What's davintosh? Mostly just the random ramblings of a hopelessly distractible… Hey, what's that?

A Nocturnal Work Aid

Filed under: Cool Technology,Gadgets,Geek — dave @ 1:18 am 2010/11/29

I picked one of these headlamps up on sale at Lowe’s yesterday for $12 — it was the last of a Black Friday special on the shelf — and it’s already earned its keep, although my neighbors must think I’ve lost some marbles… Tonight Bryce & I spent the last hour of the day (11 to midnight!) hanging Christmas lights on the outside of the house (before the weather turns sour tomorrow) and yesterday I used it to finish up the front end rebuild under the 735i; finished that one up about 10 pm.

These headlamps are just a huge help in working on a car, and so much better than the old-fashioned trouble light. Wearing it on my forehead, it puts the light right where it needs to be without a light fixture getting in the way, as is the case with a trouble light. I turn my head, the light goes with it so I can see what I’m looking at. I haven’t used it during the day, but it would even being a huge help then; if I’m under a car it seems the light is never good, and this thing will do the same trick then.

My new headlamp has three lighting modes,

  • Bright 1-watt LED spot; ~ 45 lumens, 11 hour run time
  • 2 bright Nichia LED’s flood; ~ 28 lumens, 50 hour run time
  • 2 bright red night vision LED and 75 hour run time

About the only thing I don’t like about it is the switch; it’s a push-button switch on the top of the lamp. One click turns on the 1-watt LED, second click turns on the red LEDs, third click turns on the flood light, and the fourth turns it off. The switch is also a bit difficult to click, which may be a defect of some sort with my particular unit. But the don’t-likes are pretty minor issues; all in all it’s a great little tool.

I do think I’ll put some day-glow orange or pink paint on it though so it doesn’t get lost like my last headlamp did.

Celebrating The Soldiers of the Sea

Filed under: Just Stuff,The World — dave @ 8:27 pm 2010/11/10

It was on this date, 235 years ago, that the Second Continental Congress resolved to create two battalions of Continental Marines for the War of Independence from Britain. Then in 1798, President John Adams signed the Act establishing the United States Marine Corps as a permanent military force under the jurisdiction of the Department of Navy. Since then, Marines have participated in all the wars of the United States and in most cases were the first soldiers to fight. In the last 212 years, Marines have executed more than 300 landings on foreign shores.

General John A. Lejeune, the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps, directed that November 10 of each year would be set aside to honor the Corps’ birthday. Marine Corps Order No. 47, Series 1921, issued by Lejeune, is to be read to every command on the day:

(1) On November 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of Continental Congress. Since that date many thousand men have borne the name “Marine”. In memory of them it is fitting that we who are Marines should commemorate the birthday of our corps by calling to mind the glories of its long and illustrious history.

(2) The record of our corps is one which will bear comparison with that of the most famous military organizations in the world’s history. During 90 of the 146 years of its existence the Marine Corps has been in action against the Nation’s foes. From the Battle of Trenton to the Argonne, Marines have won foremost honors in war, and in the long eras of tranquility at home, generation after generation of Marines have grown gray in war in both hemispheres and in every corner of the seven seas, that our country and its citizens might enjoy peace and security.

(3) In every battle and skirmish since the birth of our corps, Marines have acquitted themselves with the greatest distinction, winning new honors on each occasion until the term “Marine” has come to signify all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue.

(4) This high name of distinction and soldierly repute we who are Marines today have received from those who preceded us in the corps. With it we have also received from them the eternal spirit which has animated our corps from generation to generation and has been the distinguishing mark of the Marines in every age. So long as that spirit continues to flourish Marines will be found equal to every emergency in the future as they have been in the past, and the men of our Nation will regard us as worthy successors to the long line of illustrious men who have served as “Soldiers of the Sea” since the founding of the Corps.

Major General Commandant

Today’s Marine Corps is made up of more than 200,000 active-duty and reserve soldiers. Each of the three divisions has one or more expeditionary units, ready to launch major operations anywhere in the world on two weeks’ notice. The Marines’ expeditionary units are unique in that they have their own tanks, artillery, and air forces; truly the Soldier’s Soldier and the Jack of All Trades when it comes to war.

In my younger days I spent some time in uniform, but with the South Dakota Air National Guard. About a year of my enlistment was spent on active duty, mostly for training. During that time I rubbed elbows with a lot of Marines, and there were times we Airmen would scoff at some of the stuff the Marines would do. Down deep though I think we envied the sense of tradition and camaraderie the Marines showed; at least I know I did.

So to all the Jarheads out there, thank you. Semper Fi, Do Or Die! Yell “OOOHrah” and don’t forget to grrr your lids on Friday.

If Four Wheels Is Good, Three Must Be Better

Filed under: Cars!,Cool Technology,Favorite Things — dave @ 4:19 pm 2010/11/04

The 1933 Morgan Super Sport

The old Morgan trikes have always been appealing to me; just the right mix of quirky & sporty. Throw on a leather helmet and goggles, and you’ve got the perfect Sunday drive right there. What’s not to love about them? And the motor hanging off the front end… That is just so cool.

There have been rumors circulating for a while that Morgan was planning to revive the 3 wheeler, and now they’ve confirmed it; the 2011 Morgan Threewheeler is officially for real. The car(?) will reportedly have a Mazda-built transmission coupled with an 1800cc Harley Davidson v-twin motor hanging off the front axle, just like the old timer. This one won’t have the wood frame, but it will be able to get up to 60 mph in about 4 1/2 seconds, topping out at about 115 mph. That more than makes up for the loss of character the wood would’ve brought.

The images Morgan is showing on its website appear to be of a real vehicle, but views of the engine appear to be generic CAD renderings, so it’s not clear that a real car has been built & tested

Building a car LoCost 7-style — using this or that from other production vehicles — has always been a dream of mine, and the three-wheel design has always been in the back of my head; with 3 wheels instead of 4, the vehicle is classified as a motorcycle, so it’s much easier to get registered & licensed & insured. But this thing might turn that dream on it’s head. Why reinvent the wheel? Of course, it all depends on what it will cost.

One thing about the car’s specs that I’m dying to find out is what their ‘Bomb release’ style start button looks like. Hmmm…

The Importance of Multi-Platform Browser Testing

Filed under: Computers,Geek — dave @ 8:41 pm 2010/11/02

The SD Secretary of State’s office put up a nice reference to display election results tonight, Election Night 2010. Must be a new system because I don’t remember the look from the 2008 election. But when I pulled it up in Safari (5.0.2), it was obvious that somebody didn’t do their homework. I was pretty sure it wasn’t supposed to look like this.

Now here is the same page, as viewed in Firefox 3.6.8:

I’m not sure what the Secretary of State office’s annual budget is, nor what they allocated for this website, but you would think they would’ve spent a little time to make sure it displays properly in a browser that probably comprises ten percent of the hits they’ll receive tonight. One can only guess what it looks like in IE 6 & 7; I’m guessing it looks worse, and they’ll make up another 20 percent.

The sound you hear is my eyes rolling.