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.NET Hobbyist Programmer Staying Confused in a Busy World Home Ownership My adventures on a topic near and dear to many.
Hurricane Season 2010 Starts
Here we are at the start of another hurricane season. As with past years, I have been preparing. Last year I had the house painted with a high-quality paint, giving the stucco its best waterproofing possible. I have a few cracks to patch with elastomeric patching material. I will paint it to match the house later. I also need to clean out the anchors for the lower angle brackets and reattach them. I had removed the brackets for painting. You can read all my past hurricane entries here. The predictors ......

Posted On Tuesday, June 1, 2010 7:45 PM

Hurricane Recovery: Dangerous Generators
In this post from last year, I stated that you could safely backfeed your house from a generator if you did it correctly, but that doing so incorrectly was dangerous -- dangerous as in someone being dead. It seems that the latest victim is a Georgia electric utility worker who was apparently electrocuted by a generator which was improperly connected. This is tragic and need not have happened. I want to restate a caution that I said last September: you need to know what you are doing with your home ......

Posted On Saturday, July 16, 2005 2:10 PM

Hurricane Preparations: Get in Line for Installed Shutters
The more I read, the happier I am with my choice to install my own hurricane shutters. This article describes the problems people are having trying to get a contractor to do the installation. Once you get past the rip-off artists, it will take time just to get the materials. I know, since I had an eight-week wait for my aluminum panels. With the materials available, you need to get the contractor to do the install. The guy I bought my panels from was scheduled through the end of the year, and that ......

Posted On Wednesday, July 13, 2005 5:14 PM

Hurricane Preparations: Avoiding Death
My weekends at home are fairly predictable. I spend the mornings coding the EDR, the afternoons doing house or yard work, and the evenings with the family and again with the EDR. Very predictable. This past weekend also had me perched near the top of a 14-foot ladder drilling into my pre-cast concrete window headers to fasten my hurricane shutter tracks. Ladder work is dangerous itself, but trying to hold up a 12-foot-long aluminum storm panel header track, getting it aligned and the Tapcons fastened ......

Posted On Monday, June 27, 2005 2:53 PM

Hurricane Preparations: Aluminum Storm Panels
We are now the proud owners of several hundred pounds of oily aluminum. I picked up our hurricane panel order yesterday. I placed the order eight weeks ago with Hurricane Depot and picked it up here in the Orlando area at a local distribution point (Lake Mary) of their manufacturer Town and Country Industries. The shutters were very fresh from the manufacturing process and still had their sheen of oil from going through the roll forming process. This is a set of custom-cut panels. I measured our ......

Posted On Friday, June 3, 2005 10:51 AM

Hurricane Preparations: Scaring People into Getting Ready
The Orlando Sentinel (subscription required) has started their campaign to ensure that everyone in the Orlando region is sufficiently paranoid prepared. This morning's front page story Hurricane Season 2005: Hoping for the best includes the following boxed quote. Now from June 1st right through November, there's this pit in your stomach. I've already got it. First clap of thunder, I start freaking out. I start pacing and trembling. The poor woman. She is scared of thunderstorms. Since central Florida ......

Posted On Sunday, May 29, 2005 9:59 AM

Catching Up / Hurricane Preps Continue
Posting has been slow recently because of work in the real world and a family trip. When you travel over 2700 miles in a vehicle with two small children (aged 20 months and 3 months) you need to take some time to recover. Other than unpacking, truck cleaning and yard work, there has been little free time. There is still some work I need to do on the EDR and, of course, the Honey Do list. I did manage to get an order in to a reseller of hurricane panels two weeks ago to protect my most vulnerable ......

Posted On Sunday, April 24, 2005 12:14 PM

Hurricane Preparations: Stucco Cracks and Holes
Added Update 2. Stucco is concrete. Concrete is brittle. Brittle materials crack. Therefore, stucco cracks. Boy, do I know stucco gets cracks. I just spent many hours sealing cracks on the outside of my house. Since a crack is also a hole, it lets in water and bugs. Paint is very important when you have a concrete house. A number of houses built by Ryland Homes leaked during last year's storms. Much of the leakage was directly through the concrete walls due a failure of the paint system. (There were ......

Posted On Wednesday, April 6, 2005 11:47 PM

Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
Actually, it was an implementation of technology that just got me extremely irate. I was so upset that I just left my purchases there and went over to the nearby Lowe's ... but I am getting ahead of myself. There are plenty of other people just like me who are unimpressed with this technology, so I am not substantially advancing the discussion here. (I do hope I end up feeling better, though.) Try this Google search, or this one to see what I mean. I was attempting to purchase six things: a bag of ......

Posted On Friday, January 14, 2005 8:31 PM

Hurricane Duration
I can see among my referrals that quite a few people are looking for the duration of a hurricane. As with anything, the answer is "it depends." It depends on what you are measuring and where you are. You can measure the duration of a tropical cyclone based on time elapsed of hurricane force winds, tropical storm force or greater winds or any number of other measures. The ultimate data repository is at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service, National Centers ......

