Fixing so-called “dishwasher safe” products

Got a “dishwasher safe” product whose shape is actually not suitable for a dishwasher at all? You’re not alone.

In fact, it’s shocking how many allegedly dishwasher friendly products out there obviously weren’t optimised for dishwashers, shape-wise.

Considering that in a free market, supply would ultimately be driven by demand, i.e. our purchases, one can “guesstimate” how little time and thought most people (yours truly too) apparently spend for purchasing decisions related to such everyday products! Then again, at least the engineers designing those products must have spent a couple of days thinking through their designs, one would hope. How could they end up with such inadequate designs, and how could those even pass internal product testing and quality assurance assessments? It’s probably due to market imperfections indeed.

E.g. look at this inconspicuous, allegedly officially “dishwasher safe” plastic mug:

As you can see: Its designer DID think of making a drainage hole at the bottom of the hollow handle. Dishwater would thus drain from it and not collect.

But what’s the point of that hole anyway, if water can’t and isn’t supposed to drain from the mug? As a mug, by design, is not supposed to leak liquids.
In other words: Who on earth would place this mug in the dishwasher in upright position, for dishwater to collect in the mug itself?
So, the only reasonable way to put this mug into the dishwasher would be upside-down. Which voids the whole point for that drainage hole in the hollow handle, except maybe to release hot steam, lowering the maximum heat the plastic handle would have to withstand (but what about the ascending hot steam that will be collected in the mug itself? Heat-deforming the bottom of the mug would be even worse than heat-deforming the bottom of the handle)

If we placed this mug correctly, i.e. upside-down in the dishwasher, dishwater would instead collect in the now concave, open part where the handle is attached to the mug. As strangely, the designer apparently didn’t think of designing holes there (or of sealing off the whole handle, making all surfaces convex), so that water could drain between the fins.

What can you do?

  1. Make it a habit: Before purchasing any such item, think twice about how you would place it in the dishwasher and whether dishwater could fully drain from the product like that. Don’t simply rely on the “dishwasher safe” symbol on the packaging, as that (sadly) doesn’t cover the shape of the product, only its materials (all products shown in this blog post ironically have an embossed “dishwasher safe” logo)
  2. For those faulty “dishwasher-friendly” products you already own, take a drill and drill some holes in appropriate places yourself (keep in mind structural stability too though). Or, probably better for most plastics, use a heated awl to create clean holes without splinters.
  3. If you are a product designer, please think more thoroughly when designing your next product. Obviously, the free market isn’t as perfect as consumers would wish for, and thus likely wouldn’t punish you as hard for releasing a suboptimal or faulty product as you’d deserve. Please think through the designs of your products nonetheless, before considering them ready for production release.
    IOW: Minimalism isn’t a bad principle per se (actually beneficial in many situations), but always know when to apply it and when not to apply it (i.e. invest a bit more in thinking -> your brain will automatically protect you from overthinking anyway, e.g. in “fight or flight” situations).
    In the long run, both the selling market and the job market should reward your superior work and work ethics.
  4. If you’re specifying requirements for certification labels: Please think thoroughly, and particularly also think from an end-user’s perspective. In the end, a label/certification should help purchasers to make better purchasing decisions and sellers of good, certified products to differentiate more visibly from their inferior competitors.
    A disclaimer regarding the above example: The “dishwasher safe” logo might not actually be an official, certified label, despite its pretty uniform look. It nonetheless raises the question: What’s the value of a “dishwasher safe” logo if that only covers the materials, but not also the shape of the product? From a purchaser’s perspective, an allegedly “dishwasher safe” product that doesn’t allow all dishwater to drain at least in one viable, stable position in the dishwasher is just as useless as a product that severely deforms, shrinks or melts in the dishwasher. That logo should thus cover both materials and shape (i.e. form and function).

The actual fix, if you already have faulty products

Example of two quick-fixed “dishwasher safe” products, the above mug and the lid of a shaker (both before final cleaning of splinters). Also note that these fixes have no significant negative impacts on the structural stability, reliability and durability of the products:

Other faulty “dishwasher friendly” products

Unfortunately, there are countless other examples!
Check the bases of your coffee cups: Are they fully flat? Or rather slightly concave, as so often? If the later, are there any slits/gaps in the base so that dishwater can nicely drain when placing the cups in the dishwasher upside-down?
Similar: Bowls, glasses, plates
I haven’t tried fixing those myself yet, but milling slits/gaps with a multifunction rotary tool (e.g. Dremel) might be worth trying.

