Cub Cadet

Cub Cadet

Speaking of our Cub Cadet.  Elizabethe asks me, “How much more money do we dump in to this mower before you buy a new one?”

Well, the next time I cannot do the repair myself, I think that’s the time.  I will tell you this, I will never buy another Cub Cadet product again.  And, I will never buy another mower from Blazey’s again. Cub Cadet because of the poor engineering, poor quality and lack of support from the manufacturer. (I’ve attempted to contact them on faulty part issues with no response whatsoever.)  Blazey’s because of their price gouging* and the incident of putting blades on upside down.

Today’s Fiasco

What happened today is neither Cub Cadet or Blazey’s fault.  Someone threw a 3/4″ diameter rope on the lawn.  It got covered with leaves.  When I drove over it, it wrapped itself around the spindle several times causing the spindle to break in two places AND the blade to hit the deck and bend.

Blazey’s charged me $112 for the part.  (Later I checked and it goes for about $38 on-line.  I’m ordering a spare.)  Out of urgency to get the job done today, I paid the $112.

Finishing the Job

It took a while to get the spindle replaced.  The self-tapping bolts were the hardest part.  They require lots of torque to cut the new threads in the spindle housing.

The after-market blades that Aaron recommends work great.  While the rope incident cause the blade to bend slightly, the manufacturer’s brand it would have twisted like a pretzel.  (I have several bent ones to prove it.)  This is the first time this brand of blade has bent.

Difficult Decision

It’s a difficult decision to abandon a local business.  I originally went with them because they were local, and like buying a bicycle, I figure it is better to buy from a specialist than a generalist.  (i.e. a bike shop instead of a department store, for example).

*However, the after sales support was expensive and time consuming.  But, what really took the cake was after the upside-down blade incident, I was talking to a friend who was surprised that I went to Blazey’s.  He recounted an incident that disgusted me.

It will be cheaper for me to stock some of my own parts (knowing what breaks on this thing), than a single trip to buy a part under the pressure to finish what I started.

For my next lawn tractor, I will be talking to my mechanic for recommendations.  AND, I know what engineering flaws to look for.  (Namely, the engineering of the deck lift/lowering mechanism, belt guides and housings.)

 

 

Charity Walks

Charity Walks

I got an e-mail last night asking me to join a charity walk.  I’ve done a couple of charity walks in the past, and my motivation for doing them wasn’t so much because I wanted to support the charity, it was because of the social aspect.  I know, that’s not the right attitude or reason for doing one, but honestly, I think most of the participants were doing it for the same reason I was.

The ones who were really passionate about the walks were the ones volunteering to support the walk.  The passionate ones weren’t the ones walking (or in other cases, running or riding their bicycles), but the ones working the registration booth, feeding the participants lunch and offering other support services.

Thinking

This got me thinking…

Aside from raising money for a cause, what does a charity walk, charity run or charity bicycle ride do?

Take for example the 25-50-75 mile bicycle ride I used to participate in while living in California.  It was for a worthy cause.  It cost us about $35 to participate for which we were fed lunch and got a t-shirt.  At the end, the charity probably got about $15-20 of our money.  At the end of the 50 miles, we had sore butts, but we had a great time socializing as we rode our bikes for 4-5 hours.

What did the charity gain by our riding our bicycles for 50 miles?

Not much, if anything.  Our riding didn’t cure any disease.  Our entrance fee, provided very little towards a cure.  The small amount raised was only a fraction of what is raised when a philanthropist donates a few million dollars towards finding a cure.

Perhaps it made someone feel better because they participated?  I don’t know.  I can’t say.

Alternatively

Alternatively, why don’t we have fund raising events that actually accomplish something?

Here’s an example…

How about a charity walk where every participant is given a 33 gallon trash bag.  As they walk, they pick up trash along the highway.  Trucks with billboard signs can be posted at the start and end of the walk route that says,

Walk to cure ______ (disease)_____
Please slow down.  Trash pick up ahead.

If you like our making your community prettier,
please donate to the _______________ Society
and help us find a cure.

Or, something like that.

