Garage Door Problems

The other day I went out to get my car out of the garage. I hit the button on the remote and the garage door did nothing. I could hear the electric motor turning but the door didn’t even wiggle. For problems like this there is a manual chain fall to open the door. Open the little door on the side of the garage to get access to the chain fall. Work the chain fall (that’s mechanical speak for pulling on the chain) to open the door and nothing happened. This is a big problem.

There is no way into the garage except through the garage door. The garage door is an old metal roll up door. It is not one of those tin foil doors that everyone buys nowadays. This door was installed before tin foil doors were common. This door is like one you would find installed in an industrial building. Some of us take are garages seriously.

To open the garage door in this situation you have to get out the inch and a quarter by inch and a quarter crow bar that has been flattened to a chisel point on one end (and not stored in the garage). Jam the chisel point under the bottom of the door, put a piece of two by four under the crow bar and pry the door up. Slip another piece of two by four under the door and repeat the prying up on the other side of the door. Of course I has been cleaning up and thrown away all the scraps of two by four I had laying around.

It’s hot and muggy. I have an appointment coming up. Run around, find another two by four in back yard. Saw two by four up into eight inch lengths for cribbing. That’s what the prying and placing block under something is called.

Try to crawl under door. Don’t fit and I’ve lost weight. Go find more two by fours. Saw up more cribbing.

Get under door. Climb up to the garage door opener. Find that a bushing has worn out. I had inspected the opener just a couple of days ago. The bushing behind a big pulley so I missed it. There is a lot of tension on the shaft that the  bushing supports so the pulley and shaft didn’t wiggle when I tried to move it a couple of days ago.

Today I got the pulley off with the help of a friend. Pulled the remains of the bushing out. Went down to the bearing store (yes there are such things) and ordered a replacement. The bearing store has been turned into an office with almost no stock. Thank you MBA’s (if the stock don’t move get rid of it). If I had known that I would have ordered it on line and maybe get it faster. I need the bushing now, not tomorrow not the day after. If you don’t have what the customer wants he will go on line and get it just as fast and cheaper. If you run a production line and you have a dozen paid people standing around doing nothing does the MBA pay for the down time or for the fine the state lays on the company for sending the people home suddenly without pay?


Write on, draw on.  Professor Voltage.

Silly Season or is it Just Halloween

Silly Season is traditional newspaper language for a series or flood of wild stories in the vein of; big foot, UFO, Lock Ness sightings and conspiracy stories. This time it started with someone going through the NASA Mars picture files and finding a picture with a ball shaped rock in it. Spherical rocks are not that common on earth and are usually formed by water. So why didn’t NASA make a big deal of this rock as evidence of water on Mars? It’s got to be a conspiracy. Then a picture was found in the Mars picture files that has a rock  that looks like a traffic stop light. In the spirit of there’s gold in them there pictures someone went through the 1968 NASA Moon picture files and found a picture with something that looks like a space ship sitting in a crater in it. Another person jumped on the picture saying there was a highway in the picture. (the highway looks like a transmission error common in the old technology used in the 1960s, if you were born after HD TV you don’t know what snow like static is or rolling horizontal bar or bars on a TV screen is). Right after all this comes a multiple UFO report from Colorado. Isn’t there enough horribly bad news  to keep people entertained?

We have a full moon with eclipse coming up and then Halloween, it’s just going to get better.


Write on, draw on.  Professor Voltage.

Total Eclipse of the sun on August 21, 2017

On August 21, 2017 an eclipse of the sun will occur over a long narrow path that cuts across the United States west to east. I’m making plans to go. Last eclipse I got to see was in the early 1990’s in Baja California. Current plans are for setting up around the boarder of Oregon and Idaho. We did not have cloud problems in Baja California but they did have cloud cover on main land Mexico. Plans to be made and changed. Got to be flexible and ready to out run the clouds. It shouldn’t be as hot as it was down at the southern tip of Baja California near the equator.


Write on, draw on.   Professor Voltage.

