Monthly Archives: November 2011


I am currently running two toy solar installations.


The one in my truck camper is a 60w panel, 5A MPPT charge controller, and real deep cycle 12v.


There is a smaller, cheaper setup in my house.  It’s the 45w Harbor Freight system, (available on sale for $150, then add the ubiquitous 20% off coupon).     It feeds one of those hybrid marine quasi-deep cycle batts.   The HF system isn’t going to win any engineering prizes but the panels are sturdy and functional.  The included 12v cfl lights (2) work fine and only pull about 5w.

The charge controller (2nd gen, not the widely-despised 1st gen) is primitive but has interesting LOAD jacks:

  • 12v lighter-style jack, useful for powering gear with that plug.  Laptops, etc.
  • USB 5v, for charging or running anything that can be plugged into USB. Major use case here is charging cell phones.
  • 3v, 6v, 9v jacks with multi-adapter.  Haven’t looked to see if polarity can be swapped, but if so it should be able to run pretty much anything that came with a wall-wart power supply.  Small radios for weather and news, handy-talky rechargers, AA battery rechargers.  The kinds of things you might need if the power goes out.
  • The LOAD jacks have a 11v cutoff to help prevent overdischarging the battery and damaging it.  Theoretically 11v is too low and the damage has been done, but since the voltage is an “under load” measurement rather than “at rest” I suspect this cutoff will work ok in most cases.  Very small loads could sneak the voltage down to an 11v reading that would be very close to 11v resting but that’s probably not common.


The HF system is a great way to learn and experiment.  It should reveal if you are interested in more/better or are happy with a minimal setup.  Or want to give it away.


A recent vegetarian dinner: brown rice and Mexican squash

Probably not making any converts with my very simple preparations/presentations, but my work schedule is brutal.  Simple = get more living done.  And it tasted good, so I’ll take the hit.



1c brown rice cooked in rice cooker with 2.5c water

3 medium calabasa squash, browned in a bit of olive oil heated in a pan.  Then salted/peppered with a tiny bit of the insanely hot pepper mince made by a buddy.


Gedanken: sheepdog

Posted elsewhere:


A shepherd has a flock of sheep and a sheepdog to protect the flock.  The sheep eat grass.  The sheepdog’s feed is bought by shearing the sheep and selling the woold.  The sheepdog starts attacking the sheep instead of protecting them.  

What should (or will) the shepherd do?  

If the shepherd takes no action what should (or will) the sheep do?


First principles: portland’s mayor

Mayor Sam Adams said late Sunday afternoon that “a series of increased drug overdoses… an arsonist that used the camp as camouflage and almost a 20% increase in crime surrounding the encampment” prompted the move. cnn


A quick review of the principles presented by the mayor.

  1. Citizens must be removed from any area that experiences a series of increased drug overdoses. (Concerts?  Frat parties?  Professional sports teams?)
  2. Citizens must be removed from any area which arsonists use as camoflage (pretty much anywhere, it’s open season!  “Hey, I think I saw an arsonist use that private residence as camoflage!”)
  3. Citizens must be removed from any area which experiences a 20% increase in crime (conventions, superbowl, etc)
The state knows what is best for you, and with whom you should freely associate.  {spit}  
Full disclosure:  I love, love, love Portland.

life in dial-up mode

Although it’s been a long while since I’ve actually connected to the net with dial-up, I am currently tethering Continue reading

Shouting down one’s opponent is counterproductive

Shouting someone down is not debate.

In a shout-down the the shouter is revealed as someone with a platform so weak (or the opponent’s so strong) that theirs cannot compete in the marketplace of ideas.


Shouting down is crowdsourced censorship.  Let your opponents hang themselves with their own words.  Let the audience make their choices.


(normally I would have posted this on G+ but I promised I’d give it a little break over there)



My interest in the Occupy movement[s]

Most of my G+ posts lately have been comments about the OWS / larger Occupy movement ( 0* hereafter).  I’m going to try to collect those wispy thoughts and organize them a bit.  Here are the ways I am interested in 0*. Continue reading

Tonight’s meatless dinner

Leftovers I froze earlier then thawed tonite for dinner: brussel sprouts, panfried potatoes, an egg.

Fit into a container the size of one of those school lunch milk cartons.  A cup, maybe?



Thoughts about a recent OD Update blog post

Here are some random thought fragments about the recent OD blog post Update:  the State of our Occupation. Continue reading