One Lost Week

One Lost Week

One Lost Week

Where Have I been?

So, where have I been for the last week or so?  Well, the story goes back to a post from last week: One Dead Motherboard, and continues from there. As I said in that article, I had a replacement system on order, and hoped to be back by weekend. One lost week later, and I am just recovering and getting back into the swing of things.

How Many Ways…

How many ways can things go wrong?  Well, let’s just say quite a few.  First, the new system that I ordered on Tuesday evening didn’t arrive until Friday.  Late Friday.  Late enough that when I looked at it and realized I needed an adapter cable for the video card, the local store that I could go to was no longer open.

Saturday, after returning from the store, I found that I had a notice in my mailbox.  I found a notice in my mail.  I needed to be ready for a property inspection.  Not in a week, but in 2.5 days.  Guess what that meant?  I spent the next 2.5 days preparing for an inspection. (And even that inspection didn’t go as planned…)

Oh, and if all of this wasn’t enough, I had some work things get in the way. (That is, since I had to maintain a work-readiness state 24hrs a day, I was restricted in some of the things that I could do.)

So, after completing the inspection on Tuesday, I finally got to sit down and work on putting my new system together.  Oh yes, it wasn’t as simple as plugging the new machine in and turning it on.  I had plans to re-use parts of the old machine that were okay in the new system.  And that started a new problem: the new system didn’t have enough power connectors to allow connecting all the drives from the old machine.

To make what could be a potentially long, detailed and very geeky story a lot shorter, the end result is:

  • The video isn’t configured the way I want it.
  • I still don’t have a CD/DVD drive (because of the power issue).
  • There are some things that aren’t configured the way I want them.

But, the good part is I have a working system.  I haven’t lost anything from the death of my old system.  This means that I can get back into a working state in the next few days.

The Plan

So the way things stand right now, here’s what I am planning:

Finish The Configuration

I can’t get everything immediately, but at least I can clean up some things on the system, and have it in a working state.  I’m still wrangling a few details, but I think I can finish them tonight.

The CerebralMix Shows

I did record the show last weekend, and I will record the show this weekend (in fact, because of some testing I did last week, I think I have stream-lined yet another part of this process).

Next week I will release both episodes.  Probably on Tuesday and Thursday, unless something goes really wrong in the post-production process (which I don’t foresee since I’ve managed to streamline that portion pretty well).

Writing

I’ve been listening to a lot of new music over the last week.  So, setting up a new review queue shouldn’t be an issue.  Sorry if you’ve submitted stuff only to see no reviews coming out in the last week.  I know I have at least five releases I’m ready to review, and there are at least three submissions I haven’t gotten to yet.

Getting back to eCigarette / Vaping and Bitcoin articles may take a bit longer.  There was some big Vaping news the other day, and I want to take some time to research it.  I might be writing up a couple of other things as stop-gap articles before that.

I don’t know what to write about Bitcoin / Cryptocurrencies. I was basically falling behind on the news there for a while, and this incident has only put me more behind on the current state of things.  I’ll look around and see if I can find something interesting (from my perspective) to comment on.

The Takeaway

So, what do I take away from this whole experience?  Well, it’s kind of difficult to have a single take away…  There wasn’t a whole lot I couldn’t do, even despite my losing a machine.  It was more of a collision of circumstances that left me in a position where I couldn’t do as much as I wanted.

There are ways to deal with some of these issues.  In fact, there is one that I have been working on for a few months that I think needs to get re-prioritized to happen more quickly. So, that’s kind of a hint to be on the look out for something to be changing on this side.

I think the one thing that I could take-away from this is the need to make my environment less system dependent.  Having a machine failure shouldn’t have been a roadblock to working on at least some articles for the site.  And, truthfully it really wasn’t, it was more the way circumstances piled up on each other (work, inspection, lost machine).

Basically, this wasn’t a situation I could have avoided.  There are only so many things you can plan for, but there are a lot of things that you can’t plan for.  If I’d had a house fire, I know I could recover.  It might take a while, but I could do it.  Same thing if I was injured, I could recover my work, but there would be a delay.

So, sometimes, you just have to make the best of the situation(s) life hands you.

