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Friday, January 31, 2003
Yes, Grasshopper, your journey into appliance repair excellence begins with good technical information. While it's true that Fixitnow.com is the Muthah of all appliance repair websites and offers an extensive online library of information, a do-it-yourself repair forum, and live help, there's just no way we can reproduce all the esoteric information contained in genuine manufacturer's repair manuals. Something about copyright laws, I dunno. Anyway, a good repair manual can be a valuable adjunct to the vast repository of appliance wisdom here at Fixitnow.com. Come git you some.
Ahh, yes, the Appliance Usage Handbook: the bible of optimal appliance usage. This fine comprehensive reference was compiled by Maytag and is invaluable for answering questions on using your washer and dryer, dishwasher, stove and refrigerator.
Additionally, this valuable handbook contains information on the basic operation of all household major appliances, regardless of brand. I refer to it all the time when answering appliance questions. It's a two-inch thick, three-ring binder crammed full of arcane and exceedingly useful appliance information such as:
Oh, I know what you're saying. You're saying, "Ok, Samurai Cyclops, how do I get one?" Great question! I will send this cornucopia of appliance wisdom as a gift to the first five grasshoppers who contribute $25 or more to the United Samurai Beer Fund. That's right, I only have five copies left. If you've been thinking about making a contribution to the Beer Fund but have been putting it off because you had to pull hair outta the drain or something, then this little pearl should be enough to nudge you into going ahead and doing it. Go ahead, all your other friends are doing it.
Troubleshooting and Repairing Major Appliances. If you need to learn the fundamentals of appliance repair, like how to make basic electrical tests, how to read a schematic diagram, testing a refrigerator defrost timer, how to read a washer timing chart, and lots and lots of other cool fundamental stuff then buy this book. Don't tell anyone, but I still look stuff up in this book when I need to freshen up on the fundamentals. And if you're just getting started in professional appliance repair, this book is a must-have.
Thursday, January 30, 2003
I'll be online for live help tonight from about 9:00pm (New Hampster time) 'till whenever right here at Fixitnow.com. Talk to you then.
Wednesday, January 29, 2003
If your Whirlpool Microwave Combination Built-In oven is giving you the error code "door" in the display and you can't restart the unit, then the door-monitoring portion of the microcomputer board is fried. The only cure is to replace the microcomputer board. Whirlpool just started making more of these boards in July 2002 so there could be some delays in getting a new one but you can special order it here.
Appliance Tip of the Day: No Ice in Your Whirlpool or KitchenAid Side-by-Side Fridge with In-Door Ice
So your fancy Whirlpool or KitchenAid Side-by-Side with the in-door icemaker quit making ice for your margaritas? And it's one of those space-age looking icemakers with the red LED and infrared ice level sensor? Well, Grasshopper, go pour yourself a tall cold one, and get me one while you're at it, because the Samurai is gonna 'splain to you how to fix the two most common reasons these suckers stop making ice.
Reason Numero Uno: Frozen Fill Tube
These units have the fill tube in the freezer ceiling that can keep freezing up. The cure is to replace the existing fill tube with a new kit from Whirlpool, consisting of a modified fill tube and a fill tube heater. You can buy it here. This, of course, assumes the icemaker and level sensing circuitry are attempting to function normally. You can test the icemaker by manually initiating a harvest cycle. Do this by pulling the front cover off the icemaker and jumpering out test points T and H with an insulated wire. The other most common problem is bad optics circuit boards. Keep reading.
Reason Numero Duo: Bad Optics Circuit Boards
If the red status LED is not lit on your ice level sensor receiver (it's the only LED in there, Hoss, so don't go gettin' all cross-eyed on me 'cause I'm using fancy words), then you may have bad optics circuits. Close the freezer door and wait five minutes, then open it back up. If still no status light, then you need to replace the optics boards, emitter and receiver. You can buy them here.
Tuesday, January 28, 2003
I just got one of those cool web cams, you know, those X-10's that you see in popup ads everywhere you go on the web? Yeah, one o' those. Well, I finally broke down and bought one. It was easy to set up and seems to work pretty well. I have it set up here on top of my monitor, taking pictures while I'm working. Here, check out the latest shot from the live Samurai Web Cam.
