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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - (audio book) Coldplay - Parachutes Dave Matthews Band - Before These Crowded Streets Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - (audio book)

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Blog Archives for April 2006

Buying Music Online

Friday, April 28th, 2006 - Comments (0) in Life, Music

I used to buy a lot of CDs back in the day. I haven't bought anything new recently for a couple of reasons: there really hasn't been that much I want to spend my money on and the antics of the record companies (specifically the RIAA). They sue and extort money from old ladies and widows with 6 kids mostly because they are the people who don't know that someone is using their computer to illegally download music (kids, grandkids,neighbors) or are just not smart enough to know how to get away with it.

I saw a recent article on Slashdot about new legislation that would make the penalties for downloading music more severe than downloading child porn or assaulting someone. You might as well steal the CD from BestBuy, you'll get off with community service. You can read the article here. I figured it's about time I start buying any new music I want legally while still sticking it to the record companies as much as possible. I found this site: http://www.allofmp3.com/. It has a large collection of music and only charges around $0.10 per song or $1 for an entire album (depending on format and sound quality). They can get away with this because the site is run in Russia and there is a copyright infringement loophole in that country. So since I am purchasing the "goods" in Russia and then basically exporting them to the US, which is perfectly legal, there is nothing they can do. This is a decent faq about allofmp3.com's legallity.

I went to MBNA's website (my credit card company) to see if they offer something like one-time use credit cards for use online, which they do. It's not like I don't trust the Russians, I don't trust anybody anymore. It's really cool because you can specify how long they are valid (in months) and the credit limit, and it just gets linked your normal credit card. So I made a number that was valid for 4 months with a max limit of $25 and gave that to the allofmp3.com. So if they decide to start charging me automatically every once in a while they won't get too far.

Spring Break

Tuesday, April 25th, 2006 - Comments (2) in Life

I really enjoyed this past spring break. At the beginning we went down to Jersey (which you can read all about below in the Easter in NJ post). We had to come back on Monday because Rachelle had grad class the next day. The rest of the week was absolutely beautiful (weather wise) with the exception of the weekend.

I modified my bike so it is more comfortable to ride. The hand bars were way too low and far forward to ride for any length of time. So I ordered a set of curved bars from some place online and bought a new adjustable stem from the Park Ave Bike Shop down the street. I ended up having to get longer brake and shifting cables because the old ones weren't long enough for the bars when they are raised up. I also ended up getting a new seat and some ergonomic grips. It's like a new bike now! So it might look a little silly now with the bars up so high but I don't care, it's so much easier to ride. I bought Rachelle a nice new bike for her birthday so now we can ride all around together.

I also replaced the right front wheel bearing on my car during this vacation week. I figured I had the time, almost all of the required tools and was willing to give it a shot to save myself a few hundred dollars. I called around and found out it would cost $300 for just that one wheel! No thanks. $100 later and the car is smooth and silent (at least the wheel is). If you're interested you can read all about changing an 1986 Jeep Cherokee wheel bearing, complete with pictures.

Out of the blue, Jason decided he wanted to visit last weekend. Rachelle and I already had plans to go to Buffalo for her birthday dinner with her parents on Saturday so we dragged Jason with us. He got to go with us to our wedding reception place to pick out the food too. When we were just sitting around her parents' house we broke out the laptops and played some Quake 3. We were pretty even the first game, but then I handed his ass back to him the other games. Her parents made steak and seafood-stuff flounder and some other stuff with an awesome cake for dessert. It was great. Sunday was spent recovering from dinner the previous night. Too bad it rained all weekend while Jason was up; I would have liked to go for a walk or bike ride or just hanging outside.

Easter in NJ

Tuesday, April 25th, 2006 - Comments (0) in Life

We went down to visit my parents in NJ over spring break for Easter. It was a nice little vacation. I got to hang out with my parents, Bob and Cheryl, Tony and Palma, and Steve too. It was great, I hadn't seen any of them for a quite a while. I called JMW to see if he and Elaine could hang out, but they were busy. Maybe next time.

I found out when I got back to work that some kindergartener saw me while I was in NJ. Weird huh? I think I've only been in that room like 2 or 3 times this whole year so I was surprised he knew me, but they were telling me he is very good with faces.

86 Cherokee Wheel Bearing Replacement

Monday, April 24th, 2006 - Comments (0) in Cars, Life, Projects

The Problem

From 37 to 46 MPH a really annoying pulsating noise would rattle your brain. Then from 66 MPH and up an even louder high pitched hum would start. It was really annoying.

Possible Solutions

I could either pay someone to replace it, or do it myself and possibly learn something in the process. I called around and was told it would cost around $300 to replace the bearing. That is a lot of money just to get rid of a noise. I found the entire bearing and hub assembly was only around $65 from a local parts store, so I figured I would try fixing it myself.

