Fixing A Homewerks Bath Fan With Heater (Condition = Fan Blows, No Heat)

Ok, so this one is, of course, a use at your own risk document. I am not a professional electrician. Homewerks products totally blow and no one carries parts for them. I tried going to their website directly, but my relatively new fan was no longer listed and I could not get in touch with anyone there. I love using Repair Clinic to fix most of my other appliances, but even they don’t carry Homewerks parts. So do yourself a favor, and buy a name brand fan in the first place. If, however, like myself you find a Homewerks fan in your bathroom and the heater fan blows air, but there is no heat. You may follow the following steps to see if the problem is a simple issue like a Thermal Fuse. If the power sucks as hard in your neighborhood, as it does in mine (because you are hooked up to very dirty power from a totally corrupt, backward supplier like Puget Sound Energy, who is protected by even more corrupt politicians, so they never improve their quality of power or modernize in any useful way.) then you too may get to develop many more electrical troubleshooting skills than you ever imagined as their terrible power destroys modern electronics around your home.  (Many of us are in this situation in the US and don’t even know it. That’s what happens with monopolies.) Of course while their terrible power causes irreparable damage to the environment they are running a green power campaign. Because being green these days is about putting up posters, and advertising, no actually doing anything significant…. Anyway, onto the repair.

  1. Turn off the breaker to the fan and confirm it is off. (If you don’t know how to do this, then please stay away from anything electrical until you do). Basic multi-meter skills are a must for any modern homeowner.
  2. The manual for the fan goes over removing the light cover, light, grill, and fan itself. You should do this.
  3. Using a Digital Multi-meter (Ok well any meter that has a continuity test (usually this setting looks like a wi-fi symbol, btw) test the thermal fuses to see if there is continuity. There are many YouTube videos on how to do a continuity test so I won’t go over that here. (FYI, it beeps if there is current traveling through the components).
  4. Replace the bad thermal fuse with a matching fuse. I ordered mine from Goodman’s via Amazon. The fuse itself will have its range marked on the side.
  5. Replace the fan in reverse order.

Note: Inspect all of the components. If your coil is obviously broken, then the problem also includes, or may just be, the heating coil itself.

Here is a helpful picture of the thermal fuse.

Thermal Fuses are in Red.
Thermal Fuses are in Red.

Personally, I did this repair because of how much of a pain in the ass it is to install most fans of this style, because the fan wasn’t that old to being with (see the “Homewerks stuff totally blows quote above), and mostly because this was a simple repair that should yield many more years of use out of the fan and cost me about $4 to do with shipping. I did not see any wiring issues, or anything else obvious, that should have caused this failure in the first place. So I think it was just a faulty fuse this time. You should always inspect your components when doing a repair like this. Sometimes the fuse is just bad, but more often, you have a larger issue causing it to fail.

2016 Presidential Debate “Hilary Clinton Is Full Of Shit, Gets Schooled By Every Other Candidate, but of Course Gets Endorsed By CNN Polls

Ok, I don’t dislike Hilary Clinton because she is a woman. Let me get that out of the way since that is the go to response to any male that dislikes Hilary by rabid Hilary Clinton supporters. I dislike her because she is full of shit and a fascist. Also, Anderson Cooper is a piece of shit who obviously had a bias towards giving both Clinton and Sanders more time than anyone else. The format of this debate was so flashy it was hard to take seriously. Was this a prize fight or a serious political debate? It took place in the gambling capital of the world. I mean, I love Vegas even though I don’t gamble, but it seems like an odd choice. There are plenty of battleground states. Why the gambling capital of the world? Anyway, below is my reasoning based on her responses in this debate. I’ll try to do one of these for every debate. The current top GOP candidates are so out of touch and bat-shit crazy that I’m just not wasting my time with them.

