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January 3, 2005,

Government Liquidation aparently dropped their dollar minimum
bidding as a December-only promotion. Many of their items are
simply not worth gambling on a $35 opening bid.

January 2, 2005,

Wal-Mart is in the process of moving one of their buildings a few
hundred feet. In the process, they are utterly demolishing the
economies of TWO Arizona communities. Naturally, there was a
K-Mart between the two sites that will have to be torn down.

December 31, 2004,

Several posters have asked about Bruno.

Bruno is the AMOE attitude relateralization facillitator. One of
his specialties is reconfiguring top posters. In a related endeavor,
Bruno is also a product durability tester for a major baseball
bat manufacturer.

Bruno also does trucking for Norfolk & Waay. Who, in a Kilgore
sort of way are NOT me and NOT my website. I have no
idea who their webmaster is.

December 30, 2004,

I was suprised how much the value of tv repair shop inventory
has recently dropped. Photofacts sell only marginally on eBay
at four cents each, and full tube caddies seem to be not doing
very well at $30 or less.

The fact that old tv's even needed repair was telling. As was their
lack of cable and video inputs, their huge size and weight, their
pitiful pre-comb color separation, their lack of regulation that left
you with a tiny midscreen image and everything else wrapped
around, and the need to reconverge your color alignment in a very
painful process if you so much as moved the tv a few feet. Plus
pitifully bad sound.

More on my earlier tv repair experiences in WAYWERE.PDF

December 29, 2004,

There is an easy way to spot an extroverted enginer: They stare
at your shoes rather than their own.

December 27, 2004,

Latest GuruGram #41 is on Enhancing your eBay Tactical and
Strategic Skills
. You can also find the sourcecode here. And
similar resources on our Auction Help and Custom Auction
library pages.

December 26, 2004,

A reminder that Bee and I will be hosting the ARA winter
regional here at TFD on January 22nd, and that anyone with
an interest in caves is welcome to attend these free seminars.
Check the ARA Website for ongoing details.

December 25, 2004,

Added a new third party paper on Bezier Circular Arc
to our Cubic Spline Library.

December 24, 2004,

We have sold out of our Agilent multiport multiplexers,
the machine vision illuminators, triac optocouplers, the
Athena termperature controls, Thompson sliders, and the
ice cube relays. And are down to our very last Astronomy
table. A few of our superb Adept linear sliders remain,
mostly in the large and extra rugged one meter length size.

I've got bunches of new stuff to list on our eBay store,
especially high end HP manuals, and premium GR and
Leeds/Northrup cal lab instruments. email me for details.

December 23, 2004,

The little nickel and dime stuff can eat you alive in any
business venture. While obsessive micromanagement is
usually NOT a good idea, it may pay to label the costs on
such items as Ziplock bags, Bubblewrap rolls, and strapping

December 22, 2004,

All of which raises a larger issue of decades of technology
that may end up "lost", just because they were barely pre
word processor. Again, it is not obvious who would fund such
activities and why they would do so.

An obvious first candidate would be all of the Tektronix
manuals, which have now been released to the public
domain. Once a Tek archive is set up, H-P and others
might be willing to follow suit. As might the Sams Photofacts.

I'd also like to create a definitive website for the Mount
Graham Aerial Tramway
, but the time and effort and risk
involved in processing the hundreds of photographs would
be enormous.

December 21, 2004,

In answer to several recent email and helpline questions,
The ISMM Incredible Secret Money Machine is pretty
much in limbo. Outrageously expensive copies can be
found at Amazon Books, while the intro remains available
here. But I have started rework as a background project.

I'd like to offer all of my earlier books and articles as free
ebooks on my website, but it is not clear who would fund
this how. The ISMM was pre-computer, so a total rework
would be needed for decent file sizes and artwork quality.
There is also the dilemma as to who would read it why, since
so much has changed in so many different ways.

December 20, 2004,

have done a major rework of the earlier NOAA hot spring
and hot well directories for DOE. There are now nearly
12,000 entries, mostly in Arizona and Oregon and Idaho
and other western states. Cost on CD in three formats is
$10 per state or $25 for them all.

December 19, 2004,

There's a new toned down video version of "Debbie Does
Dallas" out. It is titled "Doris Does DesMoines".

December 18, 2004,

Just really, really pissed off a telephone salesman with my
old scam trap. Very simply, you NEVER answer the question
"How are you today?" For the rule is that the next person to
speak   - - - - - > - - - - - > - - - - - > - - - - -> loses!

Friends or family or any legit calls will go on talking if you do
not answer. Without missing a beat. Only a salesman following
a script has to wait for their totally unexpected disaster to strike.
Loads of fun.

And is 100 percent devastatingly effective. Try it.

December 17, 2004,

"Keep trying wierd stuff till something works" can be a
useful strategy when finding web answers starts to get ugly.
Ferinstance, I was looking at an aerial photo of the grade
school I had attended and noticed that the play areas were
now a large parking lot. Could something have actually
happened there since Patti Winterhalter and I ate library
paste together in the cloak closet of Miss Lockhardt's second
grade class?

Just entering the school name into Google produced no (!)
results at all, except for a totally empty data base listing in a
historical building register. And the school district website
made no (!) mention of the property. Emailing them might have
worked, but a bureaucratic mind is a wonderful thing to waste.
Likely results would have been no answer at all or a security
alarm or a pedeophile alert involving the men in black. Best
to leave as few tracks as possible in any cyberspace visit.

Trying the guess the street address through Maps On Us
produced the usual problem of their numbers being off by just
barely enough to end up useless. And Googleing the street
address without the number had the minor problem that
this street was a 95 mile long endless succession of slurbs
that produced 32,641 hits.

The key turned out to be the tax rolls. The township zoning
office had an outstanding web page that let you click and expand
any property. Which promptly gave you the name of a commercial
developer and the correct address. While there was no developer
website, punching the real address back into Google then produced
a short list of assorted second tier financial planners, drug testing
services, radio broadcast advert tracking software, and realtors.

The web bits and pieces strongly suggested that the three story
structures ended up as ADA compliance nightmares that were quietly
swept under the rug and then Dilbertized. The only two reasons that
Dilbertizing made any sense at all was an utter dearth of commercial
property space and a major new thruway literally to their front door.

December 16 2004 (rev 001),

All of which begs the larger question: Is it my imagination or does
library paste not taste nearly as good as it used to? I suspect one
lost secret is serving it with a steel edged maple ruler.

December 16, 2004,

My kind of technological breakthrough: It turns out
that plain old house wire makes an excellent Mystery
TeraHertz waveguide or antenna! Through a new
process called a surface plasmon polariton. Per EE Times
for Nov 29, 2004, page 49.

December 15, 2004,

Updated and corrected some links on our Home Page. Especially our
ARA Arizona Regional Association seminar and O'Reilly
new Make hacker magazine.

December 14, 2004,

Latest GuruGram #39 is on Fun With Fields. You can also find the
sourcecode here, the PostScript field plotting code here, and the .PDF
field image here.

December 11, 2004,

                                ( See our 2005 archive for continuing updates )

For years, I've been creating what, for a better name, we might
call Lancasterisms. These are intentional but apparent
typographical errors intended to reveal a higher or greater truth.

Such as a groundswill of popular demand. Or what those French
Veternarians call a "four paw". Or being overly enameled on some
idea. Or being a few bricks shy of a full deck. Frosting the lily or
guilding the cake. Or not being able to hit the barn side of a broad.
Or sources close to an associate of the barber of a usually reliable
spokesperson. Many of the web perpetual motion schemes and those
electrolysis fantasies involve electrocity.

All in one swell foop. Provided there's no oint in the flyment.

These are somehow related to the Stengleisms of others, such as
"Nobody goes there because it is too crowded", "Deja Vu all over
again", or "Let's keep the Status Quo right where it is. Or "When
you come to a fork in the road, take it".

Or Ed Abbey's classic "Androgynous Ammonia".

I have a hollow feeling I've lost some of the better ones of these
somewhere along the way. As you go through some of my older
books and stories, please report any that may be missing in

Because Opporknockity tunes but once.

December 9, 2004,

Would whoever emailed me the alternate derivation of a Bezier
approximation to a circular arc please email me another copy? It
was lost during an email mixup.

December 7, 2004,

Government Liquidation has apparently gotten rid of their
$35 minimum bid replacing it with a one dollar bid. Now, if
they only would get rid of their maddeningly infuriating

December 6, 2004,

To really win at an auction, it should be an obscure one that
takes a lot of digging to find. Problems with "yard" or "barn"
or auction "house" auctions include heavy promotion and
attendance, stuff having been higraded before it gets there,
competitors scheduling their lives around known dates, the
possibility of shlling, and various access problems.

I've found the best to be obscure industrial and dotbomb
auctions where "contents of shelves" and "contents of
rooms" happen late in the auction. Much more on our
Auction Help pages.

December 5, 2004,

The original Pittsburgh Streetcars site is apparently back up and
includes even more photos and some annotation. They are now
definitely up into the "adequate supply" area.

WARNING: Attempting to view all photos at once will result in
yinz guys sayin "In regards to this matter" in every centunce.
Fortunately, a desert rat like me is immune. Skooze me while I
redd up the website.

