Thursday, December 26, 2013

Getting rid of excess clutter. Really going to do it this time.

Like most Americans I'm awash in stuff. Lots and tons of stuff. It creeps into every corner of my life, my house. And it is no uncommon thing to do a stuff-cleanse. Sure, I've done a few of those. It doesn't work well, usually. Or at all.

But here we go again. This time it will work. Just this past week I found 4 flashlights around the house that haven't ever been used. Or maybe used once. Crazy thing is, there are a few more flashlights around that aren't used.

I have something like 5 headlamps. 5 headlamps! I still only have one head. Crazy!

So this time I really want to rid myself of all this excess. Expunge all this crap. Simply my stuff.

There is no plan. No gimmick. No expert. Nothing more than simply getting rid of stuff at a slow and steady clip. No 2-day donation blowout. No one weekend attempt. Just a slow and steady attempt to "always keep purging." I will keep a page on this blog to keep track of the stats for my own notes.

It begins:
Donation to thrift shop: 4 flashlights. Almost new.
Selling on eBay: one headlamp, works perfect.
Total less stuff: 5

Friday, August 02, 2013

Gingria - Cheap Cocktails to make with cheap port and gin

One lazy summer evening years ago, I discovered cheap port over ice makes a fine sangria taste-alike. I like to believe my palette has moved beyond such simple pleasures and figured to resurrect this lazy summer evening cocktail with a little gin added to the mix. Aside from fancy pre-mix cocktails found in your grocer aisle, you won't find a simpler way to make a sangria-style drink.

It won't win any awards, but that's not what summer evenings are for...

Simple Gingria Recipe:
1 part gin
1 part soda water or still water
2 parts port - (cheaper the better?)
Lime quarter squeezed and floated
Couple of ice cubes

Tip? Bitcoin me: 16sVrM2s2zHqtGDQhFs4FjbdSxYs1EKZ7P

Friday, June 28, 2013

The missing Windows Start Button returns (sort of) in Windows 8.1

I've been using Win 8 for a few months now. It's been mostly fine. Frustrated at times, yes. Missing things, yes! Craving the start button, Yes!!

Well no more craving. I've loaded up the new Windows 8.1 Preview and like that the Start Button is now present.

But I didn't like that it just goes to the Start Tile Screen instead of the traditional Windows 7 window. I suppose Microsoft will hear complaints about how the new button behaves. I'll be waiting to see what people end up thinking about it. Does is really fix the outcry or just amateurishly appease the complainers that wanted it back?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Fixing missing Dell D620 wireless wifi drivers with Ubuntu

I have an old Dell D620 that I use as a sofa surfing laptop. I've found Ubuntu works great for this purpose. I've freshly installed Ubuntu on it a few times and always have a problem with the wireless drivers not installing correctly. To fix this run these two commands from terminal:

sudo apt-get purge bcmwl-kernel-source broadcom-sta-common broadcom-sta-source (it may not see all of these)

sudo apt-get install b43-fwcutter firmware-b43-installer

Restart and wifi will be good.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Made in America Mac Pro by Apple

I love that Apple is continuing to support US manufacturing, albeit very minimally but hey gotta start somewhere. Their new Mac Pro is quite a different take on a server. It is adding excitement by bucking two trends: manufactured offshore and tradition enclosure. Yes, in a very Apple-like way the new Mac Pro is moving rapidly away from the square corner box design. I love the look. I like the idea on cooling, can't wait to see more on the fan. Sure I've already seen comments about having to fit these into the workplace, rackplace. But the footprint is tiny, and I'm sure simple solutions will be created.

Can't wait to see more highlights on the product. And so great that it is Made in USA. Fantastic that the entire line of Mac Pros will be US Made. So design firms overseas will have to import these US Made computers. iAwesome.

Monday, June 03, 2013

A zin with punch - Sledgehammer Zinfandel 2009

Lately I've had a few bottles of zin that seemed watery and underwhelming. Deserving better I grabbed a bottle of Sledgehammer in the wine aisle hoping to break the trend.

Heavy fruit. Pepper. Deep color. Bold and lasting. Slight leather that can be easily forgotten in a zin, which I prefer. But I didn't mind it so much here -- the fruits overwhelm it. Overall this is a great glass of zin. Something I can recommend if you like a bolder wine.

The bottle was on sale for about $9 from a MSRP of $13 or so. For a sub $15 zin this hammer is hitting all the places I need.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Defeating clutter through simple actions

I started reducing kitchen clutter with one simple, effective step: jettisoning martini glasses. We had 3 sets ot 2 martini glasses. After a few years in our house we never had used them. Not even once. I thought about getting rid of one set. Then we would have reduced them by 30 percent but still be able to serve 4 martinis if occasion called. What? Who was I kidding. We never would be serving martinis. We don't even have the proper ingredients! So I reluctantly added all 6 glasses to the donation box and didn't look back. 

