Upgrade to Windows 8.1

by David Saturday December 28, 2013 05:32

I have to admit that I like Windows 8. This coming from a guy who still has Windows XP on one of his computers. I am terrified of operating system updates, especially Windows, because of past history with updates. Since I want the latest version of Visual Studio on this computer, I decided to update everything before I installed it. Oh, I put it off for a while, but went ahead and clicked the update button.

It worked great!

It too a while to download the 35gb file, but no big deal.

There is not much difference, the search feature now searches everything – instead of apps or settings – it seems a little slower too. But it’s updated and I’m happy to share, without issue.

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Changes Again

by David Wednesday December 25, 2013 11:00

As I post what could be one of my last posts on this blog, rest assured my personal domain/blog will return. I plan on many changes for my websites this year as I delve back into web development.

My posting of late has been sporadic at best, mostly because my attention has been on my business. I enjoy sharing but as I’ve written before, I enjoy going back and reading my old posts. I guess I’m my own biggest fan. (grin)  These past two years, 2012 & 2013 have been life changing – my whole world is much different that it was at the end of 2011. Some of the changes have been difficult, but most wonderful, one thing for sure, things are vastly different in my world. Heck, it’s Christmas morning and it’s 44° outside (instead on 17° on the porch in Bowling Green), that’s a good thing (grin).

So this blog will be going the way of the dodo. Bye bye to BlogEngine, hello new blog engine from scratch. It might take a few months but I’ll get it back on here.

Note: My forthcoming year end post will likely be my last on here for a while.

Merry Christmas (again) everyone.

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Merry Christmas 2014

by David Wednesday December 25, 2013 04:30

Merry Christmas dear Internet readers! I get all sentimental on Christmas as I remember the past Christmas’s with family and friends, most of whom have gone their own way but many remain. We have guests this Christmas and I will be frying another turkey.

As I considered this post, I got all reminiscent about 2013, but will I save those thoughts for a potential year end blog.

My heart is full of love for those I care about and I hope this Christmas is a blessing filled with joy and happiness.

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Thoughts

Workstation Networked Without the Wires

by David Monday December 9, 2013 05:16
  • Issue: Need to connect a Windows 7 PC to the network without running network cables.
  • Issue: Windows 7 computer does not have a wireless WiFi card
  • Issue: Need a port for IP phone

Solution? WiFi receiver with a 4 port switch.

NETGEAR N300 Wi-Fi Range Extender - Desktop Version with 4-Ports (WN2000RPT)

I decided to set Carrie up with a home office in our circa 1960s home in the foothills. There is no crawl space, no attic and no way to run a network cable to the 3rd bedroom. PLUS, I wanted to have a hub in that office for a potential VOIP phone. I did some research (Google) and found all kinds of articles about how to convert old wireless WiFi routers into receivers but the ones I have are not supported. I could have installed new software/firmware onto the old routers but in the end, I would have a patchwork network that would be problematic at best.

My decision was to spend a few dollars and get equipment that was made for my situation.

Back to Google, I searched “Access point” and “Wireless receiver with hub” and followed links to Walmart, Amazon and Best Buy. I had a good understanding of what was available and what might solve my conundrum but at the height of the Christmas shopping season, it was hard to figure out which of my many options were actually in stock. Toss in the ‘promise’ I made to Carrie to have her online on Sunday sent me to an actual brick and mortar retail store; during the Christmas shopping season no less. (gulp)

Most of these Access Points or Range Extenders are made to connect home theater and gaming equipment to the network, fortunately, I’ve installed enough networks to kind of know what I was looking for.

  • A WiFi Receiver
  • A basic hub or switch

I ended up at Best Buy on Wetmore Rd.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the store relatively peaceful – at least in the area I was interested in. Well, it was before 10:00 AM on Saturday morning so I guess that helped. A young man offered assistance which I tried to decline but he was persistent (read bored I guess). I had the device chosen and in my hand already, but the boy in blue wanted to help. After a series of questions and answers – him asking, me answering, him not believing my answers – it was decided that what I had already chosen was what I needed.

What did I choose? A Netgear (I like the brand) “Universal WiFi Range Extender, 4-port WiFi Adapter.” I really wasn’t looking for a “range extender” but this thing looks like it will do the trick. After being assured by the blue blazoned helper that I could return it if it didn’t work, I purchased it – well after turning down the club card, credit card and the extended warranty.

