GMail degrades further. Thanks, Google.

Bookmark and Share

Well, today Google completely dropped support for the GMail desktop notifier. This is (ok, was) a handy little menu bar item that kept a count of how many messages were waiting, a list of message subjects, and gave a little ding-ding when new mail came in. It kept me from having to run my browser all the time, and I could easily hear when new mail arrived no matter where I was (my house is an open design, like a loft.)
Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Email This Post Email This Post

Buitoni Toaster Pizza

Bookmark and Share

Buitoni Toaster Pizza.

Buitoni Toaster Pizza

Buitoni Toaster Pizza

Seriously? Yes, seriously. These were amazing frozen little za’s you put in, heated a bit, let sit so they’d defrost all through, then put in for a final heating, and finally let sit for a minute after that, and then you could eat them. Oh, man were these amazingly good. A great sauce, excellent cheese, and the shell came out as a lightly browned, delicious crust.

You could do it wrong — over- or under-cook, not let it defrost completely, not wait that extra minute and burn the heck out of your mouth… all risks eminently worth taking.

Ever think you might like to do me a favor if it was easy? Then please go to Buitoni’s facebook page and nudge them about this. Or search Google and find the Buitoni Toaster Pizza page, join, “like” them, and say something nice to encourage them. I guarantee the odds are very high that if you love good pizza, you’d like these. It wasn’t fast food. It was something else entirely. Call it an accident, or a fortuitous event in frozen foods, but don’t write it off.

Buitoni Toaster Pizzas. Oh, man.

Tags: , , ,

Email This Post Email This Post

Kenwood TS-990S Review

Bookmark and Share

ts990sI’ve been operating the Kenwood TS-990S for some months now, so it’s about time I actually review it. This review reflects operation under firmware 1.05 as downloaded from the Kenwood website.

Because there have been a number of reviews that have done an excellent job of enumerating the radio’s features, I’m going to come at this differently. I’m going to first give you an overview of how well I think it operates and how comfortable I’ve become (or not) with its features, along with an assessment of its value with regard to its capabilities. I’ll note a few things that seem unique to me, standout features that are really special from the operations standpoint.

Then I’m going to lay out, in detail, the critiques I have of the radio from an operating point of view — that’s something no one has really gone into as far as I know, and I hope you’ll find it useful. I even nurse a vague hope that Kenwood will, via Google-fu or some kind soul, find this and take some of my ideas to heart, because I really do think the radio could be significantly improved with just a firmware upgrade (or several.)
Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Email This Post Email This Post

Voice of Russia (former Radio Moscow) going dark

Bookmark and Share

Sad news — another important broadcaster is abandoning the short waves. On January 1st, 2014, VOR will cease transmitting except on medium wave, and a token presence on the Internet.

VOR has been broadcasting to one hundred sixty countries with about twenty five hours of programming each day. As Radio Moscow, VOR was the first shortwave station to broadcast internationally; with that credit, it is also at present the station with the longest continuous presence on the short waves.

Somewhere in my various pack-rattery, I have a beautiful mug from Radio Moscow, obtained in the late 1980′s if I recall correctly. I guess it’s time to bring it out and give it a place on the memorabilia shelves.

Well, I suppose there is a bright side: Without those big gun transmitters on the air, it’ll be a little easier to hear the smaller stations from time to time.

VOR joins the BBC in abandoning the shortwave bands; the slide continues.

Tags: , ,

Email This Post Email This Post

The KD0BCF de KC0OW show on 3843 KHz

Bookmark and Share

For my ham and SWL readers, I just wanted to point out a fun little thing that’s been going on for a while. KD0BCF, Tom, an atheist, and Scott, KC0OW, a christian, have been going at it, more or less politely, for some time now. I first ran into them SWL’ing the 75 meter ham band, and now I actively look for them, and if I find they’re on, I leave the dial right there.

Scott’s a lawyer, and you can tell that this forms the root of his arguing skills. Tom pretty much has Scott for lunch, or at least he has the times I’ve tuned in, but Scott’s ability to duck and cover and evade is right up there with some of the best I’ve seen. He also, it has to be said, appears to be very secure in his faith.

Both fellows are quite intelligent, and the tone of the rhetoric is generally well above what you’d expect for this kind of interaction, especially one that’s been going on this long. Kudos to both of them for keeping it mostly polite and cheery.

Subjects covered include religion (of course), politics, world events, fundamentalist broadcasts, Israel, Islam, etc.

A highly recommended little chunk of the SWL/ham experience. :)

Email This Post Email This Post

Credible Feminism and “Being Nice”

Bookmark and Share

The following is taken verbatim from a letter I wrote to the New York Times on July 31st, 2013, in response to an article where the author spoke to the desirability of asexual dressing and avoiding being nice just for the sake of smoothing social interactions:

Credible feminism drives equality of power, pay, opportunity, and recognition. It’s not about wearing pants to deny or distance gender. Men and women are naturally and irrevocably different in their sexuality: behavior that celebrates this — including that which drives sexually tuned plumage — is not only reasonable, it is healthy.

Women will never bridge the very real gap by attempting to subvert their own sexuality, because in doing so, they cede many cues of desirability to others.

The same thing applies to “nice.” Nice people are selected ahead of others for many roles simply because it is perceived that it will be more pleasant to be around them. If you eschew “nice”, you cede yet another social slice of desirability to others.

In either case, such a choice is completely up to the individual — but the consequences won’t be.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Email This Post Email This Post

Yaesu FTDX-3000 Review

Bookmark and Share

FTDX-3000I added the FTDX 3000 to my station in order to use it differently than most users will; my setup uses the transmit portion of the radio as usual, but utilizes the IF output on the rear deck to replace most of the receive capability with an SDR on the IF, and my SdrDx software working with the SDR. This works as planned, and so I am well satisfied with the radio in my installation. I get a far superior receive capability to any traditional radio on the market at any price including the very best from Yaesu, Kenwood and ICOM, *plus* the radio’s own capabilities as a medium quality second receiver in-band if I want that. I did my research, I got what I asked for, and I am happy as a clam. Also, confirmation bias, lol. But…
Read the rest of this entry »

Email This Post Email This Post

On the use of Power Amplifiers in Amateur Radio

Bookmark and Share

As many of you know, I’m a ham operator. I spend a lot of time listening to the HF bands, not a whole lot transmitting, but I do listen. One of the things that tends to irritate me is when I hear some wag putting someone else down because they have a “little signal”, by which they mean 100 watts or so.
Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , ,

Email This Post Email This Post