Don't Trust Rescue Rooter

10/30/06 | by JAdP | Categories: Life

I've been putting new faucets into various sinks around the house. Today's two hour job, starting at 11:30 AM, just ended a short while ago. The old faucet was very difficult to remove, though the new one went in as expected. The trouble started when I opened up the supply valve for the hot water under the sink - it began leaking, and tightening the screw holding the handle into the stem didn't help. Closing the valve didn't help either. Then it started to leak a LOT.

I drove down to Ocean Shore Hardware in Half Moon Bay and bought a replacement 5/8-inch coarse thread compression to 3/8-inch compression valve. Reading through a home repair book to dredge up old memories of working with my maternal grandfather, both a master carpenter and master plumber, 34 years ago when I was 16, I saw that the only way to remove a compression fitting from a straight copper pipe is with a hacksaw. And if the new one leaks, as the book says, hacksaw it off and start over. This is why I don't do this for a living, or even an hobby.

It leaked. A LOT. I knew this as I sprained my ankle slipping in the puddle it made in the kitchen. Actually, it wasn't so much leaking, as spraying while making a malevolent hissing noise. I turned the main valve to the house off again. I know when to get professional help...

So, I looked through the phone book to find an emergency plumbing service that works the Coastside. Rescue Rooter has a large ad in the yellow pages claiming that "We get there right away... and we get it right. Ask about our 60 minute emergency service". And they have a number for Half Moon Bay and the Coastside (650)761-1313.

Don't call that number. Fifty-five minutes after I called, I received a call back stating that their technician [Grandpa wasn't no technician, he was a craftsman] wasn't able to break away, so they would like to offer me a 10% discount if I could reschedule to 8 the next morning. I explained that the water was off to the whole house, and that my parents, in their 80's, live with me, and that simply wasn't an acceptable solution. So Daisy said that all she could do was phone me back in 45 to 60 minutes [never an hour, they hate when you call their 60 minute guarantee an hour]. She did so, to let me know that the "technician" still couldn't break away and the earliest their "Always Available - Nights, Weekends, holidays" [quoting their ad] service could get to me would be NINE AM the next morning. I told her again about my situation, and quoted their ad to her. It seems Rescue Rooter had no other plumbers, just the one. And I could take their 9 AM offer or go elsewhere. I imagine some other customer who couldn't be serviced tonight took the 8 AM time slot.

No one else listed as providing 24/7 emergency plumbing services on the Coastside even answered.

Luckily, second time was the charm. I had bought several valves at Ocean Shore, and I was able to get a successful compression seal on my next attempt. Of course, hacksawing off copper pipe, and going through all this takes time. So, my two hour job turned into nine hours. And the supply line going from the new valve to the faucet jammed in taking it off again, so I must get another.

I have a sprained ankle, metal splinters in my hand, and I'm very tired.

I DO NOT have any leaks. And water is flowing through all the pipes, except the ones leading to the new kitchen faucet. /sigh

AND... I have to be in Sunnyvale tomorrow at 7:30 [that's when I usually awaken] XX( to volunteer at the ANZATech network 2006 event. I know Buzz Bruggeman will be speaking again this year. I'm not sure if Bill Daul will be there. How about you?

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Avoiding MacBook Pro Heating Problems

10/27/06 | by JAdP | Categories: Computers and Internet

Many people have complained about heating problems with their MacBookPro's. I've experienced this as well, and have installed to monitor the situation. With other apps running, such as Mail, iCal, Address Book, Safari, RSSowl, and the like, Audacity can get the temperature to over 80C, and cause a lockup. Normally, with these apps running, without Audacity, I run in the 50-57C range.

