Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Windshield wiper solution

It looks like I may have a solution to my windshield wiper dilemma, thanks to a guy named Joe.

Yesterday I received an email from Joe. He also owns a 2008 Ford Escape and had the exact same troubles that I did in finding windshield wipers for the truck. In fact, he also had the same problem with the Armor All EDGE Silicone Wiper Blades that we both purchased as replacements.

Fortunately, he found a possible solution. He came across my blog and was kind enough to share the info with me: Trico NeoForm blade (part #16-2013)

I had read about them in a forum as I was searching for wiper blades, but didn't know where I could find them. Joe found them at Parts Source and said they seem to work fine. What's even better is that they are $24.99 each, compared to Ford's one and only replacement wipers -- the same as what came with the truck -- that cost $30 each.

My wife returned the Armor All wiper blades to Canadian Tire this evening. The girl at the Customer Service counter mentioned that they've had quite a few returns of the Armor All wiper blades. Not surprising.

Oddly enough, there are now two good reviews and two bad reviews of these wipers on the Canadian Tire web site. One of the bad ones is mine.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Real Xmas trees are thirsty!

With the holiday season upon us, here's an important reminder for those who have a real Xmas tree: DON'T FORGET TO WATER THE TREE!

In the 13 years that I've been married, we never bought a real Xmas tree. Until this year. This is the first year that our kids go to see a real tree in the living room. The same can be said for my wife. She said they never had a real tree when she was younger. We often had a real tree when I was growing up.

So, we went out on Saturday and cut down our own tree. I love the smell of a real tree at Christmas. One thing I don't remember growing up is just how thirsty a real tree is.

Our tree stand holds a lot of water. After we set it up, I filled it up. The next day, I reached under the tree and stuck my fingers in the reservoir. I couldn't feel any water. I got a large plastic cup and topped it up, and then checked it again. Still no water.

It took four large cups to get it to a level that I could feel the water. It must be the equivalent of about 2 litres!

I checked it again the next day and the same thing happened.

I thought... either this tree drinks a hell of a lot of water, or the stand is leaking into the floor. I had to check the basement ceiling to make sure there were no water stains. :)

Be sure to check your real Xmas tree on a daily basis so it doesn't dry out!
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Stupid Drivers

The highway off-ramp that we take every morning has a large shoulder, and as the line of traffic slowly crawls along, people often drive on the shoulder. I don't know if they're just stupid and they they actually think it's a lane or what... but, at some point, it does get narrow and they eventually move back into the lane.

This morning, I noticed the guy behind me (maybe ~60yrs old) was one of these stupid people. But he was different. This guy graduated at the top of the stupid class, with honours.

He started to pull up beside us on the shoulder. He then backed off a little. And then he pulled up alongside again, passed us, and drove beside the vehicle in front of us!

I laid on the horn.

He slowed down and pulled back in behind us.

We were stunned.

Now, let's pretend for a moment that the shoulder was actually a lane. There's a solid white line between our lane and his imaginary lane. I don't know how this guy got his licence, but when I took Driver's Ed, they taught me that a solid white line = DO NOT CROSS.

What the hell was this guy thinking? Big balls or big stupid?
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Monday, December 15, 2008

I'm going to Disney World!

Ok, I'm not, but they think I am. :) Click the play button if it doesn't start.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ford strong-arms online communities?

Ford Motor CompanyImage via WikipediaI was poking around the web and Twitter during my lunch break and came across this:

Ford Goes After Online Communities For Trademark Infringemnt

The summarize: Ford wants their domain names and payment for the infringement.

Some of these web sites have been around for years, and never heard a peep from any of Ford's legal council.

Why the change now? Is Ford so desperate for money, that they have to squeeze it out of their loyal followers? They certainly aren't blowing their cash on designing and manufacturing 2008 Ford Escape winter wiper blades. :) Sorry, had to throw that in there.

A Ford rep has commented on the article and is looking into it.

Update: the official response from Ford. Seems fair enough.
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Malware headache

Malware: Short for malicious software, a program or file that is designed to specifically damage or disrupt a system, such as a virus, worm, or a Trojan horse.

At some point on the weekend, my son installed malware on his PC. It seems to have come from one of those fake pop up "your infected" ads, advising the user that they need to install a virus scanner update or registry cleaner.

I run the free version of AVG Free Anti-virus on all our PCs and, for the most part, they've been protected well enough. This sucker got past it.

A few of the symptoms were:
  • being redirected, at random, to other sites while surfing the web
  • pop-ups advising you that there's a problem you need to address with an update
  • general sluggishness of the PC
AVG did identify the trojan as the " trojan" and attempted to clean it. Yet, after rebooting, it would reappear. I'd scan it again, clean it again, reboot... and it would be back every time.

After 4 hours of trying to clean it using AVG and manually deleting what didn't seem like it belonged, I did a search on one of the pop-ups. One that told me to install "Registry Defender".

I came across a forum posting where someone had a similar problem, and the suggestions were to install a freeware program called Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.

I gave it a try. Although it probably wasn't necessary, I decided to reboot into Safemode first before running it. It found 36 infected areas. Files and registry entries.

I let it do its thing and rebooted. Then I scanned it again. It found 4 more entries. Again, cleaned, rebooted. Another 4 found. Repeat. 2 more. Repeat. Clean. Reboot. Still clean.

Don't put all your trust in your anti-virus software.
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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ford (Motorcraft) does NOT make winter wiper blades for the 2008 Ford Escape

I decided to see how the Armor All EDGE Silicone Wiper Blades performed for the snowy drive home. In one word: garbage.

I was a little surprised, considering there is one user review on the Canadian Tire web site that gave them a good rating. I suppose a different size for a different make and model of vehicle might be the difference.

While I was stuck in traffic on the highway, I called my wife and asked her if she could call our Ford Dealership and ask them if they had any winter blades for our 2008 Escape. If they did, I would remain on the highway and go buy some from them.

She called me back. According to the guy she spoke with, they don't make winter wiper blades for the 2008 Ford Escape. The only wiper blades they have for it are like the ones that came with it, for around $30 per blade.

I guess the Ford Parts and Service page is wrong. Listed under The Advantages of Motorcraft® Wiper Blades is "Components to fit every Ford, Lincoln vehicle". If there's tiny print anywhere on there that says "Except the 2008 Ford Escape", I couldn't find it.

I stopped for gas close to home and put the old OE blades back on the truck. They may not be the best at the moment, but they worked a hell of a lot better than the new Armor All ones.

When I got home, I had a closer look at the Armor All blades. These are a flex style blade. When I straightened them out, I could clearly see that the center, where the arm attaches, won't straighten out enough to make contact with a surface. It doesn't appear to be a defective blade, in this case, just a poor design.

So, two thumbs down: one to Armor All EDGE Silicon Wiper Blades and yet another for Ford. But, I will give a thumbs up to Scott Monty for taking notice of my original tweet on Twitter and not simply ignoring it. At least someone there is taking notice.

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