My thought process

18.29.05 - Mark

Just a look at my own line of thought
My Cordless drill battery won’t charge.
Shoot, neither one works.
I guess I new replacement batteries.
(checks google shopping)
Wait, DeWalt ones are expensive.
(checks ebay)
They’re not cheap on ebay either.
How about recell the batteries?
Yep, there are businesses for that.
Is there a local one?
Better yet, could I do that?
There’s a youtube video for that.
That doesn't look too hard.
But how do weld batteries tabs?
OK, You need a spot welder.
Can I build one of those?
Yep, I even have the transformer for that!
(scans hack-a-day article)
Bookmark it and look at that idea later.
So what type of battery cells do I need for the battery pack?
No luck online.
Although they’ll see me the information.
Not paying $10 for that knowlege
(goes off an measures battery cells)
Where are my torx screwdrivers?
(finds them in tool box)
(take apart battery)
Should I peel the plastic off and see how are they wired?
No, let’s price the parts first.
What battery is about .873” diameter and 1.375” tall?
How much will they cost?
Err, I probably need that in millimeters
So about 22mm diameter and about 35mm height
(converts in google searches)
(digs on digikey)
Ouch $5 for a single 4/5 sub-C NiCad, too much.
No better, unless I order hundreds of them.
Google Shopping?
Still a little pricey.
How about on ebay?
Ok, that’s better, and they already have tabs
Darn, no need for a spot welder.
Hmm, no inexpensive battery suppliers in North America.
Several from Hong Kong / China.
Can I wait 3 weeks to 4 weeks?
Am I sure I can recover the parts from the batteries I have?
Do I recell one or two?

While I haven’t decided if I’ll try the rebuild battery route or not, but it occurred to me that our thoughts are processed as quickly as the evolution of a live conversation. The changes in pace, direction, focus, and more. We often realize that these changes happen (unless you have an extremely high tolerance for boring conversations), but we rarely look at the trails our minds blaze. For a “small” project like this it’s kind of interesting recording the sequence of ideas touched on, both distractions and propellents. I’ll admit there were a couple “ohhh shinny” moments I left out, but most of the related process is now written down. I doubt it holds any value to anyone else out there, but you might try this little exercise. It's a little enlightening.

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Human Blood For Sale?

17.59.19 - Mark

I keep seeing random guesses on the cost of human blood, with some saying just the cost of training the people who help collect the donations to $200+ per pint, so while fruitlessly hunting for something that at least feels like a legit source, I did come across this older Slate article - "Does the Red Cross Sell Blood?" The title, and the first few points it makes go against what the American Red Cross says (second question on that page)

We all know that blood in worth far more than anything it may cost, but we know that it costs something to save lives - from the people who are trained to conduct and prepare donated units, the proper testings, storage, and transportation, to the fact that supply and demand fluctuates thought the year. Even the potential future of Artificial Bloodmakes us wonder about the cost of "free" blood. It would just be nice to have nice solid facts rather than wild uncited speculations.

I doubt it would cause me to stop donating blood

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5 Years?

10.48.08 - Mark

In most cases, I could care less about a website/blog/podcast/vidcast anniversary of any sort, and off hand I couldn't tell you the "launch" of my various excursions into owning and caring for a personal website, other than I think it was around 2000 or 2001. I couldn't tell you off hand how many videos I've made and posted (tho' I've only done one audio show and that, thankfully, is mostly buried), but I noticed a few days ago that I started this blog thing on blogger 5 years ago today after getting tired of managing almost daily posts on the old static site by hand, so Happy Birthday blog-like entity.

If I keep it up, I might get decent at this blaging thing...

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23.57.30 - Mark

I normally do a good job of ignoring TV ads, but the one for lifelock where the CEO goes around some city with his claimed social security number painted on the side of a truck piqued my interest, and I started wondering if it was real or just a good looking fake. The structure falls in to the Social Security Administrations documented structure, but I'm too lazy to try registering for the Social Security Number Verification Service so that's by no means definitive. A little light googling suggests that the guy is real and because he's stupid enough to advertise his social it gets used fraudulently, but then again over 40,000 people have claimed 078-05-1120 as their SSN since 1938 (it was a valid SSN until it was used in advertising). I wonder if Lifelock and 457-55-5462 is the new "Woolworth number"

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Happy New Year

01.13.11 - Mark

Let's hope it's a good one, since 2008 is already promising to be an interesting year.

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Blog Readability

23.13.20 - Mark

Today's random web poll gadget meme thingamabob, which really looks like an attempt to googlebomb some payday loan site (whose link I removed before posting this). Remember, it's not technically spam if the blog's author posts it...

Junior High School

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Customer Service

00.01.42 - Mark

Usually I rant about how much customer service sucks, which is because it usually does, however it's always a treat to find some that doesn't suck. Canon's customer service made me happy a while back when it didn't take 5 hours to convince them my camera was broken, but Pilot Pens really surprised me. I'm a mild pen geek, and my current everyday use pen is the Pilot Precise V5 RT.

It writes smoothly, has a narrow line, and it makes a nice clicking sound. It's great to write with but I had two problems. First it's light. I personally prefer heavier pen bodies, metal pens being my favorite, second is that the pocket clip on the V5 RT's was really horribly designed. The inside of the clip was made in a way that it catches on threads all the time. I'd reach for my pen and start ripping up my pants. Not good.

Anyways I shared my opinion with Pilot, and I was really looking for a metal pen body that took the V5 ink. I guess no such thing exists, since I never heard back from Pilot (not even the automatic confirmation email most places send out), but a few days after I messaged them, a package arrived with a couple of V Ball RT pens that can use the same ink as the V5. The bodies are more or less identical, same materials and features, they weigh the same, but it's a little sturdier and the clip had a lot more though put into it.

