H-Town Winter Sunset

From our walk last night. Grange Park. … [Read more...]

Drones, drones, everywhere, and not a minute to think…

So H-Town cops have their own drones. The only shooting it does is with a camera, which the cops used in the summer to get arial shots of Merry Place's Life. Be in it. Day. (Which, according to reports from H-Town's youth, involved some sort of Kumbaya hold-hands-in-a-circle moment that was waaaaay awkward). Don't shoot down the cops' drone. That would be bad. And we're not telling you to mess with the FAA airspace, or discharge a firearm in the Township (not permitted, btw). BUT we can tell you that reports abound that one of a drone's fans hit with, say, a rock or a bird or something, will take out the whole drone. Those little flying pests are dependent on all of the fans. Take one out, down comes the drone. We searched the "General Laws of the Township" for "Drone" and we got bupkis: On a totally unrelated note, let's think back to those wonderful, boring summers of years ago, when we climbed trees and whittled sticks and skipped stones on the creek. We had pocket knives and digging spoons and never any shoes on our feet. And we always carried around our own homemade sling shot, one we made with a stick we found by the creek and a rubber band from the garage. Ah, the simpler days. We wear shoes now. The creek is probably contaminated. But we still have the sling shot. Just sayin'. LINKS: Deputy Drone of Haverford Township FAA owns everything above your blades of grass, apparently How to make a survival sling shot... you know, to bring back the old days of youth Sticks and stones will break my drones Search The General Laws of the Township That toy drone you got your kid for xmas? You gotta register that thing with the FAA.   Photo Credits: Drone: San Leandro Privacy on Flickr Screen shot, "drone" search: Havertownies.com Sling shot: Havertownies.com   … [Read more...]

Xfinity home security can be jammed

Seems like a flaw (or, purposely programmed back door) is in the XFinity home security system. (We wonder how many are even installed on this side of the Main Line tracks. H-Town security typically depends on the NN [nosy neighbors] system). Wikipedia spells out what a radio jammer is: "A radio jammer is any device that deliberately blocks, jams or interferes with authorized wireless communications. According to the Federal Communications Commission, jammers are illegal and their use can result in large fines. In some cases jammers work by the transmission of radio signals that disrupt communications by decreasing the signal-to-noise ratio."  A good old fashioned lock tends to be a good back-up system. Make sure to keep those in good working order. And you know, maybe use them sometimes. Here's what a handheld jammer can look like: Btw, jammers and the FCC aren't friends. Fussing with signal is something the FCC takes a bit of offense at, and the fed types will throw all sorts of offenses at you if you own and/or use one. From Philly Biz Journal: Comcast home security flaw could help burglars break in One of Comcast's many technological R&D endeavors is home security, but several tech outlets pointed out Tuesday that the Philadelphia company might be better off sticking to cable and internet. According to researchers with the cybersecurity firm Rapid7, a flaw in the Xfinity Home Security System allows would-be intruders to open protected doors and windows without setting off the alarm. An illegal radio jammer can interfere with the sensors' communication with a home base station, failing to trigger an alarm when a window or door is opened yet the system still registered it as armed. What was most concerning to the cyber gurus was the system's failure to active Plan B once it recognized it was being jammed. "The amount of time it takes for the sensor to re-establish communications with the base station and correctly report … [Read more...]

Apartment listings on craigslist

While we aren't the people who attend real estate open houses when we aren't looking for a house (you people know who you are), we still like to look through the pictures. One thing we're always curious about is the apartments in H-Town. Where are they? What's the rent? What do they look like? Can we put our 20-somethings up in one of them or do they have to live at home with us? (OK that last one is really just something we ask ourselves). Some management companies are posting H-town flat availability on Philly craigslist. Here's one that lists beautiful downtown Brookline Blvd as a convenient shopping area. The description reads:. "Bright Spacious Studio Unit for rent at Victoria Arms Apartments, Havertown. ... Be close to everything at Victoria Arms! Just a few minutes drive to RT 3 and I-476. Elevator Building with on-site management and laundry facilities. One block from Brookline Boulevard with restaurants and shopping."     Here is 606 Darby Road: House converted into apartments. These places are more expensive than we expected, but we haven't rented since 2000. Still - not a bad deal if you want to live in H-Town and DELCO!!! … [Read more...]

Digital Teens – Do you put them in digital time-outs?

