Tuesday, February 28th, 2017 06:33 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
Apparently I'm much more of an optimist than I realize.

I can't say how many times I find a problem in the code, fix it, and expect the fix to work fine, and there not to be any more major issues. Or at least, not until after I've verified the first fix.

Not that I don't know that there might still be other problems, but just that early in the day, I seem to have unbounded *optimism*. The kind of feeling that makes me think, I can test this fix, and then go on to test that other fix my co-worker put in, and then successfully retest the scenario the BA was having problems with, and then maybe even have time to debug the other outstanding issue. Like, I seriously expected I might be able to do all of that today!

It's not supposed to happen that in testing the first fix, I get totally unexpected results, and upon research determine that those results are due to stranded data from yesterday's failed tests, plus additional problems in the error handling logic, plus maybe the cursors needing extra conditions in them, plus who knows what else.

Please, not another can of worms. I've got enough cans of worms already!

*Optimism*, because this code was extensively tested in the past and was working pretty good back then. Even though I should be pessimistic due to all the issues we've already found, which have mainly been due to a large code refactoring project that was done last year.

locks and keys

Sunday, January 29th, 2017 06:45 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
I rekeyed two locks today; it was my first time doing that. One was an Andersen storm door lock, and was very easy to rekey. The other was an old deadbolt lock which both Lowes and Home Depot hadn't been able to do. Lowes had just looked at it and said "No", which makes me think they refused simply because it's a brand they don't sell. The guy at Home Depot, on the other hand, at least tried. But apparently because of it being an older style, he wasn't able to get it apart. I had watched him trying, and it looked like something was stuck. He wasn't able to get it apart, to get to the pins.

Today, I was able to get it apart fairly easily. The one end of the cylinder needed to be screwed off - maybe the Home Depot guy didn't realize that. I have a Kwikset rekeying kit. The springs in the kit don't exactly match the ones from the old lock. So I tried reusing them, but in the process lost one. I searched high and low for it, but it's disappeared into the ether. I ended up using one of the non-matching springs, which made it more difficult as it stuck out more. And my kit didn't have a tool that fit for keeping the bottom pins and springs pushed down (aka "follower bar")*, so I had to improvise. And the top pins fell out a few times, and each time the sizes of the pins didn't seem to match what I had written down before... weird. So I got out new top pins. I finally got it back together and working with the new key.

*which is probably a good thing, in hindsight. If I had found the right instructions, and if my follower bar fit, I wouldn't have seen that the springs and bottom pins had a lot of oxidation on them, which was making them stick. It was when I was cleaning off the springs, that the one sprung away and disappeared.
darkoshi: (Default)
I replaced my refrigerator's evaporator fan motor, because the old one was intermittently squealing, and I had a feeling it would stop working altogether in the near future.

I should know better than to start a task like that at 9:30pm when I have to get up for work the next day. I finished around 2am. The new motor and fan are working, and are sounding good.

Much of my time is spent looking up information on the internet, to make sure I do it right. Sometimes I find useful information. Sometimes I don't, and decide to bite the bullet and do it the way I think is best. Some of the time was cleaning gunk out of the freezer compartment, while I had all the shelves removed and out of the way. A good bit of the time was deciding how to handle the wire connections, since they were different on the old and new motor.


When I order stuff from Amazon, I often have it delivered to my mom's house, as delivery people are sometimes scared of the dogs at my house. My mom was telling me of a package that had been delivered. She said the return label said it was from Amazon Fulfillment Services. Then she asked me if it was something sexual. LOL. She's fluent in English, but it isn't her native tongue. Maybe she's been wondering that every time I got a package from them, and finally asked.

Today she tried to convince me that people in the South pronounce Augusta (Georgia) with an "N" in front, like "Naugusta" or "Nugusta". I've never heard it spoken that way (unless they are saying "in Augusta"). But she says everyone here pronounces it that way. I'm still dubious. There's a North Augusta on the South Carolina side of the border. Maybe some people refer to North Augusta as Nugusta? But I didn't find any mention of that online.


