Thursday, June 27, 2024

Maybe people can change...

A coil of white coaxial cable on top of some filled bags in a garbage can
Check it out. This morning I removed several meters of coaxial cable and placed it in the garbage can that will be emptied later today.

Although the cable no longer serves any purpose because the TV signals it carried now come over WiFi, the cable is completely functional. And who knows, some day, I may have a use for it.

But I threw it out. 

I'm a 64-year-old man and I threw out something that could possibly be useful some day.

This might mean that people, specifically me, can change.

On the other hand, I've probably got four or five hours in which to change my mind.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

GIFs from my Pixel 5

I got a Pixel 5 smartphone a few years ago and even though it is past its support date from Google, I am still learning how to do things with it. For example, when looking at photos, some of them showed movement on the phone. When I uploaded them to my desktop, they were still photos with no movement. 

Then, a few weeks ago, I learned how to export them as GIFs and preserve the movement.

In honour of the current heatwave, here is my first GIF - Manon at Rideau Falls on February 14. That frozen mist in the air was cold, let me tell you:

Even though it is bitterly cold, Manon is smiling by the Rideaus Falls

From last week, a very large wasp or hornet that wanted to get into my house:.

An inch and a half long wasp crawling on a window screen

From this morning, Manon picking service berries in an effort to thwart the squirrels and maybe get a enough for a pie:

Manon picking service berries

Just in case there is someone out there who would like to do this and they have a Pixel 5, or maybe some other phone that works the same way, here is how I saved these photos as GIFs:

Screenshot of a photo with the 3 dots in the top-right corner

1 - In the Pixel 5 photo app, tapped the 3-dot menu icon on a moving-photo

Screenshot of a photo with Export circled in the middle2 - Swiped over to the word "Export" and tapped it

Screenshot with GIF and Export circled3 - Selected "GIF" and tapped "Export"

I have to say, making GIFs this way is an awful lot easier than how I did it before - importing a video into Gimp and doing all sorts of stuff. 

The only thing is, I haven't learned why the Pixel 5 sometimes takes a moving picture and other times takes a single still picture.

Friday, June 07, 2024

The Lava Lamp Crisis

Three of Dave's working lava lamps

The incandescent bulb's heat is bad for global warming

For about ten years, Canada has been announcing that incandescent bulbs are being phased out and last August the United States banned the sale of most incandescent light bulbs.  

The sales ban is to help fight global warming. Incandescent bulbs use more energy to produce the same amount of light as LED bulbs. This is largely because much of the energy in incandescent bulbs goes to creating intense heat. If you've ever touched a turned-on incandescent bulb, you learned this the hard way.

But some things we like use this heat

While the heat makes incandescent bulbs less efficient for lighting, it makes them useful for heating things. For example, old Easy-Bake Ovens used a 100-watt bulb to cook Betty Crocker treats.

And I need incandescent bulbs to heat the wax in my lava lamps and create the spooky flowing movement inside them.

It seems that Hasbro has developed a heating element that can replace the 100-watt bulb in an Easy-Bake Oven. But a heating element alone won't work for a lava lamp because you need light to see the hypnotic flowing lava. Without an illuminated incandescent bulb, a lava lamp is a dull bottle holding a dull lump of wax.

The right bulbs

The Noma R14 E17 - 25 Watt bulb - at Canadian TireAfter some research and experimentation, I have the following recommendations.

For smallish lamps (16" high, 3" diameter):

  • 25 watts
  • E17 base (the "intermediate Edison screw", smaller than your usual bulb)
  • R14 or R39 shape

[While it is easier to find 40 watt bulbs with E17 bases and an R14 or R39 shape, I suspect it is a bad idea to use the stronger wattage. It might also be unwise to use a globe-shaped S11 or a cylindrical T8, but I'm prepared to do it when my R14s and R39 burn out and can't be replaced. I did once melt a hole in a plastic-based lava lamp using an S11 globe-shaped bulb.]

For the larger, original lava lamp (16" high, 4.5" diameter):

  • 40 watts
  • E26 base (the "medium Edison screw", the size used in most bulbs in your house)
  • R14 or R39 shape

A tip

If you get excited and think you've found some R14 shaped bulbs with E17 bases for a really good price at Rona and then two days after you get home with your super cheap bulbs you realize that they are actually 40 watt bulbs that are only good for your big lava lamp that needs an E26 base, I have good news. You can order E26-to-E17 socket adapters on Amazon that work just fine.

