Alternative ideas for storing energy

I know most people who store solar & wind energy in batteries. Would storing it in something else like compressed air or a water tower.

I was thinking with the storage of compressed air or water tower to use small generators in individual rooms, although I don’t know the cost of using a large generator instead of several small ones. Another idea I had, was to use vehicle alternators with an inverter next to them for any AC needs, with this I would keep it as DC for USB ports with a DC voltage regulator of course.

I’m not sure the space needed to do this or if it would even be feasible in anything other than a new house.

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Amazon Silk

First lets start with the browsers I’ve used so far. I’ll list any issues I may have had with the browser. I’ll list which OS’s I’ve used the browser on without giving specific versions as I don’t remember which versions I’ve used them on.

  • Netscape Navigator; I stopped using because it wasn’t being updated frequently enough. (Windows)
  • Internet Explorer; for a while I used this because it came with Windows & eventually I only used it when I had no other choice or to download a different browser. Also with IE 8 & 9 I have been forced to add code to my site to them to use the IE7 rendering engine. (Windows)
  • Safari; I only used it because I didn’t want to wait for Firefox to open & it was already open. (Mac OS X)
  • Firefox; It only launches one process for all windows & tabs that are open, as well as poor memory management as the only way I know to have it release the memory used by closed tabs is to close all of the Firefox windows. (Windows, Mac OS X, & Linux)
  • Chrome; If you have a bunch of tabs opened it will eat up memory fast, but every tab is its own process so if one tab dies it doesn’t kill everything. (Windows, Mac OS X, & Linux)

With what I’ve read & watched recently about Amazon Silk on the Kindle Fire I have decided that I want them to make Amazon Silk as a browser for Windows, Mac, & Linux. I think it would have the possibility to make the other browsers to become better as they would have another competitor.

Posted in Amazon, Apple, Chrome, Firefox, Google, Internet, Internet Explorer, Microsoft, Mozilla, Safari, Silk | Comments Off on Amazon Silk

Ultimate alarm clock

I’m thinking about making an alarm clock as none of models I see in stores have all the features I want. I was thinking some of the features could be upgrades that you connect while the clock is off.

Here are some features I’ve thought of so far in no particular order.

  • Auto-snooze (If you don’t hit the snooze button in x seconds it will assume you want it to snooze.)
  • Color selection for display. (Could also include fine level brightness controls. RGB LEDs or LCD screen. I have a friend that wants his alarm clock to have a purple display.)
  • Multiple alarm sounds (Also allow custom alarm sounds.)
  • Battery powered (Some features might need to be disabled on battery power.)
  • Auto time set (Either through the Internet or at least in the lower 48 states use the Colorado nuclear time clock.)
  • Web interface to program alarms, & upload alarm sounds & make changes to device settings. (Password protected)
  • Version for hotels when guest requests a wake-up call to have a recording play to wake them up. (The alarm clock could call the worker to remind them that the room X wanted a wake-up call.)
  • For hotels in the lower 48 a device that will pickup the time from the Denver Colorado Nuclear time clock to broadcast over hotels network. (Some buildings construction could block the signal from the individual alarm clocks.)
  • Line in for speakers to play from any audio device.
  • Multiple USB ports for charging devices with a 5 volt & 2 Amps per port & configured to work with devices like the iPhone.
  • HD radio.
  • Internet radio apps, Pandora,, etc…
  • Day of the week & date on display. (Could be just a button to display it.)
  • Can tell the temperature. (With a local & a remote sensor.)
  • Ability to tell time verbally.
  • Option to have display dot matrix or the more traditional digital display format.
  • Ability to have a custom enclosure made.
  • When powered on upgrade door(s) are auto closed until power is lost.

Some questions about options to do a feature.

  • For time zone should it be set by a switch or stored on SD card & also if DST is used. Which way should it be done?
  • Would you want a solar panel on a battery only version?
  • Should the web interface WordPress with a plugin be used for the interface or something else?

Are there any ideas you want to add?

I’m also thinking about making the hardware open source & using as much open source hardware as possible, unless a closed source chip is cheaper I might use that instead.

Posted in Amazon, Android, Apache, Apple, BlackBerry, Google, Internet, iPad, iPhone, iPod, iPod touch, Kindle, Networking, Open source Hardware, plugin, Research In Motion, TCPIP, Windows Phone 7, Wired, Wireless, WordPress | Comments Off on Ultimate alarm clock

Advertising a necessary evil

Well I’ve had advertising on my site for several years now. I have tried it with several different companies. Some have worked better than others. One common trend is that if you get paid per click they don’t want me clicking on it. I also can’t tell you that I will give you anything for clicking on an ad. Besides I don’t know how I would know that you clicked on an ad to leave my site.

I’m not going to tell you not to click on an ad as that would be bad for business. I only get paid for clicks on the Google ads as the ones from only give me a percentage of what you spend after following the link.

