Hurricane Katrina Ruined Radio Broadcasting in New Orleans

I was always interested in radio.

Starting at the age of eight going on nine, I listened to the radio regularly. From that age until the age of fifteen or sixteen, I mostly listened to stations that played Top 40 music.

Starting at age 15, I began to become interested in talk radio, though I didn’t start to listen to it on the regular until the Summer of 2003 at the age of sixteen and a half.

Part of this was a desire to experiment with AM radio and the other part of this, was because I was starting to think politically.

By the Fall of 2003, I was listening to talk radio more than music radio. I was then sixteen going on seventeen.

Because of many policies of the Bush Administration (2001-2009), I remember commenting in my World History Class that America had become “a police state.” I was echoing what former Libertarian Presidential Candidate Harry Browne, God rest his soul, said on his talk show. The teacher barked back saying that I “listen to too much talk radio.” He was right about me listening to too much talk radio, but, America during the Second Bush Administration had become very much like a Fascist police state. Do me a favor and read the 14 Points of Fascism and see for yourself. Another time, this same teacher personally went up to my desk and referred to the French as “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” because they refused to participate in the Iraq War. He durn well knew that nationality of my surname is French and he frequently made fun of it.

Okay, I may seem off topic but I’m going somewhere with this.

Between the time I started listening to talk radio in 2003 until late August of 2005, there was a lot of awesome talk radio content to choose from in the New Orleans market and even in adjoining markets.

A very wicked woman named Katrina ruined all of this and many other things. Some things have rebuilt themselves out of the ruins, but unfortunately, talk radio in New Orleans has not. Even most of the current content on WWL is pretty boring for someone like me.

In this piece, I will try to list the stations in the New Orleans market that was once very entertaining and informative but have since either gone dark or were converted to something more boring.

I think the best way to do this is to list by frequency. I will be going mostly by memory but I do have the assistance of good ole Wikipedia. Some stations are still in operation, but during that time I didn’t listen to them. Keep in mind that the period I am referencing for these stations is between June of 2003 and late August/early September 2005.

Here we go:

600 kHz WVOG-So I didn’t listen to this station until after I came to Christ in July of 2004. Afterward, I listened to it quite a bit until I began to backslide for the first time in March of 2005.

690 kHz WTIX/WIST (now WQNO)-I discovered this station in October of 2003 and it was carrying a show hosted by former Libertarian Presidential Candidate Harry Browne. The station had a feed from a radio network that carried other interesting shows. I wish I could remember the name of that network. Harry Browne came on every night at 10:00 PM Central Time but before Harry Browne came on, there was a show about astronomy that I would tune in while waiting for Harry Browne to come on. I almost began to cultivate an interest in astronomy just from listening to that show. At the top of every hour, there was a news broadcast from CNN Radio and at the time CNN was more moderate, very much unlike today. In April or May of 2004, the station became more conservative, which I was opposed to conservative values mostly because I had not yet come to Christ and I was young. Furthermore, I was staunchly against blindly following those in authority just because they were indeed in authority. It seems that so many around me blindly supported George W. Bush, no matter what, and I was appalled. The station began playing news broadcasts on the hour from Fox News, which I eschewed. Another thing I eschewed was so much dedication to sports on that station. There were still some talk programs but only aired while I was in school. One program that stayed on until maybe Katrina was a local show hosted by Gerry McCann who was an electronics technician in the New Orleans area. Seriously why can’t there be more shows like these? By the time Katrina did her evil deeds, I didn’t listen to this station. 690 kHz used to put out 20,000 Watts but now puts out less than 10,000 during the day and even less power at night. I’m not complaining at all because the station now carries catholic community radio and also some feeds from ewtn. I cannot endorse anything catholic anymore and maintain a clear conscience.

750 kHz KKNO-I received this station a couple of times whilst trying to receive WSB out of Atlanta, which is on the same channel.

800 kHz WSHO-I didn’t listen to this station until after coming back to Christ in late 2008, so I cannot comment much on what it was like pre-Katrina. I know now that I enjoy Christian music and some of the Bible studies aired on this station.

870 kHz WWL-my Dad listened to this station a lot all while I was growing up, especially during sporting events and whenever preparing for a hurricane. I discovered “Newswatch Magazine” hosted by David J. Smith on this station in the Summer of 2003 but didn’t listen to his show on the regular until the Spring of 2004. That show was a contributing factor in me having a mental breakdown in June of 2004 but that mental breakdown was also a major factor in making me realize that I am a sinner and therefore my need for Christ. I finally came to Christ in July of 2004. I always thought there was way too much sports programming on WWL and of course, I think sports are boring. This station was very helpful though in relaying information during and in the aftermath of Katrina. While I was with my family in Bossier City, Louisiana, they were wondering if they could find out what was going on in New Orleans. So after sunset, I was able to tune in to WWL and they were all amazed.

940 kHz WYLD-I never really listened to this station for any lengthy amount of time.

990 kHz WGSO-I could only catch this station sometimes and only on higher-end radios such as a car radio. I remember it being a business format. I also remember it carried the audio feed to WWL-TV newscasts.

1010 kHz WCKW-I never really listened to this station during that time and it was many times difficult to catch anyway.

1060 kHz WLNO-I did listen to this station quite a bit after coming to Christ in July 2004. In fact, it was on this station at some point in the Fall of 2004 that I was listening to Irwin Baxter’s program about the end times and it was through his program that the roman catholic church was exposed. He stated that the roman catholic church is indeed the great harlot mentioned in the 17th Chapter of Revelation. I didn’t take this too well since I was going to a catholic school at the time and because of my young and inexperienced Christian faith, this was a factor in my backsliding.

1230 kHz WBOK-I don’t ever recall listening to this station during that time, nor do I think the radios I had were sensitive enough to receive it.

1280 kHz WODT-I never had any reason to listen to this station at the time because it was a sports station and as I’ve mentioned before I think sports are boring.

1350 kHz WSMB (now WWWL)-I listened to this station extensively starting in the Spring of 2004 until some time in 2005. Besides WTIX/WIST I think this station was most adversely affected by Katrina. I initially started by listening to Coast to Coast AM on this station. Then I had a mental breakdown in June of 2004. I started listening to the radio again in the Fall of 2004. I remember shows such as “Dig In” with Chef Duke (the theme song was cool and catchy), The Phil Hendrie Show, and others. I listened to this station the most in April and May of 2005, then later secured my first job and didn’t have as much time for radio.

1400 kHz WFPR-I don’t recall even knowing about this station until I was doing my research for this piece.

1540 kHz KGLA (now WFNO)-I don’t speak or understand Spanish, so I never listened to this station.

