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Thread: Really trivial stuff that bugs you

  1. #11971
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    OK, thanks. That'd be brown (live) and blue (neutral) in Europe.
    So that problem explains why "smart lightbulbs" are popular. I wondered what that was about.

    Grant Hutchison
    The USA has some historical variation which we don’t have in the UK or Europe. Although we talk about 230 V when the UK is around 240 and Europe is around 220 V. In the USA the higher voltage is given as 208 to 240 depending on the history of the local power supply. Then it is common to derive 120 V single phase from the three-phase supply. Then to recognise the voltage drop appliances are rated at 110 V but the sockets are actually delivering Plus and -55 V . That is why the American system is very unlikely to kill you by electric shock. The neutral from the three-phase supply is usually available at the first box in a house or property but is rarely taken to the sockets unless the higher 208 to 240 V is required in which case one can specify a three wire “ two hots and ground” or four wire , “two hots, neutral and ground.”
    The neutral option is used if in the equipment you still have to have some parts running at 110 V.
    It has taken me a long time supplying parts to the USA to get an understanding of those variations!
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
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  2. #11972
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Backroad Astronomer View Post
    Still about three months to go and the automated election survey phone calls have started.
    Try sixteen.
    Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by ignorance or stupidity.
    Isaac Asimov

    You know, the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They donít alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit their views.
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  3. #11973
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    So that problem explains why "smart lightbulbs" are popular. I wondered what that was about.
    I think the other reason smart bulbs are popular is because they're easier to install. A smart switch requires actual wiring work - with a smart bulb, it's a simple matter of unscrewing the old bulb and screwing in the new one.

    There are two reasons I don't like the smart bulbs - first, if/when the actual bulb fails, you have to spend money to replace all the smart technology as well; and second, you lose the ability to control the light from the physical switch. It can only be controlled from the app, and if the physical switch is actually turned to the off position, you can't turn the light back on with the app.
    Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn

  4. #11974
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    So the switch has live coming in from the power supply, and switched live going out to the fixture, but these wires are running side-by-side in a standard two-core/three-core cable? And they tag the wire that's colour-coded as neutral with (?)tape so people know it can be live?

    Grant Hutchison
    Pretty common standard practice in the uk. This way you only have to purchase one reel of cable that serves all purposes rather than the same size cable in multiple colour variations. It is permitted in the British Standard 7671 IEE regs (electrical installation regulations) to practice this installation method provided that the conductors are suitably marked up to indicate their purpose. A decent trades-person would normally sleeve the conductor with the appropriate colour sleeving rather than use tape (which can be easily removed or come unstuck).

    Back in 2004 the uk adopted the new "harmonised" (with the EU) colours for use in domestic, commercial and industrial installations. The colours for live and neutral changed form red to brown and black to blue respectively along with other colour amendments for 3 phase systems etc..

    I was an electrical installations engineer at the time and had a stock pile of red & black (twin and earth) and other cable, which I found many customers were reluctant for me to use even though this was permissible provided it was sleeved appropriately. As with most changes it took some getting use to, especially with the "old school" tradespeople. personally I preferred the old colours, especially for 3 phase systems, but its not really an issue.

  5. #11975
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    Hundred-year-old houses (continued).
    Where our walls are not 30-inch thick masonry, they're lath-and-plaster - but on steroids.
    A decade ago, I hung a TV on one of these lath-and-plaster jobs. It was a Samsung TV, with a sort of wire picture-hanger thing on the back that hung from their own proprietary cavity-wall fixings. (I trusted these fixings so much that I hung a rucksack full of books from them for a month before I mounted the TV.)
    Anyway, we now need a new TV and the old fixings are no longer supported (if you'll pardon the pun), so this time I really need to find the studs in the wall.
    The presence of the big, beefy laths defeats a conventional wooden stud-finder, the plaster is so thick the studfinder can't detect voids, and the metal nailheads are also buried too deep to pick up. Percussing the wall (I'm good at percussing) identifies implausibly wide areas of dullness, with narrow regions of resonance between. A neodymium magnet on a thread shows occasional tantalizing deflections, but no coherent pattern to suggest a vertical line of nailheads attaching laths to a stud. The skirting board (base board in the US, I think) is sealed off behind the cabinet that houses the various media players, so there's no chance of taking a look behind that.

    I resigned myself to drilling a long horizontal row of holes with a fine drill-bit, looking for voids and studs. So I took down the old TV to start doing that, and was confronted by the square opening of the cable run inside the wall that I'd created when I installed all the AV kit in the first place. Well, do'h.