Merry festival worship of Durga

I have a friend in India who is celebrating  Festival Worship of Durga. So how does one send greetings for this occasion? I wish you a merry Festival Worship of Durga, doesn’t sound good in English. No telling how it would translate. Have a happy Festival Worship of Durga, that doesn’t sound much better. Have a Glorious Festival Worship of Durga? The festival is about getting away from greed. Have a cleansing Festival Worship of Durga. Doesn’t sound to good but has the right spirit.

Let me know what you think and happy Navratra.


Write on, draw on.  Professor Voltage.

It’s raining viruses

Saturday September 13, I spent all day at the C4 Comic con. On my feet all day and I was tired. Got home turned on computer for less than an hour to check if there was anything important.

Sunday turn on the computer and it acts funny. Slow and the mouse barely works. New batteries in mouse doesn’t help. It’s a Logitech wireless tackball and I like it a lot more than a mouse.

Microsoft has pushed several updates to my machine recently and I have had the updates foul things up. A check of the technical blogs and no one is complaining about anything like that.

Remember that sometimes a major update push from Mircosoft will turn on Windows Defender (the Windows antivirus program) and that program will conflict with the antivirus program I use. Search the Internet for how to turn off windows defender, I am not a programmer and I don’t want to be a programmer. Yes, windows defender was on and I turned it off. No it didn’t help.

Run a virus scan. The quick scan finds a virus and deals with it. The computer is still acting bad, very bad. I run a deep scan. It takes hours. The deep scan finds nothing.

I’m now ready to take the computer in for repair. They want to much money, I can almost buy a cheap (as in $220.00) laptop for what they want to do check up and repair.

I now have a budget. I go to Cnet and download another antivirus program. Run the new program and it says my computer is clean.

I am pounding the table the computer is so slow and the mouse has to be clicked several times to get any program to do something.

I download the MalwareBytes antivirus program. It’s scan didn’t take as long as the program I was using and I was using the paid version of that program. MalwareBytes found twelve viruses. Twelve viruses and I had a paid version of a well known antivirus program running with Windows Defender also running and I was only on the computer for an hour.

Write on, draw on.   Professor Voltage.

CCN and losing subscribers

CNN use to be my home page. Then early last week I fired up the computer and the anti-virus program flashed a warming. The anti-virus program wanted to change the home page because of virus problems. I logged out of IE and ran a virus check. The check said my computer was clean. The anti-virus program wanted to change the home page to a common site and the site checked out clean.

Since then I have seen nothing about a virus that changed home pages (and asked before doing it). I felt should I would find something if the virus was changing home pages to infected web sites. I found nothing about CNN improving the security of their home page or having problems with the security of their web site (of course I don’t think most sites would admit they had virus problems, they would just hope no one noticed). Was I spoofed or does CNN need to hire some IT people instead of laying off people. If I’m not the only person who got this error, even if the error is fake, CNN is losing customers very quickly. CNN could have a bad earning report next quarter.


Write on, draw on.     Professor Voltage.

email newsletters and updating email addresses

I’ve been updating my email address to many newsletters since I changed ISPs. Look at your newsletter. If the user has to unsubscribe and then resubscribe to your newsletter the user may not resubscribe. All I want to do is change the email address. Several newsletters and web sites make it very confusing. A user should not have to try many different things to change an email address. One site hid the change email address button under the New tab, that was a low blow. It may have made sense to the programmer but not to me.

If the web site or newsletter made it very difficult to change the email address then I thought very hard about how much I wanted to get the newsletter. I now do not subscribe to several newsletters since it was to much effort to resubscribe.

I’s called voting with your feet, so go make tracks people.


Write on, draw on.

Windows Live Mail Error, Or How I Love a Good Conspiracy Theory

I recently switched from Time Warner Cable to Verizon FIOS. TWC email service went out twice in one month then there was a internet outage early one morning. No real explanation was given for the second email outage or the internet outage. After switching to Verizon FIOS internet the Live Mail Program inside Internet Explorer would generate error messages “Unexpected Server Termination”. This happened every three to three and a half minutes.

Researching on the Internet I found:

1. Posts that indicated that this problem has been around since 2011.

2. It would cost money to have this fixed by Microsoft.

3. That if the server you get your mail off of is throttling, just have your IT guy fix it. This is obviously for a enterprise user, or some rich guy who can afford to have an IT guy.