This weekend, I:

- mowed my lawn
- washed out my garbage bin as had gotten gunky inside. I don't like stinky garbage cans. I took a photo of the bin's number, so that if it happens again, I'll know whether my bin was accidentally switched with the neighbor's or something. (Although it's mainly for curiosity's sake. I wouldn't actually go up to the neighbor and say, "Hey, I think our garbage bins were switched, because mine was clean inside, and this one isn't.")
- did more work on securing the fence against Serena at Qiao's house. This involves a lot of brick moving, and some pounding of stakes. It's about half done.
- cleaned Qiao's shower stall in order to apply tub grip to the floor, and then did the latter.
- watched Dirk Gently
- did some yardwork at Qiao's house
- turned on the heater for the first time this season and let it air out with the windows open.
- replaced fridge evaporator fan
- ordered Culture Club tickets - they are scheduled to play in Augusta in November

Other things I need to do soon:

- look up info on the non-presidential candidates for the upcoming election
- choose a doctor for myself

lock not lock

Sunday, January 17th, 2016 02:55 am
darkoshi: (Default)
The door knob lock on one of my doors wasn't working right. It's the kind that from the outside locks/unlocks with a key, and from the inside by twisting a tab in the middle of the knob.

Closing the door from the inside was easy, but from the outside almost impossible. It was the oddest thing. From the inside, I'd push the door closed and it would be firmly closed. From the outside, even pulling with all my force wouldn't make the door click closed.

Furthermore, even when the door seemed to be shut and locked ok, repeated jiggling of the knob from the outside caused it to spontaneously unlock and open. Apparently this could be caused by a broken return spring. But I removed the knobs from the door, and the visible springs looked ok.

Finally I noticed that the door latch and strike plate weren't aligned well. The latch was right near the top of the hole in the strike plate and door jamb, rather than centered. The trick to closing the door from the outside was to pull *up* on the knob. However, the locked door would still open easily upon jiggling the knob.

So I filed the strike plate to slightly enlarge the hole on the top side. Now the door closes easily from the outside, and stays locked regardless of knob jiggling.
darkoshi: (Default)
I was about to make a batch of brownies - had even measured out the first ingredient, when I remembered that the oven isn't working at all anymore. A few days ago, it started going beep-beep-beep every minute and showed an error code which indicated a short in the touchpad panel. So I've ordered a replacement panel which should get here by next week; hopefully that will fix it and I won't have to replace the whole oven.

Yesterday I tested grinding the concrete with the diamond cup wheel. It works, but takes longer than cutting grooves, and makes a whole lot more dust. Since the grooves I did last week seem to be working fairly well so far, I cut more grooves with the flat blade. Hopefully that will suffice to keep rainwater from seeping into the garage. If not, I may cut another shallow groove right along the door to connect the other grooves.

Qiao was watching the 1994 movie "(Leon) The Professional" this evening, and so I watched too. The actor playing the 12 year old girl looked familiar. It was a young Natalie Portman - her first movie!


Sunday, April 12th, 2015 02:55 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
One of the bedrooms is set up fairly well to block outside light to aid in sleeping:

  • using black-out panels, with regular curtains on top for aesthetics (to block out light coming straight through from the windows)

  • the curtains/panels are long enough to brush the floor (to block out light coming from underneath)

  • the curtain rods are the "return rod" type (with 90 degree angles on the ends so that the curtain edges can rest flush against the wall, to block out light coming in from the sides)

  • magnetic strips attached to sides of windows and sides of curtains (to further block light coming in from the sides)

  • the curtain rods are attached to the wall several inches above the windows (to block light from top of window)

  • above the rods, a wooden board is attached to the wall with metal brackets. A piece of black-out fabric (about 1 foot high), covered by curtain fabric, is attached to top of board and hangs down over the top of the curtains, like a valence/cornice box (to further block light from top of window)

  • It's not perfect. Some light still gets in through the cracks. But when the sun is up, with the curtains drawn and my eyes closed, I notice hardly any difference when I cover my eyes with my hands. So it is good enough.

    Now I want to darken the other bedroom too. If possible, I want to improve upon my prior design. Not necessarily in light-blockage, but in ease of use.

    I intended the curtains in the 1st room to be easy to open and close, to let in light and air during the day. But now I rarely even open one of the curtains. The curtain rings tend to snag on the curtain rod corners, so that I have to stand on the bed in order to reach the top and open/close the curtain. I tried attaching a wand but it didn't work out well (partly as there are really 2 parallel rods - more detail than I want to get into).

    So. Pull-down black-out blinds with side channels might be good in light blockage and ease of use. But I want to be able to leave the window partially open to let in air at night, while still blocking the part of the window that is closed (especially as a street light shines towards the window). The windows in this bedroom slide open to the side, not up/down, so a pull-down blind would be less than ideal.

