Mr.Lite BLF AA-Y4E

When I first started learning about flashlights last year, I went to CandlePower Forums (CPF). It is a very active discussion area and there is a wealth of information there and members who know crazy amounts about flashlights. But they kind of look down their noses at people like me who buy cheap Chinese lights from DealExtreme, sometimes even showing outright hostility and intolerance towards even discussing cheap lights (for instance if you provide a link to a light you see at DealExtreme, the moderators will delete it). And if there is one thing I can’t tolerate, it is intolerance. So early this year one guy got fed up and started his own discussion forum dedicated to cheap lights, called Budget Light Forum (BLF). It has been nice to have a place like that and I have posted reviews of some of the different lights I have bought. There are people from all over the world on that forum.

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Preflash

I’ve been trying out a lot of flashlights over the last year or so. The most expensive light I have is made by Fenix. It is pretty nice, but a little dated. Since I bought that light, I’ve learned a lot more. I like the Cree XP-G R4 LED with a neutral tint. I bought a couple of these LED’s and put them in flashlights and they are two of my favorites now. They aren’t cool blue like most LED lights, instead having a slightly yellowish tint.

Another nice feature is momentary On which you can get if you have a forward clicky. This allows you to halfway depress the switch and the light comes on. I only have one light like that, all the rest are reverse clickies where you have to fully depress the switch and then let go before the light comes on.

I’d also like different brightness levels: one bright for distance and one dimmer for close up. Usually you can change the modes by halfway depressing the switch, but it would be nice if there was a way to set whether the light would come on in High or Low and stay that way until you reset it. The Low is very tricky: outdoors you want 10 lumens, but indoors you might want 1 or less, especially if you are reading something. Therefore it would be good if the Low mode could be set by the user.

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4G iPod Touch Review

I’ve had my new iPod for about a month. The iPod is an amazing piece of hardware. The 64GB version that I bought is overpriced compared to the 32GB version that is $100 less, but I waited a long time to get something that had 64GB, so I saved money by not getting a previous model.

The screen resolution is really amazing. It doesn’t make much difference for pictures or video, but it really makes text look sharp. On most handhelds, the standard font is Helvetica or something without serifs, but this resolution is so sharp that a serif font looks fantastic. You don’t see books printed in sans serif fonts, so it is nice to have that quality on a screen, even if it is a pretty small one. Even italics looks great.

The wi-fi is much faster than on my Palm TX since the Palm only supported the slower 802.11b standard instead of 802.11g. I can synchronize about a dozen documents on my computer in a couple of seconds rather than almost a minute.

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iTunes Affiliate

I’ve been trying to do searches on apps for my new iPod lately and I kept coming across these sites that would just take content from the iTunes app store and list all of these apps. Then lately I have been writing about my favorite apps and I thought those other guys must be getting a commission on their clicks and if they can, then I should too.

So a quick search indicates that there is a program through LinkShare, whose website is linksynergy (even the link to LinkShare is an affiliate link because I get something if people sign up to become LinkShare affiliates through that link and get at least one click). The sign-up page was very spartan, just some plain text fields. I didn’t think much about it until I got to the bottom and it asked me to input the letters in the image above and there wasn’t an image above. It turns out my ad blocker had blocked all of the images on their website and all of the javascript because they are an advertiser. That was pretty funny. So I turned it off and everything worked fine.

LinkShare has a lot of companies they work with and then you sign up with those companies individually. Apple does not approve theirs automatically so I have to wait 3 days and see. If they approve me, I will convert my links to apps to LinkShare links and if people click on them and buy an app, I will get 5% of the purchase price (Amazon gives 4% on electronics, 6% on books, but sometimes 10% on downloads).

I really don’t think I’ll make any money because if you do a search for an app you don’t find honest opinions or reviews of apps out there, just tons of these sites that tell you nothing more than the app store does (or give you a list of apps that you can tell the person hasn’t even tried out). And they’ve all jockeyed to get high page rankings. Even if I get a few clicks, the apps are all so cheap ($1-10) that there isn’t much to be made. However, there is also nothing to lose.

Another affiliate program I joined was for DealExtreme, the place I buy cheap flashlights. Some people at the forum I visit are actually using the links I’ve put in my reviews of flashlights and I’m slowly building up some commissions. But because they are cheap flashlights, most orders are less than $20. For every $10 they spend I get 1 point. And if I get 100 points, they will give me $10. So basically I am waiting to get $1,000 in sales so that I can get $10. After six months, I’m about halfway there, but they also have a 60-day waiting period before the points become effective just in case the person returns their merchandise (which happens a lot because so much of this stuff is defective or not as advertised).

