I’m a big fan of the incandescent light bulb. I don’t care what they’ve said about it, the old fashioned light bulb has been a success. However, there’s several things that I do like about the Cree LED Light Bulb (9.5 watt). One good thing is that it looks like the old style bulb and it’s becoming affordable. But the story gets even better.

Even though Cree has made this bulb the standard, the company is moving forward with new designs. The engineers at Cree have gone back to the chalkboard and they will market a cheaper LED bulb in the near future. There’s another bonus with the new LED bulb. It won’t have the weird looking heat sink, the metal collar on the bottom of the bulb.

It’s a relief to know that a new LED bulb looks and acts like the bulb that we’re used to. It’s exciting to know that the new LED bulbs made by Cree will save a little on the electric bill. That’s the sweet part.

The 25,000-hour projected lifetime of the new style bulb is even more exciting. This could possibly mean a a lifespan of around 20 years!

In the meantime I’m going to settle for their current 9.5 watt bulb, until they come out with the new one.

Finally. An affordable LED bulb that makes sense. I’ll take several.

I’ve finally taken the plunge and have joined the Netflix craze. My Netflix queue is now my home theater and I’ve just watched my first movie on Netflix. Here is my experience.

The first month is free by the way. It was pretty easy really. I just subscribed, selected a movie, and then enjoyed it. No ticket, no traffic, and better yet, no overpriced cable bill. (Oops. Sorry if I upset you.)

Cutting the cord has never been so easy. With the help of companies like Netflix and several others, the selection of television programs, movies, documentaries, and family programming is growing.

So it’s not really like cutting the cord, because some of the episodes are from satellite and cable. It’s more like an entertainment buffet.

For around $9 per month a family can afford all the entertainment that can be absorbed. Honestly.

There are several advantages with Netflix. For one, there are no commercials. Not a huge deal, but the experience is more pleasant without those endless runs of paid programming. The commercials are just too much anymore.

Another advantage with streaming online entertainment is the obvious factor. You don’t have to get on the freeway and return the DVD. That’s not really a problem, but on a cold rainy night I think that it’s safer to stay at home and enjoy the movie.

Back to the entertainment buffet. It goes like this. I get to watch what I want, when I want, without all of the trappings of the networking schedules. Why should I wait for this episode when I can get it on demand?

Is TV on demand getting popular? I think that it is. You may disagree and that’s okay.

What is the selection tonight on my Netlix queue?

Do you want your old car to run like a new one? I have a quick tip that will cost you very little and will certainly make your engine run smoother.  If your car matters to you, then try this!

I’m speaking of a gas additive—Sea Foam SF-16 Motor Treatment – 16 oz.—to put in your gas tank.

It’s this simple. The next time you fill up your gas tank, or at least half fill it, pour the whole bottle of Sea Foam in the gas tank. I promise that it will not harm your vehicle and I promise that it will clean your carburetor real good.

From the bottle: Liquefies gum and varnish deposits or internal engine contaminants.

Here’s what happens. Over a period of time the carb will get buildup and cause the motor to run a little ragged. This wonderful gas additive cleans out all of that gook.

I especially recommend using this product before or during winter, because this is a critical time for drivers. Who doesn’t want the car to perform better?

Your car doesn’t have to be old for this product to work. It will work on new vehicles also. It’s a good idea to use this product every 6 months or at least once a year. You’ll be glad that you did.

Drive safely. Have fun!

Accessories For The Baofeng UV-5R HT

The Baofeng UV-5R V2 is turning out to be a very popular handheld transceiver for ham operators. It seems like the children are using it for a scanner and FM radio. The Bofeng dualband is so cheap that these little ham radios are flying off of the Chinese shelves. It may be from China, but the low price of the unit has won the hearts of many.

1. THE CABLE — The cable for the Baofeng UV-5R HT: USB Programming Cable for Baofeng.This is probably much easier for the average ham operator that gets the Baofeng HT.

2. THE SOFTWARE — I’ll need the CHIRP software to program the Baofeng. It works with Windows, Apple, and Linux systems.

3. THE ANTENNA — I hear the antenna that comes with the rig is not so good. I think this is the right link: NAGOYA NA-701 DUAL BAND 144/430Mhz U/V SMA-F Antenna For Baofeng.

4. THE MICROPHONE — I would like to have the microphone because it’s convenient. Here’s the link: Baofeng BF-S112 Two Way Radio Speaker.

The NooElec Dongle Is Too Much Fun!

For around $20, the NooElec Dongle is way too much fun! It’s not for everybody, but for the tech that doesn’t mind spending a little time with it, the benefits pay off.

