How to Resuscitate a Dead Jeep 4.0 Inline 6

QuadrajetComputers are wondrous and glorious things… except when they malfunction and prevent our vehicles from operating, of course. I’ve been working on cars since before I was licensed to drive them. I’ve rebuilt countless Rochester Quadrajunks, I’ve replaced ignition points (with a swiss army knife in a parking lot during a snow storm), I’ve used a flashing light and a vacuum pump to time an engine’s ignition. None of these things matter anymore because all of these functions have been taken over by the mysterious Engine Control Unit.

That’s all fine and dandy until the ECU starts to misbehave in strange and unusual ways that make us think the problem isn’t the ECU. And thus begins my tale of Jeep woe. Continue reading

Pro Tip #12

NOwinRAROpen letter to all European IT people respectfully sent from every IT person in the United States:


win95So 20 years ago, every Windows 95 PC in the US probably had a trial installation of WinRAR that complained about being 120 days past the 30 day trial. Americans could readily extract files compressed in the RAR format.

We also used programs like RealPlayer, WinAmp, Napster, and we used Netscape to load web pages like Web Crawler to search for crappy, static HTML 1 web pages written by college students and early digital porn pioneers.

However here in the 21st century, times have changed, software has improved, and no one in the United States uses WinRAR anymore! Every Windows PC on every desk in every business everywhere can open a standard ZIP file without the use of external software. Please take advantage of that when compressing and sending files to the United States. I would very much like to stop receiving phone calls like this:

Dave, the guys in Russia emailed me this file and I don’t know how to open it. If I email it to you, can you extract the documents and email it back to me?

My next Pro Tip will probably admonish users for emailing multiple copies of files between multiple parties, causing an avalanche of wasted data storage in mailbox databases… but not today.

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

LightsaberHRBy now, you should have seen Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Nearly the whole universe bought tickets in advance, and the movie broke opening weekend box office records with ease. There’s nothing quite like seeing a Star Wars film on opening night, surrounded by cheering fans in a packed theater. If you haven’t had the pleasure, I strongly suggest you do so for the next movie.

In the aftermath of opening weekend, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie have such a polarizing effect on people. Everyone either loved it, or vehemently loathed it. There seemed to be very little in between. Personally, I thought it was excellent, but it was not without its flaws.

Some things I did enjoy: Continue reading

Which Time?

Lake_Central_School_LogoOne of my favorite questions that I always answer with a another question is, “What year did you graduate high school?” My answer is always the same, “Which time?”  To my knowledge, no one before me had ever graduated from Lake Central more than once. Furthermore, they’ve since taken precautions to ensure that no one else will ever duplicate the feat. It was perhaps one of my finest teenage pranks.

Found here is a narrative of the whole graduation ordeal that I had written back in 2003 for display on my first website. Continue reading

SWTOR Community Event Codes

For all you SWToR players out there, here are some shareable codes from several of the community events. Each will net you a new speeder mount, plus another random item. (Usually a dye pack, but every now and then it’ll be something useful.)

To redeem the code, log in to your SWToR account at first, then click on each of the links here and click “Redeem.”

After you’ve successfully redeemed your code, you will get an in-game mail containing the items.  Enjoy!

Updated 10/12/2015: Here’s a new one from the Oct 10 NYCC Cantina:

Saved by a Punch

Being resourceful often requires one to think “outside the box.” However, it has been my experience that sometimes being resourceful actually requires one to be acutely aware of the box. Not to just think outside the box but to think about the box itself.

72 Pontiac LeMansNever was this more evident than the time I decided to replace the rear differential gasket on my old ’72 Pontiac LeMans.

The rear differential was leaking gear oil. (The car was around 20 years old at that point, so it was to be expected.) I decided to remedy the situation by replacing the differential cover gasket. I ran out to Dyer Auto Parts (which doesn’t exist anymore) and asked for a 10 bolt differential cover gasket for a ’72 LeMans. I hadn’t yet lost my faith in the abilities of others, so I accepted what he gave me without really scrutinizing it. Continue reading

Samsung Galaxy S6 Impressions

Samsung Galaxy S6
I’ve been using a Samsung Galaxy S4 quite happily since they were released. It was one of the best phones I had ever used, in fact. However, I was recently motivated to upgrade to a newer model. (more on that later)
Given how much I liked the S4, I decided to go with the most recent iteration of the Galaxy mobile phone line, the Galaxy S6.

I’m quite happy that I did, and here’s why:
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At long last, my websites are now hosted somewhere that isn’t subject to the ineptitude of NIPSCO or Comcast!

