Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   Merlin and the cats
Wednesday, March 18 2015
This morning Merlin the Dog came into our yard for a visit, as I think he often does (though usually in the hours before we get out of bed). Merlin belongs to our neighbor Crazy Dave, who rents a house on the property of our downhill neighbor, a former butcher and father of the guy who built our house back in 1994. Merlin must be old by this point; he was not a puppy when we moved here twelve and a half years ago. In any case, Merlin's unexpected presence alarmed the cats Celeste and Oscar, who happened to be out on the bluestone walkway at the time. Celeste retreated under one of the cars and Oscar took up a position near the front door of the house, where he could easily retreat to the foundation-free crawlspace beneath the entranceway. But then Clarence bounded energetically out of the pet door, unaware that Merlin was in the driveway, and made a beeline for Dug Hill Road (apparently with the aim of beginning a day of adventures in the yards of various neighbors). When he saw Merlin standing in his way, he came to a dead stop and eventually retreated to near where Oscar was. Only one of our creatures approached Merlin, and that was Ramona the Dog. She allowed Merlin to sniff her, but her hackles were raised and it looked like a fight could break out at any moment. Ramona showed restraint, though, and didn't attack Merlin until he walked over to the front of the house. By then, all the cats had gone into the house, but near there in the snow were the remains of a deer carcass Ramona had dragged back from near the Chamomile Headwaters Trail: a skull with two four-point antlers along with a half spine's worth of vertebræ and another contiguous piece of vertebræ featuring attached hip bones. Ramona suddenly dived at Merlin with a wide-open mouth. I don't think she tried to bite him, but in any case he got the message and headed home. It's sad that she can't get along with Merlin like Eleanor does and Sally did, but I suppose it's all for the best. I've seen Merlin chase Clarence the Cat and generally don't trust him not to eat our other felines. He also defecates in our yard frequently, though the value this ultimately adds to the garden soil may be a net positive.

I decided to battery-back another essential electronic device today with another of the UPSes in my UPS box: the telephone. For nearly six years now, our household landline has gone to a single Panasonic DECT 6.0 base station, which then broadcasts its signal to six different handsets scattered around the house and greenhouse. This works great except during a power outage, when the base station loses power and no longer functions. Since the actual phone line is almost never taken out by whatever causes a blackout, all we need to maintain landline functionality is power. I measured the current requirements of the base station and found it only uses a single watt; clearly, a UPS designed to run a computer for fifteen minutes would be able to run the base station for well over a day. So after removing the UPS's stupid piezo buzzer, I installed it upstream from the base station. The next time we lose power, not only will we have a functional WiFi hotspot, we'll also have a working landline.
I should mention that the UPS requires a certain amount of overhead to convert 12 volt DC into 120 volt AC, and this introduces inefficiencies, particularly when the amount of power being drawn is low (this is reflected in the asymptotic efficiency curve of the UPS, one of the few items of actual technical data I managed to find on the web). A better battery backup for the phone would be a DC battery connected directly to its DC power supply, that is, the wires leaving the phone's wall wart. Such a backup would introduce no DC-to-AC inefficiencies.

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