December 5, 2004 (rev 001),

True Fact: Apparently "In regards to this matter" is so deeply
ingrained into the Pittsburgh collective psyche that fire calls and
EMS responses do not receive a 10-22 or are cancelled. They are
instead "Disregarded".

December 4, 2004,

Picked up some "zero air" air cleaning units that provide
calibration air for various air pollution instruments. Please
email me for details on complete units and separate parts.

December 3, 2004,

Added some new files to our Its A Gas hydrogen page and our
Cubic Splines library.

December 1, 2004,

There seems to be a viability threshold to any technology that
determines when and where you can profit from it. As ancient
examples, miniature audio recorders went nowhere before the
C-30 cassette standard. Video recording stumbled around till
helical scans made it all happen. The two megapixel sensor
let digital cameras completely and instantly obsolete all of
traditional photography.

What are the thresholds likely to soon be crossed? Obviously
the $97 and 24 inch thin LED display. Which should completely
eliminate both television sets and network broadcasts. The
ten watt, one dollar white LED with better-than-fluorescent
efficiency is another. The watchable eBook display which will
instantly make virtually all books into a quaint anachronism.
I'd expect all of book publishing to soon be blindsided by a
student revolt against backpacks.

Similarly, conventional silicon pv solar is clearly doomed because
of its inherent inefficiency and intractability that guarantees it
will never become a net energy source when fully burdened at the
system level. Additional dollars thrown into this rathole are clearly
dollars lost. But waiting in the wings are multiple and spread
workfunction technology, MEMS nano antenna arrays, photonic
lattices, and metalloradicals.

November 29, 2004,

Printers have long since gone direct-to-plate and newspapers
have been all digital for decades now, so there seems to be no
market whatsoever for litho cameras these days. Even when
you strip them for lenses, vacuum pumps, light boxes, and timers
the whole operation seems kinda marginal. At least for me.

Rule: NEVER pay more that $7.50 for a mint late model litho
camera. And never move it more than a few hundred feet.

November 27, 2004,

There are several SAE and IJHE papers that suggest that a
modest (perhaps 5%) hydrogen injection into a conventional
gas or diesel engine significantly improves both mileage and
emissions. But it has yet to be shown whether any net gain
can economically result. And whether such injection can be
made compatible with ongoing vehicle improvements.

The most likely route would be fuel reformation driven by heat
from the exhaust stream. I've had several people wanting to
use electrolysis instead contact me who clearly have not even
begun to look at the fundamental numbers. Which appear
really, really grim to me.

Fer instance, an 18 wheeler might want to do a 5% injection into
a 300 Horsepower engine, or 15 net horsepower of hydrogen.
Water is one ninth hydrogen. At five percent injection, the water
tank alone would have to be 9/20ths the fuel tank size and thus not
a minor consideration.

15 horsepower of hydrogen would be 11,190 watts. Or, over an
hour, 11,190 watthours. Electrolysized water produces 3 watt hours
per liter, so 3730 liters per hour or 62 liters of hydrogen per minute
would be required. With the finest of platinized platinum electrodes,
electrolysis could possibly approach 50% efficiency before amortization.
Cheaper electrodes (such as an abysmally poor choice of stainless
steel) would likely leave efficiency down in the 25% range.

And most auto alternators aren't all that efficient, so something like
60 horsepower at the belt might be needed. A trucker might not be
totally overjoyed at taking a one-fifth hit on fuel costs and available
power. Further, at 12 volts, 60 horsepower would require a 3730
amp alternator, considerably larger than anything commercilly
available for the automotive market. Worse yet, a typical V-belt is
rated around five horsepower, so TWELVE belts might be
needed between the engine and the alternator!

More in our Energy Fundamentals and Electrolysis Fundamentals

November 26, 2004,

We'll be hosting the ARA winter paper regional at TFD on
January 22nd, 2005. Anyone with an interest in caves is more
than welcome to attend. You can click on the ARA Website or
my mirror for more details. No charge for attendance. But an
optional catered lunch is $7.50.

November 25, 2004,

A tip on viewing auction websites: Many of the photos provided
may have considerably higher resolution. Try right cliking to
save the image, then bring it up in ImageView32 where you are
likely to be able to magnify it bunches. As well as bringing out
shadow detail. If right click does not work, try VIEW SOURCE
and see if you can directly download the actual photo url.

Case in point: A room full of tons of apparently worthless old
documents revealed the subtle and tiny red stripe on hundreds
of original HP test equipment manuals. Which we now have up
on eBay. More on our Auction Help and Custom Auction Finder
web pages.

November 23, 2004,

One of the more obscure electronic backwaters is the Inductive
Voltage Divider.
These are quite useful for standards measurement
and might make a nice student paper. An inductive voltage divider
is simply a tapped autotransformer. At a given frequency, any
measured or connected impedances reflect as the square of the
turns ratio. And it apparently turns ratios are tens to hundreds of
times more stable than the best resistive dividers, especially over
a wider temperature range.

I was about to say we have one of these in our eBay store, but it
BIN sold the instant it was listed.

November 21, 2004,

I continue to be amazed by the verhemence with which net
energy analysis
is attacked, especially among the those who
are thermodynamically clueless. An excellent tutorial can
be found here, which I'l be adding to our Its A Gas library.

If in a net metering state, a power company says "I will sell
you a kilowatt hour of electricity for a dime and I will buy
a kilowatt hour of electricity from you for a dime", then all of
the dimes involved at that time in that transaction clearly
have a value of one kilowatt hour. This, of course, includes
the dimes spent on amortization.

Thus if your pv solar system generates a dimes worth of electricity
per day at an amortization cost of two dimes a day, you have a
net energy sink and are simply destroying gasoline. The
longer you run the panel, the more energy it destroys.

Any silicon pv solar panel has a two position switch on it:
Position "A" destroys a lot of gasoline. Position "B" destroys
even more gasoline and gasoline energy equivalents.

More in our Energy Fundamentals tutorial.

November 20, 2004,

A reminder that many digital cameras now have video outputs
which ridiculously simplify your composition through big screen
viewing. Apple IIe color monitors are perfect for this, and can
be picked up at auction for a dollar each.

It would be better if you could watch on the monitor without
running the high current LCD display. Other features I really
could use is a joystick positionable "focus here" arrow, a
special "maximize depth of field" option, and full wireless
links for both the video output and the picture downloads.

Photo tutorials appear on our Auction Help page.

November 17, 2004,

Sometimes competing bidders at an auction will be after your
items of interest for wildly different reasons. So it pays to note
who outbid you for later possible deals. Ferinstance, someone
might be after a relay rack, while you are after only one or two
items the heavy and difficult to ship rack contains. A mountain
of obsolete docs I was bidding on to get some test equipment
manuals was also being bid on by someone who only wanted to
empty the notebooks for his office supply store. Or --arrggggh --
I was being outbid on some classic power utility electrics because
the other bidder was going to unwind the wire from the relays.

November 15, 2004,

Added and updated some links to our Auction Help page.
Expanded our Search Engine access on our Home Page.

November 11, 2004,

I just picked up a bunch of rare high end Hewlett Packard manuals
from an ATE bankruptcy. Along with some Agilent Multiport
Test Sets, machine vision illuminators, and bunches of premium
ultra-dense connectors. We'll quickly get these up on eBay, but
you can also email me for more details.

November 6, 2004,

I love researching truly bizarre puzzles. Some of the Pittsburgh
Streetcars photos show four mystery structures in their background
that look like giant incinerators, perhaps twenty feet square by
two hundred high. After a serependous search that involved
everything from books about West View Park to long shadows
on aerial photographs, these turned out to be the ventillator
shafts for the Liberty Tubes.

Which, in regards to this matter, are about as uniquely Pittsburgh
as makin a mill outta a chopaam sammich an Airn in Sliberty.

I still do not know what happened to the original photo sources,
so we can only offer limited access through the Wayback Machine.
Do any of you know the current story on these?

Hint for those of you not up on Pittsburgheese: "Beer" is pronounced
"Airn". Unless it is Olde Frothingslosh Pale State Ale.

November 4, 2004

Most web auction finder services could not find a pig in a
dishpan. Here's a simple test you can run to find out how good
our Arizona Auction Resources and Custom Auction Finder
are: At any time, there are about 65 auctions upcoming
in Arizona. See how many you can find in thirty hours without
using my tools or in three minutes using them.

November 3, 2004

Google has just added a Google Scholar service which should
ease getting abstracts of scientific papers. So far it only has
29 of my 1800+ publications on it, so they have a way to go. I'll
consider it useful when it finds my ASU master's thesis.

November 1, 2004

It is rare for a General Radio product to be klutzy or rinky
dink, but their 1412B-C decade capacitor standard knobs are
an exception. These have long and fragile shafts on them
similar to the channel knobs on very old tv sets. The shafts
break easily if dropped. The long shafts are apparently needed
to allow above ground safety isolation.

