A Guide To Choosing Switches For Your Budget Silent Keyboards

In order to learn more about assembling keyboards, I’ve been buying a series of budget keyboard equipment. In a previous post, I had talked about buying a barebones TKL keyboard in the mid twenty range and filling it with switches and keycaps. More recently, I found myself stumbling across these $20 hefty barebones 75% keyboards, which I’d share the link to if it hadn’t sold out and been delisted rather quickly. It seems to be older stock someone was clearing out, which is a lesson that you can get some reasonable deals if you hunt around Amazon. Some people prefer something like Aliexpress, because certainly you can get some good deals drop-shipped from China, but I find Amazon has a bit more payment protection.

The switches I tried in my previous post were silent linear switches, but there are also silent tactile. Tactile switches provide a bump through the keystroke, which many individuals prefer, especially those who type a lot.

To evaluate switches of the same type, we need a few more terms. Actuation or operating force is the amount of force needed to activate the switch. Lighter switches may allow for fast registering of keypresses, but they can also increase mistakes due accidental triggering of a key. Heavier switches may reduce accidental keypresses, and can also cause fatigue after long typing sessions. The pre-travel is the distance the switch travels before it is pressed.

I explored a few switches. The Gamakay Pegasus Silent Pegasus Switches, which has a 50g actuation force and 2mm pre-travel. It is reasonably priced at well. Then I checked out the Outemu Silent Yellow Jade Switch, which is even less expensive, and also has a 50g actuation force, but a 3.3mm travel. There are also ones that require less force, for example, the Outemu Lime. Force is a matter of preference. I’ve found the Silent Yellows feel better to me.

Trying out switches is an endless road of preference. There are multiple vendors, multiple types(we didn’t even get into clicky as they aren’t silent deliberately), and a variety of opinions. Today, I’m enjoying the Silent Yellow Jades, tomorrow, I may try something different.

 

Are Solar Panels Worthwhile for Your Vacation Home?

Owning a vacation home is synonymous with relaxation and escape, but it also comes with the responsibility of managing energy consumption. With the increasing popularity of solar energy, many vacation homeowners are exploring the idea of harnessing the power of the sun. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the considerations that can help you determine whether solar panels are a worthwhile investment for your vacation retreat.

Evaluating Energy Needs: A Personalized Approach

The first step in assessing the viability of solar panels for your vacation home is to evaluate its energy needs. Consider the appliances, lighting, and other electrical devices used during your stays. Understanding your energy consumption patterns allows you to determine the size of the solar energy system required to meet your specific needs.

Location Matters: Sunlight Availability

The geographical location of your vacation home plays a pivotal role in the feasibility of solar panels. Regions with ample sunlight and fewer shading obstacles are more conducive to efficient solar energy generation. Evaluate the solar potential of your vacation home’s location to gauge how much sunlight the panels can capture throughout the year.

Return on Investment (ROI): Crunching the Numbers

Solar panels represent a significant upfront investment, so it’s crucial to calculate the potential return on investment. Consider factors such as available incentives, tax credits, and energy savings over time. Many homeowners find that the long-term financial benefits offset the initial costs, especially when considering the potential increase in property value.

Environmental Considerations: Sustainable Living

If sustainability and reducing your carbon footprint align with your values, solar panels offer a clean and renewable energy solution. Vacation homes equipped with solar panels contribute to environmental conservation by relying on the sun’s energy rather than traditional power sources.

Energy Independence: A Reliable Source

Vacation homes, often situated in remote or less densely populated areas, may face occasional power outages. Solar panels, coupled with energy storage solutions like batteries, provide a degree of energy independence. This ensures a continuous power supply even during grid interruptions, enhancing the reliability of your vacation home’s energy source.

Property Resale Value: An Added Perk

Solar panels can enhance the resale value of your vacation home. Many homebuyers are increasingly interested in energy-efficient features, and a solar installation can make your property more attractive in the real estate market. This potential boost in resale value can be an additional incentive to invest in solar energy.

Maintenance Considerations: Low Maintenance, High Returns

Solar panels are renowned for their low maintenance requirements. Routine cleaning and occasional checks are usually sufficient to ensure optimal performance. This low-maintenance characteristic adds to the overall appeal of solar panels, making them an efficient and hassle-free addition to your vacation home.

Government Incentives: Exploring Financial Support

Governments often provide incentives to encourage solar adoption. Research available programs, rebates, and tax credits that may be applicable to your vacation home. These financial incentives can significantly reduce the overall cost of installing solar panels, making them even more economically attractive.

Weighing the Pros and Cons

The decision to invest in solar panels for your vacation home involves a careful consideration of various factors. By evaluating your energy needs, understanding the solar potential of your location, and considering financial incentives, you can make an informed decision about whether solar panels are worthwhile for your retreat. Whether motivated by financial savings, environmental consciousness, or energy independence, solar panels have the potential to transform your vacation home into a sustainable and efficient oasis, powered by the sun.