    Black-out window inserts would block light well, but wouldn't allow air in. Plus it would be inconvenient to have to put up and take down the inserts every day, and store them somewhere during the day.

    This product uses flexible rods to pin blackout material to the window. Interesting, but more trouble than I'd want to go through every day.

    This product uses velcro strips to attach blackout material to the window. Interesting, but more trouble than I'd want to go through every day.

    So. My current idea is to use a similar design as the first room in terms of blackout panels covered by curtains. But rather than using a curtain rod and curtain rings, to use a curtain track. That should make it easier to pull the curtains open and shut.

    I want to attach the track to the ceiling, to avoid needing the wood board attached with metal brackets (for covering the top). This should also reduce the amount of light getting in from above.

    Yet, most tracks are straight. They don't curve at the edges like return rods. So I would use flexible curtain track to be able to curve the ends.

    But the track is supposed to be supported every 10 inches or so, while the ceiling joists are further apart. So maybe I'll attach the track to a board (...wait, wasn't I trying to avoid that? Yes, but...), and attach the board to the ceiling joists. That way I can also attach some fabric over the edge of the board as a valence/cornice like in the first room.

    Still to consider: should I put up parallel tracks, to also allow hanging sheers?

    edited to add:
    I wonder if it would work to position the track right against the ceiling edge. Then I wouldn't need a curved track in order to have the blackout panel edges flush against the wall. But then I might need 3 parallel tracks - an inner track for the blackout panel, a center track for sheers, and an outer track for pretty curtains. Although if the sheers are pretty enough, I suppose I could do without curtains. Hmmm.

    slide & roll

    Sunday, April 5th, 2015 12:03 am
    darkoshi: (Default)
    The sun-room's sliding glass door recently became very hard to push open and shut. It always took a good amount of force to get it moving, but it slid okay before. Now it was sticking on the bottom.

    The door is big and heavy. To get to the rollers underneath, I first had to remove the stationary glass panel on the other side, which is also big and heavy. After getting the actual sliding door off the track, I moved it into a good position using furniture sliders, and pushed boards underneath to lift it off the ground far enough to access the rollers on each side.

    I ended up replacing both roller assemblies - Lowes had almost the exact same item in stock.

    Then there was much difficulty in getting the door back into the correct position and figuring out how to adjust the roller heights. Also, getting the other panel back in place and getting screw holes aligned. All in all, it took about 8 hours. In an interlude, I rediscovered the fun of tossing a mallet in the air so that the handle spins, and catching it.

    Qiao would have normally helped with a task like this, but he hurt his shoulder recently, and I didn't want him to strain it. As it was, I only needed his help to get the door back onto the track.

    Now the door slides so easily that I can even push it with my little finger! If I give it a shove, it keeps moving on its own! I'm amazed.

    picker upper fixer

    Wednesday, March 18th, 2015 08:11 pm
    darkoshi: (Default)
    Hah. I fixed my picker-upper tool again. The one I use for picking up trash along the road by my house.

    The first time it broke, it was my fault. Something had irritated me... probably the difficulty of maneuvering an item I had picked up into my garbage bag, along with general annoyance at having to pick up other people's trash*. I tossed the picker-upper away from me in annoyance, and when it hit the ground, it broke apart at the middle joint.

    I tried gluing it back together, but even with crazy glue, it never held. Finally I used wood popsicle sticks and chopsticks as splints, along with wire holding them in place. The joint was no longer able to fold for storage, but at least the tool was useable again.

    Lately, one of the grabby end pieces kept coming loose and falling off. A few times I was able to find the fallen off piece and reattach it. Yesterday I couldn't find it, and thought that the tool was done for this time.

    But this morning I realized all that was needed to replace the missing part was a small rubber suction cup along with a screw and washer to hold it in place. Conveniently, I found just the right size suction cup amongst my stuff; the color nearly matches the original one too. I love it when that happens - when something I've kept in case it might be useful some day, ends up being exactly what I need later on. So I made a hole in the middle of the suction cup, screwed it on, and voila! A working picker-upper tool again.

    I'll still buy a new one the next time I see one, for backup. I'm not sure how much longer that joint will hold, especially when picking up heavy things like big glass bottles.

    *Yet, picking up trash like that is almost as gratifying as vacuum cleaning, in how easy it is to do, with immediately visible results.
    darkoshi: (Default)
    It's so easy nowadays with the internet to look up information and to share information with others.

