If it can't be fixed by rebooting it or by blowing onto it or some combination of the two, it should probably be replaced. Or cleaned. Or returned for a free rental.
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Aside from startup price (about double), why not use Optima batteries in the tractor? They require no maintenance and they can survive overcharging, vibration, and produce very little corrosion. Energy density might be lower.
Oh, and on the topic of corrosion, a coating of petroleum jelly over the terminals and cable ends will block corrosion, but not electrical current.
I live in a 1960's ranch house. I used LED motion lights in my back yard and LED rope lights under the eaves of my house up front. The City of Las Vegas recently replaced the HPS lights with LED, so the amount of light pollution hitting my yard is now negligible. By hiding the LED's behind the eaves, they are not visible from most viewing angles. The soft yellow glow from my walls is enough to light up my yard, but not enough to attract bugs. The light washing down onto the windows of the house is enough to produce a pleasing night light inside, and the glowing walls outside make it harder to tell which rooms have lights on inside. I had to run about 150' of the lights. Very satisfied. I got them at Costco.
I also purchased LED motion lights. These were a little obnoxious and directional, so I pointed them up into the eaves to bounce and soften the light. Much less annoying for the neighbor who's bedroom window my lights hit.
E85 will make perfect sense once petroleum is removed from the distilling process. Ethanol will be one of many methods to "store" solar energy. It's still going to continue to be important in the internal combustion field. Current marketplace E85 doesn't make much sense, but it is a stepping stone. It's not a dead end technology, it's just one that requires a good amount of energy to to expended on its manufacture. Eventually, the price of this energy will decrease.
Unmanned taxi cabs piloted remotely by a human assisted by in-vehicle AI Navigation. This will be the private sector job market for Air Force drone pilots.
I've been pondering this very thing, but I'm opting to wait for the iPad 2 since I don't already have a netbook sitting around.
If I did, I'd keep it really simple:
1. Cloud Antivirus or something else lightweight and adequate
3. Skype for video chat with the grandparents, if applicable. Plus, it promotes pan-generational computer literacy
Mostly, I'm just going to use it to play movies/hulu/netflix on the go. I spend a lot of time in the car with my 3 year old, and it's the most productive use of her time in that scenario. Since your nephew can read, there's a lot of other interesting potential. Someone mentioned Edubuntu. I'd say just get him Oregon Trail. Or Craigslist the netbook and get him an iPod Touch.
People get too excited about product recalls. It just means the manufacturer has to eliminate or at least mitigate the failure. In this case, Dell will issue Firmware A.02 or whatever and the problem will vanish. Not a big deal.
I've had a lot of product recalls in my life because I drive a car and I have a baby. Apart from a few rare instances from Kodak and Honda, this doesn't mean the consumer gets a full refund and all of the products wind up in a landfill.