Brandon Biondo / Walsh

I’ve been feeling Brandon Biondo’s alter egos Walsh and COOLRUNNINGS a lot lately.

Fool Moon 7″ by COOLRUNNINGS
http://coolrunnings.bandcamp.com/album/fool-moon-7

These are his tags, not mine “80s creepy electronic mid fi hip pop post rad Knoxville“. But I think they fit. I’ve liked all the albums he’s created and collaborated on that I’ve listened to so far.

Babes Forever EP by COOLRUNNINGS
http://coolrunnings.bandcamp.com/album/babes-forever-ep

You can pay what you like for the downloads on Bandcamp; FLAC / 320 mp3 / or vinyl. So that’s something.  Dracula Horse links to other Knoxville artists and albums.

BIRTHDAY GIRL from KARAOKE by Walsh
http://walshmusic.bandcamp.com/track/birthday-girl

MacBook Pro Magsafe Charging Issues…

No one is alone here with MagSafe issues.  Apple recently announced a MagSafe replacement program (US only) for which I’m quite sure I’m a good candidate (I see some insulating wire); the strain relief on the head of the magnetic adapter simply isn’t up to snuff, which forced a redesign a couple of years ago (along with the requisite California Class Action fire hazard lawsuit).  All of this is to say, if you can see wires sticking out of your MagSafe, the strain relief “issue” qualifies under warranty for replacement.

But what about the ‘ole “MagSafe won’t charge battery” issue?  Well, as it turns out this could be related to the pins in the magnetic tip, or it could be the “System Management Controller” on your laptop.  This is the exact wording of the Apple Support Document for resetting the SMC on a laptop with removable battery:

  1. Shut down the computer.
  2. Disconnect the MagSafe power adapter from the computer, if it’s connected.
  3. Remove the battery.
  4. Press and hold the power button for 5 seconds.
  5. Release the power button.
  6. Reconnect the battery and MagSafe power adapter.
  7. Press the power button to turn on the computer.

Ah, but if only it were so simple. I recently watched this video on YouTube:

Macbook Battery Not Charging Fix

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRYIMDQxunI

What Kris tells us, with one critical difference from the official Apple support document, is that after pulling the battery he reconnects the MagSafe, waits five seconds, and then re-installs the battery. I did this tonight with my 1st generation MacBook Pro and it solved the charging issue immediately, which makes me think that this is indeed the correct order. YMMV.  Godspeed.

One good reason

One good reason I’ve found to stick with Android is this:

RedPhone by Whisper Systems

In case you don’t feel like reading about it, it’s a free (for personal use) end-to-end encrypted VOIP client.  There may be other methods out there, including personal Asterix PBXs, but this seems to work with the least fuss. Google Voice may or may not work with it I believe, as native SMS’ing must be working by default on the phone.  To test I used my native phone number instead of my GV number, it worked fine over data.

Also for Android, AGP offers OpenPGP compatibility and the K-9 Mail client app then integrates the GPG functionality.

Bingo. Bango.

UPDATE: As of late November 2011 it appears RedPhone has been pulled from the Android Market and the app itself can no longer connect to Whisper Systems’ servers.  The application was in Beta, so this could mean there is a full release coming out or perhaps something required that it be pulled from the Android Market.  So for right now, I’m unaware of any other end-to-end encrypted VOIP applications for Android.

Warm Socks

I spent a lot of time last year thinking about mountaineering boots and socks.  What I’ve decided (as far as socks) is that a mostly wool (say greater than 50%) acrylic blend is warmest for me.  This isn’t anything ground breaking.  What is funny though is that you can pay a lot or a little and it doesn’t seem to necessarily change how warm a sock will be.

I bought some relatively thin 45% Merino wool blends for about $4 a pair from an Eddie Bauer Outlet. These socks tend to be twice the thickness of a thin synthetic liner sock but offer significantly more warmth for little additional weight.  Similarly the standard Smartwool men’s hiking midweight crew is a great value and offers less bulk than a full on winter mountaineering sock, even when layered with a liner.

A surprising find was  a pair of North Face ‘Multisport’ quarter height wool blend training socks.  They look quite similar to the EB First Ascent ‘Mountain Training Sock’ and offerings by Darn Tough VT or Icebreaker, and have been my go to sock for running on cold wet snowy days.  Perhaps not quite as surprising, but the socks that were the overall winners for Alaska & winter in general, were the Patagonia Ultra Heavyweight Mountaineering Socks.  They are indeed what they claim to be.  Ben even wore my backup pair after summiting Denali on day four.

As far as the Thorlo & Smartwool ‘mountaineering socks’ I found the over calf length a bit too long compared to Patagonia.  I think they’re both quite warm, with a slight nod to the Thorlo in terms of warmth, but ultimately they were both too bulky and the fit wasn’t as good as Patagonia’s heavyweight wool mountaineer.  YMMV.

As far as liners, I found little variation, but did notice that at higher altitudes I had to make sure there wasn’t any constriction from the top elastic band.  Initially I thought tall knee height ski liners were the best option, keeping my legs warmer, but then I realized they tended to squeeze my calves causing painful constrictive brusing, so I stuck with the standard height Patagonia lightweight synthetic hiking liner socks and had no problems.  If you do have tall ski boots you’ll obviously need taller socks, just be mindful of swelling especially while sleeping in the cold at night.

This mini review is just my personal take on it. I bought all these socks out of pocket with my own funds and now I own two drawerfuls of socks.