billroper: (Default)
I've had some fun dealing with "obsolete" gear and trying to extract old recordings so I can use them. But nothing nearly as difficult as what these guys did to recover recordings of Thomas Edison and others. And no, it was nothing so simple as figuring out how to play an Edison cylinder. That's easy. :)

This story came to me by way of Instapundit, which has a lot of techie and space oriented goodness in it. If the libertarian politics of the proprietor are a problem for you, just skip those links.

Or not. Your choice. :)
billroper: (Default)
I've had some fun dealing with "obsolete" gear and trying to extract old recordings so I can use them. But nothing nearly as difficult as what these guys did to recover recordings of Thomas Edison and others. And no, it was nothing so simple as figuring out how to play an Edison cylinder. That's easy. :)

This story came to me by way of Instapundit, which has a lot of techie and space oriented goodness in it. If the libertarian politics of the proprietor are a problem for you, just skip those links.

Or not. Your choice. :)
billroper: (Default)
Via Instapundit, a Wall Street Journal article about folks who are building fusion reactors in their basement. How's that for a Berserker project?

Answer: probably requires too much voltage. :)
billroper: (Default)
Via Instapundit, a Wall Street Journal article about folks who are building fusion reactors in their basement. How's that for a Berserker project?

Answer: probably requires too much voltage. :)
billroper: (Default)
Now here's a walk I would have liked to go on. By way of Instapundit, here are some really nice photos from a recent spacewalk mission.
billroper: (Default)
Now here's a walk I would have liked to go on. By way of Instapundit, here are some really nice photos from a recent spacewalk mission.
billroper: (Default)
You may have heard of the sport of hypermiling, where you try to maximize the number of miles that you can travel on a tank of gas. Now that's far too much work to contemplate for most of us, but how would you like to be able to see what mileage your car is getting from moment to moment?

Via Instapundit, here's the ScanGauge II, a cool little device that plugs into your car's computer access port and gives you an instantaneous readout of your MPG. Going up a hill? Mileage down. Pedal to the floor? Mileage down.

Not getting squashed by that semi? Priceless. :)
billroper: (Default)
You may have heard of the sport of hypermiling, where you try to maximize the number of miles that you can travel on a tank of gas. Now that's far too much work to contemplate for most of us, but how would you like to be able to see what mileage your car is getting from moment to moment?

Via Instapundit, here's the ScanGauge II, a cool little device that plugs into your car's computer access port and gives you an instantaneous readout of your MPG. Going up a hill? Mileage down. Pedal to the floor? Mileage down.

Not getting squashed by that semi? Priceless. :)
billroper: (Default)
The old laptop is dead (more or less). Long live the new laptop.

I got the new power adapter and -- although I managed to get some charge into the laptop -- it was clear that the connector was a truly flaky part. Now, while this can be fixed by someone really good (or lucky) with a soldering iron, it wasn't something I had the time or inclination to try.

I'd been looking over the HP Pavilion dv9410us for a while. It has a 17 inch screen and a numeric keypad, both in the "real nice thing to have" category. Sam's Club has had it for about $950 lately, although my local club is supposed to be out of stock on it according to the website.

But in poking around, I found that there's a dv9420us, which is about 1/3 faster, has about 1/3 more storage capacity, and which lists out for $200 more on the HP website. Hmm.

So while I was sitting in Dr. Bob's office waiting for him to look at my leg (which has flared up again -- I now have new antibiotics), I noticed that the dv9420us was on sale at Fry's yesterday and today for $999 after discounts and rebates.

So after we visited [livejournal.com profile] daisy_knotwise at the hospital, I tore out on I-355 when visiting hours ended, arriving in the Fry's parking lot at 8:45 PM, left the store with laptop and case by 9:05 PM (5 minutes after closing), and arrived home at 9:35 PM with laptop in tow.

So far, so good, but I need to neuter some more Vista features...

(And the power connector on this one looks to be better mounted. We'll see how it goes.)
billroper: (Default)
The old laptop is dead (more or less). Long live the new laptop.

I got the new power adapter and -- although I managed to get some charge into the laptop -- it was clear that the connector was a truly flaky part. Now, while this can be fixed by someone really good (or lucky) with a soldering iron, it wasn't something I had the time or inclination to try.

I'd been looking over the HP Pavilion dv9410us for a while. It has a 17 inch screen and a numeric keypad, both in the "real nice thing to have" category. Sam's Club has had it for about $950 lately, although my local club is supposed to be out of stock on it according to the website.

But in poking around, I found that there's a dv9420us, which is about 1/3 faster, has about 1/3 more storage capacity, and which lists out for $200 more on the HP website. Hmm.

