Space Invaders and the world of 1’s and 0’s

After leaving South Africa in the late 70's I worked in London for one of the "big 8" accounting firms, now called the "big 4".  I remember a multi-day training event where in the evenings we drank a lot of beer, socialized and I discovered the addictive Space Invaders arcade video game which was housed in a large console.  As the commander of the only remaining space ship I had to dodge from side to side to evade incoming missiles and simultaneously destroy the horde of menacing invaders Read more [...]

cracked iPhone 4 screen replacement

This morning's wsj 6/21/17 first page article says "Bust Your Phone Again?  These Teens Are Here To Help".  A 16 year old Nantucket resident instead of surfing, made close to $24k last summer repairing smart phones and is busy again this summer.  His charge to repair a cracked iPhone 7 Plus is $189.99.   M. dropped her iPhone 4 last week and the screen is hard to read - see pic above.  She wants to wait for the new iPhone due later this year.  So I suggested I would Read more [...]

water heater expansion tank

In addition to my place north of Atlanta where I spend most of my time, we have a large house in Atlanta which we will sell when M. stops working.  I have begun readying the Atlanta house for sale.  It has two water heaters and neither has an expansion tank.  The code requires an expansion tank be installed if a new heater is installed or if a backflow preventer (check or one way valve) is installed.   A backflow preventer prevents water on the house side of the device Read more [...]

brake shimmy and a dishwasher fix

When not using the truck to transport materials, I use M's 2007 Camry which now has 155k miles.  It is more comfortable and uses less gas.  Apart from regular maintenance it has required little extra expenditures - new front rotors @ 98k; new upper engine mount @ 138k; new alternator @141k.  But for some time brake vibration has been an issue- the brake pedal pulsates and the steering wheel shakes when I forcefully apply the brakes.  Because the steering wheel shakes this indicates Read more [...]

wood chipper repair

I extend the life of appliances so they can age gracefully as I am also attempting to do.  But they need attention and repair.  I previously posted how I repaired (or had someone repair) the circuit boards of the wall oven, fridge and treadmill all of which are >15 years old and still work fine.  In August 2013 I posted how I rebuilt the engine of my chipper/shredder (see picture above) after the oil plug came off, the oil escaped and the engine seized.  I believe I bought Read more [...]

fence repair the easier way

Some time ago I noticed  the perimeter fence was down - a post had rotted at the base and 2 8ft attached panels fell with it. I call them panels because you can buy them that way - 8 ft length with 3 horizontals and 17 attached panels for about $49.  Or you can buy 3 2x4 8ft pieces for horizontals and 17 individual panels and nail them together.  I prefer the latter - easier to transport and move and cheaper but will take much longer unless you have a nail gun, which I happen Read more [...]

my wood stove

I was thinking just a few days ago, when winter abruptly descended, how efficient and useful my wood stove has been.  Over the past 3 winters it has lived up to all my expectations and provides sufficient heat for the house except in the evening before retiring when we use supplementary heat to warm the bathroom.  Coincidentally, I received an email with some questions on the wood stove (see below): Here are some thoughts.  But first, if you are interested in the topic do read my Read more [...]

replacing a glass window

My tractor building has roll-up door on one end and a 4x5 ft window at the other end.  It is insulated glass in a steel frame.  And has been fine until yesterday when I backed my Case tractor with pto chipper into it, and it shattered. Up till then I had a good morning.  My bobcat started instantly and I turned the compost heap and then I chipped a lot of small trees and branches.  And feeling good about everything I then reversed my chipper through the window.  I designed Read more [...]

tire puncture repair

As a kid I repaired bicycle tire flats - check the tire stem is not leaking, remove tire, remove inner tube, pump and locate hole, buff the area around the puncture, apply glue, allow to tack, apply patch, reinstall inner tube and tire, and you are good to go. The tires on my lawn tractor are bigger and wider and removing the rim/bead is more difficult.   The treads are worn and all 4 tires should be replaced.  The right rear tire is always flat.  I have a portable compressor (see Read more [...]

how to produce a 3d picture

I have taken several MOOCs (internet courses)  given by University of Illinois on 3D printing and the most recent was on 3D printing software.  The software, which was free to students, was provided by Autodesk and included Sketchbook (for sketching), Tinkercad (an easy to use CAD design tool) and Fusion 360 (sophisticated computer design, modeling, etc. software).  Tinkercad and Fusion 360 convert ideas into 3D models.  Scanning creates a 3D model from a physical object such Read more [...]