30 July 2010

Gas at the Pump, or Not

There's something odd happening with some gasoline stations.  I think it has to do with the pump pressure detector/setting, whatever it is that detects a full tank and makes the nozzle "click" and stop pumping gas.  I've discovered that with certain gas stations the nozzle "clicks" even though I know the tank isn't full.

Example.  I was at a Sunoco with about 1/5 left in the tank.  The first "click" happened after 2 gallons.  A full tank is 14-15 gallons.  From 2 gallons on filling up was torture.  Every couple seconds another click.  It didn't matter how much pressure I applied.  Click click click click....  I took the nozzle out and put it back in again.  Click click click click click click....  More pressure on the lever, click click click click....  Less pressure, click click click click....

At least for Sunoco this only happens at certain locations, and some worse than others.  I completely refuse to go to any Petro Canada these days because this problem happens to me at all their locations in the Land of Tim Hortons.

I lived in the U.S.A. for several years, and this only happened to me at one particular Shell station and at Sunoco a time or two.  In the Land of Tim Hortons I've found one Shell station where this problem never happens.  So I don't believe it's a problem caused by how I pump gas.  It's not rocket science.  At least, I hope not.

10 July 2010

Windows 7: Let There Be Sound

A week or so ago I finally got around to clean-installing Windows 7 on to my desktop.  It was fairly painless and seemed to install quicker than previous O/S installations.

All was fine for about a week when my audio abruptly died.  In the morning it was working fine before I shut down my computer.  That evening when I turned on my PC there was no more sound.

This was especially strange since literally nothing had been done between the time I turned the PC off and when I turned it back on to hear only silence.  No plugging or unplugging stuff at all.

Hovering the mouse over the speaker/volume icon on the taskbar gave me the message "No Audio Output device is installed".  My PC came with an Avermedia M780 PCIe NTSC/ATSC Combo sound card and according to both the manufacturer website and Windows Update I had the latest drivers installed (ver; date 11JUN2009).  Device Manager said "This device is working properly".

The audio-out/headphone jack wouldn't work, either.

The Windows 7 Playing Audio troubleshooting wizard couldn't identify the problem.  All my web searches basically ended up talking about Windows 7 compatibility and installing the latest driver -- nothing that solved the sound of silence emanating from my PC.

I checked my PC speakers on my Netbook and they worked fine.

I thought perhaps the sound card drivers had been corrupted or something, so I installed an older driver version (which still didn't work), then re-installed the updated drivers.  Reboot.  Nothing.

So... instead of wasting any more time I went to Best Buy to buy the cheapest PCI sound card I could find compatible with my computer and Windows 7.

Opened CPU, 1 minute.  Bemoaned the fact I didn't have an empty PCI slot, 5 seconds.  Wondered what the cable that was attached to the Avermedia sound card was for, 10 seconds.  Removed telephone/fax PCI card, 1 minute.  Installed new sound card, 20 seconds.  Reassembled CPU and reattached plethora of cables, 30 seconds.  Turned on computer, installed drivers from CD, rebooted, 5 minutes.

Sound, sweet sound.

Anywhoo, my Avermedia card is still installed so if I ever get bored maybe I'll continue trying to figure out how to fix it, or perhaps Windows Update will come out with new drivers in the future.  For now, though, I'll let it be.

01 July 2010

Happy Canada Day: Pay More Taxes

I wonder if whoever decided to start the HST (in BC and Ontario) on Canada Day noticed the incongruity.  Here we are, celebrating Canada's 143rd birthday by paying more taxes.  Happy, happy day.