Snow Tires! A Calgary tuned guide to winter tires.

The time of year is here where the white stuff starts flying and you are probably thinking “Do I really need winter tires?” Well here in Calgary the answer is always YES. It doesn’t matter if you are sporting an All-Wheel Drive Subaru, Honda Civic, or a ½ ton truck.

Calgary Nov 15th 2010
The reason why I say you should always use winter tires is because while you may think your All Season tires are fine, they will not do their job when you need them in emergency situations. The benefits that a true winter tire brings to the table will increase the maneuverability, acceleration, and braking abilities of your vehicle by great amounts. A good set of winter tires will give you the confidence you need to zip down the Deerfoot without getting that feeling that your heart is in your throat when a good wind hits your car, or you pass a transport.

** For simplicity I will only be dealing with passenger vehicles and not commercial vehicles or light trucks. I will also be leaving out some specifics to keep it as short as possible, and you awake.

Calgary Driving Conditions

Calgary has some unique weather characteristics that will play a big role in deciding on which tires you should chose. But it won’t be the only factor.

Here in Calgary we get warm winds, and high traffic which heat up the road melting the snow. When the traffic dies down, the temperature drops, or in the shade, water becomes ice.

On the side streets here in Calgary you would be lucky to ever see a plow. Some winters we end up with rock solid snow so built up that cars high center and get stuck.

So we have slush, ice, bare roads, and hard packed snow mainly. The soft snow gets packed fast by traffic. If you drive off the beaten path often choose a more aggressive tire.

So what winter tires should I buy for Calgary?

I put this section at the top but I highly recommend reading on as you will learn most of what you need to know about winter tires. It will give you the tools you will need to work with the Service Writer to find the best tires suited to your needs. If someone at the tire shop contradicts something I say here, listen to them. They are there with you looking at your car. I am not.

Goodyear: Their focus has always seemed to be safety and a well built tire.

If you have a performance vehicle and like to drive like a nut in the winter as well, go with the Eagle Ultra Grip GW3. If you want to stick with Goodyear but not get the GW3 the Ultra Grip Ice is an amazing tire for its cost.

Michelin: AKA MUG (Michelin, Uniroyal, BFGoodrich) Their focus in my eyes was ride quality.

Primacy Alpin PA3 is great for Calgary. Solid centre block for good start and stop.

Toyo: Their primary focus has always seemed to be performance.

Observe G-02 Plus have been some of my favourite tires I have ever owned. If your car has gobs of power or is heavy, go with the Observe G2S or Goodyear’s GW3 as they will be more stable with stop/start and on corners due to larger tread blocks.

Nokian: You may have never heard of them, but they know snow!

Hakkapeliitta 5 or 7 (sold by Kal-Tire) is one kick ass gripy tire. Major downside is super soft sidewalls. I have removed a toothpick from a sidewall of one of these. Weak sidewalls is the price for a smooth ride from such aggressive tread. Should be noted they also sell All Weather tires. The WR line. The All Weather tires Nokian makes are far superior in winter traction compared to any All Season (Note the difference, All Season vrs All Weather) but they rarely  hit the rated waranty kilometres stated by Nokian. But they come real close.

The difference between a All-Weather and a All-Season is the All-Weather are the rare type of tire that can be driven year round but also sport the “Extreme Weather Rating” symbol.

Bridgestone: yes they are Firestone. Remember that Ford Ranger fiasco? Well forget it. Firestone tires are just fine.

Blizzak WS70 sport some crazy grip, Pretty close to Nokian Haks. Blizzaks are great in the wet snow and ice. Only real down side is if you leave them on your car past May you can watch them melt right off the wheels. Well not literally.

Where do I buy them?

It isn’t just which tires you buy, but who you buy from. In Calgary I would lean towards dedicated tire shops. Car dealership techs are not specialists in tires, the guy in a dealership doing you tires are quite often 1st or 2nd year automotive apprentices and do not get anything near the kind of training a certified Tireman gets as they are on to a more glorious and well paying future. Mechanics are not Tiremen. It is similar to the difference between a General Contractor and a Finish Carpenter. Who do you want to do make your cabinets?

