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January 1, 2009
                                                                                   deeplink      respond

One of the handier "rules of thumb" that
sometimes apply some of the time and can be
enormously useful is this:

Very often, one percent of what happens
nationally happens in Arizona
. And one percent
of what happens in Arizona happens in the Gila
Valley
.

Thus, roughly, there are 300 million people in
the US, 3 million in AZ, and 30,000 locally.

While not super accurate, this rule can quickly
give you a rough estimate of an amazing variety
of events or tasks.
Where you otherwise may
not have the faintest clue as to scale.

Naturally, the "rule" does not apply to anything
with a regional bias. I suspect Thatcher has
more cotton module fires than Bangor, Maine
does. And that walrus attacks may be rare in
Nebraska.

December 31, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Supporting small electronic parts for eBay
scanning can get tricky. Sometimes simply
grabbing them with needle nose pliers will give
you enough flatness and mass for stability.

You can always take out the pliers with your
image postproc. To get fancy, you could add a
rubber band to the plier handles
. Or actually
use a real hemostat.

The pliers ploy also has some nnobvious uses.
Such as making sure an object is horizontal.
Or showing correctly positioned lettering.

December 30, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Never store carbide in a non-locking carabiner.

December 29, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Expanded and improved our Gilia Hikes library page.

Not sure how many hikes total we will end up with,
but anything beyond 150 is proving difficult. At
least within our guidelines of "mostly easy drives"
from the Greater Bonita-Eden-Sanchez metropolitan
area and in fact a one day project.

BLM is actually working on a pair of new trails,
A Cottonwood Trail to loop the flying "W" with
the watchable wildlife platform and Bonita Creek.
And Arizona's first Water Trail providing a short
intro swimming, kayaking and whitewater route.
These are not quite listable yet.

BTW -- The "Flying W" has nothing to do with
ranch brands. That is the shape of the steel
supporting roof structure on the group picnic site.
And is far beyond instantantly obvious.


Please email me with any suggested further hikes.
No, not that one.

December 28, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Once you have your grazing permit, you do have
have to actually eat the grass.

Such despicable stunts as land stewardship,
allotment retirement, or range improvement are,
of course, specifically forbidden by admin decree.

Your tax dollars at work.

December 27, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Many ranches appear to be for sale on or near
Mount Graham. Some for as little as $45,000.

Only it is not clear to me exactly what you are
buying. Very often, there is no deeded land. The
fences and corrals may need major repairs, the wells
and springs might range from low to dry, and the
tanks and windmills often need major work.

You do, of course, gain the right to steal grass off
of the state or feds with grazing fees whose rates
are utterly, obscenely, and unconscionably low
. And
basically comparable to outright theft. These are
typically only valid for a few months out of the year.

Grazing fees are approaching one tenth of their

admin costs and have recently been slashed.
And half of that is routinely rebated.

What you do with your cows ( the few dozen that are
supportable ) the rest of the year is up to you.

There is, of course, no grass because of the drought.


Thus, the payoff these days on both stock markets is
about the same.

December 26, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

I've been revisiting some of our local indian
ruin sites
. Despite competent researchers,
the Gila Valley has lacked an obvious champion.
Yet its population and influence apparently
were among the highest in the American
Southwest.

The area is confusing to say the least, as
pottery styles represented Hohokam,
Salado, Anasazi, Mongollon, and Mimbres,
among others. Clearly complex trading
routes went through the area.

There were elaborate irrigation systems.
Both from the Gila River and riparian
side canyons. Not to mention many thousands
of water enhancing grids that may have been part of
an elaborate aguave to mescal booze factory.

Or possibly the world's very first paleo Dilbert
cubicals.

Many of the sites have been outrageously
pothunted. Others have been obliterated by
anglo constuction.

Modern agriculture has also  trashed the tops
of many sites. But they may lie pristinely buried,
awaiting subsurface radar techniques for modern
excavations. When all is said and done, plows do
not normally go all that deep.

Some interesting reading appears here, here, and here.
More on our Gila Hikes library page.

December 25, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

I've always wondered why we do not have
more heat pumps for water heating apps.

With low temperature differentials, a heat
pump can be as much as five times more
efficient than electrical resistance heat.

Sadly, as the temperature differential
increases, the COP drops dramatically
.
Breakeven is around a 50 degree differential
and an electrical resistance backup has to be
provided for higher differentials
.

A hot tub or a spa would seem to be an ideal candidate
for a heat pump. With a potential energy savings of
as much as 80 percent. But the available heat pumps
cost something like $3000 custom installed. At a dollar
a day resistance heat costs (10 kw heater for one hour
at ten cents a kilowatt hour ), the energy breakeven
would be something like ten years. Or longer than
a typical spa life
.

It also seems faintly ludicrous to put a $3000 heat pump
on a $2500 hot tub. "Ten dollar horse and forty dollar
saddle" comes to mind.

Still, an integrated heat pump should add no more than
$100 or so to a high volume tub manufacturer. And
might pay for itself quite rapidly.

Meanwhile, there is a new $500 plus installation
heat pump for ordinary hot water heaters
. But it
seems to me this system has a grievious flaw:
Since the air is cooled, the amount of space
heating has to go up during fall, winter, and
spring months.
For an apparent ZERO benefit.

If the air being cooled is outdoors, the efficiency
will often be far lower. And even during air conditioning
season(s), the benefit is not clear, since the hot
water energy may be released into the air conditioned
environment
.

Things are rarely what they seem when it
comes to energy alternatives.

December 24, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

The four "R's" of Arizona politics: Rightwing,
Racist, Reactionary, and Redneck.

In Arizona, a "political moderate" is anyone
who is moderately to the right of Atilla the Hun.

December 23, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Updated and improved our GuruGram library page.

December 22, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Seldom discussed is the fact that a pv energy farm
needs very little water.
Which makes them a near
perfect use
for government and indian lands in
the arid southwest.

If you start doing an economic analysis based
on highest and best use, a case can be made that
any site with adequate water is an inappropriate
location for a pv energy panel.

December 21, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

The rescheduled date for our BLM brown bag
lecture on 150 Gila Day Hikes is Tuesday
January 13th from 12 to 1 pm.

Much of the talk will be based on our Gila
Hikes
library page.

The program is free and you are certainly
welcome to attend. Bring your own lunch or
snack and a drink. Location in Safford is
in the BLM conference room at 711 14th
Avenue. This is the corner of 14th Avenue
and 8th Street.

December 20, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

There seems to be a revival of interest in
wireless power transmission. The bottom
lines remain that most of Tesla was utter
bullshit, and that severe issues are likely
to forever remain with distance, efficiency,
safety, and sensor comm.

There are three probable approaches. The
first is to use inductive coupling via an air core
transformer
. This is the approach used in electric
toothbrushes. The coefficient of magnetic coupling
in air is absurdly low, so distances of even a fraction
of an inch will totally trash efficiency. The amount
of power transferred drops as the fourth or fifth
power of distance beyond a very close in point.

The second approach is to go to a resonant system
similar to a Tesla Coil
. Power levels as high as
60 watts have recently been shown. The coils have
to be physically large and their orientation is
critical. Again, efficiencies are low.

It is interesting to note that there was a well known
but little used resonance phenomen. If you place a
large resonant coil near an am radio, you can dramatically
increase the sensitivity if you tune the coil to the same
frequency as the station being sought. The large size
and awkward tuning largely prevented this from seeing
much popular use.

A third approach is to use a focused beam, similar to
a flashlight or a laser.
The antenna or mirror doing
the focusing has to be many wavelengths larger than
the energy transferred for a minimially divergent beam.
Orientation of the receiver is super critical, for there
will be near zero power outside of the beam.

For even modest amounts of power, there are very real
safety issues with anyone coming near the apparatus.

In addition, because the efficiency is very low, some sort
of two way comm would be needed so that the system is only
active whenever the receiver (such as a laptop or cell phone)
is in need of power.

A practical result may be a foot square plate that you place
a laptop or cellphone or whatever on for recharge. Anything
larger or needing longer distances is likely to remain fictional.

December 19,, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

I was asked what the "next big thing"
will be in high tech. It seems like the time of
year for predictions, so here goes...

   NET ENERGY PV PANELS -- The
   technology and learning curves are now
   finally in place for emergence of photovoltaics
   that are genuinely renewable and sustainable.


  WEB TELEVISION & WEB VIDEO --
  The advantages utterly overwhelm
  traditional cable and over-the-air broadcasts.
  There is no point for either to continue.

  USEFUL eBOOK READERS -- So
  much better than the traditional touch
  and feel of a book that books themselves
  will virtually disappear in an astonishingly
  short time.

  ROUTINE GOLDILOCKS EXOPLANETS --
  First by the dozens, then thousands. Caused
  by ongoing hitech breakthroughs and vastly
  expanded research.

  GYROS AND GPS -- extending to the lowest
  cost, simplest, and least elegant products.

  HD VIDEO AS A WEBSITE NORM --
  Creating a humongous bandwidth crunch
  and seriously impacting the very future of
  the web.

  TOTAL DEMISE OF TRADE JOURNALS -
-
  Along with most other magazines and newspapers.
  The economics are now ludicrous.

  IMPROVED WALL WARTS -- Modules only
  slightly larger than an ordinary ac wall plug and
  standardized "one size fits all" wireless schemes.

  UBIQUIOUS WiFi
-- Free internet access at
  ultra high speeds available nearly everywhere
  all the time.

  CHEAP SYNCHRONOUS INVERTERS --
  Revolutionizing the economics of solar
  electricity. We are talking $9 here, not $2500.
  Including new max power optimization algorithms.

  EYEBALL SIPHONING -- New social web
  services continuing to drain interest in
  classic websites and most everything that
  has gone before.

  DISAPPEARANCE OF MOST CLUBS -- Caused
  by aging membership and easier web access to once
  priviledged information and resources.

  HDTV/MONITOR CONVERGENCE -- Since
  most television and video will be web distributed,
  the utterly abritrary distinctions betwen HDTV
  television sets and larger computer monitors should
  vanish entirely. HDTV's in particular must end
  up with greatly improved web nav.

  CHEAP SANTA CLAUS MACHINES --
  Dramatic price reductions are long overdue in
  three dimensional printers that can produce
  anything from a roast beef sandwich to a new
  girlfriend.

December 18,, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Google Chrome is now out of beta and has gone
mainstream.

Two of its features include a single window for
website access and searching; and blindingly
fast JavaScript
.

Our fast Magic Sinewave Calculators now
appear to be instantaneous for many option
choices.


My own preference is to stick with Firefox
for all general web use and reserve Chrome
when ultra high JavaScript speed is needed.

December 17, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Double Exposure techniques can be enormously
useful during image postproc. Typically, you can
go into Imageview32 or whatever and make a
second file whose image has its gamma, brightness,
or contrast modified. Or has been rotated.

In this example, the meter face is a double exposure
of darkened brightness and raised contrast. The
original was badly burned out. A modest amount
of retouch was also done to improve the appearance.

It is of crucial importance that you get the "blend
points" just right. Typically, a murky gray will
do the job. As few as two or three "wrong" pixels
can trash your final result, so extreme attention
to detail may be called for here.

In this example, the knob tops were much closer to
the scanner than the rest of the front panel and
burned badly. The gamma and brightness were both
reduced. The inner knob ring was hand adjusted
for minimum artifacts.

The individual knobs were knocked out to white
and Paint's "white-as-transparent" mode was then
used to overlay the second exposure.

In this example, the snap and the jack were not
quite vertical on the original scan. Each needed
rotated into a different vertical position. Their exact
position heights were also adjusted so they appear to
create a consistent image.

Normally, both exposures must be at the same
scale.
Watch this detail!

December 16, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Google Maps has just added Gila Valley
street views to their service.

As near as I can tell, the actual mapping
was done in early March of 2008. Judging
by a completed motel, empty cotton fields,
and pecan trees just barely leafing.

Satellite coverage remains much earlier
and some of it is uselessly low resolution.
It sure would be nice if Google included USGS
topo maps
as an overlay option. Most other
topo sources are inconvenient one way or
another. Particularly when panning.

The Google street views seem to be catch as
catch can. Very large areas ( such as northern
and eastern Pennsylvania ) still seem to have
zero coverage.

The way to tell if you have street views of the
present screen is if the "view guy" is orange
( views present ) or white ( views not preseent ).

One immediate use TFD will have for the Thatcher
street views is to improve our sprinkler hookups
training program.

December 15, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

One of our recurring themes around here
is bashing pseudoscience.

Topics have included water powered cars
( an outright scam ), pv panels ( all remain
gasoline destroying net energy sinks ),
Tesla Turbines ( that demand inefficiency to work
at all ), on-board vehicle hydrogen ( a dynamic
brake in disguise ), the magic lamp ( incompetent
rms measurements run amok ), electrolysis
( guaranteed useless by exergy ), corn ethanol
( a worthless twelve billion dollar vote buying scam ),
and Brown's Gas ( bad labwork mixed with unusual
but expected results ), among many others.

There are, of course, other sides to these issues.

Often hosted by few-chips-shy-of-a-full-board
types who may be extreme litigants, paranoid,
nasty trick troublemakers, investors in denial,
just plain stupidly clueless, or worse. While others
may directly confront these types, I go out of my
way to stay "two levels" away from them.

By never directly confronting any of them, never
mounting an ad-hominum attack, and always
trying to present factual and unarguable fundamental
physical law info. That can be independently verified.

Otherwise, you may become what you are attacking.
"They", of course, will never be convinced. The message
should be aimed as education for others who might
get sucked into their ludicrosities .

December 14, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

The controller of choice for ac line operated
dimmers and such is often a triac. Triacs let
you control current in both directions and are
based on a gate pulse turning the main ac current
on and the next ac line zero resetting.


Shock hazards in such circuits are often
minimized by using a "baby" triac optoisolator
for triggering. Such as a MOC3010. These
same devices are ideal for high power ac
interface to a computer or PIC port.

It is important to note that there are two
"flavors" of triac optoisolators - zero
crossing switched
devices that eliminate
transients, glitches, and pops, or non-zero
switched
devices that are essential for lamp
dimmers or other phase controls.


If you are buying a triac based solid state
relay, it is super important to get the right
type ( zero switched or not ) for your use.

But triacs are hard to find in sizes above
25 amperes. Higher current needs will often
call for a pair of back to back Silicon Controlled
Rectifiers
(SCR's) or an equivalent module.

But there is a crucial difference between
back-to-back SCR's and a triac that can
easily cause you grief: The allowable REVERSE
gate voltage on a SCR is often limited to
5 volts or less!


Thus, you should always provide some sort
of external gate protection diode. Or ( better yet )
always guarantee that only forward current
is provided in your gate circuit(s)
. Ready to
use SS relays will often provide this protection
internally. Plain dual SCR modules often do not.

Another rude surprise is that the gate sensitivity
of larger SCR's is often quite low. It is not unusual
for a 100 amp SCR to require 150 ma or more of
gate trigger current.

December 13, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

A critical analysis of where future energy
sources are going to come from appears here.

My own views are that both pv solar and
concentrated solar thermal are near to becoming
cost effective
. And may be within a decade or so
of delivering net energy. Ignoring the staggering
costs of amortizing monumentally stupid subsidies,
of course. It would  seem mostly a matter of
engineering and learning curve economics.

For instance, there is no reason why a synchronous
inverter should cost more than $9.
Let alone $2500.

And that the only reason for corn ethanol enthuasiasm
with its ludicrous conversion efficiency is that the Iowa
primary is earlier than other states. Creating a twelve
billion dollar vote buying scam.

I feel there is an utterly overwhelming advantage
of pv over nuclear -- pv adds zero ( or at most
very little ) new heat energy to the planetary
heat budget. pv solar also does not raise issues
over how the next five Cheyrnobles are
going to turn out.

Besides decommissioning far easier.

December 12, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

It turns out that there really is a patron
saint of lost causes.

December 11, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Received a second community college piece
of test equipment that was suspiciously easy
to repair. This one a power supply with "blows
breaker" written on the cover.

A visual inspection revealed smoke and fire
residue at the 110/220 selector switch.
After
cleaning and testing, the fault apparently
self-cleared and things seem to be working
properly.

Just to be sure, the switch was replaced with
a 110 vac hard wired connection.

"Input overload" conditions in general can be
a bear to work on. As always, start with a
careful visual inspection. Then an ohmmeter
check, remembering that power transformer
primaries are only a few Ohms dc at most.

Next, get a variac. Preferably a fused or circuit
broken one with a current meter. Bring the input
voltage up to just the few volts needed to cause
the current to rise beyond what is reasonably
expected. Then use an oscilloscope to check diode
drops and electrolytic capacitor charging. '

December 10, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

I'm often aseked for my views on copyright,
having long been on both sides of the issue.

Copyright for a corporation should be
strictly limited to eighteen months and
not be nonrenewable.


Copyright for an individual should be
thirty six months and renewable once
after critical review.

The same should go for patents or music
or movies or videos .

December 9 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Test equipment from aerospace auctions tends
to be super clean and well cared for with few
refurb surprises. Mil surplus stuff is almost as
good in that it is either well cared for or obviously
and utterly trashed.

But community college surplus test equipment
can include rude surprises
. There can be intentional
or accidental damage. Either from students or
from incompetent repair attemps. And things may
rarely be what they seem.

The rule here is to
always expect the unexpected.

Breadboarding systems are particularly suspect
because of the ease with which external damaging
voltages and currents can be applied. I got one
of these that had both the +12 and -12 volt supplies
with zero output. And due to a poor design, this also
disabled the internal function generators.

Surprisingly, the regulators checked out OK, but there
was no input voltage to them. Yet the raw dc supplies
worked just fine. Turns out there was a hairline crack
on TWO pc board traces
. Along with a lifted bulge in
a third trace.

Suspecting vandalism, I inserted some 150 ohm resistors
in these traces to safely limit currents if other components
were trashed. Only to observe normal operation. Shorting
the cracks eliminated all problems. Or at least appeared to.

I've reluctantly concluded this was in fact an original
defect
in the pc board manufacture that eventually became
a problem with age or flexing or whatever.

If you were to cut a pc trace during debug, you should,
of course, make the cut wide enough that it is obvious
and cannot inadvertently close by itself.
Neither was
the case here.


The rule is to always assume student vandalism or
incompetent repair attempts
. Then try to prove
yourself wrong.

December 8 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Once again updated and expanded our Gila
Valley Day Hikes
library page.


New additions include Grantham Cave,
Bramahan Cave, Gila River Whitewater,
Tollgate Road, and No Name Tank.

December 7 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

An outfit called Briel Computers now
has replica Apple I computers and Kim I
trainers available. They shortly will also
offer an
Altair clone.

The Kim 1 was by far the finest of all
trainers of all time. We sold out of the
few we were able to obtain. But we
do still have some newer Heath Zenith
ET100
trainers and Apple IIGs computers
offered on eBay.

These remain hard to find and highly
collectible.

December 6 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

It usually pays to completely ignore any
customer who tries to nickel and dime you.

Chances are that, besides costing you time
and money, they will cause you more grief
later on.

We basically have a ten dollar minimum
charge on eBay. Which is around one half
of the normal breakeven sale price.

If you want less than our minimum order
quantities, an $89.95 pissing around surcharge
becomes immediately due.

We use the most appropriate shipping services
and absolutely insist on tracking being avaiilable.
Cheaper services cost much more in the long run.

We gladly combine shipping charges.  And your
best way to reduce them is simply to order more.

December 5 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

We are in the process of updating our
GuruGram Library listings. They should
end up more or less up to date sometime in
the next few days.

December 4 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

We continue to get requests for our water
soluble swimsuits
. Which we long ago sold
out of. After long being the finest eBay
supplier.

The original source was mil surplus water
soluble hospital bags on a one time buy.
The supplier to the miilitary has long ago
also vanished without a trace.

However, these remain readily available
through the usual Google Search. The
key terms to use are PVA and poly vinyl
acetate
. Kiddy slime is a related product.


They are not the greatest Bay item to
sell because they are rather heavy.

December 3 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

This Wall Street Journal article points out that
54% of US car manufacturers do not have any
trouble with sales or production and have not in
any manner requested any bailouts or help.

The bailout appears to be an outrageoust scam
of, by, and for losers who deserve to be flushed.


Such a bailout would severely penalize the winners.

December 2 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

A useful listing of 100 free digital artist web
tools appears here.

I was suprised that my favorite
ImgViewer/32v2.6 was not included.


Our own free image processing tools
are reviewed here.

December 1 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Updated and expanded our Gila Valley
Dayhikes
library page. There's now
over 150 listings.

Tentative date for the BLM brown bag
lecture is thursday January 7th at the
usual BLM conference room at 14th
street and 8th avenue in Safford.

November 30, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

I was asked for my favotire HazMat yarns.
In answer to an ever diminishing number of
requests, here goes...

   The hazmat rule of thumb: Hold your
   thumb up with your arm extended and
   close one eye. If you can still see the
   scene, you are too close.

   The all time "best" hazmat incident:
   The great Boston molasses disaster


   My personal "best" hazmat incident:
  
The great Kentucky Fried Chicken
   gravy explosion. The original 20 gallon
   pot fire was put out simply by placing
   a lid on it. Much later and long after
   we thought the incident was over, we
   were pouring the gravy into a ditch
   in the back yard when it flashed
   spectacularly. Caused by oxygen in
   the air hitting hot buried oil.

  Neatest HazMat training effect:
  
The Christmas Tree that creates a 20 foot
  diameter propane Dante's Inferno. Only
  to reveal spectacular ICE CRYSTALS (!)
  afterwards. The rapidly expanding propane
  freezes out moisture from the air under
  certain humidity and temperature ranges.

  Our best TFD "Golly Gee Mister Science"
  
Our cotton module fires create their own
  oxygen through low grade pyrolysis. And
  require no air to continue. We fight these
  by the "Dentist Method" just like removing
  decay from a tooth. There are two teams,
  the "pluckers" and the "chuckers.

  Our scariest TFD hazmat situation:
  
The HUNDREDS of sulphuric acid tankers
  PER DAY that go through our town. There
  have been spills and fatalities and it is CERTAIN
  to get a lot worse.

November 29, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

I continue to be amazed that it is not
possible to buy a television set!


At least not an economical LCD one in the 32
to 37 inch size that displays all web video
to 1080P.

Besides the outrageous pricing, the
apparent flaw in the Sony Internet Video Link
is that this is a buy-in controlled content service
that only works on the tiniest fraction of
available web video.

November 28, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

There are many conflicting goals beneath
these What's New? blog entries. To the
point where it is enormously difficult to always
have one new entry each and every day.

The obvious main purpose is to keep you
readers coming back for more. A hidden
purpose is to be an outline for future upcoming
work. And to catch any gross errors before they
become locked into a GuruGram or other paper.

I try to have a mix of new developments, energy
and electrocity debunking, humor, news, eBay
stuff, and obscure useful web links elsewhere .


And logicstics make it more attractive to
do three or more entries at once, rather than
single daily ones.


Your comments welcome on how these entries
can be improved.

November 27, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Proponents of local pv power generation
( it ain't EVER happened ) tend to overstate
the amount and the "badness" of power
transmission line losses
.

In reality, these losses are typically around
seven percent. And are an actual asset if
the distant baseload power station is enough
cheaper than local sources.

November 26, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Despite urbanization and Californication,
the sounds of the old southwest remain if
you know when and where to look for them.

The top three would be the 3 am yip yarfing
of coyote pups, the creaking and groaning
of an Aeomotor windmill, and, of course, the
call of the Canyon Wren.

Purists might add the posture clicking of a
Coati Mundi or the rattle of a sidewinder.

November 25, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

One of the ruder surprises of eBay
is that the charges are based on the
total quantity offered rather than on
an individual sale.

Thus, the eBay charges can be outrageous
on high quantity auctions.

Here is how we deal with the problem:
We find the maximum quantity whose total
costs would be $49.99 or less and list them
at auction.

Then we place something like ONLY SEVENTY
FOUR REMAINING!
in the auction description.

Someone who wants them all buys the eBay offer
off eBay and the rest direct.


More on similar topics on our Auction Help page.

November 24, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Sony seems to have an alternate approach
to merging HDTV sets and web video
availability
with their Internet Video Link
accessory
.

This is basically a dedicated personal
computer that accepts a cable input and
outputs to 1080P rather than VGA
video standards.

Other manufacturers are certain to follow
suit.

November 23, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Some recommendations for assertiveness are...

   1. The best way to get something to happen
       is to ask for it.  "Please" is a power word.

   2. The best way to stop something from
       happening is to just say no.

   3. The best way to defuse an awkward
       situation is to tell them how you feel.

   4. Exactly repeating yourself a second
       or third time can be devastatingly
       effective.


   5. Should things prove obtuse after three
       attempts, use ridicule: "I'm sorry about
       your hearing problem".


The best way to tell if your assertiveness
is adequate is if you have just been
arrested for aggravated assult.

November 22, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

The latest entry in the Browser Wars seems to
be Google Chrome. Now freely downloadable
in beta.

Two of its features include a single window for
website access and searching; and blindingly
fast JavaScript
.

Our fast Magic Sinewave Calculators now
appear to be instantaneous for many option
choices.

November 21, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Managed to find a rare General Radio GR
1862B Megohmmeter
that measures as high
as 2,000,000 Megohms (!) for such things as
insulation resistance measurements. Besides
being a classic collectible
.

This is the -B version that retains the original
black alligator livery and includes the
classic old style Weston meter movements.

November 20, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

It is reasonable to ask how much image
postproc is acceptable.
One criteria is
the amount of postproc used in, say, a
Newsweek ad.

But there is a continuium between a gal
using makeup on a date and putting lipstick
on a pig.

Unless you are dealing with a collectible,
the criteria should be: Does the image
clearly show what the object is?
Anything
that sharpens or improves background
should be legit.

As should anything the improves any
artifacts of the photo or scanning process.
Such as more legible lettering or making lighting
more uniform. Or sharpening focus to one
pixel accuracy.

Photography tends to emphasize flaws for
several reasons, so a Take half and leave
half
approach to any defects can often be
appropriate.

It is also reasonable to defer any refurb or
final cleaning until the item is actually sold.
You can remove unwanted labels and such
a lot faster in postproc than you can in
an actual cleaning.
Thus showing the object
as you expect it to be, rather that how it
happens to be now.

My main criteria on postproc is the more
the better.
Consistent with the value of the
object being sold on eBay, the number of
items available, and the expectation of
future inventory.

November 19, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Here is yet another example of how important
image postproc is and what can be done with
it. As in before and after.


Black on black does not make for the best
photo subjects.  Normally, this would be
scanned rather than photographed, but the
ears on the instrument sides made for
a useless three inch depth of field.

The first correction was a tilt adjustment
to make the sides perfectly parallel. A
small portion of background was replicated
for the total fill. The best edge was chosen
and enhanced. Then "chased around" the
entire instrument.

A double exposure was used with the meter
face having increased gamma plus retouching
of the burned out areas. The instrument itself
had its gamma reduced (blacks expanded).
This dramatically improved such things as
the main control knob and brought out the
texture.

But still was too far into the black on the
right side. Some good background was then
cloned left to right to unify the entire front.

A minor amount of lettering retouch was
done. Most of it was "good enough" on
final reduction and sharpening to not
need a total relettering. Although this
image would be a good candidate for
a total reletter if there was more than
one going to be offered on eBay.


Many of our image postproc tools can
be found here.

November 18, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

The latest GuruGram #101 is on A PV
Photovoltaic Panel Intro and Summary
.

It is a "slideshow" type lecture style synopsis
of our earlier Energy Fundamentals and
More Energy Fundamentals papers and was
created with our PostScript PowerPoint
Emulator.


Sourcecode is available here.
And additional GuruGrams here.

November 17, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

One of the "sleeper" calculation techniques
kicking around the outskirts of computerdom is
using spreadsheets for distributed computing.

Here is one third party example.


Someone suggested spreadsheet computing could
also be used to solve the electromagnetic fields
using the rebounding technique of this GuruGram.


While this certainly seems like it would work, you
would lose the stunning graphics capabilities
of working directly in PostScript. Clipping to
areas of interest would also be difficult for
more complex geometries.

Additional GuruGrams are found here.

November 16, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

The ancient oriental art of TI WUN ON consists
of getting totally snockered but always doing so
in a professional and workman like manner.

November 15, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

On one hand, I am saddened by the imminent
demise of the trade journals. On the other,
their author payment has been obscenely low for
years and their technical content has become
abysmally bad. As has their telephone harassment.

Journals I still follow include Electronic Design,
Machine Design, E.E.Times, LED Journal,
Battery Power Products, Sensors, EDN, and
Machine Design.

I don't expect any of these to be around in a
few months.

November 14, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

One of the curious hassles of eBay selling
is that complaints and problems are inversely
proportional to the cube of the selling price.


Thus, you will have far more problems with
$9 sales than $900 ones. A good strategy
is to never sell anything for less than $49.

November 13, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Several local auctioneers seem to be
reverting to sealed bid sales. These
have their own sets of gotchas and
opportunities.

At least one surplus source is a
stickler for exact conformance with
what gets sent in how. They seem to
delight is voiding submitted bids.

A preview is far more important with
a sealed bid. Which might mean you
need two trips to a distant town to
participate.