  1. She is a classical capitalist. A system that at best causes revolution, or extreme poverty for most while elevating a privileged few, every 60 years because it is easily corrupted. There are two schools of thought on our economic system in general. The bat shit crazy neo-conservatives generally believe in the neo-classical system and the just mostly crazy ones, like both Clintons, the classical system. Although that is definitely up for debate. You could make an argument that she is a neo-classical capitalist like most Republicans. We’ll talk about the Glass Stegall act and her later. Whatever she currently believes Bill Clinton had as much to do with our recent “great recession” by repealing policies like the Glass-Stegall act (work first begun by the Nixon administration, btw) as Regan or either Bush. She defends capitalism because it’s what Americans want to hear, but she is not a friend of small and medium sized businesses. No one who won’t break up the big banks is.
  2. As far as her warmongering goes, she voted for action in Iraq under the false pretenses that the Bush administration handed out. Sure, many of us were confused, but she had more information than we did available and says now that she regrets that decision. Tell that to the families who buried their children so we could put a puppet government in place that would guarantee that Iraqui oil would be linked to the US dollar instead of the Euro. I think that anyone that voted for action in Iraq using Bush administration data shows at least a very serious lack of judgement, and commitment to even basic research and should not be able to become president of the United States. I mean, there is still talk about jailing the Bush administration for this, especially the 1st administration (most of who ran with their tails between their legs away from the second one) and I still don’t understand why no one went to jail.
  3. Also, why is this debate on a cable network like CNN and underwritten by Facebook? Doesn’t that show a dangerous, inherent bias in the debate in the first place? Not a Clinton specific point, but WTF?
  4. She claims to have had to make difficult decisions as Secretary of State for Obama, but then used the example of going after Osama Bin Laden. Doesn’t sound like that decision shows leadership to me. Especially since it wasn’t like she was on the ground, ready to take the action the American people expected of a leader personally. As an aside, this is where I like dogs more than people most of the time. I was discussing this with them, and said, “let’s look at this from your point of view. Many years ago a dog pack attacked your pack and really did some damage, you got intel on where that dog was hiding out, years later from an allied pack, would you send someone else to do your job?” The answer is no. They would be there to take care of it themselves. They are not like our pussy leaders who send better people then themselves into harms way all of the time because they don’t really give a shit about other people. That’s part of the reason she sends your kids to Iraq. See number 2. She is from an elite class that doesn’t give a shit and doesn’t get their hands dirty. That’s for you and your kids to do for her and her friends.
  5. In general she sidestepped many questions and had good, pithy, ratings generating, but empty responses. “Is Sanders tough enough on guns” Clinton: “No, not at all…” Well she didn’t do much about it in her time and totally sidestepped the reality that there is approximately 1 gun to every American out there right now. As first lady she certainly could have done more, if not then then when she was a senator, if not then then when she was Secretary of State, before so many guns were out there that it was too late. Why didn’t she? Simple, she is a career politician that will change her views to fit the situation. (AKA, being full of shit). Sanders was the realist, with a real solution, like the other candidates. Still, mathematically we need a gun buy back program to even begin to reign in this problem. Also, with the current technology available do we really think that someone can’t just start making decent guns in their basement, workshop, garage, etc. Just like how making booze and weed illegal just made an underground market for them, so will making guns illegal. I don’t like it, but it’s the truth. Any decent gunsmith can make something that will work with some basic tools. We need better healthcare to address the issue too and the patients that seek it should still have a right to their privacy. There was a lot of implied fascism on this one, not just from Clinton…. If you go to the shrink, perhaps you can’t get a gun. So you’re a criminal for going to the doctor? That’s not going to work. If there is any threat like that, people won’t go, and the problem won’t get better. Right to privacy, and freedom of speech are the core of what makes us American, not any form of Ivy League taught capitalism (most teach the neo-classical style at this point, btw).
  6. Clinton will probably start a war in Syria and put ground troops there. Obama couldn’t keep good on his promises about getting us out of Iraq efficiently. Hell, some American soldiers are still there. Clinton voted for the invasion of Iraq. Why would she hold back here? This one is more legit than Iraq. She also says we need to bully the bully, Putin. Does she really think that Putin is the kind of guy that it is effective to go toe to toe with? That he’ll put up with our shit willingly? We have a obesity epidemic. Does a fat kid, with a 5 gallon box of Skittles sound like something Putin is going to be afraid of? We’re soft and weak. That’s ok in some ways, terrible in others, but it’s better than being a lunatic that wants to solve all problems with violence. It’s time to grow up and use more effective means against our enemies than “hitting each other.” Chafee is right, it was a terrible decision on her part, enough to disqualify her from a nomination. Enough, to disqualify anyone that was pro invasion from a nomination. Anyway, foreign policy is stupid anyway. We should be as isolationist as possible. It would solve our job problems and keep us from getting wrapped up in affairs in the middle east and other areas.
  7. Question: “Is Clinton too quick to use military force?” Answer, yes. I’m beating a dead horse here, but everyone that was for the invasion of Iraq in congress was too quick. A no-fly zone in Syria is just a way of entrapping ourselves in another unilateral action. Even Clinton reminds us that we are already flying in Iraq and Syria. She is prepping us for war. “Well they violated the no-fly zone,” is what you’ll hear about 6 months before your son our daughter is shipped to Syria, then back to you in a box with a flag on it.  The Republicans are ready for war too. So I guess this is one of many things that she shares in common with them. This, love of big banks that steal from people, outdated policies on weed….
