Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Gandalf on Prog Rock

Too funny!

Die winter, die, and BBQ to the rescue

I think we've all pretty much have had it with winter this year.  Apparently 1 more week of cold weather and things should look up (where have I heard that one before?).  To do my part to bring back spring, I've been grilling on the deck with the winter unit as long as it's bearable outside.  Yesterday I grilled simple but tasty swordfish steaks on the winter unit, and the white stuff is not photo-shopped it is actual snow.  Everybody in the house is happy about this grilling rebellion of mine and it's easy to understand why.  Now have to plan dinner for tonight, bbq of course.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

LinkedIn Trick To Get Full Names

LinkedIn is an amazing tool but sometimes annoying when you're researching specific individuals, especially on your 3rd level.  To motivate you to upgrade your account, LinkedIn only gives you the 1st letter of the person's last name.

Here is how you get around that:

  • Copy the name as shown with the 1st letter of the last name (example: "John C."
  • Google this string: "John C. <company name> LinkedIn"
  • Results will include last name

Prog Thursday: Van Der Graaf Generator's Godbluff

Going "retro underground" with one of my favorite albums of all time: Van Der Graaf Generator's Godbluff.   VdGG is not the easiest band to listen to, and they never hit the mainstream at their peak in the mid-70's, never hitting the spotlight of some of their peers (Yes comes to mind).

This is a guitar-drums-bass-keyboards-saxophone outfit, where you'd expect some jazzy stuff but no, not there, and this is part of the magic.  VdGG has a very intense sound and when I picked up the album "World Record" (follow-up to Godbluff) the guy at the CD store told me he would not charge me the rental if I did not like it.  In the late '80s & early '90s I could rent CDs.

Why VdGG?  I asked the store owner to take make me listen to something out of the beaten path and he made me a fan.  I own all the albums on vinyl (it was cheap when I was a student!) and most on CD.

Now this is my favorite but not all will like.  One of my brother's friends says returning his copy of the CD: "Thanks for wasting 37 minutes of my life.".  That says a lot.  Now your call try it with the 1st track of the album:

Leave comments if you like/dislike!

Where to buy:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Feeling handy with the dishwasher

Last Saturday morning I open the dishwasher to empty it from the overnight cleaning cycle and  found this abnormal amount of water at the bottom, so I decided to force a "cancel" and drain the unit.  Same amount of water afterwards.  Oooo problems problems problems, and I'm not the handiest handyman in the world.

After Googling for a while I followed some tips to unclog the unit but to no avail, the problem persisted.  So I decided to reach the parts I could not check out but after removing some easy parts it was obvious that I could not reach the parts I needed to clean, YouTube to the rescue!  Here is the clip I used to disassemble (not kidding) the whole unit:
You gotta love the intertubes for lending a hand, so I cleaned everything and found nothing which created obstruction for the water flow..  Enough of this, called a tech to take a look at it.  After poking at it for 5 minutes he spotted the red part which was misbehaving:
It was not moving, after years of use some dirt & such prevented normal usage.  What a relief, did not want to change a dishwasher which working fine and most importantly wash dishes by hand.  Problem solved.  Learned the inner mechanics of a dishwasher in the process so on a grand scale was worth it :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Chocolate with bacon

No kidding, saw that yesterday at my local butcher's shop, so had to buy one to try it out.  We love chocolate in this house, in fact we buy no other desert (no cookies, store-bought pies/cakes except on special occasions).

Verdict: dark chocolate with salt is much better but this had an interesting smoky flavor.  But did not taste like bacon as you'd expect.  Worth a try though.  And it inspired my youngest to make this with Phoster:

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Synology V5.0

Today Synology released version 5 of their OS for their NAS products.  I've been happily using a 212J for 2+ years now and I think this update is worthwhile beyond the cosmetic changes for one reason: Cloud Sync.

This new optional add-on lets you sync your public cloud folders with your NAS (Dropbox, Google Drive, Baidu but no Microsoft OneDrive - formerly Skydrive) in a few clicks (I use Google Drive - that was easy).  Will also let you fetch from the cloud if you delete locally or replicate the delete.  Really like it.

Other new things include the Quick Connect feature which intends to let you access your stuff from anywhere, Apple file performance has been enhanced and much more.  If you have a Synology NAS this upgrade seems worth it.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Little league wisdom

My son plays ice hockey and been doing so since the age of 5.  Loves it and it is a great place for kids to make friends, understand team concepts, leadership and that it takes to win.  Also good for parents, awesome place to network.

The dark side of little league sports is, well, ahem, people watching kids play.  Seriously folks, the odds of making pro are loto-jackpot level so buy a 6/49 ticket, and yes the referees do make mistake because they're humans (stupid humans!).

Next time you go see little league soccer, baseball hockey or whatever please keep it civil.  Here is a great sign in the arenas found around Chicago:

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Computing: Less is More

When people I know ask me to look at theirs PCs, I try to focus that less is more.  So many PCs are stuck with crapware, spyware, toolbars no one wants and such.

Well today I ate some of my own medecine.  I took to Twitter, as I'm not as knowledgeable as I'd like and started exploring for Chrome add-ons to help me with the influx of information.  After installing a few, and a few others as well (while you're at it add this & that!), my desktop (i3 / 8Gb / ssd / discrete graphics) turned into a turtle.  AAAAARRRRRGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!  Nothing worse than molasses.  After turning everything off, my CPU usage is no longer 98%.

Morale to the story, less is more.  Now I'll go back to my dog food.