About Television

This piece is about television: Analog…Digital…Cable…Broadcast…

I watch broadcast television.

When I say that, I mean “free” television that is received over the air with an antenna.

I don’t subscribe to any cable, satellite or Internet Protocol television at all.

Many other Millenials like me also do not subscribe to any pay television.

BUT, initially, I did it for different reasons than my fellow Millenials.

However, many of my fellow Millenials do subscribe to one or more streaming services, I don’t.

I am a total cord cutter and my only data traffic comes in and out on my cell phone.

Growing up, my parents always subscribed to cable.

They are indeed Baby Boomers and that generation almost as a whole fervently believes in subscribing to cable.

I think this is because, when they were growing up, the only people who had “clear” television reception were the city dwellers and everyone else had frequent reception issues. Not only that, there were maybe three main channels in a given market when they were growing up, whereas cable offers dozens to hundreds of channels. Cable was also much cheaper in the early days. I remember both my parents and grandparents saying how cable television was $8/month when they began subscribing.

However, myself and maybe other Millenials have noticed that since about the late 2000s cable television has skyrocketed in cost but plummeted in quality programming-change my (our) mind(s)!

I would dare say that it is not even worth eight 2019 dollars a month unless one lives totally out of any broadcast reception range (like maybe Texas, between San Antonio and El Paso or other extremely rural areas.)

When the Baby Boomers were much younger adults in the 1980s and 1990s, cable was wonderful, I’ll admit it and I’ll admit it until the cows come home. I was a child back then, but I remember how cable used to be very good. Nickelodeon had awesome cartoons and sketch comedies. VH1 and MTV actually played music videos! Arts and Entertainment, The History Channel and the Discovery Channel didn’t show constant reruns, but actually had very original and equally educational shows! TBS and TNT and USA Network had much more diverse and sometimes original programming unlike now where they mostly air reruns of shows that are already on broadcast television for free! And get this: CNN actually reported credible news without so much biased commentary!

I first “cut the cable” in the Summer of 2003, when I was sixteen and a half.

I finally had my own television, a 1992 Zenith Sentry 2 and I wanted to experiment with it.

This means that my initial reason for cutting cable was strictly experimental.

So I purchased a set of rabbit ears and a loop and connected them to that aforementioned television.

I would spend hours scanning the channels and constantly repositioning the antennas to see which stations I could receive.

At the time, I lived about sixty miles from Baton Rouge, fifty miles from New Orleans, and maybe eight miles from Houma, the three closest cities with television stations.

The rest of my family thought I was crazy.

My classmates that found out also thought I was crazy.

Let’s just say I was a cord cutter well before doing so was cool.

I guess that makes me at least partially a hipster.

I may sometimes wear my newsboy hat, but I refuse to grow a beard, so there.

This went on from 2003 to about 2006 and was basically before the June 12, 2009, FCC Digital Upgrade Mandate.

I will say that when comparing analog and digital broadcast television, both have some advantages as well as disadvantages.

Since the television I had was only an analog model and I didn’t yet have a converter box, I was only able to watch analog television.

However, analog television signals were able to travel further and could be received with lower quality antennas than their modern digital counterparts. Also, an analog television signal could still be intelligibly received whilst the receiver was in motion and even mobile (like in a car!)

All I had were rabbit ears and a loop, but I could catch both of the then VHF High New Orleans stations WYES-12 (didn’t watch much on it, but it had the clearest picture of all) and WVUE-8 (watched The Simpsons every Sunday night on there) almost perfectly. Most of the UHF New Orleans stations WNOL-38 (watched The Simpsons every weeknight on it), WHNO-20 (watched some preachers on there), WPXL-49 easily. The other UHF New Orleans-area stations WUPL-54, WGNO-26, WLAE-32 were hit and miss. The two VHF Low Band stations in New Orleans WWL-4 (despite being one of the most powerful television stations in the country) and WDSU-6 were difficult to catch, and had lots of static on my then configuration but would come in every now and then (and WDSU-6 had beautiful color when it did come in properly, it was always fun to watch Golf or Racing on there.) I could also catch the VHF High Band station out of Baton Rouge WAFB-9 all the time, (in fact when I wasn’t in school or working, I would watch As the World Turns on there.) The VHF Low Band station in Baton Rouge, WBRZ-2 would come in every now and then but always had lots of static. As for the UHF Baton Rouge stations, I could catch WVLA-33 most of the time and every now and then could catch WGMB-44 (would also watch The Simpsons on there when I could), which wasn’t even on my parents’ cable service. Sometimes the picture was almost clear, most of the time the picture was overall intelligible, but with some snow and white noise. These results were pretty much acceptable considering the antenna was an indoor model maybe six feet up and up to sixty miles away from the stations. Sometimes various forms of radio skip would occur and I would catch television stations from other states! That was always interesting and of course, caught my undivided attention. KFOL-30 (HTV-10) out of Houma was almost always guaranteed to come in but sometimes had a least a little white noise and snow in the signal.

I will say that it is virtually impossible in that location with that antenna setup to receive most of those stations since they switched to digital mode.

In December 2007, my then girlfriend, now ex-wife and I purchased our first Digital Ready television. It was a 24 inch Dynex CRT we purchased from Best Buy and was a Christmas gift to each other. Later on that day, I hooked up my rabbit ears and a loop to it excited to see what I could catch. We were living in her parents’ trailer in Raceland, Louisiana, which adversely affect television reception with that setup. However, I was only able to get WWL-36 (virtual channel 4.1) though sometimes it would come in clearly and beautifully but other times it would freeze up and fade out. One of the first things I remember catching on there was the “Happy Holidays” commercial for the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad. We also watched the CBS Evening News where Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson was being interviewed. Later that night I went to Wal Mart and purchased a set of rabbit ears and a loop with a built-in amplifier. This only made a marginal difference. For almost a year, we watched broadcast television with hit and miss results, then in the Summer of 2008, my now ex-wife but then girlfriend began subscribing to cable, which also meant home internet and phone. Also in the Summer of 2008, I applied for the coupons for a digital converter box. When they came in, I went to Wal Mart, purchased one and installed it on my old Zenith at my parents’ house.

On June 12, 2009, all full-power American television stations shut off their analog signals and began broadcasting strictly in digital.

Fast forward to the Spring of 2016. My then wife, now ex-wife and I were living in a second story apartment in Raceland, Louisiana. I had a man cave with that Dynex television and bought a cheap flat panel antenna for it. My then now ex-wife either watched Uverse in the bedroom or living room. I could catch a good bit of the New Orleans stations and the one Houma station since I was on the second floor and had a height advantage. I was never able to catch any of the Baton Rouge stations though and that irritated me, especially since they weren’t on our Uverse subscription either. At the time, however, I was more interested in listening to railroad communications on my scanners. In late 2017, my now ex-wife was badgering me how she wanted a ground floor apartment and since our neighbors below us moved out, we applied for and got it. This put a damper on my television and scanner reception. But even though my marriage was falling apart, I knew she had mobility issues and was even then was trying to appease her and her family. In early January of 2018, we mutually decided to cancel our Uverse television subscription and use Netflix and antennas but keep the Internet service in order to save money and pay down debt. Being on the bottom floor meant less television [and scanner] reception. However, I remember my ex watching Inside Edition and they were doing a piece on President Trump’s questionable diet. We could only catch WWL-36/(4.1) and KFOL-30. I wasn’t too happy about that, but I chalked it up to her wanting so badly to move downstairs. Then, I had found out some stuff she was doing behind my back coupled with years of mistreatment and I left her later that month also later that month and I applied for an apartment on the outskirts of Houma, Louisiana. I stayed with a friend until that apartment became available.