    A bent bit of wire slipped into the cavity behind the hole--tap, tap, tap to the left; tap, tap, tap to the right, and I had a distance to the studs on either side of the cable run. It still needed a couple of exploratory holes and a bit of poking to make sure I was safely into the body of the stud, but I'd spent actual hours faffing around looking for those damn studs without ever thinking, I've already made a big hole in this wall.

    Grant Hutchison

  6. #11976
    Trying to sleep when most of body doesn't want to.
    From the wilderness into the cosmos.
    You can not be afraid of the wind, Enterprise: Broken Bow.
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  7. #11977
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Hundred-year-old houses (continued).
    Where our walls are not 30-inch thick masonry, they're lath-and-plaster - but on steroids.
    A decade ago, I hung a TV on one of these lath-and-plaster jobs. It was a Samsung TV, with a sort of wire picture-hanger thing on the back that hung from their own proprietary cavity-wall fixings. (I trusted these fixings so much that I hung a rucksack full of books from them for a month before I mounted the TV.)
    Anyway, we now need a new TV and the old fixings are no longer supported (if you'll pardon the pun), so this time I really need to find the studs in the wall.
    The presence of the big, beefy laths defeats a conventional wooden stud-finder, the plaster is so thick the studfinder can't detect voids, and the metal nailheads are also buried too deep to pick up. Percussing the wall (I'm good at percussing) identifies implausibly wide areas of dullness, with narrow regions of resonance between. A neodymium magnet on a thread shows occasional tantalizing deflections, but no coherent pattern to suggest a vertical line of nailheads attaching laths to a stud. The skirting board (base board in the US, I think) is sealed off behind the cabinet that houses the various media players, so there's no chance of taking a look behind that.

    I resigned myself to drilling a long horizontal row of holes with a fine drill-bit, looking for voids and studs. So I took down the old TV to start doing that, and was confronted by the square opening of the cable run inside the wall that I'd created when I installed all the AV kit in the first place. Well, do'h.

    A bent bit of wire slipped into the cavity behind the hole--tap, tap, tap to the left; tap, tap, tap to the right, and I had a distance to the studs on either side of the cable run. It still needed a couple of exploratory holes and a bit of poking to make sure I was safely into the body of the stud, but I'd spent actual hours faffing around looking for those damn studs without ever thinking, I've already made a big hole in this wall.

    Grant Hutchison
    I used to find studs by driving pins through the drywall, making a row of tiny holes which were barely visible and would easily be covered by paint. Probably not long enough for your problem.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  8. #11978
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    I used to find studs by driving pins through the drywall, making a row of tiny holes which were barely visible and would easily be covered by paint. Probably not long enough for your problem.
    Also the problem that a lath will bend the pin, or create so much resistance to onward movement that you can't tell void from stud. I drilled millimetre holes and slipped a half-millimetre brass rod through to confirm what was on the other side.

    Grant Hutchison

  9. #11979
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    Since my last post, I've hung new drapes in the guest bedroom. The rods are on three supports, both ends and the center. I started with the center one and found wood under it. The ends did not. I just drove screws into the drywall anyhow. If they pull out, I'll put in some anchors. They probably won't.

    Meanwhile, I was just watching this video, about HMS Victory. I've watched a number of this guy's "Five Minute Guides to Warships", because I like naval history. This video is different, because he usually just does the 20th Century, uses stock photos, and keeps the videos short. This one is an hour, has some really atrocious home video of him wandering around the Victory, and, worst of all, I know more about 18th/19th century warships than he does.

    ETA: I could, I suppose, have just measured off some multiple of 16 to find the right place for the end curtain rod supports. Oh, well.

    Oh, and the reason for the drapes was this: Throughout the house we've put in rollup shades you can see through, because of the view. I decided a bit of privacy should probably be provided for the guest room, which faces the street.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  10. #11980
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    ETA: I could, I suppose, have just measured off some multiple of 16 to find the right place for the end curtain rod supports. Oh, well.
    The two studs I found seem to be centred about 17.5" apart. Maybe that was standard in 1897, but I suspect it was just a little more free-style.

