Archive for December, 2008


Saturday, December 13th, 2008
MintyBoost Tucked Into Its Minty Box

At left is a “Minty Boost v2.0” that Roger and I put together over the course of a couple of evenings.

The Minty Boost is a tiny power supply designed to provide power or to charge most USB devices.

Including the iPhone 3G, which really wants somewhere around 500ma to charge. Normally, to achieve that level of current, the devices have to negotiate with each other.

The MintyBoost is a “dumb” USB power source in that it mimics the wall wart (very very tiny wall wart) style USB power supplies, providing enough bias on the data lines to make the device pull current without going into “negotiation” mode.

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Damned Fine Camp Stove

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

For the past couple of months, our real kitchen has either been full of holes or otherwise under construction.

As a result, our refrigerator and the rest of our make shift kitchen has been in our atrium.

As we couldn’t move our stove into the atrium, I picked up a camp stove to see us through. Specifically, I wanted something that had at least two burners and we very easy to use. I already have a Coleman dual-fuel stove
, but it is a bit bulky and, though it can run off of unleaded gasoline, it is not exactly “push button” easy to light.

After reviewing a slew of stoves, I settled on the Coleman 2-Burner Fold ‘N Go InstaStart Stove.

It is compact, surprisingly solid, and very easy to use. It also spits out a ton of heat. Seriously. Beyond easily boiling water, frying foods, cooking pancakes, and the like, I have also successfully stir-fried in my very heavy cast-iron wok (seriously — 12+ pounds of cast iron)!

My only complaint is that the adjusting the stove for a low flame is trickier than it should be. If you simply push and turn the knobs, you’ll always end up with a flame that is bigger than desired. However, by simply pulling on the knobs as you turn slowly, the flame height can be set quite specifically to as low as you want.

Great stove. Very attractive design, too.

The 16 oz propane tanks run about $4.50 each and last for about one week with near daily cooking (or, at the least, boiling of water).