Category Archives: escapades

Detailing the insane adventures in Crazy Town, USA. Daily, weekly, or monthly updates on the events of my life. Always real. Sometimes ridiculous. Never boring.

Two awesome little gadgets…

Well, technically it’s one gadget twice.

I recently purchased a powerline adapter starter kit for around $30. Since moving my computer out of the office in our house to make it a down-stairs play room, I first moved the computer to our bedroom. But that got crowded. The one plus of that arrangement was that there was a phone jack for the DSL modem and I could hook my desktop right into the modem. Well, we moved my computer into the spare bedroom. One problem–no phone jack and no ethernet jack. (I had replaced the original phone jacks with phone/ethernet jacks.) Using an extra wireless router, I created a wireless bridge, but this wasn’t ideal.

Along with my gaming desktop is a desktop computer I’ve converted into a Linux server we use for photo storage, among other things. Using the wireless bridge meant that Sav’s connection would only be about 20Mbps instead of ~150-300Mbps. So I went online, and I stumbled upon these: TP-LINK TL-PA4010KIT AV500 Nano Powerline Adapter Starter Kit. I’d never used powerline adapters, but for just $30, it seemed worth a try. I combined that with a gigabit switch for speedy transfers between my gaming machine and the server (I use it to store music, docs, and game backups).

Well, they all got here yesterday, and I couldn’t be more pleased. They were super easy to setup, and they just plain work. I haven’t done a speed test or anything, but downloading Left 4 Dead 2 from Steam wasn’t having any problems. I’m going to put it to the test this weekend with a little online gaming. And I’ll need to see how well I can transfer files from the server over the network.

This was a pretty boring post, but the moral is: if you’re looking for an easy way to network two rooms without running new cable or using wireless, I recommend these power adapters. If you need higher transfer speeds (gigabit), then you’ll want to go with the AV600, but for most people, the AV500 will be plenty fast. (It claims 500Mhz, which is 5x faster than the ethernet ports are rate (though those are duplex, so I guess only 2.5x faster). Still, that gives plenty of margin for overhead. I’m almost tempted to buy a couple more and move that Linux server out into the garage. Almost.

Currently listening to “Believer” by American Authors

Windows 8 isn’t awful…

But that doesn’t mean I like it.

I bought a netbook around Christmas. I got a great deal on it, as far as size, RAM, and disk space. The AMD APU (processor) could use a boost, but it does OK for web browsing and email. And surprisingly, it’s able to remote into work very well, which was one of my main reasons for wanting a smaller device. Upon bringing it home, I immediately installed Ubuntu (Linux). But sadly, it couldn’t remote into my work. So I put Windows 8 back on. And although I’m constantly fighting with all the Microsoft Account crap, it’s actually been alright. But if my netbook didn’t have a touch screen, it would be retarded.

But what’s weird is the Windows Store, which sells “apps” for stuff like Facebook, which seems really pointless, since you have a full browser. And the last thing I want is for Facebook to have access to my computer. But probably the worst part is that Windows 8(.1) and all of its apps (e.g. OneNote) want to sync everything to the “cloud”. If you make your account a Microsoft Account, your WiFi passwords and email accounts are synced before you get a chance to disable the OneDrive sync and other sync settings. Annoying.

Well, after 2-3 weeks with Windows 8, I’ve finally almost got it setup the way I like. the only thing I can’t get rid of is all the crappy Acer branding.

Currently listening to “Feeling Myself” by Nicki Minaj feat. Beyoncé (thanks, Sav)

Goodbye, Ghost…

Well, that was a fun little experiment.

I stuck with Ghost for nearly a month. But I just couldn’t stand it. The whole time, no spell check. And each time there was a new release, still no spell check. Since WordPress can do Markdown just as well as Ghost, it really didn’t make sense to stick with it. It was only lacking features, and the update process was a pain.

So here I am back with WordPress. Plus, I can again use the app on my phone. One of the perk of self-hosting like this was that all I had to do was change a few lines of my web server’s configuration, and the switch was instantaneous. Then I just copied over the couple of post I did through Ghost (manually, since there were only about five), and bam!–back to WordPress.

I think the Ghost project is going to turn out a cool alternative, but it’s just not going to catch up to WordPress. Plus, my blog can snow.

