Category: Anything and Everything

I have really been selling a lot of 3D printed stands lately, last month was my biggest sales total to date.  I have been trying to get ahead of the curve by fully utilizing my hobby room print farm.  Last night I loaded up and had five of my six printers cranking out parts.  The growth of my 3D printing store has been unexpected and is purely through word of mouth.  The stands show up on social media or videos and generate interest from others.  The growth of the sales has been a pleasant surprise.

I have been trying to get the back of the chicken yard pumped out but the rain just continues to dump.  I sent a picture of the flooded area to a kid that graduated with Daniel who is in the sod business.  I had been talking to him about putting sod back there to help raise the ground level.  After seeing the picture he said he would suggest I get a load of fill first that he would spread and then put the grass on top of that, otherwise the grass would likely drown and die.

I told him I was down with that plan but the area needs to dry out first.  I also will have to temporarily cut the fence to make this work so he can access the area with his skid steer which will not fit in the existing four foot wide gate opening.  I am looking forward to this getting done, it’s something I should have done a long time ago.  This kid’s prices are very reasonable and save me a lot of ass busting work.  If this works out well I will likely have him add sod to the other areas of the yard that are flood prone.

So my return to work yesterday was mildly busy but not terribly so.  I had the opportunity to waste 30 minutes on the phone, most of that on hold with the NCH billing department.  Yes there is another chapter in the ridiculous ER billing fiasco.  You may recall that I fought with them about the initial bill sent to me for $950 which included a charge of over $700 for a single pill.  The end result of that was them agreeing to totally drop the $700 charge for the pill and them saying they would resubmit the claim to insurance.  So late June I get a new bill for $589.43 which was still more than I hoped but I had two months until it was due so I was just sitting on it, in no rush to give them my money.

So late last week I get a letter, not a bill from NCH.  It said I have an amount due and it now has magically increased to $733.45  WTF?  So I picked up the phone yesterday and got a woman in the billing department on the phone.  I gave her a brief recap of the events leading up to my call.  She said she needed to put me on hold to check with another department.  She puts me on hold and leaves me there, for 20 minutes.  Not once did she come back to apologize for the wait or to let me know wtf was going on.  Nope just hold music for 20 minutes after which I hung up, angry as hell.

I immediately call back but can’t get anyone to pick up the phone so I leave a message highlighting my situation, angrily.  I later got a message on my home number that the account has once again been “submitted for review” and there should be an answer in 4 to 5 business days.  I’ll tell you this experience with the modern day medical quagmire makes me want to avoid hospital care like the plague.  It’s incredible just how convoluted, inefficient, complicated and obscenely expensive medical care is in the USA.

Over my vacation I was pretty sure that I was going to have to be burying another chicken, Katie.  She has had a bad leg for over a year but in the last couple weeks she had developed the same lethargy that other birds have before they dropped.  She was weak, basically stood/sat around all day, and had minimal interest in food.  She even stopped making the cute little noises she is known for which to me was a sure sign she was a goner, the same pattern Kristen followed before she died.  Katie was so weak that I had to pick her up and place her on the perch at night, she couldn’t do it.

So all of a sudden late last week Katie bounced back, amazingly so.  She started being more mobile, eating, and even making her cute noises again.  I was so relieved.  For about a month we have been trying to give the birds cayenne pepper and tumeric mixed in with their food.  It helps battle parasites and worms naturally.  We also add rooster booster to their water, give them yogurt, and watermelon which all supposedly help the birds stay healthy without using toxic chemical dewormers.  This time of year is especially bad for the birds because they insist on drinking the dirty standing water which has countless harmful things floating in it.  So anyway, Katie is doing better and I hope it stays that way.

The latest outbreak of mass gun violence, not perpetrated by Muslim terrorists but by angry, racist, white males seems to have really awakened some people.  Some GOP politicians are actually using the words “white nationalist”, something that was taboo up until this point since they are a core and integral part of the Trumpers.  Maybe, just maybe there is enough momentum this time to actually get something done, but I doubt it.  The gun lobby in this country is so powerful that politicians cower in fear of the idea of crossing them, almost like they have a gun to their head.

