Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Razor A Kick Scooter / Barbie Scooter review

I bought my four-year-old son a Razor A Kick Scooter and my six-year-old daughter a Barbie Scooter from Target. I bought the scooters in hopes of having something more portable than a bike and also in hopes of improving my daughter's balance since she wants to learn to ride a bike without training wheels.

My children both picked up how to ride them in a few days and were fairly proficient in a week (although they cannot use the brake). There were a few spills along the way. Nothing serious though. They always ride with helmets and I've ordered them knee and elbow pads.

I think for 4 - 6 year olds, I would suggest the Barbie scooter or the Hot Wheels scooter. The brake is easier to work and it seems easier for them to balance at first. The Barbie scooter is heavier than the Razor.

  • Low learning curve
  • Compact
  • If my son gets tired and refuses to ride his scooter home, I can put him (and the scooter) in the wagon. (Try that with a bike.)
  • Fun. I tried out the scooter and had a blast. (I'm not the biggest bike fan.) My husband and I have ordered Razor Pro scooters for ourselves.
  • Razor A - it was defective out of the box, the mechanism to fold and unfold the scooter would bind. I eventually called Razor who told me to take it back to the store. The new one works great.
  • If you hit a high crack in the sidewalk, you might go flying. So far, hasn't been much of an issue for my kids, they don't go fast enough to really biff it.
  • Razor A - isn't comfortable for a larger adult. I can ride it (5'8") ok, but it is a little short. I could make do, but my husband who is taller and heavier can't ride it. (Hence the purchase of the Razor Pro which has taller handle bars and a higher weight limit.)
I'm happy with my purchase so far. My children seem to have learned balance and my daughter is doing much better on her bike.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New cell number

Just to let my friends know, I have a new cell phone number. For obvious reasons, I'm not posting it here :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wooden take-along train box finished

The wooden carry-along train box I've been making for my son is finally finished:

It measures 10.25" wide, 11.25" long, and 3" tall. The back of the box folds down completely, so there is plenty of room to drive trains. The outer track circle has a diameter of 9.25" and the inner circle has a diameter of 7.7". The tracks are 3/8" wide. It also has a train shed and 2 "tunnels". This box fits the medium sized take-a-long Thomas the Train die cast trains.

I still need to fill in a few nail holes and spray shellac over the whole thing, but it is done. I gave it to my son since his birthday was yesterday. I figure I'll get it back from him in a few days and finish it up.

Making the box was a lot of work for me, but I think someone who knew what they were doing could do it a lot faster :)

If anyone else wants to try this:
  • Keep weight in mind. I was trying to make this light so my 4-year-old son could carry it. He can, but probably not on long journeys.
  • I used 3/8" pine to make it lighter. My life would have been much easier if I had used 1/2" pine.
  • Make sure your hinges will fold up to 90 degrees. The ones I bought wouldn't, so I had to install them backwards.
  • The outer circle has a diameter of 9.25" and the inner circle has a diameter of 7.7". The tracks are 3/8" wide. This will fit Thomas / Percy, but not Arthur.
  • Test your circle jig before you cut with it. My tracks ended up almost too deep because I forgot to test my jig.
  • Having the box slightly wider would have been nice and left more room for error. However, I wasn't going to join another piece of wood just to get an extra 1".
  • This idea could also be used for hot wheels cars, but be careful about track depth. They won't work on the one I built because I had to make the tracks too deep.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

how to convert a mythtv recording to an mp3

I wanted to rip the audio of several tv programs I had recorded with mythtv. Here's what I did
  1. Find out the file name of the recording I wanted. Mythtv names its files based on date and time.
  2. run mplayer to convert the file to wav: mplayer -ao pcm:file=thomas_weather.wav -vo null 1111_20080222143000.mpg This takes the file 1111_20080222143000.mpg and uses it to create a wav file named thomas_colors.wav
  3. run lame to comvert the file to an mp3: lame -h thomas_weather.wav thomas_weather.mp3 . This uses lame to take the .wav file and create an mp3 file
other searches: mythtv rip audio, mythtv extract audio