Thursday, September 13, 2007

Kitchenaid Lemon

My wife and I closed on our home back in August 2001, and the dishwasher that was there failed before Thanksgiving.

Buying a new dishwasher was a "no brain" decision. My parents had 2 kitchenaids at that point (they are still on the 2nd), and in my old house, I had a Kitchenaid the last 4-5 years I lived there. None of them ever gave us a problem - not a moment.

We went to the store, ordered the top of the line Kitchenaid, without a thought of buying a "lesser" unit

Well I'll tell you, the thing has been a lemon since day 1. When the unit showed up, a lead had fallen off the starter cap on the motor. The door seals kept falling off the unit. About 2 years in, the clips holding the top rack in place started failing. Last year, the disposer inside the unit clogged, requiring the unit to be taken apart. Then about 6 months later (still in warrantie) the pump failed altogether - this is with pre rinsing every dish going into the unit. Well, on Thursday, the control panel started blinking - yep it needs to be replaced, a $300 dollar job. Now as the soap dispenser latch requires fiddling, the top basket still is falling apart, you can guess what we chose to do. Yep, buy a new dishwasher - and you can BET it's not a Kitchenaid/Whirlpool/Kenmore (all the same dishwasher).

Open note to Kitchenaid - you had serious brand loyalty in my family. We never even thought of buying anything else. Now we will never think of buying one again...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Today, on another blog, they were asking about what you remember most about 9/11

To me, it's a long answer. I work in IT supporting the News Division of one of the "big 3" networks. I was at my desk, and is usual for ME, the TV in my office was off. A co-worker called down the hall "Hey Charlie, a plane just hit the World Trade Center". Like most people, I figured it was some small plane. I reached over, and turned on the TV. One glance, and I KNEW this was not a small plane.

By the time the 2nd plane hit, the whole department was in the main conference room, with the bank of TV sets on various channels

Things I remember... Not necessarly in order, from the next 2-3 days

My son's Nanny calling - her Future Father-in-Law worked in 2 WTC - and she had not heard from him (he got lucky - he was on the 48th floor getting a cup of coffee - if he had been at his desk, he would have been killed) - it was 2pm before he was able to get through to say he was OK.

Me being sent home fairly early, to come back in by 6:00am the next day for a 24 hour shift, and my wife (who worked in Port Washington and was also sent home early) asking me "what's that smell?" and telling her "that's the smell of the WTC burning" (we live about 12 miles away from ground zero)

An out of town firefighter on the 12th - walking past our office - in his gear, carrying a Scott pack, walking north away from ground zero - and EVERYONE offering to help him carry his gear - he refused, but...

Getting a black car home on either the 12th or 13th, and going past one of the Missions to the UN here in NYC, and there being a Humvee outside, with a M2 mounted - and yeah - it was locked and loaded.

Did I mention the smell? (yeah I did) - the smell went on a LONG time - it changed over time, and after the first month or so, you could no longer smell the burning flesh as much.

The silence of no airplanes (except for the fighters) overhead

I remember the 3 ex-coworkers I lost that day

I remember being really thankful that I had NOT taken that job in the WTC

I remember going home, and hugging my family.

AND I remember the people who did this to us - and I won't forget - they are dammed lucky I was not in charge of the Nuclear football that day...

(edited May 23rd, 2008 to fix some spelling errors, and one or two grammer errors)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Best Blonde Joke EVER

This has to be The Best Blonde Joke Ever.

Equipped to Survive: A trip to the ER

With all apologies to the folks over at Equipped, here are some thoughts on "surviving" a trip to your hospitals Emergency Room. Not necessarily YOUR trip, but a trip of a loved one.

As many of you know, my Mom just died after a long illness (lung cancer), and my Dad is not in the greatest of health. Over the last 18 months or so, I've probably been in the ER with one or the other nearly a dozen times. (Latest was yesterday - Dad is OK).

