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In addition, interoperability with the widest range of feed readers could be improved by implementing the following recommendation.


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  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>Podcasts</title>
  49.    <link></link>
  50.    <description>I listen to a lot of podcasts, usually while I'm in the car, but also when
  51. I'm doing yardwork and similar solitary tasks...</description>
  52.    <dc:subject>/Geekery</dc:subject>
  53.    <dc:creator>Phil Gold</dc:creator>
  54.    <dc:date>2017-12-14T12:10-04:00</dc:date>
  56.    <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p>I listen to a lot of podcasts, usually while I'm in the car, but also when
  57. I'm doing yardwork and similar solitary tasks.  These are the podcasts I
  58. listen to.</p>
  60. <p>I break my podcasts into several categories and generally listen to the
  61. categories in order.  (I listen to all of the news podcasts before
  62. starting on the politics podcasts, and so on.)  My currently-preferred
  63. podcast client, <a href="">BeyondPod</a>, lets me set up a "smart playlist" that puts
  64. everything in the appropriate order automatically every time I update my
  65. feeds.</p>
  67. <p>BeyondPod also lets me speed up podcasts.  I listen to most of my podcasts
  68. at 1.5x playback speed.  I can still process the information comfortably,
  69. but it gets through them faster.  Exempted are more highly-produced
  70. podcasts and ones that are really short anyway.</p>
  72. <h4>News</h4>
  74. <p>First, I listen to my "News" podcasts.  These are short and, well, about
  75. news.  I listen to these in reverse chronological order, so I get the
  76. newest news first.</p>
  78. <h5>NPR News Now</h5>
  80. <p>The <a href="">NPR News Now</a> podcast is updated every hour and
  81. contains a recording of the five-minute news summary they make available
  82. to their member stations at the start of every hour.  I have BeyondPod
  83. update its feeds within an hour of my normal times for leaving home and
  84. work, so I always start off my listening with an up-to-date news summary.</p>
  86. <ul>
  87. <li>Schedule: Every hour, but you (obviously) only ever need the most
  88. recent episode.</li>
  89. <li>Playback: 1x because it's short.</li>
  90. </ul>
  92. <h5>Up First</h5>
  94. <p><a href="">Up First</a> is NPR's podcast version of a morning show.  It's
  95. hosted by the same people who host Morning Edition, and it's available
  96. every weekday morning.  It spends about ten minutes discussing two to four
  97. news topics in more depth than the hourly news summary can cover them.</p>
  99. <ul>
  100. <li>Schedule: Every weekday, posted by 6am Eastern time.</li>
  101. <li>Playback: 1x because it's relatively short.</li>
  102. </ul>
  104. <h5>WAMU Local News</h5>
  106. <p><a href="">WAMU Local News</a> is just what it sounds like; short news items
  107. from WAMU in DC.  (WYPR is closer to me, but the reasons I instead listen
  108. and donate to WAMU are a whole other post.)</p>
  110. <ul>
  111. <li>Schedule: Somewhat ad-hoc; it depends on what reporting WAMU has done
  112. on a given day.  In general, there are three to five short episodes
  113. every weekday.</li>
  114. <li>Playback: 1.5x.</li>
  115. </ul>
  117. <h4>Politics / Topical</h4>
  119. <p>The podcasts in this section are ones that cover topical issues, with a
  120. focus on politics.  I try to stay up to date on all of their episodes.
  121. Sometimes I skip individual episodes in the interest of keeping up with
  122. all of them.</p>
  124. <h5>1A</h5>
  126. <p>I'm a bit on the fence about <a href="">1A</a>, hosted by Joshua Johnson.  I want a
  127. podcast that covers a wide range of relevant topics, particularly politics
  128. and cultural issues, and I want to come away from discussions with a sense
  129. of understanding the perspectives on all sides of an issue, regardless of
  130. whether I agree with them.  The Diane Rehm Show used to be very good at
  131. that; Diane assembeled good panels for discussion, and she was extremely
  132. talented at guiding the discussion for the edification of her listeners.
  133. 1A took over Diane Rehm's time slot and covers the same sorts of topics,
  134. to a first approximation, so I've been listening to it since its
  135. inception.</p>
  137. <p>1A is different in a few ways, of course.  The focus of the cultural
  138. topics is a bit different, but I generally like the topics covered by the
  139. show.  I don't think Joshua Johnson is as good a host, though.  Diane was
  140. good, in my opinion, at guiding her guests to present useful information
  141. and perspectives to her listeners.  Joshua has often come off as
  142. condescending or offputting to his guests, in ways that I don't think have
  143. contributed to genuine, useful conversations.  (In more than one show he's
  144. asked a guest a question that basically came off as him saying, "Do you
  145. even understand why people think you're wrong?")  I'm a little on the
  146. fence about what they've done with the podcast format, too.  The radio
  147. show is two hours long, with a different topic each hour.  For the
  148. podcast, they pick one of the two topics and edit that show down to a half
  149. hour.  If you want to listen to the other show, you have to go to the
  150. website; it's not available in a podcast.</p>
  152. <p>I still feel like I'm getting useful information and perspectives from the
  153. show, but not to the same degree as I got from the show that previously
  154. filled my "topical panel discussion" need.  If anyone has suggestions for
  155. better podcasts, I'm open to them.</p>
  157. <ul>
  158. <li>Schedule: One 30-minute episode every weekday, distilled from the two
  159. shows that aired that day.  There's often a bonus episode on the
  160. weekend taken from one of the week's episodes that didn't get put into
  161. its day's podcast.</li>
  162. <li>Playback: 1.5x, on general time principles, but Joshua also speaks a
  163. little slowly and speeding him up helps.</li>
  164. </ul>
  166. <h5>Diane Rehm: On My Mind</h5>
  168. <p><a href="">On My Mind</a> is the podcast that Diane Rehm has been doing since she
  169. retired from hosting the on-air Diane Rehm Show.  Every week she records
  170. and collects conversations with people where she discusses political or
  171. cultural topics.  Her new format doesn't really cover the sort of broad,
  172. multifaceted discussions that I really liked about her old show, but she's
  173. still informative and insightful, so I'm still listening.</p>
  175. <ul>
  176. <li>Schedule: Weekly.  One hour-long episode every Friday.</li>
  177. <li>Playback: 1.5x.  Diane Rehm was the reason I started speeding up
  178. podcasts in the first place.  She's an excellent host, but she talks
  179. extremely slowly.  (There are health reasons for some of that, but it
  180. still makes it difficult to listen to her show sometimes.)  Speeding
  181. her up makes it a lot easier to get past the way she sounds and get
  182. into the communication of ideas, where she excels.</li>
  183. </ul>
  185. <h5>The Economist Radio</h5>
  187. <p>The Economist has <a href="">multiple podcasts</a>; I listen to all of
  188. them through their "all audio" feed, available at the top of that page.  I
  189. do skip their "Tasting Menu" episodes; I find the format they use for them
  190. jarring.  (It consists of one person reading excerpts from an article
  191. they've written for the magazine intercut with the host's commentary on
  192. the article.  It feels like a conversation format where the two people
  193. aren't actually talking to each other and I don't like it.)</p>
  195. <p>The Economist has the nice additional benefit of giving coverage of the US
  196. from an outside perspective.  I appreciate that because pretty much all of
  197. the other podcasts I listen to are based on the US.</p>
  199. <ul>
  200. <li>Schedule: There are currently five podcasts; each one is
  201. published weekly on a different day of the week, so the all audio feed
  202. gets a new episode every weekday.</li>
  203. <li>Playback: 1.5x</li>
  204. </ul>
  206. <h5>FiveThirtyEight Politics</h5>
  208. <p>The FiveThirtyEight Politics Podcast doesn't have its own page, but you
  209. can find it on the <a href="">FiveThirtyEight Podcasts page</a>.  This
  210. weekly podcast features concrete, numbers-based discussions about
  211. political developments.  I really like their approach to trying to
  212. understand the population's political opinions by asking them (generally
  213. through polls) and trying to fairly listen to the answers.</p>
  215. <ul>
  216. <li>Schedule: Weekly.  Episodes are recorded around noon on Mondays and
  217. posted that afternoon.  Sometimes they do "emergency podcasts" on other
  218. days to discuss particularly interesting political news developments.</li>
  219. <li>Playback: 1.5x</li>
  220. </ul>
  222. <h5>On the Media</h5>
  224. <p><a href="">On the Media</a> is a weekly show that discusses how the US--and
  225. sometimes global--media is covering (or miscovering or failing to cover)
  226. the news, particularly political news.  They also tend to discuss free
  227. speech and various other things that fall within a similar penumbra</p>
  229. <ul>
  230. <li>Schedule: Weekly plus.  The hour-long radio show airs on Fridays, so
  231. they post new shows to the podcast feed on Fridays, too.  The podcast
  232. also gets "podcast extras" every Wednesday.</li>
  233. <li>Playback: 1x.  Although it might not sound like it at first, the show
  234. is very highly produced and edited.  Each episode packs a lot more
  235. content into each time period than most of the other podcasts I listen
  236. to, so I leave this one at 1x playback.</li>
  237. </ul>
  239. <h4>Education</h4>
  241. <p>These podcasts are excellent places to learn new things.  They're not
  242. necessarily as time-sensitive as the ones in my "Politics / Topical"
  243. section, so I get to these only when I've caught up on all the topical
  244. stuff.  I am currently about five months behind on this section.</p>
  246. <h5>99% Invisible</h5>
  248. <p><a href="">99% Invisible</a> discusses the design of things made by humans, with
  249. a focus on architecture.  I've learned a lot about all sorts of things
  250. that people have made from this show.</p>
  252. <ul>
  253. <li>Schedule: Weekly.  One half-hour episode every Tuesday.</li>
  254. <li>Playback: 1x.  This show has high production values and it's worth
  255. listening at regular playback speed.</li>
  256. </ul>
  258. <h5>Radiolab</h5>
  260. <p><a href="">Radiolab</a> tells stories about science.  I've learned a lot from
  261. this podcast about new developments in science, obscure but interesting
  262. scientific discoveries, and science history.  They also do a lot to try to
  263. express concepts and atmosphere through audio cues.  At least one person I
  264. know finds their "bleeps and bloops" offputting and can't listen to them.</p>
  266. <ul>
  267. <li>Schedule: They don't seem to have a hard and fast schedule these days.
