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Posts Tagged Rants

Burnett Blvd at Rt 55: Passing on the Right, Redux

As usual, we’re at the Rt 55 end of Burnett Blvd, returning home from a grocery trip; I’m hauling two full bags of chow in the trailer. The white car pulling up immediately to our left will make a left turn from the left lane:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right Pass - 2017-09-19 - 01

Burnett at Rt 55 – Right Pass – 2017-09-19 – 01

The more distant white car, turning left out of Overocker, is eases past us in the right lane to make a right turn:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right Pass - 2017-09-19 - 02

Burnett at Rt 55 – Right Pass – 2017-09-19 – 02

We’re on the left side of the right lane, rather than the right, to avoid right hook collisions with drivers who flat-out do not stop before turning. Been there, had that happen, we know better.

The car approaching in the right lane will attempt to pass us on the right:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right Pass - 2017-09-19 - 03

Burnett at Rt 55 – Right Pass – 2017-09-19 – 03

That’s happened before, too, so I’m watching this happen in  my mirror. My line will pass to the right of the inconveniently placed manhole cover in the intersection:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right Pass - 2017-09-19 - 04

Burnett at Rt 55 – Right Pass – 2017-09-19 – 04

Mary’s nearing the right side of the lane, I’m in the middle, and the driver jams to a stop rather than run up over the sidewalk:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right Pass - 2017-09-19 - 05

Burnett at Rt 55 – Right Pass – 2017-09-19 – 05

The passenger window is rolling down, which is always a Bad Sign:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right Pass - 2017-09-19 - 06

Burnett at Rt 55 – Right Pass – 2017-09-19 – 06

It’s all the way down and I know what’s about to happen:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right Pass - 2017-09-19 - 07

Burnett at Rt 55 – Right Pass – 2017-09-19 – 07

So I preempt the discussion by pointing out she was passing in an intersection and the license plate on the silver Chevy say FEX-4194:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right Pass - 2017-09-19 - 08

Burnett at Rt 55 – Right Pass – 2017-09-19 – 08

She passes Mary and stops directly ahead of us in the middle of the right-hand lane. We jam to a stop behind her. The black car approaching us swerves into the middle lane:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right Pass - 2017-09-19 - 09

Burnett at Rt 55 – Right Pass – 2017-09-19 – 09

She pulls around the corner onto Manchester and stops in the intersection. I stop well behind her to remain visible from Rt 55, which turns out to be a Good Idea:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right Pass - 2017-09-19 - 10

Burnett at Rt 55 – Right Pass – 2017-09-19 – 10

Mary eases beside the drivers window, which rolls down. The driver says she’s going to call the police, “because we pulled directly in front of her”. Mary points out we have video of the entire encounter. The window rolls up and the driver pulls away.

Overocker, Burnett, and a short sprint on Rt 55 to Manchester is the only route from the grocery store to Rt 376 and home, so it’s not like we’re looking for trouble.

No helmet camera video, alas, because I tried those piece-of-crap Wasabi batteries in the Sony HDR-AS30V and the second one was flat-out dead. The first one, in the camera when I left home, showed empty after the half-hour ride to the grocery store, so they really are junk; “Premium Japanese cells” my foot.

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Wasabi NP-BX1 Batteries: Consistent FAIL

The replacement NP-BX1 batteries arrived and, as I expected, perform just as badly as the previous pair:

Sony NP-BX1 - Wasabi GHIJK - 2017-09-01 - annotated

Sony NP-BX1 – Wasabi GHIJK – 2017-09-01 – annotated

The note I sent to Wasabi’s tech support summarizes the details:

The second pair of NP-BX1 batteries are just as bad as the first two. In fact, all four perform worse than the nearly two-year-old Wasabi batteries I’ve been using.

The graph shows the test results from my CBA III analyzer. All batteries were all charged in a Wasabi wall charger.

The top solid red curve shows the as-delivered performance in late 2015 for the battery I labeled “G”, tested at 500 mA. It delivered only 1 Ah, not the claimed 1.6 Ah, even at that relatively low current, but has delivered over one hour of service in the camera.

The top dotted-blue curve shows the as-delivered performance for the NEW battery I labeled “J”, also tested at 500 mA. It delivers only 0.88 Ah, 55% of the claimed 1.6 Ah, at a much lower voltage while discharging.

After two years, OLD battery “G” has more capacity and a higher voltage than the NEW battery “J”!

The lower curves shows the results for the four most recent batteries I labeled H I J K, all tested at 1 A to better match the camera’s actual current; the dotted traces mark the second test of each battery.

The orange traces show battery K has about 0.77 Ah of capacity, less than half of the claimed 1.6 Ah and much worse than the others.

I also re-tested battery old battery G at 1 A, as shown by the dotted red curve labeled “G:2017-09”. It outperforms ALL of the new batteries!

Batteries H and I have date codes BQF22, which I interpret as 2017-06-22: fairly recent stock.

Batteries J and K have date codes BPL28: 2016-12-28. They’ve been sitting around for a while, which may account for the poor performance of battery K.

These Wasabi batteries cost roughly twice (*) as much as they did in late 2015, have /much/ lower capacity, and, to judge from the date codes, they’ve been consistently poor since late last year.

What is going on?

It’s worth noting that Wasabi NP-BX1 batteries are currently $16 for the pair on Amazon and were $9 in late 2015. Allegedly genuine Sony NP-BX1 batteries run $50 MSRP and a suspiciously consistent $37.99 from all the usual big-box sources, including Amazon, where they’re out-of-stock for the next few months. Combining the number of counterfeits in the supply chain with Amazon’s commingled SKU stock bins, I have my doubts about what I’d get by increasing my battery spend by a factor of five.

