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Zippity Doo Duh!

September 25, 2007 10:56 AM

Tired again today. I couldn’t get to sleep right away last night - it was actually hot in the house with the windows open. (My daughter was not happy with that - she’s been coming out of her bedroom and sleeping on the hallway floor because it’s cooler there. I’ll have to make sure the window fan is in her window tonight.) I’m still resisting turning the AC back on though. I think if I can keep it off as much as possible our electric bill will go down quite a bit.

Speaking of which I have to pick up one of those Kill-O-Watt things today so I can do a survey of our stuff tomorrow. I’m going to be doing a lot of stuff tomorrow when I’m off. Hopefully I can get some of the mulch I need for doing the back yard. I’ve bought the landscaping fabric so the mulch is really all I need at this point. That and time. I need to get that done before winter.

I’m going to try and return my dad’s bike to him this afternoon if I can. I’ll probably buy him a trickle charger of his own and a bottle of battery acid. That way he can take the battery out and put it on the trickle charger during winter. Anyway it’s running well enough to return to him and now it needs expensive things anyway like plates, tires, and insurance so I figure those are his responsibility.

That will leave me space to work in the garage and eventually space to put my bike during the winter so it’s out of the way. I’ve made some good progress in there and almost have space to start working on things like furniture and other wood projects.

I’ve finally gotten sick of using Dotster’s DNS services so I’m busy compiling BIND on two of my servers. That will not only put certain domain stuff more under my local control but save me a fair amount of money every year. I think Dotster charges me about $15/year per domain to manage that stuff. With all my domains that comes out to quite a bit and if I can reduce my costs there so much the better.

My problem is that I have to have it completely rock-solid configured before I switch over to it because it’ll cause me no end of annoyance during the changeover if things don’t transition smoothly. I really _am_ tied to my e-mail these days. I should try and rectify that somewhat in the future...

I was working in the garage yesterday and one of my favorite stations, WPR, got drowned out again by a Christian broadcast station. Now I don’t begrudge a station based on religious beliefs but the fact that they have suddenly started walking over other local stations tells me that they are likely over-amplifying or over-deviating. (More likely the latter than the former as it’s harder to detect immediately.) And that sort of game I detest because it’s underhanded. But then without analysis I have no proof either.

So once again I’m thinking of a network connection in the garage so I can put a media system out there. Unfortunately it’ll have to be something extremely low-power because the power in the garage is not the greatest. I wonder if it would be possible to make a solar-powered streaming media device. The electronics are certainly there but the question is cost and usability. I think maybe it’s time for me to buy my solar cells and start covering the roof of my shed with them. That should give me enough power to run a low-power wireless media system. It likely won’t be cheap though...

I don’t think a laptop would work well in that situation either as the LCD consumes quite a bit of power. I’ll have to test that because if I can configure an old laptop to run off of a system that is combined solar/battery then I have almost all the things I need. And it turns out that 12V 7ah sealed lead-acid batteries are actually pretty cheap. ($29 at Fry’s.)

I’ve been thinking about the lawn tractor while I’m waiting for the gasket kit for it. If I replace the motor with a larger one then I can repair the existing one and use it to make a generator. E-Bay, not to mention McMaster Carr, has plenty of generator heads that could easily be run with a 12hp gas engine. I’m betting that I could even find out that would run 1kw or better and be portable. A little bit of welding and a shank to join the two shafts and I’m betting that I could easily have something cool that would produce power and be electric start. ;-)

Though since the engine in question is a vertical shaft I have to wonder if the generator head would have to be rated to run in any position or would I need to do a right-angle gearbox...

This is exactly the kind of project I want the space and time and money to work on. I _know_ I can come up with something good but I always seem to be lacking one of those three things. Usually time. There’s got to be ways to rectify that because I see people overcome those obstacles all the time and accomplish some really great and/or cool things. Just have to work harder at it I guess...




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