Another thing is that dealerships tend to get stuck selling over priced OE tires that are not as good as the retail ones. It is not their choice if this happens. Chrysler will force Chrysler dealers (usually) to sell tires bought by MOPAR from Tire Maker XX to increase MOPARS sales, that is just how this industry works. A well trained Tireman can see potential problems more easily than a guy that might change 3 sets a week.

A top notch tire shop will have a comprehensive warranty, free flat repairs, free rotation, rebalance, and doesn’t sell tackle boxes and lawn chairs under the same roof. Choose ones who have locations where you may travel. Just as an example, Fountain Tire has locations in Winnipeg and Thunder Bay. They will honour their warranty at any location. The same holds true for Kal-Tire and some others.

All good tire shops will leave a torque tag telling you to come back and get your lug nuts re-torqued to factory specs within 100Kms. This is something people in the tire industry are very serious about, and hardly any Automotive Dealership actually does it, but a good tire shop will run out of tires before torque tags. Get those wheels re-torqued people, it only takes 2 minutes and can be done in the lot.

Do not buy cheap no-name/off brand tires unless you absolutely cant afford the brand names, they tend to be harder compounds. Even if the salesman tells you they are made by Goodyear or BFGoodrich there is a darn good reason why they didnt stamp their names on those tires. Cheap tires tend to fall apart fast or go out of round creating ride issues, sometimes they will be older tread patterns from better tires but not as good rubber compounds. Tires are very much get-what-you-pay-for.

Try not to buy from Tirerack.com. I have nothing against them personally but in the past I have received tires from them with kinked beads during shipping or defects that you will have to wait for them to ship you a new tire. Which they always do, they are good on fixing their mistakes. This might not seem bad until your car is in the air with only three new shoes on and you want to go somewhere. It wastes everyone’s time. Your local tire shop can usually rectify any problems very fast unless your tires were special order from the manufacturer.

I have worked for the top 2 sales and installation companies in Western Canada and have represented almost all the major manufacturers at one time or another. So for my top picks I tried to do my best not to be biased. I didn’t mention all brands either. Talk to your Service Writer and discuss your options.

How do winter tires work?

Winter tires combat ice, slush, snow and cold temperatures in a few different ways.

Ice:
The main way a tire helps you with ice is increasing the amount of friction to the ground. Most manufacturers use unique rubber compounds like silica based compounds to keep them soft in cold weather, sometimes they add walnut shells to the rubber, or tread designs that have some form of technology to provide the tire with extra friction surfaces that will keep the tire on the pavement without breaking loose (sliding). Usually these compounds also keep the tire soft and flexible in low temperatures. Keeping the tire soft increases friction and the efficiency of siping.

Slush:
Channels called ‘voids’ are cut into the tires tread pattern to evacuate fluid and reduce hydroplaning/aquaplaning. To put it simply, hydroplaning is when a thin sheet of fluid is trapped between the tire and the road. Most drivers are well aware of the dangers of hydroplaning, and without traction assist it could render the vehicle completely out of control. Even with traction assist if all 4 tires are hydroplaning there is little the system can do for your vehicle to keep it stable. Most vehicles are equipped with anti-lock braking systems. But these systems, including traction control are only as good as the tires that are on your vehicle.

Snow:
Gaps in the tread allow excess snow to be thrown from the tire once that part has left the ground, and a place for fluid to move to when the tread block (Part that touches the road) hits the ground. They also provide an aggressive biting action for hard packed snow. In the early days people thought just having a chunky tread would make a tire good for winter. They were wrong.

Winter Tire Tread Characteristics

 

Sipes and Lugs

Siping:
Sipes are those thin cut lines you see in the tread blocks of your tire. As the tread block/lug is about to hit the ground the leading edge (Front) of the tire flexes. As it flexes it opens up the sipe like a mouth about to bite into a tasty apple. As the tire rolls and the sipe moves closer to the bottom it closes, pinching the ground (Biting the apple). This is why the more sipes there are the better… to a point.