My ex wanted me to keep that old Dynex television, but I refused because I didn’t want to be reminded of her. God only knows where it is now.

I got my own apartment on May 1, 2018, and what was really a blessing is that I was offered a second-floor unit and gladly took it (a vertically higher position equals better television and scanner reception.)

Between leaving my ex and getting my own apartment, I purchased a 24 inch LG flat screen model and watched it at a friends house. it was hooked up to an attic antenna and I caught just about every station from New Orleans but none from Houma or Baton Rouge. This is because that attic antenna was a directional model and pointed at New Orleans. It also doubled as my computer monitor for the time being.

A few days after moving into my apartment, I set up my LG television. I knew I was not going to get cable and since my ex kept the other televisions and antennas we had, I went to The Ruble, I mean The Dollar General and purchased another flat antenna. I tried multiple several spots in my living room, until realizing that placing it in the window that faces the Gulf of Mexico, for whatever reasons pulls the stations in. I caught a few New Orleans stations and of course the one station in Houma. What is very strange though is I initially tried placing my antenna in the window that faces New Orleans but didn’t catch ANY stations doing so.

I used my phone for all of my Internet use, but many times I ended up with throttled data. In July of 2018, I had begun subscribing to Internet through Comcast. I had it until April of 2019 when I purchased a good enough mobile data plan to where I didn’t need home Internet anymore. Once again, I became a cord cutter!

Also a few days ago, my brother and his wife gave me their Samsung 43 inch Smart TV, since they upgraded. I put my LG in my bedroom and this Samsung television in my living room. However, I’ve noticed that while Samsung televisions do have very beautiful pictures, their RF tuning circuits aren’t that sensitive. LG televisions have superior RF tuning circuits and I think that has something to do with the fact that they merged with Zenith! Okay, that 1992 Zenith television also had a very good tuner and actually it was in my family until about 2010 or 2011! My maternal grandma also swore by Zenith televisions to the point where she referred to all remotes as “the Space Command.” I’ve also been told that her husband, my grandpa also swore by Zenith products, but he died 29 years before I was born. Anyway, that’s why I am so prejudiced in favor of Zenith and now LG! It was January of 2006 when I had found out that LG and Zenith merged. I was highly ticked off because, at the time, I had found that LG made junky phones, however, nowadays they make pretty decent phones and because of that Zenith engineering that they inherited, their televisions have the best tuners, hands down. I could give other detailed examples of this too, drop me a line and I will. So earlier this evening I purchased a better antenna for the Samsung and if need be, I will also get an amplifier. I cannot wait for it to come in. Currently, it only catches WWL-36/(4.1, 4.2, 4.3) and KFOL-30/(30.1, 30.3.) By the way, the LG television in my bedroom picks up a few New Orleans stations and of course the one station in Houma. I purchased the antenna for it at The Family Dollar and it is mounted high up on the wall that faces the Gulf of Mexico.

Now digital television does have its advantages over its analog ancestor. While the reception range is shortened, the picture quality is highly superior when the signal comes in properly. Also, the bandwidth required for one analog channel can fit six digital channels! Couple a good tuner and antenna system, most users can have a choice of channels that is almost on par with basic cable, but it costs nothing! Well, one does need a good antenna and that might also mean a tower, some coax, amplifiers, and a digital ready television or converter box, but the setup would pay for itself in one to three months!

As I stated on Facebook, I wish we could marry the signal strength and transmission range of analog television with the picture quality and channel capacity of digital television…It was that Facebook post I made earlier today that inspired me to write this piece!

But wouldn’t it be nice if ATSC 3.0 solves that exact issue, though?

If I were to live alone forever, I would probably be a cord cutter forever!

In fact, the only way I can see myself ever subscribing to cable again would be when/if my girlfriend and I marry and buy a house together. This would be so she can watch her Hallmark movies and listen to her Christian music on Music Choice. I’ll also admit that I’d be glad to watch and listen to that with her as those are one of the few rare modern perks of cable television. She treats me so well and because of that, I want her to be able to spoil her as much as possible and while I don’t currently believe in subscribing to cable, I would do it for her in a heartbeat. There are so many other things I want to do for her too as well. For the record though, we would have an antenna though for a backup for when the cable goes out.

Broadcast television has overall gotten better and cable has obviously gotten worse.

There need to be drastic changes in the cable and other subscription television industries as a whole, or more and more will get fed up and start hooking up antennas instead. They will lose too many customers and that will serve them right for charging too much for too little.

One of those changes I suggest is, if hospitals, hotels/motels, and even prisons can have cable without that freakin’ box (pardon my language but this really irritates me and therefore, unfortunately, warrants such crude language) and just plug the television directly into the cable wire, why can’t the average consumer do the same? I’ve been asking that question publically since 2016, but it has been on my mind much longer. Most of it is fueled by seeing my paternal grandma struggle to operate her cable box and her husband, my Paw Paw (God rest his soul) flat out give up on television because of the complexity of operating the cable box

I discovered broadcast television as an experiment but now rely on it daily for entertainment and information.

I much prefer broadcast over cable and I get mixed reactions for this preference.

I hope this piece has been informative and entertaining…

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Notes on the Texas Instruments TI-36 Calculator

I have EDCed a Texas Instruments TI-36 X Pro (2011 version) either on my person, in my backpack or otherwise very near me since June of 2014. It is my favorite scientific calculator ever made!

For some time now, I had also been EDCing a composition book in my backpack and taking notes on subjects that interest me.

This page of notes pertains to the history of the TI-36 calculator and I will cite my main source as Wikipedia. I took these notes on October 14, 2018.

Without further ado, here are the notes:

These are details of the history and specifications of the TI-36.

The Texas Instruments TI-36 began in 1986 as an upgraded variant of the TI-35 Plus with Solar Cells a ten digit mantissa, two digit exponents, twelve-digit internal precision, base calculations (decimal, hexadecimal, octal and binary), complex values, statistics, the ability to convert the coordinates of polar and rectangular angles, an X-Y exchange, percentages, register-current stack exchange, factorial, permutation/combination, fifteen level parenthesis with six pending operation stacks, two operand registers (A,B) and one memory register.

The 1986 TI-35 Plus uses a Toshiba T7767.

The 1986 TI-36 Solar uses a Toshiba T7768 and features trigonometric functions, exponents, logarithms and intelligent order of operations.

They were upgraded in 1989.

The 1989 TI-35 Plus now uses a Toshiba T-7765 and now has a black shell.

The TI-36 Solar features smaller and more efficient solar cells. The Text, “ANYLITE SOLAR” replaces “SCIENTIFIC” on the bottom right of the face.

