Last summer when covid meant no visiting beaches or other people’s pools, we decided to get a pool for our own yard. We got one of the Intex “East Set” pools which you plop in place and add water. Okay, actually there’s more involved including clearing the space where the pool will be of any rocks, installing a safety fence, and all of the associated maintenance. But it’s easier than most aboveground pools and much much cheaper than an inground pool. But even our small pool doesn’t warm up as much as we’d like. Sure, you want the pool to be refreshing, but not painful, bracing, or even exhilarating. And a cold pool is one that isn’t used much. Which makes even the low amount of money spent on the pool and fence and water look like a bad investment. So it doesn’t take long after the initial swim before you start thinking “there’s got to be a way to warm up the water”. In the end, I came up with a fix that worked really well for me, wasn’t too expensive, and actually did warm up the pool, at least enough to make it worthwhile. The full story follows the picture of the finished project.[ continue reading »» ]
Twice every year there’s discussion about getting rid of Daylight Savings Time. But this year there actually seems to be a chance that some changes will finally happen. Does anyone actually enjoy changing our clocks and adjusting our sleep schedule twice a year? Most people find the change a minor disruption but some find it to be a major disruption – especially little kids who have no problem adjusting to minor daylight changes from day to day but who will naturally stick to their prior day’s sleep schedule even if the clock has jumped forward or backward an hour since then.
We all know that Daylight Savings Time doesn’t actually “save” any daylight, and while its past purposes may not be entirely clear, there is some logic to the main intent. There are times when sunrise would be ridiculously early in some places without it and shifting the time earlier by an hour for that period can resolve those specific issues. And likewise there are times when sunset would come ridiculously early if the time were to remain shifted. So the intent is to have ideal times and shifting twice a year is what gets us that now. But is it really necessary? Is there a better way?
I’ve been thinking about these problems for years and I too have bounced around between keeping things as they are, going to no DST, or going to permanent DST. But I gave it the full analysis this morning and I think I have a good plan figured out that is sort of a 4th way to go. But first I need to run through the data that I used to study the problem.[ continue reading »» ]
Back at the time of the Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention, the Daily Show created videos for the candidates. First was “Joe Biden – Acceptable Under the Circumstances” and “Donald Trump – The Greatest President In History Of All Time”. The titles give you a sense of what you’ll see in the videos. But I think both videos are required watching. And with the election next week, it seemed a good time to go back and watch them again.
Joe Biden – Acceptable Under the Circumstances
Donald Trump – The Greatest President In History Of All Time
Fortunately, Hacintoshing has gotten easier through the years due to the hard work of a lot of people on tools and procedures. So it only took a few days to get my Dell Latitudes E5470 and E5570 working with MacOS Catalina. But since it was still a bit of a challenge, I wanted to write up my procedure. I’m sure I’ll be doing this again at some point and it may help out others. And with Big Sur around the corner, I may try to do all this again when Big Sur is released.
As usual, I made this harder on myself by wanting to do a triple-boot option with Windows 10 and Ubuntu 20.04 Focal. Fortunately, again, this process has gotten easier and just works better now than it has before. For the majority of people who won’t be doing a triple-boot scenario, the sections below are labeled with what is in them so you can do only what applies to your install. Although if you won’t be installing MacOS at all, then you should skip this guide since it relies on the Clover bootloader which is unnecessary if you are going to just use Ubuntu and Windows.[ continue reading »» ]
Student Chromebooks are “Managed” by the schools so they won’t allow “Linux (Beta)” to run on them. That’s a logical policy for Google to restrict it and as I discovered isn’t even something that a school can change if they wanted. But it means that you can’t do things like run Minecraft on a Chromebook that is Managed. That’s too bad since I really don’t want to get extra hardware for the sake of Minecraft.
But I discovered that you can install GalliumOS on a Chromebook to dual boot it and then you can run Minecraft in GalliumOS. This post will cover the set up of the Chromebook to dual boot ChromeOS and GalliumOS. A subsequent post will cover the specific Minecraft install and post-install steps. I did it on a Dell 11 3189 but it should work on most modern Chromebooks. The steps look long but it actually didn’t take too long to do and the process seems pretty solid.[ continue reading »» ]
For privacy reasons, I’m not going to talk a lot about the background here. So I’ll just state that there are two Chromebooks (Dell 11 3189) in my household and that it turned out the local school system had acquired one of them – not physically, but functionally. I learned a lot about Chromebooks, ChromeOS, “Managed” devices and “Owned” devices that I wanted to document for myself and for anyone else that might benefit.[ continue reading »» ]
I wanted to set up a Minecraft server (there’s not as much activity this summer due to the pandemic) but I know very little about it. So I did some quick research, found some guides that seemed to look like they would work, and dove right in. Mostly this post is for me to remember which guides I followed. There were lots of possible ways to do it but the ones listed here happen to be the ones I followed.[ continue reading »» ]
The condensate pump for my HVAC systems gave out a couple of months ago. I went down to the basement and stepped in a puddle. It’s amazing how much water came from the HVAC system in just a day. I’ve never really liked this particular pump. It’s noisy and it has failed before – I’ve taken it apart to figure out what was wrong only to have it work again. It has a lever on the side where you can push down to manually activate the pump – to override the float sensor and I’ve needed to do that before. So as I sloshed through the puddle to the pump this time, I was surprised to find that the manual lever did nothing and that the power to the outlet was still on. I didn’t need much convincing to buy a new one. I got a new DiversiTech LCV-120 which has no mechanical float and is incredibly quiet. I really should have replaced the Little Giant with the DiversiTech at the first sign of problems years ago.
However, I don’t want to be without a condensate pump even for a little while so having a backup would be useful. And I’m considering making some sort of system where the DiversiTech is somewhat raised up and I have a second pump below it with some sort of battery back up to make sure there is never a problem again. And therefore, I set out to repair this thing – the pump that I hate, the Little Giant VCMX-20UL.[ continue reading »» ]
For a temporary pool, a temporary fence seemed ideal. There are a number of them on the market but only one seemed to have a solution for when the fence would run over grass, Pool Fence DIY. Granted, the grass solution isn’t nearly as good as a concrete solution. But when you consider the purpose of a pool fence is to protect small children from getting in a pool when they shouldn’t and that the fence is basically making an “attractive nuisance” unattractive, a temporary fence over grass will work fine for me. So I spec’ed it out using the Pool Fence DIY estimator and ordered it up. Here are my thoughts after it is now installed.[ continue reading »» ]