 

 

So I entered the weekend a bit sad that it meant my nine day staycation was coming to it’s end.  I was also a bit sad about the turn in the weather where massive amounts of rain dropping in short periods of time had totally flooded out parts of the property.  I have at least improved my water relocation abilities with the new pump I bought from Harbor Freight.  Not only is it more powerful, it has the ability to support large 1 1/4″ outlet hose.  With my old set up I only had shitty 3/4″ garden hose attached.   I found 24 foot sections of flex pipe designed for sump pumps at Lowe’s.  I bought a bunch of them, chained them together and was amazed at the results.

It was like I had a fire hydrant open, the water was dumping into the drainage ditch that fast.  It pulls water so fast that we have to keep closer track of the water levels back there so the pump doesn’t run dry.  The problem is we have had so much rain that soon there will be nowhere to pump the water to as the drainage ditch is filled to the brim.  What we need are a few consecutive days that don’t include an end of days rain event.

All the moisture made mowing a no go this weekend as well.  The only other standard chore I dealt with was weeding in the sloppy, soppy property.  Saturday afternoon I decided to make an attempt to ride my new One Wheel Pint to Dunkin Donuts.  DD is a little over 10 miles from our door.  The Pint is rated for only 6-8 miles of range but my early testing made it seem like it could go farther so I wanted to test out that theory.  A strong headwind helped insure I failed my attempt but even with less than ideal conditions I exceeded the top range estimate.

Saturday night we went to see Hobbs & Shaw an odd spin off of the Fast and Furious series where they basically ditched the rest of the cast and made a Rock/Jason Statham action film instead.   It was an over the top, silly, but fun action film that Cindy and I both enjoyed. B+ all day long for me.

Sunday morning it was once again raining but I really wanted to get out to ride.  I checked the radar and it looked like the rain was moving north and east so I hoped if we headed south and west we would be ok.  On the drive to the Greenway it did not look good as we drove through blinding downpours at times.  We got lucky, as we got close to the parking lot the sun was actually out.  Cindy and I had a good time riding the Pint and Backfire Ranger X1.  At the end of the session Cindy decided to sit on the board and ride around go kart style, it was funny.

During the ride I got to test my new and expensive Rode Go wireless mic system.  I have been trying various solutions to get  consistent quality audio while riding which is challenging due to wind noise.  This Rode system seems to be the answer as the audio during the ride was clear and noise free, regardless of the conditions.

Yesterday I recharged the battery for our airsoft AK-47.  We have had a couple hawks that have been getting very comfortable hanging around the chicken area.  It seems like they are focused on grabbing small critters like frogs from the wet ground but we are nervous about them turning their attnetion to bigger targets like our hens.

I really enjoyed my nine days off and as I have said repeatedly, I have total confidence I could retire tomorrow and never be bored.  Unfortunately that is not a financial reality but believe me, once it is, I am jumping ship asap.

As expected, my days have been rolling by, passing quickly as I keep them pretty much filled with activities both project and hobbyist related.  Tuesday was my most triumphant day as I managed to get the Prius battery put back together and reinstalled into the car.  At this point the car has had around 150 miles on it since the work and it is performing well.  Swapping out individual cells is not a long term fix for an old battery pack but hopefully it will hold up for another 6-12 months.  The good news is I have all the tools and experience to swap out more cells if needed in the future.

My One Wheel Pint showed up on Tuesday but I didn’t really get a chance to ride it until Wednesday.  It seems like a great product that provides a real One Wheel experience with no compromises outside of less battery range.  I am excited to see how Cindy does on it.

The property had been doing very well this wet season, so far we have not had any standing water that lasted for more than a day or two.  Well on Wednesday that changed when we got absolutely pummeled, creating deep lakes around the property.  I set the pump back up in the chicken area to try to move the water to the drainage ditch.  That pump is now a few years old and doesn’t run consistently.  I decided to go to Harbor Freight and get a more heavy duty pump that supposedly can move 4000 gallons an hour.  I hooked it up and noticed and immediate difference.  Before the water was just running out the far end of the hose, now it’s shooting out.  I may try to increase the capacity further by connecting the pump to 1 1/4″ hose instead of 3/4″ garden hose.

I have been digging into a ton of little small projects, organizing and cleaning things up around the house.  Those sort of tasks are truly endless.  I have been finding time to do a lot of video production as well as you can see below.

I started off this morning with 12 laps around the track at a very slow pace.  I survived which is all I care about.

