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Journal Journal: Water-activated batteries (NoPoPo)

The Japanese manufacturer Aqua Power Systems Japan is producing Water-activated battery in the AA and AAA sizes, with larger sizes and capacities on the way. As far as I can tell, this is the only commercial offering of these batteries in the AA and AAA form factors.

Liquid is injected into the batteries via a pipette, where it combines with magnesium & carbon to form the battery charge. It's rumored that these batteries have a 10-year shelf life while dry, and can be reused several times. They have a 500mAh capacity (Standard alkaline batteries produce 1700mAh or more), which is sufficient to power a flashlight for a while.

Sadly, many websites are getting distracted by the fact that these batteries can be posted by urine. Discussions of this product quickly degrade into a kindergarten mentality, and there aren't many serious reviews.

While the 500mAh capacity isn't great, I can definitely see this product for use in emergency kits. I keep a couple of flashlights in my car for emergencies or for late night hikes. Often these 'long life' alkaline batteries are often dead (or leaking) by the time I use the flashlight, which I only discover a year later while trying to repair a flat tire on the freeway at 10:00PM in the middle of nowhere. This seems to happen even if I leave the batteries in the original package. The temperature fluctuations inside a car probably worsen this problem.

This battery could solve the 'dead battery', because it remains inert and inactive until activated by water. And I have water in my car and in my home earthquake preparedness kits.

Pretty nifty technology.

I remember reading about a similar 'emergency' battery when I was younger. In this other version the battery remained inactive until you needed it. The battery contained two chambers separated by a seal. Water is contained in the top chamber, and the carbon & zinc cells in the bottom. You twisted the top, which broke the seal between the two chambers, and activated the battery. This battery didn't seem to go anywhere, and I have no idea if it ever reached production. I can't find it anywhere.

User Journal

Journal Journal: California threatens to close innovative computer recycler

The Alameda County Computer Resource Center is an innovative computer recycler in Berkeley, CA. They are an environmentalists dream-- all waste is reused when possible, the rest is recycled. No waste is shipped to questionable trash dumps overseas. Locally, the ACCRC provides computers to local schools and nonprofits.

During the Makers Faire in San Mateo, California, the ACCRC brought in tons of computer and electronic parts which were salvaged and reused for various projects.

Sadly, the State of California is threatening to shut down the ACCRC, mostly for failing to maintain an inventory of all of their computer equipment, and for keeping interesting/historical equipment onsite (a Computer Museum), instead of destroying the equipment.

I've been using ACCRC (and their predecessors) for years, and I've volunteered for several Linux installfest events using their hardware. I sincerely hope that State is able to work with the ACCRC and reach a compromise.

Update: 10/02 23:46 GMT by stefanlasiewski:

My journal has been referenced on the front page article Major Linux Hardware Donor Is a CNN "Hero", which is about the ACCRC founder and manager, James Burgett.

I had this journal entry sitting in my Wordpress blog queue for the last couple of weeks, waiting for the final edit. I saw the article about the ACCRC coming down the firehose, and posted it here since it seemed relevant.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Linuxworld SF 2006: Unreal, dotOrg Pavilion & Segregation

Gah, I barely made it to Linuxworld this week for a couple hours. I've worked at two businesses 3 blocks from the Moscone Center, so I try to go to the big Expos every year.


- Unreal Tournament- Sun was showing off their new workstations using Unreal Tournament. They held a competition, with prizes like a nice Apparently myAmygdala did pretty well.

I did pretty well at first--I was in the lead for about 3 minutes, and this was my first time playing Unreal Tournament. but then got snookered by the 'R' key. On other FPS games, the 'R' key typically for 'Reload'. In Unreal Tournament however, it stands for 'Chat"--so instead of reloading the gun, I kept getting the Chat prompt, filled it with phrases like "wwwasda awsdawdwww" and promptly got fragged. They would not let me redefine the keybinding, so I ended up dead last.

- The dotOrg Pavilion: I'm mostly interested in the projects at the dotOrg pavilion-- KDE, Gnome, Debian, the LTSP,, always have good, fun exhibits. I spent 2 hours talking to the developers up there. Great folks. I got several bootable CDs, inclusing the new CAOs distro which apparently was started by some smart folks that I knew at the Lawrence Berkeley Labs, a bootable version of the Mambo CMS product

- O'Reilly's Make 3.0 is coming out: I signed up for a subscription and got version 3.0 of the Magazine. This one has a couple appropriate articles on Halloween tricks, so I'll be sure to check it out.


- Segregation: The big commercial vendors were all in the big huge hall downstairs. The dotOrg Pavilion and a handful of other commercial vendors were hidden up on the second floor. I bet many attendees did not know they were there.

Perhaps this is actually a good thing. With the huge loudspeakers & noise of the commercial vendors in a different room, you could actually have a fun, pleasant conversation with the dotOrg folks.

The Moscone Center hosted a huge Coin Show two weeks ago, and they had a similar setup. The commercial coin vendors were all downstairs in the big exhibit hall, the nonprofit & government booths were upstairs.

- OReilly Booth: The OReilly folks always put on a nice set of educational presentations. This year their microphone/speaker didn't work at all, and you could barely hear the speakers over the ruckus of the Novell/IBM/HP/Sun areas.

User Journal

Journal Journal: slashdot users are idiots 3

so this comment got modded down. I guess I made the mistake of assuming everyone on slashdot had a highschool education.

I made the assumption of thinking everyone here knew basic, highschool chemistry. I was wrong. Oh well.

CmdrTaco had an opportunity to create something great, years ago, and he squandered it completely.


Journal Journal: Workplace absuridities as phone support for a DSL ISP. 16

This journal entry isn't about customers that call in, despite the numerous ijits out there that deserve to be mocked.

No, it's about the company I work for, specifically the bosses.

Yesterday, I recieved an email saying that "Firefox is on the list of banned software, and there will be disciplinary repercussions if anyone is caught using it."

Nevermind that all our webapps suck ass, or that I've spent time on and off the clock for the past 3 months, in between calls, trying to make it work with them. Bless you, greasemonkey.

Don't even consider, that on average, my calltimes have to be at least 1 minute shorter because of firefox. I have a single window open, not 20 IE windows. I've not only fixed the webapps, but extended them... when I pull up your phone number, I see all the information that I'd spend the next few minutes (and in a few select cases, the next 15-20 minutes) looking for in a mix of shared drive documents, webapps, and even printed out documents. That one CO location with the abbreviation that doesn't match its name, and since everyone on night shift has only been there 2 months, they can never figure out which... our main webapp now sports a button that I click, to log into it. 15 minutes reduced to 3 seconds.

If you've wandered through our phone menu and gotten lost, I can see immediately if you have our dialup or dsl, or if you're just a telephone only customer... I don't waste the next 60 seconds figuring this out before I transfer you.

So, why would this be a problem? Well, apparently, I let the wrong person test an older version of the greasemonkey script that even makes the webapp work at all. And it opened a ticket, but didn't save the comments. Now mind you, you only have to re-edit the ticket, add them again (and the guy should have noticed, it doesn't whisk you away to another page, it shows the saved ticket there after saving it). Also, consider this: we screw up alot of tickets. On average, a dozen a day, I'd think. Someone using IE forgets to put his comments/notes in, or schedules the wrong person to work on it, or doesn't send it back to the company that wholesales the phone lines when its their problem.

We screw up hundreds of tickets every year. The first one ever screwed up by firefox, because I didn't quite fix the webapp perfectly on one of the earlier beta greasemonkey scripts, and firefox simply can't be tolerated.

So, I go and ask my boss (think her title is Director, never spoken to her before) if she could spare a few minutes to talk to me.

I'm polite, I don't start screaming, or spouting ideological rhetoric. I simply state that this would be a hardship, and would impact my productivity. I explain how the enhancements I've made improve my calltimes, how I've got literally dozens upon dozens of saved passwords in firefox (that IE doesn't save), that I'd spend the next couple of months having helpdesk change for me, or that I'd have to look up in documents no one can find.

What do I get? Do I get anything like the minimal respect that a 30 yr old man is entitled to? That a human being is entitled to? How about because I'm a worker making shit wages who took it upon himself to actually try and improve things there, even just a little? No. I'm treated like a child in grade school. This from a woman that can't be 5 years older than I.

"Now I hate to do anything that would decrease your productivity, but I can't very well let you use it and prohibit it for everyone else."

This is ridiculous. She can say that. She's not giving out candy to kindergarteners, she is saying which workers can use which tools. At construction sites, do you have one guy whining that he wants to use the crane today, that Jimbob got to use it yesterday? Fucking ludicrous.

Side note: She thinks that "E" is the name of the web browser we are supposed to be using, because of the icon...

Finally, I somehow manage to pour more on, without whining (imo). She relents, and I won't be written up as long as "there's not another single incident of it creating a bad ticket".

So, I investigate a little further, after our talk. Seems it was just as I describe, it didn't save the comments (if indeed, he simply didn't forget to type them in). It didn't create some invalid ticket that fucked up the database, and it was caught that very same day.

There are several problems here:

1) A director managing a technical department that knows so litte, she can't name the web browser she uses.

2) The applications department isn't giving us the tools we need to do our job.

3) Making your own tools isn't praised as resourcefulness, it's punished for a single instance of a flaw that is so trivial that the triviality can not be over-emphasized.

4) This proclamation/rule/policy implies that my calltimes aren't important, and the corollary that our abandonment rate is not important either. That has a corollary too, which is that helping our customers isn't important... if they hang up before I can talk to them, then I'm not helping them.

5) It suggests that the managerial groupthink tends towards something I would describe as "militaristic", that is, it is more important I do what I'm told, rather than I've given a problem and left to my own devices to solve that problem.

6) It never ocurred to her that if it can reduce my calltimes, with as much experience as I have (seniority in just 6 months, kind ridiculous eh?), then it might also improve calltimes all-around, especially for the new guys. Not only would I not have to put a customer on hold every 30 seconds to answer them when they ask which CO an abbreviation is (they'd just click that button), they wouldn't have to put a customer on hold to ask me.

7) They're (by this, I mean the director and 2 supervisors) concerned with calltimes and abandonment rates, but only have managerial talents at their disposal to solve those problems. Not only do they not have the technical talent to solve these problems, they can't even recognize technical solutions when they see them.

I don't work here by choice, I'm paying down 5 figure credit card bills from when I was unemployed. Last payment is this month, after which my girlfriend and I will be debt free. My other job pays better, is telecommuting, and I can work in my underwear if I so wish. I don't know if I will continue to work the second job (would be nice to actually put away some savings for once), but the real question is, how can I?

Next time you're on hold for an hour because your DSL is down for the third time in a month, remember that your ISP chases away workers like myself.

Journal Journal: Day Three: Apathy 1

Well, I wonder if temporary bans last this long, or if my sarcastic email managed to get me an editor pimpslap.

Strangely, I don't miss it as much as I would have thought.

Journal Journal: Day Two: Bannination.

Well, it's been well over 24 hours. May have to wait til I get my DSL before I can comment again. So all you losers that think you won our arguments... wrong, you've been protected from my stinging sarcasm and subtle wit by none other than the editors. They can't protect you forever. One day, you'll say something stupid on fark, or k5, and my vitriolic rebuttals will tear your wimpering souls to shreds. That, or you'll just ignore logic and continue blabbering on.

On DSL: It sucks. I work for the DSL company. I'm figuring that it will be down 5 days a month. About on par with my cable modem. That said, I plan on keeping both of them, and praying to the Gods of Networking that the 5 day periods never overlap. Yet another reason why a consumer broadband router is a poor substitute for a linux machine with quad port nics...

Journal Journal: After getting a few flamebait mods.. 1

I recieved the:

Due to excessive bad posting from this IP or Subnet, comment posting has temporarily been disabled. If it's you, consider this a chance to sit in the timeout corner . If it's someone else, this is a chance to hunt them down. If you think this is unfair, please email

So I decided to email them. Here is the gist of it.

Robert Rozeboom wrote:

> So, I'm lumped in with all the GNAA trolls?: No you'll get the ability to post again after a timeout period. You were banned because you have been downmodded too many times.

I apologize, obviously something I wrote mistakenly led you to believe I was a retard. I respectfully submit that I am indeed of normal intelligence and that I suffer from no chromosomal abnormalities or other birth defects that cause me below average intelligence.

As you may be aware, your warning message doesn't say "if you believe this to be in error", which if it did, I would think it might mean "if you believe a random slashcode math error caused this". It says "if you think this is unfair". My previous email should indicate that yes, I think it is unfair, even though I don't necessarily believe it to be in error.

That being the case, I am slightly confused that you would reply with an email that says in effect, "there is no error, you've been downmodded". I understand that the moderation system is a very tricky thing, and that you have little control over it even when gibbering idiots somehow get mod points and go running amok like chimps randomly clicking buttons. Perhaps you should change the wording, so that you no longer use the word "unfair" and instead use something like "in error" or maybe "by misktake". That way, people like me will be able to see that you and the other powers that be at slashdot don't care about fairness, or that you have no control over it.

Or you could just ignore me, and allow nature to take its course. Here in a year or two, when no attitude/sarcasm/strong opinions are left and the great slashdot groupthink experiment is complete, will it matter as long as advertising revenue is strong?


It's funny.  Laugh.

