Posted by: kandersen | August 24, 2009

Video Downloads

I recently had a fellow blogger which reminisced a movie he was talking about and mentioned that it was available on Google videos. This got me thinking that there are many more places to get movies and videos out there that many people don’t know about.

Most people know about youtube and if you dont well you live under a rock. Youtube is fine and dandy for little video messages but does not lend itself well to full length feature films because of the 10 minute video clip length. Google no longer allows new uploads to their own video service. What was uploaded to video.google.com is still there and there is quite a few good full length videos there to watch but no new content will be added.

So aside from the clunky 10 minutes per segment video of Youtube there are a few other options. A lot of classical movies like what you would watch on TMC are available at the Internet Archive not only can you look up websites from yesteryear or look up what a website looked like 10 years ago but they have for some time been doing video and audio programs there. There are thousands of videos which are open source and can be watched as well as downloaded so you can then watch them on your computer or burn them to DVD. Also the video quality on most are of a high quality resolution.

You can search up movies by name or by genre or by alphabetical order.  The Internet archive project also has many audio dramas which can be listened to. Growing up I used to listen to the CBS radio mystery theater. A time by gone of when radio was, you can find many of the more popular radio dramas.

But the Internet archive is not the only place to find movies. Some of them not so legit, I say that because I am pretty sure they dont have the licensing to hold or distribute the media which they have. For instance one site I have seen has had some pretty recent video, although low quality handy cam taken in a movie theater someplace in Russia or other country (due to Arabic or Cyrillic subtitles). I can only assume that sites like these must be hosted somewhere beyond the long arm of the US copyright laws because some of these movie sites have been continually running for years now without interruption.  One site in particular is davidmovie.com and this is just one of many that I have seen or heard about  on the internet.

The movie industry certainly has to know about these people who are doing these websites and the people who are uploading the videos but is not doing too much in the way of changing it or enforcement. It could be also related to another blog I posed about the piracy paradox where that may be the case of the piracy creates a market for the material.

In my opinion it would certainly make a case for Hollywood to make better movies. If everyone can view the movie, and then decide if its worth going to the movie house to see, that would create an incentive to make worthwhile movies. It is in much the same regard that video rentals can create a justification on if a video is worth purchasing and adding it to your collection.

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Posted by: kandersen | August 19, 2009

Solar Power = Free Energy = Huge Money

A while back I talked about a nice little Air-X wind generator I purchased and installed. At the same time I also installed a nice little BP 80Watt solar panel to help charge my batteries at the communications site that was having serious power problems, anyway thats another story.

Solar panels in a summary statement are really cool devices. they simply convert the suns energy (although not very well) to electricity. In my book I discussed a few ideas for solar panels and their use but digging around I found a place where you can make some good money with a solar array.

Usually when people get solar power they get it for “green” and “warm fuzzy” reasons which usually entail a system that will supplement the power to their house. But I seen someone selling a 750KW solar array on eBay the other day for grid inter tie use. This bad boy doesn’t even hook up to your house it hooks right up to the utility system and feeds power to them while the sun shines. Great idea especially since the heavy power use is during the day when people are running air conditioners.

The price tag for this system was somewhere around $800 grand. An expensive solar array for sure. So how would one go about making any money of a solar system like that?
Checking into it I found out that most power companies have to pay you for the power you generate and put on their grid. This figure is about 1/2 of the rate they normally charge a customer. so if you pay about .07 per Kilowatt hour then you can figure the utility will pay you the wholesale rate of .04 per Kilowatt hour.
Considering an average of 9 hours of sunlight per day 320 days of the year the net result of your very expensive solar array is $86,400.00 per year. It would take you 9.2 years for a return on your investment. Solar panels also degrade over time and that you might want to replace the whole array in 20 years. Okay well it might not be a terrible deal but not a super sweet deal.

So I did a little digging around and found someplace where the power you generate is pays very nicely. Turns out this place is in Hawaii on the island of Kauai. Here, there are rules which state the utility company has to pay you the equivalent of what it costs them to generate the power. Because they use Diesel or Naphtha for the fuel for their power plant, its very expensive power. This equates to .27 per Kilowatt hour that they have to pay you. In certain areas the sun shines almost all day with very little rain towards the west side of the island. so you can get a nice 10+ hour day nearly 340 days of the year.

Get this that’s over 2,000.00 per day or 689,000.00 per year. If you throw in the land you should have a return on your investment in 2 years. After that its all cake! So Think solar Think Hawaii!

Posted by: kandersen | August 17, 2009

Dead LCD Displays. Common Problem.

So this last week I had a couple of LCD monitors at the office go out. Not exactly the same day but within a few days of each other. I ran out and bought a couple more to replace the dead ones.