  8. Clinton references “lose talk” but does that really mean, free speech that annoys her? Governor O’Malley endorsed her in 2008, but a lot has happened since then. She held him accountable for that because she didn’t have a good defense for her actions in general. CNN of course reports that she “Makes A Convincing Case” but she really just yelled the most and used the most distracting language.
  9. Fuck You Anderson Cooper. He cuts off everyone but Clinton, who ends up doing well on CNN’s polls. Getting nice CNN coverage post debate, etc. In fact, he’s a total asshole to others that point out his bias.
  10. She’s on trial for trying to hide e-mails on her own personal server. An FBI investigation! Yes, the Republicans are pushing for it, but she did it. It was probably very illegal. The 4.5 million spent on investigating what happened was actually legit for a change. It’s a small price to pay not to have another corrupt president. Then she changes the topic and get’s applauded for it?! Ok, Berine backs her up on this… which I don’t get. Then she gets applauded again for refusing to respond? She probably did something very illegal that she should have answered for before the debate. Why would we applaud that? Oh yes, because the media bombarded us with it, and we’re sick of hearing about it, but it doesn’t negate the fact that you and I would go to jail if we behaved in the same way towards our employers, for example.
  11. Oh well, no time for real questions like that. We need to turn to Facebook soon so people can pretend they’re really involved at this PRIVATELY PAID FOR DEBATE. Yep guys, all of the debates are privately paid for primarily by the DNC and RNC. Later, when we get to hear from the 2 dominant parties in America at the “combined debates” 3rd party candidates that show up will get arrested or forcefully turned away by hired thugs, and protesters will be put into “free speech areas”, like they always are. It’s a very exclusive club and you ain’t in it, and I’m not in it, and other legit 3rd party candidates aren’t in it. Get used to it, she’s from the ruling class. She may give you more stuff, but she won’t give you actual freedom.
  12. Are the white collar business criminals involved in the last bank bailout be finally tried and sent to jail? She says yes, but considering they weren’t held accountable while she was serving, and the evidence was fresh, and she doesn’t have a problem with the repealing of the Glass Stegall act by her husband, probably not.
  13. Did anyone else notice how only Berine and Hilary are headlined on the video titles and advertisements? Did you notice how CNN is highlighting Hilary way more favorably than Berine? Guess the media is telling us who to vote for. Can’t say I’m surprised. They put a lot of money into hosting these rigged debates after all.
  14. Do black lives matter or do all lives matter? Awesome question, but we marginalize all poor people of every walk of life. We need to realize this is primarily a problem with poverty and education. “Every child, blah, blah, blah” Hilary Clinton says, and avoids the direct question. Again she blows smoke up your ass, sounds good, and has no substance to her statement. Sanders is accused of doing this and made to answer his questions repeatedly throughout the debate, but Clinton is just allowed to run over, get applause, and say nothing.
  15. She keeps saying she didn’t come from a wealthy family, but compared to what? She is part of the 1% and when her campaign contributors come knocking she won’t do much about the poor. Just like Obama, she’ll have to pay the piper if she gets in and she’ll be happy to do it, because at her core she believes in the system of capitalism that was in effect when her husband repealed Glass Stegall act. She avoids answering whether she will reinstate it, which usually means no. The potential problems with banks, that she doesn’t get, is that they are too big, period. She is going to be weak on holding banks accountable. The banks got “too big to fail” because of people like the Clintons letting them get big. She said, “cut it out” to the banks, but is anyone in jail, are they going to be? Nope. “Congress does not regulate wall street, Wall Street regulates congress. We need to break these banks up.” — Bernies Sanders. Anyone who stands anywhere else on this is full of shit. You can’t shine shit, and that’s what giant banks are. It’s not a broken system that can be fixed. It’s a bad idea, period. She does get schooled on this, but then plays the “I’m just a human too” card. She is too close to banks, period.
  16. Almost no one is on the forefront of fighting climate change in America. So Hilary should shut up on this one. In fact, they probably all could have done more. We use 25% of the world’s resources. Everyone keeps talking about it but plastic bag bans and a few electric cars are not going to fix the issue. Hippies at Not-For-Profits running giant diesel buses for weekends in the mountains, funded with our tax dollars, won’t either. We need to stop supporting big investors, like the 1%, who invest overseas. Even if Crapple puts in solar panels at their iPhone plants the phones still have to be sent 6,000 miles to our West Coast and 9,000 miles to most of the East Coast. Breaking up big banks, and investing in manufacturing here is a big part of it. Having a good IT infrastructure with buried cables, fiberoptics, and regulated providers will greatly reduce the need to commute. Clinton will still back the big banks that ultimately invest overseas, create jobs overseas, send materials overseas, and take an unnecessary shit on the environment in their manufacturing processes. If the planet is fucked, we’re fucked. The planet will survive yes, but we won’t be able to inhabit it. This is our biggest issue! We need real leadership, not hippies in Volvos that get 25 mpg getting pissed off about a bit of dog shit in a parking lot on the weekends and demanding you use reusable bags when their cars go through a 900 years supply of plastic bags in fuel, every year of operation. That’s the kind of greenwashing bullshit that these guys have funded.  All of them over the years could have done more.  At the very least, they could have moved us to Pebble Bed Nuclear Reactors and totally phased out coal and oil. Sure they would have had to educate hippies on what these way better, safer reactors were, but each one can replace 4 coal plants or oil plants. They don’t really get how important this issue is or they would have done this already. Sure, nuclear power is a potential risk, coal, natural gas and oil are definitely killing people, and ruining the environment.  Renewables need more research to be viable, although I hope someday they are the predominant source of energy. At the rate we use resources, nothing is truly renewable right now. This is a personal responsibility issue and Americans need a candidate that will tell them it’s time to grow the fuck up and reduce their usage. This starts with the toys that the wealthy own.