They have never been missed. And now the kitchen has less stuff. So what's your kitchen's martini glass? Find it and get it gone.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Finding CHKDSK log in Windows 7

Ever run CHKDSK and need to review the log? You'll find it in Event Viewer.
-Open Computer Management
-Expand System Tools > Event Viewer > Windows Logs
-Look in the Application log for Wininit in the source column
-Double click that entry and you'll see all the results of the CHKDSK

Click photo to see larger version:

Friday, March 22, 2013

How to disable the password expiration on Windows Server 2008

If your server is non-domain joined and you are not using Active Directory the Local Security Policy controls items like password complexity rules, account lockouts, and password expiration. To turn off password expiration you'll need admin rights and to simply edit the Local Security Policy:

  • Launch “Local Security Policy”: Start > Administrative Tools > Local Security Policy
  • Expand “Account Policies” and select Password Policy
  • Set the Maximum Password age to “0″

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The bullion luster of a Silver Eagle Coin

There's something about the look of a mint silver coin that is very appealing. Not so much the shine, but the thick, creamy luster of the dull surfaces. Anytime I look at a Silver Eagle I think wow, too bad our real coins aren't made of this stuff anymore...

Friday, March 15, 2013

Microsoft Exchange Server - Using PowerShell to Share Outlook Calendar

On occasion I need to manage Exchange mailboxes. Generally I just do two simple tasks: Send As and Calendar permissions. The former can be easily managed via EMC, the latter cannot. While it can be managed from the sharing calendar user’s Outlook client, that is annoying and can require human interaction. Let's keep that kind of stuff to a minimum. It’s much easier to user PowerShell. Be sure to use the Exchange Powershell Module.

You can look at a user’s permissions with this cmdlet:

After entering the cmdlet you type in a user mailbox for Identity. You can also add the –Identity into the cmdlet directly to define. Either way, this will display the current permissions for that user.

To give a user to have permissions to another calendar use this cmdlet:
Add-MailboxFolderPermission -Identity\Calendar -User -AccessRights Reviewer

Adjust the AccessRights as needed, ie: Owner, Editor, Author, Reviewer, etc…

Saturday, March 09, 2013

The Prefect Demitasse Espresso Cup - It's Chip Proof

Ever since getting a Saeco Superautomatic machine, I take at least one 2 ounce pull of espresso each morning. For years I had a set of cute ceramic demitasse cups -- I've lost the tiny saucers, but who cares about those anyway. But I've found that the cups haven't been up to the task for daily use, by me. I ding them on the sink, I ding them on the faucet. They have chipped more then twice and one ding took off the entire handle... the poor demitasse cup!

As much as I like the painted ceramic look, I knew I needed a better replacement. Something that could handle the rigors of daily use, by me, and my always-in-a-hurry dish washing skill set.

In some moment of reflection I recalled a hardy campsite technology that allowed me to enjoy both wine, water, and, ahem, coffee for several years of camping: enameled-ware. This is the stuff of roustabouts and cowboys, and Boy Scouts probably. Sturdy. And un-breakable. Certainly the enamel can be chipped, but that will just add to the character of the demitasse moment.

I found a pair of little espresso size cups. They are fantastic. I love them. I want to dig around the garage and find my old coffee mug size one, if it hasn't been lost or abandoned years ago. I think these cups are, simply, the perfect espresso cup. You can check them out at Amazon here.

New friend and old friend

The business entering the cup

Ah, mornings with a Saeco


Thursday, March 07, 2013

Dave Ramsey's Mututal Funds - Two are growth funds from American Funds

Recently Dave tweeted and spoke about two of his mutual funds. I've heard him talk about "his" funds in the past but he never specifically named them. Now, for whatever reason, he has started revealing some of his funds. I suspect it has to do with people claiming that his is off the mark when recommending that people can regularly get 10-12% return year after year after year. So he is telling his detractors flatly what funds have average these returns over their long history.

Here are two that he specifically named recently. He is clear to say he isn't endorsing these products, but that he has his personal money in these funds. Both are products of American Funds:

Investement Company of America

Growth Fund of America

If you are looking for a long term growth fund, then both of these are worth a look. Dave did.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

CC Filson Tote Bag - Tin Cloth - Made in USA

You'll be hard pressed to find a more rugged, utilitarian tote bag than the Filson Tote. Perfect as a grocery getter or for a weekend jaunt, this bag will give you a lifetime of service. I've been using mine for over 10 years and it seems like it is just getting broken in. I've used it to haul beer back from the market and to stuff a weekends worth of food for some car camping.

I'd recommend the zipper-version. Although I wouldn't mind having a non-zippered one as well. Maybe it's time I start shopping for one...

If you are thinking about getting a Filson Tote bag, don't think, just get one. Years from now you'll thank yourself. You can check out and buy the zippered Filson tote at Amazon here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Make Google Chrome download PDF files by default

If you prefer for Chrome to download PDFs and not use the preview view mode you need to disable the PDF viewer plugins.

In the Chrome URL address bar type:


Look for and disable Chrome PDF Viewer

You may also need to disable any Adobe Reader plugin.

Close and restart Chrome and now PDFs will be downloaded.