Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Vibe Oil Change

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

The 2006 Vibe got her 155,000km oil change this afternoon once we got home from Peterborough. I used up the last of the Canadian Tire 5W30 Formula 1 Synthetic in the basement and a new MANN oil filter ML1009. The oil filter had a hard time getting the threads started but after that no real problems.

I think the Vibe is now almost a senior citizen with 96,000 miles on the odometer. Next up for her on my oil storage shelf is some Amsoil Synthetic Extended Life 5W30 (XLF).

IIHF WJHC Russia vs Canada

Monday, December 27th, 2010

This year for Christmas I got my father tickets to the World Junior Hockey Championship round robin game on boxing day showcasing Russia vs Canada.

Lauren, Katharine, Dad and myself travelled over to Buffalo for the game. Tonnes and tonnes of Canadian hockey fans showed up. HSBC is a pretty nice rink to watch a hockey game in – good sight lines but it is already showing signs of wear and tear.

Logitech Harmony 880 Setup On Linux

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Today I tried to re-configure our Logitech Harmony 880 remote. I hooked the Wii into the sound system and changed the input channel too. Changes needed to be made on the remote.

But I forgot how to do it so I’m documenting how to set it up again for next time.
(more…)

Ontario/Québec Earthquake

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Felt an earthquake today. The last time there was a tremor in Ontario — which was a long time ago so don’t ask me when — I was in a car and didn’t feel anything due to a fantastic Toyota suspension.

It felt like a really big guy was walking across the roof of our building in Oakville pulling a HVAC system or something.

Technical details of the event are here. USGS is calling it a 5.5 magnitude:
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Quakes/us2010xwa7.php

Reno Vacation

Monday, May 24th, 2010

I took a few days of extra vacation around the May 24 long weekend to work on our master bedroom.

It seemed to have almost the original paint and definitely had the original trim work. We had picked a colour, I had all the tools. The only thing standing in our way was a wedding on Saturday and lots of furniture that needed to be moved around. Also the fact we’d have to spend our nights in the guest room – but that wasn’t so bad.
(more…)

Telemarketers – Ignore No More

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Reddit is fighting back (bad words are used by some people in this community – be warned) against the telemarketers that call your house – usually at dinner – and tell you that “this is the second warning that your autos warranty is about to expire”. Where you promptly sigh and then hang up the phone.

The online community at reddit has discovered and published their phone numbers, addresses and instructions on how to fill their phone mailboxes with messages. All this because they are annoyed.

There is definitely a higher percentage of technically able people on reddit that can do all this and more with automation and by using toll free numbers of the business they are driving up the costs.

The telemarketers can change their number, maybe even their address – and they probably will. But they have to have an incoming phone number, their job is to work over the phone selling extended warranties on vehicles (which may or may not be actually backed). So it is easy to predict that will be discovered and this will all repeat itself eventually.

Mob justice isn’t really the answer, but it’s nice to see a company get a taste of its own medicine now and then.

Monoprice.com

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Jay put me onto this website called monoprice.com for all my cabling needs. With a new home theatre system I can upgrade my Wii’s output cable to the Enhanced Definition which will give me 480p instead of 480i (which is the standard cable) on my LCD HDTV.

I also have signed up for a free trial on Zip.ca which sends me DVD’s and bluray discs that I have on an online list when they are available. The problem is that I got a BSG season 3 disc 1 DVD that wouldn’t play properly in my Samsung BD-P1500 blu-ray player. I don’t know what was going on, so I returned the disc as damaged – wouldn’t play. I upgraded the firmware on the player through the USB port and when a new disc arrived (that looked like it had the same watermarked damage as the original disc) it still wouldn’t play. It wasn’t until I put it in my laptop and it played that I started to suspect the up converting blu-ray player.

It’s not a big deal, I can watch the older format DVD on my laptop, but Lauren likes BSG too so I’d prefer it to be on the big screen. Our new TV has a VGA connection that laptops can hook into all I needed was a cable.

To make the long story short, I got a 15′ SVGA cable with audio plugs for $6USD and the Wii cable for $3. Shipping was more than the cables at $10. The cables run here at tigerdirect for about $30 each so I’m saving money and I don’t have to go to the store to pick it up. If you need cables, check out monoprice.com before you go forking over too much money to a big box store.

Garbage & Recycling on Windy Days

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Last night was a windy night. Gusts of up to 100km/h and 25mm of rain were forecast and yet still people put out their trash and recycling bins the night before.

When improperly packed – perhaps haphazardly as is the case in our house – the empty cans, paper and junk fly around the neighborhood. Even some unstable garbage bins were flipped if they were placed out in the open where the wind can lick at them all night long. Since our house is located at the end of the street we have a huge fence line that collects this stuff if the wind is blowing out of the East.

If you have to put out your refuse the night before, stack your blue boxes so only the top one has items exposed to the wind. Put a sturdy cardboard box upright against the windward side of the box blocking the wind and forcing it up and over the cans, paper and everything else inside the box. Better yet, invest in a large clear garbage bag or two and use it if your recycling bins are overflowing. These ideas may not work in hurricanes, but it’s better than nothing.

At least compost is too heavy to be blowing around.

New Hot Water Tank

Monday, January 26th, 2009

The hot water tank that came with the house was a rental. It’s > 15 years old so we had it replaced today.

Scale and other nasty stuff can build up in those tanks depending on the hardness of your water. After 15 years it was time to swap it out. By keeping the rental contract Direct Energy replaced it for “free”. That’s part of what the rental cost pays for over time.

We looked at the on demand instant water tanks but the venting would have cost a fortune. The location the tank is plumbed in for gas and water access is on our shared wall of the semi-attached. There wasn’t a good place to punch through for venting on one of our outside walls.

The new tank was moved slightly to allow better access to the furnace burners which meant a change in the venting. Now we have a better slope of the horizontal pipe to help make sure we don’t have a carbon monoxide event. The old vent had the horizontal run to the chimney almost parallel to the floor which came up in the home inspection.

Now I need to insulate the hot water pipes in the house. The run to the bathroom isn’t too bad, but the run to the kitchen is easily 30 or 40 feet and it takes a while to vacate all that pipe to get some fresh hot water flowing.

Hot showers for all!

Stolen Shovel

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

Tonight when Lauren got home and tried to shovel the drive the shovel that was stored on our porch was gone. They could have at least shoveled our drive for us!

It wasn’t anything fancy, just a regular Canadian Tire special with an metal ice blade, a plastic scoop and a metal ergonomic shaft. You know the ones with the funny ‘S’ shaped shaft.

Mississauga is very different then where I grew up. You could leave a shovel on your porch in Niagara Falls and not worry about it walking away.