If you had too many sipes the surrounding rubber would be too weak to be stable. Wavy sipes are best because they provide more lateral (side to side) stability than straight sipes as well as more friction surface. Any edge that contacts the ground increases friction by cutting through fluid or ice like the blade of a skate.

Water/Snow Evacuation:
As the tire rolls over fluid that fluid needs to be displaced or it gets trapped between the tire and road causing the tire to hydroplane. A good tire will have enough channels also known as ‘voids‘ to evacuate the fluid and expel snow, but still leave enough contact patch to give the tire as much actual contact to the road as possible. Winter tires tend to have larger channels because slush has bits of ice in it that would get stuck in smaller channels like you would see on All Season tires. Another reason for this is to expel the snow that sticks to the tire leaving the void clear for when it touches the ground again.

For every bit of gap in the tread you lose contact patch and therefore grip. Too little of a channel and you increase the risk of hydroplaning or snow sticking to the tire that eventually packs in so hard it makes the tire a racing slick. I strongly recommend a unidirectional tire (Tires meant to roll only one way) for the best water evacuation.

Tread Blocks / Lugs:
Tread blocks are considered the large chunks of rubber between channels that touch the ground. The tread blocks tend to vary in size around the tire. The reason for this is that if the tread blocks were all the same size they would make the exact same sound when hitting the road creating a harmonic and in turn excessive road noise. By changing the sound wave intermittently it drastically reduces road noise. Some companies like Goodyear sport interlocking tread designs that actually allow tread blocks to move and pinch the ground together when cornering or braking.

Rubber Compound:
All manufactures pride themselves on the compounds they use to make their rubber. This is akin to the 11 herbs and spices KFC uses. The rubber compound of a winter tire tends to be softer than All Season and Summer tires to increase performance characteristics in cold weather.

When rubber gets cold it gets hard. When it is hard it looses its flex and friction. This is why race car drivers heat up their racing slicks. It is also why All Season tires can literally slide across bare pavement like plastic in extremely low temperatures like those seen in Winnipeg.

The soft compounds of winter tires makes the tires wear extremely fast at summer temperatures. This is why you always remove the winter tires in the spring.

Studs:
Studs are tiny pieces of metal inserted into manufactured stud holes/pockets in the tread of a winter tire. These days studs are usually bi-metallic consisting of a harder inner pin made of tungsten carbide and a softer outer jacket used to hold the pin in place. Studs protrude out the tire tread giving the tire more friction in ice and snow.

I do not recommend studding tires in Calgary because quite often the roads are clear and metal does not stick to pavement well. Obviously if you want to stud your tires a shop will gladly take your money. I have found that studs made my car understeer (Front end drifts away from the corner) on Deerfoot off ramps with bare pavement.

I would only use studs if I lived in a place where the roads were icy almost all the time like Toronto. If you go to ski hills on the weekends and you really think you need the extra traction, please use chains.

Used tires can not be studded because tiny rocks plug up the stud holes.

Stud Holes:
In studdable tires the manufacturer has created holes or ‘pockets’ where studs are inserted in the tread. Usually studs are done one at a time with a compressed air tool known as a ‘Stud Gun’. This process is a time consuming and is usually given to the rookie in the shop for ‘learning purposes’. Some manufactures have pre-studded tires. Some companies like Nokian have cushioning rubber at the base of the pocket to absorb some impact and reduce road wear. But like I said earlier, I honestly think studs hinder driving in Calgary.

Why not All Seasons?

All Season tires are a compromise between summer and winter tires. They don’t perform great in summer compared to a true summer tire. They are especially poor in the winter. If we lived substantially south of here All Season tires would be adequate but this is Calgary, and you deserve more than adequate.

If you think your car handles fine with All Season tires, it will handle great with a high quality set of winter tires.

Do I really need 4?

Transportation Canada suggests you use 4. I not only insist you use 4, but I also insist that they be a matched set.

The reason why I say ‘a matched set’ is because if you have two tires exactly the same size on the front or rear but different make/model it will cause the vehicle to handle poorly, and possibly confuse or disorient the driver.

