Archive for February, 2009

Make: Persimmon Wine Update; Racked to Secondary Fermenter

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Update: After a few weeks, the wine has distinctly cleared. Soon, I’m going to do the emRack Shuffle/em — I only have three carboys, two of which are in use. Thus, rack to one, clean the now empty, rack to it…

This season, the apricot tree has bloomed nicely, but it is too early to tell if I’ll have a crop. I certainly do not expect anything like last year’s. If the tree were to take a year off, I wouldn’t be bothered at all. If the grape’s produce this year, I might make an actual grape wine.

I had been updating my original persimmon wine post with progress.

But tonight warrants a new post; I racked it into the secondary fermenters and have new specific gravity measurements to record.

I’m calling the two batches “red top” and “white top” because that is the cap color on top of the bubbler.

I measured the initial SG of the two at 1.060 [red] and 1.050 [white]. That was wrong — too much sediment — as I remeasured a week later at 1.080(!!) [red] and 1.070 [white].

That is a boatload of fermentables!!!

Once the fermentation started rolling around 12/31/2008, I let the buckets sit until today, stirring occasionally (sometimes by opening the lid and stirring with my gigantic stainless steel spoon and sometimes just by picking up and shaking the buckets for exercise).

Finally, the last week, both buckets stopped farting with any regularity. There is clearly life, but nothing remotely resembling the relatively vigorous — though never explosive — fermentation through January and February.

Though I could have done it a couple of weeks ago, I finally got around to racking the wine to the secondary glass fermenters.

Along the way, I had a taste and took specific gravity readings, as well.

Both batches had achieved the same specific gravity; 0.990 @ 69.5 degrees.

(So… mmm… holy oh wow! those yeast have been busy!.)

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CardRaider: $20 Stupidity Compensator that Just Works

Friday, February 13th, 2009
Climbing the Hill to the Great Blue
Tossing a Log

Consider the two images at right. Neat images. Nothing spectacular, but special to my family in that they tell a story of part of an adventure to Bean Hollow State Beach (an awesome beach near Pescadero, CA).

And I would have neither those two pictures are a slew of others from the same trip if I hadn’t had CardRaider. Entirely due to PEBKAC (i.e. bbum was a dumbass), I reformatted the compact flash card after downloading only half the images — downloading just the images from the first beach we went to.

Now, fortunately, “reformatting” a compact flash card does very little other than mark the space as free for a variety of reasons that are quite interesting but more than I’ll reiterate here (including that the flash filesystem tends to be a lot less “chatty” than, say, a hard drive with log files, caches, VM, and the like).

End result? $20 and a short download later my photos were recovered via CardRaider .

Not much to say about the product. I have no knowledge about the competitors. CardRaider seemed highly ranked on various review sites and a search of weblogs revealed other folk who lost images for less stupid reasons than me who were quite happy.

It just worked.

And it just worked again. My wife has been dragging around a camera full of photos for over a year now. For whatever reason, all the normal means of downloading the photos didn’t work — i/o errors or some such nonsense.

CardRaider had no problem finding all the photos, including a couple that had been deleted that were save-worthy, and downloading them, apparently intact.

Make: Cable Light Connectors

Sunday, February 1st, 2009
Original "Connector" In Action

While making my own low voltage cable light fixtures, I searched high and low for a little piece of hardware that would elegantly connect between the suspension cables and the wires down to the lights.

No luck. Everyone wants to sell you a cable lighting kit or, at best, the only “parts” are $40 bare MR-16 halogen lamp fixtures.

No thanks. Until I could figure out a solution, I simply bent a few bits of heavy gauge copper wire and made hangers like the one at right.

It worked OK, but clearly needed to be replaced with a real solution.

The answer?

Finished Connector Installed, Detailed

Spend less than $10 on parts and make my own connectors. Well, $10 on parts and $225 on the tools necessary to solve this particular problem.

What follows is a description of the tools and some photos of the various stages. If you have even the remotest amount of metal working experience, there’ll be nothing new here (and probably lots of opportunities to make fun of me).

But, as pictured at left, I achieved success!

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