Solution: HP OMEN 30L GT13 Desktop/Gaming PC does not boot anymore (CMOS reset, BIOS update, Omen logo, Windows, boot loop)

Symptom:

  • After switching on your HP Omen Desktop/Gaming PC, the boot process gets stuck at the “Omen” logo and Windows (the default OS) doesn’t get started anymore.
  • Power supply, LED lights, mainboard, RAM, GPU, hard disk and SSD are working and there’s no indication that anything would be wrong with them (IOW: The PC per se isn’t dead and seems to work).
  • The last time you used your PC, you might (or might not) have been prompted by an HP app (maybe the “HP Gaming Hub” or similar) to update some drivers or the firmware.

Reason/root cause:

HP apps apparently tend to mess with the CMOS and BIOS (e.g. automatically install updates), which may cause the HP Omen to get stuck the next time you try booting it.
Windows 10 would thus no longer start.

Solution:

Reset the PC’s CMOS.

How to reset the CMOS in a HP Omen 30L:

  1. Turn off the computer
    I.e. hold the power button for a couple of seconds until lights go out. For double safety, you could even quickly disconnect and reconnect the power cable.
  2. On your keyboard, press and hold the Windows + V keys
    To rule out any other problem, it’s best to plug your original HP USB keyboard into a USB plug directly on the PC.
  3. Still pressing those two keys, press and hold the Power button on the computer for roughly 1 second, then release the power button, but continue pressing and holding the Windows + V keys, until you see that the PC boots and doesn’t get stuck at the “Omen” logo again, instead, there might be notifications that further updates are being installed. Or you might get displayed a CMOS reset screen or hear beeping sounds.
    Note: According to HP, one has to press the power button 2-3 seconds in this step to trigger a CMOS reset. For my HP OMEN 30L GT13, that was apparently too long however, as it shut down the PC instead. Just try it a couple of times, until you finally see something happening again on the boot screen (but do not interrupt ongoing updates!).
  4. If there’s a message that there are pending updates, wait for them to finish.
    If you see a message that the CMOS was reset, hit ENTER to reboot the PC

Credits:

https://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Gaming-Desktops/Omen-30L-GT13-boot-loop-after-bios-update/td-p/8056991

Some more useful tricks about the HP Omen 30L GT13

Even though booting stopped at the Omen logo, I was still able to enter the BIOS setup upon rebooting. To enter the BIOS setup, do the following:

  1. Press and hold the F10 key on your keyboard (on the original HP USB keyboard, you’ll actually have to press the “Fn” key and the “F10” key at the same time, as F10 is a secondary functionality only)
  2. Press and hold the power button for 3 seconds till the PC turns off, then hit the power button again to start the PC while you’re holding the F10 key (Fn + F10)

First, as I was indeed suspecting that something might have gone wrong with an accidental (or intransparent) BIOS update, I tried following a hint that if one disconnects the hard drive (and/or SSD?), the mainboard of an HP Omen would allegedly automatically fall back to the previous BIOS version.
Therefore, I tried to disconnect the HDD and start my PC like that. It didn’t have any positive effect though, as the boot process kept getting stuck at the Omen logo.

BTW, to open the HP Omen 30L case, you simply press the big “INTERNAL ACCESS” button in the upper right corner of the back side of the PC, then tilt the (plexi-)glass window, then tilt it back towards the case a bit and lift the window up and off.

A further complication in my case was that I also use a fairly new and cutting edge Samsung 49″ super wide screen monitor (Samsung LC49RG90SSUXEN, supporting natively 5120×1440 pixels at a 120 Hz refresh rate) for that PC (and sometimes also with my MacBook Pro, via a special 8k USB-C to DisplayPort 1.4 cable).
My experiences with any sort of Samsung devices have been a mixed bag so far, so for one, I don’t really trust the quality of Samsung’s hardware, firmware or software (although I can’t complain about this display, it has been all fine so far and I’d highly recommend it for simulators). Secondly, I’ve plugged some essential USB devices (like the original HP USB keyboard and the receiver of my beloved Logitech G305 mouse) directly to the display’s USB hub, rather than to the PC itself. To rule out any weird error (e.g. like a boot process stopping because of a missing keyboard, caused by a faulty USB hub or connection), I’d generally recommend disconnecting “exotic” devices (like steering wheels, web cams, joysticks, controllers, ..) that could potentially cause troubles and plugin the essential devices (keyboard, mainly, maybe also the mouse) directly to the PC.

New Apple Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad is surprisingly good, even excellent!

Recently, I’ve managed to render my beloved old Apple Keyboard (full-size, with numeric keypad) useless – accidentally pouring half a glass of tap water over it was sufficient, unfortunately (due to the mineral ions in the tap water; distilled water wouldn’t have conducted electricity and thus wouldn’t have shorted circuits; on the other hand, drinking distilled water would probably shorten your life, so please don’t consider doing this).