If a tire shop will gladly put on just 2 winter tires you went to the wrong shop. Any decent tire shop will refuse work if it is unsafe. Those 4 pieces of rubber are the only thing between your vehicle and the road. Make no mistake; they are the most important part of your vehicle.

Should I buy wheels for my winter tires?

A bare steel wheel

A bare steel wheel

Are you leasing your vehicle? If yes, don’t bother. Also check into the price to have them TPMS equipped.

If you can afford a few extra bucks today, you will save lots later. The cost of a change-over is over $100 these days. A change-over is when the Tireman removes one set of tires from the wheels and replaces them with another. During this time the valve stem (Part the air goes in to inflate the tire) is also changed and the new assembly is balanced and takes about 20-45 minutes.

If you buy a set of steel wheels and tires from a reputable tire company the flat repairs and rotations are free. They will literally remove your summer wheel assemblies (tire and wheel together is the assembly) and slap on your winter wheel assemblies at no charge. Not only is this cheaper, but it is faster! Waiting around in a tireshop is no fun. Unless your really lonely and borderline crazy.

So math up the cost of 2 change-overs a year (spring/fall) against the cost of steel wheels and then decide for yourself. Also keep in mind that not only will you save your nice summer wheels from winter road nasties and gravel nicking them, but also those wheels and tires won’t have to go through the wear and tear on the tire machines. The down side is storing your winters in the summer, and summers in your winter.

TPMS whaaaa?

All new cars sold in Canada today are equipped with TPMS by law, which is an acronym for Tire Pressure Monitoring System. Some auto manufacturers have prohibitively expensive systems. These systems also require specialized training and tools to service. If the Tireman points at something on your wheel and scratches his head, get out of there.

Yes it will cost extra.

How can I tell if they are winter tires?

Severe Weather Symbol Mountain & Snowflake

Severe Weather Symbol Mountain & Snowflake

Winter tires are really easy to spot. They are stamped with the ‘Mountain & Snowflake’ / Extreme Weather symbol by law. If they do not have this symbol, they are not winter tires.

The winter tires and or wheel combo they are trying to sell me aren’t exactly the same size as my summer ones. Why?

There is an off chance that there are no winter tires available in your size. Usually this happens when you have a first run of a new car model but there might be other reasons.

The computer systems in cars assume you are running the stock size of tire. This stock size will equal an OD or ‘overall diameter’ sometimes called ‘outside diameter’. You can mix and match profile, width, and rim size as long as the OD remains within tolerance, the brake callipers clear the inside of the wheels rim, and the wheels can function through full range of motion including turning and suspension compression/decompression without hitting anything.

Most Tiremen were not in the Math Club so they have charts they can reference.

The computers in modern cars get their information from sensors. Wheel sensors count how fast the wheels are spinning. Messing with the tires OD changes the rate at which they spin compared to what the computer ‘thinks’ they are spinning at. This can mess with traction control, ABS, and other very important systems. Systems you probably paid extra for. But more importantly, systems that can save a life.

Why do I have these ugly green caps on my valve stems?

I remember joking long long ago that one day we would eventually charge people for the air we put in the tires. Funny enough it happened.

The green caps means that the tire has been nitrogen filled. The idea is that a nitrogen molecule is larger than those found in our atmosphere. Tires loose air by a process called natural permeation. Air literally leaks out of the microscopic holes in the rubber and sometimes the alloy the wheel is made of. Also it is supposed to reduce operating temperature of the tire increasing its life span.

By the time I left the industry not to long ago it was still widely regarded as a money grab, usually by those without nitrogen fill/purge capabilities. I have never seen evidence either way, but the theory seems sound.

If you have the green caps please leave them on. It is the only way a Tire Tech can know if there is potentially harmful gas inside.

Google owns up and explains fault in WiFi data collection with street view

Google Street View Car in Chinatown Toronto

Recently search engine giant Google has been under fire for unintentionally collecting payload data from unsecured WiFi networks with it’s innovative Google Street View Cars. The reason they are harvesting data is for geo location, the driving force behind apps like Google Maps, Yellow Pages, and my personal favorite TimmyMe. If you are anything like me you love these apps and have incorporated them in to your life by now.

