29 Dec. 2006
SETI League
PriUPS Project

What a Year it Hasn't Been!

As 2006 drifts to a close and I write my last blogitem for the year, I thought I'd reflect a bit.  Not in the sense that I would mysteriously increase my albedo, although winter has that effect, but rather in contemplating the last year, now complete save for a couple of days.  I'm sure I'll be forgiven for making my comments personal rather than universal.  I know that the year has encompassed "current events," although none that seem to be of startling import.  And I know that there will be no shortage of pontificating on same by those so inclined, one of whom I'm not.

The year has had highlights and lowlights, some accomplishments, and, I'm pleased to say, few if any steps backwards.  None of these were of startling import, either. 


At least in terms of time spent and results obtained, ephemeral though they are, I would have to consider this blog a highlight.  I started it last winter on a whim and a prayer, with a recitation of my name, a few vital statistics, and the intention to write something every weekday.  Remarkably, I haven't missed a day, although anyone reading it in sequence might well wish I had.  If my friend the Q guy comes back looking for an A as to what it's about, I still don't think I can accommodate him.

I "finished" my PriUPS project and have had a number of utility power loss events that validated its worth.  I added some info to the web site that makes it more accessible and several people are working on one variation or another for themselves.  I enjoyed a few moments of Metro Section fame in the New York Times.

I found out from another great paper, the Wall Street Journal, that I have spent most of a decade placing myself at great risk of heart attack by shoveling snow from the driveway.  Apparently there are greater hazards than trying to restart a snowblower with a blowtorch.  Remaining extant is a boon!

Ham Activity:  I "worked" the Andaman Islands and submitted the QSL card for DXCC credit, leaving one to goNorth Korea.  My moonbounce beacon, despite some antenna aiming problems, has essentially been working continuously and has proved more reliable by far than its previous incarnation.  I got my new cellphone to emit Morse Code ringtones

I "won" an eBay contest, which, along with a small prize, gave me some valuable insights.

I discovered the art of doing circular laps in my backyard pool, allowing me to spend more time at home.

A friend got two puppies and I get pictures.  I now have a weekly cute fix.


One of my best friends found out he was ill last January and spent months in hospital with still-indeterminate results.  Fingers and pseudopodia remain crossed for his recovery.

My intention to upgrade the moonbounce beacon has come to naught, as the new, expensively-acquired antennas have not found their way to the top of the tower yet.  I'm eager to complete that part of the project, but it will probably have to wait for spring.

I have had any number of frustrations with computers.  Although most issues were eventually resolved, in the aggregate they wasted more time than I can spare.  One issue not resolved was that of spam, which has more than doubled this year alone.  For reasons various I must contend with it, and my excellent solution is unlikely to be adopted widely, which is the only way it will work.

BooBoo, the other bun, went to that great hoppy home in the sky.  She had a bad and apparently incurable infection and it was better that she not suffer.  (The bun in the bananafication demonstration remains in fine fettle, demolishing both Vanity Fair and People Magazine with magisterial impartiality.)

Lights of Indeterminate Elevation

My love affair with eBay auctions was terminated early in the year.  I had been spending a lot of time buying test equipment for myself and for the company, as well as stuff for the PriUPS project.  I finally had everything.  I'm now reduced to scouting for manuals, spare modules, probes, and the like.  The end of an era.  

The potholes in the street in front of my place of striving have finally been filled and repaved.  Not unalloyed good news, although this isn't the time or place to explain why. 

The Future

Physically I continue to feel reasonably robust, and propose to ignore the suggestion in the WSJ that teenagers actually do have a purpose, i.e., shoveling snow for the old and decrepit.  I won't say they didn't warn me, but have no used teenagers available in any event.

I've been remarkably and successfully compulsive in creating a blogitem per day.  I even found the odd moment to create some "bonus" entries.  I'm thinking of giving myself permission to write on a less regular schedule.  Does this mean that I will discontinue my Periodic Table Bingo?  No!  With a few common element sightings I can complete rows two and three.  With a little bit of luck, or at least some scandium alloys, I can probably finish row four.  Five and six are likely to remain problematic unless I start including specialist literature.  As far as the daily blog is concerned, I have an ever-growing list of items I've neglected thus far, such as the solutions to many of the world's problems, my review of the Motorola Q, an explanation of how radio evangelists work, my theory of exercise and my entirely different theory of diet, and maybe a poem or song about metric prefixes.  There's no shortage of material.

Speaking of song, I'd like to learn to sing and to play the drums.  Perhaps I can acquire X-ray vision, telepathy, and other super-powers while I'm at it.  I'll assign equal probabilities to accomplishing any of these.

More practical but still bizarre, I have to make a decision about a problem that almost nobody faces.  The evidence continues to accumulate that drinking alcohol in moderation, especially red wine, is salubrious.  The alcohol seems to be a requisite, but I don't like alcohol.  Does anyone make wine pills?     

The Past

I made a couple of New Year's resolutions in the past.  At least one has been a (trivial) success.  The other is doing well, and I'll know more in a few days, at which time a report will be forthcoming.

Right Now

I intend to have a relatively quiet, mildly celebratory weekend and New Year's day, and wish you the same.  If your intentions run to the rowdy, please be careful out there!

NP:  "Waiting for the 8.3" - Robin Lane

Richard Factor

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