    When I was a kid, if I wanted an answer to a question, I'd have to ask people, or look it up in the encyclopedia or dictionary that we had at home, or go to a library and search through books. But even if you did all that, the answer might not be found.

    That isn't to say that I spent much time as a child searching the library for answers to hard questions.

    But still. Even if you had a whole library of books, where would you look up the answer to a question like, "Why do my shoes squeak and creak, and how can I make them stop?"

    Sometimes you can figure out answers by yourself. In the past, when my shoes squeaked, it was usually due to friction between the tongue and the top of the shoe, or due to small holes in the sole. I found ways to prevent those noises.

    This time, the culprit was neither the tongues nor the soles. Internet searching provided some answers I hadn't thought of. The foam layers on one of the insoles* were coming apart. So I glued them back together with silicon sealer. That fixed one of the squeaks. I also sprinkled talcum** powder under the insoles, and after a few repetitions, that got rid of most of the creaks. One of the creaks kept coming back, which I now suspect was due to a thick thread that was under the insole, perhaps letting air in. I trimmed the thread. For the time being, the squeaks and creaks are all gone. Yay.

    *I originally thought that insoles are glued in, but in many cases they aren't, and you can simply pull them out.
    **Corn starch didn't sound like a good idea, as it might get pasty when wet. Nor did I want my shoes to smell like baby powder. Luckily, I found that non-baby-scented talcum powder can be found in the pharmacy foot-care section. The one I got smells like wintergreen!

    Anyway, I was thinking about the above, and also thinking about what will happen to that kind of data over time. People die. Then what happens to the data they've posted to the internet? If they had their own website domain, and if no one takes over paying the domain fees or web hosting provider fees after they die, their website will be gone. If they've posted data on other sites, then it will depend on how long those sites stay around. Websites are not permanent, and most will disappear or radically change over time. Some data may get archived on various sites. But the Internet Archive, for instance, while it has old webpages, isn't very searchable in the normal sense. Google's cache is sometimes useful, but I'm not sure how long Google maintains cached data, once the original websites are gone.

    So the answers that I can find today while doing an internet search, may someday no longer be there to be found. Or may no longer be found in the same places. New people will have to post the answers in new places.

    Another useful piece of info I found today is that if your Lotus Notes locks up for a long time whenever you paste rich text from a webpage into an email, check the Lotus Notes proxy settings. Make sure it doesn't list an old proxy server which is no longer valid.
    darkoshi: (Default)
    The dryer had been making a squeaky noise while turning for quite some time. This weekend, I finally decided to check it out, before something deteriorated badly enough to break.

    I removed the top and back panels of the dryer*, cleaned the rear drum seal, repositioned it a bit, trimmed off some of the felt part of the seal where it was sagging inwards, yadda yadda yadda. (Buying a replacement seal would be expensive, so I wanted to avoid that.) I put it all back together, tested it, and the squeak was gone! I'm not sure how long it will last before squeaking again, but I felt pretty accomplished.

    *using the instructions provided in a very helpful service manual which I found online.

    I was thinking about much I like this washer and dryer. About how they've given me some trouble, but nothing in the end which I couldn't handle. It's neat being able to take them apart to fix things. I know the special trick for how to get the washer to start by pressing on the right spot on the door. I know how to reset the washer when it starts acting up. I've had to reset it a few times this year, and each time the washer started working right again after doing that.

    I was thinking about how neat it is when the washer does its extra-high spin cycle, which sounds sort of like a (quiet) jet engine. Are all front-loaders neat like that? I don't know, but I was thinking that I should take a video of it.

    So today I go to wash a load of sheets, and wouldn't you know it. Now the washer is acting up again, badly. Refusing to spin fast, wouldn't you know it. I'm now resetting it for the 4th time today, so hopefully this time will be the winner.

    I was thinking about how this washer has a lot of personality. Today it's acting like an employee who's not feeling well. It sat there doing nothing most of the time, instead of washing and spinning like it should. When it did start turning once in a while, it was slow, like it didn't have the energy to do it any faster.


    This morning in bed, I turned to look at the clock and saw "1:15pm". Good, that meant I had gotten a bit over 8 hours sleep. So I got up. About half an hour later, I looked at the clock again, and it was only 12:15pm. This isn't the first time that has happened.
    darkoshi: (Default)
    Oh wow. I was just able to successfully replace the battery on an Oral-b Pulsar toothbrush.

