Sunday, 1 January 2017

10:15 – Happy New Year. Let’s hope it’s better than 2016.

Every New Year, I think about how long I’ve been keeping a blog–since before the word was coined–and wonder how much longer I’ll keep doing it. Along with Jerry Pournelle’s, mine is the oldest blog that is still currently active. Jerry and I both started HTTP blogging on the web in mid-1998, and both of us were “blogging” via earlier protocols starting ten years before that. In my case, back to when I still had a bang address, and even before that on my seven-line MajorBBS system. Almost 30 years of blogging for both of us, and all our stuff back to the late 90’s is still on-line.

Barbara and I drove into Sparta yesterday to visit Farmer’s Hardware, in search of a tube of silicone caulk to seal the edges of our new gas cooktop. She’d mentioned earlier that they had an impressive display of Lodge cast-iron cookware, which of course as a guy I’d never noticed on earlier visits. It was indeed an impressive display, a 30-foot wall full from floor to ceiling of cast-iron cookware and accessories. And the prices seemed pretty competitive with Amazon or Walmart. The owner, who always greets customers at the door, said that they were actually low-stock at the moment because cast-iron cookware is an extremely popular Christmas gift up here.

The secondary purpose of our trip into town was a search for deep-cycle marine batteries for the solar power setup. The guy at Farmer’s said they didn’t carry them, but recommended CarQuest or NAPA. He didn’t mention O’Reilly, which also has a local store, and when I questioned him he didn’t say anything bad about O’Reilly but simply said that the first two “carry good batteries”. So we went to the first two first. Both of them carry marine D-C batteries, but only small ones for trolling motors and so on. We then went to O’Reilly. Same deal.

I’d printed out the page for a battery that Home Depot carries. The important specs on it were the Amp-hour rating (115 Ah, which means it can deliver 5.75 Amps for 20 hours), reserve capacity (205 minutes, which means it can deliver 25 Amps for 3 hours and 25 minutes), weight (62 pounds), and price ($99). None of the three places had anything close to those specs. Not even half, and at a considerably higher price. As the guy at CarQuest said, they carry D-C batteries for trolling motors and similar applications, when what I was looking for was more like a forklift battery. He said he’d had several people come in looking for PV solar batteries, and sent them to Home Depot.

So we’ll have to pick up batteries the next time we’re at Home Depot in Winston.