Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Welcome back old friend

Back 10 or 12 years ago when MP3's were new and exciting, wow I feel old, I used Winamp. It was a fun, small, efficient MP3 player for windows and I liked it. As time passed it became everything it wasn't supposed to be. It became slow and bloated. If you use Winamp try to remember version 3 without shuddering. As I recall this happened about the time AOL bought it, coincidence? When that happened I stopped using it and I used either iTunes or Windows media player. They both suck. Media player is bloatware and I didn't ever get a good feeling for itunes. It wasn't customizable enough for me. Besides I think the only reason to use itunes is if you are a consumer whore and need something to plug your ipod into.

Anyways, the other day I reinstalled XP so I needed something to play MP3's and I thought, "Why not give Winamp a shot again?". I am quite happy that I did. The interface is a little busy but gives you lots of information about your music, it does the album art thing and has quite possibly the greatest feature ever. Auto tagging. Now your MP3's that don't have tags don't need to languish in the no man's land of your music list. Simply click Auto Tag and wait for the information to be filled it. You can do it for multiple songs at once and I'd say it has about a 95% success rate so far. Even for very poorly named and obscure songs. I really like how customizable the views are. Everything from showing the full media library to a little slit of a program at the top called window shade mode. I'm sure I haven't even started to scratch the surface of this program.

I'm not going to get into all the features but give Winamp a try again and you won't be disappointed.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

More Solar Cooker Fun

I mentioned before that I was going to show a video of burning something, in this case cardboard, with the solar cooker. Well here it is.

It is amazing how fast the cardboard starts to smoke and with in seconds is showing visible flame.

If you look close you can see that one of the handles on that pot has been turned to white ash. The heat is amazing. I am going to measure the area of it but I bet it is producing more than 1000w of heat.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Asperger Syndrome

I was reading this article about a connection between people who work in the IT industry and Asperger Syndrome and it sounded familiar. I started to look around a bit and I'm starting to wonder if I have it.
I found a test online and took it. I scored a 39 which was at the high and of
the scale. I was reading an article on about.com related to aspergers and
they had some self diagnosis questions.

If you answered “yes” to some or most of these questions, you may decide to find out more.

I find social situations confusing. - Yes, I usually try to avoid them.

I find it hard to make small talk. - Yes. It will be a quiet drive if I don't know you well.

I did not enjoy imaginative story-writing at school. - It was like torture.

I am good at picking up details and facts. - Yes.

I find it hard to work out what other people are thinking and feeling. - Yes, empathy is hard for me

I can focus on certain things for very long periods. - Yes

People often say I was rude even when this was not intended. - Not so much, but maybe people don't tell me

I have unusually strong, narrow interests. - Yes

I do certain things in an inflexible, repetitive way. - Yes, my morning schedule is usually down to the minute.

I have always had difficulty making friends. - I wasn't exactly the bell of the ball.

Hmm... I wonder if I'm on to something here. Perhaps or perhaps I'm just different. I wonder who I could talk to.

Solar cooker

Here is a solar cooker video for you

I threw some snow on there so you can tell how hot it is. 
You can hear the stainless plate warp shortly after I put the snow on.

Friday, April 04, 2008

The power of the sun

I forgot to post this before but this video is what happens when the pump stops on a solar evacuated tube collector.

Sorry about the quality,  it was taken with a camera phone. I uploaded this on January 31st so this would have been around that time. I think it was about -15C that day. This is a 10 panel, 200 tube solar water heater that is capable of 20,000 BTU/hr or more when the sun is shining.

I was reminded about this video because I was playing with a solar concentrator food cooker today. When the sun was out I could start cardboard on fire in about 5 to 10 seconds. I'll be posting a video of that early next week.

How is this news?

Wow, I was watching the "news" tonight and people need to get over themselves. I am talking about the 16 year old video tape of some of our politicians making comments about gays and Ukrainians.

Ok people, it happened, they apologized, now get on with life. You can't tell me that no one in politics today hasn't ever made hateful comments about race, sexuality or any other difference between people before. Maybe they should take a look in the mirror before calling for resignations. How is it going to help our current government for these people to resign? For crying out loud this happened 16 years ago and they were all drunk. Just let it go.

Some people might say, "But you're not gay, how would you know how it feels?". True I'm not gay and perhaps my skin in a little thicker but I've had people call me names and I haven't gone crying to the news about it. Every time I hear a Scottish or Ukrainian joke I don't start crying in my beer. I've even had some racial slurs come my way, whitey or moby dick or being told to get back to work so I can pay for welfare. It's a two way street and we're all guilty of it.

How much money is going to be wasted while the government runs their little witch hunt?

Common sense is not that common.