Hey! Randy

Archive for the ‘product reviews’ Category

This Little Light of Mine

Posted by heyrandy on December 26, 2009

We were having trouble with the oven. I traced the problem to the hot surface igniter. This is the device that replaces the pilot light in most new appliances. I bought the replacement part through an on-line parts distributer. This vendor’s was price was less than half of the price posted on the manufacturer’s site. The part actually arrived in the manufacturer’s box.

The trouble with replacing the igniter is the awkwardness of working in the broiler compartment of the oven. It is also dark in there. The darkness requires a light. It is the universal characteristic of work lights to shine in the wrong direction, i.e., into your eyes. This is where my son’s Christmas present to me comes in. He gave me a little light, about the size of a golf ball, shaped like one of those marine mines we all saw in old war movies, the floating ball with spike-like detonators all over its surface.

Instead of detonators, the Mine Light has magnets. The magnets enable the light to be positioned in just the right place. This left free my left hand to hold the part. The light made the job go much easier. I never knew that old war movies could inspire new products.

I didn’t sink any ships, but the oven works.

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A Novelty With a Purpose

Posted by heyrandy on July 8, 2008

My son today bought one of those computer keyboards that comes in a tube.  He had it hooked up and running when I came home from work.  It functions just like a regular keyboard, but has the unnecessary advantage of being flexible.

I cannot think of a reason why anyone decided to design and manufacture such a device.  I guess it is for those users of laptop computers who do not like the built in keyboard and want a full size unit.  How big of a market is there for this thing?

The only other advantage of this flexible unit it is so flexible that if the unit is dropped it will likely not break, itself or the floor.  Protecting carpets is no small concern.

The layout of the keyboard is that of a standard, full sized unit.  But the keys are not discrete.  They are covered with vinyl, so the whole keyboard has a rubbery feel.  I did not find this to be a problem, but it was a little odd.  The vinyl coating acts as a seal to keep out dust and debris.  This is actually an advantage is some places.  On shop floors, people making adjustments to machine controls may find that the sealed units are more durable and reliable than the rigid ones often used.  I have no data to support this; it is just a guess on my part.

I found the key function to be unsatisfactory.  The keys had a tendency to roll when pushed.  I did not like this.  Several times the enter key did not respond; I had to deliberately hit it squarely in the center to get it to work.

My son also did not like the keyboard, so he disconnected it, rolled it up, and put it in its tube.  It has since disappeared into his room.  It can stay there.

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