iPod Battery Replacement

I’ve had my iPod now for a little over 2 years. Under optimum conditions its battery lasted 7.8 hours. I ran that test today and came up with only 4 hours. This confirmed my thinking that the battery wasn’t lasting nearly as long as it used to (real world play time used to be about 4 hours and now it is probably 2). The battery was a huge problem with these iPods and prompted a lawsuit with a settlement that I wasn’t able to participate in since I didn’t have my original receipt.

Anyway, the battery isn’t easy to replace because it is glued in place underneath the hard drive and it isn’t easy to open the case without damaging it. Apple had a service where you could mail in the iPod and they would replace the battery for $100. I believe that price is lower now. There are also a lot of third party providers who will do the service or will sell you a battery and provide tools to pry open the iPod.

Well, it’s time. So first I went to my web page because I know it usually has ads for replacement batteries. I found L.A. Computer and iPodResQ advertised there, but I had a really hard time finding the replacement at the former (the ad says $8.95, but actually it turns out to be $12.95 plus $9.56 shipping) and the latter was $28 plus shipping.

I then went to iLounge. They reviewed two reputable replacement services that also offered do-it-yourself kits and gave both A minuses. One was Other World Computer’s system using NuPower batteries. The other service they reviewed was FastMac and their TruePower batteries which have very good instructions and offer a 2-year warranty. All of the batteries offered are 850 milliamp hours (850 mah) which is more than the original battery capacity of 630 mah. Another company offers an 1100 mah battery but it costs twice what the others do. Also, some of the places I found gave you metal screwdrivers to open the case which would probably scratch or bend the iPod.

I finally found a place that was pretty inexpensive, offered plastic tools, and had reasonable shipping rates, Battery Barn. I ordered from them tonight and will follow up with my results. I made a new webpage for other people who might be looking for a new battery:

iPod Battery Replacement

Britannica

I love encyclopedias. The whole idea of so much to know organized alphabetically is just really appealing to me. I really liked having Encyclopedia Britannica on Silvastone. The kid’s version was very useful for learning all kinds of stuff and having it explained clearly. Then if you got really specific you had to go to Mom and Dad’s encyclopedia which was always much harder to understand.

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Inulin

Susan gave me a box of cereal that she didn’t think she would eat before moving (she closed on the old house and new house today without any problems. Yay!). The cereal is General Mills Fiber One Honey Clusters. It scared me because it had the word “fiber” in the title, but I wanted to see where sugar fell in the ingredients. I was surprised how far down the list sugar appeared: wheat, corn, modified corn starch, inulin, sugar . . . That’s number five! But wait a minute, inulin? What is that?

I googled it and found a wikipedia article about it. It is a starch produced by plants including dandelions. But as I was eating my first spoonfuls I got to this paragraph:

>>Inulin is indigestible by human enzymes ptyalin and amylase, which are designed to digest starch. As a result, inulin passes through much of the digestive system intact. It is only in the colon that bacteria metabolise inulin, with the release of significant quantities of carbon dioxide and/or methane. Inulin-containing foods are therefore notoriously gassy and not recommended for the socially sensitive.<<

Long night ahead. The dogs might be sleeping on the sofa.

Mo Money

I didn’t think I was going to make it, but due to some big days at the end of November my Google AdSense revenue reached $100. That’s how much you have to earn before you get a check, though now they do direct deposit. Last time it took a year, but this summer I broke $20 during a few months and was able to reach the mark in five months. I have decided to save up to buy a new iPod. It could take another year or so, so maybe it will be something we can only imagine now. The ideal thing would be a PDA that includes a big hard drive and acts a MP3 player. I carry a PDA all the time anyway, so that way I would always have music with me. It wouldn’t have to be an Apple product actually.

The dejumbler continues to get the most traffic and the most revenue. The car stereo page and the battery pack pages for iPods do pretty well too though. The iPod pages definitely get more revenue for the number of views. I’m getting a total of 7,000-10,000 views per month and a fairly consistent number of monthly ad clicks of around 130, though some days I get nothing and others I might get 10.

I think it’s interesting that I could have made the same amount of money by buying one share of Google at $300 5 months ago.

Backyard Fun

Last night as I was writing my blog entry about the Georgia Aquarium the dogs wanted to go out. Katie goes in and out anytime I am on the computer since I am right next to the door. I could hear one of them barking way out in the backyard. Sometimes they see dogs go by on the street behind me or they just hear other dogs barking. But this was more of a high-pitched bark. I decided I had better go back there and make sure they were okay and had not trapped a cat or other critter. They really enjoy chasing after chipmunks and squirrels during the daytime, but they never come close to catching them.

I got out the flashlight to make sure I wouldn’t step in anything and could see what was back there. Along the back fence Katie and Clio were pawing at something on the ground. As I got up closer I could see it was a possum turned over on its back looking dead.

possum.jpg

Its fur had wet spots I guess where the dogs might have bitten or licked it. I could see its mouth and maybe its tongue hanging out. I tapped it with my foot and it moved a little. It had fooled me, but it was just playing dead. That didn’t mean that the dogs hadn’t hurt it, but I didn’t see any blood at least. It would be hard to get the dogs back in the house with something so interesting back there so I decided I should move it to the other side of the fence. It looked pretty benign and I was just going to pick it up by its tail, which doesn’t have fur and tapers down to a point Jeb said he had picked one up one time. But, realizing that it wasn’t dead at all and might just bite the heck out of me, I decided that was a bad idea. I took off my sweatshirt and wrapped that around my hand so that if it bit me at least it would hopefully just get a mouth full of cotton. I lowered it down to the ground on the other side of the fence. I don’t know where it lives or if it will be able to get back where it wants to go, but I thought that sure beats getting played with by two dogs. Although it looked dead the whole time, of course it wasn’t there this morning.