    After unscrewing the handle, don't pull back on the small end-part of the metal strip, so that the battery can be pulled out. That is what I tried on a different toothbrush, the last time. The metal will either break, or you won't easily be able to bend it back into the right position after replacing the battery, so that it still exerts the right amount of pressure on the battery. I tried putting various things in the end of the cap to push on the metal, but none worked reliably for me.

    Some people have found work-arounds using the above method, but I didn't try that way again. Also, in my toothbrushes, the battery didn't have a bump on the negative end.

    Instead, I took a small screwdriver and carefully pulled/bent back the metal where it is wider, on the side. It took some effort, as the metal was curved in the opposite direction that I was pulling in. Then while pulling it back like that with one hand (just far enough as is necessary), I pulled the battery out with my other hand. Then after replacing the battery, when you screw the end back on, it presses the metal back into the correct position. It did me take a few tries to get the end to screw back on though.
    darkoshi: (Default)
    Shows how to easily replace old worn-out elastic on a fitted sheet. Only applicable for sheets where the elastic is loose in a channel (casing), not where the elastic itself is sewn along the edge of the sheet.
    Basically, cut free one end of the old elastic, sew that end to one end of the new elastic, then cut free the other end of the old elastic and pull it out. The new elastic gets pulled in at the same time. Then sew off both ends of the new elastic, and repeat on the other end of the sheet.

    darkoshi: (Default)
    I've always had trouble using this vacuum cleaner on certain rugs. It gets so much suction on those rugs, that it sticks to them and makes it hard to push or pull the vacuum. But lately, I've had trouble vacuuming the other rugs too. Sometimes, it looked like the brush-roll wasn't turning.

    So I replaced the wide belt (the vacuum has 2 belts - one wide and one narrow), and that seems to have fixed the problem. On the normal rugs, at least. The difficult rugs are still difficult, but not as bad as before changing the belt.

    The old belt still looked to be in fine condition - no cracks and it didn't seem loose. But when comparing it to the new one, it was somewhat bigger / more stretched out.

    This is a good video showing how to replace the belts. However, the guy in that video makes putting the new belt on look so simple, though actually it can be quite difficult to stretch the belt over the wheel.

    I finally managed it as follows.
    I wore gloves to protect the skin on my fingers.
    First, slide the belt over the back metal pin.
    Then pull the belt over the top part of the wheel as much as possible.
    Then while holding the belt in place on the top of the wheel, turn the wheel slightly clockwise while pushing the belt over the bottom of the wheel.

    For a while I was using a hex driver to try to push the belt down towards the bottom of the wheel, as my fingers didn't fit down there easily. I don't remember if I was still using the hex driver, or just my fingers, when I finally succeeded.

    Once the belt is on the wheel, push at it until it is centered on the wheel.
    Make sure the belt is still positioned correctly on the back metal pin too.
    darkoshi: (Default)
    For the time being, my washer is working again. It might be a fluke, or due to something I did.

    Notes below for reference.


    Washer model: Whirlpool 2.9 Cu. Ft. High Efficiency Front Load Washer ENERGY STARĀ®
    Model #LHW0050PQ (more specifically, LHW0050PQ5)
    Manufacture date: 2007/04/06
    Purchase date: 2007/August
    Made in Italy (reputedly by the company "Antonio Merloni") for Whirlpool.

    Use & Care guides, Parts Lists, etc.
    Repair Manual


    Ever since getting this washer, starting it was tricky. Closing the door and pressing Start often did not suffice. I discovered a method which worked most of the time: give the door one or more small shoves in the upper right-hand quadrant. Sometimes an audible click could be heard when doing this. Then if necessary, press the Start button again.

    If this worked, after a few moments, the basket would turn slightly in one direction, stop, and then turn again. Then the machine would pause for an indeterminate amount of time before letting water fill in, and starting the wash. As long as the basket had done its little turn-turn thing, I could generally assume that it had started successfully, and walk away.

    The filter is in an awkward position, in the lower right corner of the washer. A shallow pan is required to catch water that drains out when the filter is removed. But that seems to be the case with most front-loaders.

    Other than the above, I felt the washer did a good job. It washed fine. It spun the clothes nicely dry. We always sponge-dried the rubber gasket and the detergent drawer after each use, and left the door open so that the inside of the washer would dry out.

