Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wireless Keyboard & Mouse - Use Rechargeable Alkalines

Although we have both a wireless Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, we only use the keyboard at this point, having gone back to the wired mouse. I like being able to move the keyboard around, but the mouse went through batteries too quickly.

Like many people, I bought some NiMh (Nickel Metal Hydride) rechargeable batteries and a charger but was disappointed with the few weeks of time I would get before they needed recharging. Then I read something interesting about NiMh batteries  - they have a rapid self-discharge time. No matter how little you use them, they will be discharged in 90 days.

That sent me looking through the junk drawer for our older-technology, rechargeable alkaline batteries from Pure Energy. We had moved away from them since they don't carry the amount of energy you can pack into an NiMh battery, but a wireless keyboard is perfectly suited to rechargeable alkalines - it draws little current, so a long self-discharge time is more important than stored energy density.

Anyway, the proof is in the pudding, it's been more than 6 months since I had to recharge the keyboard batteries...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

This Might Be Our First American Car

Our family has never owned an American-made car. Just wasn't in the genes. My Dad had a few VW bugs that I grew up jumping around the back seat of, and I drove his VW "Square-back sedan," i.e. station wagon, to university with all the worldly possessions I owned in the back. My wife drove a yellow Chevy van (The Broom) for years but that was more an adventure-device than a car, and she learned to fix it herself.

Our immediate family have been pretty loyal to Toyota, currently with a 2001 Prius, my folks have a wheelchair-mod'ed Rav 4, and I love our mid-90's Volvo station wagon.

Not buying an American car has not about ideology, but about design. Large, heavy cars withpoor gas mileage, mushy suspensions, and window cranks that didn't work was our idea of Ford and GM.

That may change with the Chevy Volt. With most of our power being hydro-generated, and the fact that cars would charge at night when demand is low, I've been looking forward to an all-electric or plug-in hybrid, and it looks like GM may get to production before Toyota.

We're happy to wait and hope someone else comes to our market like these guys, but in any case, an electric-hybrid is on our shopping list.