Toyota Matrix Roof Rack

toyota matrix roof rackI ordered a roof rack for my 2004 Toyota Matrix today. My parent’s canoe has been stored in my garage for five years, ever since they moved from a house to an apartment. I have never used the canoe, although I did canoe a lot in my youth – I loved it; but now that the kids are older, I’m feeling compelled to dust the canoe off and start using it.

The roof rack costs $195 (Canadian) plus tax at the dealer. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. although I priced them an other stores a couple months ago and I remember that price being competitive (despite being from a dealer).

Update (May 22, 2008)
: It took me about an hour to install the damn rack. They recommend it not be installed if it’s not being used, but it’s a pain to put on so I won’t be taking it off again. The horizontal screws that help tighten the clamps to the roof are a tad too wide for the slot they slide into, making it hard to judge how tight the clamp really is. I hope it doesn’t come off while I have the canoe on top. It looks nice, though.

My rack is positioned differently than in the picture on this post; mine is closer towards the front, where the one in that image appears to be towards the rear.

Watch Out For Fake Geeks

CBC’s Marketplace did a segment last year about What you should know before you call a geek in to fix your computer:

Their dorky company names and their cute little cars give off an air of friendly, helpful competence. But do the people who make computer house calls actually know what they’re doing?
…we modified a computer to simulate a common hardware failure. Then we called in the nerds. The result? Only three of the ten technicians who saw our machine managed to correctly diagnose the problem.

Since I’m the geek in the family, I tend to be called by family, friends, and friends of family and friends to diagnose and repair computer problems. Fellow technophiles know what I mean:

  • How do I email my photos? And why are they so big? (Solution: Install Thunderbird and explain how digital photos are stored.)
  • How do I open this document? (Solution: Tell person to set their default file type to Office 2003 or earlier, not the Office 2007 format (i.e. .docx))
  • This window keeps on popping up when I’m on the internet. (Solution: Install Firefox and hide Internet Explorer)

I DO have a computer repair kit (for hardware and software problems), but I’m aware of my technical limitations; if there’s a problem I can’t figure out, I admit it and provide a recommendation.

I sometimes fix hardware problems. Trouble-shooting is most of the fun, but one has to know one’s limitations, although I’ve never taken a computer to a shop to be repaired. I’ll buy replacement hardware instead.

Related posts:
Fixing God’s Computer
Watch A Hard Drive Work
Cooling A Computer With Oil
There’s A Bee In My…
Building A Computer
How CPUs Work

Top-Loading Versus Front-Loading Washers

front load washerOur washer died while I was in Newfoundland last week. Water was leaking from it. I had it repaired twice in the past three years, so I told my wife to buy a new one: I didn’t want to invest anymore money into the 15 year old machine that was on its last leg.

So what did she do? She bought a front-loading washer.

Front-loading washers have the reputation of requiring less water and energy to wash clothes, although they tend to be twice as expensive (at least in my neck of the woods). My only incentive for getting that kind was their good energy use; but even so, I wasn’t willing to pay twice as much as a top-loading washer. I also read that they’re less reliable than top-loading.

We’ve always been a top-loading washer family. The appearance of front-loading washers in the past five years appears to be a fad, yet they’ve always out-sold top-loading washers in Europe, according to Wikipedia. And you never see laundromats with top-loading machines, which must be an indication of the reliability of front-loading washers.

I read they also require a special kind of soap, which will probably cost twice as much as regular clothes washing soap. It requires soap that generates less bubbles, I think, I’ll just try using less soap.

The front-loading washer is being delivered to our house today. I know you’re all anxious for my opinion about it, so I’ll post my opinion after I use the washer a few times.

Update (Aug. 20, 2008): No problems with either machine. The washer is quiet and efficient; you can shove a LOT more cloths in the front-loading machine than top-loading ones – at least twice as much. The cycles take a lot longer to complete, but it still uses less water. The dryer takes a lot less time to complete than our old dryer. We’re happy with both!

My Earliest Online Orders

While ordering some books from amazon.ca today, I tried to remember my earliest online order from ANY vendor; so I checked my order history from a few.

I was surprised I started ordering online so late in the game.