Speaking of surviving, I got a surprising call late last week regarding my latest round of testing.  They said a high thallium level was detected in the urine test.  Thallium is a heavy metal that in high enough concentrations can cause all sorts of bad things, up to and including death.  The low end of the scale where they get concerned is a level of .5 which is what mine came back at.  I need to do a follow up visit with the doctor to discuss further actions but for now Cindy ordered some stuff that is supposed to bind to thallium and help flush it out of my body.  I assume whatever the treatment is there will be a follow up test to see if the numbers move downward.

Since I am on vaca I will try to drop an entry in here every couple of days so I don’t need to tax my memory too much.  Friday I left work a little early to meet up with Daniel who was installing our new water heater.  My intent was for it to be a tandem effort but he got done with work early, by the time I got there he was almost done.  I am pretty sure I could have handled the swap out myself, the biggest issue would have been getting the correct plumbing fittings I would have needed.  Since Daniel does HVAC work he had all the parts on hand.  The new heater fired up without issue and within 30 minutes we once again had hot water flowing in the house.

Friday evening I also got out on the new Gotway Nikola Plus EUC for an initial test ride.  I REALLY liked the way the wheel felt.  I can’t wait to get more extensive testing in.

Saturday was the day I hoped to get the Prius back together.  Unfortunately I made a bad decision to use my power ratchet to reinstall the copper bus bars.  I managed to snap one of the battery cell terminals which meant I now have to wait another few days to get another replacement cell.  I was so annoyed with myself.  I released the adventure so far on video.

I decided to punish myself for my stupidity by doing a full weed whacking and mowing session during the hottest portion of the day.  It was around four hours of shitty, sweaty work.  I was beat to hell afterwards but glad I put in the effort as it dumped rain again Saturday night, making various areas lakes once again.

Saturday night I watched a Star is Born with Cindy.  Although the movie has been remade several times I never saw any of the older versions.  I thought it was really well done and I enjoyed it thoroughly to a B+ level.

Yesterday it felt like I was on the go constantly.  I have so many smaller things I want to get done over this week hiatus.  Cindy and I did get out on a ride in the morning which was fun.

The rest of the day was consumed by these little tasks which added up to five or six hours of time, a couple of the tasks resulted in ADDITIONAL videos.

I expect today to be busy as well.  My OneWheel Pint was supposed to show up today but AGAIN it looks like FedEx is shitting the bed, missing ANOTHER delivery time due to the box sitting in the black hole of Bell Isle Florida, again.  FedEx really sucks.

Oh I finally sold the Ultron scooter last night after it being for sale for a couple months.  The buyer was a nice guy from Bradenton. We had common interests, scooters, 3D printing, and fitness.  He was impressed by the neck snapping torque the machine has.  I was just relieved to at least recoup some money for the scooter and to have one less piece of equipment in the dining room.

 

So on Tuesday morning I was off as we were supposed to head out to Orlando for a conference around 1pm.  I called up FedEx to try to get some clarity on the tracking from my EUC that was already a day late.  The tracking I saw said it was put on a truck for delivery but then a few minutes later the status was changed to “At local FedEx facility”  To me it looked like they put the box on the truck and then pulled it back off for some reason.  So I asked the rep on the phone what the deal was, was it on the truck or was it at the depot waiting to get picked up.  The rep said she called the depot and they told her it was just a mistake, the box was actually on the truck to go out for delivery.  Ok, great.

So Cindy came up with a fun idea where she would drop me off at Dunkin Donuts on her way to work with one of my wheels.  I could grab coffee and then ride back.  I had the big Gotway Monster so the ride back went fast, barely a half hour.  When I got home I notice I have a voicemail on my phone.  It’s a woman from FedEx.  She says they have box there on hold waiting for my pick up.  What in the fck??

So my head is now very quickly running numbers, time estimates and possible outcomes.  It is now after 10 AM.  Don was originally supposed to come around noon.  I texted him asking if he could push off his arrival till around 12:30 to give me some time.  I had the Tesla in the garage sitting at 100% charge, which I did for the long drive to Orlando.  I had no other vehicle options since Katie still had Cindy’s car and Cindy had my truck.  Going to the FedEx depot in Fort Myers and back was going to chew through a good chunk of battery but I had to do it.

