I voided my TiVo's warranty today. 
2011.04.30 19:02 - Meatspace Stupidity
Or I would have done, if it hadn't expired six or seven years ago, I guess.

I noticed the box making unhappy fan noises last night and hit it with some canned air to clear the dust bunnies out of the fan. (This might have been a bad idea, I dunno.) Sounded a bit better afterward, so I went to bed.

When I got up late this morning, it was clear the fan was still unhappier than before. After confirming the fan was, in fact, the source of the racket, I did some research, opened the box up, cleared out a colony of dust bunnies, confirmed the size of the fan, ordered a replacement, then put it all back together, because I'd still like to watch TV for the week or so it's going to take for the new fan to arrive.

I had a thought just a little while ago, though, did some googling and found this. Just tried that out. Much quieter now. I think the fan is still on its way out, but at least I can sleep tonight, and I don't think it will croak before the new fan gets here.

I used some fancy gun oil, FWIW.
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I guess I'm keeping my car for a bit longer 
2011.04.08 09:55 - Meatspace Stupidity, News and Politics, Whining
This got me thinking about how long it would take for me to break even on replacing my current car. Assuming I replaced my $25000 car getting about 20mpg (hopefully, a bit low, but most of my driving is stoplight-to-stoplight) with a $15000 car getting 58mpg and assuming $5/gallon gas, it would take about 13 years (and some change) to break-even. I would have to be averaging less than 17 miles to the gallon just to reach break-even before the expected life of the new vehicle (about 10 years) is up. This doesn't take maintenance into account, of course.

But, that's an intentionally ridiculous estimate. I don't drive very much, but, on the other hand, the gas mileage estimate on my car is low and the one on the hypothetical nĂ¼car is fairly absurd for a car costing $15000--we'll leave motorcycles out of the equation, but that's where you'd have to go for those numbers. So, if we assume an annual distance of 15000 miles (almost double my annual mileage), but a more reasonable average mpg of, say, 38mpg and the current average gas price of $3.70 a gallon, it would only take ... a bit over 14 years. For a Ford Fiesta.

I guess I'll keep driving my inefficient little riceburner, then.

Incidentally, while the link at the beginning is a bit inflammatory, I'm not trying to score partisan points, here. I just thought it was interesting (and a little depressing) how much cars have to improve to make replacing mine worthwhile.
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Really Dorky Amazon Order 
2011.03.29 00:20 - Entertainment, Books, Meatspace Stupidity
Bought a hardcopy of The Laundry Files pen-and-paper RPG0 and a copy of Hacker's Delight, which will either be educational or mind-numbing, depending.

"I'll add a hardcopy [of Declare] to my next Amazon order[.]" Or at least I would do, except it seems to be out of print, and I don't feel like fooling with second hand books this evening. Still, good book. I recommend you check it out.

Also found some place selling Delta Green, which is supposed to be a modern military setting for the Call of Cthulhu game. So, I blew some money on that, too.0

Now, I'm going to try and behave myself until at least May.

Footnote:
0. I don't really have a good reason for why. I think it's unlikely I'll ever do more than read them.

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Well. That's a bummer. 
2011.03.27 13:45 - Guns, Meatspace Stupidity
I bought a couple of cheap AR mags from a local gunshop: they had a large box of them at $8.99 each. I'd done a little research before buying on the names stamped into the floorplate, which indicated that the manufacturer had a good reputation. Both are stamped:

ADVENTURE LINE MFG. CO., INC.
PARSONS, KS. U.S.A.

Black followers, heavy finish.

Wasn't until last night that I noticed both magazine bodies appeared a bit banged up. One has a dent that seems like it could cause feeding problems, the other has a nick in the hole for the magazine catch, and the area above the hole is pulled out.

Turns out, neither magazine fits right in my rifle's lower receiver. Doesn't fit right in the Armalite lower I'm working on, either. The magazines are very tight, and won't drop free. The one with the damaged magazine catch engagement was also pretty difficult to remove. And, of course, I didn't get around to checking any of this until after replacing the follower and floorplate on both magazines--and I've tossed the followers.

I've ordered a couple replacements from Bravo Company, and salvaged the aftermarket parts. Costs a little more per magazine this way, but only because of shipping.
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Speaking of Nerds in the Audience 
2011.03.14 09:15 - Internet Stupidity, Meatspace Stupidity, News and Politics
Having already been treated to the rantings and ravings of one hysterical nutbar with too much access to information in the past 48 hours, if you're currently freaking out about the possibility of a nuclear meltdown in Japan and aren't at least related to somebody in the same hemisphere as the Fukushima nuclear plant, turn off the TV and Internet for a day or two. You'd be doing yourself and the rest of us a huge favor, and possibly preventing yourself from having a nervous breakdown over the giant, nuclear death cloud that doesn't exist.

If you must string yourself over the emotional rack over this mess, it would probably benefit you to check out one or two sources that aren't hideously alarmist. (This is one I read that was linked over at NRO, but you may also find some analysis for former nuclear sub guys interesting. Second link's from WTA's thread. Also from the WTA thread is this article.)

If you do happen to live near the Fukushima plant ... well, you have my prayers and sympathy.
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