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  19.  <channel rdf:about="">
  20.    <title>Phil! Gold</title>
  21.    <link></link>
  22.    <description>Mostly books that phil!'s read recently; other stuff that's interesting to him
  23. and probably few others.</description>
  24.    <language>en</language>
  25.    <dc:creator>Phil Gold ([email protected])</dc:creator>
  26.    <dc:rights>Copyright Phil Gold</dc:rights>
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  47.  <item rdf:about="">
  48.    <title>RampingIOS V3 Manual</title>
  49.    <link></link>
  50.    <description>
  55.  RampingIOS V3 UI diagram
  58. The Emisar D4S flashlights use a firmware named RampingIOS
  59. V3...</description>
  60.    <dc:subject>/Geekery</dc:subject>
  61.    <dc:creator>Phil Gold</dc:creator>
  62.    <dc:date>2018-08-28T09:47-04:00</dc:date>
  64.    <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p><figure style="float: right">
  65.  <a href="">
  66.    <!-- img width="256em" src="" -->
  67.    <img width="256em" src="">
  68.  </a>
  69.  <figcaption>RampingIOS V3 UI diagram</figcaption>
  70. </figure></p>
  72. <p>The Emisar <a href="">D4S</a> flashlights use a firmware named RampingIOS
  73. V3.  (The Emisar <a href="">D4</a>, <a href="">D1</a>, and <a href="">D1S</a>
  74. all use <a href="">RampingIOS V2</a>.)  There's not really a manual; the
  75. only thing we get is the diagram on the right.  It's reasonably
  76. comprehensive, but there's a fair amount of detail it merely summarizes,
  77. so I thought a textual manual would be nice.</p>
  79. <p>The Emisar D4S only works when the head and tailcap are tightened fully.
  80. You can physically lock it out--prevent it from turning on
  81. accidentally--by simply loosening the tailcap a small amount.  A quarter
  82. turn will do it.</p>
  84. <p>Emisar lights are known for their ramping interfaces.  Rather than have a
  85. small number of distinct brightness levels, they can vary their brightness
  86. anywhere between their lowest and highest levels, like a light on a
  87. dimmer.  The D4S is in ramping mode by default, but it also has a stepped
  88. mode that can be configured to be closer to how non-ramping lights work.</p>
  90. <p>Each mode--ramping and stepped--can have differently-configured brightness
  91. floors and ceilings.</p>
  93. <p>The driver for the D4S has two different chipsets.  At low brightness
  94. levels, a fairly-efficient but low-power chipset (called a <em>7135</em>) is
  95. used.  These lowest brightness levels are called the "<em>regulated levels</em>".
  96. Each regulated level will always be the same brightness regardless of how
  97. much charge the battery has.  Above a particular brightness level, the
  98. light switches over to a less-efficient but high-power chipset (called a
  99. <em>FET</em>).  These levels are called "<em>direct-drive</em>".  The brightness of the
  100. direct-drive levels is directly related to the battery's charge level; the
  101. more charged the battery, the brighter the levels.  The light is at its
  102. most efficient, in terms of power used for every lumen generated, at the
  103. brightest regulated level.  When the light is first powered by tightening
  104. the tailcap, it will default to this level.</p>
  106. <p>At higher brightness levels, the light's LEDs generate a lot of heat.  If
  107. the light exceeds its configured maximum temperature, it will begin
  108. dimming itself automatically until the temperature drops below the allowed
  109. maximum.</p>
  111. <p>The D4S has a set of cyan-colored auxiliary LEDs that can be on when the
  112. main LEDs are off.  You can configure the behavior of the aux LEDs.</p>
  114. <h4>Basic Usage</h4>
  116. <p>The default mode for the light is ramping mode.  Triple-pressing the
  117. button (<strong>3 clicks</strong>) while the light is on will toggle between ramping
  118. and stepped mode.</p>
  120. <p>While the light is off, press and release the button (<strong>1 click</strong>) to turn
  121. it on.  It will turn on at the last-used brightness level.  (This is
  122. called "<em>mode memory</em>".)  Immediately after loosening and tightening the
  123. tailcap (or after changing the battery), the memorized level will be the
  124. light's max regulated level.</p>
  126. <p>When the light is on, 1 click will turn it off.  The current brightness
  127. level will be memorized for future use.  There's a fraction of a second
  128. delay between pressing the button and the light actually turning off.
  129. That's because of the way the light processes input; it's waiting to make
  130. sure you're only going to press the button once (since multiple presses
  131. will trigger other actions).</p>
  133. <p>When the light is on, holding the button down will brighten the light.  In
  134. ramping mode, the brightness will increase gradually ("<em>ramping up</em>").  In
  135. stepped mode, the light will jump through increasing brightness levels.
  136. If you press, release, and then hold the button, it will begin dimming.
  137. In ramping mode, the brightness will decrease gradually ("<em>ramping
  138. down</em>").  In stepped mode, the light will jump through decreasing
  139. brightness levels.  While the light is changing, if you release the button
  140. and immediately hold it again, the direction (dimming or brightening) will
  141. switch.</p>
  143. <p>In ramping mode, while the light is ramping, it'll briefly blink off and
  144. on again at two different brightness levels: the maximum regulated level
  145. and the brightness ceiling.</p>
  147. <p>While the light is off, double-pressing the button (<strong>2 clicks</strong>) will
  148. immediately jump to the brightness ceiling.</p>
  150. <p>While the light is on, <strong>2 clicks</strong> will jump to the maximum brightness
  151. level, regardless of the configured brightness ceiling.  Another two
  152. clicks will go back to the previous brightness level.</p>
  154. <p>While the light is off, if you hold the button the light will turn on at
  155. its lowest level.  If you continue holding the button, the light will
  156. begin brightening from there.</p>
  158. <h5>Configuration Menus</h5>
  160. <p>The light has several different configuration modes.  Each of those modes
  161. works more or less the same way.  The mode will have a series of menu
  162. items that it will go through.  For each menu item, the light will first
  163. blink a number of times corresponding to the item number (first, second,
  164. etc.)  After that, the light will begin fluttering on and off fairly
  165. quickly.  While the light is fluttering, you can click the button a number
  166. of times; the light will count the number of button presses and use that
  167. number as its new configuration for that menu item.  After a short period
  168. of time, the fluttering will stop and the light will move on to the next
  169. menu item.  After the light has gone through all of the menu items, it
  170. will return to whatever mode it was in before entering the configuration
  171. mode.</p>
  173. <p>If you don't press the button during a particular menu item's fluttering,
  174. that item will remain unchanged.</p>
  176. <h5>Configuring the Basic Modes</h5>
  178. <p>While the light is on, <strong>4 clicks</strong> will enter ramping or stepped
  179. configuration mode, depending on which mode the light was in before the 4
  180. clicks.</p>
  182. <p>For ramping mode, there are two menu options:</p>
  184. <ol>
  185. <li>Brightness floor (default 1/150)</li>
  186. <li>Brightness ceiling (default 150/150)</li>
  187. </ol>
  189. <p>During the floor configuration, press the button equal to the number of
  190. ramping levels (out of 150) at which the floor should be.  To set the
  191. lowest possible floor, click the button once.</p>
  193. <p>The ceiling is configured similarly, but you press the button equal to the
  194. number of steps away from maximum brightness.  To set the highest possible
  195. ceiling (at max brightness), click the button once.</p>
  197. <p>For stepped mode, there are three menu options:</p>
  199. <ol>
  200. <li>Brightness floor (default 20/150)</li>
  201. <li>Brightness ceiling (default 120/150)</li>
  202. <li>Number of steps (default 7)</li>
  203. </ol>
  205. <h4>Other Modes</h4>
  207. <p>The other modes largely involve multiple clicks from off.  Most of them
  208. are not generally needed for everyday use, but they supplement the light's
  209. basic operations.</p>
  211. <h5>BattCheck/TempCheck Modes</h5>
  213. <p>From off, <strong>3 clicks</strong> will enter "BattCheck" mode, which blinks out the
  214. current battery voltage.  First it blinks the number of volts, then it
  215. pauses, then it blinks out the tenths of volts.  Thus, if the battery were
  216. at 3.5 volts, the light would blink three times, pause, then five times.
  217. For zeroes, it gives a very short blink.</p>
  219. <p>A fully-charged lithium-ion battery is 4.2 volts.  The light considers 2.8
  220. volts to be an empty battery and won't turn on if the battery is at or
  221. below 2.8 volts.</p>
  223. <p>The voltage sequence will continue blinking until you turn off the light
  224. with a single click.</p>
  226. <p>While the light is in BattCheck mode, <strong>2 clicks</strong> will enter TempCheck
  227. mode.  Instead of blinking out the battery voltage, the light will start
  228. blinking out its current temperature in degrees Celsius, first the tens
  229. digit then the units digit.  Like BattCheck mode, the light will continue
  230. blinking out the temperature until you turn it off with a single click.</p>
  232. <p>While the light is in TempCheck mode, <strong>4 clicks</strong> will enter thermal
  233. configuration mode.  See the thermal configuration mode documentation
  234. below for how that works.</p>
  236. <h5>Tactical Mode</h5>
  238. <p>From off, <strong>4 clicks</strong> will enter "tactical" or "momentary" mode.  The
  239. light will flash once to show that it's entered the mode.  The auxiliary
  240. LEDs will turn off (if they were on).  In tactical mode, the light will
  241. turn on at its memorized brightness for as long as the button is being
  242. held down.  It will turn off as soon as the button is released.</p>
  244. <p>There's no button press combination that will exit tactical mode.  To exit
  245. it, you will have to partially unscrew and retighten the tailcap.</p>
  247. <h5>Lockout Mode</h5>
  249. <p>From off, <strong>6 clicks</strong> will enter lockout mode.  The light will flash
  250. twice to show that it's entered the mode.  There's a separate aux LED mode
  251. for lockout mode, so you can tell whether the light is in lockout or not.</p>
  253. <p>In lockout mode, pressing the button will turn on the light at its lowest
  254. brightness ("<em>moonlight mode</em>") for as long as the button is held down.</p>
  256. <p>Another 6 clicks will exit lockout mode.  The light will flash twice to
  257. show that it's left the mode.</p>
  259. <p>While in lockout mode, <strong>3 clicks</strong> will cycle through the various
  260. settings for the aux LEDs in lockout mode.  The four modes are, in order:
  261. low, high, blink (on high), and off.  The default mode is blink.</p>
  263. <p>Remember that loosening the tailcap a quarter turn will also lock out the
  264. light.  Using the 6 clicks is called "<em>electronic lockout</em>", while turning
  265. the tailcap is "<em>physical lockout</em>".</p>
  267. <h5>Aux LED Configuration</h5>
  269. <p>From off, <strong>7 clicks</strong> will cycle to the next aux LED mode.  The four
  270. modes are, in order:  low, high, blink (on high), and off.  The default
  271. mode is low.</p>
  273. <h5>Beacon Mode</h5>
  275. <p>From off, <strong>8 clicks</strong> will enter beacon mode.  In beacon mode, the light
  276. will blink on and off every few seconds.</p>
  278. <p>By default, the light will blink every two seconds.  To change the timing,
  279. use <strong>4 clicks</strong> while in beacon mode.  The light will enter a one-item
  280. menu.  During the flickering for input, press the button a number of times
  281. equal to the number of seconds between blinks.</p>
  283. <p>1 click will exit beacon mode.</p>
  285. <h5>Thermal Configuration Mode</h5>
  287. <p>From off, <strong>10 clicks</strong> will enter thermal configuration mode.</p>
  289. <p>The menu items here are:</p>
  291. <ol>
  292. <li>Current temperature (every click is one degree Celsius)</li>
  293. <li>Temperature ceiling (every click is one degree <em>above 30°C</em>)</li>
  294. </ol>
  296. <p>The "current temperature" item can be used to adjust the calibration of
  297. the light's temperature sensor.  To use it, make sure the light has been
  298. off long enough that all of its components have cooled (or warmed) to the
  299. ambient temperature.  Check the ambient temperature using a thermometer
  300. you trust.  Go to thermal configuration mode, and enter the current
  301. temperature by clicking the button a number of times equal to the
  302. temperature in degrees Celsius.  (If it's 22°C, click the button 22
  303. times.)</p>
  305. <p>You can check the default calibration by entering TempCheck mode from a
  306. room-temperature light.  The D4Ss are supposed to go through a temperature
  307. calibration at the factory, so hopefully most of them won't need manual
  308. thermal calibration.</p>
  310. <p>The temperature ceiling is simply the highest temperature the light should
  311. be allowed to reach.  Once it hits its temperature ceiling, it will
  312. progressively dim itself until the temperature stabilizes below the
  313. ceiling.  Note that the number of clicks in that menu option is added to
  314. <em>30</em> to reach the actual ceiling.  (Thus, you can't set a ceiling below
  315. 31°C.)  The maximum allowed ceiling is 70°C.</p>
  317. <p>The default temperature ceiling is 45°C.</p>
  318. ]]></content:encoded>
  319.  </item>
  321.  <item rdf:about="">
  322.    <title>RampingIOS V2 Manual</title>
  323.    <link></link>
  324.    <description>
  329.  RampingIOS V2 UI diagram
  332. The Emisar D4, D1, and D1S
  333. flashlights all use a firmware named RampingIOS V2...</description>
  334.    <dc:subject>/Geekery</dc:subject>
  335.    <dc:creator>Phil Gold</dc:creator>
  336.    <dc:date>2018-08-26T21:32-04:00</dc:date>
  338.    <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p><figure style="float: right">
  339.  <a href="">
  340.    <!-- img width="256em" src="" -->
  341.    <img width="256em" src="">
  342.  </a>
  343.  <figcaption>RampingIOS V2 UI diagram</figcaption>
  344. </figure></p>
  346. <p>The Emisar <a href="">D4</a>, <a href="">D1</a>, and <a href="">D1S</a>
  347. flashlights all use a firmware named RampingIOS V2.  (The earliest D4s
  348. were released with V1, but there aren't many of those around.  The Emisar
  349. <a href="">D4S</a> uses <a href="">RampingIOS V3</a>.)  There's not
  350. really a manual; the only thing we get is the diagram on the right.  It's
  351. pretty comprehensive, but I thought a textual manual would be nice, so I
  352. decided to write one.</p>
  354. <p>The Emisar lights only work when the head and tailcap are tightened fully.
