Thursday, March 19, 2020

Home Improvement at Time of Coronavirus Outbreak

It is time to look for help from a screwdriver. No, I do not have in mind a mix of orange juice and vodka. There is no evidence it can serve as coronavirus remedy or prevention, alas. I am speaking about regular #2 Philips screwdriver which anybody can find in his toolbox.

Here is the story. What is the first step in fighting the coronavirus spreading? If you can't answer it at once, look for  Google "DO the FIVE" reminder. The first item on the list is "1. HANDS wash them often".  It seems easy to implement. But don't jump into conclusion. To wash my hands I have to reach the faucet in our bathroom. And here is the problem: doorknob.

You see: to open the door I have to grip the doorknob with my hand. And what if my hands already contaminated? Do you know how long that coronavirus can live on a metal?  Nobody can tell for sure but time can vary from several hours to several days. The solution? Change the doorknob with a levered door handle. I did not even need to buy one. One of our closets doors has the handle, so I only needed to switch places between the knob and the handle. And the only tool needed was a screwdriver. Here is the result: 

I hope such a  solution will serve me well even when the pandemic is over. I still may enjoy this improvement when I'll come home from the garage or backyard with my hands dirty.

Be safe! Keep calm and carry on.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Less than Six Miles Apart

South San Francisco and Daly City are two neighboring cities in the San Francisco Peninsula. They are really close. Driving form one to another should take less than fifteen minutes.  

But that not how FedEx delivery service sees it. Here is my post about the small observational project which I would like to share with you, my friends.

I bought the book on Amazon. The book was used and I bought it from the SFGoodwill Amazon store. I work at Daly City and ordered delivery there. My assumption was that as far as SFGoodwill for sure means Goodwill of San Francisco even the cheapest delivery should not take long. Indeed pretty soon I got a delivery notification.  Item arrived at South San Francisco FedEx location. Based on that I expected delivery the next day. But,  alas, that not how it worked. The book was shipped to Sacramento, one hundred miles to the northeast either form South San Francisco or Daly City. After a couple of reroutes through the Sacramento FedEx locations, it was eventually moved to USPS and arrived at the destination. How that happened? The most probable explanation would be human error, right? One operator made a mistake and put the parcel into the wrong bin. It is good that eventually that was fixed.

Still, the human error idea needs to be verified. I looked into SFGoodwill Amazon store, found one more used book which had some value for me and ordered it, then tracked the package. Guess what?  The route was exactly the same: South San Francisco->Sacramento->Daly City.

Why it works that way?  Mystery. Sure SFGoodwill tries to find the cheapest service and probably FedEx Smartpost (which means the last leg of delivery is made by USPS) meets that expectation. But why FedEx ships it to Sacramento? Hard to tell. One thing I am sure Chuck Noland  (if you watched "Cast Away" you know what I am talking about) would make that delivery in a more efficient way.

Update 10/10/2020.
Recently I have bought used film SLR camera on e-Bay. Seller (on the East Coast) asked me is it OK to send it via FedEx. Of course I agreed and asked about tracking number. That gives me one more observation data point. The package traveled several days through the USA (looks like in the efficient way).  It arrived into Needles: small town in South California. From there it was moved to Stockton (almost San Francisco Bay Area). Guess what happened next? It moved to the north: Sacramento. And from there back to the south through the Fairfield straight to our house. Chuck Noland! Can you hear me!? You can do better!