They were upgraded again in 1991 as the TI-35X or the TI-36X SOLAR and had a similar design of the TI-68, but lacking programming capability and the tilted screen.

There was also the addition of unit conversions such as: centimeters to inches, liters to US Gallons, kilograms to pounds, Celsius to Fahrenheit and grams to ounces, eight physical constants, a three-count register and two variable statistics with linear regression.

Base calculations now include Boolean logic (NOT, AND, OR, XOR, XNOR.)

Other new features included cube roots, fraction mode display and conversion of pure and mixed numbers.

The complex function was removed.

They have fifteen parenthesis stack level.

The 1991 TI-35X uses a Toshiba T6A58S and the 1991 TI-36 X Solar use a Toshiba T6A57.

They were mostly cosmetic upgrades in 1993, featuring redesigns of rubber like keys and a rounder case.

In 1996, the TI-36X Solar was upgraded with recolored labels, solid plastic keys. A bare processor was now attached to the motherboard.

The TI-35 was also discontinued.

In 1999 two variants of the TI-36 were released to the markets:

The TI-36 eco RS featuring a cabinet that was made from recycled plastics.

The TI-36 XII featured a two-line display, 11 5X7 cell characters, could store multiple expressions each holding eighty-eight characters, thirteen digit internal precision, five registers for memory, two registers for expressions, integer division, new unit conversions (meters to feet, meters to yards, kilometers to miles, litres-to UK Gallons and kilometers per hour to meters per second), eight more physical constants in addition to a Pi constant, two variable statistic regression models include natural logarithms, exponent, power, forty-two sample points or pairs can be stored, the binary base calculation was removed, the complex function was restored, supports conjugate, real/imaginary numbers, absolute value, integral calculation, random number generators, stacks were increased to twenty-three pending operations, eight pending values, a D-pad and a restyled cabinet.

2004 brought on another two upgrades:

The TI-36X SOLAR, which was a total cosmetic redesign on the 1996 model design. This new theme was based on the 2004 BA II Plus or the 2003 TI-1706SV.

There was also a slight redesign on the 1999 TI-36 XII, mostly different colored keys.

These were manufactured by Nam Tai Electronics.

In 2005, a talking version of the TI-36 known as the Orion was made to help the visually impaired.

2011 brought about the latest incarnation, the TI-36 X Pro.

Expression lengths were reduced to eight characters. Registers were increased to eight for memory, one for formula and can store three list formulas. Physical constants were increased by four to twenty, conversion sets increased to forty. Binary base calculations were restored.

A plethora of new functions were added:
Least common multiple, greatest common denominator, prime factors summation, product rounded value, integer part of a number, fractional part of a number, greatest integer smaller or equal to the number, minimum and maximum of the two numbers, Modulo calculus numeric derivative symmetric difference quotient method, two variable statistics, quadratic and cubic regressions, distribution functions, normal probability density function, mean=0 and sigma=1, function of x, probability between x boundaries, inverse cumulative normal distribution functions for a given area under the normal distribution curve with a user-specified mean and standard deviation, probability at x for the discrete binomial distribution with user-specified mean and standard deviation, probability at x for the discrete binomial distribution with user-specified trial number and probability of success per trial, cumulative probability at x for binomial distribution with specified trial number of success per trial, probability at y and y for Poisson distribution with the specified mean, statistics results min/max of x values 25/75 percentile, function table formula based generator, manual table Matrix three editable tables, preset 2X2 and 3X3 identity matrices, matrix arithmetic vector three editable tables, preset last matrix/vector result, vector arithmetic, dot product, cross product, polynomial solver 2nd/3rd degree solver, linear equation solver 2X2 and 3X3 solver, Base-N operations, Boolean operators, expression evaluation, complex numbers, polar coordinate entry, polar cartesian display mode angle for complex number.

In 2017 and continuing, the TI-36 X Pro is now made in The Philipines.

The TI-35 and TI-36 lines are the highest end models of Texas Instruments scientific calculators.

TI-36 Calculator History Table:
YEAR……..Model………Processor……..Country of Manufacture
1986……..TI-35 PLUS….Toshiba T7767….Italy
1986……..TI-36 SOLAR…Toshiba T7768….Taiwan ROC
1991……..”” “”………Toshiba T6A57….Italy
1996……..TI-36 X SOLAR.??……………Mainland China
1999……..TI-36 eco RS..??……………”” “”
1999……..TI-36 X II……??……………”” “”
2004……..”” “”………??……………”” “”
2004……..TI-36 X SOLAR.??……………”” “”
2011……..TI-36 X Pro…??……………Mainland China
2017……..”” “”………??……………The Philipines

Notes on the Electronic Calculator

Since infancy, I have had a great fascination with calculators, in fact just about as much as with flashlights. This is because they were always around me growing up. Before my dad became a special education teacher, he was a bank executive so therefore he always had a calculator until his career change. My mom has taught high school math since 1980 and she has always EDCed a scientific calculator or two. I had EDCed a calculator on and off since the age of eight and then permanently since the age of twenty-five. Though both of my parents are teachers, I am not. I am more or less of an amateur tradesman, especially in the trades of electrical and computer repair. Because of this, I greatly realize the need to EDC a calculator, though not for the same reason as my parents. For a while, I have been also EDCing a composition book on which I take notes on subjects that I consider important to me. On October 2nd and 3rd of 2018, I did some research on electronic calculators and took notes into my composition book. I am transcribing these notes for others to read.

Without further ado, here are my notes on electronic calculators:

Wikipedia is the source I cite as that is where the bulk of this information comes from.

The first solid state electronic calculator was created in the early 1960s.

Pocket-sized models came avaailable in the 1970s after the first microprocessor, the Intel 4004 was invented.

By the end of the 1970s, basic calculators were affordable to most and became common in schools.

In 1986 ~41% of the world’s general purpose hardware capacity was represented by calculators. As of 2007, it is only 0.05%.

Processor Components:

The Scanning/Polling Unit scans the keypad waiting to receive an electrical signal when a key is pressed.

The X and Y registers are where numbers are temporarily stored during calculations. All numbers go into the X register first, the number in the X register is displayed.

The function for the calculation is stored in the Flag Register until the calculator needs it.

The Permanent or Read Only Memory or ROM is the instructions for built-in functions that are permanently stored and cannot be deleted.

The User or the Random Access Memory or RAM is where numbers can be stored by the user and contents can be changed or erased by the user.

The Arithmetic Logic Unit or ALU executes all arithmetic and logic instructions and produces results in binary code.

The Binary Decoder Unit converts the binary results into decimal numbers which are shown on the display unit.

The clock rate of the processor chip refers to the frequency of which the Central Processing Unit is running. It indicates the processor’s speed and is measured in clock cycles per second and expressed in the unit of Hertz. Basic calculations can vary between a few hundred Hertz to the KiloHertz range.

The first devices used to aid in arithmetic calculations were bones, pebbles, counting boards and the Abacus which was used in ancient Egypt and Sumeria before 2000 BC.

Computing tools started to arrive in the 17th Century with inventions such as the Geometric Military Compass, made by Galileo.

Logarithms and Napier’s bones were invented by Scottish mathematician John Napier of Merchiston (1550-April 4, 1617.)

