License Plate Games

License Plate Games start screen
License Plate Games start screen

A popular game — at least in the U.S. — to play while riding in a car is finding a license plate for every state.  You might use an app to help you remember state license plates you’ve seen.  There are quite a few of these on various app stores.

But nowadays there are sometimes hundreds of specialty license plates associated with each state in the country.  What if you want to remember every specialty plate you’ve seen for each state?  That’s where my upcoming (very soon) app “License Plate Games” comes in.  Both a BINGO-like license plate game, as well as a state and specialty license plates game will be included.  Don’t play while you are driving, though, and know your state laws.

Many of the state specialty plates are included in the game, though text is used to describe each plate rather than images.  If you would like to see what each specialty plate actually looks like, below are links to websites that may include pictures of specialty plates.

Washington, D.C. (Wikipedia)
Hawaii (Wikipedia)
Massachusetts (Wikipedia – has link to pdf of plates)
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia


Outlook 2016 disconnected and related issues

Over the last several days I have noticed issues with sending, and sometimes receiving, emails from Outlook 2016.  Often, Outlook 2016 would report that it was disconnected — the Microsoft Exchange message at the bottom of Outlook that indicates connected or disconnected or Working Offline.  This morning, things got worse.  I had sent a couple of messages that went through, but in my Sent email folder it showed that the messages were copied to a couple of other people and attached a image001.png file I did not attach.  I had no idea why that happened, so I started to search help and online.

There were some references online to attached files, mostly regarding the use of signatures, html, or stationery in emails.  I did not use a signature or stationery, so I focused on html and turned on plain text.  This made no difference for me, so then I just focused on the disconnection issue.

I finally came upon a solution that worked, mentioned in the Microsoft Community on  Back in August 2016, this user had a similar issue to mine where Outlook 2016 was often disconnecting them.  The solution that worked for them — “removing and then adding the email account back into Outlook…” — also worked for me.  At least so far!  Also, when I looked at the messages that previously seemed to have an attached image001.png file and a couple of people I did not send to, the messages were now correct (no wrongly attached files and no people copied).

Just because this worked for me, I cannot guarantee it will work for you.  I am only posting this in case it helps someone who has the same issue as me.

Removing my Exchange email account and adding it back in from Outlook 2016 was easy.  I went to File-Account Settings in Outlook 2016, then selected the email account I wanted to remove.  Then I clicked on Remove (make sure you have the right email account selected, if you have more than 1).  Then I clicked on New, to add my email account back in (you’ll need your password and email address).  This is for an Exchange email account, so I have no idea what to do if you have disconnect issues with a Pop3 or other-than-Exchange email account.

Note that removing your email account from Outlook also deletes your associated email .ost file (offline folder file for synchronizing with the Exchange server) and recreates it.  If you have a lot of email on the server, it will take some time for Outlook to recreate this .ost file.  I have most email in local folders, so it only took a few minutes and my .ost file was completely restored.

Robot arrest

No, I don’t mean a robot arresting someone.  Back in 2010 there was a report of a UAV being credited with making an arrest.

A robot was almost arrested!  According to MIT Technology Review, “At a political rally in Moscow, police are reported to have attempted to handcuff and detain an activist called Promobot.”

Promobot is a robot, and although the incident might have been somewhat of a publicity stunt, it is only a matter of time before intelligent robots get arrested or do the arresting.  Will robots have similar rights to humans, or will there be an entire shelf or more of law books dedicated to robot rights?

Time will tell.  In the meantime — as a time travel writer, I can’t help but like the word ‘time’ — you might enjoy reading my “Science Fiction: Robots & Cyborgs” and “Science Fiction: Time Travel and Robots 2” anthologies.


Do presidential candidates time travel?

Since I write time travel stories, I wonder often about past and future.  For example, today I was thinking about the candidates for president.  In particular, this constitutional ammendment: “Under the Twenty-second Amendment, no person can be elected president more than twice.”

If you believe, even a tiny bit, that someday time travel will be possible, then you might have to also consider that one or more of the former — or about to be — presidents of the United States has already been to the future and back.  What if while they were in the future — and showed their birth certificate from the past to prove their eligibility — they got elected and served two terms?  Then, they return to today and get elected again.  Isn’t that a three term president?  But since they got elected today, wouldn’t the people in the future know because it became recorded history?  The idea of this loop is one of the things that makes time travel fun and challenging to think about.

Or perhaps they served two terms in the past already.  The problem with this is that it would also be in recorded history.  They won’t be allowed to run again.  When they show up in the future, voters will already know this.

A candidate today could time travel to the past and run, but what’s going to happen when they try to prove their birthday?  No one is going to believe they were born in the future.  Even if they could get past that somehow and get elected, wouldn’t it become a part of recorded history again?

I guess the results might differ depending on how time travel works.  If it just creates a new timeline in a different part of the multiverse, then an election in the past for a time traveler that differs from history — for example, getting elected instead of Franklin Pierce — might not be recorded in a different timeline — different part of the multiverse — when they go back to their own time.

So my answer is that president’s probably don’t time travel to get re-elected or serve three or more terms.  But that doesn’t mean they don’t time travel for fun!


Sci-fi TV: Westworld, Timeless, “Star Trek: Discovery”

With the new television season approaching, I thought I would add a quick comment about some new sci-fi shows that interest me.  I don’t have any reviews yet, but here are a few that I’m looking forward to: “Westworld”, “Timeless”, and “Star Trek:Discovery”.

If you, like me, have enjoyed “Game of Thrones”, you’re probably also hoping — like me — that “Westworld” will take the old movie one (or more) step further in this television series.  In any case, it has a great cast.  “Timeless” is time travel, and as a time travel author I always look forward to a new attempt at this genre.  This looks like a modern version of the old show “Time Tunnel” meets Sherlock Holmes’ arch rival.  Will it be any good?  “Star Trek: Discovery” apparently has a female lead character who is not the captain.  If that’s the case, then who will the captain be and why are they not the featured character?  I look forward to find out about all three new shows.