2010
09.06

So, I had a post on here a while back that detailed how to take a centralized network storage location and redirecting the desktop and ‘my documents’ path of a given profile so that you could essentially have roaming profiles without a domain controller.

This works pretty good, until you take in the absolutely horrible job that windows does of maintaining offline files & connectivity to the central network resource. In addition, the solution I had did nothing for backup. (Any files you don’t have backed up, you don’t care about.)

Recently I’ve changed my tune on making files available on more than one computer, and I’m going with Dropbox. (For people wanting to just utilize online cloud backup with one computer, Mozy & Carbonite offer unlimited volume for reasonable prices.)

The setup is pretty simple (this is on XP – I’ll try some things with Win 7 soon)..

  • when installing dropbox on the computer, put your dropbox on the root of the drive (c:\) – dropbox automatically creates the ‘dropbox’ folder during the install, so just select the hard drive, and don’t create a folder unless you want to get ‘C:\dropbox\dropbox\’
  • Once set up, create a ‘\my documents\’ folder in the dropbox folder
  • go to your ‘my documents’ icon, right click, and hit ‘properties’ and change the ‘target’ to ‘C:\My Dropbox\My Documents’
  • Once you click OK, it will ask if you want to move the contents of your my documents folder… just click yes and it will copy it over, at which point, the dropbox app will start automatically uploading the files to the dropbox cloud.

You can do this on whatever computers you want the get to the same ‘my documents’ folder on. (e.g. – if you had a desktop in the office and a laptop elsewhere – it’s nice to have files synchronized.) The sync option works very well with dropbox, and I actually haven’t seen a conflict come up, so I’m not entirely sure how conflict resolution works (this could be the lynch pin in this whole thing, so just be aware of that – especially with things like iTunes.)

Dropbox offers 2GB free, but that won’t be enough for most people, but their 50GB plan is pretty reasonable.

The thing about Dropbox over other cloud backup options is that I can get to my files from any computer by logging into the web interface. They even have an iPhone app (of course).

Oh, and on a similar note: For those people who think an external hard drive is effective backup or that you don’t need backup… I was wrong and you are wrong.

Give Dropbox a shot… hell, it’s free to try and waste 2GB of someone else’s space with your digital hoarding ;)

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2010
09.06

Stretching…

A while back, I saw a post on Cool Tools regarding a book: Stretching, by Bob Anderson. I managed to get a copy recently and it has been sitting on my coffee table holding down various stacks of paper for a few weeks. Last night I was finally inspired to crack the spine on it.

I quickly made it through the first 20 pages which thoroughly introduce you to the act of stretching, the health benefits thereof, and the safety precautions you should take (which include not pushing too hard, something I discovered wasn’t necessary to achieve remarkable results).

In a matter of half an hour I had made it through an introductory series of stretches that focused on the legs and were remarkable easy. This resulted in an immediate sense of well being – it was like I just stretched the stress out of my overly tense legs. (And I know how to stress.)

For years I worked back stage at theatrical shows and witnessed countless dancers and performers stretching prior to performing. Their abilities are astounding to say the least, but I realized last night that I had never been taught why or how to stretch properly or specifically, and therefore never saw stretching as something a ‘non-dancer/athlete/etc’ needed to do on a regular basis. Wrong.

Call this a failing of the public school system’s physical education programs (a farce being dealt to a generation taking little interest to in the first place), or a lack of interest on my part – the bottom line was that I had no idea of the need or methods to properly stretch.

Perfect example: you always see people leaning over an outstretched leg to stretch some portion of the leg (which I learned was the hamstring), but never had it been clearly stated in the detail that this book does:

  • whether to lock the knee or not
  • the exact placement of the sole of the bent leg
  • look at a point in front of you and focus as to not improperly bend the back
  • make sure the foot of the straight leg is upright and relaxed

All in clear, concise language with wonderful illustrations. Google has a preview available here.

