I suppose we’re even, because I have no recollection of setting a Purchase Reminder on anything at any time.
By default, my email client does not display remote content in messages, which chops out the cute pictures, as well as killing all the cruft and tracking widgetry infesting commercial email these days.
Some weeks ago the Sunbeam clothes iron Mary uses for her quilting projects stopped retracting its cord and a few days ago the entire compartment holding the cord spool simply fell off:
One plastic stud and two thin plastic tabs held the compartment onto the rest of the iron. How they lasted this long I do not know, but they are neither replaceable nor fixable.
When you see badly rusted screws in an electrical device, you know the story cannot end well:
And, indeed, it hasn’t:
This being a steam iron, it has a water tank that gets filled through an awkward port with a sliding cover. Mary is as conscientious a person as you’ll ever meet, but the occasional spill has certainly happened and it is painfully obvious the iron’s designers anticipated no such events.
The coil spring had rusted into a solid mass:
I removed the spring, soaked it in Evapo-Rust for a few hours, then cleaned and oiled it:
Rewinding and reinstalling the spring showed it has lost its mojo and cannot retract more than a few feet of cord.
She’s in the middle of a quilting project and will replace the iron with whatever cheapnified piece of crap might be available these days. Similar irons have reviews reporting they begin spitting rust after a few months, which suggests the plastic tank or stainless steel hardware in this one have been cost-reduced with no regard for fitness-for-use.
Just before the turn of the millennium, I bought what turned out to be a never-sufficiently-to-be-damned HP 2000C inkjet printer that served as my introduction to refilling inkjet cartridges. A few years later, a Canon S630 printer joined the stable and worked fine for perhaps five years before succumbing to a printhead death. An Epson R380 that might have cost fifteen bucks after rebate took over, drank maybe a gallon of knockoff ink through a continuous ink supply system during the next thirteen years, and finally suffered progressive printhead failure during the last year.
Something recently changed in the inkjet market: Epson (among others) now touts their “Ecotank” printers featuring large internal reservoirs refilled by 70 ml bottles of color ink priced at perhaps 20¢/ml, obtained direct from Epson via Amazon. They proudly note you can save 90% off the cost of cartridges (“Kiss Expensive Cartridges Goodbye”), without mentioning how their previous extortionate cartridge business made that possible. Of course, Ecotank printers cost far more than cartridge-based printers, but that seems reasonable to me.
Because the ink bottles fit neatly into the printer through a push-to-flow valve interlock, I can finally retire this relic:
That’s maybe fifteen years of accumulated splotches.
If the individual strands seem unnaturally straight, they are, because they’re made of (presumably) copper plated on a (presumably) metallic core. Here’s what they look like after bending them sharply around my fingernail:
Wonderfully springy, utterly non-magnetic, and surprisingly durable.
Scraping the 0.02 mm strands with a sharp blade reveals a silvery interior, so it’s (presumably) not copper-coated plastic. Aluminum springs (ahem) to mind, but I’d expect tiny aluminum strands would snap (or at least deform) when bent and erode quickly when scraped.
Each wire measures about 1 Ω / m from the plug (a convenient 40 inch = 1 m away), which is the resistance you’d get from a single hair-fine 5 mil = 0.13 mm strand of 35 AWG solid copper. An 18 AWG aluminum wire would have the same resistance as a 20 AWG copper wire, both of which should be 32 mΩ / m: a factor of 30 less than this crap.
A hank of the wire goes into the Box o’ Springs, in the event I ever need a tiny straight spring rod; you definitely can’t wind this stuff into a coil! It might be fine enough for a crosshair / reticle, at least for crude optics.
Being that type of guy, a red LED glowing in the far corner of the basement attracts my attention:
Back in the day, Verizon didn’t make it obvious that the customer is responsible for replacing the battery keeping the ONT alive during power failures. I expect VZ would eventually let me know the battery was dead, remind me I was on the hook for the replacement, then offer to send a tech around with a Genuine VZ Battery to maintain reliable service.
It’s an ordinary 12 V 8 A·hr sealed lead acid battery and, yes, it’s been in there for a while:
Why You Shouldn’t Use Heat Pumps in the Northeast US
Baofeng UV-5R Squelch Settings
Mini-Lathe Tailstock: Alignment
Arduino Serial Optical Isolator
Mysterious Noise in Toyota Sienna Minivan: Fixed!
Baofeng UV-5: Squelch Pop Suppression
bCNC Probe Camera Calibration
Demolition Card GTA 5-10-9
Multimeter Range Switch Contacts: Whoops!
Realigning Tweezer Tips
Schwalbe Marathon Plus and Michelin Protek vs. Glass Chip
Kenmore Model 158 Speed Control: Carbon Disk Replacement
Kenmore Electric Dryer: Power Resistor Replacement
Old Kenmore Sewing Machine Foot Control Repair
Closing the Dmesg Audit Firehose
Blog Page Views
That adds up to 200 k page views from 122 k visitors, for an average of 1.6 pages / visitor, down slightly from last year. For a variety of reasons, I wrote only 242 posts over the course of the year, so more folks read only the single post matching their search terms.
To give you an idea of how awful online advertising has become, WordPress shoveled 817 k ads at those readers, slightly more than four ads per view. Given the toxicity of online advertising, I just started paying $50/year for a “personal” plan to get a few more gigabytes of media storage, which also let me turn off the ads. Most of you won’t notice, as you already run ad blockers, but it will calm the results for everybody else.
Fortunately, losing the $250 / year income from those ads won’t significantly affect my standard of living.
Subject: [redacted] review blog invitation about bluetooth programmer
Message: Hi dear,
Thanks for taking time to read this email.
I am Colleen from [redacted] brand, we sell two way radio on Amazon. I learned that you have wrote two way radio review blog before and I think your blog was written well.
Now we have a product named bluetooth programmer that need to be reviewed. […] We would like to invite you to write a review blog about it.
Your can earn $2 from each product sold! We promise it. Just put the link we provided you in your blog and the Amazon backstage will count the data. And we will pay you $2 for per product sold by your link through PayPal on the 30th of every month. (Please provide your PayPal account)
If you are willing to help us write a blog, please tell us if you have a radio and your address we will send you the product for free to review.
You can view more detailed information through this link:
Most likely, it’s just the result of an ordinary web search.
You might think everybody would know about Amazon’s crackdown on out-of-band review kickback scams, but either word hasn’t gotten around or the rewards still exceed the penalties. I think the latter applies, particularly when the offender (or its parent company) can spin up another randomly named Amazon seller with no loss of continuity.
“Earning” two bucks on a few purchases during the course of a year won’t move my Quality of Life needle, so I reported them to Amazon and that might be that.
Speaking of randomly named sellers, it’s highly likely any Brand Name you remember from the Good Old Days has been disconnected from the tool / hardware / service you remember. Perusing a snapshot of the who-owns-who tool landscape as of a few years ago may be edifying: I didn’t know Fluke and Tektronix now have the same corporate parent.
Enjoy unwrapping your presents and playing with your toys …