  268. They usually put out two to three episodes a month.</li>
  269. <li>Playback: 1x.  A lot of work goes into the show's production, and it
  270. doesn't sound the same when sped up.</li>
  271. </ul>
  273. <h5>Ted Talks (audio)</h5>
  275. <p>The <a href="">TED Talks audio feed</a> is just that: an audio-only podcast
  276. of TED talks.  I'm a little on the fence about this one.  I've listened to
  277. some really great talks through this feed, but a lot are just okay or
  278. worse.  The ratio is not really in the feed's favor.  I haven't fully
  279. given up on it yet, though.</p>
  281. <ul>
  282. <li>Schedule: Every weekday.  Most talks are 18 minutes or less.</li>
  283. <li>Playback: 1x.  A lot of the talks could probably be sped up without
  284. issue, but the good ones usually have a rhythm and performace aspect to
  285. them that is better appreciated at 1x, so that's where I leave the
  286. entire feed.</li>
  287. </ul>
  289. <h5>What's the Point</h5>
  291. <p><a href="">What's the Point</a> <em>was</em> a podcast from FiveThirtyEight that
  292. discussed uses of data in various aspects of our world.  One of the early
  293. episodes I distinctly remember was a discussion of analyzing traffic data
  294. in New York City to optimize traffic flows in Manhattan (including closing
  295. a street to improve the traffic).  The podcast has ended, but I haven't
  296. yet listened to all of the episodes in the feed.</p>
  298. <ul>
  299. <li>Schedule: Ended.  When it was active, it was weekly, with a new episode
  300. every Friday.</li>
  301. <li>Playback: 1.5x.</li>
  302. </ul>
  304. <h4>Catching Up</h4>
  306. <p>If I ever get caught up on my "Education" category, I have the "Catching
  307. Up" category to work on.  When I find a podcast that I like and want to
  308. listen to every episode of it, I put it in this category.  Once I'm caught
  309. up on the podcast, it gets moved into an appropriate other category
  310. (usually "Education").  99% Invisible, TED Talks, and Radiolab all started
  311. out here.</p>
  313. <h5>Intelligence Squared US</h5>
  315. <p><a href="">Intelligence Squared US</a> holds one or two debates every month on
  316. interesting topics, often political ones.  Each debate begins with a
  317. motion, e.g. "Video games make us smarter."  There are two teams in the
  318. debate; one argues for the motion and the other argues against.  Each team
  319. has two members.  The debate has three phases: opening statements,
  320. answering questions from the moderator and audience, and closing
  321. statements.  The audience is polled about their opinion on the statement
  322. before and after the debate; the side that had the greatest increase in
  323. supporters is said to have won the debate.  I don't care so much about who
  324. wins or loses, but the debates are generally good platforms for
  325. understanding opposing perspectives on contentious topics.</p>
  327. <ul>
  328. <li>Schedule: One to two hour-long episodes every month.</li>
  329. <li>Playback: 1x.  I think the performace aspects of the debate are better
  330. expressed at normal playback speed.</li>
  331. </ul>
  332. ]]></content:encoded>
  333.  </item>
  335.  <item rdf:about="">
  336.    <title>How to Buy Batteries for Flashlights</title>
  337.    <link></link>
  338.    <description>Questions about buying batteries come up periodically on the
  339. /r/flashlight subreddit...</description>
  340.    <dc:subject>/Geekery</dc:subject>
  341.    <dc:creator>Phil Gold</dc:creator>
  342.    <dc:date>2017-10-30T16:20-04:00</dc:date>
  344.    <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p>Questions about buying batteries come up periodically on the
  345. <a href="">/r/flashlight</a> subreddit.  This is the guide I wish had existed when I
  346. had those questions.  The primary focus of this guide is on batteries that
  347. go into flashlights, though some of what's here can certainly be applied
  348. to other battery-powered devices.</p>
  350. <p>If you just want to know how to get 18650 batteries, skip down to the
  351. <a href="#liion">Lithium-Ion section</a>.  Be careful when buying lithium-ion
  352. batteries from marketplaces like Amazon; unsafe batteries abound.  See the
  353. section for advice on making safe purchases.</p>
  355. <h4><a name="overview"></a> Types of Batteries</h4>
  357. <p>Batteries can be separated into different types that largely have to do
  358. with their voltage.  A battery's voltage is determined by the chemical
  359. reactions it uses to generate electricity (and occasionally with
  360. additional circuitry added to the battery).  The usual way we refer to
  361. batteries (AA, AAA, C, etc.) specifically references their size, not
  362. voltage.  Fortunately, for the most part, particular sizes only come in
  363. particular voltages.  I'll note a few places you might have to take care.</p>
  365. <p>Flashlight batteries generally fall into one of three categories (links go
  366. to the sections on each type of battery):</p>
  368. <ul>
  369. <li><a href="#alkaline">1.5V</a> - These include the most common battery types in use,
  370. including AAA, AA, C, and D.</li>
  371. <li><a href="#lithium-3v">3V</a> - The most common 3V flashlight battery is the
  372. CR123A.  Many button cells (watch batteries) are also 3V, like the
  373. common CR2032.</li>
  374. <li><a href="#liion">Lithium-Ion</a> - This is a whole class of batteries that have
  375. higher outputs and last longer than many other flashlight batteries,
  376. but they require more care in handling.  Lithium-ion flashlight
  377. batteries usually have five-digit designations, like 18650 and 10440.</li>
  378. </ul>
  380. <p>I'm omitting stuff like 9V batteries and 6V "lantern batteries", since
  381. they're not used in flashlights to the same degree that the above
  382. categories are.</p>
  384. <h4><a name="alkaline"></a> 1.5V Batteries (AA, C, etc.)</h4>
  386. <p>Flashlights that use AAA, AA, C, and D cells are very common.  They're
  387. useful because those cells are also very common.</p>
  389. <p>People sometimes refer to these batteries as either "primaries" or, less
  390. often, "secondaries".  "Primaries" are synonymous with non-rechargeable;
  391. you use them and then throw them away.  "Secondaries" are synonymous with
  392. rechargeable, though people will more often just call them "rechargeable".</p>
  394. <p>The main consideration when choosing 1.5V batteries is the chemistry used
  395. inside.  There are three common chemistries:</p>
  397. <ul>
  398. <li><p>Alkaline - The cheapest and most common.  Not recommended unless
  399. they're your only option.  They're not rechargeable, so you have to
  400. replace them every time you use them up.  They lose their charge over
  401. time, so if you leave them alone for a while, they might not even be
  402. useful when you do pick them up.  They tend to leak, which becomes more
  403. likely the more they discharge (and remember, they lose charge even if
  404. you're not using them).  When they leak, they can destroy whatever
  405. device they're in.</p></li>
  406. <li><p>Nickel-metal Hydride (NiMH) - Rechargeable.  People will often refer to
  407. "Eneloops", a specific, well-regarded brand of NiMH batteries.  Good
  408. for frequently-used flashlights because you can reuse them rather than
  409. buying new ones all the time.  They also don't leak, so you don't run
  410. the risk of damaging your devices.  Standard NiMH batteries lose charge
  411. much faster than alkaline batteries, but you can get "low self
  412. discharge" NiMH batteries that only lose their charge slightly faster
  413. than alkalines do.  (Rough comparison: after a year without use or
  414. charging, an alkaline battery will have 80-90% of its original charge,
  415. an LSD NiMH will have 70-80%, and a regular NiMH will have 15-20%.)
  416. Although alkalines usually claim more energy storage than NiMH on
  417. paper, NiMH batteries tend to give longer runtimes in flashlights in
  418. practice because of the way modern flashlights use electricity.</p></li>
  419. <li><p>Lithium - Expensive, but long-lasting.  Not rechargeable.  These
  420. typically cost three times or more what alkalines do.  (So do NiMH
  421. batteries, but those are rechargeable, so the cost is amortized over
  422. many reuses.)  They lose their charge more slowly than alkalines, they
  423. can store more energy than alkalines or NiMH, and they don't leak.
  424. Good for devices you want to leave alone for months or years at a time
  425. and still work as soon as you pick them up again.</p></li>
  426. </ul>
  428. <p>There are rechargeable alkaline and rechargeable lithium batteries, but
  429. rechargeable NiMH are the most common at the moment.  Nickel-cadmium (NiCd)
  430. used to be the most common rechargeable chemistry, but it's been replaced
  431. by the NiMH, which is better than NiCd in practically every way.</p>
  433. <p>In most cases, you should get NiMH rechargeable batteries for flashlights
  434. that get used frequently.  For flashlights that sit and wait to be used
  435. (emergency flashlights, bug out bags, etc.), use lithium primaries.</p>
  437. <p>Lithium batteries handle temperature extremes better than NiMH and
  438. alkaline batteries, so lithium is also the best choice for things like
  439. flashlights that live in cars.</p>
  441. <p><a href="">The Wirecutter</a> has recommendations for
  442. <a href="">NiMH AA and AAA batteries</a> and
  443. <a href="">NiMH AA and AAA chargers</a>.</p>
  445. <h4><a name="lithium-3v"></a> 3V Batteries (CR123A, etc.)</h4>
  447. <p>3V batteries are common in a number of more niche devices, like cameras.
