Monday, December 31, 2007

I fixed my JVC AV-36980

A few months ago... several actually. My JVC AV-36980 went out, no reason it just wouldn't turn on. I wanted to fix it but my life was too hectic at the time. Over Christmas break my sons and I finally got around to fixing it. After rolling this heavy unit and entertainment center away from the wall I googled the model number and found this web site. I was amazed, it looked like my exact problem and it looked like something I could do but was a little scary. The good thing is that it would only cost me $1.75 to try.
So first I opened the unit and found these dusty contents.The red arrow points to what I would later discover to be the bad capacitor know as C926.

After vacuuming the main board and back of the unit (being careful to touch anything as a working cap might have a lot of volts in it even after I let it sit for an hour with no power) I found C926 and saw a slight bulge and discoloration. This made me feel good. So I headed to Radio Shack to get the part. After going to a small mall Radio Shack I learned there are different types. The one at the mall had only 2 trays of caps and did not carry what I needed so I went to a larger one with 3 trays and found the 35V 1000uF part.

I needed to get to the bottom of the board to remove and replace the old part so I disconnected the speaker cable (remember which direction it was and where it was) then lifted then slid the board out of its track and put it on its side.
I noted which side was + and - and verified it with the marking on the board then had my son pull on the cap while I heated up the leads one at a time making careful not to overheat the board. This is a through hole part on a board that might be multi-layer. It took several heatings to get the thing all the way out. In other words, when I heated the top lead you could not pull it all the way out with the bottom still attached so you had to heat the bottom while the top hardened.
After getting it out the board showed discoloration. We replaced the part leaving this one about 4mm from the board in case it blows at a later time.

The pictures above where taken with my new DIY protein strobe. The following with the work lamp. This picture shows the cramped work area with the board on the side, I circled the bad leads, use the large trace 'zag' as your landmark.
After soldering in the new part, again being careful not to overheat the board. I have the long leads I need to clip.

When I finished the TV worked again. I think my wife was surprised to see me fix it.
It took longer than 30 minutes but was easier than I expected.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I'm not going to die just yet

After all of the stress at work, my grandmother passing away, and a ton of other things I felt like I was having a heart attack. I tried doing the guy thing and ignoring it until it went away but the flutter feeling was becoming a distraction and casing more stress. So last week I got an ECG. It turned out to be normal as was my blood pressure and pulse. That was the first night I felt right in 3 weeks so I went to the gym the following night. Then got on the roof to put up Christmas lights.

My son, Dylan, took these and I forgot to set the ISO to 100 when I gave him the camera. The camera needs a warning light when you haven't used it > 4 hours and the ISO isn't working for the camera. ISO too low is easy to detect when everything is a blur and you hear the mirror flip up for too long. ISO 3200, these pictures, is harder to detect.

I did manage to get some right ISO pictures from the roof.
One thing I noticed up there was that my neighbor in the back parks his car in the back yard near his porch. It is hard to not notice as he does this often. When you are standing on your roof you really ask yourself why. Does he frequently unload something and that location is closer to the destination? Afraid someone will steal it? Or, I like this one the best, he loves his car so much that he wants to remind himself how smart he is by parking it in plain view all day long, perhaps even sitting on the back porch for hours just looking at it.
I didn't actually bring the camera up there to spy on my neighbor, it was just a target of opportunity. I really wanted to capture the sea of suburbia that you see from up there.

Nice Park Job

Great job parking your car. This doesn't even look like one of the 3 types of cars that I see doing this:
  1. $1,000 car with $10,000 of upgrades
  2. Old person that is just lucky to have not hit something
  3. and of course the > $30,000 I'm so proud of my car... car

Friday, December 14, 2007

New Office

Well, I spent my first full week in my new office. The sound of the fridge has been replaced with a loud AC unit and chatter from half the building. My view is this horrible pattern of squares trying to trick me into thinking I am in a cube. But I m in a pen or stall, since I have a movable door I'll go with stall.
I need to go back into software development so I get an office in situations like this instead of an interior pen.
The pen picture has been color corrected for the ugly green florescent lights that shine above me. I wonder if I will get in trouble if I unscrew some of them. The worst ones are over the support area and they haven't moved in yet. Ghaaaa I do not want to hear support calls all day any more than they want to hear me burp the alphabet.
I liked the old office. It had a window! I guess this is what I get for going into SW test.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

This Saturday was rough

I had a rough Friday at work getting things done before the move at 4:00. So I slept in on Saturday to get in a little later than I had hoped to at 11:00. Umm, ahh yeeeeaaah Saturday is a, ummm regular day. Yeaaah it's not like a um half day or anything. And ended up spending about 13 hours unpacking and getting ready for an emergency test in my new cubicle... actually it doesn't have a roof so it is a pen (any small enclosure in which someone or something can be confined) or stall (a compartment for one person in a shower room, toilet, or similar facility). I didn't manager to keep my promise with my wife and go with her to a party at 2:00. So she had a bad day too.