First - BE PREPARED to take them to the ER, or have them taken to the ER. By prepared, the Ambulance crew is going to want a few things: Their Name, Birth date (age), what medications they are taking, and known illnesses. Having this information written down ahead of time is going to save the crew a LOT of time, and they will be real happy to get it. Also, on the list - put down the names and phone numbers of their doctors (BTW, do this for yourself, your spouse and kids too).

Sometimes a simple "Oh - he has a pacemaker" can prevent them from scheduling an MRI. Or a "Hey, he has Paget's syndrome" can prevent days of worry over shadows found on his bones during a cat scan (No - it's NOT bone cancer)

So, where do you KEEP this information? Mom's Hospice folks as well as the NYC EMS crews ALL have said the same thing - put it in an envelope, and stick it to their refrigerator - with BIG letters. If they call 911, and can't tell the crew what is going on, the crew is going to check the kitchen for medicines - particularly the refrigerator for drugs that need to be kept cold. When they see the envelope - they WILL check it. It's SOP for the crews. IF there is a DNR - keep it outside the envelope, in plain site. (BTW in NY state, DNR orders have to be renewed I think it's every 30 days, and approved by an MD)

You should also keep a copy of this information where YOU can get at it. Towards the end with Mom, I actually kept copies with me at ALL times. You could get the call that they need you at the ER when you're NOT at home.

I hope all of you keep your basic medical information with you - in your wallet - your MD, your drug list, and any known problems. It can save some real problems if YOU end up in the hospital, and can make life easier even if it's just a visit to a new MD - just hand him the paper.

Friday, August 10, 2007


Today, mbUnitForms was announced. It's a port of nUnitForms. Might be a reason to switch to mbUnit

Thursday, August 09, 2007

SQL Server Monitor Gadget

Conchango today has released a SQL Server Sidebar widget. That should be fairly cool

Now if they would only let us use Vista at work

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

New Software - Get them while they're hot

Oooh - some new software for the development world:
NUint 2.4.2 - the defacto standard in .NET unit testing software
Code-Rush and Refactor! Pro

Barriers to Agile Development

I just ran across an interesting blog post RE the Barriers to Agile development at

barrier to agile development

Personally, I can see how Agile and TDD work. MY personal biggest barrier is that MOST of my development time these days is spent porting REAL legacy code - VB 6.0 stuff (some of which were ported to VB6 from VB3!)

I've read
Michael Feather's Working Effectively with Legacy Code and Joshua Kerievsky's Refactoring to Patterns.

The BIG problem is that there are very few tools to get VB6 fat client NON DLL applications under test before you try a port, and if you have seriously UGLY code (and some of this stuff belongs on the daily WTF) you are basically FORCED to do the port, do hundreds of minor repairs to try and get your code running, and THEN instrumenting your code. Distinctly NON optimal.

How to increase your blogging output

I saw this interesting post by Andrew Garrett on how to increase your blogging output

Mom - RIP

Well, what we knew was going to happen happened. Last week, my Mom passed away after a long battle with lung cancer.

That's about all I want to say on the blog.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My Health

As some of you may know, I have a very slowly healing wound on my right leg. Basically it's exactly what a diabetic gets, but without me being a diabetic (yes, I've been tested a bunch of times over the last month). In my case, it was cause by residual scaring left over from a bout of cellulitus about 5 years ago.

Besides the stuff to try and heal the wound, the specialist has me on some fairly serious pain killers. Man it sucks. You can't think right, and despite all that, sometimes you are still in pain (like right now)

Blog overload

Ever have one of those days (weeks?) when you see interesting blog entries, that you really want ot read, and are (gasp) even work related, but you just don't have the energy to read them?

That's been me lately - Jeff Flowers blog has what looks to be an interesting video entry this AM, but I just do have enough mental "energy" to watch it

Friday, June 29, 2007

Queens Crap

For those of you who don't know, I live in the Borough of Queens in New York City.