Putting out Fires…

Well, it has been a little while since the last time I blogged. I’d like to like to say it’s because I’ve been busy exercising or developing something cool. But it’s not that. It’s Borderlands. I’m not ashamed (in fact, I’m quite happy with this), I’m just informing.

Work has been crazy. Boring for blogging, but crazy. Plus, I can’t say stuff that’s going to get me in trouble.

In slightly less boring news, we ended up returning the Fire tablets that Sav and I got for Christmas. When they don’t do what you really want, there’s no reason to keep them around. Sav would like an iPad. I would like a Nexus 9 tablet, but it’s not something that I need. It would probably be faster than this netbook, but no keyboard and twice the price. You can’t argue with math, especially when it comes to $$.

I’m holding out for this Ghost blogging platform. Sometime soon they are going to update the editor. At that point, I’m going to decide whether I keep it or ditch it. I have to say that I like where it’s going and how the interface behaves, for the most part.

Ok, that’s enough boring for a single post. I’m thinking about making a major shift and start posting a bit more family/personal stuff. I shy away from it for privacy reasons, but I realize it’s a little paranoid. Not like you’ll be seeing selfies with me and my new credit card (gotta make sure I get two — one of the front and one of my signature, right?), but you might start seeing some cute pics of my kids. I’m really not sure if anyone but Sav reads this, but on the chance that you’re not Sav, and you don’t think that my posts are entertaining just because they’re from me, I’ll try and make them more work reading. Maybe you’ll even want to comment one of these days. Wouldn’t that be fun?

Currently listening to “Moon” by Sia

The old school trend continues…

For about a month now, Sav has been trying to get me interested in shaving with an old double-edge safety razor.  She got an old Gillette at a thrift shop, and loves it.  I was doing some late-night shopping at Walmart last night a stumbled upon a safety razor.  Apparently there are some companies that now make them (in China), but there must be a market, so they’re being produced.  Sav paid about the same as this was going for new, and not being one to browse thrift shops, I decided to jump on this bandwagon.

Sav was excited, and it wasn’t long before she’d shown/explained just how much of a community of enthusiasts there is.  Some are near obsessed with the “art”, I guess.  I don’t plan on getting obsessed.  I’ve got enough obsessions to last be a while, and I prefer to be obsessed about things like mechanical keyboards or fountain pens.  I don’t think I like shaving enough to become obsessed with “the art of shaving”.

Nonetheless, I tried it out for the first time today.  Definitely a bit of a learning curve, and definitely different, but I have to say that I think that my first time shaving with a double-edge razor was just as good as I’ve ever had with my Gillette Mach 3.  The shave soap is a lot more fun than an aerosol can.  Using the brush made me feel like a boss.

I might have to get my dad into it as well.  Thanks to the internet, you can get supplies on the cheap very easily.

I can hear Sav wrestling our son in the other room—sounds like he’s getting into something.  Better go check on that, as well as check on the top round London broil that’s smoking in the Traeger.

Currently listening to “Rain Dance” by Dan Curtis

Testing out the new keyboard…

Don’t you love the sound of the doorbell when you’re expecting a package?  It’s like a miniature Christmas morning.  I have to say, I don’t think I really knew what to expect in a mechanical keyboard, other than figuring it would be a lot like the old keyboard that I sometimes use at work (not my computer — it’s an old Hänel inventory system).  It is very similar, only my new keyboard feels, well, newer.

It’s definitely a different experience.  It’s a more pleasant tactile experience.  You don’t have to wait for your fingers to be abruptly stopped in order to get feedback, or for the character to register.  Moreover, the sound that the keyboard makes when the switch actuates is pleasant and gives immediate feedback.  It’s a lot like typing on a manual typewriter, but requires much less movement of each key.  But a very pleasant sounds as each character is typed is there.

So my five minute review of the CODE Mechanical Keyboard:

Awesome.

Currently listening to “Sunrise” by Doug Hammer

The joys of home ownership…

My least favorite joy of home ownership is easily the lawn.  I hate my lawn.  Actually, I very much like that we have a lawn.  What I do not like is that there is a creek very near the lawn that provides it with fresh weeds, spiders, and gophers every year (or more often).  I’m constantly at war with this axis of evil.