Here is a workable repair procedure: Drill or mill off the entire
plastic shaft till you get down to an aluminum bushing. Then
drill out the plastic inside the bushing and somewhat deeper
working up to a 3/8 inch drill. Get a 1-1/4 by 3/8 nylon spacer.
If your hardware store does not have them this long, try McMaster-
. Drill one end of the spacer out to .252 or so. Cross drill
a #16 hole to clear one of the 8-32 allen setscrews. Epoxy the
spacer to the knob after carefully checking it for length.

Use the existing brass shaft coupler if still present, having a
long setscrew go thru the spacer and a short one securing it.
Should the coupler be missing, take a 3/8 inch steel jam nut
and drill it out to .378 or so. Then cross drill #28 and tap
8-32. Do not omit the large felt washers as they can protect
the back silkscreening of the knob. Check for a double space
indent before the "X" and "0" during final knob alignment.

Not sure what the extra O ring and C washer are all about.
Probably splash resistance. I just left them off.

Our last of these is now up on eBay.

October 31, 2004

Just had some items "mysterously disappear" during an auction
loadout. Some defenses: Always load your best and highest value
stuff first, keeping a continuous eye on items. Always complete
loading of all items you want before offering anything else to other
bidders. Always double check and then recheck the final printout
of lot numbers against the items you actually loaded. On any side
deals, make sure everything is completely and unabiguously
spelled out. One or more "staging areas" where you move all of
your items into one big pile can be of help. Try to loadout immediately
rather than doing a second or later day loading. Keep most of your
bids in the pocket change area. And, of course, always respect the
property of others.

October 28, 2004

An excellent third party exergy tutorial appears here. It
nicely expands and complements my Energy Fundamentals.

October 24, 2004

It is becoming MORE difficult to pick up classic research papers
than ever before. Besides shooting themselves in the foot, I can see
traditional scholarly publishers COMPLETELY ELIMINATING
high quality peer reviewed research.

Because anything and everything else appears instantly on the web
for free.

If quality research is to survive at all, it must (A) Have all abstracts
instantly available free of charge without even so much a restriction
as a registration, and (B) have full text of all papers over five years
old readily available free for, say, five or less requests per month.

Otherwise, they have simply priced themselves out of the market.

October 21, 2004

Those solar powered vehicle contests are great for encouraging
student engineering projects, but they seem to be sending exactly
the wrong message to everybody else.

The fully amortized operating costs of these bicycle sized and powered
vehicles are between tens and hundreds of dollars per mile. They,
of course, thus consume the equivalent of MUCH MORE gasoline
than the largest of full size SUV's.

If you plaster solar cells on a real personal vehicle, you MIGHT
generate enough energy to be able to run your power mirrors. Uh,
that's assuming you do not adjust them too often. And, of course,
offset by the ridiculously higher air conditioning losses, the extra
weight, and the reduced aerodynamic cv.

It makes absolutely no sense to put solar cells where they have to
move around or be in the shade or pointed in the wrong direction
most of the time.

More in our Energy Fundamentals tutorial.

October 19, 2004

Picked up two nice sets of mailboxes at a local comm college
auction. These have 63 slots including individual locks and are
perfect for schools, apartments, etc... email me if you want to
get in ahead of the hoarders on these. Premium quality, full
PO approval. Brushed aluminum opaque fronts.

October 13, 2004 has added a new a9 search engine that eventually
will be able to excerpt any portion of any book anytime. I've
added a link to this and several additional search engines to our
Search Engine Access on our home page.

October 9, 2004

As we have seen here and here, thermodynamic fundamentals
absolutely and positively guarantee electrolysis from high value
smaller pv or grid
sources for hydrogen energy use flat out ain't
gonna happen. Because of the s
taggering loss of exergy.

The utter absurdity of electrolysis can also be attacked on purely
economic grounds. Assume you can steal an electrolysizer for
the bargain basement price of $50,000.00. What is the MINIMUM
sized pv array needed to guarantee the electrolysis process does
not add more than ten cents per kilowatt hour to the conversion?

Assume a free pv array, zero interest, zero labor, zero monthly
replatinization costs, zero land costs, no taxes, and free electricity.

An amortization rate of three cents per hundred dollars would apply
to anything between a zero interest ten year payback or a ten
percent interest infinite mortgage. Thus amortization on a $50,000.00
electrolysis system would thus be $16.67 per day. At ten cents per
kilowatt hour, 167 kilowatt hours would need processed per day.

Which would translate to a ONE MEGAWATT peak power solar
installation in the Arizona desert, or about THREE MEGAWATTS
of peak power for an average US installation.

At a ten percent conversion efficiency and 1000 watts per meter
incoming, about 33,000 square meters of active panel area would
be needed.

If you have this large a pv array, you sure as hell are not going to
piss around throwing most of your output value away on hydrogen

October 3, 2004

Absentee bids at an auction are usually bad news. You are infinitely
better off attending live where you can instantly react to the current
prices and what the auctioneer is up to. Some examples:

A $900 per skid absentee bid was left for some computers at a comm
college auction. The auctioneer generously opened his bid at $150.
Which did not sound bad except that the previous few identical skids
went for $7.50 each.

A similiar $1050 bid was left at a cal auction for a small piece of a
standards rack. Other higher value components in the rack averaged
$35 each.

A lowball absentee bid at a cable auction got ignored since the
auctioneer bought the item for themselves for pennies more.

One combined online-live auction had a big fancy room with lots
of laptops and techies and servers in it. Connected to the actual
auctioneer with a flaky cell phone that seldom worked and was
even less monitored.

At the same cal lab auction above, the auctioneer panicked over
time remaining and shifted to a fixed minimum, variable lot
strategy. Thus you had to bid $100 but could wait until there were
enough lots included to make it worthwhile.

More tutorial info on our Auction Help page.

September 30, 2004

Added some new links to our Auction Help page. Especially to our
Arizona Auction Resources. A reminder that details on creating your
own eBay secret local insider supply list appears here.

September 28, 2004

TheThe Hype About Hydrogen by Joseph J. Romm is a very useful
new book that helps in shattering some "not even wrong" myths. A
link is found on our Its a Gas library page.

September 22, 2004

Picked up a huge collection of General Radio and Leeds & Northrop
standards at the Belden Cal Lab Auction. All in superb condition and
many with full NIST traceability specs. Visit our eBay store or email
with your needs on these.

September 20, 2004

Make is a new online Oreilly technical ezine that might -- just might--
be able to recapture the goden era of Popular Eleectronics. Be sure
to check this one out.

September 16, 2004

Their is an optimum rate at which you can sell repeat items on
eBay. This rate is MUCH SLOWER than most people would
imagine. There are only so many buyers available and selling
too fast will trash your market and reduce your return.

It is useful to define the HANG TIME and the CASHOUT TIME
for any quantity eBay offering. Cashout time is the time when
you receive 100 percent of your original cost back. A reasonable
cashout time is 21 days. With a 30:1 sell/buy ratio, this typically
means you would want to sell three percent of your inventory
over this time interval. The remainder can then be carried at a
zero cost except for storage charges.

The hang time is the interval you need to sell all remaining inventory
at a constant rate if you get no "I'll take them all" orders.
I feel 15 months is a reasonable hang time. Ferinstance, if you have
75 identical items, selling one every six days on eBay might be
optimum. Naturally, you raise or lower your price to change
your hang time. With the obvious goal of maximizing return.

Typically, you will sell out on an off eBay sale well before the
time ends. More info on our Auction Help library page.

September 14, 2004

There's several reasons why I feel that online bidding is
a sucker bet at combined online and live auctions. Firstoff
is the latency in your bid and the audio you are receiving.
Second are the inefficiencies when your bid gets entered.
Third is a possible online premium of several percent.
Fourth is the possibility of having your bid entered at a
higher price than you thought you did. Fifth are the outrageous
hoops you may have to jump through to qualify as an online
bidder, such as predeposited cashier's checks.

But the real biggie is that you cannot instantly respond and
interact with the auctioneer. Ferinstance, you cannot split
or lowball a bid. And if several lots are combined, you
really have to be there to decide whether you are offered
a stupendous bargain or a poisioned lot whose bulk and
weight is utterly unacceptable.

September 10, 2004

I don't seem able to do all that well with national auction houses,
such as DoveBid, Michael Fox, or M.J.Auctions. The first and
most obviously problem is that these are agressively promoted
nationally, so there are more bidders. Prices tend to open a
lot higher with higher increments. Hard-to-web-search display
ads are used instead of classifieds. Effective online bidding adds
to your competition. And many are "theater style" auctions
where you cannot simultaneously see the auctioneer and the
context of item being offered. Nor quickly react to any sudden
opportunities. And it is easy to get utterly overwhelmed in a four
day, 8000 lot auction.

Previewing, of course, is an absolute must. You normally will
NOT be permitted to preview during the auction. You can
gain an edge by focusing on "contents of cabinet" or the
"contents of room" offers that the online bidders may not have
the faintest clue over their value. Another key is to tightly
focus on only a few dozen items and ignore everything else.

More on our Auction Help library page.

September 6, 2004

I've cut sharply back on our Government Liquidation purchases.

First and foremost, because of their maddeningly infuriating auto
auction extensions that fail to respect a buyer's time. Second
because of the rudeness, inconsideration, and arrogance of some
site managers that has now gone well beyond legendary. Third
because selling prices have gone sharply upward, especially for
test equipment. And fourth because base security apparently
makes it impossible to make a telephone call that travels
a distance of 175 feet.