  17. Donald Trump is going to pay for his kids to go to college under Bernie’s plan in his way higher taxes. Hilary saying, “I don’t support paying for Donald Trump’s kids to go to college for free (I paraphrased this one)” sounds good but isn’t close to what Bernie actually said, plus they would probably go to private schools not covered under this act anyway. As an advanced nation, we need people to get educated. Motivated people are usually easier to educate, so they should be able to receive education at any point in their lives. It makes them better citizens. So education should be free. Tax the wealthy more. Hilary, stop spinning this issue. Your proposals are outdated, and too complex. Students need to work while at college she says, like she did. Well I did, and I’ll tell you the kids who didn’t have to had a huge advantage. They should be focusing on their educations, not work. It will make them better workers later. So shut up.
  18. All Americans should have healthcare. We almost got there with Obama.
  19. She basically avoids really saying how she’ll address the social security issue. Bernie does not.
  20. her stance on immigration and healthcare is not really clear. She talks about children’s healthcare…. but not all immigrants are children…. She says it raises issues… then kind of agrees with Bernie. Stops talking… So again, she says almost nothing, but sounds good. Governor O’Malley actually has the best response here about Clinton’s old thinking.
  21. Undocumented immigrants won’t get “Obamacare.” Obamacare isn’t the name of the act. They should get something, but let’s stop saying “Obamacare” that’s what the crazy-ass Neo-Conservatives call it when they refer to it as a mistake. It wasn’t a mistake. It didn’t go far enough.
  22. Hilary actually makes a good point about how Republicans demonize immigrants. Way to go. You still suck as a person, but like 3% less now. She then puts the responsibility on the states. The classic federal cop out. We’ll let the states do it first, see how it goes, and then maybe support them. I wonder why we need a federal government at times like this. Why not just let the sates make their own decisions again, with some restrictions, we don’t want slavery again or anything like that, but the federal government doesn’t really support states very well unless they need to send their kids to die overseas. Then, they sort of do, for a little bit.
  23. Clinton says she doesn’t regret her vote on the patriot act? She thinks surveillance without warrants is a good idea? Is she really an American? What balance is she talking about. There is no balance if there is no due process. She didn’t even talk about the NSA phone surveillance. Anyone that agrees with the patriot act and current surveillance is a fascist, it’s that simple. So Clinton is a fascist, plain and simple. Also, it’s worth mentioning that most of the information gathered is useless. Think about what it means to record all of the phone calls in the US, or virtually all of them. You’re getting conversations about grandmothers checking up on their grand-kids, teens talking about who they think is cute, gear heads talking about what car parts they want, etc. This stuff may be good for a corporate marketing scheme, but certainly has nothing to do with security, and is an invasion of privacy.
  24. She wants Snowden arrested because he should have blown his whistle in the approved of way. The wealthy hate it when you go over their heads, even if you did the right thing. Whistle blowing does not work in the modern world. It takes too long and they would have shut Snowden up, using the patriot act as leverage, or just making up some other shit, if they didn’t just kill him outright in the first place. What real choice did Snowden have? What world does Hilary live in? Oh yeah, the disconnected one of the top 1%. Anyone else remember how the movie about him was out in theaters for only like 2 weeks? Anyway, the problem was deeper than Snowden and no one really talked about that.
  25.  Destroying information after a period of time is a great idea. Companies like Facebook, AOL, Comcast, etc. should have to do this. It’s a basic privacy thing. Some already proactively do, but all should be required to. Clinton voted for the Patriot Act, and again doesn’t regret it, so fuck me and you if you believe that she’ll require a reasonable restriction like this.
  26. Clinton says that she’s be an outsider as the first woman president. If we elect the first woman president that doesn’t mean she’s an outsider. When we said you were an insider we were referring to you being a Clinton, not the status of your sex organs and placements. You are an insider that is being investigated by the FBI, voted for war in Iraq, and still backs the Patriot Act.
  27. Clinton says she’s been working on climate change. Here’s a good first step she could have addressed as Secretary of State. We could have stopped trading with China and India if they didn’t reform. She tells a story about chasing the Chinese and Indian representatives around, like an episode of the Pink Panther? The agreements we made with them are bullshit. We don’t know what really goes on in India and China and she spearheaded dealing with them. So why no real progress? Copenhagen was pretty much a joke. China and India didn’t have a secret meeting excluding us. They didn’t give a shit about our authority because they make almost everything we own, and they know that they own us. They don’t have to care anymore. That’s what the top 1% did for our climate, economy and country. We sold them out for iPhones and cheap Microwaves. You can look in the mirror on this one, we let it happen as insatiable consumers.
  28. She supports paid family leave. Yes it’s good idea. Add 1% onto the other 3% I’ve given you towards being a decent human being. You’re officially at 4%. Still, both working moms and dads face challenges. Remember, not all things with penises are bad. Some even primarily take care of their children.
  29. Weed, whatever, no one is going to disagree with that that wants the young vote right? Wait, wait, Clinton totally put her foot in her mouth on this one and treated it like a prescription drug. No one talked about how it is legal in some states, but still held against you at work in the same states. So not really legal. Even Obama says that it’s about just as dangerous as alcohol, and we have tons of alcohol available. So knock it off. If alcohol is legal, weed should be legal.
  30. When asked what one enemy is she the most proud of making, she takes an additional enemy when being asked who her favorite enemy is. Wait, no, she takes 4. Still, being proud of having enemies is childish. Not all republicans are bad, just most of them.

