Showing posts from February, 2011

Strangling Carmel to death

The February 11 Carmel Pine Cone reported that the Pilgrim's Way bookshop on Dolores Street had attempted to brighten up their storefront only to bring the aesthetics police to their door. This skinny little independent bookshop felt that their business was difficult to notice and needed a little boost to catch people's eyes. They decided to repaint with a “tan-ish orange” hue, topped with a nice textured topcoat of a somewhat brighter color to catch the eyes of passers by. But the planning commission came along and said “No” to the faux finish and pointed out that city regulations require storefronts to have “muted” colors that “blend with the natural surroundings.” In other words, don't stand out from the crowd. This incident reminds me of another one a few years back when a motel owner made a simple little fence out of posts with a rope strung between them. The city decreed that it looked too “industrial” and ordered the rope replaced with common woode

What I've learned about smart meters

I learned some more about Smart Meters over this past week, and I'm no more comfortable with them than I was before. PG&E held an open house in Seaside last Wednesday. The people who were there were friendly and explained their program fairly well despite my surly attitude going in. The two impressions I came away with were that they really wanted to get this right, but that the company is acting too overconfident for my comfort. As a technological innovation, smart meters are definitely cool. The things they can do now and will be able to do in the future certainly make a strong case for their deployment. However, some of the smart meter features can also be obtained with over the counter products, so smart meters aren't essential for consumers to monitor their own energy usage.   PG&E is promoting these devices to the public on coolness alone. It worked for the iPhone, right? Well, not everyone is sold on the iPhone, either, and nobody is forced to buy one