Now I was still unsure if this voicemail was accurate but I did not have time to sit at the house on the phone to figure it out so I hopped in the car and called on the way.  I spent over 25 minutes on the phone, with about two thirds of it being on hold.  The guy first told me that again he contacted the depot and they assured him that the box was on the truck.  I then pressed him and asked why would I get a message that it was being held there.  He said maybe it was just an automated message, I told him no, this was an actual person.

I did not trust what he was telling me so I asked if he could connect me directly with the depot so i could sort this out for myself.  After another hold he came back and said “I am connecting you now”, after another FIVE MINUTES of holding I hung up the phone, furious.  I called back immediately and more or less screamed at the guy that answered, letting him know how frustrated I was at how inept FedEx has been.  I said all I want is to be connected directly to the depot at Fort Myers.  It took another couple transfers and another 10 minutes or so of waiting but I finally got a hold of a live person at the depot.  Yep, the box IS there, despite multiple assurances from other FedEx staff that it was on the truck.  Even though I was angry at just how inept FedEx is, I was glad I went with my gut and started driving that direction immediately.  By the time I got the confirmation I was only 5 minutes away.  I picked up the box, sped home, plugged the Tesla back in and hit my remaining to do’s before departing in a whirlwind fashion.

Part of this conference included Cindy dog sitting Don’s dog, Lucky.  We have had Lucky out at the house a few times but it has been 2-3 years since his last visit.  Lucky seemed to acclimate himself quickly although Elsa didn’t seem to remember him very well.  Don and I loaded our bags into the Tesla and pushed out around around 1:30 or so.

Because of the unexpected trip to Fort Myers my battery level was only in the low 80’s when we left.  We stopped at a huge 20 station supercharger in Sarasota to fuel up for the remaining push into the Orlando area.  The charge rate was amazing.  We spent maybe 35 minutes walking around Whole Foods and came back to the car being close to 90% charged.  The rest of the drive went smoothly, I used auto pilot for a good portion of the ride and we arrived at the hotel a little after 5:30.

The only thing on the conference schedule for Tuesday was to check in at the registration table and attending the opening banquet.  The Omni hotel was MASSIVE and included a golf course, wave pool, lazy river, and more.  My room was clean and modern.  Really the only thing I didn’t like about the hotel was certain areas were kept meat locker cold, I did not bring any long sleeve shirts to combat the extreme AC.  The Tuesday night dinner was fun with large spreads of food served buffet style and an open bar.  I probably had a half dozen Miller Lites over the evening.

A group of people went down to the lazy river after dinner.  I hung out there for a short while but since I didn’t bring a bathing suit it wasn’t much fun watching others float around.  I instead went back up to the room but then decided I wanted to go pull my Mten3 out of the trunk of the car and ride around.  I spent close to a half hour just tooling around the large parking lots of the hotel in the forward and reverse directions, enjoying myself.  After my shower I collapsed in bed, tired from the very long day.

The conference went as many conferences do, you eat way more food than you should, you listen to a lot of people talking, and you cherry pick what information is pertinent to you.  Actually one of the most valuable things is hearing the stories of other customers and how they handle certain situations, which in some cases may also help us out in the future.

On Wednesday after the presentations were done I just felt gross from the combo of food and beer the night before.  I told Don I was going to hit the hotel fitness center to help burn off some of the grossness I was feeling.  The fitness center was pretty large with a good variety of equipment.  Again the AC was the only negative, it was so cold that I was literally shivering at first when I entered wearing a sleeveless t-shirt and shorts.  After close to an hour workout I did feel less blah which I was happy about.

We had dinner that night at one of the restaurants in the hotel.  We wound up sitting with some of the employees of Grant Street, the company who was holding the event.  We had a enjoyable dinner with slow service and frigid AC but good food and conversation.  I left the EUC in the car that night as it had been raining off and on for a few hours. I fell asleep watching CNN coverage of the Mueller hearing which was filled with him looking confused and refusing to directly answer questions a couple hundred times.

The last day of the conference was shorter for us as the last presentation we attended wrapped up at two.  We wasted little time getting out of there.  During the day Cindy told/sent me pictures of water in the garage.  Through more investigation she verified the leak was coming from the water heater, great.  Not only did the garage have water, the property was underwater as well from massive rainfall over the last 24 hours.  I was not looking forward to having to address the water heater issue as soon as I got home.

