Saturday, October 23, 2010
The remote that unlocks the doors you can get on eBay/internet for most cars fairly cheap, even if you have a high end car. You can then program it yourself to unlock the doors. So losing or replacing a bad remote is at worst inconvenient. It's optional, and maybe not even worth doing.
The actual 'key' can be tricky if you have a newer car that has a key with a 'chip' in it. That chip (a form of RFID) is called a transponder and is separate from the key less 'remote'. These chips can look like a gain of rice, or a piece of foil. Normally the transponder chip is embedded in the plastic handle of the key. The transponder is there to prevent theft by removing the lock tumbler and then turning the switch. Possibly they also prevent thief by hot wiring, but serious if a thief is smart enough to hot-wire a newer car I don't think defeating a transponder key would even slow him up.
You can get the key 'blanks' on the internet or local locksmith. You can get the metal key 'blank' cut to match your car's locks. BUT... The locksmith might not be able to set the transponder chip in the replacement key, so that replacement key will not start the car. In that case you end up going to the dealer anyway and paying the gun held to your head price for a new key. Well there is a cheap solution that is worth a try and works with no programming.
You probably have (had) two factory transponder keys given to you when you purchased the car. Instead of ordering one key blank to replace the lost one, order two and have both of them cut. Then tape the remaining 'factory' transponder key under the steering column out of site. It might have to be kept close (inches) away from the switch - you might be able to have it feet away - experiment. The hidden transponder key will respond to the car's security ping and allow the replacement key to start the car. Use the two (or more!) replacement keys from now on to start the car. Lose one of them it's no big deal.
The best thing about this is that you probably won't lose that 2nd factor key since it's attached to the car. Sure this hidden key could make your car easier to steal. You have insurance for thief, and serious how many cars have you had stolen in your life? Now, how many of you have lost a key? If you are really concerned about thief, after awhile of using the replacement keys cut the actual metal working end of the hidden key off or dig the chip out of it. Trying to remove the chip should be tried while you still have both factory keys in case you damage the chip trying to remove it. Then just tape the chip or plastic handle in place. Remember we are taking about the key here. Not the remote.
FYI - There has been no proof from the auto insurance industry that transponder keys have reduced car theft. A teacher once told me that locks are to keep honest people honest. A thief is going to have something to take care of that lock. A car thief (verses a smash and grab the contents) is not going to try and steal your car unless he already knows he can start it (or has a tow truck). So the fact that the thief knows your model of car has a transponder is enough to prevent its thief - until he has the hack to get around the transponder and then it's worthless.
The only thing that has been proved is that transponder keys provide financial security for the dealer. Today it's the $200+ for a new key and remote, maybe another $100 for towing the car to the dealer to 'reprogram' it. But the real security that transponder keys provide goes like this:
"Oh so sorry... The key code for your car is no longer available...Your car is too old...You'll have to buy a new car, and pay us to dispose of that worthless hunk of metal."
Think about it.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Years ago I had went to the Harris visitor center and viewed the displays. The control room simulator where they train nuclear plant operators was closed on that too long ago visit. The simulated control room is an exact copy to the actual one in use at the Harris plant. Now days the control room simulator is only open to the public this one day a year (generally the last Saturday in August), so the chance to take the control room simulator tour made today's visit a must do. The tour is available by reservation for schools and clubs. Kids get to have all the fun!
As luck would have it they were rebooting the simulator during my tour so all the dials, gauges, lights, and displays in the simulator control room were off. I didn't get many pictures this time, but I did get to ask a lot of questions. I also got to see the the computer room that runs the simulator.
