Heroes of Technical Support: American Standard/Trane HVAC

Loyal readers may recall that I’ve been fighting high humidity in our house for a while (see ChatGPT is almost as bad at home maintenance as I am for a discussion about how window replacement resulted in our A/C being oversized).

I decided to splurge on the top-of-the-line Trane/American Standard TAM9 air handler and a variable-speed condenser for one of the three systems in our house. Once installed, the humidity did go down from about 55-60 percent to 45-50 percent. Mission accomplished, as George W. Bush might say? No. The thermostat raised dire warnings about “Err 166.00”. This is something to do with the Electronic Expansion Valve (EEV) and “superheat”, two terms that I can’t understand. After the error was raised, power consumption for the air handler dropped to about 20 watts, i.e., less than a small window fan. How could this possibly work even if the compressor was running at only 50 percent? That would be 1.5 tons (out of 3) spread into 5 rooms with 20 watts of fan power? After a week in this state, the system failed completely.

The dealer said that he had no idea what was wrong, but was planning to swap components out until the problem went away. “Maybe it is a sensor. Maybe it is the fan motor,” he guessed. Why not call the manufacturer’s tech support line? “They’re useless.”

He was over at the house the other day (Visit #5?) and I had him call tech support on speaker just to humor me. After learning that the 166.00 errors typically happen between 4 and 8 am, American Standard’s tech support expert attributed the problem to the thermostat being set at 72 degrees. “There is no cooling load in the middle of the night and nothing for the system to do, so it shuts the EEV valve to protect the compressor,” he said. What was his recommended fix? “Set the thermostat to 75, which is what air conditioners are designed for.” If this kind of protection was necessary, how had the previous single-stage system managed to survive more than 6 years, at least 1.5 of those years with the thermostat set to 72? “They don’t have as many sensors as the latest equipment.”

(He is correct that the Manual J calculation for sizing air conditioning typically assumes an indoor setting of 75F and an outdoor temp that is supposed to be the 99th percentile of hotness. In Palm Beach County, that’s 91 degrees, though if sizing a variable-speed system maybe it should be bumped to 95 to allow for the possibility that Professor Dr. Greta Thunberg, Ph.D.is a true prophetess.)

In short, what had caused the problem with our $12,000+ air conditioner was that we had tried to use it as an air conditioner and it wasn’t smart enough simply to turn itself off when the room temperature reached the thermostat set temperature.

(Everyone likes Lennox better, but their fancy “communicating” gear requires 4 wires between air handler and condenser and our existing systems had either 3 wires or 2 wires run between indoor and outdoor units. Trane’s communicating gear requires only 2 wires, so we’re stuck with Trane unless we want to start opening up walls and ceilings to run new wires. Florida houses have no basements and no attics, which makes retrofitting problematic, but nobody seems to care because the standard practice is to gut-rehab or bulldoze after 20-30 years (or 6, if you’re an elite New York-based environmentalist and sustainability expert).)

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The accident chain, hurricane-proof garage door edition

The high price of homeowner’s insurance is one of the rare Florida problems that is not exaggerated by New York-based media (an organized attempt to stem the tax base exodus?). Folks near, but not on, the ocean can expect to pay about 0.7 percent of the structure value (not including the land) annually. Hoping to bring this down to 0.6 percent, and also insulate the recently-air-conditioned garage, I decided to swap out the 20-year-old wind-rated garage door for one that is wind- and impact-rated.

So what if the garage door is damaged in a hurricane? A car parked inside can’t be blown away. The rest of the junk in the garage is probably stuff that you didn’t need anyway. It turns out, however, that if the garage door fails it can open the house up to so much wind pressure that the roof is blown off.

Clopay, the manufacturer of our new 9200 door, configured it for shipment with 10 struts instead of the 5 that actually fit. This was the beginning of what in aviation is called “the accident chain”, a sequence of events that start small and eventually lead to the loss of an airframe. Clopay apparently delivered a kit with both 50 KSI 16-gauge steel struts and also the 80 KSI 15-gauge struts that are required for the W8 wind load that I paid for.