The 30th anniversary edition features a new section for the desk warrior of today with ‘computer stretches’ that are appropriate for the office environment. Perhaps a good stretch could do as much or more than that ’5 Hour Energy’ the other people are popping…

I’ve just scratched the surface of the book, and can’t wait to delve deeper – here’s hoping you will to. The full 239 page soft cover 30th anniversary edition is available from Amazon for $13.57 (at writing). And no I’m not being payed to say any of this, just sharing some well being ;)

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2010
09.06

I’m sorry…

I’m sorry (not for not posting in forever, you can deal with that…)

I’m sorry for subjecting my (1) reader to advertising on the site – impressions since I placed the ads on the site have totaled an estimated 11¢… not enough for Google to cut a check (they would have had to of charged me for the paper the check was printed on.)

It is not an aspiration of mine to financially gain from this blog, and doubt it ever will be, so effectively I just pushed advertising on all (1) of my readers for no reason.

Sorry, I’ll try to not be so much of a dick moving forward… the ads have been removed.

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2010
07.06

Andy’s Truck…

July 2, 2010 : ~4:10 AM

Driver of 1993 Ford Ranger slams into rear of Andy’s truck, parked on the street. Driver tested .209 BAC & admitted to text-ing while driving: Georgia text-ing while driving prohibition went into effect 12:01 July 1st – initial reports indicate this is the first citation ever issued under that law.

Definition of small world: When your neighbor can tell you about the night the driver of the ’93 Ranger had… “That guy is the bassist for a band I know – they were on at the Clermont the night before.. somebody was at the bar buying the band so many shots that evening, they couldn’t even go on for their set!”

Pictures:

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2010
06.27

Digital Picture Frame

Andy pulled out an old laptop several weeks ago – he asked if there’d be any sense in selling it. I asked what was wrong with it:

-”The screen’s bad”
-”Oh, how old is it?”
-”About ten years, maybe newer.”
-”Oh, then not really, no… but I may have a use for it.”
-”OK”

(That was summarized.)

I’d seen a number of write-ups of people turning old laptops into digital photo frames, and I figured this would make a good candidate. (After I replaced the backlight bulb – first ever for me; it was interesting.)

No real details on the build. Basically:

-Make sure you have a working laptop that will join a wireless network and you can remote to (LogMeIn, etc..)
- Rip the screen out of a laptop, mount it to a matte and in a shadow box. (I literally just hot glued the screen to the matte, and fit the matte into the clamps behind the glass (I kept the glass in place for protection.)
-Remove all the extra stuff from the body of the laptop to reduce weight, size, etc.
-Add any components you want to the laptop (I added a PCMCIA wireless card – yes it’s that old, and the receiver to a wireless keyboard and mouse I have.)
-Extend the power button off the motherboard or bezel and mount a button to the box to turn it on and off.
-Mount body of laptop in shadow box (I used mounting tape and secured it to the back panel.)

Enjoy – there’s lots of things you can do with it. I plan on using it as a photo frame with my photos and a box in the kitchen to view recipes off of – options are endless, and I’m not going to go into them here…

Photos:

Screen, mounted on matte

Front side

Finished Unit

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2010
06.27

Settling in

Yesterday, with the help of many a family member, we moved into our new HOUSE. Most importantly, out of our apartment. Out from under the [people] that live above us. Out from under their stereo and the 2 AM performances of chopsticks on their electric piano.

Into a kitchen that four people can stand in together (comfortably). Into a back yard that Axel can run around as I grill our first official dinner on the Weber JBIV gave us. Into a neighborhood where we can take a walk and say ‘hi’ to the neighbors as we pass by their homes. Across the street from the lady that brought over two tomato plants as we were moving in.

As you can tell, we’re happy. Happy.

Kitchen

Showdown...

Living room; boxes to go...

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2010
06.20

So for a co-worker’s birthday, I was asked to prepare desert for a pot luck lunch. Luckily my office has some foodies in it, so the pot lucks tend to be pretty good.

I was happy to oblige and prepare a red velvet cake – everyone seemed in awe of my nonchalant acceptance of the task. I googled it and found this recipe from food network.

