Friday Four

Friday, November 29, 2013

1. If you have too much spare time on your hands, you could while it away by building your own cell phone:

Making the DIY cellphone can be a fairly involved process but it doesn't necessarily require specific electronics expertise. You'll need to order the circuit board and electronics components (about $200 total) and have access to some other electronics tools. There's a good amount of fine hand soldering to be done: about 60 components, mostly surface-mount, which can take from one to five or ten hours, depending on your experience. Programming and, especially, debugging the phone can take a while - again, depending on your experience and how much goes wrong. Making the case requires some plywood and veneer, along with access to a laser cutter (or you can find your own way to enclosure the circuit board). In short, this is a difficult but potentially do-able project.
An amusing paradox occurs to me: Such a phone would be perfect for parents of small children, who would mistake one of these for a toy, and prefer to play with a "real" phone instead -- but such people have the least time on their hands.

Also: Compare the expense of this bare-bones phone, in time and money, to the price (even if not carrier-subsidized) of an average phone (which will have many more features) and raise a glass to division of labor.

2. As if New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees didn't have a sufficiently well-stocked trophy cabinet -- or the contest isn't already interesting enough:
Brees, meanwhile, has led the Saints to consecutive wins against the Cowboys, 49ers and Falcons. He's gaining momentum at just the right time. And the primetime stage against the 10-1 Seahawks provides the perfect forum to make his mark.

The MVP is the only significant honor remaining for Brees in his Hall of Fame career. He's been named the Super Bowl MVP, Man of the Year, All-Pro and the Offensive Player of the Year twice. [bold added]
I find the fact that he hasn't won this award borderline comical.

3. My favorite soccer manager knows better than I thought how to handle hostile media attacks:
"What do you know?" he said.

"You must have heard the rumours," shouted the journos.

"'If you print anything, I will attack," said Mr Wenger (meaning, "I will sue".)

And gradually the mob fell quiet.  If any of them had said a word about the nature of the rumours, they would be opening themselves to a libel case which they could never hope to win.   What they needed was for Mr Wenger to mention the rumours himself, and then they were safe to print his "denial" complete with innuendo and "no smoke without fire" commentaries.

But with Mr Wenger not saying a word they were forced to return to their offices and face very angry editors who had seen a story slip away from them through the use of a very simple ploy.
One cannot help but speculate on how much improved news coverage would become if, at every step of the process -- from interviewees, to reporters and editors, and all the way down to the readership -- everyone asked "What do you know?" (Implicit in the question is a corrollary: "How do you know it?")

 4. Pssst! If you want to buy perfectly legal, American-manufactured 100W incandescent light bulbs, go here. Of course, this will last until some bureaucrat closes the "commercial grade" loophole.

Or, better yet, such hoop-jumping could become a thing of the past with the eventual repeal of the inane law that bans the free sale of Edison bulbs.

-- CAV

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