Sunday, 21 December 2008

Sunday ramble

It’s been a busy week, keeping up with the Christmas demand for local books, with 120 titles in print and manufacturing them as I go it gets a bit complicated.

Internet wise Christopher Scott’s book The Ripper in Ramsgate has sold better than any of the others, I hadn’t considered the international demand from Jack the Ripper collectors.

Shop wise the most demand has been for two quite old titles, Dave Richards book Ramsgate August 1940 and John Huddlestone’s 400 Facts and Curiosities About Ramsgate, I think that price is a major factor here as they are £3.99 and £2.99 respectively.

As far as general shop sales go we are having a fairly good December, the recession means that I can buy better quality books cheaper than usual and I don’t have to engage in all the discounting that is going on at the moment, as our prices are still lower than the other bookshops in the area.

I went and had a quick look at Westwood Cross on Thursday it really is a parking and traffic nightmare and it’s difficult to see an obvious solution, even if the roads were improved considerably there are far too few parking spaces. Perhaps by charging for the parking there at a variable rate to help even out peak times, combined with a scheme where retailers could refund parking charges when one purchased something could help.

It certainly looks like it needs some sort of scheme to maximise the sales there, within the restraints of an inadequate infrastructure.

The share price of Commercial Group Properties the company behind China Gateway has fallen from £2.10 a year ago to 20p now, so it seems unlikely that anything will happen there for a while. The whole thing has always struck me as decidedly odd as the experts consulted produced a drainage plan that they must have known from the outset would be wholly unacceptable, both to Southern Water and the Environment Agency. I do wonder sometimes whether they ever intended to build anything and I still can’t see that there is any way that they could deal with the surface runoff water in a way that will be acceptable.

I wonder what has happened to the work on the cliff façade behind the Pleasurama site that was due to start this December, perhaps the half a million of our money put aside for the repairs has run out, or they have encountered some other difficulty.

It is of course the same architect as the one used for China Gateway, again with no explanation as to how plans that defy the laws of nature could actually be built.

My in house expert has reconditioned my colour laser printer, which was getting a bit stripy, this means that I can put together a booklet of the 1849 map of Ramsgate click here to look at it, the intention being that people can cut the sections out and stick them on the wall or get them framed.

Laser printing doesn’t fade like inkjet, and as the original is paper sections pasted onto linen, the assembled reprint will look pretty much identical.

One of our old Dell computers died of leaky electrolytic capacitors this week and my in house expert seemed very dubious at my suggestion that soldering replacement capacitors onto the mother board would be a better bet, both financially and environmentally, than replacing the whole board. Frankly he seemed amazed when the computer booted up again with no problems. These capacitors are a bit like batteries that only hold their charge for a fraction of a second and are used in all electronic equipment.

It’s strange really you could see these capacitors were no good because they had swollen up, so no technical expertise was needed apart from the ability to use a soldering iron, obviously it is also necessary to wear an antistatic bracelet. As they only cost a few pence there is nothing much to lose if the cure doesn’t work either.

It’s an odd reflection on today’s throw away society, a few years ago had it been a radio the option of replacement rather than repair would probably never have been considered.

My new website still won’t show the latest comments on some of the local blogs although I don’t know why yet I promise to try and get it right in the end.


  1. mike, can't see the airport on here?

    from the way some people talk i thought manston was here before all else........

  2. Rather a late reply ...

    The commercial electrolytics tend to be rated at about 85'C, but you often find that the "design life" may only be around 2000 hours at that temperature, with the life-span roughly doubling for each 10'C below the max temp rating. So for a hot enclosure the life-span may not be as high as you might expect. At 45'C, you might only get 3.5 years (2000 * 2^4 hours)constant use.

    If you need the Electrolytics to have a long life (such as in equipment that needs a long mean time between failure), then one option is to go for a high temperature rated component: mil-spec electrolytics are often rated at 105'C or 125'C. At 45'C they will probably last longer than the equipment they are used in.

  3. Gerald I am afraid this was not a very technical repair and involved digging through a heap of old circuit boards at the back of the workshop until I came across one with capacitors of about the same value. Robbing the old board and that was it really, I assume the capacitors are for DC decoupling so the values weren’t that important as the computer now works OK it was either something like that or luck.


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