To say that many sections of Queens are going downhill is an understatement. Nice single family homes being replace with Multi Family homes - many illegally

Here is a blog that covers it:

Monday, June 25, 2007

WAS and New Mexico

Well, one of my big goals for FD didn't happen AGAIN this year. The ONLY state I have NOT worked - EVER, is New Mexico.

I often hear stations working New Mexico, but I've NEVER even heard a station out of New Mexico

The only other state I don't have confirmed is CT - Mostly because I still have not sent out the card from LAST Field Day

Contesting and CW

This year, during FD, I tried contesting a bit on CW. Now I'll admit my CW stinks. I'm slow, and VERY rusty, so I was using CWGet to back me up, which basiclly means I only got to work strong stations.

I liked it - I liked it a LOT. The QSOs went a LOT faster. Stations actually sent their call sign every QSO! I'll tell you, it's a real incentive to actually sit down and practive my morse code. 5wpm doesn't cut it for contests - contest CW is 25-30wpm, but is VERY stylized - you KNOW what is coming - call sign, and exchange.

Well, it's time to break out g4fon's program, and get back to it

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Field Day

This year, Field day has not been so much fun. I've got some health issues, so I'm running class 1D with my lousy antennas. On top of that, I went to bed early. I figure my health is a heck of a lot more important than Field Day.

I probably should be on the air right now, but the way I feel, probably better off relaxing

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Bloomberg Changes Party Registration - Again

Mayor Blooming Idiot of NYC "left the Republican Party" yesterday. What I want to know is, when did he ever join the Republican Party. Yes, I know he changed his party registration to Republican, and was elected Mayor twice on the Republican Party line, but he was never a Republican.

Let's look at a bit of the history - in 2001, Bloomberg, then a registered Democrat, decided he wanted to run for Mayor. Realizing that the way the Democratic Party machine works in NYC, he knew he could NOT win the primary. The Republican Party had no strong candidate to replace outgoing Mayor Gulianni, so Bloomberg changed his party registration to Republican, and ran. I guess the NYC Republican party figured better a RINO than Mark Green in office

So, now Bloomburg wants to run for President, as an independent. He KNOWS he can't win either the Republican OR Democratic party nod, so he drops both parties, and figures he can self finance, after all, he can easly spend $1 BILLION to win

Bloomie, don't let the door hit you in the back on the way out...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Merged Post III

Friday, June 1, 2007
IS Code our enemy? (Computers - not Morse)
This Morning, Jeff Atwood over at "Coding Horror" wrote an article The Best Code is No Code Commenting on Code is our enemy over at Skrentablog

I happen to think BOTH posters are right and wrong. I'll agree with Jeff that Brevity is extremely important, BUT not at the expense of robustness.

Of course, code that does NOT exist is the most robust code there is.

Rich says that there are 3 kinds of code. Stable (aka code that doesn't change over time), Code that gets worse, and Code that gets better. I feel that there are really 4 kinds. The addition is code that RARELY changes

I see a lot of this RARELY change code, but the joke is, this is where I see some of the worst code, because when it does change, it may be a decade since it last changed, and NO one really knows the code anymore, and it often has lots of dependencies hung off of it. THIS is the code that probably needs both the best decoupling and DRY - even though it rarely changes

Merged Post II

Thursday, May 24, 2007
I was reading a blog the other day where the blogger mentioned a friend who had batteries that were going dead in a fairly low power device - but critical use, and when they went to switch batteries, the spares were dead too.

This is a common problem. In many LOW power devices, the effective battery life is not really limited by the use of the device, but by the shelf life of the battery in question!

The moral of the story is - don't buy your spare batteries at the same time as your primary batteries. If you want to be really safe, figure out how long a set of batteries last for you in the use in question - and change them at say, 1/2 to 3/4 of that time. Assuming you are going on the 1/2 life change, buy your spares 1/2 way to the change time (aka 1/4) - at 1/2, put the spares in, and buy fresh batteries

Merged Post 1

Programmer Productivity
Jeff Atwood over at Coding Horror has a great post on the relative speed of various CPUs when doing common programming tasks at .