She urges us to vote for her because of her record, but if I were her I would not play that card. Again, see #26 and the rest of this post. Her record is a really good reason not to vote for her!

O’Malley has the best Climate Change policy, but a 2050 implementation is too late. We need the same plan done by 2020. Sanders will do almost as good of a job with it and has the best policies on everything else. He is also, the only non-billionaire. All of the other candidates at the debate are better spoken and put together than Clinton. Hilary is very general. A practiced, silver tongued, politician that says very little, but sounds great. That kind of person can’t be trusted.

In the end I’m for Bernie. I just wish he was a woman, so one issue voters could vote for him instead of Hilary. The way he normally keeps his hair, in that carefree style, tells me that he is confident in himself, and therefore must have such a huge cock. This non-arrogant, self-confidence, makes me trust him more, but a big cock like that means he probably won’t swing the, “I have to vote for a woman period, even if she’s a fascist idiot” votes from Hilary.

Oh yeah, O’Malley is impressive too.

Overall, all of the democrats are way less scary than the republicans. What does that say…?

The Volkswagen Scandal

Let me start by saying that I am hardly surprised. I looked at these vehicles a few time, even test drove a few TDIs and was impressed with how quiet, powerful, and clean they were.  Although they seem well made, I was never was stupid enough to believe that they got their stated mileage. Let’s just say that I’ve been around cars and the car culture enough to know that car companies lie, because on the whole they ware rewarded for it. Hell, we put up with American car companies flat out lying about much more serious issues for decades and then bailed them out in the end for building shit. I’m not happy with Volkswagen, but I doubt that consumers will get any justice here. You see the EPA just needs a cash, because like most governmental organization they mismanage their money and overpay their executives, and they will take all of the fines from the VW case for themselves. Consumers will have to be represented by an equally incompetent branch of government who will ultimately probably just get them a class action settlement resulting in about 82 cents per person that got screwed. A fair reimbursement would be to look at other vehicles that get the same mileage in the TDIs class, use an average of 10,000 miles driven a year, turn that into an average fuel consumption difference, and reimburse consumers based on the difference in cost of fuel versuses the stated savings in fuel, but no one in the government is going to do that for you. Hell, these cars are well under 100,000 dollars, which is well below the level where politicians give a shit about you and your rights. You see, maybe the VW guys altered the computers on the cars, but there are many independent ways to test automobiles. So how did these cars ever hit the market, claiming the mileage they did, without passing an independent test in the first place? Oh yeah, because again the government doesn’t give a shit about you or doing their jobs well. Hell, they probably knew about it and wanted to entrap VW so they could fine them as much as possible. This makes the most sense. They want to fine VW so they can get a bunch of money to give to their executives and other undeserving top brass, but they don’t really care about the environment. Hell, we still don’t have a good fuel standard, and the work on that started in the 50’s. Even with overstated mileage, these VWs are still way better than most other cars on the road. That’s because the EPA doesn’t really give a shit about fuel efficiency. It’s not like they don’t have the time, muscle, data, and authority to raise the standard. The FTC and SEC should probably do something, but they won’t and the executives at VW will walk away with fake apologies to the public and millions of dollars in their bank accounts. Just like Rick Waogner did with the whole GM bailout. Basically, they fuck their companies up, lie until they get caught, and walk away with millions, or more. This happens because our system rewards this kind of behavior. For the guys at the top it is always worth the risk of lying a little bit. Hell, they won’t even go to jail over this. They should, but the recent bank scandals should show us that white collar business criminals are never really held accountable, even when they unnecessarily ruin the lives of many. What makes me mad about this is that VW had good products for a change. If they didn’t lie they still would have made lots of money. Still, the TDIs are all expensive, and although I don’t condone their behavior, it’s hard to care too much about the hipsters that bought cars whose numbers were obviously being lied about just too look cool, who can easily afford them anyway. Also, as Americans we still take the biggest shit on the environment possible so who are we to judge any vehicle that gets over 30 mpg. If we cared about honesty in the Automotive field we would have never rewarded GM and Chrysler by bailing them out for lying to us and building shit for many decades and Rick Waogner would be in jail, like he should be along with the whole GM and Chrysler upper management team and their board members. In the end its the workers that are going to get screwed, and that’s sad, but on the whole we keep supporting the cut-throat capitalist system that rewards this behavior so whatever.

PSE (Puget Sound Energy) Should Bury Their Power Cables

Here is an article explaining our recent power outage,, you know the first of many this year. Many PSE customers enjoy lots of power outages in Bellingham and Whatcom County every year when there are high winds. PSE would have you believe that the cost of burying the cables is too high but as I write today (about 4 days after the outage) hundreds are still without power. It was thousands yesterday, and many more the day of. So how can having an outdated infrastructure be cost effective for Bellingham or Whatcom county. The truth is, it’s not. It’s 2015 and it’s time to update the infrastructure, but the representatives in charge of proposing such bills are in the pocket of PSE and/or don’t even know what you’re talking about when it comes to technology in general. This of course means that they were put on technology committees… PSE, like most corporations, isn’t going to do anything to improve the infrastructure since they don’t really care if you have power when compared to the expense of modernizing the grid. This is of course penny wise and pound foolish as power providers in New Haven through West Hartford, Connecticut learned a few years ago when their infrastructure finally failed and they were forced to upgrade it. Sure, we give PSE monopoly control of the area, and it’s not like they’re giving the power away for free, but “up yours valued customer” they say when it comes to improving the quality of power you receive. Remember, they’re a business, and that means its about stealing from you until someone forces them to do the right thing. Still, it’s not like anyone is going to hold them accountable.I have even contacted my government officials about this and they blew me off. It’s 2015, and providing power in a monopoly situation is a good deal for PSE. so if they don’t appreciate it then it’s time to get another power company in here. They’ve known they needed to do this for decades now. Anyway, time to demand better service, and buried cables. The expense to do this should fall on the power company, and should not be used as a justification to do nothing. They don’t give us the power for free after all and the amount of energy wasted by an inefficient grid is terrible for the environment in many ways. It’s also worth mentioning that many other companies follow the power companies’ lead when it comes to cabling. Comcast, for example, won’t bury their internet cabling until the power company buries theirs.

— Update, after many weeks of being ignored (the default in this situation) I finally received a call from Taylor at Rep. Larsen’s office on Monday. I was excited, but not too excited, because I knew how many ways they could pretend to address the issue and not actually do it. I decided to try my luck and return the call. They keep asking who it is, saying she is away from her desk, and sending me to voicemail. I’ve written and called several times. I totally expected this. This way they can pretend they tried to do something without having to commit to taking action. Last night we had another power outage. A friend of mine, who owns a poorly built computer (a CrApple iMac) is almost definitely looking at a hard drive failure. Yes there are battery backups, yes there are surge suppressors, etc. but why are we paying for such bad power in the first place and putting all of the responsibility on the consumer? The environmental impact is huge, when we are constantly throwing out electronics because the power is bad and the companies that have direct control over the situation won’t do anything and our government won’t hold them accountable. Anyway, just like Hilary Clinton will never hold the big banks accountable because they are funding her campaign, neither will Rep. Larsen hold PSE accountable, because at some level, someone who has an interest in PSE, or PSE directly, will give them money at some point. Since this has been going on for a few decades now I would say that this is bordering on taxation without representation. Fake representation is the same thing as none.

