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Showing posts from October, 2010

Cheap Slide Scanner

Like many photo-geeks from the seventies and eighties, I probably have a couple thousand 35mm slides. As time passes of course, they get scratched, fade etc. Scanning them is often an expensive and tedious process. The required resolution makes the process slow. However, if you only need "Facebook" or Web-quality images, there's a cheap and quick way; The Optex Scanner is not really a scanner at all, but rather it's a 5 megapixel digital camera that takes pictures of slides. Knowing its limitations, I bought one anyway. Adding to the decision was the fact that it was half-price, $59.99 instead of $119.98. It also "scans" negatives, but I have yet to try that.
  This thing is fast too. In about a minute, I can have three slides transferred to the computer. A couple of examples below, with more HERE and HERE. This thing gets poor reviews, but I love it. It's not a thousand dollar get what you pay for  :)

Personal Physical Preparedness ???

Overlooking the obvious is of course, one of my stronger traits. While I like to be somewhat "prepared" I seem to have overlooked an important area; Personal Physical Preparedness. Case in point: a little over a week ago I hurt my back. That's nothing new, for I usually do that two or three times a year. This time, however, was much more severe. I spent 2 days in bed and I was completely helpless. The pain was too severe for me to stand on my two feet. When it was determined that things were getting worse and not better, our options were few. We called the Doctor, and called the 811 medical help line. In a short time, three paramedics were standing in my bedroom. If not for the pain, it would have been humorous. They managed to get me into a chair and down the front steps onto the street. Then they transferred my carcass to a stretcher, and took me to Emergency. After an hour or so, examinations etc I was given three needles. One in each arm, and one in the old caboose. …

Power Outage Prepraredness

Being ready for a power outage is of course, a timely consideration given hurricane season, ice storms etc. However, common sense must prevail, and "readiness"  needs to be relative to your specific location. For example, in 21 years, we have only seen one "significant" power outage. That was in 2003 when Hurricane Juan came ashore. I know people who have "whole house" generator setups with automatic circuit switching, but all of this is expensive overkill from my point of view, especially when it will hardly get used. Why? First of all, I have a wood stove and a pellet basket so with a supply of wood and/or pellets, I have emergency heat. My only other real requirement is electricity for a deep freeze and possibly a fridge. To do this, I rely on a 3-pronged approach. First, I have a couple of good deep cycle batteries and an inverter that will run our freezer. Secondly, I have a small solar panel array tho help charge the batteries. Finally, my small gen…