The problem was that those funny looking cars were collecting a little bit more information than they should have, but only from open, unsecured/non passworded WiFi networks. Networks I just so happen to love when going for a walk with my iPod Touch.

They also did not collect too much data as the hardware is designed to rotate through WiFi channels quickly, not stay on a channel and snoop. But snoop they did, but just a little. Google said in their defense on their official blog.

“So how did this happen? Quite simply, it was a mistake. In 2006 an engineer working on an experimental WiFi project wrote a piece of code that sampled all categories of publicly broadcast WiFi data. A year later, when our mobile team started a project to collect basic WiFi network data like SSID information and MAC addresses using Google’s Street View cars, they included that code in their software—although the project leaders did not want, and had no intention of using, payload data.”

What that breaks down to is that they picked up a piece of code that could do the job, a job that adheres to the informal company slogan “Don’t be evil”. But they didn’t look at the code thoroughly enough to know that it had another function unknown to Google Engineers, who placed the errant code into the current project that ended up collecting small segments of data.

Google admitted that they made a pretty big boo-boo, stopped the collection of WiFi data, and is bringing in 3rd party companies to audit the data, and tweaking their own internal procedures to minimize something like this from happening again. Standard damage control.

Google ends their blog posting with a note of apology that lacks the dusty corporate face one would expect from a company so large.

“The engineering team at Google works hard to earn your trust—and we are acutely aware that we failed badly here. We are profoundly sorry for this error and are determined to learn all the lessons we can from our mistake.”
A few things we need to take into consideration here. The data is rather useless and it wont be shared, nor would have been shared with 3rd parties as it would not have been part of the the Geo Location API as you can see in an earlier posting on this issue that was amended due to some factual inaccuracies.

I think it is rather sad that Google makes a mistake and the world lashes out at them. Google has given this world so much, do you honestly think they really had evil intentions with all of this? Looking on the bright side I am happy this lesson was learned with something rather minor, it raised some awareness about not leaving your WiFi open, and it gives the paranoid something to type about.

I will still stand by Google after this, and I hope you do to.

We are about to reach the end of the Internet

NO VACANCY

Over beers and crude jokes about YouPorn, my friends have often humored that I have been to The End of The Internet and back. And the sad part is, they are right. And soon enough, so shall the rest of you, and you wont even notice.

I am not talking about some mythical end where one day all our computers, Blackberries, and iPhones suddenly don’t work. What I am referring to is the end of the 4 octet IP addressing scheme known as IPv4 that was invented in the 1970s.

The End of The Internet

The Problem

By now you have probably heard of IP addresses, to put them in perspective and to sum it up quickly, think of them like a mailing address to your mobile device or modem. A IPv4 Address looks something like 127.0.0.1 in decimal notation, and there is only approximately 4 billion of these to go around… THE WHOLE WORLD! (256 x 256 x 256 x 256) When you go to a website, you are sending a request to them for information. Like any good mailman the internet needs to know where packages/packets are supposed to go. And even then not all of those addresses are publicly usable. They are broken into different classes A-B-C (and more). Explaining IP classification would go beyond the scope of this document.

Now take into perspective all the computers, mobiles, and other nodes attached to the internet, yes sometimes even printers have IPs, and most have a unique number. If your mind is a little small and your thinking 4 billion is a lot, think about Asia, Europe, and North America, and every friend you know with a smart phone. 4 billion should be looking pretty small by now.

Back in the 1970s 4 billion was a massive number considering there was not a lot of internet connected nodes. But people predicted the end of the IPv4 Protocol was near back in the 1980s, and the internet didn’t really start taking off until the mid 1990s. That’s right, even before the big .com bubble we were running out of numbers.

Other than the limitations of how many IPv4 connected devices there are on the internet there was also another flaw in the IPv4 protocol. It was not built with security in mind, though later on it was patched with IPsec.

The Solution

IPv6 Protocol is on the horizon, and has been since 1998. Though adoption of the technology has been slow if else nonexistent, IPv6 will give us a lot more addresses to choose from. And how many is that? Oh lets say about 3.4 x 10 to the 38th power, take 34 and add 37 zeros.