1560 kHz WSLA-I’ve only caught this a handful of times during this period and when I did, it was almost always sports, so I quickly lost interest.

I could also list the FM stations but they change formats much more frequently than their AM counterparts. In my mid to late teens, I was more interested in talk radio than music radio because while Pop and Punk/Indie music was pretty good back then, there weren’t too many stations in my area that would play it. Most of the stations in my area that were supposed to play Top 40 music (including Pop and Punk/Indie) instead were playing more Rap music. And Rap music got stupid some time around late 2003 or early 2004. Amazingly around this time, Country music was pretty good, but I would listen to that genre on a station closer to me. Unfortunately now, and since about 2013, Country music has become stupid. The only current Pop artist that I am even remotely familiar with is Billie Eilish and while she’s very genuine, she can be weird at times, but maybe I am no longer into what is considered trendy. I never really was. In the late 2000s and throughout the 2010s decade Punk/Indie music was awesome but I’m ashamed to admit that I’m not familiar with any of their current hits. Rap, these days, is sometimes stupid yet some of it is funny too. I am most familiar with Contemporary Christian Music these days and I do indeed like it, which is amazing because there was a time I didn’t like it, yes even after becoming a Christian and years afterward. The genre of music that I liked most in my mid to late teen years was New Age because it did indeed help me early on as a writer. I have recently stopped listening to it because I am a Christian and such music hinders my relationship with Christ.

Okay, enough about my music tastes, this piece is supposed to be about how radio broadcasting in New Orleans was ruined after Katrina and has not recovered at all.

I wish there were some stations in the New Orleans market that carried talk shows about politics, history, science, technology, culture, the arts, literature, health, and other intelligent topics. And have them from diverse viewpoints, not just one. Sure there is WWNO which carries NPR for most of its broadcast cycle, but NPR is way too biased these days, unfortunately. I wish there were more stations to choose from. And I wish there weren’t so many sports stations, especially since there is hardly any other type of programming. New Orleans is a very culture-rich city and is the perfect home for visual artists, musicians, writers, and thinkers. The City is also a wonderful place for those in the medical and technology sectors. So I think the broadcasters owe good radio content to the people of New Orleans and those in the surrounding communities. I will admit that a lot of people do indeed love The New Orleans Saints and I certainly would want those people to have a medium for all topics concerning their team. We all know that there is a whole lot more to New Orleans than just sports. While I think sports are boring and pointless, I get that they make many people happy. Of course, these same people become irate if a bad call is made or their team does poorly, so I don’t see exactly how it makes them so happy. However, I’m all for the policy of to each his/her own. That’s the former Libertarian in me talking, I’ll admit that I still espouse many Libertarian ideals but since about 2019, I have been fiercely Moderate. And I’ve been all over the political spectrum throughout my life. I will also say that Christ not only helps form my current political views but He trumps all of my political views. With all that being said, I think that those like me ought to have a broadcast medium to cover our interests, I mean we once did in the days before Katrina, at least to some degree. Why can’t we have it again?

I know that I’m not that important but maybe there is a reader of this blog who will see this piece. And maybe he or she has plenty of influence and will use that influence to change the way radio broadcasting is done, not only in New Orleans but in all markets or at least the ones that are lacking.

It definitely would be nice to have the programming that was on par with that of WTIX-AM circa 2003.

I won’t hold my breath for it though.

I know that Internet Radio and streaming, in general, has probably taken a good bit of revenue from analog terrestrial radio, but I don’t see how programming on the latter in New Orleans has not yet recovered from Katrina when so many aspects of life in that City things have. I know there are others out there like myself, albeit somewhat few and far between. And it just seems we cannot band together.

For now, I have found other ways to enrich my mind and learn about what interests me. Unfortunately, it is rarely through local radio.

I guess this, therefore, concludes my piece on how radio broadcasting in New Orleans was ruined by Hurricane Katrina.

I hope that you, the reader, have been informed, enlightened, and maybe even entertained.

May God richly bless you.

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My Idea for the Perfect EDC Weather Radio

Here is my idea for the perfect EDC Weather Radio:

Does anyone besides me remember the Motorola i530?

For those who don’t remember, it was a rugged clamshell phone used on the Nextel System and maybe other iDEN networks.

I’m just realizing that some might not remember Nextel or iDEN.

Just Google it, because I have bigger fish to fry.

All in all, the Motorola i530 was partially inspiring for me to come up with this idea.

Due to writing the description in a video I posted to Youtube, I was discussing how I should design the perfect weather radio that would be used for travel and EDC. It could also be used for monitoring the progress of severe weather from a safe room.

Such a weather radio that I am envisioning doesn’t currently exist, but maybe a product designer is reading this blog and could apply my idea. I would be super thrilled!

I would want a weather radio that could run on either 3 AAA Alkaline/Lithium Primary batteries or have a proprietary Lithium-Ion battery that could be internally charged. The proprietary battery pack should have a charging port that features a USB-C or Micro USB connector. The charging port should NOT be located on the radio

The radio should be around the height and width of the Motorola i530 times 1.5. However, it should be more in a rectangle instead of a rounded shape. it should be able to easily and solidly stand up on a flat surface. The radio should be waterproof and buoyant. It would probably need to be thicker. And just for the record, it would be in a candy bar form factor, not a clamshell, like the Motorola i530.

The radio’s cabinet should be constructed of that same or very similar plastic that Glock pistols are constructed of. It should be all yellow except for the speaker, volume knob, channel selector knob and, power/listen/standby alert knob (more on those details in a bit.)

The battery door should be sealed, slide on, held on by a flat non-removable screw and, locked tightly.

The speaker should be front-firing and occupy the entire front side of the radio. The loudness should be comparable to other weather radios of a similar size and power source.

Another USB-C or Mirco USB port could be placed behind the battery for listening on line current or vehicle power.

The antenna design should also be proprietary and maybe feature two different antennas:
A removable stubby antenna for ease of carrying and durability. It should be properly tuned to quarter-wave in a coil to the weather band and housed in a hard plastic casing.

A removable telescopic antenna for extended range. It should be the same height as the stubby antenna when retracted but maybe ideally to a height of 18 inches when extended (quarter-wave on the weather band.)

The antenna connection to the radio should be female SMA with all appropriate gaskets to keep moisture and dust out.

All control knobs must be situated at the top of the radio and sealed, especially the volume knob.

There would be a knob to select between”Off” “Listen” and “Standby”

Off would of course be to save power when not in use.
Listen would be to hear whichever channel the radio is tuned to.
Standby would be to keep the radio silent until the 1050 Hz tone is broadcast, to which the user would turn the Listen setting.