The glory days of my affiliatedom are well past, though. Amazon generates less than $10 a month and AdSense is only a couple of dollars (though last month I qualified for my first $100 payment in over two years).

War

      “A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.”
                        – Joshua, War Games

For years I had a Solitaire game called SolFree on my Palm. When I got the iPod, SolFree was available in the app store (a lot of Palm developers moved on to become iPod developers). It is completely free (doesn’t even include ads). So I figured for all the years of playing solitaire and the years to come on the iPod, I could go ahead and pay $2 to the people that make Solfree which would also get me 40 new Solitaire games. I usually don’t like new solitaire games, just classic Solitaire (Klondike, deal 3) and Freecell is pretty good too. But one person who reviewed Solebon (the full pay version of Solfree; Card Shark Collection is another card game collection for $2 but it includes Euchre and a couple of other games where you play against the computer) said they played Colorado, so I tried that out and it was pretty decent once I figured out what was going on. But in order to figure out Colorado, I had to go to Wikipedia, hoping they would have more information about how to play than Solebon’s help had, and also maybe provide some strategy, because at first it seemed like it was totally random and you would almost always lose.

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Wikipedia Templates

Today I was reading my Wikipedia Offline about the Japanese bullet trains. I was doing this because I had read an article that asked if the US would ever get high-speed rail. And it seems like Japan has had it for an awfully long time, so it’s not like it’s all that high tech anymore. Anyway, it quickly became obvious that I wasn’t getting the whole article. Here is what I read:

The , also known as the bullet train, is a network of high-speed railway lines in Japan operated by four Japan Railways Group

companies. Starting with the Tōkaidō Shinkansen in 1964, the now long network has expanded to link most major cities on the islands of Honshū and Kyūshū at speeds up to . Test runs have reached for conventional rail in 1996, and up to a world record for maglev trainsets in 2003.

Here is the original article, which has a lot more facts in it, including the name of the train, the speed of the train, and the length of the rail lines:

The Shinkansen (新幹線?, new main line), also known as the bullet train, is a network of high-speed railway lines in Japan operated by four Japan Railways Group companies. Starting with the 210 km/h (130 mph) Tōkaidō Shinkansen in 1964, the now 2,459 km (1,528 mi) long network has expanded to link most major cities on the islands of Honshū and Kyūshū at speeds up to 300 km/h (186 mph). Test runs have reached 443 km/h (275 mph) for conventional rail in 1996, and up to a world record 581 km/h (361 mph) for maglev trainsets in 2003.

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Offline Browser

One of the things I liked having on my Palm was an offline copy of my blog and all of my movie reviews. At first I used AvantGo to do this, but that company went out of business and the software only worked through their web servers. Then I found Sunrise XP and Plucker, two pieces of software that would get the pages and then let you see them offline. That was a great combo and, even though the companies no longer supported their product, they worked just fine. And whereas AvantGo limited the size of your cache, Sunrise didn’t care. So I got all of my blog and all of my movie reviews. I also use it to get Roger Ebert’s latest reviews, and sections of the New York Times.

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Wikipedia in My Pocket

Before I got my iPod Touch, I heard you could download the entire Wikipedia and browse it without an internet connection. Once I got the iPod, I realized there were several different programs (“apps”) that do this and I had to decide which one to get. User reviews were not all that positive for any of them. Reviews for one said that in order to do a search, you had to enter the name of the article exactly. So if you were looking for Steve Jobs, and the article was under Steven P. Jobs, you wouldn’t find it. Another seemed to crash a lot. So there seemed to be downfalls on each one.

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New Headphones

I have been using some Sennheiser CX300 headphones for 3 years now. I really like them and have thought about getting another pair, now that they are cheaper, about half of what I paid. When I got home Thursday there was a box that had been delivered on my doorstep that day. I didn’t have any flashlights or other stuff on the way, so I wasn’t sure what it was. The only thing I’m expecting is a rebate of some kind, which is what I thought it might be since the return address was “Fulfillment Center”. But once I opened up the box, there was another box with headphones in it a packing list that said “iLounge Envi winner”. Then I remembered that I had entered a monthly drawing on iLounge for free headphones. I had never won anything from them before, but this time they were giving away 50 pairs of headphones, so my odds had gone up substantially I guess. Even though they had my email address, they hadn’t told me I had won (though I found an article later on with the winners).

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