Flaky Electricals Turn Solid

05/24/06 | by JAdP | Categories: Personal

Tim Swillinger of Lighthouse Solar & Electric has been working hard over the past few weeks turning our flaky electricity solid.

He's given us better grounding, has brought the house up to 2005 code, checked and tightened all braids, joins and terminations, and even labeled all of the circuits in the box, as he did the safety inspection and replaced suspect breakers.

He's found and fixed all the oddities.

  • The receptacle in the attic wasn't working, not because it wasn't working, but because it had been tied into the circuit for the puck lights over the bars between the kitchen and living room, and kitchen and dining room. You had to have the puck lights on for the electricity in the attic to work. That's now been solved with the attic being on the un-switched leg of the hallway circuit, and now having not only properly laid out wiring and new receptacle, but having three new lights with their own switch.
  • The dedicated circuit in my home office for computer equipment, now has a companion in the attic. Noisy servers, such as the T2000, can be in a nice rack up there. And being on the Coast, the attic never gets hot, but the cabinet style rack is vented to bring in outside air to the bottom and exhaust away from rack. The attic has never been dryer. &#59;)
  • My parents now have a new, switched ceiling fixture over their dining room table. Dad and I still must patch the holes in their wall though. :| The light fixture was in our Living Room was one with burnt-out sockets, which HMB Electic repaired. Mom admired it, now has it, and we wanted to bring the style together upstairs with...
  • The new monorail low-voltage system that I installed, after Tim had checked out and tightened the ceiling fixture.
  • The custom low-voltage system that we had installed when we purchased the house is working again. It's transformer had burned out. The switch that controls it from downstairs is no longer in my parents' apartment, but at the bottom of the stairwell, where it belongs. It shares the switch box with a new switch to control a new outdoor receptacle just under the 2nd floor overhang - being switched, we'll be able to control decorative lights [Christmas, Hallowe'en, whatever] from inside.
  • Tim installed the new overhead lights in the kitchen and hallway.
  • He determined that the dedicated circuit for computer equipment was fine. APC replaced the Back-UPS and no more weird beeping as I'm trying to work. APC was great on the RMA too.
  • The exterior lights have all been replaced, and new locations on either side of the garage door have been installed. The lights we selected are motion sensing, photocell controlled fixtures in compliance with the new California Title 24 code. Unfortunately, they only worked when coming down on them from above, such as when walking down the stairs from the deck, the first floor lights will come on, but walking along the ground near them, they won't. Unfortunately, the factory has told us that ALL of their Title 24 lights are defective. We're still awaiting word on the manufacturer's remediation plan. /sigh
  • All the wiring in the garage is being replaced, as well as associated exterior receptacles. This will separate the garage from the rest of the downstairs, as well as replace the dead or dying long-tube fluorescent fixtures, and fix the dead receptacles.
  • The spots in the kitchen burning out were easily explained. The fixtures are only rated for 50W, and we were using 65W bulbs, as that is what was in them. We're replacing them all with 15W fluorescents. If those burn out, we'll replace the fixtures.

How much of this was caused by the demise of the holy cypress, associated power outage and subsequent power weirdness, or just the combination of living in the salt fog of the Coast and having a house built in the 70's, we'll never know.

Tim has done a great job. Now if I could only find other contractors who would show up [at all, let alone on time] or give the promised estimates, we could finish the bookcases/stairwell, windows and bathrooms. Then we'll repaint the outside. Maybe then I'll come close to believing Zillow's price appraisal for the place. :D

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Tuna Salad Tonno Style

05/07/06 | by JAdP | Categories: Food and Drink

I have been told many times over the years that my taste in tuna salad is quite odd for an American. It must harken back four generations to my Italian roots. There's no mayonaise in the sandwich, and certainly none of that sweet sandwich dressing stuff. And while I might on other days enjoy a more standard tuna salad of mayo, dill pickle relish, and celery, I never go for sweet or bread-and-butter pickles or red onion in my tuna. Being all alone today, I indulged in one of my favorite lunches.

The starting ingredients might seem a bit strange to you.

Celery Calamati Capers Garlic Anchovy for Tapenade
Click to view original size

The celery stalk is for dicing. The anchovy, marinated garlic clove, calamati olives and capers are for the tapenade, which I do at a medium to fine chop with my knife. Add tonno canned in olive oil from Italy, and local extra virgin olive oil from Napa Valley [both bought at Colombo's Deli], and that's the ingredient list.

Tapenade Diced-Celery Tuna EVO-Oil
Click to view original size

I hollowed out the heel of some chewy, flavorful Henry's Harvest from Grace Baking, lined it with a leaf or two of romaine lettuce, and stuffed it with the salad. Added a real Manahatan style pickle that's packed in brine without vinegar or preservatives, and Maverick's Amber fresh from the brew pub, and I had lunch.

Tuna Sandwich Pickle and Beer
Click to view original size

Ah! It was wonderful. :p



04/30/06 | by JAdP | Categories: Personal

Tim's been working on the Flaky Electricity at the house. One thing that he's found is that at each of the ceiling light fixtures that have shorted out, there is corrosion of the wiring within the fixture, and there is voltage on the line, even with the switch off. The voltage isn't high, 12, 15 and 30 volts at each of the three fixtures. This isn't likely to be a problem short term. Over years, it might explain the fixtures shorting out. He's checked everything, and can't flind any wonky splices or other obvious causes.