The channel selector knob should be able to turn to all 7 channels, plus have an 8th position to scan automatically for the strongest signal available (perfect for traveling.) The name of the function maybe could be known as “Travel.”

To pay homage to the history of weather radios, I believe it should use the channel plan of:
1. 162.550
2. 162.400
3. 162.475
4. 162.425
5. 162.450
6. 162.500
7. 162.525
8. Travel Scan

There should be a loud click any time the channel selector knob is turned or the power/listen/standby knob is turned.

The channel numbers and their corresponding frequencies should be stamped or molded on the back of the radio, quite possibly on the battery door.

All other marks and labels on the radio should also be stamped or molded in, not painted. This includes the serial number and date of manufacture, which should be on the back of the radio, possibly behind the battery door.

The brand logo, model number, and NOAA logo could also be stamped on the front by the speaker

The alert sound should feature something like an air raid siren or a series of loud piercing and shrill beeps to get the user’s attention.

As far as the circuitry of the radio, to save space, it should be PLL tuned instead of crystal controlled. There should be some type of amplifier to allow decent reception at 40-50 miles from a transmitter. There should also be either an atmospheric noise limiter circuit or a noise blanker circuit.

This could be marketed to people from all walks of life.

It would be especially popular with those employed in the transportation sector.

I could also see coaches, farmers, teachers, hunters, fishers, campers, or anyone who commutes a considerable distance to work getting some serious use out of this.

Finally, it could be a perfect solution for anyone going on vacation within The US, Canada, Mexico, or Bermuda.

I would be thrilled to see this device come to fruition.

Back to “Articles I have Written”

A Stormy Louisiana Monday

The alarm clock rings. A forty-five-year-old gentleman slowly wakes up.

He kisses his thirty-nine-year-old disabled wife good morning then gets ready for the day.

He brews some Community Breakfast Blend Coffee and drinks it mixed with half milk and half cream.

He also fries four eggs sunny side up and also toasts two slices of Evangeline Maid Wite Bread on his natural gas-powered range.

He slides his four eggs onto a plate and spreads some Clover Valley Strawberry Preserves on his two slices of toast.

Finally, he pours a tall glass of V8 juice and, says Grace sits down for breakfast.

He enjoys his breakfast then goes into the bathroom and freshens up in his washbasin, scrubbing his body with a bar of Dial soap.

He then shaves his face and splashes on some Aqua Velva.

Finally, he puts on RightGuard deodorant then gets dressed.

He dons a white Hane’s tee shirt with a left breast pocket, some Navy Blue Dickie’s work pants, a brown Dickie’s leather belt some white Fruit of the Loom crew socks and some brown Brahma work boots.

From his bedroom night table, he retrieves a SwissGear RFID shielded wallet, which he places in his left-back pants pocket, a Leatherman Surge multi-tool which he places in his right pocket and a Streamlight SL-20 LED flashlight which he secures in its belt holster. And he takes his Motorola smartphone secured in an Otterbox and places it in his left pants pocket. He places a bag of Clover Valley Cherry Sours in his breast pocket.

His wife prepares him two Creole tomato sandwiches with Rouse’s Mayonaise and Mustard and black pepper, then a Yeti Mug filled with Black Cherry Kool-Aid and places them in his Igloo Playmate Cooler and hands it to him.

They share a sweet hug and kiss, then she smacks his backside.

She then gets their young daughter ready for school.

Finally, he gets his keys and leaves his house, locking the doors behind him.

The skies are overcast and the wind is blowing as he steps onto his carport and opens the door to his 1993 Dodge Dakota.

He sits down cranks his engine and heads to work.

During his commute, he tunes in the Weather Band on his Midland CB Radio. He learns that the entire listening area is under a Tornado Watch and that a squall line is also due for their area this day.

He cusses under his breath, then asks God for forgiveness and places a couple of Cherry Sours in his mouth. Subsequently, he petitions God to protect his wife and daughter in addition to himself.

The sky is dark as he arrives at the local elementary school where he is employed as the facility engineer.

A bolt of lightning lights up the sky as he walks into the office.

He punches in and listens briefly as the principal’s radio is tuned to the local NPR affiliate.

He then walks to the boiler room and checks his work email on his Motorola Smartphone.

The cooler in the cafeteria needs to be tended to, so he retrieves his required tools and walks over.

There is a smell of bread rolls baking as well as red beans and rice along with smoked sausage being cooked. The aroma is very satisfying.

As the cafeteria staff continues to prepare the students’ lunch, the gentleman services the cooler. In due time he has the compressor pumping again.

One of the cooks attempts to flirt with him, but he replies, “Back off; I love my wife!”

The cafeteria manager warns her to respect his wishes and that he is a good man but a married man and not to mess with him again.

The buses are now dropping off the children.

He sees his young daughter stepping off the bus. She runs up to him and hugs him. He kisses her forehead then escorts her to her classroom.

He checks his work emails again and sees that the new light fixtures for the administration building have arrived and how he is assigned to install them.

He goes to the boiler room and secures a hand truck then walks to the receiving area to pick up the new light fixtures. He loads the boxes on the hand truck then transports them to the administration building along with his tools.

He steps into the administration building just as it begins to pour down rain.

NPR is still playing on the principal’s radio.

Morning Edition is interrupted with a Tornado Warning.

Immediately he assists the faculty and administration round up the children into the halls.

Just as the last student is in the hall, the electricity goes out.

He turns on his Streamlight SL-20 LED and lights up the dark school.

His daughter has an Olight I3E EOS on her lanyard next to her school ID. She also lights up her immediate area.

He stands next to her and begins to attempt to comfort the other students by telling them stories.

Suddenly his phone rings. It is his wife calling.

“I have to take this call,” He says, then quickly answers the phone.

On the other end, she frantically says, “It’s dark as night here bae. I think there’s a tornado nearby. Are you all right?”

“Yes. I am fine. I’m with all the students and my coworkers in the hall.”

“Is our little girl okay?”

“Yes. She has that little flashlight I bought her a while back on her lanyard and she is lighting up the hallways just like me.”

“That’s our girl! We’re blessed with a wonderful child!”

“Like mother, like daughter!”

“You’re so sweet!”

“Now baby, I’m not sure where the tornado is, but please go in the bathtub and cover yourself with a thick blanket!”

“Okay, I will. Do I have to let you go?”

“No. Stay on the line with me, at least until the warning expires. But if the call drops, just know that I love you.”

“I love you too and I won’t be at ease until you and our daughter are home and safe in my arms!”

“I love you, Mommy!” Their little girl called out.