On the way home I get a call from my sister that my grandmother passed away. Wow, what a day.

Since work went so bad on Saturday I have a full day of work ahead for Sunday. Since I am writing this on Sunday night I know Sunday will be rough. It is just sinking in that mom-mom is gone now. I better get back to work so I can get to bed and go to work to work in my new office with my 2 wall pen.

Got a new phone

If anyone wants to call again after the phone was smashed I have a new one. I hear lots of bad things about the Treo/Palm phones, mainly from people that work at Sprint. I had a Blackberry and hated it, it ran no software at the time and the Treo ran everything made for a Palm. The Palm wasn't without its problems but now I have a Sanyo Katana II and I HATE the thing. I had major buyers remorse after getting it. I was not ready to get a new phone but hat a lot of pressure to get one so I got sick of looking and bought it for $200 with $150 off for extending the Sprint contract. The menus on the thing are horrible and how does anyone text without the full keyboard. But the Palm Sprint wants $35o for the Palm device running PalmOS since I didn't want to pay an extra $20/month for data. I hate cell phones.
So after that short rant... you can call me. I will not be calling people until my work life stops creeping into my personal life so much I cannot even figure out this phone.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Death and destruction

Well it is really the other way around. Yesterday we got 4 new fish at Petsmart.

Three of the fish in this picture will be dead within 24 hours but I am skipping ahead. We figured out when we got home that the bowl pictured so we decided to hit Craig's list for a new tank. The current resident of this tank, Darty we called him, didn't like the fish Dylan picked. Dylan btw is not connected to those colored finger nails. So Darty had to be put in a timeout... glass for the evening.

The next morning Dylan comes into the bedroom where a tired Dad is feeling lazy . And we call the number on Craig's List to buy the 10 gallon Tank for $20. So I get up and take my shower, after my shower I decide to do weigh myself and check body fat on the scale. Before I do that I prep the Treo with the page I once recorded (again I foreshadow) all of this information. I find out that the keypad is no longer functioning at all. I start getting mad but still in control at this point. I tap it on the bathroom counter and get some of the keys working. However the shift and number-shift keys don't work, grrr it isn't usable.
So I try this tapping 'fix' again and the screen cracks. This is when I loose it. DAMMIT I don't want another phone. And apparently I didn't want the data off of it because I threw it at the tile floor in the bathroom.
Why do I loose it from time to time? My car gets jacked up and Allstate does nothing while they try to contact guy that hit me. My gym sucks and I need to quit. The other car starts overheating on the way to the airport. Hell, I hate my job too.

I quit Convio because they wouldn't let me do what was right and now I'm at Uplogix doing that same thing, manual testing, for 60 hours a week again. There is hope at Uplogix if we can hire more testers to do the stuff I don't want to do.

Last time I got this mad I left Convio and smashed stuff outside the threw seeds when I returned pissing off a co-worker. I still think it is funny to throw seeds... from a tree.

Enough destruction, on to the deaths. We lost three pets today after getting this fish tank. Daisy is fine for all of the dog fans out there. So while cleaning and preparing this new 10 gallon tank for all the fish that would get along we left the other fish in their cramped quarters. I put some bubbles into the water while scrubbing the Craig's List tank but we had to let the new tank sit for a couple of hours with the filtered conditioned water. Fish like it that way. When we return from Nana's house Katie's fish, Yeornge I think for its yellow orange color, is dead as it the smaller of Trevor's two.
Katie is sad and crying when she comes out of the car. So we quickly get the two live fish, that play well together, and add them to the tank with the fish we got with the tank. Katie and Dylan head to Petsmart to replace the two dead fish in a bag.
While this is going on I fix up that small tank is then fixed up for Darty. Within an hour of going to the new tank he dies.
Since Dylan got him from school there is nowhere for him to go back to.
So I decide to write all of this and photograph the two negative things that happened today. I'm not happy with how the dead Darty pictures came out, he deserved better as he is what started this whole fish thing. I have ordered my off camera lighting gear but I will write about that stuff in my photo blog.

