Pneumatic tidbits

* SMC part number decoding. I wish I had had this last year before i applied AC to a DC solenoid. The “-5” that I referred to has nothing to do with the negative 15 VDC terminal on your power supply. I was referring to the “dash five” in your SMC part number, VF3130-5xZ where, 1 – 100 VAC, 2 – 200 VAC, 3 – 110 to 120 VAC, 4 – 220 VAC, 5 – 24 VDC, 6 – 12 VDC, 7 – 240 VAC, 9 – Other
* Buy pneumatic couplings online at Homier
* OK not that pneumatic but here is a circuit design for driving something with sound — some people suggest hooking this to “a solid-state relay (110 VAC) or a Darlington sink driver (12 or 24 VDC) in order to switch your solenoid valve”.


* Best Free Software from PCWorld
* first details of MT 3.1. Anxious to play with the category features.
* Macrovision CD copy protection. Time to turn off autoplay.
* Picasa for free.
* Jerry Colonna’s blog
* What’s talking all my memory? Great tools
* Maxthon. Formerly MyIE2.
* Future of PC Audio. Reads to me like all the value is migrating to Intel and Microsoft — a shocking state of affairs.
* Bidrobot. I really should try this but the site scares me, I don’t feel like they are going to respect my privacy much.
* IE blog. The wiki is even cooler.
* Local search, as seen by a tv guy.
* McDonalds outsources order handling. Amazing what broadband can do.

Vaca Property

Spent some time this weekend looking at vaca property — goal is something a) on the ocean, b) rustic area, c) within a couple hours driving of seattle so that we will really use it and we can transport the dogs there.

Toured the hood canal area and the near olympic peninsula a little this weekend. South hood canal is way too developed for our tastes. North hood canal started to feel a little better, tho we didn’t fall in love with anything.

I had previously ruled out the San Juans because of the car ferry lineup — I love a ferry ride, but I don’t love sitting in the car queue on busy weekends. But I’ve started to rethink based on a new plan — drive to Anacortes, leave the car there, and take a water taxi out to a location — for instance Island Express Charters or Paraclete charters seem to offer taxi service, there are more in the yellow pages.

I know it is fairly routine up at my folks’ cabin in Pointe Au Baril for cabin owners to take a water taxi out 10-15 miles to their cabins, so I am sure there must be a similar level of service to the San Juans.

If so, this might open up a lot more choices to us. For instance the Windermere office on Lopez has a lot of interesting properties

The Rule of Four

OK there are a lot of negative comments on amazon about The Rule of Four, but I liked it. The characters had a level of emotional depth and reality that made the story a lot better than a straight adventure story like The Davinci Code. Maybe the action wasn’t as taut but overall a much more interesting read.

What I'm Reading Tonight

* CEOs skim off 8% of a merger’s value. Ugly.
* Isaac Hayes’ Three Laws of Robotics. Ha.
* RSS Screensaver. Pointcast lives.
* Bittorrent traffic surpasses kazaa. And so of course we have…
* Bitoogle, the search engine for torrent files.
* Doom 3 goes gold. Yeeha!
* Commoditization of software. Interesting.
* Is .Net stealing Java’s Thunder? Yet again, Microsoft is making the platform very affordable and easy to adopt.
* Gates: DVDs obsolete in 10 Years. For me it may be sooner, I am pretty happy with Video on Demand services.
* Software that lasts 200 years. Good read.

Boarded Up Windows

Some great discussion on forums about creating a fake boarded up window look for your house at Halloween. Some of the many links to ideas and tips:

* One man’s plans: “Picture 1”:, “Picture 2”:, “Picture 3”:, “Picture 4”:
* “suggested magnets to use”: — tho some warnings, they are really strong and can pinch. “Another source”:
* Another suggestion to use curtain tension rods to hang.
* “Another set of plans”:

New BCS formula

The new BCS formula is out and I have to agree with the opinion at CollegeFootballNews (exercise caution in following link, this site seems to have really aggressive popup ads):

bq. AP writers and college football coaches don’t watch a wide enough range of college football games to be able to cast a qualified vote. Coaches spend all of their time on their game and don’t have a second to spend watching other teams, and AP voters spend their time on the games they’re covering and trying to reach deadlines.

It is going to be another controversy-filled year in college football — and maybe that is what keeps the game interesting.

Last Vaca Book

Last Man Standing is the first book by David Baldacci that I’ve picked up. Good thriller, good action, interesting plot. The main character suffered from a deplorable lack of curiousity at a couple points, necessary to keep the plot intact, but otherwise was a good airplane read.

Euro Vaca 2nd Half Hilites

OK here are some of the highlights from the remainder of our trip:

* Isola bella on lake maggiore. Previously blogged. Beautiful and the lake seems way cleaner than lake como. If we went back to this part of the world I think we’d stay on lake maggiore instead of como.
* Florence. My initial impression was ?gosh this is a butt ugly city”. But it grew on us — the beauty is clearly not in the streets but in the art, culture, interiors of buildings, etc. And it is a very manageable size.
* The Uffizi was much more to my liking than the Louvre — a manageable size, and I just prefer the style of painting. And of course David was just amazing. I just didn’t understand the scale at which these artists operated — when you see the size of the works and the level of detail, it is just amazing. I know, my fine arts education is woefully lacking, I am discovering all this somewhat late in life.
* Venice was of course beautiful, we didn’t have enough time there. We had one really great meal there at Osteria Oliva Nera, a family run place.
* Milan. Everyone told us ?ugly, no point in visiting?. But in many ways I liked even better than Florence and Venice. Florence and venice are ?cities in amber? — frozen in time, operated for the benefit of tourists. Milan is a living breathing city, I like a living vibrant city.
* Ferrari museum out in modena. Man this place is like a shrine. A huge number of “pilgrims” visiting, getting their picture taken with the Enzo on display. What a car.