Suddenly a horrible roaring sound was heard…

Now the middle aged man in this story seems to be what both a Christian and a non Christian alike would consider to be a good man.  After all, he works diligently, he loves his wife and is completely faithful to her.  He also loves his daughter.  He even cares about the students and coworkers.  I believe he is a shining example of someone who possesses a much Greater Love and it is because of this Love is the reason why he is so well equipped to be what most would consider a good man.  The Good News is that This Greater Love is available to anyone who accepts it.  Furthermore it does not have the stringent conditions and prerequisites that carnal or communal love tends to associate itself with.  Notice he is not totally perfect, but he is still in perfect possession of that Love!

Back to “Works of Fiction”

A Review of The Sony ICF-P26 AM/FM Portable Radio

Just so we’re all clear, I do not own the featured image on this page and I give credit to whomsoever credit is due.

I always enjoyed listening to the radio growing up.

The style of radio that I enjoy most are those that resemble the transistor radios made from the 1950s through the 1980s. There is just something about that style.

By the way, such a style is getting rarer and rarer as time goes by.

I believe it was some time in 2015 when I discovered the Sony ICF-P26 and, fun fact, it was through a MEME I saw on social media.

I finally bought one in March of 2017 and so I have owned one of these radios for almost your years.

That radio by the way is what this piece will be a review thereof.

In reality, I had been wanting to write this review since July of 2018, when I started writing product reviews, but there have been numerous distractions that hindered me from doing so.

In March of 2017, I had a little bit extra money, so I ordered a Sony ICF-P26 on eBay.

It came in a few days later and I began to use it extensively. It even gained a spot for a few years in my EDC backpack.

I was thoroughly impressed by the clear and generous sound, the tuning accuracy, the reception range (especially on AM, but FM as well), and the overall solid feel when handling this radio.

On every trip I took, it was a frequent companion, allowing me to hear local radio stations. One of my rituals is while traveling I wash my face, then shave as soon as I enter the hotel or motel room. For some reason traveling in a car for an extended period, even with the windows up makes my face ultra dirty. I also like to be clean-shaven when going out and about anywhere, so after washing my face, I shave, then apply the Aqua Velva. Usually while shaving in a place besides home, I listen to a local music station. One particular memory I have about carrying out this ritual is being in Texas and hearing Jim Ed Brown sing “Pop a Top” on a local AM station. Music sounds so much richer when played on AM and Jim Ed Brown already had a very rich voice, so it was a very pleasant experience. When not traveling, I used to listen to NPR whilst I was doing my laundry.

I did keep this radio when my ex-wife and I split up the community property and I left her a Sangean DT-200VX because she always liked it and I was trying to make the divorce as painless as possible. She and I are on much better terms now but I am 100% sure that we are not compatible as husband and wife. I just wish I would have realized this before the relationship became too serious. Well, she clearly stated that she wanted to marry me six days after meeting me. At the time, I was thrilled, because I didn’t see the red flags yet.

Speaking of red flags, my one gripe about this radio is that it lacks an AFC circuit. This wasn’t an issue at my previous residences but is very much an issue at my current residence since I am only a few blocks away from an FM transmitter. That station’s signal bleeds all over my FM dial and drowns out almost all other FM stations that would normally be available. So I upgraded (and I use that term loosely) to a cheap, unbranded radio, that has a phase lock loop synthesized oscillator, for most of my portable FM listening. It also gets AM (mediocre) and Weather (quite well, actually), but isn’t as solidly built as my Sony. Although it is as small as an MP3 player and I do have a dedicated pocket for it in my EDC backpack. However, on some nights I will still use this Sony for AM listening, both local and long-distance. If I’m not in my neighborhood and have it with me, I will also use my Sony for FM listening.

A few evenings ago when Winter Storm Uri was wreaking havoc across the country, our local governments and our electric utility companies were advising us to conserve power until 10:00 PM. So, I unplugged all of my grid-powered electronics, set my central heater (which is electric) to 68 Degrees Fahrenheit and I even turned off the lights. To be able to see, I used a highly efficient battery-powered LED lantern. My previous product review was about that very lantern. And for entertainment, I listened to the AM band on my Sony radio. I did some AM DXing until finally, I decided to listen to WSB out of Atlanta. There is a local show on there that I have listened to a time or two prior. It is a good, wholesome, and even Christian show. They were talking about Rush Limbaugh’s passing. I listened until the signal faded out. By that point, it was past Ten O’Clock, so I resumed my “normal” nighttime activities. The AM ferrite bar antenna on this radio isn’t very big, so it’s not the best radio for AM DXing, but, in my location, it will catch most of the clear channel AM stations between The Rockies and Appalachians after dark.

A very wise feature on this radio is that it isn’t turned off or on by the volume potentiometer, but rather a three-position sliding switch “OFF” “AM” “FM.” There is a volume potentiometer and after almost four years of use and three years of carrying in my EDC backpack, it needs to be dusted out. To tune the radio, a knob is connected to a slide rule indicator. For FM listening, there is a telescopic antenna that can be changed out if it is ever damaged. Why can’t all radios be made this way?

There is also a removable nylon lanyard.

Two other features on this radio include a green LED, whose brightness indicates how much battery power is left and a red LED which indicates that the radio is locked on a station’s signal.

For power, it runs on two AA batteries. I always used Alkalines and always had generous run times. I think the run time is rated at 35 or so hours on a set of batteries but I’m not 100% sure.

Currently, I have my Sony radio on a night table in my living room, but if I were to have to travel, especially to evacuate from a hurricane, it will be coming with me.

If anyone is interested in purchasing one of these, they are widely available online and even in some brick-and-mortar establishments.

I give it a 4.85 out of 5 stars and this rating is subjective to where one uses it. Had it been manufactured with an AFC circuit, I would have given it the full 5 stars.

Sony is a reputable brand and they make some fine radios, so why couldn’t they have installed an AFC circuit and made this radio even better?

I’ve mentioned on social media in the past how I wish all FM radios would have an AFC circuit, but terrestrial analog radio is gradually dying out, much to my dismay.

In the event of an emergency remember KISS: Keep it Simple, Stupid! The simpler a communications system is, the less chance there is for failure and typically the cheaper the equipment. Analog terrestrial radio should remain in use, at least as a means of communicating important information to the public, especially in the event of an emergency!

I’ll get either one or another response for this statement and it is:

You’re preaching to the choir (from those who think like me.)

OR

Change is inevitable (from those who don’t realize what I realize.)

Currently, I am thinking of buying a Bluetooth-capable radio very soon so I can pair it with my tablet and Stream online radio stations. The model I am looking at is sold at The Ruble, I mean, The Dollar General and if it is like its predecessor model, then it will have an AFC circuit, which is the other reason for me to consider purchasing it.

