Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Gonna need a shed

One of the finer points of home ownership (particularly when you have children) is trying to deal with the accumulation of stuff.

Stuff is expensive, it requires maintenance and most annoyingly it takes up space.   Hobbies and activities all have accompanying needs for stuff.  That stuff eats up every open spot in your home until...you're gonna need a shed.   My property already has a shed, unfortunately it's hanging precariously on stilts as the people that built the shed didn't really consider drainage and nearly 1/5 of the ground under it has washed away.  In the Pacific Northwest watershed management is pretty much what owning property is about.  I live on a hill (are there any actual flat spots in the PNW that aren't in a flood plain?) and the shed is at the bottom of a driveway, the paved driveway acts as a natural river to push the sometimes alarming rainfall right under the shed. I mitigated the worst of the water issues by damning the water from going under the shed, and chiseled a notch in the retaining wall lip that was preventing the water from continuing on down the hill, but I'm stuck with a shed that I want to tear down to repair the washed out section and put in a proper retaining wall with appropriate drainage installed.

The shed is full. Pretty much as full as it can be. Full of stuff, and it's going to take time to tear down the shed, fix the wall and rebuild it, which means that stuff has to come out of the shed and be somewhere. My house sits on about .38 acre so I have some footprint to play with and I have a spot picked out for an auxiliary shed so I've been busily playing with shed design ideas.  The current shed is a 10x12 which according to the planning laws I can find on my cities website is the largest you can make without a permit.  I've read it several times and there's language about how close to property lines it can be, but nothing that says you cannot have more than one. The space I'm looking at isn't large enough for a that, so I'm playing with either an 8x10 or 8x8, the biggest factor at the moment is cost. 10' 4x4's seem to be about double the cost of 8' ones.  I could try to do it on the cheap and use 2x6's, but I'm just not sure that's the route to go.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Hidden cubby on Ikea bed

A while ago we bought an ikea bed. It's kinda huge and has drawers which was pretty important for our old house as the closet space is very limited. When I finished assembling the thing I was really struck by the huge dead space left between the drawer and the head board.

I thought to myself what a perfect place to install a hidden chubby for those things you hope the children never find. I'm a huge fan of Make magazine and various Hackaday kind of sites that have projects of hidden storage and rooms in everyday objects. It's from reading about these projects that I was aware of hidden/invisible hinge setups. I carefully measured the board that I was going to replace and ordered a hinge that would fit into the that space. I was going for a completely hidden finished product, and since the Fjell was a pine bed finding stock that would match wasn't hard, nor was the painting of it.  I installed it on the side of the bed that is closer to a wall so you cannot see it from far away, and used a magnetic child latch to keep it from swinging open. 

Score one for the hidden sex toy storage cabinet.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Google suggestions all up in my face

I use the google for lots of services in this life. Most recently it's started making recommendations for music.

It is not good at this.

That's a solid no google. Not good.

I'm reasonably sure it's because I watched this video sometime ago.

The song is interesting, the video is pretty much every bit as awful as the particles song.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Windows 10 cracking

I work in IT so I frequently have an interest in checking out how the "other" team works their magic.  It comes up from time to time that for completely legitimet reasons I need to use tools that might be considered hacking tools. The most recent case of this came up a few days back, someone set a non-standard password a laptop that the company owns.  It wasn't written down and I've since forgotten it.  It's not critical, but it is the backup for a system that we use to control the lights in the facility. I tried different combinations for a few days, but finally decided to dip into my back of tricks.

The following video (that you'll need to turn on closed captioning for) shows the steps to break into an up to date windows 10 machine by having physcial access to the machine.

The short version is use the bios/boot options to boot into a windows installer disk. From there start the install and go to the repair this machine option.  Use the commandline to rename the on screen keyboard executable to osk.old and copy cmd.exe as osk.exe. Exit the install media and boot to the sign on screen.  On the sign on screen open the accessability menu and turn on the on screen keyboard.  Boom now you are running a command prompt with administrative rights.

The command net user <username> * lets you set a new password.

Time to break in is under 10 minutes.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Cool tool

I've been using a lot of android devices for some of the side hustle grinding I didn't write about.  Apps are a pain in the ass, but I'm in charge of disposal of the old devices so I have access to lots of older, but still serviceable android phones.  It's tedious to manage 4+ phones, each app needs a little care and feeding throughout the day.  If I try to keep them with me at work and at home then there's the process of gathering them, and making sure everything is plugged in once I get to my destination and the apps are running again. 

It's not really been a pain point, I've stopped moving them to and from work and just check a few times in the evening.  It slowed down earning but also cut the headache of it all down too.  For some reason I thought about trying to remotely manage them.  I found a few apps that would let you remotely manage phones wirelessly, but none of them looked like you could control the screen in real time. In my search I found Vysor.  It's slick and really aimed for developers (if you stick to the free version they will overlay ads on your screen from time to time) but it lets you see the phone screen and click on apps like you're in front of it.

I started using Chrome remote desktop to manage my home PC's without all the the hassle of setting up a vpn so now I can just plug the phones into a single machine remote to it, and manage all the phones from a single location. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Nothing useful to say today

Randomish. I've gotten asked about laptops from several people the last few days though.  2 through family and another from a friend of my wife.  I'm pretty sure it's been at least a year since the last time someone asked for direction on purchasing a laptop, interesting to get 3 in 2 weeks.

Monday, October 30, 2017

DIY Sweetened condensed milk

Cleaning out my old drafts.

Some time ago I read an article on Lifehacker about Diy sweetented condensed milk.  It's semi rare that you need this stuff (really only for the holidays) so I don't keep it around, but it is extremely useful stuff if you have an inclination for making deserts.  Sure, you can just go buy it, but where's the fun in that?

The one linked by lifehacker on Dish-away.com used powdered milk, and that's just offensive on it's face. I don't keep it around as much now that we have kids because we buy milk by the gallon weekly, so I looked for a version that uses the milk I keep around to make the sweetened condensed milk.  This version from kitchensteardship.com seems like a winner, using butter raw sugar and whole milk, plus her method is about as lazy as you can get.  Dissolve the sugar in the milk and keep turning the stove down until you don't have to stir the milk while it cooks down.