Rancilio Silvia Portafilter Gasket Replacement

Poort Miss Silvia was still laboring with the original brew system gasket that seals the portafilter against the body of the machine.  After six years of almost daily use, a replacement was in order as it was prone to leaks.

I knew the old gasket would be difficult to remove but I had a few dental pick style tools ready.  This is what it looked like after removing the diffusion screen:

You can seen a channel worn around the diameter of the gasket where it was crushed by the portafilter.  The diffusion screen was badly grunged up and there’s a stained pattern of holes on the brass behind where the screen was.

The old gasket was hardened and brittle in spots.  I wound up using a chisel at times to cut the material.  Here’s the remains of the old gasket next to the new gasket:

The cheap Harbor Freight tools didn’t stand up to the job very well – the dental picks bent easily and the chisel was damaged too:

Once the old gasket was out I ran the machine before reassembly to make sure no old gasket material would be trapped behind the diffusion screen.  I didn’t expect it to shoot a stream in a forward direction.

Getting the new gasket in was relatively easy and it was nice and squishy compared to the old one.  I won’t wait six years to do the next replacement!

Recovering lost photos from an iTunes backup

So I carelessly wiped clean my old iPad before copying all the photos from it.  A lot of them did not exist elsewhere (transferred from a digital camera and then cleared the memory card), so I wanted to recover them.  There was an iTunes backup of the iPad still on my Windows 7 computer, in a folder under c:\Users\<UserName>\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup

Some paid software offered to make it easy on me, but to try and save about $25 I figured I would try another route.  Searching on the net revealed that Apples stores the photos as individual files, but with different file extensions, which makes things easier.  I mass renamed all of them in an old school DOS prompt command window with “REN *.* *.JPG”.  Thumbnail view in Windows file explorer, sorted by size to try and get the photos generally grouped together, let me pick out what I wanted.  Happy day!  This ought to work on an iPhone as well.

Excommunication is a harsh sentence. Can you stand up to the Pope’s attack fleets?

As a youth I saw this advertisement in an old Dragon magazine and while I forgot the name of the game, the picture of it stuck in my mind for decades, particularly the clever tagline: Excommunication is a harsh sentence.  Can you stand up to the Pope’s attack fleets?

Recently I ran into some scans of the magazine and I poked around to find the ad and did some more searching on the name of the game.  Unfortunately, it looks like the game, “Imperial Earth,” was never produced.