Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

Odd Lots

  • We take digital clocks for granted, but this project may give you some perspective on just how difficult a challenge a digital clock really is. Absent integrated circuits, it takes over 1200 discrete electronic components to make a 6-digit digital clock. And you can get a kit.
  • Maybe RCA’s engineers are having a little fun with us. It’s hard to tell sometimes, but I still don’t understand how this thing is not a hoax. I maybe know a little bit about both RF power physics (37 years in ham radio) and Wi-Fi. If there’s a place in the world with enough Wi-Fi hotspots to make that little box generate useful power, please tell me where, so I can be sure never to go anywhere near it.
  • Several people have noticed that my author bio photo on Amazon has been replaced by someone else’s. Most oddly, the photo is of my old friend Jon Shemitz of Santa Cruz, who’s done some very good books on Kylix and .NET 2.0. I’ve been trying to get Amazon’s attention for a couple of weeks now, no luck yet.
  • did it again: They sent me an email asking whether I’d like to reconnect with a girl from my high school class. As I’ve said before, Lane Tech High was all-male until several years after I graduated, so there was no Teresa Mazzerelli in my class–nor does she appear in the alumni directory. One I could call a database error. Two I call fraud. Don’t give these guys your money.
  • Malt is my favorite ice cream flavor, but it’s very hard to come by. Several companies have offered it in the last ten or twelve years, including Meadow Gold and Boulder, but the flavor has always vanished after a few months. I guess I may just have to make my own.
  • Sprint may be partnering with Wal-Mart to put WiMax nodes on top of every single Wal-Mart in the country. This is not the first time I’ve heard this, and have reported on it before, but having had some experience with something a little like WiMax, I think it could be a huge moneymaker for Wal-Mart if they don’t let the control freaks at Sprint ruin it.
  • From the Words-I-Hadn’t-Heard-In-Thirty-Years-Until-Yesterday Department: bildungsroman, a coming-of-age novel. Why, then, does it suggest erecting a shrine to the Emperor out of cow pies?


  1. Tom R. says:


    Take one of the little Airnergy Chargers out to this one particular island at the end of the Aleutian chain and it MIGHT harvest enough energy there to work — or get melted. Ever heard of Cobra Dane?

  2. BillJ says:


    I just noticed your link back to my malt ice cream recipe in my blog stats. I promise it isn’t nearly as complicated as I made it sound.

    If you’re going to make straight malt ice cream without any chocolate or cocoa, I’d suggest you stick with the 9 Tablespoons of malted milk, add another couple egg yolks and boost the sugar by another quarter cup.

    And if you do make it, I’d be obliged if you’d post a comment on my original post to say how it went. Thanks.

    1. I do intend to try it–not sure when, but I will–and when I do I’ll post a report here and also as a comment on your site. I may include a little chocolate, as I’m used to having chocolate as part of the malt flavor experience. We’ll see how it goes. Have not made ice cream before, not in all my 57 years, so it’ll be something of an adventure. Thanks for the note and stand by…

  3. […] them. Once I’d call a mistake. But this is actually the third such pitch I’ve received (I mentioned the second back in January) and three’s a pattern. I suspect I will get another every so […]

  4. Lee Hart says:

    (Re the digital clock with no ICs): What a lame design that is! Whoever designed it didn’t know what they were doing. It uses about 10x the number of parts it should have taken.

    I’ve seen digital clocks made with vacuum tubes that used fewer parts. Or neon lamps. Or even relays, for heaven’s sake!

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