Present thinking is that the best opportunities for eBay sources
are "contents of room" and "contents of cabinet" at dotbomb
auctions. In the cases where an auction is both web and live,
onsite personal inspection and bidding can make a huge
difference. The secret, of course, is to tightly focus on items
in which you see huge value that others miss.

I can create a local auction resource finder for you.

September 5, 2004

Signs of the times: The latest Swiss Army Knife includes an
internal hard drive. Flash memory, actually.

September 4, 2004

We've had numerous requests for linear actuators longer than
one meter max on our Adept Inventory page. I've managed
to pick up three additional sliders that are a whopping two
meters (!) long. These are Parker/Hauser belt drive, two with
motors, one without. They are used and have been removed
from moderate duty service. They apparently are just barely
UPS shippable after professional packing. email me for
further details. 100 mm square size.

September 3, 2004

We have some very unusual remote New Mexico property
for sale. It is directly on the East Fork of the Gila River and
is literally surrounded by the Gila Wilderness. Access is by
foot or horse only by way of Forest Service trails.

This is one of the finest survivalist/isolationist properties
available anyplace ever, and the scenery is byond beyond.
Perfect for total escape. Approximately 4.7 acres total at
$7850 per acre. Yes, we will carry. Taxes are (brace yourself
for the sticker shock) $3.27 per year.

Legal is S11 13S R13W PT NH 4.7 AC.
3 074 074 248 118 District-02N.

You can email me for more info.

September 2, 2004

There sure seem to be a lot of low "delta T" energy schemes
kicking around. Ocean thermal and bunches of others. Uh, it
turns out that there are some very fundamental thermodynamic
and engineering laws that guarantee these flat out ain't gonna

Firstoff, Carnot efficiency is limited to [1 - (Tlow/Thigh) ] in
absolute degrees. A 20 degree Fahrenheit difference at its
very best can only approach a theoretical FOUR PERCENT
or so best efficiency. And, of course, the real world never
gets anywhere near Carnot.

Secondoff, low efficiencies have to move a lot more heat than
than they can convert. At four percent efficiency, TWENTY
FIVE times the heat has to be moved from source to sink.

Thirdoff, it is enormously difficult to get heat exchangers with
very low Delta-T's across them. A heat exchanger, of course,
MUST have a Delta-T across it to transfer any heat at all.
You can easily end up with ALL of the Delta-T across the
source and sink exchangers leaving NOTHING for the process
to work with. Further trashing a dismal efficiency.

Ferinstance, it is trivially easy to build a Peltier "cooler" that has
twenty degrees of cooling across the device and fourty degrees of
heating across its heatsink. For net heating rather than cooling.

The need to move many times more heat than recoverable energy
at low Delta-T's very much magnifies this problem. To which
such realities as imperfect insulation on long pipes compounds the

More in our Energy Fundamentals tutorial.

September 1, 2004

Added some new links to our Arizona Auction Resources .

August 31, 2004

Always keep track of the bidder numbers being issued at any
auction. This will give you a gross check on how many potential
competitors you will have. Usually you can see the next
available number on the stack. Otherwise, watch bidders as
they leave the table. More on our Auction Help page.

August 29, 2004

Picked up great heaping bunches of SUV cargo nets at a
business failure auction. These are absolutely mint, and we
also have the bulk netting by the foot for custom uses. Full
details in our eBay store.

August 26, 2004

There seems to be a lot of emerging interest in six cycle
gasoline engines. These offer efficiency and cleanliness
and cooling advantages over a four cycle at the expense
of higher speeds and needing electric valves or similar.

After the usual suck-squeeze-pop-phooey, fuel-free air
gets sucked in on a downstroke and then exhausted on
the next upstroke. The cylinder is thus further purged
and cooled between successive power strokes.

August 25, 2004

A muffled intermittent yowling inside a laser printer can
sometimes be fixed by opening the lid and letting the cat out.

August 24, 2004

We are closing out our Fore Systems stuff. The larger
systems have been broken up into component parts and
now appear on eBay. Includes some really great Lucent
48 volt telecom 1KW power supplies.

August 23, 2004

Just picked up some really nice flow switches at a contractor
auction. McDonnel & Miller FS4-3. email me if you want to
get in ahead of the hoarders on this one. 1 inch NPT but
intended for use sideways in really big pipes.

August 21, 2004

Added city and county links to our Auction Help page.
You can now add your own custom region here. This
is your best source for eBay items for resale.

August 20, 2004

Added and updated some links on our Home Page.

August 19, 2004

Found a cute electrically releasable epoxy (!) that has
all sorts of interesting possible uses. Holds like regular
epoxy but lets go when a DC current is applied. With
no apparent surface damage.

August 18, 2004

Added the missing HACK73.PDF and HACK74.PDF files
to our Hardware Hacker Archive IV. This includes the
sonolluminescence tutorial and resources.

August 17, 2004

Added more college and university links to our Auction Help
page. Some schools offer outstanding auction bargains,
while others never or seldom do so. Some will hold their
own auctions, while others will use a commercial auction
service. Some have auctions bimonthly, while most are
one or more times a year.

Promotion and advertising are generally poor, so you'll have
to do bunches of digging to find the best ones.

I've personally found remote rural community colleges to
be my best choice. High schools tend to have abject trash,
while Universities tend to get highgraded by insiders.

August 14, 2004

A reminder about the Wayback Machine. This lets you find
websites the way they were. Two uses that I've found handy:
(1) Extending the life of an otherwise dead or gone link, and
(2) Capturing the closed website of an upcoming bankruptcy.

August 14, 2004

Created a new Custom Auction Resources library page
that lets you create access to your own regional sources
of supply for eBay.

August 12, 2004

Added some new links to our Auction Help page.

August 10, 2004

A new best efficiency 28 Magic Sinewave sequence
is nearing completion with the sourcecode now in the
final simulation stage. This one offers an extremely
fast update option with average latencies way on down
in the three degree range. Harmonics 2-28 are zero! in
theory and well below -65 db in practice. Before any

Evaluation chips should be available shortly. email me
for availability.

August 8, 2004

Whoosh. Our eBay theater spotlights, outdoor SportLights,
and voting booths and rare military tube testers flew on outta
here. Gone. History. Bye bye.

Still have a few superb buys on Lehigh theater dimmer panels
and precision Adept robotic sliders. Plus some great GR gear.

August 6, 2004

I still get occasional emails over the "shaft encoder"
problem. It takes two channels of incremental
encoding if you need both direction and speed.

The two channels are spaced half a pulse apart and
are called the Inphase and Quadrature outputs.

Consider these typical waveforms:

                   0 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 0    I      Forward
                   1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0   Q

                   0 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 0    I      Reverse
                   0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1   Q

To extract the speed, simply use the I output leading
edges. Now for the tricky part: To extract the direction,
EXCLUSIVE OR the present I with the previous Q.

And that's all there is to it!

August 3, 2004

The newsgroup is very useful
for both eBay buyers and sellers. But sure enough, once
every week or so, some epsilon minus newbie fails to
proxy bid their max late in the auction and compounds
their stupidity by wrongly assuming they were outbid
by pocket change. They then get the brilliant idea that
eBay needs auction extensions. Instead of recognizing
their own cluelessness in not bidding high enough.

In reality (A) eBay ain't broke, (B) the desirability of
automatic extensions lies somewhere between Herpes
and AIDS, (C) eBay with proxy sniping is game theory
optimal for both buyers and sellers by Vickrey Auction
, (D) Many earlier auction sites with extensions
either have failed miserably or the extensions are never
used by sellers, and (E) The sites (such as GL) that still
insist on extensions are maddeningly infuriating and
fail to value a bidder's time and convenience.

August 2, 2004

A slightly improved optimal eBay bidding strategy:

Proxy bid your max ONCE very late in the auction.
Set your proxy to an odd penny amount just above
a currency denomination threshold.

More eBay buying secrets on our Auction Help page.
Especially EBAYBUY.PDF.

August 1, 2004

Placed some outstanding theater spotlight bargains on eBay.

July 29, 2004

Here's some more of my live auction insider secrets...

Always dress down to the point of almost appearing shabby.
Listen to everything; volunteer nothing. Wear a hat or shirt
or whatever that is VERY distinctive. Always set your max
bid to JUST ABOVE a currency demonination threshold and
NEVER go over it.

If you would like to try and steal an item, get out in front of
everybody else but not quite in the auctioneer's face. Their
entire field of view should be one-quarter you. While the item
IS STILL BEING DESCRIBED, hold your bidder card against
your chest with one hand and do a Churchill V for Victory with
your other hand, against your chest. Be sure that ONLY the
auctioneer can see you. You are giving the auctioneer a message
of "Here is a $2.50 floor bid if and when you care to accept it."

If you really, really want an item that is unlikely to have much
competition, do the above, but continually rock your bidder's card
back and forth after the first counterbid.

If you suspect the bidding will be highly competitive,WAIT till just
under your max and bid ONCE on the second going of going going

NEVER get tired, or lazy, or in a hurry. The spectacularly best deals
usually happen very late in an auction. Ideally, the temperature should
be above 120 degrees except for the hail, and the rabid bats should not
be succeeding at driving the rattlesnakes away.