This year started with gopher holes popping up in the middle of our backyard.  Luckily I saw them probably hours after the first one appeared, and I quickly started my favorite tactic: Gopher Gassers.  In fact, my first attack, I taped three gassers together and threw them down the large fresh hole that had appeared literally overnight.  That kept them at bay for about a week, then a couple more holes.  A gasser (or two) in each of those holes, and we had a few weeks of peace.  I even bought a new solar-powered vibrating stake to ward them off (they had worked well the first year, but moisture (winter) had killed them).  I thought we were free, but then another hole popped up one morning.  Unfortunately for the gopher, it was a weekend, and I again gassed them.  That was a few weeks ago (I believe).  Victory.

This weekend though, we waged war on the weeds.  Actually, this was more like the rebuilding of the lawn after the end of last year’s war.  No matter how much weed killer with crabgrass control I sprayed on the crabgrass last year, the crabgrass would not be controlled.  So I got desperate and mixed up some full-blown weed and grass killer, and I went to town.  Apparently I underestimated the grass in “weed and grass killer” and also might have mixed it a little strong.  I did kill the crabgrass, but I also killed large patches of grass around the crabgrass.  So while the houses across the previously mentioned creek started having beautifully green lawns as spring sprung, we did not.

This weekend was mow, dethatch, and reseed.  Mowing alone made the poor lawn look better.  The reseeding went well, and while I watered, I decided to also preemptively strike at the third member of the axis of evil.  Using the new hose in the newly installed hose reel, I sprayed the lawn for bugs while I watered the new seed (can’t spray weed killer on new grass, so I couldn’t do that).  I highly recommend the Ortho Dial ‘n Spray that attaches right onto the concentrate bottles.  I have a tank sprayer that I’ve used before, and the hose sprayers are 1000x easier, plus you can spray your whole lawn instead of just spot treating.  (For bugs/weeds.)  Plus, I found these handy quick connect hose accessories, and they’re super handy.  They’ll be very handy for watering the lawn every evening since the irrigation available quite yet.

Sav would like a nice lawn for the kids to be able to play in, and I’m trying hard to make that a reality.  It’s definitely going to take some TLC this year.  Instead of weird guys trying to sell me lawn services coming to my house, I wish someone would tell me that I could get my whole lawn replaced with astro turf on the cheap.  A man can wish…

I do have one comfort with all this lawn drama.  A single coworker of mine recently bought a house.  I hope that he finds out just how fun maintaining a house is.

The song in my head…

What do you do when it’s 10pm and you’d like to go to bed, but there’s a baby in that bed?  My choices:

  1. Play Dishonored: too tired, and there’s a chance that I could end up playing for 3 hours before actually going to bed, because the game is awesome (no Bioshock Infinite, but pretty good).
  2. Play some Flash game on Kongregate: already tired that–there hasn’t been a good, new game for quite some time.
  3. Watch Sherlock: no way–them episodes are 80 minutes long, and I don’t have the attention span.
  4. Blog while listening to the Frozen soundtrack.

I chose number four.

Besides “Let It Go”, “Happy” (by Pharrell Williams), and “Reindeer(s) Are Better Than People”, this is the song that’s been in my head:

It’s no “Let It Go”, but that didn’t stop me from listening to it 10 times on loop today at work.  (“Let It Go” has 30 plays, plus 6 on the deluxe album.)  Ok, “Valentine” has been in my head today, but as I write, I’m realizing that these videos are 100x better:

Ok, now that I’ve got my video posting out of my system…how have you been?  It’s been a long time.

Sav might be the only one who reads this some time next week, and she already knows this, but my life has been a bit crazy.  Well, work has been crazy.  Home life has been wonderful.  I have the cutest kids in the whole world.

Anyway, I want sleep and I have a cute but fussy baby who is trying to help me type.  Maybe I’ll write again soon.  Maybe I’ll write again in six months.  Stay tuned.

Currently listening to “Elsa and Anna” by Christophe Beck

In need of ideas…

Just about every day, I want to sit down and blog about something.  The only problem is that I can’t think of anything to blog about.  I can’t blog about what I do at work–half of the documents and emails I read are confidential.  I don’t want to rant about stuff, because no one wants to listen to a whiner (and I feel that I already did my share of internet ranting in the past).  And Sav covers the interesting parts of our lives.

So what in the world should I blog about?  Any suggestions?