Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

Odd Lots

  • Here’s a great site on older toy and hobbyist robots; if you’re a collector or just a nostalgist, it’s a must-see. (Maybe some here have never seen my late 70s robot Cosmo Klein.) Alas, the link came from an old email sent by the late George M. Ewing WA8WTE, who suggested it as an Odd Lot. Better late than never.
  • We used to giggle at the name in the mid-60s, but the founder of Blonder-Tongue Labs is still alive, and maintains a site full of interesting tech information about crystal sets and old radios, as well as the firm’s patents and products from long ago. (Thanks to Michael Covington for the link; again, set aside more than a year ago and never used.)
  • No tablet here yet (waiting to see what if anything pops up at CES 2012) but I’m tempted to get a Nook Color so I can at least quit reading ebooks on my dinosaur of an X41. My friend Erbo has learned a lot about rooting it and running CyanogenMod, and has much good to say about the combo.
  • If you’re considering that step, consider the peculiar nature of the Android OS itself, which may not exist in precisely the same way that Windows exists. This is still good, but you need to understand it, as it’s a newish thing in the computing universe.
  • I’ll never buy one of these, but I admire the concept: An off-the-shelf smartphone-controlled video-equipped RC helicopter. And I admit: If it weren’t for OWS I wouldn’t have heard of them at all.
  • Henry Law called my attention to the fact that County Down in Northern Ireland is often called “Drumlin Country” because of its landforms. Odd then that “The Star of County Down” is one of my favorite Irish folk songs, and has been since I first heard it circa 2000–which is precisely when I wrote “Drumlin Boiler,” the first tale in the Drumlins Saga.
  • And of course, when the starship Origen is marooned in the Drumlins system, it is the mere handful of collectible print books on board that allow the castaways to gradually re-create a modern society on an alien world. The cheap consumer-grade tablet PCs in every passenger pocket were all dead inside of fifteen years (most far sooner than that) and nobody thought to create printing presses before they were gone. No wonder that the cult of the printed book rises as the age of the printed book fades. (Thanks to Bruce Baker for the link.)
  • Talk partisan political hatred all the time, and prepare to reap the wind.
  • Can we please add “Google is your friend,” “denier,” and “talking points” to this list? (Thanks to Pete Albrecht for the link.)
  • And with that, the curtain falls on 2011. May the impact of the curtain give it multiple broken bones, concussions, contusions, internal bleeding, hemorrhoids, the heartbreak of psoriasis, and whatever else it might take to keep this year from darkening our doorsteps ever again.


  1. Bernie Sidor says:

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family Jeff.

  2. Tom R. says:

    The Nook Color is now going for about $150 as a refurb, which is about $100 off what I paid for a new one last August.

    I got it for my wife who wanted it just as a book reader for B&N stuff so I have not yet tried Cyanogen on a micro SD card, but I do know people who have and it really does work if and only if you get the right brand of SD card.

    For someone who said that they would have to pry paper books from her hands she has taken to it rather enthusiastically.

    1. Erbo says:

      This is true. The advice I’ve read in that regard says “Short version: buy SanDisk Type 4 cards.” Fortunately, these are readily available at Walmart, Office Depot, and other major retailers. (They’re in the red packaging; the black-packaged ones are different and may still work.)

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