    We did not have mold problems, nor funky smells, nor problems with the washer moving around. Nor problems with breaking counterweights, nor with smoke coming out the machine, nor flooding. Qiao's relatives have experienced all of those problems with their front-loaders! In comparison, my washer is a gem!


    My washer has 2 round vents on the back side. One is connected to the top of the washer drum. I'm not sure where the other one goes to. None of the diagrams in the Repair Manual, nor in the "Use & Care" guide show these vents.
    So I suspect that the original models (PQ0, PQ1, etc.) did not include these vents. They were probably added to the design later on to combat mold issues. With these vents, perhaps when the door is open, air can flow in through the front and out through the back of the machine, making the inside of the washer dry faster. Perhaps this is why I haven't had a mold problem with the washer.


    2012/Nov (~5 years after purchase; 3 months after end of extended warranty) - 1st recorded instance of washer not washing correctly. The load was still wet after the cycle was done. I ran an extra Spin cycle, but even after that, the load was still dripping wet on the bottom. I checked the filter, but only water came out - it wasn't full of lint. I couldn't find any other problem. Eventually I somehow got it to work again.

    2014/Jan (6.5 years after purchase) - The LED indicator was stuck on "Spin", and did not progress any further. The washer wasn't doing anything. I turned the power off in order to get the door open. The load was wet on the bottom and dry on top, as if it hadn't been washed or spun at all.
    I tried to do a Spin cycle, but it kept making a chugging noise as if trying to drain the water without success. Finally I turned it off, and checked the filter. This time there was a clump of lint in it. I cleaned it out, and restarted a wash cycle. This time it worked.

    2014/Feb - LED indicator was stuck on "Spin" again, and when I got the door open, the clothes were still wet. I checked the filter, but there was no lint. I did a Spin cycle. It worked again.

    2014/March - The washer did its turn-turn thing, but never started washing. I turned it off and on, opened and shut the door, and restarted it. It sounded like it was starting ok, but then stopped. After a while it made the chugging/draining noise. But it didn't start washing. I turned it off and checked the filter. No blockage. I started a wash again - it let water in but never started turning/washing. I tried several times, but couldn't get it to work. I believe the cycle knob was set to "Regular/Color" the whole time; I didn't try any other cycles.


    There are many reports of other people with this washer model who've had similar problems:

    Amazon user reviews
    ApplianceGuru.com #1
    ApplianceGuru.com #2
    ApplianceGuru.com #3
    CNet reviews



    I did the diagnostic cycle as described in the manual.
    On my first attempt, I couldn't enter the diagnostic cycle - the LEDs did not all light up as they were supposed to. On my 2nd attempt, they lit up correctly.
    The 1st test (with Cycle button in 6pm position) failed at first - the top LED did not go out. This was because the door was not shut right. After giving the door some shoves, the top LED went out, indicating a successful test.
    I turned the cycle knob counterclockwise one position for each subsequent test.
    The tests didn't match up exactly with the ones in the manual. (I believe my washer doesn't have a heating element, so that test wouldn't be applicable for my machine.)
    For my 2nd Test, the washer filled with water successfully.
    For my 3rd Test, the washer basket turned about 15 times in each direction, repeatedly (not matching what the manual indicated). It did this for quite a while, and I wasn't sure it would ever stop on its own. So I turned the knob to the next test. I'm not sure if interupting it like that messed up the remaining tests or not.
    For my 4th Test, the washer spinned and drained successfully. When it was done, only the "Wash" LED was on (not matching what the manual indicated).
    Turning the knob to the next positions didn't have any further effect.

    All this at least proved that the washer was still able to turn and spin, and fill and drain; that no motor was broken.


    I unplugged the machine.
    I removed the top cover of the washer, and inspected the inside.
    I didn't find any obviously loose connections.
    I took out the Wash Selector switch. It looked fine.
    I popped the Control Board out to look at its back-side. It looked fine.
    I reconnected everything and replaced the cover.


    I tested washing a small load of clothes without detergent.
    I turned the cycle knob to "Regular/Color", and the spin knob to "Extra High".
    Test failed. The machine filled with water, but it never started turning & washing.
    (Ergo unplugging the washer for a while, as suggested by one of the pages I had read, wasn't enough to fix the issue.)

    I turned the cycle knob to "Regular/Normal".
    The washer started draining, but then continued to make the draining/humming sound a long time.
    So I turned the cycle knob to "Stop".
    The Start button started blinking.

