My Strange Life Returns

Retirement came too early for this blog

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MOVING DAY

I have set up a self-hosted WordPress Website. That will become my new blogging and website home. Please find me over there.

HTTPS://POLTRACK.NET

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Moving Day

 

I was a bit hasty in announcing that I was retiring this blog. I started it over 10 years ago as a means of sharing photos and random thoughts. Because I had opted for the free version of WordPress, I realized that it would have limits on storage and contain their advertising.

Google’s Blogger product seemed like a better choice for me since it was integrated with Google photos and was free of advertising.  I gave it the generic name Poltrack Blog and it is fairly popular because of recurring themes such as Look What I Saw at the Green Center.

However I have a bit of unease over Google’s commitment to Blogger.  It hasn’t evolved over the last decade which is a lifetime in software terms. WordPress is the most popular blogging platform and there is a an upgrade path if I run out of space, or it gets more popular.

Time for  peace?
Time to write another posting for my blog

 

 

Retiring My Strange Life

Retiring My Strange Life

WWW.POLTRACK.NET

The time has come to simplify my online presence. I have too many separate blogs, emails and addresses. I’m rolling them all together into my website with a simple address.

WWW.POLTRACK.NET

Some blogs like this one haven’t been updated for some time, so I am “retiring it”. Thank you for your patronage.
However the strangeness continues on Google, please check out my Strange Life Collection on Google
This is the link:

My Strange Life (on Google)

Basement Treasures
Basement Treasures

Basement Stories – More Stuff

More Clutter

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“Clutter, a free spirit, and a have-fun attitude leads to real creativity” – Bronson Potter

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Not everything is clutter. I like this glowing dolphin that I found at the Green Center. The thing in front of it is hypnotic to watch.
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I have a lots of ceramic insulators. I think the long narrow one was used when houses were wired with individual wires. The ceramic insulators were placed where the wires would be run between floor and and wall joists.
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John Weber found this weird brass thing and now it is in my basement. I suspect it might be a ultrasonic transducer. The only clue is the label “Bubble Hole”.
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A remnant from my days at Digital. A tie-wrap gun with preset tension for various sizes of tie-wraps.
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Braided ground wire. I might use this to repair a missing wire on my utility trailer.
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I found all these florescent light sockets with attached ballasts. I have no idea when I collected them, but they will be heading to the metal recycle bin at the dump.
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All of my cheap bug zappers only lasted one season, but I have no idea why I didn’t toss them when they broke. I finally purchased a high end model that is powered by D size batteries. It is so powerful that it can set a deer fly on fire.
Fry Baby Fry!
Electrocuted remains of a deer fly in my high-end swatter
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I found an electrostatic dust precipitator which worked for a short while. When it failed I kept the parts including these collectors.

Basement Project – Electronics

Basement Stories

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“Clutter, a free spirit, and a have-fun attitude leads to real creativity” – Bronson Potter

When I was about ten I developed an interest in electronics. I would take apart old radios and try to understand how it worked. Later I bought an electronics kit that had schematics for several different projects. This was a time before integrated circuits and transistors, so the kit consisted of tubes and discrete components. It wasn’t very safe either since it operated on line current. It was a way to learn how to solder and learn some basic electronics. Later I moved on to a company called Heathkit that sold kits for everything from amplifiers to a digital computer (with vacuum tubes). I built amplifiers, a VTVM, and an AM/FM tuner.

These kits would arrive in a box with a chassis, bags of parts and very precise instructions. Soldering tube sockets was a royal pain and the instructions would tell you when to apply solder since each lug usually had multiple wires attached. The instructions contained illustrations showing how many wires should be attached to each lug. There were no printed circuit boards back then so everything was done with wires. It was tedious but back then I thought it was fun.

Later in the early 1970s I took an online course with the GI bill and built a Heathkit color television. It was an insane project and it cured me of any desire to ever use a soldering iron again. The damn thing worked but I didn’t want to spring for a cabinet, so it sat on a table with all the dangerous wiring and high voltage components exposed. It was the last model that was completely analog and required constant adjustment to keep the colors somewhat life like. Thankfully my young son didn’t get electrocuted as  it sat on the table emitting X-rays.

