These are pictures for my dad to look at. I am trying to figure out if the pictures show a grounding wire or what it is exactly? I thought it might we water at first but it seems to small and is crimped at the end. It isn't a solid wire for sure. Also the power coming from the pole has a grounding wire on it.
April 2008 Archives
With the increased abilities of home theater receivers (AVR) comes increased complexity and the possibility of bugs. Most current mid-range to high end receivers have HDMI 1.3a and can internally decode Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD-MA. What this means is they have very advanced DSPs (limited purpose computer chip) in them. The DSPs run software just like a computer and that software had a few bugs, one of which could in theory destroy speakers under very specific conditions. As a result just like most other modern consumer electronics it can be upgraded. The cool thing in this story is how. There are actually two pieces of software that run my AVR, the main firmware (operating system) and DSP firmware (drivers). The main firmware is updated in a fairly standard way via an attached RS232 (serial) cable from a computer. The DSP firmware however is updated through the optical digital in port from a CD player. Yes you play a music CD (well it is made like a music CD, you wouldn't want to listen to it) and the DSP goes hey that is an update and starts loading the "music" as an upgrade. It was quite a painless process and was quite impressive. The bad thing about modern consumer electronics is they are so complex they have bugs. The good thing (at least with some) is that those bugs can be fixed after you buy them for free usually. One might say why didn't they prevent these bugs, well the main reason is there was nothing to test the DSPs with until recently since nothing fully used them. Many companies developed toward a specification that detailed how to encode, decode and transport data. Somewhere along they way it didn't work 100%, which is somewhat to be expected when you have nothing to test against before selling the product. Hopefully the problems are fixed and I can enjoy my AVR without worry now.
One of the biggest problems with this house that existed when I moved in was the deck. I knew this going in so it wasn't a surprise. That being said I think anyone that stood on the old one would agree it was pretty scary. It was a small deck of about 4'x10' and had a floor made of plywood and held together with some sort of carpet or astro-turf like stuff. It took a long while but about 18 months after moving in I finally tore down the old one last fall. It was almost too easy to pull down. When we took the carpet of the stairs they literally disintegrated. We threw out the deck in a dumpster I had at the time. Since the old one was torn down it was about a 10' drop out the back door of the kitchen down to the back door of the basement. Not really useful as an exit.
On Easter weekend my parents came down to help build a new deck. My dad didn't have any direct experience building a deck and nor did I, but I that didn't stop us in the basement. Kelly got several books from the library on deck building, I would recommend the Home Depot one as it was most up to date and very helpful. My parents arrived Thursday afternoon. My dad and I spent several hours going over my plans and doing some measuring. The plan was to build a small exit deck of 4'x6' and stairs to get down. We went out that night and bought all the supplies we would need to build everything except the stairs. This included boards of such sizes as 4"x4"x10', 2"x6"x8', 5/4"x6"x8', some pre-built railing and lots of bolts.
Friday morning we got up and first attached some boards to the house to fill the gap left by the old deck in the siding. Then we built the frame of the deck. We put the frame in place with the posts. After we had things in place for the most part we went back and used the bolts and some deck screws to firmly hold the frame in place. The next step was to put the decking in place. It was interesting doing while standing on un-secured boards. We got them in place with a few screws and then went back and put in lots more. The last step for the day was attaching the railings to the posts. That night we went to get the pieces for the stairs. This was some pre-made treads, stringers and the outer frame for the stairs.
Saturday morning we started on the stairs. This was lots of measuring, little wood trimming, more measuring, angle checking and hoping it fits right. One of the complications with the stairs was that the ground at the bottom of stairs is not what you would call level. We ended up getting it almost perfect though with each stair fitting and being level. After getting the stairs in place we added a railing for the steps and toped the railing around the rest of the deck. The new deck while smaller is much sturdier than the old one. I am sure it can hold the 3-4 people that could potentially fit on the deck. Also now Narnia can go out the back door to the back yard with less concern of being distracted instead of the front yard.
Lots of pictures of the process and the finished project are available at this link.