Another great thing is that IPv6 also increases our bandwidth. Today, that might not seem like a big deal as IPv4 on DOCSIS 2.0 can still theoretically give us 42.88 Megabits per second or 5.1ish Megabytes per second if for some strange reason you like to think in data storage size rather than in data transfer speeds, and yes there is a difference. Your ISP will give you speed regulated in Bits not Bytes (8 bits to a Byte).

In theory IPv6 will give us speeds well beyond the scope of IPv4 if you are using a DOCSIS 3.0 compliant network. I say in theory because most ISPs are not giving you a completely unbridled internet. Even with IPv4 I am happy with my 10 down 1 up from Shaw.

A IPv6 address looks nothing like a IPv4 address. This is sad, because for years I have been storing often used IP addresses in my head and pulling them out like phone numbers. But with how IPv6 looks, there is no way I could do this.

Here is an example of IPv4 versus IPv6 in dot decimal notation. All you Network+ people keep in mind I am not talking Hex or Binary to keep this simpler.

IPv4: 127.0.0.1
IPv6: 128.91.45.157.220.40.0.0.0.0.252.87.212.200.31.255

IPv6 also opens the doors to new technologies. You might have noticed certain things in Windows Vista and Windows 7 require IPv6 functionality to operate like Windows Meeting Space. Things like these can not be used securely with IPv4 and Network Address Translation (NAT) as IPsec (That security patch in IPv4) and NAT do not get along well.

What this means to you

As a standard home consumer you really do not have much to worry about. IPv6 has been implemented on all major operating systems in use in commercial, business, and home consumer environments for quite some time. And with a very short life your computer or mobile has compared to a toaster, you probably will have more trouble adopting to HDTV than you will IPv6. In fact you might already be on the IPv6 Bandwagon and not even know it.

You might be given a new modem by your ISP sometime in the near future that is DOCSIS 3.0 or DOCSIS 2.0+IPv6 compliant in the event your ISP runs out of IPv4 addresses and has to assign you a IPv6.

As someone in the IT Industry you may stumble over the concepts at first but it will soon enough become so common you won’t even really care. In fact, you will probably hate working around all the IPv4 stuff eventually.

The end is near

You might be wondering exactly when the IPv4 addresses will run out. Well it is impossible to say exactly, but there have been many scripts made to estimate the end of the IPv4 Internet, And I just so happened to include one in this post for your pleasure. At time of writing the ticker is at 483 days.

There has to be more

Actually, there is a lot more. I left things out and simplified others just for the sake of keeping this within the scope of the average user, and to make this document as short as possible while getting to the point. I left out the parts about how slow ISPs are in adopting IPv6, and I did not touch on DOCSIS too much, or that 4G Phones are all IPv6.

I also did not discuss IP Reclamation Projects going on through out the world, where we are taking back unused blocks of IPs and using existing block more efficiently. There are also many tricks we use everyday with out thinking about it. For example, you might be like me where you have over 7 computers or devices in your house all connected to the internet. By using NAT our home routers are giving our computers behind it IP addresses that are not public while still sharing one public internet accessible IP address from your modem.

If you read this hoping for the Holy Grail of IPv6 information you sure went to the wrong blog. But I do hope this sheds some light on the IPv4 issue.

Wikipedia Links:

IPv4IPv6, DOCSIS, IPsec, IPv4 Address Exhaustion, Chuck Norris, NAT

AN OPEN LETTER TO HOBBYISTS

Here is a old letter by Bill Gates from back in 1976 to hobbyists pirating BASIC. He wasn’t very happy about it back then either. But imagine where computers today would be if people were not boosting BASIC and stealing Windows 3.x. I will admit I have run more than my fair share of pirated Operating Systems, but nowadays I do buy my OS. Though I don’t get retail copies I do buy “Builders Copies” as I build my own PCs.

By William Henry Gates III

February 3, 1976

An Open Letter to Hobbyists

To me, the most critical thing in the hobby market right now is the lack of good software courses, books and software itself. Without good software and an owner who understands programming, a hobby computer is wasted. Will quality software be written for the hobby market?

