Two topics I want to cover tonight. First: That Was Strange

As I was filling up the gas tank on my way home, I pop out my phone to leave a tweet about how I was leaving work late. I unlock the phone and notice that the screen was dark. Weird… the backlight must be off, I thought. I fumble through the dimly lit menus and eventually find the backlight setting by the unnatural gas station lights. I boost the brightness from 33 to 76, but there’s no noticeable difference on the screen. Hmm… must be a software glitch. I fire up twidroid and leave my post and finish pumping my gas. Back in the car, I use the little light available to navigate the shutdown menu and try rebooting my phone. I feel the phone vibrate on start up, but no backlight is present. Crap. Leaving the gas station, I point my car towards the on ramp and fumble with the covers for the phone. Once the back cover is off, I set the cruse control to 60mph and use the light from the passing street lamps to remove the battery. A quick count to 15 and I put the battery back in and put the cover on. I feel the vibration of the boot sequence, I turn the phone over, but the screen remains dark. At this point I know there’s nothing I can do until the car stops moving. Twenty minutes later I pull into my driveway, turn off the car, and investigate the phone further. I try a different application to adjust the backlight setting to 100, but no change. As I’m walking up the stairs to the side door, I flip the screen a few times while prodding the clever connection mechanism that carries the data and power cables between the screen and the main body–the backlight pops on. Hmmphf… that was strange.

Point Number 2: What the Hell?

One thing I absolutely hate is driving on wet Virginia roads at night. I have driven in wet conditions at night all over the US. I even grew up driving on Arkansas roads, and it seems to me that Virginia is possibly the most unsafe roads I have been on during dark, wet conditions. You cannot see any of the lane markings once the road becomes wet. It becomes a vast inky void, lacking any navigational clues. I have tested driving with the lights on, with the lights off, and with the brights on, and it makes no difference, the lane lines cannot be seen until they are 5 feet in front of you. I have no clue what VDOT is doing to make the paint disappear during the rain, but I hope they are saving millions of dollars. Maybe that’s VDOT’s approach to get motorists to slow down during wet conditions, but giving the aggressive driving in the DC area, the efforts are lost. Really, what is it that the VA roads are lacking that makes them lose their markings in the rain?