Saturday, August 17, 2019

Analog Games: Do you play?

What's a good way to spend your free time?  Gaming with friends - but, as you might expect from this blog, I'm not a huge fan of modern computer games.  Analog games are the way to go, both board and tabletop.  That's where the bulk of my gaming hours go, and I like it that way.


I'd guess a good number of my readers also game - so let's talk about the joys of analog gaming!


Saturday, August 3, 2019

G600 "600x" Digital Microscope Teardown & Review

What has the internet come to when really interesting, cheap gizmos aren't being properly torn apart in reviews?  Are people afraid to take a screwdriver to a $40 piece of hardware and find out what's inside (spoiler: mystery meat)?  Do we just accept things like "1-600x" microscopes without calling MBE (Male Bovine Excrement)?  We do not!  No longer!

I recently acquired one of the "G600" microscopes you find floating around the internet.  You can get them for about $40 on eBay, they're definitely useful, but they are most definitely not "600x" zoom as you'll see advertised - unless you happen to have a truly massive TV as a monitor instead of the built in display.  Like most of my office gizmos, I played around with it for a bit to get a feel for it, and then proceeded to pull it completely apart, and over-analyze it in my usual style.  I'm trying to get through a backlog of gizmos I have laying around before too many more show up (and these are good idle time posts - I pulled it apart while babysitting a Roomba that was slowly learning the house and getting stuck on pull toys).


What's inside?  What horrible hazards lurk within?  Keep reading to find out all this, and more!


Saturday, July 20, 2019

Running a Post Hole Digger on a Ford 9N

If you need holes in the ground, there are a few ways to do it.  You can use a manual post hole digger (one of those clamshell two handled things you slam into the dirt), you can use a multi-person auger, or you can use a post hole digger on a tractor.  I've got a tractor, and despite my tractor being "not ideal" for running a post hole digger, of course, that's how I'm digging my holes.

How does it work?  How can you make it not an awful experience with an old tractor that doesn't have a live PTO or modern hydraulics?  Well... you can probably guess I've got some advice for you!


Yes, two weeks ago I talked about the Chevy Volt and this week I'm dropping back about 70 years - where else will you find that sort of age diversity?

Keep reading for all the borey details!

Saturday, July 6, 2019

I bought a used Chevy Volt - and you probably should too!

Some while back, I tossed in a (little noticed) comment at the end of a post that we'd obtained a Chevy Volt.  We picked up a used 2012 Volt with under 30k miles, and have been using it quite a bit, because, well, it's our car.


Since it's my blog and I can post what I want, I've decided to talk about the Volt for a while.  I think it's the "sweet spot" for electric transportation at this point in time, I think it's rather significantly more environmentally friendly than a pure BEV for most use cases, and I think that, for most people, it's a really, really good car and highly worth considering if you're interested in cheap, (slightly) environmentally friendly car transportation.  Plus, they depreciate like mad (just like all other electric cars), so you can get one cheaper than you might think!

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Shipping Container Hanging Shelves (and my recycling system)

You can never have too many shelves.  A while back, I built some shelves for the end of my shipping container.  Recently, I've built hanging shelves for the side of my shipping container - and then built some for our church's shipping container as well!

They aren't designed for handling insane amounts of weight (I'd put 300lb on them without worrying about it), but they'll support lighter boxes without any trouble.  If you've got a shipping container and want more storage, you may find these insanely useful!


Like my other shelves, these don't require any penetrations through the wall.  They're entirely supported by the chains run to the hooks along the top corner.

Plus, for fun, I added some additional shelves to help organize my recycling better.


If you've got a shipping container, you'll almost certainly want to build hanging shelves for it!

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Clank: Reviving an Ancient Netbook (and replacing an iPhone 6S rear lens)

I admit to an odd enjoyment of making old, slow hardware (or new, slow hardware) into something useful.  I've been making very good progress on the front of "Making usable desktops out of things people think are too slow."  Raspberry Pi 3s, Jetson Nanos, ancient netbooks...

This week, I'm talking about Clank: An old Asus 1215N I found at a local pawn shop for nearly nothing.  The battery was stone dead, the hard drive was shot, it had 2GB of RAM, and was covered in dust - but it powered on to the BIOS, and showed promise.  So, away we go!


What's it take to restore something this old to being useful?  Is it useful?  Join me for the journey!


Saturday, May 25, 2019

The Best USB Power Supply I've Found Yet: A Home Depot Surge Protector!

Sometimes, "smart" isn't the right answer.  Sometimes, dumb brute force is the right answer to a problem - and I've been having problems with USB power lately.  Over the past year, playing around with Raspberry Pi 3s and Jetson Nanos, I've learned that they can be very, very power hungry beasties, and most USB power supplies will sag out when you really crank up the load.  The official Raspberry Pi power supply will keep up, but most other USB power supplies struggle and sag if you load them up quickly.

What about a big, dumb power supply?  Your local home improvement shop probably has plenty of things like this - which claims to be a 3.1A USB charger, plus a surge protector and outlet splitter.  What's in it?  Is it any good?  Does it actually put out an honest 3.1A?


Actually, it's one of the most impressive USB power supplies I've met - and surprisingly not-dumb.  Not only does it do an honest 3.1A, I get a reasonable voltage at the end of a normal USB cord!  The thing has cable voltage droop compensation!  Keep reading for more details and the teardown, because this thing is good!