Friday, March 16, 2018

E-Town (cont.)

I’m not sure how well it shows up in the snapshot but it’s snowing. Nothing is sticking but stills flurries. The mornings seems to start out nice and sunny but by mid-day, the clouds are back. We haven’t done any “touristing” as we are only here for a handful of days. By the time we get used to the time change, it’ll be time to head back to Alaska. Last night (Thursday) we did go to a regional food restaurant and had some Pennsylvania staples including a shared apple dumpling for dessert. No leaves on the trees, no spring flowers but at least most of the vegetation and grass is sort of green. Or at least a lot greener than back home.

Piaggio MP3
Photo from
We have been considering a Piaggio MP3 that a friend of ours has for sale. I was thinking of hauling it on the back of the 5th wheel but after looking at several carriers, the MP3 is probably too heavy. Between the carrier and the MP3, it would be over 700 pounds. That much weight hanging that far out behind the trailer wheels is just too much. It may even transfer too much weight off of the hitch to be safe. Unfortunate as I was looking forward to having something to ride while traveling. The same friend also has a scooter for sale so that may be another option.

And a short video of a player piano in the lobby of the assisted living facility.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


Monday evening and most of Tuesday was spent traveling. The flight from Seattle to Baltimore was delayed and we didn't arrive at the B&B until around 10:30pm but making the almost mandatory dinner stop at a Cracker Barrel added to the late arrival. We don't have any of these restaurants in AK and I think that there are only a couple in any of the western states.  BTW, the AllStays app claims that overnight RV parking is permitted on their lot. A good reason to stop there even if we aren’t traveling with an RV.

We are spending a couple of days here visiting family. It's not the warm, sunny destination usually associated with Spring Break. In fact, it's below freezing this morning and is only 5°F warmer than Fairbanks. Currently, there are little flakes falling...

Monday, March 12, 2018


It was yet another one of those days. Not only did we lose an hour of sleep due to this archaic practice called daylight savings time but there was this temperature to greet us in the morning. Not that I was planning on doing much of anything today anyway. In fact, I ended up just not feeling very well and taking some ibuprofen. I don't think the temperature had anything to do with it but it certainly didn't help.

I started to get ready for the morse code class which is going to be taught using Skype. I installed a ⅛” audio jack on the keyer so I can feed the output into a two channel mixer. The second audio input is a microphone so I can talk. The mixer is USB connected to the computer and the audio input is set to USB. I’ll need to test the set-up as the class begins around the beginning of April. This is the same setup that I used to record the session at the Internet2 meeting last October. The question is how well it works with that wonderful Microsoft product, Skype.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

More Snow...

The weather is looking grim again. This is the view just outside of where my office is at the university. BTW, the reason that I'm at the university today is that the truck was dropped off at the local dealer this morning for some recall work. Multiple recalls. The oldest one was from 2009. Two of them are automatic and the other two are dependant on their assessment. We'll see if any are done by the end of the day. It was convenient for the dealer shuttle to drop me off here than at home. Plus, I could still walk to coffee.

It turns out that they were able to do the two airbag recalls, parts had to be ordered for the steering linkage recall and the fourth one didn’t need to be done. After picking up the truck, I went to the Airhead get together at the Roundup Steakhouse. The best thing about this location is that it has a salad bar and very good service. It had stopped snowing by the time I headed home. More snow is forecast for later in the week...

Friday, March 2, 2018

Burying the Lead

Another slow week. Still too cold to ride much (-21°F yesterday, +2°F today). Lots of running around this week and needed to plow snow often for the first half of the week. Plus a followup visit was needed to the State of Alaska office as they typed my son's birthday into their system wrong and he was unable to do much of anything on their system. Surprisingly, the visit went very quickly and efficiently. The waiting room was almost empty and the person at the desk had no problem taking care of everything. I guess we just picked the wrong day last week as I was in and out in ten minutes.

The led conversion in our house continued. A couple of 40-watt halogen bulbs in pendant lights were replaced by 3-watt LED bulbs. Almost the same amount of light and the 4000K color was identical. The fluorescent tubes in the kitchen were replaced by LED tubes. The fixture needed to be rewired to remove the ballast. The new LED replacements were double ended so simply wire hot to the four tombstones on one end and neutral to the other end. Now, the kitchen is so bright that I may end up removing two of the tubes and use them in the utility room. Each tube is 18 watts and is equivalent to a 48-watt fluorescent. The picture shows the fixture without the oak cover and diffuser so you can see the LEDs that make up the bulb. In the whole house, we are down to two halogen bulbs. And one of them is the yard light. Do they make LED yard lights?

It's only March 1st and we are already getting 12 hours of light (i.e first light to last light on the figure). No one is looking forward to DST as that means it'll be dark in the morning again. At least for a while. The state government keeps saying that they will get rid of DST but the tourism industry seems to think that the tourists are too stupid to understand and will be confused and upset. I don't know. Maybe they're right...

But the highlight of the week was the Friday evening KL7KC amateur radio club meeting. Bob Heil, as in Heil Sound,  joined the meeting via Skype. He started with some history and explained how his whole audio career started with ham radio. In fact, it even states that in his permanent display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He is the only non-musician with a permanent display. It was a great presentation with no PowerPoint. Just off the cuff.