  355. You can physically lock out the lights--prevent them from turning on
  356. accidentally--by simply loosening the tailcap a small amount.  A quarter
  357. turn will do it.</p>
  359. <p>The lights use a ramping interface.  Rather than have a small number of
  360. distinct brightness levels, they can vary their brightness anywhere
  361. between their lowest and highest levels, like a light on a dimmer.</p>
  363. <p>The drivers for the lights have two different chipsets.  At low brightness
  364. levels, a fairly-efficient but low-power chipset (called a <em>7135</em>) is
  365. used.  These lowest brightness levels are called the "<em>regulated levels</em>".
  366. Each regulated level will always be the same brightness regardless of how
  367. much charge the battery has.  Above a particular brightness level, the
  368. light switches over to a less-efficient but high-power chipset (called a
  369. <em>FET</em>).  These levels are called "<em>direct-drive</em>".  The brightness of the
  370. direct-drive levels is directly related to the battery's charge level; the
  371. more charged the battery, the brighter the levels.  The lights are at
  372. their most efficient, in terms of power used for every lumen generated, at
  373. the brightest regulated level.  When the light is first powered by
  374. tightening the tailcap, it will default to this level.</p>
  376. <p>At higher brightness levels, the lights' LEDs generate a lot of heat.  If
  377. a light exceeds its configured maximum temperature, it will begin dimming
  378. itself automatically until the temperature drops below the allowed
  379. maximum.</p>
  381. <h4>Basic Usage</h4>
  383. <p>While the light is off, press and release the button (<strong>1 click</strong>) to turn
  384. it on.  It will turn on at the last-used brightness level.  (This is
  385. called "<em>mode memory</em>".)  Immediately after loosening and tightening the
  386. tailcap (or after changing the battery), the default level will be the
  387. light's max regulated level.</p>
  389. <p>When the light is on, 1 click will turn it off.  The current brightness
  390. level will be memorized for future use.</p>
  392. <p>When the light is on, holding the button down with gradually brighten the
  393. light ("<em>ramping up</em>").  If you release the button and immediately hold it
  394. again, the ramping direction will switch, so if it had been ramping up
  395. it'll be dimming ("<em>ramping down</em>") afterward.</p>
  397. <p>While the light is ramping, it'll briefly blink off and on again at three
  398. different brightness levels: the minimum brightness, the maximum
  399. brightness, and the maximum regulated level.</p>
  401. <p>While the light is either on or off, double-pressing the button (<strong>2
  402. clicks</strong>) will immediately jump to the maximum brightness level.  Another
  403. two clicks will go back to the previous brightness level.  If the light
  404. was off before the the initial two clicks, the second two clicks will go
  405. to the memorized brightness level.</p>
  407. <p>While the light is off, if you hold the button the light will turn on at
  408. its lowest level.  If you continue holding the button, the light will
  409. begin ramping up.</p>
  411. <h4>Other Modes</h4>
  413. <p>The other modes largely involve multiple clicks from off.  They're not
  414. generally needed for everyday use, but they supplement the light's basic
  415. operations.</p>
  417. <h5>BattCheck/TempCheck Modes</h5>
  419. <p>From off, <strong>3 clicks</strong> will enter "BattCheck" mode, which gives the
  420. battery level.  It blinks out the current battery voltage.  First it
  421. blinks the number of volts, then it pauses, then it blinks out the tenths
  422. of volts.  Thus, if the battery were at 3.5 volts, the light would blink
  423. three times, pause, then five times.  For zeroes, it gives a very short
  424. blink.</p>
  426. <p>A fully-charged lithium-ion battery is 4.2 volts.  The light considers 2.8
  427. volts to be an empty battery and won't turn on if the battery is at or
  428. below 2.8 volts.</p>
  430. <p>The voltage sequence will continue blinking until you turn off the light
  431. with a single click.</p>
  433. <p>While the light is in BattCheck mode, <strong>2 clicks</strong> will enter TempCheck
  434. mode.  Instead of blinking out the battery voltage, the light will start
  435. blinking out its current temperature in degrees Celsius, first the tens
  436. digit then the units digit.  Like BattCheck mode, the light will continue
  437. blinking out the temperature until you turn it off with a single click.</p>
  439. <h5>Tactical Mode</h5>
  441. <p>From off, <strong>4 clicks</strong> will enter "tactical" or "momentary" mode.  The
  442. light will flash four times to show that it's entered the mode.  In
  443. tactical mode, the light will turn on at maximum brightness for as long as
  444. the button is being held down.  It will turn off as soon as the button is
  445. released.</p>
  447. <p>Another 4 clicks will exit tactical mode.  The light will flash twice to
  448. show that it's left the mode.</p>
  450. <h5>Lockout Mode</h5>
  452. <p>From off, <strong>6 clicks</strong> will enter lockout mode.  The light will flash four
  453. times to show that it's entered the mode.  In lockout mode, the light will
  454. not turn on, no matter how the button is pressed.</p>
  456. <p>Another 6 clicks will exit lockout mode.  The light will flash twice to
  457. show that it's left the mode.</p>
  459. <p>Remember that loosening the tailcap a quarter turn will also lock out the
  460. light.  Using the 6 clicks is called "<em>electronic lockout</em>", while turning
  461. the tailcap is "<em>physical lockout</em>".</p>
  463. <h5>Beacon Mode</h5>
  465. <p>From off, <strong>8 clicks</strong> will enter beacon mode.  In beacon mode, the light
  466. will blink on and off every two and a half seconds.</p>
  468. <p>1 click will exit beacon mode.</p>
  470. <h5>Thermal Configuration Mode</h5>
  472. <p>From off, <strong>10 or more clicks</strong> followed by holding down the button will
  473. enter thermal configuration mode.</p>
  475. <p>In thermal config mode, the light will first blink out the current maximum
  476. temperature.  As with TempCheck mode, it blinks the tens digit followed by
  477. the units digit.  If you release the button at this point, the light will
  478. turn off and no changes to the configuration will be made.</p>
  480. <p>If you continue to hold the button, the light will then flicker for a
  481. second or so.  After that, it will turn on at its maximum brightness.  It
  482. won't turn off until you release the button, which you should do when you
  483. feel like the light has gotten too hot.  The temperature at that point
  484. will be the new maximum temperature.  The light will blink out that new
  485. maximum temperature and then turn off.</p>
  487. <p>The default temperature threshold is 45°C.</p>
  488. ]]></content:encoded>
  489.  </item>
  491.  <item rdf:about="">
  492.    <title>Podcasts</title>
  493.    <link></link>
  494.    <description>I listen to a lot of podcasts, usually while I'm in the car, but also when
  495. I'm doing yardwork and similar solitary tasks...</description>
  496.    <dc:subject>/Geekery</dc:subject>
  497.    <dc:creator>Phil Gold</dc:creator>
  498.    <dc:date>2017-12-14T12:10-04:00</dc:date>
  500.    <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p>I listen to a lot of podcasts, usually while I'm in the car, but also when
  501. I'm doing yardwork and similar solitary tasks.  These are the podcasts I
  502. listen to.</p>
  504. <p>I break my podcasts into several categories and generally listen to the
  505. categories in order.  (I listen to all of the news podcasts before
  506. starting on the politics podcasts, and so on.)  My currently-preferred
  507. podcast client, <a href="">BeyondPod</a>, lets me set up a "smart playlist" that puts
  508. everything in the appropriate order automatically every time I update my
  509. feeds.</p>
  511. <p>BeyondPod also lets me speed up podcasts.  I listen to most of my podcasts
  512. at 1.5x playback speed.  I can still process the information comfortably,
  513. but it gets through them faster.  Exempted are more highly-produced
  514. podcasts and ones that are really short anyway.</p>
  516. <h4>News</h4>
  518. <p>First, I listen to my "News" podcasts.  These are short and, well, about
  519. news.  I listen to these in reverse chronological order, so I get the
  520. newest news first.</p>
  522. <h5>NPR News Now</h5>
  524. <p>The <a href="">NPR News Now</a> podcast is updated every hour and
  525. contains a recording of the five-minute news summary they make available
  526. to their member stations at the start of every hour.  I have BeyondPod
  527. update its feeds within an hour of my normal times for leaving home and
  528. work, so I always start off my listening with an up-to-date news summary.</p>
  530. <ul>
  531. <li>Schedule: Every hour, but you (obviously) only ever need the most
  532. recent episode.</li>
  533. <li>Playback: 1x because it's short.</li>
  534. </ul>
  536. <h5>Up First</h5>
  538. <p><a href="">Up First</a> is NPR's podcast version of a morning show.  It's
  539. hosted by the same people who host Morning Edition, and it's available
  540. every weekday morning.  It spends about ten minutes discussing two to four
  541. news topics in more depth than the hourly news summary can cover them.</p>
  543. <ul>
  544. <li>Schedule: Every weekday, posted by 6am Eastern time.</li>
  545. <li>Playback: 1x because it's relatively short.</li>
  546. </ul>
  548. <h5>WAMU Local News</h5>
  550. <p><a href="">WAMU Local News</a> is just what it sounds like; short news items
  551. from WAMU in DC.  (WYPR is closer to me, but the reasons I instead listen
  552. and donate to WAMU are a whole other post.)</p>
  554. <ul>
  555. <li>Schedule: Somewhat ad-hoc; it depends on what reporting WAMU has done
  556. on a given day.  In general, there are three to five short episodes
  557. every weekday.</li>
  558. <li>Playback: 1.5x.</li>
  559. </ul>
  561. <h4>Politics / Topical</h4>
  563. <p>The podcasts in this section are ones that cover topical issues, with a
  564. focus on politics.  I try to stay up to date on all of their episodes.
