Thursday, September 28, 2006

Another Li-Ion recall and a new battery technology announcement

Bad news first: Lenovo and IBM announced a recall of another half million (500,000) Lithium based batteries manufactured by Sony. It seems that after one flamed out at LAX last month, they got the CSPC involved.

Good news last: We may be using the acronym ZMP a lot more in the near future. Zinc Matrix Power has announced their Silver-Zinc rechargeable battery that supposedly has twice the energy-to-weight ratio as current Lithium based offerings without the explosive side effects or transport limitations. They have a low enough internal resistance that a relatively low number (16, producing 20 volts) were used to produce 80 amps to MIG weld two pieces of 1/8" steel (article reference).

In other not so interesting news...

  • I finally got those surplus UPS units converted and we gave most of them away (along with the power conditioners) at the annual Utah County ARES picnic earlier this month. Hopefully they're all set up with some Sealed Lead Acid batteries that have been neglected for too long. If anyone wants help converting a UPS into an SLA battery maintainer, let me know.
  • We were at a wedding reception for my niece a few weeks ago and came out to find a note on our car apologizing for the alterations done to the front bumper. The estimate was $402 so we might not even want to bother the insurance companies.
  • Last week, I took the boys to the Orem Rec Center to play racquetball. The next morning, one of us noticed another alteration that had been done to the right rear pillar above the window. We have no idea how it could have happened unless someone dropped something off a truck parked next to us or something. That one will cost more than the deductible; unfortunately, we'll have to get the insurance involved. They won't be thrilled after the bike rack incident earlier this summer...
  • We ditched the VoIP phone service we had from ACN Digital. Their equipment didn't work right (QOS was horrible, telephone adapter lockups, etc.) and their customer service was pretty much non-existent. My sister and her family were on it as well and like us, they decided to pay the cancellation fee rather than keep it. If you're going to go with VoIP, choose Vonage, they were good for us - we only switched to ACN to try to help a relative who was making a commission on the sale. We decided to go to cell phones instead (I couldn't bear to go back to a land-line provider).
  • On that note, I also switched to a new LG LX-550 Fusic phone (Sprint Review - C|Net Review)from Sprint. I like it, but there are some things from my Motorola V-360 that I'll miss. Best about it is the signal is much stronger at my house because the transmitter is just down the street (there are 3 big "flagpoles" at the Junior High about 2 blocks away) and we can get a signal downstairs. Worst is that the MP3 player is still poorly integrated with the phone operations (I can't make an outgoing call while it's playing, nor does it resume after I finish with an incoming call). All in all, I think it's a slight improvement, but nothing to get too excited about.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Talk Like a Pirate Day

International Talk Like a Pirate day is coming on September 19th (just like it does every year). I'm a little early this year, but I didn't want to forget again... I wrote this post last year, but forgot to post it. :)

Arrrr! Welcome to my blauggh. All ye landlubbers have got t' git yer own pirate name:

Fortunately I got a good one:

Red Harry Rackham

Passion is a big part of your life, which makes sense for a pirate. You have the good fortune of having a good name, since Rackham (pronounced RACKem, not rack-ham) is one of the coolest sounding surnames for a pirate. Arr!
Get your own pirate name from

Other pirate resources:

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Plastic batteries!

The folks at Brown University have been working on some cool stuff with conductive plastic. I don't know if their numbers are completely accurate (100 times the power of an alkaline battery?), but it's good news anyway. We really need better power storage for just about everything these days.

Engadget picked up on it and there are more comments there on their blog.