I Finally Missed One

I write an article a day, every day.

Or at least I had up until Saturday, last.

I was sitting at the laptop, looking at the machine, going through my normal grind and something happened.  I guess I got distracted by some shiny object.

At 9AM, I reviewed what I had written to go onto the blog.  That’s pretty typical for me.  I tend to write off the cuff and get things done at the moment.  Off the top of my head.  For the longest time I was “A Week Ahead”.  That slowed to “A Day Ahead”.  Then I started having writer’s block and ended up dipping into my Day Ahead and setting them off while writing something for tomorrow at a more convenient time.  My cushion was gone.

Weekends were easy, I keep a file on the desktop called “jokes.txt” where I grab jokes that amused me, change the language so that they could be broadcast on TV, then save them onto that file.  I’d post one on Saturday, one on Sunday.  Just copy and paste and then release, announce the post, then done.

But I slipped.  Who knows.  I’m a great multi-tasker, usually doing four or five things at once.  Well we all make a mistake from time to time, I guess that’s why pencils have erasers.

That was the first time since September 10, 2009 that I haven’t posted something and that next day was when I went to go to a daily post.  Coming up on 5 years.

I realized that I had done that when I woke up enough to look in the mirror Sunday morning.  Up at 5AM on the dot.  Stupid o’clock … or so.

Those jokes aren’t the favorite things to read by the people who have liked the blog on Facebook.  Yes, I’m there too.  The number of people who read them tend to be markedly lower than the weekday postings, immediately.  But they do get read by people out in the world.  Believe it or not, there are quite a few people who like to read dumb jokes about Moose and they end up reading my blog for a page or three.

It’s all linked and they show up on your favorite search engine, whichever that one is.   On some searches, I am actually the first link you will find.   I guess I really do understand Search Engine Optimization, or I have an idea of what I’m doing.  Generate enough content and people will actually read it.

When I got back from the morning rituals in the house, the dog walk, and my first mug of coffee, I thought I might just blow it all off for Sunday as well.  Hey I took the weekend off!

Nope.  It’s Sunday afternoon, I’m sitting here with a glass of iced tea, ducking laser beams from the sun reflecting off of two different properties, and listening to a generic dance channel, all the while writing to you folks.

I said it once a while back that I didn’t know how long I will keep this daily article writing up, but I will go back to pre-writing the blog for now.   It makes it easier to Skip A Day.  I did that when I went to Key West.  Got a full two weeks ahead and took dozens of pics, then posted them for weeks after.  I think that happened the same time that they pulled down Old City Hall here.

There is a funny thing about writing a blog.  “Different strokes for different folks” is a great way to describe writing and content.   Some people actually look forward to my stupid jokes.  Others love the dog stories.  My recipes get hit very heavily.  This week there was only one article that I wrote within last week that was in the top five – the one about scrapple.   All the rest were heavy tech about Linux, Job Search Online, and the Biscuit article – in no particular order.

I do watch what gets read here, it’s all about what’s on the top of my head when I sit down to write, but I do try to write on a different topic and discipline each day.  I also try not to be too dry.  In fact, I’m reading this and thinking it’s one of the more dry articles that I have written in a while.

Since it’s going to be a crazy-busy week for me, I will take some more time and try to get ahead a bit.  That includes posting next weekend’s jokes today.  Blogger will release them when I tell it to in the future.  It makes it easier for me if I actually remember to put something out there.

So if you actually do enjoy what I write, tell me and thanks, it helps to know and it helps to keep my brain cleared of the chaff.  Introspection is good for the soul.

If you don’t then why have you read this far down?

Harvesting Laptop Batteries for a few 18650 Cells

Ok, First the warnings:

Don’t Try This At Home.
If you do this wrong, you could be exposing yourself to this list and other things that I am not remembering:

  • Explosion
  • Fire
  • Caustic Chemicals – acid or base
  • Poisonous Chemicals
  • Extreme Heat
  • Sharp Edges
  • Delayed Reaction of any of the above
  • Maybe even more, really it can be quite dangerous

If you do this, it is at your own risk, I take no responsibility.  You’re a big person, make your own choices…

Even once you have taken these things apart, you must, MUST charge the batteries in a charger that is specifically designed for the purpose.  If you charge the batteries in an unapproved manner by using too much voltage or too much current you’ll have that list above to contend with. 

As the video at the end of the article shows, they do explode.

Really these are dangerous objects.  Be careful.

On the other hand, if you are using a laptop, chances are you had one sitting on your leg or your belly safely.  You just didn’t try to puncture the thing.

Laptop Batteries are a strange beast.  They come in a couple different types.  I’ve seen “Flat” batteries like the one in your cell phone, and I’ve seen ones that look like a AA battery on steroids.  Those are 18650 batteries.  The laptop I am using uses six of those cells in series to power the machine for 3 hours.

The reason I looked into all this weird danger is that I have a flashlight that I depend on.  It puts out as much light as a 75 watt light bulb in a very tight beam – 1200 Lumens.  With a 18650 instead of the 3 AAA battery pack, it throws more light.  This light is really more than anyone needs to follow a dog at night, but when you live in an area with power pops, blackouts, hurricanes, and other strange events, you need a bright light.

Since the 18650 is rechargeable, I can relax about waste and pollution and so forth.

The battery pack you see in the picture has 7 of those batteries.  One was dead.  They normally do that after around 1 year of regular use so I thought to take it outside and disassemble it.  They were taped together and glued in place.  It all came apart with a little bit of wrangling.

The laptop battery packs will cost you around $90, and with these batteries, I can “refurbish” mine once it finally goes to the land of “15 minutes between charges” by finding the bad cell and replacing it.

After cutting the leads between the wires to separate them, I was able to charge all but one.  With those six, I was able to replace the batteries in a number of appliances and put them back to use.   Since each battery costs between $5 and $25, there was a significant cost savings.

As for charging, the charger was put on a long extension cord out to the cement patio and each battery was charged once to see if they “took a charge”.  They did with a few that were dead..

That flashlight?  Oh it’s much brighter than the little AAA Battery pack could have managed.

Strange weekend project but successful.  Just remember, Don’t Try This At Home, and if you insist, forget you read about it here!

The video below is more proof that this is not quite safe.  Youtube is chock full of videos of people doing stupid things to these batteries like burning them or overcharging them.  This is the result.  That result is why I went to the extremes of doing it outdoors, charging the batteries outdoors and so forth.   You just never know if you get the bad battery and you’re having a bad luck day. 

Be safe and take precautions.