  565. Sometimes I skip individual episodes in the interest of keeping up with
  566. all of them.</p>
  568. <h5>1A</h5>
  570. <p>I'm a bit on the fence about <a href="">1A</a>, hosted by Joshua Johnson.  I want a
  571. podcast that covers a wide range of relevant topics, particularly politics
  572. and cultural issues, and I want to come away from discussions with a sense
  573. of understanding the perspectives on all sides of an issue, regardless of
  574. whether I agree with them.  The Diane Rehm Show used to be very good at
  575. that; Diane assembeled good panels for discussion, and she was extremely
  576. talented at guiding the discussion for the edification of her listeners.
  577. 1A took over Diane Rehm's time slot and covers the same sorts of topics,
  578. to a first approximation, so I've been listening to it since its
  579. inception.</p>
  581. <p>1A is different in a few ways, of course.  The focus of the cultural
  582. topics is a bit different, but I generally like the topics covered by the
  583. show.  I don't think Joshua Johnson is as good a host, though.  Diane was
  584. good, in my opinion, at guiding her guests to present useful information
  585. and perspectives to her listeners.  Joshua has often come off as
  586. condescending or offputting to his guests, in ways that I don't think have
  587. contributed to genuine, useful conversations.  (In more than one show he's
  588. asked a guest a question that basically came off as him saying, "Do you
  589. even understand why people think you're wrong?")  I'm a little on the
  590. fence about what they've done with the podcast format, too.  The radio
  591. show is two hours long, with a different topic each hour.  For the
  592. podcast, they pick one of the two topics and edit that show down to a half
  593. hour.  If you want to listen to the other show, you have to go to the
  594. website; it's not available in a podcast.</p>
  596. <p>I still feel like I'm getting useful information and perspectives from the
  597. show, but not to the same degree as I got from the show that previously
  598. filled my "topical panel discussion" need.  If anyone has suggestions for
  599. better podcasts, I'm open to them.</p>
  601. <ul>
  602. <li>Schedule: One 30-minute episode every weekday, distilled from the two
  603. shows that aired that day.  There's often a bonus episode on the
  604. weekend taken from one of the week's episodes that didn't get put into
  605. its day's podcast.</li>
  606. <li>Playback: 1.5x, on general time principles, but Joshua also speaks a
  607. little slowly and speeding him up helps.</li>
  608. </ul>
  610. <h5>Diane Rehm: On My Mind</h5>
  612. <p><a href="">On My Mind</a> is the podcast that Diane Rehm has been doing since she
  613. retired from hosting the on-air Diane Rehm Show.  Every week she records
  614. and collects conversations with people where she discusses political or
  615. cultural topics.  Her new format doesn't really cover the sort of broad,
  616. multifaceted discussions that I really liked about her old show, but she's
  617. still informative and insightful, so I'm still listening.</p>
  619. <ul>
  620. <li>Schedule: Weekly.  One hour-long episode every Friday.</li>
  621. <li>Playback: 1.5x.  Diane Rehm was the reason I started speeding up
  622. podcasts in the first place.  She's an excellent host, but she talks
  623. extremely slowly.  (There are health reasons for some of that, but it
  624. still makes it difficult to listen to her show sometimes.)  Speeding
  625. her up makes it a lot easier to get past the way she sounds and get
  626. into the communication of ideas, where she excels.</li>
  627. </ul>
  629. <h5>The Economist Radio</h5>
  631. <p>The Economist has <a href="">multiple podcasts</a>; I listen to all of
  632. them through their "all audio" feed, available at the top of that page.  I
  633. do skip their "Tasting Menu" episodes; I find the format they use for them
  634. jarring.  (It consists of one person reading excerpts from an article
  635. they've written for the magazine intercut with the host's commentary on
  636. the article.  It feels like a conversation format where the two people
  637. aren't actually talking to each other and I don't like it.)</p>
  639. <p>The Economist has the nice additional benefit of giving coverage of the US
  640. from an outside perspective.  I appreciate that because pretty much all of
  641. the other podcasts I listen to are based on the US.</p>
  643. <ul>
  644. <li>Schedule: There are currently five podcasts; each one is
  645. published weekly on a different day of the week, so the all audio feed
  646. gets a new episode every weekday.</li>
  647. <li>Playback: 1.5x</li>
  648. </ul>
  650. <h5>FiveThirtyEight Politics</h5>
  652. <p>The FiveThirtyEight Politics Podcast doesn't have its own page, but you
  653. can find it on the <a href="">FiveThirtyEight Podcasts page</a>.  This
  654. weekly podcast features concrete, numbers-based discussions about
  655. political developments.  I really like their approach to trying to
  656. understand the population's political opinions by asking them (generally
  657. through polls) and trying to fairly listen to the answers.</p>
  659. <ul>
  660. <li>Schedule: Weekly.  Episodes are recorded around noon on Mondays and
  661. posted that afternoon.  Sometimes they do "emergency podcasts" on other
  662. days to discuss particularly interesting political news developments.</li>
  663. <li>Playback: 1.5x</li>
  664. </ul>
  666. <h5>On the Media</h5>
  668. <p><a href="">On the Media</a> is a weekly show that discusses how the US--and
  669. sometimes global--media is covering (or miscovering or failing to cover)
  670. the news, particularly political news.  They also tend to discuss free
  671. speech and various other things that fall within a similar penumbra</p>
  673. <ul>
  674. <li>Schedule: Weekly plus.  The hour-long radio show airs on Fridays, so
  675. they post new shows to the podcast feed on Fridays, too.  The podcast
  676. also gets "podcast extras" every Wednesday.</li>
  677. <li>Playback: 1x.  Although it might not sound like it at first, the show
  678. is very highly produced and edited.  Each episode packs a lot more
  679. content into each time period than most of the other podcasts I listen
  680. to, so I leave this one at 1x playback.</li>
  681. </ul>
  683. <h4>Education</h4>
  685. <p>These podcasts are excellent places to learn new things.  They're not
  686. necessarily as time-sensitive as the ones in my "Politics / Topical"
  687. section, so I get to these only when I've caught up on all the topical
  688. stuff.  I am currently about five months behind on this section.</p>
  690. <h5>99% Invisible</h5>
  692. <p><a href="">99% Invisible</a> discusses the design of things made by humans, with
  693. a focus on architecture.  I've learned a lot about all sorts of things
  694. that people have made from this show.</p>
  696. <ul>
  697. <li>Schedule: Weekly.  One half-hour episode every Tuesday.</li>
  698. <li>Playback: 1x.  This show has high production values and it's worth
  699. listening at regular playback speed.</li>
  700. </ul>
  702. <h5>Radiolab</h5>
  704. <p><a href="">Radiolab</a> tells stories about science.  I've learned a lot from
  705. this podcast about new developments in science, obscure but interesting
  706. scientific discoveries, and science history.  They also do a lot to try to
  707. express concepts and atmosphere through audio cues.  At least one person I
  708. know finds their "bleeps and bloops" offputting and can't listen to them.</p>
  710. <ul>
  711. <li>Schedule: They don't seem to have a hard and fast schedule these days.
