Some friends and I were talking about my Chevy Bolt and, of course, we had to lift the hood and look inside. Seriously, I had no idea what I was looking at. In a conventional car, the internal combustion engine dominates the space under the hood. It’s a part of our culture to know what the major components are. This doesn’t help you at all when looking under an EV’s hood.
Now I know what’s inside a Bolt. I produced a 4-minute Youtube video on it.
Continue reading Chevy Bolt: A Tour Under the EV’s Hood
Someone on Apple’s support discussion group claimed “this can’t be done.” Apple explicitly supports shared calendars, but not shared contacts. They probably haven’t figured out how to deal with two people updating things at the same time.
Then I found this terrific article by Lena Shore. Most of us have our contacts saved in a “personal” iCloud account. Shore’s approach is to set up a “household” iCloud account. You save the shared contact list to the household account. Then you enable Contacts under both accounts. Everyone who does this will see both their personal list and the household list.
Continue reading Shared Household Contact List on iCloud
Riding a train instead of an airplane always seems like a great idea. But railroad travel remains a half-century behind all other forms of passenger travel.
I’m going to the Boy Scout Jamboree this summer, and Amtrak stops at the Prince, West Virginia, station. This is within driving distance of Mt. Hope, site of the Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Reserve. But I can’t quite make it work.
The rail industry assumes that train riders are either traveling locally or are willing to do a lot of research and planning. Train travel also requires a super-flexible schedule and creative baggage management.
Continue reading Rail Travel Fail
There’s something charming about Adam’s Synchronological Chart or Map of History, even if I am a secular scientific type. It shows the history of the world following (more or less) Ussher’s chronology which famously begins everything at 4004 BC. Adam’s chart begins in biblical times, and tracks the “flow of history” mostly in terms of prominent European rulers. The first edition ended in 1871. There are claimed to be editions updated through the 21st century.
I haven’t seen a version displaying dinosaurs.
Continue reading Tech-choking Image of History
In honor of the bouncing seasons, I turned on my air conditioner a couple of weeks ago. In Minnesota that means you remove the wintertime weather covers from outdoor compressors and then turn on the dusty circuit breakers.
Fortunately I had performed a best-effort wiring of the AC into my new thermostats. All I needed to do was tell the Ecobees to look for AC, and to turn it on. It worked.
AC and heat in our home are completely different systems: while all air conditioners use blowers, not all heating systems do. Our heat uses hot water radiators. I set up a separate “comfort setting” in the Ecobee so that heat sensors wouldn’t confuse the AC system.
Continue reading Ecobee Air Conditioning Update
Last night I installed my third and final Ecobee 3 thermostat in our home. My children will no longer need to freeze/boil in their bedrooms just because the thermostat doesn’t know any better. Like the first two thermostats, this one required an isolation relay. This post explains the wiring. I also added a “C” wire to power the thermostats.
The people at Ecobee recommend that you hire an HVAC contractor to do this wiring. Follow these instructions at your own risk. Continue reading The Final Ecobee
I’m installing Ecobee 3 thermostats. I really like the one at our lake house (1990s heating plant) so I started installing them in our regular home (1900s heating plant).
Things did not go smoothly. I’m mixing late 20th century and early 20th century electrical technology. The simple job became complicated. This is called the mushroom factor in some old-house maintenance communities: surprises in the infrastructure can make a normally easy task mushroom into a major project.
Continue reading Mushrooms and Thermostats