Chances are your final prices on any
in-demand item will be much higher.
Which means you should bid higher
to compete. And that you will win
fewer items and pay more for them.


Sealed bid sales often may attract
far fewer bidders. One useful ploy is
to ridiculously lowball bid everything
you could possibly make use of.

Chances are good that you will be
the only bidder on at least a few items.

November 12, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

The latest GuruGram #100 is on An Energy
Fundamentals Intro and Summary
.

It is a "slideshow" type lecture style synopsis
of our earlier Energy Fundamentals and
More Energy Fundamentals papers and was
created with our PostScript PowerPoint
Emulator.


Sourcecode is available here.
And additional GuruGrams here.

November 11, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

We are flushing some of our eBay items that
have been very slow selling and have offered
them for one time ultra low prices.

Any of the closeouts remaining will end up on
the Alvin Pile.

November 10, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

There seem to be several annoyances
from CBS and others on our new Video
Downloads
links.

The first of these is to drop (or omit)
the full episodes in favor of confusing
and uselessly annoying clips. The point
in this totally eludes me.


And the second, of course, is leaving a
giant pickle on the screen after the
ad
that you have to manually remove
if you want to watch the rest of the show.

No, I am not making this up.

November 9, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Slashdot recently had a review of places to
go to get the mechanical stuff for projects.

We did an ancient review on a similar topic
here. Start on page 37.

Obviously, these days, you start with eBay
followed up by online suppliers found thru
Google.

Being on a first paw basis with your local
junkyard dog remains important. Share
an occasional bowl of Purina together and
discuss the aerobic exercise potential
of Felis Domesticus. A decent local
hardware store is also of major value.

Sources I routinely use and find extremely
useful include McMaster-Carr and Small
Parts
. Plus W.W.Grainger for all things
electric.

Sadly, many brick-and-mortar surplus
outfits are failing or pricing themselves
way out of the market. I still find Apache
Reclamation and Surplus
useful, though.

November 8, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

It is reasonable to expect any seller's eBay sales
to
drop sharply in the near future. First and
foremost because there are likely to be fewer
buyers. Secondly because competitors will likely
be expanding their store offerings. And thirdly
because there are likely to be scads of new
sellers.

Some defenses might include...

     DOUBLE STORE LISTINGS - The
     more you list, the more you sell.

     FLUSH THE LOSERS - Get rid of
     anything that is not going to sell
     anyway.

    IMPROVE DESCRIPTIONS - Make
    sure your ad copy is accurate and what
    you sell stays sold.

    CLEAN UP YOUR ACT - Use time gained
    on less packing and shipping to improve
    inventory control and make your operation
    more efficient.

    FOCUS ON PERSONAL VALUE ADDED-
    Do what you do do best. Offer items for
    which you have unique personal expertise.

   LET YOUR INVENTORY DROP - To
   the point where you are nearly supply limited.

   OPTIMIZE STORAGE - Try to dramatically
   slash your total long term storage costs.

   DON'T BUY UNLESS - You see unusual
   opportunities that clearly can give you a
   30:1 sell buy ratio edge. The grab them
   agressively.

November 7, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

A toned down version of Debby Does Dallas
is newly available as Doris Does Des Moines.

November 6, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

The price of oil has dropped 3:1 to its 2004
levels.

The price of copper has dropped 3:1 to its
2005 levels.


The latter totally demolishing our local economy.

November 5, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

I'm often asked why I no longer publish
electronic construction projects.

Two short form answers are that the
college cancelled the electronics program
because the football team needed the money.

And that, not only can nobody solder anymore,
ROHS has often made soldering illegal.

Very simply, there is near zero demand,
the risks are too high, and the rewards
waaay too low.
I do have several construction
projects available; they have not remotely
begun to justify the time and energy that
went into them.

There is some electronic construction
interest remaining that is covered by
Circuit Cellar and Make magazines.

Plus the bizarre Steampunk movement.
And some Retro Vacuum Tube stuff.

November 4, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Tentative plans are to do a BLM Brown Bag
lunch lecture on 150 Gila Day Hikes in late
January and a Discovery Park lecture on
Energy Fundamentals in early February.

Both are open to the public and free. You are
invited to intend. More details whenever.

November 3, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Sometimes less is more. We bought into an
apparent disaster with a huge instrument that
was broken, outrageously heavy, and three
generations out of date.

You could not really call it a white elephant
since it was a perfectly normal gray elephant
size and color and weight.

Turns out there was a quarter ounce of diamond
tooling included that was readily sellable to
bail out all costs. And some nondescript accessories
related to toolholders easily and profitably sold that
worked just fine with the newer models.

About five percent of the unit was profitably sold.
The rest was simply scrapped.

November 2, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

The secret to home energy management is to
measure and evaluate your incoming power.

I've long proposed an ISOPOD solution that
snaps onto your incoming power line and wirelessly
reports your ongoing energy consumption.

Trouble is that I don't have these for sale. And
there are safety issues even when clamping an
insulated ball onto an insulated wire.

An intriguing possibility is to point a wireless
video camera at your power meter.
This is totally
legal and easily done. Some special image recognizing
software would have to be added to extract the
actual energy use.

November 1, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

If there is one thing I cannot stand, it is
intolerance.

October 31, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

I'm not too sure what to do about my Incredible
Secret Money Machine
. We sold out long ago,
but copies remain available on Amazon and
elsewhere. Some for outrageous prices.

The book did define an era of small scale home
entrepreneuship. But was pre computer and
pre web, so it is now laughingly out of date.

This was from the time when magazines threw
unlimited big bucks at just about any author.

And zillions of electronic hobbiests would buy
most anything in the way of a do-it-yourself kit.

And when owning access to a font was
a big deal.
Fixed point size, of course. And
rarely could you afford more than two. And
when it was unthinkable for a degreed
engineer to frelance.

Chances are I'll make the ISMM freely
accessible on my website. Once I get
the Adobe CLEARSCAN working properly.

October 30, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

There is not yet a total solution to scanning old
books, but Adobe Acrobat 9 has apparently made
a giant step in the right direction.


What is ultimately needed is something that scans
book pages, analyzes to OCR style ASCII, and
then does a new layout that accurately approximates
the original font. Sans typos, glitches, and unrecognizables.
And with minimal file sizes. And character shape editable.

Acrobat 9's CLEARSCAN process does the scanning and
replacement, but leaves the unrecognizables as bitmaps
File sizes are smaller but nowhere near a pure text solution.
And the final fonts are improved but not optimal.

I can't seem to be able to get it to fix the unrecognizables
or let me tweak the font to improve its appearance. I
suspect an upgrade or two will finally give us a really
great way to capture pre-electronic books.

October 29, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Two interesting and potentially useful
online book resources are
http://openlibrary.org/
and
http://www.librarything.com/.

The former attempts to create one web page
for each and every book ever printed. It then
gives you paid or free access per availability.

Librarything lets you post your own books to
find others of sinilar interest.

October 28, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Science Magazine for October 24, 2008
vol 322 page 539-540 has an interesting
new topic that should make a great student
paper or be useful for fascinating future
research.

Titled Putting Electrowetting to Work.

Electrowetting is a nanotechnology effect
where an electric field can make a surface
wettable or nonwettable. As in hydrophobic
or hydrophillic. Important new uses are
liquid lenses for digital cameras and microsample
sized chemical analysis instruments.

Some other student paper ideas appear here.

October 27, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

It pays to cast as wide a net as you can
when searching for auction opportunities.

And not skipping the stuff that only rarely
pays off. Ferinstance, Craig's List recently
included a rare test equipment estate sale.
Which was findable on an "oscilloscope"
search.
But which I missed by two days
because I had not checked for a week or so.

Some auction houses have outstanding
but very rare local auctions. Stopal in
particular has been a superb performer
for me. Especially with "contents of room"
and "contents of shelves" offers.

And second tier auctioneers with rare
offerings can end up outstanding sources.
Especially if they underpromote or are
simply clearing a building for a disgruntled
owner. Arizona Auctioneers has been most
useful to me for second tier offerings.

Auctioneers only "slightly" too far away can
also prove of occasional use. Such as
Dickerson in New Mexico, Mangold in
Wickenburg, Haynie in Snowflake, or
Harris in Prescott.

Much more in our Auction Help library page.

October 26, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

First impressions can be super important,
and the tiniest miscue can cause you grief.

Ferinstance, there is a local restaurant
that for years had (and still has) a super
sharp front door handle. Grab it and you
worry about getting cut.

Making the first contact experience
overwhelmingly negative.

October 25, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Revised and improved our Arizona Auction
Resources
library page. A guided tour is
available here and your own custom local
auction finder here.

October 24, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Some sources for free online USGS topo maps
and similar include...

           http://mapper.acme.com/
           http://terraserver-usa.com/

           http://maps.google.com/
           http://www.digital-topo-maps.com/
           http://mapserver.maptech.com/homepage/index.cfm

October 23, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

An improved copy of my very first technical
paper has been uploaded here.

October 22, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Since day one, my idea of the "norm" for a
technical paper has been 3000 words and five
figures
. Less than this did not seem enough to
do the job, and more exceeded both reader
attention span and the outrageous costs of
editorial magazine space.

The web demands much shorter stories and it
can be a real challenge to try and say the same thing
in 300 words as once took 3000. See our
GuruGram #100 for an example that uses our
PostScript PowerPoint Emulator.

I guess a key secret to web communication is to try
and think like a cartoonist rather than a tech writer.

October 21, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

An impressive but possibly overstated breakthrough
in solar panel technology can be found here.

A new nanotechnology coating allows nearly all of
the incoming energy to stay inside of the substrate.
Apparently it works by successive bending of incoming
energy towards the norm.

A typical silicon panel might go from 67 percent
absorbtion or retention to 97 percent.

But note that this does NOT do anything for the
tracking angle. If the energy comes in at a 30
degree slope, it will still only have half the density.

All (!) that happens is that much less gets reflected
and much more absorbed.

October 20, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

An interesting map of nationwide gas prices
appears here.

As the price of gas went up, the amount bought
went down. Surprise. Surpricse. Or at least
it seemed to me where traffic into both
Phoenix and Tucson seemed to nosedive.

Meanwhile, the total trashing of the economy
probably prevents any increase in gas purchases
as the price goes down.

October 19, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Karl Schmidt of Transtronics has created
a new web page with images of radial and axial
capacitors on them.

Once again, radial electrolytics are extremely
rare. But a lot of users seem to be confusing these
with the single ended axial style.


Apparently there is a dead-wrong Wiki Answers
post that is causing much of the problem.

Once again, radial capacitors have their leads
going out in a radial direction. Axial capacitors
have their leads going out along their axis.
They may go out the axis in one or two directions.

Per any 1929 electronics book.

October 18, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Sometimes the simpliest "Duh" changes
in policy or the cheapest modifications can
make a dramatic difference in how things
get done or how much hassle they involve.


Always putting your reading glasses to the
right of the regular ones makes them easier
to find in the dark. A simple Velcro strap
prevents a cushion from forever jamming a
seatbelt latch. Extra hooks on the back of
a door or the side of a cabinet can significantly
reduce clutter.

October 17, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Apparently the enormously useful Verify
Web Links in Documen
t of Acrobat 7 has been
flushed in Acrobat 8 and Acrobat 9.

It seems to have been replaced by a more
versatile but klutzier
Web Capture --> View
Web Links.
This simply gives you a page by
page list of live links to check.

Considerably more effort seems to be needed
to get a list of all broken links in a document.
Hopefully the old code can be made available
as a plugin.

October 16, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Any time you have a reasonably popular web
site, it is super important not to change its url
without keeping a redirect on anything earlier.


For doing so will cause grief for hundreds or
even thousands of other web sites that have
linked you.

Apparently Dilbert just changed syndicators
and failed to preserve their old links. Thus
trashing access from thousands of websites.
We have added the new link to our home page.

Btw, the Dilbert videos are available here.
October 15, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond
She said "I'll give you exactly three hours
and forty two minutes to STOP THAT!"

October 14, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

The way you tell an extroverted engineer
is that they stare at your shoes rather than
their own.

October 13, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Just made the amazing discovery that it is
not possible to buy a HDTV set at any price
!


A useful HDTV would be in the 32 to 36 inch
size and have a minimum VGA resolution of
1280 pixels horizontally for web based tv
downloads. It would, of course have to include
a wireless keyboard and mouse with a minimum
of a 30 foot range to reach the receiving
computer.

Or have Firefox built in.


It would also have direct Netflix download
capability. The ability to receive on-the-air
broadcasts, of course, is totally useless.

Nobody, but nobody will sit still anymore
for a program that they cannot start when
they want, pause, fast forward, and rewind.


With all episodes instantly available.

October 12, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Some day I will reveal my secret Fire
Lookout's recipe for boiled can.

The key secret is the 24 hour prep time
as the can should be boiled in yesterday's
dishwater.

October 11, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

We are STILL getting complaints from individuals
who cannot tell the difference between a radial
and an axial capacitor. How or why this continues
to happen is an utter mystery.

As any 1929 radio book will tell you, an axial
capacitor has its leads coming -- of all places --
out the AXIS of the capacitor. Two popular
styles of axial capacitor are the DOUBLE
ENDED
axial where one lead comes out
each end, and the SINGLE ENDED axial
where a pair of leads comes out one end
for printed circuit thru-hole mounting.

A radial capacitor has its leads coming
out the radius of the cylinder. While common
in film capacitors used for thru-hole mounting,
radial electrolytic capacitors are quite rare.

We continue to check our listings for typos,
but this profound misinformation seems to
be coming from elsewhere.

October 10, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Welcome to hell. Here is your accordian.

October 9, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Another new source of free technical
and scholarly papers is http://www.arXiv.org.


They are now up to half a million papers
online.

October 8, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

It can be enormously difficult it is to properly
measure the power and efficiency of pulse waveforms.

It is trivially easy to grossly understate
the power and efficiency of these waveforms.


Any older meter is GUARANTEED to
read wrong, since it will be averaging
rather than RMS. The newest of
available lower cost meters are now
full RMS, but they still have strict
crest factor and bandwidth limits that
will still cause you grief.

While there are some new power meter
chips from Analog Devices and others,
you have to be very careful in how
and where you use these if you are
to get accurate and believable results.

A possible solution lies by using a pair
of identical high speed A/D converters

that are synchronously sampled. The
trick is to simultaneously measure the
voltage and current, go digital, and then
multiply the two together.


No analog solution can properly deal
with high crest factors.


Surprisingly high speeds are needed for
useful results. If you have a one millisecond
pulse you are measuring, a 100 microsecond
sample rate can only give you ten percent
accuracy at best. 10 microseconds can approach
one percent accuracy.

A 100 kHz, 14 bit A/D pair would be recommended
as a minimum. This could be build up from scratch
or should be available as part of commercial
lab data acquisition programs.

October 7, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Few people seem to realize how earth-shatteringly
profound the IPTV format of distributing television
shows and videos is about to become.

You can sample these using the gray VIDEO DOWNLOADS
links on our home page. Or go to any of thousands of
other places on the web.

You now can start ANY tv program of ANY age anytime you
like, run it as long as you like, fast forward, rewind, pause and
hold, and otherwise be in total and absolute control of what you
are watching. All fast approaching HDTV quality and ( at
least temporarily ) with tolerably short and reasonable
commercials.

And all free.

What possible point could there be remaining for broadcast
network tv? For local theaters? For Blockbuster and other
video rental firms? For DVD's? Or (sadly) for Netflix?

And guess what is going to happen to web bandwidth
demands as the average web page shifts from a few
hundred text bytes to gigabytes of full HDTV?

October 6, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

>Clubs in general seem to be on the wane.

Memberships in some are sharply down,
while the average age in others is
dramatically increasing.

Obvious examples are ham radio now
being a ludicrous geriatric parody of its
one time greatness. Or at least some
caving clubs now having many older members
than newer. Or organizations like the AAUW
struggling for members in smaller rural
communities. Or the dramatic drop in the
number of computer clubs. Or in activities
such as model railroading.

The only clubs that appear to be bucking
the trend are the busywork ones in retirement
communities.

The web is somehow the blame, with
eyeball siphoning to immediate virtual activities
combined with instant access to information
whose value itself has dramatically declined.

October 5, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Adobe Acrobat 9 has made dramatic advances
in the old problem of converting scanned text into
searchible and compact
stroke defined fonts.

Trouble is that either it is not working or that
I cannot get it to work.


What is supposted to happen with their new
CLEARSCAN process is that a new font gets
created that looks pretty much like the original.
Meaning that any missed or misinterpreted
characters will still look about the same.

Sure enough, you get serchible text and a
stroke defined font. But they refuse to identify
the misidentified words. And there seems to be
no way to "improve" their created font for
bettter legibility and less rattiness.

Ferinstance, any character breaks could be
filled in on a substitute font for greatly improved
legibility. But they will not let you edit or substitute
the new font they created!
There also seems to
be several possible letter shapes for a given
recognized character. Yet the text search seems
to work.

I suspect part of this is a bug that they will
repair in a future release. Meanwhile, they
are only part way solved on the "scan and
improve" old text problem

So far, I have not gotten very far with print to
disk as a sledgehammer cure.

October 4, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Bad times create a dilemma: Do you tightly focus
on your own personal value added, aggressively
minimizing inventory and ruthlessly getting rid of
anything long unattended? Putting your energy where
it will do the most good?


Or do you make lowball bids on everything in sight
at a penny on the dollar or less, scooping up incredible
( but possibly utterly unmarketable ) bargains?
Spreading
yourself thin on stuff you are no good at?

October 3, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Several alarming signs that all is not well:
UPS locally has sharply cut back on employees
and employee hours.
Because nobody is
shipping anything.

Many local restaurants have also cut back
hours, and it is now difficult to find Sunday food.

Several local auctions were cancelled mid show
( legally or otherwise ) owing to low bids and
lack of interest.

Local construction has been cut waaay back
with many projects literally stalled in their tracks.
New houses are selling at $120,000 discounts.

Our latest Craig's List property ad relisting only
pulled a third of its linkthroughs during its first
few days.

There is no reason to expect eBay to be the
exception ( per "pawn shops do good during
bad times"
). So far, our own sales have
slightly increased, but I do not expect this
to continue.

October 2, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

A millstone has been passed with the
1000th download on Wesrch .

Critical mass for Wesrch remains at
50,000 papers stashed. But there is
hope, considering its build rate.

Sites such as this one are the way that
research papers are gonna be presented
in the future. Working around the death
wish of all the major scholarly pubs.

One more time: ALL papers over three
years old should be instantly and freely
available without charge or restriction.

October 1, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Here is a more or less independent verification
of our Magic Sinewave spectra done using
Sigview Math rather than our own.

We start with this data file, which is an ASCII
representation of fifteen cycles of an 0.53
amplitude original sequence n=8 magic sinewave.

Enter this file into Sigview by selecting import raw
binary, 8 bit unsigned, and 2,499,840 samples per
second.
A display of fifteen square waves should
appear. Magic sinewave details can be temporarily
viewed by zooming by 65536 cycles. Be sure to
unzoom before continuing.

Set the Sigview defaults to subtract mean and remove
linear trend.
Use a Blackman window and smooth
to Blackman 5. Temporarily select a linear display.
Do a FFT and zoom to 1024. A Magic sinewave
should appear with its fundamental, and zero even
or odd harmonics to the 30th. The 31st and 33rd
harmonics should be fairly strong.

While the linear display is impressive, the log display
is far more useful.
Switching to it and rerunning the
FFT should show all of the intermediate odd harmonics
at least 65 decibels below the fundamental.

This is an original magic sinewave, so you can
zero out two more harmonics
simply by going to
a best efficiency type instead. The data has been
quantized to allow a 10 MHz PIC on 60 Hertz.

A "shake the box" jittering of the quantized
data should reduce the unwanted low harmonics
by another two to ten decibels.
Further reduction
can be done by increasing the samples per cycle
and the PIC clock rate.

I'll try to work up a tour and more details as
as upcoming GuruGram.

September 30, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

I'm not all that convinced that the all electric
car enthusasiasts have really thought things
out very well...


    FAST CHARGING - is well beyond any
    home installation and most utility distribution
    capabilities.
Without staggering new costs.

   BATTERY EXCHANGE SERVICES - would
   triple or quadruple the de-facto vehicle
   battery costs.

   CERTAIN URBAN AREAS - ( Phoenix in
   particular ) have their entire economy based
   on vehicles with at least a 150 mile range.

  AIR CONDITIONING OR HEATERS - are
  absolutely essential in many areas of the
  country.

  ON BOARD PV PANELS - make absolutely
  zero sense. They might add enough energy
  for the power mirrors provided you did not
  adjust them very often. IF the air conditioning
  losses of sitting in the sun did not offset any
  possible gain at all.

  EXERGY CONSIDERATIONS - tell us you
  should start with anything but ultra high value
  grid, wind, or pv electricity. Destruction of
  energy quality during charging and maint
  and amortization is inherent.

  MANY MOUNTAIN WEST AREAS - could
  create a catastrophy on a remote dead battery.

  NIGHT DRIVING - considerations are not
  trivial. Some headlights consume 200 watts
  or more.

More energy fundamentals here and here.

September 29, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Sometimes starting with the answer and working your
way backwards
can dramatically simplify a problem.

This week's NUMB3RS math puzzler asks you to take
a 7 liter bottle, an 11 liter bottle, and all the water you want
to deliver 2 liters of water.

Working backwards, the 2 liters has to come from 6 liters
stored. The 6 liters has to come from 10 liters stored.
The 10 liters has to come from 3 liters stored. Bingo.

Not sure what their parallegram thingy is all about.
It might be equally cute.


Actually, two liters is a fairly easy solution. 2 begats 9.
9 begats 5. 5 begats 1. 1 begats 8. 3 and 4 are trivial.

September 28, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Just did an upgrade to Acrobat 9 Pro. There were a
few surprises. The cheapest upgrades are via
educational software, providing you can submit a pay
stub or a student id.

A pleasant surprise is that many hundreds of top quality
fonts are now included
. But that some older fonts may
vanish without a trace, per the details we looked at here.

The big recent gotcha, of course, is that the ability to read
and write most host files has been locked out as a default.

To use our Gonzo Utilities or otherwise write PostScript
code that can read or write any host file under Windows XP,
run distiller from the command line using

                             Acrodist -F

Then drag or drop your PostScript code into any open Distiller
window on the desktop.

 

There do not seem to be any new surprises with the Distiller
Params
or PDFMark operators. By clicking on the help
box in disiller, you can access the current Distiller Params
or PDFMark operators.

But here is how to view them on your own...

          currentdistillerparams
          {exch == == (\n\n) print flush} forall

         1183615869 internaldict begin
         pdfmarkInternalDict { {== ==} forall } superexec


And a review of how to do transparency in raw PostScript
is found here.

September 27, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Shortly after World War II, our sun became a radio
star with the start of commercial tv broadcasting.

Captain Video, Roller Derby, and Kukla, Fran & Ollie
became our goodwill ambassadors to outer space.

These signals have now gone out some sixty years, yet
remain at levels more or less detectable with our current
state of the art technology. Now approaching a full MILLION or
so CUBIC LIGHT YEARS of space. In which there are
likely to be at least a few candidate intelligent life systems.

Assume you are a junior level intern on Alderon VII monitoring
surprisingly structured vhf changes in a new minor radio star in
an obscure second rate arm of the Milky Way galaxy. As tends
to happen with astronomical observations, very rarely exceptional
viewing conditions may briefly result.

And you receive a lucidly clear ten second video clip of -- Roller Derby --
as the sum total of the knowledge of our civilization.

What report, if any, would you file with your supervisor?


How much would you say civilization has progressed meanwhile?

September 26, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

It is very easy to have your favorite fonts disappear
forever on any rebuild or update to Adobe Acrobat.

Some of the causes include...

   Dis-Installing an earlier version, especially
   on an Acrobat 9 from Acrobat 8 upgrade.


   Having your fonts on a folder whose access
   is blocked by security features on 8.1 or
   higher.


   Having a font folder within a folder.
  
   Having more than one user on the computer.

First, note that Acrobat Distiller on Acrobat
versions above 8.1 will only read or write
certain computer files.
This was done as
a security precaution. If you want to read or
write from any file under Windows XP,
run distiller from the command line using

                      Acrodist -F

Then drag or drop your PostScript code into
any open Distiller window on the desktop.

The same restriction apparently prevents
you from defining certain files as font sources.


The safest place to put your favorite fonts
appears to be C:\Program Files\Common Files\
Adobe\Fonts.


Be sure your actual font files are "loose" in this
folder and not buried further in any subfolders.

Also, font locations may not get picked up until
after the next XP cold reboot. So always restart.

And ALWAYS keep CD or flash backup copies
of all of your favorite fonts.

September 25, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

A reminder that we have a new library page
on Gila Valley Day Hikes.

Most of these are an hour's drive or less from
the Greater Bonita-Eden-Sanchez metropolitan
area.

September 24, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Just got yet another email from an individual
who was going to revolutionize wind power once
they got a patent on their possibly overunity and
paranoid secrecy concept.  All they needed was
millions of dollars for development.

They had no simulations or computer models of
course. Nor any small scale feasibility demos.

My guess here is that we have yet another fatally
flawed attempt at a nonsolution to a nonproblem.

It should go without saying that an industry outsider
will not have a snowballs chance in hell of getting their
concept accepted.


First and foremost, because their idea is almost certainly
totally worthless. But secondarily just BECAUSE thay
are in fact an outsider.

Patents, of course, are utterly and totally useless
for individuals and small scale startups. In that
they are GUARANTEED to result in a net loss
of time, energy, money, and sanity. Per these
details.


IF your concept has value, the first thing you
should do is have it independently reviewed
by industry insiders. Chances are that there
are fundamental gotchas that have caused
your idea to have been dismissed long ago.


We do offer concept evaluation services,
but we will not do so on a secrecy or NDA
basis. Because secrecy GUARANTEES
worthlessness.

September 23, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Still getting a bunch of eBay questions on whether
pushbuttons are momentary or not. Virtually all
ordinary pushbuttons are momentary contact, meaning
that they are active when you push on them and return
to their initial state on release.


A class of special pushbuttons called "alternate action
pushbuttons"
is available that work in a "push on- push
off" manner, sort of like a ball point pen. But these are
rare and expensive. Especially in smaller sizes.

It is however, quite easy to convert an ordinary pushbutton
into an alternate action one simply by adding two CMOS
inverters, two resistors, and a capacitor. Per the details found
in figure 56.1 of this link .


Many similar circuits in my CMOS Cookbook.

September 22, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Free video or not, I continue to be utterly appaled
at the quality of traditional network tv offerings.

The demise of "Las Vegas" has cut the number of
watchable network tv programs by 50 percent
, since
there is now only one left.

I tried watching the pilot for "Fringe". This one gives
new depth of meaning to "mesmerizingly awful". Now,
I am much in favor of hiring the handicapped and having
remedial video special ed classes. But I cannot believe
they did this one on purpose Surely they did not pay for it.

Mewanwhile, we now have " The Mentalist". Which stole
the concept, plot, and subplot from "Monk". While, of
course, totally trashing the humor and the watchability.

And the latest internationally popular video game show
seems to be based entirely on people smashing their
heads against a wall. No, I am not making this up.

But I can hardly wait for the next episode of CSI
Gila Bend.

September 21, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Expanded our "free video links" download
section on our home page. The number of sites
offering extensive video downloads is now expanding
faster than we can add them.

Which should have dire effects on video rental
stores and theaters who have not upgraded to
full digital.

Please email me with your new favorites.

September 20, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Just got yet another email from a clueless
epsilon minus about to get sucked in on a
"Browns Gas" vehicle electrolysizer.

One more time kiddies: Without exception,
these are a DYNAMIC BRAKE that will cause
the vehicle to come to a stop in less than its
normal coasting distance.
They are EXACTLY
the same as driving around with your emergency
brake partially set.

Every 200 watts at the alternator costs you two
miles per gallon in reduced fuel economy.
No
conceivable gain of an electrolysizer can ever
hope to overcome such a staggering loss.

Very simply, before the usual monumentally stupid
mistakes are made, the numbers do not add up by
a country mile.

After the usual monumentally stupid mistakes are
made ( such as using a fanbelt or stainless steel ),
the numbers become ludicrously and laughingly absurd.

A more detailed analysis here.

September 19, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Usually credited to Mark Twain but really from
Josh Billings, an often better humorist:

"I've never known an auctioneer to lie. Unless
it was absolutely convenient."

September 18, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

There always seems to be some confusion between
Wordpad and Notepad. Both are simple text editors and
both are nearly perfect for programming in raw
P
ostScript using my Gonzo utilities.

Wordpad did let you have more than one font per
raw document.
Notepad was something of a stepchild
in that it had a serious 64K total size limit. This limit
has long been removed and Notepad now works just fine
for most any general purpose editing.

September 17, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

A reminder I'll be doing a Mount Graham Tramway
lecture at Discovery Park this Saturday September 20th
at 6:30 PM.

September 16, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Rebuilding a computer system from the ground up can
be a monumental pain, but it is sometimes the only
solution for extreme registry, stability, and blowup
problems.