So, yes I do embrace new technology, but I also have a prepper mindset, not to mention I hold a General Class Amateur Radio license, and therefore am very much aware of how older simpler technology is more reliable, especially as a means of mass communications.

Well, look at this, I’ve turned a product review into a lecture.

My apologies.

I hope you, the reader, have been informed and maybe even entertained.

I guess this concludes my review of the Sony ICF-P26.

May God richly bless you!

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A Review of the Texas Instruments TI-36 X Pro Calculator

Just for the record, I do not own the featured image on this page. I must need give credit whereupon credit is due and the featured image is property of Texas Instruments, inc.

For almost as long as I had been fascinated by flashlights, I too have been fascinated by calculators. Similar to my fascination with flashlights, my fascination with calculators has waxed and waned throughout my childhood and adolescence, but they are both very strong in my adult years.

My two favorite brands of calculators are Casio and Texas Instruments and I like the latter a little more than the former.

I had begun permanently carrying a calculator in the latter parts of 2012, namely a TI-12 Math Explorer (the 1997 version.) In the following months afterward, I also had begun to carry with it a TI-30XA (the current version.)

In March of 2014, my writing had started to evolve, as did my experience in repairing or souping up computers had increased. I had also begun to start doing research more extensively on calculators. Soon, I had realized there was a Texas Instruments TI-36 X Pro that was put on the market some three years before that. It wasn’t long before I wanted one. In June of 2014, I had spent my spending money on a flashlight that I still carry to this day. However, a family member had gifted me $20 from a sum of money he had won at a casino. I didn’t split that money with my then-wife, now ex-wife, because after all, she has a major hang-up about gambling. So, I was free to use that money however I had pleased. We were babysitting two of her nephews that following day and I took them to ride with me to the Houma suburb of Bayou Cane, so I could secretly purchase that said calculator. They kept the secret safe with me and goofed off with me for the entire ride. I stopped at an Office Depot because I knew that was the only store that stocked it locally year-round. Sadly it was out of stock. However, after talking to the sales associate and later the manager, I had learned that I could have it shipped to my residence at no extra charge. Happily, I went with that option, paying the first $20 in cash and the remaining amount after sales tax with my debit card. A brand new TI-36 X Pro arrived on my doorstep a few days later, via UPS. And that said calculator is what this piece will be a review thereof.

As soon as it arrived on my doorstep, I opened it up, then used it to convert one unit used to measure barometric pressure into another unit used to measure barometric pressure. The weather was changing that day, as in quite frequent in Louisiana. I was amazed at the accuracy and precision with which it carried out the conversion. I began carrying it in a dedicated pouch of my EDC backpack along with the Mini Maglite I had purchased earlier that month.

Yes, I will admit that there are plenty of features on this calculator that I will probably never need, nor do I understand what they represent. While I am pretty proficient at arithmetic, I am terrible at almost all other higher level Mathematics. Still, there are certain features on this machine that I frequently use, especially when doing unit conversions or even just simply writing out my monthly budget. There are even base-n calculations such as converting between decimal, hexadecimal and octal, which come in handy with programming higher level scanner radios or if I ever needed to assist a computer programmer or coder.

And not only that, I believe this is the best looking scientific calculator that is currently on the [common] market. Change my mind!

In the days and weeks after purchasing this calculator, I went on to write some pretty wonderful stories and the one that stands out most is my “Grocer and Writer” stories. Maybe the tremendous pleasure I associated with finally owning this calculator created the ideal mental state and electrochemistry to be creative? Of course in the hours before beginning those stories, I took a trip to the New Orleans area.

I have since purchased spare units, but I keep my original TI-36 X Pro in a safe undisclosed location because it does have sentimental value.  It has sentimental value because certain items of mine cause me to have a connection with someone whom I had known in my childhood (January-July of 1991) but since lost all contact with. This calculator and flashlight somehow have that connection. I now think that this girl I had briefly known in my childhood may have been an angel because I spent years searching for her but with no success. She would now be in her mid-to-late thirties, assuming she was born between 1984 and 1987. During most of the year of 2014, which was the beginning of the end of my faulty former marriage, I had begun to desire to find this now young lady again, so I strongly associate the year 2014 in general with her. Before I met my ex-wife and even after to an extent, this girl from my childhood was the inspiration for my writing and was the unknown driving force to cause me to pursue writing. In the latter parts of 2018 until December 4/5 2019, I was in a very loving relationship with a young lady, who in many ways reminded me of the girl from my childhood and was even born in the year in which she and I were, for lack of a better word, together. If you, the reader, poke around in the fiction section of this blog, you will see some of the stories where I have derived my inspiration from this girl I once knew.

My first one came off the assembly line somewhere in China in February of 2014. My current unit, which I still EDC, came of the assembly line somewhere in The Philippines in April of 2017. I’m wondering if the updated units in the Philippines have corrected the software bug that plagued the earlier models?…

All in all, I will now list some of the features and specifications that the TI-36 X Pro has to offer:

By the way, I’ve obtained this information from the company website, but I also added my commentary…

Four-line display-very clear too!

One- and two-variable statistics-I would likely never use this feature, but who knows.

MultiView™ display shows multiple calculations at the same time on screen-Excellent for writing a budget or balancing a checking account!

Select degrees/radians, floating/fix, number format modes-Very useful with navigating with a GPS or several different GPS units!

Choose from three solvers: numeric equation, polynomial and system of linear equations-This would have been nice in high school, but probably would have landed me in trouble! This particular model came on the market five years after I graduated high school anyway.

Display a defined function in a tabular form-The best way to show a function without an actual graph!

Determine the numeric derivative and integral for real functions.
Perform vectors and matrices using a vector and matrix entry window.

The last two features involve high-level mathematics that goes way above my head, but maybe one day, I’ll try to learn it.

The TI-36 X Pro is recommended for the following STEM-related courses:
Algebra I and II-Probably forbidden or at least frowned upon because of its built-in equation solver.
Geometry-Overkill and again probably frowned upon.
Trigonometry-A Graphing model would be of more use.
Statistics-Never took this course, but I can imagine its usefulness.
Calculus-There are features that would come in handy for this course, though I never took it.
Biology-Probably overkill.
Chemistry-Probably is forbidden or at the very least frowned upon because of the permanently stored constants.
Physics-As with chemistry, it’s probably forbidden or frowned upon, for the same reasons, though I never took physics.
Computer science-Could be very useful, especially with those learning programming.
College math-Actually we were required a TI-84.
College science-Never took these courses, but I see where the store constants may be of great use.
College engineering-Never took any of these courses either, but I know this calculator is popular with all engineering.