With 10 struts installed instead of 5, the door would weigh a spectacular 703 lbs. So Clopay also included two super heavy springs (the “#7 light blue” ones above). And they included non-standard big drums for the cables.

The high-school graduates (maybe?) who installed the door apparently didn’t get concerned about the extra struts. They put on the 50 KSI weaker struts, as it happens, thus rendering the door a W6 door.

The building inspector said that the result wasn’t right as far as the spring balance was concerned, but that he couldn’t fail the door installation because of that. He didn’t notice that the struts were stamped with “50 KSI” and that this marking didn’t match the “80 KSI” on the engineering drawing filed with the town.

While I was on an aviation hop up to Montreal and back, the installers came out to swap the springs and left without considering it odd that the door was as heavy to lift, once disconnected from the opener, as a 100+ lb. barbell. A properly balanced door can be lifted with a couple of fingers:

I began digging into this and discovered the 50 KSI struts that should have been 80 KSI. The result, of course, was everyone being angry with me. The installers, who’d been out 3 or 4 times total, were upset that I was hassling them and they weren’t at all contrite about having put in struts that didn’t match the engineering drawings, the building permit, or what was required to protect against the next climate-change-driven hurricane. The manufacturer tech support guy was upset because he said it was the installer’s job to calculate and fix everything (does it make sense for the manufacturer to send the installer a bunch of extra parts and the wrong springs and then hope that the installer will be able to do the engineering calculations that the manufacturer couldn’t do correctly?).

Here’s what I learned: if you live in Florida or some other hurricane-prone region, make sure that the struts on the back of the door actually are the right strength! Also, disconnect the door from the opener every now and then and check the balance.

Separately, a shout-out to Chamberlain and the Mexicans who assembled our 1/3 HP opener back in February 2003. This 20-year veteran has thus far survived the abuse of having to lift 5X the weight for which it was designed.


  • “Buffett’s Florida Bet Bodes Well for Troubled Insurance Market” (Washington Post, July 21, 2023): Last December, Florida’s legislature passed a controversial but necessary set of reforms aimed at shoring up the state’s teetering property insurance market, where a string of insurers had canceled policies and even filed for bankruptcy, leaving homeowners with dwindling options. [note that Governor DeSantis, who is typically blamed for laws passed by the legislature, does not get credit for this insurance “reform”!] … It’s also the top state for property insurance-related lawsuits, which companies contend are frequently frivolous and often fraudulent, pushing the cost of doing business even higher. … In remarks at Berkshire’s 2023 annual meeting, Vice Chairman of Insurance Operations Ajit Jain said the firm had boosted its property-catastrophe exposure by nearly 50% this year, including up to $15 billion now at risk in Florida. … Among other things, the package sought to curb the nuisance litigation by ending the so-called one-way attorney fee statute. Until the change, insurers had to pay prevailing plaintiffs’ attorney fees, an arrangement that the industry says incentivized frivolous lawsuits and helped build a cottage industry around exploitation of the system. In the most egregious cases, contractors would goad homeowners into filing claims under false pretenses, and insurers were often forced to settle to protect against soaring legal fees. Reinsurers in particular are “optimistic that between [higher prices] and the litigation reforms that Florida is becoming more attractive,” Frank Nutter, president of the Reinsurance Association of America, told me by phone on Tuesday.
  • “State Farm doubles down on Florida after Farmers Insurance pulls back” (Deplorable Fox, July 14, 2023): State Farm says it’s sticking with Florida months after ceasing new applications in California … [the company] sees more opportunity [in Florida], thanks to the state’s recent reforms for the industry. … DeSantis press secretary, Jeremy Redfern, said that since that time, the main issue driving up costs for insurers in the state has been excessive litigation. So, in recent years, the state legislature passed a series of reforms signed into law by DeSantis to address the issues. [Fox credits DeSantis while the Washington Post ignores him!] … The company’s statement added, “We are encouraged by the recent insurance reforms and efforts to curb legal system abuse, and we will continue to work constructively with the Florida Legislature and the Office of Insurance Regulation to improve the marketplace on behalf of our Florida customers.”
  • Effect on children’s wealth when parents move to Florida (the main reason to choose a state these days, of course, is whether you agree with the goals of the state/local government (vastly more powerful since 2020), but it still might be interesting to look at the $$. Property tax burden in Florida, as a percentage of value, is similar to in Maskachusetts. Income and estate taxes are 0% in FL compared to top brackets of 9% and 16% in MA. So the person paying more for homeowner’s insurance in FL may find that the tax savings overpower the insurance pain. And, of course, moving into a modern apartment complex dramatically cuts insurance costs, even those paid indirectly via rent. since the typical apartment building is tough for a hurricane to knock over.
  • “Changes in Atlantic major hurricane frequency since the late-19th century” (Nature Magazine 2021, by authors from Princeton and NOAA): “there are no significant increases in either basin-wide HU [hurricane] or MH [major hurricane] frequency, or in the MH/HU ratio for the Atlantic basin between 1878 and 2019”
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Taskflation with Task Rabbit

