Category Archives: Blog

Blog

Fixing Your Own Appliances

I am a HUGE advocate for buying appliances that are easy to maintain, without computer chips and boards, and that have an abundance of readily available spare parts.

I have a washer dryer combo I purchased in 2003 which is still going strong.  In 16 years I have only changed the pump on the washer (about $20) and replaced the belt on the dryer as far as general wear and tear goes.   When I moved back from Japan the movers crushed the top of the washer and dryer and broke the timer switch on the washer and some plastic brackets.  I negotiated a settlement and fixed all that stuff up like new as well.

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Using A Laptop As A TV – Old School Stuff

So sometimes a really good technology just never really takes off.  A USB TV Tuner is just one such technology.

It should have taken off.  Just about everyone who has a laptop should have one of these.  I have three.

So what would you use it for?  In my case I live in a Hurricane zone and in fact got blasted by Hurricane Florence last year and had no power for several days.  (Actually I had power because I have a full house generator). Anyway, due to a concern for the amount of fuel I had on hand I shut down at times and THIS is how I got my news during those times.

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How To Fix Your Refrigerator or Freezer Quickly and Cheaply

So you bought a cheap fridge or freezer at WalMart, did ya?  Or maybe your old fridge or freezer  conked out.  The first thing that comes to mind is “THE COMPRESSOR IS OUT”!  A scary thought indeed.  And you think that because you don’t hear the compressor noise and nothing is cooling anymore.

Compressors are pretty robust devices.  They do fail, they sure do, but many times one of the components that connect to the compressor fail causing the compressor not to start.   There are three components hooked up to a common refrigerator or freezer compressor.

  • Motor Starting Relay
  • Starting Capacitor (and possibly a run capacitor)
  • Overload Protector

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Appliances Rant !

Appliances.  We all need ’em. I’m all about high tech but there are some things that just don’t need to be high tech.  Things like refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers, and hot water heaters should last for DECADES, not a few years.

Seems like there has been a rash of throw away appliances the last few years.  I have several friends who bought fancy washers and dryers with computers onboard that dropped dead after a few years with expensive repairs needed to get going again.

Meanwhile my washer and dryer that I bought in 2003 is still going strong with minimal repairs WHICH I DID MYSELF.  If a washer has a tub, bearing, motor and timer switch it’s pretty easy to fix.  If it is computer controlled with several boards under the hood……..you need specific training to fix it.

AND YOU NEED THE MANUALS!  I can’t stress enough how important it is to have access to the repair manuals. There are many parts web sites online that have complete Parts Breakdown and Service manuals.  Also from those same pages you can order the parts you need.  Old reliable appliances had SPARE PARTS made in droves.

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Swiss Army Knives – The Emotional Side

If you were to do an exhaustive search online regarding the subject of Swiss Army Knives (SAK) you would be prone to find lots of historical and technical details and there is a plethora of “What Is The Best Swiss Army Knife?” web lists out there.  If you are a collector, or in my case a new collector, all of that information is GREAT!  But it doesn’t explain  WHY there is a connection between a boy or man and his pocketknife.

First and foremost, it is a tool which grants you independence.  I got my first knife (that I can remember) when I joined the Cub Scouts probably around 8 or 10 years old and in fact it is still in a drawer at my parents house.   Man oh man was I proud of that knife.  I’m sure as a Cub Scout I used it for whittling or to sharpen sticks when playing in the woods or maybe even used the screwdriver on my bicycle to tighten things up.

I truly get the emotional connection when a young boy gets a hardened steel knife. It’s DANGEROUS and by golly you were entrusted to operate it responsibly, and to use it as a TOOL and a LIFE SAVING DEVICE as any good scout is taught.  You are MAN ENOUGH to have something hazardous, maybe for the first time ever.

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Swiss Army Knives – Multitools

I’ve loved pocketknives ever since I was a Cub Scout and got my first real pocketknife which looked something like the knife below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It had a SCREWDRIVER which I guess made it my first multi-tool.   Now I’m not into knives or blades, have no desire to cut anyone or myself but the concept of carrying around useful tools in your pocket has always fascinated me and it maybe did come from scouting where they taught you to always be prepared.

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Know Your Roots, Geek

The goal in geekdom is to always advance the skills but we should NEVER forget where we came from and re-visiting it from time to time is nostalgic and cool to the up and coming geeks.

One particular rite of passage for being a geek is taking an Altoids tin and doing something geeky with it.   Here’s my favorite project and then right after showing this I’ll go further back into my geek roots with my first Altoids tin project.

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Red Oxx Bags

Ok…..This started innocently enough.  I’m into short wave radio and saw a website where a guy had a little cloth bag that looked kind of sort of military in style, and looked very durable.  He used the bag for a radio, power brick, antenna, etc.   As I was looking at that picture I kept keying back in on that bag………..so I emailed the guy and said “what bag is that”?

Red Oxx was the reply.  So I ordered one of these bags which was called the Lil ‘Roy.

 

And wow is this thing ever built great!

So I used it for the shortwave radio and then this cute gal around the corner needed something fixed.  So I’m looking and looking for something to carry my tools in and then it hits me.  Lil Roy is a tool carrying machine!

 

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WordPress

I guess it is ftting that my first entry on this new blog would be on the platform I’m posting it from.  WordPress.   For years I have used something called Rapid Weaver, which is awesome, and Rapid Weaver also has a blogging plugin called Armadillo which is very WordPress-like.

Still, you know me, I have to dabble in everything.

So the first thing one needs to know about WordPress is that it requires some smarts to get running.  It runs on a webserver that uses PHP and ties into an SQL database.  One can deal with that generally in Linux by running the following command:

sudo apt-get install lamp-server^

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