Konnichiwa, my friends! It's been several months since the last issue of Appliantology was unleashed onto the World Weird Web. Our last issue was sent out back in April. Hope y'all have been weathering the economic storm with your hearts and wallets still mostly intact. Got some tips in this issue not only to help you save money on your appliance repairs (by helping you fix it yourself) but that may put some of the weird, wild, wacky things going on today into perspective. Sometimes, things just ain't what they seem and there's more going on than what's visible on the surface. This applies to current events just as much as it does to appliance repair and, in this issue, we'll have something to say about both!
Facebook I can understand, even though they don't seem to be able to make up their mind about their user interface. But that little annoyance aside, I can see the how it's useful for people to keep up with each other's lives even when they don't live nearby. And although I announced with great fanfare our Facebook page
, I'm less sure about what kinds of updates I should post there. At first I thought I would post more appliance repair stuff but then thought, "Why duplicate what I'm already doing at Fixitnow.com?" So I'm caught in the horns of an enema and this is ezzacly where you, dear reader, can advise the Samurai
. What kind of content and posts would you like to see posted on our Facebook page? Appliance repair stuff? Current events stuff? Personal stuff (not that
But then there's Twitter. What the hell is up wif dat, yo? Look, I gave it a good go, really and truly I did. But then after a while I started feeling like it's one big circle jerk. Seems like most folks use it for pretty frivolous and ridiculous things. They take a shower and tweet about it… they eat breakfast and tweet about it… they broke their dryer so they tweet about it… well, maybe that one's OK. Now, I understand the whole social web thang but, golly-gee willikins, Mr. Cleaver, why should I care about that glass of Metamucil you had with your prune juice this morning? Some folks use it to talk about their thoughts on an issue instead of whatever mundane activity they happen to be doing. OK, getting warmer. But unless you think in haikus, it's difficult to convey an interesting thought in 140 characters or less. So I ended up using Twitter as an outlet for the RSS feeds from my blog
and the repair forum
. That seems to make sense. It's topical (appliance repair), eminently practical, contains enough information to let the readers know if it's something of interest to them or not and, if it is, includes a link back to the original post. So the information flow is always from my blog
. I experimented with the information flow going the opposite direction: creating the original content in Twitter and posting it on the blog. That sucked for all the aforementioned reasons.
Meanwhile, the Samurai Appliance Repair Forum
(www.applianceguru.com) is smokin'! We completed what is hopefully the last in a long series of painful server migrations. We've been at our new host, Data1Systems
(plug, plug) now for several months with only one very brief outage and the forum is running better than it ever has at any other web host. The new host is also the developer of the software that powers the repair forum, UltraBB
, so it makes sense that he would have his servers tweaked for optimal forum performance. Hopefully, this is the last server migration we'll ever have to do.
Anyone can surf into the forum, search topics and read all they want absotootly free. You can even register as a Grasshopper for free. But if you want to start a new topic, reply to existing topics, send private messages, and download one of the thousands of illustrative and illuminating attachments, you have to be an Apprentice Appliantologist. A couple of issues ago, I talked about the new forum apprenticeships available to seekers of higher appliantological wisdom. A quick review:
Type of Apprenticeship
Term and Features
Three months of full access. Apprenticeship does not auto-renew so reverts to Grasshopper at end of the term.
One year of full access. Apprenticeship does not auto-renew so reverts to Grasshopper at the end of the term.
Permanent full access. Apprenticeship never expires. Bonus: you also get a secret access link to the Samurai's ever-expanding stash of repair manuals. Best value!
As indicated, the Permanent Apprenticeship is the best value because not only does it never expire (so you never pay again, even if we have to raise the fee) but you get access to the Samurai's coveted repair manual stash. I'm adding new manuals all the time and the file collection continues to grow. We're busting at the seams! As you probably guessed, the repair manual stash uses a huge amount of disk space for storage and bandwidth to serve all those files. For now, my costs for this are stable and I don't anticipate having to raise the fee. Hopefully this won't change too much when the mis-named Dollar (really just a Federal Reserve Note, read the back of one) finally takes the nose-dive that everyone's expecting (more on that later).
