Growing barley for malting


After growing hops for a few years, I thought I would try growing some two-row Conlon barley to have a go at turning it into malt for brewing.  I probably won’t get a lot of product, but it should be a neat experience.

Not surprisingly, the seed looks very similar to malted barley grain.  I’ve planted most of this pound in a few stray spaces in the garden.   We’ll see how it goes.

Audio switch for airplane passenger


Mrs. Nerdly Endeavours likes to fly with me in the airplane, but she gets annoyed at the radio transmissions I have to listen to from air traffic control.  So I made an inline switch to block the incoming audio to her headset – she can still listen to her tunes and talk at me, but won’t hear ATC on the comm radios or (unfortunately) anything I try to tell her over the intercom.

It’s pretty simple inside – the rocker switch cuts out the signal from the tip of the phono plug to the tip connection on the jack.  I picked a switch that had a guard available to help reduce inadvertent actuation.  The headset plugs into the box and the box plugs into the airplane where the headset normally goes.

The microphone of the headset remains connected as normal, so the passenger can still talk to the pilot over the intercom.  This can be a problem because they can’t hear the communication radio so they might talk over an important transmission.

Despite the downsides, we are pleased with the switch box and take it on all our longer flights.

Philips LED light bulb

my uzi weighs a ton

Always keen on being on the bleeding edge of technology, I bought an LED light bulb despite the relatively high cost.  Namely, it’s Philips Dimmable AmbientLED 12.5-Watt A19 Light Bulb (model # 409904 / 423343).

First impression: as Public Enemy once said “my Uzi weighs a ton.”

Actually it has a weight of 6.2 ounces (mass of 176 grams) – much heavier than an incandescent or fluorescent bulb, but probably not excessive for most applications.  At 12.5 Watts for the brightness of a 60 Watt incandescent, it’s very efficient.

It’s difficult to tell from the image below, but the color of the illumination is nice and warm.

Another nice thing compared to fluorescent lights is that it reaches full brightness immmediately.  I will probably get some LED bulbs as the price drops.

Foreflight and the new iPad

Foreflight bad zoom

I was excited to try the Foreflight app with the latest iPad 3 having a “retina” display with 2048×1536 resolution, four times as many pixels as the old hardware. Version 4.4.2 of Foreflight was at least partially updated for the new iPad, but still wasn’t optimized as you can see in the below images.  The problem is, at some zoom levels of the charts,  the display uses chunky graphics instead of taking advantage of the full resolution.

Here is a cropped-in screen capture at one of the “good” zoom levels, with all the graphics nice and clear

Now here is a shot with the same chart zoomed out a little bit, where the display of the chart becomes blurry, jagged, fuzzy, etc. although the text above the chart remains very clear.

Most of the zoom levels are at in-between levels of clarity.  I can understand that it may be difficult to push around enough pixels to reach full retina resolution at all times, but maybe Foreflight can at least allow users to click between high-clarity zoom levels in order to take advantage of the new display.