart and Celine Dion.

The Hard Rock works a similar format within its own theme, with intermittent extended stays by hair-metal lords Def Leppard, Motley Crue and Guns n' Roses.

Britney Spears bumps and grinds at Planet Hollywood, while Boyz II Men brings harmony to the Mirage. Even hipper venues such as the Brooklyn Bowl do extended runs, in this case funk/jam bands such as Galactic, Primus and String Cheese Incident.

8. More than slots and dice

Gambling is no longer the main motivator of a trip to Vegas.

The nightclub is one of the new draws, as lavish megaclubs seem to open every month with over-the-top decor, four-figure bottle service and a roster of superstar DJs. (Of course, dropping the price of a used car on a night out can make the rest of the trip a five-to-a-room event with Budweiser and Hot Pockets.)

A more mature crowd is lured by the city's status as a foodie destination.

The classic steakhouse and coffee shop offerings have expanded into a dazzling array of restaurants, from exquisitely prepared tasting menus with meticulously paired wines surrounded by museum-quality art to comfort food of all cultures, served under bright lights to finger-licking crowds.

Celebrity chefs from Thomas Keller to Gordon Ramsay have resort-property eateries (Wolfgang Puck has six and Emeril Lagasse and Mario Batali each have four).

Even if big names above the door don't mean much to you, they have given many a local chef a career boost. Beloved local restaurants such as Honey Salt, Fat Choy, Eat and the soon-to-reopen Rosemary's were all created by chefs who got their training on the Strip.

9. Halloween every day

There are many people in Las Vegas who make their living pretending to be someone else, meaning you might see "Michael Jackson" in hat, glove and shades waiting at the bus stop.

Elvis impersonators work big showrooms, casino lounges and wedding chapels, so it is not uncommon to see a man in white jumpsuit and full sideburns buying kitty litter or pumping gas into his Honda.

Other fake famous folks do tribute shows, parties or just stand around hoping someone will tip for a photo with "Marilyn." Or "Tupac." Or Barney.

10. Where Vegas is still "Vegas"

There are still some spots that retain the mojo of when Dino was at the Sands and Dietrich was at the Sahara.

The Golden Steer Steakhouse has been velvet wallpaper and sirloin since 1958, and you can still sit in Elvis' booth, sipping a martini while the veteran waiter creates your tableside Caesar salad or cherries jubilee.

The Huntridge Tavern and the Hard Hat Lounge are both Kennedy-era dive bars, the first with an attached drugstore and lunch counter, the latter with glorious pulp-art murals.

Frankie's Tiki Room has a new interior, but the retro-Polynesian style is pure throwback.

A few casinos still retain their original style.

The El Cortez is in the original 1941 building, with vintage neon on the roof and an Elvis impersonator in the lounge; the Riviera may have go-go dancing dealers and a British pub, but it's still got the smoked mirrors and brass trim of its '70s prime.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

How to refurbish your pickup bed liner
Good article thanks to Bruce Smith and Links provided:

Pro Tips To Make A Spray-on Pickup Bed Liner Look Like New

(Article courtesy of PlastiKote)
After the recent harsh winter weather, many truck owners will notice wear and tear on their vehicles. One area that may be particularly hard hit from the elements is the truck bed.
Repairing or replacing a damaged truck bed can be an expensive proposition.
However, by painting the bed liner themselves, truck owners will give it a fresh look and extend its life by making the truck bed resistant to rust and scratches.
PlastiKote's new bed liner kit makes it easy to refurbish faded/worn pickup beds and tailgates.
PlastiKote’s new bed liner kit makes it easy to refurbish faded/worn pickup beds and tailgates.
 Truck bed liner paint may come in a gallon can or in aerosol form.
Leading brands like PlastiKote also offer a truck bed liner kit that includes a gallon of truck bed liner paint and all the necessary sundries like a roller, brush and paint tray.
Here are some important tips.
Before getting started, it is very important to thoroughlyprepare the truck bed. For best results, the truck bed should first be pressure washed, rinsed and dried thoroughly.
Make sure to clean all contaminated surfaces with an oil and grease remover.
Note: Kits such as PlastiKote’s only work over the original factory finish or an aerosol version of truck bed liner, otherwise users might experience wrinkles or lifting in their coating.
After the bed is completely clean and dry, mask off all surrounding areas to protect from paint splatter or overspray, using a quality, automotive-grade masking tape and paper.
Sand all areas to be painted with the scuff pad or sandpaper, making sure to sand or scuff only up to the masking-tape line. Completely remove any gloss from surfaces to be coated.
If there are rust spots, sand those areas until smooth and then prime with a sandable primer. Allow the primer to dry for at least two hours before sanding again.
Then, thoroughly clean the truck bed to remove all sanding residue.
It is very important to only paint outdoors or in a well-ventilated area when the air and the truck bed temperatures are between 60 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity is below 60 percent.
If you are using the gallon can of paint, first remove the lid and stir the paint for two minutes to ensure that all rubber granules on the bottom of the can are mixed in and then pour a small amount of coating into the paint tray.
Start by painting the corners, under the bed rails, and other difficult-to-reach areas first with the paint brush.
Then using the roller, apply one light coat to the front and side-vertical surfaces of the truck bed using long, overlapping strokes for best results.
Allow at least 20 minutes dry time before applying an additional full wet coat.
Aerosol bed liner paint is a good option for corners, hard-to-reach places and to have on hand for small touch ups.
When painting the truck bed floor, make sure the tailgate is down and apply a light coat from inside the truck bed, starting at the front and work your way to the back.
Allow at least 20 minutes between coats, applying an additional full wet coat to the truck bed floor while standing outside the truck bed.
Apply additional coats for desired appearance or thickness. While still wet, any excess paint can be wiped away with soap and water.
Allow at least 24 hours dry time before using the truck bed.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Flat Screen TV – A Boon for Truckers
Thanks to and Steve Sturgess for the article. Links provided:
12/16/2013  The best thing ever to hit the sleeper in a big truck is the flat screen TV. Gone is that squitty little on-the-shelf cube, to be replaced by a good flat screen that not only gives you a better view of the movie, but also frees up storage real estate in the sleeper.
Obviously, mounting the TV effectively means it is going to be in your truck, whether it’s your own or it’s dedicated to you. Fortunately, more truck nameplates are offering flat screen mounting hardware in the sleeper, so if you have any input into the spec’ing process, this would be a good place to start.
Now, you have a choice: you can run a conventional 110-V household flat screen TV, in which case your choice is virtually unlimited, but you must run some sort of 110-V power. This could be a generator set, it could be available shore power or it might be an inverter off the truck’s 12-V system. The latter is a good way to go as it is way less expensive that the genset, but there are two provisions to take into account: it must be sized to deliver sufficient power and it must be installed correctly. There have been too many truck fires from overloaded electrical circuits such as the power outlets provided in the dash and sleeper. Remember power (in Watts) is the product of volts times amps, so if you are going to draw current with about a tenth of the voltage, the current draw on the 12-V circuit will be almost 10 times the draw at 110 V.
Or forget the 110. Since the TV is going to be dedicated to the truck, you can go for one that is designed to run on the 12-V supply.
Believe it or not, there is quite a selection of screen sizes though a lot fewer brands to choose from when powering a TV at 12-V. In the main, they are designed for recreational vehicle applications, but they will work equally as well in a truck sleeper, which in many cases resembles an RV these days in terms of amenities.
A good place to start is with the highly respected brand of Jensen, known for high-end stereo systems. This manufacturer has 12-V TVs from 15-inch all the way up to 32 inches and the top of the line 19-inch model includes a DVD player–all for under $400. A feature that you may like that is also included on this model is an HDMI input. This input will allow top performance when streaming video from your laptop computer via an HDMI cable. A simple plug in puts the high definition programming and sound onto the TV with the minimum of fuss. With the HDMI connection you can stream content via a service like Netflix if you are wi fi connected at a truckstop, for instance.
According to Jensen, its low voltage TVs actually draw less power than a 110-V flat screen. You can see the Jensen 12-V TV lineup at
At the Road Trucker website can purchase the Jensen TVs and this site also sells budget models from obscure brands such as Skyworth and NAXA. These can also come with DVD players and the site is very straightforward in saying that the players are bundled with these cheaper TVs more for promotional reasons than as a quality add-on. In fact, the site is very much in favor of stepping up to the Jensen brand for its ruggedness and quality. It notes the return rate on Jensen TVs is less than 0.5% or less than one for every 200 shipped.
A point made there is that in some ways you may be better to use an external disc player because you can find a Blu-ray player and then if the player goes bad, you’re not looking at replacing the TV as well. The Road Trucker site offers a lot of trucker-specific products and could be a great place to go shopping for anniversary or birthday gifts for your favorite trucker.
At you can find 262 pages with two dozen products per page – not all TVs and for sure, not all 12-V. But there are a lot there to choose from if you want to wade through and then click through for the specs. Other names, not exactly household, include Access, QuantumFX, Supersonic, and Majestic. However, Samsung pops up on the opening page with a 22-inch high definition with a 4.3 out of 5 rating, second only to a Jensen model next to it on the page.
At the Amazon site listing the 12-V TVs you’ll find separate links to which has a selection of the same off-brands; to that has much the same. A further link to finds the RCA brand along with the others, with a range of dual-voltage AC/DC TVs with the top-on-the-line 22-inch model including a DVD player for $259.
Another resource is where, among a host of 12-V appliances there is the usual selection of TV brands that this time includes the high-end mobile electronics name of Pyle, better known for ear-blasting power amplifiers and speakers.
And then, of course, there’s e-bay. There you can find most of the above brands with the usual bidding process to secure a good deal. The astounding thing is how little you pay for a TV up to 19 inches — given you’ll not be more than seven feet away at the maximum, this size may prove to be quite adequate. And the 12-V TVs do get a lot more expensive over this size. But considering the time you’ll likely spend watching, and your own preference for screen size, it may be worth spending more. Certainly, do your research and read the reviews of the off-brands before making a decision. Personally, I like what everyone says about the Jensen products and Samsung gets high marks too.
Good luck, and enjoy top quality viewing with a space-saving flat screen TV.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