Windows 10 (“Free” For Most Windows 7 and Up Users, Unless You Have Windows 8 RT or an Enterprise Version, Then Up Yours Valued Customer)

Ok, so I’m much more impressed with Microsoft lately than I thought I ever would be. Windows 7 is a solid OS and Windows 8 (with some obvious drawbacks) was also not nearly as bad as it received credit for. Well not at first, then MS abandoned it and shoved it up the ass of their customers. Still Windows 8 reminds me of another OS that wasn’t nearly as bad as it received credit for at first, but then became bad because MS just stopped supporting it, cause that’s what proprietary companies do, even after they sell it to you, if they feel they didn’t sell enough copies because almost no one in government is competent enough to or cares to hold them responsible. As and aside, this is why I use GNU/Linux as often as possible. Anyway, the OS I speak of is Windows Vista, which failed for the same reasons as Windows 8. This was largely simply because people didn’t like the look and feel of it, so they didn’t buy it even though it had a more solid Kernel, better security features and other key features that would make it attractive if you weren’t just a figure head like most CIOs and IT administrators. (See most University IT departments, especially those with unionized workers from the baby boomer era). Anyway, no matter how you cut it Microsoft had a ton of pissed off customers that started looking elsewhere. So they started to give free upgrades to Windows 10. “Finally,” I said, ” they get that they already took these peoples’ money and pissed them off with a shitty OS experience, and are doing the right thing.” I was impressed, so I started looking into upgrades for Windows 8 users, and found that Windows 8 RT users are still getting screwed on the deal. You see, MS just couldn’t find it in themselves to really let everyone upgrade they sold a virtually abandoned OS to, get the free upgrade they deserved. No, they had to screw at least one portion of their own OS market and customer base. Really Microsoft, just let every Windows 8 user upgrade if they want to. You sold them an OS that you are virtually abandoning. Do the right thing here and give all of the unfortunate Windows 8 users a free upgrade to Windows 10, no matter what version of Windows 8 they have. Perhaps they’ll even consider getting another computer down the road with a Windows product again. You have lost a lot of ground to Linux after all, and Chromebooks are doing well, it’s time to stop being penny wise and pound foolish. Then again, I’m a Linux advocate, so you know what, the hell with it, take advantage of them again. Perhaps they’ll switch to Ubuntu, Fedora, or some other easy to use distro of Linux, like 99% of them could have easily done over 10 years ago :). As an aside, the original launch of Crapple’s OSX 10.5 was also riddled with security holes because they were worried about Vista and rushed ti to market. Later OSX releases were only ok at best. So yeah, time for consumers to get off of the proprietary computing thing if you can (which most of you can btw if you look into it), but I’ll refrain from expanding on that because that isn’t the point of this post. Also, I do understand the point of RT for light PCs, etc., it’s just shouldn’t a similar offer be made to RT users as well? The Enterprise licenses not being allowed to upgrade, if they choose to, makes no sense at all.

Thoughts On John Stewart Leaving The Daily Show

Today I finally watched the final episode of “The Daily Show” with John Stewart as host. Instead of re-hashing how amazing the show was with John as a host I’ll say this instead. I believe that he shouldn’t have left. Yes I’ve watched Trevor Noah, and especially in “African American” it became very evident to me that having his point of view on American affairs will be very valuable, and that it will be delivered in a very hilarious way. The main point of value from Trevor will come in what he can deliver that a purely American host cannot, which is a more truly international view on America and American policy. Still, John Stewart was a powerful force in American politics, especially against the war-loving, ultra-wasteful, super-capitalists, and I really wish that he stayed on until after the next election. With all of the multi-millionaire, or better, psychopath candidates that lined up for the recent Republican debate, not only did I want to hear John’s commentary on it, I am scared that one of them might actually win and I believe that Stewart would have helped keep things in perspective. I have no problem with a good conservative, that actually has researched their arguments, but the Republican party has become a dangerous rich kids only club that only survives because of its obscene amount of funding. Average people that are still voting for them need to create a new party as quickly as possible. The current Republican party doesn’t even represent Republican ideals anymore…. Then again the Democrats supported slavery at some point, then again the Republicans support it now though inadequate wages and turning all necessities into investments…. Anyway, it’s a scary time to have Stewart leave, and on a personal note, I’ll miss him. Still, Trevor should be pretty awesome too :) and ultimately the responsibility lies with us, as citizens, to remember that almost all of our politicians, in both major parties, are totally out of touch with average Americans and full of shit. As John Stewart himself said, “The best defense against bullshit is vigilance, so if you smell something, say something.”

Arduino Mega 2560 R3 Flash New Firmware

So this Arduino board has been replaced by newer boards with better keyboard controls that can use commands like the series, like keyboard.begin and keyboard.write. With that said, I wanted to flash my Mega 2560 with some new firmware. There are plenty of instructions for doing this with the UNO but with the MEGA 2560 (especially the R3) it was a little less straight forward. So instead of reinventing the wheel, I’ll just try to post the differences here. Of course the disclaimer of if you damage your board it’s not my fault, etc. holds true here.
1. Follow the instructions here and get an updated firmware to do what you’d like. In fact, you should mostly follow this article except for the instructions I put below specifically for the Mega 2560 R3 if you’re having trouble and keep getting the “dfu-programmer: no device present” error.
2. Here are the command line instructions for using the DFU programmer with Ubuntu Linux. I have Ubuntu 14.04 at the time of this writing. They are slightly different than the above link.
sudo dfu-programmer atmega16u2 erase
sudo dfu-programmer atmega16u2 flash “Whatever_You_Called_It_New_Firmware”.hex
sudo dfu-programmer atmega16u2 reset

That’s it really. The original instructions are good, it’s just that some of us need the above instructions to flash the R3. Obviously the key was to use atmega16u2 instead of 8u2 or at90usb82.

