Archive | Preparedness

Swiss Army Cybertool. It does it all

This Swiss Army Cybertool has just about everything you might need in a compact package, including removable screw and nut adapters and a long handle for getting at computer parts, along with Philips and traditional screwdrivers. The adapters snap into place on the long handle, which locks firmly for better stability and ease of use. There are four drivers, each with two uses. Three of them fold away and the fourth remains on the long tool. It also has pliers and scissors. The corkscrew has a little eyeglass screwdriver contained within it which unscrews easily for use. There are also two blades, toothpick, tweezers, and a long rod for flipping computer DIP switches.

Swiss Army knifes are gems of design and engineering, oft-imitated, but no one else really comes close. The Swiss Army Cybertool comes in several configurations, was designed for working on computers – and most anything else too. It just replaced several pocket tools that I’d been carrying.

Posted in Preparedness

Straw bale gardens. No soil is neccessary

Not only are straw bale gardens raised – and thus easier to weed and tend to – absolutely no soil is needed. The garden is created completely from straw bales. This is perfect for urban areas or anyplace with low grade or hard to till dirt.

Resilient Communities has more.

Posted in News, Preparedness

ReVIVE Solar power battery pack review

The ReVIVE solar power charger is highly portable and easy to use. I’ve tested it and can charge an iPhone twice with it on a full charge. If you charge it by solar only, it has a 50% charge, which is enough for one iPhone charge. With the extra two panels, it’ll charge in 2 hours which means, given enough sunlight, your cell phone will always be charged. This could prove crucial in emergencies.

The photo shows the charger unit with two extra solar panels. Everything easily snaps into place and it folds up neatly to about the size of a paperback. Total cost is $85 from Amazon.

ReVive solar power batter charger

Two additional panels

Posted in Preparedness, Solar power

Swiss Army Knife Rescue Tool

The Swiss Army Knife Rescue Tool has a specially designed blade for cutting off the rubber fitting that holds windshields in place, a tip on the end that breaks windshield glass in one blow, a saw to cut through windshields, a curved blunt edged blade for cutting seat belts without endangering the passenger, and more.

It is bright yellow, glows in the dark, comes with a pouch, and is designed to used while wearing gloves. Blades can be opened with one hand and are locking. There is also a bottle / can opener and screwdrivers that can take serious abuse. All in all, the Swiss Army Knife Rescue Tool is an amazing rescue tool.


Posted in Preparedness

Eneloop batteries, the best rechargeable batteries

Eneloop charger, 15 AA and 4 AAA batteries, 2 C and D spacers. $39.99 from Amazon,

Sanyo Eneloop batteries are probably the best rechargeable batteries on the market. They keep their charge literally for years, come precharged, and have up to 1800 life cycles. They are available in AA and AA sizes. However, you can put an AA inside their C and D adapters.

Eneloop C adapter for AA battery

Cool Tools

No doubt, the best batteries I’ve used are Sanyo’s Eneloop cells. They’re NiMH but the self-discharge problem is pretty well licked, and Sanyo are the ones who solved the problem.

Eneloops are still the best, but there are more makers now of LSD (Low Self-Discharge) NiMH cells. Usually marketed as “ready to use”, their initial charge should still be available at time of purchase.

The Sanyo EneLoop rechargeable battery could possibly be the best rechargeable battery on the market at any price. When you use the AA Sanyo EneLoop batteries and the C & D cell adapters you can convert the AA batteries into C & D cell sizes. One great feature of the EneLoop is the slow discharge. That means you can charge them once and leave them in the drawer and months later they are still usable.

Posted in Preparedness

Solar power battery pack with USB for emergencies

ReVIVE Solar power battery pack with one solar panel

Add-on solar panels

The ReVIVE solar power battery pack has a 4000 mAh battery, universal USB charging port, suction mounts for windows, charges at a max rate of 2.1 amps, and has a flashlight. It will keep most smart phones and portable devices functioning, if not fully charged.

The ReVIVE charging unit is about the size of an iPhone. It charges to 50% on solar alone in six hours, which is enough power to charge a smart phone at least partly, and can be fully charged via USB or AC. It can not be charging while being charged. Active charging is a feature on much more expensive solar chargers.

For $24.99 more, you get two additional solar panels, thus tripling the charging speed. As long as there is sun, you can charge a smart phone or tablet. Mobile devices are an integral part of most of our lives now. A solar charger means you pretty much can have power anywhere, anytime, with a little planning. If there’s a prolonged power outage, it could become invaluable, assuming there is at least some steady sunshine.

A solar power battery pack belongs in every emergency kit and this ReVIVE model is inexpensive and highly portable.

Posted in Preparedness

Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Pro

The Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Pro is rugged, with 6,000 mAh capacity, and up to 2.1 amp charging, with enough juice to charge iPads, smart phones, and mobile devices multiple times.

We all saw the photos of Recharge zombies walking around Manhattan after Hurricane Sandy, looking for places to charge their phones and laptops. Mobile devices are now part of everyday life. When the electricity goes out, everything stops. Portable chargers can help during blackouts whether you’re at South by Southwest where everyone is using mobile devices and draining batteries fast, at outdoor concerts, at home, or during a disaster like Sandy. Many places in Sandy-affected area were offering free charging. With a power pack, you can store enough juice to keep a smartphone going for days.

The Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Pro is highly portable with ample of power. Power – don’t leave home without it. And don’t forget the ABCs, Always be Charging!

Posted in Preparedness

Hand crank radio with solar power, USB charger

The Ambient Weather hand crank emergency radio can also be powered by AC, DC, USB, and solar power. It has AM / FM / Weather radio, a smart phone and portable device charger, 3 LED flashlight, and a 3.7V/800 mAh lithium ion battery. When the power has gone out this device will always work and charge other devices as long as you can crank the handle.

Listen to musician David Byrne, who lives in Manhattan. I bet lots of folks there wish they had a a device like this solar hand-crank generator. From his listserv yesterday:

It was a weird week. Uptown and in Brooklyn, and in many other places somewhat more remote, life went on as normal. I know, because I visited those countries and saw this with my own eyes. What was weird was that these other countries are so close—thousands of Recharge zombies would trek over the Williamsburg Bridge or up the avenues to visit friends who lived there with power, or they’d huddle around in a bank lobby or coffee shop with outlets… and a flushing toilet.

We have an old school hand-crank emergency radio. It’ll play the radio for 30 minutes with a few minutes of cranking. When the Northridge quake hit in Los Angeles and the power was out, I had to listen to the radio in the car for news. With a hand crank emergency radio, you can listen to radio anywhere, always – and charge your phone too. A hank crank radio is definitely a preparedness tool that should be in all homes.

(This is the first in a series of posts on preparedness inspired by John Robb’s Resilient Communities. I’ll be featuring useful gadgets, gear, food and water storage ideas, and more. Feel free to jump in with ideas.)

Posted in Preparedness


Morris Consulting


  • Legacy PC database migration to Windows. We convert your dinosaur app to a modern platform.
  • WordPress design and support. Business sites, blogs and ecommerce.
  • Data conversion