Welcome to my musings on whatever topic catches my eye, plus stories, recipes, handyman tips, welding, photography, and what have you. Oh, and analog/digital hardware design, and software. Please comment on the blog post so everyone who visits can see your comments.

Month: November 2007

Velcro Nightmares

Velcro hook and loop is one of the coolest inventions of the 20th century. Back when it was new it was expensive it was not very common but over time it became less expensive and found its way into more products. I assume that the patents have run out and it is now made in vast quantities so it has found its way into just about every product that needs a fastener.

But there is an unpleasant consequence to this proliferation. Have you opened a suitcase, pulled out a pair of sneakers and ended up with a four foot long daisy chain of unrelated items dangling from the shoes? I have. To make things worse, the “hook” part of Velcro sticks to many other things besides “loop” Velcro. It seems particularly fond of microfiber cloth (artificial chamois / lens cleaning cloth), to which it sticks very well, certain types of clothing, as well as fabrics used to make wrist straps on flashlights, personal electronics, and camera straps. The latter is a big problem in my camera bag.

I use a backpack to carry my camera equipment, lenses, etc. and many of these items are equipped with Velcro which combined with Velcro’s aforementioned affinity for camera straps is a nightmare. It’s not unusual for me to open my camera backpack and find camera, watch, flashlight, calculator, lens cleaning cloth, and other items, all wadded into a tight ball lovefest of Velcro togetherness. It takes a couple of minutes to carefully peel all the delicate items out of this mess and set them down so they don’t touch each other and pull themselves back together again like the Liquid Metal Man in Terminator. It’s also important to keep a tight grip at all times on things like the camera because I never know when the strap is going to stick to something and yank the camera out of my hand.

Can we please go back to using snaps?

Have any of you noticed this problem or is it just me?


Your TV Will Stop Working on Feb 17, 2009

On February 17, 2009, just sixteen months from now, all television transmitters in the United States will forever cease transmission of analog signals (NTSC). From then on, only televisions with modern digital tuners will function.

I’ve known about this for years but I just read about a study showing that only 4 percent of Americans even know the year of the changeover and 60 percent of Americans know nothing at all about it. What’s more, you can still purchase a shiny brand new TV that will be obsolete in 16 months and simply stop working unless you get a converter box for it. So I thought I’d do my little part to get the word out.

Here is the Federal Communications Commission web site about coming the changeover:



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