Posted in Amazon, Google, Internet | Comments Off on Advertising a necessary evil

Kindle Fire and other Kindle updates

From what I’ve read so far it seems that has been very busy. I say this because of the following announcements I’m listing in random order.

  • You can now download library books your Kindle. (I haven’t tried this out yet & at this time is USA only. Also it needs to be downloaded via Wi-Fi or USB to the Kindle, I’m assuming because Amazon didn’t want to pay for the downloads of library books that I doubt they make much if any money off of the service.)
  • They are releasing the much rumored Kindle Fire. (It sounds like competition for the iPad & Nook Color to me.)
  • Also you can now buy a Kindle for as little as $79.
  • Two of the Kindles now have a 2 month charge with the wireless off.

When I went to their homepage I was greeted by the following message.

“Dear Customers,

There are two types of companies: those that work hard to charge customers more, and those that work hard to charge customers less. Both approaches can work. We are firmly in the second camp.

We are excited to announce four new products: the all-new Kindle for only $79, two new touch Kindles – Kindle Touch and Kindle Touch 3G – for $99 and $149, and a new class of Kindle –Kindle Fire – a beautiful full color Kindle for movies, TV shows, music, books, magazines, apps, games, web browsing and more, for only $199.

These are high-end products – the best Kindles we’ve ever made. Kindle and Kindle Touch have the most-advanced E Ink display technology available, and the 3G Kindle Touch adds free 3G wireless – no monthly fees and no annual contracts. Kindle Fire brings everything we’ve been working on at Amazon for 15 years together into a single, fully-integrated experience for customers – instant access to Amazon’s massive selection of digital content, a vibrant color IPS touchscreen with extra-wide viewing angle, a 14.6 ounce design that’s easy to hold with one hand, a state-of-the-art dual core processor, free storage in the Amazon Cloud, and an ultra-fast mobile browser – Amazon Silk – available exclusively on Kindle Fire.

We are building premium products and offering them at non-premium prices.

Thank you for being a customer,

Jeff Bezos
Founder & CEO

p.s. – Kindle Fire has a radical new web browser called Amazon Silk. When you use Silk – without thinking about it or doing anything explicit – you’re calling on the raw computational horsepower of Amazon EC2 to accelerate your web browsing. If you’re curious, watch this short video to learn more about how it works.”

I’m now going to cover the cost of each model from lowest to highest price.

The 5-way controller Kindle has 2GB storage instead of the 4 GB that most of the other models have, with the exceptions of the fire having 8 GB. Also for the Kindle Fire they have included Whispersync for video content as well. So if you were watching content on your PC or TV & switched over to the Kindle Fire you could continue at the same point you were on the other device.

Here are the Battery Life listing with wireless turned off on the devices from shortest to longest.

  • 8 hours continuous reading or 7.5 hours video playback Kindle Fire
  • 3 weeks Kindle DX
  • 1 month Kindle 5-way controller
  • 2 months Kindle Touch, Kindle Touch 3G, Kindle Keyboard, & Kindle Keyboard 3G

Since I saw people making some complaints at Announcement Kindle books now available at local libraries I thought I’d cover some of the issues that were mentioned that I have any knowledge of. Here they are in the order I saw them in the thread. I will follow the complaint with my response to the complaint. (When I’m quoting someone here I’m including all of their spelling mistakes as well.)

  • Every book ever written not available. {Not every copyright holder on every book ever published has said it is ok to make a digital version of their book, or if the book is out of copyright no one may have cared enough to make a digital version of it yet.}
  • Waiting list – why can’t they loan 1 license an infinite number of times. {Libraries only buy a certain number of licenses for any given book & thus are only allowed to lend that number of that book at the same time. If you want your library to have more copies of a book donate some money to the library & let them know you want some or all of the money to buy additional electronic copies of the book.}
  • Lots of complaints that certain libraries didn’t have that enabled yet on the day it launched. {I read several posts & finally saw people saying that they worked for a library & they were waiting on overdrive to enable the feature for them. So if you don’t see the option by now 7 days after it was launched, your library is in the USA, & your library offers ebooks through overdrive go talk to your library about it.}
  • “I’m done with Kindle – D-O-N-E(!) I just checked and the lending period for ebooks from my library in East Bumblefudge is ONLY ten days. One of my friends has a Nook and HER library in Cleveland allows fourteen days. I should have bought a Nook!” {It is the library that says how long you can have the book out not the hardware.}
  • I saw someone say “Wonder if anyone else is having a hard time downloading an ebook onto their K2? I worked on it for an hour and finally called Kindle Support. Since it’s brand new, the Rep had a hard time with it too so it still doesn’t work. I may be forced to buy a new Kindle with WiFi, just to read library books. There must be a simple way to download the books with the Overdrive Progam. Help! Thanks…” several pages after the answer was already posted. {since I don’t have a Kindle to test the suggested fix mentioned earlier I can’t confirm if it works.}
Posted in Amazon, Kindle, Library, Overdrive | Comments Off on Kindle Fire and other Kindle updates

Updates on the Kindle & Club Bing

I was looking at today & I noticed they not have added another variation of the Kindle. It is the Kindle 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 3G Works Globally, Graphite, 6″ Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology – includes Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers. So if you want your Kindle to have 3G you now have the option to get it for $25 less than you normally would.