The slide rule was invented by English and Welsh clergyman, mathematician and astronomer Edmund Gunter (1581-December 10, 1626.)

In 1642, the mechanical calculator was invented by German professor and minister Wilheim Schickard (April 22, 1592-October 24, 1635) several decades before the device invented by French mathematician, physicist and writer Blaise Paschal (June 19, 1623-August 19, 1662.) Schikard’s device used a well-thought set of mechanized multiplication tables to quicken the process of multiplication and division. Paschal’s calculator could add and subtract two numbers directly.

German polymath Gottfried Leibinz (July 1, 1646-November 14, 1716) spent four decades attempting to design a four operation mechanical calculator he called “The Step Reckoner. he was not successful but in the process, he invented “The Leibinz Wheel.”

At that point my medication kicked in and I went to bed, then resumed taking notes on October 3, 2018.

There were five other unsuccessful attempts to design a calculating clock in the 17th Century.

The first successful calculating clock was invented in the 18th Century by Marquess physicist, mathematician and antiquarian Giovanni Poleni (1683-November 1761.)

Assumed Italian inventor Luigi Torchi (1812-?) invented the first direct multiplication machine and the second key-driven machine in the world, following James White’s invention in 1822.

Real developments began during the Industrial Revolution of the 19th Century. This made large scale production of devices that could perform all four functions of arithmetic.

The Arithmometer was invented in 1820 and put into production in 1851. It became the first commercially sold unit and by 1890, 2,500 units had been sold. There were even clone units from Burkhardt, Germany, in 1878 and Layton, UK, in 1883.

In 1902, American James Dalton invented The Dalton Adding Machine with the first push-button interface.

In 1921, American Electrical Engineer Edith Clarke (February 10, 1883-October 29, 1959), the first female professor of Electrical Engineering at UTA invented the “Clarke Calculator” which was a simple graph-based calculator for solving line equations that involved hyperbolic functions. This device gave electrical engineers the ability to simply calculate inductance and capacitance in power transmission lines.

In 1948, Austrian engineer Curt Herzstark (July 26, 1902-October 27, 1988) invented the pocket portable calculator which was called the “Curta.”

Casio released the Model 14-A in 1957. It was the world’s first all-electric compact calculator.

In October of 1961, British Bell Punch/Sumlock Comptometer ANITA, which is an acronym for “A New Inspiration To Arithmetic/Accounting” was announced. It used cold cathode tubes and Dekatrons in its circuits in addition to 12 cold cathode Nixie tubes. There were two models displayed: the Mk VII was for Continental Europe and the MK VIII was for the UK and the rest of the world.

Tubes began to be phased out in 1963 when the American-made Friden EC-130 was built of an all transistor design. It featured a stack of four thirteen digit numbers and a five-inch cathode ray tube. It also introduced Reverse Polish Notation. This machine sold for $2,200.

In 1964 Sharp introduced the CS-10A. It weighed 25 kilograms or 55 pounds and cost 500,000 yen or $4,457.52.

Italian company Industria Machine Electroniche also introduced the IME-84 with several peripherals so several users could make use of it (but not simultaneously.)

Several manufacturers followed including Canon, Mathatronics, Olivetti, Toshiba, Smith Carona Marchant, and Wang. These calculators used Germanium as opposed to Silicon for their transistors. Displays were either Cathode Ray Tube or cold cathode Nixie tubes and filament lamps. Memory was either delayed line memory or magnetic core memory. However, the Toshiba “Toscal” BC-1411 possibly had an early form of Dynamic Random Access Memory.

In late 1965, the Olivetti Programma 101 was released. It could read and write stored programs on magnetic memory cards and display the results on its built-in printer. Memory was achieved with an acoustic delay line and could be partitioned between program steps, constants and data registers. It could be considered the first commercially made personal computer and won many industrial design awards.

Also in 1965 the Bulgarian made ELKA 6521 was released. The name is derived from a portmanteau of ELektronen KAlkulator. It weighed 8 kilograms or 18 pounds. It was the first calculator to feature a square root function. Later in 1965 the ELKA 25 with a built-in printer was introduced. The ELKA 101 was released in 1974 and was ELKA’s first pocket model. It featured Roman script (I guess as opposed to Slavic)since it was exported to Western Countries.

In 1967, the Monroe Epic was put on the market. It was a large printing desktop model with an attached floor standing logic tower. It could be programmed to carry out many computer-like functions. Unfortunately, the only branch instruction was an implied unconditional branch (GO TO) at the end of the operation stack, which returned the program to its starting instruction. Therefore it was impossible to include any conditional branch ie (IF-THEN-ELSE) logic.

During this time period, the absence of a conditional branch sometimes determined the difference between a programmable calculator and a computer.

Also in 1967, Texas Instruments American electrical engineer Jack Kilby (November 8, 1923-June 20, 2005) led the production of the first prototype of a handheld calculator, the “Cal Tech.” It could perform the four basic operations and printed the results on paper tape.

In 1970 a calculator could be produced with just a few low power chips and be powered by rechargeable batteries. Also in 1970, the first portable calculators appeared in Japan and were sold around the world. Models included the Sanyo ICC-0081 Mini Calculator, the Canon “Pocketronic” and the Sharp QT-8B “micro compet.”

Desiring to reduce power consumption, Sharp introduced the EL-8 which was also marketed as the Facit IIII. it was close to being a pocket model and weight 1.59 pounds or 721 grams, had a vacuum fluorescent display, rechargeable NiCad batteries and sold for $395.

In early 1971, the first “Calculator on a chip” the MK6010 was made by Mostek. Also in 1971, Pico Electronics and General Instrument introduced the chipset for the Monroe Royal Digital III calculator.

The Busicom LE-120A “HANDY” was the first truly pocket-sized calculator. It was the first to feature an LED display, first to use a single integrated circuit and the first to run on primary batteries. It measured 4.9 inches by 2.8 inches by 0.9 inches (124 millimeters by 71 millimeters by 23 millimeters.)

The DB800 was made in 1971 in Buje, Croatia, and was the first European made pocket calculator.

The Bowmar 901B was the first American made pocket-sized calculator which measured 5.2 inches by 3.0 inches by 1.5 inches (132 millimeters by 76 millimeters by 38 millimeters) and was put on the market in Autumn of 1971. It featured the four basic functions, a red LED display and sold for $240.

Then in 1972, the first slimline pocket calculator was released. It was the Sinclair Executive. Measuring 5.4 inches by 2.2 inches by 0.35 inches (137.2 millimeters by 55.9 millimeters by 8.9 millimeters), it sold for 79 Pounds.

The first pocket-sized Soviet-made calculator was the Elektronika B3-04 was developed in 1973 and put on the market in 1974.

In 1973, the Sinclair Cambridge was launched. It sold for 29.95 Pounds or $38.40. Because of their lower price, Sinclair units were popular but they were slower and sometimes produced inaccurate results with transcendental functions.

The first Soviet-made, pocket-sized scientific model B3-18 was completed by the end of 1975.