See you later.
Saturday, January 25, 2003
Looks like MSN .NET passport servers are having another bad hair day. I can't sign in to .NET passport to check email or answer questions at the Appliantology Group. Anyone else having this problem? Seems like the .NET passport servers go down about once a week. I'm just glad Microslop didn't surprise me by going and getting all reliable on me.
The Samurai School of Appliantology is still functioning within design parameters so you can post your questions there and the resident uber-guru, Moostafa, will be happy to hurt you...help you, I meant, help you. Tell me I did.
Thursday, January 23, 2003
So, Grasshopper, you've carefully studied the vast repository of appliance diagnostic and repair information in the Appliantology Files but you are still confoosed. In this case, you must seek wisdom from a Higher Source. Two founts of divine appliance wisdom are available to you:
The Appliantology Group
The Appliantology Group is an MSN group hosted by Samurai Appliance Repair Man. It has a variety of features, such as a message board, photo album, chat room, links, etc., making it a good venue for disseminating appliance repair wisdom. Group members can post their appliance woes in the message board, seeking appliance wisdom from the Samurai. A copy of each new post to the Samurai's homepage is also sent to the group's message board, so you can keep up with the latest rants, er, I mean, tips.
The Samurai School of Appliantology
The Samurai School of Appliantology is a venerable institution of higher appliance learning. The School is hosted on our own servers so we don't have all the bloat and spyware that accompanies all Microslop products. You don't even need to register at the School forum to post a question.
You don't need to choose one or the other. You are welcome, even encouraged, to participate in both of these fine institutions of higher appliance learning.
Tuesday, January 21, 2003
The flex gas line diameter shall be 3/8" and the length shall not less then 6 feet. The 6 ft. length is so the dryer can be slid forward to clean and work behind it without having to remove the gas line flex.
The gas supply pipe extending out of the wall should be 1/2". This means you'll need a 1/2 by 3/8 shut-off valve for that pipe. The shut-off's female end attaches to the pipe while the flex line attaches to the male end of the shut-off valve.
This diagram from the People's Republik of Vermont Extension Service might help, too.
Dear Mr. God,
Sunday, January 19, 2003
The IM world used to drive me nuts. Some of my friends are on Yahoo Messenger, some on MSN Messenger, others on AOL Instant Messenger. I got so fed up with all the fragmentation in the IM world that I just punted IMing altogether. But I just discovered a very cool service that changed all that: Trillian. Using Trillian, you don't need to install three or more different IM services so you can talk to all your online friends because Trillian talks to everyone! You still have to sign up for user accounts in each of the IM services you want to communicate with but you can do all that through Trillian, just takes a second and it's free. Trillian itself is free, too, although they do have a Trillian Pro version with more features for a mere $25/year. I'm currently registered with three IM services. On Yahoo Messenger and AOL Instant Messenger, my handle is Zenzoidman; on MSN Messenger my handle is Zenzoid. OK, talk to you later.
Saturday, January 18, 2003
I'm back from my brief foray into the Dark Side of the Web: MSN 8. I jumped over to the Dark Side a couple of months ago after I downloaded Intellisync from Yahoo and it crashed my computer. In a fit of rage, I deleted the Appliantology group at Yahoo Groups and reincarnated it at MSN Groups. I even went so far as to subscribe to the new MSN 8 software. I just cancelled my subscription to MSN 8 and am easing back into Yahoo-based services.
Bottom line: MSN 8 looks reeeal purdy with the pastel colors and that damn butterfly everywhere you go but, like all Microslop products, it's ate up with bugs (in addition to the ubiquitous butterfly) and has some annoying design flaws, too. It's a product well-suited to users who are comforted by a highly controlled internet environment, such as AOL users. Power users and anyone who's outgrown AOL will quickly become frustrated with MSN 8.