Tools Needed

Tools

Pictured

  • PB Blaster - I probably wouldn't have been able to get any of the bolts out without this stuff.
  • LPS3 - for preventing the bolts from getting all rusted and corroded again
  • 3-Jawed Gear Puller - for pulling the bearing/hub out of the steering knuckle
  • Torque Wrench
  • 1/2 Breaker Bar
  • 1/2 Ratchet
  • 36mm 6 point Socket - for the hub nut (borrowed from Advance Auto Parts)
  • T45 Torx Bit - for the brake caliper pins
  • 13mm 12 point Socket - for the hub retaining bolts
  • 19mm 6 point Socket - for the lug nuts
  • Pliers

Not pictured

  • Jack
  • Jack Stands
  • Hammer

Procedure

The first thing was to break the hub nut loose. To get at the hub nut I had to first take the wheel off and remove the plastic cap from the center of the wheel. Then remove the cotter pin and the nut retainer from the end of the axle shaft. Hub Nut This allowed me to get to the hub nut to break it loose. It was supposed to be torqued to around 175 ft-lbs so I put the wheel back on and set the car back on the ground to prevent the nut form turning as I break it loose. The nut felt like it was only on at around 50 ft-lbs and came off without a problem.

Brake Removed After removing the wheel again I took the brake caliper off by unscrewing the 2 pins holding it on with the torx bit. The rotors were replaced on this car two years ago for inspection so the caliper came off really easily. Then the rotor, pads and clips. This gives you access to the bearing/hub assembly.

Hub Retaining Bolts Hub Retaining Bolts 2 To remove the hub you have to remove the 3 12 point 13mm bolts from the back of the steering knuckle. You can only see 2 of them in the pictures above. Once they were juiced up they came out pretty easily too.

Pulling the hub out From what I read online and in the service manual the whole hub assembly should just slide out of the knuckle once you remove the 3 retaining bolts in the back and the hub nut in front. It didn't. It was pretty rusty and needed some serious persuasion to come out. I had to go back to the parts store and get a gear puller. Even with the puller I had to juice it up over a couple of hours and smack it around with a hammer and block of wood to get it out.

Axle Shaft Knuckle rust The knuckle looked pretty rusted when I finally got the hub assembly out so I used some sand paper to clean it up a little before putting the new assembly in.

new and old bearing and hubs New and improved, old and busted...

Greased Axle Shaft and Knuckle Before putting the new hub in I greased the splines of the axle shaft, the knuckle, and the new bearing side so it might come apart easier in another 120,000 miles if I have to do this again. Notice I have the brake shield on backwards in the picture...I didn't notice this until I had it all back together and tried putting the rotor back on.

All back together Once I got everything back on (the correct way), I bolted the hub on and torqued the bolts to 75 ft-lbs. Then the clips and the inside brake pad went on. Then the rotor and outside pad. Then the caliper, torquing the pins to 20 ft-lbs. At this point I did a quick check of the brakes. I looked around to see if brake fluid was dripping from anywhere, thankfully it wasn't. Then I stepped on the brake pedal so the caliper would align itself correctly and to make sure I still had a firm pedal. The wheel went on next and then I put the car back on the ground to torque the hub nut. My torque wrench only goes up to 150 ft-lbs so that is what I used instead of the 175 the book recommends. Then I took the wheel off and on again to put the plastic cap back in. Lastly I went for a spin around the block to see if the noise is gone and to see if the wheel falls off. I'm going to drive it around town for a while and then re-torque all the bolts once everything has a chance to settle. And I'd rather a wheel fall off while I'm tooling around town than while going 70 MPH on the highway. We'll see.

Final Result

Instead of spending $300 I spent around $100 ($25 of which was the puller) and learned a lot about my car. I haven't been very comfortable in the past taking on big projects on my car, but I'm getting braver with each one. This was by far the biggest and most complicated, but I'm starting to learn that as long as I have the right tools and the book, I can probably do anything needed to keep this car functioning.

Annoying Family

Sunday, April 9th, 2006 - Comments (6) in Life

Last night Rachelle and I went to Dibella's for dinner before we went out to a movie. When we walked in there was this family there still placing their order. They were the most annoying people I've seen in a long time. They had two small kids and the kids were standing on chairs so they could see up over the counter. The little girl was actually laying on the counter with her face over all the fixins. This little girl also was talking to her father in the loudest voice I think I've ever heard; she was like screaming every word. That alone made me want to kill. Then for some reason it took the dad like 10 minutes to figure out how to pay for his family's $27 meal. And after he finally paid he was asking for an itemized receipt (for the 4 subs, 4 drinks, 2 chips and 2 cookies). Then while we were eating the little girl was like running all over the place instead of sitting there eating with her family. I just don't understand how the parents could let this happen.

Worst Week Ever

Friday, April 7th, 2006 - Comments (2) in Life, Work

It really hasn't been the worst week ever, it just felt like it. I totally blame this on that little hour we lost last weekend. I've felt like a zombie ever since sunday.

Saturday was Harley's big fund raiser, BLAST, and was also the drawing for the hybrid raffle. I didn't win. Not winning didn't really bother me; what did was the fact that one of the richest men in Rochester won. And he only bought 2 tickets!

Monday was kind of a shitfest because all sorts of stuff broke at work. One of my new domain controllers decided it needed to reboot randomly every few minutes. When I pulled it off the shelf and put it on my bench it wouldn't boot at all. An hour and a half on the horn with Dell later they end up sending someone out to replace like everything but the hard drives. I was impressed to see the parts for the server arrived via UPS about 1.5 hours after the call to Dell. It took longer for the guy to change the parts than for them to arrive in the mail.

The rest of the week was pretty slow, but I feel like I've been in a daze the whole time.