For the last few years, the shower in the hall bathroom upstairs has made this terrible vibrating rattle sound when you turn on the hot water. It was totally manageable as you just had to turn the hot water on a little more and it would go away. Recently this vibration has increased in intensity dramatically. Every time I experienced it I could just imagine the copper pipes in the walls shaking back in forth banging into everything. That's when I started to get scared that a soldered pipe joint would crack under all this vibration and start shooting water inside the walls somewhere. What a nightmare that would be.
So I cut an access hole behind that faucet to see what was going on. Luckily the back side of the shower is in the closet of the adjacent spare bedroom. There was already a big piece of 1/4 inch painted plywood nailed to the wall in that spot, so I assumed there was already plumbing access, but when I took the wood down, there was drywall behind it, strange. I cut a hole and inspected for loose pipes, but everything was solid, no movement at all. This morning while Rachelle was in the shower I crept into the room and stayed there looking at the plumbing until she turned off the shower and I could see what was going on during the vibration; the pipes were not moving at all, it was all in the faucet. After some youtubing today I found a bunch of videos showing the same exact noise/vibration from various fixtures, and almost all of them were fixed by simply replacing the rubber washer at the end of the faucet stem. In most cases the washer was either missing, or loose and flapping around.
Sure enough, the washer was totally worn out. Replaced and the vibration is gone!
I might have almost burned down my house, but it wasn't totally my fault! I have an old iPhone 5s that I was using as an MP3 player since my iPod classic's screen cracked recently. The battery life wasn't that great so I figured why not try replacing the battery, they're relatively cheap on Amazon. The kit I purchased came with all the required tools. The only tool I didn't already have was for the tiny little 5-pointed pentalobe screws holding the screen in.
I got the phone open fairly easily and then seemed to hit a wall trying to get the battery out. The battery is stuck into the case using some kind of super human double-sided tape. It was really tough stuff and took a lot of effort to get it to let go. I had to use Rachelle's hair dryer to heat it up and break a couple plastic prying tools and it finally started coming out. While prying the battery out it started to bend slightly and unbeknownst to me, this was my undoing. I got the battery out and set it on my dining room table while I continued installing the new battery and reassembling everything. Five minutes later, I was almost done when I heard a loud pop like someone jumping on a zip-lock bag full of air. I looked over next to me and saw the old battery glowing like a charcoal briquet and shooting flames! My first thought was "crap, Rachelle is gonna kill me if I burn the table." So I picked it up off the table and I threw it on the floor. My second thought was "crap, it's gonna set the house on fire." I ran to get a drinking glass and used it to pick up the burning battery and tossed it outside into the snow. Black spot on the table, black spot on the floor, and smoke all over the place.
I know damaging lithium ion batteries can be dangerous and now I've witnessed this first hand. By bending the battery slightly while prying it out of the case, I damaged it internally enough to short it out and effectively light a fuse. I'm just glad I was still sitting there next to it when it blew. Had I gone upstairs to put the kids to bed, the outcome could've been disastrous. Imagine if it had exploded while it was still in my hands being pried out of the phone case? I did look back in the documentation that came with the battery and it doesn't mention using caution when removing the battery at all.
This is the aftermath...
This weekend has been so cold it's crazy. On Thursday afternoon they pre-emptively closed school for Friday because they were expecting the high to around 3°F and the windchill far below 0. I was out each day shoveling my driveway and could barely make it the few minutes it took each time.
The weather has been pretty rough on the cars as well. Our Pilot was giving us low air pressure warnings for half the tires and the battery completely failed. When I had the car inspected a couple months ago they said the battery would need replacing soon and we might get lucky to last through the winter. Alas, no luck, we tried going out to dinner on Friday and it wouldn't start in the garage. So we had to take my car and had to order a new battery while we ate, picking it up on the way home. My dad and his friends share the philosophy of replacing car batteries after the first time they start cranking slow (unless you leave the lights on or something stupid obviously). When I picked up the battery the sales guy told me that he's seen a lot of BMW and Mercedes owners with central processing unit failures due to the cold. The cars would be driving down the road and suddenly just turn off. Sucks to be them.
On the bright side, I hear it could be as high as 50s by the middle or end of the upcoming week. I can't wait for the headache that will accompany a 45° increase in temperature over a few days.
July 12, 2017 // 1 comment
My poor feet are killing me. It feels like the meat of my feet is slowly being torn apart. It's rather unpleasant.
I had this problem years ago until I found a magical pair of shoes. They were New Balance 402s and they felt like I was walking on clouds. I'd wear them out and just buy another pair of size 13 402s. Fast forward through a few pairs and they're no longer working for me.
