Archive

Archive for September, 2008

Looking to Build DIY Solar Attic Fans

September 30th, 2008 Comments off
This past weekend my wife and I went to Fredericksburg Texas to hang out and while we were there we attended the Renewable Energy Roundup & Green Living Fair. This was the first “Green” fair I had ever been to … Continue reading

In Another Moms Shoes

September 29th, 2008 Comments off

image How would it be to walk in another Mom’s shoes? To go thru hard times and heart ache? To feel helpless and unable to take care of our own child the way we want to take care of our little ones?

Something happen to me today when I was at the bank. When I arrived I saw in the parking lot, a lady with a toddler in her arms and her car had a tire off as a tow truck was trying to tow her car. As I passed them into the bank, she smiled greeting me but I could tell she was sad. She looked tired and worn out. The little boy in her arms must of been about 7-9 months old and he looked dirty and had no shoes.

I went into the bank and finished my business. I came out and she asked me for assistance. She went on to say that she needed $10 dollars to finish paying the tow truck driver. I had no cash on me but asked her to wait. I came back with some money but trying not to be intrusive, I started asking her questions. She then again gives me that same sad smile as she tries to tell me how she ended up in that parking lot. This Mom is actually living in a homeless shelter with her husband and baby.  Another homeless woman in the shelter helped her to the storage facility near where she is sharing storage space with to get clothes and shoes for her child.

So here is this woman living in a homeless shelter with her family , standing in front of me asking me for $10.  She is unemployed and is having a hard time finding a job. She continues to say how ashamed she was about asking me for money but I told her what my Dad used to say to me when I was a little girl “There is no shame in asking for help, but there is shame in taking what is not yours”.

I could not help it but try to imagine what I would do if I was in her shoes.  At that point I wished I had lots of money and houses available to me to help people like her. I considered extending my help by inviting her to stay at my house. Not knowing if what she was saying was true or not and afraid of the risk I could possible put my own children at,  I refrained myself. I did give her my number and told her that I could not do much as I handed over $40 but that if she was ever in a situation and had no one to turn to, she could give me a call. I told her that I didn’t know how I could help her but If I could I would.

I saw her get in to the tow truck and drive away.

My heart goes out to those Moms that are going thru a hard time and have little ones that depend on them

Categories: From the Network, Misc Tags:

My First Post at Wood Worker Dan

September 29th, 2008 Comments off

Welcome to Wood Worker Dan! This blog is hosted by me - Dan Masters - and is designed so that I can share my successes and failures as I dive into the wonderful world of wood working. I am a Product Manager by day and a husband, father of three, blogger, RC airplane and helicopter enthusiest, and wood worker by night.

My experience in wood working goes back to my earliest memories with tinkering around in my Grandpa’s garage hammering and screwing things together. My Grandpa has been doing wood working since he was young and I still call him for tips on different things such as lumber selection and finishing. As I got older my mom remarried and my step-dad was also into wood working and home improvement so I learned a lot from him as well.

Up until now my wood working skills have only been applied mostly to construction types of projects. I have gutted rooms down to the studs, replaced load bearing walls, and have done finish drywall and texturing. I never really had a chance to get into furniture due to a lack of tools and/or space. Or the last few years I started to accumulate a good set of tools and a few months ago gained the space to create a real workshop. My workshop now takes up the single car garage section of the three car garage of our new house that we recently built. Now I have plenty of room to work.

In this blog I hope to outline the various projects that I am planning and working on and the tips and tricks that I learn along the way. I am no where near a profesional so please use your own common sense when attempting to do anything you see here (I may not have been using common sense!).

Categories: From the Network, Web Site News Tags:

Whoo Hoo! WAMU has Been Bought by Chase

September 26th, 2008 Comments off

image So my wish has come true and the ailing Washington Mutual has been scooped up by other bank Chase (or JP Morgan Chase as they like to be called). It seems that the FDIC swooped in and shut them down and Chase bought up what was left (mostly the depositors like me).

With that my wife and I have around 15 accounts with WAMU JP Morgan Chase. Obviously we will hold on to the higher interest savings accounts that we have with WAMU and now I don’t need to open a new business account with Chase as my WAMU biz account will transfer over.

I would say that the only unfortunate things about the transition is that they say that the “systems” should be integrated by the end of next year.

Thank God B of A didn’t buy them.