  712. They usually put out two to three episodes a month.</li>
  713. <li>Playback: 1x.  A lot of work goes into the show's production, and it
  714. doesn't sound the same when sped up.</li>
  715. </ul>
  717. <h5>Ted Talks (audio)</h5>
  719. <p>The <a href="">TED Talks audio feed</a> is just that: an audio-only podcast
  720. of TED talks.  I'm a little on the fence about this one.  I've listened to
  721. some really great talks through this feed, but a lot are just okay or
  722. worse.  The ratio is not really in the feed's favor.  I haven't fully
  723. given up on it yet, though.</p>
  725. <ul>
  726. <li>Schedule: Every weekday.  Most talks are 18 minutes or less.</li>
  727. <li>Playback: 1x.  A lot of the talks could probably be sped up without
  728. issue, but the good ones usually have a rhythm and performace aspect to
  729. them that is better appreciated at 1x, so that's where I leave the
  730. entire feed.</li>
  731. </ul>
  733. <h5>What's the Point</h5>
  735. <p><a href="">What's the Point</a> <em>was</em> a podcast from FiveThirtyEight that
  736. discussed uses of data in various aspects of our world.  One of the early
  737. episodes I distinctly remember was a discussion of analyzing traffic data
  738. in New York City to optimize traffic flows in Manhattan (including closing
  739. a street to improve the traffic).  The podcast has ended, but I haven't
  740. yet listened to all of the episodes in the feed.</p>
  742. <ul>
  743. <li>Schedule: Ended.  When it was active, it was weekly, with a new episode
  744. every Friday.</li>
  745. <li>Playback: 1.5x.</li>
  746. </ul>
  748. <h4>Catching Up</h4>
  750. <p>If I ever get caught up on my "Education" category, I have the "Catching
  751. Up" category to work on.  When I find a podcast that I like and want to
  752. listen to every episode of it, I put it in this category.  Once I'm caught
  753. up on the podcast, it gets moved into an appropriate other category
  754. (usually "Education").  99% Invisible, TED Talks, and Radiolab all started
  755. out here.</p>
  757. <h5>Intelligence Squared US</h5>
  759. <p><a href="">Intelligence Squared US</a> holds one or two debates every month on
  760. interesting topics, often political ones.  Each debate begins with a
  761. motion, e.g. "Video games make us smarter."  There are two teams in the
  762. debate; one argues for the motion and the other argues against.  Each team
  763. has two members.  The debate has three phases: opening statements,
  764. answering questions from the moderator and audience, and closing
  765. statements.  The audience is polled about their opinion on the statement
  766. before and after the debate; the side that had the greatest increase in
  767. supporters is said to have won the debate.  I don't care so much about who
  768. wins or loses, but the debates are generally good platforms for
  769. understanding opposing perspectives on contentious topics.</p>
  771. <ul>
  772. <li>Schedule: One to two hour-long episodes every month.</li>
  773. <li>Playback: 1x.  I think the performace aspects of the debate are better
  774. expressed at normal playback speed.</li>
  775. </ul>
  776. ]]></content:encoded>
  777.  </item>
  779.  <item rdf:about="">
  780.    <title>How to Buy Batteries for Flashlights</title>
  781.    <link></link>
  782.    <description>Questions about buying batteries come up periodically on the
  783. /r/flashlight subreddit...</description>
  784.    <dc:subject>/Geekery</dc:subject>
  785.    <dc:creator>Phil Gold</dc:creator>
  786.    <dc:date>2017-10-30T16:20-04:00</dc:date>
  788.    <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p>Questions about buying batteries come up periodically on the
  789. <a href="">/r/flashlight</a> subreddit.  This is the guide I wish had existed when I
  790. had those questions.  The primary focus of this guide is on batteries that
  791. go into flashlights, though some of what's here can certainly be applied
  792. to other battery-powered devices.</p>
  794. <p>If you just want to know how to get 18650 batteries, skip down to the
  795. <a href="#liion">Lithium-Ion section</a>.  Be careful when buying lithium-ion
  796. batteries from marketplaces like Amazon; unsafe batteries abound.  See the
  797. section for advice on making safe purchases.</p>
  799. <h4><a name="overview"></a> Types of Batteries</h4>
  801. <p>Batteries can be separated into different types that largely have to do
  802. with their voltage.  A battery's voltage is determined by the chemical
  803. reactions it uses to generate electricity (and occasionally with
  804. additional circuitry added to the battery).  The usual way we refer to
  805. batteries (AA, AAA, C, etc.) specifically references their size, not
  806. voltage.  Fortunately, for the most part, particular sizes only come in
  807. particular voltages.  I'll note a few places you might have to take care.</p>
  809. <p>Flashlight batteries generally fall into one of three categories (links go
  810. to the sections on each type of battery):</p>
  812. <ul>
  813. <li><a href="#alkaline">1.5V</a> - These include the most common battery types in use,
  814. including AAA, AA, C, and D.</li>
  815. <li><a href="#lithium-3v">3V</a> - The most common 3V flashlight battery is the
  816. CR123A.  Many button cells (watch batteries) are also 3V, like the
  817. common CR2032.</li>
  818. <li><a href="#liion">Lithium-Ion</a> - This is a whole class of batteries that have
  819. higher outputs and last longer than many other flashlight batteries,
  820. but they require more care in handling.  Lithium-ion flashlight
  821. batteries usually have five-digit designations, like 18650 and 10440.</li>
  822. </ul>
  824. <p>I'm omitting stuff like 9V batteries and 6V "lantern batteries", since
  825. they're not used in flashlights to the same degree that the above
  826. categories are.</p>
  828. <h4><a name="alkaline"></a> 1.5V Batteries (AA, C, etc.)</h4>
  830. <p>Flashlights that use AAA, AA, C, and D cells are very common.  They're
  831. useful because those cells are also very common.</p>
  833. <p>People sometimes refer to these batteries as either "primaries" or, less
  834. often, "secondaries".  "Primaries" are synonymous with non-rechargeable;
  835. you use them and then throw them away.  "Secondaries" are synonymous with
  836. rechargeable, though people will more often just call them "rechargeable".</p>
  838. <p>The main consideration when choosing 1.5V batteries is the chemistry used
  839. inside.  There are three common chemistries:</p>
  841. <ul>
  842. <li><p>Alkaline - The cheapest and most common.  Not recommended unless
  843. they're your only option.  They're not rechargeable, so you have to
  844. replace them every time you use them up.  They lose their charge over
  845. time, so if you leave them alone for a while, they might not even be
  846. useful when you do pick them up.  They tend to leak, which becomes more
  847. likely the more they discharge (and remember, they lose charge even if
  848. you're not using them).  When they leak, they can destroy whatever
  849. device they're in.</p></li>
  850. <li><p>Nickel-metal Hydride (NiMH) - Rechargeable.  People will often refer to
  851. "Eneloops", a specific, well-regarded brand of NiMH batteries.  Good
  852. for frequently-used flashlights because you can reuse them rather than
  853. buying new ones all the time.  They also don't leak, so you don't run
  854. the risk of damaging your devices.  Standard NiMH batteries lose charge
  855. much faster than alkaline batteries, but you can get "low self
  856. discharge" NiMH batteries that only lose their charge slightly faster
  857. than alkalines do.  (Rough comparison: after a year without use or
  858. charging, an alkaline battery will have 80-90% of its original charge,
  859. an LSD NiMH will have 70-80%, and a regular NiMH will have 15-20%.)
  860. Although alkalines usually claim more energy storage than NiMH on
  861. paper, NiMH batteries tend to give longer runtimes in flashlights in
  862. practice because of the way modern flashlights use electricity.</p></li>
  863. <li><p>Lithium - Expensive, but long-lasting.  Not rechargeable.  These
  864. typically cost three times or more what alkalines do.  (So do NiMH
  865. batteries, but those are rechargeable, so the cost is amortized over
  866. many reuses.)  They lose their charge more slowly than alkalines, they
  867. can store more energy than alkalines or NiMH, and they don't leak.
  868. Good for devices you want to leave alone for months or years at a time
  869. and still work as soon as you pick them up again.</p></li>
  870. </ul>
  872. <p>There are rechargeable alkaline and rechargeable lithium batteries, but
  873. rechargeable NiMH are the most common at the moment.  Nickel-cadmium (NiCd)
  874. used to be the most common rechargeable chemistry, but it's been replaced
  875. by the NiMH, which is better than NiCd in practically every way.</p>
  877. <p>In most cases, you should get NiMH rechargeable batteries for flashlights
  878. that get used frequently.  For flashlights that sit and wait to be used
  879. (emergency flashlights, bug out bags, etc.), use lithium primaries.</p>
  881. <p>Lithium batteries handle temperature extremes better than NiMH and
  882. alkaline batteries, so lithium is also the best choice for things like
  883. flashlights that live in cars.</p>
  885. <p><a href="">The Wirecutter</a> has recommendations for
  886. <a href="">NiMH AA and AAA batteries</a> and
  887. <a href="">NiMH AA and AAA chargers</a>.</p>
  889. <h4><a name="lithium-3v"></a> 3V Batteries (CR123A, etc.)</h4>
  891. <p>3V batteries are common in a number of more niche devices, like cameras.
  892. There are a lot of flashlights that use 3V CR123A batteries.  Pretty much
  893. every 3V battery uses lithium, so everything about lithium in the
  894. <a href="#alkaline">1.5V section</a> applies to 3V batteries, too.</p>
  896. <p>The higher voltage lets some CR123A flashlights put out more light than
  897. similarly-sized AA flashlights.  Aside from that, there's not much to
  898. consider about buying CR123A batteries.</p>
  900. <p><a href="">The Parametrek battery database lists several CR123A batteries</a>
  901. ranging from $1.50 to $5 apiece.  On Amazon,
  902. <a href="">Amazon Basics</a>, <a href="">Streamlight</a>, and
  903. <a href="">Energizer</a> CR123A batteries range from $1.50 to $2
  904. apiece.</p>
  906. <p>Some places sell "RCR123A" batteries, which are basically CR123A-sized
  907. lithium-ion batteries.  (Specifically, they're 16340 cells; lithium-ion
  908. naming conventions are covered below.)  Some RCR123A batteries have
  909. integrated voltage-regulating circuitry to deliver a constant 3V so they
  910. behave just like a regular CR123A.  Others do not; like other lithium-ion
  911. batteries, they'll be 4.2V when fully charged.  If you're going to buy
  912. RCR123A batteries, either make sure your device can handle voltage up
  913. to 4.2V or check the specs on the RCR123A to see whether it has a 3V
  914. output.  (Lithium-ion batteries will often be listed as having a 3.6V
  915. output or so.)</p>
  917. <p>All of the usage considerations in the <a href="#liion">lithium-ion section</a> apply
  918. to RCR123A batteries, too.</p>
  920. <h4><a name="liion"></a> Lithium-Ion Batteries</h4>
  922. <p>Lithium-ion batteries brought a revolution in compact energy storage.
  923. They can hold more energy and discharge it faster than any of the common
  924. handheld battery technologies that came before them.  Lithium-ion
  925. batteries are used, in some form, in devices ranging from smartphones to
  926. laptops to electric cars.</p>
  928. <p>Lithium-ion batteries supply 4.2V when fully charged.  As their energy is
  929. drained, their voltage drops.  When they reach 2.5V or so, they're
  930. considered empty.  Lithium-ion batteries are usually referenced by the
  931. average voltage across their entire discharge range, which is usually 3.6V
  932. or 3.7V.</p>
  934. <p>Although a lithium-ion battery can continue to supply power below 2.5V,
  935. doing so runs ths risk of permanently damaging the battery's chemistry.
  936. That might reduce the energy the battery can hold when full, render the
  937. battery useless, or cause an internal short circuit that could lead to a
  938. fire.</p>
  940. <p>Lithium-ion batteries are also potentially more dangerous than the other
  941. batteries described above.  If they get too hot, they can catch fire or
  942. explode.  Charging and discharging lithium-ion batteries both generate
  943. heat, so doing either one too fast can cause a fire or explosion.  A short
  944. circuit--connecting the positive and negative ends without enough
  945. resistance in between--will almost certainly discharge the battery too
  946. rapidly.  (For people who remember the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 fires, those
  947. were caused by unsafe lithium-ion batteries.)</p>
  949. <p>The above doesn't need to put you completely off lithium-ion batteries.
  950. They're incredibly useful; you just need to take a little more care with
  951. them than other common batteries.  Some lithium-ion batteries are more
  952. safe than others; that'll be covered below.</p>
  954. <p>You do need to be careful about where you buy your lithium-ion batteries.
