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February 2018



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Odd Lots

  • From Rich Rostrom comes a pointer to an amazing gallery of 50s-70s transistor radios and transistor radio ephemera. Almost every radio I had in that period or remember is here (including a nice one belonging to my grandmother) plus some true oddities, like phony transistor radio cases concealing liquor bottles, and a transparent pen with a single transistor floating loose in a little compartment full of oil, like a spider in formaldehyde. The photography is gorgeous, but the images are large and may take some time to come down. Nonetheless, don't miss it.
  • Jim Strickland pointed out that CFLs are now available in high wattages in the Mogul base, but alas, the bulb shown will not fit in Aunt Kathleen's floor lamp, as it's too long and would hit the shade frame.
  • From Pete Albrecht I got a link to a model rocket for people who aren't rocket scientists.
  • I haven't been to Snopes in a while, but a recent post aggregated on Slashdot suggested that it has been pushing the infamous Zango adware package for several months. The firestorm seems to have changed their minds, according to a report issued only today. There is a difference between serving ads and pushing adware, and if you're going to be considered one of the world's Good Guys, you have to stay on the right side of that line.
  • The video snippets taken by my late Kodak digital camera are all in QuickTime .mov format, which is a pain in the ass to edit unless you're a Mac guy. Pete and I recently found AVIDemux, a free open-source utility on SourceForge that converts .mov clips to .avi files, and in the limited testing I've been able to do, it seems to defy the codec chaos that reigns today and works beautifully.
  • Lego was fifty years old yesterday, and I will have to admit here that I never owned Lego as a kid. Never. I had a significant Meccano set from the time I was eight, which was my favorite toy until I got into electronics in a big way several years later. (I built a differential when I was nine, and hence I know how these slightly mysterious mechanisms actually work.) I boggle at stats like the fact that there are 62 lego parts for every person on Earth, which must mean that a certain number of people have a lot of them. People have built Lego logic gates, Lego cathedrals, and (more recently) a Lego Stargate. Wow. I have a few more years to build my missing Lego skillset before Katie (and her as-yet unborn sibling) will be ready to build her own Stargate with some uncle-ish help, but time flies. I'd better be at it.


Of course, .avi can sometimes be a pain in the ass if you aren't running Windows...


transistor radios

I looked at the collection in your link, and did not find the Channel Master radio that was ever present in my youth, the 6506. My father had a part-time business fixing radios and televisions, and his parts supplier, Warren Radio (pretty big in Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio, IIRC) carried Channel Master, and also often offered Channel Master products as part of a promotion offer connected to picture tube sales, I think.

Anyway, we had a couple of the 6506 radios, and gave some as Christmas presents to grandparents, and such. The 6506 was small, but too large for a shirt pocket. It is described as a "coat-pocket" radio on this site: Sarah's Radios (http://www.transistor.org/). The site is not very pretty, but nicely indexed, and seems to have a good many more radios than the one in your link.

Bill Meyer