BE ABSOLUTELY SURE YOU SAVE ALL OF
YOUR WORK FILES TO CD or Flash drive BEFORE
ATTEMPTING ANY REBUILD!


And don't forget the nonobvious hidden stuff. Such
as your sigfile from your email program, your address
book, and all of your Adobe fonts. The easiest way to
capture the later is to get into Disiller, then Settings,
then view Font Locations. This should give you a list
of what you want to keep.

I've just gone through a rebuild and thought I'd
review some of the maddeningly infuriating details
as well as go over what software I personally use why.


Much of my work is based on using raw PostScript
and my Gonzo Utilities along with custom written
and hand crafted code. Works for me.

Just reinstalling XP did not work for several reasons,
and my only XP upgrade refused to recognize HP Pavillion
recovery disks! So I started with a fresh OEM version of
Windows XP. Vista, of course, is only for Edsel owners.

It is very easy to trash the serial number on the OEM
software, so be sure to reseal everything when you are
finished.

The first order of business on a rebuild is replacing
their hideous screens with the blue "none". Useful and
crucial shortcuts to XP iteslf should next be added. I
use Paint extensively, so this was my first addition.
Followed by Wordpad and Notepad. Shortcuts to C: and
D: are easiest added by starting with a shortcut to something
else and then editing the destination.

Naturally, you IMMEDIATELY open up all hidden files so
you can view them. I overwhelmingly prefer a "bare metal"
approach to computer programming.

A Control Panel shortcut requires some sneaky tricks: You
have to go to the Folder Options and chose the hidden
"Show Contol Planel in My Computer". The System shortcut
is easily done by creating it out of the Control Panel.

Once you have all of your needed shortcuts in place, you
can then replace all of your original workfiles and folders.
It might pay to create a new "My Fonts" in Program Files
to simplify futuer font management.

Next in line is your networking and temporarily getting
Internet Explorer working. Needless to say, this is an
emergency standby procedure that you will flush at your
earliest possible oppotrunity.

We use a HP OfficeJet Pro K550 as our network printer.
Which has a maddeningly infuriating software feature: They
insist on force adding a "Photo Networking File" to your desktop.

CLICKING ON THIS FILE WILL BLOW YOUR SYSTEM UP!

The file serves no useful purpose whatsoever and falls in the same
class as infuriating "AOL Anything" bloatware. 
And might have
been one of the main reasons I had to rebuild in the first place.

Removal is rather obtuse as you have to  run the Networking File
wizard to remove itself
. This file is far beyond despicable.

September 15, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Continuing our "secrets of an XP rebuild" thread...

Once your hidden secret XP shortcuts and your own workfiles
are all in place, and once your basic networking and printing
is set up, you can start getting serious over adding
software. Naturally, you start with Firefox and Thunderbird.

Be sure to go through your preferences on these programs.
such as turning URL underlining off. This feature is buried
under "color" for some reason. Whle underlining can be
tolerated in the third grade, it should be strongly discouraged in
the fourth and severely punished in the fifth Fortunately,
compulsive underliners eventually grow so much hair on the
palms of their hands that they can no longer type.

On Thunderbird, is it crucually important to click the "Leave meassages
on Server"
box if several machines are to access your email
independently.

Additional details are reinstalling your sig file and reconnecting
your newsgroup reader. My reader preference is News.Individual.Net
which is convenient, friendly and cheap.

Naturally, you ALWAYS bottom post on any email or newsgroup response.

Next in order of buildability are some of the lesser software programs.
A FTP program is a must for website maintenence. and Ipswitch is clearly
top dog. I prefer to still use their ancient WS-FTP95LE which you can
get a free copy of here. I tried Filezilla and promptly flushed it.

I really like QuickPhrase and it is one of the few programs
I will gladly pay for. This lets you enter any text you use often with
a very few keystrokes. It is essetential for eBay seller listings.
Next, a PIC Programmer from Transtronics gets added, along with the
PIC Simulator from Oshensoft and a Fourier program from Sigview.

All of which at long last gets us around to Adobe Acrobat. There
free reader is largely useless, so I recommend the full Acrobat 9.
try to scam an educational version if you can. To do this. you will
need a fax of a paystub or a copy of a student registration.

You'll want separate shortcuts to Acrobat and Distiller.

I'm still looking for a decent website editor. GoLive is obsolete
and has serious size restrictions. Dreamweaver is an utter atrocity.

I am currently using Dreamweaver. You can partially get around their
infuriating slow response time (which was solved on Applewriter on my IIe!) by
working at the end of your file and then recopying to the beginning.

OK, kiddies, here's the secret to fixing the Dreamweaver code: You use
TWO files, one for everything  above the cursor and one for everything
below. With several cubic acres of free RAM between the two. Free form
entry does not require any remapping. Only when time critical data entry
is complete do you do any actual remapping.

I still do not known how to deal with their random throwing away
of half your attempted website links.
But a cut-and-paste
and reedit is usually a lot faster and more convenient than
believing they are going to give you a link when they decide not to.

September 14, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Continuing our "secrets of an XP rebuild" thread....

Two final details are getting your scanner and your digital camera to work,
HP seems really good about online software downloads, and you should be
able to install their latest drivers with no particular problems. It is probably
better to go with new software rather than your original, especially if your
scanner if obsolete or several years old.

Nikon returned a "Service Pack Incompatibility" error when I tried to reinstall
our original software on my Coolpix 5000. . Their website is somewhat
confusing, but if you try to ask them a question, they usually can second guess
what you want and immediately give you the link to a suitable driver.

EXCEPT - the driver STILL returns the server pack error. But it still lets you
install it and it seems to work just fine. Microsoft posts all sorts of dire
warnings about "does not meet XP certification". But I cannot imagine any
long term Nikon-Microsoft compatility issues of image format reading having
not been resolved long ago.

While I despise Microsoft code, I've found it necessary to add Word to do my
spell checking for me ( I find the program otherwise totally useless ), and
the eXcell spreadsheet for certain aerospace auction listings. I found Power
Point
so distasteful that I wrote my own emulator instead.

While others place great import on antivirus software, malware detectors,
and registry fixers, I've often found these to introduce more problems than
they solve. My own approach here is to only install these rarely, fix
whatever specific problem I have to, and then deinstall them.


I do most of my word processing and electronic simulations in raw PostScript
using my Gonzo Utilities. Image postprep and such is usually handled with custom
routines I've written such as these.

Given the choice, I'll usually write my own tools to solve any problem. Some typical
examples are found here. In those rare instances where PostScript does not have
enough math acuracy, I'll extend it a little with my custom routines, or else go to the
Javascript fround in Firefox.

September 13, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Wikipedia has come up with a fairly useful Fuel Economy in Automobiles
thread. One of their useful and otherwise hard to find figures is that
200 watts at the alternator translates to  nearly two miles per gallon drop
in fuel economy.

And that for a wide variety of vehicles, there is not much difference
in miles per gallon between travel at 20 miles per hour and 60
miles per hour.
Apparently the higher fuel consumption gets
offset by the shorter trip time.


Ordinary high beam headlights consume 200 watts. Thus, running
with your lights on costs you two miles per gallon.
And any
electrolysis fantasies will cost you two miles per gallon for
every two hundred watts of alternator input.

There is, of couse, no way in hell that any on board electroysis benefits
can remotely begin to dream of approaching these staggering loses.

.September 12, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

There can be a 5:1 or greater difference
between the price of test equipment on
eBay. How can you guarantee your offers
always are near the high end?

    DOES IT WORK - There's no way to
    fully test an item unless you are a cal
    lab, but you should run enough tests
    to be able to say "appears fully functional"

   IS IT COMPLETE - Is the case intact (or
   at least superglued? Are all knobs present?
   Can the customer plug the unit in and have it
   do something?

   IS IT SQUEAKY CLEAN? Have you super
   detailed all of the knobs and removed all
   third party labels?


   FIFTEEN DAY INSPECTION - Always give
   the customer an opportunity to evaluate. And
   be willing to offer a refund at any time for
   any reason.

  EXCEPTIONAL PRODUCT PHOTOS - Always
  spend a minimum of two hours in image post proc.
  Architect's perspective, panel relettering, single
  pixel locking are all a must. Tools here.

  LIVE SCREEN SHOTS - At least one image
  should show the instrument alive and doing something.

  SPECS AND USER MANUALS- The buyer should
  know where to go to get free or cheap docs to use
  his instrument. Along with manufacturer's site links.

  IS YOUR LISTING LUCID AND NON-SNOTTY?
  Do you have a rep for delivering quality products?

  IS YOUR PACKAGING BULLETPROOF? A
  double boxing is recommended for most items.

  DO YOUR LISTINGS START HIGH? If
  a piece of test equipment sells on the first
  three tries, you did not charge enough for it.

  DO YOU FLUSH THE DREGS? If you do not
  feel the item is first rate, put it on the Alvin Pile
  rather than listing it?

.September 11, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Does it ever pay to flip someone else's eBay
item? The double shipping charges guarantee
you will be unable to remotely approach a 30:1
SBR.
And the risk factors are off the wall because
the other seller may be flushing garbage rather
than making a stupid listing mistake.

Nonetheless, if you have very special expertise in
one area, there rarely might be times when flipping
sort of works
. I happened to have a case left over
for a toasted piece of test equipment that we sell lots of,
and a flip just may be working on a broken case offer.

I also just saw an oddball "reverse flip" as well.
There is a horribly obsolete collection of machine
shop tooling that nobody uses any more. These items
remain outrageously expensive, and they are listed as
such on eBay. It is difficult to imaging anyone buying
one ( you need an entire collection ) at any price for any
reason.

An associate of mine picked up a pile of these free
and listed them at a ridiculously low price. One of the
other eBay hopefuls bought them to keep them off
the market.

.September 10, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Scene lighting at night has always been a serious
problem for fire departments and EMT services.

Thatcher Fire Department seems to be having very
good success with a new inflatable scene light that
covers up to 12,000 square yards. It is self standing
and self-erecting in absence of wind. And can be
guyed under reasonable wind conditions.


It is normally self-powered by a Honda Generator.

Prices range from $2000 to $4000.

Not surprisingly, it is locally referred to as the
"dildo light." I can see a fairly rapid turnover in their
pr department.

.September 9, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

There seems to be yet another "more miles per
gallon" video making the rounds. As usual, the
most likely explanation is incompetent labwork.

If you are a legitimate researcher, any time you
get a "too good to be true" result, you should
drop what you are doing and immediately set
about to PROVE YOURSELF WRONG.

And then IMMEDIATELY ask others to do
the same.


It is enormously difficult to properly measure
miles per gallon outside of a major proving
ground. The odds are overwhelming that
your measurements are flat out wrong.

The other thing that these hubris bound
proponents never seem to pick up on is
that this is thoroughly plowed ground. Unless
you are bringing something genuinely new to
the table, the odds of an individual significantly
improving vehicle miles per gallon is zero.

.September 8, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

I had Paint blow up again on an older machine, so
I decided to check out the alternatives. Bottom line:
I was not impressed.

The best of the also rans seems to be Ultimate
Paint
. It offers great heaping bunches of ultra fancy
features and its learning curve is reasonably steep.

But it seems to have thrown the baby out and
drunken the washwater. Very simple tasks such
as single pixel work or fast symmetry or transparent
replacement seem cumbersome and awkward.

I suspect what happened is that they studiously
avoided the Paint algorithms because of IP
issues.

I very much feel that classic Paint is
grossly underappreciated
. It continues
as my first choic in Graphics Programs.
Helped along by Imageview32 and my own
custom routines
.

.September 7, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

One of the other blogs asked what a "spandrel"
was. A Crocker Spandrel is a medium sized
hunting dog.

.September 6, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

I may sorta have got some of this right,
so here goes: I've been wanting to update
our Regular Magic Sinewave calculator
but have been mystified with how to deal
with the two possible solution sets.

Simply automating the old "level II" glacial
calculator set probably makes the most sense.

We can start by noting that Newton's Method
lets you get a closer answer by adjusting your
present answer by the improvement times the
slope. In the case of a cosine, cos (a+x) gets
adjusted by -xsin(a).

We also have a trig identity of cos (a+x)
simplifying to cos(a) - xsin(a). Which is identical,
but we do have to remember that our initial x
has to be in radians
. Or degrees * pi/180.


Our goal is to zero out our "pseudodistortion",
which is the actual residue at harmonics 3,5,7...
combined with our fundamental residue error. This
pseudodistortion is calculated in the usual square-
root-of-the-sums -of the squares manner.

It turns out the harmonic equations are not in
any manner independent
. A fundamental change
in residue of "w" will generate a 3h change
scaled by sin(3a)/sin(a)
and so on. Which
creates a big ugly quadratic polynomonial
that depends on "n".

The function apparently has a minimum which
we can easily calculate by setting its derivative
to zero. Thus, we should directly be able
to make a fairly simple calculation for a
best guess improvement. Instead of the horrible
iterations done back in the level II calculators.

The optimum appears to be of form...

    w = [k1 + k3s3 + k5s5 + ... ] /
          [ 1 + s3s3 + s5s5 + ... ]

where kx is the existing residue and sx
is the incremental change.

More as I've had a chance to further test.

.September 5, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

As we've seen here, you should never make any
foreign eBay sales. Except to New Mexico.

Even going beyond the language barrier and the hassles at
customs, everything needs reloaded at the border
stations because the truck tires are a different size and
spacing.

Fortunately, reversible truck tires have become newly
available. These can simply be insided out at the border
station and the truckers can continue on their way.

.September 4, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Yet a third gotcha in low low temperature delta energy
recovery
is that the amortization clock runs all the time.

If your solar heat is only there six hours of the day,
the cost of financing the project will be at least FOUR
TIMES
higher than a continuous energy source.


A useful amortization calculator can be found here.
More on energy fundamentals here and here.

.September 3, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Sort of the latest GuruGram #96 is on Enhancing your
eBay Strategic and Tactical Skills VII
.

Sourcecode is available here.
And additional GuruGrams here.

September 2, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

It can be interesting to try and second guess
some of the fundamental engineering numbers
behind the Mount Graham Tramway. They
apparently decided that one mile of 1-1/2 inch
track cable
was the largest feasible they wanted
to mess with in remote and difficult roadless
vertical terrain.

This implied a minimum of fourteen (!) tightly
linked and carefully integrated tramways working
together in the total project. Such cables would
likely be 100 ton test and weigh four pounds per
foot or 22,000 pounds per mile.

The cable guides on the towers might have a
coefficient of friction of 0.1, meaning that 2200
pounds maximum ( or around 1100 pounds average )
might be needed to yank the cables in place. Such a
force is easily done with a windlass or other fairly simple
mechanical advantage.

Cable sag is obviously crucial with a maximum
effective tower height of only fifteen feet or so.
Probably set by project cost and what a mule
could drag in the way of timbers.

With an average tower spacing of 300 feet,
something like 1200 pounds of cable would
have to be supported. A single load might weigh
1800
pounds with a pair of 240 pound carriers
and its timber or sawn board load. Thus, our
sag would almost triple when a load was mid towers.

Cable tension was provided by tension stations that
placed enormous concrete weights on one end of
each track cable. Rock has a density of just under
three, so something like 200 pounds per cubic foot
of concrete + rock load.

Taking 7 x 7 x 4 feet as a typical counterweight
gives us just under twenty tons. Thus stressing the
cable to a sensible one-fifth its rating under normal use .

.September 1, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

OK - Here is how you read the demo and proof
of our stupendous new digital sinewave synthesizer.
The code is ridiculously simpler than it looks at
first glance...

There are two elements to doing a DFT direct
Fourier Transform. To find the fundamental, take
the difference between the cosines of the start and
end of each pulse and add them all up . Then adjust
your answer by 4/pi for one quadrant or 1/pi for a
full cycle.

To find a harmonic n, find the difference between
n times the cosine of each start and end angle and

add them up.
Then adjust your answer by 4/n*pi for
one quadrant or 1/n*pi for a full cycle. Then normalize
your harmonic by dividing by the fundamental.

The harmonics are presented as an array of
[fundamental h2 h3 h4.... hn] in the output PostScript
log you get by sending the file to Distiller.

Note that the first thirty harmoics are zero, the next
thirty harmonics are neglible, and the first uncontrolled
harmonics of concern are the 61st, 63rd, 121st, and 123rd.


Thus completely blowing away all known digital
sinewave synthesizers and doing so at the absolute
maximum possible efficiency.

As to the rest of the PostScript, you can ignore the
first half of the program as this is just a pretty
printer. There are two PostScript store definition
arrays that define the on-off pulse degree angles for
/regmagsin8.6 and /bbemagsin8.6. As in "Regular
Magic Sinewave, 8 pulses per quadrant, amplitude
0.6

There are four definitions for /quad1 thru /quad4
that let you mix and match which type of Magic
Sinewave gets used where. And finally, a pair
of definitions for fullfun and fullharm that finds
the fundamentals and harmonics for you.

.August 29, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

I managed to "backfill" most of the missing blog
entries over the last six weeks or so. You may want
to go back to mid-July and pick up the latest
additions and updates.

.August 28, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

A helpline caller asked whether there was some
way to use excess heat from his solar hot water
system to generate electricity.

In general, a double whammy prevents much
commercial happening in the way of low delta-T
electrcial generators.

The first is that there is a fundamental limit
to heat engines called Carnot's Law that
severely limits the theoretical maximum
possible efficiency ( never acheived ) to the
ratio of absolute temperatures.

Ferinstance, a source of 200 degrees F and
a sink of 100 degrees F would have a maximum
possible efficiency of 1 - (Tcold/Thot) or

      1 - ( 473+100 )/( 473+200 ) = 0.15 = 15%.

You do have to remember to use absolute
temperatures,
which really trash the results.

The second problem is that there will always
be thermal impedances between your input
temperature and the hot side of your heat
engine and between the exhaust termperature
of your heat engine and ambient.
These can
further trash your efficiency in low delta-T
situations.

Ferinstance, on a Peltier thermoelectric
cooler,
it is trivially easy to get the temperature
rise of your heatsink to EXCEED your net
cooling drop. For a negative efficiency.

It is very hard to get thermal impedances below
half a degree per watt without going to forced
air or liquid cooling.

There are some interesting improvements in
thermoelectrics
coming down, but it is ulikely
these can get around the fundamental low
delta-T limits for routine use.

.August 27, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Our latest and best Magic Sinewave Calculator
handles Best Efficiency, Bridged Best Efficiency,
and Delta Friendly types. Amazingly fast.

At present, this ancient and utterly glacial
caculator
is needed for Regular magic sinewaves.
Which have suddenly become of extreme interest.

I've been working on an upgrade but this gets tricky
in a hurry. It turns out there are two solution sets
for regular magic sinewaves (based on how far from
the left the first pulse starts), and it is not clear how
to deal with this possible redundancy and ambiguity.

Stay tuned as the drama unfolds.

.August 26, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

I still cannot claim that my "too good to be true"
double magic sinewave scheme is valid, but the
method does seem to be withstanding some
challenges.

A new version of my purported proof appears here.
It has been modified to show that the even harmonics
are all zero.

The claim is as follows: These minimal switch flips
off a dc supply will syntheize a clean power sinewave
whose first thirty harmonics are zero, whose next
thirty harmonics are negligible, and whose first
uncontrolled harmonics of concern are the 61st, 63rd,
121st, and 123rd.

While these unwanted harmonics are far enough
"out there" to be eliminated by simple low pass
filtering, they could also be dealt with by alternate
schemes such as resonant trapping, combing, or
bucking.

The implications for power sinewaves are in the
freeze dried holy grail in a spray can league.
With potentially billions of dollars of energy
efficiency and power quality at stake.

I once again invite you to try and prove this
wrong.
Please note that direct Fourier Transforms
(e.g. plain old trig) are preferred to FFT because of
windowing issues and other subtlety. And please
note that successive quadradrants have to be
properly mirrored or inverted.

Let's hear from you.

August 25, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

While it is utterly amazing that the Mount Graham
Aerial Lumber Tramway
was even built, the fact that
it only ran for a year strongly suggests it was an
economic failure.

The evidence on the ground suggests to me that
the down time was flat out excessive. Caused by
too small footers, using rock where concrete should
have been used, using sliders where real bearings
would have been more appropriate, using wood for
iron and iron for steel, and using "can do" local
attitude for genuine engineering.

Nonetheless, the story remains mind boggling. I'll
be presenting a paper on this at Discovery Park
on September 20th.

.August 24, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

An obvious mod to yesterday's doubly magic
sinewaves that looks better and has two less
switch flips per cycle: Do the first half cycle with
an ordinary Magic Sinewave and the second half
cycle with a Bridged Best Efficiency Magic Sinewave.

At 0.6 amplitude, the first thirty harmonics will be
zero, the next thirty will be "very low", typically in
the 0.001 range, and the first problem harmonic will
be the 61st at 0.2 of the fundamental.


More details here and on our Magic Sinewave
library page.

Our demo proof is also updated.

August 23, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Despite its "too good to be true" aspects, I am just
about to claim a major breakthrough in Doubly Magic
Sinewaves
. In which unwanted harmonic energy ends
up astonishingly low and low pass filtering can be
dramatically reduced
or possibly eliminated entirely!

A proof of sorts appears here. I invite you to find fault
with this analysis or flat out prove me wrong.
What we
have here is clearly in the "freeze dried holy grail in a
spray can" class stuff.
 

Consider a regular 8 pulse per quadrant Magic Sinewave
you can find from this older calculator that would give you
an amplitude of 0.6 and would zero out its first thirty low
harmonics. Its pulse positions would be...

           
5.65029593062 on     6.29225152930   off
          15.81862798201 on   17.714530427221 off
          26.26333600962 on   29.361333130312 off
          36.84108032643 on   41.047780153511 off
          47.56589434941 on   52.747568100103 off
          58.46406338431 on   64.443154605331 off
          69.55560700493 on   76.107018445052 off
          80.84316472644 on   87.695888763311 off

Sadly, if used normally, its first uncontrolled
harmonic would be the 31st at a heavy 0.70119349921
of the fundamental. This would demand low pass
filtering in most apps.

Next, consider a Bridged Best Efficiency 8 pulse
0.6 amplitude Magic Sinewave using this newer
calculator
. It would also give you 0.6 amplitude and
zero out the first thirty low harmonics. Using these
pulse positions...

            10.4353438671 on     11.7077750493 off
            20.9101395432 on     23.4181541929 off
            31.4636502516 on     35.1329284465 off
            42.1342741421 on     46.8514916513 off
            52.9576520410 on     58.5675969212 off
            63.9624867662 on     70.2640240671 off
            75.1632563302 on      81.9072380861 off
            86.5515348716 on      90.0000000000 off

This time, if used normally, its first uncontrolled
harmonic would be the 31st at a heavy -0.71971577316
of the fundamental. This would again demand low pass
filtering in most apps.


But note that this its 31 harmonic is almost exactly the
opposite of that of our regular Magic Sinewave!

The pulses magically "interleave" so that the uncontrolled
harmonics are used in an almost opposite fashion!


So, we use a regular magic sinewave for our first
quadrant and then a bridged best efficiency for our
second. Repeating the process for the next two
quadrants. The net result is apparently that harmonics
h31 throguh h34 "cancel out" to astonishingly low values!

This immediately sounds bogus, but the definition of
Fourier Series is integration over precisely one
complete fundamental cycle.
And should be no different
than, say, the seventh harmonic piling up in one area and
unpiling in another.


What is really cute is that, after substitution by quadrants,
the first significant uncontrolled harmonic is the
SIXTY FIRST (!) down at ONE FIFTH the fundamental!

And possibly further reducible.

Your critical comments, please.

August 22, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Got a call from an individual wanting to know whether
they should accept a job assignment developing an onboard
vehicle electrolysizer.

Naturally, they should RUN AWAY as fast as they possibly
can!
The bottom line is that the numbers do not add up by
a country mile. Worse yet, seemingly innocuous changes or
cost cuts (such as using a fanbelt or substituting stainless
steel for platinum) push the numbers totally over the edge.


The PRIMARY output product of an onboard vehicle
electrolysizer is useless low grade heat. The hydrogen
produced is utterly and totally negligible in comparison
when using stock alternator and similar mainstream vehicle
components.

You thus have a DYNAMIC BRAKE that behaves exactly
the same as leaving your emergency brake set all the time!


A detailed analysis appears here.

August 21, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Latest GuruGram #99 is on Some Possible Filterless Digital
Sinewave Synthesis Techniques
.

Sourcecode is available here.
And additional GuruGrams here.

August 20 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Latest GuruGram #98 is on the artwork and resources
for my upcoming Mount Graham Aerial Lumber Tramway
paper I'll be presenting at Discovery Park on September 20th.

Sourcecode for the newer material is available here.
And additional GuruGrams here.

August 19, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

The fire service sure has made a lot of major improvements
lately. But three items still sorely needed are...

     INTELLIGENT FIRE HOSE - Whose indestructable
     RFID number can be read in the dark from three feet
     away or preferably an entire hose bed at a time.
     After being drug six blocks and otherwise abused.

      THE PITOT GAUGE HAS GOT TO GO -- Give
      us a no-bullshit pipe that measures pumper or
      hydrant flow to 1500 GPM and 350 PSI. Wirelessly
      plus eight inch backlit verbal digits.

     SOLITON PULSE FIRE STREAMS -- High tech
     should give much longer range, tighter patterns.

August 18, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Its a long story, but the last calculator we have available
for ordinary magic sinewaves is way back at glacial Gen 2.
One example would be here for eight pulses or here
for the rest of the gang.

I'll try to get these out of the dark ages. Meanwhile, high
speed modern calculators are found for most other
magic sinewave types here with their tutorial here.

August 17, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Updated and improved our Arizona Auction Reources
Library page
.

Your own local regional custom auction finder can be
created for you per these details.

August 16, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

A reminder that I have a pair of eminently collectible
and restorable commercial silent movie projectors
available from the 1908 era. Both Eastmans that
served in the Cliffton, Arizona theater for decacdes.

They are presently in pieces and are UPS shippable.
Please let me know if you are intereted in acquiring
these.

August 15, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Got a phone call asking about the The Hexadecimal
Chronicles
. This was probably my strangest and rarest
of books.

At one time, there was a continuing need to switch from
16-bit hexadecimal to decimal to signed decimal in the
Apple IIe world. You did not want to stop and run a special
program, nor could you afford the then outrageous hex
calculators.

So, this was mostly a big fat table lookup converter that
did the job for you. Much of it was directly set off a
Diablo 630 Daislywheel, so the production costs were
quite low. There were also ASCII lookup charts and
a circular slide rule for 6502 machine language relative
branch calculations.

I have a copy in front of me now and still occsaionally
use it for the odd ASCII control command lookups.

August 14, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

We will gladly combine shipping on our various
eBay aucttion and store offers. All you have to
do is email us for a quote. We most definitely do not
use shipping charges as a profit center.

August 13 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Can a magic sinewave be created that needs zero
filtering
? One that would set a fundamental, zero out
a chosen number of low harmonics, and only use absolutely
minimial carrier energy anywhere else?

The trick here would be some games that suppress any
higher frequency carriers. Done trhough cancellation or
spread spectrum, or whatever.

Consider making an 0.53 amplitude magic sinewave by
alternating "Original" and "Bridged Best Effeciciency
each quadrant. The first 30 harmonics would be zero on
each quadrant. And the difference between how the
carrier supression was done on each quadrant would
leave you with an unsupressed average carrier of
0.014
amplitude! And trivial to further filter.

While things would be spectacularly better for even lower
amplitudes, considerable work remains near unity output.
The possibilities here, if valid, boggle the mind.

More in GGMS.PDF.

August 12 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Latest GuruGram #97 is on "GGMS" Fifth Generation
Split Magic Sinewaves.


Sourcecode is available here.
And additional GuruGrams here.

.August 11, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

At one time, the finest audio foresnics gear in
the world was a Kay Sonograph II.

Which was a hard wired FFT computer that could
do such tricks as identify an individual bird call.

This two foot cubic beast sold for something like
$75.000.00. I've put one on the Alvin Pile and it
is likely to quickly go for pocket change.

.August 10, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

But the emperor is wearing no clothes!

A brand new paper suggests some useful
new developments in electrolysis. These

use nanostructures and related technology
to approach the efficiency of conventional
platinum based electrode technology.


But, because of the staggering loss of exergy,
electrolysis is fundamentally a destroyer
of value. A kilowatt hour of electricity is
ridiculously more valuable that a kilowatt
hour of unstored hydrogen gas
.

Even when done "perfectly", the process is
equivalent to 1:1 exchanging US Dollars
for Mexican Pesos.


There ALWAYS will be more intelligent
things to do with high value electricity
( such as grid, wind, pv, or alternator )
than instantly and irreversibly destroying
most of its value.

Additional analysis here.

.August 9, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

If you are serious about being an eBay seller,
you simply MUST be willing to issue a refund
at any time for any reason.

If a customer is unhappy for any reason you
do not want them staying that way. Done
properly, the mere timing of a refund offer
will in fact elimiate any need for an actual
refund.

Most of the time, you should refund WITHOUT
demanding the item return.
Chances are this
will prove simplest and cheapest in the long run.

Protection against unreasonable losses are
first and foremost your 30:1 SBR. Offering
a fifteen day inspection privelege on higher
ticket items (say $79 or higher) also heads
much of possible hassles.