If you want to buy it online, here is a link to Amazon, should you choose to buy it, they may send me a few pennies too. NETGEAR N300 Wi-Fi Range Extender - Desktop Version with 4-Ports (WN2000RPT)

Saturday December 7, 2013 means it’s college football extravaganza so there would be no networking on this day. (grin)

Speaking of December 7th, it is also the day to remember Perl Harbor!!! 72 years ago, so many souls. Sad.

Sunday, the day of reckoning for me and my network. I never believe things will install as easily as they say they will. Throw in the fact Netgear used the word “universal” in the product name, I was very skeptical. So I unwrapped the plastic, opened the box to find the black device and a small (5”X5”) pamphlet of instructions. Okay, here goes!

Option 1 (preferred) : Plug in the Netgear WiFi Extender, press the WPS button and then press the WPS button on the existing router. (Oh sure, it’s that easy.)

I plugged it in, pressed the buttons and … it worked. WOW! No seriously, it actually worked! I have renewed faith in the word universal and this has confirmed my confidence in the Netgear brand.

Okay, now for the geeky part – as if this post is not geeky enough.

Since I’m a security conscious kind of geek, I went ahead and logged onto the new “range extender” so I could change the default password. Yeah I know but I don’t need anyone messing with me or my network. I also changed the network id of this unit because I will be installing another in the house. (Actually, I did that after two units were running (fine I might add) with the same Network ID.)

More geekiness… this range extender also solved some intranet issues I was having with my MAC Mini server too. I’m so excited. (grin)

Oh – another thing, the range extender works too! All you have to do is log onto the new device, it will be listed just like your existing one with _EXT added (example, originalrouter and originalrouter_EXT). Bonus? You use the same password as you have been on your original router. SWEET

I guess I should let you know that my original WiFi router is a Linksys X2000 which is about a year old and pretty up to date. How this range extender will work on older networks is unclear.

The bottom line? If you need several network outlets (a hub) for your computer, DVR, game console or anything that doesn’t connect via wireless WiFi – and don’t want to run wires all over your house – this Netgear range extender works beautifully.

I have not tested the VOIP yet, but the system is very proprietary and local so that information would be of little use to anyone other than me.

<update> The VOIP worked fine too! One hub with a Windows 7 PC and VOIP phone and the other hub with a Windows 8 PC, A MAC Pro and a VOIP phone. All working flawlessly.</update>

As always, thanks for reading!

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Computing

Nuts

by David Friday December 6, 2013 05:29

We picked up some “In-Shell” nuts yesterday at the grocery. Big deal? Well kind of. I have memories from my childhood of a bowl of in-shell nuts in the dining room during the holidays. After bringing them home and trying each, we decided that this will be part of our winters from now on.

Bonus? They’re good for you too.

Get health and fitness tips at Greatist.com

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Food

Happy Thanksgiving 2013

by David Thursday November 28, 2013 05:24

It’s 6:00 AM on Thanksgiving morning and I am feeling grateful for so many things! Sure, the past year has had its share of trials, but all in all, it’s been a great year!

The new business is growing – albeit slower than anticipated – we received our 12th issue yesterday. It sits in storage until Sunday when we begin deliveries.

covers4blog

I’ve gained a ton of weight too – tipping the scale right at 260 – which I plan to do something about starting next week. Why next week? Because we have a Thanksgiving feast in store for later today and the leftovers need to be consumed. (grin) I’m starting slow this time, walking 1.8 miles at least 3 times per week, building up to 3+ miles on the streets around our house. There are lots of hills so it’s a good start.

Plan for today is a smoked/fried turkey and lots of sides. I am really looking forward to it.

That’s all for now. I’m making lots of changes to this blog, adding a new blog and redeveloping the business website so updates may be few and far between for a while.

As always, thanks for reading and happy Thanksgiving!

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Thoughts | Personal

I Can See Clearly Now

by David Wednesday November 6, 2013 06:35

Well, at 48.9 years old I finally broke down and went to the eye doctor. Nothing fancy, just one of those places that offers a free eye exam with the purchase of glasses. The glasses? Nothing fancy either, just two pair of wire rimmed plastic lenses. The result? Cheap glasses AND a whole new world!!!

IMG_0863fx

WOW! I didn’t know what I was missing. From the moment I put them on I’ve been rediscovering all of the things I’ve been missing. My eyes are fine close up, I don’t need them to read or use the computer. Anything farther than 24” though, it is significantly more difficult to see.

I invested pretty heavily in a nice big flat screen television, mostly for BluRay action movies and sporting events. I was watching a subtitled movie one time when my eldest observed me learning forward to read the words. He said, “Dad, you need glasses.” That was about 6 months ago. He went on to suggest that if I would spend a few dollars on some glasses, it would “be like upgrading to HD TV again.” He was right!