Luckily, I could temporarily use a similarly old, compact Apple Bluetooth keyboard instead. As I really wouldn’t recommend that keyboard for everyday work though (poor, bubbly typing experience, odd placement of keys requiring weird function key combinations, no numeric keypad), I had to order a full-size keyboard as a replacement again, so I ordered one of the new Apple Magic Keyboards with a Numeric Keypad (in Space Gray and I really like that, but the colour doesn’t matter in regard to the typing experience):

https://www.apple.com/ch-de/shop/product/MRMH2SM/A/magic-keyboard-mit-ziffernblock-schweiz-space-grau

(above is the Swiss German version, US version: https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MRMH2LL/A/magic-keyboard-with-numeric-keypad-us-english-space-gray)

I first thought that the even smaller lift of the keys (luckily with scissor and not butterfly switches) of this new keyboard would be very disturbing and that I’d have a hard time getting accustomed to it.

To my big surprise however I got accustomed to this new typing experience within a couple of hours already and now, after about 3 weeks of using it, I can confidently say: I love this new Apple Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad even much more than my previous, old Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad and wouldn’t want to switch back anymore.

Typing with it feels so immediate, so quick and so “raw” and “crunchy”, it’s literally almost addictive. I can type considerably faster with it than with the previous keyboard, let alone any regular IBM-type keyboards (although I like those too, for their build-quality, for the interesting history and stories behind them, for their customizability and standardization, for the bustling keyboard enthusiast scene around it). Further, typing for a prolonged time feels much less tiring for the fingers, hands and forearms.

It feels as if you had to work with a wobbly tool for quite some time, then all of a sudden, get a very precise and exact instrument, like e.g. skiing with racing skis vs. with allround skis. It’s pure joy!

The difference is difficult to describe, so I would recommend you rather go experience it yourself and judge for yourself. For me, it’s my most favourite keyboard so far.

I’m even thinking of getting one for the Windows workstation at work too, it’s that good.

FreeNAS 11.2/FreeBSD BTX boot loader 1.0: Very slow booting if “Legacy USB 3.0 Support” is enabled

Starting with version 11.2-RELEASE-U1, FreeNAS uses the FreeBSD BTX 1.0 boot loader instead of Grub (reason: The FreeBSD boot loader finally started supporting ZFS – years after Grub supported it, BTW).

Unlike Grub, the FreeBSD boot loader seems to have rather “suboptimal” support for storage devices (like USB sticks, USB drives) that are accessed using the legacy USB 3.0 mode at boot time. So, when I upgraded FreeNAS from 11.1-U7 to 11.2-RELEASE-U2 on my home-built ASRock FreeNAS E3C226D2I NAS appliance, booting FreeNAS from an internal 16 GB USB 3 stick took all of a sudden almost 30 minutes(!) instead of the usual 1-2 minutes.

As I found out by “trial & error” (or educated guessing, as some would say), the only reason for this huge slowdown was that “Legacy USB 3.0 Support” was enabled in the AMI BIOS (the effect is reproducible). So, just disable “Legacy USB 3.0 Support”[1] in the BIOS and FreeNAS >= 11.2 will boot quickly again.

[1] Note: There’s no need to disable “Legacy USB Support”, so you’ll still be able to use your USB 2 keyboard or mouse at boot time.

Windows 10 backups using Duplicati

“File History”, the built-in backup functionality of Windows 10, leaves a lot to be desired. It starts with a totally non-intuitive, “dumbed-down” user interface (displaying a backup size of 0 bytes, “backing up your data…” and an enabled “Back up now” button at the same time) and ends with lacking transparency (no information about progress and speed at all) and checkability in general.

Luckily, there’s a better open source alternative: Duplicati

Duplicati might not be the fastest backup solution either, but it has a good, intuitive GUI and wizard. And it’s fully transparent and highly adjustable.

Got a recent Mac and Boot Camp? You’ll need unofficial drivers.

(Or: The sad state of Apple’s Boot Camp support)

If you use Boot Camp with the official AMD GPU drivers the Boot Camp assistant installs, you’ll notice that many recent games in Windows 10 will issue warnings about outdated AMD GPU drivers and/or will simply crash (e.g. after a couple of minutes, like Forza Horizon 4).

Apparently, the only remedy is installing unofficial AMD drivers from https://www.bootcampdrivers.com (kudos!). It worked fine for me ( Adrenalin 19.1.2 V3 on a 15 inch MBP late 2018 with an AMD Radeon Pro 560X) – the games stopped crashing – BUT apparently, installing unofficial drivers from the above web site happens to void your Apple Care warranty (read: You do it at your own risk).

This means that one has the choice to either void the warranty or stick with an unacceptably buggy Boot Camp installation. Really, Apple?