Plus, of course, not trying to sell abject
and misdescribed trash to questionable buyers
in the first place.

More eBay selling secrets here.

August 8, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

When is something way too good to be true?

Our latest fifth generation self-supressing Magic
Sinewaves
would seem to beat out freeze dried
holy grail in a spray can. But I sure could use your
help to make sure there is no fundamental gotcha here.

Magic sinewaves are newly discovered mathematical
sequences that have extreme potential for the highly
efficient digital synthesis of power sinewavs for such
apps as synchronous inverters, industrial speed control
systems, electric autos, PFC power quality controls, and
various aerospace and telecomm apps.

Magic Sinewaves allow you to force any chosen number
of low harmonics to precisely zero
in theory and to
astonishingly low values in quantized practice. They do
so using an absolute minimum number of efficiency
robbing swwitching transitions.
And are thus considerably more
efficicnt than conventional PWM .

Magic sinewaves to date shared a common characteristic in
that the first few uncontrolled harmonics ended up rather
large,
although never significantly larger that its fundamental.
This has created filtering and high frequency energy issues.


For instance, an amplitude 0.20 8 pulse per quadrant Bridged
best efficiency MagicSinewave might zero out its first 30
harmonics. Its first uncrolled harmonics might have values of
h31 = -0.96731572096, h33 = 0.9350634087, h35 = 0.03182340473
and h37 = 0.00042586168.

Curiously, there is an "interleaved" magic sinewave variant that
seems to demand very nearly THE EXACT OPPOSITE in the
way of its low uncontrolled harmonics! A "normal" amplitude 0.20
8 pulse per quadrant magic sinewave might have its first uncontrolled
harmonic value of h31 = 0.96364176, h33 =-0.9388459125874, h35
=
-0.0319192013367 and h37 =-0.000398802934595.

Which strongly suggests doing the first quadrant of your magic
sinewave with a regular 8, the second quadrant with a bridged best
efficiency 8, lathering and repeating.

Over half a cycle, the lowest suppressed carriers should dramatically
reduce. Perhaps from
h31 = -0.96731572096 or h31 = 0.96364176,
clear on dowm to h31 = - 0.0037! Or an astonishing 52 decibels of
unwanted carrier suppression and that is BEFORE filtering!

Meanwhile, I'll try to work up a GuruGram on this. Please report any
possible problems you see with this strunning breakthrough. It seems
simply too good to be true.

Ferinstance, if all of the energy is now in in the sinewave and there
is negligible harmonic energy, where do the sharp corners come from?
Are there any rude surprises hidden in the really high harmonics?

..August 7, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

It pays to thoroughly test any switches or relays
you put up on eBay to make sure they really are
what you think they are. An Ohmmeter with an
audio continuity feature is handy for this, along
with a veriable voltage dc supply or a switchable
wall wart.

You'll also want to spell out exactly how many
switch positions there are and which are sustained
and which are momentary and which are inactive.

Ferinstance, an on-off-(on) switch has three positions,
a sustained left, a center off, and a momentary
spring return right.

The coil on a reed relay will have several hundred
Ohms of resistance and should be easy to find.
Typically a 500 Ohm coil will be found on a 5 volt
relay and a 2000 Ohm one on a 24 volt relay.
A quiet "plonk" and "unplonk" should be heard
when enough voltage is applied to activate.

..August 6, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

The need for an eBay image can sometimes
be avoided by linking to a manufacturer's web
site with appropriate data.

Here's one sneaky way to have an image without
having an image. Just place this HTML code at the
beginning of your eBay listing...


         <a href="http://www.rockwellautomation.com/
           products"><img src="http://www.tinaja.com/
           images/bargs/clickfor1.jpg"></a>


Be sure to be in the HTML coding mode rather than
the normal mode when you do this!


Naturally, you change the link to make it reach the
desired info source. And change the image for
your own "generic" one.


Which might look like this...

                   The image will appear in the listing but not
as thumbnails or in the gallery.

..August 5, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

We pride ourselves in having the finest images
on eBay, bar none. Secrets of image post prep
are found on our Auction Help library page.

I suppose the key centralmost secret is simply
this: Lock all horizonal and vertical lines to one
pixel accuracy
.


Once this is done, all sorts of "sliding" and "symmetry"
tricks become possible.
A summary of many of our
tools appears here.

..August 4, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

The "FFT" fast Fourier transform is not particularly
fast. It also has some severe problems that can
cause grief. Needed windowing causes a mix of real
data and envelope artifacts. Plus the algorithm is
hard to write yourself from scratch.

For my Magic Sinewave work, I overwhelmingly prefer
to use the plain old textbook DFT. Otherwise known as
ordinary trig. The math dramaically simplifies when you
are only switching unity height pulses.

Your fundamental is found by taking each pulse pair
and adding up the difference between their starting
and ending cosines. You then modify the answer by
4/pi for one quadrant or 1/pi for a whole cycle.

Your harmonics are cound by taking each pulse pair
and adding up the difference between their starting
and ending cosines multiplied by the harmonic number.
You then modify the answer by 4/(n*pi) for a quadrant
or 1/(n*pi) for a whole cycle. You then further normalize
your harmonic by dividing it by the fundamental.

August 3, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Utterly clueless U-Tube and Facebook users
continue to attack our eBay image background resource.

Kiddies, DO NOT USE A HUGE .BMP BITMAP FOR
WALLPAPER!
Especially if you are stealing it off
somebody's elses site and gobbling their bandwidth!

You also might also avoid stealing an image that is
intentionally ugly!
Only a tiny portion of this catalog
is normally cut and pasted as a working tool.

.August 2, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

One more time...

    If you do not understand exergy, you SHOULD
    NOT be pissing around with electrolysis.

    If you do understand exergy, you WILL NOT
    be pissing around with electrolysis.


The outcome is not the least in doubt. Additional resources
can be found here, here, and here.

August 1, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

If you haven't touched an eBay inventory item
for over a year, chances are you never will.

And on the basis of a fundamental "shit floats
to the top"
principle, they will end up gobbling
storge space and hiding all the good stuff as well.


So, we are finally in the process of filtering out
both the abject trash and the stuff that never seems
to get done out of our inventory. With the goal of
zero unlisted items just in time for the next
major auction.


Much of this will end up on the Alvin Pile where
unbelievable bargains should abound for the
next few weeks.

July31, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

A reminder that Wesrch is an outstanding source
of new technical papers and insider industry info.

July30, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

I remain totally mystified as to why anybody
would buy a pv solar panel. Except possibly to
steal government dollars.


Or otherwise scam funds. Or delude themselves
about the true facts of net energy.

These are all gasoline destroying net energy
sinks since not one net watthour of pv solar
electricity has EVER been produced.
Nor will
any until several years after the price drups under
a quarter per peak watt in today's dolars.

Much more in our Energy Fundamentals and
More Energy Fundamentals tutorials.

.July 29, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

We are phasing out both our crystals and our
crystal oscillator modules on eBay.

You'll find outstanding assortments for a penny
or two each. The modules make outstanding
plug-and-go signal sources for CMOS or TTL.

.July 28, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

How many flavors of magic sinewaves are there?
I know of four at present...

    REGULAR - These are spaced 1/2-1-1-1-1/2
    and reject the first 4n-2 harmonics.


    DELTA FRIENDLY - A regular variant that
     uses half its transitions to guarantee three
     phase compatibility and rejects the first 3/4
     n - 1 harmonics.
They need one half the storage.


     BEST EFFICIENCY - These are spaced 1-1-1-1-1/2
     and reject the first 4n harmonics and give the most
     efficient bang for the buck.


     BRIDGED BEST EFFICIENCY - Spaced 1-1-1-1-0
     and always end or start at 90 degrees. Reject
     the first 4n-2 harmonics with 2 fewer flips.

July 27, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

It pays to put your personal value added where
it can do the most good. With this in mind, we will
be making some adjustments in our eBay mix with
more stuff ending up on the Alvin Pile.


We don't have any special info on telephone stuff
or older video receivers, so we will be flushing these.
As will bunches of low end oscilloscopes that have
been taking up storage space. Our time delay relays
seem to be causing more unhappiness than they
solve, even at a penny on the dollar, so all but the
best of these will also be gone.

We had some problems with UPS totally trashing
an indestructable item, so we also will be rethinking
heavier items. Possibly limiting them to hand
delivery to certain Phoenix or Tucson locations.

We will also be trying more use of Craig's Lists.
There are now more Arizona ones, but sadly nothing
local as of yet.

..July 26, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

A "minimilist" approach to photographic light
boxes and tents is to simply light an area with
four to six bare CCFL miniature fluorescents and
help them along with a white reflective sheet or
two.

Being sure to defeat the flash on your camera.

Such a setup can be particularly useful in reducing
hot spots on any "bright metal" areas on your items
being photographed.

The tools in Imageview32 can be enormously useful
in brightening dull or murky areas. Partciularly if
"multiple exposures" are in use.

July 25, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

A new movement underfoot goes by the name of
"Steampunk" In which you seek out a retro retro
polished brass and hand crafted ancient steam engine
look for the latest in high tech whatever.

With, of course the latest in machined titanium
thrown in for effect. Think "Old Remington
typewriter off a UFO " as a keyboard ferinstance.

Hand crafted pride in workmanship is foremost.

We occasionally have some stuff useful for
steampunk on our eBay store. Old timey style
binding posts, fifties dials, knobs, and drives, and
an occasional gem knife switch or whatever we
pick up at public utility auctions.

.July 24, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

I've still got many thousnds of Apple IIe era files
I'd like to update and CD convert. I am amazed that
a totally obvious product -- An Apple IIe to USB or
memory card interface simply does not exist.

Yet this should be a very much in demand $19 product.

.July 23, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Proof to me that the upcoming total demise of books
and magazines
will happen a lot sooner and a lot
more totally is that I cannot even give away copies of
Science Magazine that are over three months old.

.July 22, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Interfacing the bargain high power light dimmers
we now have on eBay should not be that big a deal.


These are intended for use with a DMX receiver. You
can find out more about DMX here or here.

The dimming rules are as follows: Each dimmer channel
expects a half millisecond "on " pulse. The time delay
of this on pulse from the last power line zero crossing
determines the lamp brightness.
A very short delay
causes full brightness. A very long delay near 8.33
milliseconds causes very low brightness.

And no pulse at all leaves the lamp off. In normal
DMX receiver, an addressible number is sent
and decoded as 255 = max bright and 0 = off.

You otherwise have the option of relating your time
delay to a potentiometer position, a dc control
voltage or the average strength of an audio or musical signal.

A source of DMX receivers appears here while
this PIC based ap note gives you the crucial receiver
code for your own designs. Or here is an
ancient history solution of mine that uses nothing but a
hex inverter.

July 21, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Got a call from an individual wanting to know why plain
old springs could not be used for regenerative braking
and similar apps. It turns out their energy density is far
too low. Typically being 1 watthour per kilogram or about one
twenty-fifth that of a lead acid battery.

The regulation is also usually poor and the round trip losses
from thermodyamic irreversibility are usually unacceptably
high. Which is why there isn't all that much spring wound
stuff around anymore. We might expect new aps with
very low power electronics, though, where poor efficiency
may not be all that big a deal.

More in our Energy Fundamentals tutorial and its
Latest Update.

July 20, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Latest GuruGram #95 is on Spread Spectrum
Carrier Suppression SSCS of Magic Sinewaves.


Sourcecode is available here. An emulator and
demo here And additional GuruGrams here.

July 19, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Got another helpline call asking about HP
oscilloscopes. I have no idea where the outrageous
urban lore myth that HP builds usable oscilloscopes
ever came from.

Their last decent scope was the 130C. It has been
steadily downhill ever since. To them, "Trigger"
was a horse.


HP oscilloscopes are, of course, banned in all civilized
nations of the world as cruel and inhuman
punishment.

July 18, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Added some more video download links to our
home page. Mostly networks, some others.

There is no way that wide availability and
interest in on demand HDTV will not totally
choke the web on bandwidth. And soon.

July 17, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Just put a very nice HP 8112A pulse generator up on eBay.

And noticed that it is one of the very fiew pieces
of test equipment with a "LOL" button on it!


Pulse generators have pretty much peaked in their
popularity, being replaced with far more versatile
arbitrary function generators.


Nonetheless, the 8112A is probably the latest and
finest pulse generator of all time.

July 16, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Apparently the "water powered car" scams
are now going gangbusters. Complete with totally
bogus product reviews.

My take on them appears here.

July 15, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

He He He. The old "Big gold strike in Hell"
ploy just worked like a champ.

In which others at an auction "inadvertently
overhear" you and an associate talking about
the OTHER (and presumably better) auction
going on a mile or two away.

Whoosh. Gone. Bye. Bye.

The original "gold strike in Hell" did have a tiny
problem."   Prospector can't get into heaven because
of overcrowding. Sidels up to the bar and whispers
"Big gold strike in hell". All the other prospectors
instantly clear out.

Prospector doesn't stay anyway "I dunno. Could
be something to it."

July 14, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Just had an inept quasi-governmental bureaucracy
insist I keep live fax access at all times for their once
per quarter possible activity.

This is a dilemma. Our ancient fax machine has to be
turned on before each use. A separate line for a maybe
opportunity is not justified. Yes, you can run fax from
inside Windows XP. But the latest computers no longer
include a modem!

And there is no way I know of to decide whether a
fax is incoming without picking up the phone. Which
causes hassles for all other users.

And those email fax for hire services violate our rule
of avoiding fixed expenses. Not to mention keytowing to
an obsolete bureaucracy. Dremanding fax for routine
transactions in this day and age is inexcusible.


The solution here appears to be social engineering.
You tell the bureaucracy the fax number and when
they bitch about not reaching it, you turn it on.

July 13, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Farm sibling explaining why he kept feeding raw
pork to city slickers: "Its the only trick I know, Sis.".

July 12, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Latest GuruGram #94 is on An Expanded
and Improved Magic Sinewave Calculator.


Sourcecode is available here. The revised
calculator here And additional GuruGrams here.

July 11, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

As we noted two days ago, some Magic Sinewaves
may have identical unsupressed carrier harmonics
for a given amplitude independent of "n".


This suggests that spread spectrum carrier suppression
SSCS technuqies may be useful to reduce the size
of the first few uncontrolled harmonics BEFORE filtering.

Effects would be highest on low amplitudes. Memory
size, efficiency, and program complexity would likely be
involved as tradoffs. Let's estimate the best that can
be done as a limit...

A best effciency low amplitude 8 ppq magic sinewave
can have its problem harmonics approximated by...

       27  29   31   33   35   37   39   41
        0     1    -1   ~0   ~0  ~0   ~0   ~0 


   ... for unwanted low rms harmonics of 1.4. Combine
one quadrant of n=8 and one of a bridged n=8.5...

      27   29   31   33   35   37   39   41
        0     1    -1   ~0   ~0  ~0   ~0   ~0
        0     0     1    -1   ~0   ~0  ~0   ~0 


   ... gives us unwanted low rms harmonics of 0.7 for
a 6 decibel improvement. Now, try 8, 8.5, 9, and 9.5
over one full cycle ...

      27   29   31   33   35   37   39   41
        0     1    -1   ~0   ~0  ~0   ~0   ~0
        0     0     1    -1   ~0   ~0  ~0   ~0 

        0     0     0     1   -1   ~0   ~0   ~0 
        0     0     0     0     1   -1   ~0   ~0 

   ...gives us unwanted low rms harmonics of 0.353
for a 12 decibel improvement.

And a full 8 different magic sinewaves over the
eight quadrants of two fundamental cycles should give
us up to 18 decibels of unwanted harmonic reduction
BEFORE filtering.

Some more math, simulations, and explorations of
tradeoffs obviously need done here.

July 10, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Please welcome CCS Compilers as our newest
banner advertiser.

They have a line of innovative new C compilers
for PIC Microproprocessors and dsPIC
DSP devices from Microchip.

July 9, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Our latest Magic Sinewave Calculator
seems to be giving an astounding result that
so far does appear real...

The critical uncontrolled 0.53 harmonics for
a n=8
best efficiency magic sinewave are...

    h31 =   0.00000000000

    h33 = -0.77885548201
    h35 =  0.57886655491
    h37 =  0.17991844863


The critical uncontrolled 0.53 harmonics for
a n=23 best efficiency magic sinewave are...

    h91 =   0.00000000000

    h93 = -0.77885548201
    h95 =  0.57886655491
    h97 =  0.17991844863


The same beyond ten decimals! And thus...

Apparently the carrier suppression for
a given amplitude is INDEPENDENT of n!


The results appear identical for both
best efficiency and bridge best efficiency
magic sinewaves as well. Minor exceptions
for very small "n" and some variation for
Delta Friendly.

Despite the repetitive calculations having
got there from wildly different routes and
totally different initial guesses!

This is both scary and "horribly significant".
I don't have the faintest clue what it all means.

July 8, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Expanded and revised our Auction Help
library page.

Your own custom regional auction finder can
be created for you per these details.

July 7, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Updated and improved our Magic Sinewave
Calculator
. Many solutions up to n=23 are
now available for Best Efficiency, Delta
Friendly, and Bridged Best Efficiency .

Much of the code is now more cleanly
exandable to larger "n", and new debugging
tools have been added. With the latest JavaScript
in Firefox 3, typical speeds are well under a second
for all but the highest "n".

I'll try to work up a GuruGram on this shortly.
More in our Magic Sinewave library pages.

July 6, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

I've been recycling a copier coin interface
whose components will go on sale on eBay.

The project got off to a good start when I
paid $12 for it at an auction and it had
$68.85 in bills and change in it. It got even
better when the main problem seemed to
be a bad crimp on the power connector.

At any rate, these devices are incredibly
sophisticated. A very elaborate serial code is
used in vending machines to communicate
between coin mechanisms, bill changers, the
product machine, card readers, and the
controller electronics.

The apparently standard modern code is
called MDP/ICP short for Multiple Drop
Bus Internal Communications Protocol.


Its hard-to-find details appear here.

The system basically uses 9600 baud
serial comm in a host controlled master
slave request-response configuration.

July 5, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

I probably now have a good solution to the
coefficient blowup problem in Gauss-Jordan
high nxn solution of our Magic Sinewaves.

Changing the order of the angles from high
to low
and alternating rows from high to low
harmonics seems to make a four decade or
more reduction in coefficient blowups.

The row sequence is now fully programmable
per these details. For really high n, you could
optimize each case for minimum coefficient
buldup.

July 4, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Got a consulting request from someone who
"invented" a "new" integer square root and
would I please help them market it.


I promptly bailed when I asked how it compared
to Knuth, and got a reply of "Knuth Who"?

This topic got beat to death decades ago in
first generation pubs like Apple Assembly
Lines
. And Google gives just under 3 million
hits on the topic.

Microchip has an interesting variant that
is division free. And this site is a diploma
mill that will write you all the new integer
square root algorithms you want to pay for.

Even if a new integer square root was for real,
its highest and best use would probably in fact
be publication in a Microchip or similar ap note.


Marketability would appear to be zero. There
are zillions of competitive solutions, each
with platform and situation specific advantages.

And, even if there were a groundswill of popular
demand for the new scheme, it would simply be
stolen rather than paid for.

Sadly, and much as I hate to say it, there
is very little demand these days for clean,
elegant, fast, short, and jaw dropping code!


It is far cheaper and simpler to throw another
million calculations or a gigahertz or two of
storage at the problem. And adding real floating
point is no big deal these days.

My favorite 16 bit integer square root is
table lookup. Let's see you beat the speed
on this one.

July 3, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Certainly one of the more bizarre sagas in
the entire history of the Arizona Fire Service
seems to be finally winding down.

Some details here and here.

July 2, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

One major difference between "haves" and
"have nots" these days simply lies in how much
math they use and understand.


The available fast and cheap math tools and techniques
these days utterly boggle the mind. It is utterly trivial
to throw another hundred million calculations at
a problem.
And even more trivial to pick up secret
info once available only to professional insiders.

Back in, say, 1963, a zillion dollar Olivetti calculator
available only to an aerospace firm could print out
a mortgate amortization for you. Or do one of my
first innovative math projects - finding out which
8 bit digital sequence could give you the least sour
musical notes. ( as in 116 - 123 - ... - 232 ).

With only a week's work.

These days, starting with a really bad math
background ( I nearly failed repeat remedial trig in
high school ) I'm routinely up to finding subtle
problems in 50 linear equations in 50 unknowns,
and exploring outrageously complex nonlinear
and ( apparently ) nondeterministic high order
math that may lead to some genuine energy
efficiency breakthroughs
.

July 1, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

We seem to be making progress on our
expanded Magic Sinewave calculator and
are now up to 20 pulses per quadrant out of
a goal of 23.

It turns out that solving nxn equations with
64-bit math most definitely can cause
problems for large n. Outrageously large
coefficients can easily result.

Intermediate workarounds for the magic
sinewave math are to write the equation
rows from high to low angles
and the
rows themselves as amplitude first then
higher harmonics working downward.


Further refinements in equation sequencing
and initial guessing may be needed for
even higher values of n.

June 30, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Latest GuruGram #93 is on How to Totally
Trash an Onboard Verhicle Hydrogen
Electrolysizer.


Sourcecode is available here. And additional
GuruGrams here.

June 29, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Updated our GuruGram library page.

June 28, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Alexander Graham Kernatski was the
first Telephone Pole.

June 27, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Larger nxn linear equations solved by
Gauss-Jordan reduction can in fact
easily blow up with JavaScript's 64-bit
math.

Some of the coefficients in our new
Magic Sinewave calculators were already
up in the hundreds of millions. Before
the higher nxn convergence problems..

Changing the equation sequence from
high to low angles and the row sequence to
amplitude then highest harmonics early
seems to be a useful workaround.

A heavier solution would be to pick
each new row for its best behaved
coefficients and then shuffle the
remaining rows for same.

Early large numbers can build up
at an alarming rate as they ripple
through.

More as testing progresses.

June 26, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Latest GuruGram #92 is on Some Bitmap
Circular Lettering and Related Techniques.


Sourcecode is available here. And additional
GuruGrams here.

June 25, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Here is my response to a recent media inquiry...

There IS credible published and peer reviewed
evidence that a 5% hydrogen injection into a
conventional ICE can have moderately significant
pollution and economy benefits.


However, I strongly feel the staggering losses
involved in onboard electrolysis utterly and totally
and ludicrously overwhelm any potential benefits.

And that is BEFORE amortization.

The point most of the enthuasiasts do not pick up
on is that the greater the electrical load on the alternator,
the greater the mechanical load placed on the engine
.

You ALWAYS have to input a lot more energy than
you get back.

Because of inherent inefficiencies, an alternator driven
on board electrolysizer PRIMARILY produces waste
HEAT. And is thus a DYNAMIC BRAKE that works
pretty much the same way as having your emergency
brake partially on. All it can hope to do is REDUCE
your gasoline mileage.

I feel the whole process is clearly an electrocity.

A thermodynamic fundamental principle called
"exergy" absolutely GUARANTEES that electrolysis
from high value sources ( such as grid, pv, wind, or
alternator ) for bulk hydrogen generation flat out
ain't gonna happen. Because a kilowatt hour of electricity
is ridiculously more valuable and has a ridiculously higher
quality than a kilowatt hour of unstored hydrogen gas.

There ALWAYS will be more intelligent things to do with
the electricity. EVERY time. I feel that elctrolysis is
fundamentally a DESTROYER of quality and value.
Unavoidably and irreversibly.

The process is essentially the same as stupidly 1:1
exchanging US dollars for Mexican pesos.


Further, the available energy that can be sent through
an ordinary fanbelt is utterly trivial. The efficiency of
an ordinary car alternator is quite low. Often less than
50%. Thus, any conventional attempt at on-board
electrolysis is doomed before it even begins.

At most, I feel that only homeopathic quantites of
hydrogen could be produced.
Which trips the
PLACEBO EFFECT many are purportedly observing.

Further, using stainless steel electrodes instead of
the required platinized platinum ones trashes the efficiency
even worse. Owing to the hydrogen overvoltage of iron
found in any intro electrochem book.

As does not recognizing that electrolysis is a CURRENT
DRIVEN
process that requires exotic switchmode
techniques for efficient control. Other current sources
( or, worse, direct connection ) are inherently very
inefficient.

Yet another inefficiency source is that electrolysis can
be endothermic, exothermic, or thermoneutral. Higher
rates of gas production are almost always well into the
exothermic
for further unavoidable losses.

Other approaches ( such as on board supply tanks or
exhaust gas reformation ) MAY eventually prove of
benefit. I feel this appears HIGHLY UNLIKELY to me
in that they interfere with other legitimate developing
means of improving ICE performance.

The fact that no legitimate automotive engineer has
come up with anything to date strongly reinforces this
belief.

Another gotcha: The EPA has made it a felony for an
individual to IMPROVE their gas mileage or REDUCE
their pollution on their vehicle!
The law clearly states that
tampering with any pollution control device ( as hydrogen
injection would surely do ) is a punishable felony.

It does not matter in the least whether the tampering
makes things better or worse.

June 24, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Not quite the latest GuruGram #89 is on A partial
History of the Gila Lumber and Milling Company.


This one is a tad different from our usual GuruGram
technical fare.

I have long been fascinated by the Mount Graham
Aerial Tramway
. Which was a spectacular local
lumber tramway ( circa 1924 ) that operated over
one vertical mile of incredibly hostile terrain.
And, while uniquely engineered, turned out to
have been an economic failure, lasting only a
little over one year of operation.

At any rate, one of the key historical documents
was L.O. Martini's A Partial History of the
Gila Lumber and Milling Company
. Which
I've transcribed here in machine readable form.

Sourcecode is available here. And additional
GuruGrams here.

June 23, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Both real-world LED lighting and fantasy
electrolysizers share a common characteristic:

These are both CURRENT OPERATED
devices And, by definition, traditional current
sources are very HIGH impedances.

Thus, you can easily end up burning up most
of your input energy in your SOURCE
, rather
than in your load.

Worse, if you stupidly try to drive either of
these from a voltage source, you can
easily end up with way too much current,
way too little, or highly erratic operation
.

The secret solution lies in always applying
"just enough" voltage to produce the current
you need at any given time
.

To do this, you start with an efficient switchmode
voltage stepdown converter
. Then you sense your
output current as best you can and then use
feedback to hold your output current where
you want it.

Our point being that unless you have a very
fancy switchmode circuit between your power
input and the current output to your electolysizer
or LED display, you are GUARANTEED
rotten efficiency
.

Consulting services available.

June 22, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

It pays to really dig deep into obscure
second tier auction resources.
Lately I've
found these to be paying off big time.

Far better than the regulars.


Some recent ferinstances: A distant
community college provided some
exceptional big ticket items. A rare
aerospace action by a liquidator did
even better. A normally vapid auction
site for cities and counties yeilded
some highly useful items. But only
after a bluff was called on a reserve.

Several "over the transom" email
offers were lowball bid. And awarded.
Even after the few items that were grossly
overvalued, the rest of the lot continues
to generate long term profits.


A national auctioneer did not bother
with local ads on industrial inventory.
Single item bids did quite well on
a stock barn auction where nobody
else spotted value.


In another case, a bankruptcy attorney
decided to hold their own auction.
Very few showed up. There can be
a distinct advantage when you are the
only bidder.


The bottom line being continuing
vigilance.
Avoid getting in a rut where
you only check the few obvious biggies
.

And continue to seek out the nonobvious.

Much more on our Auction Help library page.

Your own custom regional auction finder can
be created for you per these details.

June 21, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

A reminder that we have two exceptionally
rare classic 1908 commercial movie projectors
available. These should restore beautifully
and presently are in UPS shippable pieces.

You can email me for more details.

June 20, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

What is a good strategy for online bids
at a mixed online/live auction?

You ALWAYS have a big advantage in
being there and bidding live, so rule number
one is to avoid all online bidding.

If you must bid online, make sure you are
approved at least a day ahead of time.


NEVER bid too early! All this does is
telegraph your intent and draw interest
in the item. Besides starting pissing
contests.

Early in the auction, it is a good idea to
place a token shill bid on something you
do not feel strongly about
and have no
chance of winning. This makes sure you
are properly online and your bid machinery
is working.

Needless to say, on any item that you really
want, you place BOTH your current bid
of ONLY the amount needed to be highest
bidder. AND your proxy maximum.

Do this ONCE AND ONLY ONCE!


Since you are unlikely to have to pay your
proxy max ( you will almost always win for
less or be outbid ), your proxy max can
be somewhat higher than what you are really
willing to pay.
Perhaps 30% more.

There is a tradeoff on your best bidding
time. Too early and others have a chance to
respond. Too late, and the usual auctioneer
online screwups may miss your bid as their
equipment chokes.

Something like seven lots or nine minutes
early
may be a good optimum choice.


And avoid getting stressed out. If it was
such a big deal, you should have attended.


Much more on our Auction Help library page.

Your own custom regional auction finder can
be created for you per these details.

June 19, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

The solution to high value Magic Sinewave
Calculator
blowups may be to reverse the data
sequence during Gauss Jordan improvement.