After placing an order for delivery from IKEA, the company’s software automatically pinged me with an offer for assembly from Taskrabbit.

August 27:


That’s 142 percent inflation in less than a week. Bidenomics or do IKEA and Task Rabbit together underestimate how long it takes to put together IKEA furniture? (in this case it was an outdoor cabinet/bookshelf, a TV stand, and four inserts for the Kallax bookshelves)

The fine print on the estimate says “depends on the Tasker you select,” but I don’t remember selecting anyone. The taskrabbit site chose for me.

(I will say that the guy who showed up did a good job. I’m not sure that he could have worked substantially faster. Maybe the idea was that someone was going to accept this job for $15/hr including the Taskrabbit markup? And perhaps the estimate didn’t include the “trust & support fee”?)

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Harry’s Crummy Razors

Readers may recall my comparative razor tests of 2019 (see Dorco Shaving Test: 7 blades good; 4 blades bad) and a 2022 update: Jeremy’s Razors vs. Almighty Dorco. Dorco, the Korean engineering and manufacturing titans behind the Dollar Shave Club, bested Gillette and crushed Jeremy’s for shave quality.

Costco was selling Harry’s razors earlier this summer so I decided to give the system a try. The handle is much too light. The blades aren’t as good as either Gillette or Dorco and nicks/cuts are much more prevalent. A fresh-from-the-box Harry’s blade is inferior in practical quality to a Gillette or Dorco blade that has been used for 2-3 weeks. I can’t figure out how this product is so popular. The power of advertising?

Maybe the answer is that Harry’s, like Gillette and Tranheuser-Busch (Bud Light), celebrates the miracle of transgenderism.

My advice to those who want to celebrate the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community every morning… buy Gillette instead.

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What’s the best burner phone for the elderly?

I’m trying to set my mom (89 years young) with various modern services, including an Alexa video device via which relatives can “drop in” (Mom is not great about connecting to Zoom). It turns out that much of the modern electronic world is off limits to those who lack mobile phones. Everyone wants two-factor authentication and a lot of services, such as Google Voice, depend on the user having a traditional mobile phone number as well (we tried and failed to set up Google Voice with Mom’s landline).

What’s the cheapest way to get a mobile phone number that can accept a handful of text messages per month? It would be even better if this phone were virtual and could be manipulated via a web browser. Do those prepaid burner phones chew up monthly fees even when they’re not used? My mom wouldn’t have to be the actual user of the phone. I could have the physical phone or use the web site of a virtual phone.

Thanks in advance for any ideas!

If my parents hadn’t worked, of course, the taxpayers would cover this

Just remember that only a hater would call this an “Obamaphone”:

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Infrared versus regular gas grill? (and what about electric?)

