1) The diggability of the earth at our section varies from beautiful gravel to the devil’s own clay. Shoveling the gravel makes you think that all the world’s problems can be solved with a little hard work. It takes to a shovel, goes where you put it, and stays there. However, shoveling the clay involves kicking the shovel into the sloppy mass, levering away to break out a chunk from a hill with the consistency of treacle, and finally getting that chunk free from the rest only to have it roll off the shovel blade and re-glue itself as firmly as if you’d never bothered. This leads to the conclusion that all human endeavour is futile and you might as well just go and shoot yourself.
2) MAX16836s look to be lovely little chips, kicking out a nice steady 350 milliAmps to drive blindingly-bright LEDs. Most similar drivers are buck-type, needing an inductor, diode, and other random crap to clutter up a circuit board; the MAX16836s just need two tiny capacitors. Thus I want to get my hands on them. Sadly, NZ’s main distributors (Farnell, RS) don’t stock them, the overseas distributors (Digikey, Avnet) have a minimum order of 248, and Maxim will sell direct, with a $50 handling fee on a $2 chip. I have resentfully begged Maxim for samples.
3) The next shiny things that I make will have lithium batteries, not NiMH, for the simple reason that the USB battery charging specification is gibberish. Seriously, “Battery Charging v1.1 Spec”, Section 2.2.2: “Any USB device is allowed to draw a current of ISUSP for an unlimited amount of time from a Downstream Port when not connected.” What? A USB device can use power from a computer that it doesn’t have a connection to? Either the USB Consortium can break the laws of physics, or those words do not mean what you think they mean. Anyway, all the required specification decyphering has been done by companies making battery charge management chips, but only for lithium chargers, not NiMH chargers. So I’m choosing batteries based on whether I will need to understand the specification for how I’m going to be plugging them in. And that’s just odd. Still, this should give me more power density, charging from any USB port, and a slim but non-zero chance of shiny things catching fire.
4) Last week’s policy realisation could be the realisation that everyone gets to once they’ve spent five years in policy and been around the ‘problem=>solution=>oops, new problem’ loop. Said realisation is that any strategy is merely a point-in-time approach to formalising an on-going set of problems, in the hope that will make solutions obvious. In reality, we don’t need strategies, we need strategic capability, i.e. the ability to think about problems in an enduring way, so that we can find some enduring solutions.
This isn’t helped by the tools we have for communicating, especially when we’re communicating about the real world, and specifically any time that someone talks with an organisation, rather than simply buying something from an organisation. Far too many IT tools are transactional and crap at representing on-going relationships. More here on this, in the context of ticketing and problem-report systems, from the Yorkshire Ranter, which should be required reading for all IT geeks who think IT should be useful in the real world.