XL Geek Squeak Of The Week – Snow
Snow is an annual acquaintance to anyone who lives here in Montana. Along with the snow comes cold, ice, and early nights. There is nothing we can do to prevent the snow from falling, but we can fight back with a little ingenuity and a few awesome gadgets!
I thought this would be a great topic to hit on as we are experiencing our first winter storm of the year. The only thing that could make posting this any more fitting is if I had "Let It Snow" playing while I enjoyed some hot cocoa. Actually, that sounds quite wonderful so if you don't mind, I'll be back in about...oh let's say an hour...
...so where were we? Awe, yes the glorious Montana snow and the gadgets to help us survive this winter.
Cars - Something that has helped me over the years (thanks to my thoughtful Mom) is a mitten scraper for my car. I would highly recommend this little tool. While you may look like some strange serial killer wearing it, your hand will thank you as it stays warm and dry amongst the plush interior of the mitten. Sold anywhere Mom's are shopping.
Cell Phones (and gadgets) - Did you know that when your phone gets cold it uses up more energy? I learned this from a random guy one bitter cold night as we both waited in line outside of a Target in hopes of getting our hands on a Nintendo Wii (even though I caught a cold that night, I got my well deserved Wii) To put it simply, electronics are constantly maintaining a current to stay powered, and when the temperature decreases, the device is forced to use more energy to maintain that current and the battery runs out faster. (I'm pretty sure that's what he told me.)
The best solution is to turn your phone/gadget off if it is to be left in a cold environment, and then warm it up before turning it on. If skiing or snowboarding with a music player, I would recommend putting it in a pocket that isn't open to the cold and maybe even wrapping the device in a thick cloth for extra insulation to ensure you have tunes for the entire day on the mountain.
Another interesting find that I read about at Userbytes.com is that just like your glasses fog and collect moisture going from a cold temperature to a warm temperature, your laptop, ipods, and cell phones do as well. This could lead water damage of the interior of your device.
The best solution for this is to turn the device off while it is cold, and not turn it on until it is warmed up and dry of any condensation.
Shoveling - According to the Bozeman Municipal Code "Residential sidewalks must be cleared of snow and ice within 24 hours of any accumulation." And it's even more strict for business and sidewalks in business areas. To be sure you are compliant with the BMC, here are a few solutions.
Cub Cadet Snow Thrower - So you will be done removing the snow before the coffee is finished brewing. But maybe a little expensive for your typical driveway.
Garant 18" Poly Snow Shovel w/Ergo Handle - With the giant ergo handle you can push with two hands and the metal scooper will allow you to remove all that nasty ice. Available at Ace retailers and slightly more friendly on the wallet.
FUN - And to end on a more Techy note, I introduce the Garmin Black Forerunner 110. There are tons of watches like this out there and this $199 version does just about everything you could need. It has built in tech that once uploaded to your pc/mac you can review the distance you ran, your pace, and even see a map of where you travelled. What's this have to do with the winter? Well, with this watch you can track each and every run you make on the mountain. You don't even have to be wearing it, you can just throw it in your pocket or in a backpack and by the end of the day, your friends will finally believe you that you hiked the ridge 6 times in one day.