Basement renovation – part 4

A lot had happened since the last post. More framing went up, insulation was completed and passed inspection, drywall has also been installed. We are now ready for paint!

The additional framing and drywall was done by a contractor. We did the insulation just in time for a wacky winter. In fact, before drywall went up, the foil-faced foam boards were reflecting so much heat from the recessed lights that it felt like a sauna in the basement! Prior to installing the foil-faced foam, we had to install furring strips over the built-it plastic studs of the InSoFast panels as required by the inspector that approved the initial framing. It was a boat-load of work to install the furring strips but it was a necessary step for installing drywall over the metal brackets from the seismic upgrade.

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Basement renovation – part 3

The saga of this renovation continues to unfold slowly. Electrical work has taken forever and it almost felt like it would never end. We kept finding scary looking splices that were soldered and covered with electrical tape. Quite a few of them were not even inside junction boxes. Most of them were created from cutting old wires that were original to the house and installed without any slack. We had to add junction boxes and extra wire to bring everything up to modern standard. Besides correcting the splices, we also installed a gazillion electrical devices:

  • 22 recessed lights
  • 13 power outlets
  • 6 switches
  • 1 timer
  • 1 bathroom exhaust with light and heat
  • 1 heating panel
  • 1 thermostat
  • 1 telephone junction box
  • 2 ethernet outlets
  • 2 telephone outlets
  • 4 speaker outlets
  • 2 coaxial outlets
  • 1 smoke detector (hard wired)
  • 1 CO + smoke detector (hard wired)
  • 5 junction boxes
  • 25+ electrical boxes
  • 300+ feet Romex wire
  • ?? feet speaker / ethernet / telephone wires
  • countless wire nuts and staples

That’s not all the electrical work. We also hired an electrician to do a few things we were not comfortable doing ourselves. She took care of 1 splice, connected 3 circuits to the electrical panel, installed 3-way light switches, and a bunch of tidying-up around and inside the panel.

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Design Thinking course finale

This is part of a series of blog posts in regards to the online class, Design Thinking Action Lab offered by Stanford University. Click here to check out the entire series.

The last week of the Design Thinking Action Lab is a wrap up. We were introduced to how design thinking is practiced in many different arenas, in education, large corporation, etc. The lecture has links to many new postings on the forum. Although I haven’t had time to check out all of them, here’s a video from one of the postings that brought a big smile to my face.

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Design Thinking course week 3-4

This is part of a series of blog posts in regards to the online class, Design Thinking Action Lab offered by Stanford University. Click here to check out the entire series.

Week 2’s assignment Empathy and Define was the first one that required peer review. There was a long list of criteria and rubrics. My submission didn’t score as well as I hoped but it’s not the score that mattered. It was the experience. Based on my review of other submissions, I discovered the phenomenon of students in India being forced to study engineering even when some of them don’t want to. The world can use a lot of engineers but I think happy engineers would do more good than the unwilling ones. In terms of my submission, I need to work harder on capturing everything from the interview of a stakeholder. My auditory learning mode has always been my weakest link.

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Design Thinking Action Lab

After finishing the Crash Course on Creativity last fall, I’ve been itching to take another MOOC. I tried taking another one on Coursera but didn’t finish it. The course involved many long videos and the professor was speaking 50 mph. I couldn’t grasp the concepts although I passed the big quiz by searching for answers from the video transcripts. That’s not the right way to learn. I’ve done that in the past when I had to pass a required class for school. The choice to learn is up to me now. It must be up to me how I want to learn.

Then I got an announcement about the Design Thinking Action Lab from the same host of the Creativity course. The instructor is a lecturer at the d.school of Stanford University. I heard about d.school a long time ago and I would have loved to go there for my undergrad but there is no way I would get into Stanford. Therefore, I can’t pass up the opportunity to take a d.school course for free even though my day job is the busiest in the summer months.

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