Texas Instruments introduced the SR-10 (SR stands for “Slide Rule.”) It was an algebraic entry-level pocket calculator using scientific notation and sold for $150. Afterward, the SR-11 was released and had a dedicated key for the Pi constant. The following year, the SR-50 was released and added the trigonometric and logarithmic functions. It was a competitor model to the Hewlett Packard HP-35.

In 1976, the Texas Instruments TI-30 was launched and descendants of it are still in production.

In 1978, Calculated Industries made special purpose calculators such as the “Loan Arranger” which was marketed to Real Estate professionals. In 1985 they launched the “Construction Master” which was marketed to the building trades.

Programmable calculators such as the Mathatronics and Casio AL-100 were very heavy and costly.

The Hewlett Packard HP-65 came out in 1974 and had a capacity of 100 instructions and could store and retrieve programs in a built-in magnetic card reader. The HP-25 introduced continuous memory which stored data and programs in a CMOS. The HP-41C was released in 1979 and could be expanded with Random Access Memory and Read Only Memory. It could also be connected to bar code readers, microcassette and floppy drives as well as printers and communication interfaces such as the RS-232, HP-IL, and HP-IB.

The ISKRA123 was Soviet-made, grid powered and released in the early 1970s. The Elektronika B3-21 was developed at the end of 1976 and put on the market in early 1977. Its successor, the B3-34 was widely used and hundreds of thousands of games and program were written for it. The Elektronika MK-52 was used in the Soviet Space Program.

The Hewlett Packard HP-28C was released in 1987 and was the first calculator capable of symbolic programming.

The Casio fx-7000G was released in 1985 as the world’s first graphing calculator.

In 1981, the Hewlett Packard 12-C was the first financial calculator…

Notes on the Barometer

I have been fascinated by the weather since early childhood.

I have also had a keen interest in sciences of all kinds, throughout my life though I am not very good at it. I mean I am so terrible at science that I don’t even hold an Associate’s Degree.

However, I do spend a good bit of my time engaged in independent learning.

In this page, I will post the transcript of notes I had taken in my composition book that detail information about Barometers.

Without further ado, here they are:

These notes were taken on October 1st and 2nd of 2018.

The main reference that I will cite is Wikipedia as that is where I got the bulk of this material from.

Notes on the barometer and its inventor(s).

Barometers are used in meteorology to measure atmospheric pressure.

Pressure tendency detects short term changes in weather.

Measuring air pressure within surface weather analysis is helpful in locating surface troughs, high-pressure systems and frontal boundaries.

The term “barometer is derived from ancient Greek words which literally translate into words that mean weight and meter/measure.

Evangelista Torricelli (October 15, 1608-October 25, 1647) an Italian physicist and mathematician are credited with inventing the barometer in 1643.

Italian astronomer and mathematician Gapardo Berti (1600-1643) may have also unintentionally created a water barometer sometime between 1640 and 1643.

French scientist and philosopher Rene` Descartes (March 31, 1596-February 11, 1650) described the design of an experiment to measure air pressure possibly as early as 1631 but no evidence is there to suggest that he actually built such an instrument.

On July 27, 1630, Italian mathematician, physicist and astronomer Giovanni Battista Baliania (1582-1666) wrote to Italian polymath Galileo Galilei (February 15, 1564-January 8, 1642) describing a failed experiment in which he made a siphon led over a hill ~21 meters high. Galileo replied explaining that the power of the vacuum held the water up but at a certain height the amount of water was simply too much and the vacuum could not hold anymore, like a cord that can only support so much weight. This was a restatement of “horror vacui” or “nature abhors a vacuum, a theory which dates back to ancient Greek philosopher and scientist, Aristotle (384-322 BC.) Galielo restated this theory as “resistenza del vacuo.”

These theories were published in Galileo’s “Discoursi” and they reached Rome in 1638.

Raffade Magiotti and Berti were excited by these ideas and sought another way to produce a vacuum besides a siphon.

Magiotti devised the experiment and Berti carried it out sometime between 1639 and 1641.

A simple model of this experiment consisted of filling a long tube with water plugged on both ends, then stood up in a water-filled basin. The bottom plug was removed and the water inside the tube flowed into the basin. However, only a portion of the water flowed out of the tube and the height of the water inside the tube stayed at an exact level, which happened to be 10.3 meters or 34 feet, the same height that Galileo and Baliani observed to be limited by the siphon.

The most important detail of this experiment was that lowering the water in the tube left a space above it in the tube with no immediate contact with air. This suggested the possibility of a vacuum existing in the space above the water.

Torricelli, a pupil, and friend of Galileo interpreted the results of this in a novel way. He proposed that it was the atmosphere and not the attracting force of the vacuum that held the water in the tube.

Followers of Aristotle and Galileo thought air to be weightless.

Torricelli questioned and challenged this belief and suggested that air indeed has weight and it was the weight of the air which pushed up and held the column of water.

Torricelli believed that the level of which the water stayed at in the tube (10.3 meters of 34 feet) was reflective of the air’s weight pushing on the water in the basin, thus limiting how much water can fall from the tube into the basin.

Torricelli viewed the barometer as a balance or measuring instrument instead of a device to merely build a vacuum.

Because pf Torricelli being the first to observe this, he is credited as being the inventor of the barometer.

Torricelli’s gossipy Italian neighbors spread rumors that he was engaging in sorcery and witchcraft. Torricelli thus decided to keep his experiments a secret to avoid being arrested by the Roman Catholic Church.

In order to be more covert, he needed a liquid denser than water, to which Galileo suggested he use Mercury. As a result, he only needed a tube that was 80 centimeters long as opposed to 10.5 meters.

*SIDE NOTE*: While I was initially taking these notes on that evening in early October 2018, I decided to take a few sips of Wild Cherry Pepsi in an attempt to temper the sting of depression which I frequently suffer. Soft drinks, while extremely addictive do indeed help me write better and they do help fight depression, at least for me. Wild Cherry Pepsi is my favorite soft drink.

Decreasing atmospheric pressure was initially postulated by French physicist Lucien Vidi (1805-April, 1866.) He later invented the barograph, a device which records the pressure readings of an aneroid barometer.

German writer and polymath Johan Wolfgang Von Goethe (August 28, 1749-March, 22 1832) invented a water driven barometer based on Torricelli’s principles. It is known as the weather ball barometer and is comprised of a glass container with a sealed body half-filled with water. The narrow spout is open to the atmosphere. When the pressure is lower than it was at the time the body was sealed, the level of water in the spout will rise above the water level in the body. When the pressure is higher, the water level in the spout will drop below the water level in the body. This device is known as a “weather glass” or a “Goethe Barometer.

Mercury Barometer:
A vertical glass tube closed at the top sitting in an open Mercury filled basin at the bottom. The Mercury’s weight creates a vacuum at the top known as a “Torricelli Vacuum.” The Mercury in the tube fluctuates until the weight of the Mercury column balances the force of the air pressure bearing down on the reservoir. Higher temperature levels around the instrument will reduce the density of the Mercury, thus the scale must be calibrated in such a way to compensate for this effect. The tube must be as long as the amount of Mercury in addition to the headspace as well as the maximum length of the column.

Torricelli observed slight changes each day in the height of Mercury in the tube and concluded that this was due to changing pressure in the atmosphere.

