SSL Enabled – Well, Self-Signed

I have decided to enable SSL on my website not so much that others can access it via HTTPS but more so that when I log in remotely that I am not sending clear text username and passwords over the network. Plus, I wanted to use it as a learning experience on generating a Self-Signed Certificate. For years in the past I have dealt with CA purchased Certificates for work but not a Self-Signed one.

Unfortunately, I do not have all the spare change in the world to throw at whatever I want otherwise I would have purchased a SSL Certificate from a CA but those cost money, and cost money to continually renew them when the expire; plus, I wanted to learn a little SSL Self-Signing. So, since this is primarily for me (and anyone else that does not mind getting the ugly SSL warning) to use, I created a Self-Signed Certificate.

My site will continue to be accessible through HTTP connections so do not feel you need to start using HTTPS because HTTP is not going away.

 

SBW#4 – Slow Shower or Tub Drain

We have all been in this spot before and if you have not, then consider yourself lucky. So you are taking a shower and notice the water just is not going down the drain very fast and starting to pool up. How can you get clean while there is dirty water pooling around your feet right?

Well, slow draining of water in your shower or tub can be a real nuisance. There is no need to call a plumber when this is such a quick and easy fix that can be resolved in most cases under 15 minutes.

Generally, it is caused by hair built up on the drain crossbars beneath the drain stopper for those without a drain screen. This can easily be remedied by taking the drain stopper off and pulling the hair out.

I have tried those “hair puller sticks” and have not had good luck. This is why I chose to simply take the stopper off and clean it out with some needle pliers. Before forewarned though this is NOT for the faint of smelling as the smell can be pretty disturbing. Keeping in mind this is hair, body oils and bacteria that have been collecting for quiet sometime and smells pretty bad. Also because of this you should were latex or like gloves to avoid skin contact.

Take a look and watch this simple procedure and save yourself time, money and frustration over this problem.

SBW#3 – Craftsman Leaf Blower Piston Replacement

Do you have one of those 2 cycle leaf, weed trimmers or any other small 21/25cc 2 cycle engine power equipment?  If you do and you have ran into the problem I did the chances are the solution is pretty easy to fix if you are a DIY person. Otherwise, you can take it to a small engine repair place and shell out some money but is it really worth that?

After a hard fall use blowing leaves and a winter break the leaf blower failed to start in the spring. I checked all the usual suspects – gas, fuel to the cylinder, spark plug, spark, etc and everything looked fine. However, I noticed as I was pulling the starter cord that the compression seemed a little weak. In fact it was not just a little weak but barely noticeably having a compression. So I had an idea. I grabbed my cylinder compression tester and the compression was well below what the specification called for in order to fire. So much below specification that it was 50% of what it was supposed to be.

So I tore apart the unit and pulled out the piston in which the ring was completely gummed in a compressed state, unable to expand. Since I didn’t have any parts wash solvent it was going to be cheaper for me to run down to the local Sear’s Parts Center and grab a new one.

I put the new one on, oiling the piston and cylinder to reduce initial friction until the break completed to minimize damage. After reassembling the unit, it started up. Initially for a week or 2 when I went from idle to full throttle the engine would bog down like it was not getting the compression or right fuel / air mixture but after about 2 weeks I could go from idle to full throttle without any hesitation.

To this day – nearly a year later – the engine still runs great and the leaf blower still runs like a charm.

Here is the video. I apologize the fact that I did not record the tear down process but it is essentially the opposite of the assembly process.

Minecraft Water Mill

In my quest to build a large city on my Minecraft server I decided to start by building the essentials that my Medieval town needs. This of course means things that were much need during this time frame.

So, what better addition to build in my town then a Water Mill. This Water Mill is designed to process forest materials and grains.

Below is a part 1 of a 9 part video series I created to demonstrate what it took to create my Water Mill. While I try to limit the video lengths to under 20 minutes I wanted to show as much detail as possible during this build. Keeping in mind this is on a Survival server that has normal day night cycles. Find the rest of the series by click on the Next Arrow below the video or in the Minecraft tab at the top of the page.

Part 1 of 9

 

 

Next Page

 

SBW#1 & 2 – Crosscut Sled Part 1 & 2

SBW or Sean’s Basement Workshop is where I make and/or repair things.

This post is the first of hopefully many more to come where I show how-to guides and videos as well as other items that I have done in or around my home. Some may be in my basement workshop while others are not.

This article is about a Crosscut Sled I made for my table saw.  For years I have just used my table saw for ripping or cross cutting larger pieces of materials. But as time has continued the need to better stabilize any material I was cross cutting has become evident. No longer was my table saw factory’s miter gauge able to do this so I decided to build a medium – or at least that is what I like to size it as – Crosscut Sled.

This is a two part series because my camera died about half way through filming this and the second camera I used had a different resolution. So, in order to make the videos consistent there is a part 1 and part 2.

Here is what the finished product looks like.

From the back…20160103_142811-thumb

From the front…20160103_142827-thumb

 

Part 1 of the series can be found on my YouTube Channel with this link or you can watch the embedded video below.

Part 2 of the series can be found on my YouTube Channel with this link or you can watch the embedded video below.

Union Pacific Living Legend #844 – Kirkwood Missouri

This video of the Union Pacific Living Legend #844 was taken at Kirkwood, MO on 10/18/2016 during its brief stop on the “Trek to Tennessee” trip.

The first half of the video is the train arriving into Kirkwood Station at Kirkwood Missouri.  This shot angle was taken at the west end of the station parking lot along the Union Pacific railroad lines.

The second half of the video starts with a short near the station with the engine sitting while people admire and observe this grand old beauty. The scene then leads into the engineer preparing to leave the station and finally leaving the station headed to its final destination for the day – St. Louis.

More information about Union Pacific Steam Locomotives can be found on their website at https://www.up.com/aboutup/special_trains/steam/index.shtml

Please pardon the instability of my camera as I did not have my tripod because of the crowds.

Product Review – IBESTWIN 6000 mAh LG G3 Battery Cell Phone Extended Battery Replacement

Why did I purchase this battery? Simply put, it had decent reviews on Amazon, the price point was good and I needed a replacement battery for my LG G3 phone whose stock battery decided to start End of Life’ing it to me.

Backstory: So several months ago I noticed my LG G3 would start randomly rebooting on its own. It didn’t appear to have any rhyme or reason – that is, no particular App would cause it to reboot. Apps that caused it to reboot where anywhere from the stock messaging App to fairly intensive games like Minecraft or Pokemon Go. For sometime I did research and found people telling others they just had a bad phone, bad Apps, etc. Recommendations from the user community which loved the G3 phone and didn’t want to purchase a newer one were anywhere from uninstall the latest updates/Apps that were installed to complete Factory Reset. As I continued to dig further I ran across one post by a user to another that said he didn’t have this problem when the phone was plugged in, only when using the battery and the response was “It’s your battery then.” I can’t remember where I saw the post otherwise I’d give credit. So, putting this to the test, I did the same. Random reboots when on battery only (anywhere from 89% battery capacity down to 28% – much lower and the phone just wouldn’t come back up). Subsequently, each reboot appeared to drop the battery capacity down 10-30% which would slowly recover 5-10% over time without being plugged in. Plug it into the AC charger and I could go hours using anything intensive.

Subsequent testing determined that the more power intensive the App was, the sooner and more frequent a reboot would happen. Eventually my phone got into a state of constant reboot cycling that could only be solved by pulling the battery out for 15-30 minutes OR plugging it back into the AC charger. So, as the original post had recommended a new battery so to would I purchase a new battery!

I purchased the IBESTWIN 6000 mAh replacement battery from IBESTWIN on Amazon. The weight of the battery was a little different from what I was used to with the stock LG G3 battery. In fact, feels much heavier. This battery came with 3 replacement covers – a black, white and gold extended battery cover. I was in need of a new one anyway because my stock brushed nickle cover was warped because of being dropped so this was a good score.

I replaced my original battery with this new one and didn’t throw it on the charger. I wanted to closely follow the directions from the seller’s Amazon page that says you should do 3-5 full charge-discharge cycles so I started the process of discharging. To my surprise the first discharge took 2 days even though the battery only arrive with 65% power. WOW! Normal usage for 2 days without needing to charge it once? I did notice something odd – but maybe this is because it is a new battery. After each time I used a power intensive App the battery would drop and once that App was closed the battery would recover 3-10% of its used power. I hadn’t seen this with the stock G3 battery.

So, my phone is on the AC charger and it is saying 4 hour 11 minutes to fully charge from 11% power. This is after I started charging it at 4% power about 15 minutes ago. I’ll continue to let it charge the full time to 100% and start the next discharge cycle.

So far though this batter appears to be 100 times better than the stock one. I’m looking forward to using it for years hopefully.

Old Battery: Stock LG G3 battery, Manufactured on 6.29.2014. Last used on 8.2.2016 after several months of failures.

New Battery: IBESTWIN 6000 mAh. First used 8.2.2016. First discharge cycle: 2 days with normal usage.

Thus far this battery was worth the $24 I spent to purchase it and based on what little I’ve used it, I’d recommend it.

If you find this review hopeful or anyway useful feel free to share it.

Disclaimer: I do not get any sponsor support from the vendor or from Amazon. In addition Missouri is one of those states that Amazon decided to no allow affiliates because of Missouri’s “tax” the affiliate / local presence crap. That’s an entire different store that I’m not covering here.