Consider going from 0 to 90 degrees. The
first line might have sine coefficients from
.07 to .95. The second from .21 to .92. Scaling
the top line raises the .95 to 13.57. And
subtracting 3 times the top line from the second
raises the .92 to 40.7 or so.

We clearly are getting a huge spread in our
intermediate data values. These could cause
major truncation errors for very large n x n.

Instead, going from 90 to 0 degrees seems
to keep many of the intermediate data values
in line. And thus should help bunches.

More as the adventure unfolds.

June 18, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

A recent helpline caller asked about standard
humidity calibration
. It turns out there are
standard common salts whose saturted
solutions create known chamber humidities.

A good tutorial appears here.

Bottom line: Lithium Chloride is 11.3%.
Magnesium Chloride is 33.1%. Sodium
Chloride
is 75.2%. Potassium Sulfate is
97.6%

There is a mild temperature variation
found in the Greenspan Calibration Tables.

June 17, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Oops department. I was in the process of
extending our Magic Sinewave Calculator
and it started choking around 19 pulses per
quadrant. Convergence first became erratic
and then ultimately blew up on certain values.

The most likely reason is that Gauss Jordan
Elimination of 38x38 linear equations may
be beyond what 64 bit math can provide
for
certain input coefficient combinations.

I'm hoping that changing the sequence of
variables can provide a useful fix. Our
older calculators can handle much larger
quadrant counts, but are excruciatingly slow.

More as this situation unfolds.

June 16A, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Apparently I erred in my estimate of car alternator
efficiency
. It is a lot worse than I expected, being
typically 50 to 60 percent for partial loading and
much less otherwise.

These figures from Wikipedia, who quote the
Bosch Automotive Engineering Handbook


There is no particular reason you would
expect auto alternators to be all that efficient.
Primary design goals are low cost, small size,
light weight, and reliability.

And the actual losses are rather small when
compared against total engine horsepower.

Their performance could be upgraded by
going to synchronous rectification, more
and better iron and copper, improved
magnetic paths, exotic magnets, smaller
air gaps, redesigned windage, etc...

A reminder here why hydrogen from
electrolysis via a car alternator flat out
ain't gonna happen: (1) virtually ALL of
the input mechanical energy gets
converted to useless low grade heat,
creating a DYNAMIC BRAKE that
trashes your fuel economy; and (2)
the fanbelt alone limits input power
to several hundred watts at most,
leaving you with homeopathic quantities
of recoverable hydrogen gas energy .

June 16, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Picked up an interesting Hot Knife Webbing
Cutter
that we have refurbed and placed on
eBay. A Cutex TBC47-LH.

This microprocessor controlled automated
machine will cut any number of any lengths
pieces of rope, webbing, ribbons, or similar
textiles for you. The adjustable temperature
hot knife automatically seals the ends of
any "fray sensitive" materials.


The engineering here is interesting. The
internally heated knife is more or less stationary
but spring loaded. A one turn rotary platen pushes
the material up against the knife for cutting and
sealing. .

June 15, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

An interesting logo website is found here.

First sale doctrine lets you use somebody
else's logo specifically for an item resale.
Otherwise, extreme caution is recommended.

To change the color of a logo, try this trick:
Get into Imageview32, and convert to
grayscale. Then convert back to RGB
true color. Then dink with the color balance.

June 14, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

One of many "not even wrong" assumptions of the
alternator electrolysis crowd goes something like
this:

The alternator runs all the time anyway, so all of
that "wasted" electricity is best converted to
hydrogen. Rather than sitting around unused.

Uh, yes, the alternator does run continuously.
But the MECHANICAL LOAD the alternator
presents to the engine very much depends on
the electrical load drawn. The more energy
you take out, the more you have to put in.

You ALWAYS have to put in more mechanical
energy than you get out as electrical energy.


Worse, only a tiny fraction of the alternator
output ends up as recoverable hydrogen energy.

The overwhelming majority ends up as USELESS
HEAT
that would NOT have been produced had
electrolysis not been attempted.

Thus creating a DYNAMIC BRAKE that LOWERS
your gas mileage and causes the vehicle to stop in
less than its normal coasting distance.

Further analysis here.

June 13, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Updated and improved GuruGram #65 that is our
Executive Guide to Magic Sinewaves.

The main issue was that our dramatically improved
Ultra Fast Magic Sinewave Calculators came out
shortly afterward. Per this tutorial.

Minor update adjustments have also been made
to our Intro to Magic Sinewaves and Delta
Friendly Magic Sinewaves


Present Magic Sinewave activities include new
demo chips, extending the calculator to 23 pulses
per quadrant, and exploring other microprocessor
options that can more elegantly deal with 12-bit
or 16-bit delay data.

Partners and associates welcome on this highly
significant alternate energy efficiency breakthru.

June 12, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

One sure way to make your idea look good
and oppositions bad is to internalize all of their
costs and externalize all of yours.


Some new web posts claim that in-wheel electric
motors can eliminate the 15% to 20% transmission
losses in a conventional automobile. The only
tiny oint in the flyment is that the motor is unlikely
to be 90 percent efficient, the controller 85 percent
efficient, and the wiring 97 percent efficient.

Thus replacing 20% losses with 26% ones.
Nice thinking, kiddies..

Now, there are many obvious advantages to
in-wheel motors. Especially involving true
four wheel positraction, vehicle stability, and
regenerative braking.
Plus clutch-free and
continuous variability.


As the railroads discovered years ago.

Offsetting these advantages are an inherently
higher ratio of unsprung to sprung weight,
exposure vuneribility, and the tendancy of most
motors to run better at high speeds and thus
need their own torque increasing transmissions.

I'll stick with my earlier prediction: The optimum
number of electric traction motors in a vehicle
is not four. It lies somewhere between 4000
and 40,000 micromotors instead.

June 11, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Latest GuruGram #91 is on Some Bitmap
Perspective Lettering Algorithms and Utilities.


Sourcecode is available here. And additional
GuruGrams here.


And the working utility here. Plus a practice bitmap here.

June 10, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Recently received a few emails and calls
over homopolar motors, generators, and
Faraday Disks
. We covered them here and
here.


These are the only known rotary dc generators.
While they make excellent student papers,
they are otherwise useless because of their
extreme low voltage, high current operation.
Which usually makes their commutation losses
very high and their efficiency very low.

These devices are extremely hard to understand,
Faraday and Lorenz laws must be treated together!
Your frame of reference is not at all obvious.

And it is easy to wrongly convince yourself there are
some overunity possibilities. Which, of course,
there are not.

It turns out that special relativity demands that
you cannot tell if a uniform magnetic field is
stationary or rotating.
You can prove this by
trying to rotate a magnet on a string with one
beneath it.

There are no such thing as "magnetic lines"
and any attempt at "cutting" them to explain
this class of machines is utterly futile. Besides
being not even wrong.

The best discussion of this is in the Feynman
Lectures
. Physics Volume II, section 13.10
in particular.

June 9, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

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 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.

All from sources close to an associate of the barber of
a usually reliable spokesperson.

Our latest entry should create a real media blintz.
As it passes a millstone.

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.

It is, of course, important to always draw a distinction
between useful adjuncts towards porcine whole body
cleanliness and total hogwash.

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 action.

Because Opporknockity tunes but once.

June 8, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Picked up some outstanding theater light
dimmers
from an unlikely auction. These are
fully professional quad units rated to 1800
or even 2400 watts per channel.

They are all fully DMX compatible besides
being easily computer or microcomputer
control. And should have all sorts of club DJ,
home, theater, church, concert, or show uses.

All for a fraction of the going price. And
now up on eBay. These are all carefully
tested by us before shipment. And have our
usual fifteen day inspection privelege.

June 7, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Few people realize that most electronic
components run on smoke.

If you let the smoke out, they do not
work any more.

June 6, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

I've been refurbing and triaging some
elevator controls into generic motor
soft start controllers for sale on eBay.

On one of them, somebody has managed
to burn out a -----> HEATSINK!


Yeah, the big aluminum finned style.
And without hurting any of the power semis
mounted on it.

This takes a certain skill assemblage not
often found in an otherwise functional
homonid.

June 5, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Timing can be everything at a live auction.
Whether something is or is not a bargain
very much depends on WHEN during the auction
the lot is offered.


Ferinstance, the very first few lots will usually
go for outrageously low prices. First because
the crowd is shy. Second because the auctioneer
is not yet up to speed, and thirdly because
early good deals encourge manic bidding.

The first hour or two will usually have too much
interest and too much competition to give you
much of anything worthwhile.

Most any auction will have a focus where the
"good stuff" is sold at a particular time.
Especially working computer systems or
vehicles. Many individuals will come only
for these items and may tend to leave
afterwards. Your own best strategy, of
course, is to ignore the "good stuff".

As the auction ages, the serious bidders will
end up spending more and more
. They may
run out of money or hit a limit to what they
can carry with their available vehicles.

Eventually, some totally useless pile of trash
will not sell, and the auctioneer will "Combine
it with the next lot". Thus creating a poisioned
lot
that you can steal for a song.


Similarly, worthless trash on top can sometimes
mask goodies on the bottom of a skid or box.

Careful inspection and preview is thus a must.

Note that you can almost always give away
anything you do not want later
. Or simply
abandon it. Auctioneers do not want you
to know about your legal "right of
abandonment"
.
On the other hand, don't
repeat this stunt very often (or very obviously)
with the same auctioneer.

The further you get into an auction, the
further behind the auctioneer will typically
get, and the more fatigued and disinterested
your competive bidders may become.

Thus, the stunning buys tend to occur near
hour fourteen of a three hour auction.

Ideally helped along by the 120 degree
temperatures, the four inch hail, the scorpions,
bad lighting, dirt & grime, and, of course, the
nonworking restrooms.

And those are the times to get in the auctioneer's
face and agressively bid on the
"contents of cabinet"
and "contents of room" bargains.

Much more on our Auction Help library page.
Your own local custom auction finder can be
created for you per per these details.

June 4, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Newer versions of Acrobat apparently do
not include some of the original Adobe
fonts. In particular, Helvetica-Bold is
conspicuously absent.

One workaround is to use a substitute
Multi-Master font. But any pathforall
operators
  may return bounding boxes
instead of substitutions on unavailable
fonts.

The workaround is to add a font stash
from an earlier version of Acrobat
and
link it  with the Font Locations settings
tool in Distiller.  

June 3, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

One of the joys of rural small town living
is you can expect the unexpected if you need
anything done "right now". Fer sure.


I suddently sold a pricey piece of test equipment
that was missing an "unobtanium" cover. The
usual newsgroups were of no help and all the
remaining inventory anywhere was long gone.

Local machine shops are outrageously slow
and expensive. Mostly because they absolutely
insist on arguing for a month on why something
cannot be done. And then, of course, do it in
seven minutes flat.

Sheet aluminum was not findable locally, so I
tried the HVAC folks for galvanized steel
instead. The first two companies were closed,
the third was an empty lot, and the fourth
had an hours old "back in five minutes"
sign on the door.

The fifth one did manage to get me the
cover stock for a reasonable price, but
bend allowances ( my fault ) ended up
just barely the wrong size. For yet another
day's delay.

Meanwhile, I needed an 8-32 tap. The
hardware store, of course, was out of this
size only. But assured me it would be
"restocked by 3 PM".

That was a week ago.

I ended up buying an incredibly sleezoid
china knockoff tap kit at an auto supply
store. Auto stores are the only thing
there is an excessive supply of locally.

Only to find the tap quality was an atrocity.
Not to mention that it was a bottoming tap
that required extreme care with use! With
care, it finally worked, sort of. Thankfully
it was an aluminum frame being tapped
and not the steel cover itself.


The cover was just barely too big for my
small punch, so I had to drill all of the 1094
ventillation holes by hand.
Steel being
steel, each hole had to be individually and
manually deburred.

You cannot reliably paint galvanized, so
the wax and zinc had to be scoured off,
washed with vinegar, recleaned, and
reprimed. Needless to say, the one new
can of primer had a short fill on it.

Plus the limited color selection on the topcoat
and the sudden windstorm during painting left
the final appearance sort of hokey.

At any rate, it is thankfully out the door.

June 2, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Several eBay sellers have asked if sales
to New Mexico are feasible.

Besides the language barrier and the hassles
at customs, everything needs to be reloaded at
the border crossings because the truck tires
are a different size and spacing.


New Mexico, though, does provide a vital
function: It protects Arizona from Texas.

June 1, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Expanded and improved the offsite video
links
on our home page.

The demise of Las Vegas, of course, has
caused a FIFTY PERCENT reduction in the
number of network tv programs that are
even remotely watchable. ( 2-1=1 )

I am mystified why anybody would watch
"live" tv any more
compared to video
downloads. The video starts when you
want it to, has pause and fast forward,
rewind, and instant replay, no ghosts or
snow, some HTDV access, "less is more"
commercials (at least for now), and
no time slot conflicts.

May 31, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Craig's List continues to expand. New
additions in Arizona include Sierra Vista and
Mohave County. Our own Safford-Thatcher
remains conspicuously absent and sorely
needed.

Be sure to check out Kijiji as well.

May 30, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Whenever somebody tells you that "energy
can neither be created nor destroyed"
,
they are usually showing their monumental
ignorance of all things thermodynamic.

A far more truthful statement is that "energy
can neither be created nor destroyed, BUT
its QUALITY and its VALUE will almost
ALWAYS diminish on any change or use."


A ferinstance: You fill your gas tank and
drive around till the tank is empty. You
still have exactly as much energy as you
started with, right? And nothing has
changed, right?

Right. Uh-Huh.

In reality, you have a three cornered stool
of energy, entropy, and exergy. All three
MUST be considered in any intelligent
energy evaluation!


Exergy in particular is a measure of the
present energy QUALITY and VALUE.
Specifically, it measures the thermodynamically
reversibly recoverable remaining energy
fraction.


The usual way to measure exergy is to
change the energy to some other form,
then change it back, and see how much
you have left.


One classic example of wasted exergy is
electrical resistance room heat. The utterly
staggering loss of exergy also tells us why
electrolysis from high value sources (such
as grid, pv, wind, or alternator ) for bulk
hydrogen production flat out ain't gonna
happen.

Much more in our latest energy tutorial.

May 29, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

I'm still having infuriating problems with
Macromedia Dreamweaver 8.

The worst is that pieces of header occasoinally
break loose. From that point, all new material
is lost, and you lose all previous session work.


Second worst is the glacial speed on insertions
in longer projects. The workaround is to work
at the end of your file and then move the
completed result where it belongs.


Third worst are links that only get entered
half the time and ignored otherwise. The
workaround is to copy and modify a previous
working link.


This software is mesmreizingly awful.

May 28, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

We just received an outstanding selection
of carefully cared for integrated circuits,
some current production and some very
hard to find items that once were very
popular.

We'll be putting these up on eBay as
time permits. Often around one-sixth their
street price
. Maybe a tad more for any
pure unobtanium.


An early ferinstance will be the Exar 2209CP,
a difficult to find voltage controlled oscillator
chip that is perfect for analog music synthesis.

May 27 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Getting decent looking rounded corners
and round objects in any bitmap ( new or
as image posproc ) can be tricky.

This new template might be of help.

First and foremost, keeping your horizontal
and vertical lines accurate to one pixel should
help a lot. As should using the same detail
for both horizontal and vertical edges when
possible.

Symmetry lets you do only a quarter of a
circular object at once. By mirroring
vertically and horizontally, the complete
object can be built up. If something is
"not quite" symmetric, layers can be
used to handle any differences.

You can also do "octal" symmetry by
starting with a 45 degree wedge.
Created by a 45 degree white line
to define your upper boundary. Eight
fold symmetry
can then complete your
object.

Carrying things even further, a 22.5
degree wedge can be created and repeatedly
"symmetrisized" by a rotation and copy
process. The tangent of 22.5 degrees is 0.4142,
which, by a really obscure trig identity, can
be remembered as one less than the square
root of two.
Or the fraction of 12/29.

To use the template, grab a quarter of it and
paste it into your corner. Then overwite the
outer and inner boundaries. A middle trace
might also be overwritten. Chances are the
rest of the pixels do not have to be particularly
accurate, so long as they do not get too fat or
two thin.

For very small rounded corners, it pays to
"memorize" the needed patterns. These also
appear on the template. Winning patterns are
1, 1-1,  1-1-1,  2-1-2,  2-1-1-2,  2-1-1-1-2, 
2-2-1-2,
  3-2-1-2-3,  and  3-2-1-1-2-3 .


Additional bitmap tools appear here.

May 26, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

As we've seen, the number of local auctions
are going through the roof, while real estate
foreclosures are getting utterly ridiculous.

But my kind of high tech auctions seem to be
getting even rarer. Some possible explanations:

    Community colleges and other schools
    have long ago dropped their electronics
    programs. What little remains are often
    worthless dregs.

    Any high tech anybody that is going to go
    off shore likely has already done so.

    An upheaval in Military Surplus severely
    limits availability in most areas.

    Off shore products have long ago completely
    blown away US high tech competitiveness.

    Private aerospace auctions have gotten
    extremely aggressive. Urban lore hints
    that the high bidders simply sell their
    winnings right back to the same company!

  
GL has become useless to me because
   of nothing of value locally available,
   mininum bids that are far too high,
   utterly feral site managers, and totally
   infuriating auction extensions. Plus
   continuing reclassification hassles
.

   Emerging ROHS regulations have made
   many traditional components illegal for
   new designs.


   Older test equipment prices are in free
   fall, owing to market glut, size, weight,
   and their inability to record or network.


   Ridiculously fewer people have any interest
   whatsoever in traditional electronic design.
   Ham radio in particular is now a ludicrous
   geriatric parody of its on time greatness.


Additional auction resources are found here.

Your own custom regional resource finder
can be created for you per these details.

May 25, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

A summary of yesterday's alternator analysis:

The primary output product of a fanblt driven
electrolysizer is HEAT. The mechanical energy
rederived from the hydrogen produced is utterly
negligible compared to the lost heat energy.


This heat energy, of course, comes from the gasoline
in the tank.
All you have done is create a DYNAMIC
BRAKE that in turn REDUCES your gas mileage.


Not to mention that the total fanbelt energy is utterly
trivial. The whole venture is thus pointless.

May 24 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

There's some lively discussion going on in the newsgroups
over a new "trucker's hydrogen injection system" based
on electrolysis via an alternator. To me, the numbers simply
do not add up.

Not by a country mile.

Time will tell how much of this is a scam, how much is the
placebo effect, and how much is real. First, there definitely
is credible peer reveiwed research that shows that a modest
(typically 5%) hydrogen injection can improve combustion
to significantly raise fuel economy.
It is also possible that
lower hydrogen injection levels can reduce carbon and
other deposits. The latter has yet to be convincingly shown.

Two key questions are whether any new mechanical load
needed to produce the hydrogen is greater or less than
the benefits derived; and whether the fully burdened cost
amortization
will ever let the system pay for itself. Few
people realize how ludicrously inefficient a conventional
alternator driven electrolysizer would be.

The odds are utterly overwhelming that there is no way
in hell that the benefits could remotely approach the
input loading penalty.
First, the fanbelt itself may be
limited to the three the five horsepower range. Its
efficiency is probably around 97 percent, caused by
flexing and air turbulence.

Car alternators are a lot  less efficient than most
people suspect, typically being in the 70 percent range.
While the largest losses are in the rectifier diodes,
the wider air gap, less-than-optimal regulator,
cheaper magnetic materials, and field losses
all make car alternator efficiency a secondary
consideration.

A typical 100 amp 12 volt car alternator is also only
a 1-1/2 horsepower device.
For decent efficiency,
you cannot simply connect an electrolysizer to
the output of an alternator. Because the alternator
is a somewhat constant voltage device, and an
efficient electrolysizer demands a carefully controlled
current source.

The fancy switchmode electronics required to do this
would probably end up in the 80 percent efficiency
range. Analog control circuits or direct connection,
of course, would be much worse. While an electrolysizer
can theoretically be fairly efficient (neglecting the
staggering exergy hit, of course), most will operate
well into their exothermic range for decent gas volumes.

This introduces at least another 70 percent efficiency
drop. Further, most add-on manufacturers might tend
to cheat and use stainless steel or nickel rather than
the platinized platinum required for decent efficiency.
This can add up to another 60 percent efficiency hit
due to the hydrogen overvoltages involved. Details in
any electrochem book.

Finally, the engine itself is probably only 35 percent
efficient at converting fuel to shaft horsepower.

Let's see. If we start with 1000 watts at the crankshaft,
we get 970 watts at the alternator input and 679 watts
at the alternator output. And 543 watts at the
switchmode regulator. And 380 watts for the exothermic
drop. The stainless overvoltage puts us down to 228
watts.

And the engine efficiency finally delivers a mere
87 watts of mechanical power!


The dilemma is this: The amount of hydrogen
producible with one fan belt and an unmodified
alternator seems uselessly low and is in the
"homeopathic dose" range.
While significant
hydrogen production seems to me to demand multiple
fanbelts, custom heavier and much more efficient
alternators, and other complex modifications.

While other means of hydrogen injection (such as
exhaust gas reformation or a refillable on-board tank)
might eventually be shown to be useful, I strongly feel
that the insane efficiency losses in onboard alternator
electrolysis absolutely guarantee that this flat out
ain't gonna happen.

And that is BEFORE amortization.

In short, both the engineering economics and the
thermodynamics suck.


More in our electrolysis and Energy Fundamentles tutorials
.

May 23 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

We just put a hard-to-find low hours
Tektronix 576 curve tracer up on eBay.

Free manual replicas are available here.

May 22 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

There seems to be yet another incarnation
of the Stanley Meyer water powered car
fiasco, both on YouTube and the sci.energy.hydrogen
newsgroup.

The video is particularly self-damming where you
can see the ac line operated induction motor on the
vehicle that drove an alternator to store up hydrogen
"piggy bank style".

Detailed debunking of the Meyer fiasco appears
here and here. A summary...

     What most likely happened were the usual
     incompetent pulse measurement errors that
     everybody else always makes.

     Not one individual anyplace ever has been
     able to duplicate the Meyer claims on an
     independently verifiable basis.

    An Ohio judge found "gross and egregrious
    fraud" and a "loose grip on reality" The
    actual trial transcriptions have never been
    made available due to high admin costs.

    The experiment DOES get rerun many
    tens of thousands of times daily by EIS
    researchers. With uniformly negative
    results.

   A fundamental thermodynamic principle
   involving exergy flat out GUARANTEES
   that bulk energy hydrogen electrolysis
   from high value sources (such as grid, pv,
   wind, or alternator) ain't gonna happen.
   The whole venture is thus totally useless.

   Convincing British "experts" simply did
   not happen. Based on a "lame excuse"
   at test time.

   Newsgroup response by proponents is
   uniformly vitrolic and crudely ad-hominum.
   Credible and factual info is rarely posted.
   Many proponents are clearly not housebroken.

   No unusual or overunity claims appear in
   any of the patents. The patents simply
   describe an enoumously inefficient
   and impractical approach to electrolysis..

   For Meyer to be right, countless others would
   have to be dead wrong. Including Faraday's Law,
   Fourier Series, the fundamental definition of
   current, EDM machining, Qprox proximity
   sensors, thermodynamic fundamentals, and
   many more diverse examples.


  Claims of "nuclear and not chemical" are
  prima facie absurd because of the outrageous
  energy level differences. The root cause
  appeared to be not knowing the difference
  between "volts" (a potential) and "electron
  volts" (an energy measurement).


  The molecular resonance frequency of water
   is THOUSANDS of times higher than the
   frequencies in use. No overunity resonance
   effect has ever been demonstrated anytime
   ever.

  The Meyer circuits completely ignore the
  inescapable fact that water-to-hydrogen
  conversion involves moving electrons and
  thus is inherently CURRENT driven rather
  than voltage. Current sources are inherently
  inefficient unless special switchmode techniques
  are in use.

  Not one credible peer reviewed paper has ever
  been published anywhere on what certainly would
  have been a world class fundamental upheaval in
  the laws of thermodynamics. "Publish or Perish"
  should have produced a glut of scholarly research.

"Oil company suppression" seems conspicuously
   absent since all the fully detailed material is
   freely available on the web from multiple sources.
  Albeit highly incompetent and sorely misguided ones.

  Failing to use platinized platinum electrodes
  and the stainless steel overvoltage of iron
  guarantees low efficiency. Only the DC term
  of a Fourier equivalent pulse waveform will
  normally contribute significantly to gas production.
  A double intergration is clearly involved
.

Much more in our Pseudoscience Bashing tutorial.

May 21 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

One of the most useful tools in test equipment
refurb has been Radio Shack TV Tuner Cleaner.
and Lubricant
. This item has gotten very expensive
and very hard to find locally.

Possibly because we have not had tv tuners for
years. Especially those with elaborate mechanical
contact switching. The unique thing about this
product was that it combined an electronic cleaner
with spray on mineral oil. And thus was perfect
to revive switches and pushbuttons that are stuck
or slow acting .


Modern electronic sprays are cleaner only. Getting
just enough oil where it will do the most good is
otherwise tricky.

May 20, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Our local paper seems to have the US forest
service immobilizing a fire team instead of
demobilizing one. Thus showing great
restraint.

I think I found their problem.

May 19 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

A professional certified apprasial has just been
completed on the spectacular Oregon View Acerage
we have for sale.


The current market value, based upon recent
sales of comparable properties is $160,000.00.

Oregon Law apparently forbids us from republishing
this apprasial We can release it to you under NDA
by contacting us or calling (928) 428-4073.

May 18, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

With distress auctions and bankruptcies
going through the roof, now might be a very
good time to "reset to zero"...

    By flushing anything over a year old
   
that you have not yet listed.

   By putting anything that obviously is
   not going to sell on the Alvin Pile.

   By dramatically slashing clutter and
   eliminating the "shit floats to the top"
   strangulation effect.


   By making storage of known good
   inventory as efficient as possible.


   By new training and expanding the
   skills of any hired help.


   By making sure you are genuinely
   proud of any newly listed offers.

  By focusing on new items with the
  the highest ticket price or the best
  total quantity return.


  By giving each item the attention
  to detail it deserves.

  By favoring current production and

  in demand items
 
  By providing useful technical links
  when and where possible.

  By carefully researching product
  viability and potential interest.
.

   By favoring items you have special
   expertise in that maximizes your
   personal value added.


  By favoring items that are easy and
  cheap to test, pack, and ship.

  By getting your inventory counts
  exact and returning loose items
  where they belong.


And, of course...

    By promptly admitting when and
    where you were wrong.


Chances are very good that some spectacular
"contents of shelves" and"contents of room"
buys are just around the corner.

But also that things are about to get really
ugly and really competitive.


More auction resources here.

May 17, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

We just picked up our eBay green star!

This one is among the most difficult ones
to get. Although the new rule changes did
make it slightly easier.

It might be interesting to find out exactly
how many eBay sellers there are at what
"star" level.

The obvious defect of searching for sales
with the word "the" in the description
is that high end sellers tend to have a lot
more items listed at once.

My best guess is that green or better
stars are less than one in a thousand.

But the probably have over one third
of the total listings.

May 16, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Whenever you are selling real estate, be
sure to use Craig's List in addition
to your classic realtor resources.

A typical Craig's Listing may attract
hundreds of buyers with enough interest
to click through to your website for more
details
. Which implies many hundreds of
view exposures. At ZERO cost!

Besides knowing exactly how many clickthroughs
you got, your Logfiles and Logfile Analyzers
can even tell you where your referrals came
from. But using this info could become intrusive.

May 15 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

I've managed to "backfill" most of our
missing blog entries over the past few weeks.

It is amazing how far behind you can get how
fast. The main cause was an obsessive
revision and update of our Architect's
Perspective
routine.

Getting exactly one interesting and useful
entry per day can be quite challenging.
Many other bloggers share the problem.

I'll try to keep the RSS updates more
current as well.

May 14 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

A recent aerospace auction got NO BIDS
on hundreds of CRT monitors, high end
laser printers, and only slightly out of date
CPU's.

Nobody wants CRT's anymore because of
their size, weight, and fragility. And disposal
rules have gotten really nasty in many areas.

As a laser printer developer and pioneer, I
am deeply saddened by this technology having
peaked. A modern inkjet such as an HP K550
gives almost equal performance at 30 pages per
minute and full duplex.

And we are waiting for the obvious next big
thing in inkjets -- full width printheads that
should put them well beyond 100 pages per minute.
With far fewer moving parts.

The only tiny problem is the obscene ink pricing
policies. I expect these to ease shortly.


The usual policy on auctions from this source is
to take any offer on anything that goes unbid.

But you will have to act fast. On other auction
resources, it always pays to ask.

Other auction opportunities appear here.

Your own custom auction finder can be
created for you per these details.

May 13, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Certain newsgroups tend to attract
individuals who clearly are not housebroken.

Useful ploys in dealing with them are to
NEVER respond directly. Always address
the lurkers with factual and unemotional
info instead.


If your position is valid, others will quickly
defend it.
Even if not, most newsgroup topics
have a half life of a few days at most.

Hijacking a topic to change its focus and
direction can bury negative comments.


Or, should you feel strongly enough, start
a new topic in a fresh direction
. All the
while remaining factual and unemotional.


The other side INSTANTLY WINS on
any ad-honimum attack.