On December 5, 1660, German scientist, inventor and politician Otto von Guerricke (November 20, 1602-May 11, 1686) observed that the air pressure was unusually low and predicted a storm which struck the next day.

The Mercury barometer’s design made the expression of atmospheric pressure in inches of Mercury popular. The range is typically between 26.5 and 31.5 inches (670-800 millimeters) of Mercury.

One atmosphere is equivalent to 29.92 inches or 760 millimeters of Mercury.

On June 5, 2007, the governments of the European Union restricted the sale of Mercury, effectively ending the manufacture of new Mercury barometers in Europe.

An aneroid barometer uses a flexible metal box instead of any liquid to measure air pressure. It was invented in 1844 by Lucien Vidi. The box is known as an aneroid cell or capsule made from an alloy of Beryllium and Copper.

The evacuated capsules are many times several stacked together to add movement and are protected from collapsing by a strong spring. Any change in the surrounding air pressure causes the capsule to expand or contract.

This movement drives mechanical levers in such a way that their changes are amplified and displayed on the dial face of the instrument. Many models also feature a manually set needle to mark the current observation and compare with previous and future observations so a change can be seen.

Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) barometers are extremely small ranging size between 1 and 100 micrometers. They are manufactured using photolithography or photochemical machining. These can be found in miniature weather stations, electronic barometers, and altimeters.

Certain smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Samsung Galaxy S3 through S6, the Motorola Xoom, Apple iPhone 6 as well as higher end Casio and Timex watches have built-in barometers using MEMS technology.

Formulas:
Pressure in atmospheres Patm=p*g*h
Where p=density of Mercury=13,595 kg/meter cubed (sorry I don’t know how to do sub and superscript on here) g=graviation accelaration=9.807 meters per second squared, h=height.
1 torr=133.3 Pascals or 0.03937 inches of Mercury.

My personal commentary:
Most weather predictions for civilians are obtained through the mass media and government run forecasting services. Should our enemies hit us with an EMP all of this will come to a grinding halt.

Personal maybe even homemade barometers may make a comeback should this happen.

After all, we would still want to know when will storms be headed in our area so we can spend time cuddling with bae.

A barometer could possibly give some advanced notice of incoming foul weather.

However, all modern conveniences will be gone so will we actually have the time to cuddle with bae?

The weather might be the least of our worries as I’ve stated before and cuddling with bae might be highly frowned upon because cuddling sometimes leads to intercourse and intercourse ultimately means more hungry mouths to feed…

Shopping at Target for Gentleman’s EDC Gear

Target can be an excellent place for purchasing a gentleman’s EDC items.

Well, this statement was even more true years ago, but still is somewhat true even today.

I know, most people associate Target shoppers with upscale suburban women, but there are quite a few items in Target that are perfect for a gentleman.

However, as I previously mentioned, this was even more true years ago than today.

Many of my current and former EDC items were purchased at Target.

I don’t know if I am truly a gentleman or not. I try my durn well best to be one and I hope at least my girlfriend sees me as one.

Okay, enough about me.

The first time I shopped at a Target was in August of 2002. I was fifteen and almost three-quarters years old and one had recently been built in my metropolitan area.

My parents brought me along with my brother and sister to check the store out.

I was interested in what electronics were sold there and was a little impressed that they sold the Motorola FRS and GMRS radios, but they were all out of my price range.

Later that day we went to Wal Mart and I purchased a BellSouth 2231 FRS/GMRS transceiver for about $10. I had EDCed this radio, mostly because, I didn’t yet have a working cell phone to keep in touch with family and I also liked to communicate with the maintenance staff at my high school on there. In these days, I didn’t carry a knife or a flashlight, just a two-way radio, believe it or not.

Fast forward to Black Friday, November 29, 2002, my mom, my sister and I went to a few stores just to look around. The only other time I had seen my mom go shopping on Black Friday was in 1992 at Southland Mall. As much as my mom likes shopping, she hates to shop on Black Friday. I was looking around in the sporting goods section at Target and for the first time, I had seen a real Swiss Army Knife in real life. I saw a whole bunch of them, in fact. In those days, Target had a much wider selection of Swiss Army Knives than they currently do. And those sold at Target came bundled with equally useful accessories. More on that in a little bit. Prior to that, I had knock-offs of Swiss Army Knives, but they were all flimsy and dull. I didn’t purchase any that day, because I didn’t have enough money on me and my parents being overprotective would have not been happy if I bought a knife.

I also saw the Swiss backpacks and luggage sold there, but all of those were way out of my price range. I had a very rugged duffel bag which I would take with me whenever I could, so I wasn’t really in need of luggage at the time. This bag’s zipper busted on me sometime in 2007, though, so that is when I began trying different bags to carry my EDC items in.

Fast forward to the Summer of 2005, I had secured a job assisting the maintenance crew at my high school and the way I became friends with them was by talking to them over their radios!

I was eighteen and a half years old and had a good bit of disposable income with no bills, notes or rent to pay. Also since I was eighteen I could own a knife whether or not my parents wanted me to.

After work, many times I would shop at Target in the sporting goods sections. One day, in July of 2005, I purchased my first Swiss Army Knife, a Victorinox Sportsman. At some point, I had upgraded and gave it my best friend and I hope he still has it now.

Also in 2005, my interest in flashlights was coming back. Target had a wide selection of flashlights in their household section and many of them couldn’t be found anywhere else. There were many rugged, Aluminum pocket-sized flashlights sold there that weren’t sold elsewhere. There was Coast brand LED flashlights. There were Mini Maglites in all sorts of exotic colors as well as the standard colors. There were Inova (as in Emissive Energy Corporation, prior to the Nite Ize takeover) flashlights both in plastic and Aluminum that were the brightest LED flashlights at the time. There were also some unique brands such as Rock River or River Rock. Target does not have such a wide selection these days and I think it’s a shame. All of these would have been perfect EDC flashlights for a gentleman’s pocket

On the afternoon of January 27, 2006, I was shopping at my local Target and looking at Swiss Army Knives, which came bundled with very neat and equally useful accessories. The Super Tinker model came with a compact pair of Simmonds Binoculars. The Recruit ii came bundled with a Mini Maglite (which this is where I was initially inspired to pair a Swiss Army Knife with a Mini Maglite, as I believe all gentlemen should EDC these items together.) The Climber came bundled with some high-quality German-made Victorinox Scissors. That is what I had decided to purchase on that afternoon. The package sold for ~$30, but I know the knife alone was worth at least that and the scissors had to be worth another $35-$40, but they were free! My mom sometimes sews in her free time, so I knew these scissors would be perfect for her. I was 100% right too-she still uses them almost thirteen years later at the time I am writing this. In fact, she recently used them to fix the hem on my pants. I would misplace that knife a few days later, but then my mom found it again in December 2010. Since that time, I have kept it in a secure place because of its sentimental value.

In April of 2006, I had some cash given to me as Easter presents from family members, so I was in Target after school and saw an Inova Radiant 2 AA LED flashlight. At the time, Inova manufactured the most advanced LED flashlights or at least in my humble opinion. Also, they were American made, not like today. I still have this flashlight but unfortunately, it doesn’t work anymore. However, this flashlight did come in handy multiple times for the rest of high school and the beginning of trade school. I would sometimes EDC it if I knew I was going to a very dark area or needed a light with a longer run time.