They were not really fully dead. If you shined a flashlight on them you could just almost see an icon or two where the flashlight was which meant the cold cathode fluorescent tubes were not lighting up. I had seen an article of someone who had taken their dead LCD monitor screen and mounted in front of an old gutted CRT monitor case with a Compact fluorescent bulb in there to provide a replacement light and I decided that might be a good choice to do on this one.

When I opened up the nice little Viewsonics I noticed something interesting, something I had seen before. Lets crank the old wayback machine up for a second so you can get the full aspect of what the problem. It seems that a few years ago was the start of a capacitor plague . This plague effected a lot of electronics a few years ago and from what I am discovering still is a major problem. I used to repair Tv’s VCR’s and such many years ago and rarely was there a problem with capacitors. Yes Electrolytic capacitors can get dry and loose their properties but it used to be a rare occurrence. Now they are dying like flies

Ruptured electrolytic capacitor

Ruptured electrolytic capacitor

So anyway back to the LCD monitor I have, It also had some of these cheap capacitors which had vented. There were actually two 16V 220uf capacitors which had met their doom. Replacement of the bad capacitors made the monitor shine like new. On the second monitor it as well had the exact same problem.

I had a 42″ Big screen ILO LCD which was also dead. I began to wonder if it might be experiencing the same problem. well as it would turn out it also had a 16V 220uF capacitor on the main logic board which had outright exploded. Yes a small detonation inside my big screen caused it to die a premature death at only 1 year of age. It actually took longer to disassemble and re-assemble the LCD’s than to fix the silly little problem.

It may be possible to replace all the cheap capacitors with some nice Panasonic brand but I don’t know if the price/time payoff will outlast the life of the cold cathode tubes in the LCD itself. These monitors do have a maximum lifetime use, but it certainly is longer than one year.

So don’t throw that flat screen away, My bet is its bad capacitors and an easy fix for anyone with just a medial amount of soldering skills.

Posted by: kandersen | August 16, 2009

Real Estate Bargains. Bloodbath or Godsend?

I have been closely watching real estate prices now for about 3 years. Ever since I went on a trip to Kauai Island in Hawaii. I have been smitten with its beauty. I have been more and more inclined to pull the trigger and actually buy a piece of property there on the island but have been a bit hesitant in doing so because the prices have been going down.

Why buy property now if the market is in a free fall? Well aside from the speak of the economic experts who cant seem to torture the numbers enough to show the economy is on the mend. In actuality it is not. There are a few reasons I think this is the case.

First off, and for the most part the United States does not really build anything anymore. We manufacture a few cars, but all but a few industries are still here. In fact almost everything is made in another country. In the past 20 years we have gone from a nation of builders to a nation of consumers.

Currently we aren’t consuming. In fact some of the things that have been going on have made people start paying off their debt load as soon as possible because a lot of credit card companies are doing terrible practices like hold your payment until its a day late so they can jack your interest rate up to 24%. People are getting caught with their pants down and are not liking it at all. In fact studies show that people are also starting to save their money now. Somewhat of a new trend for the average American. So if you couple people not buying, job losses will increase. Big box electronic store cant afford to keep the lights on if your not buying that shiny new big screen TV. A ripple effect for sure.

So recently we have seen the stock market rebound by leaps and bounds. But keep in mind that this is a bear market rally which means that it is not being sustained by any real economic recovery data. So the false sense of hope from the stock market is going to be a flash in the pan. Oh, I suppose I could be wrong, I have been before but I don’t think so this time and let me tell you why.

First off The banks still have a whole mess of “toxic” assets which they cant or wont unload and there’s more on their way. There is such a backlog of house foreclosures that haven’t even been processed yet because the banks are just inundated with them. there is more coming too. The next round of ARM loans are about to reset and the bulk of these homes will be worth less than what they are on paper. Most people who gambled on an ARM loan figured they would be able to sell the house or refinance the home before the ARM resets happened. In those cases the house didn’t sell and because the loan was more than the current value of the property.

People in these types of loans have no vested interest in the house. In a lot of the cases there was no down payment required to buy the house so they are not loosing anything but a torturous house payment if they walk away.

Now the next factor to play in here is that whole consumers not buying and job losses. After this bubble of house foreclosures we have to deal with a ultra massive commercial property bomb. Commercial property is on the same track because business is in a slump people are not able to keep their businesses open and that is setting the stage. Sometime in 2010 we should see the commercial property foreclosures coming into full swing. Once that happens who knows? We could see the complete unhinging of the economy.

We will have to wait to see what will happen then. My guesstimate is that its going to be ugly. which if your buying property then at the true bottom your going to have a wonderful opportunity to make some killer buys. If you buy now, you may loose your butt.

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