I’ll admit at first it seemed like it wasn’t going to do anything. The error was on my side. The NooElec Dongle does work well and it’s a lot of fun, but there’s a small learning curve to begin with.

The drivers have to be loaded properly or there will be a few glitches. It helps to have someone tech savvy to get the SDR software downloaded. I must say that the process is not overwhelming, but it’s a bit tedious.

As with any type of police scanner antenna or FM radio yagi, a good antenna is a must. Also, good cable and good jumper cables are necessary. I had a short with a jumper that gave me problems.

The little antenna that came with the dongle is not all that great, yet I would not throw it away because it is good for the higher frequencies. Most probably will not use it, but it would serve well as a mobile antenna.

The SDRSharp software is not only worthy, it is free. What a nice little setup for free! It’s nothing really extravagant, but the screen looks okay and the functions are spot on. It’s really a nice package to cost nada. And it works. I promise.

I am new to the SDR scene, so I have not mastered the apps that can be added on, nor have I tried other software.

I ordered the RF coaxial coax cable assembly F female to MCX male. My police scanner antenna is a homebrew and I have television cable running into the house. This is the F female to MCX male pigtail. It is solid enough to do the task.

I have a short piece of television cable coming from a signal booster (4 Port Cable TV/HDTV/Digital Amplifier Internet Modem Signal Booster Internet AMP) into the dongle. So I am using an amplifier.

The main thing is not to get confused when hooking the dongle and implementing the software. Patience is a must here. The process is a bit confusing running out of the gate.

I got the FM radio to work on my trial run and and slowly I gained enough know-how to get the police scanner frequencies to function. I do not have the software acting as a scanner per se. I basically have a storage of chosen frequencies that I can choose at will. I’m sure the dongle will scan, I just haven’t got around to that part yet.

The frequencies on the software were not exact, as compared to my Uniden police scanner. There’s probably a way to correct this. I just haven’t found that out yet.

There’s another problem that I haven’t resolved yet. My computer froze up on me and I did get it to play after shutting it down. But, after using the dongle and software for some time, my computer seems more sluggish than it should. I’m sure there is a fix for this. I wish somebody would give me the heads up on this one. Is my processor just too slow? What’s the deal?

I can say that for so little investment a techie can have a lot of fun. The dongle does work but patience is required. The SDR# software is fantastic. So what is not to like?

How To Save On The Electric Bill

I’ve heard of several ways to save on the electric bill. Some methods work, some don’t, and some are just too boring to even consider. After watching and listening to this valuable tip on a DIY video, I was very impressed. This is a quick way to save on electricity with little effort.

Today’s water heater is commercially equipped with two heating elements. The design is to rapidly heat 50 gallons of water for a family of four or more. For a couple, single person, or a small family, water usage may be minimal.

The idea is this: Simply disconnect the bottom hot water heating element. This will heat the top section, allowing hot water for 25 gallons, instead of the normal 50 gallons. Only one of the heating elements will be used and this would save money immediately.

It is best to hire an electrician if you’re not confident with the procedure.

We are presented with another valuable money saving tip. At certain times when hot water is not immediately needed, just turn of the circuit breaker switch to the hot water tank. The hot water tank is one of the most demanding appliances in the house, so if we can reduce this cost, this will save us on the monthly utility bill.

Reminder: Check Water Meter For Leaks

For those that live in a dwelling and are responsible for monthly water usage, then you are well aware of the water bill. The average water bill is reasonable and it rarely fluctuates. If you have an unusually high utility bill, there may be a water leak. Reminder to self: Check water meter for leaks more often.

If there is a leak on the hot water side of the plumbing, the electric bill will increase substantially. I know, because this just happened to me. My electric bill was higher than normal and my goal was to get to the root of the problem.

The culprit was a leaking elbow joint that was on the hot water side. The hot water leak was causing my hot water heater to run constantly, thus causing my electric bill to rise. The hot water was only lukewarm and there didn’t seem to be as much water pressure.

A hot water leak is worse than a cold water leak and will create more problems.

The way I check for water leaks is to monitor the water meter. There is a red arrow that spins when the water is being used. Obviously, when someone flushes the toilet or is washing dishes, the arrow will spin at a rapid pace. When no water is being used, the arrow should not spin at all. If it does, there is a leaking pipe somewhere.

If it is a hot water leak, it means a high water bill and a high electric bill.

Reminder to self: Check water meter for leaks on a schedule.