When the Watchers become the Watched
Article thanks to The National Motorists Association. Help support the cause, you can join for free at

Think about the web of surveillance that surrounds our daily lives: Google tracks our online behavior. The cable company knows what we watch on TV. Our smart phones track our movements. Government agencies monitor our electronic communications and take pictures of our vehicle license plates. Our cars record our driving habits. In fact, a Ford executive recently revealed: “We know everyone who breaks the law, we know when you're doing it. We have GPS in your car, so we know what you're doing.”
So, in this age when everyday citizens are monitored 24/7, we appreciate the irony when the microphones and cameras are turned on those who normally do the monitoring.
It recently came to light that Los Angeles police officers had sabotaged voice recorders in dozens of cruisers to avoid being monitored while on duty. LAPD investigators found that roughly half of the 80 cars in one patrol division were missing antennas that are part of the vehicle’s dash cam system. The antennas receive audio signals from the officer’s belt-worn transmitter capturing what officers say in the field. Antennas from at least 10 other cars from other divisions had been removed as well.
LAPD top brass admitted knowledge of the tampering but chose not to investigate. Instead they issued warnings against continued subterfuge and tried to implement an antenna monitoring system. A recent follow-up audit revealed that dozens of the transmitters worn by officers have been damaged or are missing.
Clearly, some LAPD patrol officers don’t like being monitored, and their superiors seem indifferent to it. As one observer aptly put it: "…it shows that the police, just like all of us, react viscerally to being watched all the time. Pervasive surveillance of this sort makes us jittery and distracted; it’s stressful as we all need times and places—even during the work day—when we can be alone and be ourselves!"
The point? Cops are people, too, gosh darn it!
Here’s another one. The recently negotiated Boston Police Department labor contract mandates the installation of GPS trackers in all police cruisers. Police officials say it will make day-to-day policing safer and more efficient, but rank-and-file officers are putting up a fuss. As one officer complained to the Boston Globe:
‘No one likes it. Who wants to be followed all over the place?’ said one officer who spoke anonymously because department rules forbid police from speaking to the media without authorization. ‘If I take my cruiser and I meet [reluctant witnesses] to talk, eventually they can follow me and say why were you in a back dark street for 45 minutes? It’s going to open up a can of worms that can’t be closed.’
To see how unhinged some have become over the mandate, read this editorial from the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association magazine (page 15).
Lastly, the residents of Arivaca, Arizona, know what it’s like to live under constant, pervasive government surveillance. When the Border Control set up shop there (25 miles from the Mexican border) residents were told the roadside checkpoints were temporary. Six years later, the town is surrounded by no fewer than three permanent roadblocks, surveillance drones and helicopters routinely buzz overhead, and monitoring towers are a permanent fixture on the landscape.
Residents grew weary of the constant scrutiny and harassment that included warrantless roadside interrogations and detentions. So they began to lawfully record Border Patrol agents conducting checkpoint operations. The agents were not amused and told the observers to leave the area. When that didn’t work, agents claimed authority over a public thoroughfare. When that didn’t work, they set up barriers and obstructions to keep the public as far away from the roadblocks as possible.
The ACLU is now demanding that the Border Patrol allow citizens to record their activities or face litigation. The ACLU argues correctly that citizens have the First Amendment right to photograph government activity taking place in plain sight on a public street.
Turns out the watchers don’t like being watched. Perhaps we should ask them the same question they always ask us: What do you have to hide?