Posts Tagged Rants

LED Filaments: Whoops

Five bucks delivered three sets of five warm-white LED filaments from halfway around the planet:

LED Filaments - 3x5 sets

LED Filaments – 3×5 sets

Unfortunately, the “Top Rated Plus” eBay seller just popped three ziplock baggies into an unpadded envelope and tossed it in the mail:

Unpadded LED Filament Envelope

Unpadded LED Filament Envelope

Which had pretty much the result you’d expect on the glass substrates within:

Broken LED Filament 1

Broken LED Filament 1

Turns out every single filament had at least one break:

Broken LED Filament 3

Broken LED Filament 3

Indeed, some seemed just as flexy as the silicone cylinder surrounding the pulverized substrate.

I reported this to the seller, with photographs, and got a classic response:

can you use?

No, I cannot imagine a use for broken LED filaments.

The seller proposed shipping replacements that would might arrive just after the eBay feedback window closed. I proposed refunding the five bucks. The seller ignored that and sent the replacements in an untracked package “as it is an economical shipping, we have to reduce our loss, so is it ok?”.

No, it’s not, but he / she / it didn’t actually intend that as a question.

Were the filaments intact, they’d pass 15 mA with 50 to 60 V applied in one direction or the other, for 1 W average dissipation. That’s probably too high for prolonged use in air (spendy bulbs with similar LEDs have argon / krypton fill for better heat transfer), but I can surely throttle them back a bit.

Perhaps the replacements will arrive before the feedback window closes?

I did order another batch from a different seller that might arrive intact before then. We shall see…



J5-V2 700 lm Flashlight: QC FAIL, Redux

The inside of the replacement J5 V2 Tactical Flashlight doesn’t have quite as much dirt on the LED emitter, but it’s still pretty bad:

J5-V2 Flashlight - LED crud - second unit

J5-V2 Flashlight – LED crud – second unit

The small white dingus at about 10 o’clock seems to be a plastic shred stuck on end to the emitter lens. Here’s a better look, rotated a quarter-turn counterclockwise:

J5-V2 Flashlight - LED crud detail - second unit

J5-V2 Flashlight – LED crud detail – second unit

There’s also an alien egg glued to the heatsink beside the LED:

J5-V2 Flashlight - random pellet - second unit

J5-V2 Flashlight – random pellet – second unit

I’m hoping it’s another random plastic blob.

There’s no point in returning this one; it’ll suffice for my purposes. However, given two random samples, I’d say the J5 Tactical Flashlight factory, wherever it may be in China, is really filthy.

I’d hoped that paying a bit more for a “tactical” flashlight, instead of going bottom dollar, would yield a better product. Maybe it did?


Amazon Packaging: Lack Thereof, Redux

Fortunately, it’s hard to damage an aluminum-body “tactical” flashlight:

J5-V2 Flashlight - Amazon packaging

J5-V2 Flashlight – Amazon packaging

A keyboard and cylindrical cell charger arrived intact, with absolutely no credit due to Amazon’s careful packaging:

Keyboard and charger - Amazon packaging

Keyboard and charger – Amazon packaging

Sometimes, a box does arrive with a token scrap of padding dropped inside, but, as nearly as I can tell, it’s cheaper for Amazon to replace the occasional damaged item than to waste time and material stuffing the boxes with air pillows, eco-foam peanuts, or, heaven forfend, space-filling foam.


Money For Nothing: Gfk MRI TV Survey

This arrived a week ago:

GfK MRI postcard

GfK MRI postcard

You cannot imagine my excitement when the actual survey arrived, complete with a crisp $5 bill:

GfK MRI Survey

GfK MRI Survey

These folks are cheapskates; Nielsen paid better, although I haven’t gotten anything further from them.

It didn’t take long to fill out; my fat Sharpie slashed through the NO columns at a pretty good clip. I did attach a note saying we didn’t have a TV and regarded all TV programs as crap, just in case they didn’t get the message.

Now they know.