  448. There are a lot of flashlights that use 3V CR123A batteries.  Pretty much
  449. every 3V battery uses lithium, so everything about lithium in the
  450. <a href="#alkaline">1.5V section</a> applies to 3V batteries, too.</p>
  452. <p>The higher voltage lets some CR123A flashlights put out more light than
  453. similarly-sized AA flashlights.  Aside from that, there's not much to
  454. consider about buying CR123A batteries.</p>
  456. <p><a href="">The Parametrek battery database lists several CR123A batteries</a>
  457. ranging from $1.50 to $5 apiece.  On Amazon,
  458. <a href="">Amazon Basics</a>, <a href="">Streamlight</a>, and
  459. <a href="">Energizer</a> CR123A batteries range from $1.50 to $2
  460. apiece.</p>
  462. <p>Some places sell "RCR123A" batteries, which are basically CR123A-sized
  463. lithium-ion batteries.  (Specifically, they're 16340 cells; lithium-ion
  464. naming conventions are covered below.)  Some RCR123A batteries have
  465. integrated voltage-regulating circuitry to deliver a constant 3V so they
  466. behave just like a regular CR123A.  Others do not; like other lithium-ion
  467. batteries, they'll be 4.2V when fully charged.  If you're going to buy
  468. RCR123A batteries, either make sure your device can handle voltage up
  469. to 4.2V or check the specs on the RCR123A to see whether it has a 3V
  470. output.  (Lithium-ion batteries will often be listed as having a 3.6V
  471. output or so.)</p>
  473. <p>All of the usage considerations in the <a href="#liion">lithium-ion section</a> apply
  474. to RCR123A batteries, too.</p>
  476. <h4><a name="liion"></a> Lithium-Ion Batteries</h4>
  478. <p>Lithium-ion batteries brought a revolution in compact energy storage.
  479. They can hold more energy and discharge it faster than any of the common
  480. handheld battery technologies that came before them.  Lithium-ion
  481. batteries are used, in some form, in devices ranging from smartphones to
  482. laptops to electric cars.</p>
  484. <p>Lithium-ion batteries supply 4.2V when fully charged.  As their energy is
  485. drained, their voltage drops.  When they reach 2.5V or so, they're
  486. considered empty.  Although a lithium-ion battery can continue to supply
  487. power beyond that point, doing so will permanently damage the battery's
  488. chemistry.  That might reduce the energy the battery can hold when full,
  489. render the battery useless, or cause an internal short circuit that could
  490. lead to a fire.</p>
  492. <p>Lithium-ion batteries are also potentially more dangerous than the other
  493. batteries described above.  If they get too hot, they can catch fire or
  494. explode.  Charging and discharging lithium-ion batteries both generate
  495. heat, so doing either one too fast can cause a fire or explosion.  A short
  496. circuit--connecting the positive and negative ends without enough
  497. resistance in between--will almost certainly discharge the battery too
  498. rapidly.  (For people who remember the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 fires, those
  499. were caused by unsafe lithium-ion batteries.)</p>
  501. <p>The above doesn't need to put you completely off lithium-ion batteries.
  502. They're incredibly useful; you just need to take a little more care with
  503. them than other common batteries.  Some lithium-ion batteries are more
  504. safe than others; that'll be covered below.</p>
  506. <p>You do need to be careful about where you buy your lithium-ion batteries.
  507. Many large marketplaces, like Amazon and AliExpress, have unsafe or
  508. mislabeled lithium-ion batteries for sale.  Because of the dangers of
  509. unsafe usage of such batteries, you need to make sure you're getting them
  510. from a reputable seller.  That will be covered in the
  511. <a href="#buy-liion">buying lithium-ion batteries</a> section.</p>
  513. <p>Some flashlights have built-in charging circuits.  If yours doesn't,
  514. you'll also need a charger, covered in the <a href="#chargers">chargers section</a>.</p>
  516. <h5>Lithium-Ion Names and Shapes</h5>
  518. <p>The Lithium-ion batteries that flashlights use--at least, flashlights with
  519. removable batteries--are generally cylindrical and are described by a
  520. five-digit identifier, like "18650".  The first two digits give the
  521. diameter of the cylinder in millimeters (mm).  The last three digits give
  522. the length of the cylinder in tenths of a millimeter.  Thus, an 18650 cell
  523. is nominally 18mm by 65mm.  There's some variation in those values,
  524. particularly in the length, but they give a rough approximation.</p>
  526. <p>Some common sizes are:</p>
  528. <ul>
  529. <li>18650 - The most ubiquitous size for lithium-ion flashlights, as well
  530. as for a lot of other things (laptop batteries, smartphone power banks,
  531. and so on).  Because this is currently one of the most popular sizes in
  532. industrial use, it's gotten the most research into making it
  533. efficient.  As of January 2018, no other shape matches the energy
  534. density of the 18650.  (e.g. a 26650 has twice the volume of a 18650,
  535. but the best 26650 only has 1.5 times the energy of the best 18650.)</li>
  536. <li>26650 - The 18650's larger sibling.  Used by some flashlights to give
  537. more runtime per battery.</li>
  538. <li>18350 - Almost half the size of an 18650.  A number of flashlights have
  539. options for swappable longer and shorter battery compartments, so you
  540. can decide on a daily basis whether to have a shorter light that uses
  541. 18350s or a longer light (with longer runtimes) that uses 18650s.</li>
  542. <li>16340 - More or less the same size as a CR123A.  There are used in
  543. "RCR123A" batteries as described in the <a href="#lithium-3v">3V section</a>
  544. above.</li>
  545. <li>14500 - More or less the same size as a AA battery.  Some flashlights
  546. can use either AA or 14500 cells.  <em>Don't use a 14500 battery in a AA
  547. light unless the flashlight manual says you can.</em> If the flashlight
  548. only expects 1.5V batteries, using a 4.2V 14500 can destroy the light
  549. and possibly start a fire.</li>
  550. <li>10440 - More or less the same size as a AAA battery.  Some flashlights
  551. can use either AAA or 10440 cells.  <em>Don't use a 10440 battery in a AAA
  552. light unless the flashlight manual says you can.</em> If the flashlight
  553. only expects 1.5V batteries, using a 4.2V 10440 can destroy the light
  554. and possibly start a fire.</li>
  555. </ul>
  557. <p>A number of flashlights allow you to use either an 18650 battery or two
  558. CR123A batteries.  As with 14500/AA and 10440/AAA, don't do this unless
  559. the flashlight manual says you can, since two CR123A batteries in series
  560. will give the flashlight 6V.</p>
  562. <p>When speaking, most people break up the five digits of a lithium-ion
  563. battery into three groups: <em>xx</em>-<em>y</em>-<em>zz</em>.  Thus, "18650" is pronounced
  564. "eighteen-six-fifty".  ("14500" is usually pronounced
  565. "fourteen-five-hundred".)</p>
  567. <h5><a name="liion-options"></a> What You Need to Know About Lithium-Ion Options</h5>
  569. <p>With 1.5V batteries, you have just one thing to decide about: the battery
  570. chemistry.  With lithium-ion batteries, there are four options you need to
  571. consider: protection, top shape, capacity, and discharge rate.</p>
  573. <p>If in doubt, you'll probably be okay with protected, button-top batteries
  574. of the highest capacity you can afford (ignoring discharge rate).</p>
  576. <h6><a name="liion-protection"></a> Protection</h6>
  578. <p><figure style="float: right">
  579.  <a href=""><img src=""></a>
  580.  <figcaption>Dimensions of plain, button-top, and protected 18650s.</figcaption>
  581. </figure></p>
  583. <p>As noted above, lithium-ion batteries should not be discharged below 2.5V
  584. or so and should not be discharged too quickly.  Many manufacturers take
  585. plain lithium-ion cells and add small protection circuits on top.  These
  586. circuits stop providing power if the battery voltage drops too low or if
  587. the current draw gets too high, protecting the cell from things that could
  588. damage it.  This makes the protected batteries a bit safer, since it's
  589. more difficult to accidentally push them too hard.</p>
  591. <p>A protection circuit makes the battery a little longer, and sometimes a
  592. little wider.  There are flashlights that have so little extra space
  593. inside that they must be used with unprotected batteries.  Usually such
  594. flashlights will have their own low-voltage protection (LVP) and will stop
  595. trying to use the battery if the voltage gets too low.  If you use an
  596. unprotected battery in a flashlight without LVP, you'll have to be careful
  597. not to drain the battery too far or you risk permanently damaging the
  598. battery.</p>
  600. <p>Protected batteries usually cost a little bit more than their unprotected
  601. counterparts, typically in the realm of an extra $1.50 or so.</p>
  603. <p>Some high-powered flashlights need to draw so much current that they can't
  604. use protected batteries because they'd trip the protection with their
  605. power usage.  For those flashlights, make sure you get unprotected
  606. batteries with a high enough discharge rate (covered later).</p>
  608. <p>Flashlights that need unprotected batteries should say so on their website
  609. and in their manual.  If there's nothing about protection, you should be
  610. able to use protected batteries (and you ought to do so).</p>
  612. <h6><a name="liion-top-shape"></a> Top Shape</h6>
  614. <p><figure style="float: right">
  615.  <a href=""><img style="float: right" src=""></a>
  616.  <figcaption>Tops and bottoms of flat top, button top, and protected 18650s.</figcaption>
  617. </figure></p>
  619. <p>Lithium-ion batteries, like all other batteries, have a positive end and a
  620. negative end.  Putting a lithium-ion battery in backwards can damage the
  621. flashlight, the battery, or both.  In some cases, it can start a fire.</p>
  623. <p>On a plain cylindrical lithium-ion cell, the disk on the positive end is a
  624. little smaller than the disk on the negative end.  Some manufacturers take
  625. bare cells and put buttons on top of them, like the buttons on top of 1.5V
  626. batteries.  This makes the battery a little longer, but not as much as a
  627. protection circuit does.  Most unprotected-batteries-only flashlights will
  628. still work with button top batteries.</p>
  630. <p>Button top batteries usually cost slightly more than flat top batteries.
  631. The extra cost is generally somewhere around ten to twenty cents.</p>
  633. <p>Many flashlights will work with either button top or flat top batteries.
  634. Some are shaped so that only a correctly-inserted button top battery will
  635. work.  This serves as mechanical enforcement of correct battery polarity.