Vapin’ Old School With The Lavatube

Introduction

Vapin' Old School With The Lavatube

Vapin’ Old School With The Lavatube

I came into vaping a bit later than some people, like Grimm Green.  He’s been at it for five years (or more) now, whereas I’ve only been involved for a little over two years.  As a result, I’ve skipped a number of mods that might be considered classics.  Well, I decided to correct that, at least partially, and do some vapin’ old school with the Lavatube.

(Apologies for the quality of these photos.  I’m working with my cell phone until I can get something better…)

The Lavatube

If you haven’t heard of the Lavatube from Volcano then you have missed one of the all-time classic mods.  Along with the Bolt, the Lavatube was one of the first that moved beyond an eGo style system and started using 18500 and 18650 batteries.  Also, the Lavatube was notably one of the early variable voltage mods (I believe the Provari and Sigelei mods also came out around the same time, but do not know the exact dates).

However, as variable wattage devices started coming out, and with the push by some vapers into rebuildable atomizers, sub-ohm vaping, and mechanical mods, the Lavatube and Bolt were somewhat left behind.  That was until last year when Volcano introduced the Lavatube 2.0, and eventually the Lavatube 2.5.

Vapin’ Old School – Well Kinda

It’s funny, sometimes I have nostalgia for things that I’ve never had or done before.  And this was the case with the Lavatube.  When I saw them recently on the Volcano website, I decided that I should have one in my collection.  And, well, while one would be cool, three would be even better, right?  And since I hadn’t been making any major hardware purchases for a while (just one or two mech mod clones, nothing spectacular) I decided I could splurge a little bit.

So, now I am sitting here with three Lavatubes, just because I felt like filling in some of the gaps in my collection.  Only, this really isn’t the old school style Lavatube, as the 2.5 version has a few features that the original didn’t have.

For example, you can now switch between Average Voltage and vRMS settings.  Typically the device (and most other regulated devices like the MVP and SiD) use vRMS as it will ensure to not over-power the coil you have attached to the unit.  The Average Voltage setting is generally marked by a slightly hotter, more intense vape due to the coil being supplied more power.  The Lavatube manual specifically recommends using the vRMS setting, unless you are an advanced vapor.

The original Lavatube was a variable voltage device.  With the introduction of the Lavatube 2.5 they have made it into both a variable voltage, and variable wattage device.  You switch between the two modes by holding down the + or – buttons for about 20 seconds.

The body style has been changed, it’s now just a flat-top device with no tapering at the top around the connector.  The body now sports a dimpled texture, and etched in logo.  The firing button is recessed, which makes it easy to locate it even in the dark.  The threading has been been polished even finer than the previous versions of the Lavatube.

Overall Impressions

I’m definitely impressed with this device from a machining and build standpoint.  Little things like the extra polishing of the threads makes for a really nice feel for the device when replacing a battery.  Also, the threading is nicely laid out, such that when you screw the two pieces of the unit together, the logo always lines up in the same place (seems like a small detail, but these days attention to these kinds of details isn’t lost).  The buttons are anchored so their orientation doesn’t change as you use the device.  The buttons are firm and clicky.

And there are a lot of other little details that are quite nice and enjoyable about this device.  In fact, I almost wish I could stop now because all the things they got right with the device are impressive.  But, unfortunately, there are things that just aren’t so great, and they cannot be ignored.

The first is the body style change.  I mentioned that the top used to be tapered, will that’s because it was actually a drip-cup cap.  There was a little well around the connect where any over-flowed, or spilled juice would collect, instead of running down the side.  That’s something that shouldn’t have been removed from the device, IMO.

The performance of the device overall is just average.  I can’t really differentiate it from my MVP or the SiD.  It’s not a bad thing that it performs as well as those devices, however with such a long head start on these other companies I really expected something more from a newer device (especially at the price Volcano wants for it).  However, I have admittedly not messed around with the Average Voltage setting yet, so maybe that is something that will blow my socks off.  I’ll post an update when I try it…but for now…

The reason I haven’t tried the Average Voltage setting yet is because of the single biggest problem I’ve encountered with the Lavatube 2.5: air flow.  When I got the device, I immediately tried to screw my ProTank 2 onto it as it’s my daily use tank (and basically my favorite tank).  As soon as I did, and I tried to take a hit I got – nothing.  No vapor, no air flow.  In fact, I tried a couple of times and sucked so hard once, I accidentally got a mouthful of eJuice.

