August 2003 -  September 2009
Grumblings from the Garage

­­­­­­Page Motto:

 Most of what I complain about I don't yet understand.

like how this picture got here and why it is distorted
Description: C:\Users\Owner\AppData\Local\Temp\enhtmlclip\IMAG0428.jpg

     a seldom updated memoir of mechanical meanderings, for men who wish to escape into the fantasy world of mechanical possibilities in the garage, to gripe ceaselessly about the low state of hardware store advice, about Chinese reinventions of devices Americans have made successfully for years, etc.,  etc., gripe, gripe, gripe. 

coming soon  now arrived:
Duds and How-Do-Its   (also whazzits) 

    

Computer speculations also are possible ... are taking over, as with the world . . .  HOW COMPUTERS HELP US

which is why, if you clicked on the phone on my rolltop menu, you ended up in the garage. The biggest grumble and gripe of them all is that computers are not tools, because they do not help you do what you want to do, but try to get you to do what they want you to do.

CAR TALK                RED GREEN

earlier writings, but Gone forever: the jerry-rigged garage door remote relay, with pictures;
Gone forever: the pictorial record of landscaping pipe hacked in two by mistake
Coming Soon -- oops, that is, Gone forever: The Science Fair Project
Coming Soon, I thought, but actually Gone Forever: The Home Electronics Shopping Saga (resurrected in new essay below!)
Gone and maybe someday forgotten: Shortened and updated Van saga
Gone and good riddance: tortured musings about how to track down software malfunctions through tedious trial and error
Not Gone Yet: two overly long essays below

NEW: Car stereo dilemma grinds to a conclusion

 

COMPUTER STUFF IS TAKING OVER, BUT THERE HAVE BEEN SOME ACTUAL GARAGE EVENTS.  The girls and I did about 400 sf of 18” tile in the family room/kitchen/new enclosed porch.  Wore two deep holes in my fingers grouting it in one day, and had lots of problems, but it looks highly gratifying! (summer 2008)

 

 

Microsoft Ramblings:

How come Microsoft dominates the market, when their very own browser won’t display correctly html pages that were created in Front Page and equipped with bits of code picked up from reputable sources like my Internet Provider or Weather Underground? 

 

Vista Whinings:

alert: early summer 08 I got 4 gb memory for my Toshiba, instead of 1 gb, and it seems like Vista mostly works now.  Still seems obscure and strangely designed, but I found at least one feature I like: the Sidebar, with its desktop slide show. And by summer 09 I realized I like the search feature.

 

1. A folder or file moved to the desktop sometimes will not appear there until I restart the computer or ask it to arrange the icons. Refresh does not help.  2. It allows some program(s) to change my screen resolution without my saying so, and then when I change it back all my icons are disturbed.  Both of these result in a messy desktop where I can’t keep thing properly arranged.  The real world, of course, is not like this at all.   works now.  Well, (08/09) there was a folder on my desktop for which the icon would not appear until I let it do the align to grid, which I hate.

 

3. The communications area, where one would expect the newest and the best, is more obscure than ever.  After 5 months, I can report that it does handle most multimedia and online things very well, and it does connect to wireless networks, BUT it took a long time for all this to start happening, and I had virtually no control over the process, nor could I tell anyone else now how to do it.  This in fact is the new feature of Vista ( I wondered for quite a while why they built it): I call it the “Waiting to Exhale” feature.  It is the next iteration of the “Hiccup Theory” in XP (see below).  You ask it to do things, or you wonder about how to ask it to do things, and you wander around the communications or network software looking for things like “setting up a network place,” to no avail, and you push a lot of buttons and get nowhere, and then 2 to 5 days later you find it is working.  This is its design upon you! The Dread Pirate Dependency is haunting you!

 

5. Google and Microsoft are having a petulant argument on my desktop.  Google desktop does not let me set the file extensions and thinks it knows all the important ones in use, which makes it much less useful for me, but the reason it does is so that I will use it to index the windows mail.  That’s because Windows tried at first to disable Google desktop through its design of Vista. 

 

6. On the plus side, I spent four months without having selected a Vista theme, and as a result I missed the glitzier aspects of how it shows folders and files and previews things in alt-tab, etc. 

 

DUMB MOVE REPORT:  I left the truck at San Pablo overnight, and to be safe I removed the stereo.  To be really safe, I set the stereo and its removable face plate and a piece of trim on the trunk of Sylvia’s Lincoln and drove home over 10 miles of city street and I-40 construction and highway.   When we got in the garage, the stereo was still there.  Not the faceplate!  I called Shannon, and she got the trim just outside the driveway and the faceplate, minus its knob, on Louisiana (major boulevard) just before the freeway ramp.  Everything is in working order.  Let this be a lesson: remove that faceplate and even remove the unit, to protect yourself against those dumb crooks.   08/09 Update: I left the camera on the truck bumper overnight, couldn’t find it in the morning (in the house), drove to town, wished I had it while there, went to parking lot once for batteries for Syl’s phone, drove home, and then a motorist honked as I was turning in our neighborhood, and when I stopped and let him come by, he told me.  When he turned around and came by again I flagged him and told him it had been there since last night.  He thinks I’m dumb, cheerful, and friendly.  (True, most of the time.)

 

 LAST FALL (2004?) I FOUND SOME TIME TO WRITE A LITTLE HISTORY OF MY CAR OWNERSHIP.  I ALSO PUT ON A SPREADSHEET THE FACTS ABOUT PURCHASE, MILEAGE, COSTS, SALE.  IT CAME OUT TO A VERY LOW NUMBER PER YEAR FOR TOTAL PURCHASE COSTS (NOT INCLUDING ALL REPAIRS, ONLY THE MAJOR ONES).  THAT MADE ME FEEL BETTER ABOUT BREAKING DOWN SO MUCH. 

THIS IS CALLED "A HISTORY OF THE USED CAR, OR, 40 YEARS AT THE PARTS COUNTER."   THE FACTS GARNERED FROM THE SPREADSHEET ARE INCLUDED. 40 Years at the Parts Counter

 

Really Old and Boring Technical Considerations

Duds and How-Do-Its   (also whazzits) 

NEW!