Conspiracy theory. Verizon and Comcast throttle your internet. Evidence, they throttle Netflix don’t they and users of these ISPs report this problem. If you ping an Internet route you only do so for a couple of microseconds so no one would notice if they throttled the little user. You think you’re getting fast speeds? Well you are for about three to three and a half minutes then the throttle kicks in. What does the throttle do? It cuts the link to the high usage server or terminates the connection (for several tries). I have Live Mail set to check for new mail every ten minutes but testing shows that it checks constantly, image software lying to you.

Verizon wants you to use their mail client (they won’t talk about Live Mail). I like Live Mail and have used it for years. Besides how do I know Verizon doesn’t scan emails so Verizon can send you targeted adds. Google has done that and they haven’t even slapped Google’s hand. Of course in the small print you signed you allow Google to scan your emails and Google will never forget what it found in your emails. If Google can do it Verizon would be dumb not to do it.

With Live Mail popping up error messages every three minutes and reloading deleted emails or marking read emails as unread every three minutes, those actions get to be un-tolerable quickly. Maybe this is why so many people have switched from Internet Explorer when all they needed to do was switch email clients.

I’ve switched to Firefox browser and Thunderbird email client now and do not have problems.

Write on, draw on hopefully without error messages.

Why I quit Time Warner Cable Internet

It doesn’t work.

For the second time this year the email service from Time Warner Cable doesn’t work right. It hasn’t been working right for a couple of days. Tonight I can receive emails but not send them. This is better than yesterday where for a time I couldn’t do either. No information on when this will be fixed.

I pay my bill on time but I am not getting full service. I did not get a rebate the last time the email went out for days. It was worst last time when getting emails was erratic for days.

Email is not life and death for me like it would be for a small home business but it seems like a simple thing to keep going and if it’s broken enough customers would complain that Time Warner Cable would get it fixed fast.

To irritate me more an article on Cnet this morning talked about how Time Warner Cable was improving service and giving free upgrades to customers in Kansas City. Kansas City has Google fiber so they may be losing customers there and have to do something.

There have been no rumors here about upgrades, free services, or improvements to the Time Warner Cable Internet in this area.

This month’s phone bill had an add on the outside for fiber internet connection much cheaper that Time Warner Cable and it would be more than twice as fast. I will have to accept a two year contract and change to a internet telephone but compared to the current phone bill it will be about break even in cost. The old land line telephone is a back up and I keep it because for many people it’s the only way they know to contact me. It’s not much of a back up, a couple of years ago a backhoe dug up the fiber optic cable that run out of the city I live in. Not only did we lose the internet connection to anyone outside the city we lost internet telephone to anyone outside the city and the tradistional phone could not call anyone outside the city. Gone are the days of mulitiple cable routes and backup of basic services.

I’m also concerned if Time Warner Cable combines with Comcast service could get worse and fee could, most likely will, increase.

Changing ISPs will require a lot of work on my part. I have had my email address through Time Warner Cable for a long time. Time Warner allows an alises to my old email address and I have had that email address for a long, long, long time. Every company that I have bought software from and every web site I subscripe to will have to have my email address updated. Then I will have to notify friends and relatives. It is a great way to get rid of spam emails.

To prevent having to change all these emails again in two years if I deside to go to another ISP or if the new ISP changes for the bad (promise you one thing then change it after you subscribe) I am going to set up a web page and use the email address for that WEB site as a replacement for the Time Warner/Adelphia email address. The web page will be through a host that has nothing to do with Time Warner Cable or the telephone company and the web page will not change if the phone company does something cheap to its customers or I go another ISP. Of course it’s been years since I developed a web page and things have changed since then. Back to fighting the learning curve.

One web site says code your web site in HTML 5 another says HTML 5 is not catching on don’t use it.

Write on, draw on, code on.               Professor Voltage

Power outages equal telephone and Internet failures

Power outages equal telephone and Internet failures.

