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jberryhill's Journal
jberryhill's Journal
December 25, 2016

To "auger in", defined by Merriam Webster...

aviation informal
: to crash catastrophically <Kinch went into a tumble during his record flight and came out of it at low altitude, as Yeager had done. That was just twenty days before Mel Apt augered in. — Tom Wolfe, The Right Stuff, 1979> <The plane flipped upside down and augered in, killing him. — Dan McKinnon, Rescue Pilot, 2002>

Hence the current usage in its noun form, an "in augeration"
December 23, 2016

Dynamo Hub to USB

I thought this was going to be simple, and I suppose it can be, but using apps like MapMyRide, Google Maps, taking some pictures along the way, typically makes my ride outlast the charge in my phone. That's okay as long as I remember to leave fully charged and take a fully charged backup USB battery along, but had I not gotten a campsite with an electrical hookup a while back, I wouldn't have had three days of charge for my last multi-day excursion.

Enter the dynamo hub - There are several hubs built to the German regulation which requires a bike-powered light for riding at night. The hubs produce 6V AC and 3 W under nominal conditions. They run from Shimano Alfine ($70's and up) to the gold-standard SON (Schmidt's Original Nabendynamo, if you have to ask, you can't afford it). After reading a buttload of reviews and technical data, I settled on the Shutter Precision SP-PV8. Shutter precision has a part numbering system which is based on your wheel size and brake type (V brakes or disc brakes), and their performance is comparable to the SON at a much more affordable price point.

So, going from the 6V AC to USB (5V DC) is the trick, and I had considered making this a homebrew project around a rectifier and a buck/boost 5V regulator (e.g. https://www.adafruit.com/product/2190). There are a variety of boxes and "things you can cable tie onto you bike) which provide this function at a variety of price points. I was intrigued by the Sinewave Reactor:

...which is the lowest-profile "stem cap replacement USB port" available, but couldn't justify $220. The next closest competitor is "The Plug":


Eventually, I found this guy at cycle2charge.de

While it's a little bulbous, the lettering is easily blacked out with a Sharpie, and the outer jacket rotates to close the USB port from view. It looks like a bike bell on the stem. Another nice thing about it is that if your fork is not hollow down to the bottom, it has an alternate off-stem mounting configuration.

So, after having the bike shop re-lace the wheel around the dynamo, I got these two things wired up today:

A LOT of people complain about using dynamo/USB configurations to directly charge their phone and I really don't get why they do that in the first place. I found that the threshold for my iPhone to start indicating it is charging is around 3.7 MPH. Now, obviously, if you are going to be starting and stopping, it is like plugging your phone in each time, and that's going to be an annoyance if you are running a navigation app etc.. It makes a lot more sense, at least to me, to use a USB battery pack as a buffer between the charger and the phone, or simply use the USB charger to charge the battery, and hook up your phone (Garmin, sex toys, whatever) when you want to charge them. With a short USB cord and a small top-tube bag (like one of those bento box things), or a handlebar bag, you can keep the battery in the bag, and then throw into the bag or connect whatever it is that needs charging.

I was surprised there is not a "go to" configuration for the general concept of "how can I charge USB devices with a dynamo hub", but on the other hand there is also a range of price points and aesthetics in terms of what kind of things do you want to have zip tied to your frame.

Now, if anyone can help me get that Frank Zappa tune out of my head, I will be eternally grateful.

December 14, 2016

Anyone selling fake inauguration tickets to the rubes?

I had this idea a while back that a good way to scam American tourists abroad is to sell tickets to things that didn't charge admission. Like, get a quasi official outfit, a change maker, and a roll of tickets and charge admission to parks and public monuments. Like, sell "half price tickets" about a half a block away from cathedrals and so on. Smile and nod at people who pass by, so you look like you're checking tickets, and when you see some Americans who seem unlikely to be able to communicate in the local language, sell them a ticket. Charge 'em half a euro to use the pissoir...that sort of thing. Use a fake accent and pretend not to understand half of what they say. If they see others going in for free tell them that the taxpayers can do that, but foreign tourists have to pay. If a local makes you, cut him in on the deal if he helps.

With all the mailing lists for sale, you could send out personalized mailers, or, heck, just spam emails and tell them they've been personally selected as a guest of Doofus, Melanoma, and Iwankya. For security verification purposes, they just have to register and provide their credit card info, so that we can confirm they got the invite. Or have 'em send ten bucks cash to your mail drop address to receive their personalized official ticket and a special gift from the Presidential ménage-a-trois their very own blessed selves.

What better way to commemorate this event than by running a scam of your own?

December 4, 2016

Oakland death trap operator glad his kids and wife were at hotel

Derek Ion, the lunatic with depraved indifference to his responsibility for the deaths of dozens in Oakland, had this to say on Facebook:

"Confirmed. Everything I worked so hard for is gone. Blessed that my children and Micah were at a hotel safe and sound... it's as if I have awoken from a dream filled with opulence and hope.... to be standing now in poverty of self worth."

Aw, gee, maybe we can take up a collection for him. He lost his stuff.


December 3, 2016

Oakland Fire - Callous, Wanton and Reckless Disregard for Human Life

Access to the second floor was by a "stairway" that was more of an art project arrangement of wooden pallets. The place was laid out like a maze, full of flammable material, and clearly ad-hoc electrical wiring. You can see wires used as mechanical supports, terminated live wires with wire nuts, lighting installed against wood....

NO fire extinguishers to be seen, and no sprinklers or automatic fire extinguishers or fire extinguishing balls. Those things can be very inexpensive, incidentally.

This was no "accident" in the sense that it wasn't engineered into what was going on when someone decided it would be a good idea to have dozens of people visit.

Look at the loose, terminated wires in the first picture, and take a look at the string of 120v light sockets wound around the wood beam in the second. These pictures are a smorgasbord of "spot the fire hazard" worthy of a basic electrician's class.

LOOK ^^^ Do you see those bare incandescent bulbs? Do you see that string of sockets where the wires are supporting the lamps? That's fucking insane.

This is not an "accident", it is criminally negligent homicide.

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