So while I was sitting in Dr. Bob's office waiting for him to look at my leg (which has flared up again -- I now have new antibiotics), I noticed that the dv9420us was on sale at Fry's yesterday and today for $999 after discounts and rebates.

So after we visited [livejournal.com profile] daisy_knotwise at the hospital, I tore out on I-355 when visiting hours ended, arriving in the Fry's parking lot at 8:45 PM, left the store with laptop and case by 9:05 PM (5 minutes after closing), and arrived home at 9:35 PM with laptop in tow.

So far, so good, but I need to neuter some more Vista features...

(And the power connector on this one looks to be better mounted. We'll see how it goes.)
billroper: (Default)
I needed gas, so [livejournal.com profile] daisy_knotwise, Katie, and I set out for the gas station this evening after a futile first attempt at installing Katie's new car seat. So once the old car seat was back in position...

After we got gas, we headed down to Culver's for some custard and skywatching. The flavor of the day for custard was Brownie Thunder (vanilla custard plus caramel plus brownie chunks). The flavor of the day for skywatching was the International Space Station, which made its appearance near Venus right on time at 9:53 PM local. As it arced across the sky, I suddenly realized that it was being followed.

"Did the Shuttle separate?"

"Earlier today," Gretchen replied.

"Cool."

It's not often you get to see man-made objects in space flying in formation.

We weren't the only ones who'd gone to Culver's for some skywatching -- another man pulled in moments before the ISS and Shuttle appeared and thanked me for pointing them out to him. And since Culver's closed at 10 PM, when the ISS and Shuttle vanished into the Earth's shadow, he vanished into Culver's.

We'd already had our custard, so we headed home.
billroper: (Default)
I needed gas, so [livejournal.com profile] daisy_knotwise, Katie, and I set out for the gas station this evening after a futile first attempt at installing Katie's new car seat. So once the old car seat was back in position...

After we got gas, we headed down to Culver's for some custard and skywatching. The flavor of the day for custard was Brownie Thunder (vanilla custard plus caramel plus brownie chunks). The flavor of the day for skywatching was the International Space Station, which made its appearance near Venus right on time at 9:53 PM local. As it arced across the sky, I suddenly realized that it was being followed.

"Did the Shuttle separate?"

"Earlier today," Gretchen replied.

"Cool."

It's not often you get to see man-made objects in space flying in formation.

We weren't the only ones who'd gone to Culver's for some skywatching -- another man pulled in moments before the ISS and Shuttle appeared and thanked me for pointing them out to him. And since Culver's closed at 10 PM, when the ISS and Shuttle vanished into the Earth's shadow, he vanished into Culver's.

We'd already had our custard, so we headed home.
billroper: (Default)
This is a little old, so some of you may have seen this before, but here's a video of a man flying with his own personal four-engine jet pack and wing. Wow!

The company that makes the engines is JetCat.
billroper: (Default)
This is a little old, so some of you may have seen this before, but here's a video of a man flying with his own personal four-engine jet pack and wing. Wow!

The company that makes the engines is JetCat.
billroper: (Default)
Via Instapundit, this article about a cheap, off-patent drug that seems to wake up the mitochondria in cancer cells. The awakened mitochondria apparently then look at the cell and say, "Hey, you should die now." And the cell does, so the patient doesn't.

There do appear to be side-effects, but -- so far -- none that look nearly as bad as, say, dying.

Of course, also as usual, we haven't gotten around to human testing yet.
billroper: (Default)
Via Instapundit, this article about a cheap, off-patent drug that seems to wake up the mitochondria in cancer cells. The awakened mitochondria apparently then look at the cell and say, "Hey, you should die now." And the cell does, so the patient doesn't.

There do appear to be side-effects, but -- so far -- none that look nearly as bad as, say, dying.

Of course, also as usual, we haven't gotten around to human testing yet.
billroper: (Default)
I took the new computer to the basement and booted it up. The first thing I discovered was that you need a working computer to get this system set up, because you need to make an install floppy for the disk drivers for this motherboard. Ok, I can handle that. Off to the office computer I go, where I make a floppy to use in the installation. And I eventually get a screen that tells me that it's now installing Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2.

The only problem is that what I'm trying to install is Windows XP Media Center, which is what I bought for the new computer. But these hard drives had been in the old computer and had gotten XP Pro SP2 installed on them earlier and it looks like it really wanted to install it again. Unfortunately, this meant that Microsoft would probably blow a raspberry in my direction once the whole process was completed.

So the hard disks are now being reformatted. Very slowly. We're up to 58% now.

This means that I had time to burn a flag.