Today while I waited for the control room simulator tour to start I visited the booths they had and spoke to the Progress Energy representatives. I learned that their certificate to operate the current reactor at Harris plant has been renewed for another 40 years of operation. I also found out there is 140 years of wet storage in place at the Harris plant. That after 5 years in wet storage that the spent fuel can be moved to dry storage. There is no dry storage at the Harris plant, but I believe that the spent fuel storage problem will be solved in the next 100 or so years. A Traveling Wave Reactor which Bill Gates spoke about at the 2010 TED (Technology Entertainment and Design) conference seems to be very promising solution to the spent fuel problem.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
- digital speed and incline controls
- time and distance traveled
- calorie burned
|Your Total Calorie Burn/Mile||Your Net Calorie Burn/Mile|
|Running (>5mph)||.75 x your weight (in lbs.)||.63 x your weight|
|Walking (3-4mph)||.53 x your weight||.30 x your weight|
Saturday, July 24, 2010
So, I'm trying to lose a few pounds (a stone or so for you Brits, not money) and was wondering what was a calorie that I see on those labels all the time. I knew that a calorie was a unit of energy so with a little searching I found a handy California Energy Commission web page What is Energy?
The California Energy Commission web page says a piece of buttered toast contains about 315 kilojoules (315,000 joules, or 75.28 food calories) of energy. With that energy the web page says you could:
- Jog for 6 minutes
- Bicycle for 10 minutes
- Walk briskly for 15 minutes
- Sleep for 1-1/2 hours
- Run a car for 7 seconds at 80 kilometers per hour (about 50 miles per hour)
- Light a 60-watt light bulb for 1-1/2 hours
- Or lift that 5 lb (2.26 kg) sack of sugar from the floor to the counter 21,000 times!
I can't confirm or explain their numbers. I did the metric-English conversions for this post, but I've heard before that running a hour is about 700-800 calories burned, so I suspect they are in the ball park (on the pitch). I suspect 75 calories is low for a piece of butter toast, but 315K joules is 75.28 kilo-calories (aka food calories).
I think on food labels they should put "Jog 20 minutes after eating this" or other depressing (but meaningful) warnings on the labels.
For me? What will I do for mac & cheese? I'll just take a 5 hour nap.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
For Christmas I got myself and new Blu-Ray DVD player with internet video streaming (aka Netflix). Beside watching Blu-Ray and regular DVDs I can also watch movies streamed 'on demand' from the internet. The Blu-Ray player is connected to the internet using the the Wired Ethernet port I installed next to my 'media cabinet.' But to hook up to the plasma I needed to run a second HDMI cable from the Blu-Ray in the media cabinet to the plasma.
The media cabinet is actually in a closet that shares a wall with the den. In the den my plasma is mounted on the fire place hearth. The picture shows the plasma just after I hung it a couple years ago. If you look closely you'll notice there are no cables connected to it in that picture. Sort of reminds you of those commercials where a handsome couple sit watching their flat screen hanging cable free on a perfectly clean wall. If you read the disclaimer that flashes up during the commercial it says 'simulated picture shown' - most people believe they say that to make an excuse for why their super HD picture looks so bad on your crappy TV. But I know different. They 'simulate' the picture because you can't get a real picture on a flat panel without running lots of cables to it! And cables showing can really spoil the picture - which I'm sure some readers know too well.
Well over the last couple years as I hooked up various devices to my flat screen plasma and cable (mis) management got to be a real problem. No perfect picture here.
The Blu-Ray used the last remaining connection on the plasma's input panel, so with no more cables possible I decided it was time to finish off 'the hole.' I also wanted to hide the cables. The next picture shows the finish outlets with the new connectors. 2 HDMI, 2 component video, 1 video, external antenna, 3 speakers cables, sub-woofer, and power cords.
While staying with Dexter and Jan in Atlanta for the Peachtree Road Race I noticed Jan had put their cables inside of a tube she made out of fabric. It was gathered fabric and I thought it looked nice and did a good job of hiding the cables. I don't have access to a sewing machine, so Gale suggested I just make the hem using glue. Then use hook-and-loop along the edges of the fabric so when fasten it would form a tube. So I took a shot at it and made my own cable tube!
So after about $150 in cables and connectors, a bit of fabric and glue I'm having a Happy New Year!
Saturday, November 7, 2009
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