I’ve moved all my websites to a GoDaddy web hosting account. It’s only costing me about $80 a year, so it’s relatively inexpensive. It’s an experiment in downsizing my energy consumption at home. Shutting down my storage server was a big step in the right direction. It consisted of a giant 3U rackmount server with 16x 2TB hard drives, 3x power supplies, and a roar that rivals that of a Pratt and Whitney jet engine. It generated nearly enough heat to keep the house heated during the winter months all by itself. Shutting down that server probably lowered my electric bill by $75 a month.

Now if I can manage to convince myself to get hosted email, I can resize my home network to be more inline with what an average home might have…

Nah… conformity blows. Besides, I like saying that I have my own Exchange server.

Pro Tip #11

Superfluous LintA Wet/Dry shop vac makes an excellent tool to use when removing the gratuitous amounts of lint from the inner workings of your clothes dryer.

The powerful motor makes quick work of removing the ridiculous amounts of tiny, dust-like particles that used to be part of your favorite boxer shorts, shirts, towels, brassiere, loin cloth, etc…

However, it is recommended that one checks to make sure there is a filter installed in said Wet/Dry shop vac before you begin.

You’ll have to trust me on this one.

Lint Explosion

Tamriel Unlimited Starts Today!

Updating2TamrielUnlimitedAll rejoice! If you were a previous subscriber to Elder Scrolls Online, that means that you bought the game. If you bought the game, that means you can now play it it even if you don’t have a subscription! I loved the game, but the group of guys I game with were swayed back to Warcraft. Don’t get me wrong, I love Warcraft too, but I won’t pay for 2 subscriptions at once. Well problem solved! I can now go back and continue my playing in ESO and not have to pay any more for it.

I started playing ESO the day it released, and from what I’ve read there are a lot of things that have changed since then. I’m anxious to get home from work and give it a whirl. See you on the field of battle!

Pro Tip #10

So I’ve been having this mystery problem with Server 2012 R2 for a while now. I have a 2TB external drive that I am using for backup storage. I was running out of space on the drive, and I couldn’t figure out why. When I added up the files on the drive, they didn’t come anywhere near 2TB. In fact, I moved everything off of the drive entirely and I still had only 32 GB free! Something was definitely awry, and I had to figure out what.

2012R2 System Volume Gone Wrong

My first thought was to just re-initialize the drive and go on with my life, but then I would always be left wondering what caused it. So instead I investigated until I found the problem, and hopefully this article will help someone else resolve the issue without having to shuffle tons of data around to re-initialize a drive.
Continue reading

Samsung Owes Me an Hour of My Life Back

Not So Smart HubSamsung TV’s Not-so-SmartHub just cost me an hour of my life that I’ll never get back. If you have a Samsung television with SmartHub as of the moment of this writing, your Smart TV is acting pretty dumb. I got home from work and fired up the TV to entertain my daughter while I made dinner. I hit the SmartHub button and go for Netflix. The error message “Network interference occurred. Please try again later.” is all that I can get out of my TV. I start troubleshooting the network. I’m messing with the firewall. I’m pinging and trace routing and packet capturing… I’m pulling out every trick in my IT Guy playbook, and nothing makes sense. It’s own diagnostics say that the local network is good but it can’t reach the internet. I’m watching at the firewall, and it’s not even trying to reach the internet. It just flat-out refuses!

I solved the puzzle, but I had to revert to Facebook to do it. Samsung TV USA’s Facebook page (more specifically, their “posts to page” section) is rife with posts and comments of angry TV owners, all having the exact same issue as I am! A little more digging on Google, and it turns out that Samsung TV’s try to talk to their own SmartHub servers. If it can’t, then it refuses to do anything. No Netflix. No Pandora. No Hulu. Nothing. Zip. Zero. El Zilcho.

Why the hell do these things require that Samsung’s servers are in working order? Good question, but it’s one that I’ll certainly be taking into consideration when it’s time to buy my next TV. There’s no way in Hell that I’m paying for all the “Smart” features, if they have to do something so stupid as to call home to Samsung before they’ll work.

Legend of the Mystical Magic Anti-virus Disk

floppySo I came across a very old document in my loads of old personal data. I started reading it and wondered, “Who the hell wrote this?”

By the time I got to the country music reference, I knew it had to have been me. Once upon a time, I used to have fun at work:

Legend of the mystical “Magic anti-virus disk”
(otherwise known as directions for use)

disclaimer: this is meant to be both humorous and informative… Mostly humorous, though, so if you are not in the mood to smile, skip to the end, otherwise, read on.

Continue reading

Dave, weren’t you supposed to…

Yes. Yes I was supposed to do a lot of things. Like keep my site more up to date than this for starters. Oh, and run a marathon a couple months ago. My goal of running a marathon had to get postponed until 2015 for medical reasons. My lack of site updates… well I have no good excuse. That’s just plain laziness.

However in an attempt to not appear to be a total looser, here are some things that  I have accomplished in the past 4 months (in no particular order)

Continue reading