On the way back we stopped to supercharge in Brandon.  The charging was really quick once again however I actually wound up turning around in the parking lot and hooking back up a second time.  I figured that 80% was going to be enough to get us home but the Tesla did not agree with my math, it said that my battery would be lower than what it recommends and I would need to keep my speed under 75mph to ensure I get home.  That was when I spun around and hooked back up for another few minutes to get us to 88% which cleared any restriction warnings.

The lack of speed restriction was certainly needed.  The pace of traffic on I-75 at times is insane.  There were points I was going in the low 80’s and had the pack of cars leaving me in their dust.  We pulled into the driveway around 6:30.  Both Lucky and Elsa were thrilled to see us, they went nuts running around the house, it was very cute.  After hanging out a bit Don and Lucky headed home and I looked more at the water heater situation.

Cindy had already turned off the water line to the heater as well as turned off the breaker.  The leak was coming from the top heating element.  There is a possibility I could just replace that element and get by for a period of time but I had already resigned myself to just replacing the unit.  I was considering a tankless water heater, the type that only runs as needed to save electricity.  The issue with those is it is a more involved install and often the circuit for a conventional water heater is not beefy enough because of the huge amp draw required to instantly heat water.  The leak was bad so Cindy and I felt the need to go out to Home Depot last night, despite it being after 7PM when we left.

Once there we saw no tankless heaters on display but a lot of high efficiency Rheem conventional heaters.  There was a model on special for $500 with the same capacity as mine, 50 gallons.  In addition it has a digital display and the ability to add a wifi module which is cool but probably unnecessary in our set up.  We decided to go this route for simplicity sake.  The install should be very easy and Katie’s boyfriend Daniel replaces water heaters all the time for his job as an HVAC tech.  He said he would be willing to help me do it which sealed the deal.  We loaded the big box into the back of the Tacoma and plopped it into the garage.  I plan to leave work early today to meet Daniel to get the job done.

The water heater will only be the opening ceremony of things to do during my upcoming week long staycation.  The other BIG thing I hope to accomplish is completing the Prius battery repair so we can get all of our vehicles back in the household.  I also have my brand new Gotway Nikola to test, ride, and document for YouTube.  It’s going to be a busy but hopefully satisfying and fun week.

 

 

 

 

 

Fixing things has been the theme of the weekend.  Things started out normally on Saturday which included mowing the grass.  As I mowed I thought to myself that we have been lucky so far this summer to not be cursed with long term standing water on the property yet.  Only the drainage ditches at the roadside had water in them at this point.

During the day we also drove over to Katie and Daniel’s house to pick up the Prius.  Cindy had parked the car there a couple weeks ago while it was in limp mode with a battery error.  I needed to get it back to the house in order to take a shot at fixing the hybrid battery pack.  I brought my code reader along.  In the past it has been my experience that if I clear the codes the car will run normally at least for short period of time.  I hit the “clear code” button on my reader and had at it.  The car did indeed drive more or less normally, I was monitoring the battery the entire way.  It went bad just as I pulled in the driveway, perfect timing.  I backed the car up to the garage which is where it will remain until I complete the battery repairs.

Saturday afternoon I tackled another repair, replacing the lidar motor on my Neato botvac.  The bot has been down for awhile but I wanted to get it running so we could give it to Katie since I have three other floor vacuuming robots.  I actually did a similar repair to Ali’s older Neato XV a year or two ago so I was somewhat familiar with what is involved.  I was pleasantly surprised that the procedure was actually easier, significantly easier on the Botvac than it was on the XV.  Within 45 minutes I had the repair completed.

During the day Saturday I also stopped at an ATT store.  I decided I liked my dirt cheap Umidigi android phone enough that I wanted to add cellular service to it.  The reason being when I go out on EUC rides I don’t want to have to carry two phones with me, one to run the android only EUC app and another make phone calls if needed.  I could add the phone to my shared data plan for an extra $20 a month.  All I had to do was purchase a SIM and had the guy activate it.  I did a test phone call and it worked so we called it good to go.  I noticed it showed 3G data service but I figured that just had to do with signal level where I was at.