Categories: Chase, FDIC, From the Network, Other, wamu Tags:

The Beach House Theme is Now Available in the WordPress.org Theme Directory

September 25th, 2008 Comments off

I am happy to announce that the Beach House theme is now available in the WordPress.org Theme Directory.

Feel free to take a look and even download it and use it on your WordPress blog.

The Halloween WordPress Theme Updated to v1.4

September 23rd, 2008 Comments off

halloween-theme The free Halloween WordPress Theme has been updated to version 1.4. This new version includes the following updates:

  • Added support for Tags
  • Added support for native WordPress Photo Galleries
  • Verified to work with WordPress 2.62

It has also been accepted in the Official WordPress.org Theme Directory as well. It can be downloaded from the directory here. You can see a Live Demo of theme at the Halloween Theme official site.

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Halloween Theme Now Available on the WordPress.org Theme Directory

September 23rd, 2008 Comments off

The Halloween WordPress Theme has been updated to version 1.4 and is now available for download on the official WordPress.org Theme Directory.

Updates in the 1.4 version include:

  • Verified to work with WordPress 2.62
  • Added support for Tags
  • Added support for native WordPress Photo Galleries

It can be downloaded from the WordPress.org Theme Directory here.

As you can see this post has tags associated with it along with a sample photo gallery.

Sunset at the Bay Lazy Days Overtime Paradise Beach Summer Storm Eye in the Sky

Beach House Theme Updated to 1.4 – Verified to be Compatible with WordPress 2.62

September 22nd, 2008 Comments off

I have updated the Beach House Theme to version 1.4 which includes the following:

  • Verified to work with WordPress 2.62
  • Added support for Tags
  • Added support for native WordPress Photo Galleries

I have submitted it to the WordPress.org Theme Directory and it is pending approval.

In the mean time you can download it from the Download page.

Here is an example of a native gallery:

That is Why I Will Never Buy Another EA PC Game

September 21st, 2008 Comments off

I received a new computer from work that while it is older has a pretty decent video card in it. I broke out the old Command and Conquer Generals and Battlefield 2 to see how they would play on my new laptop.

Command and Conquer played excellent at the highest settings which I was never able to do before. After anialating 3 hard armies I decided to try Battlefield 2. As I was installing the first disk I went to the EA website to download the latest patch which was almost 2 years old. While that was downloading I decided to check out the forum to see if anyone even played it anymore and found people wanted to but that somehow EA was not allowing servers to show up within the game anymore. The whole idea of BF2 is that you play folks online.

The whole reason that I stopped playing BF2 in the first place was EA screwing up the game by releasing terrible patches that would render the game unplayable. I had decided back then that if I was going to purchase any new games they would be Xbox games (I would have to purchase an Xbox as well of course).

EA just reminded me of that previous decision and even though I have a computer that would likely handle current games nicely I won’t be purchasing any from them for my PC. I was interested in Spore but with EA’s patch reputation and the root kit that they install on your machine as a legit customer they are not coming near any of my PC’s from now on.

That is Why I Will Never Buy Another EA PC Game.

Categories: From the Network Tags:

Formal Dining Table

September 19th, 2008 Comments off

imageThe formal dining room is finally finished. It took me five months to get it finish. Actually, the paint and supplies were sitting in my closet for five months. The coming together of the room was about 12 hours of total work. I feel good about the results. 

Things are coming along. I think with time I will have the master bedroom done the way I want it along with family room and game room.

I get so exited about decorating and enjoy it very much. I figure I sat and watched enough HGTV shows that now it’s time to actually create some of those rooms that I have put together in my mind.

All in all, I think with my spare time slowly increasing (kids going to school and all), I am enjoying quiet time to do some of the things that I have a passion for. 

Categories: From the Network Tags:

Air Hogs Havoc Cyclone – A Cool Little Indoor Stunt Airplane

September 18th, 2008 Comments off

Air Hogs has launched their latest indoor micro RC airplane named the Havoc Cyclone. It is similar in size to the Air Hogs Nano Hawk and has a similar controller. The biggest difference the Havoc Cyclone and the Nano Hawk is that the Havoc Cyclone is shaped pretty different. While the Nano looks like a traditional bi-plane the Cyclone looks more like a futuristic spacecraft.

The reason for different shape of the Cyclone is that it is built to do stunts. The instructions that come with the Cyclone outline stunts that the airplane is capable of such as:

  • Straight Torque Rolls
  • Inverted Torque Rolls
  • Spiral Take Offs
  • Spiral Landings
  • Touch and Goes
  • Spot Landings

I am sure that once you get the hang of these tricks there are several more that you could invent.