If it wasn't so late I would photograph the fish tank with the 5 live happy fish in it. But I have to be ready to drive my borrowed car to a job that I don't think I will enjoy. I do like the Frappuccinos though. Convio didn't have that, or a manager committed to letting me do test automation the way I think is right. Things should turn around soon. I also noticed they have a low cal version of the Mocha Frappuccino, since I don't have a gym to go to soon.

I can't bring the fish back to life, I tried. The phone too. Do I get another Treo... or a free phone or just go phoneless to save some $60/month? I'd love the money more than a phone I think.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Lifetime Fitness Bill

I guess this is a common theme lately, thing sucking, that is. But I just found out today that Lifetime Fitness is ripping me off too now. They decided to add my children to the bill, at first I just thought I bought something at the café but when the second charge rolled on after I had not been at the club for a month I knew it was a 'new price' they came up with. I wrote this nasty letter and the next day they fixed the bill and apologized. Problem solved.

I wondered why my already high bill went from $54 to $67 and found out today that you just decided to start charging for my children. My children that don't like your gym and don't go. They stopped going when all the auto-belays were not functioning for 6 months. When we got NO money back for our 'sports' membership that was like a regular membership for half a year. I'm over that now, mostly.

So I have kids that don't go to Lifetime and you try to slip an extra charge on the bill. Not only for November but for December. I am not happy. The guy at the desk was no help taking off the charge for December and reversing the charge for last month. I got a dumb "It was already charged" response.

PLEASE FIX THIS BEFORE DECEMBER 1 OR I WILL QUIT. I will also dispute my December charge as I never agreed to have an extra charge for kids and I will dispute the November charge as it is also not what we agreed on.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

My other blogs

I decided to start a photo blog today I also have an automated testing blog at that I need to update. I think 3 should be enough.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Allstate sucks

Allstate sucks, I told them that on the phone today.
Background: Almost 2 weeks ago on Friday 9-Nov-2007 my car was struck. They gave me a claim number when I called in an hour after the accident. I was told that they would get back to me by 2:00pm on Saturday or 5:00pm on Monday latest. When did I hear from them? When I called Tuesday morning. Apparently they could not get a hold of the insured.
Today my wife and sister have all sorts of advice about what I should do. I call Allstate and they tell me that they STILL have not contacted any of the insured so we started looking them up and calling the one number we could find. I called their agent Eric Russell Brand at 281-242-3755 and got a machine. So I keep hearing grumbling about what I should and should not do.
I guess I will subrogate with Farmers and be out my monster deductible and rental car fees until Allstate (who sucks) settles.
So, since everyone is giving me advice why not just post it here?
When a 20 year old kid runs a red light in a big pickup truck and the family doesn't bother to even call their insurance company about it what do you do?
  • Wait longer
  • Subrogate and get my car fixed now (if it can be)
  • Hire a lawyer (yes I don't feel right still)
Follow up: after 1 month they did own up to the accident and Allstate paid out.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Blogging again after 3 years off

So I haven't blogged in what... 3 years. Wow a lot has happened, I got a great job at Convio but quit when it turned out to be bad for my career and now I'm at Uplogix. I was hired in to lead the testing there but after a bit of a management change I am now 'the automation guy' that isn't automating yet. I hope this will improve very quickly.

I started a testing blog here but need a place to put the other developments in my life so I don't have to go over the same parts with everyone and we can just talk about the interesting aspects.

I am cycling now but that was a bigger part of my life last year as I was commuting to work on the bike. When Uplogix moves to 360 I will start riding again. Ever office building needs at least one shower for cyclists. I did do the BP MS150, Hottern'n Hell 100 and the HCCC this year. The last event was rough (road and I was in bad shape) but I did three 100+ mile events thus year. Only half of the 6 I planned on doing. I'll blame all the extra hours at work for my crappy performance this year.

I am also into photography, I always was but now have a Canon 30D and some nice lenses and a great flash. Most of my photographs are family and similar stuff. I did have a professional site but didn't sell enough photos to justify keeping smugmug's $150/year pro account and didn't see a good way of merging my regular smugmug account and the pro account without it being a big mess. I feel bad, I wish I had the account but I only sold 4 photos after shooting a for 8 hours.