I was on my feet all day at work today and they hurt so much I was limping most of the day. So I finally went to Fleet Feet Sports tonight to see about getting better shoes. They took this cool 3d image of my feet to measure them and took video of me walking so see what could be causing my issues. They set me up with these nifty cloud shoes from the Swiss company On. So far they're very comfy, we'll see if my pain goes away.
January 24, 2016
Snow is just unavoidable when you live in upstate New York. So the fact that I had to use my snow blower on my driveway isn't news, but that it took until almost the end of January for that to happen is! It snowed very lightly a few times before this but it was gone by the end of the day. This week was the first time using a machine to clear the driveway was necessary.
January 3, 2016
Yesterday we took the kids to see Disney on Ice at Blue Cross Arena. Rachelle found some crazy deal on the tickets which ended up being around $10 a seat. I expected to be up in the nose-bleed section, but was delighted to find that we had fabulous seats!
Of course Claire had a great time, but Nolan also had a great time and was plastered to his seat the whole time. He kept giving the dude in the next seat the stink-eye, but he eventually got over that.
January 1, 2016
Nothing says New Year's Day like getting rid of your Christmas tree! We didn't have snow for Christmas, but we seem to be getting a little now.
Resolutions? I don't really have much in mind. I'll probably just try to be more productive at work. Although my current output level is not for lack of effort; I've been at work for 6 days of my Christmas break so far. Boooo.
December 30, 2015
Many years ago we got rid of our home phone service. We both had cell phones, nobody knew the number, we never used it; it was just a waste of $30+ every month. Once Claire arrived I knew at some point we'd need to get some kind of phone service in the house, at least for emergencies.
What I ended up doing was getting VOIP service over our broadband. I have an account with voip.ms and registered a DID number in my area code with them. Since you can pick your own number, you can pick one that either means something to you or is just easy to remember. I got a killer number with a bunch of repeating digits, very easy to remember. Then I just had to buy an analog phone adapter to bridge my analog phone with the VOIP provider.
- Analog adapter: $30 one time
- voip.ms service: $0.009/minute
- voip.ms number: $0.85/month
Once you own the ATA the cost for the service is basically nothing. Sure it depends on your internet, but ours is pretty stable. I don't use this phone often, but when I do it's never not worked. Rachelle actually called me this morning using this phone and it worked great. It sounded like any other phone from my end.
December 29, 2015
I've been using IPv6 at work for a few years now. Fibertech gave us a /48 with our service and it's worked perfectly since it was setup. I had to do quite a lot of setup on my switches/routers to get it working, but once that was done I haven't had to touch it since. Currently only servers have IPv6 addresses. I'm currently thinking about letting workstations use it, once I overcome a few implementation hurdles.
For a while I've been wondering if I can get IPv6 connectivity at home, but knowing Time Warner Cable I wasn't holding my breath. Regardless of whether TWC supported it, I knew the router I was using didn't support IPv6. It was an old Linksys WRT54GL flashed with DD-WRT. I've been using it for years and it's been great. After a bunch of research I found that a different variation of DD-WRT did support IPv6. So I flashed my router with that firmware and could see the options for IPv6, but they didn't work. A ton of wasted time later, I decided to retire this router.
I got a $19 TP-Link WR841N on Amazon because it was cheap as hell and supports 300Mbps 802.11n wireless. Sadly, it didn't support IPv6 out of the box or with an upgraded official firmware. The only version of DD-WRT that would actually boot on this router also didn't support it. But I found out that OpenWRT does! So I downloaded the latest version of OpenWRT for my router, flash it and rebooted. To my amazement, the router not only picked up a /128 IPv6 address on the WAN port but it picked up a separate /64 subnet and started handing them out to all my LAN clients that supported it!
So far this has been pretty painless. I'm happy this only cost me $19 and that upgraded my hardware to support 5x faster wireless speeds too.
August 18, 2015
Nolan is sleeping in our room in a pack-n-play and I thought we'd be getting up at god-awful o'clock because he'd wake up and see us. But I hung a sheet up so he couldn't really see us, and so far he's been sleeping until 8ish every morning.
Claire has been loving the beach and the ocean. She got clobbered a few times by waves in the surf but it didn't seem to bother her too much. Nolan on the other hand wanted nothing to do with the ocean at all. He seemed to like playing in the sand a bit but he wouldn't go anywhere near the water. He loved the hottub though. Unfortunately the way it worked out it's basically high-tide the whole day when the kids could be at the beach, so Claire hasn't gotten too far into the water.
We cooked dinner on the grill these two days. Even though by dad and brother-in-law both brought small gas grills, which I'm used to cooking on, we had to cook for so many people I used the larger charcoal grill on the property. The first day we used new charcoals that already had the lighter fluid added. This worked great, it started right up and was ready to cook in like 10 minutes. The second day I used the rest of an existing bag of charcoal I found at the house. I had a very hard time getting this to burn and finally get hot enough to cook on. It worked out in the end though.