  636. If your flashlight takes more than one battery in series, you'll need to
  637. use button-top batteries.</p>
  639. <p>Protected batteries pretty much always come with button tops.</p>
  641. <p>In general, any flashlight that works with flat tops will also work with
  642. button tops, except for rare cases where the battery compartment spacing
  643. is incredibly tight.  Consequently, I'd recommend getting button top
  644. batteries unless you specifically know you need flat tops.</p>
  646. <h6><a name="liion-capacity"></a> Capacity</h6>
  648. <p>A battery's capacity, most commonly measured in milliamp-hours (mAh),
  649. governs how long it can continue providing power.  More mAh generally
  650. equals more flashlight runtime.  Even if you don't expect to run a battery
  651. all the way down, keep in mind that as a lithium-ion battery discharges
  652. its voltage drops.  In many flashlights, that means that a
  653. partially-discharged battery can't support the brightest modes on the
  654. light.  A higher-capacity battery will continue to provide higher voltages
  655. for longer periods of time.</p>
  657. <p>If all else is equal, you should get the highest-capacity battery you want
  658. to spend money on.</p>
  660. <p>Many disreputable battery vendors claim impossibly high capacities for
  661. their batteries.  As of January 2018, here are the highest manufacturered
  662. capacities for some common lithium-ion sizes; if a battery claims
  663. significantly higher numbers, it's probably lying (and if it's lying about
  664. capacity, it's a lot more likely to be lying about other things, like
  665. safety):</p>
  667. <ul>
  668. <li>16340 - 700mAh (see the note below about Efest)</li>
  669. <li>18350 - 1200mAh</li>
  670. <li>18650 - 3600mAh (but see the note below)</li>
  671. <li>26650 - 5500mAh</li>
  672. </ul>
  674. <p>(Note: Efest, a reasonably reputable brand, sells "850mAh" 16340s, but
  675. testing indicates that they're more than a little optimistic about that
  676. claimed capacity.  In practice, 700mAh is the most you'll get out of
  677. a 16340.)</p>
  679. <p>(Note: Only one 18650 cell claims a 3600mAh capacity, and it's arguably
  680. cheating a little to get that number.  For most practical purposes, you
  681. can regard 3500mAh as the highest available 18650 capacity, and consider
  682. any "3600mAh" battery to really be 3500mAh.)</p>
  684. <h6><a name="liion-discharge"></a> Discharge Rate</h6>
  686. <p>Depending on their particular chemistry, lithium-ion batteries can have a
  687. maximum discharge rate anywhere from 3 amps (A) to 40A.  Most flashlights
  688. stay under 3A-4A, so pretty much any battery will be fine for them.  Some
  689. of the higher-output flashlights need or can benefit from 10A, 15A, or
  690. even 20A batteries.</p>
  692. <p>There's a tradeoff between battery capacity and discharge.  The
  693. chemistries that do very well on one metric are not as good on the other.
  694. As of January 2018, the best high-capacity batteries store 3500mAh with a
  695. maximum discharge of 10A, while the highest-discharge batteries can
  696. sustain 40A but only store 2000mAh.</p>
  698. <p>The most-demanding flashlights I've seen top out at about 20A, so you
  699. probably don't need to go out looking for batteries with higher discharge
  700. rates than that.  (Unless you're also using the batteries in your vape or
  701. something.)  Many people with high-drain flashlights like to use Sony VTC6
  702. or Samsung 30Q batteries; both are 3000mAh/15A.</p>
  704. <p>Some people refer to high-discharge batteries as "IMR" batteries, after a
  705. commonly-used chemistry for such batteries.</p>
  707. <p>In general, you should see if your flashlight has a maximum current drain
  708. listed.  If it doesn't, ignore discharge rate and get the highest capacity
  709. batteries you want.  Otherwise, get the highest-capacity batteries with a
  710. high enough maximum discharge rate.</p>
  712. <h6><a name="liion-other"></a> Other Considerations</h6>
  714. <p>There are all sorts of other characteristics that people care about with
  715. their batteries, but those are less relevant than the above four things,
  716. especially if all you care about is getting your flashlight to work.</p>
  718. <p>There's actually a really complex relationship between batteries'
  719. capacity, voltage, and current.  Batteries are a little less efficient at
  720. higher amperages, so a flashlight that's constantly used on its turbo
  721. setting will generally drain its battery even faster than the numerical
  722. difference between the light's brightness levels would indicate.
  723. Similarly, batteries providing higher amperages will have their voltage
  724. drop a bit relative to the same battery with the same charge but at a
  725. lower current draw.  Different batteries will have different balances
  726. among those relationships (e.g. Samsung 30Qs exhibit slightly more voltage
  727. sag than Sony VTC6s, even though their top-line ratings are the same).</p>
  729. <p>These sorts of things only tend to matter to people who want to squeeze
  730. every last lumen out of their lights, and those are just a small subset of
  731. the people who use lithium-ion flashlights on a regular basis.  If you're
  732. interested in this level of detail, though, you will want to look at
  733. <a href="">HKJ's battery and charger reviews</a>.  The website is a little
  734. confusing in its layout, but there's a wealth of information about all of
  735. the batteries HKJ has tested, and HKJ has tested a <em>lot</em> of batteries.</p>
  737. <h5><a name="buy-liion"></a> Where to Buy Lithium-Ion Flashlight Batteries</h5>
  739. <p>Don't just go to Amazon, search for "18650", and buy the first search
  740. result.  There are a lot of cheaply-made and more-unsafe-than-necessary
  741. batteries in large marketplaces like Amazon.  You should buy from a vendor
  742. who will only sell properly-labeled stock from trusted manufacturers.</p>
  744. <p>One of the easiest ways to do that, as well as to search for batteries
  745. that match all of the options you need, is to use the
  746. <a href="">Parametrek Battery Database</a>.  The person who
  747. maintains the database has links to purchase batteries from reputable
  748. sellers.  For a search example, here's all of the protected 18650
  749. batteries, with the highest-capacity ones first:</p>
  751. <ul>
  752. <li><a href=";mah=_+3501+dec&amp;features=button%20top+protected">Protected 18650 batteries sorted by capacity</a></li>
  753. </ul>
  755. <p>Note that to search for capacity, the mAh numbers I've talked about are on
  756. the "mAh" category.  The "capacity" section sorts by watt-hours (Wh)
  757. instead.  (The basic difference is that milliamp-hours are only directly
  758. comparable for batteries at the same voltage, while watt-hours give
  759. meaningful comparisons even between batteries with differing voltages.
  760. Lithium-ion batteries are generally marketed with their mAh rating--since
  761. the voltage is known--so that's what this guide uses, too.)</p>
  763. <p>If you have questions about a particular battery seller, you can always
  764. come ask about it on the <a href="">/r/flashlight</a> subreddit.</p>
  766. <h6>Notes on Particular Lithium-Ion Battery Brands</h6>
  768. <p>Unprotected batteries are pretty much all made by <strong>LG</strong>, <strong>Panasonic</strong>,
  769. <strong>Samsung</strong>, <strong>Sanyo</strong>, or <strong>Sony</strong>.</p>
  771. <p>Some of the more popular brands for protected batteries include <strong>AW</strong>,
  772. <strong>EVVA</strong>, and <strong>Keeppower</strong>.
  773. (<a href="#liion-protection">As mentioned previously</a>, these companies buy
  774. unprotected batteries from the above vendors, add their own protection
  775. circuits, and sell the resulting batteries.)</p>
  777. <p>Many flashlight manufacturers have their own branded batteries.  Those are
  778. generally of good quality, but they're often more expensive than
  779. equally-good batteries from other reputable sellers.  Some people prefer
  780. to pay the extra amount just to avoid trying to figure out whether a
  781. particular other seller is reputable or not.</p>
  783. <p>Batteries from <strong>Olight</strong> are a little unusual.  They're a reputable
  784. manufacturer (and seller, if you buy directly from them), but they do some
  785. extra things to their batteries.  The tops of their batteries have a
  786. <em>positive</em> button, like any button top battery, but also a <em>negative</em> ring
  787. around the button.  This is required for the batteries to work in their
  788. proprietary flashlight charging cradles, but it increases the chances of
  789. short-circuiting the batteries.  (The protection circuit should prevent a
  790. short-circuit from starting a fire, but it's still not something you want
  791. to do to a battery.)  Unless you're using an Olight flashlight with an
  792. Olight charger, you probably don't want an Olight battery.</p>
  794. <p><strong>Ultrafire</strong> batteries should be avoided.  They're known to cut corners
  795. on their batteries in order to make them cheaper.  If you buy one of their
  796. batteries, you might get something that works, but you also might get a
  797. battery with a defective protection circuit, or a battery that contains a
  798. smaller, cheaper battery, and a lot of sand to fill the extra space.
