Saturday, April 27, 2013

April 27th

I started the day on the roof, washing the solar panels for the first time in as long as I can remember - so, at least 4 days.

I played a little Warcraft while it warmed up a bit, then I went out and installed the latest attempt at cruise control in the Van.  It's the GoWesty kit, which I got for 15% off with their Earth Day coupon.  It comes with a microswitch for the brake pedal (rather than just running off the brake light switch - so I can disconnect it without the brake light coming on) and a proper Vehicle Speed Sensor that runs off the speedo, rather than the magnet sensor the other systems used.  It's still the same Rostra setup I last tried, but the fact that they're selling it for the Van rather than it being universal seems hopeful.

I was playing under the front of the van, installing the cable when Vic came in, and she helped me finish it all off.  I went for a drive, and... nothing.  As there was no sign of life, I figured it was probably a wiring issue - my first guess was the brake switch, but that seemed OK.

After dinner, we went out into the garage and ran through the troubleshooting tests.  Brake switch... check.  Controller switch... check.  At this point we rolled it down the driveway, and while I could see Vic braking at the bottom, there's nothing coming from that marvellous VSS that runs off the speedo.  Oh, for pity's sake.  I can't even hack it to use the old magnet sensor, as I've taken that off...

April 26th

I cancelled my gym membership today.

Back when I was in the UK, there was a weird $30 charge from some company in Utah I'd never heard of, so I queried it.  The bank said "eh?", and upheld it as a fraudulent charge, and cancelled my ATM card.  Doy.  Well, in the week, I got a letter from National Fitness Centers, and it seems they've bought the gym we go to.  The charge was them - when you buy petrol, for example, they'll put in a hold for a large number of dollars, then drop the actual charge in there when they know how much they need to bill you.  This is basically what the gym did, despite the fact that they knew exactly how much my bill was going to be.  I just happened to look at my bank transactions before they'd dropped the actual amount in there.

Anyways, I called them up and said I could see what had happened here, but could they explain the amount?  Oh, because the charge was rejected, they're fining me $15.  Um, no, you're not.  This was caused by your stupid billing practices, and caused me aggravation - for a start I was in a foreign country when this happened, and I had to get a new ATM card.  How about I fine you $15 for being retarded?  No, better yet, how about we just cancel my membership, and I'll pay the amount I owe, but I'm not paying the $15 - you can attach it to my estate when I die.  Danielle at the customer "service" centre said they'd send me the forms to fill in.  Um, no, I'm not filling in forms - I'll go to the gym and cancel it.  They wanted me to fill in forms, too, but I pointed out that my bank was going to continue to reject any future charges, so me coming in was just a courtesy.  I paid the bill, they waived the fee, and told me that a lot of people are getting pissed off with the new management, and they're losing a fair number of members.  Uh huh, really?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

April 21st

Don and Lori came down the hill for a barbecue lunch and to watch the MotoGP race from Texas.  It wasn't a bad race, but it wasn't as good as the Qatar race... probably because Rossi wasn't chasing up into 2nd (oh, spoilers, sorry).

April 20th

After a bit of time in Warcraft, I spent some time in the garden... it's looking like now is the time when I have to start cutting the grass every bloody week.

I dropped the cruise control from the Van at the post office to be sent back for a refund, and on the way past, I saw all the stuff for Earth Day at the local park, so when I got back, we drove over to take a look at stuff.  Vic looked at the 4H stuff, and I looked at the cars and bikes and stuff.  There was a Leaf, a Coda, a Volt, Teslas Roadster and Model S, along with a Zero motorcycle.  Vic has decided we should get a Tesla Model S, so I guess I'm going to need to get a second job.

April 19th

After work I went out into the garage to start removing the cruise control from the Van... I was intending to take out the mechanical stuff, but ended up doing the wiring too.  Yay.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

April 17th

The guy came over and fixed the dryer - it was a heat sensor on the exhaust system.  Basically it acts as a fuse, so we decided to look at the vent, thinking it was probably blocked.  We got a fair amount of fluff out of it by running a brush thing up as far as we could, and then I got up on the roof and opened up the cap so I could drag out the fluff that was actually plugging the thing pretty well.  Then he vacuumed it at the bottom again, and filled up his shop vac doing that.  I think we'll call that good.

After a quick shower, we headed over to the airfield for the EAA meeting and, for the first time this year, barbecue.  Fun was had by all.

April 15th

Vic drove me over to the optician's, so they could dilate my eyes and peer into them with bright lights.  No problems were found, but then I was stuck not being able to see properly until the following morning :o|

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

April 14th

I did a little tidying up around the house, including getting up on the ladder to try and paint over some of the oversplat on the ceiling.  After a little bit of that, I gave up and stopped for a while.

I went over and saw Vince - he's working on shortening the wings of an S-14 that's having a 912 installed, so we sat and chatted for a while before I headed home.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

April 13th

Vic was tearing stuff out in the garden, so I went out and pulled some "stupid" branches out of the shrub thing down the side of the house - where 15' of branch twists through the other branches, only to have 6 leaves on the end.  I'll probably do this from time to time, as there are a bunch of them.

I went out and dropped off all the automotive recycling - used oil, filters, dead batteries - while on a quest for 2 stroke oil for the Flightstar.  Everybody does oil in little containers, which just seem silly as I use ~8oz an hour of flight.  I ended up getting the desired Penzoil in K-Mart in the bigger bottles.  It's weird, Walmart is like Thunderdome, and K-Mart is like a ghost town.

In the afternoon, I went flying, and disturbed some sort of parachute clinic going on in the hangar.  I managed to get the plane out, and did 4 circuits on runway 15 when a Katana arrived and wanted to land on 33.  I did a full stop to let him, then listened to the AWOS to find that the wind had switched to 340, and was blowing 6 mph.  Sean (in the jump plane) and I agreed to use 33 - he prefers that as it's closer to the pickup.  I did 2 circuits on 33 before putting the plane away and driving home.  They're talking about the wind getting up again, so it'll be interesting to see if I get to fly again soon.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

April 10th

I replaced the surge protector I use in the office with a new one that includes a couple of USB ports - this means that I don't need the USB charger plugged in all the time to run the Pi.  I'm hoping this means that Tilly's less likely to knock it out when she crashes through the underdesk area.  Strangely this one uses just the top plug, rather than both of them, and this is a switched socket.  So I rewired the socket so that the bottom one ran from the switch, which now has no function, and the top one is always powered.  "Aha", I thought, I might be able to do away with one of my power strips, but the wall warts still block the socket next to them, so the'll have to stay on that power strip (they're 7v and 12v, so I can't just run the devices on USB power).  For some reason the weather station monitoring didn't start up properly (I'm thinking it might be because I started the Pi before I plugged in the weather station console), but I fixed that by just rebooting the Pi.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

April 9th

It was still blowing like a mofo, and the trees were still getting blown to pieces.

I went and got my eyes tested.  Great, I need new glasses again.  I couldn't do the dilation test, as I had to go back to work, so I'll need to go back and get that done.

April 8th

The wind was blowing like mad (up to 31mph), so the front garden was covered in dead wood from the trees that I thought I'd tidied up.  Bah.

April 7th

As the day went on, the wind picked up, so I just did chores around the house, and tidied up in the garden a little.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

April 6th

What a bloody day.  I started out doing some daily quests in Warcraft, only for Vic to tell me that the tumble dryer thinks the door's open, even when it's shut.  I pulled the switch out, and it looks to be working fine (at least, the resistance changes when I close the switch), but it doesn't appear to be getting any power.  Joy, a warranty call.  It was working yesterday after we moved the thing around, so it's not just something loose that I can imagine.

I refitted the cruise control to the van, and it still doesn't work, exactly the same as it didn't work before.  So, I spent ages talking to Rostra a few weeks ago, and they agreed that there was a problem with the controller, and the new one is exactly the same?  This isn't funny any more.  I'm thinking I'll give up on cruise control in the van, this is just too much of a pain.

I pulled the outdoor thermometer off the house, and put it on the table on the patio.  A reset of the weather station and it started pulling data just fine.  I've made up a mount for the transmitter to sit on the patio cover, and remounted the sensor above the back door, and it worked just fine all day.  Of course, the Pi crashed - I think it might have been Tilly knocking the power supply, as she often unplugs stuff as she crashes around under my desk, bless her.

Christina was in town seeing some old buildings and visiting Vic, so we went to dinner at the salad place.

Friday, April 5, 2013

April 5th

For the first time since it was delivered, I actually looked at the new tumble dryer while it was running.  Only to find that it was spewing out hot air and water, which isn't good.  When Vic got home, we pulled the thing out from the wall and looked at it - the vent hose was half unplugged, so we went and got more metal tape to stick the bloody thing back on.  A while later, it seems to be working just fine.

April 4th

We had a lot of rain today, and the temperature gauge for the weather station worked well for a while, making me think it could be a bad connection.  Still, hopefully I can get it off the wall to look at over the weekend.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

April 3rd

I got up on a ladder and swapped the batteries out on one of the weather station sensors that doesn't appear to be working.

It's still not working reliably, but it's the furthest away from the console, so I think I'll look at just moving it closer.  Or replacing it - it's pretty old, and there are a lot of people saying they die early.

Monday, April 1, 2013

April 1st

A new month, so the solar statistics:
Power billed

Power generated

As I started doing DMARC a while ago, this is what we're seeing:

"Aligned" is good mail.
"Unauthenticated" is crap.
"Authenticated" means it came from the Google's servers, but wasn't signed by us (so, still crap).