    Grant Hutchison

  11. #11981
    The new cable company said that they were going to be here today, spent the morning cleaning moving the tv out from the wall in room and then while outside mowing the lawn they called and said they won't be here until the 10th.
    From the wilderness into the cosmos.
    You can not be afraid of the wind, Enterprise: Broken Bow.
    https://davidsuniverse.wordpress.com/

  12. #11982
    My leg starting to cramp as I about 20 m from the driveway after almost waking 13 km today.
    From the wilderness into the cosmos.
    You can not be afraid of the wind, Enterprise: Broken Bow.
    https://davidsuniverse.wordpress.com/

  13. #11983
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    There are two buttons on the face of my current Blu-Ray player--power and eject. So if I can't find the remote, we just can't watch things.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  14. #11984
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    Really trivial stuff that bugs you

    Sounds like a Sony Play Station :-). We have one and it is likely on its last legs (12 years old). Iíd really like a blue ray player we can control with one remote for all devices. Because the Sony uses a radio signal and not IR, we canít do that now.
    Last edited by schlaugh; 2019-Jul-11 at 05:19 PM. Reason: Not that old.

  15. #11985
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Backroad Astronomer View Post
    My leg starting to cramp as I about 20 m from the driveway after almost waking 13 km today.
    That's how I felt after hiking to the top of the Pentland Hills one day and walking to the top of the Sir Walter Scott Monument in Edinburgh the next day. These were between performances of our band show in the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, when we were on our feet for long periods in front of the castle.

  16. #11986
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    Allowing small children to fly aboard airliners on their parent's laps, especially for long trips.
    Trivial in that it makes everyone uncomfortable - the kids, their parents, surrounding passengers, and probably flight attendants.

    It won't be trivial when a child gets seriously injured due to unexpected turbulence or a hard landing.
    I may have many faults, but being wrong ain't one of them. - Jimmy Hoffa

  17. #11987
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    Once again, I have sent party invitations to an entire class of children; once again; most of the parents haven't responded one way or another.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  18. #11988
    Why is it you can't find everything you need in one store had to go to different hardware stores to get some stuff for a couple of projects.
    From the wilderness into the cosmos.
    You can not be afraid of the wind, Enterprise: Broken Bow.
    https://davidsuniverse.wordpress.com/

  19. #11989
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    Yesterday morning I donated blood. Upon arriving home, I discovered my fly had been open the whole time.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  20. #11990
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    I've done that. Worse, after getting off my night watchman job, I combed my hair, wore a black tee shirt to look cool, and went to the Birmingham Museum of Art here in Alabama. On getting home, I saw a huge scale of..detrius we'll say...on my hair.

    No wonder the dirty looks.

    I'll never be part of the hoi polloi

  21. #11991
    Have you ever uploaded something to the internet and realized halfway thru uploading it you should not of posted it.
    From the wilderness into the cosmos.
    You can not be afraid of the wind, Enterprise: Broken Bow.
    https://davidsuniverse.wordpress.com/

  22. #11992
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    Now, it is true that my child invited essentially all of my Facebook friends to his birthday party. (Excepting pretty much just Henrik, who I wouldn't let him invite, and a friend who he actually knows personally who he knows doesn't like kids.) I didn't really expect most of them to be there, and it didn't bother me that most of them didn't tell me they wouldn't be there, as few of them live within a hundred miles of us. We did, however, also invite his entire kindergarten class, and few of them responded. My sister didn't respond but did show up, and she spent most of her time silently judging my parenting.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  23. #11993
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Backroad Astronomer View Post
    Have you ever uploaded something to the internet and realized halfway thru uploading it you should not of posted it.
    Deliberately offensive or confrontational? Thoughtlessly offensive or confrontational? Or just plain dumb?

    Grant Hutchison

  24. #11994
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    Now, it is true that my child invited essentially all of my Facebook friends to his birthday party. (Excepting pretty much just Henrik, who I wouldn't let him invite, and a friend who he actually knows personally who he knows doesn't like kids.) I didn't really expect most of them to be there, and it didn't bother me that most of them didn't tell me they wouldn't be there, as few of them live within a hundred miles of us. We did, however, also invite his entire kindergarten class, and few of them responded. My sister didn't respond but did show up, and she spent most of her time silently judging my parenting.
    The entire concept of RSVP seems to be lost in modern US society. I don't ask that people understand the French basis for the term, but I do expect (silly, I know) that people understand that a yes or no response is desired. Especially when food and drink is involved.

    My wife helps to coordinate social events in our little neighborhood and even if the invite says RSVP by a given date, she will invariably receive responses all the way up to the event. And almost always more than expected show up!