May 12 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Latest GuruGram #90 is on Some Architect's
Perspective Algorithms and Utilities.


Sourcecode is available here. And additional
GuruGrams here.

May 11 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Does solar concentration solve any energy issues?
What about spectrum splitting?

Solar concentrators certainaly are useful for thermal
solar power towers. But you do have to use huge
systems to justify tracking systems and the fourth power
high temperature losses.

The whole reason for pv solar concentration was
that the energy generation parts cost a lot more than
the rest of the structure.
In these days of mile long
inkjet on wide roll emerging technology, the two are
one in the same and concentration no longer seems
worthwhile.

Concentration also implies complex tracking and higher
temperatures
possibly combined with shorter lifetimes.
And potential catastrophic failure.

New developments in tetrapods let you tune a
semiconductor's work function to a selected portion of
the visible spectrum. Which potentially gives an
improved efficiency. But the cost and complexity
of multiple semiconductor layers is a huge no-no.

UNLESS everything can be integrated into
several nanotechnology layers spray painted on to the
same cheap film substrate.


More in our MORENRGF.PDF tutorial.

May 10 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

I'm still getting bunches of phone calls on
Brown's Gas. All you need to know about
it is that it is totally bogus on all levels.

We did a thorough review here. Brown's
Gas is a stoichimetric mix of hydrogen and
oxygen. Nothing more, nothing less. It is
exceptionally and monumentally dangerous
and almost totally useless.


Unusual and wildly misclaimed properties
are easily explained by plain old obscure
but "Gee Whiz" demo physics. In particular,
the hard-to-measure temperature is not
especially high ( acetylene beats it easily ),
and long term monatomics do not exist.

And "implosion" demos go away as soon
as the container walls warm up slightly.
And the total energy density is a joke.

There is absolutely no way that more than
homeopathic quantities of Brown's Gas can
be produced through a car's fanbelt.
Even
then, only the tiniest fraction of the mechanical
input energy can be output in a useful form.

Thus clearly creating a dynamic brake.

More on pseudoscience bashing here.

May 9 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

The bilineal transformations we looked at in
our GuruGram #83 can be sped up considerably.

If you use them three times over (as in red, green,
and blue) and if you can predefine some of the
operations once per row rather than once per
pixel
.

Some sample code...

       /doredbilin { curcred dup xi get xr- mul
       exch xi+ get xr mul add yr- mul curcred+
       dup xi get xr- mul exch xi+ get xr mul
       add yr mul add } bind store


Here curcred is a fetch of the present line
array. xi is the integer x value xr- is (1-xr)
xi+ is (xi+1), xr is the x value fraction, yr-
is (1-yr), yr is the y value fraction, and
curcred+ is a fetch of the next higher line.

Execution time is down around 2 seconds for
a 512x512 bitmap.

More details here and example code here.

May 8, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

The electrolysis fantasies seem to continue
unabated. The latest email asked me what
I thought of "pulsed DC" at a "resonant
frequency" of a few Megahertz.

Org. Firstoff, electrolysis is a process
that instantly and irrecoverably destroys
the quality and value of energy
. The
staggering loss of exergy GUARANTEES
that electrolysis for bulk hydrogen energy
from high value sources (such as grid,
wind, or pv) flat out ain't gonna happen.

And, of course, any electrolysis that involves
a car fanbelt is really a dynamic brake that
is literally in drag.

There ALWAYS will be more intelligent
things to do with high exergy electricity
than instantly and permanently destroying
most of its value.

There is, of course, no such thing as
"pulsed DC"
. All the term does is
demonstrate monumental ignorance of
Fourier Series.
And guaruantees measurements
that are wildly inaccurate and invariably low.

The ac components of the applied waveform
are totally useless because of Faraday's Laws.
Further demonstrating monumental ignorance.

The resonant frequency of  a water molecule is
THOUSANDS OF TIMES HIGHER than
Megahertz range frequencies. Even then,
there are no thermodynamic violations
known that involve resonance effects.


Our usual summary...

     If you do not understand exergy, you
     SHOULD NOT be pissing around with
     electrolysis.

     If you do understand exergy, you WILL
     NOT be pissing around with electrolysis.


Either way, the outcome is not the least in
doubt. More on hydrogen energy here.

May 7 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Google Maps now lets you casually drive
down the street of many major towns and
snoop just about everywhere.

One superb use is refinding a restaurant
from a few years back whose name and
address you forgot.


I was surprised by how little Eastern urban
areas have changed over decades. In
snooping around childhood haunts, the
area defining amusement park is now
gone. As are the streetcars. The parking
problems remain in spades.

The school is now a second rate office
suite, apparently done in by ADA and
an auditorium reachable only via
steep icy steps or a cliffhanging dirt
narrow path.

Amazingly, most of the homes are
still there
. Six decades older and
some repainted. Others not. Those
lumps of coal I found in the crick
are now the world's smallest strip mine.

May 6, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Is this ancient routine making a modern
political prediction?

May 5 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

As our Arizona Auction Resources page
clearly shows us, the number of local
auctions is sharply up and opportunities
clearly abound.

But this just may be the best time to
REDUCE your inventory, not increase
it. First because anything new is likely
to cost a lot more than what you already
have in stock and written off.

And second because things are likely
to get MORE competitive rather than
less. Owing to the tons of merch now
being dumped.

And third because if you hit it big on
an auction, you will now have the
storage room you will need.

And finally, because you can be
more selective which auctions to
attend. Yet still have higher odds
than usual of a spectacular buy.

More on our Auction Help library
page. Your own custom regional
auction finder can be created for
you per these details.

May 4 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Changing the color or background of some
Antialiased text or a logo can be tricky.

While our Bitmap Typewriter will let you
do this for a known and available font, here
is a backup approach for unusual logos or
whatever:

Get the logo or artwork the proper size.
Go into Imagview32 and use the Convert
to GrayScale
feature. Adjust the gamma,
contrast, and brightness to get the right
amounts of foreground and background
luminance.

Then convert back to 24 bit color and
try adjusting
the Color Balance.

May3 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

One super easy way to do bad research is
to confuse heat energy and temperature.

Heat energy (mesured in Joules or BTU's
or kilowatt hours) tells you how much
energy you have. Temperature (measured
in degrees) tells you the quality and value
of that energy only.

An experiment: Bake a soft pretzel in
a toaster over on a single sheet of
aluminum foil. You can easily remove
the pretzel and the 400 degree foil
with your bare hands!


Provided, of course, that you touch
only one foil layer and nothing else!
While hot, there is not enough heat
energy in a thumb sized piece of foil
to even produce a warm sensation.


Similarly, there is not enough energy
in a typical hydrogen flame to do any
serious welding.
It takes waaay too long
compared to, say, acetylene. And thus
is neither cost effective nor often used.

More in our "Its a Gas" library page.

May 2 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Is there a housing crash and a foreclosure
crisis? If you search the
Tucson Classifieds
under "auction", you'll get something like
five or six trustee sale notices per day
compared to the usual one a week or so.

And these foreclosure stats from the
Pheonix area certainly do not bode well.

But this map tells us that real estate
prices are clearly INCREASING in
about 90 percent of the country. Only
in those five states or so with obscene
excess is any adjustment taking place .

May 1 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Deciding when to "improve" a nearly completed
product is a rough call.
Obsessively changing things
forever and ever without getting something out the
door can cost you dearly. And may slam shut any
windows of opportunity.

But rushing a product's release when you know you
can do significantly better is an equally bad disservice.

As is delivering something thatyou know is not yet fully
tested or verified. Timing is everything.

More on similar topics in our Blatant Opportunist library.

April 30 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Back to the drawing board. I almost got
our Architect's Perspective ready to release
when I realized it could be dramatically
simplified and sped up.

Specifically, anything that can happen during
row time will be ridiculously faster than during
pixel time
. And limit checking each pixel is
a no no, compared to precalculating the allowable
pixel range. The actual reverse transforms can
be simplified. As can the bilineal interpolations.

Our revised forward transforms are...

        ycnew = ycold*[ zzz /( zzz + ycold )]
        xcnew = xcold*(ycnew / ycold)

And the reverse ones are ...

        ycold = ynew*[ zzz /( zzz - ycnew )]
        xcold = xxnew*(ycold / ycnew)


Our xcen and zzz are calculated as...

       xcen = xcorrwudth * [leftxshift /
      
(leftxshift - rightxshift)] + oldxleft +
       leftxshift

       zzz = [ oldxleft + xcorrwidth - xcen ] *
       [ycorrheight - ycen]/ leftxshift


Scroll upward a week or two for the latest results.

April 29 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

We pride ourselves on our eBay customer service
and go out of our way to never have an unhappy
customer.

We promptly issue full refunds ( often without returns )
any time we are even slightly at fault. We have very
few problems. And those that do exist are easily covered
by the 30:1 SBR (sell/buy ratio) that we will always
seek out.


Clearly offering a fifteen day inspection privelege
(customer pays all shipping) on higher ticket items
heads many problems off before they occur. A
customer that accepts an implied risk is less likely
to end up unhappy.


But what about a customer who simply did not read
clear and obvious statements in a product offer?

One ploy is to wait a few days before responding
and then offer only a product refund less shipping
upon return. More often than not, the customer
may never get around to an actual return. Yet
still find your response acceptable.

April 28, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Another name for a fanbelt driven electrolysizer
is a DYNAMIC BRAKE! At least three quarters
of the input mechanical energy gets burned up as
plain old unwanted and unneeded heat.

Thus SLOWING THE VEHICLE DOWN and
trashing the gas mileage.

What were they thinking?

April 27, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Seeking out a list of local companies
can be a most useful tool in finding sources
of supply
for your eBay auctions.


I was surprised to find out that the top eight
Southern Arizona employers are government
agencies. Or sell only back to the government in
free government supplied facillities.

And that number nine includes their own remote
company towns. And Walmart ( who usually
is top dog ) comes in as a distant tenth.

The rest of Arizona has a more expected
job and company ownership distribution.


More on eBay buying and selling on
our Auction Help library pages.

April 26, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

One of the utterly amazing things about
selling a piece of property is how many
different unexpected individuals come out
of the woodwork and demand a thousand
or more dollars upfront cash right now.

So far, there is a realtor, a land use developer,
a county homestead approval agency, an
easement attorney, and an appraiser.
Plus ongoing outrageous property taxes.

Naturally, some buyers will want you to add a
surveyor, a well driller, a paving contractor,
a septic installer and dozens more.

Yeah. Uh-uh. Sure.

Meanwhile, Craig's List is free and generates
hundreds of leads per listing.

April 25, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

As we've seen earlier, the long abandoned
Morenci Southern Railway was an incredible
project involving no less than FIVE loops.

Or about one third of ALL the loops of ALL
American railroads.

A definitive but pricey resource is the
History of Arizona Railroads Vol III.

More in our Gila Hikes library page.

April 24, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Our improved architect's perspective
routines are still wheel spinning getting the
fundamental math right and demoed.

Two main parameters control the correction:
A variable called
kkk that is related to the
vanishing point distance that sets how much
correction, And a variable called xcen that
decides how to apportion the left and right
tilting.

The reverse solution of kkk given some more
convenient input data is not trivial. It probably
will end up looking something like this...


       kkk = [ newx(oldy-ycen) -
                    xcen(oldy+ycen) ] / (oldx-newx)


And even that may turn out to be approximate.

Stay tuned.

April 23, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

DUH! department: When you empty a
typical hot tub, a few gallons often remain
at the bottom. Bailing or sponging or pond
pumps are all a pain.

But a wet/dry vac works like a champ!

April 22, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

The local auction scene seems to be going
bonkers. With zillions of new bankruptcies
and distress sales. Mostly things like
furniture manufacturers, title companies,
custom woodworkers, hardware stores,
rv services, and high end audio scams.

And the "legal notice" forced real estate
auctions in the Tucson paper seem to have
gone from one a month to five a day.

Your own custom regional auction resource
finder can be created for you per these details.

April 21, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

A church in Gila Bend has decided not to buy
a chandelier. It seems that no one in the entire
congregation knew how to play one.

April 20, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

The forward and reverse nonlinear transforms
for our upcoming improved architect's perspective
routines are likely to look something like this...

FORWARD:

      /oldxeff = oldx - xoffset

      /oldyeff = oldy - yoffset
      /newx = newxeff + xoffset
      /newx = newxeff + xoffset


      /kkk = fullheight * tan (tiltangle)

      /newyeff = oldyeff *( kkk /( kkk + oldyeff)
      /newxeff = oldxeff *( kkk /( kkk + oldyeff)

REVERSE:

      /oldyeff = newyeff *( kkk /( kkk - newyeff)     
  
   /oldxeff = newxeff *(( kkk - oldyeff)/kkk)   

There are three variables: kkk decides how much slope
is to be corrected and also equals the vertical distance to
the vanishing point. xcen decides how the slope correction
is to be apportioned to the right and left edge. And
ycen vertically centers the tilt correction for minimum
size changes.

April 19, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

The Gila Valley is usually regarded as a rural
technological backwater. But it holds and has
held eight centuries worth of rather amazing tech
acheivements.

Here's my selection in order of cubic
wonderment....

     SAFFORD GRIDS - many thousands of
     prehistoric water control projects, possibly
     as part of Aguave or Mescal production.

     LARGE BINOCULAR TELESCOPE -
     This week's finest telescope in the world
     just got its double vision.

     MT. GRAHAM AERIAL TRAMWAY -
     Lumber transport well over one vertical
     mile high cobbed out of old bits and pieces.

     MORENCI SOUTHERN RAILWAY -
     No less than FIVE 360 degree loops
     treacherously climbing impossible terrain.

     MORENCI MINE - They sure are moving
     a lot of dirt. And their bugs + solvent +
     electrowin has major enrironmental and
     energy advantages.

     ASH CREEK FLUME - Spectacular turn
     of the century trestles floated boards off
     the mountain.

     EMIGRANT MARBLE QUARRY -
     Elaborate steam machinery on the far
     side of back of beyond did some impressive
     stone carving and shipment.

    UBIQUITOUS COMM - The triply whammy
    of web + cable + cellphones gives instant
    research and com from anywhere and drives
    a huge equalizing rural lifestyle paradigm shift.

    TOMATO FACTORY - Acres upon untold
    acres of ever expanding buildings assemble
    tomatoes from the ground up. Bugs are dealt
    with by the "two brick" method.

   COTTON DRIP IRRIGATION - Time will
   tell if this major ongoing project will be an
   utter fiasco or a really big advance in water
   management.

Some of these also appear on our new
Gila Day Hikes page.

April 18, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Whenever you "almost" have a technological
solution, or "almost" have gotten your research
completed, there is a tendancy to go full speed
ahead anyway.

Which will "almost" always will cost you bunches
in the long run.


Make sure that what you need to continue is
fully completed before committing yourself to
stuff that may prove expensive or embarassing
when ( not if ) things go wrong.

go wrong.

go wrong.

go wrong.

April 17, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

The old Morenci Railroad line is one of many
listings on our new Gila Day Hikes page.

This route literally tied itself in a knot and
crossed itself in as many as FIVE LOOPS!

All to gain altitude with limited max grades.
Most trains cannot deal with more than a
three percent grade.

There are several reasons why the old
postcard photos do not line up with the
current topo. Three of the upper loops
were early on replaced with switchbacks.

And that portion of Morenci Gulch was
later eaten by the open pit mine or covered
with tailings or buildings.


One impressive full loop remains.

Access is off the Back Country Byway.
The 4WD tracks are very rough; hiking
or mountain biking along the actual roadbed
is probably your best route. FM permits might
be advisable if you chose a northern approach
instead.

April 16, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Some partially playable versions of "lost"
InfoCom Games have recently been found.

Slashdot has an ongoing discussion.

April 15, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Topozone has just added some outrageous
access charges.

Curiously, we do not yet have anywhere near
optimal map access. You cannot pan or zoom
the real topos, and no blended overlay between
topos, aerial photos, and named destinations
seems yet available.

Google's aerial photography is spectacular
in some areas and totally useless in others.
Naturally, "others" being everywhere that
I want to go or at least look at. And Google
does not yet have true USGS topo options.

The USGS Site provides black and white
aerial photos
that are much better than
Google's worst and much worse than
Google's best.

What is really needed is a blender function that
lets you mix aerial photos and topos in any
ratio. Here's a crude demo of Pacman, AZ
I did long ago that shows some possibilities.

April 14, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Dilbert has apparently just been Dilberted!

They totally trashed the column, blocked
access to certain of their best users, and
generally klutzed it up.

April 13, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

We recently saw how our Bitmap Typewriter
can do rotated text and cylindrical text.

Here's an example of Perspective Lettering
done with the Bitmap Typewriter. At present,
the process is a tad tedious, but I am working
on a newer and faster upgrade that should
also be more accurate .

Note the infinite depth of field.

April 12 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Latest GuruGram #88 is on Some Image
Post Processing Tools.


Sourcecode is available here. And additional
GuruGrams here.

April 11 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

I've been reposting many of my "best"
papers to WESRCH.

You can find a good sampler collection
there by searching by author.

April 10 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

I added some improvements to our Airbrushing
Utilities
and companion Airbrushing Tutorial.

These deal with two quirks of the HSB color
space: You cannot blend through one hue
that has a 1/0 discontinuity
(default = red).

And hue becomes hypersensitive very
near a true gray
and can add tinting.

A new usehsb Boolean lets you pick airbrushing
in the HSB or RGB color spaces. HSB has
more color saturation. RGB avoids possible
hue shading near true grays. But is darker.

A new hueshift variable lest you guarantee
a blend through a given color. -0.16 lets
you blend through blue. +0.16 lets you blend
through green, and +0.5 lets you blend through
red. These do a simple hue phase shift and
later restoration to move the 1/0 problem.

Such fine tuning can sometimes eliminate
going "the wrong way around" the hue
circle. It should rarely be needed for most
normal airbrushing uses
.

Custom fine tuning of any grays you are
blending to so they still have"hints" of
your blend colors in them can minimize
tinting hue surprises as well.

April 9, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

We recently saw how our Bitmap Typewriter
can do rotated text. If you want to go to enough
time and effort, you also can do lettering around
a cylinder. Per this example.

The trick is to create a group of fonts to different
point widths and different darkness values. And
then pick whatever comes closest to the original
lettering you are overwriting .

Additional Bitmap Typewriter info has been
newly posted here.

April 8 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

I was asked what can be done to improve the
efficiency of a car's ICE engine
. As usual,
things may not be what they seem, and tradeoffs
tend to dominate over solutions
.

The theoretical efficiency of a typical ICE
is up in the sixty percent range. This limit
is set by Carnot's Law as the absolute ratio
of the burn versus exhaust temperatures.

One way to improve theoretical efficiency
is to run hotter, perhaps with ceramic
cylinders. Another is to exhaust closer to
ambient (which may trash pollution devices).

Yet another route is to add one or more
bottoming cycles between ICE exhaust and
ambient. Power utilities now do this routinely,
but cost and complexity is traded for only
a few points of improvements.

Flushing the ICE and replacing it with a
fuel cell is not nearly as good as proponents
think it is. First, because there are inherent
fuel cell efficiency limits in the 83 percent
range, second because of wiring (97%),
motor (90%), and controller (85%) losses,
and thirdly because current fuel cells
throw out the carbon which is a significant
energy source. And lastly because current
fuel cell technology is outrageously expensive
and unreliable.

In reality, an auto's ICE gets nowhere near
its theoretical efficiency.
Caused by having
to run at different speeds and power levels.
And "best efficiency" not being the same as
"most power" or "least pollution" or "best
MPG". And by conventional accessory losses.

Stuff being looked at now to close the gap
between actual and theoretical ICE efficiency:
42 volt systems that allow electric valves,
On demand cooling and power steering systems.
Going hybrid (an outright joke until the stored
battery energy becomes significant). Continuously
variable transmissions. Combined 4 cycle and
6 cycle operation
. Splitting the compression
and expansion into two separately optimized
tasks.

Diesel instead of Otto cycles. Drive by wire.
Multistage lean burn. Integrated alternator/
starter/regenerator
. Supercaps for brief power.
Hydrogen injection (but NOT, of course, from
on board electrolysis.) Auto idle restart.

Much more in our energy fundamentals and
more energy fundamentals tutorials.

April 7 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

I remain very impressed with the new WESRCH
website.

As we've seen, peer reviewed scholarly journals
are clearly in a death spiral due to them having
priced themselves ridiculously out of the market
and their steadfast refusal to make any and all
older papers available free without restriction.

I've been obsessively monitoring some WESRCH
stats lately and see some surprising trends.

First and foremost, peer review may be an overrated
scam.
The unmoderated WESRCH papers to
date are of consistent quality that is much higher
than your average scholarly journal. And nobody
seems that much interested in the "rate this paper"
and "comment on this paper" feedback features.

While WESRCH now has 500 papers and 100,000
paper views, this is not yet anywhere remotely near the
critical mass needed for a "Google style" definitive
resource. Which I'd place at 50,000 papers in the
library and 50 new papers updated per day. But
the stats are improving at an impressive rate.

Curiously, the most popular and the least popular
papers don't differ that much in their download rates.

Suggesting that WESRCH is very much postee
rather than viewee dominated.

The paper title is crucial, since a viewers
actions are based on as little as 20 characters.
The most popular papers tend to become a
self-fulfilling prophesy as the rest of them
are pretty much invisible.

Paper popularity is clearly not an even
playing field.
One that recently rocketed
to first place obviously had some outside
help. Such as being required coursework
or heavily linked elsewhere.

I'm saddened that they cut back on the
humor and the style on the website. It
was totally clear which two of the animated
rabbits just got laid. But it is not clear
who the foxy chicks ads are aimed at.
Chances are they would do much better
with females that a technonerd had a
snowball's chance in hell of scoring with.

This site could (and should) become a winner.

April 6 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

How do you deal with two auctions on the
same day?

Start by getting as much info as possible on
each auction. Especially lot lists and photos if they
are available. If you can, preview the least
valuable
of the two.

Sometimes sending an associate to the second
auction can work. Other times, placing proxy
bids with the auctioneer can prove useful.

And if the main auction turns into a dud,
consider traveling between the two. But
simplest of all is to ignore the second auction.

Chances are something similar will shortly
come up anyhow. And the auction would not
have been in second place if you really were
excited about it.

April 5 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

One minor hassle of our new Airbrushing
tutorial and utilities is that Paint works from
the top down and bitmaps work from the
bottom up.

This repair patch lets you enter Paint y positions
directly into your /airbrushboundaries array...

     /fixpaint { /paintvsize exch store
                      /airbrushboundaries mark
                      airbrushboundaries 0 get
  
                      paintvsize airbrushboundaries
                      1 get sub
                      airbrushboundaries 2 get  
                      paintvsize airbrushboundaries
                      3 get sub
                      airbrushboundaries 4 get  
                      paintvsize airbrushboundaries
                      5 get sub
                      airbrushboundaries 6 get  
                      paintvsize airbrushboundaries
                      7 get sub ] store } store


Use it by entering paintvsize fixpaint.

April 4 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

A refurb and retouching trick: A plain old Magic
Marker
with permanent ink can sometimes do as
much as repainting can a lot faster and easier.

This is especially useful for minor aluminum dinks
in an otherwise black panel. And the serrated edges
of 1001A knobs sure improved dramatically on our
recent Wavetek rework.


A 3x5 file card makes a useful mask to prevent
any retouching from going too far.

April 3 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

A new example of our improved airbrushing
routines
routines appears here. This originally had
the "wrong way around" problem in the red.

The "cylindrical" result is gotten by airbrushing
the left half and then mirroring. Some stretching
in the middle may make the final result more
realistic .

April 2 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Some additions to our recent obsolete
manual sources links
: Go here for General
Radio and here for Heathkit.


And a superb summary of old manual links
appears here.

April 1 , 2008                                                                                   deeplink      respond

Few people realize that the word "gullible"
does not appear in any major dictionary or
spell checker.

March 31, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

We go well out of our way to offer the lowest
possible and revenue neutral shipping on our
eBay items. Group quantity weights are often
kept under one or two pound limits, and flat
rate parcels are used whenever possible.

For heavier items, UPS Ground is our
shipping of choice. We normally do not
offer premium delivery services
, because
they often do not work and it will often be
the one day that we are understaffed or
whatever.

That being said, we will not tolerate anyone
who tries to nickel and dime us on shipping

or trys to tell us what is or is not suitable for
us. Try it and you are history. Outta here.

To minimize your shipping costs, order more
items from us at the same time
. And be sure
to email us for the best possible rate.

March 30, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

I was asked to comment on yet another in
an undending series of electrolysis schemes.
As usual, the system was "not even wrong"
on many different levels.

Firstoff, isn't it the tiniest bit strange that it
is enormously difficult to find an electrolysizer
manufacturer?
And if you do, the will steadfastly
refuse to tell you what their product costs. And
absolutely prohibit an individual from buying
one because of safety liability.

Which should clue you in that electrolysizers
are largely useless for converting high value
electricity ( such as grid, wind, or pv ) into
unstored hydrogen gas for bulk energy.

The
reason, of course, is that a fundamental
thermodynamic property called exergy flat
out guarantees that electrolysis for hydrogen
energy ain't gonna happen. There ALWAYS
will be more intelligent things to do with high
priced electricity than immediately and irreversibly
destroying most of its quality and value.

Going beyond the utter pointleness of their
venture, the next problem was a total cluelessness
over Faraday's Law of electrolysis.
Electrolysis is
a CURRENT driven process, not a voltage driven one!
And conventional current sources are horribly and
uselessly inefficient
. Switchmode techniques using
at least one inductor are usually manditory.

The next problem was a sense of scale. One amp
to a single electrolysis cell will create recoverable
hydrogen energy almost equal to a gallon of gasoline
in a mere 7000 or so HOURS of operation.

Anoth
er problem was ignoring the real problems.
Such as the need for often replenished platinized
platinum electrodes. Or stainless steel being
useless because of the hydrogen overvoltage of
iron. As found in any intro electrochem text.

Another problem are the safety issues. It is
fundamentally and ludicrously insane to turn
gaseous or liquified hydrogen loose on the
general public!


The solution instead lies in a carbon neutral
solar to liquid hydrocarbon conversion process,
perhaps based on metalloradicals. One that
avoids any staggering mid process exergy drops.

Once again, our bottom line...
   
    If you do not understand exergy, you SHOULD
    NOT be pissing around with electrolysis.

    If you do understand exergy, you WILL NOT
    be pissing around with electrolysis.

March 29, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

There's a new speed reading system out that
lets you read War and Peace in seven minutes flat.

It's about Russia.

March 28, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

We recently picked up some unusual stuff
at an aerospace plant closing auction and are
now listing them on eBay.

Some of the more interesting items include a
Nutek SMT conveyor, bellows style pumps,
odd precision tweezers, centrifuges, large
immersion heaters, lots of motors and pumps,
right angle drives, metro cart bumpers, a
fully loaded 3488A HP automatic test system,
and some high end solid state relays.

March 27, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Our first real-use example of our new Airbrush
Routines
can be found here. I've kept the top
somewhat "stripey" to emphasize its curvature.

Yet another example of our Bitmap Typewriter
can be found here.

The rotated text is not quite as tricky as it seems.
You send the Bitmap Typerwriter output to
ImageView32, rotate it and resave. Since Paint
can give you rotations of 0, 90, 180, and 360,
each saved rotation can serve four ways.

March 25, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

As we've seen a number of times before,
it is super important to have full service and
repair manuals on hand whenever you are
refurbing older test equipment
.

I was reconditioning some older Wavetek
1001
sweep generators and was mystified
why most of the front panel controls did
not seem to do anything.

It turns out there is a "secret" back panel
connector that demands plug in jumpers
for normal operation.

This is a standard and still easily found
Molex 15 pin plug in their .062 contact
series. The docs quickly reveal the
correct programming of separately jumpering
5 to 6, 8 to 9, 11 to 12, and 13 to 14.


Note that the first three jumpers go "on the
right", while the last one goes "on the left".

March 24, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Updated our Arizona Auction Resources
library page.

Apparently there has been a major scam
and ripoff
involving Scottsdale fine art
auctions.
As near as I can tell, Caboodle
and Count Your Assets seem to be among
the many good guy victims.

And Gaige may be owing millions of dollars
to sellers and associates alike.

Extreme caution is advised.

Your own custom regional auction finder
can be created for you per these details.

March 23, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Some very interesting "art based on math"
results can be found here.

March 22, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

I was recently asked by another author what
they should do about copyright violations

Some first principles: ANYTHING you write
is IMMEDIATELY protected in the US the
instant it appears in tangible form.
All that
copyright registration does for you is give
you a few additional legal rights that often
are not worth seeking out.

Naturally, copyright 2008 or whatever should
prominently appear on everything you create.
Along with any other use guidelines.

Because of a legal principle called due diligence,
you should continuously seek out any copyright
violations. If you let them slip in the past, then
you may not be able to go after a major
future offender.


Two useful monitoring tools are your own log
files
and Googling yourself every now and then.

Many violations are simply not worth the hassle
of pursuing. But the usual
defenses include a
polite then a stronger email demanding removal
followed by a complaint to their ISP demanding
that they be shut down immediately
.

