Perpetuum Mobile and the Ecstasy of Gold

For years, I would hear this one song in commercials and never knew what it was. But it would show up from time to time, usually somehow technology related. It sounds a little like Philip Glass. If you heard it you would recognize it right away. So tonight I was watching TV and a commercial came on for the restaurant Carrabbas and there was the music! I hoped it wasn’t too new to Google and searched the internet, knowing there are sites where people identify music in commercials. The answer popped up in no time! And from the responses this post got, I wasn’t the only one that had been looking for the name of this for a long time. Anyway, I’d never heard of the song or the group. The song is “Perpetuum Mobile” and it is by The Penguin Cafe Orchestra. You can see them playing it on YouTube. That led me to a YouTube video that makes a movie out 200 pictures that a pretty woman (girl? she can’t be that old) has taken of herself each day, set to Perpetuum Mobile. Penguin Cafe Orchestra has some other videos here and here. They made this one using a dial tone (not my favorite).

Continue reading

Wash Sale

I’ve known about wash sales for a while and what I always thought it meant was when you sell a stock at a loss and then buy it back within 30 days. The IRS sees this as just a way to harvest some losses without actually changing what you invest in, a move done solely for tax purposes. So what they do is say you have to defer that loss until you sell the shares permanently. But when I have shares bought at different times and then sell some of those shares, I would rather show a gain than hassle with deferred losses from a wash sale.

Continue reading

Snow Showers

Today we were forecast to get snow showers. I don’t know how or if snow showers are any different than just getting snow. But eventually we did get some pretty good snow. Downtown we watched as it snowed more and more and even started to build up. At about 4:30 our boss came through and said he hadn’t gotten the message that we had been dismissed at 3:00. In the city, the snow was nice, but not that impressive. But as I rode the train home I started seeing how it had built up in the trees. Here is a picture I took from my front yard looking across the street. It was really pretty.

snowday.jpg

Last Light of the Ox

Last Friday I ordered my first programmable flashlight, the Akoray K-106. This light has a lot of fans at Candlepower Forums and it was the first direct-shipped budget Chinese light I thought about getting back in November when I was thinking about getting some lithium ion batteries. You may recall that the first LED flashlight I got was a Fenix L2D, which could be converted to a L1D that takes 1 AA battery. That light has six modes but is not as bright as the L2D with its 2 AA batteries. However, if you up the ante further by inserting a single 3.6V lithium ion battery, you lose all of the lower modes and the light is stuck on High. For this reason, I wound up buying the budget Uniquefire S10, but I blew it out when I tried a lithium-ion battery. So I was still looking for a 1 AA light that could handle a lithium ion battery properly.

Continue reading

DX and KD reviews

Here is a list of product reviews I have written on DealExtreme and KaiDomain. They don’t have a way of looking them up on their site (or editing them once you have written them, which isn’t so great), unlike Amazon which KaiDomain bases its web design on.

Flashlights

AKOray K-106 3-mode, KD

Trustfire XP-E F23 1xAAA flashlight, DX sku.24291

Ultrafire WF-502B 1×18650 flashlight with XP-G R5 drop-in, DX sku.35074

Ultrafire WF-504B 1×18650 flashlight with XR-E R2 drop-in, DX sku.24200

Uniquefire S10 1xAA flashlight, KD ID 10303

Other things

18650 Charger, DX sku.6105

Universal NiMH/Li-ion Charger, DX sku.14885

NANJG 112A driver, KD ID 10243

Cheap 18650 Li-ion Charger

I bought a cheap charger from DealExtreme for my 18650-size lithium ion batteries. My other cheap charger will charge most 18650’s (though some are probably too long to fit), but it uses a lower charge rate that would take forever to charge up an empty battery. For instance, the small charger uses a 300mA charge rate and an 18650 battery is 2400mAh, so it would take 8 hours to charge that battery at a constant 300mA. And my big flashlight uses two 18650’s and the little charger can only charge one at a time.

So I found this other charger for $7.92 shipped that has two independent charging bays, supposedly charges at 1000mA, and stops charging at 4.20V like it is supposed to.

http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.6105

Continue reading

Ultrafire MCU WF-1200L

My first impression is that it is smaller than I thought, but also heavier. This is a serious hunk of metal! One nice thing about getting it second hand from a CPF member is the guy I bought it from treated it very well. There aren’t any marks on it that I could see. Plus he made sure to lubricate the o-rings and actually modified the tail switch so that you can halfway press it and the light comes on momentarily (all of my other lights have reverse clickies that you have to click all the way on and then let go before the light comes on; this light has a forward clicky). One of the reasons I got this light is that it had very good heat sinking and comes completely apart. The LED is mounted to a large brass pill that screws into the throat of the flashlight (threaded portion is 29mm diameter and the part that holds the driver is 23mm). The brass carries the heat from the LED directly into the body of the flashlight near its heaviest part. People talk about the light getting fairly hot after using it for a while, and that is a good thing. What would be much worse is the body staying cool while the LED cooks itself. Still, I left the light on for about 15 minutes and it only got warm. It would be pretty neat to be able to buy an extra pill and add my own 21mm driver and LED (maybe a warm P7 or a SST-50), almost like having a drop-in.

Continue reading