Approaching zero and other trivia

This could also be an “I’m not quite dead just yet…” post, just to note that I’m still around (on the verge of becoming an Official Old Person, as I turn 65 tomorrow…)

Approaching zero

On the PG&E two-way electricity meter, that is. Or you could put it “approaching 100” as in 100% solar power since the system was installed. We’re not quite there yet–just under 99% at the moment, with 38 (kWh) on the meter and 3,616 kWh generated since last November, when the system went in.

We would be there, and a bit beyond, but for a little problem: Apparently two panels went bad in early August, causing one string to stop contributing power (the strings are wired in series, so the overall voltage for the string is too low). We spotted it fairly quickly (as peak power, the power generated between 12 and 2 or thereabouts on a sunny day when it’s not too hot, dropped almost precisely 1/7th and stayed down), but it took a week or two to convince SolarCity that it was a real drop and another two weeks to get a crew out. So, for almost 30 days, we were losing about 2 kWh/day…certainly more than 38 kWh over the month. (Yes, when they replaced the two panels, the peak-period numbers jumped back up where they should be. Overall generation, to be sure, goes down because the days are getting shorter–but that’s a different issue.) We may push for a rebate check, but that’s pretty trivial (60 kWh would be worth about $7). So, to be sure, is actually hitting zero–but it would feel good, especially since the system is sized to replace 80% of our power.

Also approaching zero, I suppose

The number of blogs left for the “validity scan” I’m doing as the almost last step in metric gathering for the 2010 liblog project. 70 left of a (current) 1,270. I should finish that phase tomorrow, if all goes well…then, maybe, ask for one more piece of help and probably set the project aside to write some essays and, after some external reviewers return comments, finish my Open Access project.

The quantum effect?

I’m beginning to wonder whether publicizing the broadrange liblog survey is having a “quantum effect”–that is, whether observation is affecting the results. I’m seeing a few disappearing blogs, blogs that were there in a few weeks ago but have either been removed or protected since. (“A few” means at least seven–not even one percent, to be sure, but still surprising. There may actually be more, but for the first 700-800 liblogs, I wasn’t removing the now-disappeared blogs from the main spreadsheet and adding them to the “Not Visible” section of the exclusion page. I’d guess the total is somewhere between 10 and 15.)

Maybe this is just normal churn. I hope so.


September may be a time to look at situations and think about futures. My wife and I had a great conversation last night over dinner, related to some friends and their troubles and finding that we’re both pretty happy about life in general and how things have turned out.

That’s true. Oh, sure, I wish I hadn’t “prematurely retired”–twice. Yes, it would be nice if some self-published books had done better and a few other things had worked out better. But, you know, all in all, I’m happy with life.

Given that, it makes even more sense to focus on the things that provide most pleasure and decide whether other things are worth the time and effort. At the moment, I have no idea what will be affected.

I haven’t written any new essays for Cites & Insights in more than two months–probably the longest break I’ve ever taken. IfWhen I start again, will I find it great fun and well worth doing? Right now, I’m not quite sure…

One Response to “Approaching zero and other trivia”

  1. les says:

    Walt, have a great birthday and many happy returns.