I had also gone over to Club Bing to play some games when I noticed an announcement. “As of June 9, 2011, we will discontinue support for the Club Bing toolbar and Club Bing VIP program. As of this date exclusive VIP prizes and ticket discounts will be made available to all Club Bing members while supplies last. As part of this change, the Club Bing toolbar will no longer be supported and you will not be able to earn Club Bing tickets for searches from the toolbar. We recommend that you uninstall the Club Bing toolbar.”

Nothing to major but since I’d recently written about both subjects I thought I’d give an update.

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Club Bing and Bing Rewards

I’ve been using Bing Rewards & Club Bing for over a month now. I’ve learned several interesting things out on the way as well. First off they extended Bing Rewards through the end of 2011. They have made some changes to the number of points it takes to get Microsoft points & have changed the limit on how many Microsoft points you can get per rewards account. I also found out that because my wife doesn’t go & do the searches everyday like I try to do when a period is up she will get a different set of rules for the number of points earned per day & how many searches it takes to get one point. I also found out that the searches I was getting 3 points for are not done every day.

After I had been using the Bing Rewards program for a while I found out about Club Bing which is similar in some ways & different in other ways.

  1. Most of the items on Club Bing will only be issued once per household. There may be a few exceptions.
  2. You can earn up to 500 tickets per day. (They may decide to limit you for their own reasons.)
  3. They have a “VIP” group, which have access to additional prizes & some of the prizes can be had for fewer tickets. Which means you have made Bing your default search engine, have the Club Bing toolbar installed, & are using Internet Explorer. (You can still play in other browsers if you want.)
  4. They have multiple games that you can play to earn the tickets all of which will do searches on Bing since that is what Microsoft is promoting with both programs.
  5. Both have a toolbar but if you do a search with at least the Club Bing toolbar installed you can earn one ticket per search up to 10 tickets per day at the time I wrote this.

I’ve also notice that if I play some of the games on Club Bing it will count toward my searches on Bing Rewards. Also each game can give you a certain number of tickets per play & some will only let you play once per day for points. You can see the current list at Maximum Tickets for each Game in the FAQ. Since Microsoft may change the number of tickets per game I’m not going to include the list here other than the name of games that they currently have to play.

  • Banana Shuffle
  • Chicktionary
  • Clink
  • Coffee Break
  • Crosswire
  • Dingbats
  • Flexicon
  • PickNick
  • Quote a Pillar
  • Seekadoo
  • Spelling Bee
  • Taxi Wrangler
  • Time Capsule
  • Travel Tracks
  • Word Duel
  • Word Slugger

So far I’ve only played Chicktionary, Crosswire, Taxi Wrangler, Time Capsule, & Travel Tracks so I’ll mention a little about each game. As I’ve played Travel Tracks the most it is going to end up with the longest description.

Chicktionary is a game dealing with anagrams. They give you 7 letters & you need to come up with words that are 3-7 letters long. Each game will have a certain number of 3, 4, 5, 6, & normally one 7 letter word. (I haven’t played enough that I can guarantee a puzzle will always have only one 7 letter word.)

Crosswire has three rounds where there will be something like names on one side & something they did on the left & you have to connect the items in both lists to the correct item. In the final round two items are incorrect & clicking on either one will reset the existing lines made already for that round.

Taxi Wrangler has several taxi’s that are listed to go to certain types of places & you have to put the passengers into the right taxi & send them off. It is a timed game so it can be frustrating at times.

Time Capsule will have one question about something that happened on today’s date one or more years ago. I’ve only ever had one question asked & subsequent times I played the same day I got 0 tickets.

Travel Tracks has three rounds where they have 20 pictures presented to you & only five will be places the game wants for that round. The pictures will change from one round to the next as will the places. You will start with the first place & can use up to three clues to figure out where the location is. when you click on a picture it will do a search for that City & State. The clues will also do searches based on the clue & the results of the search may tell you which picture that want. after you put the picture in the slot you click on the magnifying glass to see if you got the right one. If you did it will show that picture & the clues will go to the next box. if you put in the wrong picture it will say sorry try again.

I haven’t earned enough tickets for the first prize that I’m trying for on Club Bing mainly because it is more expensive than the 400 Microsoft points I’ve been going for on the rewards program.

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