  955. Many large marketplaces, like Amazon and AliExpress, have unsafe or
  956. mislabeled lithium-ion batteries for sale.  Because of the dangers of
  957. unsafe usage of such batteries, you need to make sure you're getting them
  958. from a reputable seller.  That will be covered in the
  959. <a href="#buy-liion">buying lithium-ion batteries</a> section.</p>
  961. <p>Some flashlights have built-in charging circuits.  If yours doesn't,
  962. you'll also need a charger, covered in the <a href="#chargers">chargers section</a>.</p>
  964. <h5>Lithium-Ion Names and Shapes</h5>
  966. <p>The Lithium-ion batteries that flashlights use--at least, flashlights with
  967. removable batteries--are generally cylindrical and are described by a
  968. five-digit identifier, like "18650".  The first two digits give the
  969. diameter of the cylinder in millimeters (mm).  The last three digits give
  970. the length of the cylinder in tenths of a millimeter.  Thus, an 18650 cell
  971. is nominally 18mm by 65mm.  There's some variation in those values,
  972. particularly in the length, but they give a rough approximation.</p>
  974. <p>Some common sizes are:</p>
  976. <ul>
  977. <li>18650 - The most ubiquitous size for lithium-ion flashlights, as well
  978. as for a lot of other things (laptop batteries, smartphone power banks,
  979. and so on).  Because this is currently one of the most popular sizes in
  980. industrial use, it's gotten the most research into making it
  981. efficient.  As of January 2018, no other shape matches the energy
  982. density of the 18650.  (e.g. a 26650 has twice the volume of a 18650,
  983. but the best 26650 only has 1.5 times the energy of the best 18650.)</li>
  984. <li>26650 - The 18650's larger sibling.  Used by some flashlights to give
  985. more runtime per battery.</li>
  986. <li>21700 - A relatively newer size that some companies are starting to
  987. use.  It seems possible that 21700 might someday replace 18650 as the
  988. most popular (and, thus, best-engineered) battery size.  For now, there
  989. are a few flashlights that make use of the larger capacities and
  990. discharge currents that 21700 cells have in comparison to 18650 cells.</li>
  991. <li>18350 - Almost half the size of an 18650.  A number of flashlights have
  992. options for swappable longer and shorter battery compartments, so you
  993. can decide on a daily basis whether to have a shorter light that uses
  994. 18350s or a longer light (with longer runtimes) that uses 18650s.</li>
  995. <li>16340 - More or less the same size as a CR123A.  There are used in
  996. "RCR123A" batteries as described in the <a href="#lithium-3v">3V section</a>
  997. above.</li>
  998. <li>14500 - More or less the same size as a AA battery.  Some flashlights
  999. can use either AA or 14500 cells.  <em>Don't use a 14500 battery in a AA
  1000. light unless the flashlight manual says you can.</em> If the flashlight
  1001. only expects 1.5V batteries, using a 4.2V 14500 can destroy the light
  1002. and possibly start a fire.</li>
  1003. <li>10440 - More or less the same size as a AAA battery.  Some flashlights
  1004. can use either AAA or 10440 cells.  <em>Don't use a 10440 battery in a AAA
  1005. light unless the flashlight manual says you can.</em> If the flashlight
  1006. only expects 1.5V batteries, using a 4.2V 10440 can destroy the light
  1007. and possibly start a fire.</li>
  1008. </ul>
  1010. <p>A number of flashlights allow you to use either an 18650 battery or two
  1011. CR123A batteries.  As with 14500/AA and 10440/AAA, don't do this unless
  1012. the flashlight manual says you can, since two CR123A batteries in series
  1013. will give the flashlight 6V.</p>
  1015. <p>When speaking, most people break up the five digits of a lithium-ion
  1016. battery into three groups: <em>xx</em>-<em>y</em>-<em>zz</em>.  Thus, "18650" is pronounced
  1017. "eighteen-six-fifty".  ("14500" is usually pronounced
  1018. "fourteen-five-hundred".)</p>
  1020. <h5><a name="liion-options"></a> What You Need to Know About Lithium-Ion Options</h5>
  1022. <p>With 1.5V batteries, you have just one thing to decide about: the battery
  1023. chemistry.  With lithium-ion batteries, there are four options you need to
  1024. consider: protection, top shape, capacity, and discharge rate.</p>
  1026. <p>If in doubt, you'll probably be okay with protected, button-top batteries
  1027. of the highest capacity you can afford (ignoring discharge rate).</p>
  1029. <h6><a name="liion-protection"></a> Protection</h6>
  1031. <p><figure style="float: right">
  1032.  <a href=""><img src=""></a>
  1033.  <figcaption>Dimensions of plain, button-top, and protected 18650s.</figcaption>
  1034. </figure></p>
  1036. <p>As noted above, lithium-ion batteries should not be discharged below 2.5V
  1037. or so and should not be discharged too quickly.  Many manufacturers take
  1038. plain lithium-ion cells and add small protection circuits to them.  These
  1039. circuits stop providing power if the battery voltage drops too low or if
  1040. the current draw gets too high, protecting the cell from things that could
  1041. damage it.  This makes the protected batteries a bit safer, since it's
  1042. more difficult to accidentally push them too hard.</p>
  1044. <p>A protection circuit makes the battery a little longer, and sometimes a
  1045. little wider.  There are flashlights that have so little extra space
  1046. inside that they must be used with unprotected batteries.  Usually such
  1047. flashlights will have their own low-voltage protection (LVP) and will stop
  1048. trying to use the battery if the voltage gets too low.  If you use an
  1049. unprotected battery in a flashlight without LVP, you'll have to be careful
  1050. not to drain the battery too far or you risk permanently damaging the
  1051. battery.</p>
  1053. <p>Protected batteries usually cost a little bit more than their unprotected
  1054. counterparts, typically in the realm of an extra $1.50 or so.</p>
  1056. <p>Some high-powered flashlights need to draw so much current that they can't
  1057. use protected batteries because they'd trip the protection with their
  1058. power usage.  For those flashlights, make sure you get unprotected
  1059. batteries with a high enough discharge rate (covered later).</p>
  1061. <p>Flashlights that need unprotected batteries should say so on their website
  1062. and in their manual.  If there's nothing about protection, you should be
  1063. able to use protected batteries (and you ought to do so).</p>
  1065. <h6><a name="liion-top-shape"></a> Top Shape</h6>
  1067. <p><figure style="float: right">
  1068.  <a href=""><img style="float: right" src=""></a>
  1069.  <figcaption>Tops and bottoms of flat top, button top, and protected 18650s.</figcaption>
  1070. </figure></p>
  1072. <p>Lithium-ion batteries, like all other batteries, have a positive end and a
  1073. negative end.  Putting a lithium-ion battery in backwards can damage the
  1074. flashlight, the battery, or both.  In some cases, it can start a fire.</p>
  1076. <p>On a plain cylindrical lithium-ion cell, the disk on the positive end is a
  1077. little smaller than the disk on the negative end.  Some manufacturers take
  1078. bare cells and put buttons on top of them, like the buttons on top of 1.5V
  1079. batteries.  This makes the battery a little longer, but not as much as a
  1080. protection circuit does.  Most unprotected-batteries-only flashlights will
  1081. still work with button top batteries.</p>
  1083. <p>Button top batteries usually cost slightly more than flat top batteries.
  1084. The extra cost is generally somewhere around ten to twenty cents.</p>
  1086. <p>Many flashlights will work with either button top or flat top batteries.
  1087. Some are shaped so that only a correctly-inserted button top battery will
  1088. work.  This serves as mechanical enforcement of correct battery polarity.
  1089. If your flashlight takes more than one battery in series, you'll need to
  1090. use button-top batteries.</p>
  1092. <p>Protected batteries pretty much always come with button tops.</p>
  1094. <p>In general, any flashlight that works with flat tops will also work with
  1095. button tops, except for rare cases where the battery compartment spacing
  1096. is incredibly tight.  Consequently, I'd recommend getting button top
  1097. batteries unless you specifically know you need flat tops.</p>
  1099. <h6><a name="liion-capacity"></a> Capacity</h6>
  1101. <p>A battery's capacity, most commonly measured in milliamp-hours (mAh),
  1102. governs how long it can continue providing power.  More mAh generally
  1103. equals more flashlight runtime.  Even if you don't expect to run a battery
  1104. all the way down, keep in mind that as a lithium-ion battery discharges
  1105. its voltage drops.  In many flashlights, that means that a
  1106. partially-discharged battery can't support the brightest modes on the
  1107. light.  A higher-capacity battery will continue to provide higher voltages
  1108. for longer periods of time.</p>
  1110. <p>If all else is equal, you should get the highest-capacity battery you want
  1111. to spend money on.</p>
  1113. <p>Many disreputable battery vendors claim impossibly high capacities for
  1114. their batteries.  As of January 2018, here are the highest manufacturered
  1115. capacities for some common lithium-ion sizes; if a battery claims
  1116. significantly higher numbers, it's probably lying (and if it's lying about
  1117. capacity, it's a lot more likely to be lying about other things, like
  1118. safety):</p>
  1120. <ul>
  1121. <li>16340 - 700mAh (see the note below about Efest)</li>
  1122. <li>18350 - 1200mAh</li>
  1123. <li>18650 - 3600mAh (but see the note below)</li>
  1124. <li>26650 - 5500mAh</li>
  1125. </ul>
  1127. <p>(Note: Efest, a reasonably reputable brand, sells "850mAh" 16340s, but
  1128. testing indicates that they're more than a little optimistic about that
  1129. claimed capacity.  In practice, 700mAh is the most you'll get out of
  1130. a 16340.)</p>
  1132. <p>(Note: Only one 18650 cell claims a 3600mAh capacity, and it's arguably
  1133. cheating a little to get that number.  For most practical purposes, you
  1134. can regard 3500mAh as the highest available 18650 capacity, and consider
  1135. any "3600mAh" battery to really be 3500mAh.)</p>
  1137. <h6><a name="liion-discharge"></a> Discharge Rate</h6>
  1139. <p>Depending on their particular chemistry, lithium-ion batteries can have a
  1140. maximum discharge rate anywhere from 3 amps (A) to 40A.  Most flashlights
  1141. stay under 3A-4A, so pretty much any battery will be fine for them.  Some
  1142. of the higher-output flashlights need or can benefit from 10A, 15A, or
  1143. even 20A batteries.</p>
  1145. <p>There's a tradeoff between battery capacity and discharge.  The
  1146. chemistries that do very well on one metric are not as good on the other.
  1147. As of January 2018, the best high-capacity batteries store 3500mAh with a
  1148. maximum discharge of 10A, while the highest-discharge batteries can
  1149. sustain 40A but only store 2000mAh.</p>
  1151. <p>The most-demanding flashlights I've seen top out at about 20A, so you
  1152. probably don't need to go out looking for batteries with higher discharge
  1153. rates than that.  (Unless you're also using the batteries in your vape or
  1154. something.)  Many people with high-drain flashlights like to use Sony VTC6
  1155. or Samsung 30Q batteries; both are 3000mAh/15A.</p>
  1157. <p>Some people refer to high-discharge batteries as "IMR" batteries, after a
  1158. commonly-used chemistry for such batteries.</p>
  1160. <p>In general, you should see if your flashlight has a maximum current drain
  1161. listed.  If it doesn't, ignore discharge rate and get the highest capacity
  1162. batteries you want.  Otherwise, get the highest-capacity batteries with a
  1163. high enough maximum discharge rate.</p>
  1165. <h6><a name="liion-other"></a> Other Considerations</h6>
  1167. <p>There are all sorts of other characteristics that people care about with
  1168. their batteries, but those are less relevant than the above four things,
  1169. especially if all you care about is getting your flashlight to work.</p>
  1171. <p>There's actually a really complex relationship between batteries'
  1172. capacity, voltage, and current.  Batteries are a little less efficient at
  1173. higher amperages, so a flashlight that's constantly used on its turbo
  1174. setting will generally drain its battery even faster than the numerical
  1175. difference between the light's brightness levels would indicate.