We’re getting ready to run a natural gas line to where our gas grill is ($1500 is the new $700 for a half day of plumbing effort). We’ll need either to convert our basic propane grill, now 1.5 years old, or buy a fancy new grill. The space is tight and a grill wider than about 50 inches won’t look right (even the smallest grills are about this size with side shelves). We go through a propane tank every 1-2 months (using the grill every other day).

One of the divides in the consumer grill world seems to be infrared vs. conventional. The IR enthusiasts claim that they get better sear marks after a faster heating time and the reduced amount of hot air flow keeps more moisture in the food. On the other hand, some of the higher-end grills either don’t have an infrared burner or reserve the infrared burner for rotisserie, or have an infrared burner as a specialty zone with most of the grill being conventional. Here’s a grill that I overheard one rich guy recommending to another rich guy:

It has “Rotisserie system with infrared burners” but the primary burners are conventional. (Why would anyone pay $34,000 for a freestanding grill? The product lets you stick charcoal or wood in and light it with the gas. You can also do it with a $1500 Canadian grill from Napoleon and an accessory tray if a $32,000+ savings is significant to you.)

TEC sells $4,000+ infrared-only grills and claims that they’re vastly superior in every way. Certainly nobody is going to steal one because their smallest model weighs 248 lbs. on a pedestal. If TEC is so great, why don’t all of $1000 grill brands copy them? “Advantages and Disadvantages of Infrared BBQ Grills” says that infrared is unconditionally better:

Clean up is easier, too. The high temperatures practically vaporize any drippings or unwanted mess. In fact, most infrared grills are designed to use this feature by collecting the drippings in a channel. They’re then vaporized back into the food as pure flavor, eliminating the fare-ups in ordinary grills that must be conquered to avoid burning the food. These channels just wipe or clean with a regular grill brush. This is because of the high radiant heat.

Finally, food actually tastes better on an infrared grill, according to many. This is due to the high temperature and direct heating. The infrared burners are wide and cook uniformly with even heat distribution. It locks in all the seasoning and natural flavors in your food. The quickness of the neat locks in moisture, too. Meat, seafood, vegetables – everything is quickly seared and flavor-locked for the best taste.

“Infrared Grills — Advantages, Disadvantages and How They Work” says that the disadvantage is an ability to cook at low temps:

Although an infrared grill could take your steak cooking skills to another level, popular opinion is that this is about all it will do. With the crazy high temperatures it can reach, the grill can be somewhat difficult to master when it comes to the time-temperature relationship. In addition to this, it doesn’t offer the lower temperatures that a traditional gas or charcoal grill does. In contrast, other more traditional grills can offer as low as 100f at the low-end, which is great for slow cooking meats, whereas an infrared grill only goes as low as 250f.

(the TEC people claim that they can now go down to 200 degrees)

This retailer page suggests that infrared is not the complete solution.

To prepare for climate change, in which our 3-mile-inland house will soon be at the beach, it might be good to get a grill made from 316L marine grade stainless. Here’s one from Blaze into which an infrared burner can be installed to replace one of the conventional burners (about $4,000 total and we’d need to lose one side shelf to make it fit).

Readers: Have you cooked on an infrared grill? Is it suitable for nearly all grilling projects?

Crazy/heretical idea: If infrared is truly the best technology, why bother with natural gas or propane? Why not run a dedicated outlet, either 120V or 240V, and use electricity to create as much heat as desired? Char-Broil sells what they claim is “TRU-Infrared” for 320 square inches for $250. That’s actually larger than the 296-square-inch grilling surface claimed by TEC for its $4,000+ product. (Food&Wine magazine says that it doesn’t work) If you don’t need infrared, then a Ninja outdoor electric grill for $330 (you can toss in wood pellets for authentic smoked flavor), which gets 4.7 stars on Amazon. An electric grill used for slow-cooking should be vastly simpler and more reliable. Instead of adjusting the knobs and monitoring, set the desired temperature and walk away for 5 hours. Maybe gas grills are obsolete, just as gas ranges in the kitchen are obsolete, having been slain by mighty induction! (as predicted by Katherine Clerk Maxwell’s Equations) There aren’t that many full-size electric grills available right now, but we’ve been doing fine with 320 square inches of cooking surface on our existing grill.