Star Trek Deep Space Nine “Top Ten Episodes”

Ok, so I put top ten episodes in quotes above because I am not going to do a top ten for DS9. The best thing going on in the series in the dominion war. Since you have to watch the episodes in order to know what’s going on, I’m just going to say that you should do that. It is worth saying that although I love DS9, there are some truly awful episodes realted mostly to things that don’t have to do with the war, and they are mostly in season 1. Here is the list that I used for the Dominion War, the first time you watch them you should watch the optional episodes for some important background information. The second time around you can skip them.


My Magnavox 50ME314V/F7 50 Inch TV Warranty Horror Story (Or Buying a Magnavox, Dumb, Very Dumb)

So about 4 months ago I purchased a Magnavox TV from my local Fred Meyer. I also own a Samsung that has never given me any trouble. Oh yeah, this article is a total first world problems article. Anyway, after about 3 months the TV started not turning on all of the time, especially if it was unplugged for a while. It was not an issue related to warm up because this would happen after the TV had been plugged back in for days. I tried basic troubleshooting but the problems only got worse. It started randomly changing channels and muting itself as well. So I finally called Magnavox. Who sent a tech out. Who was here for about 20 minutes. Ran their proprietary software test tools, and could not reproduce the problem so left without putting in the parts they they had sent him to put it. It wasn’t his fault. You see, they have to reproduce the problem to put parts in, according to Magnavox because the real reason Magnavox sends a tech out is to cover their ass. Now, they knew that it was an intermittent problem before sending the tech out and many other Magnavox TVs have been having power supply problems. Still, those of us that work or have worked in the industry know that their testing tools are there to protect the company, and not to actually fix your problem. Meaning, they are not very good and are not designed to be good. Plus the problem is intermittent so it would take real time to torubleshiit. Plus, TVs now have big computers in them, so why not just run a log in the TV. I’ll tell you why, because they don’t want to fix the TV. They want to run out the warranty periods and pretend that they tried to fix them. I had to call 4 times. Once for each problem (the random muting and the random channel changing) and twice for the power issue. The technician has told me that if I get videos of the problems they might accept that and finally replace the TV, but that is taking up a huge amount of my time.

Here is the way they should have handled it. They should have shipped me a new TV with a return label. They could then have inspected the old TV and sold it as refurbished through Newegg or another retailer that sells refurbished products. There was no risk to them in providing good customer service in this way and basically no money lost if they had. Anyway, I’ll post the videos as I get them. The funny thing is, this could all be a firmware issue, but they are very careful not to admit to anything. Yet we wonder why the consumer confidence index is so low. Perhaps companies shouldn’t release products before they’re really ready to go. Anyway, don’t make the same mistake I did. Don’t buy a Magnavox. Spend the extra few bucks on a Samsung. I’ll recant this article if they actually provide me with good service, but so far that hasn’t been the case. This has been going on for several weeks now. They even accused me of lying, in a very nice corporate way, about the power issue on the first call. If I was lying I’d be asking for my money back, not a replacement TV.

Update: Even after providing them with video evidence and reporting 2 additional problems, indicating most likely a cascade failure, they are still not honoring their warranty. They ware waiting for the report from the technician that they know they didn’t authorize to replace any parts. It’s basically their way to pretend that they’re being professional and investigating it properly, when they really just don’t want to replace my broken TV which again, is 4 months old. Guess their warranty is total bullshit. Their customer service certainly is. At least they’re very courteous when they basically tell you they’re not going to do anything about it.

Update: 4 days later they are still using the excuse that they are waiting for the now 2 week old technician’s report. Who again, they didn’t authorize to do anything. They’re just going to keep using this excuse until I go away, or so they hope. Please, do yourself a favor and don’t buy a Magnavox. The $150 I “saved” over a similar Samsung is not worth this bullshit. A week ago a technician told me they’d be replacing the TV, but they’ve decided to simply “forget” about it.

Update: After ignoring me for a while they finally responded by telling me to call the main support line again. Now I’m enjoying wait times of, well it’s still going, while I’m writing this it’s currently 45 minutes 33 seconds on hold. What they are probably going to do is pretend that they’re starting from scratch, or simply not answer the phone now that they know my number. Then they can act like they tried to provide service but I simply never called, was not willing to be helped using their methods, or some other awful corporately planned, calculated BS. Again, I provided them with a video showing the error. It is intermittent, so they are probably just hoping to catch me when it does work, so they can say it’s fine and it’s a case of user error. Those who know me, and my extensive experience with electronics, know that can’t be the case, but the general public will probably believe them.

Update: After being told I would be contacted by a supervisor I received two erroneous e-mails from their support today. The second telling me that my case has been closed and asking me to take a survey. Since neither they, or Fred Meyer, have provided me a solution yet I am not sure what they are doing.

Last Update: Ok, I think this is the last one. Magnavox was not sure why I got a survey, but is still “looking for the best solution for my TV.” I’ve been keeping my local Fred Meyer up to date on what has been going on. Since I’m a good customer, tried to do the right thing at first, etc. they finally allowed me to get store credit on the old Magnavox and I paid a bit more and got a Samsung Series 6. My plan was to take this post and You Tube videos down if Magnavox ever made good on their warranty. Since they didn’t I guess I’ll just leave everything up. It cracks me up when people wonder why the Consumer Confidence Index is down when many companies behave like Magnavox on a regular basis.