The Bidet Buying Guide: What You Should Know Before Making the Splash

In recent years, bidets have gained popularity for their hygiene benefits and environmental considerations. If you’re considering incorporating a bidet into your bathroom routine, there are essential factors to weigh before making the purchase. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore what you should know before buying a bidet to ensure a well-informed decision that aligns with your preferences and needs.

Types of Bidets: Understanding Your Options

Bidets come in various types, each offering distinct features and functionalities. The main types include:

  • Traditional Bidets: Standalone fixtures resembling a low-mounted sink, often found next to the toilet.
  • Bidet Seats: Attachable seats that retrofit onto existing toilets, providing bidet functionality.
  • Bidet Attachments: Affordable and easy-to-install attachments that add bidet features to standard toilets.
  • Handheld Bidet Sprayers: Similar to a showerhead, these are handheld devices that can be directed for personal cleansing.

Understanding the different types helps you choose the bidet that best fits your bathroom layout and personal preferences.

Features and Functions: Tailoring to Your Needs

Bidets come with an array of features, and choosing the right ones depends on your preferences. Key features include:

  • Water Temperature Control: Adjustable warm water settings for comfort.
  • Adjustable Water Pressure: Control the intensity of the water stream.
  • Heated Seats: Especially beneficial in colder climates.
  • Air Dryer: Some bidet seats come with built-in air dryers for hands-free drying.

Evaluate these features based on your preferences and the climate of your location.

Installation: DIY or Professional Assistance?

Bidet installation varies depending on the type you choose. Bidet attachments are often DIY-friendly and can be installed without professional help. Bidet seats, however, may require access to electricity and may be more suitable for professional installation. Consider your comfort level with DIY projects and the complexity of the bidet you’re interested in.

Budget Considerations: Finding the Right Price Point

Bidets come in a wide range of price points, from budget-friendly options to high-end models with advanced features. Determine your budget beforehand and explore bidets within that range. Remember that a higher upfront cost might be offset by long-term savings on toilet paper and potential environmental benefits.

Maintenance and Cleaning: Keeping It Fresh

Bidets require regular cleaning and maintenance to ensure optimal performance and hygiene. Consider the ease of cleaning when choosing a bidet. Features like self-cleaning nozzles and removable parts can simplify the maintenance process.

Compatibility with Your Toilet: Ensuring a Proper Fit

Before purchasing a bidet attachment or seat, check the compatibility with your existing toilet. Bidets typically have size and shape specifications, so ensure that the chosen bidet is suitable for your toilet model.

Environmental Impact: Sustainable Choices

One of the appeals of bidets is their potential environmental impact, as they reduce reliance on toilet paper. If environmental considerations are important to you, explore bidet options with water-saving features and energy-efficient settings.

Making an Informed Splash

Buying a bidet is a decision that involves personal preferences, budget considerations, and practical aspects of installation and maintenance. By understanding the types of bidets, evaluating features, and considering factors like installation, budget, and environmental impact, you can make an informed choice that enhances your bathroom experience. Welcome to the world of bidets, where cleanliness, comfort, and sustainability converge in a refreshing way!

Embracing Winter Comfort: The Wonders of Heated Roofs

As winter blankets the world in a snowy embrace, homeowners seek ways to combat the chill and protect their abode from the harsh elements. One innovative solution gaining popularity is the installation of heated roofs. In this guide, we’ll explore the magic behind heated roofs, their benefits, and considerations for those looking to bring warmth to the top of their homes.

Unveiling the Technology: How Heated Roofs Work

Heated roofs, also known as roof de-icing systems or roof heating cables, leverage electric or hydronic technology to combat ice and snow buildup. Electric systems consist of heating cables or mats installed on the roof surface, while hydronic systems use a network of heated liquid-filled tubes.

Winter Wonders: The Benefits of Heated Roofs

  • Ice Dam Prevention: One of the primary benefits is the prevention of ice dams. Heated roofs ensure that snow and ice melt continuously, preventing the formation of ice dams that can damage roofs and lead to leaks.
  • Snow Accumulation Control: Heated roofs also control the accumulation of snow, preventing excessive weight that can stress the roof structure. This is particularly important in regions with heavy snowfall.
  • Enhanced Safety: Heated roofs contribute to safety by preventing the formation of slippery ice patches on walkways and driveways below. This is especially crucial for homeowners concerned about slips and falls during icy conditions.