Posted On Monday, October 4, 2004 7:51 PM

You know you live in Florida when...
Those crazy people at the Orlando Sentinel (subscription required) have been at it again. I think they need to go bake on a beach for a week or two. You just gotta keep laughing. Of course, they also claim that this was a "once in a lifetime" kind of hurricane year. Yeah right - until next year. - - - - - Whether natives or newcomers, residents of the Sunshine State (Ha!) have faced a multitude of, er, weather challenges the past two months. Yet, Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne have made us get ......

Posted On Saturday, October 2, 2004 1:21 PM

Hurricane Jeanne Survival Lessons
Posted Update 3 below (See all my hurricane entries here.) We have had way too much adventure around here (Orlando) recently. Three hurricanes in a six week period is pretty much enough for everyone for the next decade or so. At work, we joke about going around to all the "Florida - The Sunshine State" signs at the state welcome centers and changing them to read "Florida - We're Over It" instead. You really come to appreciate the small comforts of life when your bathroom fan has no power. As with ......

Posted On Wednesday, September 29, 2004 6:52 PM

Plylox Clip Installation/Removal Tips
I still do not really like these things as I describe in my Frances Survival post, but I have learned a few things about putting up large plywood shutters using Plylox clips. (See all my hurricane entries here.) Since I have not had time to implement my barrel bolt plan, I had to refine my installation technique. Putting up a large shutter is cumbersome. I have four that are large. Installation is greatly eased if you add a handle to the outside of the shutter. My simple handles consist of a length ......

Posted On Saturday, September 25, 2004 9:32 PM

Hurricanes Just Keep Coming
OK, enough now. Our little slice of Florida here near Orlando will shortly be hit by our third hurricane of the year. The outer rain bands are moving across the area now. We got hit by Hurricanes Charley and Frances, then were faked out by Hurricane Ivan. We were sorry (in a sickly happy way) that the Florida panhandle got whacked by Ivan. Now, we have Hurricane Jeanne approaching. The sad fact is that many fewer people are evacuating for this storm than for previous ones. I hope those staying are ......

Posted On Saturday, September 25, 2004 4:44 PM

Long-term Hurricane Lessons
After the storms, we have come across some additional long-term lessons. Update 1: Test your computer UPS batteries. One of mine failed quickly during the first hurricane and did not let me do a controlled shutdown. They have all been replaced. Update 1: Do not underestimate the effects of stress. Florida has been the 2004 target, and people are beginning to think every hurricane is going to try to fit through their window. The easiest thing to ease this appears to be simply talking about it and ......

Posted On Thursday, September 16, 2004 6:55 PM

Welcome to the Hurricane Blog
Well sort of, but I have been distracted by external events for the past couple of weeks. Check out all of my hurricane related posts here. Work and weather defense has been keeping me away from almost everything else. Now, a third hurricane (Ivan) is approaching. This too we shall survive, but I wanted to make some comments for those of you who are not in the state. I would not necessarily accuse the news media of lies, but they exist to attract your eyeballs, so they tend to exaggerate and sensationalize ......

Posted On Friday, September 10, 2004 10:10 PM

Hurricane Terminology: Then and Now
The Orlando Sentinel (subscription required) staff has too much time on their hands and has again created yet another comparison of experiences in our hurricane-drenched world. Four weeks ago today Hurricane Charley swept through Florida, and the tropics have remained in attack mode ever since, in the form of Frances and Ivan. Can anybody remember what life was like B.C. (Before Charley)? For sure, the last month has changed our view of certain things in our blustery world. Spare batteries Then: ......

Posted On Friday, September 10, 2004 9:24 PM

Hurricane Frances Survival Lessons
Added Update 4 below. See more hurricane entries here. When you have two hurricanes in three weeks, you are bound to come across new challenges. We are preparing for Hurricane Ivan at the moment. While Charley and Frances made it “X makes the spot,” Ivan will make it an “asterisk.” (Update 3: I was wrong about the location, since Ivan whacked Pensacola instead.) My post on Hurricane Charley Survival Lessons is a good place to start your reading. Here are some additional items ......

Posted On Thursday, September 9, 2004 8:49 PM

Hurricane Charley Survival Lessons
When a hurricane approaches, a computer literate individual (geek) has extra work to do. While most people just bring in the loose outdoor material, the geek also needs to prepare electronic systems. As a point of reference, we live a little east of Orlando. The center of the eye passed to our west, but we were inside the eye wall, so we got hit with the best winds the storm still had to offer with a steady wind of 90 MPH and gusts to 105 MPH. Here are a few things to keep in mind about storms. Power ......

Posted On Wednesday, August 18, 2004 6:57 PM

Tap Tap Tap ... Is this thing on?
Hi. This is the inevitable first blog post. My name is Mark Treadwell and I am what some other people elsewhere have referred to as a hobbyist programmer. To me, a hobbyist programmer is someone who writes computer programs for the enjoyment of the challenge rather than to put food on the table. I'll talk about the day job that permits this indolent luxury later. In 1982, I graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor's degree in Aerospace Engineering. This knowledge has basically ......

Posted On Sunday, March 21, 2004 7:22 AM

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