The Havertownies Headquarters kids have been put in the communications clink a few times. What is that, you may ask? It's the dreaded Digital Dungeon. Electronic Expulsion. The Snapchat Slammer. The feared "phone prison:" i.e., the behavioral punishment that devoids the little devil from a direct line to his social network. Some experts call it "digital grounding." Pew Research Center released new data about how parents monitor their teens' digital comings and goings. Apparently 65% of us have taken away the phone privileges as punishment for our teens aged 13-17. Taking away the phone doesn't seem to be a very effective punishment. Plus, it turns out to be quite inconvenient for us parents, as we are spoiled in our instant-access to our kids. A well-timed "Where are you?" can strike fear into the heart of any curfew-busting teen. And really, phones now are a safety accessory. Do we really want our teens, as a group, accepting their friends dropping off the map without a second glance? When a friend doesn't answer texts, t's a good bet to assume she must have gotten her phone taken away, but perhaps that isn't something we want kids to think. If someone isn't answering, that should send up a red flag of some sort, not a dismissive "Oh, she must be on punishment" thought. Here at HTHQ we're trying to stick with punishments that don't also punish us, the parents. We like having a "digital leash" on the kids and taking away their phones takes away a convenience we pay for and use. The regular old, run-of-the-mill grounding we all grew up with still works just fine. Are you one of the 65%? How has taking away your children's phone privileges worked out for you? LINK Pew Internet Research Parents, Teens and Digital Monitoring Photo Credit: Townie Christine Cavalier … [Read more...]

Uber, UberX lawsuit in Philly, but dey still rockin’ da ‘burbz

Philly biz journal reports on some drivers getting angry at other drivers in the whole taxi/uber/uberX mess in the city. Whatever. Besides for work, we wonder how many Townies actually make into Philly. We've met people that freely admit they "never" go down there. (???) Then again, we've met South Philly people who freely admit to never going to Center City (except for Mummers, we guess. Anyway, the point of all of this is: we probably don't worry too much about urban Uber upsets, because Uber and UberX have been carting us Delco types around since 2014. We've been surprised to learn how many of the local teens have Uber accounts on their phones. Makes sense, though: working parents, non-driving students, daily transportation needs. That's some Irish practicality, right there! We haven't used Uber or Lyft yet. Have you? What's it like? Seems like the opportunity for drivers here is pretty good, with all the kids needing rides. LINKS Uber getting sued, but we can't really tell who is suing them Super secret UberOps since Fall 2014 Photo Credit: Bob Mical on Flickr … [Read more...]

Using data to save lives

HuffPo has an article about how LA's police force released some statistics with a visual aid to help spread awareness of pedestrian deaths and the intersections where lethal accidents are more likely to occur. (link at bottom) Here's a screenshot of the map:  A few years ago, after the Official Havertownie Minivan was t-boned at Earlington and Brookline (by a non-Townie on her phone who blew the light), we called the police station asking if there was any data on "intersections with the most accidents." Not naming names, but the officer told me the HPD wouldn't want to release that data because it may imply they are lacking in their duties. We thought this was a bit of an odd thing to say, seeing that it isn't the duty of the HPD to control every idiot driver, nor is it their duty to civil engineer the architecture of intersections. It was about 3 years ago, so perhaps the HPD has caught up to the current thinking on open data and safety. The Philly open data project is one such effort. The officer did point me to crimereports.com. (beware of Flash software. Blech.) That isn't the only crime report site available now. There are plenty to choose from. And we can always spend our days on the police blotter, but like Facebook, that can lead to paranoia and depression.   HPD Police Blotter download interactive map data from LA HuffPo article about LA accident data OpenDataPhilly   … [Read more...]

Scenes from a VERY COLD winter walk

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Bamboozled: Bucks County town tryin’ to be like us