Abject trash tends to poision a lot, and you can usually give anything
you do not want to another bidder. Bid on the value of what you want
and ignore everything you will have to flush anyway.

Much more on our auction help page. Especially AUCTSCNE.PDF.

July 26, 2004

Some notes on some of the quirkier PIC instructions....

SUBLW subtracts W from a literal, not the often more useful
literal from W. The easiest way to subtract a count in unsigned
binary is to ADDLW 0xFF.

RETLW is the standard way of returning a table lookup value
to the accumulator. Indexed lookups are done by modifying the
program counter immediately before. Be sure to use RETURN
instead when you do not want your W register modified.

The PCLATH register decides where the program counter is going
to go on any PC addition or subtraction. This register is not
altered by anything short of a reset and must be preset to the
correct page ahead of time.

The rule on INSTRUCTION CYCLES is this: All execute in one
cycle except for a program counter modification that executes
in two. PC mods happen with "skip if zero" commands or direct
addition or subtraction of the PC. Note that the PC auto post
increments. Adding 0x00 to PC moves to the next instruction.

The DECFSZ and INCFSZ instructions appear counterintuitive.
They never skip the next instruction in a loop unless zero.

More PIC Programming Guidelines in our GuruGram library and
on our Pic Library page.

July 24, 2004

Added some new links to our Auction Help page. Including Haynie
and the Arizona Revised Statutes.

Our Arizona and Eastern Pennsylvania auction resources are now
by far the best and most complete on the web. To compare, note there
are typically 60 Arizona auctions at any time. Most of the finder services
locate ZERO of these and thus could not find a pig in a dishpan.

I'd very much like to make this into a map-clickable national resource.
email me if you wish to sponsor a state or a regional area.

July 23, 2004

Just posted some great buys on birch plywood panels to eBay.

July 21, 2004

Discovered that you can get sandblast attachments for power
washers cheaply from such sources as Northern Tool for $19.
This makes much more sense than going the dry sandblast
cabinet route. It apparently works just as good or better, needs
no compressor, and appears to be a lot safer and less messy.

July 18, 2004

Now have the delay and amplitude patterns available for our
Best Efficiency 28 and Delta 44 new Magic Sinewaves. These
have been "shake optimized" and spot Sigview verified. You
can email me for further details.

July 17, 2004

Yet another outrageously overpriced Book on Demand machine
is available from BookMachine. One interesting thing they are
doing is covered by Patent 6,142,721. In which they are using
ultrasonic energy to soften and then immediately harden the
binding glue. For very fast cycle times.

I'm wondering if a "pop it in the microwave" solution might be
better as a low cost home BOD binding approach. Some BOD
books are found here.

July 14, 2004

Two recent auctions have strongly verified my "currency threshold"
theory in which people will avoid crossing thresholds equal to dollar
bill demoniations. In one case, a house was argued over for pennies
before selling at a $29,950 steal. When $30,015 clearly would have
taken it. In another, nobody but nobody EVER crossed a $20 or a
$50 barrier in an entire city surplus auction. Except me, of course.

The message is that you should always be willing to bid JUST ABOVE
any currency threshold. So long as you are dealing with amateurs,
you should win every time. More on our Auction Help page.

July 12, 2004

Just picked up a bunch of refurbable water meters. May wait on this
till I decide whether I can really justify a sandblaster cabinet. For
some reason, nobody locally has one. email me if you are interested.

July 10, 2004

The correct title of the goat that ate the election is "The Pet Goat",
not "My Pet Goat". It appears on page 153 of
Reading Mastery II,
Storybook 1,
by Siegfried Engelmann and Elaine Bruner ISBN
Publisher SRA/MacMillan/Mcgraw Hill.

July 8, 2004

Um, apparently they did an upgrade of SigView that changed their
definition of their ASCII files. This makes our earlier demo file
and GuruGram wrong. But you can still use the file by loading it
as a 16 bit unsigned binary file instead. The amplitude changes,
but the Magic Sinewave spectrum remains the same.

Our newer FFT files will be done as 8 bit unsigned binary.

July 8, 2004

Things are mostly grim on Mount Graham. The entire top of the
mountain is burning
. Telescopes will probably be saved. Heliograph
electronics has been damaged but towers are intact. Same for
Heliograph fire lookout. Summer homes remain in serious doubt.
The squirrels are obviously in even deeper trouble.

My tram towers are between the two fires. They are wooden and
have been drying in the sun for 82 years. They are also in the most
dense brush on the entire mountain. Survival depends on the rains
getting to them before the fire does. Seems unlikely at this time.

July 5, 2004

I just completed the preliinary data scan for a Delta-44 Magic
. This one should prove optimal for many uses.

Here's the process involved in creating a new device...

    1. Decide on Best Efficiency or Delta Friendly. Delta
         only needs half the storage but zeros out only 3n/4 + 1

    2. Use the calculators to find the raw amplitude solutions.
         Improved faster and auto-exporting calculators are now
         available to Synergetics Partners.

    3. "Shake the box" by exploring the nearest 75,000 or so
         solutions to find the best one, by using these guidelines.
         Software info on request.

    4. Model the best solutions using Sigview to verify they do
in fact nearly zero out the intended harmonics.

    5. Write your PIC sourcecode using this tutorial. Custom
        assistance and training seminars are available.

    6. Burn and bench verify and then characterize your chips.

You can email me for the latest info on off-the-shelf evaluation
chip availability.

July 3, 2004

Just burned our first MS28D-05X Magic Sinewave chips. These
offer greatly improved input flexibility, are delta friendly, and
nearly zero out the first 22 harmonics. Chips are $19.63 each.
Full sourcecode plus one hour's consulting is $89 extra.

You can order here. Some bench checks remain to be done.

July 1, 2004

Latest GuruGram #40 is on designing PIC sourcecode for use with
Magic Sinewaves.

June 25, 2004

Latest GuruGram #38 is on an improved and upgraded Magic
evaluation chip.

June 25, 2004

Will the movie being released today decide who the presidental
candidates will be next November? If any?

My prediction is that Fahrenheit 9/11 by itself will not be all that big
a deal. But that the shoot-yourself-in-the-foot irrational overreactions
to it will end up both hilarious and utterly devastating.

Another prediction: Many people will now discover that there is a
second "h" in "Fahrenheit".

June 23, 2004

Picked up ten really nice Hubbell Sportlite 1500 watt HID arena
lights. email me if you want to get in ahead of the hoarders on
this one.

June 20, 2004

Many digital cameras these days include a direct video output.
This can be incredibly useful for composition. Sadly, the video
may go away when the display goes off and the video may be
lower resolution. Apple IIe color monitors can typically be picked
up for a dollar or two at auctions and are a perfect match.

June 15, 2004

Lawrence Lessig's Free Culture book is an excellent review
of why the RIAA is suing three legged kittens and converting most
of their customers into criminals in a ludicrous attempt to preserve an
outdated business model that no longer serves any viable purpose.

Subtitled "How big media uses technology and the law to lock down
culture and control creativity." You can preview or order the book here.
And find lots of other great books here.

June 12, 2004

Found a rare stash of SYM-1 microprocessor trainers! Enhanced
versions in fancy cases with companion tape recorders even. You
can email me for details. These are early 6502 classics.

June 11, 2004

Avoid comparing PostScript reals! Or worse, a real against an
integer. Even the slightest roundoff or computation error may
give an unexpected result. I was battling a complex waveform
in GuruGram #38 that mysterously would look fine in certain
page positions and terrible in others. Turns out that a missed
cvi after a currentpoint caused all of the grief.

More on PostScript here.

June 7, 2004

Your optimum eBay Buying Strategy is to proxy bid your max
ONCE very late in the auction. This means you have to be at
a certain place at a certain time, or have to use sniping software
that demands continuous web access, or have to use a third party
sniping service that demands sensitive information.

It sure would be nice if eBay would offer an AutoSnipe service for
a quarter more. Your otherwise invisible bid gets entered only at
auction end. High bidder wins, paying the lesser of their bid or
the SECOND highest bid plus the current increment. In case of
a monetary tie, the earliest bidder wins.

More on our Auction Help page or the

June 4, 2004

We are rapidly selling out of certain items. We no longer have
any fiber optic cable in stock, and the 2-1/2 inch Igus links are
now gone. Only a few of the three inchers remain. Almost all of
the Zydacron video cards are also sold. We are down to a very
few voting booths, voting machines, and astronomy tables. And
the Adept Robotic Sliders are selling more rapidly and at much
higher prices than we expected. Less than half remain.

June 3, 2004

The new Froogle marketing opportunity seems to have a curious
gotcha: To qualify for their super important data feed status, you
must already have some "for sale" pages in place. But Froogle
apparently does NOT recognize a page as having items for sale
if the prices are in a DIFFERENT cell in a HTML table!

We are in the process of trying to dramatically upgrade all of our
inventory pages, adding a long overdue direct shopping cart, and
getting our so-far-disallowed feeds into Froogle.

May 30, 2004

An eBay auction with sniping is more properly called a Vickrey
Second Price auction. And is optimal for several reasons. A very
good review of Vickrey auction theory appears here.

