On the Road 
I just read Kerouac's "On the Road," and have now found out a movie is currently in the works. Hopefully it will be good, but the book seems to be "unfilmable" without considerable changes. I'll definitely be keeping a eye out for it regardless, as I "dig" the book. :)

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iPod 4G Repair 
I was able to successfully resurrect my wife's iPod 4G (20 GB) that suffered from a hard drive death recently. I used the opportunity to convert the iPod to use CompactFlash memory as well as replacing the old battery with a fresh one. The flash memory should make the iPod more reliable since there are no moving parts. Lower power consumption (and therefore longer battery life) is also a benefit. I dropped down to 16 GB from the original 20 GB hard drive, but that is still plenty enough to hold my wife's music library. Many folks would probably just buy a more recent iPod, but I was compelled to fix the 4G because we have MusicLink 1.0 in our Honda, which can only charge 4G (and some earlier) iPods. We have a similar issue with a kitchen radio/iPod dock. All told, I spent around $80 on parts.

I used the following guide, but also referred to several other sites in selecting the components:

Instructables Article on iPod CompactFlash Conversion

The trickiest part appears to be selecting an appropriate CompactFlash card. You must use a card that supports IDE mode. Many cards only support a different mode used by cameras. Unfortunately, most CF cards don't specify IDE compatibility and those that do are generally quite expensive (targeting embedded computer markets for system critical applications). Apparently, many brands will use whatever memory and controller chips are cheapest at any given time, which may or may not include the IDE capability. It initially appeared that any consumer-grade CompactFlash card I purchased would be a crapshoot for IDE compatibility. After lots of reading, I finally found that Transcend was a good brand and their official documentation even seemed to indicate IDE as officially supported. I ended up purchasing the following for around $50:

Transcend 16GB Compact Flash (CF) Flash Card Model TS16GCF133


As for a CompactFlash to IDE adapter, I purchased the following:

DealExtreme CF-to-IDE

This adapter was far cheaper than any other option I could find, but took ages to ship due to backorder and even then took a while to get to me from Hong Kong. Given the roughly $5 cost, it was still worth it though. When it arrived, I found a few pins bent and very sloppy soldering. Also, the slave/master jumper needed to be bent parallel to the board because it sticks up too high (this is discussed on various forums). After fixing these problems, the iPod repair was otherwise very straightforward.

I purchased the battery from here:

iPod Battery

Once I connected everything, doing an iPod restore via iTunes and then a synch to download the music brought the iPod back to life.


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Kid Hit by Meteorite and Survives 
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandte ... orite.html

This reminds me of an event back when I lived in Home Park near GaTech. One day, Jeff C. and I found a hole in his room's wall (2nd floor) that went all the way through the vinyl siding to outside. The drywall was pushed inwards like a projectile came from outside. We found a little bit of rock in the space in the wall. I believe we considered it being a meteorite but dismissed it, thinking a bullet was much more likely and that the rock was from house construction debris. However, the hole wasn't bullet-shaped and we didn't find a bullet either. We probably should have investigated further since a meteorite would be very valuable...


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Favorite Coffee 
My favorite coffee is the Moka Java Blend from World Market. $6 for 12 ounces (whole bean). My wife actually discovered this for me a while back, even though she doesn't drink coffee. :) Iíve tried several different types of coffee and brands, but keep coming back to this one. Even compared to some coffees that are supposed to be better according to coffee aficionados (e.g. roasted within a week or two), I still prefer the Moka Java.

Itís probably the slightly chocolate-y aftertaste that most appeals to me, which is typical of Mocha. Itís not often that I find Mocha Java blends for sale at other stores, but I imagine there might be a better one out there somewhere. However of the Mocha Java I have tried, World Market still wins. If I did find a better one, it would probably cost a good bit more than WM. (BTW, the Moka Java is just coffee beans. No artificial flavors or other additives.)

I usually make mine with an Aerobie AeroPress and ground very fine so that it takes nearly all my bodyweight to press it. I otherwise follow AeroPressís Americano instructions, then add a little milk.


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Biscuits or Biscuit? 
I am surprised to find that "biscuit" is acceptable for the plural of one biscuit (according to Merriam-Webster). For instance, "I'm going to cook up some biscuit to go with the country ham and red-eye gravy." I think I'll switch to that form. :)

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