May 31st, 2017

#5630: What a nice day it is!

In and out at the repair shop in 2.5 hours. Hit Menard's while I was there; more on that in a moment, but first, the rundown.

Mechanic says it's possbile that Mrs. Fungus' car may need an AC compressor. Cost: $600, though Rockauto.com reports I can get one in a kit with new seals and such for about $300, so if it does turn out to be the compressor I'll replace it my own bad self.

However, this issue does not occur except on hot days, which today is emphatically not, so there's no real way to tell. Because newer cars are finicky about the amount of refrigerant in their HVAC system, and because there's just no good way to tell how much is in there after all the fiddling I did (thinking it was simply due to leaking refrigerant, which it's not) he recommended evacuating and refilling the system first. That might fix it and it might not, but it will rule out an incorrectly filled system as the problem and the dye he added will allow them to pinpoint a leak should such become necessary.

Rockauto recommends replacing the condenser at the same time. I don't think it's necessary since the failure of this compressor doesn't seem to be the kind that fills the system with metal shavings and other detritus. Still, if that becomes necessary, it's a $50 part.

Fair enough.

Menard's: LED bulbs are getting cheaper. Bought eight bulbs, 60W equivalent dimmable, at $0.99 each, and I'm going to replace a few bulbs here and there. Like the family room ceiling fixture, which currently has four CFL bulbs in it. LED is much better than CFL. One box of these LED bulbs is destined for that fixture.

Dimmable LED bulbs are usually more expensive than that. I'm not complaining.

Also picked up the 6mm allen socket I need for my work on the bike. $2 for the single one, or $13 for a set--I went with the one.

* * *

Last night I finally dug into my IBM Model M keyboard, to clean it. I actually pulled the cover off, and all the keys. I had to modify a toothbrush to make its head narrow enough to get between the key towers; but using that and a vacuum cleaner let me get all the cruft out. Wiped it down, then individually cleaned all the keys and reinserted them. Cleaned the casing (top and bottom) and eventually had everything back together again, and now this keyboard looks brand new, instead of

THIRTY-ONE YEARS OLD.

Yep: manufacture date, September 15, 1986. A fiver says it's never been cleaned; certainly it hasn't been cleaned since I got it in the mid-1990s. I'm amazed that the plastic hasn't yellowed, but then again IBM used to make its hardware to last. Except for a couple of nearly invisible cosmetic defects, it literally looks like it just came out of the box.

And works that way, too. There's a reason people love the Model M. Self included.

I had not previously been able to get the thing apart, because IBM did not design it to be disassembled with ordinarily-available hand tools. But when I still worked at Best Buy I bought a really nice precision screwdriver set, and it includes a nut driver of the right size with a thin enough wall that it can remove the screws on this thing. Score one for me.

The nice thing is, I have a spare in the basement, so if this one ever develops a fault, I just need to swap over a few keycaps (it's missing a few) and continue pounding away.

What can I say? Happiness is a clean keyboard.

#5631: Vast improvement

CNN fires Kathy Griffin for her unfunny tweet of herself holding Donald Trump's head.

It's about time that people on the left start paying for their transgressions. It's not funny to wish death on anyone, and there's nothing funny about beheading people no matter how much you may disagree with their politics.

That kind of horseshit is how you assholes got Trump in the first place.

* * *

Screaming toddlers want video of their temper tantrum deleted. Problem: the Internet is forever. It'd be so awesome for their racist screaming to haunt them for the rest of their lives, the same way it does for people on the right wing. Like Trent Lott, saying something complimentary about Senator Robert Byrd, a Democrat who was in the KKK.

* * *

THAT is a big airplane.

When you want to put a payload in Earth orbit, you have to get it moving pretty fast, and you have to get it past a pretty thick hunk of atmosphere before you can really give her the gun. Absent that atmosphere it wouldn't require as much push.

So: haul it above most of the atmosphere with a big airplane, then drop it and let it boost for orbit. Instead of a huge first stage you can have a smaller one, because you're not having to accelerate from a dead stop and push though the densest part of the atmosphere.

We're going to explore a lot of ways to get payloads to orbit less expensively than the government way. There's no real reason I can see from here that this one won't work.

* * *

Turning a refrigerator compressor into a vacuum pump:



...am I the only one who's concerned about him using an acetylene torch on something sitting on carpet? Maybe it's just me.

Still, cool.