Friday, September 10, 2010

Blinking Aircon

My air conditioner is acting up. It is old, and despite being checked several times, it doesn't cool the house down very quickly - in fact, it takes hours. The solution offered to me by the maitenance men was simple - just leave it on all the time. Ignoring the energy waste, there turns out to be one problem with that solution. Not only is the unit not strong, it randomly turns itself off. So often I will come home to the apartment well over 30 degrees, and it will take 3 or 4 hours to cool it down.

So finally I had a huge pow-wow with the aircon A/S man and the building maintanance men. Lots of checking, phone calls to the repair center, not taking, voltage and current measurements, and the result? They don't know what is wrong.

But wait - the unit has a diagnostic function built in. When it turns itself off, it will blink one of two LED lamps (the right or the left one), some number of times - say once, twice, or maybe three times. If I note this error code, they will know what is wrong. Seems easy?

Well, it only blinks this code for 1/3 of a second!!!!! I have to catch it JUST as it is turning off. Since it only turns off maybe 1 or 2 times per day, it will be next to impossible. Oh well, I'm going home now to watch the aircon.

Translation: aircon = air conditioner
A/S = After Service = After Sales Service
30 deg C = 86 deg F

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Kompasu - Take 2

As I came back to the office Monday morning, I noticed small leaves and branches on my desk. I just assumed that for some reason, someone had put a plant on my desk temporarily while I was away. But later, we got a phone call from a neighbor, who said that my outdoor TV antenna was missing!

The window next to my desk has a plastic panel with insulating foam, held in place by strong duct tape. This panel holds the exhaust hose for our small office air conditioner. Well, on further inspection, the duct tape has come loose in the typhoon winds, and that was the source of the leaves and sticks. Gotta get some stronger tape, and a new TV antenna.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Typhoon Kompasu

With near-perfect timing, I departed for a short vacation to Jeju Island just as Typhoon Kompasu was nearest to the island. In fact, I was one of the last flights from Gimpo to Jeju that day - my friend JI was on a later flight which was cancelled. Imagine the excitement of landing in a 100MPH crosswind. The ground track on approach was nearly 45 degrees to the runway! Fortunately, Kompasu passed quickly, and I enjoyed mostly clear skies for the rest of the trip. And I missed all the excitement such as eletricity outages, wind damage, and subway closures here in Seoul. Don't ask me if it's a typhoon or a hurricane - I'm confused about the terminology. I would call it a hurricane, but they call it a typhoon. I'm not going to buck the wind... (As I heard it, KOMPASU is the romanization of how the Japanese pronounce the English word COMPASS).

Very briefly, I really enjoyed the trip. Jeju reminds me a lot of Kauai in the Hawaiian Islands, which I have visited often over the past 10 years. It is about the same size, has very similar vistas, and I got the same lazy island feeling. Surprisingly, it seems Jeju is much more populated, 300 people per square km, versus 40 for Kauai. I wouldn't have guessed it from the deserted streets, museums and other tourist places.

Despite the cool weather in September, I could not visit Jeju without getting into the ocean, if only shin-deep.

Unlike these fools to my left, who were completely swimming in the ocean, undoubtedly covered in goose bumps (notice all the debris on the beach, washed ashore by Kompasu):

I'm too busy to post more, but I have some good food photos (what else?) for later.

[EDIT: it has been politely pointed out that I look to have gained weight in this photo, a point which I will concede. But in truth, I have not gained any weight, and have actually began to lose the pounds again. I never have liked photos of myself. I must not be photogenic, just phatogenic]