In December of 2006, I purchased from Target a Victorinox Super Tinker with Simmonds Compact Binoculars. I still have both.

Sometime in 2006, Target cleared out all of these Swiss Army Knives with neat and useful accessories and this was a big mistake in my opinion.

In January of 2007, I purchased my first Blue Mini Maglite from Target, as my Black one was getting very beat up. I had it until I misplaced it at some point.

In February of 2009, I was shopping at a Super Target and purchased an Energizer 3 Watt Tactical LED flashlight. I had EDCed both on my job and in leisure time until I traded it to my best friend sometime in early 2010. I hope he still has it.

In July of 2009, I purchased my first Wenger SwissGear backpack until I upgraded with another in March of 2010 and again in September of 2011. All three were purchased at Target.

In March of 2015, I purchased another Energizer 185 Lumen Tactical LED flashlight at a Super Target on Clearance.

Around this time, Target began to stop selling some of the Tactical flashlights they once sold, another big mistake in my opinion.

A year later, in March of 2016, Target quit selling the Mini Maglites, which I was able to get a Silver one on Clearance, for about $4, which I keep in my glove box.

Also, in March of 2016, I ordered a Casio G-Shock Wristwatch, which I wore until June of 2018, but still have.

In April of 2016, I managed to purchase the Victorinox Recruit ii and Mini Maglite bundled together in mint condition on eBay, but this was previously sold at Target a decade before.

In the past two years, most of the flashlights sold at Target were only appropriate for a domestic setting, though there are a few exceptions. Also, their selection of Swiss Army Knives has very much dwindled.

However, the said retailer still carries some decent items that are geared towards gentleman.

For example, in February of 2017, I purchased a Coleman Illumilast 2AAA LED flashlight at a Super Target, which I EDC on and off and I even wrote a blog entry partially about. In November of 2017, I bought another Wenger SwissGear backpack, which I still use AND In December of 2017, I bought a Wenger SwissGear bifold wallet, which I also still use.

There are a few EDC items in the sporting goods section, such as an OutDoor Products tactical LED flashlight with a strike bezel, I purchased one in October of 2018 and currently EDC it, though the pocket clip broke off. Also, a couple of Gerber products are sold in the sporting goods section, such as a Gerber Dime Multitool.

So, Target COULD be a place for a gentleman to buy his EDC gear still but imagine how much better it could be if the retailer would start carrying more items designed for EDC.

I think the company has reasons why they don’t carry some of these items anymore, but my post will become political if I begin to elaborate why.

But how about making Target a place not only for ladies to shop but also for their husbands and boyfriends to come shopping with them and not being bored to tears?

Those are my thoughts and experiences.

I hope, you, the reader, have been informed and entertained…

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A Review of the [Incandescent] Mini Maglite

I have been a Mini Maglite owner since the evening of December 19, 2005. I was almost halfway through my senior year of high school when I purchased it.

I don’t think there is any other flashlight that I like more nor do I find more versatile.

Prior to that evening, I had been carrying small tactical flashlights on my person for the past seven months.

The school was about to let out for Christmas break so a friend and I were planning on a boating trip on Bayou Terrebonne the next day.

I was at the Wal Mart in Thibodaux, Louisiana, buying some supplies for that trip.

Hurricane Katrina was fresh in everyone’s mind and Maglite had partnered with the Red Cross to raise awareness for disaster preparedness.

Mini Maglites were on sale for less than $8. They came with batteries, extra bulbs, and a free Nylon holster.

I had assumed prior to this that Maglites were made in China, which was a very wrong assumption.

Still, something had caused me to take a closer look at the packaging and I had found out that it was American Made.

Right then and there, I decided to purchase it.

It would be my first of plenty of Mini Maglites.

After paying for the item, I drove home to Raceland, Louisiana and then set up my new flashlight.

Immediately, I was thoroughly impressed.

It was brighter than most LED flashlights of the time (remember this was 2005.) Not only was it brighter in terms of Lumens but also in Candlepower. Boy, could it throw a beam out! The beam travels very far at night in the marshlands of South Louisiana.

It was rugged, in fact, rugged enough to be considered tactical.

Truly this flashlight was and still is a pure genius design.

I had EDCed this flashlight for the rest of my senior year of high school and much into trade school.

I used to walk the halls during my off period, shining it in classrooms. Yes, I got written up for that and similar pranks during high school.

Since then I have purchased other Mini Maglites and the one I have had the longest was from August of 2006, it is in my Craftsman tool satchel.

I’ve had the Mini Maglite that I currently EDC with all of my computer tools since June of 2014.

The others that I have purchased are stored away in various locations, in case of an EMP attack on American soil. Simple incandescent flashlights will survive an EMP blast but I seriously think LED flashlights will perish.

Prior to me owning a Mini Maglite, my favorite flashlights from my childhood were the Garrity Mini Rugged Lite (R300G) and the Eveready Industrial 2AA model (IN-215.) Pocket-sized flashlights will always have a special place in my heart and have since I was seven years old.

What I like about the Mini Maglite:
It is definitely bright enough and its light beam gives excellent color rendition (great for medical professionals and tradespeople.)
It is delightfully rugged and durable-I’ve read stories of a Mini Maglite falling one hundred feet onto hard steel and still surviving.
It is remarkably simple to use, just a slight twist will turn it on or off.
It is surprisingly user serviceable-I’ve repaired mine several times but it is also covered by an extensive warranty.
It is totally waterproof to amazing depths->800 Feet-or so I’ve read.
It is refreshingly compact and could easily fit in a pants pocket and be forgotten about until needed.
It is highly collectible and truly an icon of American ingenuity.
It is completely affordable on almost any level of income (assuming one is buying the incandescent model.)

What I don’t like about the Mini Maglite:
The fact that the incandescent model is no longer widely available at many brick and mortar retailers as of 2018.

However, this is being done across the board with all incandescent flashlight and I am going to sound like a paranoid conspiracy theorist if I say it is being done on purpose.

A Mini Maglite is still widely available at smaller hardware stores and on sites like eBay.

It is one of the most popular flashlights in the world and I hope and pray that it never gets discontinued.

As I have stated before:
“This (the Mini Maglite) was probably the flashlight that revolutionized the industry and was a trailblazer in the subject of all things EDC.”

As I’ve also previously stated:
“While (the Mini Maglite is) not on the bleeding edge of today’s flashlight technology; it is still a tried and true favorite around the world. This is a flashlight that can be used in both the medical and custodial arts and anything in between! It can meet the needs of a surgeon but still be affordable on a janitor’s wages.”

I would guess many special forces operators carried one, at least for backup.

Go out or online and buy one for yourself while you still can.

You will not be disappointed at all and it will at least make a wonderful addition to your EDC items!

By the way, I give this product a 5 out of 5 Stars!

