Sunday, February 01, 2009

Reading Steinbeck, Working on DSP/SDR, Playing with toys on a warmer day

Just finished Steinbeck's "The Moon is Down". One of the most intimate portraits of occupation by and resistance to an occupying army. May I suggest that this be mandatory reading in all war colleges all over the world?

Continuing today on filter design software and more, both stand alone, and for application to polyphase filter banks. This is sheer tedium but it must be done, correctly, and in GPL software so people like me do not have to waste their bloody time ever looking for it again. I am determined to make fdatool for Octave and scipy.

I am playing with different coffees these days. My most recent "trial" was on Jacu bird coffee from Brazil. It is euphemistically listed as "bird selected". It bears no relation other than that to the horrible and expensive Kopi Luwak which is "civet selected". My favorite continues to be Sumatra Lintong. I have found another green bean company besides SweetMarias.

I also like several Ecuadorian, Panamanian in addition to the expensive Jamaican and Hawaiian coffees. For every day, the latter are just a bit over the top in price. My coffee roaster, an Iroast2, has easily paid for itself many times over. The green beans are considerably cheaper per pound, even in small quantity, than "grocery store" ground swill. My brewer is a Technivorm and is carefully controlled to brew at exactly 93C/200F. Ummm, Mmmm, GOOD!

I recently purchased one of the "Chinese electronic wonders" that cost 10% of what the same American or German made instruments cost 10-15 years ago. I purchased a Vector charging system. It cost $120. The cheapest thing I had seen before it that claimed to do what it can do was nearly $1000. It will charge at 2, 10, 20, or 40 amps. It will also pulse rapidly at high amperage/voltage to recondition badly handled batteries. I have 320 amps hours in series 24 AGM deep discharge batteries. I neglected them horribly for a year. They were all in bad shape. The difference nowadays is they cost well over $200 each. I recovered two of the cells to over 1/2 capacity with two treatments, up to five are useful. One of the cells is beginning to show life after two treatments, so I hold out hope. One is dead. So the unit has easily payed for itself in one set of savings. I paid 1/3 what these batteries cost now.

Winter is letting go a bit. It is 10C/50F. Quite comfy in a sweater, and sunny as well.

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