DIARY 2013














Thu, Nov 28

<20:16 EEST> The premiere week turned out more intense than expected in many ways, but I think we all survived. I am starting to feel a normalization in my stomach that was upset for over a week, probably due to a combination of stress and alcohol :-/ There seemed to be lots of last-minute fixes in the play, and on the off days I managed to catch views of Uskomattomat at JYT and Loisto at the music campus. This unending flow of cultural events brought back similar memories from 2005, when my theatre music career had really peaked for the first time. I guess it has taken this full year to really get back into action; it's starting to feel fun again in the good old way, though the muss and fuss of organizing things is still there, unfortunately. This time it is highlighted by being active in two different theatres, with the occasional timing and personnel conflicts, but then again I also have more experience now.

A part of the stress is probably related to the crazy days of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. As the value of a single BTC has surpassed 1000 USD, the future seems both exciting and uncertain. It is interesting to follow all the commentaries about a bubble, while the value is in fact relatively stable. People generally have trouble understanding exponential growth (which Bitcoin has followed surprisingly steadily so far, increasing about tenfold in unit value per year) but simply looking at percentage changes should be enough to judge the stability. The most volatile time for Bitcoin so far has been spring/summer 2011, where a relatively small userbase was coupled with insubstantial media hype. This time, the market is a lot larger, though arguably still a little small for serious economic impact.

Tue, Nov 19

<20:16 EEST> While feeling the premiere week buzz once again, I found a little solace with my trusty old soldering iron. This time, the victim was my Philips electric toothbrush that had given up ghost in the summer. Pinpointing the exact trouble was harder than usual, so in the midst of theatre and math, it had laid open for all these months. It was either the motor of the battery, but neither was completely incapacitated.

Recently I took a deep look at another Philips gadget, a hair trimmer that turned out to have the exact same motor. Its sole problem was being too noisy, and I wondered if a simple mechanical fix could be found. On the other hand, I also had a new power tool to deal with hair, and the trimmer might as well go.

While lubing up the trimmer's motor, I decided to try the same on the toothbrush, and drive it with the trimmer's higher voltage just for the kicks. This seemed to have opened up some kind of a jam, since the toothbrush as a whole started working again, with its default low voltage.

Speaking of which, the sincle AA NiCd cell had aged considerably, and I decided I might as well replace it while the case was open. Finding a new one was not so easy, due to tighter heavy metal regulations. They are still being made, though, to provide the higher current needed in such power tools. However, the local component dealer suggested NiMH instead, as the application was probably not that power-hungry. In any case, I needed the specialist dealer to get one with solder tabs.

Thus I now have a kind of enhanced model of the toothbrush, with nominally 4.5 times the original capacity. The real-world improvement may not be that high, considering the high current use, but it seems to work fine at least in the initial test.

<20:34 EEST> Did I mention Bitcoin is going crazy these days? For example last night on, the price bounced between about 300 and 600 EUR/BTC. The US Senate hearing must have played a part in the buzz, but the bulk of this rally seems to come from China, so it's hard to dismiss as a typical bubble any more.

Risto A. Paju