  799. Given the care that needs to be taken with lithium-ion batteries, the risk
  800. isn't worth the lower prices.</p>
  802. <h4><a name="chargers"></a> Chargers</h4>
  804. <p>If you go with rechargable batteries, you'll need a charger.  (Some
  805. lithium-ion flashlights have built-in charging, but even with those an
  806. external charger can be useful sometimes.)</p>
  808. <p>The best option is to look at the list of
  809. <a href="">chargers reviewed by HJK</a>, pick one with the features you
  810. need (number of bays, NiMH, lithium-ion, etc.) and a good rating (two or
  811. more smiling faces), and buy it from one of the reputable battery vendors
  812. <a href="#buy-liion">discussed above</a>.</p>
  813. ]]></content:encoded>
  814.  </item>
  816.  <item rdf:about="">
  817.    <title>Trump and the BSA National Jamboree</title>
  818.    <link></link>
  819.    <description>My social news feeds are awash with news of Trump's speech at the 2017
  820. National Jamboree (full transcript,
  821. full video)...</description>
  822.    <dc:subject>/General</dc:subject>
  823.    <dc:creator>Phil Gold</dc:creator>
  824.    <dc:date>2017-07-25T17:15-04:00</dc:date>
  826.    <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p>My social news feeds are awash with news of <a href="">Trump's speech at the 2017
  827. National Jamboree</a> (<a href="">full transcript</a>,
  828. <a href="">full video</a>).  I'm disappointed on a few levels, but I'm not
  829. leaving the Scouting program.</p>
  831. <p>I was a Boy Scout when I was a kid.  I'm currently an adult leader with a
  832. Boy Scout troop.  I think the ideals and the potential of the Scouting
  833. program are good.  The short version of Scouting is that we strive to
  834. develop kids' citizenship (in the USA, but also in their community and the
  835. world), character, and fitness (both physical and emotional).  We use a
  836. number of tools to accomplish those goals, but the one that most
  837. differentiates Scouting from other similar organizations, in my opinion,
  838. is what BSA (the Boy Scouts of America) calls "the outdoor program",
  839. i.e. all the stuff we do outdoors, including camping, fishing, hiking, and
  840. a whole host of other activities.</p>
  842. <p>BSA is not perfect; there are policies they have that I think should be
  843. changed, and bad adult leadership in a troop can give the troop's kids a
  844. bad experience.  But I believe that the core goals and methods of the
  845. organization are good, which is part of the reason I am a scout leader.  I
  846. want to make sure that the kids in my troop have the opportunities to get
  847. as much out of the program as possible and have good experiences while
  848. doing it.</p>
  850. <p>As part of BSA's focus on citizenship, the President of the United States
  851. is considered to be the honorary president of the BSA (though there's a
  852. separate actual president who actually runs the national board).
  853. Consequently, the US President is always invited to speak at the BSA
  854. National Jamboree, an every-four-year camping event that hosts troops from
  855. all across the US (and plenty from other nation's Scouting programs, too).
  856. Nineteen National Jamborees have been held (including the one currently
  857. underway), under twelve different sitting US Presidents (including Trump).
  858. Eight of those presidents have spoken in person at a National Jamboree
  859. during their term.  (Neither Nixon nor Carter spoke at a National Jamboree
  860. while they were President.  Reagan was scheduled to speak, but was unable
  861. to make it for health reasons, so Nancy Reagan spoke in his place.  Obama
  862. recorded a video that was played at the Jamboree.)  The BSA's Bryan on
  863. Scouting blog has
  864. <a href="">a history of presidential visits to National Jamborees</a>
  865. through Obama.</p>
  867. <p>So whether you like Trump or not, it was reasonable (in my opinion) for
  868. him to be invited to speak at this year's National Jamboree, on the basis
  869. of Jamboree tradition and in the spirit of developing citizenship in young
  870. Scouts.</p>
  872. <p>That said, Trump took a disappointingly political tack with his speech,
  873. seeming to treat it as a campaign rally.  Officially, the Boy Scouts of
  874. America is a non-partisan organization.  Everyone should be able to
  875. benefit from the skills, knowledge, and experiences available through
  876. Scouting, regardless of political viewpoints, so no one should feel
  877. excluded because of their viewpoints.  Past presidents have focused on
  878. non-partisan topics, emphasizing things like community service and being a
  879. good citizen, in their Jamboree speeches.  Trump had a fair amount in that
  880. vein, but he kept dropping in things like his usual digs at the media or
  881. complaining that he hasn't been shown enough "loyalty".  There was
  882. actually a lot of good stuff in his speech, but it seemed like he couldn't
  883. avoid making every few paragraphs about himself, in a partisan,
  884. exclusionary manner.  (Plenty of past presidents used their speaking
  885. opportunity to highlight things they saw as personal accomplishments, but
  886. they all presented those things as examples of citizenship or service in
  887. line with the ideals of Scouting.)  He also managed to use language that
  888. most Scout leaders would at least frown on, were it uttered by one of
  889. their troop members at an event, and referenced apparently risque
  890. activities in a fairly approving manner.</p>
  892. <p>I was also disappointed at the members of the audience who went along with
  893. Trump's partisan digressions, booing Clinton and Obama while cheering
  894. things like the GOP-supported, Democrat-opposed effort to repeal the
  895. Affordable Care Act.  I'm not actually surprised that Trump treated his
  896. speech like a campaign event.  It still saddens me, but it's entirely in
  897. keeping with his demonstrated character up to now.  I had hoped, however,
  898. that Scout leaders would understand that sort of partisanship is
  899. inappropriate at a Scouting event.  It is, of course, hard to tell just
  900. how many people were participating, but it was enough that the TV cameras
  901. could pick them up.</p>
  903. <p>But despite all that, the instances of angry, divisive speech from
  904. President Trump to the Jamboree crowd do not represent Scouting as a
  905. whole.  I'm sure there were some people in the audience who would be happy
  906. chanting "Lock Her Up" at a genuine Trump rally, just as I'm sure that
  907. there were among those 40,000 people some who have marched in anti-Trump
  908. protests.  I think, however, that most scout leaders care primarily about
  909. encouraging their kids to be better people without having to pick a
  910. political team and without having to shut out anyone on the opposite side.</p>
  912. <p>If you have qualms about Scouting, go visit some troops in your area and
  913. see how they work.  The scouting program is big and it provides a lot of
  914. resources for individual troops, but what defines each one is really the
  915. adults and kids in that specific troop.  Each troop has its own character.
  916. Some are bad environments for youth development, which makes me sad.  Some
  917. are good environments that maybe just aren't the right fit for your
  918. particular child.  But most troops are friendly and welcoming, and in most
  919. places there should be at least one where your child will feel comfortable
  920. and engaged and where there are people who will help your child develop
  921. into a healthy citizen of upstanding character.</p>
  922. ]]></content:encoded>
  923.  </item>
  925.  <item rdf:about="">
  926.    <title>The Best Android Apps of 2014</title>
  927.    <link></link>
  928.    <description>(According to /r/Android...</description>
  929.    <dc:subject>/Geekery</dc:subject>
  930.    <dc:creator>Phil Gold</dc:creator>
  931.    <dc:date>2014-12-04T15:05-04:00</dc:date>
  933.    <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p>(According to <a href="">/r/Android</a>.)</p>
  935. <p>Google recently came out with a "<a href="">Best Apps of 2014</a>" list.
  936. It was not well received, with many people feeling that the majority of
  937. apps present were there because Google was making money from them, not
  938. because they actually deserved to be on such a list.  Consequently, <a href="">the
  939. Android subreddit</a> attempted to <a href="">compile its own
  940. list</a>.  This post is my attempt to collect the most
  941. highly-voted submissions on that /r/Android post.</p>
  943. <p>What follows are the 35 top apps, based on Reddit's "best" sorting
  944. algorithm.  If I have time, I'll add more to the list later.</p>
  946. <h4>SuperSU</h4>
  948. <p>Gives you root on your system.</p>
  950. <ul>
  951. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  952. <li>Google Play: <a href="">SuperSU</a> - Free, IAP.  IAP is only for
  953. donations; you have to buy the Pro version if you want its extra
  954. features.</li>
  955. <li>Google Play: <a href="">SuperSU Pro</a> - Paid.</li>
  956. </ul>
  958. <h4>JuiceSSH</h4>
  960. <p>SSH client with optional cloud syncing and other features.</p>
  962. <ul>
  963. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  964. <li>Google Play: <a href="">JuiceSSH</a> - Free, IAP.  IAP is for upgrade
  965. to Pro version with extra features.  There are also plugins available
  966. on Google Play.  Some plugins are free; others are paid.</li>
  967. </ul>
  969. <h4>SeriesGuide</h4>
  971. <p>TV episode (and movie) watching management.  Tracks things you've seen,
  972. tells you about upcoming things.  Syncs with <a href="">trakt</a> or <a href="">tvtag</a>.</p>
  974. <ul>
  975. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  976. <li>Google Play: <a href="">SeriesGuide</a> - Free, IAP.  IAP is
  977. for a yearly subscription to unlock paid features.</li>
  978. <li>Google Play: <a href="">SeriesGuide X Pass</a> - Paid.  A
  979. one-time purchase of this app will unlock the paid features in
  980. SeriesGuide.  It's equivalent to the yearly subscription.</li>
  981. </ul>
  983. <h4>Pocket Casts</h4>
  985. <p>Podcasting app.  "Buy it for the hilarious changelogs, stay for the
  986. awesome Podcast App."</p>
  988. <ul>
  989. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  990. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Pocket Casts</a> - Paid</li>
  991. </ul>
  993. <h4>QuickPic</h4>
  995. <p>Album app.  Browse, display, and select images on your device.</p>
  997. <ul>
  998. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  999. <li>Google Play: <a href="">QuickPic</a> - Free</li>
  1000. </ul>
  1002. <h4>Nova Launcher</h4>
  1004. <p>Alternate home screen.  Very customizable.</p>
  1006. <ul>
  1007. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1008. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Nova Launcher</a> - Free</li>
  1009. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Nova Launcher Prime</a> - Paid.
  1010. Unlocks some features in Nova Launcher.</li>
  1011. </ul>
  1013. <h4>AirDroid</h4>
  1015. <p>Manage your device from your desktop or laptop web browser over the
  1016. network.  You can transfer files, send and receive SMS messages, see
  1017. notifications, and generally fully control your Android device.</p>
  1019. <ul>
  1020. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1021. <li>Google Play: <a href="">AirDroid - Android on Computer</a> - Free.  If
  1022. you create an AirDroid account, which is not required but makes some
  1023. things more convenient, you can get access to more features with the
  1024. account by paying a monthly or annual subscription fee.</li>
  1025. </ul>
  1027. <h4>Pushbullet</h4>
  1029. <p>Easily send information between your device and desktop computer.  Serves
  1030. as both a cross-device notification system (e.g. see your Android
  1031. notifications on your desktop) and a data sharing system (e.g. send a URL
  1032. from your laptop to your phone).</p>
  1034. <ul>
  1035. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1036. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Pushbullet</a> - Free.  Currently no profit
  1037. model(!)  Will probably add premium accounts in the future.</li>
  1038. </ul>
  1040. <h4>CamScanner</h4>
  1042. <p>Take photos of documents with your phone and turn them into PDFs.</p>
  1044. <ul>
  1045. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1046. <li>Google Play: <a href="">CamScanner -Phone PDF Creator</a> -
  1047. Free, Ads, IAP.  IAP is for a monthly or annual subscription that
  1048. removes ads and adds a number of features.</li>
  1049. <li>Google Play: <a href="">CamScanner (License)</a> - Paid.
