A little humour

Okay, a break from the usual to laugh a little. I had never heard of Jeff Dunham before, so I found this clip pretty funny. Enough to bring tears to my eyes.

Best customer service ever. Bar none.

In our bathroom we have a shower with one of those sophisticated temperature balancing Moen tap units. After all, we wouldn’t want to scald the kids while they were bathing if someone else in the house turned on the cold water.

Four years ago the contractor who replaced all of our galvanized piping for copper, put the Moen unit it. Three years and 6 months ago it started to drip. Not much at first, but gradually over time it started to drip quite a bit. Finally, after much drip persistence, I dug out the warranty card and instructions for the tap. Now the instructions are not how to use the tap, but how to care for it, including instructions on how to flush the system in case it dripped. Ah, right, that should solve my problem I figured. It took me ten minutes to gather the required tools, Philips screw driver, needle nose pliers, and a broad flat screw driver. It took another ten minutes to dismantle the necessary parts, flush the system and put it back together again. Unfortunately, the drip persisted some more.

Next step was to call the 1-800 number on the Moen warranty card. Here is roughly how the conversation went:

Moen: Hello, welcome to Moen, how may I help you today?
Me: Well, I have a temperature balancing tap in my shower and it started to drip. I followed the enclosed instructions to flush the pipes out, but it still drips.
Moen: Okay sir, do you turn or pull to turn the water on?
Me: I pull it to turn the water on.
Moen: Is it a knob or a lever?
Me: It is a knob.
Moen: May I have your full address please?
Me: My address is .... blah blah blah ....
Moen: And your telephone number where you can be reached during the day?
Me: My daytime number is ......
Moen: Alright sir, the new part will arrive by mail within two weeks. Is there anything else I can help you with?
Me: Oh, no, that’s all, thank you.
Moen: Okay then, have a good day, and thank you for calling Moen. Goodbye.


Seriously, that was it. By far the best and easiest support phone call I have ever had the privilege to make. Less than two weeks later the part arrived. Within 15 minutes the part was easily installed and the tap hasn’t dripped since. Moen should be given an award for performing so well, and then they should run over to Best Buy and give the Geek Squad some lessons.


Kill A Watt part III

Well, a week has passed and I have my consumption usage for my computer set up. With normal usage, my entire computer set up, not counting my large Tektronix color laser printer, uses a whopping 63KWh each week. Or 3276KWh per year. Now, lucky for me, I live in Quebec and our electricity only costs about 5.2 cents per KWh. So my yearly consumption is roughly $170 per year. Considering me entire electricity bill last year totaled about $900, that works out to almost 19% of my electricity goes to just my computer system.

Starting this past Saturday night at 8pm, I have been tracking my consumption in conservation mode. So far, after 68 hours my usage totals 12KWh. Not bad considering last week at this time, I had used roughly 25KWh at this point.

Once I reach the end of the week, I will once again post my usage consumption and give you a little feedback on what I like and dislike about the Kill-A-Watt device.

Kill a Watt - Part II

Well, it’s been a little longer than a couple of days, but as promised here is the second installment of my Kill-A-Watt story. Those of you just tuning in, I bought a Kill-A-Watt meter. Basically you plug it into an outlet, and plug your electric device into the Kill-A-Watt, and presto, it will tell you how many Amps and Watts that device uses. The Kill-A-Watt meter also has a timer built in, and a Kilowatt per hour energy reading on it.

My goal is to determine how much energy my Apple G5 Computer uses in various modes. Here are the preliminary results of my two computers:

Computer A - Apple G5 Dual 2.7 GHz / 2GB of RAM / 2 x 250GB drives / 20” Cinema Display / 15” Viewsonic display and an Epson V350 scanner.

Computer B - Dell 2.4 GHz basic computer with a 40GB or something drive in it. Not used much except for accounting and checkout out my Website designs in IE.

I plugged my main power bar into the Kill-A-Watt device. Into the power bar is everything listed above and an IO Gear KVM.

As a baseline, with everything turned off, except the scanner, which has no power switch, the Kill-A-Watt showed me 8 watts usage.

Nothing turned On - 8W
Apple starting up - 330W
Apple right after startup - 260W
Apple in sleep mode - 14W
Windows starting up - 400W
Windows right after startup - 60W
Mac Sleeping/Windows running - 73W
Mac running/Windows running - 400W

My plan now is to run all my computers as I would normally for a period of 1 week. Which means hardly ever putting the Mac to Sleep, and never putting the Windows machine to sleep. At the end of 1 week, I will then go into energy saving mode and turn off the windows machine when it is not being used and put the Apple to sleep when ever I walk away from it.

My usage on the Apple is pretty heavy, starting at 7:30am and usually finishing around 8:30pm, with some breaks through out the day and a little over an hour for supper with the family. The windows machine is used very rarely, and then only lightly.

To get the ball rolling, I have had the Kill-A-Watt measuring my usage for the past 48 hours and it tells me that I have used 14.8KWh, or $0.7725.

Check back next Monday to see how much energy I have used over the course of a week and a bit.

What do 24, IR remotes and Bell have in common?

Like many people, we still use a VCR. No TiVo or Digital Recording device, nor fancy computer setup to record out television shows. Just a VCR. Maybe you don't know what a VCR is? It is an ancient device from times past that allows one to record analog television signals onto a magentic tape, for playback at a later time on a television. VCR's were first introduced in 1972 by Phillips and became quite widely available in the 1980's.

Last night while watching the recorded television show "24" with Kieffer Sutherland, we got tired of having to jump up and fast forward our VCR everytime a commercial came along. Your thinking "Why the heck doesn't he use the remote control" to which I say "We lost the remote control." So, while sitting watching the show, and twiddling with my satellite dish remote, a thought occurred. Hey, my satellite remote is programmable, since we have the TV, satellite receiver and Stereo (not 'Home Theatre') already programmed. The problem when we first got the satellite about 5 years ago, was that our VCR was so old it did not appear in the list of programmable VCR's, and since back then we still had our remote, we really didn't have a need to program the satellite remote.

After my legs were worn out from racing to and from the TV throughout 2 hours of "24"--which incidently is only about 88 minutes once the ads are taken out--I went to my large box of instruction manuals and warranties. After a thorough search I realized that we no longer had the instruction manual for our satellite setup either. Luckily this is the age of the Internet, so I sat down and used our trusty Google to do a search for our satellite dish and IR remote model number. Well, if you have ever searched for anything to do with satellite dishes on Google, then you know all too well that Google simply returns hundreds and hundreds of crappy spammish index/search engine sites with no information on them what-so-ever. Luckily for me, the company we pay to have our satellite signal from "Bell Canada Express Vu", had the answer.

Below are the instructions on how to program your IR Remote, model Number 103781

Within 2 minutes, actually 6 years and 2 minutes, I finally got that VCR button on my IR Remote to do something useful. Just a shame that the remote is so old that those top four buttons hardly work anymore. grin

Steps to program your remote control to operate your TV, VCR, Home entertainment system.

  • 1. Turn your TV/VCR/Home Theatre on.
  • 2. Press and hold the TV or VCR or Aux mode button until all the other mode buttons light up.
  • 3. Press the blank POWER button. (If your remote only has one POWER button, press that one)
  • 4. Press the UP ARROW button repeatedly until your TV turns off. Don't do this too fast you you will need to start over again, if you click past the right setting.
  • 5. Press the POUND (#) button to confirm.

That's it. I did the above and now my remote happily saves my legs when watching my recorded shows.

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