Do you have an overhead rain shower? Does it drip cold water on you when you’re not using it? It may be water trapped in the pipes. A plunger will temporarily fix it.

We have a fancy shower with an overhead rain shower and a ordinary wall sprayer both controlled by the same thermostatic valve. There’s a diverter to control which head gets the water. Every time we used the sprayer the overhead would drip a tiny bit of cold water on us. Annoying!

We assumed it was a leaky diverter valve, had it replaced. Didn’t help. There’s a zillion websites wanting to sell you plumbing parts that suggest a valve is the problem. But this discussion explained the real culprit.

There’s water trapped in the pipe leading to the overhead shower. Weirdly there’s some water above the tiny holes in the showerhead, held there by air pressure. Running a hot shower in the same area changes the air pressure / flow enough that a little cold water manages to leak out.

You can test this theory by running your finger over the holes in the overhead showerhead; for me that was enough to express 10mL of water or so. To really get the water out I took a plunger to the shower head. No tight seal needed, just want to force air in and water out. I think I got 200+mL out that way.

It’s a temporary fix, next time I use the overhead the pipe will fill again. I wonder if someone sells a showerhead with some sort of permanent fix? A release valve would work but be fiddly.

  2023-09-22 16:20 Z

Obsidian is good software for taking and organizing notes. There are many apps for this task, Obsidian is my current favorite. In the past I’ve used a text file, SimpleNote, Standard Notes, Joplin. I never used emacs org-mode nor Evernote. Obsidian works reliably and is simple yet powerful.

The core Obsidian data model is “a folder of markdown files”. That’s it, really basic, and the files are easily usable as ordinary files. There’s natural support for links between notes. There’s also a metadata option I don’t use. I appreciate it’s easy to move files in and out of Obsidian.

But where Obsidian really shines is the plugin ecosystem. I don’t actually use many plugins, just HTML export and system tray. But I appreciate the power. If you check the reddit you’ll find an enthusiast community that does a lot more complicated stuff, turning their Obsidian archives into 1000+ article infobases. Me, I just write grocery lists and blog posts.

Obsidian is not open source. They’re thoughtful about why not. (Logseq is a popular open source alternative). The core product is free and works great. I am paying $96 per year for syncing. It’s pricy but it works well and I want to support the company. You can do your own free sync but none work as easily.

I want to give a shout-out here to Simplenote, an excellent and venerable free product. And after a brief lull development started again in 2020. Kudos to Matt and Automattic for supporting that tool. I like Obsidian’s fanciness but Simplenote is pretty great.

  2023-09-12 17:28 Z

Recently I switched to a new calorie counting app, Cronometer. I’m quite happy with it. It’s a huge improvement over MyFitnessPal (MFP) or Lose It and is not exploitative like Noom.

The key improvement with Cronometer is accuracy, particularly good data sources for nutrition information. MFP offered obviously wrong entries from random people, sapping my confidence. Also it’s quicker to log things from a trusted database.

And the app works well. Cronometer’s UI is modern and easy to use. It doesn’t display extra distractions. MFP’s insistence on scolding me about things I don’t care about was a bummer. The data sync is fast. And they have a good data export, something MFP won’t do.

I have some minor complaints. Cronometer is very excited to track macros and every single obscure nutrient (threonine, selenium?!). I really only want to track calories. Fortunately the other things don’t take up too much space. They also display ridiculous calorie precision in the diary. But that feels like a rare UI mistake, not a general design ethos.

The free version is pretty complete. The $55/year paid plan adds a bunch of stuff, the one I care about is dividing your diary up into individual meals.

I have a long history with food diaries, more off than on. Having a good app that I trust and is easy to use is important.

  2023-09-10 16:53 Z