Adventures with exhaust fans

This might be downright trivial for a lot of people, but it was an ”Achievement Unlocked” moment for me.

There was a Nutone exhaust fan in our bathroom that was really loud, as in louder than any sound made by anything else at home.

So after several months of this, and reluctant or embarrassed to call someone to fix it, I decided to fix it myself.

Step 1: Buy replacement fan and motor

Step 2: Watch a few YouTube videos for morale

Step 3: Get a ladder, get a torch (bathroom is in an awkward spot, no natural light!)

So, today, after turning the appropriate circuit breaker off (which, as everyone discovered to their annoyance, also turned off both the TV and the WiFi!), I climbed up and took a good look at the grille.

Now the grille in the videos just snapped off easily, but this one didn’t budge at all; and when it did, it sort of rotated with a grinding noise.

At this point, I realized I was on my own, and just clawed at whatever I could, and that obviously, obviously, since there was a light in front of the fan, the light cover should come off first.

The grill, light cover, and light.

So this happened, and revealed a light bulb with a nut-and-screw above it. So off came the light bulb, and the nut, and after unplugging it, so did the grille.

Great, I thought, now face to face with the motor assembly, the videos say to remove any screws visible and then “pop out the tabs”. The screw came off easily, but the tabs didn’t exactly “pop out” at all.

No, they were quite fixed, and the metal of the motor assembly scraped against the metal of the housing as I tried all kinds of trial-and-error pushing and prodding to get it off. In the end, it did come off.

Down to a hole in the wall.

So at this point, I was exactly half-way through the whole affair, and thought that all I had to do was retrace my steps. Except that now the new motor assembly didn’t fit in the same way, it was a tiny bit less well-adjusted, and for a moment I thought I had ordered the wrong part (has happened before!), and would have to first put everything back and then do this all over again, but luckily (very luckily!) the moment passed, and then the tabs “popped in” (smiley face!)

One more unknown obstacle, which might seem almost tedious at this point as a reader, but which, having to hold up the grille plate while doing it, was something more for me: the motor assembly had a loose screw which had to pass through a hole in the grille so that a nut could be fastened on it. Sounds easy enough?

No, because of the looseness of the screw. Every time the grill was not exactly positioned, the screw was pushed back up. When it was exactly positioned, but the nut wasn’t exactly positioned, the screw was pushed back up. Only when all three were in perfect alignment (which eventually did happen, and I survived to sit here and tell you of it) did the grille finally get secured in place.

So in the end then, a happy ending. The fan and the light work, and make less noise, and I have had a happy weekend.

(Imagine the epitaph: Here lies Agam. He fixed his bathroom exhaust fan. Forgive him his hyperbole.)

 

Advertisements

Sci/Math/Prog Summary: October 2017

Interesting stuff from the past month:

  • I feel the old “static typing vs dynamic typing” debate has gotten more nuanced recently with ‘spec’ and ‘schema’ in Clojure (i.e. better, fine-grained, runtime constraints). Also, as this article shows, there is a different “sweet spot” for different companies/people, which colors their perceptions of usefulness.
  • Cool antique stuff: check out this machine that debuted at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York.
  • A fake interview with Linus Torvalds on Linux and Git, which made me smile 🙂
  • A balanced look at Urbit (not fawning, and not hating). If you’re curious, read this next.
  • You knew the moon affected the earth by its gravity, causing tides; but did you know it’s light was also influential?
  • Presented as idle curiosity: “Git bombs
  • Squids are marvellous creatures
  • Allen Wirfs-Brock gives a fascinating account of Smalltalk, and what it’s really about.
  • LIGO wasn’t just about discovering Gravitational Waves (and winning a nobel!) … it has also explained Gamma Rays, and the origin of heavy elements.
  • Inertia.
  • Someone’s journey developing a new Forth (ignore if you don’t know what that is).
  • As the subtitle of this text points out: “Once, robots assisted human workers. Now it’s the other way around.”
  • Cool weird trains of the past: duplex railway!
  • Been using Tinderbox for less than a year, but I share this person’s opinion.

On Robot Overlords

Extract from a recent New Yorker story, “Welcoming our new robot overlords”

We stood behind a young woman wearing a polo shirt and Lycra shorts, with a long blond ponytail. When a step was completed, a light turned on above the next required part, accompanied by a beep-beep-whoosh sound. A scanner overhead tracked everything as it was happening, beaming the data it collected to unseen engineers with iPads. Employees who follow a strict automated protocol—some call them “meat robots”—need little training. Even the drill was attached to a computer-assisted arm; the worker just had to move it to the right position and let the machine do its magic. A decade ago, industrial robots assisted workers in their tasks. Now workers—those who remain—assist the robots in theirs.

 

 

Where can I get these alphabet blocks? :-(

Trying to find others like this ...

I had bought some blocks a couple of years ago (too early!) and now that Tara’s going to be three, dusted them off to really use them for alphabets instead of just “blocks for a tower”.

Of course as expected, we were missing a few. Now, I could just find it again on Amazon or somesuch place, and refill missing blocks, but, how much I searched, I could not find the exact same set of blocks.

Anyway, later my wife remembered that we got these blocks at a particular shop on California Avenue, and I went there today, hoping to find them again. But unfortunately, I didn’t see them, they just don’t exist.

I even tried looking on eBay just randomly searching through all the listings for “wooden alphabetical blocks“ and hoping to see them but I didn’t.

I think I’m going to have to just settle and get one of the many other “ wooden alphabetical blocks and courtavailable on Amazon, etc.

In the meantime, someone out there didn’t recognize them from this picture (at the top of this post), please do let me know!

Media Summary: September 2017

foucault-and-stoneman-n-death-valley
Foucault and Michael Stoneman in Death Valley.

Some interesting links for the month:

  • This right here is just … one of those things I can’t believe I hadn’t seen yet: a “breaking the fourth wall” sketch on Saturday Night Live about “The last voyage of the Starship Enterprise” (filmed in May 1976).
  • This long article was less about millennials and perhaps more about pop culture, but certainly caused the phrase “premium mediocre” to stick in my head.
  • If I had the time, I would be playing Uncharted. The latest one, ”The Lost Legacy” is out, and is apparently both eye-catching and a well-told story.
  • Speaking of things I haven’t watched for lack of time, the new ”Twin Peaks” has got good reviews.
  • In City Journal, someone muses about “Silicon Valley vs Gotham” (missing the latter).
  • A biography of Alex Honnold, the chap who climbed El Capitan with no tools (seems surprisingly normal).
  • An interview with someone who accompanied Michel Foucault on his trip through California and Death Valley.
  • I’m going to leave this title here without comment: ”Why is linguistics such a magnet for dilettantes and crackpots?”
  • Andrew Sullivan asks: Can our democracy survive tribalism?
  • You either get very excited about stuff like this, or you don’t: a bunch of papyrus was discovered from during the time the great pyramids were being constructed! (so, mundane “normal life” stuff, along with mundane details of the build, but … isn’t that cool?)

Monthly recap (September 2017)

(nothing much happened this month)

Minor updates:

  • Went to Barnes and Noble with Tara for the first time (fun!)
  • Zume pizza party with our ex-neighbors
  • Meeting some friends
  • Kick-started journalling habit

Watched/Read:

  • Some old Star Trek episodes
  • Part of a documentary on H. R. Tiger
  • ”Kill Command”