I didn’t realize what I was missing – from the text scrolling at the bottom of the football game, to the beauty of the mountains surrounding my home. Plants, birds, even the dirt looks so much better. Street signs while driving is probably the most notable improvement.

IMG_0865fx

What do I do with my new specs? I go to the zoo of course. What better way to enjoy my new eyesight than to visit a beautiful park filled with wild animals. I was not disappointed!! I saw everything so much better. I did have a little trouble because I was trying to take pictures and juggling the glasses and the camera proved to be a little bothersome. I got used to it though.

Normally I would wax poetic about my new eyesight an refocused outlook on life – but the literal is much more exciting than the figurative this morning.

The first football game I watched was Monday Night Football – it was so clear it was like getting a new TV!

Of all the movies I could have selected from my vast(?) library of action/adventure BluRay’s, I chose Cowboys and Aliens.  Yep – and it was GREAT! I could see all kinds of new things, blood splatter and all.

My eyesight slowly diminished as I got older. I started having trouble seeing street signs several years ago. I didn’t realize how much I was missing by procrastinating the inevitable visit to the eye doctor. All I can say is I’m glad I finally did it, and for anyone squinting to read my thoughts, or who struggles to see when driving, please do yourself a favor and get some cheap glasses.

One tip – if you plan to go to one of those places that offer a free eye exam, make sure you get the whole prescription. Apparently, the place I went leaves off a very important number, the PD (Pupillary Distance:    Measure of distance between pupils). You cannot order glasses elsewhere without this number. I discovered that after my exam and before I received my glasses so I asked the nice lady about it. She said, we normally don’t give that number out but yours is 68 or 34 for each eye. I still don’t know what my eyesight is as far as 20/20 goes… but I do know; I can see clearly now!! YEA ME!

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Personal | Thoughts

Early Saturday Morning

by David Saturday September 28, 2013 05:25

Sitting in my dark dining room, my face is lit up by the computer monitor and my mind is lit up with thoughts of the past year, and that of the year to come. The coffee pot just turned off – at 4:49 AM – and that means I’ve been up for 2 hours already. Yeah, early morning to be sure.

We get the 7th issue of the magazine this morning! It’s 54 pages with more than 2,000 things to do in the calendar. We started a new wine writer but I had to put off my own articles debut. Gringo Dave Cooks Outdoors was supposed to be introduced this month with my tried and true steak grilling technique, but due to time and page constraints, it will have to wait till the November issue where I will write about frying the Thanksgiving turkey.

I left the hummingbird feeder out last night. No big deal but I will have to refill it before the hummingbirds wake up. Why? Because the fruit bats drained it – as they always do when I leave it out overnight. Thankfully, I make my own nectar – 1/4 cup sugar to 1 cup water – so it was not a costly mistake.

As you can see, I’m rambling a bit. That’s how my mind is working this morning and basically how it’s worked since we got here. So many things to think about, consider, decide and do that my mind bounces from one thought to the next. I will be happy when we get this business where it needs to be so I can have my sanity back.

I have been figuring out the way ASP.NET works and that’s a good thing. I have big ideas for the magazine website but also some personal applications for recipes, techniques and cooking. The more I learn, the more I want to do.

That said, I am considering – again – some major changes to my websites and domains. I know I wrote that I may not post my cooking adventures but I am reconsidering it. Since I will be writing articles for the magazine about cooking outdoors – which only makes sense in a market the sees upwards of 300 sunny days a year – I figured I might as well post them online with indoor techniques too. I’ve really wanted a web application to organize my culinary adventures, so that is another thing I’m working on with ASP.NET.

Food? Oh-My-Goodness!!! We’ve been making some awesome stuff! But I have kind of put the food blogging/photo posting on hold for a while. Sorry or you’re welcome. (grin) I did procure 30 pounds of pork butt from Sam’s Club and will be making a few batches of sausage next weekend. Italian, Sage (breakfast) and Chorizo are in the plan but I may reserve some of the pork to give bratwurst a try. I will spend the week preparing the fresh herbs and spices, reviewing my past techniques and making a plan before I start. This will also be the first time I’m using sausage casings for the Italian and the brats.

Nature? We’ve tamed some of the local lizards by feeding them dried meal-worms. Some of the little skittish guys actually eat from the palm of my hand. Will post pictures someday.