Getting bulbs while they last

Every time I've been in a hardware store in the past few years, I've checked for bulbs. Often, there have been none but when there was one or two, I bought them. They haven't been cheap. It has been many years since I've seen a suitable bulb in a grocery store or a dollar store.

Haraqi - R39 E17 25 Watt bulbs from Amazon
Right now, the only places I've been finding suitable 25 watt bulbs are Canadian Tire and Amazon.

Canadian Tires has the a Noma R14 E17 25w bulb for $7.49

Amazon has Haraqi R39 E17 25w bulbs at $14.99 for six ($2.50 each).

Lowes, Rona, Home Hardware and Home Depot don't seem to have any suitable bulbs.

In closing

My best wishes to any of my fellow lava lamp lovers. I'll be happy to share any news I get on this crisis with you and will be grateful for any news you have for me. And while I hate to talk about future projects, I have been thinking that it's time for me to make my own lava lamp (and could use any tips on where I can find perchloroethylene.)


Wednesday, May 29, 2024

The Stick Library goes Bilingual - la brancheothèque devient bilingue

In the better-late-than-never news category, I am happy to report that the Stick Library now has signage in French. [Dans la catégorie des nouvelles, il vaut mieux tard que jamais, je suis heureux d'annoncer que la brancheothèque a désormais une signalétique en français.]

Manon, the lovely Stick Librarian, showing the new new sign that says "Brancheothèque" with "Aucun frais de retard!" and "#brancheothèque", next to the English version of the sign.

The Stick Librarian wishes to thank our friend Aline for the French name and she apologizes to her translator friend Patricia-Anne for taking so long. But the Librarian's assistant bears some of the responsibility for it taking so long. [La branchothécaire souhaite remercier notre amie Aline pour le nom français et elle s'excuse auprès de son amie traductrice Patricia-Anne d'avoir mis autant de temps. Mais l'assistant du brancheothécaire porte une part de responsabilité dans cette lenteur.]

 Previously in Stick Library news:

Saturday, April 13, 2024

The Stick Library Reopens

 I am happy to announce that yesterday, the Stick Librarian reopened the Stick Library here at the corner of Lebreton and Louisa.

7 sticks artfully arranged in the driveway next to a metal bucket with thinner sticks and the "Stick Library" sign with "Welcome Back!" chalked next to a full water dish

The library assistant has been instructed to not add any sticks from the inactive stacks to the lending portion of the library without informing the librarian because she will be carefully tracking the annual statistics this year.

Previously in Stick Library news:

Friday, March 29, 2024

Preparing for Stick Library season

With the upcoming reopening of the Lebreton-Louisa Stick Library, the Stick Librarian was concerned that the branch's stacks were getting low.

Unfortunately for some neighbours, but fortunately for the library patrons, a recent windstorm brought down an old tree and the librarian was able to source replacements that just needed a little work this morning with a pair of loppers and an electric saw.

The urban lumberjack using the loppers to trim the branches
The library assistant/retired urban lumberjack lopping a branch

The urban lumberjack using his electric saw to chop a branch
Sawing a branch

The stick librarian sweeping up after making renewing her stacks of sticks
The Stick Librarian is happy the stacks are ready for a new borrowing season

   Before: a pile of tree branches; After: 3 neat stacks of sticks

Monday, January 29, 2024

My new look

Dave looking shaggy, but at least shavedThings were getting shaggy, so I asked the lovely Manon to give me a trim on Saturday.

Dave trimmed up with the lovely Manon vaccuuming his backShe suggested changing things up from my usual all-over #4 or #6 and instead did the sides with a #2 and left the top alone.

Yes, we've been watching two episodes a night of Peaky Blinders for a couple of weeks and Manon wanted to try giving me a Tommy Shelby.

Arthur and Tommy Shelby

I'm very happy with it, except I feel an inexplicable compulsion to take over someone's bookmaking operation.

[I was thinking this was the first time I've had a TV-inspired haircut, but then I remembered that in 2009, I got an all-over buzz so I could be Mike Holmes for Hallowe'en.]