My first flight with the Havoc Cyclone surprised me with the amount of power the little motor put out. It was a whole lot more powerful then the Nano Hawk. It was also really fast as well. You can get it buzzing around the room quickly to send the kids or animals running in fear ;-) . It takes a little more skill and effort to control it then the Nano Hawk but there is so much more that you can do with it. I will be spending the next couple of days trying to get more acquainted with it to see what it can really do.

The Havoc Cyclone is priced around the same price as the Nano Hawk. If you are new to RC airplanes or an experienced flier the Havoc Cyclone is sure to provide hours of fun.

Havoc Cyclone - Bottom View Havoc Cyclone - Front View Havoc Cyclone - Top View 2 Havoc Cyclone - Top View




Farewell WAMU, You Were the Best Bank I Ever Had

September 17th, 2008 Comments off

wamu1 As I write this my wife is at Chase opening up new checking and savings accounts so that we can move from Washington Mutual.  There are a couple reasons for the switch but the biggest reason is that it seems that they are about to be scooped up by some other bank. There is a chance that Chase could buy them but I really do not want to get caught in that transition period when millions of folks are being transitioned at the same time.

The other reasons that Chase is a good switch to us is that we have our mortgage with them and they have a branch that is right down the street from our house. The closet WAMU was quite a distance so going to the bank was always “a trip to the bank”. Having a Chase bank on the corner will add to the convenience factor.

Things that I liked about WAMU were:

  • They never screwed up my account
  • They never screwed up my account and then made me convince them that they screwed up my account (unlike another bank that starts with a “B” and ends with an “A”)
  • They worked with me when I screwed up my account
  • The gave me free checks for life! (who knew it would be so short ;-( )

I hope that Chase is close to being as good of a bank as WAMU was. Farewell WAMU, you were the best bank I ever had.

Categories: From the Network Tags:

Rebuilding the HobbyZone Super Cub

September 16th, 2008 Comments off

supercub My Super Cub had gotten to the point that there was so much tape and cardboard holding it together that the weight was affecting its flight. I went to the Hobby store and got all new parts – down to the landing gear – to put my baby back together. I figure it cost me 2-3 trip to the hobby store and about $60-$70 dollars to make it look new again.

Initially I was concerned about getting the speed control and servos out but these were actually pretty easy. The servos had double stick tape on the bottom of them and there was a little cubbyhole that they fit snugly in to. The motor was also very simple to remove via 4 screws and fit nicely on the new fuselage. I would have to say that the stickers were probably the hardest to put on but they were actually pretty easy as well.  All-in-all it took me about an hour to get the electronics in the new assembled airplane.

Unfortunately my initial flights did not go so great as I kept loosing power to the airplane and it would just glide blindly back to earth. After nearly missing a stop sign and a group of kids I decided to figure out what was happening. I was concerned that I had somehow pulled on a wire in the speed control to hard or something and now had a short. After a little fiddling around with it I found that the red wire in the molex connect for the battery wasn’t pushed all the way in. The battery was being disconnected if the plane banked at a certain angle. I pushed the connector in all the way and took it to the street again to see her fly.

This time around she flew great but unfortunately the wind had picked up and the sun was now officially down so I had to bring it in for the night. The next day I took my newly rebuilt Super Cub up and it flew great. I had to do a couple of adjustment with the rudder and elevators but nothing that you wouldn’t have to do on a new plane. With its new airframe my Super Cub looks band spanking new again.

As much as I enjoy flying the Super Club as soon as I was done with its first full flight I landed it and put it on the shelf in my office. I did have my eye on the new ParkZone F4U Corsair and the Super Cub was up on Craigslist (from where it came) so that I could purchase the Corsair. After a day I pulled the listing as I realized that I need more time with the Super Cub so that I don’t kill the Corsair on my first flight. Christmas is coming up so maybe I can score a Corsair then.

The rebuilding of the HobbyZone Super Cub is no where near as difficult as I would have thought it was. The electronics have held up to my abuse just fine and I am sure that I will have many hours of fun with it.

Blogging from the Acer Aspire One Mini Laptop

September 16th, 2008 Comments off

acer_aspire_one_blue Even though I did get the iPhone 3G for me - and my wife - she still had a need to blog outside of the house so she can generate a little extra money. I searched Craigslist for what kind of laptop I could get for around $300-$400 and it did not look too promising. I then looked at picking up a used Macbook but they went for $700 and up.

