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Amazon Cloud Player, Google Play, iTunes Match Comparison

by on Sep.04, 2013, under Uncategorized

Right off the bat, I’ll give my conclusions after using Amazon Cloud Player for a day, and Google Play and iTunes Match for a couple of months.  All have drawbacks that really limit their appeal.  For iPhone and iPad users with smaller sized libraries, iTunes Match is the clear winner.  For large libraries, Amazon would be the best choice, but it has some definite cons.  This review is written from the perspective of a Windows user who wants iOS integration for use with an iPhone and iPad.
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Cleaning Leaf Stains from Concrete Patio

by on Sep.04, 2013, under Uncategorized

My patio went unused for a couple of years and built up quite a bit of dirt and leaves.  During a recent cleanup, my pressure washer did very well at removing the dirt, but I found that the leaves, mostly oak, had left dark brown stains.  Most weren’t bigger than about the size of a dime, but there were LOTS of them.  My 1800 psi pressure washer couldn’t remove them.  Don’t waste time buying something like Crud Cutter at Lowes or Home Depot.  It doesn’t work on these stains.  Nor did a dish soap solution.  What worked was powdered OxiClean laundry detergent and a “toothbrush”.  It was a lot of work, but I found a procedure that worked quite well.

  1. Wet the concrete.
  2. Sprinkler a little OxiClean on each spot, individually.  Don’t try to cover the whole area.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
  3. With a small brush, brush the OxiClean around the spot and then leave it alone again for another 5-10 minutes with the paste sitting on the spot.
  4. Wash the OxiClean off with a pressure washer or good strong stream from a garden hose.

This procedure almost completely eliminated most of my stains.

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Quality Edge InsideOut Underdeck Installation

by on Aug.22, 2013, under Uncategorized

2013-08-19 18.59.02

Main Patio

I just finished having a drainage system added to an elevated deck at my home this week, and couldn’t be happier with the look.  It’s a product called InsideOut Underdecking by Quality Edge.  QE manufactures aluminum and steel construction products like siding, soffit material, and flashings. (continue reading…)

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Why iTunes Match matches some while uploading others

by on Jul.12, 2013, under Uncategorized

iTunes match has this bad habit of matching most of the songs on an album, but leaving a few that then get uploaded. This seems to happen most often on older albums, and I think I’ve determined a big part of why it happens. Song length. I had an Alan Parsons Project CD, “Tales of Mystery and Imagination,” that I ripped into my collection. I’m aware that there have been original and remastered versions of this album in years past. What I’ve discovered is that the 3 songs from that album that uploaded to iTunes Match instead of being matched are all several seconds different in length from the versions in the iTunes store. From 4 to 22 seconds different. Editing the lengths of those songs with a sound file editor fixed the problem and they matched.

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Gutter Stuff review (2 years in place)

by on Jul.08, 2013, under Uncategorized

Two years ago I saw a product at Sam’s Club called Gutter Stuff.  It was a wedge shaped piece of black foam that was to be placed in a gutter and claimed to keep debris out of the gutter while allowing water to flow through nearly unimpeded.  I recall it running about $2 a foot in a 24′ box of 3′ lengths, so did a section of my gutter and was please enough with it’s performance that I went back and got enough to do the whole house.  I’ve since seen it available online and at Home Depot.  It’s been two years, and the stuff isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty good.  Here’s my review. (continue reading…)

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Franklin Prosensor 710 Stud Finder – Awesome!

by on Jun.24, 2013, under Uncategorized

2013-06-23 15.24.02This tool is awesome, and well worth the premium price over a standard stud sensor.  Somebody had a brilliant idea.  If you’re into DIY, and have a standard stud sensor in your toolbox, put it in the garage sale box, and get this one.  There’s no more need to slide across the wall looking for edges of studs and then hoping somewhere in the middle is the actual stud.  You place it against the wall horizontally, press the button, and if there’s a stud behind any of its 13 LED’s, they’ll light.   By not having to slide it, you can use it on textured walls and ceilings much easier too.  Below is a photo of me holding it against some exposed studs to show how it can even show more than one stud at once.  It runs on two AA batteries.

Sliced bread has nothing on this thing, but imagine how cool it would it be to build this idea into a 3 or 4′ bubble level!

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Big Trouble with Owncloud

by on Jun.12, 2013, under Uncategorized

I installed OwnCloud earlier as a substitute for DropBox, but that was a big mistake.  I was recently working and saw one of OwnCloud’s little popups that several files had just been removed. Only problem was, I hadn’t removed any files, so it shouldn’t have either.  When I checked, sure enough, a folder with concert pics in it was empty.  I checked the OwnCloud server and they were gone from there as well.  I checked one of the other synced computers, and they were gone there too.  Poof.  Fortunately I have Carbonite installed on those systems and was able to get them back, but I’m wondering now what else may have been erased.  That little experiment with OwnCloud is done. I don’t feel like I can trust it.

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Facebook Image Sizing Cheat Sheet

by on Apr.26, 2013, under Uncategorized

I’ve had a few occasions in the past where this Facebook sizing cheat sheet would have come in handy. (continue reading…)

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Firefly Media Server

by on Apr.11, 2013, under Uncategorized

firefly[Found this draft copy of a write up I did on Firefly Media Server in January of 2010, but never published.  Those who know me, know what intervened.]

Firefly Media Server is a light-weight iTunes compatible music server for Windows or Linux.  I’ve mentioned it in several posts before and thought I’d do a run down of it with some screenshots.  Due to its slim requirements, it will run on even something as small as a NAS drive like the Western Digital World Edition products.  If the device runs a Linux kernel and you can get into it, which may require some hacking, it can probably run Firefly. (continue reading…)

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SafeMart pricing blows away local companies

by on Apr.02, 2013, under Uncategorized

We’d been looking at home security systems for a couple of months and had three local companies come to the house to propose systems and offer quotes.  In all cases, they were significantly more expensive than we had anticipated.  In my mind, I had guessed a mid-priced system for our size house might cost $800-$1000.  When the first quote came in over $4000 we had to struggle to not show our shock.  I mean, doesn’t ADT advertise systems for $99 with free installation?  The other quotes weren’t much better. (continue reading…)

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