Not too long ago, I received an email from Google AdSense stating they are dropping their plugin for WordPress. Within the email, they provided two options in placing AdSense ads into WordPress sans the Google plugin. I was able to apply both methods to my site. I made a quick tutorial on how I did it. Check it out.
I encountered a problem with the responsive ads that were generated. If the ad chosen by Google was smaller than the size of the container, a bit of yellow shows. I figured I’d tweak the code generated by Google by adding "background-color:transparent" setting to the style attribute. I decided to go inline instead of tweaking the style sheet. My logic is: if I decide to change my theme, the inline code should stay the same, whereas, the external style sheet will update with the theme.
Apple stopped making their software available on CD/DVD ages ago. Applications including the entire OS is downloaded only through their App Store.
When you download and install the OS from their App store, it performs an upgrade to the existing operating system. Your applications and a large majority of your settings are preserved. But what if you want to perform a clean install? Wipe everything off and start anew? Well to do that, you’ll need to have the installer on another media. Such as another hard drive you can connect to, a CD/DVD, or flash memory (thumb drive, SD card, etc.).
To transfer the OS installer to a secondary storage media requires more than just copying the installer to the media. It has to be bootable. You will need to install the OS on the secondary media. The general method is to format the target destination (flash memory, hard drive, etc.) and run the installer on the target.
createinstallmedia is an easy way of installing the operating system to the secondary storage media. This was introduced in Mavericks. (Unfortunately I didn’t know about it until now because I skipped Mavericks.) createinstallmedia is packaged in their OS installer. There is no need to download it separately. createinstallmedia is a program that needs to be run in Terminal.
There are numerous tutorials available online (video and writeup). From what I’ve read and seen, the steps require downloading the OS installer, formatting the target media, copying the code and pasting into Terminal, and then executing the code. The tutorial steps are straight forward. If you don’t deviate from them, then you will succeed with a bootable system.
For my tutorial, I’m targeting the command line averse. The method I employ gives more leeway. For example, the majority of the tutorials online have you download the installer from the App Store and leave it alone (that is, don’t move it from the Applications folder). Well, say you’ve downloaded the OS already and have is stored in another folder or another volume (a different hard drive)? If you try to execute the command based on their tutorial, it will fail because the path is wrong. The method I use will ensure the path is filled out correctly. I’m using a USB flash/thumb drive as my target destination, but this should work on any other form of flash memory or external hard drive. The only caveat is the target destination must be large enough to accept the OS (min is about 6GB; 8GB is ideal).
There are a lot of benefits for having a garden, especially an edible one. You get to control the chemicals you expose your food to, and thus restrict the amount of chemicals you consume. From the garden to the table–you cannot get any fresher (nor greener) than that.
I had some success in planting directly in the ground. What I find troublesome about that is the weeding required. The buggers grow everywhere. The solution is to isolate the plant… a garden bed, aka an oversized garden pot. I did some research and decided to take this on as my next DIY project.
There are a lot of raised garden bed build types. You can construct it from stone, brick, wood, or simply a mound of dirt. For my project, I decided to go with a wooden bed. I was dissuaded from using pressure treated wood because of the likely hood the chemicals can leach into the soil and onto the plant (there’s a lot of debate about that NOT being an issue today, but I’m going to err on the side of caution). Cedar and redwood were highly recommended for its longevity. Redwood won out because I can easily find it here in the Bay Area. It is expensive though.
For the build, I wanted to keep it simple. I’m lacking in wood working tools and some of the plans/designs would be difficult for me to execute. A very typical and simple design just uses the planks/boards that comprise the width and length of the garden bed and scrap pieces of wood or posts (usually a 4×4). The posts or scrap wood would be used in the corners as nailing anchors for the sides of the garden bed. I didn’t want to go this route because I didn’t want to buy extra wood just for nailing purposes. It just seems like a waste of wood and more importantly waste of money. My solution was to use pocket screws. I saw them being used on PBS woodworking shows. They used pocket screws to join pieces together in furniture and cabinets. I figured why not for this application? After finding out they make weather resistant pocket screws, I green lighted this option. I decided to go with the Kreg pocket hole system because that was used on the PBS shows and it’s readily available online (links below) and in big box stores.
I did more research on pocket screw joinery. Knowing the thickness of the material you’re using is very important. For optimal bite, the screw should leave the board (that has the hole bored out) at or near the midway point of that board (https://www.kregtool.com/store/c13/kreg-jigsreg/#tab1394). Therefore, positioning of the jig (device used to bore the pocket screw hole) is important. The thickness of the work material is also important in selecting the right screws to use. It needs to be long enough to bite into the connecting board. It is also important not to over torque the pocket screw. You don’t want to strip the wood threads. This is crucial info. I would hate to spend all the time and money to have the joint fail because I drilled the hole in the wrong position, stripped out the threads, or use the wrong size screw to connect the pieces together.