The best of all possible auctions for buyers whose time and whose
convenience is important would appear to be a Sealed Bid Second
Price auction. These would also appear seller optimal as a bidder
is MUCH more likely to bid if the odds are high that they will get
the item for far less than their max proxy bid price.

While sniping eBay approaches this ideal, Sealed Bid Second Price
Auctions seem to be nonexistant elsewhere. Yet they should be
the best for everybody. And are Vickrey optimal.

May 29, 2004

I have left some really old and out of date bargain item offers
up on the website as a demo for our older Galley Slave software.

A random Google search may still wrongly take you directly to
these pages. Please see our main Bargain Page for current
availability. Or email me.

May 27, 2004

There's a number of "scamming the Nigerian scamsters" sites
on the web. These have now gone waaaay beyond simply having
the scamster pose while balancing a loaf of bread on their head
and holding up a large dead fish.

Start with and for openers.

May 25, 2004

"I never knew an auctioneer to lie, unless it was absolutely convenient."

From "The Mule" by Josh Billings aka Henry Wheeler Shaw.
Sometimes wrongly attributed to Mark Twain.

May 23, 2004

Latest GuruGram #37 is a tutorial on the Precision Fonts
found in our new Bitmap Font library. Sourcecode is here
and a simplified Bitmap Typewriter here.

May 20, 2004

Got an interesting label and magnet catalog from Stouse.
Their Velvet Textured Polycarbonate is an interesting but
pricey solution to custom dialplates and such where "locked
in" lettering is needed.

You can probably fake the same thing by starting with a cheaper
rigid vinyl plastic for thickness, inkjet printing onto a clear self-
stick, and overlaying that with a clear matte polyster sheet.

May 19, 2004

Had a friend who runs a rural Bed and Breakfast really get done
in by a "free" webhosting service. What the service does is a
redirect to their website, first downloading and running a JavaScript
routine that repeatedly presents obnoxious to offensive popup ads
and porno and worse. Add six inches to your mortgage.

The JavaScript keeps running even after you move on to another
website! Even worse, that same script redirects your home page
to an obscene ad server. Naturally, the kind and gentle B&B people
got blamed for all of this.

May 17, 2004

SpySweeper is a combination of free software and a subscription
service that lets you find out how much sneaky stuff has been
stashed on your computer without your permission. Adware,
spyware, unasked for cookies, keystroke monitors, and worse.

May 15, 2004

You'll get a real blast out of this one. Just placed a Hercules
"plunger style" blasting machine on eBay. In above average
condition and should be capable of being brought up to museum
quality restoration with a little cabinet work.

May 13, 2004

Picked up a fairly unusual carbide lamp at an Arizona Ranch
and placed it on eBay. It's a larger "shift" sized nickel
plated Dewar ITP and appears eminently restorable.

Dewar had the rep for being the "best" and most durable and most
reliable lamp, especially among Western hard rock miners. And
just about any carbide lamp that is not brass colored, is oversize,
and does not say "Justrite" on it should appreciate long term.

Ask any older caver for the "Bustright" plastic lamp tale of woe.

May 11, 2004

Google has just introduced their new Froogle service. Which
promises to be an online catalog of everything for sale from
everybody! You can (at least temporarily) gain a tremendous
selling edge by using their free Data Feed service.

May 9, 2004

Added more fonts to our Precision Bitmap Library. A GuruGram
tutorial on these is in the works and should go up shortly.

May 7, 2004

Updated some links on our Home Page.

May 5, 2004

Posted This Link  the UCC Uniform Commercial Code to
Auction Help library.

There's only a few paragraphs in the UCC that concern
auctions. But two interesting rules are that any high bid
cancellation does NOT revert to any previous bidder. And
that, unless specifically allowed, a shill bid is invalid and
the bid price drops to the previous highest good faith offer.

May 4, 2004

Latest GuruGram #36 is on adding Monthly Report Extensions
to our earlier custom Log File Reporters.

May 3, 2004

Expanded our PostScript and Webmastering library pages.

May 2, 2004

While we are usually happy to answer simpler US technical
questions at no charge, we will NOT jump through any spam
email requalifying hoops to do so. If an email bounces, we
usually will stop right there.

This particular question involved whether you can leave CMOS
inputs floating. As our CMOS Cookbook clearly shows you, this
is a big time no-no. Floating inputs can respond to noise, hum,
or even your favorite AM radio station. They also can very much
increase the supply current the chip draws.

April 30, 2004

Made some additions and improvements to our Auction Help
and our Site Stats library pages.

April 29, 2004

Added a new "GIF friendly" font to our Fonts & Images
library. This one is halfway between a bitmap and the full
antialiasing of our Precision Fonts Repository. Only two colors!

April 27, 2004

Have placed a great hot tub buy on eBay. Older deck style
holds eight adults or twenty four cavers. View image here.

April 23, 2004

Updated and improved our Fonts & Images library page.

April 21, 2004

Added a brand new Precision Bitmap Font Repository library
page that includes dozens of ultra precise and amazingly
legible fonts for such limited resolution uses as retouching
eBay photos, improving .GIF banners, or exploring eBook
readers. Such as this example.

April 15, 2004

Updated and improved our Master Library and Site Map pages.

April 15, 2004

Updated and improved our Banner Advertising library page.
Regional auction resource sponsorships are newly available.

April 14, 2004

Please welcome the Fuel Cell Store as our newest Banner
. Additional fuel cell resources appear in our
It's A Gas hydrogen library.

April 13, 2004

Picked up a large pile of General Electric D-72 Pulse Initiators
which I've put up on eBay. These take an ordinary older kilowatt
hour "power" meter and give you an isolated digital pulse output(!)
for use with computer control, remote viewing, data logging, or energy
monitoring & conservation.
Fits most GE meters, possibly others.

April 11, 2004

Added a new Eastern Pennsylvania Auction Resources to our
Auction Help page.

Sponsorships for your own custom auction resource area remain
available for a one time fee of $89. This includes a long term
link to a website or homepage of your choice. To get started, just
email me and tell me which region you are interested in.

April 9, 2004

Apparently the "don't go there" pricing at any auction has a
very simple explanation: These seem to match the US dollar bill
denominations! "Breaking a twenty" has profound and ingrained
negative vibes. This fact is easily used to your advantage.

April 7, 2004

A reminder that low density polyethylene rods can be used with
an ordinary glue gun. Which is one way to quickly build up a custom
connector, tack a wire to a pc board, fix a bezel, or make a small
light use part.

April 6, 2004

Picked up some really nice huge 225 watt 100 Ohm Ohmite
wirewound rheostat potentiometers and put them in our eBay
. Five inch diameter, 3/8 shaft.

April 5, 2004

For some hilarious revenge against Nigerian Letter scamsters,
check out this link .

April 4, 2004

I've long been fascinated by ultra efficient Class D audio
amplifiers, having published one of the first tutorials on them
back in the February 1966 issue of Electronics World.

Maxim has introduced a new MAX9700 1.2 watt amplifier that
eliminates the need for output filters and has other advantages.
The key secret is a new form of differential PWM that applies
zero load energy in absence of audio. Very cute.

April 3, 2004

Turns out those strange-looking connectors on our Adept
are apparently plain old distributor stock AMP style
CPC, Series 1, Size 17, and readily available at Digi-Key and
similar sources.

One tiny gotcha: The "15" pin connector is really a sixteen pin
one having one pin purposely omitted.

March 29, 2004

Found out a little more about the mystery observatory. It
appears on the topos as "China Peak Observatory" and
apparently was used for geomagnetic rather than astronomical
work. The location seems well away from power lines and similar
magnetic artifacts.

The private airstrip shows up on the usual airnav resources. It is
sometimes mentioned as a waypoint for soaring competitions.

The principal researcher was a highly regarded and well published
U of A geomagnetic specialist. Who also had many geodetic dome
structure patents. And who apparently died in a 1993 plane crash.

March 26, 2004

As we covered here and here, a successful long term eBay
venture DEMANDS sell/buy ratios that are ridiculously higher
than most people would first suspect. I strongly recommend
always seeking out minimum sell/buy ratios of 30:1 or higher.

The sources I've found best for these margins include privatized
military surplus, community college auctions, dot bomb failures,
inventory overstocks, and industrial bankruptcies. My top secret
insider supply sources appear here.

I'd like to expand this to other states and regions, but sponsors
are needed. The one-time $89 cost gets you all your local secret
supply sources and gives you an exclusive link on our Auction Help
website. You can email me for further details.

March 22, 2004

Rearranged and improved our Auction Help library page.

March 18, 2004

There are all sorts of opportunities in Southern Arizona for
amateur astronomers or other interested individuals to gain
personal access time on "real" telescopes.

Simplest is to join the Desert Skygazers which gives you access
to a fully professional twenty inch telescope at Discovery Park.
You can also become a Discovery Park docent which can give you
unlimited access and scope control. Sadly, this particular instrument
is education oriented and has a lot of light pollution.

The second biggie is the Skywatcher's Inn bed and breakfast in
Benson, Arizona. Where you can rent smaller to fairly large scopes
on an overnight basis.