What’s new in technology? The new USB cable 3.0, also called SuperSpeed (SS), can transfer more data and will be 10 times faster than the current 2.0 USB cable. The cable will be blue and it will have the SS label on it. There is a 3.0 adapter available that is currently on the market.

New Computers Come With 3.0 And 2.0 Ports

The new laptop is equipped with both — the 3.0 and 2.0 ports: Dell Inspiron i3531-1200BK 15.6-Inch Laptop Win with Windows 8.1.

Here is the new desktop if you prefer: Dell Inspiron i3646-1000BLK Desktop with Windows 8.0.

This is interesting. The Windows 7 version is more expensive: Dell Inspiron i3647-1233BLK Desktop (Windows 7).

3.0 Adapter Is Available

The older computer will be able to connect a 3.0 to a 2.0 port, but the speed will remain the same. It takes the 3.0 USB port to gain faster speeds.

Until a computer is purchased with USB 3.0, you will need to install a USB 3.0 PCI Express card to provide a USB 3.0 interface. For example: Anker® Uspeed USB 3.0 PCI-E Express Card with 4 USB 3.0 Ports and 5V 4-Pin Power Connector for Desktops [VL805 Chipset].

Manufacturer’s Note

PLEASE NOTE: This PCI-E card is powered by a 5V 4 pin power connector or sata 15 pin power connector. Please confirm that your computer power supply is equipped with a 5V 4 pin power connector plug or sata 15 pin power connector before purchasing. This is necessary to ensure sufficient power supply and smooth transfers, particularly for large data transfers from hard drive disks (3TB or above).

The future is now. If you are interested in electronics, or more specifically police scanners, then big changes are being made at this very moment. Long gone are the crystal days when all stayed the same. When it comes to police scanners, digital is the new kid on the block and digital is king. Software Defined Radio (SDR) is replacing the police scanner as we know it.

It does not mean that we will throw away our conventional police scanners. Access to computers, good software, and the technology that drives it signify a new age. We have already seen the coming of digital television. The next step will be digital audio.

Software defined radio is actually more practical if you think about it. The digital police scanner will cost you around $400 from the shelf. One may be found for a little less than that. If you want to search a brave new world of SDR with the computer, this will cost you just a little over $20!

This is significant enough to buy the dongle, download the SDR software (Windows), and dive into this new technology. There’s nothing to lose at all. The SDR software, which is free by the way, allows the user to find new frequencies in the digital world. This technology is definitely stirring some major excitement.

I just ordered the NooElec NESDR Mini USB RTL-SDR & ADS-B Receiver Set, which was previously packaged as: (TV28T v2.  RTL2832U & R820T Tuner, MCX Input. Low-Cost Software Defined Radio Compatible with Many SDR Software Packages. R820T Tuner & ESD-Safe Antenna Input, Guaranteed). I’ve looked at the other brands and I’ve decided on this one.

I’ve watched the YouTube video, but nothing beats hands-on experience.

In my personal opinion, software defined radio is going to grow and get better with time. Hobby enthusiasts are embracing this new technology that is bound to stay. The software is going to get better, thus opening the door even wider.

I’m a newbie myself, but it seems to me that the dongle will allow new frequencies to those that possess the analog police scanner. The potential provides numerous possibilities to explore.

I think the software defined radio is replacing the conventional police scanner. The future is now.

Accessories

1. RF coaxial coax cable F female to MCX male right angle RG316 6” — You will need the adaptor — MCX male and whatever the style is necessary to hook up another antenna. The antenna supplied with the dongle is not that good. An external antenna is optimal for better receive. My antenna is supplied with TV cable, which uses the F-connector.
2. AmazonBasics USB 2.0 A-Male to A-Female Extension Cable – 9.8 Feet (3 Meters) — The USB extension cable will get the dongle away from the computer, because some recommend this due to noise reduction.

Software

1. Gqrx — I’m going to try the Gqrx SDR software, because it runs with Linux software.
2. HAMSOFT — Linux Software for the Ham Radio Community.
3. Software — Very helpful information.

#womw Tourbillon

Defy gravity one minute at a time with the Tourbillon Watch. This timepiece is a classic. #womw

“Developed around 1795 and patented by the French-Swiss watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet on June 26, 1801, a tourbillon aims to counter the effects of gravity by mounting the escapement and balance wheel in a rotating cage, to negate the effect of gravity when the timepiece (thus the escapement) is stuck in a certain position.”

If you are out to feel good about yourself, you’ll want to try Girard Perregaux.

The Tri-Axial Tourbillon represents success and is truly amazing.

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