Previously I wanted to get an MSI Wind but the price on it was up in the Macbook range. The EEEPc felt to cheap and the new Dell mini laptop was a no-go because for the SSD hard drive (small storage and possibly no upgrade path to a larger drive). I did a little more research and landed on the Acer Aspire One mini laptop.

The Aspire One model that I got is the Windows XP Home version with 1GB of memory and a 120GB hard drive with a 8.9" screen.

Out the box the Aspire One has a great feel to it. The keyboard is not too small and has a solid feel to it (not like the EEEPc). It has an open memory slot so you can add another gig of memory and the hard drive is a standard 2.5" SATA drive. It is pretty difficult to crack the One open and runs just fine the way it is so I am not sure if I will every perform the upgrades (on my wife’s machine at least ;-) ).

It come installed with McAfee virus software (which is what I would have installed anyway) and a trial of Microsoft Office 2007 Student and Teacher addition.

I have only been messing around with it for a short period today but I have to say that it is a pretty cool machine. It is a whole lot easier to slip it in it’s little case and carry it out with you when you go to lunch then a standard laptop. It is about as thick as my Macbook but is definitely smaller in length and width. I am serious going to miss giving this to my wife as her computer :-( and might need to pick one up for myself. At $350 you can get two Aspire One’s for the price of one used Macbook.

I will post more about my experience with it as time goes on.

Categories: From the Network Tags:

iPhone 2.1 Firmware – Keeps Getting Better

September 13th, 2008 Comments off

Really, this is not an iPhone only blog but I have been consumed with my iPhone 3G like so many others. As you can guess I did update to the latest 2.1 firmware and now my iPhone has the old familiar stability that my 2G iPhone had.

I have seen a drastic increase in 3G availability and signal strength since the update. At my house I would usually have only one bar for 3G or full bars for Edge. Now I have four solid bars of 3G everywhere in my house.

The other significant differences that I have seen are that my contacts, SMS, and camera all load up a whole lot quicker (the camera could still be quicker though in my opinion).

My wife had been having trouble with her 3G in that it would not want to check here Gmail account. She would sometimes have to reboot it to get it to work. I updated her phone this morning and she has not had the problem since.

I think Apple may have gotten the 3G to the point of stability that my 2G phone was when I first got it (I got it about 2 1/2 months after they came out). When I got it the updates that Apple pushed out were feature updates as opposed to bug fixes.

I hope it is smooth sailing from here on out :-) .

Categories: From the Network Tags:

Have a Halloween Related Website? Advertise Here!

September 10th, 2008 Comments off

Do you have a website that is Halloween releated and want to get more traffic?

Although this website was designed for a free WordPress Blog theme it is #1 on Google for the Term “Halloween Theme”. We are open to do paid advertising on our site to drive traffic to your site.

If you are interested then contact us and we can discuss the may options that are available.

Video Recorder on the iPhone via QuickPWN

September 2nd, 2008 Comments off

Back when I had my 2G iPhone I would regularly jailbreak it to take advantage of the various 3rd party apps that were available via installer.app. The most useful of these apps was the iPhone Video Recorder which does exactly as it says - it allows you to record video on your iPhone. Having a video camera in your pocket proves to be useful when you have kids and want to capture those memorable moments that often happen when you DON’T have a video camera around. I like the application so much that I actually bought a license for the full unlocked version.

Anyway, the guys that developed the iPhone video recorded recently updated it to run on the 2.0+ firmware so I took the plunge and used QuickPWN to jailbreak my 3G iPhone. It was pretty simple to do and I was able to find the video camera app on Cydia and install it. The only hitch I encountered was that my unlock code that I had purchased does not work on this latest version of the video camera app. I have a support email into them for a new code so I can take video past their 30 second trial block.

One of the feature of the video camera app is the ability to upload your videos directly to YouTube from your iPhone. I shot the below video on my 2G iPhone a while back:

While it’s not the best resolution and is only recorded at 15fps it is still pretty cool. Also YouTube does it’s un-magic my re-encoding it to the Flash format which is not all that great. When I download the original mp4 files down to my computer and view them there they actually look pretty good. I really hope that either the iPhone Video Recorder team or Apple come out with a video app that can do at least 24fps as that would really be nice.

Categories: From the Network Tags: