Things to buy this week

Or that I’ve already bought. My venerable Samsung SGH-T599N cell phone – the main volume is at zero space left. I ordered a new Samsung Galaxy Core Prime to replace it. The new phone sports same basic dimensions but four cores of processor power, plus 4.5GB of root space on the phone and will address up to 128GB on an SD card. But the form factor – I think it’s a tiny bit larger than my current. But I hate those huge phones – it looks so stupid.


For comparison here’s the SGH-T599N:


I see the difference – the new one is more squared off.

Second thing I had to get was a new backpack. One of the straps on mine broke and it’s a pity because I like this backpack. Now I’d originally gotten it on GearBest but it’s out of stock. And trying to place an order on Gearbest – it doesn’t like my card. So I’m thinking great have to pay $100 or more for a backpack that I like and then the bulb went off in my head – Amazon to the rescue. Yep got a new one on there.


Isn’t it purty?

Could we build a real space station

So I watched this video.

And in the video they mention to build a space station like that in 2001: A Space Odyssey that looks like this:


That it would take more material than we currently have on the Earth.

And I agree  – we’ve mined pretty much all we can on this planet. But I think before very long we’re going to see robotic mining missions on asteroids. Why? Because there’s a shit ton of asteroids out there that have all gold, iron, bauxite, etc. Not to mention pockets of certain gases like helium, methane, etc.

And because it’s so expensive to travel from Earth to space – instead of building said station on Earth and transporting all of it to low earth orbit or higher, you simply build it in space.

I would dearly love to invest or start the company that first mines the asteroids.

Reading; Command and Control:Nuclear Weapons, The Damascus Incident and The Illusion of Safety

The book “Command and Control:Nuclear Weapons, The Damascus Incident and The Illusion of Safety” is by Eric Schlosser. I’m only about a quarter the way through the book but it’s fascinating.

It tells the story of a dropped nuclear weapon and the aftermath of it, plus the history of nuclear weaponry. Right now the book is in about the mid 1950’s when little itty bitty thermonuclear bombs were around and missiles still exploded on the launch pad, at least in the United States.

I’m utterly fascinated by the technology advancements of the 20th century from WW II on. It was an era that shaped this modern world we live in.

Stupid User Tricks part 998,772,124

So we get a help desk ticket in. The user is one of our problem children. She even posted a picture to the ticket. Now the image I’m about to share – I also emailed it to couple people in the office. It has a life of it’s own now withing the office. In fact the image she posted is also on imgur, reddit, and flickr. So it’s only fitting that I tell the tale and post the image here.

In the ticket she said she spilled coffee in her laptop and then tried to dry it. Didn’t say what she used to dry the machine.

I  did counsel her that when liquid is spilled into any computer and especially laptops, drop the battery if you can (Sorry MacBook users – you’re screwed.) and remove the power. I also explained to her how liquids and computers as a general rule don’t mix.

So anyhow I talked to her – I just had to. Her ticket has made it to our wall  of shame. And it’s definitely a winner.


As you can see the keys area actually melted. It came to pass she used a blow dryer to dry the keyboard out. Notices the period and comma keys along with the question mark and M key are completely melted off the keyboard. Notice to the J,K,L and ; keys also melted.

The woman must be a great salesperson because she’s the bane of everyone’s existence int he office including her manager.

Google Voice

So I’ve long had a Google Voice account. I use it mostly for filtering out recruiters and work.Plus the number I got is has the first two groups starting to 40.

So the other day I went to make a call and it gives me a message that the call couldn’t be completed. So I log on to Google Voice and they tell me my account has been suspended for Terms of Service (TOS)  violations.

What the hell? I sent them an appeal and got this back:


We have reviewed your request and have determined that your use of Google Voice is in compliance with our Google Voice Policies. Your Google Voice service has been reinstated and will be accessible soon.

If you have any further questions, please consult the Google Voice Help Center.

Google Voice Support Team

Logged on and even tried a test call on the phone and it works again. This worries me because it means that Google’s automated TOS scanner just randomly suspends accounts for no real reason.

I suspect it’s an automated system and perhaps my call blocking might have pissed it off. But here’s the thing, my phone is an Android platform which is a Google product. And it’s running Google Software for the Google Voice service. And one of the features in this particular version of Android is call Call Block. Call black says nobody but your contacts can ring your phone. I like it a lot. It’s a global white listing essentially but based on only those you’ve added as contact. Got to wonder if that’s not what cause the consternation on Google’s part.

Nintendo can try but

Nintendo has gotten a number of sites that hosted java versions of their games knocked offline. But where there’s a will there’s a way. Helpdesk guy gave me Jnes – it’s an app that runs on Windows and presents a Java emulator for NES games.

  • The games  I have are:
  • Elevator Action
  • Legend of Zelda II
  • Legend of Zelda
  • Marble Madness
  • Pac Man
  • Q-Bert
  • R.C. Pro Am
  • R.C. Pro Am II
  • Super Mario Brothers and Duckhunt
  • Super Mario Brothers II
  • Super Mario Brothers III
  • Xevious – The Avenger

That’s enough 8 bit games that will keep me happy.

Who knew you could get lab gear so cheap

So someone is getting into perfume making and wants to start distilling scents. So I knew you could use things like distillation and condensing columns along with certain flasks to accomplish Stupid me – I went and google them and the prices were astronomical.

But then it hit me – check on Amazon. Sure enough – a whole distillation kit is a whole $65. A stirrer/heater unit is half the price. So for about $200. Much better than the $500 to $1,000 I was budgeting. Amazon has in fact become the be all to end all place if you’re shopping for esoteric lab gear, electronic parts, etc. It’s amazing, but it’s Amazon.

And it can do double duty – extract scent from certain botanicals and making distilled alcohol from corn mash. Oh this will be great fun.