The Gory Details
If you subscribe to the software only, it's $9.95 per month. For that, you get access to the MSN Money Plus (not to be confused with MSN MoneyCentral or Microsoft Money), 10mb of storage in your email account, 30mb of storage for MSN Groups, and lots of purdy icons in the MSN browser to feast your bleary consumer squinties on. Or, for only $19.95 per year, you can buy an extra storage subscription and get 10mb of mail storage and 30 mb of storage in MSN Groups. You don't get access to MSN Money Plus, but you can still use the billpay portion of MSN MoneyCentral.
Frankly, all the different MSN-this and MSN-that are so similarly named that they're pretty damn confusing. And not just to me, either. When you call in for technical support, which you'll do a lot, with a question about a specific MSN something-or-other product, many times even the "technical support specialist" would get confused about which product you're taking about. If the distinction among features is so subtle that even their own tech support people don't get it, it's time to re-think the structure of the whole MSN thang.
It's ironic that MSN chose a bug, the butterfly, as it's symbol because, as you'd expect with any Microslop product, MSN 8 has an entomological catalog of bugs built into it. You'll spend lots of time talking to tech support, accounts and billing, customer service, the janitor...and whoever else you think can solve one of your many problems with the service.
Speaking of tech support, I hope you like waiting a long time on the phone so you can talk to someone who has no idea how to resolve your problem. After logging over 13 hours on the phone with various MSN support entities and a couple dozen service tickets, I got to know the MSN support system pretty well. The main number is 1-800-386-5550. You'll get a recorded menu accompanied by the warning that waits may be longer than normal because they're "experiencing higher than normal call volume." Since this message plays each time you call, it begs the question of what is considered normal call volume.
Once you get through to someone at tech support, the fun really begins! You'll patiently explain your problem and the rep will explain that you need to talk to accounts and billing. They'll even transfer your call for you so you won't have to re-dial...except the phone will usually get disconnected and you'll have to re-dial anyway. Once you get through to accounts and billing and explain your problem to the rep, they'll tell you that this issue is a tech support problem and that you'll need to call them. Ever read The Trial by Franz Kafka? How about Joseph Heller's Catch 22? To preserve your sanity, these are required reading before dealing with MSN support.
But what about the much-ballyhooed email environment in MSN 8? Yes, it has built-in spell checking IF you have MS Word installed on your computer, which I don't--I use the more powerful and streamlined Star Office. But one thing really bugged me about the MSN 8 email client: no link button. So there was no way to embed a long, hairy URL into text like this. Instead, you had to cut and paste the entire ugly URL into your email. Bearable if you have a nice, tidy little URL like http://fixitnow.com. But what if you had a URL to your online photo album, like this:
Who but the most pale of computer geeks would want to see all that crap in their email? Worse yet, MSN 8 email completely chokes on this type of URL--it wraps the URL creating the dreaded "page not found" error when clicked by the recipient. And, no, there's no option allowing you to code in the HTML directly. The MSN 8 email client is like a beach babe in a thong: fun to look at but, damn, is anyone in there?
The thing that finally broke it for me was when I tried to create an MSN 8 account for my son. You're supposed to be able to add nine other users to your account. Well, I couldn't. Even after more than three hours on the phone with a Tier 3 tech. One of my maxims in life is "Go with the flow." This wasn't flowing. The butterfly is dead, plastered on Yahoo's windshield.
So, just because MSN 8 has bugs, does that mean that MSN as a whole is trash? No. There are still some good features in MSN, but use them with your conventional browser, forget about MSN Explorer. Here are the services from various portals that I use and can recommend :
Thursday, January 09, 2003
I hate junk faxes. People that send 'em are nothing more than sleazy little thieves. They're even a notch below email spammers because they steal my paper and toner to get their stupid message to me. And what kind of half-wit responds to scam offers in unsolicited faxes? There must be enough mental midgets out there to make it worthwhile for junk faxers to continue their evil trade.
Did you know that junk faxes are illegal? Oh yeah, big time. It's a Federal crime under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA). Most states have laws forbidding junk faxes, too.