  1050. Removes ads from the free app and unlocks some features, but not
  1051. everything that the subscription gives.  (The subscription unlocks
  1052. everything the license does, though.)</li>
  1053. <li>Google Play: <a href="">CamScanner HD - Scanner, Fax</a> - Free.
  1054. I think this is the same as the basic CamScanner but with a tablet UI.
  1055. It doesn't seem to have the IAP subscription option, though.</li>
  1056. </ul>
  1058. <h4>Tasker</h4>
  1060. <p>General-purpose automation for your Android device.</p>
  1062. <ul>
  1063. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1064. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Tasker</a> - Paid</li>
  1065. </ul>
  1067. <h4>Moon+ Reader</h4>
  1069. <p>Ebook reader.</p>
  1071. <ul>
  1072. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1073. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Moon+ Reader</a> - Free, Ads</li>
  1074. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Moon+ Reader Pro</a> - Paid</li>
  1075. </ul>
  1077. <h4>Strava</h4>
  1079. <p>Fitness app for tracking your running and bicycling.</p>
  1081. <ul>
  1082. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1083. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Strava Running and Cycling GPS</a> - Free, IAP.
  1084. IAP is for unlocking premium features.</li>
  1085. </ul>
  1087. <h4>Today Calendar</h4>
  1089. <p>Material-designed calendar app.</p>
  1091. <ul>
  1092. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1093. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Today Calendar</a> - Free.  Trial
  1094. version that expires after 30 days.</li>
  1095. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Today Calendar - Pro</a> - Paid</li>
  1096. </ul>
  1098. <h4>Textra</h4>
  1100. <p>Material-designed SMS app.</p>
  1102. <ul>
  1103. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1104. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Textra SMS</a> - Free</li>
  1105. </ul>
  1107. <h4>ES File Explorer</h4>
  1109. <p>File management app.</p>
  1111. <ul>
  1112. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1113. <li>Google Play: <a href="">ES File Explorer File Manager</a> - Free</li>
  1114. </ul>
  1116. <h4>Duet</h4>
  1118. <p>Game.  The gameplay's a little difficult to describe.  You control two
  1119. objects that rotate in sync around the same point and you have to move
  1120. them to avoid obstacles.</p>
  1122. <ul>
  1123. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1124. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Duet</a> - Free, Ads, IAP.  The IAP removes ads and
  1125. unlocks a few features.</li>
  1126. <li>Humble Bundle: Duet was part of Humble Moble Bundle 6.  The version in
  1127. the bundle was the Premium version, with no ads and all features
  1128. unlocked.</li>
  1129. </ul>
  1131. <h4>Sleep as Android</h4>
  1133. <p>Sleep tracker and sleep-cycle-aware alarm clock.</p>
  1135. <ul>
  1136. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1137. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Sleep as Android</a> - Free, Ads,
  1138. IAP.  Functions fully for two weeks as a trial, then disables sleep
  1139. tracking on particular weekdays (though the other functionality
  1140. continues to work).  IAP is an alternative to purchasing the unlocker
  1141. app.</li>
  1142. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Sleep as Android Unlock</a> - Paid.
  1143. Unlocks sleep tracking and turns off ads in the Sleep as Android app.</li>
  1144. </ul>
  1146. <h4>Nine</h4>
  1148. <p>Synchronizes device data with a Microsoft Exchange Server.</p>
  1150. <ul>
  1151. <li><a href="">Discussion</a></li>
  1152. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Nine - Exchange ActiveSync</a> - Free, IAP.  Works
  1153. for two weeks then disables itself.  IAP activates the app permanently.</li>
  1154. </ul>
  1156. <h4>Timely</h4>
  1158. <p>Very customizable, multi-featured, and good looking clock app.  Has a
  1159. clock, alarm clock, timer, and stopwatch.</p>
  1161. <ul>
  1162. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1163. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Timely Alarm Clock</a> - Free</li>
  1164. </ul>
  1166. <h4>Reddit Sync</h4>
  1168. <p>Reddit client with a card UI.</p>
  1170. <ul>
  1171. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1172. <li>Google Play: <a href="">reddit sync</a> - Free, Ads, IAP.  IAP
  1173. removes ads and is an alternative to purchasing Reddit Sync Pro.</li>
  1174. <li>Google Play: <a href="">reddit sync pro</a> - Paid.  Ad-free
  1175. version of Reddit Sync.</li>
  1176. </ul>
  1178. <h4>TextSecure</h4>
  1180. <p>Encrypted messaging app.</p>
  1182. <ul>
  1183. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1184. <li>Google Play: <a href="">TextSecure Private Messenger</a> - Free</li>
  1185. </ul>
  1187. <h4>Cerberus</h4>
  1189. <p>Security program.  Lets you track, manage, and even wipe your device
  1190. remotely in case it's lost or stolen.</p>
  1192. <ul>
  1193. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1194. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Cerberus anti theft</a> - Free, IAP.  App is
  1195. functional for a week.  After that, you have to buy a license via the
  1196. IAP.</li>
  1197. </ul>
  1199. <h4>Waze</h4>
  1201. <p>Traffic-aware GPS routing and navigation.</p>
  1203. <ul>
  1204. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1205. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Waze Social GPS Maps &amp; Traffic</a> - Free, Ads.</li>
  1206. </ul>
  1208. <h4>FolderSync</h4>
  1210. <p>Sync local folders to various cloud storage providers.</p>
  1212. <ul>
  1213. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1214. <li>Google Play: <a href="">FolderSync Lite</a> - Free.  Limits you
  1215. to two cloud storage accounts and you can't filter your files to be
  1216. synced.</li>
  1217. <li>Google Play: <a href="">FolderSync</a> - Paid.  No account
  1218. limits, sync filtering, and Tasker support.</li>
  1219. </ul>
  1221. <h4>IFTTT</h4>
  1223. <p>Short for "If This Then That".  Android client for the <a href="">IFTTT</a> web
  1224. service.  IFTTT hooks into a lot of other sites (and your Android device)
  1225. and lets you set up triggers so if something happens in one place, it
  1226. causes something else to happen in another.  (e.g. if it's going to rain,
  1227. it can have your phone pop up a notification to take an umbrella when you
  1228. leave the house.)</p>
  1230. <ul>
  1231. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1232. <li>Google Play: <a href="">IFTTT</a> - Free.  Some companies pay IFTTT to
  1233. promote recipes that use their sites.</li>
  1234. </ul>
  1236. <h4>TeamViewer</h4>
  1238. <p>Kind of the reverse of AirDroid.  Lets you manage your desktop computer
  1239. from your phone.</p>
  1241. <ul>
  1242. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1243. <li>Google Play: <a href="">TeamViewer for Remote Control</a> - Free.
  1244. The desktop software is free for noncommercial use, but businesses and
  1245. the like have to buy licenses.</li>
  1246. </ul>
  1248. <h4>Llama</h4>
  1250. <p>Android device automation, similar to Tasker.  (Or Tasker is similar to
  1251. Llama.  Plugins for either will work with both.)</p>
  1253. <ul>
  1254. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1255. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Llama - Location Profiles</a> - Free</li>
  1256. </ul>
  1258. <h4>Here</h4>
  1260. <p>Offline maps.  Not available in the Play Store, so you have to sideload
  1261. it.</p>
  1263. <ul>
  1264. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1265. <li> <a href="">HERE</a> - Free</li>
  1266. </ul>
  1268. <h4>Plex</h4>
  1270. <p>Client for the <a href="">Plex Media Server</a>.</p>
  1272. <ul>
  1273. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1274. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Plex for Android</a> - Paid</li>
  1275. </ul>
  1277. <h4>AcDisplay</h4>
  1279. <p>Shows notifications while the phone is locked.  Detects when you pull your
  1280. phone out of your pocket and turns on the screen to show your
  1281. notifications.  Similar in concept to the Moto X's Active Display.</p>
  1283. <ul>
  1284. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1285. <li>F-Droid: <a href="">AcDisplay</a></li>
  1286. <li>Google Play: <a href="">AcDisplay</a> - Free, IAP.  IAP is only for
  1287. donations; app is fully-featured as-is.</li>
  1288. </ul>
  1290. <h4>RedReader</h4>
  1292. <p>Reddit client.</p>
  1294. <ul>
  1295. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1296. <li>F-Droid: <a href="">RedReader Beta</a></li>
  1297. <li>Google Play: <a href="">RedReader Beta</a> - Free</li>
  1298. </ul>
  1300. <h4>Morning Routine</h4>
  1302. <p>Alarm clock that lets you define a sequence of steps necessary to turn off
  1303. the alarm.  The idea is that you encode your entire morning routine into
  1304. it, which makes sure you're awake by the end and makes sure you do
  1305. everything you're supposed to.</p>
  1307. <ul>
  1308. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1309. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Morning Routine - Alarm Clock</a> - Free</li>
  1310. </ul>
  1312. <h4>Citymapper</h4>
  1314. <p>Journey planning app, including transit, auto, foot, bike, and taxi.  Only
  1315. for specifically-supported cities.</p>
  1317. <ul>
  1318. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1319. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Citymapper - Subway, Bus, Bike</a> - Free</li>
  1320. </ul>
  1322. <h4>Sunrise Calendar</h4>
  1324. <p>Calendar app.</p>
  1326. <ul>
  1327. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1328. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Sunrise Calendar</a> - Free</li>
  1329. </ul>
  1331. <h4>Xposed Framework</h4>
  1333. <p>Framework for installing Xposed modules.  Each module patches some aspect
  1334. of the running system in order to change it.  There are modules for all
  1335. sorts of things, from working around Android bugs to adding cosmetic
  1336. tweaks to making stock Android behave like a custom ROM.  Root required.
