Sunday, December 26, 2010

Gas Leak?

A few weeks ago I smelled a strong gas smell on the back porch.  The only I could figure was the grill.  I checked and it was off.  I turned off the tank in case it was leaking.  The next time I went out the smell was gone.  A few days ago I was at the fridge and smelled a little bit again.  Since all of our kitchen appliances are electric I blew it off after a little bit of investigating.

After doing all the stuff with the kids on Christmas I showered around 1 or 2.  When I walked out of the bathroom, I smelled the gas smell again.  The bathroom is across the hall from the furnace room. I sniffed around the furnace room and it was a little here and there, but I could find nothing and it went away quickly.

I crowd sourced the problem a little by posting the problem on Twitter and Facebook.  I also texted a couple of friends.  I didn’t know if you called the fire department or the gas company or what.  One friend said to try soapy water on the joints of the gas pipes, but I didn’t know what I was doing and it all just looked like soapy water.  Others said crack two windows for cross ventilation.  Others said call the gas company, but had no idea of charges or if they could do anything about it.

I finally called the gas company to find out what to do.  They sent a guy out.  Neither the lady on the phone or the guy that came out mentioned a charge, so we will see.  Why does this stuff seem to generally happen on weekends and holidays?

The guy came out and was very nice.  He found no leaks.  He said the water heater vent was loose and he tightened that.  It looks like that is an open hole with a dome over it that leads to the outside pipe.  I wonder how that isn’t always leaking exhaust into the house.

He said that the chimney looked in bad shape and I should maybe have it inspected and cleaned.  I didn’t figure with gas heat their would be anything to clean, but he said dirt and stuff get in there.  He opened a little door at the bottom of the chimney and it was packed with dirt.  He put a mirror in the door and could not see up the chimney.  Does that mean it is clogged or that they sealed around the gas exhaust pipe when they put it in?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Free Shipping

Will we ever get to a point where there will just be a cost for a product and shipping charges will go away?

I remember a time where folks would either charge you extra to use a credit card or not take credit cards at all because of the fees credit card companies charge the vendor.  I also seem to recall certain vendors only allowing credit cards if you purchased a minimum amount.

This rings very similar to the model we have now where vendors charge the shipping charges back to their customer.  When I go to a brick and mortar store there is obviously a cost to them to move the product between the manufacturer and the warehouse and the store, but I never see a separate charge on my receipt for those shipping charges.

We are to the point with credit cards where I can spend a few cents on my credit card at a store and have no penalty.  Certainly it is possible to have shipping be a cost of business, spread across everything a vendor sells.

On the subject of reducing those costs, some of it might could be done by shipping to the customer directly from the manufacturer.  Another thing could be to have a shipping co-op where multiple vendors can leverage lower shipping charges.  If I order something from Amazon and Tiger Direct and some other place and somehow the shipping co-op can group things going to the same address together.

Even if none of these cost reductions are possible, I don't believe a vendor should hide the total cost of the product by splitting it into separate charges.  Then again the phone companies do it all the time with all the various fees and taxes.  Even stores do this with a separate line for sales tax.  It seems like that should be a cost of business too.  Tax is going to be charged, so account for it in the cost of the product without hiding it from the customer at the bottom line.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Who Says Facebook Can't Make a Difference

I saw this post on Facebook come through, apparently commenting on the ridiculousness of copy other people's statuses into your own to cure the world's problems, while not doing anything more.

"Copy this text and put it in your status if you know someone or have heard of someone who knows someone. If you don't know anyone or even if you've just heard of someone who doesn't know anyone then do still copy this. It's important to spread the message. And the hearts! ♥♥♥♥♥ For goodness sake, don't forget the hearts! ♥♥♥♥♥"

I am actually considering posting this, even though I don't generally do the copy status thing.  Additionally I am considering adding my own commentary, included below.

"You may think this is absolutely worthless, since I did nothing more than copy this from someone else's status and not a thing more.  What you don't realize is that if I get a bunch of others to post this, it makes me feel like I am a good person and that people like me.  It is all about me anyway."

Friday, December 03, 2010

Facebook Eliminates Violence Against Children.

I have started to see the following being posted to "friends" statuses on Facebook.

"Change your facebook profile picture to a cartoon from your childhood and invite your friends to do the same. Until Monday, there should be no human faces on facebook, but a stash of memories. This is for eliminating violence against children."

Well if it will eliminate violence again children, of course I will change my Facebook profile picture to a cartoon character.