    I opened and closed the door.
    I turned the cycle knob to "Rinse", and the spin knob to 9pm position.
    This time, it worked! The machine filled with water, washed/turned, and drained, 3 times total.

    I added more clothes to the load, and added detergent.
    I turned the cycle knob to "Regular/Normal", and the spin knob to "Extra High".
    This time also, it worked!

    At this point, I wasn't sure if the sporadic problem had resolved itself temporarily, or if only the "Regular/Color" cycle was having a problem.


    Next day.

    A post on this page indicates a method to "reset the (control) board".
    So I followed the instructions. I unplugged the machine for 5 minutes, then plugged it back in. I pressed and held the On button for 15 seconds.

    Then I tested washing a load of clothes on the "Regular/Color" cycle, with spin knob on "Extra High".
    It worked!


    To be continued, maybe.


    Tuesday, December 17th, 2013 11:36 pm
    darkoshi: (Default)
    I'm over 40 years old. Thinking about it the other day, it seemed to me that 40 years isn't that long at all. 40 winters. 40 Christmases. 40 summers. Four sets of double-handprints. You could put down a mark for each year it wouldn't take up much space at all.

    And yet, when I was 10 years old, didn't it seem that those 10 years were an eternity?

    And these 40 years have been an eternity too.


    Nasal rhymes with Basil*. Where that thought came from? Oh, I was misreading the 2nd word in "Africa Brasil".

    *Now that I think of it, they wouldn't rhyme in a British accent.

    11 audio cassettes laying on the table. I recorded them to the computer, but still need to process the files. Need to do that before I record any more.

    A German/English dictionary. For when I get back to reading the family letters.

    A washcloth. For wiping off tears. Left on the table from the last time I had a cry, quite a while back. I rarely cry anymore, in comparison to how much I used to. I still feel like it once in a while, but it seems pointless, and I can usually distract myself from it.

    A lamp socket. There's another lamp that I need to fix.

    Xylitol wintergreen mints. For my teeth. The mints taste so good I could eat them all up at once. Some of my teeth are eroded at the gum line, and I want the enamel to grow back. I'm experimenting. Since my last dental cleaning, every evening after brushing my teeth, I've flossed, and then swished with a mild children's fluoride rinse. Plus xylitol mints and gum during the day.


    It's as if I'm determined to go to bed late every time.


    Oh and these weird sudden itches out of the blue. Like on the back of my knee, yesterday. Right now, on my left ankle.

    cube shade

    Monday, October 21st, 2013 11:43 pm
    darkoshi: (Default)
    At my new cubicle, one of the overhead lights was glaring in my eyes. My former cubicles had the same problem, and in the past I had been able to block the light by putting up pieces of cardboard in strategic locations.

    This time it was more difficult, as the offending light was higher overhead. But I devised a solution. It is a cloth shade, with a cord threaded through on one side, and a wire hanger on the other side, to support it. The side with the wire is only supported on one corner, so it needed something stiff to hold it up. Binder clips and paper clips hold the cord and wire in place. I used a relatively thin white cloth as I didn't want to make my work area darker; I simply wanted to reduce the glare a bit. There are also 2 sheets of dot-matrix printer paper on top of the cloth - that is the darker section.

    It's not obvious from the photos, but my cube is still rather a mess. I haven't yet finished putting everything in its place. I plan to go through a bunch of papers and books to see what I no longer need.

    These are some other ideas I considered, before deciding to make my own shade. I wanted it to be subtle, not something that could be seen from far away.

    lamp mystery solved

    Tuesday, October 1st, 2013 09:56 pm
    darkoshi: (Default)
    This regards the lamp that I nearly electrocuted myself on (though Qiao, having more experience with such things, thinks it unlikely that I would have gotten more than a nasty shock).

    After taking the lamp apart to replace the socket, I discovered that the socket didn't actually have a contact missing, and it wasn't actually intended to take a 3-way light bulb. The socket does have a 3rd terminal, but it's not for controlling the extra filament of a 3-way bulb as I expected.

    The old socket has 3 screw terminals, whereas the replacement 3-way socket I bought has only 2. Four wires come up out of the base of the lamp, and 2 wires were connected to one of the 3 screws.

    It turns out there is actually a little bulb in the base of the lamp, which Qiao and I never knew about! The base is ceramic, with a lot of cut-outs in a nice pattern. The inside of the base had a paper lining, hiding the stuff inside. Inside that, there was a little Christmas tree type bulb, which must have burned out long ago. Turning the knob once would turn on the little light in the base, twice would turn on the top light, and thrice would turn on both.