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This was my first kit, which generated an audio tone transmitted to an AM radio. I used it with a telegraph key to practice Morse Code. It is a Hartley oscillator. Sadly it no longer works, so I’m going to say goodbye after 50 years.
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Pretty isn’t it? I think this was a test breadboard for the alpha chip developed by Digital. It belongs in a museum, not in my cellar.
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I’m a sucker for old electronic equipment and this arrived at the Green Center,  It can produce a serious amount of direct current, 25 amperes is impressive.

 

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As I expected the voltage control is a variac transformer which I think is the coolest thing. It also had two beefy transformers and a serious group of rectifiers.
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Two transformers and one big electrolytic capacitor.
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My family has always used Electrolux vacuum cleaners. At one time I had about 3 of the older ones in my attic that I had picked up at the dump. As a kid we had the 1940s sled model that looked like a rocket ship. My parents bought it from a door-to-door salesman. It came with all kinds of accessories such as this paint/ bug sprayer. This is old school, the black top is bakelite , an early plastic.
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Need parts? these are going to the Green Center. The centipede looking things are integrated circuits. Can you spot the tube socket?
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My nephew is a mechanical engineer who designs guns. He built this rubber band model when he was a kid. I’m going to return it to him.
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The same nephew took me shooting and I recovered shell casings and slugs from our “target” (see below)
No Compute
Boot error on the hard drive.
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Such a cool device to measure high electrical resistances. Note the bakelite case. I bought this at a yard sale at the home of Bronson Potter, an eccentric inventor who lived in Mason, NH.
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Time to rid myself of these. They all work!
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Auto lights, need one?
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Turn signal flashers, do they even use these anymore?

Basement Treasures – So much stuff

So much stuff

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When I undertook my basement cleaning task, I underestimated the extent of crap I had accumulated. A lot of it can be relegated to the antiquated technology category.

Clutter
Say a prayer that at some point this will all be organized
Clutter
Hang in there
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I have album covers without records, these are gone
Clutter
Remove battery clamps with a turn of a screw
Clutter
Old Technology – Remember Beta? Unwrapped package, make me an offer.
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Remember? We have memory 
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A while back I wired up a full wave rectifier, can you spot the rectifier bridge?
Clutter
Treasure Chest
Clutter
Or not, old candles
Clutter
Why do I have a garbage disposal motor, make me an offer.

Nine years of blogging

Happy 9th Birthday

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Nine years ago I started this blog and after a few postings I forgot about it. This was my neglected progeny, lost and forgotten. Over the years I’ve posted to other blogs on both the WordPress and Blogger platform. This is the oldest of the WordPress blogs and I’ve re-purposed it to cover the topic of strangeness. If you think carefully about your life, consciousness, events, people and reality  you will come to the conclusion that it is a long strange trip.

How do I mark the 9th birthday of this blog? The answer is simple, with a  photo of the gravestone of The Blue Lady, Mary Ritter who haunts Vales End Cemetery in Wilton, NH.

I sat quietly waiting for a visitation, but nothing, maybe next time.

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Clutter Project – A Few Surprises

My Cluttered Life

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I was inspired by a recent downsizing talk by Dave Downs to clear up some of the stuff I have in the basement and attic. I discovered that Staples will take old computer hardware for no charge, so today I’m planning a road trip.

Clutter
I have no need for another old desktop,  but I did remove the CDrom, zip and hard drives because you just never know when you might need one. I have a HP docking station but no matching laptop. The HP color laser printer was a gift from HP for my 25 year anniversary. It is incredibly heavy. It works but uses  four $80 toner cartridges which have run out.
Clutter
These empty ink cartridges are going to Staples which I believe gives store credit
Clutter
This was a useful item a few years back. It would allow a single keyboard and mouse to operate four different computers. However this unit is obsolete (see photo below).
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No HDMI, no DVI, no USB
Clutter
In the Attic I found some Easter decorations. It was wrapped in a newspaper from 2000. Seventeen years unused, time to go.
Glass
Among the junk in the attic I discovered some treasures. I have no idea why this hidden away out of sight for so many years.
Mouse Trap
We have mice in the attic and I suppose I should have checked my NO KILL trap.
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All that is left of the mouse (or mice) are bones and fur. The beetles got the rest, then they died. Ugh, what a fate.