Rufus Laggren

+ Follow
since Feb 23, 2012
Chicago/San Francisco
Apples and Likes
Total received
In last 30 days
Total given
Total received
Received in last 30 days
Total given
Given in last 30 days
Forums and Threads
Scavenger Hunt
expand Pioneer Scavenger Hunt

Recent posts by Rufus Laggren

I'll give this thread a big bump cuz I was hot-footing through your territory and happened on a really fine restaurant just down the road.

Parker's, in Drummond. About 20 miles east of Missoula.

Comfortable family place where the owner talks to the customers while taking care of biz. Service is good, lots of people know each other there, food is great. Setting is relaxed and welcoming. Definite return visit if I get the chance.


9 months ago
This hits a button for me. I think it's normal human behavior, but...

Perhaps we need to pay a bit more attention here and take a heads-up from the problems we see on the i-net. Because there is more at stake now than there used to be. The www lowers the bar for easy, anonymous and powerful skulduggery. Very, very powerful skulduggery. Gossip, innuendo, rumor mongering, liable, slander, vilification, bullying, plain lies and various other forms of bad behavior are something we have all seen since nursery school (_He_ did it, Mommy!). They have always been with us. But now such poison can be mass produced for pennies and it's range of affect can reach reach everywhere. Pizza-Gate shows just how quickly "stuff" in the virtual world becomes real. We're not talking just about "virtual reality" here.

Paul laid down a simple rule of behavior here: Be nice. I think that may be incomplete but it's certainly a pretty good beginning to guide us in being part or Permies. Practicing that actively will go a long way toward preserving truth here. When we self police, we police everybody.

Finally, as a practical method, when needed, I find myself considering the Huffington Post choice: No anonymity. I'm not sure about this. But a HUGE amount of the badness on the net derives directly from the complete and total absence of accountability. Perhaps there are venues where anonymity would be required, but I don't see that's true of this forum. What is true of this or any forum is that it's a trust construct that's vulnerable to disruption. The more proactive and practiced the members, the stronger the forum so maybe anonymity is OK... But anonymity is what made lynchings easy. Remove the anonymity and mob violence becomes much harder for people. Rioting and looting, ditto. W/out anonymity a person (if I'm any example) takes much more thought and care about what they say and how they say it. There is something be said for unequivocally owning ones words and actions - and by inference stepping away from finger pointing and demonizing other people and entities as untrustworthy, potentially evil. That kind internal rhetoric allows for all sorts of excuses and blame placing and personal slippage. Don't know. Maybe there's a middle ground.

Well, there's thoughts.


New battery charge control regulator design to safeguard the health of large battery banks. This is version 3. Of interest to those in the solar industry (it will include integrating an prioritizing multiple charge sources) or responsible for batteries charged from vehicle alternators (which may include some home brew systems). Some engine control features are included in the design.

It attempts to provide better sensing of battery state than presently available voltage-only "smart" chargers offer - thus providing the battery bank a full acceptance charge before switching to float. There is some history to the project, which began four years ago, available through the links on the main page. Assembled units may be available later 2017.

This post is  FYI. Questions and interest s/b directed to the designer/fabricator at his blog.


1 year ago
Here is a warning tale about battery maintenance. The fellow suffering this education has maintained his home (a boat) for years and while not a tech guru is more than competent in matters of build/setup/repair - including gathering info and reading instructions. It appears he was laid low by assumptions about how his battery charger performed and by a lack of very specific (and necessary) info about charging behavior of his batteries.!topic/liveaboardlist/kC-AURKsPN4

The moral of the story appears to be: Full, detailed and complete  info and understanding is _very_ important.

1) one must obtain specifics about the proper charging cycle and other maintenance needed by the exact batteries you will use

2) then examine in great and exacting detail the behavior of your charging system under all conceivable conditions

Mate #1 and #2.

Unfortunately, it appears such info can be hard to come by and most available products might not CYA right out of the box.


1 year ago
Have read several times over the past 20 years of people visiting Mexico to get MRI's at 1/10 the price. Weird situation. Don't know if it's still like that or not.