So, I did some searching, and found that this is actually a problem with the connector on the Lavatube.  Basically, many the way the 510 connector is threaded blocks the air-flow holes on the base of the ProTank when it is screwed down.  The best solution for this is to get an airflow base for the ProTank (like the base for the Aero tank, or the ProTank 3).

I went over to my local vape shop, but they didn’t have the Aero tank, or replacement bases in stock for it.  So, it looks like I will have to order it.  But, while I was at the shop I did find they had the iClear 30B in stock, which I had wanted to try anyway.  So I got the iClear 30B and tried it on the Lavatube.  With a little fiddling I was able to get it work, however the draw was still fairly stiff in comparison to using it on the MVP, SiD and even some mechanical mods.

In Summary

That’s pretty much where I’ve left things at this point.  I have the Lavatube, but it doesn’t perform all that well with the standard tanks that I have at my disposal.  I could probably break out an old Nova, or something similar, but I don’t really use those tanks anymore so it wouldn’t be a fair test: it wouldn’t taste or vape the same as my daily setup.

Which is really a shame.  I like a lot of other things about the Lavatube, especially all the detail given to the machining and fit of the device.  I had reservations initially about it’s size, it’s easy larger than the SiD and all my other mechanical mods.  But, I found it comfortable to hold, and easy to find the controls on.

I want to try the average voltage setting, but without a tank that I can give a thorough test in vRMS mode first, it seems kind of pointless to try it.

Gap between the Lavatube and the iClear 30B

Gap between the Lavatube and the iClear 30B

Also, one other thing I noted about the Lavatube that I don’t particularly like: the 510 connector sticks out a bit above the top of the device.  This means that anything you are going to connect to it is going to have a bit of a gap between the bottom of the tank, and the top of the Lavatube.  Not exactly the kind of look that I like.  I prefer it when things can flush mount properly.

I guess all-in-all, I wouldn’t recommend the Lavatube.  There are devices that function as well as it, and at a lower price point, like the MVP.  But, maybe that will change when I get a device that will have better airflow on it.

 

 

A Rant About Common Sense Vaping

Introduction

A Rant About Common Sense Vaping - Image by lzord from Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Image by lzord from Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

I’m working on some articles that require a bit more research before I can sit down and start writing.  Because of the amount of research required I am actively scanning literally hundreds of news sites for stories about e-Cigarettes and Vaping on a daily basis. There are several topics that have come up in these stories that annoy me every bit as much as the distortions and lies the media tells.  So, I’ve decided that a rant about common sense vaping is in order.

This is a rant about two specific topics: handling / storing e-Liquids, and handling batteries safely.  These are two topics that are extremely important for all vaper’s.

Battery Safety

First up is battery safety.  I read a couple of stories recently about batteries “exploding” or “catching fire”.  One such article was this: Fire service warn against leaving e-cigarettes on charge after several devices explode.

Now, I get it that accidents happen.  But this article documents three incidents within a single month, in the same region.  Of course, even then it could still just be a coincidence, right? I was thinking that at first, until I read this part and got extremely annoyed:

One fire crew was called to a property in Conway Grove, Cheadle, at 7.00pm on March 29, where the residents had left their device charging for nine hours.

NINE HOURS? NINE HOURS!!

If these were cig-a-like batteries, they should have charged in under three hours (typically two hours).  If they were 18350’s it would also likely have been a maximum of three hours.  18500’s typically take three to four hours, and 18650’s typically need four to five hours (although I’ve had one take close to six hours).  So how in the world did someone leave their battery on a charger for nine hours???

I can only think of two scenarios that could answer this.  The first is ignorance.  The person charging the battery was not aware that they needed to watch how long it took to charge the battery, and not leave it on longer than required to charge it.  Now, it could be argued that if that person got their battery from a store that didn’t explain how to properly explain how to handle it that it wasn’t their fault.  Or they could have gone to a website and bought it without any instructions on how to handle the battery.

