Six years of Blogger!

Hi everyone,
Know it's been a few months, but wanted to check in on this sixth anniversary of coolstuff4819! If you told me, six years ago, that not only would I still be eating Sriracha sauce, but also be working as an engineer, I would have been skeptical. But if you told me I would have moved 550 miles away from home to do so, I definitely would not have believed you.

Though I haven't been typewriting or using my fountain pens as much as I used to, I've been exploring a new hobby: collecting for the Atari 2600, and getting good at games like Berzerk and River Raid, among others. I'll most likely be posting a little about that in days to come.

For now, though, I'd like to thank all of you who have stuck with this blog for the last six years! Here's to the future.


I'll leave you with a small poem I came up with.

I was taking a walk through the park
When suddenly there was a bark.
Whether it was a dog
Or simply a log
No one knows; it was too dark.


New Sony Shortwave Radio, and a Small Announcement

Hi everyone!

I just got a shortwave radio, since I heard that this particular model had recently gone out of production, and have pulled in stations from China, New York, Cuba, and Ohio in the past couple of nights. (I'm in the Chicagoland area.)

The radio I bought is the Sony ICF-SW7600GR, and it's been hailed as one of the best modern portables. It's got SSB capability, which allows me to tune in to communication transmissions, as well as synchronous detection/lock (which I honestly don't completely understand beyond the basic concept that it makes weaker signals easier to decipher).
It also pulls in a jazz station in the area that my smaller radio(s) can't (90.9 FM), which I am actually listening to as I type this.
Here's a front view of the radio. 

Right side panel of the radio
Left side panel of the radio - it even has a line-out jack so I can plug in an external recorder easily and still listen through the headphone port.
Front view of the box

Handsome carrying case
Rear panel of the radio - MADE IN JAPAN
The external "whip" antenna that came with it hooks onto the existing antenna like this.

Oh, one more thing - I graduated from UIUC on May 15th! Now I'm officially a mechanical engineer.


Some Real Cool Stuff: HP Electronic Equipment

Hi everyone!

Today a friend and I explored the Ceramics Building basement here at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and found a room containing a bunch of test equipment and assorted other things (film projectors, a 1970s thermal camera,...). Among those things were some HP devices, which I took pictures of.

Before they were a huge manufacturer of printers and computers, they made the world's best scientific programmable calculators - but before that, in the 1940s, HP made their name making electronics test equipment, such as the devices here.

Though these pictures were taken on my potato-quality phone camera, hopefully you enjoy them!


Useful Websites/Online Tools

Hello everyone!

Thinking of taking this blog in a slightly different direction; spent a while talking about typewriters, and feel like I may have run out of material to talk about, barring when I get a new one.

So I'd like to begin writing about stuff that I really use all the time, useful things that I've picked up along the way through school and internships (and eventually my job).


Here I'd like to talk about a few online tools that I use often.

Best one here - http://incompetech.com/graphpaper
I have been using this site for a long time, at least since junior high (~2007). There are generators for nearly every kind of graph paper you could ever want/need, and customization options galore. Every parameter, from the number of squares per inch to the margins, is adjustable, and you have options ranging from traditional graph paper to guitar tab paper and Cornell system note taking paper, among MANY others. Check it out!

PDF operations - https://www.konwerter.net/
This is a great website for converting to and from PDFs, and doing all sorts of operations (merge, divide into images, etc). The only thing that it doesn't do is allow you to rearrange pages - I use https://www.sejda.com/visually-combine-reorder-pdf for that.

For the MATLAB users out there: http://octave-online.net/
This is an online environment that allows you to run MATLAB commands in a browser! I haven't really used it for heavy programming or anything, but for quick x = A\b stuff it's excellent. (GNU Octave is an open-source alternative to MATLAB, available for Windows, Linux, BSD, and Mac) and its goal is to be 100% compatible, but for the most part I haven't had luck with running anything but quick and simple scripts, as many libraries (e.g. syms) have not been implemented yet and as such severely limit Octave's utility.)

That's all for now!


1923 Remington Portable No. 1!!

full view of the machine

front view

detail of keys

old decal worn out

this decal isn't worn though

typebars down

typebars raised

typebars raised

command cluster

ribbon vibrator

typebars raised

typebar control