Brunei Darussalam

Power Outage and Resume Notifier

If you’ve ever had to be away from home for an extended period of time with no one else staying there, the greatest fear besides having the house broken into is a power outage that can potentially ruin everything that’s inside your refrigerator. A temporary power failure that doesn’t trip the main circuit breaker is not too bad since when the power resumes, power to the fridge is restored automatically.

My home recently suffered one such unfortunate incident. It was during my son’s mid semester break from uni and he left a reasonably stocked fridge to stay with us. I have two IP cams at the house that I check every now and then, both working until the day we visited to spend a long weekend holiday there. There was no power and the circuit breaker had tripped leaving the whole house without power — the fridge had been left without power long enough that when we got there the freezer was warm and an overpowering stench (from thawed meat and other food items) quickly permeated the kitchen and living room.

Two days on my wife and I, after doing everything we could to deodorize every nook and cranny of the fridge, were still looking for a way to prevent a re-occurrence. At first this looked pretty convincing (we were also desperate):

It didn’t take long to figure out that the long term costs involved don’t quite make sense. Later that week, I started looking for alternatives and came across two promising Android apps and settled on Power Failure Monitor. I installed the app on a retired Samsung Galaxy S3 and connected to the home Wi-Fi (without a SIM card). Read how I got everything setup and working beautifully — without needlessly spending a lot of money on this.

Without a SIM card the phone is unable to directly send SMS alerts. To address that, I use a Chrome Extension Gmail SMS Alerts to automatically (service is free) recognize the emails sent by Power Failure Monitor app and convert that to an SMS text message.

Drop me a line if you have found this solution useful.

Brunei Darussalam

Balancing Wobbly Ceiling Fans Using Magnets

Google is great for many things including ideas to fix problems you hadn’t thought of before. The challenge is usually looking for suggested parts required for the fix which often means (when you know your local hardware stores do not have them) looking online and patiently waiting for them to arrive. I was bothered by the constantly swaying and needed to do something — then I remembered I bought some strong magnets from Daiso and as it turned out, these magnets made the job so much easier. Although the magnets were intended to be a temporary fix, I think they are staying on much longer, and I’m lucky I have fans with metal blades.

Caution: Make sure you use strong magnets or risk injury or damage if one dislodges when fan is running at higher speed. Typically for me, I run mine at speed setting no. 2 which is more than enough cooling.

Brunei Darussalam

Some Like It Hot: Training in Sub 40°C / 104°F Heat

Among runners in the local trail running community the term ‘heat training’ is often used and understood to be nothing other than heat acclimatization or quite simply, getting used to the heat. But when I Googled the term, it turned up something completely different and out of context:

“Heat training is the gradual process of changing the texture of your hair with heat styling tools such as a flat iron.”

Because of my freelancing hours, I get out on the trails to run at all odd hours and being in the tropics that usually means most people are cocooned in their air conditioned office the entire time I’m out in the sun. Except on days when it’s raining, typical temperatures range from 33° to 40°C or 91.4 to 104°F.

Truth be told, I’ll take warm to hot over cold any day — I’ve come to accept that my body just isn’t built to handle cold. I’ve lost count the number of my doctor has had to put me on antibiotics to treat my condition (bronchitis) each time I’d been exposed to extreme low temps such as after my Mount Kinabalu climbs (both times in 2013 and 2016) or drinking cold fluids immediately after an intense workout. So, no Base Camps expeditions for me anytime soon or ever — it could very well be a one way ticket for someone with a low cold threshold like me.