  1176. Similarly, batteries providing higher amperages will have their voltage
  1177. drop a bit relative to the same battery with the same charge but at a
  1178. lower current draw.  Different batteries will have different balances
  1179. among those relationships (e.g. Samsung 30Qs exhibit slightly more voltage
  1180. sag than Sony VTC6s, even though their top-line ratings are the same).</p>
  1182. <p>These sorts of things only tend to matter to people who want to squeeze
  1183. every last lumen out of their lights, and those are just a small subset of
  1184. the people who use lithium-ion flashlights on a regular basis.  If you're
  1185. interested in this level of detail, though, you will want to look at
  1186. <a href="">HKJ's battery and charger reviews</a>.  The website is a little
  1187. confusing in its layout, but there's a wealth of information about all of
  1188. the batteries HKJ has tested, and HKJ has tested a <em>lot</em> of batteries.</p>
  1190. <h5><a name="buy-liion"></a> Where to Buy Lithium-Ion Flashlight Batteries</h5>
  1192. <p>Don't just go to Amazon, search for "18650", and buy the first search
  1193. result.  There are a lot of cheaply-made and more-unsafe-than-necessary
  1194. batteries in large marketplaces like Amazon.  You should buy from a vendor
  1195. who will only sell properly-labeled stock from trusted manufacturers.</p>
  1197. <p>One of the easiest ways to do that, as well as to search for batteries
  1198. that match all of the options you need, is to use the
  1199. <a href="">Parametrek Battery Database</a>.  The person who
  1200. maintains the database has links to purchase batteries from reputable
  1201. sellers.  For a search example, here's all of the protected 18650
  1202. batteries, with the highest-capacity ones first:</p>
  1204. <ul>
  1205. <li><a href=";mah=_+3501+dec&amp;features=button%20top+protected">Protected 18650 batteries sorted by capacity</a></li>
  1206. </ul>
  1208. <p>Note that to search for capacity, the mAh numbers I've talked about are on
  1209. the "mAh" category.  The "capacity" section sorts by watt-hours (Wh)
  1210. instead.  (The basic difference is that milliamp-hours are only directly
  1211. comparable for batteries at the same voltage, while watt-hours give
  1212. meaningful comparisons even between batteries with differing voltages.
  1213. Lithium-ion batteries are generally marketed with their mAh rating--since
  1214. the voltage is known--so that's what this guide uses, too.)</p>
  1216. <p>If you have questions about a particular battery seller, you can always
  1217. come ask about it on the <a href="">/r/flashlight</a> subreddit.</p>
  1219. <h6>Notes on Particular Lithium-Ion Battery Brands</h6>
  1221. <p>Unprotected batteries are pretty much all made by <strong>LG</strong>, <strong>Panasonic</strong>,
  1222. <strong>Samsung</strong>, <strong>Sanyo</strong>, or <strong>Sony</strong>.</p>
  1224. <p>Some of the more popular brands for protected batteries include <strong>AW</strong>,
  1225. <strong>EVVA</strong>, and <strong>Keeppower</strong>.
  1226. (<a href="#liion-protection">As mentioned previously</a>, these companies buy
  1227. unprotected batteries from the above vendors, add their own protection
  1228. circuits, and sell the resulting batteries.)</p>
  1230. <p>Many flashlight manufacturers have their own branded batteries.  Those are
  1231. generally of good quality, but they're often more expensive than
  1232. equally-good batteries from other reputable sellers.  Some people prefer
  1233. to pay the extra amount just to avoid trying to figure out whether a
  1234. particular other seller is reputable or not.</p>
  1236. <p>Batteries from <strong>Olight</strong> are a little unusual.  They're a reputable
  1237. manufacturer (and seller, if you buy directly from them), but they do some
  1238. extra things to their batteries.  The tops of their batteries have a
  1239. <em>positive</em> button, like any button top battery, but also a <em>negative</em> ring
  1240. around the button.  This is required for the batteries to work in their
  1241. proprietary flashlight charging cradles, but it increases the chances of
  1242. short-circuiting the batteries.  (The protection circuit should prevent a
  1243. short-circuit from starting a fire, but it's still not something you want
  1244. to do to a battery.)  Unless you're using an Olight flashlight with an
  1245. Olight charger, you probably don't want an Olight battery.</p>
  1247. <p><strong>Ultrafire</strong> batteries should be avoided.  They're known to cut corners
  1248. on their batteries in order to make them cheaper.  If you buy one of their
  1249. batteries, you might get something that works, but you also might get a
  1250. battery with a defective protection circuit, or a battery that contains a
  1251. smaller, cheaper battery, and a lot of sand to fill the extra space.
  1252. Given the care that needs to be taken with lithium-ion batteries, the risk
  1253. isn't worth the lower prices.</p>
  1255. <h4><a name="chargers"></a> Chargers</h4>
  1257. <p>If you go with rechargable batteries, you'll need a charger.  (Some
  1258. lithium-ion flashlights have built-in charging, but even with those an
  1259. external charger can be useful sometimes.)</p>
  1261. <p>The best option is to look at the list of
  1262. <a href="">chargers reviewed by HJK</a>, pick one with the features you
  1263. need (number of bays, NiMH, lithium-ion, etc.) and a good rating (two or
  1264. more smiling faces), and buy it from one of the reputable battery vendors
  1265. <a href="#buy-liion">discussed above</a>.</p>
  1266. ]]></content:encoded>
  1267.  </item>
  1269.  <item rdf:about="">
  1270.    <title>Trump and the BSA National Jamboree</title>
  1271.    <link></link>
  1272.    <description>My social news feeds are awash with news of Trump's speech at the 2017
  1273. National Jamboree (full transcript,
  1274. full video)...</description>
  1275.    <dc:subject>/General</dc:subject>
  1276.    <dc:creator>Phil Gold</dc:creator>
  1277.    <dc:date>2017-07-25T17:15-04:00</dc:date>
  1279.    <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p>My social news feeds are awash with news of <a href="">Trump's speech at the 2017
  1280. National Jamboree</a> (<a href="">full transcript</a>,
  1281. <a href="">full video</a>).  I'm disappointed on a few levels, but I'm not
  1282. leaving the Scouting program.</p>
  1284. <p>I was a Boy Scout when I was a kid.  I'm currently an adult leader with a
  1285. Boy Scout troop.  I think the ideals and the potential of the Scouting
  1286. program are good.  The short version of Scouting is that we strive to
  1287. develop kids' citizenship (in the USA, but also in their community and the
  1288. world), character, and fitness (both physical and emotional).  We use a
  1289. number of tools to accomplish those goals, but the one that most
  1290. differentiates Scouting from other similar organizations, in my opinion,
  1291. is what BSA (the Boy Scouts of America) calls "the outdoor program",
  1292. i.e. all the stuff we do outdoors, including camping, fishing, hiking, and
  1293. a whole host of other activities.</p>
  1295. <p>BSA is not perfect; there are policies they have that I think should be
  1296. changed, and bad adult leadership in a troop can give the troop's kids a
  1297. bad experience.  But I believe that the core goals and methods of the
  1298. organization are good, which is part of the reason I am a scout leader.  I
  1299. want to make sure that the kids in my troop have the opportunities to get
  1300. as much out of the program as possible and have good experiences while
  1301. doing it.</p>
  1303. <p>As part of BSA's focus on citizenship, the President of the United States
  1304. is considered to be the honorary president of the BSA (though there's a
  1305. separate actual president who actually runs the national board).
  1306. Consequently, the US President is always invited to speak at the BSA
  1307. National Jamboree, an every-four-year camping event that hosts troops from
  1308. all across the US (and plenty from other nation's Scouting programs, too).
  1309. Nineteen National Jamborees have been held (including the one currently
  1310. underway), under twelve different sitting US Presidents (including Trump).
  1311. Eight of those presidents have spoken in person at a National Jamboree
  1312. during their term.  (Neither Nixon nor Carter spoke at a National Jamboree
  1313. while they were President.  Reagan was scheduled to speak, but was unable
  1314. to make it for health reasons, so Nancy Reagan spoke in his place.  Obama
  1315. recorded a video that was played at the Jamboree.)  The BSA's Bryan on
  1316. Scouting blog has
  1317. <a href="">a history of presidential visits to National Jamborees</a>
  1318. through Obama.</p>
  1320. <p>So whether you like Trump or not, it was reasonable (in my opinion) for
  1321. him to be invited to speak at this year's National Jamboree, on the basis
  1322. of Jamboree tradition and in the spirit of developing citizenship in young
  1323. Scouts.</p>
  1325. <p>That said, Trump took a disappointingly political tack with his speech,
  1326. seeming to treat it as a campaign rally.  Officially, the Boy Scouts of
  1327. America is a non-partisan organization.  Everyone should be able to
  1328. benefit from the skills, knowledge, and experiences available through
  1329. Scouting, regardless of political viewpoints, so no one should feel
  1330. excluded because of their viewpoints.  Past presidents have focused on
  1331. non-partisan topics, emphasizing things like community service and being a
  1332. good citizen, in their Jamboree speeches.  Trump had a fair amount in that
  1333. vein, but he kept dropping in things like his usual digs at the media or
  1334. complaining that he hasn't been shown enough "loyalty".  There was
  1335. actually a lot of good stuff in his speech, but it seemed like he couldn't
  1336. avoid making every few paragraphs about himself, in a partisan,
  1337. exclusionary manner.  (Plenty of past presidents used their speaking
  1338. opportunity to highlight things they saw as personal accomplishments, but
  1339. they all presented those things as examples of citizenship or service in
  1340. line with the ideals of Scouting.)  He also managed to use language that
  1341. most Scout leaders would at least frown on, were it uttered by one of
  1342. their troop members at an event, and referenced apparently risque
  1343. activities in a fairly approving manner.</p>
  1345. <p>I was also disappointed at the members of the audience who went along with
  1346. Trump's partisan digressions, booing Clinton and Obama while cheering
  1347. things like the GOP-supported, Democrat-opposed effort to repeal the
  1348. Affordable Care Act.  I'm not actually surprised that Trump treated his
  1349. speech like a campaign event.  It still saddens me, but it's entirely in
  1350. keeping with his demonstrated character up to now.  I had hoped, however,
  1351. that Scout leaders would understand that sort of partisanship is
  1352. inappropriate at a Scouting event.  It is, of course, hard to tell just
  1353. how many people were participating, but it was enough that the TV cameras
  1354. could pick them up.</p>
  1356. <p>But despite all that, the instances of angry, divisive speech from
  1357. President Trump to the Jamboree crowd do not represent Scouting as a
  1358. whole.  I'm sure there were some people in the audience who would be happy
  1359. chanting "Lock Her Up" at a genuine Trump rally, just as I'm sure that
  1360. there were among those 40,000 people some who have marched in anti-Trump
  1361. protests.  I think, however, that most scout leaders care primarily about
  1362. encouraging their kids to be better people without having to pick a
  1363. political team and without having to shut out anyone on the opposite side.</p>
  1365. <p>If you have qualms about Scouting, go visit some troops in your area and
  1366. see how they work.  The scouting program is big and it provides a lot of
  1367. resources for individual troops, but what defines each one is really the
  1368. adults and kids in that specific troop.  Each troop has its own character.
  1369. Some are bad environments for youth development, which makes me sad.  Some
  1370. are good environments that maybe just aren't the right fit for your
  1371. particular child.  But most troops are friendly and welcoming, and in most
  1372. places there should be at least one where your child will feel comfortable
  1373. and engaged and where there are people who will help your child develop
  1374. into a healthy citizen of upstanding character.</p>
  1375. ]]></content:encoded>
  1376.  </item>
  1378.  <item rdf:about="">
  1379.    <title>The Best Android Apps of 2014</title>
  1380.    <link></link>
  1381.    <description>(According to /r/Android...</description>
  1382.    <dc:subject>/Geekery</dc:subject>
  1383.    <dc:creator>Phil Gold</dc:creator>
  1384.    <dc:date>2014-12-04T15:05-04:00</dc:date>
  1386.    <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p>(According to <a href="">/r/Android</a>.)</p>
  1388. <p>Google recently came out with a "<a href="">Best Apps of 2014</a>" list.