  1337. Must be sideloaded, since it's not in the Play store.</p>
  1339. <ul>
  1340. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1341. <li><a href="">Xposed Installer</a></li>
  1342. <li><a href="">Module Repository</a></li>
  1343. </ul>
  1345. <h4>Solid Explorer</h4>
  1347. <p>File manager.</p>
  1349. <ul>
  1350. <li><a href="">Discussion Thread</a></li>
  1351. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Solid Explorer File Manager</a> -
  1352. Free.  Disables itself after 14 days.</li>
  1353. <li>Google Play: <a href="">Solid Explorer Unlocker</a> - Paid.
  1354. Unlocks the main app so it'll continue functioning after the trial
  1355. period has expired.</li>
  1356. </ul>
  1357. ]]></content:encoded>
  1358.  </item>
  1360.  <item rdf:about="">
  1361.    <title>Portable Filesystems for Portable Disk Drives</title>
  1362.    <link></link>
  1363.    <description>I periodically need to set up a USB hard drive so that its files can be
  1364. shared between different operating systems...</description>
  1365.    <dc:subject>/Geekery</dc:subject>
  1366.    <dc:creator>Phil Gold</dc:creator>
  1367.    <dc:date>2013-12-13T15:53-04:00</dc:date>
  1369.    <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p>I periodically need to set up a USB hard drive so that its files can be
  1370. shared between different operating systems.  I recently tried to update my
  1371. practices.  This is a record of my findings.</p>
  1373. <p>The short version of my conclusions is: If you need good portability
  1374. between Windows, OSX, and Linux (and you're only writing data from Windows
  1375. or Linux), use NTFS.  If you don't need filesystem metadata like ownership
  1376. or permissions and your files and disks aren't too large, FAT32 might work
  1377. for you.</p>
  1379. <h3>FAT32</h3>
  1381. <p><a href="">FAT32</a> is often the filesystem of choice for flash drives and smaller
  1382. media.  Windows, OSX, and Linux all have native support for it.  It can
  1383. span filesystems up to 2TB in its default configuration and up to 16TB or
  1384. so if you tweak its block size.  It cannot support files larger than 4GB,
  1385. nor does it include support for file ownership and permissions.  Its
  1386. support for filenames longer than eight characters plus a three character
  1387. extension is something of a hack.  It's not case-sensitive (though it does
  1388. preserve case).</p>
  1390. <p>Basically, FAT32's biggest strength is its cross-platform support.  In
  1391. most other areas it falls down when compared to more modern filesystems.</p>
  1393. <h3>NTFS</h3>
  1395. <p><a href="">NTFS</a> is a bit nicer than FAT32 in many ways.  It supports filesystems
  1396. up to 16EB in size, and you can fill all of that space with a single file,
  1397. if you want.  (In other words, there's effectively no limit on file size
  1398. other than the size of the containing filesystem.)  Filenames can be up to
  1399. 255 characters long, just like other modern filesystems.  NTFS supports
  1400. POSIX-compatible file ownership and permissions, hard and soft links,
  1401. case-sensitivity, and sparse files, all of which which make it a lot more
  1402. interoperable with Unix than FAT32.</p>
  1404. <p>Its main drawback is that it's proprietary and what support exists has
  1405. been reverse-engineered.  Windows supports NTFS, since it came from
  1406. Microsoft originally, back to Windows 2000 and Windows NT 3.5.  Max OSX
  1407. has had native read-only support since 10.3 (Panther).  Linux can read and
  1408. write NTFS volumes via <a href="">NTFS-3G</a>, which runs in userspace (via FUSE).
  1409. NTFS-3G doesn't give tremendous performance when accessing SATA or SAS
  1410. disks, but modern hardware is more than capable of keeping up with
  1411. USB-attached disks.  (At least for USB 2.0; I haven't done comparisons
  1412. with USB 3.0 hosts and disks.)</p>
  1414. <h3>exFAT</h3>
  1416. <p><a href="">exFAT</a> is an attempt to extend the aging FAT family (FAT12/FAT16/FAT32)
  1417. to support larger files.  Its size limits are somewhat crazy:  maximum
  1418. recommended filesystem size is 512TB (though it can theoretically go up to
  1419. 64ZB); maximum file size is 127PB.  Like FAT32, it does not support file
  1420. ownership or permissions, hard or soft links, or sparse files, and it's
  1421. case-preserving but not case-sensitive.  Many of the unsupported features
  1422. aren't completely necessary in a lot of USB drive use-cases, so their
  1423. absence isn't an immediate strike against it.</p>
  1425. <p>The main problem with exFAT is that it's not just proprietary (like NTFS)
  1426. but patented.  It's supported natively from Windows Vista on (and Windows
  1427. XP can be patched for support) and in OSX 1.6.5 (Snow Leopard) and later,
  1428. but Linux support is currently very shaky and difficult to distribute
  1429. because of the patents.  Even if Linux support were not a factor, the fact
  1430. that only relatively new OSes have support for exFAT would disqualify it
  1431. from consideration in many situations.</p>
  1433. <h3>UDF</h3>
  1435. <p><a href="">UDF</a> is something of a dark horse in this space.  It was originally
  1436. designed as a general-purpose, portable filesystem.  It's only really seen
  1437. adoption, though, as the filesystem used on DVDs and Blu-Ray disks.
  1438. Because it's used for DVDs, though, it's natively supported by all three
  1439. of the major desktop OSes: Windows (back to Windows 95), MacOS (back to OS
  1440. 9), and Linux (back to kernel 2.2).</p>
  1442. <p>Like FAT32, UDF can only have 2<sup>32</sup> blocks in its filesystem, so
  1443. it only goes up to 2TB filesystems with 512-byte blocks (which is what
  1444. hard drives would use; the UDF spec requires that the UDF block size match
  1445. the disk block size).  Like NTFS, though, its only limit on file size is
  1446. the size of the containing filesystem.  Also like NTFS, it supports POSIX
  1447. ownership, permissions, and metadata; ACLs; and hard and soft links, as
  1448. well as being case-sensitive.  It doesn't support sparse files.</p>
  1450. <p>It would seem that UDF would be the best choice for a portable filesystem:
  1451. it's natively supported in practically every OS and it supports most of
  1452. the features you'd want in a modern filesystem.  Unfortunately, OS bugs
  1453. hamper its usefulness.</p>
  1455. <p>Although Linux will read UDF filesystems with blocksizes other than 512
  1456. bytes (even though that's outside the official specification), Windows is
  1457. pickier and will only recognize conforming layouts with 512-byte blocks.
  1458. That immediately limits Windows to 2TB disks or smaller when using UDF.
  1459. Also, Windows expects UDF to span the entire disk, with no partitions, so
  1460. you can't even work around the size limitation by making multiple sub-2TB
  1461. partitions.</p>
  1463. <p>Linux, on the other hand, has had problems with UDF with 512-byte blocks.
  1464. It handles filesystems with 2KB blocks just fine, but you need to be
  1465. running relatively new kernels for the 512-byte blocks (required for
  1466. Windows compatibility) to work.  (Two problems I've run into are
  1467. <a href="">disks being reported full when they're not</a> and
  1468. <a href="">Linux not seeing UDF volume labels</a>.)</p>
  1470. <p>The Linux problems have been fixed, but only just this year.  Losing
  1471. compatibility with all older Linux systems knocks out one of the biggest
  1472. advantages that UDF has over NTFS.  In my case, I have RHEL 5 and 6
  1473. systems that aren't going to get these fixes for a really long time.
  1474. (Maybe by RHEL 5's 2017 EOL, assuming RHEL 7 includes all of the fixes.)</p>
  1476. <h3>ext[234]/HFS+</h3>
  1478. <p>There are also the native disk formats for Linux (the ext2/3/4 series) and
  1479. MacOS (HFS/HFS+).  While there's at least some support for accessing them
  1480. from other systems, that support is generally less robust than the NTFS-3G
  1481. project's work, so if you're going to require third-party support for
  1482. cross-platform access you might as well use NTFS.</p>
  1484. <h3>Other filesystems</h3>
  1486. <p>There are a lot of other filesystems out there.  Linux has native support
  1487. for quite a lot of them.  OSX and Windows don't.  In cases where
  1488. installing third-party drivers on OSX or Windows is an accepted
  1489. requirement, some other filesystem might be a good choice.  In my opinion,
  1490. though, NTFS, FAT32, maybe UDF, and possibly exFAT cover the filesystem
  1491. portability use-cases pretty well by themselves; it would have to be a
  1492. very specific set of circumstances for a different filesystem to be a
  1493. better choice than one of those four.</p>
  1494. ]]></content:encoded>
  1495.  </item>
  1497.  <item rdf:about="">
  1498.    <title>Dottie Gold-Humphreys, October 1999 - 9 December 2013</title>
  1499.    <link></link>
  1500.    <description>Less than five months after getting married and moving into an
  1501. apartment together, my wife, Becca, and I got a pair of cats...</description>
  1502.    <dc:subject>/General</dc:subject>
  1503.    <dc:creator>Phil Gold</dc:creator>
  1504.    <dc:date>2013-12-10T11:59-04:00</dc:date>
  1506.    <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p>Less than five months after getting married and moving into an
  1507. apartment together, my wife, Becca, and I got a pair of cats.