(Existing electric grills don’t seem to make any attempt to compete with gas grills for total heat output. A medium-size standard four-burner grill puts out 48,000 BTUs, about 14,000 watts. The highest wattage electric grills that I have seen are 3,000 watts, less than a single burner on a high-end induction cooktop (3,300 to 3,700 watts is typical).)

Here’s a piece of restaurant equipment that I discovered at a friend of a friend’s house:

It seems to be called a “salamander” and the claim is that it will heat up to 1050C. It is all-infrared-all-the-time Based on a quick search, they seem to start at about $4,000 and consume 3000-4500 watts. (The house that I visited contained not a single piece of kitchen equipment that I knew how to either turn on or use.) More background on salamanders: from a retailer; from a manufacturer.

Loosely related (on the advantages of a propane-free society)… a story about Mohamad Barakat, a successful asylum-seeker from Syria:

Firefighters notified police [in Fargo, ND] after seeing guns, ammunition and propane tanks in Mohamad Barakat’s apartment, according to a report provided to The Associated Press Wednesday by the City of Fargo Fire Department.

Battalion Chief Jason Ness noted what appeared to be “a significant amount of gun ammunition,” “multiple ‘assault style’ rifles,” a 20-pound propane cylinder in a bedroom, a second smaller propane cylinder in the kitchen, and “a funnel, blender, and other items that looked to be for measuring purposes” in his report on the Sept. 6, 2022 fire.

“FPD determined everything was legal with the gun collection,” Ness wrote. “The individual admitted to owning approximately 10 guns and 6,000 rounds of ammunition. My decision to refer the issue to PD was based on the presence of the guns, several high capacity magazines, and the presence of propane tanks with no means of using the tanks for cooking or grilling.”

The migrant-turned-U.S. citizen loaded up the propane tanks a year later: AP News.


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Hunting down an air handler fan that is running too slowly and growing mildew (breaker panel power monitor)

I’ve been trying to reengineer the air conditioning in our house to match the new(ish) reduced cooling load after a hurricane low-E glass window retrofit by the previous owner (see ChatGPT is almost as bad at home maintenance as I am). Before I downsized the system, however, I decided that I had better make sure that the theoretical Manual J calculations of an 8.5-ton demand were correct. The goal was to see what percentage of the time the 12-ton current system (divided into three condensers/air-handlers) was running on hot days (e.g., when the NYT says South Florida is facing EXTREME DANGER).

I decided to install an inductive current monitor in the circuit breaker panel that could watch all three air handler breakers, specifically the Emporia Vue 2. This is supposed to be easy to install oneself and I have a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering… so I decided to hire an electrician to do it properly. It took him less than one hour and he never shut off power to the panel, as the instructions suggest.

The software is reasonably good, but setup operations take longer to complete than you’d expect. Budget perhaps 30 minutes to get it all connected to WiFi and then to rename the ports. Here’s our Air Handler 3, a 3-ton system, on a day that was 125 degrees (NYT) or 91 degrees (Google/Apple). We can see that the variable-speed air handler (sadly, connected to a one-speed condenser) ramps up to about 500 watts and also that it is running most of the time (the calculated current demand for the upstairs was just 2.3 tons).

Here’s the a 5-ton air handler:

It’s drawing only 100 watts. Notice that I called it “AH2Try2” because I replaced the probe (myself!) and connected it to a different port because I assumed that the Emporia device was bad.