Journal Journal: Number of diapers changed in your lifetime? (rejected)

I submitted a poll. It wasn't rejected right away which was a good sign that it might be accaped. But, alas it was rejected.

I've always been curious how many ./ers are parents, uncles, or have been around babies at all.

Number of diapers changed in your lifetime?

  1. None, Cowboyneal was born potty-trained!
  2. 1 - 10 : Occasionally baby-sit for my sister/friend/mother.
  3. 10 - 100 : Newborn! He's so cute!
  4. 100 - 1,000 : Yo kid! It's 3AM, let me sleep!
  5. 1,000-10,000 : I use a KSH script to automate repetitive tasks.
  6. 10,000+ : Perl is better for messy situations.
  7. The goggles, they do nothing!!!

2004-11-16 23:18:07 Number of diapers changed in your lifetime? (Polls,It's funny. Laugh.) (rejected)


Journal Journal: Too many social networks is anti-social: Tribe, Orkut, LJ 1

One of the more recent trends in the Internet world is the concept of Social Network's and the Semantic Web. Social Networks are supposed to make it easier for you to interact with friends and communities online and make the web function more on a human scale.

Some of us remember Six Degrees, who tried to do this years ago and went under, and are coming back with a new site. I have had email lists for this sort of thing going for over 10 years now, and participated in newsgroup-type systems years ago, done the personal webpage thing, etc.

The Social Network sites offer great feature over my old, archaic mailinglists-- Friend-of-a-friend networking, personal journals, the ability to form interest groups, etc.

I'm looking to settle on one or two sites for my journaling wants. I'm looking for a Blog/Journal; flexible look-and-feel; User communities so I can talk to people with similar interests, ask technical questions, etc.; and a Friend-of-a-Friend service. I'd like the service to be indexed by search engines so that I'm not just speaking to a closed group.

Here is a short list of the communities I have participated in recently. There are dozens (hundreds) more:

Friendster - Probably the most well known. A "Bulletin Board", , - Like Friendster combined with Craig's List and a heavy influence of Burning Man. Pretty cool. Event listing, classifieds, but no journal capability! Arg!!!
Orkut - Invite only, which makes it more scalable and more "elite". Closed to the outside world which means that non-member's can't use your information at all.
Livejournal - One of the first Blogging sites. Confusing interface.
Blogspot/Blogger - Like LJ, but with a great flexible look-and-feel.
Slashdot - I have a ton of friends and foes on this site, but the journaling aspect leaves alot to be desired.

Here is my problem. There are many (too many?) social networking sites. Each site is isolated within it's own separate universe, with little or no interaction between the various sites. The lack of interaction adds an artificial barrier within the whole social networking idea. If one friend uses Friendster another uses Tribe, and another uses Livejournal; there is no interaction between these tools.

Likewise, I will post this journal text to the journal in each of my social networking accounts as an experiment. Unfortunately, the responses to each individual journal entry will remain separate, with no social interaction between the readers.

So my choice is to:

- Use all of the sites (too much work!)
- Look at different sites, become overwhelmed and give up (This is where I've been for the last several years)
- Pick one and stick with it
- Do it all on my own server, run it over my DSL line. This is also alot of work, and it there is no way for me to participate in the FOAF's out there.

Arg, what to do? What to do?

User Journal

Journal Journal: I'm a man 15

It's time to tell the truth. I am a 55 year-old man. My name is Andy Kaufman, and I live in New York City.

I am sincerely sorry to everyone for all my lies.


It's funny.  Laugh.

Journal Journal: Quit my job, start a new job Wednesday 2

I quit my job today, and am starting a new, better job on Wednesday (yes!). As I left the office for the last time, I had a funny thought and thought I would share it.

After 7 years in the IT business, I now know why the cupholder is broken.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Slashdot History: Hurrah for the ZEROES! 7

A few irrefutable facts about humans:
  1. They see faces everywhere.
  2. They are biodegradable.
  3. Base 10 zeroes excite them.

Here's a little something to excite you:

  1. 1 Million - Congrats to Archie Binnie!
  2. 2 Million - Congrats to Anonymous Coward!
  3. 3 Million - Congrats to ronc_LAemigre!
  4. 4 Million - Congrats to Anonymous Coward!
  5. 5 Million - Congrats to jefu!
  6. 6 Million - Congrats to The Bungi!
  7. 7 Million - Congrats to nytmare!
  8. 8 Million - Congrats to Anonymous Coward!
  9. 9 Million - To be announced soon
  10. 10 Million - To be announced soon

Thanks to India for inventing the base 10 zero. Where would we be without it?

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I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.