Sunday, August 30, 2009

Have a Dinner Party with Tomcat Mousetraps

Unfortunately, Tomcat did not build a better mousetrap - they DID build a great dinner plate, though. If - horrors - you're faced with rodents, quick action must be taken.

This little classic, however, does not work. It does not work with peanut butter. It doesn't work with cheese. It. Does. Not. Work.

In this particular test, over the course of two nights, four traps were set. The first night peanut butter was applied. It had disappeared off all four traps by the next morning. Repeated a second night with cheese embedded in the little tab. Most was gone the following morning. All that remained was the un-triggered trap.

There are other ways to dispatch mice. The Tomcat brand wooden mousetrap is not it.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Magnavox DVD/VCR Player Recorder Setup for DirecTV

What's not in the manual - well, quite a bit if you don't have cable. In fact, you must question any instructions that start with:

1. After making all connections, turn on the unit (DVD player).
2. Turn on TV and, if connected to VCR player, make sure it is switched off. (Quite a bit of confusion here. This is a VCR/DVD combo - so why would you be using a separate VCR player? Don't know.)

So, for those with satellite (DirectTV, etc.), you'll start winging it from here. The next step, according to the manual, is to change the TV remote to Channel 2. For satellite users, taking this step reverts back to Channel 3. Won't work. After you pass this step, then you may need to move on to your "AV" setting, "pressing repeatedly" to get to DVD setup.

Well, no.

--Change to the "AV" mode on your TV remote. Do no press any buttons repeatedly.
--At the same time, press "setup" on the Magnavox DVD remote. That will get you into setup, so you can at least see what you're doing in English. From here, poke around and you'll find the time setup and other functions.
--Every time you use the DVD, you'll need to switch the TV remote to "AV" mode.

Good Luck. The Imp will not go into hooking this unit up with the TV. It requires extra cabling not included in the package. You'll have a couple of options for that, depending on whether you want digital or standard hookup. That process is not pretty, either. While the Imp admits to a bit of "geekdom," this unit is still causing issues in getting a successful recording. However, the Imp shall overcome and report back.

The Handy Imp must ask: what happened to the good old last generation plug-and-play days?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Another (Not So) Great GE Design - Spacesaver Microwave

Well, it doesn't necessarily pay to read the manual if you want to change a light bulb on GE Spacesaver microwaves. These are the combo units that go over stovetops and vent into the room. Not that that's such a good idea to begin with. However, changing the bulbs that cast light on the stovetop are an interesting issue. In the manual, it states that you must first loosen the seal. What?

First, the bulbs are facing toward the back. That makes it impossible to gain any type of visual of the socket itself. With less than eight inches to wedge your head in, you're not likely to see much. Don't go sticking your fingers in there, either, without turning off the power. What the manual means by "loosen the seal" is that a nice dollop of silicone has been applied at the factory that keeps the bulb nicely attached to the socket. You can't see the socket, so you don't know what kind of seal it is.

The only recourse is to remove the upper cabinet, remove the microwave from its wall brace, and turn it on its side on the countertop. Ah, there it is. The silicone "seal" is hidden away on the back side of the cove inset! If you can manage to find some sort of crooked tool to get back there and loosen it, you'll be in luck. Nice. On the other hand, if you're still in the dark about why a bulb is "sealed" to the socket in the first place, you've already stripped out the glass portion, leaving its base stuck inside the socket.

Now, you're left to wrangle that Spacesaver microwave back in place and re-mounting the cabinet above to hold it. Another "bright" idea from GE, don't you think?