  1508. They'd been with a friend of ours for about ten years, longer even
  1509. than she'd known her husband.  She and her husband loved them dearly
  1510. despite their cat allergies, but their two-year-old was turning out to
  1511. be allergic and was terrorizing the cats (as only a two-year-old can
  1512. do) to boot, so they were reluctantly looking for a new home for the
  1513. cats.  Thus it was that on January 31st, 2009, Becca and I took Nico
  1514. and Dottie to our apartment to live with us.</p>
  1516. <p>Once the cats got used to the apartment, they settled into distinct
  1517. roles.  Nico was used to getting his way with everything and tended to
  1518. crowd Dottie out when there was something he wanted.  We were always
  1519. worried about her getting enough food because even though we gave them
  1520. separate bowls she usually wouldn't eat until he'd finished.  Nico
  1521. would often eat so quickly that he'd immediately regurgitate some of
  1522. his food, which Dottie would promptly eat.  It was a little gross, but
  1523. we felt oddly comforted by it, because we knew Dottie was actually
  1524. eating something.  (We had Nico on a diet because he was 20 pounds
  1525. when he should have been about 15.  Dottie always seemed a little
  1526. scrawny at her 7 pounds.)</p>
  1528. <p>Nico was always the cat that would greet newcomers to the house and
  1529. aggressively demand attention, but Dottie was Becca's special baby.
  1530. Dottie always seemed prim and dainty, especially when compared to the
  1531. more boisterous Nico.</p>
  1533. <p>Becca delights in nicknames for people, cats, cars, and probably other
  1534. entities too.  Nico and Dottie were no exception and went through a
  1535. plethora of names, including Small Cat, Muffin, Princess, and Sneezy
  1536. for Dottie.  "Princess Baby" was probably the most long-lived nickname
  1537. for her (as was "Fatty" for Nico).</p>
  1539. <p>In February 2011, Nico developed kidney cancer and that April we made
  1540. the difficult decision that it was time to let him go.  Dottie mourned
  1541. Nico for a time--at least it seemed that way.  She was even more
  1542. withdrawn than usual and I think she missed his presence in some sense
  1543. or other.  Eventually, though, she blossomed in a way that she had
  1544. never done around him.  She became more confident around the house;
  1545. she hid under things a lot less; and she was a lot more comfortable
  1546. around other people.  For all that we loved Nico, I think Dottie was a
  1547. lot happier by herself.</p>
  1549. <p>Both Dottie and Nico had had renal problems for pretty much their
  1550. entire lives.  When we got them, we continued their diet of
  1551. kidney-friendly food (high in calories, low in protein) and we had
  1552. bloodwork run on them periodically to make sure they were doing okay.
  1553. The bloodwork measured levels of substances that the kidneys should be
  1554. removing from the blood.  For both cats, those levels were always
  1555. higher than what a cat should normally have, but they never worsened
  1556. into areas that would be problematic.</p>
  1558. <p>Until a couple of months ago.  I forget now what particular symptom
  1559. prompted the vet visit, but while we were there they ran her bloodwork
  1560. and her creatinine levels had spiked, indicating a decrease in kidney
  1561. function.  At the vet's recommendation, we started administering
  1562. subcutaneous fluids to help flush out her system and compensate for
  1563. the lost kidney capacity.  We had done this with Nico, and he had been
  1564. easy to handle.  He seemed to enjoy the attention, even though we were
  1565. sticking him with needles on a regular basis.  (One vet tech told us
  1566. that he was the only cat she'd seen who didn't react at all when she
  1567. took his temperature rectally.)  Dottie was a lot less happy about the
  1568. fluids.  Although she eventually became more accustomed to them, she
  1569. never liked the process and it took both of us to hold her while we
  1570. were administering them.</p>
  1572. <p>The fluids plus a few pills to also supplement her kidney function
  1573. held her for a month or so and seemed sustainable; we'd be doing them
  1574. for the rest of her life, but it seemed likely that they'd be able to
  1575. sustain her for some time to come while preserving her quality of
  1576. life.</p>
  1578. <p>In November we moved into a new house.  I was worried that Dottie
  1579. would be disoriented by the change and would be unhappy with the new
  1580. house, especially since there were stairs and she was starting to look
  1581. a little arthritic in her back legs.  She took to the house
  1582. surprisingly well, however.  She seemed happy to go up and down the
  1583. stairs and explore everything in the place.  Unfortunately, we
  1584. discovered fleas several days after moving in.  Most of the house has
  1585. hardwood floors, but we fogged the entire place (spending several
  1586. hours with Dottie in the old apartment) and put flea powder down on
  1587. the carpets.  We kept Dottie in our bedroom while the flea powder was
  1588. down.</p>
  1590. <p>After about a week at the new house (and about three weeks ago),
  1591. Dottie stopped eating.  She'd gone through phases of not eating in the
  1592. past and we had an appetite stimulant on hand for times when it went
  1593. on for more than a couple of days.  Correspondingly, after a couple of
  1594. days, we gave one to her.  It didn't appear to have any effect.  We
  1595. thought she might not have gotten it (sometimes she managed to make us
  1596. think she took her pills but would spit them out later), so we waited
  1597. three days (the minimum dose window) and gave her another.  When
  1598. <em>that</em> one also had no effect, we started syringe-feeding her and we
  1599. took her to the vet as soon as we could.  The vet found that she was
  1600. very anemic--another side effect of the kidney dysfunction--and
  1601. prescribed an injection that would fill in for the
  1602. red-blood-cell-creation function of the kidneys.</p>
  1604. <p>After about a week on the injection, Dottie started recovering.  She
  1605. started becoming more energetic and she started eating again.  We were
  1606. administering a lot of treatments at that point, but it seemed likely
  1607. that once she recovered more we could stop some of them and go back to
  1608. just the handful of maintenance treatments.</p>
  1610. <p>In the last couple of days, though, her appetite dropped off again.
  1611. We attributed this to one of the supplemental (and bad-tasting) drugs
  1612. we were giving her, so we decided to just stop that one.  It was for
  1613. nausea relief and she was already on a couple other things with the
  1614. same effects.  Sunday night she seemed to be wheezing a bit but was
  1615. otherwise about the same as she had been, so we just figured we'd
  1616. mention the wheezing when we took in for her scheduled vet visit on
  1617. Wednesday.</p>
  1619. <p>On Monday morning Becca and I woke up, showered, got dressed, gave
  1620. Dottie her pills, syringe-fed her a bit, wished her goodbye, and went
  1621. to work.  When we came home that evening, she was dead.</p>
  1623. <p>Our vet is of the opinion that, given everything that we know, she
  1624. probably went peacefully.  That gives a little consolation, as does
  1625. the fact that we'd been deliberately spending time with her--carrying
  1626. her out to the couch to sit with us as we ate, talked, and watched
  1627. TV--but we never really said goodbye, because we really didn't expect
  1628. this so soon.  We thought the treatments we were giving her would hold
  1629. her for at least a few weeks, by which point we'd be able to tell
  1630. whether she'd be able to recover from the most immediately-threatening
  1631. symptoms like the anemia.  We figured we'd be in store for a difficult
  1632. decision about what would be best for her at that point, but we really
  1633. expected her to live until then.</p>
  1635. <p>So this is the best I can do for now: Goodbye, Dottie.  You were our
  1636. princess baby and you were a special and unique cat.  We will miss you
  1637. and you will remain special to us for the rest of our lives.</p>
  1638. ]]></content:encoded>
  1639.  </item>
  1641.  <item rdf:about="">
  1642.    <title>Pride and Prejudice and Zombies</title>
  1643.    <link></link>
  1644.    <description>As most people are by now aware, Pride and
  1645. Prejudice and Zombies is a modern adaptation of Jane Austen's
  1646. classic that adds a plague of zombies to the book's setting and plot...</description>
  1647.    <dc:subject>/Books</dc:subject>
  1648.    <dc:creator>Phil Gold</dc:creator>
  1649.    <dc:date>2013-10-22T20:07-04:00</dc:date>
  1651.    <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p>As most people are by now aware, <a href="" class="booktitle">Pride and
  1652. Prejudice and Zombies</a> is a modern adaptation of Jane Austen's
  1653. classic that adds a plague of zombies to the book's setting and plot.</p>
  1655. <p>I have to say that while I was looking forward to the book, its
  1656. execution left me wanting.  The zombie storyline feels like a veneer
  1657. laid over the original storyline in a way that doesn't really add much
  1658. to that original story.  I feel like the zombies are just a gimmick
  1659. that don't hold up for an entire book.  Pretty much the only thing
  1660. that kept me reading was my love for the original story, which remains
  1661. mostly unchanged beneath the zombie veneer.</p>
  1663. <p>Seth Grahame-Smith has recharacterized several of the people, mostly
  1664. making them more violent and bloodthirsty--Elizabeth is a
  1665. Chinese-trained "master of the deadly arts", and Lady Catherine is a
  1666. noted zombie slayer with an entourage of ninjas--but everyone takes
  1667. pretty much the same actions and ends up in the same places.  At least
  1668. one character becomes a zombie and is killed, but not until after her
  1669. presence in the original plot is finished.  I think this sameness is
  1670. what led me not to really engage with Grahame-Smith's additions: the
  1671. original was a deliciously sarcastic commentary on 19th century people
  1672. of wealth layered in with a genuinely compelling story of the
  1673. development of characters' personal relationships<sup>1</sup>.  The
  1674. zombie additions don't change the story enough to make a statement of
  1675. their own, but they do serve to obscure some of the themes and
  1676. characterizations of the original, so their presence is a net
  1677. negative.</p>
  1679. <p>All in all, I probably would have been better off just reading <em>Pride
  1680. and Prejudice</em> again.</p>
  1682. <p><sup>1</sup> One of the great things about <em>Pride and Prejudice</em> is
  1683. that it's pretty feminist-friendly.  Sure, it's a tale of two people
  1684. who take a long time and a lot of minsunderstandings to finally come
  1685. together and realize their True Love(tm), but two of the things I've
  1686. always appreciated about it are: 1) Elizabeth is given agency to
  1687. choose her own path in life and 2) the reason it's okay that they end
  1688. up together is that when she tells Darcy what her issues are with him,
  1689. he <em>listens</em>.  How often does that happen in popular love stories?</p>
  1690. ]]></content:encoded>
  1691.  </item>
  1694. </rdf:RDF>
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