In the 90's and up 'til about 2010, I regularly read reports from boating people visiting below the border. Regarding medical, 95% reported excellent care, both routine and emergency. Haven't kept up since then.

Due diligence recommended, of course.

1 year ago
I wish I had solutions to promote a good product. And to boost your economy. But no direct expertise there. So I pass on my personal reaction to the page along w/a couple opinions about the buying public and hope that helps the process somehow. And hope it brings more gain than pain.  In order of impact:

1) the top pic (video frame) w/all the flames is dark, complex and hard to interpret at a glance and the critical text is doesn't jump out instantly. Too busy. It doesn't do as well as it should in the front center top position.

2 ) generally cluttered

3) long and winding

+ [M.Cox, about the word "cheap"]
I use it, you use. Too bad -  I don't think it belongs on the page _at all_. You have a great product. "Cheap" doesn't fit in this picture. Let viewers see that this is an opportunity to buy Quality and Important Valuable Technology and Wisdom which they can apply and use to help bring Quality into their own habitat and thus Progress Toward Their Dreams. This Wonderful Innovation _Can_ help YOU Luxuriate in Your own or future home. Now the exact language... Could be I'm not the one to provide that. <g>

A couple of stove porn pics would be good. Not many though - it's not a free gallery tour.

I don't feel it helps to skip around or go looking, neither for the prices or the "buy" button.

Another one of my first impressions was that I'd be more attracted to it (personally, haven't done a poll)  if there were a  _diagram_.  A nice, nifty 3 color illustration of the magical mystery wonder, w/little flow arrows and a few pithy call-outs, that shows to me a Smart Plan. Enough detail to catch the eye and imply interesting stuff. Guy's like to "understand", or rather, be "clear" about things so at least we think we understand. Illustrations do that, photos don't really. Illustrations also make it look clean neat and easy - like those old Westerns where they left out the bugs and the blood. Simple, clean, neat and effective = Looks Good.

I think what most people buy most of the time we buy w/a background wish to fill in our subliminal needs.   Maybe you don't want to feature pin-up girls, but do try to allow a few starting points for people to connect to your product w/their feelings. As irrational and silly as that may be. But smiling hunky guys & fine looking gals never hurt a sales pitch... <G>

Some specific thoughts follow. But really, a page needs to be created, tailored, by one person to create a good unified whole. This or that fix/change won't help much - it all has to hang together. These are really just some reactions which might help the thought process.

Lose the right side bar (as it is now, at least). Maybe put the stuff at the bottom in a sort of "related products" kind of thing. Maybe put a buy-button paragraph on the right which remains always on screen. Or just expand the main text. As it stands, the right sidebar doesn't help your sales pitch, it distracts.

The pic of the box w/the stack of discs looks good. Simple, colorful, forthright and appealing in a number of ways.

The collage not so much. Too detailed and cluttered. HOWEVER: You show real people in the pics. Why not take two or three of those people pictures, ideally ones w/relevant and impressive credentials, make it large enough to actually see, and caption it w/a glowing quote of some sort? Recommendations are as old as the sales pitch. No need for a pic, actually; but do provide _some_ info on the relation of the "speaker" to the RMH. Put these on a sidebar (left side is open, right side is traditional, I think) continuing down alongside the pitch so there's always a positive spin from a real person on screen next to your copy. Or not. I've seen stuff like that that seemed OK but then again, I'm not expert.

FWIW.  Rufus


You might try contacting golf courses, (large) parks - any entity which oversees or maintains a large space. Country clubs. Small vehicles are used extensively for real work (not recreational). They serve maintenance crews, foreman etc. Large construction sites also use them. Your city may also have them (in a slightly different form) for parking and traffic enforcement. Evanston, IL, uses a small fleet for park patrols during the summer. Northwestern University uses lots of them for campus maintenance. San Mateo Harbor District, CA, uses them daily for maintenance and patrol. And then, of course, there's farms and ranches...

W/luck you can talk w/people who use them daily and throughout and over several years. Good chance for meaningful opinions on reliability, comfort, usefulness, etc. 