The installation guide for the Trane TEM6 air handler says that it should be drawing at least 500 watts:

I found that the unit was sweating on the outside and, opening it up, mildewing on the inside. The A/C contractor did the following:

  • replaced the blower (covered under warranty by Trane)
  • took the air handler apart and cleaned it
  • pumped out the refrigerant and cut the evaporator coil out and brought it down to the side yard and cleaned it thoroughly
  • cleaned out the air handler interior
  • replaced the plenum
  • replaced a failed UV sterilizer that had been in the old plenum with a REME HALO

With the new fan in place, power consumption went up to over 700 watts and the cabinet stopped sweating.

Given that air handlers are hard-wired, I don’t know of any other way to verify that they’re working properly. The regular A/C service guys don’t measure airflow carefully. And the power monitor is fun to have for investigating random appliance power consumption questions. Our 20-year-old last-legs KitchenAid refrigerator is consuming only 75 watts, for example.

What if you don’t want to spend $250-ish, including an electrician’s time? You can spend $thousands to replace your whole breaker panel and/or all of the breakers with “WiFi breakers”. Span will sell you a panel for $4,500 (plus the breakers?). Can you guess where this new company is located?

Eaton, which has been making panels for about 100 years, sells individual WiFi breakers that can report consumption and also be reset remotely. These seem to cost about $250 each, but if you already have an Eaton panel the installation could be cheap and simple.

Leviton makes a comprehensive system, but it will require replacing your panel(s). The panels themselves from Leviton seem to be cheap (less than $200). Once that’s done, an individual breaker can be as cheap as $54. Our electrician put this system in his own house and likes it.

Speaking of breakers, how long do they last in your experience? Our panels have spent 20 years in a hot/humid garage and the Cutler Hammer breakers inside don’t seem to be happy about it. Especially if a big one trips or is toggled it will tend to require replacement.

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Question for readers who are old and genetically defective (progressive lenses)

Because I voted for Bernie I wear progressive eyeglasses. These fix a touch of adolescent myopia and astigmatism (for distance vision) and old-guy-needs-reading-glasses on the lower portion. To show my support for our 2SLGBTQQIA+ brothers, sisters, and binary-resisters, these are “Transitions” lenses that darken when I venture out with Mindy the Crippler. The dark glasses ensure that we aren’t recognized by the Paparazzi.

I recently got an updated prescription and things have changed a bit since my previous exam (pre-coronapanic). My frames are in good shape (hard to damage your eyeglasses when you’re ordered to stay at home) so the place that did the exam suggested that I replace the lenses… for about $780:

If memory serves, which it probably doesn’t, the complete frames+lenses back in 2019 were about $400 each. Now the lenses alone are over $600 for the ghetto version. As Californians have recently discovered, living one’s progressive ideals isn’t always cheap. What’s the difference among these three options within the Varilux line? The optician says that it is all about the field of view. This sort of makes sense if you consider eyeglass lenses to be like binoculars, but I’m not sure why they should be.

Muddying the waters to some extent is the fact that Varilux is made (in China?) by Essilor, a French company. They were the pioneers in this area and the French have some history with optics, e.g., Angénieux makes some great lenses for cinematography. Nonetheless, France is not one of the nations that comes to mind when great optics are being discussed. What do the Japanese have to offer? Nikon has a web page, but hardly any retailers in the U.S. Canon and Sony don’t seem to be in this product area at all. Seiko makes eyeglass lenses. Asahi-Lite offers progressives in the U.S. It looks as though Tokai and TALEX are also Japanese companies. I can’t figure out which of these is the best or if any of them compete with Varilux. How about the Germans? Leica offers “Variovid Superior Progressive Lenses”. Zeiss seems to be the big competitor to Varilux in the U.S. market for high-end progressives. Rodenstock, the view camera photographer’s favorite, makes progressives starting from an individual eye scan:

(Sadly, this is available only in Europe and the UK. Is it U.S. regulations or the U.S. legal environment that are keeping this amazing company out of our purportedly competitive market? As noted in the comments, I talked to a Dutch optometrist who sells Zeiss lenses and isn’t all that impressed with the Rodenstock idea. The best Zeiss photochromic lenses over there are €1220 for a pair. For the fancy Rodenstock it would be €1358. Then add a little something for frames!)