Family’s First 5K Run

Believe it or not I some how convinced my family and was convinced at the same time to run a 5K. I had toyed with the idea for a while and had talked with my family over entering the KECC 5K and they encouraged it. In fact, my  daughter wanted to join me also. Of course, not to be outdone my 5 year son wanted to join in on the fun but he could only do the Toddler Trot which was fine by him initially.

As the time approached my son waffled back and forth so I held up for registering for it which only severed to create more anxiety in me. Eventually, he decided he would do it once he found out that some of his other friends were going to do it. So, I turned in the registration only for my wife at this point to decide to do the 5K also because the organizers were going to provide childcare due to low initial registration turn out, otherwise, she her plan was to watch our son while I and my daughter ran the 5K.

So, the night before the big morning we went over our game plan. Every man for him or herself. We figured that I would end up running ahead since I had been self training running longer and longer distances were as my daughter was marginal running and wife, “running is not my thing” kept coming up. So, the plan was set, I would run at my pace, daughter at hers and wife would probably follow up the rear and everyone would stay on course till the end.

May 1st, 2016 – the day of the big race we all had to get up early. Yes, 7:30am race time meant we had to get up at 6:15am to get out the door and there on time. This is one of earliest times we’ve had to get up on a Sunday.

When we arrived there were activities going on and all kinds of excitement in the air. After a brief wait and some instructions from the organizers we all gathered at the starting line.

As we started the run my daughter took off in the lead only to eventually slow down repeating “water, water, my head hurts”. I told her after my pace eventually caught up to her that she should have paced herself and not took off too fast. I told her that earlier but I guess she forgot.

1 mile in and her and I were running and walking together and she got water at the first water station. We continued this pattern however, the walking became more frequent and was beginning to hurt my knee and I told her as we reached the half way point that I could no longer walk at this pace and reminded her of our plan. So, off I went at my pace picking up speed and continuing on.

As I passed the 2nd water station grabbing a cup of water I realized something – neither my side was hurting nor did I feel like I was out of  breath so I actually picked up my pace a little more.

Knowing the finish line was withing 2 blocks I started moving at a good pace as I could make it without any ill-side effects. Unbeknownst to myself though I did have one, my shoe came untied so I had to stop and tie it which allowed the 3 ladies in from of me to get out of passing range.

I crossed the finish line at 29:39 (30th place) which was a personal record for me in not only time but also my first 5K.

My daughter kept going and completed her main goal – to beat mommy. Her time was 38:01 which she could have came in under 38 (50th place) if she wouldn’t have walked across the finish line – doh!

Ashley1

Following up the rear not far behind was my wife – at 40:40 (56th place).

Heather

This as it turns out was a real confidence booster for me as not only did I place 30th in the entire race but also 22nd for males and 3rd in my age group. Wow, I couldn’t believe it. I had went from being short winded 3 months before after just running a quarter mile to being able to run 3.1 miles without cramping or short winded. Yes, I was still just as sweaty as day 1 but that’s just me if the temperature is too high there’s a moderate amount of physical activity.

This has also made me proud that my family partook in this event and more so, we accomplished it together. Wow, such an achievement for the 3 of us!

Our son in the meantime was playing with his friends and other “toddlers” prior to his big Toddler Trot aka, 100 Yard Dash which would soon follow. They all were making various things and Froot Loop rings which he was charging up his batteries eating Froot Loops prior to his run.

I’ll skip ahead all the age groups of 2-4 and up to my son’s 5 year old age group and all the kids were lined up at the starting line. Once the countdown reach GO the kids were off. My son had high aspirations of being number 1 but I believe all the kids did. I will say he ran just as hard as the rest of the pack that led the entire group as his shirt can attest to. He and all these other little boys that were in the lead literally had mud and water spots up their backs including their necks and ears! Fast enough to spray up from their shoes – running their hearts content out.

Ian

So, he didn’t finish first but he finished which I think made him feel good. As with most “child” races all the little ones got their plastic 1st place medals that they were proudly showing their families and wearing.

Ian2

So, after all the anxiety and stress I could put on myself things turned out pretty good. In fact, I would say they were great because my entire family accomplished more that morning than I would have ever thought we would. After all, this started out as an idea of me running a 5K which turned into an entire family event.

Kudos to us for a job well done!

family

The entire race results can be found here: KECC 5K

Newly Revamped Website!

So today I bit the bullet and spent some time creating a new website. I’ve wanted to do this for some time now but just have not had the cycles to devote to install all the software required to go from a static content based site to a dynamic one.

Well, today was that and I haven’t looked back. Well, not quite the day give the fact this site is unpublished at the moment and currently in Beta. However, when the time comes I can easily flip from my old site to this site.

Why am I switching? Ease of publishing new content. Now that I’m attempting to create more content both in the games I’m developing and the woodworking projects I’m doing I needed a way to spend less time making things look aesthetically inviting and a dynamically built site will greatly improve that thus allowing me to do more actual work. To put it simply “Less work and more productive work!”

I hope you you enjoy the change!