The Tenegra Site near Mount Hopkins offers even more exciting
possibilities. These are fully remote control 24 and 32 inch telescopes
that you can buy time on for $150 per hour. These scopes were the
first to verify Sedna, our newest and tenth planet.

Sedna, of course, is the patron saint of barnacles.

March 17, 2004

There's also that super mysterous and ultra secret observatory
in the Galuiros just east of Rattlesnake Canyon. Extremely hard
to access except by air. Nobody, but nobody talks about this one.

March 15, 2004

Newly uploaded GuruGram #35 as The Saga of the Dripping
. This celebrates the beauty of applied mathematics,
especially long strings of funny numbers. It also summarizes the
timeline of our Magic Sinewave research. Sourcecode is here.

March 13, 2004

We MAY have low cost drivers available for our precision Adept
Robotic Sliders
. Here is the story: Correct (and pricey) drivers are
available directly from Adept. But we also have a pile of Allen
Bradley motor controllers on eBay and our eBay store that apparently
MIGHT be able to drive
the Adept brushless servo motors in use.

These drivers came from the next skid over at the same bankruptcy
that we got the sliders from. That same skid also had various other
Adept items on it. Exactly how you would use a personal computer,
a Basic Stamp, or a DSP chip to interface the encoder and handle
your servo positioning dynamics would be up to you.

While we cannot guarantee compatibility, it sure looks like these will
work just fine with a little development effort. Use at your own risk.
Fifteen day inspection privilege. Buyer pays all shipping.

March 10, 2004

Linear Technology just came out with several chips that will interface
beautifully with our Magic Sinewave Demo Hardware. Their LTC1799
is a resistor-to-frequency converter, while their LTC6903 and 6904 are
serial data to frequency converters. Any of these can conveniently be
used to provide the 10 MHz = 60 Hz clock needed by the demo chips.

March 6, 2004

Here's some interface info for our CCD video cameras we have on
eBay and our eBay store: On those units with a mini-DIN 8 connector,
view the connector at the male pins with the two indents horizontal and low.

Power ground will be the leftmost center pin. Power +4.5 to +7 volts will
be the adjacent pin slightly to the left of center. NTSC video out will be
the upper left pin. Video ground will be the rightmost center pin. The
video and power grounds are apparently separate to minimize hum loops.

On those units with a wall wart connector, these match the Radio Shack
ADAPTAPLUG "B", and measure 4 mm od and 1.7 mm id. Negative ground.

Only the shell and the center pin of the stereo phone plug are used by the
microphone. These are "electret plus fet" style microphones that DEMAND
a positive bias of 3 volts through a 2.2K resistor to the center pin. Be sure
your intended use provides this bias. Two AA cells and a series resistor can
be used for testing. Actual audio should be capacitor coupled.

March 4, 2004

I've got most of our new videoconferencing stuff up on eBay now.
We have bunches of very nice Sharp CCD cameras, Zydacron
Z353 videoconferencing codecs, and older PictureTel cards that
should be eminently hackable for all sorts of video digitizing and
voice over IP uses. Yes, free drivers apparently remain available.

Several styles of CCD camera pinouts are offered, including RCA
phono video, Mini-Din4 female, Mini-Din8 male, and DB15. These
are superb general purpose true NTSC cams suitable for security,
videoconferencing, babysitting, survelliance, or even as a child's
first television studio.

March 2, 2004

Made a dozen minor changes and corrections to our Home Page.

February 29, 2004

The Wayback Machine you'll find at can be
exceptionally useful for finding info on "dark" websites. It also lets
you find specs on out-of-date equipment that is no longer supported.

February 26, 2004

One of the more useful things at your nearby Radio Shack store is a
collection of wall wart plugs. You keep trying these till you find out
which one fits. One source of supercheap wall warts is found at

February 24, 2004

Expanded the coverage in our Refurb Log. Be sure to keep checking
this file for further expansion and updates.

February 23, 2004

Made minor improvements and expansions on our Bargain, Library,
GuruGram, What's New, Map, and Synergetics pages.

February 22, 2004

Just picked up great heaping bunches of Sharp color CCD cameras
and ISDN PictureTel cards from the iPhysician bankruptcy. email me
if you want to get in ahead of the hoarders on these.

February 21, 2004

It is interesting to compare an eBay Selling Sell-Buy ratio against
the equivalent Consignment Fee for the same amount of placement
effort. The formulas are...

      SBR = 100/(100 - COM)    and   COM = 100 - (100/SBR)

Thus a 50 percent commission equals an unacceptably low 2:1 sell/buy
ratio. A 20 percent commission equals a laughingly absurd 1.25:1 SBR.

February 20, 2004

Managed to fully refurb and inventory our remaining Dimpled Chad.
We have five full Votomatic Voting Booths available, three in blue
plastic and two in aluminum. Side privacy panels are intact but may
be quite brittle and MUST be handled with exterme care.

We have thirteen Votomatic Voting Machines only remaining that
are in quite good condition and include the candidate overlay. A
fourteenth machine-only is available without the candidate overlay.

We have fourteen refurbed aluminum case desks remaining that should
be ideal for amateur astronomer or other field data gathering uses.
Nearly all of these include fully working 15 watt fluorescent lamps.

See our eBay Auctions or eBay store for details.

February 19, 2004

In a stunning new technological breakthrough, the symbol "@" has
been added to the Morse Code. This is the first code change since
1926 and consists of superimposed a and C as in dot dash dash dot
dash dot.

February 18, 2004

For years, I've been meaning to create an open ended and
continuing Refurb Log. I'm not quite sure exactly where we are
going with this, but I've just started one as GuruGram #34. It
also now has its own home page link.

Unlike other GuruGrams, the intent is to keep adding new
content "blog style" to the end as new refurb secrets evolve.
So, be sure to recheck this new feature from time to time.

February 17, 2004

We recently opened an eBay store and revamped our main Bargain
accordingly. I've left many of our second- and third-level
Bargain Pages intact as part of a demo of our Galley Slave software.

Please note that the content of these older pages are probably no
longer current, but may still be linked by older files. You may also
hit them directly on a Google search.

February 16, 2004

Added a fourth and smallest "Zipper Style" IGUS cable carrier
links to our eBay Auctions and eBay stores. We are nearly sold
out of the largest three inch size.

February 15, 2004

Please note that the majority of Guru's Lair content is not available
to WebTV users because of its PDF format. Please note further that
~any~ translation of our PDF files into a different format is a violation
of international copyright law that WILL be aggressively enforced.

February 14, 2004

Added new links to our GuruGram Library and our Home Page.

February 13, 2004

We now offer the Votomatic Voting Machines as well as their full
booths. These are a lot smaller, lower in cost, and display better.
These collectibles are in superbly good condition.

February 11, 2004

Further expanded and improved our Onsite Links.

February 10, 2004

Reluctantly added some Patent books to our Book Access page.

February 9, 2004

Just completed a major overhaul and upgrade of our
Patent Avoidance library page.

February 8, 2004

I finally managed to get our Adept Robotic Slider Actuator
inventory posted. We have five styles remaining: A single
rail 330 mm model, two dual rails in 350 and 950 mm active
lengths, and two dual rail heavier duty wider sliders in 800
and 1000 mm active lengths.

More details in our Bargain Pages or our brand new eBay store,
or at our ongoing eBay Auctions.

February 7, 2004

Stephen Wolfram's "Theory of Everything" book is now available
as a free eBook download. I'm not sure I have an opinion on this one.

February 6, 2004

Just uploaded GuruGram #34 which is on Viewing Magic Sinewaves
with SigView
. The sourcecode appears here and additional Magsine
info here, here, here, here, and here.

February 5, 2004

Expanded, overhauled, and updated our Synergetics Library page.

February 4, 2004

The SigView shareware is turning into a VERY interesting tool to
evaluate Magic Sinewaves. Here's how to get started:

1. Download
2. Open Signal in SigView while viewing "all files".
3. Input sample rate as 2499840.
4. Set Spectral Defaults to Hanning and DB-Max.
5. Do the FFT. Takes half a minute or so.
6. Edit Zoom FirstPow2 to 4096.

You should get a classic "spectrum analyzer" display that has
harmonics 2 through 22 at least 75 decibels down.

A reminder that Magic Sinewave Evaluation Chips are now

February 3, 2004

Did a major expansion and upgrade on our Onsite Links on our
Home Page. There's now dozens of new files and new or revised
library pages to reach. Yeah, there's still some really old pages
that need updated, which I'll eventually do as background tasks.

February 2, 2004

February 1, 2004

Note that a typical sound card samples a 60 Hertz Magic Sinewave
only around 400 times per cycle, which is uselessly low. When working
with our new Magic Sinewave demo chips, be sure your measurement
scheme is actually measuring the Magsin characteristics and not its
own sampling or windowing artifacts.

More on this in our latest GuruGram #33.

January 31, 2004

We are in the process of moving our Bargain Pages over to our
brand new eBay store. This should give you faster access, accurate
up-to-date info, easy VISA/MC or Paypal payments, 24/7 fixed
price guaranteed sales, and several buyer protection features.

