How I Fixed My Overly-Sensitive Car Remote With Plasti-Dip

Posted on June 23rd, 2013 in Engineerboy,Product Reviews by EngineerBoy
Plasti-Dip Car Remote

Clear Plasti-Dip Car Remote

DISCLAIMER: I have no specific knowledge of car remotes nor the short or long term effects of coating them in a rubberized substance, and the consequences could be dire (void warranty, damage, remote-freak-out, etc).  This post represents steps I took for my own remote.  They may not work for you and may have unintended consequences, so if you decide to try something like this it is at your own risk!!!  

We recently purchased a new vehicle (2012 Toyota Sienna), and I found that whenever I had my key chain in my pocket (which is always), I would regularly activate different, random remote buttons on the fob.  Some mornings I would go out and find the car unlocked (when I knew I had locked it), other times I’d find one (or both) of the side doors slid open.

I’ve had car remotes on my key chain for decades, and while on some rare occasions (like climbing under the sink to fix plumbing) I might incidentally have activated the remote, it was only once every great while (e.g. every year or two).

But with the Sienna remote it happened multiple times a week, sometimes multiple times a day.  Something as simple as getting up out of a chair or even just putting my keys in my pocket would result in an unexpected (beep) followed by a slow (and, seemingly, mocking) mechanical response from the van.

I searched the Web and also solicited advice in related forums, but the universal feedback I got was ‘take your keys out of your pocket when you get home’.  Er, yeah, gee, I had never thought of that (rolls eyes).  The lone helpful suggestion I got was to try to find a silicone cover for the remote.  I searched online for one, with the thought being that adding some thickness around the remote such that the buttons were a bit more inset would reduce the frequency of unintended activation.

Unfortunately, while there are plenty of places that sell covers for Sienna remotes, none that I could find sold one with our particular button configuration.  However, I still liked the idea of somehow reducing the sensitivity of the remote with some type of rubberized coating.

It occurred to me that a potential solution was to use Plasti-Dip.  I’ve used the black version in the past for coating tool handles, and I even dipped a USB drive into it to block the blinking LED it had that bothered us in the car (it holds music and plugs into a port on the dash of our other vehicle).

I searched online and found that they also made a clear version.  I could picture in my head that dipping the remote in Plasti-Dip a couple of times would create a thicker protective rubberized coating that might reduce incidental button presses.

I’ll stop here and refer to the disclaimer at the top of this article.  Although I consider myself a handy guy,

Let’s *Really* Solve Health Care in the U.S.

Posted on June 15th, 2013 in Commentary by EngineerBoy
Sick Profits

Sick Profits

The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) is the latest MacGuffin in the decades-long struggle to figure out health care in the United States.  Meaning, in the current debate it appears that the key to solving health care lies in enforcing and/or fixing and/or repealing Obamacare.  However, I think our focus has been misdirected from the true underlying issue, which is that over the last several decades we have moved to a health care infrastructure that is primarily for-profit.

To illustrate, picture if you will a theoretical health care organization, let’s call it Proactive Preventative Health Associates (PPHA).  Now picture that PPHA lives up to their name in that they proactively manage the health of their patients and foster proven preventative measures to significantly reduce the incidence of manageable health issues (cardiovascular problems, diabetes, cancer, etc).

If PPHA is a for-profit organization, their success in creating a healthy customer base will result in a reduction of profits, and the better PPHA does at reducing or preventing recurring, long-term, expensive health care issues the worse they will do as a business entity, until such time that they could conceivably put themselves out of business by being good at what they do.

If PPHA is a non-profit organization, however, the improvement of the health of their patients means they are successful, and frees their resources to focus on more urgent or needy patients and issues, because there are no stockholders or investors watching the bottom line.

So, a for-profit health care organization has two conflicting and irreconcilable motivations.  First, the (assumed) goal of maximizing the health of their patients, and second, the fiduciary goal of maximizing the health care expenses and profitability of their customers.

These two adversarial forces cannot be reconciled – they simply cannot.  Health care and profits do not go together, because if they are combined we are creating a situation where those who we trust to keep us healthy will actually be motivated to maximize our healthcare spending.

These are not theoretical noodlings, fyi.  If you were to read this article, you would find a case of a for-profit hospital that was allegedly sedating patients until they had trouble breathing, and then performing unnecessary tracheotomies at great expense (and profit).  Not only would this constitute fraud, it also may have resulted in the deaths of patients who would have otherwise survived.

Less sinister, but also illustrative, this article discusses (among other things) a study that indicated that for-profit nursing homes appeared to use significantly more sedatives and significantly fewer staff to manage those in their care.  While this might be good news to a profit-motivated investor, it would be disheartening if it were your mother they were keeping sedated because it was cheaper than creating an active and engaging environment for her.

You may find the concept of a completely