We're just famous. That's all there is to it. Or else, the Philly.com is obsessed with us like the New York Times is obsessed with Philadelphia. This time, Bucks County folks are planting the seeds of thought for a bamboo ordinance. The article mentions we Townies are pioneers, as we already have one in place. (BTW - did you know bamboo is an "invasive grass?" Makes us think of dorm potheads whose activities kept us from studying. <- That's our story and we're sticking to it.) Here's the article: HILLTOWN - Hilltown Township has a plant problem. One thing it doesn't have yet: a solution. The township is working to draft an ordinance to regulate the growth of bamboo. But the quick-growing grass, township officials have discovered, is more complex than they once thought. When left uncontrolled, certain types of bamboo, most notably "running bamboo," can spread quickly, jumping property lines and invading yards, growing as tall as 30 to 50 feet. After residents complained last year, township officials began pursuing a possible ordinance, said Rick Schnaedter, township manager. An ordinance was introduced during the township's December meeting, and supervisors are to revisit the issue this month. Township officials now are working through many issues, Schnaedter said. Bamboo regulations could be difficult to enforce, and he said officials must determine who is responsible for clearing it - the individuals whose yards have been invaded, the residents who own the property from which the bamboo originated, or even municipal workers. And some residents don't want any regulations at all. "It's a very difficult situation to deal with," Schnaedter said. Hilltown joins other municipalities throughout the region that have considered bamboo ordinances. Delaware County's Haverford Township and Bucks County's Tinicum Township, among others, have regulations in place. - Caitlin McCabe H-Town's ordinance is a 4-page document that has a lot of … [Read more...]

Haverford PD notes the passing of Officer Krieg

It is with deep regret that the Haverford Township Police Department announces the death of Officer Kenneth Krieg.... Posted by Haverford Township Police Department on Saturday, January 2, 2016 … [Read more...]

Local cheater-mcgeeter numbers

The respawned Patch paper has a data scientist or two looking through the hookup website Ashley Madison hacked info for IP addresses that are assigned to Delaware County and its surroundings. Havertown: 1686 registered users Haverford: 343 registered users Ardmore: not listed So let's round it off and say 2 grand of our 40,000-sh residents had logged on to the site at least once. That's 5% fodder for juicy Townie gossip. Or is it? Deeper analyses of the Ashley Madison user data are taking over the web. Gizmodo pointed out that almost all the real (actual human) accounts on the site belong to those who identified themselves as men. 5 million accounts belonging to women are now thought of being fake. So the site was a big ol' sausage fest spewing out (allegedly fraudulent) claims that their users had affairs within a few months of signing up and that there were plenty of women on the site. The truth: Most of the real accounts had no activity on them. So don't go looking for your neighbor's name. Even if his name is on there, it doesn't mean much. You'd have to dig down and see if he was active on the site and then figure out if he conversed with anyone. It's not worth all the trouble, seeing that the data is unreliable. Still need to sate that insatiable curiosity? Go over to The Truth About Deception and sort through some of articles with infidelity statistics, or read this (a bit sexist & skewed toward women) Woman's Day article about men and cheating. Also, sociologists will tell you that we find our romantic partners (including illicit lovers) from the pool of people we know (or the people they know). Almost all of our connections are contained within the friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend circle (i.e. 3 degrees away from us). So the myth of a "cheater's website" is a convenient one to distract us from an uglier truth: if your spouse is cheating, they are cheating with someone you know. It's kind of a similar myth of the online sexual … [Read more...]

Update on burglary investigations

The letter below has been making the rounds on Nextdoor.com and local Facebook pages. It is from Lt. Charles Moore from the Haverford Township Police Department and addressed to his boss, HPD's Chief Carmen Pettine. It contains information about the ongoing investigation of the burglaries that have plagued H-Town as of late. We here at Havertownies have substantiated the letter, its contents and the sender and receiver. It's legit. Remember, please call HPD to report any suspicious activity, even if you are only just a little bit wary. Don't talk yourself out of your instincts if something doesn't seem right. Just call 911. Another crime deterrent: know your neighbors. Keep in contact with them. A strong network is the best defense. ______________________ From: Lt. Charles Moore Date: July 24, 2014 at 7:52:32 AM EDT To: Carmen Pettine Subject: Burglaries Chief, While investigating the burglaries that have been happening in the Ardmore section of town a suspect was identified. This suspect sold several of the watches that were taken from one of the burglaries on Bryn Mawr Ave. to a Jewelry /Pawn shop located in Upper Darby Twp.( Some of which have been recovered). On Tues. 7-22 Upper Merion Twp. Arrested a Keith Morrison B/M age 24 for a burglary/home invasion that had occurred in their town. The characteristics of the burglary were identical to ours and the male arrested was the same person that we have identified as selling the watches in Upper Darby Twp. Our Detectives responded to Upper Merion Twp. and spoke with their detectives and interviewed Mr. Morrison. As a result of the interview and evidence already gathered we are preparing an arrest warrant charging Mr. Morrison with the Two burglaries on Bryn Mawr Ave. Although it is very likely that he is responsible for the other burglaries as well, (due to the timing and proximity to the Rt#100 line) we will continue to give extra attention to the area and follow up on all leads. Also, Mr. … [Read more...]