Archive for 2015

Manual for our Washer Dryer

Here is the manual for our Frigidaire washer dryer.
Washer Dryer A02591501en

Looking for Ernest Ferranti’s Lackawanna Brewing Company

Looking for Ernest Ferranti’s Lackawanna Brewing Company!

I got a message from a man named Jim Torre. Can you help?
He writes:
I found you through your website I live in Archbald, PA and saw that your grandfather was Ernest Ferranti. I found his name in a book that said he was VP and later owner of Lackawanna Beer and Ale Corp, which was originally Lackawanna Brewing Company, after the buyout from Pennsylvania Central Brewing. I’ve been doing some research on opening my own brewery and I am interested in using the original name “Lackawanna Brewing Company”. I looked in the Department of State database for PA, and found that this name is still active, even though the business closed its operations in 1897. So the reason I am contacting you is to find out if you or one of your relatives still own the shares in this company or if you know who the business was sold to in 1943.

LED Light Bulbs

Just two years ago I wrote how LED light bulbs vs CFL light bulbs were exciting but still “a wash”. My how tech changes. Over the last couple months, I’ve been replacing my 23 watt CFLs with 9.5 watt LEDs and getting the same lumens! My LED bulbs look terrific, last forever, and will pay for themselves in less than two years. If they were replacing incandescent bulbs, they’d pay for themselves in twDONE!

I’m using Feit Electric Conserv-Energy 60 watt replacement dimmable bulbs. Feit item# 144799. Available at my Costco for $10.50 for 3.

They don’t flicker. I’ve put them on my new Lutron Maestro dimmers and they dim very nicely down to a very low level (but I also had to put a regular 40 watt incandescent in with them lest the dimming circuit doesn’t work correctly).

I haven’t been able to use them in a torchiere lamp with a built-in dimmer. If the light is set to dim and some appliance in the house turns on, the light turns off for a split second :-( The incandescent bulb only flutters a little and is much more tolerable.


The Best Arduino Class, November 7 & 8, Oakland, CA

The Best Arduino Class, November 7&8, Oakland, CA
If you want to get your feet (and knees and hips!) wet with Arduino, this is the best way. One intensive weekend November 7&8 will help make that project, that business idea, that general knowledge solid! When I’m not in school myself, I teach with Workshop Weekend.

Workshop Weekend: Arduino returns Nov 7-8!

Hi There,

Workshop Weekend: Arduino returns and registration is now open! Join us November 7 and 8, 2015 and we’ll introduce you to the world of Arduino and electronics in a hands-on two day workshop!

Arduino is an open electronics platform designed for artists, designers, and hobbyists. Makers and scientists have used Arduino to make drink-mixers, laser harps and other musical instruments, science experiments, power meters, flying robots and much more. We’ve compiled a set of Arduino starter projects you can start with at Workshop Weekend: Arduino on our Arduino Projects page – these projects are great starting points for future exploration. Or bring your own project!

Workshop Weekend: Arduino is designed to bring you significant experience with both Arduino and electronics, comprehensively leading you through all the key concepts, and giving you a platform from which to explore further. You don’t need to have any experience working with Arduino, electronics, or programming to attend! But if you do have some experience, we’ll help you take your projects to the next level!

Check out the full schedule and register here:

Saturday we’ll guide you through the Arduino hardware and software and work on Arduino labs. Sunday, you’ll work on your own project with our team of expert mentors at hand. Don’t worry if you don’t have a project yet – we’ll get you started with any from our project page. In the process, you’ll learn about topics like advanced programming, working with audio, motors and movement, and LCD character displays.

Use the coupon code NB7887 for $50 off admission!

New this time around, we’ve extended the age range to ages 15-101. And as always, discounted registration is available for those with financial need — please ask.

Please reach out to us if you have any questions at all!

I hope we’ll see you there.

J.D., Rolf, Anca, Smitha, Malcolm, Michael, Tenaya, Andrew and Gil

Amélie, A New Musical

Megan and I escaped to the theatre yesterday! We saw  Amélie, a musical at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. It was a joy!

This Week

I think that it is unfair that, of late, every second of pleasure in my life costs at least two seconds of pain.

When I asked my doctor last week if it was official that my commute was killing me, she said, “No, but I think it is causing your edema and paresthesia.” However, she couldn’t say where the rheumatoid arthritis-like symptoms in my hands and feet came from. They faded on their own last week so, “it was probably something viral” is the standard answer.

Last night I got home after my wife and baby were asleep, did schoolwork til 11:45pm, got up at 6:30, and got to wipe my baby’s snotty nose just once before running out the door, late, at 7:15. Unfair to  mommy, baby, and daddy.

I could write about a great many problems but this is not the place for that.

Viola Palmer Memorial Scholarship

My resolve to complete my OT Master’s degree has been reinforced. This week I received a grant from the  Viola Palmer Memorial Scholarship.

Here is an edited snippet from my Thank you letter:

Grad school takes a lot of focus and I’ve got a lot of things going on in my life: a beautiful 8 month old baby, a new wife, some medical conditions that go along with aging,  and a 5 hr daily commute.

The money is important for paying bills but  the idea that a stranger would help me get through grad school is revitalizing. It speaks to your confidence in this path and faith in my success. There are times when I am low on confidence and faith; you restore me. Thank you.

Occupational Therapy

Hey, this is starting to look real!
Here’s a flyer for one of our community programs.

Audiobook Review: The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

I got this out of the library on a whim. I put it back on the shelf far more deliberately.

I listened to the first CD of the unabridged 10 CD audiobook and I can most definitely say, “It’s a book!”
OMG, they just keep saying the same damn thing over and over! They practically replayed the same scene 5 times with no different intention than the first. It’s like they had to make filler material for the book. I had to stop. If the book gets better after the first 1/10, someone tell me because I’m done with this pulp.

Why I hated it:

They’ve got no sense of practicality. The story says someone posted plans for this “simple” electronic box online that kids all over the world were all putting together with ease. It had relays and coils and switches and a bunch of other simple electronics. Unless they are all living in a Bill Nye the Science Guy inspired universe, there is no effing way these kids could put together these “simple” electronics. OMG, a police woman finds a 1/2 finished box and finishes it on a whim. “Winding the coil was oddly enjoyable” (or something). Have YOU ever wound a coil? Stripped the varnish insulation off? soldered the ends to … anything? The vast majority of you have not.

Most of the characters are obviously throwaways. :-(

The writing doesn’t have a sense of space and time. In the scene where Joshua is stepping with all the other kids for the first time, there is a description of him trying to walk 20 yards to meet up with a girl in the dark. He’s got a flashlight and it’s working but it’s not working and he’s stumbling for way too long. And he can’t figure out how to get around this tree because… well it’s a tree and you know how that can be. And WTF is with every kid on the block building this device and turning it on within like 30 minutes of one another? I imagine this insane forshadowing rush at the local Radio Shack earlier in the day… But Joshua was like “I did it right, I varnished my box and all kinds of shit. I took my time with it.” So how did he finish his box in the same amount of time as the kids who slapped theirs together???

And the vingette on the insane devaluation of gold was touched on for like 30 seconds. What a cop out. And what could the motivation of the people hanging out at Sutters Mill 5 possibly be?? Were they seriously just hanging out to insult any passers by? It smacks of “I’ll bite your kneecaps off (Python, Monty)” wacky hilarity. All the character motivations were off!

People don’t look at one another in this book. It’s weird, I just get this sense that the characters don’t SEE one another.

Why does the book jump around in time? Just to keep us from falling asleep while we figure out where we are again?

In a scene Joshua tells someone that he doesn’t like it when people keep calling his name like they are wearing it out. And then like 30 seconds later someone asks what’s up with him and he’s like, “Hey I’m just Joshua.”

In another scene, Joshua is offered a soda and he says, “I lost my taste for soda years ago.” And no one bats an eye at that pretty weird statement coming from a 14 year old. That statement wouldn’t need explaining from a 30 year old but he’s 14.

Those are just some of the blaring issues. I could go on but I won’t. It’s not worth spending one more second on it.

How much propane is consumed at Burning Man each year

From Propaniac, September 2015

Ever wonder how much propane is consumed at Burning Man each year?
Wonder no more…
20,020.7 gallons of propane were pumped on playa by the BRC Fuels Team this year (new record). This does not include all of the propane participants purchased off playa.
17,673.4 gallons was for art (mutant vehicles, theme camps, art projects)
2,347.3 gallons was for infrastructure (commissary, Gate, etc.)
Here are some fun facts about the 17,673.4 gallons of propane that were burned for artistic purposes this year…
74,228.3 pounds of propane (37.1 tons)… that is equal to the avg. weight of 6 African adult male bush elephants.
642,958.3 cubic feet of propane vapor… that is enough vapor to fill an area the size of a US football field (including the end zones) a little over 11 ft. deep.
1,617,151,446.8 btus of heat value released… To equal this amount, the 80,000 btu furnace in my house would have to run continuously for 2.3 years
224,784 pounds of CO2 were released… this is approximately equal to 10 years worth of CO2 emissions generated by one average US citizen.

And my followup…
224,784 pounds of CO2? That’s like nuffum. Super-nuffum! divided over 66,000 attendees that’s 3.4 pounds of CO2 per person for the whole week! I use more carbon on my BART ride EVERY DAY. Damn, if we all went to Burning Man instead of school or work, we’d save the world!