Category: Clothing & Gear

A New Sweeper for the Solar Array

By , February 9, 2020

In the winter, one of the most important chores of the homestead is keeping the solar array free of snow (see Solar “Extraction” and Sweeps Season). To do that, I’ve relied for several years on an extendable pole, with a sponge on one side, and a squeegee on the other.

It has served us well. The squeegee has scraped off all but the hardest ice, which I remove (mostly) with a broken extendible car scraper. The sponge worked surprisingly well to shove snow off the glass.

This last winter, this tool developed problems; the extension portion rusted enough to stick, and often froze, needing to thaw in the shower between jobs. The screw-on head has steadily loosened to the point that I’ve needed to tighten it every 2-3 passes on the panels. When the squeegee began to break, risking scraping the panels with the metal frame, I mentioned to Michelle that we needed a new one.

Sweeping the solar array

Mark uses the old sweeper to clear the solar array last December (Photo: Michelle L. Zeiger).

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Finally Fitbit Free

By , January 18, 2020

I just took the definitive steps to free myself of my Fitbit®.

I used a Fitbit exercise-tracking device back in 2015 (see Fitbit® Foolishness). Sometime more recently, I tried a newer version of the old Flex, called an Alta. Our health insurance company offers a discount on them, so why not, even though everything I said in the post linked above still stands?

I can’t remember when I got that and started using it. I do know that the first one died not too long after I received it and started wearing it.

I had to go through a lot of hoops before the company sent a new one. Apparently, Google bought Fitbit® a while back, some time after abandoning their old motto: “Do no evil.” So, it’s not like I wasn’t warned. But, the first one I owned, the Flex, died, and they replaced it immediately, so I assumed the same thing would happen this time. No such luck.

Fitbit Alta

My late, unlamented Fitbit (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

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