Habitat for Humanity is an excellent example of accomplishing something. While their activities are directly tied to their organization, they still produce a tangible result.

So, here are some ideas for various charities like the MS Society, American Cancer Society, and others who sponsor charity events.

  • Sidewalk snow removal – encourage homeowners to donate to the cause and send a group of volunteers out to simply shovel the sidewalks in the neighborhoods
  • Trash pickup (as already mentioned)
  • Revitalize a public park – encourage community members to donate to the cause and come to the park afterwards for a celebration
  • Have a group of volunteers go to the home of someone who is incapacitated by that disease and clean their yard, paint their house, or some other act of service.

There are other things they could do, those are just a few examples.  I just think if we’re going to make an effort to do something, let’s make an effort to actually accomplish something.

 

Dealing with Microsoft

Dealing with Microsoft

Another day dealing with Microsoft.  I called in the morning as directed last night.  I finally got through to someone named “Ann” (or, at least that’s what it sounded like.  She had a heavy accent.)  She took a lot of information and then said someone will call me in 2 hours.  (By this time, it was noon.)

I continued to work on non-computer stuff in my office and 2pm came and went.  4pm came and went.  6pm came and I knew at this point if they call it was too bad because I have a client coming at 6:30pm.

My client came and went and I backed up the images via my laptop and headed to the house.  It’s 10pm at this point and I’m not real happy with #Microsoft.  They keep making promises of call backs and the don’t happen.

Chatting with a few people on social media, I think the best thing is to wipe my hard drive and go back to Windows 7.  Once I get it all installed and reinstall my applications, I’m going to mirror my hard drive and store the copy away.

What drives me craze is I give them a case number and I get the run-around.  “I can’t update the ticket”, or, “That’s a tier 2 ticket, you can only talk to tier 2, I’m tier 1.”  And, when I ask to be transferred they make excuses as to why they can’t.

I suspect tier one is in one country, and tier two in another and the time zones make it awkward.  Who knows.  This much I do know, Microsoft has a product with more bugs than should be allowed in a release.

I think it was when Windows 7 came out they had a program that you could run and it generated a report that told you whether your hardware was ready for Windows 7.  I remember running it and getting a message stating some of my hardware wasn’t ready.  A few months later I re-ran it and it said my machine was ready.  At that point, I upgraded.

With Windows 10, they should have had something like that.  Heck, just build it in to the installation process.  I’m 99% sure the reason why my machine is crashing is some of the hardware drivers are not Windows 10 compatible yet.  And, not only are they not compatible, Windows 10 does not handle the error exceptions nicely.

Also, when I went to install my graphics card Windows 10 driver (it came out 2 days ago), Windows 10 crashed and the error pointed to Windows 10 installer being corrupted.

So, today ends with no resolution from Microsoft.

Tomorrow Windows 10 will be removed via a re-format of my hard drive.  It’s a drastic move but I’ve given Microsoft every chance to fix their problems.

Waiting for Support

Waiting for Support

When something is broken, waiting for support is the hardest thing.  Between the washing machine and computer, I’m thoroughly frustrated.

Sears is supposed to be here between 8am and 5pm to fix the washing machine.  Microsoft is supposed to call me back in a few hours to work on my PC’s BSoD errors.

I spent a good portion of the day attempting various things on my PC.  It gives a BSoD with most anything I try.  This is crazy.  I’ve gone the entire week without being able to use my desktop.  (I’m working from my laptop, which, by the way, is working okay with Windows 10.  That tells me it is probably a driver incompatibility with something inside my HP.

The lawn is mowed and at least I don’t have that glooming over my head while I’m trying to resolve my computer issues.

On the brighter side, Elizabethe and I celebrate 18 years of marriage today.  Yes, we have now been married to each other longer than we were married to our previous spouses.

Jennifer and Spencer and kids arrived home late from their trip.  They stopped on their way and picked up groceries for tomorrow’s dinner.

Oh, Sears never did show up.  I’ll have to call them on Monday.  In the mean time, our washing machine gives an HF error.

At least when an old ringer stopped working, you could see WHY.

I’m starting to hate technology.