FWIW, I did not fill out the form that would enter us in a drawing for one of five $500 prizes, because that would let them associate my name with my response without fattening my wallet. The survey itself probably encodes my identity, even though it didn’t have any obvious bar codes or other ID; they could simply print the questions in a unique order in each survey.


Phishing Knows No Bounds

This appeared on The Mighty Thor’s phone during a Squidwrench meeting:

BofA Phishing

BofA Phishing

“To maintain a secure banking environment” seems diagnostic of a scam.

Discouragingly, some of our banks still send emails with clicky links using third-party mail servers, so doesn’t seem any more suspicious than, say, Schwab’s

A pox on their collective backsides!


Kitchen Spatula Search

A long long time ago, we bought a kitchen spatula that’s served us well ever since:

Spatula Search - original

Spatula Search – original

To give you an idea of how old that poor thing is, the back of the handle bears a Japan stamp. I’ve re-set the rivets several times, the blade has rusted as badly as you think, and we recently, very reluctantly, decided it has passed its best-used-by date.

The 3 x 4.5 inch blade is 19 mil = 0.45 mm plated carbon steel, stiff enough to remain flat and springy enough to bend a little, with a 9 inch = 230 mm steel handle ending in a plastic overmold.

These days, it’s essential to the cutting, flipping, and serving of the morning’s omelet-like substance, made of eggs, bacon, veggies, green leafy things, plus this-and-that, in the cast-iron pan. Mary chops the disk into quarters with the reasonably sharp edge, maneuvers the reasonably bendy blade under each quarter, flips them over, tops with bacon & cheese, pauses for consolidation & melting, then pops them onto plates. Yum!

Omelet in cast-iron pan

Omelet in cast-iron pan

So we set out to buy a replacement.

Here’s what we’ve tried and rejected so far:

Spatula Search - overview

Spatula Search – overview

I’ve used this one for many years to flip pancakes on a succession of non-stick griddles, a service at which it excels. The edge isn’t sharp enough to cut the green-and-leafy and the completely inflexible blade cannot be maneuvered under the omelet quarters:

Spatula Search - heavy solid plastic

Spatula Search – heavy solid plastic

This one gets deployed for burgers and their ilk, also in the cast-iron pan. The blade, although sharp enough, is completely rigid:

Spatula Search - heavy slotted metal

Spatula Search – heavy slotted metal

On the other paw, a slightly concave 7 mil = 0.18 mm spring steel blade is much too thin and, well, springy. Although very sharp, you cannot apply enough cutting force without suddenly bending the blade and, if the omelet quarter isn’t positioned exactly right, the blade will bend underneath it and dump breakfast on the stovetop. The alert reader will notice a missing weld between the blade and the bottom wire handle:

Spatula Search - thin spring steel

Spatula Search – thin spring steel

This very thin plastic blade has similar problems with poor cut-ability and excessive flexibility:

Spatula Search - thin springy plastic

Spatula Search – thin springy plastic

This one looked really promising and worked almost perfectly. Regrettably, its nylon blade bears a 400 °F rating and the bottom of the omelet reaches nearly 450 °F. You can see what happens to the reasonably sharp edge as it scrapes across the pan:

Spatula Search - heavy slotted nylon

Spatula Search – heavy slotted nylon

The omelet cooks at the temperature it cooks at, which part of the specifications is not subject to further discussion.

So, we’re stumped. Having trawled the usual online and big-box stores, we’ve been unable to find a replacement. Simple steel blades aren’t available. Trendy silicone-bonded stainless steel blades combine the worst of all worlds: won’t cut and won’t flip. Pretty nearly anything you don’t see above seems obviously unsuitable for our simple needs: too big, too small, or too melty.

We’ll consider all recommendations and suggestions! Thanks …



Internet Of Things, Banking Division

We were sitting in the Credit Union and, as usual, I scouted out the WiFi situation:

IoT Thermostat in the Credit Union

IoT Thermostat in the Credit Union

Huh. Not what you’d expect to find in a bank lobby.

In case you haven’t seen what can happen with a thermostat, you can pwn a Nest.

Searching with the obvious keywords should provide plenty of reasons why the Internet of Things isn’t ready for prime time, not that that will slow it down in the least.

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