It's no secret that I am a science fiction fan. When dating my wife, one of our first kisses was from me becoming overjoyed after I found out she stayed up too late the previous night watching a "dumb movie" on the SciFi channel. In my book, a girl willing to lose some sleep watching science fiction on TV was a girl worth dating.
For the past couple years I've had an obsession with battery-powered cordless tools. While I've bought a number of cordless power tools and even a cordless snow blower...what has been missing in my garage is an all-battery lawn mower. For the past couple years, I've had my eyes on the EGO Power+ 56V Lithium-Ion Self-Propelled Mower.
A few weeks ago during my visit to the local Home Depot, I came across the Ryobi RM480E, an all-battery powered electric riding lawn mower. Ryobi claims that you'll get up to 2 hours of run time or cut up to 2 acres on a single charge. This quiet, smooth battery powered riding mower houses three high-torque brushless motors to support the mower's blades and drivetrain. The RM480E's uses four 12V lead acid batteries instead of lithium-ion which given the choice and given the size of the mower so they're not lithium).
The mower itself has a 38 in. cutting width with a 12-position deck height adjustment. Cutting height ranges from a minimum measured at 1.5 inches to a maximum of 4.5 inches. The mower is capable of cutting in three modes: side-discharge, mulching, and bagging.
I don't think I want to do this anymore...
After three or four decades of being immersed in the digital lifestyle and blogging on a continual basis for 15 years, I found myself puking at the idea of spending more time in front of the computer outside of work. It's not that I don't still like technology and content management, but I didn't recognize until it was too late that the lack of topic diversity would eventually lead me to digital burnout. To fix this, I seriously tried not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. In the end that's exactly what I did.
Spring brought to South Dakota plenty of rain. The lawns are green, the flowers are in full bloom, and it seems we can't go beyond a couple days without a rain shower or thunderstorm. While water is usually plenty for my city, we do things smart around here and restrict water usage for our lawns year round. It's not uncommon in my part of the country to see the weather pattern quickly change from wet to dry. What once was green can turn brown in a hurry.
My Blossom Sprinkler Controller has arrived! For home owners with a water sprinkler system, you no longer have to be stuck with the expensive but dumb irrigation controllers that was originally installed at your house. There is a new generation of "smart" sprinkler systems arriving on the scene, including those created by Rachio and Blossom. The Blossom controller self-programs based on real-time weather data and gives you control of your schedule right from your phone. Once the controller understands the vegetation, layout of your yard, and the weather it should do the thinking for you when deciding how much to water should be used. The company claims that because their controller is "smarter" than conventional controllers (and hopefully smarter than me), I can expect to save up to 30% on my water bill.
After spending most of my years years in grade school working hard on experimental science fair projects and not receiving a ribbon, I finally gave up and wrote a "non-experimental" paper on the history of computers in the eighth grade. Despite the paper being weak even for eighth grade standards, I finally won a ribbon (third place) in the school science fair. Remember, this was the early 1980's and everyone was still fascinated with the then new concept of computers entering "everyday" life. Why am I going down memory lane? Well I came across an article on the 60th anniversary of ENIAC [via news.com, broken link] the "first" computer built which of course was mentioned in that paper of mine some 25 years ago.
When Google announced in 2012 that they were bringing Google Fiber to Kansas City, my father called me and said he was interested. As an information technologist, I was excited. I told the “old man” that Google Fiber was going to change everything. Last month, Google Fiber finally came to my parents' neighborhood, and I made the six-hour drive to visit the house I grew up in.
After watching my parents interact with Google Fiber, I confirmed not only that Google Fiber was a game changer, but I also discovered something I hadn't expected: in a world where technology companies prefer to deliver shock and awe, Google made every effort to deliver no surprises to homeowners. On the surface, my parents weren't doing anything different than they had before Google brought their tech to town. This ultimate game changing disruptive technology could not be more non-disruptive to the families who are about to consume it.
A couple years ago, my wife and I took advantage of the post-housing bubble low interest rates and upgraded to a larger home. We came across a pre-owned house built in 2006 that came with the price, size, and style that just screamed to us "buy me". As a family, we carefully reviewed our finances and listed our pros and cons before making the purchase. My wife and I were excited to finally have a bathroom connected to the master bedroom. Our then young son was excited that he finally had a family room that offered him fun and adventure. Secretly though, what sold me on the house had nothing to do with these things. What impressed me most was that this house had a network distribution panel.
I spent most of the last two weeks camping and hiking in the Grand Teton National Park of northwest Wyoming. If you've never visited this national park then take my word on it that Grand Teton is one of the most beautiful places a person can visit in this world. The mountains in this place peak near 13,800 feet and rise from the valley by almost 7,000 feet. Despite the warm summer much of the United States experienced, ice glaciers can still be accessed through a number of day hikes. For anyone that loves the outdoors, this place has everything in the form of wildlife, scenery, and activities. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending from your perspective), what the Grand Teton doesn't have is good 3G or 4G cell phone coverage.