Sunday, February 28, 2010

Apple serial number decoder

This page takes an Apple serial number and dumps what it knows about it.

Here's sample output from my iPod serial:

Serial number: [redacted]
Name: iPod Mini (Second generation)
Model: Mxxxx iPod Mini 4GB Silver
Group1: iPod
Group2: Mini
ModelCode: ipod_mini_2g
Screen size: 1.6 inch
Screen resolution: 138x110 pixels
Colour: Silver
Capacity: 4GB
Factory: JQ (China)
External link: Technical specifications by
Model introduced: 2005
Production year: 2005
Production week: 15 (April)
Production number: 34353 (within this week)

private license plate scanning

I had written in MBTRT how the City of Richardson scans license plates looking for warrants and other Bad things.

Here's a NYT article about folks that do it for private databases.

Makes me wonder if having a residence on a busy street might be a way to make $$$; build a little cam into your mailbox and sell plate images to the database dudesters. The idea makes me feel a bit wiggly inside, but if it's legal for companies to do it...

Saturday, February 27, 2010

seedlings 2010, LF-6

Jumbled thoughts follow.

I planted the first batch of seeds planted in the greenhouse today. My new approach is underway. The starter containers (egg cartons, toilet paper tubes lined with a sheet of newspaper) are ugly but free. We'll see how they work. I also have some of those pressed peat starter containers.

LinkThese seeds were started SFG-style, which is to say "only one seed" per spot. Makes me a little squeamish, but he warned us ahead of time.

Here's the list of stuff started at LF-6 (ie, last average frost date minus six weeks):
  1. Hybrid "Delicious" Tomato
  2. Hybrid "Super Sweet 100" cherry tomato
  3. Heirloom "Brandywine" tomato - my first heirloom attempt
  4. Hybrid "Jelly Bean" grape tomato
  5. Lettuce
  6. scrounged green bell pepper
  7. scrounged yellow bell pepper
  8. scrounged red bell pepper
Looks limited now but those are the plants that get started this early. More variety to come. Planting a few varieties to see what works. Who knows what will happen with the scrounged bell pepper seeds. Might not sprout, probably won't yield fruit. Hey, it's free. I've sprouted lemons, limes, and grapefruit that way before.

The newspaper mulch was down throughout all the freezes, covered with leaf mulch; the overhead bar for securing vertical twine for training is in place. Will take pics of anything that sprouts.

Carmen's closed

You missed your chance if you didn't already try out Carmen's Bagel. That was a great place.

If I wasn't surviving on sub pay I'd have spent more $$$ there.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Johnny Weir is a badass

Yes, Johnny is a superfreak of the most fabulous kind. He's easy to make fun of, what with all the pictures in heels and black-and-pink corseted bondage skating outfits.

But here's the thing. I have seen exactly two interviews with Johhny Weir and both were thoughtful, centered, and brave. What's not manly about that?

This one is well worth watching. I'd stand with Johnny against a crowd of gaybashers any day. (which reminds me, I haven't given a shout-out to Pink Pistols lately.)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Motorcade lawsuit is offensive

Family of Dallas officer killed in '08 motorcade crash sues Hillary Clinton.

I don't care about the Clinton part; she was not at the controls of his motorcycle when he failed to negotiate the turn (ie, "ran wide").

As a motorcyclist, I'll say that if you are in a one-vehicle accident on a motorcycle you are at fault.

Cashing in on the Death Lottery is ugly business.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Snow Day

Looks like minimal damage to the trees around my house. Nothing big and obvious down as far as I can see.

Streets are slushy but I walked around and found no ice.

A small tree (or large photinia shrub, actually) toppled this morning a couple of mins after I took the first picture; you can see the branches in the upper right corner of the the picture. It was scraggly, bent, and probably needed to go anyway.

Didn't land on anything and didn't appear to cause any damage at all. That's cool, because it could have fallen on the glass greenhouse in the background there. Yay, our team! I've got a small chainsaw and axe so I can probably remove most of it myself. We'll see.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

what American English sounds like

For the past few years I've been wondering what English sounds like to people who learned English later in life. I've asked a few people to imitate English but none would do so. I think they think it would be disrespectful or something, but I've been really curious about it and want to know.

Internet to the rescue. Ran across this link today on some portal site; it has a few examples. About half of them do sound like English to my ears.

Let me think about that for a moment...


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Dear AAA Texas

You have convinced me to never buy a "membership" to your service.

You sent me junk mail marked Second Notice, as if it were an overdue bill. If you are willing to lie to me before you get my money how can I trust you after you get what you want?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

bird party

Big flock of cedar waxwings at the backyard fountain today. They drank water but ignored the bread chunks I had put out for the sparrows earlier.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Vegetable garden, v2010

Here are some things I'm trying this year, based on my reading about square foot gardening (SFG hereafter) and, to a much lesser extent, permaculture:

  • better timing of starting seedlings, transplanting, and planting seeds. I made a calendar with our zone's first and last frost dates, and a running tally of how far away we are from each date. This, combined with a spreadsheet that lists planting times and seed-to-seedling projections, suggests a timeline that should improve my yield.
  • more frugal use of seeds through reduction. SFG teaches not to oversow and thin later, but instead intentionally seed the number of plants you want.
  • more frugal use of seeds through preservation. Keep the seeds not sown above in a vacuum and in the fridge.
  • more frugal use of seeds through propagation. I've grown small lemon and grapefruit trees from seeds saved after eating the fruit and it was a lot of fun. I saved some apple, pear, bell pepper and jalepeno seeds to try out this year. They are probably hybrid and will not yield as expected, but no harm no foul.
  • More vertical growing for tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, etc. They will be in the northernmost position in order to avoid blocking sunlight.
  • lining the bed with a newspaper mulch to block weed sprouts, retain moisture, and increase carbon over time. I used a 3-4 sheet thickness, and covered with some partially decomposed leaf matter.
  • Increased use of heritage/heriloom cultivars to increase biodiversity and increase the chance of seed scavenging.
  • separation of similar plants to discourage pest feasting
  • better planning for light preferences of the plants. Now that I've been here for 2yrs I have a better feel for how the light moves around the arable land.

Dreams for the future:
  • some hens and chicken tractor.
  • increase garden area (reduce grassed area)