The difference between an eBay Auction and an eBay Store is
that auctions are competitively bid for a week or 10 days, while
stores offer continuous and fixed price immediate sales. Auction
prices often may end up somewhat lower.

We continue to offer our VISA/MC merchant account, and direct
sales via or (928) 428-4073 are often a day or two
faster. Many of our eBay store items are stocked in large quantities
that may be much cheaper by the lot. email us for details.

I've kept our Galley Slave demo up on our Bargain Page. Note
this is a demo only and does ~not~ offer current inventory.

January 28, 2004

Magic Sinewave eval chips are now available! $19.63 for a three
phase Delta-28 that zeros the first TWENTY TWO harmonics and
does so at the highest possible efficiency. Sourcecode plus an hour
of personal Magsin consulting is $89 extra. A Data Sheet is found
here and you can order here. Seminars and training here.

We'll have these on eBay as well.

January 27, 2004

Just uploaded GuruGram #33 which is on Magic Sinewave Demo
. The sourcecode appears here and aditional Magsine info
here, here, here, and here.

January 24, 2004

Traditional journal publishers still don't seem to be getting it: Abstracts
of ALL papers WILL be freely available on the web without any charges
or registration. With few exceptions, ALL papers over five years old WILL
also be similarly available.

It seems to be getting a lot HARDER to pick up classic papers. Most
libraries have long ago dropped their interlibrary loan services, and
The Information Store seems to have folded. Which leaves UMI and
Global Engineering Documents plus possibly Dialog or Inspec.

Naturally, you should try Google or Questia first.
Obscure stuff can also be found through our InfoPack service.

January 23, 2004

Updated and expanded our Auction Help page.

January 19, 2004

Found at least a temporary stash for the dark Pittsburgh Streetcars
site. Only some of the images seem to still be available. Home page
link has been updated.

January 15, 2004

A reminder about our PostScript Powerpoint Emulation that gives
you all sorts of speed, quality, file size, and web distribution gains.

January 15, 2004

A four channel oscilloscope has newly been added to the
Oshonsoft PIC Assembler and Simulator. Speed seems less
than glacial, but it certainly is a highly useful addition.

January 13, 2004

We finally have LIVE SILICON on our Magic Sinewave chips!
They seem to be working just fine, but there's a few debug
details and some crucial measurements remaining to be done.

First commercial unit will be a three phase delta 28.

January 12, 2004

I've expanded and improved the eBay descriptions and photos
of our superb robotic sliders. These offer incredible precision
for very heavy loads and are outstanding bargains.

Only 38 remain available from the original lot.

January 10, 2004

Maxim has published a Cute Variation on the display
multiplexing we looked at in MUSE152.PDF. In which
they drive EIGHT seven-segment LED displays using
only NINE port lines and NINE interconnects.

January 9, 2004

The saga of the useless PIC Programmers continues. Note that
there is a big time major difference between a 16F628 and a
16F628A. Specifically that the memory protection config bits are
in a wildly different place and follow totally different rules.

The Pocket Programmer II does not yet seem to know the difference.
I can finally at least OTP some flash PIC's now.

January 7, 2004

A reminder about our recently updated Using Distiller as a
General Purpose PostScript Interpreter
. This has been greatly
expanded and improved. And shows you how easy and convenient
it is to use PostScript for general computing today.

January 6, 2004

Expanded and updated our Acrobat, PostScript, and Webmastering
library pages.

January 5, 2004

Please welcome John Bright's Winford Engineering as our newest
banner advertiser. John offers some interesting and useful DB9 and
DB25 breadboarding adaptors along with other fine products.

January 4, 2004

Closed out the 2003 Archive. Started this 2004 What's New?.

January 3, 2004

Just uploaded GuruGram #32 which is a tutorial on Heap Sorts in
general and PostScript Heap sorts in particular. The sourcecode
appears here and a ready-to-run demo utility here.

January 2, 2004

Updated, verified, and expanded our GuruGram library.

December 29, 2003

I am saddened by alternate energy enthusasiasts who continue
to delude themselves. A recent "breakeven in fifteen years!"
gridtie project COMPLETELY IGNORED interest rates and tapped
FOUR outrageous subsidies. One of the subsidies alone would have
been enough to pay their power bills for the entire time. Without even
pissing around with all that ugly junk in their back yard.

In NO WAY was this project even remotely renewable or sustainable.
It was simply a clever but useless scam to rip off tax dollars for no
apparent benefit to anyone. The fifteen year breakeven claim was an
outrageous misinterpretation of real world economics.

Note that the highly touted NET METERING is really a transfer
tax subsidy in disguise. The other utility users pay through the nose
for the avoided cost differential.

More in our Energy Fundamentals tutorial.

December 28, 2003

Just had a publisher who should know better send me some forms
which basically said "We are going to steal your intellectual property.
Sign and return this form so we can do so. If we do not hear from you
in thirty days, we are STILL going to steal your intellectual property."

With, of course, NO WAY WHATSOEVER to provide a negative
response. Not even a specific email address from the sender!

December 27, 2003

I Just received great heaping bunches of medical books from a
military library. Of, by, and for doctors. We'll be putting these up
on eBay one volume at a time, but please email me if you are interested
in an outstanding buy on the lot.

December 26, 2003

Combined our Magic Fill and Vignette routines into a
single NUBKG01.PSL that is faster and more convenient to use.

December 25, 2003

Combined our Swings and Tilts and No White routines into a
single NUTILT01.PSL that is faster and more convenient to use.

December 24, 2003

Just discovered a programming construct called a HEAP. While
a truly wondrous way to efficiently stash data as a binary tree,
its manipulation and overhead seems daunting for everyday use.

A heap is a binary tree of expandable size that fills from the top
down and left to right. Any parent entry is larger than either of
its two children. The largest item is always on the top of the heap.
The heap gets maintained by continual swapping to force this rule.

December 23, 2003

Our PostScript Sorts of December 21st can have their speed
further increased for large n by a factor of six to ten! To do this,
insertion presort into 128x26 bins based on the first TWO string
characters. Since the earlier speed is way more than good enough,
such added complexity only creates low n and resource problems
for most users. Detailed code on request.

This borders on an ancient CONTENT ADDRESSABLE MEMORY
technique that has largely fallen by the wayside.

December 22, 2003

Picked up some vintage Casio PB-700 calculators with unusual
FIN/CAL financial firmware added to them. Now up on eBay.

December 21, 2003

Here's the latest PostScript sort routines: This one is a speed
optimized bubble sort:

/alphabubblesort2 { /curmat1 exch store curmat1
length 1 sub -1 1 {
curmat1 0 get exch 1 exch 1 exch
/posn exch store curmat1 posn get 2 copy lt {exch} if
curmat1 exch posn 1 sub exch put } for curmat1 exch
posn exch put
} for curmat1 } bind store

And here's a bin presorter that gives an extra 12x speedup:

/presort1 {/matmat mark 128 {[]} repeat ] store
stddat { dup 0 get /curint exch store mark exch
curint get aload pop ] matmat exch curint
exch put
} forall mark matmat { dup length 1 ge { dup
length 2 ge {
alphabubblesort2{ }forall} if }{pop} ifelse}
] } bind store

Presently alpha sorts 300 strings in 12 milliseconds! More details
are found in GuruGram #31.

December 17, 2003

Latest GuruGram #31 is on Fast & Efficient PostScript Sorting
. Sourcecode is found here. And actual testfiles here.

December 16, 2003

I have a real buy on a school surplus large Xerox 5680 copier.
First $699 takes it. FOB Thatcher, AZ. Original cost: $39,000.00
Believed fully functional; guaranteed servicible. Quite clean.
Up to 11x17 input, 8-1/2 x 14 output, duplex, staple, resize, etc...
1030 pounds. Liftgate truck or ramped 5x9 U-Haul recommended.

email me for viewing. Or call (928) 428-4073.

December 15, 2003

Discovered the secret to making a bubble sort blindingly fast:
Presorting int K bins can speed you up by up to a factor of K!

December 14, 2003

Here's a minor adjustment to our sort of December 11th.
It gets down into the quarter second range for 400 strings
by eliminating a variable and binding. But making things a
tad more obscure...

/alphabubblesort2 { /curmat1 exch store curmat1
length 1
sub -1 1 {curmat1 0 get exch 1 exch 1 exch
{ /posn exch
store curmat1 posn get 2 copy lt {exch}
curmat1 exch posn 1 sub exch put} for curmat1
exch posn exch put
} for curmat1 } bind store 

While this seems amazingly fast, it is a n^2 type of thingy and
will slow down dramatically for large n. A Review of Sorts is
found here. The "better" sorts I looked at had enough overhead
that they did not seem competitive below several thousand
entries. They also are often highly content sensitive.

Speaking of which, presorting the above into two piles A-K and
L-Z can approach a 4X speedup. As can splitting out all the
popularity 1's from eBay reports . Possibly the 2's as well.

December 13, 2003

eBay may have made some internal changes that trashed some
of their older links. As a result, many of our PDF files may have
incorrect links. We have fixed the website pages, though.

Try This Link instead if you get an eBay link error message.

The hidden message here, of course, is to think twice about
trashing old website links. For you might be causing untold
grief to hundreds or even thousands of other websites and
documents that are trying to link you.

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