Here's what I do each and every time I get a junk fax:
Junkfax.org claims you can win money by prosecuting or even threatening to prosecute these thieves. There's even a junk fax attorney who will take your case on retainer! I'm telling you, junk faxes are a big hairy deal. So stop throwing away your junk faxes in disgust. Be part of the solution, stop the madness!
The Samurai School of Appliantology was one of those bold, foolish experiments on the web that was supposed to be a user-supported resource. The School has 1121 registered students and it costs $100/year to open the School without those hideous popup ads--that's less than 10 cents per student! If only 20 students had contributed $5, that would have paid the bills. But less than a handful of students contributed. So, the Samurai School is now closed to new students. It is being left open for the time being so grasshoppers can browse it.
You can still seek the Samurai's wisdom in the Appliantology group. The group has a message board, chat room, photo albums, and other features that make it a good venue for conveying appliance repair help.
Right now, it doesn't cost anything to join the Appliantology group and membership is open to all. But the one-way gimmie ride is grinding to a halt. Soon, would-be members to the group will have to contribute something to join: beer money, technical information, appliance repair photos...something that contributes in some way to the group or its maintenance.
Wednesday, January 08, 2003
My cousins in Michigan emailed me this. I like it. Enjoy.
I asked God to take away my habit.
I asked God to make my handicapped child whole.
I asked God to grant me patience.
I asked God to give me happiness.
I asked God to spare me pain.
I asked God to make my spirit grow.
I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life.
I ask God to help me love others, as much as He loves me.
THIS DAY IS YOURS, DON'T THROW IT AWAY
Had a great snowshoe hike up North Kinsman the Friday after Christmas. On Christmas Day, Wednesday, we got a thick blanket of snow and Friday was a perfect day for snowshoeing: the snow had settled for two days, clear blue skies and chilly, about 20°F at the base, maybe 10°F at Kinsman Pond. Total mileage about 7½. You can check out all the pictures from this hike here.
Going up the Lonesome Lake trail, the snow was well packed from all the hikers going to the Lonesome Lake hut and you hardly needed snowshoes. At Lonesome Lake, I had spectacular views of the south side of Cannon Mountain and the ever-majestic Franconia Ridge.
But going up the Fishin' Jimmy trail to Kinsman Pond was a whole different deal. A few intrepid souls had ventured about a third of the way up and packed the trail a little bit but turned back when the trail began its steep ascent to the pond. From that point on I was bustin' powder. A couple of times, I had to claw my way up sheer rock faces. I almost turned back more than once but caught my breath long enough to keep going. As I ascended, the temperature kept dropping and it got so cold that the water in my hydration tube froze solid. It would've been funny if I weren't so damn thirsty. I could have removed the hydration bladder from my pack and drank directly from it but the problem is when it's that cold outside, you start to chill as soon as you stop moving. The thought of standing still for several minutes, fumbling around with my water bladder with numb fingers didn't appeal to me much so I just sucked on some snow and kept going.
After more than an hour of busting through three feet of fresh powder and scrambling over vertical, snow-covered boulders, I saw the Cascade Brook trail junction sign. By then, even Ouzo was feeling it. A little further beyond that was Kinsman Pond, from which I had a spectacular view of North Kinsman. There were two guys camping out at the Kinsman Pond campsite. They'd come up the Cascade Brook trail the day before, breaking snow the whole way. That's hard core!
Tuesday, January 07, 2003
Here are some cool tips from The Gasket Guru for your restaurant or commerical kitchen that'll save you $$.
Your restaurant's profit is typically only 3 to 9 percent of total revenue! Money you save on operating costs adds to what you keep. Saving 20 percent on energy operating costs can increase your profit as much as one-third. Wouldn't savings like that be worth a second look?
Fun Facts to Know and Tell
Getting a Grip
Gas Braising Pan
Friday, January 03, 2003
You need gaskets for your commercial kitchen but you don't live near New London, New Hampshire? No problem! Just use this chart to identify which gasket profile you need and then email or call me with the profile and exact dimensions. I can then give you a quote for the gasket.
For more information on my custom-made commercial gasket services, click here.
I am your gracious host, Samurai Appliance Repair Man.
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