Beware if you have a home business and you are hit with an extended power outage caused by flood, fire, or other disaster. Your fiber optic telephone line and Internet line may be working perfectly but your phone company equipment at your house may fail after a short time and you won’t be able to use your fiber optic phone or Internet connection. This is caused by the phone company is not changing a battery in their equipment at your house. You could be out of business if you do not know about the battery that needs charging or replacing.

This is the same as not changing the battery in a smoke alarm, at least you know about the battery in the smoke alarm and you own the smoke alarm and the battery in the smoke alarm doesn’t cost $30.00.

Last Saturday night it rained. If your not from California you would call it a heavy dew. It was enough that I could hear the rain drops hit the roof in the early morning. At 7:30 Sunday morning it was still lightly raining (hey it was raining hard enough I could see the drops on the sidewalk, wet marks not splashes) and I was working on my computer when the power when out. A split second later there was an explosion so the problem was less than a mile away. Twenty seconds later there was another explosion. This was looking to be another eight to twelve hour power outage. Ten to twenty minutes later there was another explosion. That would mean all three phases were out and this outage could last a while. There were no sirens so hopefully no one was hurt.

It wasn’t much of a rain, there wasn’t any water standing in the street yet the power goes out. I had errands to run and when I returned the power was still out.

What to do in a power outage? Go someplace where there is power. Not something you can do after a flood, hurricane, or major disaster. I grabbed my paper notebook and a pen and pencil and headed to a fast food place a short distance away. The library is not air conditioned and didn’t have power anyway. People who say they work in a coffee shop must not get much work done. Between the girls on cell phones complaining about boyfriends and self centered guys on cell phones talking loud I had trouble writing or drawing. It was to hot and humid outside to sit and work so I headed back home.

Back at the house I found the phone was dead and the Internet was out. This is only after four hours of power outage. I have fiber optic for both the phone and the Internet service. With fiber optic they cannot send electrical power down the fiber optic cable to power the fiber optic converter that hangs on the outside of the house (the converter translates the fiber optic signals to something my computer and telephone can understand). The fiber optic converter has to plug into my house’s power. There is a backup battery that provides power to the fiber optic converter if the power goes out. The battery is a gel cell and is suppose to keep the converter going for at last eight hours. Well the gel cell for the fiber optic converter is a couple of years old and gel cells need to be replaced every two years to maintain full capacity.

Off to a coffee shop that has wifi. The doctor told me I can’t have anything with caffeine in it. Oh well there always a scone. The power outage come down to how long I can make a bagel last. At least I brought a cube tap, a thing you plug in the wall so more than one thing can plug into an electrical socket at the same time.

Power didn’t return until after midnight. That’s almost 17 hours without electricity (if we every get any rain around here the power outage could last for days).

The next day I get the phone company technician out to my house to replace the battery. They are going to charge me to replace the battery. It’s their battery, it’s inside their equipment and the phone company repair guy had to pry the equipment open with a screw driver (they don’t want people poking around inside the equipment). I’m upset, they’re charging me for keeping their equipment going.

I didn’t need to get on the Internet the day of the power outage. A day without Internet could hurt and hurt badly anyone who runs a business from home. If you have the technical skills and know where to stick the screw driver you can open the phone company equipment at your house or place of business and replace or recharge the battery. Mine is a 2 volt 8 amp hour battery. I have a very small gasoline generator and a gel cell battery charger that I could connect to the battery to get the phone and Internet going again. Most people would not know how to do this. The generator is big hassle, the generator is heavy, noisy, and smells up the place. Don’t use a gasoline generator inside a house or enclosed area.

If you have children at home do not depend on cell phones. Children will talk on their cells until the battery in the cell goes dead and if the house phone is dead they will be out of contact. Just try to get a kid to not talk on the cell phone when the power is off, there is nothing else to do.

It’s going to get worst. The phone company technician told me the CEO of the company told everyone at the company that the only thing that matters to the phone company is making money for the company and the shareholders. So much for the customer. The phone company pressured me to convert to fiber optic telephone years ago. Now it makes sense, the phone company get free electrical power from me and does not have to build or maintain the ability to power all the telephones of their customers like they did in the days of Ma Bell. Saves the company lots of money and if the customers phone go dead because the power is out for a long time that’s the power company’s problem.

Draw on Write on. Professor Voltage.