Update: Ok, I thought the last one was the last one but Magnavox finally responded to my Better Business Bureau complaint. They never had a supervisor or higher up call me, and their response was in broken English. They intentionally got the order of events wrong, and said the TV was fine. Even though I provided the video and reported several other issues, they pretty much ignored it. For the love of God, don’t but a Magnavox! There are many, better TVs for around the same price. Again, my hat is off to Fred Meyer for doing the right thing in the end. I know they are considering not carrying Magnavox in the future. I hope they follow through with it. It’s not worth losing a good customer to carry a brand that is supported like this.

So in the end. Magnavox’s final response can be paraphrased like this. “Up yours, we don’t ever make mistakes, enjoy your TV, if you can. Oh, and you’re not high enough up on our social totem pole to even get the time of day from one of our supervisors in the US.” This last point is important because they lied in their response to the BBB and my complaint to them. Saying that they did not violate the warranty and were “working towards a solution,” and of course getting the order of events wrong in their response too. Well that simply wasn’t true. They never called me to setup any kind of even 2nd evaluation and did not ever provide it to me as an option or any other option. They just told the BBB that they did because that’s how they do things. In the end I had a broken TV, jumped through their hoops, provided a video, and they simply stopped responding and said it was fine. Meaning they did violate their warranty. Still, thank God for Fred Meyer’s excellent customer service. I’m glad I’m not stuck with a broken TV, especailly a 4 month old one, and especially a Magnavox.

Sorry, one more update. This process has been so ridiculious it was trough to keep track of everything. They seem to have forged a contact in my name. I know it was them since only they, I and the BBB have the case number. On a day I did not contact them I received an e-mail thanking me for my recent contact. Seven minutes later I received an e-mail closing the case and asking me to take a survey to tell them how they did. I of course gave them all zeroes since they didn’t provide me with a solution. Still, the lied to the BBB, me and countless other customers so this hardly surprised me. Ok, now I think that’s everything.

Apples New Environomental Statement or How to Properly Greenwash an Apple

So Apple recently released another set of videos and documents on their commitment to the environment. As usual, their videos are very well done and if you don’t scratch the surface you won’t get the classic smell of Apple bullshit to rise from the Apple logo. Here’s the truth about manufacturing overseas.

1. The trip from Hongyuan, China (where their solar plant is) to just the West Coast of the USA is over 6,000 miles (or about 9,904 Kilometers). This is true of pretty much everything they make. Add 3,000 miles (about 4,828 Kilometers) to anything you’re getting on the East Coast. There is no way that can be green. If they really gave a shit they would manufacture things here in the US, like many foreign auto manufacturers do.

2. “They decide what to put in and what to take out to save resources?” Of course they do, every manufacturer does. That has always saved them money and therefore has always been the case. They’re patting themselves on the back again for something every manufacturer does and selling it to you like they really care.

3. Ok, good on them for the better packaging thing.

4. Green power to the stores. Well better late then never I guess, but I know that at least one store on the East Coast was approached about this years ago and laughed it off. They wanted the power company to pay them to do it. Still, the way they run their stores is very wasteful. How about they start by turning off some of the computers every once in a while and not shipping their in store promotional materials in the biggest packaging possible? Oh yeah, because then it wouldn’t look good enough to brainwash the sheep that go there into thinking that they’re green.

Sure, most electronics manufacturers make their stuff in some country that is very far away from the US. The problem here is that Apple is trying to tell you that that is a green thing to do when it never can be as efficient as building their products directly in the USA or Europe. I hear the Germans are very good at making things, for example. They’re trying to get you to think that they have to manufacturer things in China, but they’re doing the best they can with it, when they could just make things directly in the US and Europe and drastically cut down the energy used to transport their products. We’d need to do a raw materials analysis to see if it would reduce the energy cost of getting the materials they need too, but aluminum is very abundant, for example. They want to keep making things in China so they can keep abusing people at Foxconn, and get you to think that they’re green so they don’t have to stop.

In the end the current state of electronics manufacturing is sad indeed, but the American public (who still replaces their smartphones about every 18 months) still drives this engine of Environmental and human abuse through their over consumption. Apple is playing on our lack of care, and outright stupidity, to try and convince us that they care, but we should all know better by now. When is the last time you’ve really received good warranty service from any manufacturer? Most people have horror stories about this. Which leads to my next article about my 4 month old, broken Magnavox TV.

— One last thing. I’ve seen environmental groups like Greenpeace come out in support of Apple’s “commitment to the environment.” This is very irresponsible. For the reasons I’ve written about here, their many human rights violations (which I and many others have written about) and because it shows Greenpeace’s (and environmentalists in general) level of technological and statistical understanding. Meaning, it’s very low or just not considered. It’s more about tribalism to them than real change, and of course donations. If Greenpeace cared about the environment and technology they would pair up with a good small manufacturer that uses an easy to use Linux distro (like Ubuntu) and put it on truly sustainably made hardware. With Linux on it it will probably actually run well for more than 3 to 5 years and again, can be built from the ground up to be truly sustainable. Something Apple will probably never really commit too, or Dell, or (pick a big manufacturer). Perhaps they can even be built in the US. So yeah, way to jump on the hypocritical USS Crapple Greenpeace. Then again, you couldn’t be real environmentalists unless you talked out of your ass most of the time and refused to do math.