Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Harbor Freight

July 15, 2009

My father used to warn me not to buy cheap tools. He always went first class. After he died we found a tool box full of expensive tools most of which were broken.

That is not to say it is a bad idea to go first class. If you can get someone else to pay for it, do it. Like if you use the tools professionally as a contractor or jobber. In such a case you can always add the cost of your equipment to what you charge for the job.

If you are just a handy-man you may not need a tool that works for more than one job. Perhaps you can even do the job without having to use that special tool that makes it easier.

I like to watch handy-man shows on TV. They always build something neat. They always make it look so easy. They always have tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment to help them. When you stop to think about it, it makes no sense at all to spend several thousand dollars on tools just so you can build a 100 dollar bookcase.

Harbor Freight specializes in affordable tools and equipment of all kinds. When you can buy a ‘skill’ saw for under 30 dollars, it really does not matter if it quits working in a year of intermittant use. At 30 dollars you can afford to throw the thing out with the scrap at the end of the project. That way you can avoid the frustration when that cheap bit of nonsense finally quits on you.


July 13, 2009

I like bananas. Must be the monkey in me. I have one in the morning for breakfast and one in the evening for a snack.

I like the taste and the price. A bunch of six or so go for $1.50. That is about 25 cents each.

The only problem is that they do not do well even when kept in the refrigerator. Buy them green wait a day or two for them to turn yellow so you can peal them. A couple days later they start getting brown spots, then all brown, then black.

You can avoid the brown and black transformation if you keep the purchase down to one bunch of six. Trouble is I don’t want to go to the store every week or three days. I would rather buy enough bananas to last me for a couple of weeks.

I finally found a way to keep them indefinately. Just freeze them. Peel them first. Put them in a freezer bag and leave them to get frozen. Takes about two hours to freeze, overnight to get really frozen hard.

Bananas have a thermal coefficient that makes them particularly good at staying cold. A frozen banana is as good as a slurpy at causing a brain freeze.

So, next time at the store load up on bananas and freeze them if you have room in the freezer.

Beware of products made by ATI

June 28, 2009

ATI makes computer video cards also known as graphics cards. They also make computer motherboards.

I am not sure how good thier motherboards are but their video cards are crap.

They don’t work reliably under XP. Now this could be entirely due to XP but there is nothing on the ATI literature that warns of imcompatibility with XP.

Over a period of several months I have tried using two seperated ATI video boards in a computer running XP. One board is a 7500 series the other board is a 9520 series. Both boards appear to work at first then develop problems causing the computer to hang while in the middle of a video display. A movie. A movie on CD or a movie over the internet through a service like Netflix, or a movie out of an mpg file on a hard drive. Matters not what the source, the display freezes and the movie stops playing.

We do not have this problem with an older Nvidia graphics card.

We have researched the problem trying to decide if it were hardware or software related. It has been recommended that we try new ATI drivers. Maybe even replace the current ATI cards with newer cards.

In our search for solutions we found that ATI has been taken to court on some class action suit involving dissapointed customers. When we discovered that we pretty much put the lid on the box lableled ATI.

No more ATI anything. Now like I say It might be that XP is at fault, or the drivers may be flakey. It could also be that both ATI cards I have are faulty. It could also be that there really is a tooth fairy and a santa clause.

No, companies who publish software that does not work cannot be trusted to publish software that will work in the future. Granted, everyone deserves a second chance. ATI can have that second chance just as soon as I get my money back for putting up with their first chance screwup.

On the litigation against ATI I have no idea who is at fault if anyone. I don’t care to know. It is enough for me to know that ATI has made enough customers mad enough to bring litigation against the company. That tells me ATI does not qualify as an approved vendor in my book. There are too many other options out there. ATI is not the only maker of graphics video cards. There are others out there and when I last checked, Nvidia graphics cards worked without any problems.

So no more ATI junk.

Sears Direct Parts

June 25, 2009

I have an EZ walk behind Craftsman Lawnmower. It is a Sears frame with a five horsepower Honda engine for power. It is self propelled, hence the EZ walk behind title. It is front wheel drive which is not a very smart design because it tends to tilt backwards when the collection bag fills up with grass clippings. Backwards tilting allows the front wheels to lift off the ground and the EZ walk behind becomes the Hard-to-Push behind. So we don’t use the bagger and cut the grass frequently enough to avoid bailing the hay that would be left after a mowing. Without the bagger it becomes a decent mulcher as long as you don’t let the grass get too high.

With all its faults this mower is one of the best mowers I have ever had. That could be because all the other might have been crap.