Upon rounding up the ingredients, I discovered I would need to buy 4 (FOUR) packages of food coloring, just to get the amount of liquid red food coloring I’d need. (and it probably wouldn’t be that red)

Crazy enough, I was at an Indian market the day before, just perusing and noticed they had dry food coloring.

I high tailed it back over to the market and picked up a jar of the red food coloring and returned home to proceed.

With just a quarter of a teaspoon, my batter was already looking good:

Red Velvet Batter

and it turned out pretty good at the pot-luck, at least no one complained..

Although, Andy commented that it wasn’t the best he’s had… perhaps I need a more intimidating recipe?

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2010
06.20

I haven’t posted in what seems like forever – sorry, all of you that depend on me for entertainment.

Today I helped Kathy re-do her site. She bought a domain name a year ago, and used godaddy to host the site, and a few editors (dreamweaver, etc) to build it. I let her do all this because at the time I wasn’t comfortable with configuring and using, much lest self hosting content management systems.

I was using blogger at the time, and eventually researched Drupal and then WordPress. I migrated my blog to wordpress and came to the conclusion that it would be a good candidate for a CMS, even for a more ‘static style’ professional self promotion page.

It’s a testament to WordPress that Kathy was able to come over at 2 on a Sunday afternoon and by 6 we had a fully functional, CMS driven, very good looking web site: katherineshores.com

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2010
04.18

First Bottling

It’s been a week, and the time has come to put the brew into bottles. The kit I purchased came with caps, but bottles were 13 bucks a case, so we’ve been collecting bottles for the last week. K&J were kind enough to pitch in 12…

Also in the kit was a great filler wand with a push-pin valve on the bottom, so that you press against the bottom of the jar – filling it from the bottom, creating no foam.

Andy & the filler wand

(BTW, over the course of the last week, Andy has gotten more involved in the initiative – even though he honorarily named the vintage ‘Shenanigans’… seems every time he comes home on a weekend I’ve concocted some new thing to entertain myself with.)

First bottle being filled

So, one by one they got filled…

Capper

And one by one they got capped.. Until all 49 were done…

Filled bottles

So, in one week they should be good to go… aging for another four weeks after that…

Cleaning and boxing

Next is chardonnay!!

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2010
04.11

Brewhaus

After seeing Wendy and Mike make their own wine on their blog – HolyScrapHotSprings (Makes me want to homestead it in Truth or Consequences, NM), and then seeing Lifehacker’s post ‘Halve your beer tab by brewing your own’, via wisebread.com, I wanted to give it a try. Not because I think I’m going to go broke soon because of a beer tab, but more just because I’m on that ‘I should only consume it if I can re-create it myself’ kick – don’t ask me why.

So, after a little research I found a local brewing supply store not too far north of my place: Home Brewing Supplies. I wish I’d taken pictures, but the place was pretty cool – kits for winemaking (on my list), beermaking, cheesmeaking, and all the associated equipment (which isn’t that expensive, actually).

I broke down and bought the two-stage fermenting kit that comes with a glass carboy, as I will need it when making wine eventually.

Homebrew Kit Box
Glass Carboy

For now, I’m just using the fermenting bucket – I’ll add an additional fermenting bucket to the setup eventually, and this will most likely be the bottling bucket (note the spigot).

Fermenting Bucket

There’s a bunch of other things that came with it as well (caper, hydrometer, siphon rig, sanitizer, etc)

Other stuff

So after a little reading I jumped in:

Boiling Brew (no eye of newt)

Combining the malt extract, corn sugar, etc, you get ‘wort’, which is added to cold water to get 5 gallons of the stuff…

Wort in fermenter

Once it comes down to room temperature again, the yeast can be added

blooming yeast

And the whole thing sealed up with a nifty one-way gas release mechanism

nifty air release mechanism

Theoretically, next weekend the beer will be ready to bottle. After that it’s another two to three weeks before they’re to be consumed.

All in all, the initial outlay for gear is notable, but not crazy expensive 90 bucks for the kit I got. The ingredient kit I used was only $30, which for two cases is very cheap (half price…)

More to come.

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