Friday, June 19, 2015

Sometimes, Building a "Better" Mousetrap Doesn't Make Sense

Lufkin L725SCTMP 25-foot x 1-inch Self-Centering Tape Measure

It used to be that products stood on their own because of their virtues, whether they be convenience and quality or something else that's intangible. Apparently now, manufacturers believe every product must always be continually “new and improved” or the shareholders won’t get their dividends. Who cares what the customers need, let’s give them what we think they might want! 

KomelonUSA 2125 Gripper-X Tape Measure ~ 1" x 25'

from: Hardware World
A while back I inherited (that’s a long story) a Lufkin L725SCTMP 25-foot x 1-inch tape measure. Like almost every other tape measure in its price class, this product has the obligatory belt clip, inch-wide fluorescent yellow tape marked for 16-inch stud spacing, thumb lock, and power return. It’s a bulky package at 3” high, 3½” front to rear, and about 2” thick (including the belt clip). It’s beefy, too, sagging those jeans with a whoppin’ 14 ounces of high-visibility orange plastic and black “ergonomic” rubber trim. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Electric Receptacle Safety Checks, Easy and Inexpensive

Gardner Bender Receptacle Tester and Circuit Analyzer GRT-3500

Buying your first house can be an educational experience. By the time you get to the fifth or sixth purchase, you notice patterns – and one such pattern seems to be how many do-it-yourselfers are confused about the simple task of wiring an electrical outlet. I’m happy to say that not a single outlet in the house we just sold was wired with reverse polarity. Not so with the new house, which features a finished basement where work was done by “an engineer.” I suspect an engineer of the software variety, since an electrical engineer is pretty unlikely to install the light switches upside down. Ya think?

Oh, well, at least he didn’t use lamp cord instead of 12-gauge Romex® to control ceiling fans on 20-amp circuits – been there, seen that, about three houses ago…