panasonWhy does it seem like everything is getting harder to use? DVD recorders that can’t actually record anything because they’re built without TV tuners; Web media players that need aftermarket firmware installed before they can access the web (Linksys!?!); Computers running MS Windows (any version) quickly becomes the pinnacle of pain of all cluster-fuck technology 10 minutes after turning it on! God forbid you attempt to install a remote starter in your car! Discovering you have an IC-chipped-key can force you into becoming a bona-fide con-artist if you have to convince your local dealership to supply the needed parts. Then you need to get an electronics degree just to figure it out. Days are gone when “some assembly required” was the worst thing we could encounter as consumers.

I’ve been using a Panasonic DMR-ES15 DVD recorder for automatic recording of TV shows while I’m away. I’ve owned a few recorders over the years or varying quality. This Panasonic seems to have the best balance of intuitive interface and high compatibility, but there’s a big problem. Although the Panasonic is a good name, this Panasonic DVD deck series seems to destroy DVD+RW’s & RAM’s at an alarming rate. So much so that I stopped using RAM disks because these are just too expensive to keep destroying. (more…)

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Here’s a prototype cleaning unit I built for and electronics company with a highly specialized problem. Automated glue dispensers use nozzles that can be removed for cleaning. The problem is that cleaning is inconsistent and occasionally damaging depending on the skill of the operator. Damaged nozzles don’t work properly and are costly to replace. This proof-of-technology prototype uses pressurized alcohol or another preferably specialized glue solvent to dissolve the contaminants in the nozzle. The system allows for consistent results based on time. and the use of fluid keeps the nozzle from being damaged by overly-zealous manual cleaning.

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