The Zen and Art of Tumble Dryer Maintenance

Our tumble dryer started making a horrendous squeaking and banging noise a couple of weeks back. This bothered Lydia enough to stop it from drying my clothes mid-cycle. Now, this bothered me enough to open the back of it up and look inside.

At a first glance, it was clear that the bearing had decided to cease to exist. There were a couple of balls hanging around, but mostly many pieces metal shavings. This was rather worrying. I stripped the mechanism, and saw this:

Is that hole meant to be square?

It was clear that the bearing needed replacing. So, since this tumble dryer is a Defy, I phoned the Defy service center. Once I explained the problem to a technician, and asked for a part number, and the replacement cost, he asked me for the model number. I gave it to him. He asked me if the hole at the back of the washing machine was round or square. I said round. Wrong answer. Apparently it’s meant to be square. WTF?. Since when is a hole through which an axel that sits on a bearing square? His response was that the drum will need to be replaced (Cost: R350).

New bearing and old bearing pieces

Well, I disagreed. I decided to go find the bearing myself. Phoned around. One place wanted a part number, and couldn’t work with bearing dimensions. They told me to come in and then they would see if they had something that would work for me. Since it was the closest place, I decided to do that. Turned out that they didn’t have anything in nearly the correct size. So I decided to phone around. I started at SKF. They asked for dimensions. Yay. They had one in stock. Unfortunately they were in Bellville. Anyways, it was worth the drive. On close inspection, the bearing that they replaced it with looked like an exact replacement for the worn one (Cost: R22).

As good as new

Well, I replaced it and the tumble dryer works, as good as new. Actually, it’s a much softer thumping noise. Once again, please people, get a frikkin clue. I really don’t like dealing with muppets that waste my time. The least that Defy could have done was either sell me a replacement bearing, or, if not, give me a part number, and tell me where I could get a replacement.


Movies this weekend

The rugby

Saturday started out bright and early. I went through to Chris’s house, as he has M-Net. Watched the rugby. Enjoyed the rugby. Okay, we lost, but damn… We played well. So did New Zealand. Oh well… As much as it pains me, I guess I’ll be supporting Australia this coming weekend.

Flight of the Phoenix

After the rugby, drowned our sorrows. Well, actually we didn’t. It was still morning. Morning is a bad time of the day to drown sorrows. Instead, we watched a movie – Flight of the Phoenix.


I found this a very wierd movie. It was okay, but I can see why Chris fell asleep watching it the night before. I really couldn’t place some of the characters. Whilst Elliot was a key character, I thought that his outlook on life was rather unrealistic. Especially when you find out what his actual job is. They also didn’t really show how tough it would be stranded in a desert. I’m really glad I didn’t pay to see this on the big screen.

The Island

When I got home after the rugby and the Flight of the Phoenix, I got a call from Colette. As I was a bit dissapointed about the previous movie, we decided to go to movies to watch The Island.


The Island was remarkably better than the previous movie. At least the characters convinced me of their plight. The movie overall looked at some interesting ethical issues with regards cloning etc… We as a society really do need to look at these things, and movies like this, whilst sensationalising certain issues, definitely do bring certain aspects to light. I enjoyed this movie. Whilst mindless to an extent, it was done well, and brought to light another perspective of cloning ethics.


In the evening, we watched another movie, Collateral.


I have seen this movie before, however it was on a plane. Kinda knew the story line. Ended up falling asleep during it tho. Maybe I watched too many movies in the day. All I remember about it is that I needed to wake up and start the movie again, because the rental DVD was scratched :(.

Phew…. It was a heavy day as far as TV/Movies go. Man, life is tough. In amongst all of this, I did manage to do some work on an OSS project I’m starting tho. The project is a bit of a 53(r37. More about that later when it’s ready to be talked about :).


PhD proposal

I’ve been rather quiet on the blogging front lately. This is probably because I haven’t really been in the mood for talking about stuff and sharing thoughts.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been involved with writing up the final version of my PhD proposal. Ideally, I’d like to have both the documentation and presentation done before I leave to go home in mid September. I will then give my seminar, and defend it at the end of October.

So far, it’s proved to be a rather elusive document. I started by writing a large document about various thing I could look at, and then started to whittle it down into things that maybe I do want to focus on. Whilst this process was good for looking at everything from a broad perspective, it lacked focus, and lacked a reason for why I’m doing what I am doing.

So, that was last week. It was rather trying. I gave a presentation on it, and was left with the feeling that I’ve done all this work, and I still have no clue. I seriously started to reconsider what I am doing here.

This week, I have started looking at things from the other way around. Basically, I said, “okay, if I now have my PhD, what is it that I can do as a result of this work?”. Answering that question lead me to a couple of points that I could focus on. What it also immediately did, was show how some of the stuff I came up with last week is probably irrelevant for each different point. Also, it showed which targets were not easily achievable with the proposed techniques. Fortunately, a single objective came through, which is the one I’m now going for.

I guess this proposal thing is all about picking a direction. You ultimately don’t have to go in that direction, but you certainly have to start by pointing in a certain direction. You can’t do research randomly. If you do, all you will end up with is meaningless bits of data, which don’t relate to each other.

Also, this exercise showed me how you really need to look at everything from more than one view. It it amazing how a change in perspective can throw relevant and irrelevant things into sharp contrast. So, in theory, the more perspectives and ways you look and think about something, the closer you will get to finding the core of your work.



On Tuesday, I watched Cursed. We were meant to go and see The Island, but alas, it was sold out.


Well, as far as horror movies go, any movies that try to take themselves seriously either have to be done really good, be original and have a decent story line. This movie doesn’t even get one of those right. Well, maybe that’s because it is not trying to take itself seriously.

This movie is a movie about what Wes Craven does best, horror. It really worked, because it started out as though it was taking itself seriously, but about half an hour or so in (a bit too long IMHO), it became clear that it was a spoof.

Used all the classic horror devices, and was coupled with some really awesome one-liners. As a movie that half an hour in, I was seriously contemplating walking out of, it recovered and recovered spectacularly. I came out feeling entertained.

Or, maybe that was because I didn’t really feel like going back up to campus and burning the late night oil…