The sears mower is about 3 years old. The engine shows no signs of weakening but the front wheel drive quit driving. So it became the Hard-to-Push behind all the time.

Had trouble finding parts for the thing. Google has evolved into a next to useless search engine. Seems the folk that pay Google the money get top billing. Never mind that they don’t have parts for the Craftsman mower, they do have the money to bribe Google into wasting your time with faulty search results. Course that might be improved by picking better search words. So we might not be able to give Google and greed all the credit but the search results have been wanting of late. Come to think of it if I am clarevoyant and able to pick really good search words, like Sears Direct Parts, then I don’t need Google at all. Either way Google looses.

I finally did find the correct place for Sears parts. A place that acutally recognized the model number of my mower and sent me to the correct parts list.

The original cost of the mower was $300. That was three years ago and about $100 more than I wanted to pay. I recently saw a very similar mower at Sams the other day. Rear wheel drive this time but it also had a Honda engine and a $300 price tag. So paying $50 for repair parts was not such a bad deal until you consider it only go you a couple of brass bushings, a geared shaft, a gear for the drive shaft, and an oil plug. Cost 10 bucks to have that stuff shipped to my door for a total of $50. Still, it was cheaper than buying a new mower at $300. It was also cheaper than the $60+ rebuild kit they offered. That 60 bucks was for parts only. It would have cost $70 to get it to your door. At $70 we are getting closer to the tipping point where it would make sense to go get the new mower at Sams for $300.

The best news is that the repair worked. Took about an hour to remove the wheels, shaft, and gearbox; and another hour to put it all back togther. Now if you can get paid $100 bucks an hour (take home) at a REAL job, you might not want to do this repair, but I have more time than money.

Sort of looking forward to mowing the lawn again. Just wish it was not so hot. Funny how the grass does not need mowing in the winter when it is cooler.

AT&T Ding Dong

June 17, 2009

We live in Richardson. We have been using AT&T Uverse for over a year now and are happy with it.

Richardson has had an ordinance forbidding door to door solicitation. This covers any and all solicitation including Girl Scout Cookies and Boy Scout Fertilizer.

Folk in our part of town have come to consider the ringing of doorbells to be some form of emergency. Neighbor having a heart attact sort of thing.

Imagine my surprise and displeasure when some fool claiming to represent AT&T Uverse rings my doorbell and starts asking questions as though he has every right to do so.

I can sort of see this happening once but this was the second time in a month. If it happens again I am doing a citizens arrest on the fool, calling 911 and holding his ass until the cops show up.

Hopefully the folk at AT&T marketing will grow a brain and stop acting like fools. Their foolishness is making me doubt an otherwise decent service.

First off, we have been customers of Uverse for over a year now. We do not suffer fools kindly. We do not need the Uverse pitch man coming to our door unannounced, trying to sell us something we already have, then trying to verify certain personal information starting with our address. He actually wanted to verify our address even though he was standing on our front porch!

This sort of insane action on his part makes me wonder if he really was representing AT&T or just a fool with an AT&T badge intent on mischieve.

I think AT&T should be aware of such goings on. If they really did send this guy out to do some canvasing, they need to go back and do some homework. Maybe research their records to see who their current customers are. Maybe research local area laws and regulations to see that they comply. In short, they need to begin acting like adults and quit harrasing their customers.

PC Problems

March 29, 2009

I know. Why do I even use a PC? Go with Apple or Linux and forget all the other nonsense. Well, I have some stuff that Apple does not support. Like Netflix downloads.

Last week I decide to take Microsoft at their word and finally install all the security updates to my XP professional + SP2 operating system. (professional? What a joke that is! over 100 updates and three major service packages and counting. What amateurs! That is why they have to claim professionalism. You would never guess they were professional by their actions.)

Right after installing the updates, I started having trouble with my Hauppague PVR-250 card. WIN-TV2000 became flakey. Flakey to the point of finally causing the computer to reboot repeatedly.

Virus? MS updates? No, bad video card. I replaced the new fancy video card with a known good older card and the system healed itself.

Heaviest Element

February 11, 2009

The Heaviest Element Known to Science:

Lawrence Livermore Laboratories has made a startling discovery in finding the heaviest element yet known to science.

The new element, Governmentium (Gv) has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.

Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert; however, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A tiny amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a second, to take from 4 days to 4 years to complete.

Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2-6 years. It does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places.

In fact, Governmentium’s mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.

This characteristic of morons promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical morass deposits. The location of Governmentium deposits is found in every state Capital. with a mother lode in Washington, D.C.

When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium, an element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium since it has half as many peons, but twice as many morons.