Sitting and staring at screens... Merciless pitiless self destruction.

Anyway. I tried kneeling chairs. So so. My knees ended up hurting. My take is they're worth trying but you're going to have to be able to adjust it and quality (or plentiful) gel or foam  for both the butt and the knees will be necessary if it's going to work long term. This is an area where "bells & whistles" just might live up to their hype. Ie. added back rests, arm supports, easy pump-to-change heights, etc. Might look see if Lazy-Boy has anything.

As Steven above, adjustability is not optional because we're all different and even different from ourselves yesterday...

"Secretary chairs" are actually pretty good, but again gotta have adjustments. And try before you buy. If you find something that "works", pay for it - it's worth it.

At one time I did term papers in an old square well padded leather chair w/big flat arms that I placed a shelf board over. W/camel saddle for foot rest. But that was then, don't know how it'd do now.

Good luck. Be sure to share if you find anything wonderful. <g>

1 year ago
> opening the house...

I relate here my experience at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in Marin. By way of both a bad example and an example of what worked.

When I started at Green Gulch Farm in Marin long ago, I just walked in and asked where do I go/stay. Eventually I ended up w/floor space to crash, a knowledge of the eating schedule and a couple names to find (if possible) to get hooked up w/work. IOW, it was a laid back casual disjointed mess of 20-30 people all doing their own thing. Everybody was real nice but it seemed nobody actually organized anything, especially the noobs. There was a core of power (about 4-5 people) and a few Lutes but these people were always out of sight doing what they did. It was a chore to find a person who wasn't already busy, going somewhere _now_, or heading for the sack. IOW, noobs had a hard time finding _a_ place, much less _their_ place. The regular eating schedule and the mediation schedule kind of held the whole thing together. (Aside: In Budhist monasteries the boss is the Abbot and the #2 controlling the whole monastery is the head cook. They consider food, ie. what goes into them, that important.)

That was a mess, and nothing to boast about IMHO. I got on because I was uncouth enough to persist until I got what I wanted. However, there was a reason they could get away with this (well probably several...):

The "main buildings" where the kitchen and comforts were located had a couple rooms for rent; there were also two "cottages" (maybe three?) w/plumbing which were rented out. IIRC the rooms were nothing special, just clean w/a few Zen type chachkees (flumoxed the spell checker here <g> scattered about. These were popular enough and the rates high enough that it covered basic expenses. It was a little Inn w/in the farm - it "sold" Quiet and Nature and Quaint and Exotic.

Now, here is the point: These guests were never a part of the community at all. They practically did not exist. Just ghosts that we'd come across once in a while on a walking path or see distantly while working the farm. They were welcome to participate in any/all ways if they chose to step up but no effort was put forth to "make available" anything to them. On the contrary, because they inevitably slowed things down from the normal laid back leisurely pace to something to give a snail road rage. They basically existed in the midst of a working farm  and practicing monastery observing and soaking in atmosphere and immersing w/the crowd when they felt like it. And the corollary is that the "crowd" never infringed on the guests because the main buildings and the cottages were essentially off limits to all except the top honchos,  guests and "maids". Even though they were only about 30 yards from the dormitory and monks' rooms where the "real people" existed. This was physically functional because the dorm had basic plumbing facilities, the hoi-poloi got regular meals and a place to crash (keep the animals fed and quiet) and there was a set of coin laundry machines available (off the kitchen, I think); the laundry could be a bit of a bottleneck on Fridays and weekends.

Perhaps, IF the basic physical realities can be aligned, the use of the house as a small Inn could give the best match between usage, civilized behavior, quiet and privacy. It _would_ require that basic amenities be available elsewhere for the hoi-poloi; not knowing your physical details, can't say how much trouble that would be. Perhaps throwing up a bunkhouse laundry/shower would be worth it... Perhaps not. I think it might be best if there were only one serious kitchen in regular use, but again, don't know your detail situation. 

Philosophical aspects exceed this post. Market forces... I don't have a clue.  I relate the above to share an example of something vaguely similar to Wheaton Labs situation that worked quite well in all it's imperfection.