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Blog Archives for April 2010

Free Snow Blower

Thursday, April 15th, 2010 - Comments (0) in Gadgets, Life

Ok, we all know how much I love garbage piles on the curb. A couple weeks ago I found a snow blower in a pile of crap up the street and riding lawn mower across the street from that. I saw these piles on Easter as we were leaving to spend the day in Buffalo and I was amazed to find they were still there when we came back at around 9pm.

Once everyone was settled after the trip, I took a flashlight and walked up the street to check out the booty. The snow blower was old, but in many ways that's almost better; they just don't make stuff like they used it. I pulled the rip cord and it turned over and had compression, so there was a good chance the engine was in good enough shape to run. So I took a few minutes to figure out how to disengage the wheels and started pushing.

Free snow blower

Free snow blower 2

Free snow blower 3

I swear my life flashed before my eyes on that trip home. It was about a quarter of a mile walk, which is nothing, but both tires were low on air and there were chains on them! To make matters worse, one of the tires had significantly lower pressure than the other, so it was constantly trying to turn left while I was pushing straight.

After I got back to the house and over my heart attack I walked back up to the riding mower. This is the piece I was most interested in because I really would like a riding mower and I already have a snow blower, but the blower would be worth more in Rochester and I could easily sell it. Cosmetically the mower looked great. One of the front tires was totally flat, so pushing it a quarter of a mile would be near impossible. I turned the key and nothing happened. It was probably just a dead battery, but who knows. I checked the oil dipstick and it looked like there was no oil on it. This immediately made me think the owner ran it out of oil and seized it up. I left it there.

The next day after work I took a close look at the snow blower and it seemed to be in good condition. Sure it was rusty, but everything functioned. I pulled the engine 7 or 8 times and it fired right up. I can tell this blower is very old because the controls are totally awkward and unsafe. There's a lever to disengage the engine from the transmission, but it's on the front, so you have to walk around to access it. Then there is a disconnect between the transmission and the blower attachment, but again in the front. The worst control is the clutch for the wheels. This is a left hand lever that disengages when you grip it (like a motorcycle). When you let go it engages the wheels and the blower takes off at varying speeds depending on what gear you're in. So if you're blowing snow on your driveway and slip on some ice landing on your ass letting go of the machine, it'll happily keep going destroying anything in its path, including your house!

Later I found out my neighbor across the street snagged the riding mower I was looking at. He said he had his friend pull it with a truck to his house. I told him I thought it might have been run out of oil and looked again at the dipstick, but to my horror I saw it had oil on it! The oil was newish so it was very pale and under the harsh flashlight beam it was hard to see. The decision I made to leave that mower where it was is killing me; I guess I'll have to see if I can find one on Craigslist or see if my dad can find one for me.

Garbage picked riding mower

Wii Netfilx Streaming

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010 - Comments (0) in Life, Movies, Wii

My streaming disc finally arrived yesterday! I've been waiting every since Netflix announced that they were soon to support streaming their movies over Wii systems. Other game systems like the Xbox and PS3 have already had this functionality for quite some time now, which was annoying, but I'm pleased now that they support the Wii too.

Netflix Wii streaming disc

As soon as I got home I threw it in and started playing with it. When you put the disc in it wants to do a Wii system update, of course, which I was not too pleased about. I've previously made a few modifications to my Wii so updating to the latest software is never a good idea since Nintendo is constantly trying to stop people from messing around with the property they legally purchased and own. Needless to say I did not do the system update. Instead I found an alternate way of launching the disc and it ran just fine. So the update wasn't even necessary for the software to run on the console...just a way to force you to update.

Netflix Wii streaming disc system update

Netflix Wii Streaming disc wiiflow

Once it was running it came up with an activation screen and presented me with a code. I had to their website and activate the disc with the code. I assumed you just had to sign into your Netflix account with your name and password once you run the disc, but it looks like that particular disc is linked to my specific account now, so I can't let my friends borrow it, or if I do they'll only have access to my instant play queue. This is also annoying.

Netflix Wii streaming disc activation

Once I activated on their website the game almost immediately opened up my account and let me pick a movie to watch. From there I just clicked on a movie and it started playing. It worked great! My only peeve is that it's limited to 480p because that's the highest resolution the Wii can do. This is a colossal failure by Nintendo considering both its direct competitors (xbox, ps3) have high definition outputs. However the quality was actually pretty good for standard definition. It looks like normal TV when you switch to a channel that doesn't support HD. It even gives you the chance to resume playback, very useful when you take the baby into consideration.

Netflix Wii streaming disc instant queue

Now if only I could get the streaming working on my home theater pc, that'll do 720p resolutions no problem.