    Not sure what I'm going to do with it now. I think it would look neat to replace the little bulb with a short string of white LEDs, but I'll have to figure a way of hooking that up.

    (Nearly every time I take a photo in the above room, I'm chagrined to later discover a roll of toilet paper in the picture. I use it for blowing my nose, as it has a higher recycled paper content than facial tissue. It even managed to sneak itself into the above photo.)

    I love how these socks look together with these shoes! (Kudos to you if you can figure out how this photo was taken).


    Saturday, March 16th, 2013 11:10 pm
    darkoshi: (Default)
    Sugru, a self-setting silicone rubber - this stuff sounds useful. I can already think of 2 things I'd use it for. Although maybe I could get some kind of putty or glue at the hardware store for one of those things. I need something that cures at a cool temperature like 40 degrees F, in order to fix a shelf-holder inside a refrigerator, preferably without turning it off.
    darkoshi: (Default)
    One of our pedestal fans stopped working. When turned on, the motor still hummed but the blades did not turn.

    Happily, I was able to fix the fan simply by lubricating the center shaft with mineral oil. After removing the fan blades, I dabbed some oil around the area where the metal shaft sticks out from the motor. I also removed the plastic casing over the motor, and dabbed some oil on the inner part of the shaft. It's possible that simply doing the outer part may have sufficed, but I didn't test that.

    I prefer using mineral oil for lubricating things rather than WD-40, as mineral oil is odorless. One can pour a bit of oil into a small container like a bottle-cap (not the cap of the mineral oil bottle itself - one wants to avoid contaminating the bottle). Then one can take a q-tip, dip it into the oil, then dab it onto whatever is being oiled. One must be careful not to let the cotton tip unravel and get stuck on the item; if that happens, one should pull the cotton out using tweezers if necessary.

    This works well for squeaky door-hinges too.

    Sometimes oscillating fans make squeaky noises as they oscillate. That may be ameliorated by determining which moving parts are squeaking, and dabbing some oil and/or petroleum jelly in between those parts.

    On a related note, one time one of our ceiling fans wasn't turning. In that case, the motor could still be felt humming too. But what had happened was that we had accidentally moved the direction switch halfway between the forward and reverse settings!
    darkoshi: (Default)
    My laptop computer is running Win7 Home Premium (64 bit).

    On 02/22, the Windows Automatic Updates included 2 optional updates - updated drivers for "Microsoft Hardware USB Mouse" and "Microsoft Hardware USB Keyboard". I allowed them to install.

    After installing those, each time I booted my computer, I got 2 popup messages from my antivirus program that "Device Driver Software Installation" (system32\newdev.exe) was trying to access the internet. The first several times this happened, I allowed the internet access. But I kept getting the messages. Then I started denying the access, but still kept getting them. I could have created a rule to permanently allow or deny the access, to avoid getting the messages, but I preferred to fix the root problem so that no unnecessary internet access would even be attempted.

    The messages persisted even after having installed the Win7 Service Pack 1 update.

    Today I determined that if I unplugged my wireless mouse and keyboard cable before rebooting, that prevented the messages. But when I plugged the cable back in, the messages popped up again. So then I knew they were definitely related to the keyboard/mouse drivers. Also, today I started getting new messages in addition to the others (regardless of whether I clicked to Deny or Allow the internet access)... "Driver installation complete. Downloading keyboard configuration software (Microsoft IntelliType Pro)" and another that the installation had completed successfully. However, I then still kept getting the "Device Driver Software Installation" messages.

    I was able to correct the problem by rolling back to the previous drivers:

    Control Panel - Device Manager - Human Interfacing Devices
    - right-clicked** "Microsoft Hardware USB Keyboard", selected Properties, Driver...
    The Driver date shown was 12/14/2010 and the version was
    Clicked "Roll back driver".
    Then it showed Driver date 6/29/2010, version

    - did the same for "Microsoft Hardware USB Mouse";
    it showed the same driver dates and version numbers.

    Now I am no longer getting the messages.

    (**) - is there any other term that can be used besides "right-click"? I have my mouse set up as a left-handed mouse, and my "right-click" is actually a left click.
    I was thinking "alt-click" might be appropriate, but apparently that means to "left-click" while pressing the ALT button.