But working on the shaded deck of Café Cacao, with a cool breeze blowing, on a marble table top, I never got over 32C. &#59;)


Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Joseph Blend

10/22/06 | by JAdP | Categories: Food and Drink

When I moved to the Bay Area some 22 years ago, I searched for the best, fresh roasted coffee beans I could find. Penninsula magazine had rated the fairly newly opened Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Company as the best, so off I went to Los Gatos where I met the owner, Teri Hope, and developed a blend together that was perfect, to my taste, for use in a french press to be served au lait style. Teri named it Joseph Blend, and recently, even found the original rolodex card on which she had recorded the blend. Now, Michelle took the time to make a label.

Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Label for Joseph Blend
Click to view original size

Thanks, Michelle.


The Missing Sync Syncs Great

10/03/06 | by JAdP | Categories: Computers and Internet

The Missing Sync by Mark/Space provides more complete and additional conduits to sync up Palm Applications with MacOSX applications. The PalmOS HotSync conduits only go to the Palm Desktop, losing synchronization with Address Book, and thus [anyone want to rewrite Thunderbird as a plug-in for the Palm Desktop?]; the Mac iSync conduits doesn't sync all the information between iCal and Address Book on the Mac side with the corresponding application on the Palm. There is no equivalent to Memos on the Mac. There isn't a native AvantGo conduit. The Missing Sync solves all these issues, and more, with these conduits.

  • Backup,
  • Install,
  • Lifedrive Backup,
  • Mark/Space Conduit for AvantGo [which I've used for years, but doesn't have it's own conduit for Mac],
  • Mark/Space Conduit for iTunes [syncs playlists, but not protected m4p tunes purchased from Apple],
  • Mark/Space Contacts,
  • Mark/Space Events,
  • Mark/Space Folder Sync,
  • Mark/Space MemoPad [with a corresponding desktop application on the Mac],
  • Mark/Space Photos [to sync with the included Spashphoto.prc]
  • Mark/Space Tasks,
  • Note Pad,
  • Time Copy [Update handheld clock by sync'g with the Mac's clock],
  • Voice Memo

I had some initial problems with Missing Sync and an ongoing issue. Initially, my 10 years worth of memos [what!?!] wouldn't sync with the Mark/Space MemoPad application on the Mac; actually, it sync'd, then erased all memos, then wouldn't sync again. Now, my first sync fails in one of three ways, each of which requires me to "Force Quit" Missing Sync, restart it, and sync again. The second sync works great.

Missing Sync support, in the form of Mike, and now Dave, has been great. [I've been told that Pete and Catherine, their manager, are equally wonderful.] Given the testing protocol that I've been asked to perform, I am thinking of signing up Mark/Space for a testing contract. &#59;) in Firefox in SLED10 in Parallels in MacOSX

09/28/06 | by JAdP | Categories: Computers and Internet

OK, the title kinda says it all. I wanted to repond [after a week] to's offer to use their new features of MyZillow and to update the facts on my home. Unfortunately, doesn't support Safari and they recommend Firefox. I used Firefox under my old Windows machines, so that's fine. But, since FF is already installed as part of SLED10, that I'm running on my MacBookPro under Parallels, I decided just to use it there. B)

You can see my updates on Zillow at

I really like the Tiger apps, for the most part. There are some frustrating limitations, both in-built, and as a result of MacOSX being under supported by developers, having such a small market share.

Return receipts not being supported in is one such limitation. I know that they've fallen in disfavor, but I remember setting up sendmail so that the inability to deliver a message didn't result in an error-but-still-trying message for 4 hours, and didn't result in a permanent failure for SEVEN DAYS. eMail still isn't the completely reliable, do everything set of protocols that most people think it is, and I still like return receipts. I know there are AppleScripts and Plugins, but still, it's part of the RFC, support it.

Not being able to have multiple tabbed sites as the "home page" is frustrating as well, but not bad. Not being able to export MP3 files from Audacity using LAME because of patent issues is odd, but I can still do it under WindowsXP Audacity/LAME.

But what the heck, with Parallels, I have it all: WindowsXPsp2, SLED10, and whatever else I may want to add, even OS/2.

How great is that?


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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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