You see, Bilbo had done a bad thing to our U.S. flag which we fly irregularly on holidays. And the U.S. Flag Code specifies that the right way to dispose of a flag that you are done with -- and trust me, we were done with this flag -- is to burn it in a respectful manner. We also had shed wax from the blessed candle that had been used for Katie's christening that also needed to be disposed of by burning.

So I got some very old gasoline from the garage that would probably have just killed the snowblower if I put it in there and took it out to the backyard, along with a lighter, some newspaper, and the blessed wax. I removed the ash catcher on the grill, the grill lid, and the grill surface, since I didn't want them getting involved in this mess, placed the flag in the grill with the wax, and doused both with the gasoline -- which promptly ran out through the bottom of the grill where I'd removed the ash catcher.

The last time I'd tried burning something with gasoline as a starter, it hadn't caught well. However, I had a hunch that this had been an outlier as events went. So I rolled up the sheet of newspaper to make a yard-long torch, lit one end with the lighter, and tossed it toward the grill as [livejournal.com profile] daisy_knotwise stood back and watched.

Fwoomph!

Ok, that caught nicely. The inside of the grill was a fire pit. So was the patio beneath it, where the spilled gasoline was blazing merrily away. This wouldn't have been a big problem (although I'm not sure what the long-term effect on the patio is going to be), except that one wheel of the grill melted, causing the grill to tilt alarmingly. But by that time the fire had pretty much burned out.

No trace of the flag remained, although the wax took a bit of time to finish burning out.

There's a brick holding up that very flat wheel and I've ordered a new grill of the same design. This one was over ten years old and was probably due for replacement, as it was getting fairly rusty. I'll salvage the replacement parts that I've added over time and use them with the new grill first.

In the meantime, I've put a bit of charcoal in the barbecue and we'll be grilling steaks for dinner soon. And no, I didn't use gasoline to light the charcoal...
billroper: (Default)
I took the new computer to the basement and booted it up. The first thing I discovered was that you need a working computer to get this system set up, because you need to make an install floppy for the disk drivers for this motherboard. Ok, I can handle that. Off to the office computer I go, where I make a floppy to use in the installation. And I eventually get a screen that tells me that it's now installing Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2.

The only problem is that what I'm trying to install is Windows XP Media Center, which is what I bought for the new computer. But these hard drives had been in the old computer and had gotten XP Pro SP2 installed on them earlier and it looks like it really wanted to install it again. Unfortunately, this meant that Microsoft would probably blow a raspberry in my direction once the whole process was completed.

So the hard disks are now being reformatted. Very slowly. We're up to 58% now.

This means that I had time to burn a flag.

You see, Bilbo had done a bad thing to our U.S. flag which we fly irregularly on holidays. And the U.S. Flag Code specifies that the right way to dispose of a flag that you are done with -- and trust me, we were done with this flag -- is to burn it in a respectful manner. We also had shed wax from the blessed candle that had been used for Katie's christening that also needed to be disposed of by burning.

So I got some very old gasoline from the garage that would probably have just killed the snowblower if I put it in there and took it out to the backyard, along with a lighter, some newspaper, and the blessed wax. I removed the ash catcher on the grill, the grill lid, and the grill surface, since I didn't want them getting involved in this mess, placed the flag in the grill with the wax, and doused both with the gasoline -- which promptly ran out through the bottom of the grill where I'd removed the ash catcher.

The last time I'd tried burning something with gasoline as a starter, it hadn't caught well. However, I had a hunch that this had been an outlier as events went. So I rolled up the sheet of newspaper to make a yard-long torch, lit one end with the lighter, and tossed it toward the grill as [livejournal.com profile] daisy_knotwise stood back and watched.

Fwoomph!

Ok, that caught nicely. The inside of the grill was a fire pit. So was the patio beneath it, where the spilled gasoline was blazing merrily away. This wouldn't have been a big problem (although I'm not sure what the long-term effect on the patio is going to be), except that one wheel of the grill melted, causing the grill to tilt alarmingly. But by that time the fire had pretty much burned out.

No trace of the flag remained, although the wax took a bit of time to finish burning out.

There's a brick holding up that very flat wheel and I've ordered a new grill of the same design. This one was over ten years old and was probably due for replacement, as it was getting fairly rusty. I'll salvage the replacement parts that I've added over time and use them with the new grill first.

In the meantime, I've put a bit of charcoal in the barbecue and we'll be grilling steaks for dinner soon. And no, I didn't use gasoline to light the charcoal...
billroper: (Default)
Via Patterico, an article from the Guardian about how the sleeping pill, Ambien, seems to wake some severely brain damaged patients up from their permanent vegetative state.
billroper: (Default)
Via Patterico, an article from the Guardian about how the sleeping pill, Ambien, seems to wake some severely brain damaged patients up from their permanent vegetative state.

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