But, I call BS on both of those excuses. The long and short is, these are technologies that aren’t like our cell phones.  They don’t have all the safety bells and whistles that a phone or other electronic device has.  And, especially if you are using a larger mod (like a SiD or ProVari), or a mech mod, it is on the owner of the device to know and understand what they are doing, and how to properly handle their equipment.  There are tons of resources all over the internet for this equipment.  There is no excuse to not go out and make certain that you have all the knowledge necessary to handle them properly.

The other scenario that explains the nine hours is: a faulty battery or faulty charger.  But again, this comes into the situation where you have to know the equipment, and make certain you are handling it safely.

It’s been noted many times over that one of the sure signs of a battery dying is if it takes longer to charge than it has previously.  At first you might not notice it.  But by the time you have it on the charger for an additional 20-30 minutes beyond the normal charge time, it is time to start suspecting you have a bad battery.  If several of your batteries are taking longer than they had previous taken to charge, you might suspect that your charger is having issues.

Basically all three of these things should set off alarm bells or fireworks for a vaper.  Yes, it is possible to have an isolated incident, but if an isolated incident starts becoming a trend, then it needs to be investigated.

Nicotine Is Still A Poison

Despite emerging research that we may not have properly judge lethal dosages of nicotine in the past, there has been nothing that really refutes that it is a poison.  More than that, there are other side affects of nicotine such as raising your heart rate, blood pressure and metabolism.  (Simple Nicotine and Scientific / Chemistry entries from Wikipedia).

Now, most of the news media has talked about their being more calls to poison control centers regarding nicotine fluids.  And the media has greatly mis-represented the amount of nicotine that most e-Liquids contain (which are typically about the same levels of nicotine found in various brands / strengths of tobacco cigarettes).

However, there are reported cases of children being exposed to nicotine fluids.  Here is one of them: Child poisoned by ingesting liquid nicotine. Now, despite the stupidity of Lee Cantrell’s statement, the spin of the story by the reporter is correct, at least in part:

It is important for parents to be conscious of where they leave their liquid nicotine…

This is not the responsibility of manufacturers.  It is not the responsibility of retailers.  It is the responsibility of parents, guardians, siblings, or anyone that is around children.

If you were a smoker, would you have ever left your cigarettes where you kids could get to them?  If you did leave them out in the open, and did it knowing that a child could have access to it you were not using common sense.  You were not taking your responsibility seriously.

If you had drugs or medication around, did you leave laying about in non-childproof containers?  Did you leave it where children could have access to it?  Did you do this knowingly?  If you did, you were not taking your responsibility seriously.

If you have household cleaning supplies that have poison(s) in them, or are known to be poisonous, did you leave them someplace where children could get to them?  Again, if you did so, and did it knowingly you were not being a responsible parent and/or guardian.

e-Liquids are no different from any of these substances.  It is a poison.  It is serious fluid.  It needs to be stored where children cannot get to it.  It needs to be stored in childproof containers.  If necessary, you may have to lock it up someplace. Would you leave a loaded gun out in the open, or would you put it in a locked cabinet?  I sure as hell hope you would lock it up – there have been documented cases of children picking up guns and accidentally shooting others.

A Rant About Common Sense Vaping

Okay, that pretty much wraps up my rant.  I just get angry when I read things that really fall into the range of common sense that people seem to be ignoring.  Despite the convenience and improvements that many of us are experiencing using e-Cigaettes and Vaping devices we have to have respect for them.  We have to make certain that we have the knowledge, and take the safety precautions necessary with them.

So, for the tl;dr types, here’s the summary:

  • Know how long to charge a battery
  • If you notice it taking longer than before, you need to check out the charger and battery, likely one of them is failing
  • e-Liquids are poisons, no matter the emerging research
  • e-Liquids should be treated the same as tobacco cigarettes, medicines, cleaning solutions and weapons
  • e-Liquids should be stored in places where children will not have access to them.
  • If all else fails, you may need to lock up your e-Liquids to keep them away from kids

Now, don’t make me write about common sense stuff like this again.  If you didn’t like this article, I didn’t like writing it ten times more than you didn’t like reading it.  I feel like the Hulk: don’t make me rant, you won’t like me when I rant.