Types of Heated Roof Systems: Electric vs. Hydronic

  • Electric Systems: These systems use heating cables or mats installed on the roof surface. They are controlled by a thermostat and are effective in preventing ice dams and controlling snow accumulation.
  • Hydronic Systems: These systems circulate heated water through tubes installed on the roof. While they tend to be more energy-efficient, they are often more complex to install and are suitable for new construction or major renovations.

Installation Considerations: Planning for Warmth

Before diving into a heated roof project, consider the following:

  • Professional Installation: Heated roofs should be installed by professionals familiar with the specific requirements of these systems.
  • Roof Type: The type of roofing material plays a role in the feasibility of a heated roof. Consult with a roofing expert to ensure compatibility.
  • Energy Efficiency: While heated roofs provide comfort and protection, it’s important to consider their energy efficiency. Opt for systems with smart controls and sensors to optimize energy usage.

Cost Considerations: Balancing Investment and Benefits

The cost of installing a heated roof varies based on factors like roof size, system type, and complexity of the installation. While the initial investment can be significant, many homeowners view it as a valuable long-term investment in roof protection and home safety.

Maintenance: Preserving the Warmth

Once installed, heated roofs require minimal maintenance. Periodic checks to ensure the system is functioning correctly, especially before winter, and clearing any debris or snow accumulation from the roof surface can help preserve the system’s effectiveness.

A Toasty Shelter from Winter’s Embrace

Heated roofs bring a touch of luxury and practicality to the winter experience, turning your home into a toasty shelter even when the snow falls relentlessly. Whether you opt for electric or hydronic systems, the benefits of preventing ice dams, controlling snow accumulation, and enhancing safety make heated roofs an appealing choice for those looking to embrace winter without compromising on comfort and protection. As winter’s chill approaches, consider the warmth and peace of mind that a heated roof can bring to your home.

6 Ways to Keep Your Toilet Running Smoothly

The humble toilet, a vital fixture in every household, plays a central role in our daily lives. To ensure its smooth operation and prevent unwelcome surprises, a bit of proactive maintenance can go a long way. In this guide, we’ll explore six effective ways to keep your toilet running smoothly, promoting efficiency, and minimizing the risk of common issues.

1. Regular Cleaning: The Foundation of Smooth Operation

Maintaining a clean toilet is not only essential for hygiene but also contributes to its overall performance. Regularly clean the bowl, tank, and exterior surfaces using a mild cleaner or a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. Avoid harsh chemicals that may damage the toilet’s components.

2. Mindful Flushing: Only the Essentials

Teach household members the importance of mindful flushing. Only toilet paper and human waste should be flushed down the toilet. Avoid flushing items like wipes, sanitary products, or excessive amounts of toilet paper, as these can contribute to clogs and strain the flushing mechanism.

3. Addressing Leaks Promptly: Preventing Water Waste

A leaking toilet can lead to water waste and increased bills. Periodically check for leaks by adding a few drops of food coloring to the tank. If color appears in the bowl without flushing, it indicates a leak. Promptly address leaks by replacing faulty flappers, fill valves, or other components.

4. Adjusting Water Levels: Finding the Sweet Spot

Optimal water levels in the tank contribute to efficient flushing. Adjust the water level to the manufacturer’s recommended setting by tweaking the float or water fill valve. Too much water can result in unnecessary water usage, while too little may compromise the flush’s effectiveness.

5. Preventing Clogs: Gentle on the Pipes

Preventative measures can go a long way in avoiding toilet clogs. Use septic-safe toilet paper and consider keeping a wastebasket in the bathroom for items that shouldn’t be flushed. Regularly plunging small clogs can prevent them from turning into larger blockages.

6. Annual Inspections: A Proactive Approach

Make an annual habit of inspecting the various components of your toilet. Check for wear and tear on the flapper, flush valve, fill valve, and other parts. Replace any components showing signs of damage to maintain the toilet’s smooth operation.

A Serene Symphony in the Bathroom

A well-maintained toilet is not only a functional necessity but can contribute to the overall harmony of your home. By adopting these simple yet effective practices, you’ll be ensuring that your toilet operates smoothly, efficiently, and with minimal environmental impact. From mindful flushing to proactive inspections, these habits can turn your bathroom into a serene retreat where the symphony of a smoothly running toilet takes center stage. Embrace these practices, and may your toilet continue to serve you faithfully for years to come!

Choosing the Right Solar Panels for Your Home: A Comprehensive Buyer’s Guide

Welcome to the radiant world of solar energy, where the power of the sun transforms homes into energy-efficient havens. If you’re considering making the leap to solar, you’ve arrived at the right guide. In this comprehensive buyer’s guide, we’ll navigate the intricate landscape of solar panels, ensuring you make an informed decision that aligns with your energy needs.

Understanding Solar Panel Types:

When venturing into the realm of solar energy, understanding the different types of solar panels is the first crucial step.