The material cost is approximately $65. The screws and plugs were relatively cheap. The large chunk is due to the wood choice: redwood. The cost can easily be reduced by using more common cheaper wood. The compromise is the longevity of the garden bed. A cheaper wood, like pine will rot faster.
The tool cost is hard to factor in. Yes, I did buy the Mini Kreg Jig, and the driver bit specifically for this project. However, its use is not only restricted for building raised garden beds. It’s a joinery system. I can use it to repair drawers, chairs, tables, etc. As with the bar clamps and combination square, it’s not a must have in the home DIY tool box, but there are multiple uses for those tools and therefore, it’s a safe buy.
Here’s the video I shot of the project and price breakdown (located below the video link):
I ordered vent visors from WeatherTech for my Scion tC. WeatherTech brands them as “window deflectors”. I was going to go with the cheaper vent visor that attaches by adhesive tape. I was dissuaded by some forum posts stating the adhesive tape doesn’t stay stuck for long. The other option, but much more expensive alternative was the precisely molded in-channel visors sold by WeatherTech. The cost is around $75, which includes shipping.
I hoping this investment will pay off. It’s near winter time; we’re finally getting some rain (I live in the Bay Area, and we’re suffering from a major draught — this is well needed stuff). The trouble with rain, no matter how small you crack open the window, you’ll still get water inside. With these installed, that shouldn’t be a problem anymore. I also plan on leaving it cracked open. I’m getting tired of the condensation fogging up my windshield after my late evening workout. Hopefully this will save on running the AC to defog the windows.
I could have used these this past summer. I gets hot here. Not desert hot, but hot enough to steam when getting into the car after it’s been baking in the sun for 6 hours. I have a Broadway mirror attached to my rearview. When it gets too hot, any slight vibration from rough roads will cause it to move on its own. Really annoying when driving. I could crack my moonroof to help vent when parked, but find that leaves tend to blow inside when I do this. These vent visors should help with that.
Is this a worthwhile investment? I’m kinda talking myself into thinking it is. The design is unobtrusive and install was easy. The question is, will it fulfill its purpose and help regulate the inside temperature and relative humidity? Dunno… have to wait and see.
Sony has discontinued the HDR-AS15. Deals are to be had…and I was able to snag one, plus multiple mounting gear to boot (more on that later).
YouTube is finally supporting faster frame rates. I stumbled upon a few videos at 60 fps. I like the faster frame rate. To me it looks like there’s more detail (optical illusion because of the extra frames?–dunno, but I like). I have multiple devices that can record 720p @ 60fps. I didn’t shoot at that setting because YouTube didn’t support it. I opted for the max resolution of 1080p instead. And now YouTube supports 60 fps. I’m all in!
Techmoan on YouTube posted a comparison video of two action cams: Hero and Sony (link here). GoPro has a strong presence in action cam videos. I didn’t necessarily want to buck the trend, but GoPro’s price points are too steep. There are a lot of non-mainstream brands that are considerably cheaper, but I’m not too confident about their product support, and the build and video quality. I didn’t know too much about Sony’s offering. So I watched some reviews and posted videos. I liked what I saw. I then stumbled upon Techmoan’s AS15 review (link here). What caught my attention was Sony’s firmware updated to allow the AS15 to shoot 1080p @ 60fps.
I didn’t really consider an action camera. I’m not a big fan of the wide angle. I don’t do extreme activities. I do however, find myself holding my video camera or my phone at awkward angles to try to get that POV shot. That’s where an action cam (with the right mount) excels. But what really sold it, was again 1080p @ 60 fps. There are units that can shoot at that frame rate and also within my budget. I had to at the very least look into it.
I priced the HDR-AS15 at Amazon — around $150 (US). I then checked BHPhoto.com — $120 with the headband mount (BLT-HB1)!
Apparently that’s not all of it…I guess I got a little tunnel vision because I was only interested in the Action Cam + the headband mount. The deal also included:
Sony has discontinued this model, and they have a newer offering, but this thing can still get the job done. Even with the discontinued pricing from various vendors, BHPhoto’s offering had more bang for the buck. In fact, at the time, the camera and the various mounts were still cheaper than purchasing only the camera from the other vendors. This was like a Black Friday or Cyber Monday deal. I couldn’t pass it up.
The HDR-AS15 firmware required an update. I was expecting this (thanks to Techmoan). It’s now ready to shoot at 1080p @ 60 fps.