I wish I could get my bosses to understand this. I work on an old 530 Mhz single core PC, with 1 gig of Memory, and that's because I begged for an upgrade.

Silly, huh?

I think I'm going to wrap the two blogs together

I really think I'm going to wrap the 2 blogs togther - no sense keeping them apart

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

New Blog

I've avoided posting Non Ham stuff here at this blog, as I didn't want to get either political, or too much into programming.

To that end, I've created a second blog Feel free to drop on by

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Alpha Delta DX-EE - and the Rotor

Yesterday, I ended up having to take the day of to take Dad to the MD (HE has cancer now too), so I did some work on the antennas

I took down my Mini-G5RV, and replaced it with a Alpha Delta DX-EE. Based upon some testing, it seems like a LOT better antenna, so I'm pleased. That antenna is going to be my 40m primary antenna when I get the beam up.

Speaking of the beam, I repaired the rotor yesterday - the sender pot was bad, and I had ordered a replacement a few weeks back. I installed that, and now the rotor is working fine.

I intend to close up the rotor tonight, and then, once I make a run to the hardware store for some "stuff", I'll be ready for the antenna party! Don't think it'll be ready for BS7H, and even if it is, it's a small beam. I think I'm going to have to run to a friends place (Hi W2IRT) to try and work them

Monday, April 02, 2007

I am John Doe

Dear Muslim Terrorist Plotter/Planner/Funder/Enabler/Apologist,

You do not know me. But I am on the lookout for you. You are my enemy. And I am yours.
I am John Doe.

I am traveling on your plane.

I am riding on your train.

I am at your bus stop.

I am on your street.

I am in your subway car.

I am on your lift.

I am your neighbor.

I am your customer.

I am your classmate.

I am your boss.

I am John Doe.

I will never forget the example of the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 who refused to sit back on 9/11 and let themselves be murdered in the name of Islam without a fight.

I will never forget the passengers and crew members who tackled al Qaeda shoe-bomber Richard Reid on American Airlines Flight 63 before he had a chance to blow up the plane over the Atlantic Ocean.

I will never forget the alertness of actor James Woods, who notified a stewardess that several Arab men sitting in his first-class cabin on an August 2001 flight were behaving strangely. The men turned out to be 9/11 hijackers on a test run.

I will act when homeland security officials ask me to "report suspicious activity."

I will embrace my local police department's admonition: "If you see something, say something."

I am John Doe.

I will protest your Jew-hating, America-bashing "scholars."

I will petition against your hate-mongering mosque leaders.

I will raise my voice against your subjugation of women and religious minorities.

I will challenge your attempts to indoctrinate my children in our schools.

I will combat your violent propaganda on the Internet.

I am John Doe.

I will support law enforcement initiatives to spy on your operatives, cut off your funding and disrupt your murderous conspiracies.

I will oppose all attempts to undermine our borders and immigration laws.

I will resist the imposition of sharia principles and sharia law in my taxi cab, my restaurant, my community pool, the halls of Congress, our national monuments, the radio and television airwaves, and all public spaces.

I will not be censored in the name of tolerance.

I will not be cowed by your Beltway lobbying groups in moderates' clothing.

I will not cringe when you shriek about "profiling" or "Islamophobia."

I will put my family's safety above sensitivity.

I will put my country above multiculturalism.

I will not submit to your will. I will not be intimidated.

I am John Doe.


Monday, March 26, 2007

Been a while

Since the last time I posted, life has been busy with NON ham stuff - 20 or so QSOs this year!

I did wire up the Ham IV, and found that the position sender doesn't work, and I've been SO busy I have not had time to send it out to Norm's to be rebuilt


I decided to play in WPX this weekend - ended up playing for 21 minutes - I checked my log