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The Radio Shack Weather Cube

As I recently stated on Facebook, “The Weather Cube was an entry level Weather Radio made for and sold by Radio Shack from about 1969 to 2012…It had undergone design changes quite a few times, but is still a classic. I keep one in my living room and was just listening to updates on Tropical Storm Chris on it. I always pictured it being furnished in an off grid cabin in Yellowstone National Park. I also plan to write a blog post about this cool Weather Radio in the upcoming days…”

Well, here it is:

This piece will be dedicated to the history and features of this classic Radio Shack product.

The Weather Cube does only one thing-receives the U. S. Government’s and possibly a few other countries’ Government’s Weather Broadcasts.

It does not have an alert siren, S.A.M.E. feature or standby mode, just on demand weather information from the nearest weather broadcast station at the push of a button.

Still, this item sold very well and was built very well.

It has almost a cult following by YouTubers and other electronics collectors.

I would guess production began on the Weather Cube back in 1969. The reason why I would guess this is because it was first featured in the 1970 Radio Shack Catalog and known as, “The Barometer that talks.” This neat little device was cleverly marketed to “Anyone who flies a plane, farms, goes camping, owns a boat or spends time outdoors…” The price was $14.95 that year ($97.09 in 2018 Dollars.)

I don’t know how long it was in the research and development phase prior to that, but this truly was a genius product as millions were sold and a good bit of them are still in use, mostly by collectors.

The 1969-1970 version featured one frequency, 162.550 MHz. I believe it was crystal controlled but with fine tuning. The catalog number was 12-164.

In 1971, the catalog number changed to 12-165. The price was still $14.95 ($90.92 in 2018 Dollars.)

Then in 1973 or so, the Weather Cube also began receiving 162.400 MHz in addition to 162.550 MHz. This is because 162.550 MHz had become extremely congested and skip would occur in the spring and summer (also times when severe weather was most common.) The 1973 version was capable of tuning between frequencies 161.400 MHz and 163.500 MHz, which means it could have potentially tuned in some railroad, marine and federal government frequencies in addition to weather. It could have heard the Southern Pacific Railroad, which commonly used 161.55 MHz and was still in existence until September 11, 1996. The price also went up by one dollar to $15.95 ($90.52 in 2018 Dollars.).

In 1974, the Weather Cube for that year tuned between 162.400 MHz and 162.550 MHz. I believe it was done with a switching between permanently installed crystals, but could be wrong. The price jumped up yet another dollar to $16.95 ($86.64 in 2018 Dollars.) Of course, there had been some improvement in the radio.

In 1975 162.475 MHz was added as an additional frequency, but it wasn’t mentioned until the 1977 Radio Shack Catalog.

Between 1975 and 1976, the catalog number for the Weather Cube changed from 12-165 to 12-181.

I would imagine some time in the late 1970s or early 1980s, that the Weather Cube supported reception on 162.475 MHz in addition to the other previous weather channels.

Also in 1980, the price went up by another dollar to $17.95 (54.89 in 2018 Dollars.) It would remain that price for the rest of its design run, ending in 1992 (where it would have been $32.24 in 2018 Dollars.)

In 1989 or so, four additional Weather Broadcast Channels were assigned, though few Weather Radios would come to support all seven right away. These new frequencies are 162.425 MHz, 162.450 Mhz, 162.500 MHz, and 162.525 MHz

From 1969 to about 1992, the Weather Cube had the same outward appearance, though the frequency controls and frequencies available varied over those years. The appearance was made of simulated Rosewood, had a silver play button on the top front and a speaker that fired from the top. The antenna was telescoping and in the back right corner. They were powered by a standard Nine Volt Battery.

There was no Weather Cube to my knowledge in the 1993 Radio Shack Catalog.

Then in 1994, a new Weather Cube design came about with a catalog number of 12-239. It was made of a no-nonsense black plastic with a top firing speaker shaped in three-quarters of a circle. The fourth quarter in the front was the play button to turn the radio on. The telescoping antenna was located still in the back right corner. The volume and frequency controls were at the bottom and I believe the tuner was rotary not crystal controlled. This probably caught all seven Weather Channels but I’m not 100% sure. The price went up another two dollars and four cents to $19.99 ($33.99 in 2018 Dollars.)

In 1995, this new Weather Cube was advertised to receive all seven channels.

This Weather Cube would be featured until the year 2000 (where it would have cost $29.25 in 2018 Dollars.)

In the year 2001, there was no Weather Cube featured in the Radio Shack Catalog.

There was a different entry-level desktop weather radio featured in the 2002 Radio Shack Catalog, but it wasn’t cube-shaped and it also had a talking clock. The catalog number was 12-256. The price went up by a whole ten dollars to $29.99 ($42.01 in 2018 Dollars), but in all fairness, it featured a talking clock. It also ran on three AA batteries.

Around 2009 or so, the Weather Cube made a comeback with an all-new design. The new catalog number was 120-500. There were some significant design changes such as the main part of the cabinet was made of a red plastic. It also had a front instead of a top firing speaker, which was black. The play button was grey and had a blue LED light to indicate that the radio was turned on. The telescoping antenna is still in the back right side of the radio and the frequency controls are rotary. It is designed to receive all seven Weather Channels. This latest and so far final incarnation of the Weather Cube ran on 4 AA batteries. It was sold until 2012 and had an MSRP of $24.99 ($29.35 in 2018 Dollars.) It was discontinued in the Summer of 2012 and actually, I purchased mine on clearance in early July of 2012 at the Radio Shack in Southland Mall. My hat still goes off to the girl (now a wonderful woman) in Radio Shack who reserved it for me, some six years later.

Since Radio Shack isn’t exactly in business anymore, I don’t think a new Weather Cube will be made for a long time, if ever again. If I ever came into serious money, I would start a company that could make replicas of all the cool vintage flashlights and electronics that are no longer on the market. There would definitely be some incarnation of the Weather Cube.

When the weather cube initially hit the market, weather broadcasts were done by a recorded human voice. Nowadays it is mostly computerized and that takes away most of the personalization in Weather Radio, at least in my opinion. I do keep one in my living room, loaded with Alkaline batteries from the Ruble, I mean the Dollar General.

While the Weather Cube has plenty of aesthetic appeals and makes an excellent conversation piece, people probably aren’t really willing to spend over $20 for a weather radio that won’t automatically activate. Also, very few people aside from hobbyists and collectors such as myself and those on YouTube will sit and listen to a Weather Radio broadcast on a regular basis.

I still say it would be the perfect coffee table or nightstand item to be furnished in an off-grid cabin either in the Smoky Mountains or Yellowstone National Park, but not many people actually listen to my ideas.

It was always advertised to receive Weather Radio broadcasts from transmitters up to 25 miles away. I have received them successfully (and mostly crystal clear too) on my Weather Cube from about thirty plus miles away, or so.

They do make excellent weather radios for power failures or getting vital weather information during an actual tornado but pocket-sized entry level battery-powered weather radios have since entered the market which is more convenient to carry to a safe room. Some of these were Radio Shack models others are made by companies such as Midland. The model that comes to my mind first is the Midland HH50B, which I hope to write an article about in the near future.

I guess this concludes my piece on the Radio Shack Weather Cube and I hope it has been a wonderful trip down memory lane for all you weather and electronics buffs out there!