Well as I did more testing I realized I had no cellular data service.  I could send text messages (with no pictures) or call, that was it.  I did some research online and saw some others had some issues on ATT since this is a Chinese phone, not made for the American market.  It seemed like others got it working, however the things they did to resolve it did not work for me.  I followed up on Sunday with a support chat with ATT.  He spun his wheels for almost a half hour as well until someone there suggested that I check the APN setting on my phone.  Once I changed it to ATTNXTGENPHONE I had 4G service and cellular data was flowing, sweet.

Saturday night Cindy and I watched First Man, with Ryan Reynolds.  As you may know it is about the moon landing with a more human spin.  The movie really focused on Neil Armstrong and his personal backstory.  To be honest I thought it focused on the backstory a little too much.  The film was almost two and a half hours long and I was ready for it to be over.  I’d give it a not bad B.

Sunday morning Cindy and I decided to do the 20 mile DD ride, something we hadn’t tackled in awhile.  Cindy was on the Dualtron scooter while I selected my KingSong 18L for the ride.  We kept a fast pace for the majority of the time, completing the entire trip in 70 minutes.  It was fun, fast, and hot as hell.

So mid-afternoon Sunday I finally decided to jump into the Prius battery project.  Even though I have watched a bunch of videos on the process, I still was nervous about it.  Trying to fix a a Prius battery pack is no small undertaking.  I used the Android phone, a bluetooth ODB2 adapter, and an app called Torque Pro to get individual cell readings of the pack.  Based on what I saw, bank three was the problem which had a voltage level about 1.5 below the rest.  Each bank is made of two cells that meant that either cell 5 or 6 was bad.

So now the fun part began, removing the hybrid battery unit.  It is located under rear seat.  In order to get it out of there you basically have to rip out everything in the rear of the car.  It isn’t technically difficult but there are a lot of things to remove which I tried to pile in a semi-organized way in the garage.  In about an hour I was able to lug the 100 pound+ battery pack onto a table in the garage.

Once I cracked open the case I was presented with the 28 individual cells that are wired together in series.   There is very high current potential there so I was very careful as I removed the individual bus bars that connect each cell together, wearing eye protection and leather gloves.  I immediately noticed the copper bus bars were badly corroded.  I initially was just going to clean them and reinstall but I decided instead to buy a new set of nickel plated bars which resist corrosion.

Once the bars were off I could safely start checking cell voltages.  Just as the Torque app showed, bank three was the problem.  One of the two batteries only showed 7 volts.  Every other battery in the pack was at 8.5 or 8.6 volts.  When I removed the bad cell from the pack I could see the sides of it were visibly swollen, another sign of battery failure.

The replacement cell that I bought was at 8 volts.  It was recommended that I charge that cell to 8.5 volts as well to keep the pack as balanced as possible.  Once the cell is installed the car battery management system should be able to handle the rest.  So what you see in the picture was my stopping point.  I can’t do much more before the new bus bars arrive which should be by the end of the week.  The timing works out since I am away at a conference Tues-Thursday.

Remember what I said about being happy the property was mostly dry on Saturday?  Well Sunday afternoon as I was working on the battery the skies opened up, dumping several inches of rain in the process.  The lakes have now returned, and it sucks.

So I was excitedly looking forward to the delivery of my next PEV which was supposed to come via FedEx by end of business today.  I have had a really shitty experience when it comes to FedEx and PEV deliveries.  The majority of the time they miss their promised dates and I have to track them down myself.   Once again the delay came from the central Florida region, which is always the case.  The packages normally travel across the country at a rapid clip, hit central Florida and then stop.  It frustrates the hell out of me.  I am trying to see if there is any way I can pick it up at the Fort Myers depot after work but I doubt it.

As I mentioned earlier I have an odd week, working a normal day today, Tues-Thurs at a conference in Orlando and then back to the office for one more day prior to taking the following week off.  I could get used to this schedule.

 

 

 

So my new Xfi gateway is already paying dividends.  When you have the app enabled on your phone any security alerts pop up on your screen to notify you of a problem.  Almost immediately after I configured the gateway I started getting alerts about the two port forwards I had set up, one for each of the Night Owl security dvr’s I have in the house.  One of the alerts was just from me trying to access the device from work but the others were definitely malicious, originating from places like Russia and China.  My first thought was it must have just been a port scan and the Xfi did a nice job of proactively blocking the attempt.