P.S.: In September 2006 Katie found another possum, this time in the front yard. I was able to get the picture above and, after putting Katie back in the house, I took this picture of him after he perked up and was walking away (they can remain passed out for about 4 hours, but I have seen resurrections twice and each time it just took a few minutes). I was reading up on opossums (not derived from Latin, so the plural just adds an s) on Wikipedia. It said that they don’t play dead consciously, but are so frightened that they pass out and emit a strong odor (which I smelled last night). The article also said that in adults the tail is not strong enough to support their weight, so you shouldn’t pick them up by the tail.

possumwalks.jpg

Georgia Aquarium

Today I took Susan to the Georgia Aquarium for her birthday. Though she doesn’t usually like to take MARTA, tonight downtown they were having the Georgia high school football playoffs at the Dome, a Thrashers game at Philips Arena, and the Georgia/Georgia Tech game further uptown, so we opted for public transit. The aquarium is a hike from MARTA, at least a 15 minute walk, at the northwest corner of Centennial Park. Even though I had reserved the tickets before the aquarium opened, we still had to stand in line (though there was a second line for walk-up tickets that was longer) to get through security. I was stopped because I had my swiss army knife on my keychain and no knives or guns are allowed. I tried to talk the guard into letting me go through but she said my only choices were to throw it away, take it back to my car (40 minutes away), or hide it somewhere outside. I finally decided to hide it and picked a spot just outside the aquarium. I came back and thought I could have probably just stuck it in my shoe and she’d have never known the difference. Anyway, it was good hiding spot I guess because it was still there when I got out.

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Spoon

In my excitement to find out more about The Killers I didn’t end up watching the rest of that episode of Austin City Limits. Sunday night I watched the next act, an Austin-based indie band called Spoon. In the AllMusic entry for The Killers they had Spoon listed as a similar artist, so I thought I might like them too. They are pretty different though. Whereas The Killers have a definite Cure and Oasis influence, Spoon has more of a Elvis Costello sound, though more like “Watching the Detectives” than “Alison”. I think they sound at least a little like X though not rockabilly like X could be, more like “Blue Spark,” at least with the songs they were performing which came from their current CD Gimme Fiction. On other albums they have a little different sound, but I like the spooky funky blues sound of these songs, particularly “The Beast and Dragon, Adored” and “My Mathematical Mind”. Those titles make them sound geekier than they really are.

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The Killers

Austin City Limits is a live music show on public television. They have pretty good taste and the show has been around for a long time. Based in Austin, they seem to spotlight a lot of Texas bands. Lyle Lovett has probably been on a lot, Stevie Ray Vaughan was on it. They had The Pixies when they got back together. So if something seems remotely interesting I’ll try to record it. (For a while another PBS show had a similar lineup of well-chosen talent called Sessions at West 54th, but it disappeared after a couple of years.)

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T

I’ve always thought it was neat that some of the biggest companies in the world were so old, so powerful, and so well respected that their stock symbol was a single letter. AT&T was one of those: T. Ford is another: F. Citicorp is C. Not all big companies are one letter, for instance, General Motors is GM. And anything on the NASDAQ has to have 4 letters regardless, like MSFT, GOOG, and YHOO. (I found one place that said “M” and “I” on the New York Stock Exchange were being reserved if Microsoft or Intel ever decided to leave the NASDAQ). Other tickers are kind of interesting too: 3M is MMM, Southwest Airlines is LUV after its home base, Dallas’ Love Field.

Anyway, in August 2003 I bought some stock in SBC which had formerly been known as Southwestern Bell, (one of the “baby bells” born when AT&T was broken up). The whole reason I bought it was that no one was providing a decent interest rate at the time, but SBC was offering a 5% dividend every year. Power companies pay pretty good dividends too, but I decided against Southern Company. Things have gotten better lately with interest rates. Paypal is paying 3.9% and ING is paying 3.5%. CD’s are over 4%. But at the time nothing could come close to that, plus SBC was even going up in price, so I bought more later that year. The price has stayed about the same since then, but it does keep cranking out a nice quarterly dividend.

Well, SBC just bought its former parent, AT&T, today. Because so many people haven’t heard of SBC, they are going to keep the name AT&T for the whole company. All of the stock traded under T will become shares of SBC, I guess on Monday. But on December 1 this year, my shares will change their symbol to “T”. For Ted, of course.

Good Potato Chips

At Kroger they have Cape Cod brand potato chips that are kettle fried. One of the varieties is a reduced fat version that has 40% less fat. It is kettle fried too, but also baked. I tried them. They seemed just like regular kettle fried potato chips to me except they use little potatoes that yield small (but almost always whole) chips. They don’t come in nearly the variety of flavors (just plain), but they are worth trying, especially if they are on sale. I think they are just as good as the Ettensohn favorite, Krunchers.