Thursday, September 20, 2007

How objects fail to learn

Recently, I was tending to my Marantz amplifiers and realized that objects will suggest design improvements.

How many AM antennas snapped off before Marantz took action to ebb the broken tuner flow streaming through the warranty repair department doors? Having grown up in a house with Marantz amplifiers, I have been trying to resist using this 'not a handle' for 30 years. Though I have enough tuners to last five lifetimes, I can not resist checking to see if garage sale tuners still have the AM antenna.

If Marantz listened to the first couple broken amplifiers and designed a subsequent integrated handle/antenna, there would be a lot more mint condition units today.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Mister Jalopy and Mark Frauenfelder on Public Radio Today

Mark (editor of Make Magazine, founder of, author of Rule the Web and good friend of mine) and I will be on KPCC LA Public Radio today. We will discuss a variety of terrifically fascinating topics that will be sure to delight young and old alike.

From KPCC:
... Thursday, September 6
Remember the guy on your street who was the neighborhood Mister Fixit... and in his spare time he tried to build a solar-powered toaster or a better backyard rocket? Anything the factory manufacturer did, they can do better. Spend a little time with the men and women of the Maker movement.
We are on:

Patt Morrison! Live!
KPCC 89.3FM in Los Angeles!
September 6, 2007
Show starts at 2:00 PM, we are on around the half way point.

Podcasts, live internet listening and archived streams - Here

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Los Angeles Heatwave Requires Thermometer Calibration

For the purposes of discussion, we will assume the Fluke 88V is correct.

Let's face it, nobody likes tools that lie. And as a consequence, serious individuals demand that their tools are calibrated. It is not that I do everything with a high level of precision, but I feel comfort in knowing my tools are upholding their end of the deal.

Suspecting that friends might think I was over exaggerating the Hooptyrides average temperature this week, I decided to calibrate the Cobbs Creek Drink-O-Meter thermometer to determine just what I was up against. 104 F, inside. 110 F, outside. The Bell Ringer, Horse's Neck and Mint Smash - no matter how appealing they sound - are clearly not going to cut it. Mint Juleps will be enjoyed inside, but outside we are getting perilously close to 'too hot to imbibe.' Perhaps temperatures over 110F will require hitting the bottle straight. Like a cannonball.