pricey

Generation costs/kWh for new nuclear (including fuel & O&M but not distribution to customers) are likely to be from 25 – 30 cents/kWh.

Business Risks and Costs of New Nuclear Power, Craig A. Severance, January 2009. [via Climate Progress]

the customer is always

Can I just say that the audio department of Long & McQuade at Ossington & Bloor is easily the worst sales experience possible? Not merely did the assistant (in the loosest possible sense) doubt the availability of an item that I’d previously confirmed with the distributor as being sold by L&M, but when I queried the go-away-and-leave-me-alone price he quoted, he aggressively queried where I’d seen a better price.

Sorry, but you’ve lost a sale. You may have lost me as a customer.

Update:  I just got a Canadian price from RVA which is at least $20 less than the US web price that the loser in L&M said wasn’t possible. A-ha ha, you suck, Long & McQuade!

so that just about wraps it up for vancouver

Q: What do you get after two days of rain in Vancouver?
A: Monday!

Well, I’m heading back, and quite typically, the sun came out today so I got a peek at the mountains. It’s been a fun, busy trip, even if I am using Telus‘s ridiculously expensive and slow hotspot in Vancouver airport.

All the printers I’ve ever owned …

bird you can see: hp print test

  • An ancient (even in 1985) Centronics serial dot-matrix printer that we never got working with the CPC464. The print head was driven along a rack, and when it hit the right margin, an idler gear was wedged in place, forcing the carriage to return. Crude, noisy but effective.
  • Amstrad DMP-2000. Plasticky but remarkably good 9-pin printer. Had an open-loop ribbon that we used to re-ink with thick oily endorsing ink until the ribbons wore through.
  • NEC Pinwriter P20. A potentially lovely 24-pin printer ruined by a design flaw. Print head pins would get caught in the ribbon, and snap off. It didn’t help that the dealer that sold it to me wouldn’t refund my money, and required gentle persuasion from a lawyer to do so.
  • Kodak-Diconix 300 inkjet printer. I got this to review for Amiga Computing, and the dealer never wanted it back. It used HP ThinkJet print gear which used tiny cartridges that sucked ink like no tomorrow; you could hear the droplets hit the page.
  • HP DeskJet 500. I got this for my MSc thesis. Approximately the shape of Torness nuclear power station (and only slightly smaller), last I heard it was still running.
  • Canon BJ 200. A little mono inkjet printer that ran to 360dpi, or 720 if you had all the time in the world and an unlimited ink budget.
  • Epson Stylus Colour. My first colour printer. It definitely couldn’t print photos very well.
  • HP LaserJet II. Big, heavy, slow, and crackling with ozone, this was retired from Glasgow University. Made the lights dim when it started to print. Came with a clone PostScript cartridge that turned it into the world’s second-slowest PS printer. We did all our Canadian visa paperwork on it.
  • Epson Stylus C80. This one could print photos tolerably well, but the cartridges dried out quickly, runing the quality and making it expensive to run.
  • Okidata OL-410e PS. The world’s slowest PostScript printer. Sold by someone on tortech who should’ve known better (and bought by someone who also should’ve known better), this printer jams on every sheet fed into it due to a damaged paper path. Unusually, it uses an LED imaging system instead of laser xerography, and has a weird open-hopper toner system that makes transporting a part-used print cartridge a hazard.
  • HP LaserJet 4M Plus. With its duplexer and extra paper tray it’s huge and heavy, but it still produces crisp pages after nearly 1,000,000 page impressions. I actually have two of these; one was bought for $99 refurbished, and the other (which doesn’t print nearly so well) was got on eBay for $45, including duplexer and 500-sheet tray. Combining the two (and judiciously adding a bunch of RAM) has given me a monster network printer which lets you know it’s running by dimming the lights from here to Etobicoke.
  • IBM Wheelwriter typewriter/ daisywheel printer. I’ve only ever produced a couple of pages on this, but this is the ultimate letter-quality printer. It also sounds like someone slowly machine-gunning the neighbourhood, so mostly lives under wraps.
  • HP PhotoSmart C5180. It’s a network photo printer/scanner that I bought yesterday. Really does print indistinguishably from photos, and prints direct from memory cards. When first installed, makes an amusing array of howls, boinks, squeals, beeps and sproings as it primes the print heads.

no nimh joy in my speedlight

I wonder why my Nikon SB-600 won’t work with (expensive) Panasonic 2300mAh HHR-3SPA NiMH cells? It loves Duracells to death, but won’t even fire once with the rechargeables.

(Oh, and wish me luck; I’m about to clean my the sensor on my D70 for the first time.)

I hate Sony

While I like my Cybershot P100, I can’t believe that Sony would make the Memory Stick Pro incompatible with older Memory Stick readers. It’s bad enough that Sony had to created their own expensive, proprietary memory card format (which does exactly what better than CF or SD?), but to make it incompatible between revisions of itself is beyond inexcusable.

Y’see, I scored a cheapo Lexar multi card reader from CWO the other week because it was quite small and takes both CF and MS. I discovered this evening, when it failed to read my MS Pro cards (in the adaptor) but happily read my mum’s plain MS card, that the two formats are gratuitously incompatible. Um, hello, earth to Sony R&D …

£2100 … for a two-speed?

I really think that Moulton have lost all sense of proportion. They’ve released a limited edition AM2 (with two-speed coaster brake hub) for a mere £2100 — that’s nearly $4700! Who needs a titanium-railed saddle on a roadster bike?

approaching the sensible bicycle

scooterbike urban
Hub gears and brakes, almost full chain guard, mudguards, rack, lights; the Scooterbike Urban is almost perfectly sensible.

I do fear it might be rather expensive (it’s £1225 in the UK; meep!), and the company name could use some help: Used. I don’t think it translates well. While I suspect the designers were looking to reinforce utility, to me it sounds like it’s had a previous owner or two …