  25. #11995
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    I cannot get on Facebook anymore without wanting to strangle someone with my bare hands three minutes later.

    It is safer here.

  26. #11996
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    Bats in my Belfry

    Ugh. I think I have a bat that is roosting under my vinyl siding.

    Some previous owner vinyl-sided our house, and the corner pieces (where the "clapboard" edges attach) have foam behind them.
    Except one inside corner apparently doesn't. This results in a small opening that is accessible from the bottom*.

    This afternoon, I spotted something that looked like bird droppings on the patio beneath the opening.

    I thought of squirting some spray-foam into the hole, but as a temporary measure, I rolled up some aluminum foil and stuffed it in.
    Then I heard something that sounded a little like a cricket or cicada, only not as loud. So, l I removed the aluminum and shot some wasp spray in the opening.
    Again, the sound, but no bugs dropped out.

    After thinking for a moment, I pulled out my phone and did a search for "bat scat". Yup, that looks like what is piled on my patio.

    My current plan is to wait until just after dusk and attempt to re-insert the aluminum foil. With luck, nobody will be at home.

    Yeah, I know bats are good to have, I just don't want them roosting above my patio, given they aren't potty-trained.

    *this is an unusual spot, above an area dug-out for a basement access. This places the bottom of the vinyl siding about 6 or 7' above the patio area
    I may have many faults, but being wrong ain't one of them. - Jimmy Hoffa

  27. #11997
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    Quote Originally Posted by Extravoice View Post
    Ugh. I think I have a bat that is roosting under my vinyl siding.

    Some previous owner vinyl-sided our house, and the corner pieces (where the "clapboard" edges attach) have foam behind them.
    Except one inside corner apparently doesn't. This results in a small opening that is accessible from the bottom*.

    This afternoon, I spotted something that looked like bird droppings on the patio beneath the opening.

    I thought of squirting some spray-foam into the hole, but as a temporary measure, I rolled up some aluminum foil and stuffed it in.
    Then I heard something that sounded a little like a cricket or cicada, only not as loud. So, l I removed the aluminum and shot some wasp spray in the opening.
    Again, the sound, but no bugs dropped out.

    After thinking for a moment, I pulled out my phone and did a search for "bat scat". Yup, that looks like what is piled on my patio.

    My current plan is to wait until just after dusk and attempt to re-insert the aluminum foil. With luck, nobody will be at home.

    Yeah, I know bats are good to have, I just don't want them roosting above my patio, given they aren't potty-trained.

    *this is an unusual spot, above an area dug-out for a basement access. This places the bottom of the vinyl siding about 6 or 7' above the patio area
    Multiply this situation by many zillions and you have the floor of the Big Room of Carlsbad Caverns. Bat guano PhD - piled high and deep.

  28. #11998
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    I seem to have solved a 17 year old mystery.

    My wife and I have never received a water bill for our home. We do receive a cut off notice every few months, which results in a minor panic where I quickly login to the Water Authority's website and make a payment.

    On Friday, for the first time, I examined the mail side by side with the cut off notice. The cut off notice has my wife's name on it and is from "Erie County Water Authority". In the mail is an item addressed to my wife's parents from a company called "The ECWA ORG". My wife dutifully takes this to her parents house every month. Hmm. It's the missing water bill.

    It gets stranger when I log into my account online. All of the information is mine, not my wife's so I don't know how her name is on the cut off notice. Back when we were first married, we had all kinds of problems as my wife declared bankruptcy just before we were married and her name does not appear on anything because of this. It is pretty unlikely that they would have connected the service in her name, because we heard "No!" so many times, we stopped trying to put her name on stuff. (We've remedied that over the past 17 years.)

    My wife's parents were partial owners of the house on the behalf of my wife's great grandmother and there is the distinct possibility they were also listed as the third party billing contact.

    Well, I emailed the water authority to see if they could correct this. I've called them several times to see what is up, but they have always responded that everything looks right on their end. However, I have never had all the pieces in front of me.
    Solfe

  29. #11999
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    So what have your wife's parents been doing with the water bills for your house for 17 years?

    Grant Hutchison

  30. #12000
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    Now at 12,000 posts, it's interesting that the ratio of this trivial unhappiness thread is running (post rate) about 2.2x that of the trivial happiness thread. I'm unhappy about this, but in a trivial way, I suppose. People around here like to fix stuff more than most, so it makes some sense since "why fix stuff that ain't broke?"
    Last edited by George; 2019-Jul-15 at 03:43 PM.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

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