Thursday, December 9, 2010

but why?

I'm not sure what the big fuss is with e-readers. Maybe it's the ones I've played with recently that turned me off.

I am more than happy to read a book on my shiny fruit device. I've read books in html format, PDF format, etc. I've also tried dedicated ebook services.

My point is, while the device screen is much smaller than an ebook reader, it is much more versatile - as it actually fits in my pocket, and I'm not restricted to purchasing books from one source.

The black and white ebook readers I've tried are horrible. They switch to black, then flicker back to white each time you "turn" the page. Now, maybe I didn't have the correct settings, but since by default the texts are huge, I have to deal with near constant flicker. By the 3rd page, I had a headache.

If you're going to buy an e-reader, do yourself a favor and just get a smartphone with a decent screen. I'm not saying you have to go with a Crus malum fabrica (Latin for Shiny Apple Device - yes, this is quite S.A.D.), but really, get something pocketable and then read on it, you'll be surprised just how much better the experience is.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

start(er) your engine

I don't know where to begin really, just maybe from just the beginning.

My car hasn't been starting. Usually, I blame the battery. So I trickle charged it for a couple of days.

No go. Dead battery or poor trickle charger. I remove the battery and bring it to Crappy Tires, because that's where I bought the battery. Confirmed - D.O.A.

Luckily, I still had 1 month left on my 3 year warranty period, so Crappy Tires gave me a new one. Score, I just saved $130!

Putting it back in the car, it didn't start. I put in a booster jumper battery, and vroom, car springs to life. Odd.

I bring the new replacement battery back to Crappy Tires, and they find out, "Hey, battery is dead from factory." Super rare, but does happen. Lucky me. (losir luck strikes again!)

So I get another battery for free. Put in the Golf. Nothing.

I put the booster battery pack back on, and again the car springs to life.

So after a bit of diagnostic, including buying a volt meter to check the battery level, and then finally push-starting the car down a hill (the woman now knows how to pop the clutch to start a car) - it also works.

So other than very odd electrical gremlin, it is probably the starter motor.

I go online and find a DIY guide on fixing/replacing the starter motor. Unfortunately, "fix fail" by me. I get very close to removing the starter motor, but I just don't have the proper tool to be able to remove this one nut and bolt. Bummer.

On the advice of BrownTown, I gave the starter a couple of whacks. This sometimes unstick the motor, and get it to work.

I put everything back together in defeat. Re-bolting the power steering line and lower Starter bolt; re-connecting all the power plugs; battery tray and all battery related coverings, etc. I'm slightly humiliated, and wholly frost bitten because I was outside in the snow, underneath my car, on the driveway. It definitely wasn't warm, and my toes were tingling pretty badly by the end of the 2 hours - I can do this much faster now because I know exactly what I need to do next time.

I call up my local VW dealership, $326 CAD for a re-manufactured starter motor. Ouch. I call Crappy Tires, $249, better.

I then go online, and find a replacement for $124.95 USD. When I go to order, they ask me if I'm US or International - they transfer me to the Canadian site.

I go through the whole spiel again, 2001 VW Golf GTI, 1.8T GLS, Manual transmission.

Because I'm ordering from the Canadian side, it's now $220.95 CAD. What the heck? Last time I checked, the loonie was pretty close to par. I say, "Huh?!"

The lady over the phone goes, "Okay, $129.95 shipped to your Canadian address." BAM. I take it!

I hope this will work when I replace everything. eeesh.