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What the build dates on Lionel trains mean

Here’s a question that comes up from time to time on train forums. What do the build dates on Lionel trains mean? In the Lionel postwar era, not a lot. At least not if you’re looking to figure out the actual age of the model.

The build dates on Lionel postwar trains, and largely for MPC-era trains as well, indicate when the model was first released, not when the example you hold in your hands was built.

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Rebuild an XLSX file in Python

I ran into a compatibility issue with the formatting in an Excel file. When I tried to open the file in a Python program using Pandas, as one does, I got the following error: ValueError: Colors must be aRGB hex values.

Very old versions of xlrd (version 1.2.0) can get around the color problem and open the file anyway, but Pandas requires version 2.0.1 or newer. I got around the problem by using an old xlrd to open the file and rebuild the file with a current version of xlsxwriter so Pandas could open the resulting file.

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Are Ecosmart light bulbs good? My experience

I’ve been buying Ecosmart light bulbs at Home Depot since the summer of 2015. Ecosmart is Home Depot’s house brand. At the time I started buying them, they seemed like good bulbs for the money. The last time I bought bulbs, they had pretty much crowded everything else off the shelf. So let’s talk about Ecosmart light bulbs and whether they are any good.

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Amiga 500 motherboard revisions

There were four major revisions of the Amiga 500 motherboard released, and that matters if you are trying to upgrade them. Fortunately, if you know what to look for, you can quickly distinguish between all four, and you can even identify them without opening the case. Although it is certainly easier to identify them if you can see the entire board.

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Update Windows without rebooting

Of course, saying you can update Windows without rebooting is a bit of a misnomer. Some updates don’t require a reboot, but with the ones that do, there isn’t really any getting around it. You can delay the reboot, but if you never get around to rebooting, you have a partially applied update indefinitely.

But here’s how I used to use delayed reboots to help me get more done in my maintenance window.

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Twitter vs Mastodon

Twitter’s instability over the course of 2022 caused an unprecedented number of people to seek alternatives. The alternative that appears to be the most viable is Mastodon, an open source social network with some clear similarities, but also notable differences. So let’s look at Twitter vs Mastodon, and I will provide some tips as someone who has started the migration.

Millions of people migrated to Mastodon in November 2022, a migration that rivaled the migration from Digg to Reddit in 2010. And much like how Reddit was like Digg in some ways but not others, Mastodon is like Twitter on the surface but has some differences that can be confusing at first.

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Set up a Marx train set

If you’ve lost the original instructions, it’s certainly not obvious how to connect a Marx transformer to track and otherwise set up a Marx train set. Especially if someone else always set it up. But don’t be intimidated. It’s low voltage wiring. And it can be as few as two connections. Here’s how to set up a vintage Louis Marx electric train set.

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Intellivision launch titles

When looking at the contrast between the Atari 2600 and Colecovision launch titles, Mattel’s initial lineup of four Intellivision launch titles gives some insight into their thinking. Since they had to build a new market, they produced a mix of two traditional games, an action/combat video game, and an educational title in an effort to appeal to a fairly broad audience. Not to mention each title competed directly with a title in Atari’s library.

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The white walnut: Butternut

Walnut is an expensive hardwood, desirable for its durability, attractive green pattern, and rich color. But it has a relative that is well known for being less expensive while having a similar appearance. It’s called butternut, also known as the white walnut or the poor man’s walnut.

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