Search This Blog

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Be green and save on your power bill!

So this has been talked about on the radio, TV, in books and magazines, almost everywhere. My wife and I and our friends talk about all the time. I hear people talk about it all the time.Yet people still don't claim to anything about it. Your power bill is high so what are things you do to lower it? Would you start turning lights off in rooms you aren't in or don't use? Perhaps you run out to the store and buy the energy saver long-life bulbs. Maybe you even start turning off the TV and computer when you aren't watching or using it. Those are really great starts and more than most people even attempt! But, just because the TV or computer, and even most kitchen appliances, are turned off and/or used sparingly doesn't mean that they aren't pulling electricity. The US Department of Energy has reported that anywhere from 75%-85% of the power consumption in the average home happens when the appliances and electronic devices aren't even turned on or in use while a study at Berkely showed that 6%-26% of the power consumed happened while the appliance was turned off but still plugged in.

Using Berkley's numbers, if your average power bill is $200, you could potentially save up to $52 each month or roughly $625 a year just by unplugging that computer and entertainment system you use to impress your buddies!

You can use power strips to help reduce the amount electricity being used while the devices are off but studies show that simply unplugging is still the best way.

So Sparky, what your saying is that I can be greener by not using so much electricity AND save a little money just by unplugging my and computer when not in use? That is exactly what I am saying.


Check out the US Department of Energy's Energy-Saving Tips

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Standing at the open door

I have been attending college part-time now for 8 years. I have a fantastic, though sometimes irritating, job as an IT Administrator that has provided me with invaluable experience over the last 2 years. This Spring I will be leaving it, my hometown, and my current university to head farther south to a bigger university and a new degree program with my wife who will be starting her masters degree. This is scary time for us as we transition to our new place in a new city where we don't now anyone and particularly for me since I have a huge problem being able to socialize. I'm extremely shy around new people and I have found that most of the time people take it like I am an asshole that thinks he is better than you and therefore refuses to talk. It is not as bad as it used to be thanks to my wonderful wife, but still it is a little awkward and irritating. So new town, new university, new home, no idea where or if we will be able to find jobs to fund this little adventure... but damnit I can't help but be really excited about it! Not being sarcastic either. We are really excited about this!

So here we stand at the open door, the light shining through inviting us in. Ready and willing, hand in hand, we move our feet forward ready to step into the unknown and prepared to face all that may come.

The name is Fixedit, Sparky Fixedit.

Ok, so my 1 yr. old plasma tv quits working mid-showing of one of my wife and I's favorite episodes of our favorite tv show. The tv will not turn on even though the light that signals when the unit has power is lit. After the torrential rain of colourful metaphors that came out of my mouth I decide to check my warranty and give good 'ol tech support a call. They wanted to sell me a 750 dollar replacement part even though it was under warranty. Here is a quote from the call, "Of course we can help with that. This is a well known defect by our tech department though it rarely happens and I myself have not before received a call concerning this, but since it is so well known common problem we will be glad to assist. The problem is caused by an issue with the power supply that was installed in your particualr model. Now Mr. [Sparky] the unit is still under warranty, however the cause is marked as a non-manufacturing defect so it is not covered. The replacement part is 750 US dollars. Will that be Credit, debit or do you wish to use check by phone?" Uhm, I almost lost my shit. I refused to pay that and politely told them to go sit on it and spin. Seing as how google is now a verb I decided to give that a try. My googling revealed that this an extremely common issue and the fix is quite simple and very inexpensive provided you are willing to learn how to do a little soldering. The fix is to replace 2-5 electrolytic capacitors located on the power board of the tv. So a trip to the local electronics store, $5.30, 10 minutes worth of soldering and reassembling the tv, BAM! You can call me Mr. Fixit. Here is a link to the arcticle I found to fix the tv:

All you have to is open the back of the TV and locate the bad capacitors. You will know if they are bad because the tops of the cylinders will be bulging and possibly leaking. See this related arcticle (different tv same problem):

Be nice to your local techie

Computer Insights 0 of x

1) Computers are absolutely useless tools until you beat some sense into them via an old keyboard across the monitor…
2) The true goal of Computer Science is to build something that lasts until it is finished.
3) If you know about computers, then you know about cell phones, televisions, vcr’s, dvd’s, all forms of computer input devices, dishwashers, washers and dryers, clock radios, cd players, *insert other various electronic devices*, lawn mowers, automobile mechanics, theoretical math and science, and all things weather and gaming related. However, most of the time they want you to unstop a toilet or replace moldy ceiling tiles…
4) 99% of all computer errors are either ID-10T or PEBCAK and could easily be solved with a RTFM. 99% of all errors could be prevented by not buying Windows based computers. The other 1% is because we techies need to stay in business…

Unexpected Circle

Went to the midnight showing of Despicable Me… and it was fantastic! Of course my old self, I’m 26, had to take a 6 hour nap so that I could stay awake during the movie. Seriously, it was a great date-night with my wife and it was a great and fun movie. To top off the great night… we had to take a trip to Krystal’s because someone decided a movie can’t be 3-d unless it’s through a haze of pot. NO it wasn’t me… My wife and I were the oldest people in the theatre!
Anyway… great night with the wife and good movie!

Mental reboot

It’s funny how sometimes the smallest action, thought, sounds or smells can send you down memory lane. My wife and I were heading home after picking up a pizza and I decided to go a backway. This backway used to be how we would get home from picking up the same brand of pizza when we lived in our old apartment almost 3 years ago. “Hey honey, do you remember when we used to…” she finished with “drive this way every time we got pizza for date night? Yes, I remember”. We have been married for 3 years now. We spent the rest of the night reminissing of old times that aren’t old, new times that seem old, and then all the possibilites of the future made possible by all the actions of the past. It reminded me of how even when the toughts of the past may send chills up our spines because of some super-embarrasing and life altering moment, the past puts exactly where we need to be. Though we very rarely see it that way.
When I think about my past, I remember very few good times and a lot of rough times. I have a lot of blame assigned to people and choices and situations along the way. Until a few months ago, that blame is what I clung to and used to validate where I was: 26, in school for 8 years and still counting, stressed out, angry, blah, blah, blah. You all know the story… It took 2 random acts of violence in the community that caused what I am calling my “blame pedestal” to crumble and I crumbled with it. I felt truly lost and broken. From that state I was able to talk to people and for once actually understand everything my wife had been telling me since the first we met: I am ME. It is ok to hate the past, fear the future, and yes even have strong negative feelings toward the people who helped put you in that state. What you really have to work on is recognizing that all that is ok, you are human and normal, and all you have to do is make yourself happy. Happy doesn’t mean shopping spree, though I am told it helps! What I mean by happiness is acceptance and growth not complacent and sedentary. The past is one giant lesson learned and a kick in the pants… Use it to figure out your likes and dislikes, your hopes and dreams, all the little future “what ifs” and then dive right in and experience life! You will find that your past experiences having given you most of the tools you will ever need.
Remembering all those converstions and self-realizations brought up more memories, some old and some new. I’ll shiver at a few of them I’m sure, but for now… I thank God I have them and pray for many more.