The only obvious ground for the house, was to the water inlet pipe, and the ground wire is above the regulator and faucets.

House Ground Wire at Inlet Pipe
Click to view original size

After moving STUFF and the two 6-foot by 6-foot windows that the previous owner coerced us into buying, that have sat for 7 years [still trying to figure out exactly where to put them and how to replace the 12-foot x 12-foot window in the living room], I discovered a second ground.

Old Ground Rod into Foundation
Click to view original size

But is it a good ground? ... a bad ground? ... rusted to dust in the ground?

Tim will find out on Wednesday, I'm sure.

Oh well, at least he'll have a clear area in which to work, both inside

Inside the Garage looking at the back of the Electrical Service Box
Click to view original size

and outside

Electrical Service Box from Outside
Click to view original size


Time for an Ark

04/24/06 | by JAdP | Categories: Blog, Personal

April 24th, and it's raining. Not drizzling, not a spring shower, no, no, no. A cold, driving rain... In California, in April. XX(

I haven't written about the rains, the slides, the 12 minute commute to pick up my partner that is now over an hour, the two-hours it takes to get over the hill at commute times, or even the joys of living just south of the new cul-de-sac. I lived through it in '95 when I worked at Oracle. Why complain? Others are having a much harder time of it than I.

But on Saturday night, a slide on CA Rte. 92 played havoc with the telephone lines for the Coast. No DSL, minimal if any cell service, wonky landlines. And to top it off, both of my old routers [inside and outside to form a DMZ] died. I did buy a new MIMO router. :D Any excuse is a good excuse. But I'm still investigating why both routers [one is less than a month old] should die because of mud pulling out the fiber optics 12 miles away.

And now it's raining again. Time to build the ark and gather the animals.

Oh well, at least the frog that has taken up residence in our pond is happy about the rain. And the owls are back. Last night as I was setting up the new router was the first I had heard the owls since the cypress fell over - also because of the rains. I'm not sure if the owls are in the new holy cypress, or across the street in the Monterey Pines.

Ah well, better that than for it to have fallen into the house, or to have the house go sliding down the hill into my neighbor Joe's place.

Tim is working on the electricity today, so I'm typing this while on Back-UPS battery power. He came down with the flu right after his initial inspection, poor guy. Twnety-six minutes to go, and then I must shut down.


PMI PMO Critical Chain

04/20/06 | by JAdP | Categories: Business

Clarise and I attended the PMI [of which we're members] San Francisco Bay Area April supper meeting last night. The topic, "The Natural Evolution of a PMO", is of interest to us because we've been unable to determine if something really new is happening here. The answer is NO. As we suspected, PMO is hype to get companies to establish standard project management methodologies, such as our own 6D™ methodology, complete with procedures and templates. One evidence that this is so, is that there isn't agreement on whether the "P" in PMO is "project" or "program".

As so often happens, the most interesting talk of the evening was that at the supper table with our colleagues. One topic of conversation was on the wiki(Theory of Constraints) and wiki(Critical Chain) Project Management. Managing a project is about managing resources, and Critical Chain Management addresses managing conflicting demands on resources. As Pat, at our table, pointed out, one doesn't necessarily have the data necessary to actually use the Critical Chain model. I liken it to Chaos theory in mathematics; great for understanding what occurred or is occurring, but it isn't so good as a predictive model. So if one can't adequately plan [model] a project using Critical Chain, does it have any value? Perhaps... Create a knowledge base of all projects in the portfolio, and use Critical Chain to understand what happened in the projects and why projects succeed or fail in your corporate environment.

Here's a google search that provides some nice results for Critical Chain in Project Management.


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I'm Joseph A. di Paolantonio and this blog has two main foci: my interest in food, and my interest in the future. This provides a look into my personal life, and is separate from my consulting work…though there will be overlap. I am an independent researcher, working as a strategic consultant and I'm an executive with over 20 years of commercial experience with a technical interest in the intersection of Internet of Things, with advanced data management and analysis methods. I view data science as a team activity, and I feel that the IoT must be viewed as a system. I am leveraging my past activities to understand the adoption and impact of the IoT; first, as a system engineer in aerospace, where I developed Bayesian risk assessment methods for systems within the Space Transportation System (including the Space Shuttle), Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer, Gravity Probe B, and many more, and second, as a enterprise data warehousing, business intelligence and analytics professional. Between my aerospace and IT careers, I indulged my hobby of cooking by starting a food company, Montara Magic, centered around my chocolate sauces. My education combined chemistry, mathematics and philosophy. I performed research into molten salt fuel cells in graduate school, and in photovoltaic materials for a short time in industry. The lure of bringing the human race into space was strong, and when I was offered the chance to combine my chemistry and mathematics skills to develop new risk assessment and system engineering methods for space launch and propulsion systems – I couldn't resist. I perform independent research and strategic consulting to bring value from the Internet of Things, Sensor Analytics Ecosystems and data science teams.I am a caregiver, a lover of science fiction and speculative fantasy, and my passion to learn has led me to a pilot's license, an assistant instructor in SCUBA, nordic and alpine skiing, sea kayaking, and reading everything I can, in as many topics as I can.

View Joseph di Paolantonio's profile on LinkedIn

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