1. Monocrystalline Solar Panels:

  • Description: Recognizable by their sleek black appearance, monocrystalline panels are known for their efficiency and space-saving design.
  • Advantages: High efficiency, longevity, and a smaller installation footprint.
  • Considerations: Generally higher upfront cost.

2. Polycrystalline Solar Panels:

  • Description: Characterized by a blue speckled appearance, polycrystalline panels offer a cost-effective alternative to monocrystalline.
  • Advantages: Lower cost, good efficiency, and durability.
  • Considerations: Slightly less efficient than monocrystalline.

3. Thin-Film Solar Panels:

  • Description: Lightweight and flexible, thin-film panels are ideal for unconventional installations and limited spaces.
  • Advantages: Versatility, cost-effectiveness, and suitability for low-light conditions.
  • Considerations: Lower efficiency compared to crystalline panels.

Efficiency Ratings:

Understanding efficiency ratings is crucial when evaluating the performance of solar panels.

  • Tip: Look for panels with higher efficiency ratings as they convert more sunlight into electricity, making them more space-efficient.

Consideration for Your Location:

The geographical location of your home plays a significant role in determining the most suitable solar panels.

  • Tip: In sunnier regions, high-efficiency panels may be more beneficial, while cost-effective options could suffice in areas with less sunlight.

Warranty and Longevity:

Investing in solar panels is a long-term commitment, so considering the warranty and longevity is essential.

  • Tip: Choose panels with a solid warranty (typically 25 years) and a reputable manufacturer to ensure durability and performance over time.

Installation and Aesthetics:

The installation process and the visual appeal of your solar panels are vital aspects to consider.

  • Tip: Consult with professionals to determine the most aesthetically pleasing and structurally sound installation for your home.

Government Incentives and Rebates:

Take advantage of government incentives to make your solar investment even more economical.

  • Tip: Research local and federal incentives, including tax credits and rebates, to offset the initial installation costs.

Choosing the Right Solar Installer:

Selecting the right solar installer is as crucial as choosing the panels themselves.

  • Tip: Research and choose a reputable installer with a track record of successful installations and positive customer reviews.

Conclusion:

Armed with the knowledge gained from this comprehensive buyer’s guide, you are well-equipped to embark on your solar journey. Whether you prioritize efficiency, cost-effectiveness, or specific aesthetic considerations, the right solar panels for your home await. Step into a brighter, more sustainable future with solar energy powering your home’s energy needs.

NYC to Replace Payphones With Hotspots

LinkNYCMy hometown of New York City has announced a plan to replace thousands of payphones with wi-fi hotspots. The Link(as it is called) will provide free public wifi, free phone calls anywhere in the U.S., a touchscreen interface to city services and directions, easy 311/911 access, free charging for mobile, and digital displays for advertising and PSAs.

The wi-fi will be encrypted, which is not common in public hotspots, and some locations will be gigabit.

On a practical level, this modernizes the payphone. It still has the important aspects…the ability to call for emergency services, make telephone calls when needed, etc. But it adds in the services that we desire in the modern age.

I am a bit concerned about a few things. One, this is a ten-foot tall spire with ads on the side. The ads are by necessity. That’s what is going to fund this. But I worry about the intrusiveness of these things. But it will likely be no more intrusive than other ads. Also, imagine a group of digital nomads clustered around this spire with its internet and charging station.

A ten foot tall device actually could blanket a wider area than just immediately around the device. It is tall enough to theoretically stretch down the street. It could change a lot.

 

Square Launches Chip Credit Card Reader

A diagram showing the front side of a typical ...
A diagram showing the front side of a typical credit/debit card. (1) is the bank logo. (2) is the EMV chip (commonly referred to as ‘Chip And Pin’) (3) is the Hologram (4) is the 16 digit card number (5) is the logo of the card type (6) is the expiry date (7) is the name of the cardholder (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Square has announced they will be launching a mobile phone chip credit card reader for $29. The current magnetic swipe reader for mobile phones is offered as a free item.

Chip technology in credit cards will be mandatory in 2015. The chips make the cards more difficult to clone and have been successful in reducing fraud outside of the U.S.

VentureBeat notes in their article that Square will be supporting chip and signature, not chip and pin transactions, but this may merely be in the initial stages.

Chip and Pin is the most secure of these new technologies. It requires something you have…the credit card, and something you know…the Pin. Chip and Signature makes the card harder to duplicate, but as I rarely see people checking signatures now, which they are supposed to do, it eliminates the second factor and makes it less secure than otherwise.

So, despite the push for these new cards, the credit card industry is weakening the effort and will hopefully move to the more secure technology later on.

In the meantime though, Square is ahead of the curve by offering this in an inexpensive manner as part of their continued attempts to expand their presence as a payment processor.

(Via Venturebeat)