Blowing a Gasket

What's left of the combustion air gasket of our condensing boiler.

Condensing boilers are great, but the pH of the exhaust can be pretty low. Low enough to dissolve the gasket that came with the boiler. So Triangle, the manufacturer, came out with a replacement kit with a gasket that is much tougher than the stock HDPE o-ring it came with.

What you are looking at is the remains of this replacement gasket in the cleanout for the boiler's drain line.

Now Triangle has a new gasket kit with a supposedly even better gasket. Let's hope I'm $28 from a correctly working boiler.

Does this matter? A little. The exhaust is corrosive, so when the gasket's gone there is always a little corrosive, humid air leaking into the basement. Not very much, but the gasket's there in the first place because your flue isn't supposed to leak into your house.

Oh, and carbon monoxide, but not much of that on a condensing boiler, and I have a CO sensor in the basement. So far, no detectable CO.

I think anybody with gas-fired space heat or water heater should have a CO sensor. They're cheap, so there's no reason not to.

It also doesn't hurt to look over all your major systems fairly thoroughly once a year. I caught this one pretty much by accident because my father-in-law and I were talking furnaces and one thing led to another. I have a list of annual maintenance items. Checking the boiler cleanout for signs of gasket degradation is now on the list.


Survival Mode vs. Creative Mode

Worldwide CAD users: about 44 million. Of those, 40 million are using Minecraft, and about 4 million are using everything else.

It could be because Minecraft is the only CAD system that includes a sword as a standard tool. It could be that at €20 (or free on a Raspberry Pi) Minecraft is very affordable.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. Dimensioned drawings, FEA, subtractive geometry, meshes, tolerances. A whole lot of really complicated stuff that grown-up CAD systems need to do that Minecraft can't do.

Can't do right now, that is. But who has the user base? People are doing real CAD with Minecraft right now. So it's not a question of if Minecraft will disrupt the CAD market, it's a question of whether Minecraft will disrupt CAD enough to be a dominant player there.

Minecraft has a Python interpreter. Not some ratty ad-hoc scripting language, a full-on programming language. Not easy to get at on all platforms, but it's there, with a 200-page textbook. And a sword.

And Minecraft has collaboration tools built in. And mobile. And monsters, of course, but you can turn the monsters off. Which would you rather have: (i) a collaboration tool 40 million people know how to use that actually works across the internet but lacks some key features, or (ii) a metastatic drafting tool with no collaboration features built in, and a totally separate collaboration tool you'll never use because you'll never get everyone you collaborate with to have it, and even if you did, it would cost a fortune and require a whole IS team to manage?

The war is over. The games won. The sword is mightier than the ribbon.

(Image: Stonehenge from the Minecraft Map of Britain by Ordnance Survey.)