Today I learned that the survival kit carried in the Mercury space capsule contained, amongst useful things, also "1 Bar Soap".

I don't know about you, but I would have traded that soap for more of "1 Container of Matches" or desalination gear for more than "8 pints".

Maybe McD-D were expecting their craft to crash-land somewhere tropical, so they packed that soap to ensure the astronauts wouldn't repel the admiring female lovelies.

I love well-written manuals, and the Mercury familiarisation manual is a pretty nice example with great diagrams and drawings. Pity that there's nothing comparable for Vostok and Soyuz (and even if it weren't classified it would be in Russian, which I don't understand more than a few words of...)

[ published on Thu 23.09.2010 01:41 | filed in interests/humour | ]

Some say Vegemite belongs to the "acquired tastes" (polite for "hideous"), but I'm not so sure - maybe growing up with Maggi sauce predisposes one towards yeasty/salty stuff?

Anyway, I like Vegemite despite being not a native of this place. And some of the mity clones I like, too. For example ProMite is quite ok.

But I will certainly not buy "Brekkiemite" ever again: we all know that Vegemite is made from yeast waste, but this other goop tastes like said yeast scraps were ran through a dog first and then liberally cut with axle grease.

[ published on Mon 20.09.2010 11:59 | filed in brainfarts | ]

I've just completed testing the next generation of my kuvert tool: Version 2.0.0 is out here and has just been uploaded to debian Sid. It's full of Nice New Things that make kuvert more useful, the most notable ones being:

  • inbound SMTP support
    You can tell kuvert to listen on localhost on a port of your choice for inbound messages. (This absolutely requires ESMTP authentication as pointed out in the manpage.) Benefit: any garden-variety mail user agent can send via SMTP, which means it can interoperate with kuvert. You don't have to bother with the submission wrapper anymore (but it is still available of course).
  • outbound SMTP support
    Kuvert now can speak SMTP to any server of your choice. No more need for a local MTA installation (unless you prefer one, in which case kuvert will work like before).
  • support for gpg-agent

There are also quite a few other goodies, but I haven't cooked up a good changes document yet; You'll have to read the manpage.

Update (Fri 17.09.2010 14:31):

Kuvert version 2.0.4 has been released. New feature: kuvert now supports SMTP Authentiction for submitting your outbound emails to an MTA (No TLS/SSL yet). Sources here, binaries at the Debian mirror of your choice.

[ published on Sun 29.06.2008 23:32 | filed in mystuff/kuvert | ]
 full schematics for the dcx-8000k

As I wrote earlier and long ago, the beauty of good 70s audio gear is that just about everything is done using discrete components only - which makes these beasts eminently repairable (if you have the service manual as I obviously do).

My Sanyo had developed a very bad left channel (not just crackling but bangs that threatened my speakers) and I figured it was a problem with the main amplifier, likely close to the power transistors.

The relevant NEC 2SB541/2SD388 transistors have of course become unobtainium long ago, but reading up on these in various transistor substitution documents I found that Motorola MJ21195/21196 are workable replacements (with somewhat better ratings). It cost me just $11 for two transistor pairs, $4 for new insulating/heat-conducting rubber pads and about half an hour including the offset/bias adjustment to revive the DCX. As far as I can tell the problem was the rotting, super-thin insulating material between the transistors and the heatsink, but I replaced the transistors nevertheless.

Good as gold again, and it may yet outlast me.

[ published on Mon 13.09.2010 15:36 | filed in interests/tinkering | ]

A few more photos of Conny's recent vacation over here, plus some vid clips of two happy kids :-)

click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Wed 01.09.2010 11:07 | filed in interests | ]

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