So today I got more alerts on the dvr’s so I decided to do a little more digging.  A Google search revealed that last year there was an exploit released that worked on a number of DVR boxes, including Night Owl.  It allows the attacker to access the DVR without credentials.  Once in there they are able to access video feeds and even screw with configuration.  Wow, well that is a little scary.  I immediately went in and disabled remote access to the DVR’s until I can see if there is any remediation available out there via updated software for the boxes.  You really just can not ever leave your guard down.

Yesterday my new 3D printer arrived, my third Anycubic I3 Mega.  I am so familiar with this printer that I had the new one set up and printing in less than 30 minutes.  For whatever reason there has been a LOT of demand for the 3D printed EUC stands recently.  I currently have one left in stock.  In addition to the new printer I have a few rolls of filament on the way to fire up an extended production run.

I have a very unconventional couple weeks coming up.  Next week I am only in the office Monday and Friday.  In the middle of the week I am attending a conference in Orlando.  The following week I am using up my last week of vacation before my rollover date.  I will have a lot of time to get shit done.

 

 

So Cindy’s 50th birthday rolls around in a few months.  Considering the effort she put into my 50th I certainly needed to make efforts to make her birthday special as well.  I asked her if she would prefer a large party like was done for me or going somewhere.  I already was pretty confident I knew the answer, she liked the idea of going somewhere.  I did some scouting out on Costco travel of some of the places she has mentioned like Ireland and Greece.  The numbers I got for a 7 day trip were pretty steep.

I also threw out the idea of a cruise, something I have only done once in my life.  Cindy has gone on a number of cruises and loves them.  When I got home we talked more about the options.  The more we talked the more it seemed like a cruise would make the most sense right now.  It’s a lesser cost option that we can just drive to Miami for.  I told Cindy I didn’t have a problem looking at oversea destinations in the future.  However right now until we are able to get the trailer sold, it would be much better for me to look at a more scaled back option.

The idea of a birthday trip of course excited Cindy.  She began looking at a bunch of options.  She also realized her passport was expired so she would need to get rolling asap on getting it renewed.  My passport which I needed for the grand Ireland trip my dad took us on years back is still good for another year or so.  I tasked Cindy with picking out a cruise that sounded good to her, I don’t have any real preference other than it not being more than a week.

Taking time away from the house has been a real problem since we adopted chickens.  Elsa is no problem as she loves staying at Ali’s place.  The birds need daily cleaning/care and it has not been easy to find someone able/willing to do it.  For Cindy and I, cleaning the coop is so commonplace that we think nothing of cleaning up chicken poop covered mats everyday, however for a newcomer I am sure it could seem pretty nasty.    The amount of time required each day is maybe 30 minutes, probably less.  Of course I am willing to pay someone to do the work but it is not easy to even come up with people to ask.

I need to be able to trust the birds will be ok while we are gone.  So sometime between now and October we need to find an answer to our chicken sitting needs.  It would be awesome to have a rock solid option like we have with Elsa, it would make potential vacations/road trips much less stressful to plan.

I left work early yesterday to meet up with the Comcast installer who was actually a few minutes EARLY for the three o’clock appointment, something that I don’t believe ever happened before.  The installer was great guy by the name of Clinton who was very friendly and had good energy, again, something I am not used to when dealing with Comcast.  The install of my new gig internet with an Xfi gateway went smoothly.

Clinton asked me the SSID and passcode for my old WIFI and configured Xfi with the same.  He claimed that by doing this I would not need to reconfigure my existing wifi devices.  I told him that has not been my experience in the past.  He assured me it should work.  Of course, it didn’t.  Cindy and I spent about a half hour going around the house reconnecting about a dozen different wifi devices.

I had to do other stuff as well to make the Xfi box play nice with my local network.  The speed of the new set up is indeed awesome.  I got 950+ mb per sec on a download test and over 40 mb per sec going up.  The fatter download pipe is nice but to be honest I am more excited about the fatter upload stream which is nearly four times more than previously.  It should help dramatically cut down on the time it takes to upload YouTube content.

The WIFi performance and range was better than my old ASUS set up as well.  Really the only negative is Xfi dumbs down your configuration options, significantly limiting customization for stuff like port forwarding.  I don’t have nearly the options that I would with a conventional wifi router but I think I can get by with what options I have available.  I look forward to life in the fast lane from here on out, with no data cap.