A nastygram from your lawyer can also prove of
use but heads you down the route of costs and
bad vibes. Foreign ripoffs are rarely worth
chasing after.


You do, of course, always have the right to
refuse any reuse or promotion of your work
or to charge any royalty structure you care to.

As to eBay, you can immediately shut down
anybody who steals your images or ad copy
by going through their NOCI process.

Once again creative use of your log files
can quickly spot stolen images. Sometimes
a substitute image ( perhaps of a suitably
clad individual pioneering new methods of
animal husbandry ) can prove of value.

March 21, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Getting technical info on older test equipment
has recently gotten a lot easier. HP via Agilent
now keeps free user and service manuals of
many obsolete instruments online.

And Tektronix long ago officially released
any and all unsupported docs to the public
domain. Many classic test equipment
firms have either folded or gone through
several reincarnations that make copyright
status a low enough risk that CD copies
can be offered.

Of the many CD manual sources online,
I have found
ArtekMedia useful for
Wavetek, and this source useful for
Tektronix, and BAMA of value for
ham and comm gear.
 

March 20, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

The "grits horticulture" thread on AMOE
might at some future point go over the edge.

The prefrered commercial grits tree is
often gritus arborus (domesticus).

Seeds and cuttings are normally tightly
controlled by the Grits Cooperative, and
is somewhat similar to hops distribution.

These are often preannual, but some
growers in San Diego and Hawaii can
get multiple years of crops by covering
them or bringing them inside whenever
frost threatens.


As to the upcoming Alabama grits harvest,
the illegal aliens are apparently being
used for flavor only.

March 19, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

There are apparently two issues when blending
in HSB space. Red hue can be either zero or
one
. Blends from say, purple to orange, may
try to go around the hue circle "the wrong way"
through blue and green rather than through red.

One possible workaround is to phase shift the
colors.
A second is to extend the HSB space,
but this likely would only work on one dimensional
blends ( such as our Bitmap Typewriter ) than
on two dimensional ones ( such as our Airbrush ).

A second issue is that hue is ambiguous in a
pure gray
. Which can create unexpected
color fringing. A workaround is to make sure
any gray is slightly stronger
in its predominate
overlay or underlay colors.

Ferinstance, blending aqua with a gray of 50-50-50
might produce red or orange fringing, while 49-50-50
will not.

I'm still exploring solutions here. Some may
significantly slow down pixel writing speeds.

March 18, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

It pays to always go back to the fundamentals
of electronic servicing...

     ~  Always do a careful inspection.

     ~   Have the service docs on hand.

     ~   Make the most fundamental tests first.

     ~   Divide and conquer.


     ~   Make no assumptions.

     ~   Never jump to conclusions.

     ~   Cause the patient no harm.


     ~   Believe ( but verify! ) your measurements.

     ~   Seek the obvious; expect the unexpected.


and, of course...

     ~ ANYTHING can happen in a student lab!

Just had some problems with an HP 3310A from a
community college auction. Very clean but marked
"no output".

Amazingly, full docs were quickly found from HP.

Pilot light lit, fuse ok. Raw dc on all four supplies,
but only two of them were drawing current, as
verified by a scope ripple display. One regulator
transistor was much hotter than the others.

A dead short was found on the -25 volt supply.
I wrongly concluded it "had" to be a filter cap.
Lifted caps and found them ok. Further checking
revealed dead shorts on ALL of the supply lines!

Removing loads found the culprit: An A2 board
with TWO broken ends on TWO connectors!
The edge connectors slid sideways to short
everything out!

As to how this happened, write it off to "student lab".


BTW: The vernier drive on a 3310A can often be
improved by polishing and oiling its shaft
and making
sure the main knob is tight. Its operation ultimately
depends on main dial clearance from the front
panel and any excessive potentiometer side play.

March 17, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Initial attempts at moving our Bitmap
Typewriter
into HSB space were pretty
much disappointing. Also slow.


If you antialias red lettering over an
aqua baktground, you get gray fringing
with RGB space and orange and yellow
fringing with HSB space.

Yes, the latter is somewhat better.

Thus your choice of foreground and
background color will make a much
more significant different in legibility
than the color space you happen to be
interpolating in.


Blue or dark gray lettering over aqua
works particularly well as shown here.

One additional detail: hue becomes
ambiguous with any pure gray.
Working
aqua over a 49 50 50 gray gives much
better results than a 50 50 50 gray which
may have a red hue and fringing.

March 16, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

I was asked to comment on Heathkit...

Heathkit defined an era. Their kits were...

     (1) A superb way to learn electronics.

     (2) Much cheaper than buying name
           brand assembled devices.

     (3) Solidly engineered within realistic
           economic constraints.

and...

     (4) Reliable enough with good enough
          support that you could not go wrong.


Heath ultimately failed because...

    (1) Import assembled products became
          much cheaper than kits.

   (2) The evil empire collapse and aerospace
         technician job dryup caused most schools
         to eliminate their electronics programs

   (3) Parts became so small and so complex
        that ordinary soldering and assembly tools
        no longer worked.

   (4) The imploding collapse of the hobby
         electronics magazines.

   (5) An emerging "throwaway mentality"
       where it became more cost effective to
       replace rather than repair.

   (6) Stunning improvements in reliability
        and insane feature creep where things
        no longer broke or wore out before they
        became laughingly obsolete.

   (7) The microcomputer revolution that
         funneled available time and energy
         into software development and
         ultimately the web.

Plus, of course...

    (8) an utterly and monumentally
         clueless corporate buyout.

March 15, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

It pays to stay lean and mean when attending
any auction.
An empty SUV, one dolly or cart,
some tools, and somebody that wants to come
along that you do not have to pay for riding.

Chances are you will only hit it big once every
six to ten auctions or so. Dragging trucks,
trailers, or hired help around for trivial hits
or nothing at all usually makes no sense
.


Parking can also be a serious problem that
gets a lot worse with a trailer tagging along.
And, if you do hit it big, chances are you
will have to return the next day with the
full proper tools and hired help anyway.

Keep your out-of-pocket costs to an
absolute minimum until you have scored
big enough that they become negligible
.


Make sure that "needing a trailer" or "many
trips" or "needing a truck" is completely
justified by your current auction lot won.

Before that, avoid upscaling with trash.
After that, stuff in everything you can.

Find your auctions here, or your own custom
local resource finder here.

March 14, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

We've already seen five major reasons
why the pulse electrolysis crowd has not
and will not get anywhere...

    (1) The staggering loss of exergy that
         flat out GUARANTEES that any
         electrolysis from high value sources
         ( such as grid, pv, or wind ) flat out
         ain't gonna happen.

    (2) The utter futility of stainless steel
          electrodes with their hydrogen
          overvoltage of iron and low
          energy passivated surfaces.

    (3) The court case determining "gross
          and egregious fraud"

    (4) Misuse of  frequencies millions of
         times too low for water molecule
         resonance.

   
(5) The enormous difficulties in properly
          measuring pulse waveforms.


To which we can now add this sixth and major
biggie...

     (6) Monumental cluelessness over
           Fourier Series.

Proponents often make two "not even
wrong" assumptions that (a) there is
no direct current associated with a pulse
train, and that (b) there are clearly times
when the pulses are "on" or "off.

In reality, ANY continuous pulse train is
EXACTLY equivalent to some dc term
combined with some CONTINUOUS and
harmonically related sinewaves
.


Ferinstance, you can watch a square
wave building itself up out of its
first ninenteen harmonics here.

Per Faraday's Law of Electrolysis
( which clearly ain't broke ), only the
direct current term is normally significant
and useful for electrolysis.  The other
pulse frequency components largely
contribute to system losses and little more.

March 13, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

A subtle detail when doing a blend
in HSB space: Make sure you go
the right way around the hue circle!

This can be a problem in getting
from blue to red. Where you want
to go through magenta, rather than
green, yellow, and orange.

I'm not sure of the best algorithm
just yet, but the obvious trip point
is a hue change greater than plus
or minus 0.5
. Ovrflows above 1.0
and underflows under 0.0 obviously
must also be dealt with.

Blends work best with minor hue
shifts
and may tend towards the
garish when going from a color
to anywhere near its complement.

I may try to work up some improvements
to both our Airbrush and Bitmap
Typewriter
routines.

March 12, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Latest GuruGram #87 is on A Digital
Airbrushing Algorithm
.

The ready-to-use utility appears here.

Sourcecode is available here. And additional
GuruGrams here.

March 11, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

Updated and improved our home page.

I split out our offsite links into two sections:
A new area for video-on-demand downloads
and the original one for everything else.

March 10, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

Stuff that works department: Its called
Mother's Aluminum Polish and Checker
Auto
carries it.

I wanted to refurb some Wavetek aluminum
knobs that had heavy oxide discoloration
on them. Without hurting the delicate ink
inlays. The problem is that aluminum oxide
is one of the hardest substances known, so
it ignores ordinary scouring stuff.


You just put a little of the white Mother's
glop on and stir it with an electric eraser
till it turns black.
Then wipe it off with
two or three cloths of varying cleanliness.

Surprisingly little force or time is needed.
Apparently the material loosens the aluminum
oxide so it actually becomes its own abrasive!

Meanwhile, the black skirts of the knobs can
easily be renewed with a plain old permanent
magic marker.

March 9, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

Additional credible support for many of
the concepts in More Energy Fundamentals I
appears here.

March 8, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

A corrupted infile in Thunderbird can
cause all sorts of problems.

One clue that all is not well is if this
file is many hundreds of megabytes or
a few gigs after a recent cleaning.

To try and repair, eliminate all unneeded
messages. Then copy the rest to a new
temporary save folder. Go into the
Thunderbird mail folder and delete
infile completely
. Empty the trash.

Reboot and a new and empty infile
should be created. Move the saved
stuff back and send yourself a test
message.

Another possible problem: Sometimes
a single file will hang Thunderbird because
it is malware or extremely long. Thus, you
cannot click on it without problems
.

To beat this, save copies of the previous
and the next email if they are imortant.
Then click on previous, hold down shift,
and click on next
. Three sequential files
should now be selected, including the bad
one in the middle. Then click on delete.

Sneaky, huh?

March 7a, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

Eric Krieg runs an impressive Pseudoscience
Bashing Site
. Our own site (now sorely in
need of updating) appears here.

And a general tutorial here.

March 7, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

Turns out our Bitmap Typewriter also
does exceptional .GIF images. A you
can tell by our latest banner.

There is no better small font typography
possible
, short of going to subpixel
techniques
. The improvement can be
stunning.


More on our banner program here.

March 6, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

Almost all of our received payments these
days are via PayPal, both for our on and off
eBay sales.

We pretty much decided to drop our own
VISA and M/C merchant accounts because
their fixed expenses are now way too high.

They are no longer remotely competitive.

Much as we like UPS, they simply cannot
compete with USPO for flat rate boxes
and for items in the one and two pound
range. So we also have dropped our
UPS daily pickup service
. UPS remains
available to us for heavier items.


To pay us via Paypal, go to this link,
and select
"goods" or "auction" or
"services" as appropriate
.

As always, we are happy to combine
shipping rates for you to give you
the lowest possible rate.

March 5, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

Midnight Engineering magazine is long
gone, but many of its authors and subscribers
still meet in annual Denver EntConnect
seminar weekends.

Combined with skiing, hang gliding, and
other activities.

This year's conference will be March 27th
through March 30th
. A $100 discount is
available if you contact Lee Devlin and
use the top secret code word "tinaja".

I'm still undecided whether I will personally
be able to attend. If I do, I'll be puting on one
or more seminars. Possibly on energy, eBay,
or Magic Sinewaves.

March 4, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

Many of the worst movies ever made
are downloadable from this site.

Curiously, Plan Nine from Outer Space
is conspicuously absent. This one, of
course, defined the term "mesmerizingly
awful"
.

March 3, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

Just picked up some unusual items from
a hi-fi store bankruptcy and will be
putting them up on eBay.

These include an extremely rare and
highly collectible assortment of genuine
Astatic phonograph needles in original
packaging; some cable passive headend
combiners
; and demo matrix boards that
let you compare different speaker and
amplifier combinations.

Please email me if you want to get in
ahead of the hoarders on these.

March 2, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

The reincarnation of the reincarnation of
the reincarnation of the water powered car
fiasco
can be traced to a stupidly done and
not even wrong pulse measurement combined
with a ripped off investor in terminal denial.

Typical cheap meters are average responding.
Accurate power measurement of unusual
waveforms demands true RMS measurement.

Only recently have true RMS instruments
become readily available. Even then, they
have very specific frequency and crest factor
limits that cannot be exceeded without lying
like a rug. And always underreporting.

The measurement error can approach the
square root of the duty cycle.
Thus a 9:1
duty cycle pulse will read low by a factor
of nearly 3! Causing outrageous overunity
conclusions.

An unrelated incident shows us what
likely happened. An individual connected
a half wave dimmer and a 32 volt bulb to
the power line and adjusted it to normal
brightness.
They measured the voltage
and current across the bulb with ordinary
meters and concluded that only 1/3 the
voltage and 1/3 the current was needed.

Thus saving 8/9ths of the usual energy!

At this point, the individual should have
seen that their result was clearly dead
wrong. Surely somebody somewhere
would have noticed this before
. Even
touching the bulb would reveal that it
was no cooler.

Instead, they went out and patented
an unstable and newly illegal mainstay
circuit of 1930's industrial electronics
books and published nationally in
(coincidentally) an April issue.

Things went downhill from there.

My detailed anaylysis of their pulse
operating point showed exactly a
3:1 difference between average and
RMS
that perfectly matched their
overunity claims.

March 1, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

How good a match is pv solar to the
public utility peaking demands?

Samples of utility power demand can
be found here, and here.


Where a casual glance shows that
peak demand takes place at nine PM!

Our own local utility seems to peak at
5 PM. Owing to higher A/C loading.

In general, the peak power needs are
not all that much more than the middle
of the night minimums, with a range of
30% to 100% more being typical.

Also, there seems to be a broad peak
during the afternoon and a very brief
spike late at night.

Upcoming net energy solar pv can be
an excellent match to the afternoon
peak. The evening spike probably can
and will get taken out by negawatts.

Ferinstance, LCD tv's have much lower
power consumption than conventional
CRT's did. Emerging LED Lighting has
up to ten times the efficiency of incandescent
and three times that of fluorescents.

The latest of air conditioners with variable
rate air handling are approaching SEER's
of 17. Heat pumps for hot tubs are sorely
needed. And all excessive street and site
lighting in improper fixtures does is piss
off astronomers
and let crooks see better.

Thus, net energy solar pv should be a good
match to the afternoon peak once negawatts
take out the evening one.

An argument was made on a newsgroup that
net energy solar pv can never replace other
peaking sources becuase of cloudy days and
such. The first defense here is brokering,
or buying power from unaffected areas

If the solar outages are rare enough, then
the backup peaking can become much more
expensive. And only very rarely used. Letting
the market take care of itself.

February 29, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

Thanks to Jeff Duntemann's mention of my
More Energy Fundamentals in his blog.

Jeff often covers new developments in
alternate publishing as well as dealing with
insider secrets of computer languages.

He also has recently republished the original
Carl and Jerry series from Popular Electronics.

February 28, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

When does Ohm's Law apply in a circuit?

A technician will answer "Always" while
an engineer will answer "Almost never".

The difference being caused by the wildly
different ways that electricity and electronics
is taught to engineers compared to technicians,
high schools, and the military.

Even technician current is backwards compared
to that on the IEEE tie clasp and cuff links.

A raito of voltage to current can be measured
and defined as "little r". Only under unusual
and unique circumstances does "little r" let
itself be defined as a "big R" whose resistance
is a measurable property of a physical device.

For openers, any reactive storage devices
can and usually will make voltage lead or
lag current. Good old "Eli the ice man".

We say that "big R" is a resistance and that
Ohms Law can be applied to a linear circuit.


But "little r" has no predictive value whatsoever
in a nonlinear, or "Non-Ohmic" circuit.

February 27, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

The anvil test for camp coffee: If the anvil
sinks, it is too weak. If the anvil floats, it
is just right. If the anvil dissolves, it is too
strong.

February 26, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

Highly useful info on metals and minerals
appears on This USGS Site.


The current worries about indium shortages
appear alarmist as much of the zinc ore
source is not even being processed.

February 25, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

Revised and updated our Arizona Auction
Resources
page. A tutorial appears here.

Your own custom regional auction
resource finder can be created here.

February 24, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

Haven't got the faintest clue department: I just
received a helpline call asking what first appeared
to be some reasonable questions from somebody
working on "electrolysis efficiency improvements".

Until we got to the part where they never heard
of Faraday's Law of Electrolysis.

Which, paraphrased, says: The current EXACTLY
determines how much product you will get
per unit time
.

We went through this in depth here, but let's
repeat a few key points:

    CURRENT sets electrolysis. The needed
    voltage is determined by the electropotential,
    the terminal overvoltage, and the conductivity
    losses.

   STAINLESS STEEL is useless as an efficient
   electrode because of the hydrogen overvoltage
   of iron. Efficient electrolysizers DEMAND use
   of often renewed platinized platinum.

  PULSE WAVEFORMS are useless as only their
  Fourier DC component contributes significantly
  to electrolysis. It is exceptionally easy to badly
  measure pulse waveforms.

  REQUIRED CURRENT SOURCES are always
  horribly inefficient unless special and custom
  switchmode circuitry is used.

  HOMEBREW HYDROGEN ANYTHING is
  exceptionally and monumentally dangerous.
  Besides being fundamentally insane.

  ELECTROLYSIS IS ITSELF USELESS when
  driven from high value sources such as grid,
  wind, or pv and used for bulk hydrogen energy.
  Caused by the staggering loss of exergy.

The bottom line is this:

   If you do not understand exergy, you
   SHOULD NOT be pissing around with
   electrolysis.

   If you do understand exergy, you
   WILL NOT be pissing around with
   electrolysis.

February 23, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

Org. It usually turns out that the real surprises in
any development program happen half way through
.

And that, if you get ahead of yourself, chances are you
may have to start over.

I thought I had nearly completed our new BMP

airbrushing utilities and even started their GuruGram.

Only to discover that gradient fills are much better
done in HSB space than RGB space
. Ferinstance,
blending from red to green in RGB space takes you
through gray, while doing so in HSB space takes you
through orange and yellow.

HSB manipulation is likely slower and more complex.
Back to the drawing board.

February 22, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

Some free or low cost sources for your own
custom astronomy images are found here, here,
here, here, here, and here.

And some stunning new image stitching techniques
here.

February 21, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

Yes, we still have our free technical help hotline
going at (928) 428-4073. But we prefer emailing
don@tinaja.com instead. US only, of course.

Questions that cannot be immediately handled
for free can often be done with one of our $89
InfoPacks. Beyond that, consulting and seminars
are available.

But I no longer suffer fools gladly. The instant
it becomes obvious you are a card carrying
member of the Church of the Latter Day
Crackpots
, my response will be abruptly
terminated.

The latest reincarnation de jour appears to
involve the Meyer Ludicrosity. Which we
dealt with here.

Summarizing:

    (1) The evidence was utterly overwhelming
          that Meyer was both a fraud and totally
          incompetent when making even the most
          fundamental of tech measurements.

   (2) In many years, nobody anywhere has been
         able to credibly reproduce Meyer. Doing
         so, of course, would clearly violate DOZENS
         of fundamental thermodynamic, electronic,
         physics, economic, and other principles.

   (3) Faraday's Law ain't broke. To get from
        water to hydrogen, an electron needs
        moved. Which, by definition, is a current.

   (4) If Meyer was to work, there would have
         to be some fundamentally measureable
         property of water that would at least hint
         at such. These measurements are made
         by the thousands dialy by EIS Researchers
         with uniformly negative results. There
         would also have to be observable anomalies
         with standard EDM Machining as well.
         Qprox sensors would also not work.

(5) Pissing around with homebrew hydrogen,
      besides being utterly pointless, is EXTREMELY
      DANGEROUS! One former SEH poster
      created that big hole in the map between
      Utah and California where Northern Nevada
      used to be. Their attempt at winning both the
      X Prize and a Darwin Award at the same time
      failed when their garage did not go suborbital.
  
(6) Because of a fundamental thermodynamic
        property called exergy, generating hydrogen
        for energy uses from high value sources
        such as grid, wind, or pv flat out ain't gonna
        happen. There ALWAYS will be more
        intelligent things to do with electricity than
        immediately and irreversibly destroying
        most of its quality and value.

February 20, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

February 19, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

Latest GuruGram #86 is on Some More
Energy Fundamentals
.

Sourcecode is available here. And additional
GuruGrams here.


February 18, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

As we saw in our .BMP Format Tutorial
and some newer GuruGrams and PostScript
utilities, padding bytes have to be added to each
.BMP line so the next row starts on an exact
32 bit boundary.


In the case of 8 bit color, 0, 1, 2, or 3 padding
bytes may be required.

The actual math for the number of correction
bytes is obtuse, but it seems to simplify to taking
your pixel width and integer modding by four.


As  in padding = xpixels mod 4. You can verify
this by exploring all four possible results.

The proof has something to do with three
being one less than four. In this case, the
proof is worse than the pudding.


Some of our older routines may take a while
to update and correct.

February 17, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

Was getting some strange JPEG-like artifacts
in our BMP to PS Image conversions. Turned
out it was caused by lower resolution Distiller
settings.

Always use "Press Quality" when capturing
bitmaps!
You can drop the res later if you
have to.

February 16, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

Yet another infuriating "feature" of Dreamweaver:
Occasionally it will pretend to save work while not
really doing so!
One symptom that this may start
to happen is a menu option "shaking loose".

The only workaround I know of is to exit Dreamweaver
after each work session and then reload.
Preferably
with a cold reboot. Never keep more than you would
care to lose in any one Dreamweaver session!


February 15, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

Picked up an impressive pile of classic test
equipment at a Community College auction.

Included are eight HP 3310 Function Generators,
A Tek 576 Curve Tracer, several Wavetek
sweep generators, great heaping piles of Tek
500 series mainframes and plugins, and
some strange Heath Zenith computer trainers.

email me if you want to get in ahead of the
hoarders on any of these.


February 14, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

Is it ever legal to copy a trademark?

Suppose you buy a case of Heinz Ketchup
at a bankruptcy and then scan or photograph
one of the bottles so you can resell them
on eBay.

Have you violated any trademarks by your
image?

It turns out there apparently is a legal principle
called the First Sale Doctrine in the US and the
Doctrine of Exhaustion Rights elsewhere
Which says that strict trademark enforcement
expires with the first sale of any item.

So, apparently ( check with your legal
council to be sure
), you can use the trademark
copy without infringement specifically for
the item sale.

The first sale doctrine originally applied only
to copyright, but it seems to have been extendable
to trademarks under specific sale circumstances.

You cannot, of course, sell fake ketchup or
a different brand. Or imply you are official
or an authorized distributor. Nor copy any
existing owned image. Or try to scam anything
even remotely similar. Or modify the item.


You are likely to be able to show a Mustang
hood ornament on one you are selling. But
probably NOT in a collector car calendar you
are publishing.

Naturally, it is bad news to ever confront
the legal council of anybody
, anyplace, any
time. Especially corporate ones who will
squash you like a bug.

But the chances are that you are lawfully
entitled to make a new copy of an item
image you are offering for resale.


February 13, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

I have just barely gotten a raw demo of the
"airbrush" techniques of a few days ago
working.

The goal is to mark four corners of a
quadrilateral area on a bitmap and replace
all intermediate pixels with a continuous
gradient set by the four corner values.

This algorithm looks like it will work:

    (1) Find a rectangle that exceeds the
         bounding box by one pixel on
         all sides.

   (2) Find the corner color values of
        the rectangle. This will involve
        solving four linear equations in
        four unknowns using Gaussian
        elimination.


   (3) Create the quadrilateral path and
        use the infill operator to decide
        which pixels are to be changed.

    (4) Normalize the corner color values
         to a unit square and use bilineal
        interpolation to find the new pixels.

An algorithm derivation and proof of
concept appears
here. With its results
here. Single plane pixel values happen
to equal lower case letters. Speed range
is estimated around 3K pixels per second.

February 12, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

Many of the recent newsgroup posts make it
obvious that there are lots of individuals out there
who will do anything to save the environment.

Except taking a science course.

February 11, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

Back in the days of "slopping in the slush"
photography, getting the image exactly right
before you snapped the shutter was extremely
important.

These days, though, just about anything can
be fixed with enough image postproc. To the
point where you should spend at least two
hours on postproc on any
eBay sale image.

Here is a pair of before and after photos.

Such work is easily done with ImageViewer32,
plain old Paint, and some of my custom procs
you will find in our PostScript, GuruGram,
Auction Help, and Fonts & images library pages.

Some of the tricks used: Architect's Distortion
Correction. Background knockout. Sharpening
to one pixel resolution. Removing splinters and
gross defects that do not affect the actual item
being offered. Adjusting gamma, brightness, and
contrast. Resizing. Highlight and burn removal.
Replacing flash overwhite areas with credible
textures. Label repositioning. Eliminating
excessive shadows.

Custom consulting, image rework, and seminars
available on these and similar techniques.

You can email me for details.

February 10, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

Sometimes simpler explanations can produce
virus-like symptoms in a computer system.


The real biggie here would be heat. If the
inside of the case has gotten really dusty or
grimy, or if the fan blades have enough grunge
on them for a major slowdown, you might end
up with serious looking problems.

A clue that you have heat problems would be
that the computer might work well for a while
on morning bootup, and then get progressively
sicker.
Fans that have gotten "quieter" over
time are another clue. A careful vacuuming
and cleaning can often provide a cure.

Be very careful removing and replacing cables,
or you might introduce more problems than
you are solving
.

Subtle problems can also crop up if you do
not wait long enough for booting to complete.
Or if the ir path on a wireless mouse is blocked
by work in progress.


Naturally, antivirus software, pest detection, and
registry tools should also be consistently used.

February 9, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

We recently picked up bunches of parts
from an alarm and security bankruptcy.

I've started listing these on eBay at a fraction
of the normal prices. Most are still in original
packaging and absolutely as new.

February 8, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

Sometimes you find only the briefest hint
that some auction may or may not be worth
attending. Here's a few nonobvious tools
that can aid you in deciding...

  ADDRESS SEARCH -- Who is or was
  here? Who lives next door?

   PHONE REVERSE SEARCH - Has the
   line been disconnected? Is it a working
   company? An upset landlord? An auction
   house?

  GOOGLE SATELLITE PHOTO - Is the
  building a factory or part of a strip mall
  or an auction barn home?

  COMPANY HISTORY -- Is there anything
  in the news about plant closings or a
  bankruptcy. How long ago?

  DEEPER AD SEARCHES -- Possibly in
  papers you do not normally read or do
  not search display ads. Be sure to read
  all of the ads, not just the new ones.

  LIVE COLD CALLS - Try to reach a real
  person that can tell you more about the
  overall vibes of the auction.

  PRICE HINTS -- Have some of the for
  sale items been listed in Craig's List or
  Kijiji at prices far above distress? Are
  there hints of unlisted items?

  NONPROFIT NONPROFITS? -- Does
  this turn out to be a church rubbish -- er
  rummage fundraising sale?


  WEBSITE STATUS -- Does their website
  still exist? What are its overall vibes?

  THE WAYBACK MACHINE-- What
  did the company used to do? To whom?
  For how long?

  URGENCY -- Is this a carefully planned
  sale, or do we have deep distress panic?

  UNREASONABLENESS -- Have they
  made enough dumb mistakes that nobody
  else is likely to attend? 120 degrees in
  the shade, the 4 inch hail, and scorpions
  are all your friends, Plus, of course, the
  nonworking restrooms.


Much more on our Auction Help page.

February 7, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

Continuing some speculation on yesterday's
pixel patching, there is no reason a rectangular
ares in a bitmap cannot be directly replaced
with a smooth gradient based on its four corners.

Even more useful (but computationally more
intensive) would be to mark a quadrilateral
area for smooth gradient conversion
.This would
be particularly useful for, say, the top of a piece
of test equipment that may have some hot spots
or minor imperfections that have been "amplified"
by your camera or scanner.

I'm not sure what the best algorithm here would be.

First, you would find a bounding box to limit
calculations to only those needed. You might then
Create a PostScript path between the corners and
then use the infill operator to test to find
only those pixels inside the correction area.

From there it would likely get computationally
ugly. You might measure the distance from each
point to the corner points and then proportionally
average an equivalant shade for each of the
RGB planes.

But this might prove too time consuming for
reasonable sized patches.

A sneaky indirect approach may work here.
Create a box one unit larger than the bounding
box in all directions. Use four linear equations
in four unknowns and Gaussian elimination to
find out what the corner shading values would
have to be.
Reduce this to a unit box and do
a normal bilineal interpolation for all of the
pixels to be changed.

Working one pixel oversize heads off any
possible div(0) or small number accuracy
hassles.


More as this drama unfolds.

February 6, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

Retouching an image with a bad highlight or
burn in it can be tricky if there is shading or any
color variations across the gap to be replaced.

I thought I'd work up a variation on our
Bitmap to PS array-of-strings routines to
make a "patch" you can use to overlay Paint
or whatever.


Yeah, there probably is stuff like this in
Photoshop or whatever, but I thought I'd
try doing my things my way.

