Monthly Archives: July 2010

Drainage

For many years we’ve had a serious drainage problem in our back yard …. every time it rained, we would get a big puddle in the back yard that would stick around for at least a week.  The picture to the left is the back yard 3 or 4 days after a heavy rain.

At one point, Ginny was thinking about having a rain garden put in the back corner, but I wasn’t a big fan of that idea.  We ended up dropping the idea because it would have taken a fair amount of maintenance.

In addition, our sump pump outlet was really close to the house and was not at all protected from freezing.  More than once the sump pump pipe would freeze in the winter, after we had a thaw, and the pump would get close to burning out because it couldn’t pump water.  Luckily I’ve always been home when this has happened … so I was able to remove the frozen section of PVC pipe and have it just dump out on to the lawn.

(If you haven’t noticed, we’ve had our fair share of water related house problems)

For years I kept saying I was going to get these two problems resolved.  Well, I finally got off my butt and had it taken care of.

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AT&T Microcell

We’ve never had good cell phone coverage at home … even when we had Verizon service.

The coverage with AT&T is even worse … but, we do like the iPhones.

I was pretty interested when AT&T announced they were rolling out 3G Microcell devices.

Basically, a Microcell is a tiny 3G cell site.  It provides 3G service to up to 10 authorized cell phones.  The 3G service is provided using VoIP like service (if not exactly VoIP).  The range is about 40 feet in all directions.

The Microcell has a built in GPS unit so that it can verify it’s in the correct location … for E911 service and, I assume, so the AT&T systems can tell which cell towers to hand the call off to when you leave the devices range.

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eBooks Readers

I just finished the 12th book in Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden series … Changes.

The book was quite good … very intense … and a shocker of an ending.

I thought this was the last book of the series … but I’ve read somewhere else that there are eight more books planned for the series.

I got hooked on the Dresden series when SciFi (currently known as SyFy) was showing the Dresden TV series.   I was quite disappointed to see the series end.   It had a lot of potential, in my opinion.

One significant thing about this book was not the book itself … but how I read the book.   I purchased it as an eBook from the Apple bookstore and read it on my iPhone.

I have to say … I was surprised how easy reading the book on my iPhone was.

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Utility Conundrum

I’ve got a bit of a conundrum about utilities … specifically, the Cable TV utility.

In the last few days Ginny and I had a major drainage issue in our back yard fixed.   We hired a landscaper to install drain tiles and pipe to collect water that was pooling in the back yard and route it into the storm sewer (they connected the sump pump to the same pipe).

Before the landscapers started, they called the J.U.L.I.E. service to mark all the utility wires to avoid interrupting service.

Late last week, J.U.L.I.E. came out and marked all the necessary parts of the lawn and the landscapers started their work.

Yesterday they finished the work and the lawn looks great.

Last night Ginny and I settled down to watch the premier of Warehouse 13 and were presented with a black screen with a message box floating around indicating that TiVo was searching for a signal on the cable.

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