According to the company website, here is a more detailed list of the functions, some of which I had already commented on:
Review and edit previous entries via a scrollable home screen
Paste inputs or outputs into new calculations
MathPrint™ feature entry and output mode for viewing calculations in math notation, including answers in terms of pi, square roots and fraction
Three solvers: numeric equation, polynomial and system of linear equations
Numeric derivative and integral for real functions
Vectors and Matrices
Symbolic notation of π
Toggle key to change the form of answers between exact and decimal approximation
Stacked Fractions and Fraction functions
Fraction/decimal/percent conversions
Change between improper fractions and mixed numbers
Automatic simplification of fractions
Random number and random integer generator
Central MODE menu for selecting calculator mode settings
Menu settings
Functions accessed directly through keys or through pull-down menus
Negation key
One constant operator feature
Combinations and permutations
Trigonometry
Hyperbolics
Logs and antilogs
Convert angles from degrees to radians to grads
%, x², ¹/x, yˆx, π, x!
Fixed decimal capability
(x,y) Table feature with Auto and Ask-x options
Basic Data/List Editor with three lists
List Formulas
One- and two-variable statistics with permanent stat variable input storage
EOS (Equation Operating System)
Nine physical constants
Eighteen metric/English conversions
Up to eight pending operations
Up to 23 levels of parentheses
Error recovery capability
Quick/easy reset of calculator via two-key press or menu for exam purposes
Eight memory variables (x, y, z, t, a, b, c, d)
Scientific and engineering notation

And here are some of the physical characteristics:
Four-line × 16-character, easier-to-read LCD display
Battery powered with solar cell assistance to lengthen battery life
Auto Power Off
Hard plastic, color-coded keys
Non-skid rubber feet
Impact-resistant cover with quick-reference card
Snap-on protective hard case

Even though, as I had mentioned before, there are some features on this calculator that go way above my head, it is still one of my favorites if not my favorite calculators ever made.

I carry it in a dedicated compartment of my EDC backpack where I store the rest of my tool that which I use to repair or soup up computers. Like most other Texas Instruments devices, it is built very ruggedly and will last, likely way past its obsolescence where it will then be a cool collector’s item.

While I have owned one of these is some way shape or form since June of 2014 and it is December of 2020 at the time I am writing this, I still thoroughly enjoy this device and give it a 4.85 out of 5 stars, only because of the software bug concerning fractions involving Pi.

This, therefore, concludes my review of the Texas Instruments TI-36 X Pro. I hope you, the reader, have been informed, entertained, and maybe even enlightened!

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

Why would I EDC a Weather Radio?

I get different reactions when I show off the items I EDC.

While, like most, I usually carry a tactical flashlight and some sort of metal tool or knife along with my keys, wallet, smartphone, and a wristwatch. My psychiatrist refuses to clear me for a concealed weapon carrying permit, but one day I might open carry my Ruger LCP. Without getting too political, I am absolutely 100% opposed to any and all forms of gun control!

As a Christian, I also carry a copy of God’s Holy Word, namely, the Bible. For doing so I get kudos from fellow believers and mockery or even hostility from worldly or lost people, but that is totally expected.

I frequently carry a scanner radio, but no one really bats an eye about that. In public, I am frequently mistook for a firefighter when I carry it.

There are two items I carry that frequently raise questions from others in the EDC community.

One item is a calculator which I can easily explain and most will accept the answer. After all, I’ve been fascinated by calculators almost as long as I have been fascinated by flashlights and that is since infancy. As a high school math teacher, my Mom EDCs a calculator or two for work, though in reality, she eschews them. However, she is the reason why I became fascinated by calculators. My Dad was a banking executive when I was born and I don’t know if he ever carried a calculator or not, because he was laid off from the bank a few months after my birth. He then switched careers and eventually became a special education teacher. Even though my Dad was a sporting goods salesman for a couple years during the career change, he isn’t into EDC at all. His Dad, my Paw Paw, was into EDC at least to some degree, although he only owned extremely budget-friendly items. My Maw Maw also carried a flashlight in her purse for as long as I knew her, until she became a shut in and passed on December 28, 2019. At one point I’m almost sure she had an old school Pelican MityLite 1900! There were always calculators around though while I was growing up and I had been carrying one on and off since the age of eight. So, even though I am fascinated by calculators, when asked why I carry them, I can quickly justify and have done so.

Another item that I continuously EDC is a pocket-sized weather radio. While no one has directly questioned my motives as to why I do so, I’m sure I at least get eye rolls when I post pictures of mine or pull it out and listen.

In this piece, I am going to give a testimony on why I personally carry a weather radio and while I don’t expect you, the reader, to follow suit, maybe my reasons for doing so will be better understood.

Let’s go back to the Summer of 1990. I was three and a half and my brother and sister were a few months old. My Mom was off from teaching school, but my Dad was at work, working as a sporting goods salesman. There had been some storms going on all day. My Mom had baked home-made biscuits earlier in the day. It’s something, I can fry chicken almost identical to Colonel Sanders Original Recipe and my Mom can bake biscuits almost identical to Popeye’s Buttermilk Biscuits. I taught myself how to fry chicken that way, mostly through trial and error but also by God’s Grace. However, my Mom got her biscuit recipe from an old Catholic monk. The storms had gotten progressively worse during the day, then our electricity was disrupted. At some point, it became dark as night though it was only midday. My Mom gathered us into the center of the house and we sat there by the light of an Eveready Commander 6 Volt Lantern. The model number was 5122.

Though I was always afraid of the weather, I don’t remember being too frightened. I think it was because I was holding a flashlight and even back then I was fascinated by flashlights. I stood in the hall eating a biscuit.

We had no idea if there was actually a tornado present because we had no weather radio.

There was a Sears transistorized AM/FM radio that was put away, but I guess my Mom was probably more focused on getting all of us to safety rather than looking for that radio.

Even if my Mom would have been able to locate that transistor radio, the battery could have very well been dead. There was no way of us to know when the Tornado Warning, if any, had expired.

At some point, the sky lightened up and the electricity came back on and I guess we took this as the all-clear.

Looking back, this probably had an impact on me and is most likely was caused me to have a compelling desire to be accurately informed.

As I am writing this, I am reminded that back in the day, weather radios were somewhat of a status symbol, associated only with the affluent. I mean they were heavily marketed to golfers, of which playing golf during a thunderstorm is quite risky, so a golfer would desperately need one. I wonder if Donald Trump ever carried a weather radio in his younger days whilst playing golf. To further back up my claim that weather radios once were and maybe still are a status symbol now, at least to some degree is that, I’ve only seen upper-middle-class and wealthy people in possession of one. I’ve never once seen anyone from the lower socio-economic positions to ever be in possession of a weather radio. I have even read an article or two about how the white upper class are almost the only ones who purchase weather radios and that poorer whites, as well as most minorities, don’t even bother purchasing one.

