Thursday, 15 September 2011

08:24 – Building science kits uses labels by the thousands. I’m down to my last box of Avery 5160 labels (1″ x 2-5/8″, 30 per sheet), so I went looking yesterday for a good on-line source. Actually, the labels I use are Maco rather than Avery, because the Avery labels are priced outrageously even at a discount.

I can buy five boxes of Maco ML-3000 labels of 100 sheets each (15,000 total labels) from Maco for $60, or $12/box including shipping, but I decided to look elsewhere. I found the same labels at another on-line vendor for $7.43 per box, but shipping was $17 on one box. So I added more boxes for a total of 5 boxes and found that shipping was still $17. Apparently, most of that $17 is a handling charge, so I wondered what else I might need that I could add to the order.

I’d bought a Brother HL-3070CW color laser printer just for printing labels. I remembered that the Brother manual said the printer included “starter” toner cartridges, so I figured I might need replacements soon. I checked the manual and found that the HL-3070CW requires TN210-series cartridges, with the black cartridge rated at 2,200 pages and the cyan, yellow, and magenta cartridges rated at 1,400 pages each. Each of those costs $60 or so on-line, so replacing the toner would cost about $240. Fortunately, I checked the manual again before I ordered toner cartridges. The starter cartridges are all rated for 1,000 pages. Given that I’m using that printer only for printing kit labels, those starter cartridges are probably less than 20% used.

Colin peed on the bed again last night, for the third or fourth time. Barbara warned him the last time he did that that the next time he did it that she’d get rid of him. He doesn’t seem to believe her. So, I have two more loads of laundry to do mid-week, but I guess that’s just part of having a puppy.

I think most of the problem is that Colin doesn’t get enough activity. I do what I can, but I simply don’t have time to spend all day outside with him as he’d like. Yesterday during the day I took him on ten short walks, down to the corner and back, and sometimes down to both corners and back. That’s a total of about two miles (three kilometers). At a brisk walk, that takes maybe five or six minutes each time, for a total of roughly an hour. Of course, while I got in two miles, Colin was running back and forth and around in circles each time, so he probably got in at least three or four. Still, it’s not enough for a 7-month-old Border Collie puppy.

I’m still hard at work on the biology lab book, as well as prototyping the biology kit.

13:43 – Well, that was interesting. The street vacuuming truck just passed our house. In the past, that was always a standard dump truck with a huge vacuum assembly on the back and a swinging hose that’s maybe half a meter in diameter. There were three crew, one driver and two guys walking along the curb, one swinging the hose back and forth to suck up leaves and dirt, and the second with a rake to position stuff for the hose guy and free up stuff that was matted and clumped. This time, it was a different-looking truck, still obviously a dump truck, but with the vacuum equipment looking more integrated with the vehicle. There was only one crew, the driver.

What interested me was the steering arrangement. The driver was in what would normally be the passenger seat, so I just assumed the truck was right-hand drive. But then as it got closer I realized that it was both right- and left-hand drive, with a steering wheel on each side. Presumably there’s some kind of mechanism to select which steering wheel and pedals are operative, but perhaps it’s set up like a B-17, with two complete sets of controls, both of which work simultaneously.