Kill A Watt EZ P4460 – Hair drier Results

Hair Drier that I used for my Kill A Watt postI had intended to let the Kill A Watt have a little more time with my hair dryer but I was having such gargantuan issues with my DSL today that I decided to turn off my whole computer system (UPS, Router, Modem, the works). Since this is such a rare event and, since I wanted to measure the computer system’s consumption, I figured I might as well go ahead and attach the Kill A Watt device to the computer now.

First, after a week with the hair dryer I see that I’ve only consumed .09 kilowatt hours (or about as much power as turning on a 60 watt lightbulb and leaving it lit for 90 minutes across an elapsed time of an entire week). This was surprising given that it’s such a high energy consumer. It’s rated to consume 1600 Watts but the Kill A Watt showed only 1398 Watts being consumed. So I suppose it’s a little “greener” than I thought 🙂

I suppose this shouldn’t surprise me greatly as I really don’t use the hair dryer for very long. Just enough to try to make my part somewhat stable.

Three Dollar Cafe Jr. Fries – Excellent Plus!

French FriesBeefeater fries are among the most difficult to do right. They’re either too cooked (burned) or limp and soul-less. But the Three Dollar Cafe Jr. (located on Old Milton Parkway about 1 1/2 miles East of Northpoint Parkway) always gets them right.

Notwithstanding the fact that their Wings (boneless wings for me thank you) are excellent too. But when I get a hankering for absolutely, consistently great fries. This is where I go.

11-Year-Old Girl Assembles Rifle In Record Time

I *so* don’t have a problem with this. A skill is a skill and most folks today couldn’t do this with a “Field stripping for dummies” manual sitting right there on the table in front of them.

I do think that her date for senior prom better think twice before standing her up… 🙂

No Gas here in Marietta (and my DSL service is terrible)

Went out for a late lunch, frustrated that my DSL is acting up (got a call into bellsouth and a bunch of logs showing it dropping like a rock throughout the morning) and decided to compound things by trying to get some gas as well.

I finally found some at the 6th station I passed, decided I’d get lunch and then eat it while waiting in line. But then I spotted another, bigger station (BP) that was doing brisk business.

No matter that they ran out of regular gas (at all the pumps) when I was about 2 gallons in, I was able to switch to their “silver” gas and finish up. I’ve got my fingers crossed that this won’t be abusive to my nearly 12 year old Odyssey…

At least I’ll be able to get to work tomorrow.

A few more updates on this blog

I’ve done a bit more tweaking, such as adding the somewhat more informative pagination at the bottom of this page (rather than just telling you “previous entries” you can see what’s actually in store for you).

I’ve also added a little “Comments” link to the entries so you can see if there are any comments associated with a blog posting from either the main page or from a search.

I’ve updated the site to allow folks to post without registering on the site. I don’t like having to register to post on other folks’ sites so why inflict that on you guys? I had to lock things down for a while as I was trying to move to a new SPAM protector. Everything is in place now so hopefully those spammers will be kept at bay.

I’ve added a lot more relevance to the widgets on the sidebars. Generally the top ones on either side should be germane to whether you’re reading a post, searching or just scanning the main page.

I’ve updated the feeds on the lower right sidebar so you can subscribe to the main posts only, any comments or just my flickr photo postings. Chose one or all!

You’ll also notice that posts now sport a “# views” item near the
bottom. This will look weird for a while since it has to start counting
from zero but I’m sure it will be relevant in a couple of months.

Oh, and I’ve also added an Amazon.com wishlist widget in case you all feel like buying me stuff  🙂   Just check out my “about” page.

Anxiety-detecting machines could spot terrorists

While this is pretty cool technology the reality is that technology doesn’t solve problems. It is only a tool that must be wielded along with an arsenal of other tools that include judgment, common sense and thorough training.

I believe that there is a huge part of our culture today that craves the “simple solution”. Apparently anything complicated is deemed beyond the ken of your average person and certainly well beyond the abilities of the TSA if the anecdotes coming from airports across the country are to be believed.

The same drive that has folks flocking to churches and believing that everything you need to know is accommodated in one, not particularly easy to read (and poorly translated) book combined with an increasing emphasis on multitasking (read: being scatterbrained) leads us to look for solutions to our problems that do not involve actually having to think or reason, but just follow rules (or beeping screens in the case of the machine above).

It’s the End of the World as we Know it

A rip-off of this YouTube video (Japanese, I think) with some captions added in, a Pink Floyd soundtrack dubbed over and the size of the asteroid stated as being 5 times larger, it is still *very* cool and very humbling to watch.

Given that they’ve taken such liberties with the original I can’t say that I trust the statements they make but it’s food for thought nonetheless.

It’s this kind of event that we hedge ourselves against when we finally manage to establish a presence off-world.

Kill A Watt EZ P4460 – Power Consumption Checker

I picked up the Kill A Watt EZ P4460 in order to see how much energy various appliances are using in our house. This little unit is great because it doesn’t lose its settings when unplugged (or the power goes out). It will keep track of the elapsed time and give you hourly, daily, weekly and annual consumption for whatever’s plugged into it. Great for things that cycle on and off (your fridge) or are used intermittently (like the hair drier which is hooked up to it now).

To make things easier, I have a short 3 prong extension cord attached to it so I can keep the meter in an easy to view spot while it’s in use so I can remember that it is there and check it periodically.

Georgia power is reasonably expensive, about 10.6 cents/kilowatt hour according to my bill, and I only expect it to get more expensive in the future. However, our energy bills seem to be reasonably modest, averaging about $115 per
month throughout the year so it’s not like this is a huge bite in our
wallet. But, even though almost all of our lighting is now compact fluorescent, I am sure there are areas where improvement can be had. I’d prefer not to waste energy if I can help it.

So, over the next few months I will be attaching the unit to whatever strikes my fancy and will let it sit for a few days to try to gauge consumption and cost.

To test it, I initially hooked it up to our CF tri-light lamp that Michelle uses most mornings and can see that consumes negligible power. I believe it was going to be 5 cents a year to operate (she only ever uses the lowest power setting anyway – about 13 watts).

I am anxious to see how our nearly 12 year-old fridge rates. Then on to the computers…

Completed my Biennial Review – Why don’t we do this for automobiles?

02 Marc and PlaneI’ve been shifting around my priorities lately and finally took the time to do my biennial flight review.

For this review I elected to use a Diamond DA-20 as I’m intending to use this type of plane much more often on future flights. Also, it’s a stepping stone to the DA-40 and my local flight school has two of those at a reasonable price.

This is really a great idea, every two years, to be legal to fly, you must sit down with a flight instructor for an hour and then fly for about an hour in order to demonstrate that you still know your procedures and that you know what you’re doing.

I think, if we were to adopt a similar system for automobile currency we’d have a LOT less foolishness and carelessness on the roads. I think folks are *way* to cavalier in their approach to driving. Being forced to stay current – as well as to come up to speed on the laws as they constantly change – would be a good thing for us all.

There needs to be some kind of accountability linking people and their care or lack thereof back to the folks who made it possible to be on the roads. Having one’s name endorsing someone’s driving certificate should offer some incentive to ensure that at least some of the basics have been reviewed with that driver.

Obviously, the bloated and ineffective system used by the DOT for driver examination would be useless for this endeavor, but a privatized system of folks who would administer these tests and held accountable for their approvals seems like it would make a lot of sense.

What’s the Harm?

A worthwhile resource for when you are presented with questions such as “What’s the harm if Grandma wants to go see a fortune teller?” or “What’s the harm if uncle Jim believes in Feng shui?”.

I have no real problem with educated, intelligent people dabbling in alternative ideas but I want to do all I can to ensure that they are armed with all the knowledge they can have. Unfortunately, the Internet is rife with nonsense and good information, especially about fringe topics, can be very hard to come by.

It’s when folks subscribe to these unproven, unscientific and, sometimes, outright fraudulent notions that I think we all need to make an effort to educate our family and our friends. From Hydrogen (from on board electrolysis) to augment your car’s gas mileage to pulling out your teeth because there is mercury in your fillings it is important to keep a critical eye out for outrageous or alarmist claims to protect not only your wallet but sometimes your health or even your life.

The What’s the Harm? website cleanly and clearly lists example after example of cases where exactly this question is answered.

I listened to a great interview on Skepticality with the creator of the “What’s the Harm?” website and I admire and appreciate his motivation for gathering all of these stories in one place. There isn’t a permalink scheme on their website so you can find the show notes (and link to the mp3 of the interview) HERE probably in mid September 2008, until then just go to their MAIN PAGE to get it.