I noticed this in my twitter feed the other day:
windshare: ExPlace Turbine Shutdown for Service http://wp.me/p11wfW-8T
From what the linked news release said, it looks like the turbine has had a major mechanical component failure. The replacement part will take several months to arrive, then needs a crane to replace it. The turbine is structurally sound, and is even yawing to follow the wind, but can’t generate.
This is a shame, as the volunteers at WindShare had just got the turbine operating at very close to commercial availability. There are also a couple of usefully windy months before the summer for which co-op members will lose revenue.
Update: a very watered-down news release went up on April 3rd: Turbine Technology Update.
Oddly-shaped windows are a pain to screen grab. Netpbm to the rescue!
- Make a blue (or green, or whatever isn’t used in your window) image larger than the window, like this:
ppmmake blue 800 600 | pnmtopng > ~/Desktop/b.png
- Display the image, and arrange your program in front of it.
- Take a screenshot.
- Crop the image, and set the background transparent.
pngtopnm Screen\ shot\ 2011-03-27\ at\ 10.12.52\ .png |\
pnmtopng -transparent blue > ICP-2007.png
(and yeah, this is a Windows program running under Wine on OS X …)
I just got my amateur radio license. If you’re unlucky enough to be on the 2m and 70cm bands around Toronto, you may just find me as VA3PID. The 3 is, of course, silent …
I guess that (so far unsuccessfully) futzing around with the small digital transceivers with Arduino made me look up some radio things, then I read this article on MetaFilter. It made me realize that unless new hams get on the air, the hobby will die, and the radio spectrum will be reallocated.
Passing the test wasn’t that hard, but did take a bit of dedicated reading. No morse code is required for the Basic Amateur Radio Operator Certificate, and if you get more than 80% in the multiple choice test, you can use the HF frequencies below 30 MHz. Since the pass mark is 70%, I thought it worth the extra effort.
I slightly overbought on the study materials. I got:
While it’s possible to download the question bank from Industry Canada, or use the quaint Windows-based examiner program, I thought I’d work from a book. Both will likely do pretty well, but neither is perfect:
- Both books need to work on their proof-reading.
- Mathematical symbols, superscripts and subscripts are easy to typeset these days. Don’t miss them out.
- They need to be fully metric, as trying to remember weird factors to convert fractions of a wavelength to feet is annoying. I’m a mid-career engineer, and I’ve never had to use anything but metric.
I passed the exam on Tuesday night, and had my callsign listed by Friday. I have a cheap but adequate Wouxun dual band HT. This should be fun.
Quaint, huh? Industry Canada's Windows-only examiner software
I’ve got a bike locker. You can have a bike locker too. It’s $10+tax a month.
The bike just fits in. It isn’t tall enough for my ill-fated bike mirror (which doesn’t fit in my own shed, so is likely soon to be removed). The locker tapers towards the back, so I’m not sure I can reach the nurse’s lock on the frame.
My locker hadn’t been used for a while, so I had to attack the mechanism with spray lube before it would reliably lock and unlock.
It appears that my musical choice has this effect on people, as this just happened on a collaborative jukebox I’m aware of:
(07:50) The Lobster Requirement has left
(07:49) Playing Freeing Song for Reindeer by The Music Tapes from Music Tapes for Clouds & Tornadoes
(07:49) Finished playing French Toast Man by Fred Lane & Ron ‘Pate’s Debonairs from From The One That Cut You & Car Radio Jerome
(07:48) The Lobster Requirement has joined
Creme Delta Cruisers? Check. Conti tubes with presta valves and adaptors? Check. B&M CycleStar mirror? Check. Frankly unnecessary but very very pretty Sögreni brass bell? Check (ding!). The Batavus is ready for riding (and more importantly 30 Days of Biking).
While the ingenious Batavus chain-guard comes off quickly once you know the trick (it’s all held together by the section over the hub; pop that open, and everything else comes apart in a simple manner), removing and replacing the rear wheel was one of the fiddliest things I’ve ever done. The Shimano Nexus 8-speed hub with roller brake (model SG-8R31, if you care) makes things difficult enough by having a brake reaction arm and a gear cable to remove, but Batavus’s own dropout adjuster/wheel keepers are a pain.
I suspect these little stainless steel clasps (not pictured, as to see them would have me swearing at them again) are in fact impossible to reinstall with the bike in a stand. With the bike upside down, the weight of the wheel seems to spring them open a bit, placing the axle into the dropout smooth like buttah.
(I blame Lovely Bicycle! for the cream-coloured tyres obsession.)
After several months closed, the Jamaican restaurant at 224 Adelaide St W has reopened as Caribbean Taste. It’s the same folks (Robert & Wendy, from Tropical Desires on Old Weston Rd) cooking as before, and it’s still able to provide a life-changing roti experience.
We’d been to Schwartz’s before, and the line and the crush and the noise just wasn’t worth it. Across the road is the Main Steak House Deli, which was supposed to be as good, and way less crowded. So we went in …
Whoa! Tender peppery meat, killer poutine, crispy pickles and cold beer. We ordered in hesitating French, then the server yelled the order in English to the kitchen.
Looks like not everyone’s billing workflow understands accents:
Outside, we saw meat resting in the window, bejewelled with peppercorns:
We’ll be back the next time we’re in Montreal.
Canada Computers are entirely awesome. In the last week, they:
- without fuss (but a trivial restocking fee) took back RAM that wouldn’t work with a Toshiba laptop. bloody wrongly-specified devices, grar.
- Had in stock a rather obscure ThinkPad battery in their charmingly cluttered Pacific Mall store.