The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Monday, September 05, 2011

The trick to flying is to miss the ground

[That's not a plane, nor a drone but someone who's insane]

(YouTube video via Michael Duff)

Hmm … he's just standing around on the side of a mountain, what's he going to—oh, he's going to jump off! Okay …

Ah, he's imitating a flying squirrel … that's neat—Whoa! That was pretty cool! Oh, now some footage from … another … angle … um … isn't he pretty low HOLY XXXX that was close!

Okay … he's still flying … how's he going to land?

Yes, you have to watch this. In HD, full screen if you can. It's simply amazing what he does, which proves that you don't even need to jump out of a perfectly good airplane to show people how crazy you are.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Like the case, hate the name

Bunny and I were at the Apple Store (she was there to pick up her repaired Mac laptop; I was along for the ride) when I saw this:

[An iPhone … on a tripod—imagine that!]

The Hipstamatic (an unfortunate name in my opinion), which is a tripod mounting case for the iPhone 4 (yes, I have one now—I love it, but both Bunny and I are still pissed off at The Other Monopolistic Phone Company because—well, it's a long story and do we even need an excuse to loathe any Monopolistic Phone Company?). Ever since I got the iPhone, I've been trying to figure out a way to get it mounted to a tripod, and when I saw this, I snapped it up.

The only bit I'm concerned about is a crucial bit—the actual tripod adaptor. It's a small L-shaped piece of metal that screws into the tripod and the case slips over it (it's that vertical bar just below the circle design on the front of the case). This piece is small and I can see it being easily lost.

But it works and it's a simple design, even if it's a bit pricy.

Now THIS is a keyboard!

The USBTypewriter™ is a new and groundbreaking innovation in the field of obsolescence. Lovers of the look, feel, and quality of old fashioned manual typewriters can now use them as keyboards for any USB-capable computer, such as a PC, Mac, or even iPad!

Via Hacker News, USB Typewriter

Wow! What a neat idea! As if my IBM Model M keyboards aren't loud enough, imagine the “clackity-clack-clack” I can get from my old typewriter:

[Hmm … no “1” key, no brackets either—this would be one hard keyboard to program on, except for LISP! I could program in LISP on this thing.]

Intellectual challenge on the one hand … people within 50′ of me wanting to silence me on the other hand.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I just saved $20 by doing a quick search on the Internet

— Permanent Electricity using MAGNETS??? YES! For only $20!!! —- <>
Produkt Rekommenderad av — Permanent Electricity using MAGNETS??? YES! For only $20!!! —-
28 Sep 2011 05:44:24 +0200


Hello, My name is Ronald Bronson and I'm going to show you how to eliminate your power bill. My Free Energy Blueprint kit is going to show you how to build a magnetic free energy generator,

which is a device which increases energy efficiency, and propels itself perpetually using a series of magnets. When properly implemented, this device can power your whole household for free.

It's only $20!!!


F?r att granska denna produkt f?lj l?nken nedan:

Denna e-postar skickadesfr?n

Avs?ndares IP Adress: {SERDER_IP}

Well, I hate to inform Ronald Bronson but all electricity is made via magnetism—it's just how you rotate a coil of wires through a magnetic field that varies, some generators use running water (hydro-electric), some use steam to drive the turbines that turn the wires (nuclear, oil, coal) and some use gasoline to drive a crankshaft (home generators, backup generators, your car).

But still, I'm curious, so I go to the page. There, I learn that it'll take as little as $200 in supplies, or maybe even as low as $50, or it could be for as little as $100, I too, could be generating electricity to power my home and free myself from the shackles of The Monopolistic Power Company! This device can generate 180W of electricity at 420 RPM, and it can produce more at faster rates.

Oh, so tempting!

The plans are for a “Permanent Magnetic Generator” (it says so right on that page), and a quick search revealed the plans for such a generator. Reading through the plans I get the feeling that had I spent $20 I would have received a copy of what I'm reading right now. Yup, page 5 shows a graph of Watts/RPM and yes, it looks like you can get 180W at 420 RPM. And yes, the list of tools fits on a single page, and the list of materials take a bit over a page. And all the materials required are probably available at a local hardware or home improvement store.

Isn't it amazing what one can find on the Internet for free these days?

But the question now becomes, can it power your house? I seriously doubt it:

The PMG works at low rotational speed. The chart shows the power output of the PMG, charging a 12 volt battery. At 420 rpm it generates 180 watts, which is 15 amps at 12 volts (15A × 12V = 180W).

At higher speed, the PMG can generate more power. But high currents cause the coils to heat up, and so the efficiency gets worse as the output current gets higher.

And even if it could, you still need a way to get the thing spinning. The plans show you can attach the motor to a windmill (plans not included).

So much for getting off the grid.

Even more amusing, at the bottom of the page is this bit of verbiage:

This page is protected by copyscape. Do not copy.

Again, I hate to inform Ronald Bronson, but the very act of viewing the page made a copy. That's how the web works—the web browser requests a page, and the web server sends a copy of the page. Saying “do not copy this page” really translates as “do not view this page.”

But that aside, there really is such a thing as “copyscape.” It's a website that apparently exists to ferret out websites that plagiarize other websites. Okay, that makes a bit more sense. So let's see if the site selling the permanent magnetic generator plans is a copy … wow! Over ten copies of that site exist.

So much for that verbiage keeping other copies off the Inernet.

Obligatory Picture

[Don't hate me for my sock monkey headphones.]

Obligatory Links

Obligatory Miscellaneous

You have my permission to link freely to any entry here. Go ahead, I won't bite. I promise.

The dates are the permanent links to that day's entries (or entry, if there is only one entry). The titles are the permanent links to that entry only. The format for the links are simple: Start with the base link for this site:, then add the date you are interested in, say 2000/08/01, so that would make the final URL:

You can also specify the entire month by leaving off the day portion. You can even select an arbitrary portion of time.

You may also note subtle shading of the links and that's intentional: the “closer” the link is (relative to the page) the “brighter” it appears. It's an experiment in using color shading to denote the distance a link is from here. If you don't notice it, don't worry; it's not all that important.

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