  1389. It was not well received, with many people feeling that the majority of
  1390. apps present were there because Google was making money from them, not
  1391. because they actually deserved to be on such a list.  Consequently, <a href="">the
  1392. Android subreddit</a> attempted to <a href="">compile its own
  1393. list</a>.  This post is my attempt to collect the most
  1394. highly-voted submissions on that /r/Android post.</p>
  1396. <p>What follows are the 35 top apps, based on Reddit's "best" sorting
  1397. algorithm.  If I have time, I'll add more to the list later.</p>
  1399. <h4>SuperSU</h4>
  1401. <p>Gives you root on your system.</p>
  1403. <ul>
  1404. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1405. <li>Google Play: <a href="">SuperSU</a> - Free, IAP.  IAP is only for
  1406. donations; you have to buy the Pro version if you want its extra
  1407. features.</li>
  1408. <li>Google Play: <a href="">SuperSU Pro</a> - Paid.</li>
  1409. </ul>
  1411. <h4>JuiceSSH</h4>
  1413. <p>SSH client with optional cloud syncing and other features.</p>
  1415. <ul>
  1416. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1417. <li>Google Play: <a href="">JuiceSSH</a> - Free, IAP.  IAP is for upgrade
  1418. to Pro version with extra features.  There are also plugins available
  1419. on Google Play.  Some plugins are free; others are paid.</li>
  1420. </ul>
  1422. <h4>SeriesGuide</h4>
  1424. <p>TV episode (and movie) watching management.  Tracks things you've seen,
  1425. tells you about upcoming things.  Syncs with <a href="">trakt</a> or <a href="">tvtag</a>.</p>
  1427. <ul>
  1428. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1429. <li>Google Play: <a href="">SeriesGuide</a> - Free, IAP.  IAP is
  1430. for a yearly subscription to unlock paid features.</li>
  1431. <li>Google Play: <a href="">SeriesGuide X Pass</a> - Paid.  A
  1432. one-time purchase of this app will unlock the paid features in
  1433. SeriesGuide.  It's equivalent to the yearly subscription.</li>
  1434. </ul>
  1436. <h4>Pocket Casts</h4>
  1438. <p>Podcasting app.  "Buy it for the hilarious changelogs, stay for the
  1439. awesome Podcast App."</p>
  1441. <ul>
  1442. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1443. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Pocket Casts</a> - Paid</li>
  1444. </ul>
  1446. <h4>QuickPic</h4>
  1448. <p>Album app.  Browse, display, and select images on your device.</p>
  1450. <ul>
  1451. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1452. <li>Google Play: <a href="">QuickPic</a> - Free</li>
  1453. </ul>
  1455. <h4>Nova Launcher</h4>
  1457. <p>Alternate home screen.  Very customizable.</p>
  1459. <ul>
  1460. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1461. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Nova Launcher</a> - Free</li>
  1462. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Nova Launcher Prime</a> - Paid.
  1463. Unlocks some features in Nova Launcher.</li>
  1464. </ul>
  1466. <h4>AirDroid</h4>
  1468. <p>Manage your device from your desktop or laptop web browser over the
  1469. network.  You can transfer files, send and receive SMS messages, see
  1470. notifications, and generally fully control your Android device.</p>
  1472. <ul>
  1473. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1474. <li>Google Play: <a href="">AirDroid - Android on Computer</a> - Free.  If
  1475. you create an AirDroid account, which is not required but makes some
  1476. things more convenient, you can get access to more features with the
  1477. account by paying a monthly or annual subscription fee.</li>
  1478. </ul>
  1480. <h4>Pushbullet</h4>
  1482. <p>Easily send information between your device and desktop computer.  Serves
  1483. as both a cross-device notification system (e.g. see your Android
  1484. notifications on your desktop) and a data sharing system (e.g. send a URL
  1485. from your laptop to your phone).</p>
  1487. <ul>
  1488. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1489. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Pushbullet</a> - Free.  Currently no profit
  1490. model(!)  Will probably add premium accounts in the future.</li>
  1491. </ul>
  1493. <h4>CamScanner</h4>
  1495. <p>Take photos of documents with your phone and turn them into PDFs.</p>
  1497. <ul>
  1498. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1499. <li>Google Play: <a href="">CamScanner -Phone PDF Creator</a> -
  1500. Free, Ads, IAP.  IAP is for a monthly or annual subscription that
  1501. removes ads and adds a number of features.</li>
  1502. <li>Google Play: <a href="">CamScanner (License)</a> - Paid.
  1503. Removes ads from the free app and unlocks some features, but not
  1504. everything that the subscription gives.  (The subscription unlocks
  1505. everything the license does, though.)</li>
  1506. <li>Google Play: <a href="">CamScanner HD - Scanner, Fax</a> - Free.
  1507. I think this is the same as the basic CamScanner but with a tablet UI.
  1508. It doesn't seem to have the IAP subscription option, though.</li>
  1509. </ul>
  1511. <h4>Tasker</h4>
  1513. <p>General-purpose automation for your Android device.</p>
  1515. <ul>
  1516. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1517. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Tasker</a> - Paid</li>
  1518. </ul>
  1520. <h4>Moon+ Reader</h4>
  1522. <p>Ebook reader.</p>
  1524. <ul>
  1525. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1526. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Moon+ Reader</a> - Free, Ads</li>
  1527. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Moon+ Reader Pro</a> - Paid</li>
  1528. </ul>
  1530. <h4>Strava</h4>
  1532. <p>Fitness app for tracking your running and bicycling.</p>
  1534. <ul>
  1535. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1536. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Strava Running and Cycling GPS</a> - Free, IAP.
  1537. IAP is for unlocking premium features.</li>
  1538. </ul>
  1540. <h4>Today Calendar</h4>
  1542. <p>Material-designed calendar app.</p>
  1544. <ul>
  1545. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1546. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Today Calendar</a> - Free.  Trial
  1547. version that expires after 30 days.</li>
  1548. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Today Calendar - Pro</a> - Paid</li>
  1549. </ul>
  1551. <h4>Textra</h4>
  1553. <p>Material-designed SMS app.</p>
  1555. <ul>
  1556. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1557. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Textra SMS</a> - Free</li>
  1558. </ul>
  1560. <h4>ES File Explorer</h4>
  1562. <p>File management app.</p>
  1564. <ul>
  1565. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1566. <li>Google Play: <a href="">ES File Explorer File Manager</a> - Free</li>
  1567. </ul>
  1569. <h4>Duet</h4>
  1571. <p>Game.  The gameplay's a little difficult to describe.  You control two
  1572. objects that rotate in sync around the same point and you have to move
  1573. them to avoid obstacles.</p>
  1575. <ul>
  1576. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1577. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Duet</a> - Free, Ads, IAP.  The IAP removes ads and
  1578. unlocks a few features.</li>
  1579. <li>Humble Bundle: Duet was part of Humble Moble Bundle 6.  The version in
  1580. the bundle was the Premium version, with no ads and all features
  1581. unlocked.</li>
  1582. </ul>
  1584. <h4>Sleep as Android</h4>
  1586. <p>Sleep tracker and sleep-cycle-aware alarm clock.</p>
  1588. <ul>
  1589. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1590. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Sleep as Android</a> - Free, Ads,
  1591. IAP.  Functions fully for two weeks as a trial, then disables sleep
  1592. tracking on particular weekdays (though the other functionality
  1593. continues to work).  IAP is an alternative to purchasing the unlocker
  1594. app.</li>
  1595. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Sleep as Android Unlock</a> - Paid.
  1596. Unlocks sleep tracking and turns off ads in the Sleep as Android app.</li>
  1597. </ul>
  1599. <h4>Nine</h4>
  1601. <p>Synchronizes device data with a Microsoft Exchange Server.</p>
  1603. <ul>
  1604. <li><a href="">Discussion</a></li>
  1605. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Nine - Exchange ActiveSync</a> - Free, IAP.  Works
  1606. for two weeks then disables itself.  IAP activates the app permanently.</li>
  1607. </ul>
  1609. <h4>Timely</h4>
  1611. <p>Very customizable, multi-featured, and good looking clock app.  Has a
  1612. clock, alarm clock, timer, and stopwatch.</p>
  1614. <ul>
  1615. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1616. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Timely Alarm Clock</a> - Free</li>
  1617. </ul>
  1619. <h4>Reddit Sync</h4>
  1621. <p>Reddit client with a card UI.</p>
  1623. <ul>
  1624. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1625. <li>Google Play: <a href="">reddit sync</a> - Free, Ads, IAP.  IAP
  1626. removes ads and is an alternative to purchasing Reddit Sync Pro.</li>
  1627. <li>Google Play: <a href="">reddit sync pro</a> - Paid.  Ad-free
  1628. version of Reddit Sync.</li>
  1629. </ul>
  1631. <h4>TextSecure</h4>
  1633. <p>Encrypted messaging app.</p>
  1635. <ul>
  1636. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1637. <li>Google Play: <a href="">TextSecure Private Messenger</a> - Free</li>
  1638. </ul>
  1640. <h4>Cerberus</h4>
  1642. <p>Security program.  Lets you track, manage, and even wipe your device
  1643. remotely in case it's lost or stolen.</p>
  1645. <ul>
  1646. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1647. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Cerberus anti theft</a> - Free, IAP.  App is
  1648. functional for a week.  After that, you have to buy a license via the
  1649. IAP.</li>
  1650. </ul>
  1652. <h4>Waze</h4>
  1654. <p>Traffic-aware GPS routing and navigation.</p>
  1656. <ul>
  1657. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1658. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Waze Social GPS Maps &amp; Traffic</a> - Free, Ads.</li>
  1659. </ul>
  1661. <h4>FolderSync</h4>
  1663. <p>Sync local folders to various cloud storage providers.</p>
  1665. <ul>
  1666. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1667. <li>Google Play: <a href="">FolderSync Lite</a> - Free.  Limits you
  1668. to two cloud storage accounts and you can't filter your files to be
  1669. synced.</li>
  1670. <li>Google Play: <a href="">FolderSync</a> - Paid.  No account
  1671. limits, sync filtering, and Tasker support.</li>
  1672. </ul>
  1674. <h4>IFTTT</h4>
  1676. <p>Short for "If This Then That".  Android client for the <a href="">IFTTT</a> web
  1677. service.  IFTTT hooks into a lot of other sites (and your Android device)
  1678. and lets you set up triggers so if something happens in one place, it
  1679. causes something else to happen in another.  (e.g. if it's going to rain,
  1680. it can have your phone pop up a notification to take an umbrella when you
  1681. leave the house.)</p>
  1683. <ul>
  1684. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1685. <li>Google Play: <a href="">IFTTT</a> - Free.  Some companies pay IFTTT to
  1686. promote recipes that use their sites.</li>
  1687. </ul>
  1689. <h4>TeamViewer</h4>
  1691. <p>Kind of the reverse of AirDroid.  Lets you manage your desktop computer
  1692. from your phone.</p>
  1694. <ul>
  1695. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1696. <li>Google Play: <a href="">TeamViewer for Remote Control</a> - Free.
