Friday, November 21, 2008

Domestic Me

Our refrigerator door has never been very good about closing, but things got particularly bad in the last week. Specifically, a few chunks of mangled plastic fell off the base of the door and suddenly it didn't want to close at all. To actually get it to close, you had to physically lift the door about an inch and shove it into place. Not exactly great.

I decided to try to fix it myself, since getting our landlord and most likely a repairmen involved seemed like a pain. I'm posting this mostly so anyone Googling about their GE Model # TFF22RC or TFF22RCB refrigerator and its broken door might learn something useful.

After looking at the mangled pieces of plastic at the base of the door and comparing them against the working parts at the base of the freezer door and against the GE parts manual (door parts only), I figured out that the part I needed was drawing part # 16 or the Hinge Cam Riser (full part #WR2X4901). I actually needed two, since both the cam attached to the hinge and the door itself were broken.

The parts from GE were $10 each (scam!), but I found them online for $5.99 for a pack of two. Score.

The hardest part of removing the door was transferring all the condiments from the door into the fridge proper. Then I just unbolted the bracket at the top of the door and there you are:

The Fridge Door ... Where It Does Not Belong

Fridge Sans Door

I taped some plastic where the door used to be, since the operation takes some time. At this point you can get a clearer look at the hinge and the mangled cam:

All Kinds of Ugly

I unbolted the hinge pieces from the door and the base of the fridge. Replacing the cam on the door was a piece of cake, but the cam on the hinge is actually riveted into place, so I had to drill out the rivet and replace it with a bolt. The result is here:

New Cam, Meet Old Cam

Good as new. I put the door back in place and now it closes like charm.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


So I've been working on a project called since early summer. OneBusAway provides an easy-to-use interface to real-time bus tracking data provided by Metro King County. The main killer feature is a phone number you can call, punch in your bus number, and the system will then tell you the predicted arrival time for the buses at that stop. The key here is "predicted", as the system can tell you when your bus is running late or if it's already gone by. OneBusAway is made for all the cold and rainy nights here in Seattle when you can't help but wonder if your bus is ever going to come. In addition to the phone number, there is a website, iphone, and SMS interface.

The system currently gets about 400 hits a day on the website. It's interesting to see the usage patterns:

OneBusAway Usage

The main thing to note is that people don't ride the bus as much on the weekends ;)

OneBusAway has been written about in a couple of local blogs: Seattle Transit Blog and Bus Chick, to mention. However, OneBusAway hit the big time when we are actually mentioned in honest-to-god print media:

OneBusAway in Seattle Magazine!

Ok, I realize that's just a link to a website, but here's proof that it appeared in the actual print edition:

OneBusAway in Seattle Magazine

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

San Luis Obispo to Yosemite Valley

Last weekend, I rendezvoused with my sister Elizabeth and my dad down in San Luis Obispo, where my dad is working. After taking in the local wildlife:

I wish I could swim and nap at the same time

we piled in my dad's truck and headed for Yosemite National Park. Yosemite, to put it simply, is awesome. A valley of steep granite cliffs carved by glaciers, the views are incredible.

Yosemite Valley

Yosemite is full of iconic scenery: Half Dome, El Capitan, Yosemite Falls:

Half Dome Yosemite Valley - El Capitan, Half Dome, Bridal Veil Falls Yosemite Falls

Yosemite is also full of bears. You have to keep your food locked up at all times in steel bear boxes, as the bears have no qualms ripping the door off your car to grab a loaf of bread sitting inside. Though my sister Frances lost her entire weeks worth of food to a bear the last time we were in Yosemite (his name was Yogi I guess?), we had no run-ins this time. We also had no run-ins with showers either. The hat head was epic:

No showers + wearing a hat all day = oh god

Our intrepid crew went on one hike while we there: the 4.6 mile, 3400 vertical feet trail to Glacier Point. Note the squiggly line with all the switch backs that goes straight up the side of the mountain:

We hiked the steep, squigly line going straight up the mountain

The hike was tough, but the views were worth it:

Half Dome and Nevada Falls

Friday, November 7, 2008

Lego Mindstorm Drawing Robot

Back in the fall of 2007 (yup, I've been delinquent about posting this), I took a class in the School of Art here at UW called ART 383 - Interaction Design - Designing Behaviors. The class basically involved building cool interactive robots with Leog Mindstorm robotic kits. What's not to love about that?

My team built a drawing robot:

The Spydr Drawing Robot

We called it the Spydr bot: it hung on a white board using two almost invisible strands of fishing line, making it appear to float in space as it moved over the surface of the board.

Once we worked out the crazy math involved in converting geometric drawing commands into the proper motor controls, we could do some relatively precise drawing:

The Spydr Drawing Robot The Spydr Drawing Robot

From there, the sky is the limit. Check out this highly stylized Mona Lisa:

The class was a blast, and though it didn't put me any closer to graduation, I would definitely take it again. I mean, come on. Legos!


Tuesday... was good. Obama won! Dino lost! Prop 1 passed here in Seattle.

Also, I made my friend Nancy an Obama cake for her birthday:

Obama Cake