Archive for the 'internet' Category

23
Mar
10

Pilot light going out on your water heater? Try this…

About a week and a half ago, our two-year old Reliance 606 gas water heater started… well… NOT heating water.  Turns out that the pilot light (the small jet of gas that keeps burning so it can light the main burner to heat the water) kept going out.

A quick troll of several appliance message boards (read: gripefests) revealed that this was a common problem.  I emailed someone at the water heater company, and got this from them:

Thank you for contacting help@hotwater.com, it sounds as if the flame arrestor on the water heater is restricted not allowing air to flow through the burner chamber. I am sending you a link to a video which will show you the correct way to clean your water heater’s screen and flame arrestor. Simply click on the following link to view the short video (you will have to push the play button “>” for the video to start).

http://www.hotwater101.com/video/gas-filtercleaning.html

If you are unable to play the video, there is also a PDF you could print out or view on your computer. The PDF contains an illustrated step by step instructions guide for cleaning your water heater’s filter and flame arrestor.

Thank you, Technical Support Department

If I can figure out how to embed the video here, I’ll do it later.  But click the link above and watch it.  It seems to have worked.

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10
Feb
10

Fear of FAIL… and Why We Need to Screw Up More Often

I’m inspired by a fantastic piece up over at Ars Technica that I just read.  Matthew Lasar, the author, offers a three-page rogue’s gallery of lesser-known inventors and innovators in telecommunications.  All of them failed to capitalize on their discoveries, usually because they were a few decades ahead of their time.

Here’s the article.  (Clicky Readey)

As a teacher, what strikes me the most about this is the alarming trend in child rearing and education to shield a kid’s purportedly fragile self-esteem from the “crushing” experience of failure.

Parents, fellow teachers, and other responsible, compassionate adults reading this: please hear me.  It is MUCH more important that a child learn how to fail and learn from the failure than it is for them to experience success.  To fail to do so is to produce a person with an inflated ego due to an overestimation of his or her own abilities, and to whom the entire concept of “trial and error” is an alien thing.

Perhaps worse still, you deprive them of the thrill of success that only truly comes after repeated, failing attempts.

So let them bump their heads, skin their knees, fail a school paper or project, or even an entire class.  Then be there to help show them the most important part of the process: how to dust yourself off, clean up the blood, accept the natural consequences of your choices, and ultimately try, try again.

08
Jan
10

URGENT!! Crayon Physics Deluxe “Pay-What-You-Want” SALE!!

Go here RIGHT NOW and BUY THIS GAME.

http://www.crayonphysics.com/

Teachers! I’m talking to YOU TOO.

It’s only good until the 15th of January, so HURRY!!!!

05
Jan
10

Outstanding Essay – Bittersweet Christmas Morning

This comes courtesy of Julian Murdoch (a.k.a. “Rabbit”), member and regular contributor to Gamers With Jobs — a site (and podcast) I frequent since I decided to outgrow the bathroom humor inherent in so many other video gaming communities.

Click and read this.  Now.

Mr. Murdoch has a good ten years on me, but we’re hitting several balls in the same park.  It’s a hard thing when a lifelong hobby and love of mine tends to be equated with immaturity.  It’s refreshing to encounter other “grown-ups” who aren’t just sad man-children that never really left their early twenties behind, but who can still enjoy “childish things” respectably.  Kudos, Rabbit.

02
Nov
09

Abomination?! (The Star Wars Holiday Special)

I’ve heard of this, but never before had the (mis)fortune to actually run across it.

I’ve seen a little less than 10 minutes.  I’m not a drinking man, but I may have to start before I watch any more.

And yes… that IS Bea Arthur.  Why, God??  Why, George Lucas?!?

Watch it below, or CLICK HERE to see it at Google Video.  Where you COULD, I suppose, watch it in full-screen… if you hate yourself that much.

11
Oct
09

Almost lost my cool there…

The Great Ubuntu Experiment had a major hiccup today.

I was fiddling around with my video drivers, trying to improve performance for both windowed and fullscreen video playback (mostly divx rips of some DVDs I have) and I somehow end up crippling my video settings, so that they will ONLY display 1024 x 768… on my widescreen monitor.  I HATE having all my stuff look squished, so I did some more fiddling and somehow managed to delete the GUI entirely AND get myself locked out.

Terrific.

I almost did one of two things:  (1) install Vista again, or (2) wipe and reinstall Ubuntu… and lose all the tweaks I’ve been making these last two weeks.

Fortunately, I kept my cool.  This was a puzzle to solve, and I’ll be d*mned if I’m going to wuss out in the face of a geek-problem of this caliber.

Long story short, I managed to figure out a password that would let me back in, boot into recovery mode (which I had forgotten existed,) removed and reinstalled several packages via command-line interface ONLY… and an hour or so later, I’m back to as-good-as-it’s-been.

And that feels good.  Original problem NOT solved, but at least I fixed what I broke in the first place.

Still Windows-free… unless you count using my wife’s laptop to look up all the crap it took to fix stuff.  And I don’t.  Or so I keep telling myself.

20
Mar
09

Obama and Biden: Top 10 Gaffes in Office

Came across this blog post tonight, and I highly recommend it.  With video even.  Be sure to read the comments for even more entertainment.  Kudos to the UK for “mainstream” journalism that isn’t afraid to “call a pig a pig.”  Domestic newsweenies, take note.

CLICK HERE for the WUT?

I think my favorite is the DVD thing at #3.




The random musings of a 30-something, West Texas high-school science teacher. Hoo-RAY.
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