While at the time, my family was lower middle class and stayed there until between 1997 and 2000. Now they are almost upper-middle class.

I didn’t know there was such a device as a weather radio until the summer of 1997 when I was reading some hurricane preparedness literature.

I wouldn’t actually own a weather radio of my own until late December 2001. It was an Oregon Scientific WR-8000. Unfortunately, it killed on me in less than two years, but I did EDC it when I could.

I myself as an individual would be considered impoverished by most standards.

Yes, I’ll admit that fully.

The only reason I am able to afford a weather radio (and I do own several) is that I either purchase them on clearance as new old stock, a friend gives one to me or I buy one in gently used condition for a fraction of the cost.

Between December of 2001 and April of 2015, I had gone through a few portable weather radios, many of which killed on me, unfortunately.

I guess it is poor quality control because I did not abuse these radios by any means.

Since the Spring of 2006, I had wanted a Midland HH50B, but it would be over nine more years before I would actually purchase one.

I had some desktop models that were on constant standby as well as a Radio Shack Weather Cube as a backup.

Then one day in late April of 2015, my area was experiencing some severe weather. This weather resulted in the one and only train derailment on the Huey Pierce Long Bridge near New Orleans. The said bridge was about eighty years old at the time.

My standby models had alerted me to a Tornado Watch in advance.

Then there were quite a few Severe Thunderstorm Warnings issued.

My then-wife, now ex-wife, as usual, was watching television.

However, I told her to get dressed in case we would need to move quickly.

The amazing thing is, she actually listened to me, though this was one of the very few times she did listen to me.

A few minutes later we received a Tornado Warning for our Parish.

The sky, though again around midday, became dark as night.

My apartment manager invited the second-floor tenants to her unit which was downstairs.

My now ex wife and I left with the clothes on our back, though I had a Mini Maglite LED in my pants pocket and I also had an Energizer Weatheready 6 Volt LED Lantern in my hand.

We made our way down the stairs and across the parking lot as lightning fiercely flashed.

The sky was still dark as night.

Several of us stood in the manager’s downstairs unit, anxiously waiting for the weather to pass.

Minutes crawled by, but, then, finally, conditions began improving.

The cell service was in and out that day, so none of us could rely on our phones, for weather data though at the time I didn’t even own a smartphone. I would though, a couple days later.

Several young women were wondering when the Tornado Warning would expire.

Eventually, I walked back up to my apartment and retrieved my Weather Cube, which while battery-powered, is still basically impossible to EDC.

I stood and listened to the weather report then when the Tornado Warning expired, I let everyone know and we all went back to our units and resumed our daily activities.

That day made me realize that I should own a weather radio that I could EDC in my backpack and even in my pocket if necessary.

I knew I was going to bite the bullet and soon purchase a Midland HH50B.

A little over a month later, I was able to score one brand new with batteries for ~$10 and free shipping. Thank God for eBay! I had been wanting one for years, so I gladly purchased it with my spending money.

At the time, I was also a new smartphone user and when my new weather radio came in, there was some literature enclosed in the packaging about downloading Midland Weather Center for Apple and Android devices.

I did just that and subsequently downloaded it on almost every smartphone I have owned since.

Granted this app is unfortunately no longer available on Google Play, but it can still be downloaded and installed on Android devices if you know what you are doing.

As for the Midland HH50B, I EDCed it from June of 2015 until December of 2017 when my then-wife now ex-wife broke it in a fit of anger.

However, I liked it so much that I quickly ordered a new one and it arrived on my doorstep a few days later.

I still EDC it in my backpack everywhere I go. And if I can’t have my backpack with me but I know I will be away from home or outdoors for any given time, I will have it in my right pants pocket next to my EDC flashlight.

It has come in handy numerous times either for stand by alerts for severe weather when I am not home or for sheltering in place during severe weather and monitoring the progress thereof.

The times it has been most handy is when I go on road trips and I am the passenger. I use it in conjunction with my Midland Weather Center app and use the weather intelligence gained to assist the driver in avoiding severe storms. I’ve even used it to confirm that there were no tornadoes nearby when my Dad called and thought there were. That was on January 20, 2017 and I was traveling with a friend between Shreveport and Dallas. A day later, though, while heading back home I used my weather radio to keep track of tornado near Nacitoches, Louisiana.

EDCing a weather radio has been very beneficial and never once detrimental, so I plan to do it indefinitely

I don’t know if these reasons will convince you, the reader, whether to also EDC a weather radio or not, but I hope this piece at least validates my reason to do so.

I guess this, therefore, concludes my piece and I hope you, the reader, have been informed and maybe even a little entertained.

Thank you for reading!

A Review of the Oregon Scientific WR601N Handheld Weather Radio with S.A.M.E.

For the record, I do not own the featured image on this page, rather I downloaded it from eBay and I give credit to whomever credit is due.

As you, the reader, can probably tell, I have an strong interest in Weather Radios.

I first read about a NOAA Weather Radio in the Summer of 1997 at the age of ten and a half whilst reading a hurricane preparedness pamphlet.

I wouldn’t actually own a NOAA Weather Radio until December of 2001 at the age of fourteen going on fifteen.

However, once I owned one, I would be completely fascinated.

My parents thought there was something wrong with me because of it.

Well technically there is something wrong with me, but when I was a teen, I was the only teen I knew of that was interested in radio electronics.

Nowadays, there are plenty of teens who are interested in radio electronics, especially weather radio, and sites like YouTube are living proof.

Sometimes I feel like I was born in the wrong generation and should have been born ten to fifteen years later.

It was in my mid-twenties that I began to collect weather radios.

Now at the age of thirty-two-going-on-thirty-three, I am frequently visiting thrift stores, flea markets, antique shops, and hamfests to purchase gently-used vintage weather radios.

On November 2, 2019, I had some cash on me and went to my local GoodWill.

It was as if God Himself was telling me to go there because I would find a weather radio.

And in the electronics/appliances section, I found an Oregon Scientific WR601N in very good condition, but selling for only $1.97+tax.

I had been wanting one of these for a couple years but didn’t want to pay the MSRP.

This piece will be a review of that aforementioned weather radio.

What I purchased at GoodWill only included the radio, battery door, and lanyard. There was no manual, cradle or AC adaptor.

Still, for $1.97+tax, I’m not going to complain.

Performance-wise, this radio is a true winner:
The size is very compact and can be carried on your person or in a backpack without weighing the user down.

The antenna is short and stubby, but is rugged and pulls in the Weather Radio broadcast very well, even from forty miles away!

The speaker audio is clear and crisp but can be annoying when there is noise in the signal.