Almost a year ago, Paul Allen and myself, expecting the hobby market to expand, hired Monte Davidoff and developed Altair BASIC. Though the initial work took only two months, the three of us have spent most of the last year documenting, improving and adding features to BASIC. Now we have 4K, 8K, EXTENDED, ROM and DISK BASIC. The value of the computer time we have used exceeds $40,000.

The feedback we have gotten from the hundreds of people who say they are using BASIC has all been positive. Two surprising things are apparent, however, 1) Most of these “users” never bought BASIC (less than 10% of all Altair owners have bought BASIC), and 2) The amount of royalties we have received from sales to hobbyists makes the time spent on Altair BASIC worth less than $2 an hour.

Why is this? As the majority of hobbyists must be aware, most of you steal your software. Hardware must be paid for, but software is something to share. Who cares if the people who worked on it get paid?

Is this fair? One thing you don’t do by stealing software is get back at MITS for some problem you may have had. MITS doesn’t make money selling software. The royalty paid to us, the manual, the tape and the overhead make it a break-even operation. One thing you do do is prevent good software from being written. Who can afford to do professional work for nothing? What hobbyist can put 3-man years into programming, finding all bugs, documenting his product and distribute for free? The fact is, no one besides us has invested a lot of money in hobby software. We have written 6800 BASIC, and are writing 8080 APL and 6800 APL, but there is very little incentive to make this software available to hobbyists. Most directly, the thing you do is theft.

What about the guys who re-sell Altair BASIC, aren’t they making money on hobby software? Yes, but those who have been reported to us may lose in the end. They are the ones who give hobbyists a bad name, and should be kicked out of any club meeting they show up at.

I would appreciate letters from any one who wants to pay up, or has a suggestion or comment. Just write to me at 1180 Alvarado SE, #114, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87108. Nothing would please me more than being able to hire ten programmers and deluge the hobby market with good software.

Bill Gates

General Partner, Micro-Soft

And we say goodbye to Journeyman

I’m sad the hear that Journeyman is being dropped by NBC. Journeyman was a great show with a gentleman named Dan Vasser who is literally forced by something into the past to complete goals and objectives.

Journeyman Title

The opening credits to Journeyman was something magical

The story had many amazing angles with family and friends trying to cope or understand Dan’s condition. Sometimes Dan’s actions from the past catch up to him and his family.

I’m sad to see this show go away.

I read this in the Journeyman Live Blog at http://blog.nbc.com/journeyman/

Journeyman was promising

Journeyman ran from 2007-2008 on NBC. The show premiered on September 24, 2007

Posted Dec 13, 07 05:38 PM

To the Fans,

Well, this is the message I didn’t want to post. I’m sure as most of you know by now, Journeyman will likely not be getting a back nine order. Rather than dwell on the reasons behind this decision, my fellow Executive Producer, the great Alex Graves and myself would rather remind people that our last two episodes will air next Monday night, December 17 th at 10 PM and Wednesday December 19th at 10 PM. These two episodes will provide some answers, plenty of speculation, a few surprises and hopefully some satisfying closure. They are, I promise you, very entertaining.
I want to thank the tireless and talented Kevin McKidd and the entire cast (in my opinion, the best on television and guess what, the kindest and most professional). Yes, it was hard breaking stories on this show, but it would have been harder without the collective genius of the writing staff. Every guest director that passed through said our crew was the best they ever worked with, basically telling me something I already knew. Some producers loathe their relationships with studio and networks, maybe that’s because they never worked for the executives at 20th Century Fox and NBC. My sincerest thanks.
And finally, to the fans. Thank you for appreciating a different kind of show that sought to not only entertain, but to provoke and inspire. I’d like to think it says a lot about you. When the numbers slipped and we sometimes seconded guessed ourselves, you gave us validation and so we stayed the course.
Oh, and your fight to save Journeyman has humbled and moved us. I’m certainly not going to tell you to stop now. Again, our sincere gratitude and a deep bow from the waist.
It’s been fun. I wish you all the Happiest of Holidays.

Kevin Falls

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