Household Hack: Sealing Plastic Bags

This came by way of Tracie’s sister-in-law. I haven’t actually tried this yet, but it seems clever. Whether or not it would work would depend on the thickness and strength of the bottle, I’d think. Here are the photos from the email; I rewrote the instructions because my inner tech writer couldn’t deal with the grammar in the original text.


Cut off the neck and part of the top of a water bottle:


Insert the top of the bag through the neck of the bottle, fold it down over the threads, and close it by screwing on the bottle cap: read more

Weapon of Choice

I finished my x0xb0x today. Yes, it sounds like a 303.

Finished x0xB0x

Altogether it’s a pretty easy kit to build, although it does have a lot of parts. Building it reminded me how much more labor-intensive working with through-hole parts is compared to building something with SMT. I did make one change: I bought some longer LED standoffs because the 0.25″ standoffs that come with the kit position the LEDs almost flush with the panel, and I personally don’t like the way that looks. I also bought some nicer-looking knobs but they turned out to not work because their D-shaft orientation is opposite that of the x0xb0x’s pots. (Is there a convention for such things? One would think so.) read more

Synthesizer Modules for Sale

I’m running out of cabinet space and want to build some new stuff, so I have a few things I’d like to sell. Prices are based on recent sales of similar items on the Yahoo-groups MOTM list, but I’m open to haggling if I’m wildly off base.

SynthTech Modules, assembled by me:

MOTM-310 uVCO – $290

MOTM-510 WaveWarper – $320

SynthTech MOTM-700 Dual VC Router Kit – possibly the last unassembled MOTM kit on the planet? 🙂 $175. I believe that’s what I paid for it. It’s in the same condition as the day I received it several years ago; never got around to building it. read more

Maddy Likes Peas

Yep, you read that correctly: Madeline likes to eat peas:

One might think that it’s butter that she actually likes, but these peas have no butter on them–no butter, no salt, they’re just frozen peas cooked in the microwave. She loves ’em. She’ll eat them frozen if given the opportunity.

Not a Career Possibility for Me

Nice video here shot from someone’s helmet as they climb to the top of a 1768-foot-tall transmission tower. I’m not particularly fond of ladders; I don’t think you could pay me enough to get me to make that climb.

UPDATE: the video was taken down. See the comments.

The Fire is Winding Down

The current statement from the Office of Emergency Management is that the fire is 87% contained, and may be fully contained by the end of the day. I think that this means that the residents of Boulder, particularly those on the west side of town, can collectively breath a sigh of relief.

No New Trouble Overnight

The fire didn’t spread last night (much, anyway–if I’m following the figures correctly it grew either yesterday or last night, relative to its size reported on the day before yesterday) and no new evacuations were ordered. I woke up this morning and thought, “well, I don’t smell smoke, and the morning light doesn’t have that weird red-orange color that smoke gives it, and I don’t hear any unusual noises from outside, so I guess we’re okay,” and managed to doze for a bit longer. Hurrah for life’s simple pleasures. read more

Okay, This is a Little Disconcerting

It’s 11:00PM. The wind is blowing straight west with gusts over 60MPH through the fire area. It’s 70 degrees F and the relative humidity is 14%. They’re talking about evacuating the residential area west of Broadway, i.e. west of the major north/south street that runs parallel to the foothills where the fire is. If you draw a line straight west from the fire it passes north of Boulder proper and eventually hits our neighborhood. There is about eight miles between the fire and us. The aforementioned line crosses several big roads that should make very nice firebreaks, but much of that eight miles is open fields which are very dry this time of year. It doesn’t take much imagination to see how the wind could pick up a spark from the fire and drop it into one of those fields. read more

In Case You’re Wondering About the Fire…

…we’re fine. The fire is up in the canyons to the west of Boulder, and we live a bit east of Boulder proper. It was smoky here all day yesterday, though, and ash fell on this area. I think that we must be more or less directly downwind from the fire because I noticed the smoke at about 10:30AM and the fire is said to have started at about 10:00AM.

It is scary, though. It’s a big fire and a lot have people have been displaced from their homes, some permanently. Even CNN has coverage. read more

Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars

Recently I finished putting in all of the components for the analog sections of my x0xb0x. It looks like this means that I’m about halfway through building the thing.

Half-populated PC Board

The fun part of reaching this stage is that you get to hear it play its first note as part of the testing process. Yes, it sounded just like a TB-303.