The radio runs on 3 AA batteries and the runtime seems generous.

There are a clock and calendar which I must say keeps time very accurately, like +/-1 second in a week!

There are two separate alarm times that can be set and the alarm is loud enough.

The radio receives all seven weather radio channels.

The radio is equipped with S.A.M.E. technology and can store up to six administrative divisions or monitor all six.

The blue backlight lights up the display brightly and evenly. It is activated by pressing the snooze button.

The housing seems to be built very well and could probably survive a few drops.

Also, the face of the radio is yellow, meaning it can be easily found in a dark room or cluttered baggage.

There is an external speaker jack.

The display can be expressed in English, French or Spanish.

There are only three real [albeit minor] complaints I have and they are:
The radio can be a bit tricky to program and operate and takes some getting used to.

The radio also has trouble standing by itself, even on a flat surface.

The radio should have better noise limiting circuitry since it will not work well near any source of electrical noise.

However, at the price I paid, I’m not going to make any case about the complaints.

Even though I didn’t buy it brand new and I don’t have all the right accessories, I have been EDCing this radio for the past week and I am totally satisfied.

While Midland is my favorite brand of Weather Radios, I’ll admit they could learn plenty from this model.

What I like most are the rugged and compact build and clear crisp reception.

It is good to have S.A.M.E., but I could take it or leave it since I would use this for traveling or outdoor activities, where S.A.M.E. isn’t always necessary.

Like other compact portable models, the WR601N would be well suited for an EDC bag, a bug out/bailout bag, or a safe room, all for monitoring the progress of the weather, without needing line current.

I’m really impressed all in all and this is a vast improvement over the Oregon Scientific WR-8000, which actually was the first weather radio I had ever owned.

I give this product a 4.7 out of 5 stars!

Back to “Product Reviews”

A Review of the Streamlight Pro Tac 2 AAA Tactical Penlight

Just for the record, I do not own the featured image on this page. It is actually the property of Streamlight Inc.

Since my teens, I have been a self-taught computer technician.

I had become considerably proficient at fixing computers in my early twenties and by my thirties, people are frequently coming to me for a repair or at least consulting me for advice.

I guess I can say that I am a computer nerd. And I am proud of it!

However, there are those that want to make trouble with people like me.

And then there are those who just want to make trouble.

There are people like these even in the best of workplaces.

Then there could just be someone off the street who wants to commit a robbery, I mean computer equipment is very valuable and computer repair equipment is also somewhat valuable.

How does one defend oneself against such a belligerent individual?

I mean, they are probably more fit physically and carrying a weapon of any sort is at best heavily regulated and at worst downright illegal.

Meet the tactical flashlight!

Specifically, meet the Streamlight Pro Tac 2 AAA model, which this piece will be a review of.

I have owned three of them, but misplaced two.

I bought my first one in January of 2018, then another in March of 2018 and my current one in March of 2019.

I EDC my current one with the rest of my computer repair tools for self-defense purposes, rather than general or specific illumination.

This neat little flashlight is slightly longer and thicker than an ink pen, meaning it can be tucked away in a backpack or purse and not noticeable until needed.

The Streamlight Pro Tac 2 AAA can be programmed to three different configurations, which is a feature known as “TEN-TAP® Programming.” The three different modes are:

1. high/strobe/low

2. high only

3. low/high

I have kept mine set on the default high/strobe/low configuration (more on why in a bit.)

The LED light engine has somewhat generous specs, at least for its hardware setup:

High Mode features a 130 lumen 70-meter beam, runs for 1.75 hours and has a beam intensity of 1,230 candelas.

Low Mode features a 20 lumen 30-meter beam, runs for 13 hours and has a beam intensity of 230 candelas.

Strobe Mode runs 3.5 hours and is available for signaling help or disorienting an opponent for defensive purposes.

This flashlight is somewhat water-resistant and has a rating of IPX7 which means the unit is waterproof to a depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes.

It is also impact forgiving and was tested to withstand a fall from a height of 2 meters.

It is constructed of a very durable and abrasion-resistant machined aluminum with a Type II Mil-Spec anodized finish.

The openings are O-ring sealed to keep harmful fluids out.

The glass lens is more robust than say a polycarbonate lens.

It is 5.62 inches (14.27 cm) long and weighs 2 ounces (57g) with batteries installed.

So how is this flashlight a potential self-defense instrument?

I will explain:

First off it is made of a hard Aluminum.

Then, the front bezel is scalloped making a semi-sharp striking weapon.

Finally, it features a strobe which can disorient an attacker, especially in darkness.

The idea is one knows he or she will near any trouble makers to have this flashlight in a place where it can be quickly deployed.

Then if confronted by a violent or threatening individual, especially in the dark, the idea is to activate the strobe, which is done by two quick presses of the switch and shine it in the opponent’s eyes. As the opponent shields his or her face, the next step is to either run away and get help, or to stike the opponent as hard as you can with the scalloped bezel. Places to hit would be the face, eyes, throat or temple as hard as you can. When the impact is made, push and turn into the point of impact as this will break the skin and cause more pain and therefore more stopping power. There are a few videos on sites like YouTube that can show how to execute these movements with better precision and effectiveness than what I am simply describing on my blog. Yes, this methodology turns a small flashlight into a potentially lethal weapon. The good part is that, while it is not considered a weapon legally, it, therefore,may be carried almost anywhere.

Also for the record, I am not liable for any criminal or legal penalties you, the reader, may incur for using this as a weapon. Take my advice and the advice of others at your own risk.

Unfortunately, we live in a society that punishes people for simply defending themselves, even against armed and dangerous criminals. This is a curse that seems to be falling onto the entire Western World.

However, it is better to be judged by twelve than carried by six.

I would advise using this only if the opponent is wielding a weapon, has battered you first or has demanded your property.

This is meant to be a defensive, not an offensive weapon.

Still, it can be a legal equalizer without the red tape, obligations, and requirements of a concealed carry weapons permit.

My one complaint about this flashlight is the faulty pocket clip.

That design needs to be completely redone, as it was the faulty clip that malfunctioned and caused me to misplace my first two.

I keep my third one in a dedicated compartment of my EDC backpack with my computer repair tools and if I felt the need to carry it, I would not clip it to my pocket but rather store it deep in my pocket.

I wish the LED could also be at least 200 lumens instead of 130, but that I pushing it, I get it.

All in all, I give this product a 4.75 out of 5 stars because of the faulty pocket clip.

If the pocket clip were as robust as its 2 AA sibling, I would give it a full 5.

This, therefore, concludes my review of the Streamlight Pro Tac 2 AAA.

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

Back to “Product Reviews”

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?

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…

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