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I recently had to replace one of the old LG window A/C units I was using to help cool down the ol’ homestead during the summer. It was nearly 5 years old and a hand-me-down from another family member. What I ran into was the way the new warranty systems are rigged to run.

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The unit had stopped cooling. Since it was much too late to return it to the store, I placed a call to the number located on the side of the case. A very bored customer service rep told me that they don’t service units that small, but they do provide a refund. Sounds great, right? But there are a few hoops to jump through first.

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We like reader Flabby BooHoo’s style. He built this closet organizer out of 3/4″ melamine and it looks better than anything you could buy at the Ikea big box of cardboard Swedish origami furniture. It looks good enough to have been patterned after something he saw in the “fashion forward” section there.

Not that there’s anything wrong with Ikea stuff, but here we have a purpose-built unit that looks just like a store-bought rig and most likely made everyone’s life a little better. Mom is complaining less often about a messy room/closet, son has a bad-ass place to put stuff, and Dad is the hero of the day. A win for all involved.

Well done, sir, and those drawers look choice. Hats off and beers up to your 700-lb. organizer.

Toolmonger Photo Pool [Flickr]

 

Remember the big hoopla about the Smart Home built and put on display in the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry? It made every “Green” tagline in the blog-o-sphere and generally made you feel like a wasteful schmuck. Its floors and walls were made from recycled materials and its gadgets were all built to make life easier, plus something about smaller footprints. The way the media presented it you’d think the only byproduct it produces is sunshine and baby kittens — until now.

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For anyone who spends a little time in Texas heat, you find quite quickly that air conditioning is a very serious topic here. So messing about with a home’s working AC equipment as I have done is, generally speaking, looked upon as crazy. There’s talk of interrupting circulation and “overworking” things, plus every other type of armchair quarterbacking imaginable. However, I did it anyway and wound up with some interesting results.

My home is one story and a touch over 2,000 square feet. In the summer months it’s not difficult to keep cool, but it is expensive — almost triple what the spring/winter months cost, to be exact. So AC is the real trick.

While watching the Travel Channel visit exotic places I will never go, I spied an idea. In an exclusive Italian town I saw a villa equipped with a smart AC system to cool only the bedrooms the residents were sleeping in during the night instead of the whole house. That gave me an idea.

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It’s springtime here in Ohio, and with warmer weather comes the reintroduction of our patio. In summer 2007 we contracted out for a new backyard paver patio. It’s held up well despite the sports-sized dogs tearing over it everyday during playtime, plentiful warm weather get-togethers with friends, parties for special events, and the constant Ohio sun. But the patio seating — not so much. We’d purchased a basic patio furniture set from Kroger, but not surprisingly, after three years the grocery-store cushions are totally unusable.

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Everyone poos, including birds, who tend to poo wherever the hell they happen to be, like, for example, sitting on the edge of your carport directly over your car. Or on the overhang over your porch. There’s really not much you can do to stop them from dumping where they’re comfortable, but you can keep them from getting comfortable in places that you’ll have to clean. And you can do it humanely, too — with bird spikes.

Yeah, I know. They don’t sound very humane, calling to mind visions of bad head-on-a-spike horror movies and medieval torture devices. But bird spikes don’t affect birds at all. The spikes just make normal landing places look like lousy landing places, so birds choose somewhere else to hang out. And poo.

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It seems like there’s a never ending supply of gadgets to assist the homeowner in hanging pictures and shelves; it’s not like it’s rocket science, is it? Here’s an interesting one — the Kapro Prolaser Set-A-Shelf which combines a ruler, level, stud finder, sliding stops, and a class II laser into an all-in-one measuring tool.

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Bosch is missing out on a big market here in the U.S. by not selling their IXO Vino lithium-ion cordless screwdriver with corkscrew attachment. I mean, if you had a choice between a cordless screwdriver and a cordless screwdriver with a corkscrew, which tool would you choose?

Setting the corkscrew aside, the screwdriver has an integrated LED to illuminate fasteners in poorly lit areas and a built-in charge level indicator. It can be operated in forward, reverse, or locked mode for hand driving. The one thing that disappoints me is Bosch integrates the lithium-ion battery into the tool iPhone-style, so when the battery dies, the screwdriver is about as useful as a door stop.

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The easy play that comes naturally to most folks when they look at a set of tools that’s not the utmost in professional quality is to declare it junk, cite a scenario where the tool in question won’t work, and move to the trumpeting of the favored brand or product. Campbell Hausfeld’s FP260097 combo kit sports a large “kick-me” sign. We liken it to the rep the “smart” kids suffered from in high school — it’s largely undeserved.

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Whether out of boredom or necessity, at some time most of us have tried to join a few pieces of paper together without any external fasteners — the most common method is folding and ripping a tab in the fold. The Eco Stapler allows you to join up to 5 pieces of paper together in a much neater manner.

When you press down on the Eco Stapler it creates a slot with a hanging tab and a slit in the papers. Then somewhere between pushing down and releasing the magic happens; the tab is wrapped around and pulled through the slit, joining the papers together.

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