On odd things that are just entertaining.

Tortuga Stalking the Yard

Thursday, July 23, 2015 

Tortuga Profile

Tortuga quarter

Tortuga facing

Posted at 01:24:04 UTC

Category: catsphoto

Better Cabling May Fix The Internet

Sunday, February 8, 2015 

Do you find that the internet seems harsh? Do you find Facebook unclear and that it lacks dynamic contrast? Is there less detail than there should be? Do you notice a loss of energy from the Internet?

It might all come down to the network cables themselves.

AudioQuest Diamond Ethernet Cable

Well designed cables like these have perfect-surface extreme-purity silver conductors minimizing distortion caused by grain boundaries in inferior OFHC, OCC, or 8N conductors for better clarity and reduced harshness. Explanations and arguments will be both more clearly constructed and less confrontational.

Noise and other distractions are reduced by a 3-layer noise dissipation system, not just shielding your data but preventing modulation of your ground plane by noisy RFI.  Even more problematically for those doing research on the web, the untested orientation of standard network cables results in inferior data quality.

Standard network cables either don’t enforce orientation of the pairs at all (Cat 5e and below) or merely segregate pairs with a flexible spacer (Cat 6 and above). These cables use solid polyethylene insulation to ensure critical geometry is preserved to minimize phase errors. Phase errors can easily result in Doppler shifts manifest in either an unnaturally shrill tone or affected bass (sometimes manifest as “mansplaining”).

Most remarkably, the dielectric bias system puts a 72V bias on the insulation and thus organizes the molecules of the insulation to minimize energy loss which creates a surprisingly black background, more essential than ever in the wake of Ferguson.

Only $10,521 for a 12m cable. Now that the internet has become our primary source of information, understanding, and personal communication this is a tiny price to pay for clear, undistorted data.

Posted at 19:24:18 UTC

Category: oddtechnology

Basra Snow Storm

Sunday, February 8, 2015 

I was feeling a little left out, reading posts by people digging out of snow storms and here I am in Basra where it gets down to 10C at night sometimes and usually hits the mid 20’s during the day.  Rough.  But the weather here came through with our own sort of snow storm.


Blizzard Brown-out conditions

Starting to look like a brown-out!



Snow covered yard furniture!


Obligatory shot of the yard furniture getting covered.


I've got snow on my head!


Kitty’s head is starting to show some accumulation.


Can't see more than a few hundred meters with this snow!


With all this blowing through you can barely see a few hundred meters!


starting to accumulate!


It’s really starting to accumulate. Where’s the snow blower?


Takes special cleaning to get that snow off.


It takes some special cleaning after playing out in it.

Posted at 06:20:38 UTC

Category: catsphotoplacestravelweather

Cat Watch

Monday, February 2, 2015 

Cat Watch
The twins resting after a busy day.


The Twins

Posted at 17:48:24 UTC

Category: catsphototravel

Regional Energy Drink

Monday, December 1, 2014 

I’ve run across this energy drink in dramatic packaging.  Energy drinks aren’t really my thing, but I thought I’d try it: slightly orange tasting fizzy water, mildly sweet with that slightly weird energy drink taste.  But the bottle is fun:

Bomba Bottle Image

It is made in Hungary and seems to be distributed more to the East than the West, at least as far as my travels have indicated.  I have seen it in a lot of Middle-Eastern markets, but not in many European ones.

The lid release mechanism is kind of thematically clever.

Bomba Pull Top Image

I suspect this would be a particularly problematic beverage to forget in your carry-on luggage.

Posted at 18:29:45 UTC

Category: funnyNeutraloddphotoreviews

Cactus Farmer

Wednesday, December 25, 2013 

A few years back, when I was in 3rd or 4th Grade, my brother and I went to visit David and Jesse Lenat at their Cactus Farm. While we were exploring the green houses, their dad, Richard, gave us each a cactus to take home.

Mine lived in a small pot near the window through the rest of grade school and high school and then my mom cared for it through college. It grew into a little cluster of pencil thin green, spiky pads over the years.

After I graduated, moved to California, and got an apartment in SF; I was home for Christmas one year and took one of the pads wrapped in tissue to California. It grew well there and now produces big, bright yellow flowers every year.

This Christmas, I stuffed two tiny buds into glass bottles and brought them to Iraq and planted in the yard with one of the cat’s help (paw in the background).

Posted at 03:01:17 UTC

Category: catsGeopostphotoplaces

Cat day

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 

Happy cat day.

Posted at 23:05:50 UTC

Category: catsEventsfunny

posthumous hack

Monday, March 11, 2013 

I just got an email from a friend of mine, which might not seem particularly atypical, and this turned out to be hack-spam from his Yahoo account. What was jarring about seeing mail from him in my inbox is that he has been dead for six months.

IRL, we move people to cemeteries or other repositories of the dead and keep our interaction space for the living. On social networks and other digital interaction spaces, there’s no particular cost and some respect shown by leaving the presence of those that have passed as it was when they last touched it. But in time, all social networks will fill with the static presence of the passed on. It may be a little less cheerful to log in to facebook when your friend’s list is dominated by those who can no longer answer a poke.

Posted at 16:51:20 UTC

Category: odd

Cats and Crafts

Sunday, March 25, 2012 


Posted at 16:55:32 UTC

Category: catsFabricationphoto

Debugging the System. Literally

Monday, March 5, 2012 

My space heater stopped working. The switch’s light would turn on, but no fan, no heat. Although there were “no user serviceable parts inside,” I thought I’d take it apart.

After poking around with a multi-meter, I found that there was 120 being distributed around, but the ground wasn’t getting past the bimetal thermostat. Nothing obviously wrong with it, but careful investigation showed what looked like bits of fluff in it. Poking at the contacts, there were three ants squeezed between them (or perhaps one trapped and two would be saviors electrocuted). bugs_in_the_thermostat.jpg

One carcass was lost to the prodding, one is still visible as a fleck on the far left between the two gold button contacts, the other culprit I managed to get a clear picture of.The_bug_in_the_thermostat.jpg

Now that I’ve debugged my space heater, it works properly.

Reliving Grace Hopper’s history.

Posted at 15:43:45 UTC

Category: oddphototechnology