Thursday, February 5


That's not a typo.

Systm brings out the geek in me ad infinitum. It reminds me of my beginnings in the electronics world. Back in the day, I woulld have killed for the information presented in Systm. Back in the day when being a hacker was a good thing, when the word hacker meant something entirely different than it does today. I loved being a hacker then - to some extent, I'm still a hacker. And having Systm to provide that outlet makes me all tingly.

I started out in the electronics business repairing battery chargers - April 1976 to be precise, at a company called MSI Data Corporation. No, don't bother looking for their website - they don't exist any more; they were later absorbed into Symbol Technologies and since into Motorola. Wonder how much that ten-share certificate of MSI stock would be worth now. Anyway...

The battery chargers I worked on so many years ago were designed for MSI's products. The "Fast Charger" - part number 128314-000 - could charge a 12-volt battery in about two hours, then switch into trickle charge after that. I knew that damn battery charger inside and out. Truly a marvel of engineering. For the day anyway.

So last week, anticipating my vacation this week and next, I started poking around upcoming shows on the TiVo, looking for shows to record to keep my mind from rotting, and found Systm. New shows air(1) on Mondays; TiVo also allows for downloading older shows from the Video on Demand menu, then to Browse free videos, then How-To, and finally Systm.

I became mesmerized by all the choices, particularly the episode entitled "Three Portable Battery Packs You Can Build". My mind went flying back to that simpler time repairing battery chargers, and immediately wondered where my soldering iron was. And would I need to go buy a few other accessories. And parts. And Altoids...

The Altoids mints themselves aren't intrinsic to the design or construction of the battery packs; it's the Altoids container that's important here - you need something to encase the project in. And the project is designed to fit in an Altoids tin.

So I'm hoping that this thing will work for my Blackberry - will let all of you who have BB's (you know who you are) if it works out!

Added note: Silly me forgot to include Systm's website address where you can download all the videos: Systm

(1) Air is a term from the before time, particularly since, because of cable television, we don't get our television signal via an outdoor antenna. Air is similar in many ways to the term "dial" when referring to telephones, "turn" when referring to tuning in a radio station, and "crank" when referring to windows in your car. And even though all three of those functions have been replaced with pushbuttons, we still use dial, turn, and crank. So even though the signal is received through a cable, it still is referred to being over the air, even though it's not.

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