I can’t find good information about any of these products, though. I’ll be getting two pairs of lenses, so we’re talking about potentially $1500+ in spending plus 7 percent sales tax (6 percent to support the fascist tyranny of Ron DeSantis and 1 percent to keep Palm Beach County’s luxurious services going).

Readers: Have you ever gone from “basic progressive” to “premium progressive” and noticed an improvement in field of view? Have you figured out which brand of high-end progressive lenses is the best? (I guess there is always the option of assuming that Costco has figured this out and rolled it into their optical shop.)

Update: As part of my two-year boycott of the Jupiter, Florida Target, I stopped into the Jupiter, Florida Walmart. The optical department there sells Nikon wide-field progressive lenses for $$280 plus $85 for the Transitions feature. If you want to show your support for the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community without glasses that darken in UV light, Elton John-brand frames are available:

Nikon seems to be playing the same game that the mattress companies use. The Nikon wide-field progressive lenses at Walmart are branded “Nikon Focus”. At independent opticians, Nikon offers “Presio” and “Seemax”. Is this an alternative to the Essilor Empire? The nikoneyes.com web site has a copyright banner across the bottom that references Essilor:

It’s a little confusing, but it might be because Nikon is using the Essilor TotalShield anti-scratch anti-reflective coating. That’s confusing because Nikon has been coating lenses since at least the 1950s (some mostly-peaceful Germans developed modern A-R coatings in 1935).


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Should everyone buy a home AED now that we’re all vaccinated?

Science proves that cardiac arrest cannot be caused by a COVID attempted vaccine. But Science also proves that we can never be killed by COVID-19 if we have been injected with at least 4 (or 5? or 6?) COVID shots. Therefore, we can move on to worrying about ways to die other than via SARS-CoV-2…. e.g., cardiac arrest!

A friend is a police officer and recently went through recurrent CPR training. Americans who get shot have a 90 percent survival rate, but those who suffer a sudden cardiac arrest survive only about 10 percent of the time. The automated external defibrillator (AED) is the key to survival, not CPR, according to the nurse who provided the training. Why not buy a home AED? They’re compact and available for as little as $700 “recertified”. The refurbished units are typically never-used machines that run out of their 4-year battery certification and the recertification process may be as simple as putting in a new battery.

Will the home AED definitely save you? The nurse training my friend explained that it probably won’t save a married man. “The wife would rather get the insurance money than provide resuscitation.”

“The AED in Resuscitation: It’s Not Just about the Shock” (2011):

Newer guidelines have simplified resuscitation and emphasized the importance of CPR in providing rapid and deep compressions with minimal interruptions; in fact, CPR should resume immediately after the shock given by the AED, without the delay entailed in checking for pulse or rhythm conversion.

Although CPR predated the development of the modern automated external defibrillator (AED), the technique seemed to be relegated to a lower priority after introduction of the modern AED. Recently, CPR has been increasingly recognized as a critical factor in treating cardiac arrest, in combination with the AED.

Readers: Do you have an AED in your house? If not, why not?

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What to do with two old iPad Mini 2s with free T-Mobile mobile data?

We have a couple of iPad Mini 2s that were introduced in 2013, model number MF575LL/A (64 GB and T-Mobile LTE). If memory serves, these came with a free lifetime low-speed T-Mobile connection (though right now it seems not to be working; maybe it needs to be reactivated?). Checking the various “sell my stuff” web sites, these have no commercial value ($729 back in 2013, which purportedly corresponds to 947 Bidies). But they’re in great cosmetic condition and the batteries still work for a few hours at least so I’m reluctant to throw them out.

They can’t run the latest iOS, but most major apps work fine on iOS 12.5.

What is a useful application of such obsolete hardware, with particular attention to the mobile data connection. Thanks in advance for any ideas! (“idea” can include “give away to X”)

What if the idea is “throw out”? Here’s Apple’s environmental report from September 2015:


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