The input to the bitmap patch creator would
accept fourteen data values: The red, blue, and
green of each corner and the width and the
height of the patch. It would then create a
PS array of strings that gets converted into
a small bitmap patch.

Which in turn gets cut and pasted over the
original problem area. The bilineal interpolation
routine found here should prove useful.

More as this unfolds.

February 5, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

Yet another perceived hassle in Dreamweaver:

At least for me, the Make Link command is
ignored as often as it works. This gets rather
infuriating when hand keying a complex url.

Making sure your mouse is over the marked
URL to be is super important. But sometimes
not enough.

My workaround is to cut and paste some other
url instead.
And then edit its text and link.

February 4, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

As we mentioned a few weeks back, I've put
together a brand new Gila Day Hikes web library
page. Naturally, I was just asked to lead some
folks to one of the very few locations I have
never been to.

Which raises the question of the overall accuracy.
I have been to or at least very near to just about
every of the 150 plus llocations on the list.
At a one
per week rate, this took many years.

Decades, even.

On those I did not personally visit fairly recently,
I've asked others for comment and feedback.
Including input from BLM and CNF.

I'm fairly confident that everything is reasonable
and accurate. But please email me with any
corrections, suggestions, or updates anyway.

February 3, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

Solar Industry is a new and free trade journal
you can reach through www.solarindustrymag.com.

Emphasis seems to be on the new technologies
that
may eventually be able to produce fully
burdened net new solar energy.

The most promising of these seem to be CIGS,
Tetrapods, JTEC Thermoelectrics, and
Nanoantennas.

With NanoSolar leading the fray.

Meanwhile, of course, buying any conventional
silicon pv panels at retail has become an even
dumber sucker bet.
Comparable to buying
an 8-track player with an attached paper tape
reader at ten times its sane value.

Much more in our Energy Fundamentals tutorial.

February 2, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

Expanded and improved our Arizona Auction
listings on our Auction Help Page.

Your own custom regional auction resource finder
can be created for you per the details here.

February 1, 2008                                                                                     deeplink      respond

Solving our obsessively obsessive problem of
three days ago goes something like this:

It turns out that certain colors are atypical
and that the second building proves important.

All you can really start on is the url link. Going
to it should tell you what part of the country this
is in. There you should find some ten thousand
other images. Going through them one at a time
should provide four or five additional clues.

Which should verify the route number, the
ethniticity, and, most importantly, the name of
the facility. Along with bogus stuff such as the
wrong number of letters in a fuzzy street name,
owing to an included pointer.

Searching with the facility name should yield
yet another image with direct location clues
in it. You might also be able to trace the route
if you can find this link on your own.

From the route and maps, you could search
for a narrow street pair at a bend. Or be able
to find the actual address from additional
image searches. Watch the spelling!

Using the street view of Google Maps should
tell you the present status of this structure.
The second building in the original image
is of crucial importance here.

Please email me if you have further info on
this facility.
Especially alternate solutions
to our puzzle .

January 31, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

I'm experimenting with some enhancements to our
What's New blogs. You can click on the deeplink
you see above and then bookmark. Or you can
RIGHT click and use "save link as".

This will let you instantly refind any entry that is
is months or years old. Yeah, this is just a
plain old absolute anchor in disguise.

The respond at the right is a direct email link.
Cleverly encrypted with secret tracing code.

Putting these inside our usual bouncy bricks
might make our already lengthy yearly files
much longer.

January 30, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Found some new web aerial photos of the Oregon
view acerage we have for sale.

January 29, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Sometimes being obsessively obsessive can pay
huge dividends on an engineering project, on a
programming task, or on web development.

But it is also super easy to blow zillions of hours
on a strange puzzle of no import whatsoever.

Example: Here is an image of a bizarre structure
that may have had a politically incorrect history.
Find its story, its location, and its current status
using web resources only.

Yeah, been there done that. Fascinating.

January 28, 2008                                                                                   deeplink       respond

Let's repeat it one more time:

Assumption is the mother of mistakes.

January 27, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

I always try to blame myself first and others
last, but I seem to be having inordinate difficulty
using Macromedia Dreamweaver .

Besides being excruciatingly slow on longer early
inserts, sloppy older code that sails through GoLive
or Firefix chokes for me in Macromedia.


The apparent cause is that Macromedia Dreamweaver
does a much more strict interpretation of HTML
than does GoLive or Firefox.

One severe problem is that unquoted URL's that
end in "/" are initially ignored and may later be
erased on a font reformatting.
I've had hundreds
of links vanish without a trace this way.

Making sure that all links and most other variables
are in quotes cures this problem. But my, oh my
the labor involved in reworking pages with
thousands of links.

We've already seen that the slow insert times can
be worked around by adding new content to the end
of the file and then cutting and pasting the result
in place. Upgrades 8.01 and higher apparently give
some speedup
by letting you flag rather than
display external files.

Previewing old code in a plain old text editor before
importing may eliminate some of these problems.

Carefully reviewing older and possibly sloppy or
redundant code is also a good idea.

More as this debacle unfolds.

January 26, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

There seems to be a move underfoot to completely
eliminate US Government surplus sales.
Based on
the obvious terrorist threat of ancient and horribly
obsolete commercial test equipment.

After all, if a terrorist scattered a bunch of these
late at night, you could bark your shins on one
something fierce.


I cannot tell if this site is for real or simply the lobbiest
arm of a major surplus reseller.


Either way, mil surplus deals pretty much ended
for me a year or two back when the feds decided to
truck all Southern Arizona surplus to Northern Utah.

January 25, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

The absurdity of solor cells on cars can easily
be driven home by considering 18 wheelers instead.

A trailer might have a roof area of 8 x 50 feet,
equal to 40 square meters. Optimally incident
solar energy might be 1000 watts per meter which
at 10 percent conversion would be 4000 watts or
around five peak horsepower.

This would have to be derated for latititude and
diurnal tracking, fill factors, road grime, days
of available sunshine, local climate, inverter
losses, shading, and such. Not to mention that
trucks often travel at night, dawn, or dusk.

Possibly leaving you with as much as ONE peak
horsepower.
That, of course, is BEFORE
amortization.


An aerodynamic foil offers far more benefit
for insanely less cost.

More in our Energy Fundamentals tutorial.

January 24, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Got to rewatching Buckaroo Banzai for the zillionth
time. The latest CD has much in the way of explanation
and new material.

This, of course, was a medical science fiction racing
rock documentary love story motorcycle road historical
comedy martial arts action adventure dramatization.
And is by far the finest movie of its type ever made.

Picked up newly this time was this profound gem:
Assumption is the mother of mistakes.


While the watermelon still remains enigmatic, no
matter where you go, there you are
.

January 23, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Guided tours of the superb view 20 acre Oregon
property we have for sale are now available by
contacting annemarie@chaparralrealtygroup.com
or by calling Anne Marie at (541) 292-3535 .

An aerial photo can be found here.

We understand the road has been newly repaved
as well. Full asphalt almost to our easement.

January 22, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

The Shingle Mill toll road was one of the first major
roads up Mount Graham but is vehicle impassible
today in at least seven places. This route appears
in  our Gila Valley Day Hikes and is intimately
associated with the Mount Graham Tramway.

Some of the access problems include...

    ~ The top access was closed at the summer
       home group and replaced by a new foot trail.
       This can itself be hiked around by dropping
       down a side canyon off the Bible Camp road.

   ~ Floods converted the road below the sawmill
      into a difficult boulder scramble. A horse bypass
      trail was built long ago.

   ~ The road is flat out gone half a mile below the
      Ash Creek trail junction. It picks up steeply down
      canyon after vanishing without a trace.

  ~ There is now a sheer cliff where the first drop
      into Shingle Mill Creek used to be.

  ~ Some car sized bolders are blocking near the
     final Shingle Mill Creek crossing. Note that the
     water here is not reliable.
  
   ~ A "Zee" thru a small side canyon is now
     filled with hundreds of two foot diameter
     boulders.

  ~ Half a mile of total washout ten feet deep.


From there on down, the rest of the 4WD
track can be monumentally and excruciatingly
rough and annoying. Hiking is much faster and
easier.

January 21, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Some alternatives to being "a few chips shy of a
full board"
appear here.

January 20, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Latest GuruGram #85 is on Some Inverse
Graphics Transforms
.

Sourcecode is available here. And additional
GuruGrams here.

January 19, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Another outrageous pv solar myth is that putting
pv panels on cars makes some sort of sense.
The
myth probably has its roots in ultra lightweight,
ultra fragile Australian student racers.

Whose engineering constraints are pretty much
the exact opposite of most practical personal
transportation needs.

A glib analysis would be that pv panels on a car
might generate enough energy to run the power
mirrors. Provided you did not adjust them very
often.

Some of the problems include that the effective
area is much too low
and that most of the panels
would not be pointing in the right direction
most
of the time. Panels would often be shaded by
urban canyons, trees, and cloud cover as well.


If not very smooth, panels could adversely affect
aerodynamics worse than the energy they could
collect. Shading a car most likely reduces the air
conditioning load more than the panels could
collect in the open sun. Panel weight would, of
course, decrease mileage .

Note that most cars are stationary most of the time.
And that much of their time is often otherwise spent
in garages or carports. Where the pv system is
gobbling amortization at zero output.

Allowing for tracking angles, an effective panel
area of one square meter is highly unlikely on a
personal vehicle. This might produce something
like 400 watthours per day in Arizona or 50 in
New York. Equivalent to as little as 5 cubic
centimeters
of gasoline per day.


Worth less than one cent.

No panel system is currently known that can
produce net energy when properly full burden
amortized. All to date are gasoline destroying
net energy sinks.

Further, most people grossly underestimate the
price sensitivity of automotive economics. A
dime on a million units is $100,000. And exergy
guarantees a kilowatt hour of gasoline is worth
a lot less than a kilowatt hour of electricity.

Panel prices that may make sense for utility
net energy peaking would remain outrageously
and obscenely overpriced for automotive uses.


Finally, a stationary panel could run continuously
and service many vehciles. There is no apparent
point is attaching cost and weight to a moving
vehicle that does not add major, clear, and
immediate benefit.


Once you do have net energy panels ( possibly in
a decade using CIGS combined with Tetrapods ),
wringing every last drop of efficiency out of
them will remain paramount.

Which demands stationary locations doing
continuous collection at optimal tracking
angles in carefully chosen climates .

More in our Energy Fundamentals tutorial.

January 18, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

I have just been reassured that all of the illegal
aliens hired for the upcoming Alabama grit
harvest are to be used for flavor only.

January 17, 2008                                                                                                 deeplink

One of the more frustrating things about trying
to deal with card carrying members of the Church
of the Latter Day Crackpots
is that they repeatedly
insist on arguing email after email, rather than
trying to learn anything.

One ancient example that keeps rearing its ugly
head is Brown's Gas, which we dealt with long ago
here. Brown's Gas was a mix of wishful thinking,
"not even wrong"labwork, and incompetent researchers.
A few of which have been in jail or the Looney Bin.

No difference has ever been shown between Brown's
Gas and plain old stoichiometric hydrrogen and oxygen.


It has never been spectrgraphically analyzed. No double
blind comparison has ever been done. Its many "magic"
properties are easily explained by odd but traditional
chemistry and physics that is many centuries old.

There are, of course, no overunity properties of
Brown's Gas.
Claims of long term monatomics,
of course, are total bullshit.

Brown's Gas is also, of course, one of the most
dangerous substances anyplace ever and has very
few legitimate uses.
Its energy properties are
uselessly low for most welding. Among other gases,
acetylene has a higher combustion temperature.

But even more fundamentally -- Electricity is very
high quality energy. Unstored hydrogen gas is very
low quality energy. Electrolysis is the process of
destroying energy quality.
Such energy quality is
called "exergy", and we have reviewed it here.

There always will be more intelligent things to
do with high value electricity ( such as that from
grid, wind, car alternator, or solar pv ) than instantly
and irreversibly destroying most of its value.

The bottom line repeated from a few days ago:

    If you do not understand exergy, you
    SHOULD NOT be pissing around with
    electrolysis.

   If you do understand exergy, you WILL
   NOT be pissing around with electrolysis.


More on electrolysis here.
More on pseudoscience bashing here.

January 16, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Here and here are two examples of the sorts of
things you can do with our Bitmap Typewriter
routines.

These let you apply the best possible lettering to
any bitmap. They do this by first creating an exact
custom pixel locked font of the needed size. And
follow it with a pre imaging anti-aliasing that
proportionally merges foreground and background
colors on a single pixel by pixel basis.

January 15, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

We installed a Sirius Radio system in our SUV
and it seems to work just fine, except for some
minor quirks.

For some reason, they want you to put the antenna
as far to the rear as possible
. I am mystified why
this is so. Possibly because it might sometimes work
slightly better in a garage or a carport? Engine EMI?
Cellphone interference?

Also, their inline adaptor totally trashes normal radio
AM reception when powered
. I am surprised this was
not somehow dealt with.

January 14, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

There's a classic tale over one of the first
Russian to English text translators: They
input "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak."

Back came "The wine was pretty good but the
meat was rotten."

January 13, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

At least seven tv networks now offer online and
on-demand downloads of at least some of their
program material. With major advantages of
convenience, pause, and fast forward. And
full screen or nearly so with faster comm.

Offerings from ABC, CBS, FOX, PBS, CW,
MyNetwork, and NBC are found on these
respective links.

The term "mesmerizingly awful" comes to
mind. I have found only two programs that
I find even remotely watchable, and one of
those clearly has a death wish in that it is
stealing plot devices from I Love Lucy.

I can certainly can see why one of the other
program's name was shortened from "Upchuck".

But I am having trouble determining whether
CSI Omaha or CSI Tulsa is worse.   The future
for CSI Gila Bend does not bode well.

The obvious question is "Did they do this on
purpose?"

January 12, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Found a useful wire gauge table here.

January 11, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Over the past few years, the Uniform Commercial
Code
has been undergoing revisions and improvements.
Most of these were upgrades to deal with new online
commerce transations.

Most of the approvals seem to be in place and the
Revised UCC can be found here
.

Of particular interest is the auction section 2-328.

In which a major reversal can be found: Items may
now be withdrawn from auction unless stated otherwise.


This seems just plain wrong to me, but that is
apparently the way things now are.

January 10, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

The Arizona Auction Scene seems to have just
gone bonkers after a long dry spell. You can
find many new listings here.

Your own custom regional auction finder can be
created for you per these guidelines.

More on our Auction Help page.

January 9, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

The nonbogus fully burdened math behind pv panels
is as simple as it is dismally discouraging.


A 200 watt panel in an Arizona installation might
produce one kilowatt hour per day.
  Assume a
retail kilowatt hour is worth a dime and that,
to have at least some net energy production, your
total system amortization has to be less than eight
cents  per day.

Per this calculator, you can amortize $112 for
five years at ten percent interest for eight cents
per day. This, of course, would be your total
installed cost,
including the synchronous inverter.

200 peak watts at $112 translates to something
like 56 cents per peak watt.

Allowing for installation and support costs and
assuming that synchronous inverters eventually
drop into the $9 price range from their current
$2500, this leaves something like sixteen to twenty
cents per peak watt
for the pv panel component
cost itself.


Naturally, any subsidies or tax breaks INCREASE
the true panel cost
, typically by a factor of three
over their face value because of the iceberg
effect
. Sometimes by ridiculously more.


Thus the economics of a true net energy pv system
are wildly different than the economics of a pv
system whose purpose is to steal tax dollars.

More in our Energy Fundamentals tutorial.

January 8, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Electricity from the sun seems to be about to
cross a viability threshold. Within a decade,
we can reasonably expect systems that are true
net energy sources
when full burden accounted.

The leading emerging technology appears to be
CIGS, helped along by Tetrapods. While
NanoSolar seems to be in the middle of the
fray and a leading innovator.

A probable product would be a panel that
generates ten cents per kilowatt hour grid
tied electricity for a cost of, perhaps, eight
cents per kilowatt hour. This would
translate roughly into sixteen to twenty
cents per peak watt
.

And could pay for the present California
pv subsidy scam in as little as five decades.

A rough conversion for typical sites would
be five watthours per peak watt per day.
Such panels are most likely to be utility
owned or leased from them, owing to the
economies of scale.

But there are several dark horse candidates
that may be worth watching. One of these is
the "crystal set" approach of nanoantennas
and direct conversion, long ago pioneered
by Alvin Marks. New Developments in
nanoscale antennas seem to have solved
half of the problem.

Conversion of the captured energy down
into dc remains a problem. My prediction
is that this will be solved through the use of
metalloradicals or some sort of dye molecule.

A second approach is a variation on thermopiles
that perform direct thermoelectric (rather than
pv) conversion.

More in our Energy Fundamentals tutorial.

January 7, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

We've got a few long term projects here that I have
been meaning to clear out. One is a programmable wire
cutter
that has its mechanical refurb complete but
still needs a chip replaced.

One is a refurbed autoclave that has a minor problem.

Plus we still have a pair of eminently collectible 1907
commercial silent movie projectors
. They are from a
Clifton AZ theater and are disassembled so they can
be UPS shipped. They both appear fully restorable.

Also have some larger HP programmable power supplies,
and a Wavetek VHF sweeper/analyzer.

Also some exotic three phase elevator controls that
double as motor soft start systems. Plus a superb
10 HP superpremium motor.

We also picked up bunches of alarm systems and components
we have yet to sort out and test.

Please email me if you have any interest in any of these.

January 6, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

One of the outrageous myths of upcoming net
pv solar electric energy is that there will be no
economies of scale. 

While such economies of scale are clearly not
remotely in the same league as owning a coal
fired or nuclear power plant, they are likely
to remain quite real and very significant
.

In reality, power utilities are likely to own their
own pv panels.
Some of which are leased to end
users, and some of which are placed on their
own energy farms.

Firstoff, no means of storing solar electricity
is known that is remotely as cheap, safe, and
convenient as ongrid synchronous inversion
.

Thus the existing power grid is likely to remain
an essential component of any net energy pv
for the foreseeable future.

Second, the purchasing power of utilities is
enormous, so they should be able to command
the best possible panel prices. Third, leasing
eliminates most front end expenses for a
typical end user.


Leasing panels gives utilities much better
control of power quality, maintenance, safety,
production, and upgrades. And their own
panel farms gives them enormous control
over instant peaking adjustments.

Because of the highly diffuse nature of solar
energy, the optimum panel sizes are likely
to remain on the large side. With special
shipping and installation considerations. And
a few larger synchronous inverters should be
much cheaper than many smaller ones.

Finally, a typical roof is not really all that great
a place to put a pv panel
. The angle is probably
wrong and tracking is difficult. The waste heat
could add to the air conditioning load more than
the generated electricity would save. And
homeowner neighborhood covenants are likely
to add restrictions. There also may be trees.

A partial proof of emerging pv economics of
scale is Nanosolar's decision to sell all of their
present panels to a single power utility rather
than placing them in Aisle 13 of WalMart .


More in our Energy Fundamentals tutorial.

January 5, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Perhaps another Technical Innovation factor should
be that the rules have all changed. What was a level
playing field often may turn into a bottomless pit.

And where new competitors can clearly be noncompetitive.
Thus running away with all the marbles. Because they
completely ignore the way things were
.

Some examples: Craig's List is totally blowing away
newspaper classified ads because it is free, is instantly
delivered, exceptionally convenient, and can be trivially
searched.

Music studio time currently goes for around $850 per
hour. But you can build your own music studio for
around $849 total. And often produce a much better
product. Since there will now be zillons of new songs
per year, the value of a delivered song to an end user
will clearly plummet
.

The belief that a classic website will continue to increase
in popularity and demand can be flawed. Owing to the
eyeball siphoning caused by other newly emerging things
for people to do online. Such as personal networking,
YouTube videos, online tv downloads, and countless
emerging new stuff yet unthunk of.

Producing books on demand makes the fatally flawed
assumption that people will still value books. Online
distribution of info content with its near-zero delivery
cost, its timeliness, its searchability, its instant access,
its ease of updating, total lack of waste and returns,
infinite forever backlists, and countless other advantages
totally trashes this assumption.

The utter and total demise of the book is imminent.
Because of their inherent and unavoidable flaws.

It is  just not yet too clear whether this will happen by way
of new eBook readers or by the use of improving laptops,
handhelds and evolving ipods and such.

But happen it will.

Quantum leaps in product features are routinely occurring.
You cannot even give a CRT monitor or tv away, owing
to flat panel LCD demand. LED lighting is coming on
like gangbusters, owing to its flexibility and extreme
efficiency.

And new approaches to solar panels involving CIGS
and Quantum Dots promise to eventually be capable
of delivering net energy. Something that conventional
silicon PV will never be able to do.

The bottom line is that projecting the value, price,
and demand of current products into the future is
fraught with peril
. Because things simply ain't gonna
be done that way any more.

January 4, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

As you may have already guessed, I closed out
our WHTNU07.SHTML blog file and started a new one
as WHTNU08.SHTML
.

January 3, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

We also have a unique five acres for sale in
an extremely remote ( think survivalist ) area
immediately adjacent to the East Fork of the
Gila River
and nearly surrounded by New Mexico's
Gila Wilderness.

3 074 074 248 118 District-02N Section 11
Township 13 S Range 13W PT NH 4.7Acres


Taxes are currently $2.79 per year.

Access is by foot or horse only over National
Forest land
. You can email me for more details
on this stunningly unusual opportunity. Asking
$6900 per acre with financing available.

January 2, 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

We have a Southern Oregon Gold Hill spectacular
view property for sale. Asking $8900 per acre.

We have just secured a new full access easement for
these 20 acres.
Power is on the property. We are
now working closely with a professional land use planner
and fully expect Jackson County homesite approval.

Legal description is T36 R3W S16 Tax Lot 400.

Very attractive financing is available. Mid-size city
amenities are twelve minutes away at Medford. The
property borders directly  on the town of Gold Hill.
The Rogue River  is nearby; beaches and mountains
are an hour away.

Here's some photos...

 

You can click expand these. Then click again.

This steep to sloping parcel is immediately adjacent to the Gold
Hill
city limits and offers absolutely outstanding views. It is in one
of the most in-demand rural areas in the country, and has really great
access both to recreation and to midsize city resources. Plus superb
climate, low crime, and good schools.

Here is a map. Property is the green rectangle "pointed to" by
Thirteenth Street.

A professional certified apprasial has just been
completed and came in at $160.000.00. Additional
apprasial details can be made available to you
under NDA by contacting us or else by phoning
(928) 428-4073.

You can click here for an aerial photo and flyby.

Guided tours are newly available by contacting
annemarie@chaparralrealtygroup.com  or by
calling Anne Marie at (541) 292-3535 .

January 1 , 2008                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Expanded and updated our Technical Innovations
tutorial. Its sourcecode separately appears here.

December 31, 2007                                                                                    deeplink      respond

One of the most confusing things about the .BMP
Image Format
is its sometime need for padding bytes.

The rule is that each new pixel row must start on
an EVEN 32-bit boundary
. Since three does not divide
by four all that well, the end of each row will need
0, 1, 2, or 3 padding bytes added.

Here is one method using table lookup...

       /padding xpixels 4 mod
       [ 0 3 2 1 ] exch get store


And another using base 4 arithmetic...

       /padding xpixels 4 mod
       4 sub abs 4 mod store


Much more detail here.

December 30, 2007                                                                                    deeplink      respond

When you rotate a bitmap, the new bitmap will
have to be larger if you are not going to clip the
original corners. This effect and its solution are
found here.


The geometry on this is a bit subtle. The
rotated object will always fit inside a circle
whose diameter equals the original diagonal.

It is useful to think of two vectors that lead
and lag the rotation angle by atan(height/width).
These vectors will "point at" two corners of
your bitmap.

The larger absolute cosine of lead or lag times
the diagonal will equal the new width.

The larger absolute sine of lead or lag times
the diagonal will equal the new height...

      /findsize {
            /diag width dup mul height
                     dup mul add sqrt store
           /laglead height width atan store

            /newwide rot laglead add cos abs
                    rot laglead sub cos abs
                    2 copy le{exch} if pop diag
                    mul cvi store

           /newhigh rot laglead add sin abs
                   rot laglead sub sin abs
                   2 copy le{exch} if pop diag
                  mul cvi store
                     } store

December 29, 2007                                                                                    deeplink      respond

At considerable cost and effort, we have just
newly secured a full access easement for our
superb Oregon view property. Its homestead
approval also now seems reasonably likely.

We will be relisting this property again shortly.
You can contact us now for the best possible
price. Thus saving you realtor fees and some
further admin costs.


Very attractive financing remains available.

December 28, 2007                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Continuing yesterday's derivation of the
inverse linear graphics transform...

Our expressions of
...

       x = [ e(g-c) - b(h-f)] / (ae-bd)
       y = [ a(h-f) - d(g-c)] / (ae-bd)

dramatically simplify if you are only
doing translation, scaling or rotation.

For translation, a=e=1 b=d=0 c=
xoffset and f=yoffset for

        x = newx - xoffset
        y = newy - yoffset


For scaling, a=xmag e=ymag b=d=0

       x = (newx - xoffset) / xmag
       y =( newy - yoffset) / ymag


For the trickier and less obvious rotation,
a = cos~ , b=d= sin~, and e = -cos~. The
denominator becomes cos~^2 + sin~^2
which by trig identity is unity. Leaving
us with...

       x = (newx - xoffset)cos~ -
             (newy - yoffset)sin~

       y = (newx - yoffset)cos~ -
             (newx - xoffset)sin~


Deciding how much larger to make the
rotated bitmap is a bit subtle, so we will save
this for a future entry.

December 27, 2007                                                                                    deeplink      respond

Continuing exploration of the inverse linear
graphics transform
...

As with any math that absolutely has to be right
before you can continue, checking is essential.

Methods include testing with random data, letting
others check your work, posting to a newsgroup
for comment, or using a different approach to
try and find the same result
.

The "standard" linear graphics transform is...

              new(x) = ax + by + c = g
              new(y) = dx + ey + f = h

The two obvious plain old algebra routes are
to solve the top equation for x and insert it
into the bottom one. Or to scale the top
equation by d/a and subtract it from the
bottom one.

Either route gives our expected results...

      
x = [ e(g-c) - b(h-f)] / (ae-bd)
       y = [ a(h-f) - d(g-c)] / (ae-bd)

It is interesting to use matrix techniques
as a further check. These actually turn
out simpler...

     | a b c |  | g |
     | d e f |  | h |
     | 0 0 1 |  | 1 |


Using determinants, our x value will be...

 | g b c |        | a b c|
 | h e f | div by | d e f|
 | 1 0 1 |        | 0 0 1|

And our y value will be...

 | a g c |        | a b c|
 | d h f | div by | d e f|
 | 0 1 1 |        | 0 0 1|

    ... both of which evaluate correctly.

Using Gauss-Jordan instead gets us into a
form of...

        | 1 ~ ~   ~ |       
        | 0 1 ~   ~ |
        | 0 0 1   1 |


      ..... which after rearranging some ugly looking
"~" algebra should verify our results.


Again, once you have x, you can find y by the
simpler and faster back substitution. Or vice versa.

December 26, 2007                                                                                    deeplink      respond

A largely unexplored alternate explanation for
the Safford Grids is that they were 1200 AD
prototypical Dilbert Cubicals.

For the middle management bureaucracy of
the regional Mescal facility.


Destroyed by the Alice PMS Revolts of 1385.

December 25, 2007                                                                                    deeplink      respond

As we have seen a number of times, electrolysis
from high value sources such as grid, pv, or wind
for bulk energy hydrogen generation flat out ain't
gonna happen
because of thermodynamic
fundamentals involving exergy.

I am bemused by "researchers" who use the
"ostrich" argument "I never heard of exergy.
Therefore, it does not exist. And could not
possibly be a problem. "


Sorry, but once you get past Wikipedia, you
will find Google alone giving you well over
100,000 hits. At least some of which are
bibliographies with thousands or more entries.

One more time:

Exergy is a measure of the quality and thus the
value of energy in its present form.
It is basically
entropy with an economic value focus.

Exergy answers the question "How much is this
stuff worth in its present form?"


An unstruck match has very high exergy; a slightly
warmer room has very little. Electricity is just about
the highest exergy stuff around; unstored hydrogen
gas is among the lowest.

The way you measure exergy is to convert the energy
to a different form and convert it back
. Then see how much
you have left. Electricity to hydrogen to electricity leaves
you with less than zilch.

Before amortization.

Going from high value electricity (such as grid, pv, or wind)
to low value unstored hydrogen gas instantly and irreversibly
destroys most of the quality and thus most of the value of
your energy.

There ALWAYS will be more intelligent things to do with high
value electricity than destroying its value through electrolysis.
The process  is very similar to 1:1 exchanging US dollars for
Mexican Pesos.

Detailed analysis at http://www.tinaja.com/glib/energfun.pdf
Electrolysis fundamentals at http://www.tinaja.com/glib/muse153.pdf

The bottom line is this:

    If you do not understand exergy, you SHOULD NOT
    be pissing
around with electrolysis.

   If you do understand exergy, you WILL NOT
   be pissing
around with electrolysis.

                                  ( earlier material appears here. )

 
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