I've had several people email me complaining that full access to the forum should be free, "... 'cuz it's on the innernet, an' all." And I thought to myself, I said, "Self, that's a ding-dang good line, I'm gonna try that one on my web host and file service provider and my other site-related vendors that I use to keep my sites running." Well, guess what? They all told me to go jump in a frozen New Hampshire lake. And I guess my time running the site (which is considerable) shouldn't count for anything either.
Nevertheless, since the Samurai is merciful and compassionate, slow to anger and of great gootness
, I recognize the tough financial times we live in and created the Appliantologist Merit Exam as a way for folks to earn an apprenticeship without having to pay anything (see the March 2009 issue of Appliantology
). Lots of folks have taken the exam. As they say in the Dojo, "Many have tried; many have died." As of this writing, here be some fun facts to know and tell about the merit exam:
Total number of examinees: 1,087
Buckaroo Banzai (perfect score): 54 (4.9%)
Merit Apprentice (scored at least 75%): 616 (56.6%)
Solly Chollie (fail; scored less than 75%): 417 (38.3%)
See? It ain't that hard--most folks who take the exam pass it. But there is a downside (isn't there always?): the current Merit Apprentices (but not the Buckaroo Banzais) will all expire when the new exam is released. I originally intended to write a new exam every quarter but, as usual, that was waaay too unrealistic. However, a new exam will be written and uploaded sometime in the first quarter of 2010. When that happens, the Merit Apprentices will all revert back to Grasshopper status with its limitations. At that time, you can either take the new exam or purchase an Apprenticeship.
I get lots of emails everyday from folks who can't seem to figger out how to use the forum. Either they don't know how to register, how to become an Apprentice, or how to start a new topic. So I made a screencast
that tiptoes folks through the forum tulips and shows 'em how to get started. I uploaded the screencast to YouTube and posted it at both Fixitnow.com and at several places in the forum-- check it out, yo
Would you believe that, even with the screencast
, I still get tons of email everyday from folks who are all confoosed on how to use the forum? I think it comes down to a reading problem and I blame it on gubmint schools. It always amazes me: the Internet, and especially the repair forum, is largely a reading medium and folks just don't like to read anymore. Wassup wif dat?
Last word on the forum-- I want to thank the many talented Master Appliantologists who generously give of their time to help people with their appliance problems. There are dozens of them, far too many to list 'em all here, but here are just a few (not in any particular order):
Budget Appliance Repair
certified tech group 51
Trying to help
If one of these fine Masters of the ancient and venerable art of Appliantology have helped you with your repair, be sure to drop 'em a PM and say "Domo, dude!"
I've posted lots of pearls of appliantological wisdom at Fixitnow.com
since the last newsletter
. Rather than list 'em here, I thought instead that I'd highlight a couple things that you may find inspirational for your repair experience.
If you're sick of long-winded repair instructions and prefer a more succinct and poetic repair guide, you may enjoy our haikus for appliance repair. Haikus are an ancient Japanese form of poetry consisting of three short lines. Rather than trying to rhyme, the lines are constructed to a prescribed meter (number of syllables). In the traditional form, the meter is five syllables on the first line, seven on the second, and five on the third. In addition to the page of haikus accompanied by koto music
, you can also browse the archive of haikus on various repair topics
on all sorts of major appliances.
A particular post I'd like to call to your attention is the listing of interactive repair diagrams
. These mind-expanding, interactive breakdown diagrams show you how your appliances are put together and the key components inside. An indispensible troubleshooting and repair aid! Just click on the appliance you’re working on and run your mouse over the diagrams. It’ll popup pictures of the various key components inside as well as give you insight into how to disassemble. It’s the miracle of Flash animation!
Here a few tips for quickly finding the repair information you need at Fixitnow.com
. The two basic ways of finding things on any website on the Internet is either browse or search. My sites are no different.
If you're a browsing kinda person, use the FAQ pages at Fixitnow.com
. You'll see a link to 'em right up top in the header block. Click in and then select the type of appliance you're working on (washer, dryer, etc.). The next page you'll see is a big 'ol long, hairy list of post titles-- it'll be everything I've ever posted at Fixitnow.com for that type of appliance right there on one page. Now you think to yourself, "OMG! You mean I have to wade through all these to find what I need!?" Ahh, grasshoppah, this is where you unleash the power of your web browser. The Samurai's gonna tell you a little browsing shortcut. No matter which flavor of browser you're using, they all have a search function. For example, in Internet Exploder, it's ctrl-F; in Safari, it's cmd-F. If you're not sure, use the help function built into your browser. In your browser search, enter some search terms, for example, "gas dryer heat." Your browser will instantly show you the results. Start with few terms and then add more.