Fitness? Bleh! I’m up to 255 and not exercising at all. This is something I must remedy immediately. My waist is above 40 inches which has health implications. I must start walking again.

So there you have it – not much has changed around here. We are enjoying the desert, the community and the porch very much. We still have a lot of work to do, but the magazine is becoming very popular and I see some great things happening in the next 30 to 90 days. We have had steady growth since we started, and I am very encouraged by it. This thing is coming together nicely albeit slowly.

Should I post this or not? Sure – what the heck. Enjoy!

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Thoughts

Football Football Football

by David Thursday September 5, 2013 05:41

It’s finally here! Football season and we’re excited!!! We thoroughly enjoyed last weekends college football opener with a win by both Alabama and Arizona!! Though, we didn’t get to actually see the Arizona game because it was on the PAC 12 Network and apparently, they have not been able to work out their differences with DirecTV. This is unfortunate to be sure. Will I subscribe to COX? Or sign up for Dish? Probably not but I do wish DirecTV and the PAC 12 Network could work something out.

This weekend is the pro-football opener and we’re looking forward to a weekend of grilling outdoors, and watching football all day Saturday and Sunday!!!

One thing I just noticed, the ESPN Pro-Football “Power Rankings” are not showing our teams as very high in the first week of the season. The Arizona Cardinals (our new ‘home team’) are ranked 26th and the Tennessee Titans (our old home team) are ranked 27th – out of 32! That is a bad showing in the first week. One glimmer of hope is the New Orleans Saints who are ranked 13th.  No, the Saints are not a home team or anything, but we have become fans since we watched so many games with good friends in KY.

Our teams!

College
The Alabama Crimson Tide (ROLL TIDE)
The Arizona Wildcats
LSU Tigers
Most any SEC team that is not playing another SEC team then we have to choose
We will also be paying attention to the WKU Hilltoppers and their new coach this year.

PRO
Arizona Cardinals
Tennessee Titans
New Orleans Saints
Dallas Cowboys (Favorite team when I was a kid growing up in Tucson – think Tom Landry era.)

So if you find yourself wondering what we’re up to on the weekends for the next few months, you can picture us either in front of the TV with the sounds of football blaring through 6 speakers watching football… OR, on the porch listening to football while cooking something tasty on the grill GringoDave style. Oh, I may fit in a NASCAR race in here and there too! 

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Home | Football

Increase Shower Flow by Replacing Water Pressure Regulator?

by David Wednesday August 21, 2013 07:27

Whodathunkit? The water ‘pressure’ in our rental home has always been less than we would prefer. That is until yesterday when the plumber replaced the water regulator and LOWERED the pressure. Huh? Yeah, the pressure WAS 125 PSI and with the new regulator it IS 69 PSI and the shower is awesome!

Okay, let me back up… we have a water softener system, it sprung a big time leak a couple of weeks ago – I mean really big, the water was coming out of the top of the pressure cylinder all around the mechanism. The Culligan man came and discovered that our water pressure was too high and is likely what caused the damage. Apparently, the water pressure is supposed to be 80 pounds per square inch maximum, ours was 125 PSI.

Another strange symptom that has been present since we moved in a year ago, the pipes have always made a squeaking sound whenever water was used in the house. There is a water manifold that is out of the ground and it has always made the noises no matter how much – or little – water was being used. One day, we turned the water on full blast for the water hose and that manifold not only made the squeaking sounds, but it was actually moving so much we turn off the water. It only happened once but it was strange.

So the plumber came and changed the regulator in 40 minutes. He even showed me the pressure and it was 69 PSI. He even joked about how sorry he was about our shower now that the pressure is half of what it was.

Well, right after he left, I took a shower and it was awesome! Lots of “pressure!” YEA!!!!

So I think I figured out why our ‘pressure’ increased in the shower even though the new regulator is set 55 PSI lower. There is a membrane in the regulator that does the job of regulating the pressure, I believe that the membrane fell into the flow of water restricting the AMOUNT of water through the device. Water pressure and water flow are two different things.

Water FLOW is measured in gallons per minute.
Water PRESSURE is measured in pounds per square inch.

So while our shower is getting less pressure, it’s getting more gallons and the result is the impression that we have more pressure in our shower. I really don’t care how or why the shower is better, I’m just happy it is.

This also confirms my desire to have a 3” water line from the street to the house I build someday. (grin) 

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Who?

David Francis (that's me) having recently repatriated back to Tucson Arizona after a 25 year hiatus, I felt a fresh start in life deserved (another) fresh start online. This blog is for personal posts, observations and sharing. More?

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