  1697. The desktop software is free for noncommercial use, but businesses and
  1698. the like have to buy licenses.</li>
  1699. </ul>
  1701. <h4>Llama</h4>
  1703. <p>Android device automation, similar to Tasker.  (Or Tasker is similar to
  1704. Llama.  Plugins for either will work with both.)</p>
  1706. <ul>
  1707. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1708. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Llama - Location Profiles</a> - Free</li>
  1709. </ul>
  1711. <h4>Here</h4>
  1713. <p>Offline maps.  Not available in the Play Store, so you have to sideload
  1714. it.</p>
  1716. <ul>
  1717. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1718. <li> <a href="">HERE</a> - Free</li>
  1719. </ul>
  1721. <h4>Plex</h4>
  1723. <p>Client for the <a href="">Plex Media Server</a>.</p>
  1725. <ul>
  1726. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1727. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Plex for Android</a> - Paid</li>
  1728. </ul>
  1730. <h4>AcDisplay</h4>
  1732. <p>Shows notifications while the phone is locked.  Detects when you pull your
  1733. phone out of your pocket and turns on the screen to show your
  1734. notifications.  Similar in concept to the Moto X's Active Display.</p>
  1736. <ul>
  1737. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1738. <li>F-Droid: <a href="">AcDisplay</a></li>
  1739. <li>Google Play: <a href="">AcDisplay</a> - Free, IAP.  IAP is only for
  1740. donations; app is fully-featured as-is.</li>
  1741. </ul>
  1743. <h4>RedReader</h4>
  1745. <p>Reddit client.</p>
  1747. <ul>
  1748. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1749. <li>F-Droid: <a href="">RedReader Beta</a></li>
  1750. <li>Google Play: <a href="">RedReader Beta</a> - Free</li>
  1751. </ul>
  1753. <h4>Morning Routine</h4>
  1755. <p>Alarm clock that lets you define a sequence of steps necessary to turn off
  1756. the alarm.  The idea is that you encode your entire morning routine into
  1757. it, which makes sure you're awake by the end and makes sure you do
  1758. everything you're supposed to.</p>
  1760. <ul>
  1761. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1762. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Morning Routine - Alarm Clock</a> - Free</li>
  1763. </ul>
  1765. <h4>Citymapper</h4>
  1767. <p>Journey planning app, including transit, auto, foot, bike, and taxi.  Only
  1768. for specifically-supported cities.</p>
  1770. <ul>
  1771. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1772. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Citymapper - Subway, Bus, Bike</a> - Free</li>
  1773. </ul>
  1775. <h4>Sunrise Calendar</h4>
  1777. <p>Calendar app.</p>
  1779. <ul>
  1780. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1781. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Sunrise Calendar</a> - Free</li>
  1782. </ul>
  1784. <h4>Xposed Framework</h4>
  1786. <p>Framework for installing Xposed modules.  Each module patches some aspect
  1787. of the running system in order to change it.  There are modules for all
  1788. sorts of things, from working around Android bugs to adding cosmetic
  1789. tweaks to making stock Android behave like a custom ROM.  Root required.
  1790. Must be sideloaded, since it's not in the Play store.</p>
  1792. <ul>
  1793. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1794. <li><a href="">Xposed Installer</a></li>
  1795. <li><a href="">Module Repository</a></li>
  1796. </ul>
  1798. <h4>Solid Explorer</h4>
  1800. <p>File manager.</p>
  1802. <ul>
  1803. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1804. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Solid Explorer File Manager</a> -
  1805. Free.  Disables itself after 14 days.</li>
  1806. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Solid Explorer Unlocker</a> - Paid.
  1807. Unlocks the main app so it'll continue functioning after the trial
  1808. period has expired.</li>
  1809. </ul>
  1810. ]]></content:encoded>
  1811.  </item>
  1813.  <item rdf:about="">
  1814.    <title>Portable Filesystems for Portable Disk Drives</title>
  1815.    <link></link>
  1816.    <description>I periodically need to set up a USB hard drive so that its files can be
  1817. shared between different operating systems...</description>
  1818.    <dc:subject>/Geekery</dc:subject>
  1819.    <dc:creator>Phil Gold</dc:creator>
  1820.    <dc:date>2013-12-13T15:53-04:00</dc:date>
  1822.    <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p>I periodically need to set up a USB hard drive so that its files can be
  1823. shared between different operating systems.  I recently tried to update my
  1824. practices.  This is a record of my findings.</p>
  1826. <p>The short version of my conclusions is: If you need good portability
  1827. between Windows, OSX, and Linux (and you're only writing data from Windows
  1828. or Linux), use NTFS.  If you don't need filesystem metadata like ownership
  1829. or permissions and your files and disks aren't too large, FAT32 might work
  1830. for you.</p>
  1832. <h3>FAT32</h3>
  1834. <p><a href="">FAT32</a> is often the filesystem of choice for flash drives and smaller
  1835. media.  Windows, OSX, and Linux all have native support for it.  It can
  1836. span filesystems up to 2TB in its default configuration and up to 16TB or
  1837. so if you tweak its block size.  It cannot support files larger than 4GB,
  1838. nor does it include support for file ownership and permissions.  Its
  1839. support for filenames longer than eight characters plus a three character
  1840. extension is something of a hack.  It's not case-sensitive (though it does
  1841. preserve case).</p>
  1843. <p>Basically, FAT32's biggest strength is its cross-platform support.  In
  1844. most other areas it falls down when compared to more modern filesystems.</p>
  1846. <h3>NTFS</h3>
  1848. <p><a href="">NTFS</a> is a bit nicer than FAT32 in many ways.  It supports filesystems
  1849. up to 16EB in size, and you can fill all of that space with a single file,
  1850. if you want.  (In other words, there's effectively no limit on file size
  1851. other than the size of the containing filesystem.)  Filenames can be up to
  1852. 255 characters long, just like other modern filesystems.  NTFS supports
  1853. POSIX-compatible file ownership and permissions, hard and soft links,
  1854. case-sensitivity, and sparse files, all of which which make it a lot more
  1855. interoperable with Unix than FAT32.</p>
  1857. <p>Its main drawback is that it's proprietary and what support exists has
  1858. been reverse-engineered.  Windows supports NTFS, since it came from
  1859. Microsoft originally, back to Windows 2000 and Windows NT 3.5.  Max OSX
  1860. has had native read-only support since 10.3 (Panther).  Linux can read and
  1861. write NTFS volumes via <a href="">NTFS-3G</a>, which runs in userspace (via FUSE).
  1862. NTFS-3G doesn't give tremendous performance when accessing SATA or SAS
  1863. disks, but modern hardware is more than capable of keeping up with
  1864. USB-attached disks.  (At least for USB 2.0; I haven't done comparisons
  1865. with USB 3.0 hosts and disks.)</p>
  1867. <h3>exFAT</h3>
  1869. <p><a href="">exFAT</a> is an attempt to extend the aging FAT family (FAT12/FAT16/FAT32)
  1870. to support larger files.  Its size limits are somewhat crazy:  maximum
  1871. recommended filesystem size is 512TB (though it can theoretically go up to
  1872. 64ZB); maximum file size is 127PB.  Like FAT32, it does not support file
  1873. ownership or permissions, hard or soft links, or sparse files, and it's
  1874. case-preserving but not case-sensitive.  Many of the unsupported features
  1875. aren't completely necessary in a lot of USB drive use-cases, so their
  1876. absence isn't an immediate strike against it.</p>
  1878. <p>The main problem with exFAT is that it's not just proprietary (like NTFS)
  1879. but patented.  It's supported natively from Windows Vista on (and Windows
  1880. XP can be patched for support) and in OSX 1.6.5 (Snow Leopard) and later,
  1881. but Linux support is currently very shaky and difficult to distribute
  1882. because of the patents.  Even if Linux support were not a factor, the fact
  1883. that only relatively new OSes have support for exFAT would disqualify it
  1884. from consideration in many situations.</p>
  1886. <h3>UDF</h3>
  1888. <p><a href="">UDF</a> is something of a dark horse in this space.  It was originally
  1889. designed as a general-purpose, portable filesystem.  It's only really seen
  1890. adoption, though, as the filesystem used on DVDs and Blu-Ray disks.
  1891. Because it's used for DVDs, though, it's natively supported by all three
  1892. of the major desktop OSes: Windows (back to Windows 95), MacOS (back to OS
  1893. 9), and Linux (back to kernel 2.2).</p>
  1895. <p>Like FAT32, UDF can only have 2<sup>32</sup> blocks in its filesystem, so
  1896. it only goes up to 2TB filesystems with 512-byte blocks (which is what
  1897. hard drives would use; the UDF spec requires that the UDF block size match
  1898. the disk block size).  Like NTFS, though, its only limit on file size is
  1899. the size of the containing filesystem.  Also like NTFS, it supports POSIX
  1900. ownership, permissions, and metadata; ACLs; and hard and soft links, as
  1901. well as being case-sensitive.  It doesn't support sparse files.</p>
  1903. <p>It would seem that UDF would be the best choice for a portable filesystem:
  1904. it's natively supported in practically every OS and it supports most of
  1905. the features you'd want in a modern filesystem.  Unfortunately, OS bugs
  1906. hamper its usefulness.</p>
  1908. <p>Although Linux will read UDF filesystems with blocksizes other than 512
  1909. bytes (even though that's outside the official specification), Windows is
  1910. pickier and will only recognize conforming layouts with 512-byte blocks.
  1911. That immediately limits Windows to 2TB disks or smaller when using UDF.
  1912. Also, Windows expects UDF to span the entire disk, with no partitions, so
  1913. you can't even work around the size limitation by making multiple sub-2TB
  1914. partitions.</p>
  1916. <p>Linux, on the other hand, has had problems with UDF with 512-byte blocks.
  1917. It handles filesystems with 2KB blocks just fine, but you need to be
  1918. running relatively new kernels for the 512-byte blocks (required for
  1919. Windows compatibility) to work.  (Two problems I've run into are
  1920. <a href="">disks being reported full when they're not</a> and
  1921. <a href="">Linux not seeing UDF volume labels</a>.)</p>
  1923. <p>The Linux problems have been fixed, but only just this year.  Losing
  1924. compatibility with all older Linux systems knocks out one of the biggest
  1925. advantages that UDF has over NTFS.  In my case, I have RHEL 5 and 6
  1926. systems that aren't going to get these fixes for a really long time.
  1927. (Maybe by RHEL 5's 2017 EOL, assuming RHEL 7 includes all of the fixes.)</p>
  1929. <h3>ext[234]/HFS+</h3>
  1931. <p>There are also the native disk formats for Linux (the ext2/3/4 series) and
  1932. MacOS (HFS/HFS+).  While there's at least some support for accessing them
  1933. from other systems, that support is generally less robust than the NTFS-3G
  1934. project's work, so if you're going to require third-party support for
  1935. cross-platform access you might as well use NTFS.</p>
  1937. <h3>Other filesystems</h3>
  1939. <p>There are a lot of other filesystems out there.  Linux has native support
  1940. for quite a lot of them.  OSX and Windows don't.  In cases where
  1941. installing third-party drivers on OSX or Windows is an accepted
  1942. requirement, some other filesystem might be a good choice.  In my opinion,
  1943. though, NTFS, FAT32, maybe UDF, and possibly exFAT cover the filesystem
  1944. portability use-cases pretty well by themselves; it would have to be a
  1945. very specific set of circumstances for a different filesystem to be a
  1946. better choice than one of those four.</p>
  1947. ]]></content:encoded>
  1948.  </item>
  1951. </rdf:RDF>
Copyright © 2002-9 Sam Ruby, Mark Pilgrim, Joseph Walton, and Phil Ringnalda