If you're more of a searcher, use the Google site search up at the top of the page at either Fixitnow.com
. Both searches include results from both websites (in fact, they're the same search function) so you'll pull results from both the blog as well as relevant forum topics, all merged on the same results page. Eess kool, da? Yeah, we think so, too.
Well, with all the going's on in Web World, they's a whole lotta shakin' going on in the bricks n' mortar (and paper) world, too. We're all hearing about the economic meltdown and the (cough-cough) recovery that's supposedly underway. I shouldn't be so skeptical; afterall, the bankers are just doing God's work, according to the Goldman Sachs banksters
We all know something is horribly wrong but all we get in the lame-stream media is happy talk and fluff stories, like Tiger Woods-- who the frik cares? Meanwhile, we're all getting financially raped by the international banksters and their prostitutes in the White House and Congress. What's a bruthah to do?
For one thing, turn off and tune out of the lame-stream media. It's all lies, spin, and deception anyway. All of it. Yes, including Faux News and C(IA)NN. Anything considered "main-stream" should be regarded with deep suspicion at the least or, better yet, just outright ignored. And stop falling for that phony-baloney left-right, Demopublican-Republicrat garbage-- that stuff is as real as pro wrestling. While we still have the Internet (before they shut it down, "for our safety"), seek out alternative sources of information. There are lots of good alternative sources out there, seek and ye shall find.
A good source of information for economic matters is the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor
. The recent issue
gives the real story about what's going on with the economy and the whole US paper money system. Don McAlvany is the straight-talking editor and doesn't pull any punches in his current economic assessment. He's been in this bidness for over 40 years so I reckon he's picked up a thing or two about it. Anyway, that's a good place to start.
Ever wonder why no matter who gets elected, things just keep getting worser and worser, the gubmint keeps getting bigger and more invasive and we become more like serfs? Where is the "hope?" Where is the "change?" I don't know about you, but all I'm seeing is Bush Term III. Hmmm, could it be that we were shnookered yet again
? What's going on? Here're a couple movies by Alex Jones
that help explain. Download 'em and watch them instead of the brain-rot drivel on the mind-controlled idiot tube:
If you get all your news from the talking heads on the networks, you may not have heard of Climategate. Investigators leaked a decade's worth of emails and documents from the Climate Research Unit (CRE), ground zero in the whole man-made global warming scam. Turns out it actually is a scam! These "scientists" have been colluding with each other to falsify data to make it fit their fairy tale that global warming is anthropogenic (man-made). You can download the whole sorry package of information ratcheer
(62 MB, .zip file).
Besides the fact that the earth has actually been cooling for the past eight years (an inconvenient truth), this proves a couple other things: 1) that conspiracies DO exist-- Climategate being a case-in-point, and 2) that scientists are humans just like the rest of us and are not always led by the "objective data." No, they falsify the data ("value-added data" as they euphemistically call it) in order to fit a politically correct agenda. So, the scientists continue to get "research" funding and the international banksters (the money behind all this) get to install a global gubmint with-- wait for it-- a global tax regime payable directly to them! Oh, it's beautiful... if you're a bankster. Not such a good deal if you're one of the schlumps paying for it or, worse yet, one of the poor souls barely surviving in a third world country where millions would die from starvation under this hideous system. Like the idea of global gubmint? Yeah, so did Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Napoleon, and Hitler so you'd be in good company.
OK, enough depressing stuff. There's still lots of beauty in the world and I prefer to focus on that. As you may have seen, when I'm not fixing stuff or running my websites, I spend a lot of my free time wandering around in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. There's nothing like huffing and sweating for several hours on a tough hiking trail up a mountain and then basking in that "Oh, wow!" moment at the top. You instantly forget about all that hard work and realize that the world is bursting with beauty, just aching for the caress of your engorged and tingling eyeballs. Words can't come close to describing it and pictures just give a glimmer into that realm. But pictures are all I can offer you. Here are a couple slideshows, accompanied by music, of some recent hikes I've done in the Whites. For the best experience, select full screen mode when the slideshow starts and turn your speakers up:
You can check out all my hiking photo albums and slideshows here