I think it’s about time to conjure an external 18650 holder / helmet mount for that camera and be done with it.

[(*) Edit: I screwed up the unit of measure: the old invoice had two single batteries. The new order was one pair, so I now pay slightly less for much worse performance. A refund is wending its way through the system.]

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Sharp EL-531W vs. EL-531X Calculators

(Typo in the permalink: should be W vs. X. Fixing it will break all the auto-linkies. Hate it when that happens.)

When our lass first began using calculators, I put a pair of Sharp EL-531W calculators in harm’s way around the shop, where they still reside. The new EL-531X seems to have an identical key layout and internal logic (*), as well as the same under-ten-buck price, but I don’t like it nearly as much:

Sharp EL-531W EL-531X calculators

Sharp EL-531W EL-531X calculators

It’s maybe 10 mm wider and doesn’t fit readily in my hand. I’m sure the rounded-rectangle stylin’ mimics a phone, but the cheapnified keys look ugly (particularly the ones around the arrow keys at the top) and don’t feel nearly as good.

The new one fills a gap next to the lathe, where it should collect plenty of swarf.

(*) Including engineering notation with multiple-of-three exponents, which I regard as vital.

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Wasabi NP-BX1 Batteries: FAIL

I just got a new pair of Wasabi Power NP-BX1 batteries for the HDR-AS30V helmet camera, charged them up, and ran them through the CBA:

Sony NP-BX1 - Wasabi FGHI - 2017-08-08

Sony NP-BX1 – Wasabi FGHI – 2017-08-08

Huh.

The new ones (H and I) cost near twice as much as the 2-1/2 year old previous pair (F and G), while delivering less energy at a lower terminal voltage. Tested ’em twice to be sure and the curves overlay just about perfectly, so it’s not a fluke.

The rep assures me the replacement cells will deliver their promised capacity. We shall see.

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Riding With Scissors

Well, bypass pruning shears, anyway …

Although NYSDOT did cut back the Japanese Knotweed along Rt 376 north of Maloney Rd, perhaps because they were repaving that section, the overgrowth south of Red Oaks Mill continues unabated:

Rt 376 - SB at Walker - Overgrowth - 2017-07-09

Rt 376 – SB at Walker – Overgrowth – 2017-07-09

I’ve been carrying shears to deal with the most egregious offenses, because some sport inch-long thorns:

Rt 376 - SB at Walker - Thorns - 2017-07-09

Rt 376 – SB at Walker – Thorns – 2017-07-09

Unlike the NYSDOT Wappingers (a.k.a. Dutchess South) Residency , their Poughkeepsie (a.k.a. Dutchess North) Residency has no compunction about defoliation around road signs:

Rt 376 - SB marker 1117 - Sign defoliation - 2017-07-15

Rt 376 – SB marker 1117 – Sign defoliation – 2017-07-15

And guide rails:

Rt 376 - NB marker 1124 - Rail defoliation - 2017-07-15

Rt 376 – NB marker 1124 – Rail defoliation – 2017-07-15

So, obviously, different strokes for different Residencies.

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Ersatz Yellow Pages Scam

These mailings generally carry a “trash before reading” interest level, but this one stands out:

Biz Directory Scam - the deal

Biz Directory Scam – the deal

The Terms and Conditions feature some gems:

Biz Directory Scam - Terms and Conditions

Biz Directory Scam – Terms and Conditions

The first few sections suggest their past behavior has required some … admissions … to avoid future issues.

Section 9 says the laws of Florida apply and the “agreement is performable” (whatever that means) “at United Directories’ address located in Jacksonville Beach, Florida”. They’re so afraid of their customers that the only address appearing on the mailer is in Atlanta, Georgia, but a bit of poking around suggests their HQ is inside what looks like a beachfront house across from Joe’s Crab Shack or a biz building up the street.

Section 11 says your “listing” will be renewed every six months at $396, so you pay nigh onto 800 bucks a year for a “customizable web page” nobody visits.

Section 12 tells you “Unpaid accounts will incur a 10% late charge” and “Any credits will be applied to the next subscription period.”

This will come as no surprise:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/phony-phone-directory-fla-firm-guilty-of-425-million-fraud-trading-on-yellow-pages-name-say-prosecutors/

Searching for obvious keywords + scam won’t turn up any surprises, either.

Sad fact: they actually have some listings.

I wish no ill will on anyone, but if somebody’s gotta be under the next meteor strike, I have a short list of candidates …

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Handbag Strap Rivet Repair

One of the leather strap anchors on Mary’s giant haul-everything-to-a-concert(*) handbag pulled its rivet through the canvas fabric:

Handbag - pulled-through rivet

Handbag – pulled-through rivet

We knotted the strap around the zippered opening and completed the mission.

Of course, it wouldn’t have pulled through if they’d splurged on washers, but noooo too expensive:

Handbag - intact rivet - inside

Handbag – intact rivet – inside

Some rummaging produced a pan-head M3 screw of suitable length:

Handbag - repaired - outside

Handbag – repaired – outside

A slightly battered acorn nut was a special treat for the inside, with another washer to keep me happy:

Handbag - repaired - inside

Handbag – repaired – inside

That was easy!

(*) At Tanglewood, where they don’t strip-search you on the way in, tow-behind coolers seemed de rigueur, and a good time was had by all.

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