I know most people could care less about my pen choices, but if a pen company can get customer service right, why can't larger more customer centric companies not?

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Three Weeks

01.25.36 - Mark

I figure it's been close to three weeks since I last looked at my site's homepage. I've dropped a couple links, and might have pulled up the admin pages a couple times in that time frame, but taking a look at it tonight, I almost forgot what my own website looked like.

No I don't really have much to add right now. This is mainly a note to prove that I'm not dead - not yet anyways (burnout however, has certainly set in). As one person has described it:

Camp is like a large misshapen bolder thumping down a hill, you can't stop it and it destroys everything in it's path.

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Tourist in your own town

23.48.07 - Mark

A couple years ago Mount Airy had some consultants come in to state the obvious for piles of money, one of the obvious (at least to an objective observer) things that they suggested Mount Airy do to increase tourism was to promote tourism within the the city limits to citizens. I think their words were "to be a tourist in your own town" at least for a day or two. Like all reports from outside consultants it was never widely circulated, but I had been interviewed in their research and knew enough to pay attention to the public meetings.

The idea is a good one. Most people who live in one area for a long period of time never realize what their area offers, more so if you live your whole life in the same geographic area.

Andy Griffith Statue in Mount Airy, NC I haven't forgotten this fact (being a non-native helps that) but stay in one place long enough and even the most aware people loose track of little joys. Yesterday I happened to to go the local art council's photography club and as part of their meeting they conducted a brief photowalk. It didn't take time for locals to "welcome" us to Mayberry (can't blame them, what else do you assume a dozen, mostly older, people with cameras are?) I'm not a fan of the whole Mount Airy Mayberry connection, but I can't deny it and too many baby boomers are too nostalgic for Mayberry for it to fade away anytime soon. The walk reminded me of that, but it also reminded me of some of the other little joys the area offers.

So, don't forget to take some time to be a tourist in your own area. Chance are you'll find something interesting.

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23.59.00 - Mark

Didn't quite manage Shutdown Day, but then again I didn't say I would (funny how that site has gone to hell). My brother needed some tech support and that slid into the 24th, however I did go more than 24 hours without using a computer. Wasn't hard, wasn't jonesing for an email fix.

In addition to getting away from computers, I got up to Raven Knob for the first time in months. I've mentioned in the past about how going to Raven Knob refreshes me. Doesn't matter if its a matter of hours or weeks, it is simultaneously relaxing and invigorating. Easily one of the most beautiful places I know of, its also a regular meeting spot for a number of good friends. The best tangible evidence of these statements. I've slept a less than five hours since Friday Morning (about 40 hours ago) and I'm perfectly awake. That or my circadian cycle is so fucked up I'm accidentally falling into a Core sleep variant of Polyphasic Sleep. It might be both.

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Lazy Dog.

00.52.02 - Mark

I swear I've got one of the lazyiest dogs on Earth. Most days I'll catch her sunbathing her way across the living room floor, when she isn't curled up on one of her pillows. She only really moves if she hears anyone stumbling around in the kitchen.

Just now I found her sprawled out on the basement futon watching Van Helsing on TV. I know that my dad probably forgot to turn it off when he went upstairs about half an hour ago, but now that I've turned it off she got off the fouton, laid down on the floor and is now staring at a wall, almost sulking. Maybe I should have let her finish it.

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Certified Geek Credentials

01.14.46 - Mark

The logo says general purpose certified geek - and all certifications (real or imaginary) should have a cool seal to go with the respect said certification should command.

MarkW.us Official Seal

Made with the Official Seal Generator

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What to do with a third arm

01.11.08 - Mark

This evening my brother and I went to see a movie at the local subrun theater, Before the movie we grabed a bag of popcorn and a coulpe of drinks and took our seats. Unlike most theaters, the local subrun actually pops their popcorn, however this batch was well below par, at times tasting like tin, excessive ammounts of salt, styrofoam, and other generally not-good-substances (sometimes all at once).

After the movie we loidered around as the main employee is a friend and talked about random things. Eventually getting to the point of how both the movie and the popcorn were a bit disappointing. At which point our friend told us he had cleaned out the popcorn machine the night before and we had been eating the oldest remains of the first batch popped in the newly clean macheine. Yummy. "I'm pretty sure I got all the cleaning agents out - let me know if you grow a third arm" he said.

Zaphod BeeblebroxThen of course we started talking about the implications of a third arm, not obviously useful third arms, like Zaphod Beeblebrox third arm, more along the lines of Total Recall's martian mutant type third arm i.e. growing out of your forehead third arm.

Assuming that lawsuits were out of the option, what exactly could you do with an extra underdeveloped mutant apandage? We figured hollywood, or at least movies. Surely SciFi or some other network would pay to have a multi movie deal with an actual monster, and when those movies fail horribly you could always star in the unrelenting spoofs.

Of course the truly brilliant would insure the arm for a nice large sum of money, go about his acting career and when the work dries up, suffer a tragic incident that involves the amputation of the extra arm.

Such is life in my house. We now return you to me regular ranting about failing technology and increasing frustrations with High School University.

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All Dried Up

13.08.31 - Mark

I don't really have a reason for posting this, certainly since it's from when I went up to Camp Raven Knob two weeks ago, I've just been rambing way too much recently.

Dry Lake Bed at Camp Raven Knob

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In John They Trust

22.09.55 - Mark

Smithsonian Magazine has a really nice article on South Pacific Cargo Cults. Its a different perspective on life, and makes one wonder about how much harm American consumerism is doing, both home and abroad.

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Two things

23.26.58 - Mark

1) I hate being sick
2) I have got to get my hands on some Mexican Coke

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